The trial of the century

Today I just have some random thoughts on the impeachment trials currently underway.

I see many Republicans coming out and giving interviews, and saying things along the lines that “there is nothing new here”, or “they’re just repeating the same thing”. It’s a spectacularly disingenuous thing to say, given that Republicans are the only thing standing in the way of issuing subpoenas that would provide a metric shit-ton of new evidence to consider. It’s also not a requirement that evidence be “new” to be worthy of consideration. What they are really saying is that they have no cogent rebuttal, and none of them will actually go on record saying that Trump hasn’t abused the power of his office as the evidence clearly shows.

Which leads us to the legality argument, or stating that abusing the power of the the office of the president is not actually a crime. Remember, this is not a criminal proceeding. The decision they are faced with in the end is whether or not the president is fit for office, and whether or not he should be removed. Furthermore, committing a crime is not necessarily grounds for impeachment. If for instance the President was issued a ticket for speeding (a misdemeanor BTW), nobody in their right mind would call for his impeachment on those grounds alone. That was essentially the case with the Clinton impeachment trial. However a crime is not required to impeach and remove a president from office either if the president is proven to be unfit for office. If it can be demonstrated that they used that office for personal benefit to the detriment of their oath of office, that is not necessarily a crime, but it is absolutely sufficient grounds for removal from office.

The one that really incenses me though is when they state that there isn’t enough evidence to indict the president. I mean really? REALLY? Okay, then perhaps we should, ohhhh I dunno, get all the documentary evidence that could either be use to exonerate or indict the president? I mean, Trump was bragging a mere two days ago about how he’s blocked Congress from getting their hands on that evidence, so he’s clearly proud of his ability to hide it from the light of day. If you really think that you need more evidence to indict, does it make any sense at all to say that a.) nah, we don’t need to hear that evidence and refuse to allow any subpoenas to collect it, and b.) Despite claiming that there isn’t enough evidence to indict, I’ve already heard enough to exonerate the president. I mean, even someone as intellectually challenged as the president could see that such an argument wouldn’t hold a single molecule of water.

Then there is the question of “horse trading” witnesses wherein the Republicans get a Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for a John Bolton’s testimony. I for one think that the Democrats should jump on that offer. Maybe the Democrats are playing it coy lest the Republicans see through such a charade, but I can’t imagine a scenario where calling Hunter Biden in as a witness is a good look for the Republicans. It’s a childish tactic at best, or amateurish if I’m being nice. If they really wanted to hear his testimony, all they would have to do is use their majority vote whilst continuing to refuse to allow Bolton et. al. to testify. That is precisely why I think it’s a bluff, and why the Democrats should totally call them on it. I mean, think about it? Would the Trump re-election campaign really want the son of the likely Democratic frontrunner to be given a voice in Trump’s Senate impeachment trial?

Finally, I would like to address what appears to be the complete apathy of the US citizenry. I don’t think the average citizen really grasps what is at stake here with this impeachment. Are we really so cynical that we’ll just look the other way, pretending that there is nothing to see here, or that none of it really matters? Is it to be that this is just how things are done now. Are we to expect from now on that the president will put their own priorities above those of the public’s, and that all future presidents are beholden to nobody, even Congress? It strains credulity to state that politicians in Congress should get back to working on domestic issues like the economy, job creation, gun control, healthcare, etc instead of impeaching the president, but fail to recognize that the president has failed to do just that by putting his own interests above all else? If Senate Republicans are allowed to ram this trial through to acquittal without any witnesses or without subpoenaing the evidence that Trump, by his own god damned admission, is withholding from them, then we shall cease to be a democratic republic and will descend into tyranny.

Bourbon – The call of The Tater

I know it’s a bit of a detour from my usual fair, but bourbon is something that I feel every bit as passionate about as the state of world affairs. While I do like a dram or two of scotch on occasion, there is something about bourbon that I just find much more appealing. Even more so, I like finding a good, cheap, under-appreciated bottle that the snobs walk right past without a second look.

Drinking bourbon is not so much on my mind as much as procuring it is though. I peruse forums and of course the r/bourbon subreddit, and I see all the humble bragging that goes on when someone snags a limited run bottle, or what is otherwise known as a unicorn. There is even a pejorative for those who spend inordinate amounts of time and energy chasing unicorns, and that term is “tater”. These are people who seek bourbon, not because they are experts that know what they are doing. Quite the opposite in fact. They mostly acquire rare-ish bottles of bourbon because they want to pose next to them in a selfie and post it to instagram. I’m not sure why or how that name came about, but I’ve seen these taters in action first hand. First though, imma throw out a bit of personal history for context.

I came of age in the early 90’s. It was an age when nobody was out there calling themselves bourbon aficionados, Fred Minnick was still in high school, and the recent renaissance in bourbon was yet to begin in full. I was a Jack & Coke guy from the start, and while I dabbled in the clearer liquors every so often, and even (shudder) a phase where I only drank long island ice teas, I always came back to whiskey. Everyone who knew me, knew that I drank Jack & Coke and that I rarely departed from it. I’d had a few other whiskeys over the years, most of them cheap and bottom shelf, but always as a shots and never for the taste or for sipping neat.

Then, around six or seven years ago when bourbon sales were just starting to surpass rum and vodka, I had what was to be my third kidney stone. It was a particularly rough one, and it was much too large to pass on my own without surgical intervention. It was determined after analyzing the stone that my consumption of Coke, or more to the point the cola nut that Coke is made out of was the main culprit. From that point forward, I cut out Coke from my diet (and all soda entirely after my fourth stone), and found myself needing a new go-to drink. Around this time I had discovered Bulliet, and began trying other cocktails like manhattans and old fashioned’s. I quickly discovered that I had a taste for bourbon and rye, and more specifically, I discovered that I was enjoying it more and more neat.

It was a few years more before I got my first taste of Pappy’s, and after that I found myself chasing that experience again and again. To my dismay though, I learned that not only was it incredibly expensive even at retail prices, but it was more likely that I would win the mega millions before ever laying hands on a bottle of Pappy’s for myself. Without really knowing what it was, or what it meant, I was on track to become one of these infamous taters that are so maligned amongst bourbon enthusiasts. But then I encountered them in person, and it was an eye opening experience.

It started on a Wednesday morning, and I was making a stop at my local liquor store at the Kroger down the street, because that is the day of the week that they receive new stock. I had been doing that for some weeks, and usually not finding anything rare that I was looking for, but that week the store clerk had asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I rattled off a couple that I’ve never personally seen on the store shelves, Blanton’s being one of them, when he informed me that they would have Blanton’s in the next morning. I said, “see you tomorrow morning”, and planned on showing up the next day when the liquor store opened at 9:00 AM.

Fast-forward to the next day, I cruise in to the Kroger parking lot around a quarter to 9:00 AM. Thinking that I was too early, I foolishly sat in the car and listened to the radio for about five to ten minutes. When I finally exited my vehicle and walked in to the store, I saw a line had already formed at the entryway to the liquor store. I was about ninth or tenth in line, so I thought my chances surely must be good for snagging a bottle. When the liquor store finally opened though, I was soon to be disappointed.

They had six fucking bottles of Blanton’s! Six! I found this out only after the sixth person in line had purchased the last one. All the while, the taters, who were waiting who knows how long before I got there at the front of the line, were discussing the god damned bottle tops, and how they already had the particular one’s that they had just purchased. Clearly they already had a collection of Blanton’s sitting at home, and were merely trying to round out their stupid bottle top collection. Meanwhile, I just wanted a bottle to drink, and these assholes were lamenting that the bottle tops were already in their collection. I wanted to punch those fuckers in the balls, take their undeserved  bottles of delicious bourbon, and make a run for the parking lot.

Now it’s not as if I’ve never had Blanton’s, because there are bars and restaurants around me that have it for around $10 to $12 a pour. It is a good bourbon, though at $60 a bottle retail, it’s hard to justify those prices for a mere pour. Snagging a bottle to enjoy at home therefore would be the most economical way to go. However, just seeing these douchebags who spend all their time buying and hoarding overly hyped bottles of bourbon was enough to turn me off to it. I walked out once that sixth bottle was sold, and resolved to never spend another moment waiting in line behind those fucking taters again.

Eventually (I hope) the craze will settle down, especially after supply finally catches up to meet demand and the aforementioned taters move on to some other equally douchey endeavor and allow stock to accumulate where it belongs; on the store shelves. Given that it takes around four to seven years from distillation to bottling for most bourbons, patience is definitely a virtue and I think I may be able to wait the taters out. For now though, I’m quite content to try out as many bourbons as I can. So far I’ve found many readily available bottles, all $60 and below, that are just as good if not better. They may not have fancy, collectible bottle tops or require a sleepover in front of the liquor store to obtain, but that is quite alright by me. I prefer to enjoy bourbon and rye, not hunt bottles down like they are a Babe Ruth rookie card.

The only other option, and it’s a rather appealing one, is to take a road trip and go directly to the source. Hailing as I do from the Buckeye state, a short jaunt across the state line into Kentucky bourbon trail country is entirely doable for a weekend. Not only are there some bourbons that are only sold within the borders of Kentucky, it’s also a chance to get out of town for a change of scenery with my wife and friends in tow. After all, what good is a bottle of bourbon if I can’t just sit back and enjoy it with the people I care about most in life. Fuck you taters, see ya in hell!

Trumpageddon

A Vox article came out today that has brought a me a little closer to understanding something that has been rather puzzling until now. I know I’m not the only one to scratch my head while Trump is openly embraced by the likes of Jerry Falwell, or huddled in a circle jerk prayer meeting with elite religious leaders in the Oval Office. Just last Monday Rick Perry came out to praise Trump as “the chosen one” by God, or whatever, and I believe Nikki Haley piled on that particular praise as well. Political opportunism and cynicism aside, just what the fuck is going on here? How can a man who paid off a porn star with whom he had sex with, all while he had a pregnant wife at home, be “the chosen one”? How can a guy who’s first instinct is to lie, even about inconsequential things like inauguration crowd sizes, be the vessel of God’s, or whatever’s, will and not that of Satan, the supposed father of all lies?

Enter Ezra Klein, author of the aforementioned article, “The post-Christian culture wars” to shed a little light on the subject. He paints an image of aging conservatives, and how they view the very real changes that are occurring in this country. Secularism is on the rise, especially amongst the Millennial and Gen Z sets, and conservatives have of course responded by losing their shit. They tend to view this demographical shift as an existential threat to all that they hold dear. And by “all that they hold dear”, I of course refer to the bigotry, racism, homophobia, and general fear of the “other” that pervades conservative thought, and animates them at the polls like nothing else.

First one must understand that just being Christian gives them, in their own eyes at least, a moral authority. Anyone who does not subscribe to that moral authority are going directly to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. They believe that morality simply does not exist in the absence of religion, and ethics are a strange and foreign language lacking the weight of God, or whatever, handing down the rulebook from on high. Furthermore, they avail themselves of the delusion that secularists are out to get them and ground every last Christian into dust because of their antiquated, bronze age beliefs. They are forever unable to reconcile their holy scripture, the literal word of God, or whatever, with the horrible, bigoted, racist, homophobic, et. al., legislation rendered in the name of that scripture. If it’s comes from the Bible, then it comes from God, or whatever, and is therefore of the highest moral authority. Anyone opposing that legislation is in short the enemy; an opposing force in a war that only they believe is real.

All of which leads us to Trump. Here, they have a man who will do or say anything to further their cause. Here they have a man who is willing to stand up to these subversive progressives, or anyone else whom they believe are gleefully dismantling their cherished, Christian norms and standards. These are people tired of being shamed as bigots, racists, and homophobes, choosing instead to remain oblivious that they are in fact siding with bigots, racists, and homophobes. Now they have someone in the White House who shares their willingness to maintain that delusion, or at least is willing to give that delusion some serious lip service. In Trump, they have a man willing to get his hands bloody so that they can stay above the fray, so to speak. All of this is enshrined in the slogan “Make America Great Again”,  with its implied sense that in their view things have gotten worse over time, and not better. For those of us not living in Trump’s Bizzaro-land universe, we rightly ask, “at what point was America greater than it is now?”, For those of us unconvinced by our own self-righteousness, or lacking faith in the invisible man in the sky theory, the slogan represents an open embrace of all of the evils that were thought to have been overcome since the founding of our republic.

Putting the secularist shift and the rise of Trump into focus here, other things start to fall in place. Viewing the rise of secularism as an existential threat to Christianity enables them to adopt a winner takes all mindset. Things that were once unthinkable, such as supporting a wretched, narcissistic, anti-intellectual fuckwad like Trump and calling him “the chosen one”, are now rationalized away with relative ease. Yes, that’s right. Their paranoid, desperate bid to remain relevant has brought them to the negotiating table, and they made a deal with the devil himself. In this deal, the Christians get to indulge in their delusions that they are not bigots, racists, and homophobes for just a little while longer, and Trump gets the Christian vote.

I do however take a bit of solace, given the self-destructive path that this appears to be leading down. Consider these paragraphs from the article:

The irony of all this is that Christian conservatives are likely hastening the future they most fear. In our conversation, Jones told me about a 2006 survey of 16- to 29-year-olds by the Barna Group, an evangelical polling firm, that asked 16- to 29-year-olds for their top three associations with present-day Christianity. Being “antigay” was first, with 91 percent, followed by “judgmental,” with 87 percent, and “hypocritical,” with 85 percent. Christianity, the Barna Group concluded, has “a branding problem.”

It seems unlikely that that branding problem will be fixed by a tighter alliance with Trump, who polls at 31 percent among millennials and 29 percent among Generation Z. If young people are abandoning Christianity because it seems intolerant, judgmental, and hypocritical — well, intolerant, judgmental, and hypocritical is the core of Trump’s personal brand.

God, or whatever, help them Christians if Trump is their last, great hope at relevancy, because things do not look good going forward.

To conclude, and in the spirit of fellowship, I’m going to dispense some sage advice to my Christian brethren. Stick to the message of love and respect for your fellow man (or woman), and leave all that hateful shit behind. Nobody is trying to go after your religion, but rather the bigoted views that arise from your twisted interpretation of it. If your God, or whatever, is going to punish you for baking a cake for a gay couple, and yet casts a blind eye to kids being separated from their parents and locked in cages, I don’t wanna even know what pure hell that famed kingdom in heaven is going to be like. You don’t need Trump at all, and the sooner you all realize that, the sooner you can get back to the business of passing the offering plate around on Sunday with a reasonable expectation of seeing it come back filled with fat stacks of cash.

R E S P E C T

Hot off the heels of announcing the demise of ISIS leader Al Baghdadi, Trump came out of the White House and attended a baseball game. Far from getting any slack for coming up with a rare and conveniently timely win, he was booed. Videos have been going around all day showing Trump clearly expecting to receive cheers before it slowly dawned on him that quite the opposite was occurring.

My feelings of despair and ennui are gonna be yuge!

Then chants of “Lock him up” began that were apparently in the 100 decibel range, quite loud in other words. Loud enough for him to hear them for sure. And then there were signs all over that fans had unfurled calling for Trump’s impeachment.

I personally am in the, “you reap what you sow” camp on this one. Some seem to feel otherwise, saying in short that we should respect the office of the presidency regardless of who inhabits it. Normally I might feel the same, but these days are anything but normal and nobody disrespects the office of the presidency more than the man who currently inhabits it. This is not the time to sit around revering the office and our fragile republic from afar, this is the time get up close and personal and demand that it be made respectable once again.

Yes, I get that the “lock him up” shit is beyond the pale. I get why we shouldn’t be calling for the politically motivated imprisonment of our political opponents. Pretty much anybody with a brain and sense of history can agree to that wholeheartedly. However, the one man who should know this implicitly clearly doesn’t. It is for him that such things need to be held up like a mirror, so that he can see what it’s like to be in the crosshairs so to speak. He should squirm and feel uncomfortable at the prospect of having his own words spit back at him by a stadium full of outraged constituents.

I don’t harbor any hope whatsoever that such methods will produce anything other than that wonderful sense of schadenfreude that I, and millions of other will get from this. Not because I believe those methods to be in error, but because Trump will never be respectable, or do what a respectable president does without a second thought, which is to listen to any other voice but the massively ill-informed one inside his head.

Owning the Libs.

Many people, some of them with larger brains than I can rightly claim ownership of, have thrashed those mighty intellects collectively against the seemingly impenetrable wall of support Trump enjoys from Conservatives. Notice I did not say Republicans, a subject that I will revisit shortly. I think mostly though, that they have attempted to overcomplicate things in their attempt to explain whatever appeal he has to his hardcore, fanatical base. This group is a third rail in Republican circles; everybody knows it’s there and it’s dangerous, and nobody wants to step on it for fear of getting ousted from office. Hiding from the press in their congressional offices, they look the other way as their RINO president is doing everything he can to systematically destroy this once great republic and reduce it to a banana republic, or worse.

Let’s start with his open admiration for any dictator. As Nancy Pelosi said, all roads lead to Putin with this one. Putin is of course one of the more successful dictators, and you may be saying “But Jaime Christ, he’s elected”. Knowing what we know now, and the manipulations that he engaged in to alter the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, I think it’s safe to surmise that he doesn’t hold free and open elections in high regard, and Russia’s own electoral process that somehow keeps electing Putin is certainly not beyond reproach. His stance against the press is similar to Trump’s continued assault on the US press as the “enemy of the people”. Then there is Duterte, and Kim Jong Un, or Jair Bolsonaro, and pretty much every terrible leader currently in power, all of whom he has praised while simultaneously speaking ill of nearly every leader of the free world. The conservatives who think of themselves as constitutionalists that believe in limited government cannot possibly support this. He’s aligned himself with leaders who enact brutal and deadly crackdowns on their own citizens, and those that would imprison their politcal rivals, and he’s squandered whatever international respect we had left as defenders of liberty.

Then there are Christian Conservatives, who spent 8 years decrying Bill Clinton’s well known infidelity. He lied on the stand to cover up his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the Republicans in Congress impeached him for it. Now we have a president who is not only unfaithful to his wife, his third one no less, but pays off the women he’s having affairs with to buy their silence during an election. Oh, and he lies to our collective faces about it, even though he’s been recorded having a conversation discussing the payoff to Stormy Daniels. But I suppose it’s more important to refuse service to gay people, and to force rape victims to birth their rape babies, then to expect the POTUS to uphold even the thinnest veneer of respectability, honesty, and loyalty to someone other than himself.

Then there are the cowards in Congress who dare not stand up to him, choosing instead to kiss the ring of the would-be king for fear that by doing the right thing, they may get voted out of office. They know, without a doubt, that this guy is a wrecking ball wholly unfit for any role in public service, and yet they will not only stand idly by, but defend things that just 3 short years ago would have been unthinkable to hear out of a Republican’s mouth. Furthermore, a wave of Republicans are retiring, choosing instead to betray their oaths of office and run away from the fight with their tails between their legs. I have little respect for those who stick their necks out to criticize Trump when they’re forfeiting whatever skin they had in the game before doing so.

Again, these are observations that many other people have already made, and continue to scratch their heads over. Conservatives as a voting block support Republicans by and large, yet it’s obvious that Trump is not, nor was he ever a conservative. Neither is he a Republican, a distinction the was clearly demonstrated recently with his sudden pullout of Syria, which finally earned Trump a rare Republican rebuke after three… fucking.. years of this bullshit presidency. There is however one thing that the big brained talking heads continue to ignore.

There is one thing that I see Trump supporters try to do over and over again that I believe is the one defining trait that really matters to them, and that’s a concept called “owning the libs”. They don’t care about policy. They don’t care about debating the issues, or what the facts are surrounding a given issue. They don’t care about what’s lawful or constitutional. They don’t even care about the truth or basing policy on factual information. If you’ve ever seen a hardcore Trump supporter attempt to engage in a debate, they quickly find themselves out of their depth and resort to personal attacks the moment they back themselves into a rhetorical corner. Their idea of winning a debate is speaking louder than everyone else, and lobbing more personal insults that have nothing to do with the subject being debated than their opponent. It’s not about listening to the other side and responding, because that’s all just fake news and deep state propaganda that can just be ignored. This is why the facts just simply do not matter to them. To them, getting in “sick burns” and shutting down the debate before it begins are the objectives. They care more about winning simply to see the other side lose, than for taking any supposed high ground morally or intellectually.

So how do the Libs combat this? Let us consider what it is that Trump, and by proxy his supporters, crave the most: attention. Stop the press gaggle that forms every time he gets on a plane or helicopter. Stop pointing a camera at him simply to get the next stupid sound bite to get outraged over. Whatever he says in most cases if literally irrelevant, and he should therefore be treated as irrelevant. The press has unwittingly become an accomplice to the daily Trump outrage machine, and it needs to end. Force him to seek out the press to get his message out, not the other way around. Most of all though, I would like the press to be more aggressive in painting him as the liar he is. Don’t just point out that what he is saying is incorrect, call him out for lying. Finally, when he’s attacking a member of the press, stand up and be counted by supporting your fellows and protesting such treatment, rather than letting that individual twist in the wind. Otherwise, Trump is gonna continue to walk all over you guys and his base will only ever see just another case of Trump “owning the libs”.

Lebron James, Son of Heaven.

I should preface this by saying I’m not much of a sports fan. It’s not that I don’t understand sports, or haven’t been entertained by a sporting event. I do on occasion attend sporting events and tend to root for the local teams. Mostly though, I drink and eat massively overpriced beverages and foods, and the game is background to those activities for the most part. That being said, I have held the opinion in the past, and have even vocalized said opinion to my friends, that sports is the downfall of society.

This idea sprang up in my mind during the OJ murder trials. The image that was fixed in my head was of the Heisman Trophy, but with a knife where the football should be and a bloody, if ill-fitting glove, on the outstretched hand. The hero worship and adulation that players receive is wholly misplaced, and it has been a recurring theme to see them fall from grace in a most spectacular fashion. I’ve often felt that if people dedicated as much time, effort, and money as they do on sports to more worthwhile endeavors, that the world just might be better off for it.

All of which brings us to the latest “scandal” involving the NBA, and what its most famous player hailing from my home state said about it. For those who haven’t been paying attention to this, it started when one of the coaches tweeted support for the protesters in Hong Kong. For those keeping score, that’s a tweet supporting democracy, free speech, and all that protesting an oppressive, dictatorial, civil rights abusing, single party government entails. He was immediately admonished by Chinese officials and the tweet was quickly taken down. The NBA, for its part, has largely sat on the fence hemming and hawing with much wringing of hands, and while they haven’t exactly punished the coach, they haven’t defended him either. This all resulted in a backlash in China, resulting mostly in the Chinese pulling vast amounts of money out of the NBA, and millions of deluded Chinese fans lapping up the official party line and expressing outrage. With that as backdrop then, we have Lebon James, the prodigal son of Cleveland chiming in with this:

“I think when we all sit back and learn from the situation that happened, understand that what you could tweet or could say could affect people. We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself. I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”

It’s ironic that he would cite education or the lack thereof, or try to even pretend that this isn’t purely about money. This, from a guy who tried to quit high school to get into the NBA earlier. If he was so invested in education, or at least being in a position where he could legitimately call out a lack of education in others, perhaps he should have sought a college education rather than money and fame. If he truly cared about others emotionally and spiritually, he would have stayed in Cleveland rather than leaving to pursue even more money and fame. It just rings hollow in my ears, especially when he turns around and denounces free speech as negative and harmful, choosing instead to come down on the side of money and pandering in Chinese propaganda.

Being an Ohioan, what I’m about to say might be considered blasphemous, but it must be said nonetheless. Fuck Lebron James. Yes, that’s right. I said FUCK Lebron James. I mean really? Physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Supporting democracy with a tweet is harmful physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Who does this guy think he’s kidding. Who’s thinking only of themselves and their bank account now? So I say again, fuck Lebon James. Not only for spewing ignorant nonsense to justify being in the pocket of the Chinese, but for making me agree with the likes of Laura Ingraham when she said to Lebron, “shut up and dribble”.

 

The Gaslight Presidency

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken here, dear non-existent reader. Just shy of an entire year as a matter a fact, and during that time a lot has happened. I’ve also attracted more comments for some reason, and I’m not entirely sure that these are real people responding. In most cases, it’s not even clear that the commenters are even responding to the content I’m laying down here. Besides that, there is the only news story that matters for the past week, the previous 11 months be damned. I am of course speaking about the impeachment inquiry that House Democrats have opened.

Before I get into that, let me first say that there is a reason that I disallow comments and posting on this blog. There is the religious crank who keeps attempting to post a rambling mess of a post about how we’re approaching the biblical end times. Understand that I regard all religion as mythology, so find another avenue for pushing that bullshit, because it’s not going up here. Then there is the guy who merely states, “Don’t wear seat belts lest you drown in your own urine?”. I’m not sure why it’s phrased as a question, and I would dismiss it as a drive-by troll were it not for the fact that there are multiple attempts to convey that exact sentence. So yeah… there is no commenting or posting allowed by anyone other than myself, and it will continue to be read-only for all of you non-existent readers.

Now on to the gristle of the post, which is of course the fast moving impeachment inquiry launched by House Speaker Nance Pelosi last week. There isn’t much that I can add that hasn’t been said on the constant, 24 hour news loop. I will say this; it’s quite obvious that this president’s entire strategy is to gaslight the Dems. He consistently accuses Adam Schiff, the Bidens, and the anonymous whistleblower of lying and has attempted to paint them as guilty of treason. He has yet to provide any evidence for those accusations, hence the need to extort a highly vulnerable Ukraine to manufacture dirt on his likely opponent in the 2020 presidential election. There is however mounting evidence that Trump is guilty of lying and treason himself, and who knows what may come out during the course of the congressional investigations.

The other shaky leg that their defense rests on is this idea that the whistleblower’s reliance on second hand accounts of the President’s misdeeds amounts to hearsay. First, it’s only hearsay if the accusations are unfounded. The IG investigated the claims and found them credible, and alarming enough to mark urgent. If it was all unfounded hearsay, why the initial refusal by the DNI, and by extension, the White House and DOJ, to furnish the report to the House Intel Committee as the rule of law demands? Why did Secretary of State Pompeo feign ignorance about the call at first, only to find out that he was actually listening in on the call? Why did the DOJ decide not to investigate these very serious allegations, and instead came to the conclusion that no wrongdoing occurred? Why did they attempt to bury the report, and hide it from the Intel Committee? If you happened to be one of the few people who actually read the call summary and the whistleblower’s report (Yes, I’m one of them), it’s pretty fucking obvious why. Rather than exonerate the President, the call summary confirms the whistleblower’s account of the call. They knew it, and sought to prevent the release of the whistleblower’s report because they knew it.

Then there is Rudy Giuliani, who’s sanity is clearly in doubt. Imma just shake my head for a bit, because nothing he’s said up to this point deserves validation by putting up a response. Rudy had the good fortune of being Mayor of New York on 9/11, and he’s milked it for all that it was worth. I mean, this is a guy who has never turned down an invitation to appear on the press, where he spews endless streams of bullshit. I can only assume that he’s seeking to remain relevant, his cachet as “America’s Mayor” having eroded away completely, by going all in and jumping onto Trump’s coattails. I totally see him meeting his wholly and utterly timely demise under a bus somewhere in the coming months.

Finally, I would like to touch upon a recent poll where 6 in 10 Republicans admit to living under a rock for the past week. That’s a fucked up statistic. I mean, c’mon… really? To those 60% I just have to ask. Are you really such a fucking bitter, partisan fucktard? I mean, you do know that Trump himself told us quite publicly that he did in fact bring up the Bidens during a phone call with  Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. I get it, he lies so much that it can get confusing when he actually (or accidentally) speaks the truth, but Trump released the call summary. Not Nancy Pelosi. Not Adam Schiff. It’s readily available to the general public to read, but for your convenience, here is the line straight from the horse’s mouth, emphasis mine:

 “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

Set aside the fact that this is one of the debunked conspiracy theories that he is referring to, it’s right there in black and white folks! What more do you want? Are you so blinded by partisan bickering as to selectively filter out the facts that fail to support your twisted world view? Or maybe you just don’t read, in which case you can watch here as he specifically states that they spoke about Biden. For fuck’s sake, get your heads outta your collective asses for a minute and listen to what the man himself has readily admitted to on live television. If Trump’s own words and deeds won’t sway you, I fear for the integrity of our increasingly threadbare Republic.

Let it burn.

I’ve written before on the effects of tariffs on our economy, or more specifically the possibility of a trade war that could ensue as a result. We’re not quite in a trade war, but it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. Regardless, it has already affected the bottom line for many US companies, and we’re beginning to see that in the falling stock markets as valuations have plummeted. The one thing that I haven’t talked about here though is the tax cuts that were passed about a year ago.

One thing to get out of the way right off the bat is any notion that the tax cuts were for anybody else but the rich. Those who needed the cuts the least got the vast majority of the spoils, while the lowest income earners saw minuscule decreases in their tax burdens, if at all. On that other forum (the one so susceptible to Russian influence during election time that shall not be named), I said at the time that Republicans were being fiscally irresponsible. They trotted out the same old lines about tax cuts paying for themselves. They said tax revenue would just come magically out of thin air once all those companies started raising wages so high that tax revenues would actually increase.

Well… that hasn’t happened so far, and by my estimation, won’t ever happen. They will be forced to raise taxes in the future, just as the Reagan administration was forced to do a couple of years later after they made massive cuts in taxes. The reason being that whenever taxes are cut, tax revenues predictably go down, and when tax revenues go down, budget deficits go up, and when budget deficits go up, government borrowing goes up, and when government borrowing goes up, the national debt goes up, and then the economy goes straight in the shitter. It’s not fucking rocket surgery here, and simple math should make that apparent to anyone who knows how to count to 10 without using their fingers.

The only reason that tax cuts seem to work at boosting the economy is that for a little while they do in fact boost the economy. However, it’s similar to injecting nitrous oxide into an automobile engine. It will make the engine go much faster and the automobile will cover a lot of ground in a short time, but it’s also burning a shit-ton of fuel in the process. So while it will speed up the economy in the short term, in the long term there won’t be nearly as much fuel left to keep things going and the economy will eventually start to sputter.

Even worse, instead of increasing capital investment like Republicans foolishly expected to happen, most corporations have taken their corporate tax cuts and divvied them out to investors in the form of stock buybacks and increased dividends. In other words, if you weren’t invested in the stock market since Republicans took over Congress and the White House 2 years ago, you probably didn’t get much of a benefit at all from the tax cuts. What’s more, for the vast majority of low to middle wage earners the tax cuts are temporary and will slowly vanish over the next decade. In short, the vast majority of American’s got screwed out of their cut.

Now mix in the possibility of a trade war over tit-for-tat tariffs, and you have the perfect economical shit storm that’s about to rain down on all of us in the near future. Last October’s stock market correction was no fluke, and although I hope that I’m wrong, the damage done will likely manifest itself over the coming months as a bear market. And lest I forget, the raising interest will also take a toll as the era of cheap money comes to an end and begins eating into valuations as well. The Fed, faced with the binary choice of an economic slowdown or runaway inflation, have wisely chosen the former and will continue to apply the brakes.

I dub thee Donny Helmsley.

Today I was greeted with the news that Sen. Elizabeth Warren saw Trump’s DNA challenge, and has gleefully accepted it. Back in July President Trump opened his big mouth, as he often does, and promised that he would give $1 million to her charity of choice if she took a DNA test and it showed that she has American Indian ancestry. Well, Warren took the test and the results are in. She does indeed have American Indian ancestry, and while she has already identified her charity of choice we have yet to see that $1 million check.

Not that any of this will matter to Trump supporters. I mean, these are the same group of self-identified “deplorables” who still believe that Obama wasn’t a citizen, despite making his birth certificate public. These are the same group of people who still believe that Clinton ran a child sex ring from a D.C. pizza shop. They will still believe whatever idiocy comes out of Trump’s mouth when he declines to follow though on his promise.

Given Trump’s penchant for demeaning nicknames, I have a really terrible one that I’ll just throw out there for Sen. Warren to use as she sees fit. With the recent Times story about the Trump family’s shady, and almost certainly illegal tax evasion schemes, I propose we start calling him “Donny Helmsley” after the famous tax cheat Leona Helmsley. Now that she has followed through with a DNA test, she should press for Trump to release his tax returns to prove that he isn’t a tax cheat.

To the lazy non-voter types.

One of the things I hear that just incense me to no end, is these fuckers who don’t vote because they don’t believe that their vote matters. These lazy fucks sit around and complain about the leaders that are chosen for them, but can’t even be bothered to go to the polls and push a button on a screen. What’s more, they chose to blame the system for their own shortcomings as if that alone is justification to shirk their civic duty.

First, let’s just get one thing out of the way. If you vote, and the person you voted for doesn’t win, that doesn’t mean your vote wasn’t counted. Not everyone you vote for is going to win and if your expectation is that all of your picks will be winners, then you need to adjust your grip on reality. The only sure way to ensure that your vote is never counted is of course to never cast one in the first place.

If you spend some time observing elections then you may notice that many of them, mid-term elections in particular, are often decided by who doesn’t show up to the polls. Most voters are remarkably reliable when it comes to voting along party lines, so when a block of like-minded voters decline to exercise their right to vote, then the opposing party stands to gain.

If you’re unhappy with the current leadership, or lack thereof, and you don’t show up at the ballot to make your voice heard, you are part of the problem. You have essentially voted already by not standing to be counted, and by surrendered your vote to those who will eagerly decide the future of this country in your stead. So please, register to vote or STFU. If you choose to stay home on election day your opinion literally does not matter, especially if your opinion is that your vote doesn’t count.