The Conversation

Number 4 in a series

This breaks slightly from the theme set previously, but it does concern a conversation. It’s a conversation that was reported weeks ago, but it’s one that became salient with recent developments. Anderson Cooper had some fun with it last week on CNN, and the news channel played it with captions. Here it is.

It’s a joy to watch when ordinary words acquire an entirely new meaning.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 16 of a continuing series

This series is getting to be more fun than the law allows. Catch me if you can, but here comes some more. From my in-box:

DonaldJTrump.com <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>
To: jf_blanton@yahoo.com
May 23 at 12:38 PM

John,

While President Trump continues working day and night to Make America Great Again, Democrats continue to do the only thing they know how, OBSTRUCT.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have made it clear that ordering more bogus taxpayer-funded WITCH HUNTS is much more important to them than working on behalf of the American people.

Even after the Mueller Report totally EXONERATED President Trump, Nancy Pelosi said just this week that, “We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.” She simply can’t accept the facts and is fishing in empty waters.

We have one quick question for you, John. Do you think Democrats should quit obstructing President Trump’s progress and end the Witch Hunt? President Trump wants to hear from you.

I love it when my president addresses me by my first name. He has not yet offered to pay me $130,000, but I’m patient.

There’s a lot in there, but I will leave it for readers to unpack. Here’s my favorite part: “Even after the Mueller Report totally EXONERATED President Trump…” By that definition I hope I never get so exonerated.

Manafort recalled that Trump responded that Manafort should keep Trump updated. Deputy campaign manager Rick Gates said that Manafort was getting pressure about[+ + + + +]information and that Manafort instructed Gates[+ + + + +]status updates on upcoming releases. Around the same time, Gates was with Trump on a trip to an airport [+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +]. and shortly after the call ended, Trump told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. [+ + + + + + + + +] were discussed within the Campaign, and in the summer of, the Campaign was planning a communications strategy based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks.

The Washington Post. The Mueller Report . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

Trump called White House Lawyer Don McGahn in June 2017 and told him to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller had to be removed.

“McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” Mueller’s team wrote, referring to the night when President Nixon ordered his attorney general to fire a special prosecutor, triggering a cascade of resignations.

The Washington Post. The Mueller Report . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

After Michael Cohen, his former lawyer and self-described fixer, pleaded guilty and implicated the president in a scheme to break campaign finance laws, Trump deemed him a “rat” and called for Cohen’s father-in-law to be investigated for unnamed crimes.

The Washington Post. The Mueller Report . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

Yes, Bob Mueller, please do not exonerate me.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 13 of a continuing series

What a difference a bit of sunlight makes. Back on 12 June 2017 (Newsmax) Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was proclaiming he would take a bullet for the president. Yesterday morning he had a different perspective:

I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country,” Cohen told reporters outside his Manhattan apartment. “There still remains much to be told, and I look forward to the day where I can share the truth.

He mentioned “xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country,” but he meant “Donald Trump..”

So this is what it’s like to live in a “shit hole country.”

Michael, if you are ever tempted to take a bullet for me, take a deep breath first.

Breitbart Mentality

Number 7

I do, yes I do. I subscribe to Breitbart News. Why? I will tell you why. I spent my whole life dealing with the real world, full of messy facts and hard consequences. Breitbart is a breath of fresh air. It’s like stepping out of Mary Poppins and onto the set of a Marx Brothers film. A slavish support for Donald Trump and everything right wing often steers the course in bizarre directions. Take this recent item for example:

Nolte: Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

That was the headline, and you need to bear with me and read the rest of my post. Granted the aspect of Breitbart calling out “fake news” sets a new level—you really need to hear them out. You never know when you might find a diamond in a coal bin. Breitbart writer John Nolte lays out the headlined 51 fake news bombshells that are giving him the most heartburn. He concedes the mainstream media outlets have gotten it right so many times, but they should have gotten it right those other 51 times. Continuing:

You’re supposed to take care of your kids!

And the media are supposed to get stories correct.

But here is the media forced to brag on when they didn’t crash the plane, when they did take care of the kids, which tells you something is horribly, terribly, ridiculously wrong.

Nolte writes metaphorically. Taking care of the kids is what you are supposed to do all the time. Crashing the plane is what you are never supposed to do. However, he infers, the real scandal is the flood of fake news put out to, I presume, drown the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Some more:

While a list of what the media might have gotten correct is fairly easy to put together, no one will ever be able to grasp the tsunami of fake news Americans were buried under for over two years.

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

I will not hit on all of Nolte’s top 51, thinking the first three will be representative. Here is number 1.

New York magazine, McClatchy: Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

For the record, it is almost certain Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. From the referenced news item:

In April, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon reported for McClatchy that Robert Mueller had obtained evidence that Cohen did indeed visit Prague. Today the pair have a new report with much more detail. Cohen’s phone pinged off cell-phone towers in Prague during that period, according to four sources. Also during that period, an Eastern European intelligence agency electronically surveilled a conversation in which one Russian said that Cohen was in Prague, according to two more sources. The reporting is the opposite of thin. If the conclusion is wrong, it is a massive journalistic error.

It is possible, of course, that all these sources are wrong. It is also possible that Cohen did visit Prague, and either did not meet with Russia, or met to discuss innocuous topics, and then lied about it. But the more probable explanation by far is that Cohen did visit Prague and did meet with Russian agents.

From Wikipedia:

However, on April 13, 2018, the DC Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen did travel to Prague during the late summer of 2016, with two sources having confirmed this secret trip. The evidence is said to show that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from Germany, and since both countries are in the European Union’s Schengen passport area, Cohen would not have needed to receive a passport stamp to enter Czech territory. The following day, Cohen again denied he has “ever been to Prague”. Cohen also said that he didn’t travel to the European Union in August 2016. McClatchy reported in December 2018 that a mobile phone traced to Cohen had “pinged” cellphone towers around Prague in late summer 2016. McClatchy also reported that during that time an eastern European intelligence agency had intercepted communications between Russians, one of whom mentioned that Cohen was in Prague. The Mueller Report did not conclude Cohen had been in Prague, citing his testimony to investigators.

Beyond all this, we have to wonder what all the fuss is about. McClatchy obtained unreliable information from multiple sources and reported it. The substance is Cohen did not need to go to Prague to do all the stuff he has been convicted of and also the stuff he did that was not criminal. He continued to negotiate with Russian interests on behalf of Donald Trump while Trump was running for the office of President of the United States. Further, he initially lied about it before ultimately coming clean and taking his lumps. His boss, the President of the United States, perpetrated the lie.

Number 2:

BuzzFeed: Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

The referenced news item is Breitbart, itself:

BuzzFeed, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials, alleged in a Thursday evening report that President Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that he regularly briefed the president and his family on the Trump Tower project in Moscow. BuzzFeed claimed Cohen told Mueller that President Trump personally instructed him to lie about the timing of the project in order to obscure Trump’s involvement. No other news organization was able to confirm the report nearly 24 hours after it’s publication.

Again from Wikipedia:

According to a BuzzFeed report on January 17, 2019, President Donald Trump personally directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. However, a spokesman for the Special Counsel investigation later said the report was “not accurate”

Number 3:

The New York TimesPaul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

Again the reference is to Breitbart:

Nolte: New York Times Forced to Correct Manafort Russia Collusion ‘Bombshell’

The far-left New York Times has been forced to issue a humiliating correction after falsely reporting Paul Manafort passed along polling information to a Kremlin-connected businessman.

Times “reporters” Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel are dishonest enough on their own, but put these two leftists together, and you are almost certain to get a heapin’ helping of Very Fake News, which is exactly what happened Wednesday.

I find the foregoing difficult to reconcile with this from the Mueller Report

Separately, on August 2, 2016 , Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in New York City with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a “backdoor” way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine; both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump ‘s assent to succeed (were he to be elected President). They also discussed the status of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.

Yes! That is curious, but I will leave it for readers to sort out. The conclusion Nolte wants us to draw is mainstream media outlets are responsible for “the tsunami of fake news Americans were buried under for over two years” and for “pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.”

We are left to wonder at the tsunami that buried us.

Finally, concerning that hoax the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Any attempt by the mainstream media to bury the American public beneath a tsunami of fake news would be completely unnecessary. We have people now working for the United States government already doing that. But thank you, Breitbart News.

 

The National Divide

Number 10 of a possibly infinite series

This is a tale of two political systems, illustrating vividly the hard line that separates divergent segments of this nation. People need to decide which side of the line they want to come down on. The choices are clear.

I will spell it out. At the top Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is questioning former Donal Trump lawyer Michael Cohen:

Did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?

In the second we see Representative Jim Jordan threatening the same witness:

Tread very f…ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be very f…ing disgusting.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

This is your president speaking.

Number 200 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Hans Von Spakovsky, “I haven’t seen any evidence of actual violations of the law, which is usually a basis before you start an investigation. Adam Schiff seems to be copying Joseph McCarthy in wanting to open up investigations when they don’t have any evidence of wrongdoing.”

Of course these are not President Trump’s words. He is quoting a source, but in posting the quote he is making these his words. All of which brings us to an enormous hilarity:

Yeah, I’m beating a dead horse here. We really do need to wait until there is evidence of wrongdoing.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 10 of a continuing series

Yes, it is breathtaking. That’s Congressman Matt Gaetz, representing Florida District 1. The staunch supporter of President Trump was seen yesterday on ABC News making some choice remarks about Michael Cohen, former lawyer for Donald Trump and scheduled to give damning testimony today about his former boss.

Spelling it out (from VOX):

Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…

— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 26, 2019

We see Congressman Gaetz trying to explain, “We’re witness testing, not witness tampering.” Pardon me for appearing to be embarrassingly naive, but threatening a witness is a stunning imitation of witness tampering. Threatening a witness after he testifies is bad. Threatening the witness during testimony is unseemly, to say the least. Threatening a witness before testimony is witness tampering. It’s the kind of thing that can cost a lawyer his license to practice law:

Florida Bar investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz for Cohen tweet

At one point this inconvenient fact must have dawned on the Florida congressman:

Matt Gaetz says he’s apologized to Michael Cohen for ‘girlfriends’ tweet, wants to leave his family ‘alone’

I have a view on that. If you threaten a witness before testimony, and later you apologize, the threat was still made. I’m guessing we will hear more about this loose cannon from Florida. Keep reading.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 9 of a continuing series

This week the shit is flying faster than I can keep up with it, so I’m just going to paraphrase—hit the high points. A lot of really bad shit is going to get left where it lies.

Bur first, Michael Cohen, please at no time ever offer to take a bullet for me.

Ouch! I’m glad I found out what it means to “take a bullet” before I ever took anybody up on the proposition. This is breathtaking inanity writ large.

The Government You Paid For

Number 57 of a Series

Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and now Roger Stone. I could have included more, but this will do. One by one Donald Trump’s cronies are going down, scooped up with his criminal enterprise. Do I gloat? Possibly, but in truth I will be sad to see him go. The man has been a source of constant entertainment since he got off that escalator four years ago. So let’s hear that heart-stirring chant once more before it fades into the fog of memory:

Yes, LOCK HER UP!!!