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    When Obama was president the RWNJ noise machine went on and on and on about how the world no longer respected America because the president was “weak” and wore “Mom jeans.”

    The reality — as measured by reputable polling companies all over the world — was that respect for America went UP almost everywhere in the world when Obama was President.  The same story — but in reverse — under Trump, where respect for America has dropped everywhere except a handful of countries.

    I live in Canada, but spend time in the USA (where I have family roots going back to colonial times).  In the USA I need to be careful about dissing Trump because you never know when someone in the room will turn out to be a Trump supporter.  In Canada that’s not a worry — Trump supporters are few and far between, and those who do support Trump are slightly self-conscious about it.  No need to worry about a Canadian Trump supporter jumping down the throats of his critics.

    At what point will this worldwide drop in respect for America penetrate the 32% of Americans who still support the President.

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    First — imagine if Hillary had actually won.

    She would have faced four years of sabotage from a Congress that had a half-dozen committees investigating her fake “crimes” against American democracy.  The GOP’s only goal would be to destroy the Democratic brand by creating a spectacularly failed Clinton Presidency.  There would be no Resistance, and the wave that recently washed over Virginia and Alabama would have been anti-Clinton Red, not anti-Trump Blue.

    Instead what we have is a GOP on the fast track to civil war, self-destruction and a 2018 blue tsunami in Congress and State Houses across America. The Resistance has energized Democrats across the nation — even in an off-year.  Instead of an angry & demoralized Democratic base under Hilllary we have an energized and mobilised Dem base in response to the outrage of a Trump Presidency.

    Now — what single event changed the course of the 2016 election away from President Clinton (and subsequent Democratic Party decline) to President Trump and Democratic Revival/GOP decline.  The answer, my friends, was the James Comey announcement weeks before the election that the FBI was re-opening its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail.

    That was a tipping point.  The momentum shifted from Clinton to Trump as Clinton went on the defensive and the dominant narrative shifted from “untrustworthy Donald Trump” to “untrustworthy Hillary Clinton

    As the self-destructive unravelling of the Trump presidency becomes more and more undeniable Republicans will need a conspiracy theory that shifts the blame for this disaster away from the flawed DNA of today’s GOP.  The perfect scapegoat: Comey’s decision to poison Hillary’s candidacy and put Trump in the White House will be seen as a deliberate plot to set the Republican party on a course that could only lead to its destruction.

    When Trump’s flaws become undeniable — even to the hard core  (Bannon’s already there), the hard core will say “Comey and the FBI and the Deep State knew this all along — they knew that a Trump Presidency would destroy the GOP, and they made sure a Trump Presidency actually happened… when even Trump and his campaign team didn’t expect to win.

    Watch for this conspiracy — coming to an Internet near you some time in 2018. 

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    From a Norwegian perspective, the prospect of moving to America isn’t an escape from a “shithole country.” From a Norwegian perspective, America is a shithole country.

    If a Norwegian family were to move to the United States it would give up:

    • a per-capita GDP almost 20% higher than the USA
    • an unemployment rate slightly lower than the USA
    • no-fees university education for citizens
    • universal health insurance with low or no co-pays and no lifetime limits
    • paid paternal leave
    • the sense of security that comes from knowing that your unbalanced, disgruntled, angry neighbour cannot arm himself with military weapons
    • the freedom to sew your national flag to your knapsack when travelling — without feeling embarrassed

    <Sigh> What an asshole!

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    Many of us grew up with some old dude in the home who just made it embarrassing to bring over friends — especially once we were in high school. Sometimes it was a Dad (and he was always there)... sometimes an Uncle in town using the guest room during a convention, and sometimes a weird Grandpa spending his final years living in the basement.

    Whatever it was — it was usually male, and usually a lot older and almost always ready with the most inappropriate comment or lame “joke”  or some other weird shit.

    And there was the day you thought he was out for a few hours and brought over a friend who looked a bit different than you or your family — the friend’s mom was from the Philippines, her dads family had come over from Africa as a slave 300 years earlier.

    Your friend’s family may have looked a bit different and gone to another church, but their homes and their jobs fit right into the neighbourhood — and his parents are the sweetest people in town. The mother helps old people at the hospital and his father does gardening contracts uptown — with his own crew. )All the other kids are a bit envious.

    So you bring your friend home and surprise! —old dude is watching Judge Wopner on television in the living room, sitting just inside the front door.  And you?  You hope old dude has laryngitis today (even though he has never even had a sore throat, as far as you know.)

    But he doesn’t have a problem with his voice, and within minutes he is using that voice to say to your slightly-darker-complexioned friend

    “Well I guess it’ s a nice break for you to visit a classy house like this and get away from that shithole where you live…” (Old dude has never visited your friend — doesn’t have a clue.)

    “No!” you think. “No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

    “Not happening!”

    But it is happening, and you know this is so horrible that it will get out and everyone in the world will know and nobody will ever look at you the same or take you 100% seriously again.  You know you will wear this for a long, long time.

    Now the frustrating thing about blood relatives is that they stay blood relatives forever.  You can’t just decide amongst yourselves they are “unfit” and POOF make them disappear.  You can’ t just hold a big family meeting and “ impeach” them without any right to appeal. They got rights! 

    Fortunately — not ALL the embarrassing old dudes are Dads or Uncles or Grandpas with all sorts of family law rights.  Some CAN be White-Kicked out of the White-House by a two-thirds majority of the family and — if the family agrees — there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it.

    End of fable.

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    … filled with unemployed people, industry in ruins, millions of adults recently involved in government-sponsored terrorism, not enough food, not enough coal to heat homes and industry… a broken country.

    And what did an America do?  In an astonishing act of historically unprecedented generosity, America found its better angels and bankrolled the economic, social and political resurrection of this shithole  -- while also opening its borders to immigration from Germany to the United States.

    Today — in a political era when America has elected itself a President who cannot find it within himself to forgive a snarky Tweet, American vo0ters would do well to remember the benefits that eventually accrued to their country when the U.S.A forgave Germany for World War II.

    Fucking World War II people!  Forgiven!

    America has lost its way but — like post-war Germany — it has an opportunity to redeem itself… and that opportunity is the coming November.

    Get to work America — the world is counting on you.  Make. It. Right.  

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    It is clear why Russia preferred Trump in 2016. 

    The Russians started off trying to damage Hillary, whom they expected to win.  They wanted a damaged President Clinton, damaged by ginned-up outrage over phoney issues like e-mail, and with coat-tails so short she would be burdened with a GOP congress.

    In the home stretch of the campaign, the Russians were surprised by the possibility that the oval office could be won by an easily-manipulated, easily-blackmailed “useful idiot” with no loyalty to his nation, its constitution or to principles of any sort — in other words, a perfect Russian dupe.

    Putin understood that putting Trump in charge would undermine American power by creating chaos and disarray in the corridors of American government. (Witness all the empty offices in the U.S. State Department — both at Foggy Bottom HQ and in embassies around the world.)

    At this juncture, it must be clear to Putin that best way to accelerate the chaos over the next two years is for control of the United States Congress to move over to the Democrats.  Right now the Republican majority is suppressing any congressional action that would hold the Trump presidency accountable.  Indeed — the current Congress is doing everything it can to protect the Administration from scrutiny and accountability.

    The priority of legislative Republicans like Ryan and Nunes is stabilizing the Trump Presidency; the priority of a newly-elected Democratic majority next year would be to disrupt the Trump Presidency with scrutiny and accountability — eventually calling for impeachment.

    Impeachment of a Republican president in the age of Limbaugh, Fox News and Russian bots manipulating “low information voters” will create a level of chaos in America unseen since the late 1850’s — just before the civil war — even if the impeachment is totally, totally called for in order to preserve the rule of law.

    The Russian view of this level of Chaos in American politics, American government and American society can be summed up in two words: perfect storm.

    All of which brings me back to my original point: Russia still has the capacity to disrupt American elections — a capacity that has undoubtedly been enhanced and refined and made more effective over the past two years, However — if chaos in America is Russia’s goal, that capacity to interfere will be turned against the Republicans next time around, not the Democrats.

    As a side note — if I am correct and Russia does flip sides, there will come a moment when the lizard-brain at the base of Trump’s skull realizes that the Russians never saw him as anything more than a “friend of convenience.”  In the midst of all the inevitable political tragedy and chaos, THIS is a moment I will most certainly enjoy.

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    • It could’ve been Japan… or it could have been China
    • Maybe it was a 400 lb guy in his basement with a couple of drones
    • It’s 1941 — Hawaii isn’t even a state…So who cares about this shithole? 
    • After an aerial bombing raid has finished, it’s impossible to tell who did it
    • Just because my son and My son-in-law were meeting with Japanese spies during this raid doesn’t mean  there was any collision
    • Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
    • Obama was bugging my phones
    • #ReleaseTheMemo
    • Treason: they didn’t clap for me!
    • Let’s pull our troops back from the Pacific for the world’s biglyest-ever military parade in Washington DC!

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    Putin’s spy service has a long (and long-standing) enemies list — people that have somehow betrayed Russian state security, challenged Putin’s political power, or undermined the economic interests of the Putin oligarchs.

    The retired Russian double-agent recently targeted for murder (by poison) in the UK was one such person.  His betrayed the Russian security forces some time ago, but his attempted murder was only just now. Why the timing? Why now?

    The poisoning was accomplished with a “military-grade” chemical-warfare substance easily linked by UK crime labs to the Russian government.  Although Putin’s enemies often die from mysterious “accidents” (falling off balconies, hit-and-run cars etc.) or untraceable homicides (gunshot on public street) — this murder in the UK might well have been accompanied by a written confession from the Kremlin.  Why the decision to make the identity of the attacker so obvious to the watching world?

    The UK murder did not stop with the “traitor” who worked as a double agent for the British while employed by the Russian security service — the Russians also poisoned his 33-year-old daughter. Why did the Russians go beyond punishing the “traitor,” and inflict damage on his loved ones as well.

    All these questions leave me wondering whether the UK poisoning was specifically designed to send a signal to some of Mueller’s key witnesses: Manafort, Flynn, Carter, Page, Papadopoulos and even Sam Nunberg (whose behaviour was particularly bizarre —“scared shitless” bizarre — in the interval between the UK poisoning and his subsequent appearance before the Mueller Grand Jury a few days later).

    I’m not generally a “conspiracy theory” kind of guy — and I want to be clear that I am simply asking a question here, and not presenting speculation as fact. However — we often get to “fact” by starting with a therory and then looking for evidence.

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    Steve Kornaki (MSNBC) just reported an amazing PEW poll result that may well explain a lot of the anger we see over on the alt-right… anger that leaves sane people who witness it online, at a demonstration/riot or at the dinner table on Thanksgiving puzzled and scratching their head.

    “WTF?” sane people wonder. “Why are you so effing angry all the time?  Where does all this hostility and hate come from?” 

    The PEW data may solve that mystery.  When looking at support trump/do-not support through the lens of the millennial gender gap, Kornaki said that Trump is underwater by eight points with male millennials. 

    When PEW looked at the women in that same millenial age group, Trump was underwater by 47 points…. compared to an 8 pointgap with males.

    There are several profound implications of this data, and there’s THIS:  If you are a doctrinaire white-nationist right wing millennial straight guy, you’re probably a little lonely for female company.  Look at the picture above — and ask “where are the women?”

    Well… they’re probably off spending time with like-minded millennial progressives and avoiding people who think like you.  Meanwhile the lonely millennial mob gets so angry that they pick up dime story torches, march around shouting about “jews and Ni***rs, and run over peaceful liberals with their car.  If THAT  is their substitute romance and intimacy, I can understand why they stay pissed off forever.

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    The pundits speculate (and Trump can hint) that the President’s “Cohen problem” can be solved rather quickly with a Presidential pardon. As usual with Trump — his vision is clouded by wishful thinking.

    The truth is that a pardon simply means that Cohen has a free pass for conducting federal crimes.  However — a pardon for Cohen does not automatically void the warrant that allowed investigators to seize a truckload of papers, hard drives and video/audio records.

    Even if Cohen's pardon from trump extends to possible contempt of court (for refusing to testify), the seized documents still speak for themselves. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and pardoning  Cohen does not put it back in.

    The talking heads are now saying their Whitehouse sources tell them that Trump's legal team is more worried about the "Cohen problem" than the main Mueller investigation. Perhaps this is because even if Cohen doesn't "flip," there is evidence in the files that stands on its own and speaks for itself.

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    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a diary that noted an almost overlooked data point in a recent PEW poll.  It turns out that one of the largest gender gaps existed between millennial-aged men and women and their tendency to support progressive politics.

    Overall millennials approve of progressive politics by about a 25% margin. However, when you break that down by gender, the differences are dramatic: a +47% of women lean progressive — but only +7% of men in the same age group.

    This means that a whole bunch of alt-right gamer-boys are having a tough time finding a girlfriend. Think about it — how likely is it that a progressive woman who believes in gender equality, racial equality, orientation equality and reproductive freedom… if she is straight, how likely is it that someone with these political values would feel comfortable dating (or getting serious with) some dude wearing a red MAGA hat and a confederate-flag t-shirt? 

    So many of these boys end up being lonely that they’ve actually gone online and invented “involuntary celibacy” as a well-articulated grievance.  They even have a nickname for the affliction: InCel... and — of course — they blame it on a couple of familiar leftist villains: feminism and “cultural Marxism.”

    Now it turns out that the white-skinned, millennial-aged male responsible for a murder-by-van rampage in Toronto April 23 posted a Facebook message about Incel rebellion moments before starting the rampage that killed 10 and injured 13.

    The newspaper article (link above) includes the following passage [bold highlights are mine]:

    The term “InCels” emerged from a Reddit group in which tens of thousands of users, most of them young men, commiserate about their lack of sexual activity– many of them placing the blame on women. The group has received substantial criticism for its apparent misogyny, including posts that appeared to condone rape.

    Reddit banned the community late last year. Chads and Stacys, meanwhile, are pejorative terms often used by this group to describe men who are sexually active and women who won’t date members of the group.

    The terms are mostly employed in fringe online channels that are often virulently anti-feminist.

    I know — the guy in Toronto was Canadian and PEW was polling Americans… but certain elements of political culture occur on both sides of the border.  The alt-right is smaller in Canada, it lacks deep=pocketed funding sugardaddy billionaires like the Mercers and it’s much, much harder for Canadians to acquire firearms — but the fringe logic is similar and — when we compare the murders in Charlottesville, Virginia and Toronto, Ontario, the motives and the weapons were exactly the same.

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    Events in Texas this week once again beg the question: has American gun culture, with backing from the Republican Party and the NRA, figured out a “workaround” that allows American domestic carnage to continue uninterrupted in spite the frequent utilization of government’s uniquely American “thoughts & prayers” violence-prevention program.

    The program, which is designed to protect U.S. citizens from thugs, radicalized religious fanatics and innocent Caucasians unfortunately suffering from mental illness, has not prevented America from compiling a gun-murder rate an order of magnitude higher than anywhere else in the industrialized world.

    Is “thoughts & prayers” failing America?  Share your perspective in the poll below:

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    Trump wins on three counts with his gathering wave of Presidential pardons.

    1. First — he will turn pardons into a routine event… so when he finally pardons Flint Junior or Jared, it’s just another day in America — no big whoop
    2. Second — he carefully picks his “pardon performers” so that, in almost every case, the back story allows him to build, brick-by-brick, a pervasive narrative that “proves” the American justice system is corrupt and vindictive… that the American people have a genuine grievance with this unfair “enemy of  American freedom.”
    3. Third — and this is insidious and clever — many voters whose instincts lean left — including minority voters and low-income Americans —already believe the American justice system is stacked against them. I believe that Trumphas the political skills to position himself as their champion and win their votes Keep in mind that Obama had political limitations on how far he could fo go criticizing the justice system.  In the same way that anti-commie Nixon was uniquely positioned to reach out to China without getting clobbered from the right, anti-”thug” Trump is uniquely positioned to reach out to convicts who have been victimized by overzealous prosecutors and judges.

    in other words, Trump has the political smarts to leverage this into his second re-invention as a man of the people, while simultaneously preparing the public to support his pardon for all sins associated with Russian collusion and Putin fellatio.

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    A picture’s worth a thousand words, a meme is worth a million...

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    Dear America:


    Sincerely yours,
    The rest of the world

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     I have mixed feelings about Joe Scarborough.  On one hand, he has become one of the leading former Republicans to not only abandon Trump, but to actually hammer him day after day after day. This hammering is usually well-researched and well spoken (thank you, interns).

    On the other hand, Scarborough (& Mika) knew how crazy and dangerous Trump is a couple of years before they turned the criticism up to eleven.  I half suspect that Scarborough is planning to run for President some day, and that his highly-visible constant criticism is part of an early branding exercise for his upcoming campaign.

    That said — this morning (June 25) Scarborough did a devastating, whithering, fact-based refutation of Trump's immigration policy. He specifically framed this for
    Trumpite “true believers”— apparently many of his friends and family had regurgitated Trump nonsense over the previous weekend.  These are people  Scarborough knows are smart enough to know better.

    In his low-key rant, Scarborough not only undermines the Trump narrative, he directly challenges “friends and some family” to use their critical-thinking abilities and stop accepting Trump’s claims at face value. He’s saying “look what this moron is doing to you.”

    The link is:…

    I am urging Kos readers to get this video out there so the tens of millions of Trump zombies keep stumbling over it and eventually curiosity or cajoling convinces them to take 13 minutes to watch this former GOP congressman talk about Trump and immigration.

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    A Restuarant manager in Vancouver, Canada was fired Friday after refusing to serve an American tourist who walked in wearing a red Make America Great Again baseball cap. 

    Here’s how the Canadian Brodcasting Corporation reported the incident:

    The manager of a popular Vancouver tourist restaurant has been fired after refusing service to a supporter of Donald Trump.

    A man wearing one of the U.S. president's "Make America Great Again" hats was refused service at the Teahouse in Stanley Park on Tuesday by Darin Hodge.

    According to the restaurant's general manager, the man was seated on the patio that evening when Hodge, the floor manager at the time, confronted him.

    "[He] took over the table and requested that he take the hat off," said Andy Crimp.

    "[The customer] said he had a right to wear it. [Hodge] said if you don't take the hat off, we won't serve you. And the man left."

    The Sequoia Company, which runs the restaurant, says Hodge was fired for not following its "philosophy of tolerance."

    He had worked at the restaurant for about 18 months, according to staff.

    When contaacted later by reporters, the fired manager said he had “no regrets.”

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    I am listening to yet another news story where economists from across the ideological range are warning that Trump-scale trade wars will lead to recession.  The latest warning came from the head of the Bank of England — the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve banks in the USA.

    We can wonder why Trump is so stubborn about this trade war when allies like the Kochs and the Chamber of Commerce and several visibly alarmed GOP Senators and House Members are critical.

    The answer may lie in history — the history of the democratic German Weimar Republic sliding into Fascism. 

    In May 1924 the proxy Nazi Party in Germany was still quite fringy — it won just 6.5% of the national vote.  That 6.5% fell by half seven months later when the country went to the polls for the second time that year.

    By 1928, with German prosperity on the rise (and financed by American loans from Wall Street) that 3% dropped to 2.6%, and the National Socialists lost 2 of their 14 seats in the 491-seat Reichstag. Barely a decade before the formal declaration of WWII in Europe, the Nazis were still a marginal force in German politics and German life.

    Nine months after the 1928 election the stock market crashed in New York — which triggered the Great Depression and which led to American banks calling in most of their loans to German industry. In a country that was still paying WWI reparations to the 1918 victors, the depression hit Germany harder and more suddenly than other western countries like the United States.

    In the 1930 election (a few months after the crash) the Nazi Party, led by Hitler, increased its popular vote seven-fold and its legislative seats nine-fold.  It went from marginal party to second-place, and never went back to marginal until Germany lost the upcoming war 15 years later.

    This leap occurred because German voters lost faith in the "old school" politicians who had been unable to prevent the crash of 1929 from destroying the German economy. They basically said “what the fuck -- let's send in the guy who’s promising an end ‘politics-as-usual’ and who’s going to kick all those wealthy bankers in the ass.”

    German voters voted for the crazy man because none of the sane ideas were working any more.

    In 1932 the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag, and in 1933 — with only a third of the seats and 43% of the popular vote — they convinced a majority coalition of parties in the legislature to give the Nazis dictatorial powers to deal with the economic crisis and an ongoing political crisis (worsened when a Nazi arsonist burned down the legislative building and the party blamed the fire on communists).

    Within months of the first 1933 election the Nazi government had banned (and violently suppressed) all political opposition and a second 1933 election elected a legislature composed 100% of Nazis and Nazi-approved members.

    Most historians agree that the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany was only possible because the country was suddenly plunged into an economic depression in 1929 and 1930. Two years later the traditional parties were still not offering anything new in the face of this hardship.

    In the prosperity of 1928, only one in forty Germans supported the Nazis, and the conventional wisdom was that Germany would never have to worry about a bunch of kooks and misfits ever being elected to govern the country that gave the world Johann Sebastian Bach and Albert Einstein.

    So — is Trump’s trade war simply a case of narcissism meets economic illiteracy or is there something more sinister at work here — is Trump deliberately trying to plunge America into a chaos that is scary enough to justify the end of the American experiment as Americans have known it for 240 years?

    Bear in mind that Steve Bannon is a big fan of Lenin’s political tactics — which called for deliberate chaos to create opportunities for radical, revolutionary change — and that Bannon and Trump are apparently back on speaking terms.

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  • 07/16/18--12:26: Putin's little bitch!
  • America — the entire world needs you to organize the opposition to get out and vote this November… and then get the hell out to the polls.

    Nothing else matters.

    Nothing else to say.

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    One of the things Daily Kos provides its members is a clearinghouse and a practice forum for conversations with friends and relatives afflicted with the MAGA virus. 

    Personally — I don’t meet a lot of “infected” Americans.  When I do, it’s usually someone I’ve known for years and who surprises me by suddenly blurting out something like “Canadians don’t really have universal medicare — that’s just fake news created by American liberal newsrooms.”

    I never really try to convince these old friends that they are entirely wrong — that their model of how the world works is built on a vast tangle of false premise. If I push too hard, they’re likely to say “well — your branch of the family left the United States long ago — you don’t even understand what it’s like any more.”

    (As an aside — their version of “what it’s like” is MS-13 gangs in virtually every small town in America; American health care system is the “envy of the world;” millions of “illegals” vote D in every American election and Hillary Clinton has been responsible for several murder contracts.)

    I generally bite my tongue and limit myself to saying “Here’s what makes me uncomfortable with Trump.”  One of my favourites is his double standards — where he pretends to take a moral stand but ends up over time contradicting his moral stance.  The more indignant his original complaint, the better the contrast and the stronger my point.

    So this morning Trump totally dumps on Michael Cohen for “taping” phone conversations with candidate Trump.  Basically, he is saying “anyone who would do that is a total scumbag — and cannot be trusted on anything else.“

    Except…. Except… what if the person secretly recording a conversation with Donald Trump is the President of Russia?  Then, of course, there is no criticism.

    The point I make to my Trump-loving friends is this:
    “When you hear Trump totally dump on someone else, and you start to share the President’s indignation… and you start to get pissed off at the ‘transgresser’ and Mother Nature starts pumping stress hormones into your increasingly angry body… just remember that Trump is playing you.  He doesnt REALLY think secret recordings are disgusting, — he only thinks it disgusting because the target of his rant has stopped being helpful to Trump — THAT is why I don’t trust him… because he’s constantly trying to play the people who believe in him.“

    So there we go — one tiny, granular narrative for one tiny, granular installment of the ongoing effort to break the fever created by the MAGA virus.

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