The George Floyd Riots

Sunday, May 31st, 2020.

My last post was back in early March, in the days before The Rona.  God, that feels like a lifetime ago.  I’ve really wanted to write about COVID and all the craziness with that, but even that can wait.  To say that the fecal matter hit the mechanical air circulation device in the past week is a major fucking understatement.  But to cover that, I need to touch briefly on COVID-19, or the Coronavirus.

I talked about it a little in my last post Super Tuesday Preview about how we were on the verge of a pandemic, and that it would be a good idea to study the Spanish Flu to see what was going on.  What happened after that can best be described as either a monkey paw wish for clean air and no more school shootings, or some mother fucker out there is playing Jumanji.  Yes, I’m like 4 sentences in and I’m already dropping a few f-bombs, that’s how fucked things are.

Here’s the short, short version of the last 3 months, more or less.  A virus named COVID-19, short for Coronavirus Disease 2019 spreads, well, the fucker goes viral.  It’s an airborne disease that can be spread through droplets in the air and while it has a 95-99% recovery rate, that 1-5% is a literal fucking killer.  As of this writing, at least 106,187 Americans have died from this disease.  That number only counts the confirmed cases, those people that died in hospitals or nursing homes and tested positive while alive.  It doesn’t include the tens of thousands of people that died at home or before they got tested.  It doesn’t include the people that died from other diseases or trauma but couldn’t get treatment because the hospitals were overwhelmed, and it doesn’t include the suicides and homicides from stress.  We also don’t have a clue how many people died at home alone during quarantine.

Oh yeah, quarantine.  In the days after my last post, the world went into quarantine to flaten the curve.  That sentence had no meaning 3 months ago.  Now, everyone knows what it means.  Everything shut down.  Schools, parks, offices, restaurants, movie theaters, sports, even Disney shut their parks down.  The states led the charge because Trump is a fucking waste of space on a good day and actively fucking things up on a bad one.  Everyone had to shelter in place.  What does that mean?  STAY THE FUCK HOME!  And this wasn’t just a few cities, this was EVERYWHERE.  Some states, all of them Red, chose not to, but for the most part the entire world has been on pause for the last few months.  This also fucked up the economy, too.

Ever wonder what 40 million unemployed and nearly 25% unemployment looks like with damn near no help from the federal government?  Welcome to the United States 2020.  When everything shut down, a fuckton of people lost their jobs.  The stock market crashed, unemployment surged and keeps going up.  Another new term popped up: essential workers.  These are the people that do the real fucking work in our society but are shunned or looked down on by the Karens of the world.  Think grocery workers, garbage men, janitors, and first responders.  By the way, Karen has become a meme.  It represents the middle aged white lady, often with a short femullet hair cut that makes a stink about every tiny issue and demands to speak to the manager.  Their white privilege knows no bounds.  It’s not socially acceptable to call them a cunt to their face, but Karen works in its place.  Not that you can see what they could say through the masks.

One cool thing that came out of this is wearing masks.  Since the disease is airborne, it spreads easily.  The best way to prevent the spread of a deadly airborne disease is for everyone to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth.  This can be a surgical mask, respirator, bandanna, or some improvised or homemade masks.

The first couple weeks of quarantine weren’t bad.  It was rough, but people genuinely tried to pull together and be better.  That was until a bunch Russian bots and insurrectionists funded by the DeVos family astroturfed a bunch of Conservatives into thinking that wearing a facemask in public is tyranny and a plot by the “libtards” so they put on their best ill-fitting tactical cosplay, grabbed their AR-15’s, and marched on state capitols.  It got so bad in Michigan that the government closed their session.  Not a single one of those terrorists was charged.  Meanwhile, not a week went by where a black person was killed by the police for being black and a bullshit excuse being given to justify it.  Through all of this, medical staff still can’t get proper PPE, personal protective equipment.

Fast forward to this past week.  Tensions were already running high with people at each other’s throats on social media, Conservatives going completely nuts over their “freedoms” being infringed all the while the death toll keeps climbing, and Trump attacks everyone from reporters to women and Twitter for fact checking him.  He even retweeted a video that said “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”  Enter Minneapolis and George Floyd.

George was a black man who had the cops called on him for allegedly writing a bad check.  The cops arrested him, then Officer Derrick Chauvin violated every rule of engagement and handling prisoners and kneeled on George’s neck for 9 minutes, all while three other officers stopped onlookers from offering assistance or even stopping their fellow officer from trying to kill this man.  George was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at the hospital following his injuries.

Since this is 2020 and cameras are everywhere, this went viral in a heartbeat.  The officers tried to say that George resisted arrest.  Security cameras showed that the claim was bullshit.  They said he was violent.  He wasn’t.  It didn’t take long for the anger to rise, but it took too long for the Minneapolis Police Department to do anything.  It took a day to fire the four officers involved and a few days to charge Chauvin with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.  The other three officers are still free.

That did it.  Thursday night members of George’s community marched peacefully to the police station where those assholes worked.  The police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the protesters.  The protesters tried to run, but were fired upon.  Eventually, some accelerationists started smashing windows and while the black people tried to find things to defend themselves, white people looted the stores.  Within a couple days all hell breaks loose and it turns out that White Nationalists, aka Trump Supporters were out trying to cause violence to blame it on black people.  The police then attacked the black protesters, and full blown riots break loose.

This scene was repeated all over the country.  Peaceful protests turned violent by agent provocateurs looking to start a race war.  In Detroit, Trump Supporters opened fire into a crowd from inside a van.  In Salt Lake City a Trump Supporter fired into a crowd of protesters with a bow and arrow.  In Pittsburgh, a group of Anarchist Cosplayers smashed out the windows of a police van and set it on fire.  In New York City, cops ran over people with their police cruisers.  Louisville Police fired at a news crew.  Minneapolis PD fired paint canisters at people standing on their own porches.

So, let’s do the math, shall we?  We have a pandemic that has killed over 100,000 Americans, quarantines that put more than 40 million of them out of work, a piss poor government response to rampant unemployment, a complete lack of PPE for the first responders facing diseased patients, a Federal government led by a narcissist who only cares about people who like him, a generation of people who have shit upon their whole lives because of their skin color, a bunch of Conservatives who think they’re being bullied by libtards and want to hurt anyone they can, a bunch of Neo-Nazis looking to start a race war, and every police department in the country with access to military equipment but no proper training on their use, and what do you get?

The definition of a clusterfuck.

I don’t know what happens next, but it’s not pretty.  Real change is never pretty.  As I’ve said before, I live in Pittsburgh.  I could see the police helicopters over the riot from my porch.  I loaded the magazines in my guns for the first time.  As if I didn’t already have anxiety issues before, this puts the cherry on the turd sundae.

Here’s what I do know.  I no longer will maintain respect for anyone who pushes the Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter hashtags, or tries to act like #BlackLivesMatter is bullshit.  I have no problem with cutting people out as friends over “political differences” because those differences mean that they are a racist dick.  I will do what I can when I can to support people of color, as that is literally the least I can do as a crakity-ass cracka.  If I were any whiter, bitches be callin’ me Casper.

I’m here to help, as much as I can.  I may look like I’m a fat middle-aged white guy whose never seen shit, but I’ve seen some shit.  I’ve worked in places where white people fear to tread.  I’ve lived in places where white people wouldn’t dare set foot.  You know the old joke “if you can count how many black people have been in your house you’re racist?”  Well, back in the day, I was the white guy on the block.  I’ve been in the car when the driver was pulled over for DWB, Driving While Black.  I’ve seen how the cops acted when a white guy answers the door and how they react when a black guy does the same thing.  I’m here to help us get to a world where we are both treated equally.  And I hope you’re along for the ride, or at least not getting in the way.

 

Thank you and have a good one.

Super Tuesday Preview

Welcome back.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made a post of any kind (It’s Been A Long Time), and even longer since I made a political post (Check-In 06/11/2019).  I think it’s time I get back in the saddle and ride.

What’d I miss in the last few months?  Apparently everything.  I’d love to go into detail on the Ukraine Impeachment and the aftermath, but here’s the short version: Trump is a criminal and the Republican Party proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would rather serve the interests of said criminal than uphold their oaths to do their jobs or represent their voters.  For the first time in American history, the Senate voted against hearing witnesses in an impeachment trial.  It was a gross miscarriage of justice and emboldened Tangerine Tojo to go even more authoritarian and go after those that oppose him.  And he’s doing so with William Barr and Mitch McConnell having his back.

Oh, by the way, in the last month there’s a possible pandemic breaking loose with the Coronavirus.  No, this isn’t the shits you get in the morning after drinking cheap knock-off Mexican beer that requires a lime in it to be palatable.  Coronavirus is a version of SARS called COVID-19.  It spreads faster and is deadlier than SARS, and like the previous versions it started in China.  Cases have spread across the world and are now being reported in several areas of the United States, with the first confirmed death happening on February 29th and the second today.  This wouldn’t be so scary if the White House still had a rapid response team in place to handle a pandemic, but Trump fired them a couple years ago and never replaced them.  Why?  Because it was an Obama thing, that’s why.  The Daughter Fucker put Mike “Pray the AIDS away” Pence in charge of the government’s handling of COVID-19.

We’re fucked.

So, assuming that any of us live long enough to get to November, there is a presidential election scheduled where Donald Trump will run as the Republican nominee against the winner of the Democratic National Convention.  How is that figured out? Who will be the nominee?  Good questions.  I’ll start with the How, then go to the Who.

 

HOW?

The way that the nominees are chosen is by this cryptic and byzantine system of acquiring delegates to represent them at the convention.  Each state, territory, and even ExPats living abroad have people that travel the convention in the summer to represent their chosen candidate.  These delegates are split how each state party committee feels like splitting them.  Some states are all for one, but most break them down to a total for the whole state and then by congressional district.  As long as a nominee receives at least 15% of the vote, they can get delegates to the convention.  Whoever wins the state gets the most, and then whoever gets the most districts gets those, too.

Ballotpedia has a good description on how this works.

In 2020, there will be 4,750 delegates3,979 pledged delegates and 771 automatic delegates—more commonly known as superdelegates.[3]

To win the Democratic nomination, a presidential candidate must receive support from a majority of the pledged delegates on the first ballot: 1,991 pledged delegates.[4][5] If the convention is contested and goes to a second ballot or more, automatic delegates will be able to vote and a candidate must receive majority support from all delegates—2,375.5 votes.

Make sense so far?  Don’t worry, it gets more confusing.

Automatic delegates are unpledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Automatic delegates, who are often called superdelegates, are not required to pledge their support to any presidential candidate. Automatic delegates include members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, or distinguished party leaders, including former presidents and vice presidents. They are free to support any presidential candidate of their choosing.[9]

The 2020 Democratic convention will be the first to operate under new rules surrounding automatic delegates which the DNC adopted in August 2018. Under the new rules, automatic delegates will be prohibited from voting for a presidential nominee in the first round of voting unless that nominee has enough support to win the nomination in the first round with pledged delegates alone. Although automatic delegates will be free to vote for any candidate in subsequent rounds, no major party presidential convention has gone to a second round of voting since 1952.

Now that that’s clear as mud, here’s how that works in English.  In the first round, the only delegates that count come from those won from elections.  The Superdelegates don’t get to vote in the first round unless there are enough votes for one candidate and the party as a whole thinks this would be such a monumental disaster to nominate them.  It’s the party’s way of say “Ah, fuck no.  Not them. No fucking way.”  It could be attitude, health, or some terrible secret comes out that destroys their chance at winning the presidency, but this mechanism in in place to protect the party.  These rules came around following the Bernie Bros getting their panties in a twist in 2016 after he lost to HRC.  Even with the new rules in place, she’d still beat him.  Don’t worry, I’ve got more to say about Bernie later on, and some of it is actually good.

If a candidate does not have a majority after the first round, then anything goes.  This is called a brokered convention.  What happens is the delegates are “free” to vote how they want on the second and consecutive ballots, and the Superdelegates get in the game, too.  This is when deals are made.  Let’s say one candidate came up a few hundred delegates short of winning.  Say, they had 1700 of the 1991 needed.  The fourth place nominee had 300 delegates.  They might make a deal with each other.  The fourth place nominee would pledge their delegates to the person with 1700 in exchange for a big favor, like the Vice Presidency.  The last time this happened was in 1952 for the Democrats.  Adlai Stevenson was nominated but lost to Dwight Eisenhower in the general election.  Presidents who won after being nominated in a brokered convention were Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln.

How does one win delegates?  Win elections.  The more primary races they win, the more delegates they win.  The more delegates they win, the more likely they are to receive the nomination.  And one day has more elections than any other day.  Super Tuesday.

Super Tuesday is the name given to the first Tuesday in March when the restrictions on which states can have their primaries or caucuses is lifted, and every remaining state can get in the fray.  Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina got to go first.  Now the bulk of the country goes.  15 states and territories hold their elections on Super Tuesday, including California and Texas.  1357 of the 3979 pledged delegates are up for grabs.  That’s one third.  If one candidate has a great showing they could wrap up the nomination before Spring starts.  If one bombs here, it’s all over but the crying.  It’s possible to recover, but not likely.  It’s like being down by ten points in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.  Unless Kyle Shanahan is on the other sideline, you’re screwed.

Super Tuesday’s races consist of Alabama (52 delegates), Arkansas (31), American Samoa (6), California (415), Colorado (67), ExPats (13), Maine (24), Massachusetts (91), Minnesota (75), North Carolina (110), Oklahoma (37), Tennessee (64), Texas (228), Utah (29), Vermont (16), and Virginia (99).

 

WHO?

Now that I’ve gotten us lost in the weeds of why Super Tuesday is important, let’s talk about the participants and the recent drop outs.  One of the things I regret during my absence was not doing a deep dive on all of the candidates that ran for President for the Democrats.  Most of my top ten have already dropped out of the race, and the couple that are left are either on the ropes or not looking too good.  I’ll start with the recent drop-outs.

Tom Steyer – Billionaire.

Tom was one of these “outsiders” who has more cash than sense and wanted to give it an honest shot to win the presidency.  He’s been running ads against Trump since 2017.  Instead of throwing his money behind one nominee that he liked, he ran in a crowded field.  He was out of his element.  He dropped out of the race on the 28th without any delegates earned.  Due to the firehose of money he can launch in the general election, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him “honored” with some ambassadorship down the line if the Democrats win.

Pete Buttigieg – Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Mayor Pete’s going back to South Bend.  The 38 year old openly gay and married mayor of one of Indiana’s most progressive cities called it quits on Sunday, March 1st.  He was a moderate choice from Middle America that was safe like Helman’s Mayonnaise.  But just like mayo, it shouldn’t be the base of the dish, just a condiment.  He “won” the Iowa caucus and earned 26 delegates so far.  He’s still very young for politics and after he gets some experience could be a leader in the party for years to come.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name brought up for a Cabinet position in the future, like the Secretary of the Interior.

Amy Klobuchar – Senator from Minnesota 

The senior senator from the state of Minnesota is polling far behind the rest of the pack at this point, and nothing short of a miracle will push her into the top 3.  She’s expected to carry her home state, but that’s about it.  She’s running on a centrist platform and currently has 7 delegates.  She could easily pick up another 40 from Minnesota, but outside of her home state, she’s not looking good.  I’d expect to see her drop out of the race as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Elizabeth Warren – Senator from Massachusetts

Senator Warren is a favorite of mine, and her more liberal platform intrigues me.  She takes no shit from anyone, and will throw down with anyone at a moment’s notice.  Her ideas actually make sense, and she’s been one of my favorites since day one.  Unfortunately, she’s losing the progressive vote for the most part to Bernie Sanders and the experienced safe vote to Joe Biden.  I’d really, really like her to pull something off and move forward, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.

Mike Bloomberg – Billionaire Former Mayor of New York City

FUCK. MIKE. BLOOMBERG.  Fuck his stop and frisk policies, fuck his buying every ad in existence, fuck his stupid face, fuck his stance on women’s rights, fuck his greed, fuck his sexual harassment cases that make Trump look like a choir boy, fuck his Wall Street cronies, fuck his greed, fuck anyone who looks like him.  He wins my “Hoping he has a heart attack before July and reconsiders his choices in life and quietly retires” award.  He’s trying to buy the presidency and instill his form of fascism into our lives.  My doomsday scenario involves Bloomberg and Trump fighting for the White House.  Whoever wins, we lose.

Joe Biden – Former Vice President

Joe missed his window in 2016.  We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in if he decided to run back then.  Instead, he’s giving it a shot in 2020, and that extra four years has caught up to him.  He’s 77 years old, and every time I see him on screen he looks older and older, like he’s running out of energy.  I’m hesitant as fuck to vote for a man in his late 70’s, knowing that statistically speaking he’ll be dead soon.  He’s still my “Name recognition and the safe vote to beat Trump’s ass in November” vote, but I’m not sure how viable he’ll be come the summer.

Bernie Sanders – Senator from Vermont

Time to open a can of worms.  This one is complicated.  I’ve made no secret about how much I don’t like Bernie Sanders the man (Trump vs. Bernie ) and how I like the early Bernie Bros even less (Horseshoe Theory).  But at the same time, I’ve professed how much I like his policies and how I identify as a Democratic Socialist.  It’s a very simple concept on how Democracy should help the people, not the corporations or the powerful.  It consists of little things that help society like providing health care to everyone, fire departments, or ensuring that people have a fair chance.  You know, LIKE THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED FUCKING WORLD!!!

Democratic Socialism scares Boomers because they grew up with the boogeymen of Socialism and Communism during the Cold War.  Even though the Soviet Union was neither truly socialist or communist but cronyism based on a top-down economic model which used names opposite of its meaning to confuse.  Sort of like how the despotic state of North Korea is called the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.  The only words used correctly in that sentence were “of Korea.”  What’s fucked up though is while Boomers were running from the Red Scare, they ran straight into unabashed capitalism.  The kind of capitalism that lies and cheats and steals to make the rich richer and poor poorer.  They’ve done a great job of convincing the Boomers that helping your neighbors is bad because fuck’em, that’s why.  It’s like why I left Libertarianism: I developed empathy for my fellow humans.  As I’ve gotten older, I see that our job is to leave the world in a better place than we found it.  If only our parents felt the same, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

 

CONCLUSION

So that’s why Super Tuesday is such a big deal.  It’s the make or break moment for most candidates.  By Wednesday we’ll have either one or two viable candidates, or a clusterfuck ready to go.  That all depends in my opinion on how well Mike Bloomberg does.  I hope he gets dunked on like LeBron James playing against a racist white midget.  Bloomberg doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.  Most of the people voting for him would vote for Biden instead, and I’d genuinely rather see a Bernie vs. Biden battle than have Bloomberg in the race for more than few hours.  Bloomberg’s only shot at the nomination is to win out across the board and hope the fervor for Bernie dies off.

I live in Pennsylvania and won’t vote in the primary until April 28th.  By that point, it’ll either be a foregone conclusion or a clusterfuck.  Either way, I still plan to vote.  We don’t have ranked choice voting in my state, but if we did, here’s how my top 5 would look like.

  1. Elizabeth Warren
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Bernie Sanders
  4. Amy Klobuchar
  5. Donald Duck
  6. Daffy Duck
  7. Fuck Mike Bloomberg
  8. A Ham Sandwich
  9. The random guy next to me at the polling place
  10. Not Mike Bloomberg

Spots 2 and 3 are likely a coin toss, but I’m not thrilled about voting for a man in his late 70’s.  The actuary tables are not kind to men their age dealing with the stress the job entails.  Like I said, I prefer Bernie’s policies but I don’t like him as a person.  That could change in a few months, but I’m getting behind whomever the nominee is, as long as it isn’t Bloomberg.  Even then it’ll be a vote while holding my nose and hoping for the best kind of moments in life.

I hope to get back to regularly posting.  I’m no where near ready to come back to a daily schedule, but I’ve got some things I want to talk about, like the results later this week, how things might go, and how tax brackets work.

Thank you, and have a good one.

It’s Been A Long Time

Wednesday, December 18th 2019.

 

I haven’t posted anything since August 2019 Update, so it might look like I’ve disappeared, but I’m still here.  I’m still in the fight, but life has been crazy.

Over the last few months, my wife has continued to recover from her injuries.  She’s getting better, but still has a long way to go.  A broken knee doesn’t heal overnight.  Also, the narcissistic sperm donor’s health has continued to spiral downhill.  He’s currently in hospice with a prognosis of weeks.  On top of that, we’ve been fighting the flu/bronchitis/pneumonia since Thanksgiving.

If we weren’t crazy enough with all of that, we’re looking at building a house.  Something one notices real quick when recovering from knee surgery is how much steps suck.  After some back and forth about buying a new house or building, we decided to build.  If anyone reading this ever thinks “hey, that’s a good idea”, run full speed into a wall until the idea disappears in a concussive haze.

I won’t be returning with Daily Check-In posts for a while, but I’m back today for a special reason.  Today, the House of Representatives vote on two Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump.  Yeah, a lot has happened in the last few months, and I’m waaayyyy behind, but here’s the short, short version: back in the summer, Trump extorted the new Ukrainian President into announcing that they were investigating Joe Biden’s son and withheld approved military aid until he did so.  After several weeks, the news of what happened leaked, and that led to an Impeachment inquiry where Trump’s White House obstructed Congress by preventing several witnesses from testifying, withholding documents, classifying transcripts, and going out of his way to attack Congress.  There’s probably a hundred crimes that they could have finalized, but the Judiciary Committee recommended two Articles.  Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.  You can read the full articles here.

I hope to have another post later today going over the basics of the Ukraine Extortion.  I also need to catch up on most of what happened in the last few months.  People are in jail, out of jail, back in jail, dead, disappeared, turned into newts, and deported.  It’ll be a while before I’m back to daily posting, and the delay gives me time to look into what and how to cover.  Also, my writing is rusty.

 

Hope to be back later.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

2018 Retrospective

This time last year, I wrote the 2017 Retrospective.  That piece served as a quasi-nostalgia piece/best of/how did I get here essay/predictions for the upcoming year.  As much as I don’t like Best-of lists and other looks back, I feel like this is needed to keep perspective.

 

WHERE WE LEFT OFF IN 2017?

At the end of 2017, we were just starting to get a picture of how big the Russian Conspiracy truly was.  We were also witness to the most dysfunctional presidential administration of the modern era.  A cabinet rife with corruption that was looking for new and interesting ways to destroy their departments while lining their pockets.  Meanwhile, rumors and stories about the depths of cooperation with foreign powers kept rising to the surface.  Every so often, a new story highlighting a new part of the conspiracy arose.  The NRA.  The National Prayer Breakfast.  Oleg Deripaska.  Alexander Torshin.  Maria Butina.  Kostya Kilimnik.

The Rumor Mill was still months ahead of the active story from the Mainstream Media.  While the MSM was hung up on Trump’s tweets, the Rumor Mill was talking about the NRA being used as the primary source for laundering Russian money into the Republican National Committee for use in the 2016 election.

 

KICKING OFF 2018

January started off with the first of several major books exposing the dysfunction of the Trump Administration.  “Fire and Fury” was the first major book to show how bad things are inside the White House.  Nothing gets done, everyone is ready to stab the other in the back at a moment’s notice, and everything revolves around the whims of a septuagenarian in a diaper.  This book also established a pattern.  The worse it makes Trump look, the more he freaks out about it on Twitter and through Wall-Eye Sanders.  The worse they react, the more likely it is to be true.  The more likely it’s true, the better the sales.  This book sold like beer at a football game.  My favorite quote from it was a conversation between Steve Bannon and Trump after Trump said in an interview with his frenemy Maggie Haberman that investigating his finances would be “crossing a red line.”

“You’ve got the LeBron James of money laundering investigations on you, Jarvanka. My a–hole just got so tight!”

I don’t want to imagine Steve Bannon’s asshole, but it’s a worthy response when finding out Andrew Weissmann is looking into your finances. (Daily Check-In 01/05/2018)

We also saw the beginning of the year kick off with Republicans in both the House and Senate rally around Trump at all opportunities to either demonize his enemies or obstruct investigations into Trump and his cronies.  This is when I learned two important procedural rules.  House committees can only release transcripts after a vote, but the ranking chairperson of a Senate committee can do whatever the fuck they feel like, including releasing transcripts. (Daily Check-In 01/09/2018). Diane Feinstein did with Glenn Simpson’s testimony.  Glenn is the head of Fusion GPS, the group that ran Opposition Research against Trump and ultimately hired Christopher Steele.

The only committee in either house of congress that acted like grown-ups this year was the Senate Intelligence Committee.  They’re work is still ongoing.

The most off-the-rails thing to happen in January was a news report showing that Michael Cohen had paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 a couple weeks before the election.  At the time, it seemed rather…weird and unrelated.  Turns out it would have HUUUGE consequences throughout the year. (Daily Check-In 01/12/2018)

What should have been the biggest story of the early year happened on Daily Check-In 01/25/2018 when it came out that the Dutch had pwned the GRU and had proof that they were involved with the attacks on the United States.  Instead, Maggie Haberman dropped a story for the New York Times talking about how Trump had tried to fire Robert Mueller back in June.  It also turns out that this was the weekend that Trump was supposed to interview Mueller at Camp David, but pulled out at the last minute.

Throughout the month, more stories started to break into the MSM talking about Trump’s ties to the Russian Mob, and the NRA’s ties to the Russians.  On Daily Check-In 01/30/2018, the weirdest thing happened thus far: Sean Hannity was suspended from Twitter.  While his account was dark, a parody account arose and sounded so much like him that Julian Assange of Wikileaks DM’ed him.

Another thing we saw at the beginning of the year was the back and forth, will he or won’t he, about Mueller’s attempts to interview Trump.  It was widely viewed at the beginning of the year by the MSM that Mueller was only looking into Obstruction of Justice and had very little to go on for Russian connections.

 

FEBRUARY 2018:  THERE ARE INDICTMENTS

As I said, the MSM pushed the story that Mueller was only interested in investigating Obstruction of Justice.  That narrative fell apart on Daily Check-in 02/16/2018 when Special Counselor Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies for attacking the United States during the 2016 election by spreading propaganda, organizing Americans against each other, and committing a metric fucktonne of identity theft.  Mueller also got a guilty plea from Richard Pinedo for assisting the Russians by helping them get bank accounts that they then used to spoof PayPal.

Early February saw yet another attempt by the Republicans to distract from Mueller and discredit the investigation with the Nunes Memo.  (Daily Check-In 02/01/2018). That attempt lasted all of about 30 seconds everywhere outside of Fox News.  That how long it took to debunk the claims in Devin Nunes’ memo.

February also brought other stories like Hope Hicks trying to organize a cover-up of the June 9th meeting on a conference call, Steve Bannon interviewing with Robert Mueller, and that several states were hacked by the Russians. (Daily Check-In 02/07/2018).

Something tragic not related to the Russian Conspiracy occurred on Daily Check-In 02/14/2018 with the Parkland Massacre.  17 high school students were murdered by one of their classmates.  But this shooting was different.  This one was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  This shooting didn’t disappear from the news within a week like all the rest.  The kids stuck around.  They organized.  They marched.  They protested.  They registered to vote.  And they’re making a difference.

On Daily Check-In 02/26/2018 Trump asked his Energy Secretary Rick Perry to cancel a trip to India to instead go to London to meet with Saudis to negotiate nuclear reactors.

Also, Rick Gates flipped. (Daily Check-In 02/23/2018).  His old attorney Alex Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

 

MARCH 2018: THE NRA AND THE GRAND BARGAIN TAKES SHAPE

I didn’t know it at the time, but March saw several interesting developments that lead to the Grand Bargain Theory.

George Nader flipped. (Daily Check-In 03/06/2018). He was Erik Prince’s right hand man and an adviser to the United Arab Emirates.  George was also with Prince at the Seychelle’s meeting.  He’s also a convicted pedophile who was stopped at the border on New Year’s Eve and decided to cooperate with Mueller to avoid a fate worse getting shanked in prison.  Elliot Broidy also made his way into the news in March with trying to kill the 1MDB money laundering investigation. (Daily Check-In 03/05/2018)

Cambridge Analytica made the front page finally for their work in fucking with the election by microtargeting voters for ads. They stole user profiles from Facebook, shared them with the Russians, and used those profiles to attack individuals with ads targeted specifically to them. (Daily Check-In 03/21/2018).

The Russians tried to kill a former spy on British soil.  (Daily Check-In 03/12/2018).  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out about this attack.  Trump fired him the next day.

That was also the same day the House Intel Committee “ended” their investigation after finding “no evidence that the Russians assisted Donald Trump.”  Remember that.

On the campaign finance front, March saw Stormy Daniels and her new attorney Michael Avenatti go on the offensive against Michael Cohen.  More details emerge about how completely nutty this payment was, how it was made, and where the funds ultimately came from.  We also know that at least one other woman was paid off by Michael Cohen.  Karen McDougal was also paid off in 2016 to stay silent during the election. (Daily Check-In 03/16/2018)

The Mueller Investigation kept moving forward with subpoenas to the Trump Organization, requests for info about the Seychelles trip, and interviews with many staffers.

 

APRIL 2018: THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATION

On April 3rd, we found out that Donald Trump was officially the subject of a criminal investigation. (Daily Check-In 04/03/2018). We also got the evidence and explanation of the poison pill built into the Special Counselor’s investigation.  If Robert Mueller is fired, then all of his Senior Assistant Special Counselors are authorized in their dual roles as United States Attorneys to pursue any open investigations to their completion.  Also, those investigations were outsourced to various jurisdictions and indictments were filed under seal.

One of those investigations was United States versus Michael Cohen.  On April 9th, the FBI raided his home, his office, and hotel.  (Daily Check-In 04/09/2018).  They got ALL THE THINGS.  This might go down as the beginning of the end of the Trump Presidency.  I’ve probably said that a few hundred times, but when things are so bad that a judge said that the least intrusive way of getting the info they needed was multiple no-knock raids, things are bad.  Over the next few weeks, more of Cohen’s shadiness came out.  These included accepting payments for access to Trump, running cab companies, and his ties with mobsters.

Jared Kushner unloaded the 666 Fifth Avenue albatross to a group using Qatar as a middleman. (Daily Check-In 04/23/2018)

We also found out that several subjects and target were getting stopped entering the country, in that little in-between area where laws are a bit…different. (Daily Check-In 04/03/2018)

Sean Hannity is involved in some shady shit with Cohen, when it was revealed that he was one of Cohen’s three clients. (Daily Check-In 04/18/2018). Hannity was involved in some slightly shady real estate purchases.  That, and pushing Russian propaganda.

We got the flight details of Trump’s trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.  These records contradict Trump’s claims that he didn’t spend the night in Russia. (Daily Check-In 04/23/2018)

James Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty” was released. On the night he was on Rachel Maddow to talk about it, his memos about his meetings with Trump made the news.  (Daily Check-In 04/19/2018)

We finish April with the New York Times getting a list of questions from Jay Sekulow that he says are the questions that Mueller wants to ask Trump. (Daily Check-In 04/30/2018)

 

MAY 2018: SOMETHING ROTTEN IN NEW YORK

The Trump Organization is under various investigations, The Trump Foundation is under a microscope, Cohen is fucked 8 ways from Sunday, but that’s not the only weirdness in New York.  On Daily Check-In 05/07/2018 then NYAG Eric Schneiderman resigned after 4 women accused him of sexual assault in a story written by Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer.  From the time the story dropped, it took about 2 hours for him to resign.  He was replaced by NYAG Underwood.  This would turn out to be the worst thing for the Trump Organization, the Trump Family, and anyone associated with Trump in New York.

At first, Trump Jr. was celebrating this move, but he’s an idiot with no strategic thinking.  My hypothesis is that they had shit on him for years, and were either waiting for him to come after them to release it or were going to use it to blackmail him.  Instead, he gets removed from the playing board and an unknown comes into play.  This unknown, by the way, would make Trump’s life even more of a living nightmare by the end of the year.

Cohen was implicated in a pay to play scandal with several companies, including AT&T. Within a month of engaging Cohen, they had a meeting with Ajit Pai in an attempt to kill net neutrality. (Daily Check-In 05/11/2018). Right after that, we get direct ties to the Qatar Investment Authority. (Daily Check-In 05/14/2018).

Trump and Nunes tried to expose top secret sources to protect themselves. (Daily Check-In 05/18/2018)

Daily Check-In 05/25/2018 revealed that Cohen met with Viktor Vekselberg during the transition, and the Spanish had wiretaps that showed Donnie Jr. was in contact with Alexander Torshin and his associate Maria Butina.

 

JUNE 2018:  A LITTLE BUSY

Jared Kushner’s buddy Richard Gerson was at the Seychelles Meeting.  He met with Prince Mohammed (MBZ) and George Nader. (Daily Check-In 06/01/2018). Gerson was also around when MBZ visited Kushner and Nader in New York City.  Gerson claimed he was only there to escort former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the meeting.

Paul Manafort and Kostya from the GRU were indicted for witness tampering on Daily Check-In 06/04/2018.

The Brexit Backers were caught playing nice with the Russians.  This included passing info to and from Wikileaks. This produced even more visible ties to the Russian Conspiracy. (Daily Check-In 06/11/2018). We also heard of EVEN MORE contacts between the Russians and the NRA.

On June 15th, Paul Manafort went to prison.  I still get a smile on my facing knowing that he has most likely spent his final day as a free man. (Daily Check-In 06/15/2018).  That day, we also found out about the cut-out the Russians used to get the DNC emails to Wikileaks.

I was a little busy at the end of June and beginning of July. (Irregular Posts)

 

JULY 2018: RUSSIAN SPIES AND VERBAL BLOWJOBS

The three biggest stories of July involved Russia.  Surprise, surprise.

While Trump was on his way to Helsinki for a summit meeting with his boss Vladimir Putin, Robert Mueller indicted 12 members of the Russian GRU for hacking the DNC. (Daily Check-In 07/13/2018)

The next big story was Trump giving Putin a verbal blowjob in Helsinki, where he parroted everything Putin said, including how he believed him over all of the United States Intelligence Community. (Daily Check-In 07/16/2018)

While that was happening, news broke that a Russian woman named Mariia Butina was arrested for being an unregistered agent of the Russians.  She was a spy for the Russians that worked for Alexander Torshin and the Russian Government to infiltrate the National Rifle Association.  Over the next couple weeks a lot of her contacts came to light, including deep ties to the Religious Right and even some members of Congress.

A weird narrative developed on Daily Check-In 07/20/2018 as details emerged from the Cohen Investigation in SDNY.  Out of the million plus documents that the feds seized, only a handful of them were within the realm of Attorney-Client Privilege.  Some of that info were recordings Cohen made covering his meetings with Trump.  Trump then went after Cohen, and Cohen fought back.  Eventually a tape of Trump getting briefed on the Karen McDougal payoff was released.  Also, Cohen said Trump knew of the June 9th meeting, because he told him about it on June 7th. (Daily Check-In 07/26/2018). That prep meeting included 6 people.  Trump, Donnie Jr., Paul Manafort, Cohen, Trump’s secretary Rhona, and Paul’s second Rick Gates. (Daily Check-In 07/27/2018)

Paul Manafort’s tax evasion trial began on Daily Check-In 07/31/2018.

 

AUGUST 2018: MANAFORT FOUND GUILTY

While the Manafort trial was underway, more news about Roger Stone came out.  His crew has been under investigation for a long time. Long enough to make the constant jokes about him being in a barrel feel like they need thrown in a barrel.  (Daily Check-In 08/10/2018)

Omarosa released a book.  While talking about it, she let it be known that she was interviewed by Mueller’s team and that Trump knew about the Wikileaks email dump beforehand, (Daily Check-In 08/14/2018)

Don McGahn interviewed with the Special Counselor’s team for more than 30 hours.  As the White House Counsel, nothing he said was covered under privilege. (Daily Check-In 08/20/2018)

Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of his 18 counts in his tax evasion trial.  It came out that one juror didn’t convict on the charges related to money laundering.  (Daily Check-In 08/21/2018)

Bob Dole’s involved in a bank so corrupt even the Russians won’t do business with it. (Daily Check-In 08/28/2018)

Sam Patten, an associate of Manafort who worked with Cambridge Analytica, pleaded guilty to FARA violations. (Daily Check-In 08/31/2018)

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 felony counts the same day that Manafort was convicted.  In his plea deal, Cohen said flat out that Trump directed him to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.  Trump’s CFO Allen Weisselberg and the head of the National Enquirer David Pecker were given immunity for their assistance in the Cohen and Trump investigations.

 

SEPTEMBER 2018:  KAVANAUGH, FEAR, AND FLIPPING.  OR SO WE THOUGHT

Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear” is released.  Around the same time, an anonymous Op-Ed is published in the New York Times that describes Trump as dangerous. (Daily Check-In 09/06/2018).

Paul Manafort appeared to flip on Trump on Daily Check-In 09/14/2018.

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy retired, allowing Trump to nominate Brett Kavanaugh.  During his confirmation hearings, reports of multiple sexual assaults involving Brett made the news.  This led to possibly the most disgraceful performance by the Senate in modern history.  They decided to half-heartedly reopen the investigation into the allegations.  They also agreed to hear Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, but pussed out and hired a woman to interview her.

Devin Nunes used this distraction to release transcripts (Daily Check-In 09/28/2018).

 

OCTOBER 2018:  THE COMING STORM

The Mueller front was rather quiet during October, for the most part.

Elena Alekseenvna Khusyaynova, Accountant from Project Lakhta was indicted on 10-19-18. Daily Check-In 10/19/2018. Elena was the accountant in charge of Project Lakhta, Russia’s project to influence the 2018 Election.  She received a Criminal Complaint for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

On Daily Check-In 10/02/2018 the New York Times dropped a big story destroying the myth of Trump being a self-made millionaire.  His daddy bailed him out all the time, and his siblings took part along with him in schemes to avoid paying taxes.  His sister was a federal judge.

In October, news about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.  (Daily Check-In 10/12/2018).  Jamal was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.  While the free world lined up to blame Mohammed Bin Salman for his role in the murder, Trump and Kushner bent over backwards to cover for their buddy, the Saudi Crown Prince.

 

NOVEMBER 2018:  THE BLUE WAVE

Dmitry Ryobolev, the Russian Oligarch who paid $95 million for a Trump property worth less than $40 million, was busted on Daily Check-In 11/06/2018.

The Democrats won control of the House of Representatives.  In overwhelming fashion.  Halfway through the following day, Trump fired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. (Daily Check-In 11/07/2018). Matt Whitaker was named as Acting AG.

Steve Bannon’s role in Brexit came to the foreground (Daily Check-In 11/19/2018).

Trump finally submitted his written answers for Mueller’s questions. (Daily Check-In 11/20/2018).

Mueller’s team pulled their deal from Paul Manafort, saying that he lied to them and fed Trump information. (Daily Check-In 11/26/2018).  This likely implicates Trump on lying to investigators and committing perjury.  Only Trump could get caught cheating on a take-home test.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to Lying to Congress. (Daily Check-In 11/29/2018).

 

DECEMBER 2018:  SENTENCING AND THE WHEELS FALL OFF

Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in jail. (Daily Check-In 12/12/2018). During his sentencing, Cohen once again said that he committed his crimes at Trump’s direction. Most importantly, he said that all of the crimes he did, he did at Trump’s direction.

The Special Counselor recommended that Flynn not serve prison time because of how helpful he’s been.  Then Flynn tried some “But I was entrapped” shit.  That didn’t sit well with the Judge, who flat out asked if Flynn committed Treason at his sentencing. (Daily Check-In 12/18/2018)

Bijan Kian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, Turkish nationals were indicted on Daily Check-In 12/17/2018.  Bijan Kian was the second in command of Flynn Intel Group.  Kamil Alptekin set up Inovo BV, a Dutch company designed to hide payments from Turkey’s government.  Kamil and Bijan were both indicted for FARA violations and Acting as a Foreign Agent.

Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.  Jim Mattis resigned in protest. (Daily Check-In 12/20/2018).  And for the third time this year, there’s a government shutdown.

 

HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED?

At this time last year, it felt like screaming at a brick wall to get people to pay attention to the criminality of Donald Trump, let alone anyone else in his retinue.  Now, there’s no doubt that he’s at least surrounded by criminals.  It’s kind of hard to have a personal attorney who’s going to jail for three years, who implicated him in his crimes, and have the Federal attorneys say that there is ample evidence to charge him with multiple crimes.  Plus, the Trump Foundation was shut down for being a slush fund.

I didn’t include some of the other crazy shit like the border policies of separating children from their parents, or GOP’s attempt at rigging electoral systems across the country.  I also barely touched on how big the Democrats won in the election.  They claimed about 40 seats in the House, and won in places like Utah and Oklahoma.  They won legislative victories in Wisconsin and Michigan.  The only major races they lost are covered in so much controversy that those races are tainted, and one of them is currently headed towards a rerun.

I have no clue when the Mueller probe will end, or how big it will be when it ends.  Anyone who says they know is full of shit.  But things have changed in the last year.

I feel a sense of inevitability about impeachment.  It’s no longer a question of “if” but “when” and “for which crimes?”  This isn’t just because the Democrats won the House, but because of the continuing pile-on of crimes.  Everyone in Trump’s orbit is up to their necks in some criminal behavior.  It’s only a matter of time before we have to answer the following:

  • Can a sitting President be indicted by the Federal Government?
  • What about a state?
  • How many countries are involved in the Grand Bargain/Russian Conspiracy?
  • Is treason the worst of the crimes?
  • How long will Mike Pence be President?
  • What about Nancy Pelosi?
  • How many people will Maria Butina link up with?

As of the end of the year, there have been…

Gimme a second…

34 to 45 people indicted in 2018, depending on who gets counted.  That’s a lot of witches for this witch hunt.

 

That’s it for today.  I have one more post for the year covering the weekend and New Year’s Eve.  Aside from that, I’ll see yinz next year.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.