Our long, hot, stupid summer 

click to enlarge You thought 2016 was bad? Buckle up, buttercup.


You thought 2016 was bad? Buckle up, buttercup.

Last week, we discussed "Obamagate," a QAnon thread that found life in a presidential hydroxychloroquine hallucination.

To recap: Barack Obama and Joe Biden supposedly engineered a corrupt FBI/deep state conspiracy to ensnare Donald Trump's campaign in a Russia-collusion hoax, but — because they're very devious — they didn't employ this scheme to stop Trump from getting elected. (In fact, the conspirators ensured his victory by announcing an investigation into his opponent just before the election.) They then manipulated his national security adviser into lying to FBI agents, then forced the president to obstruct a special counsel investigation during which a bunch of his associates pleaded guilty to all kinds of crimes.

The deep state plays the long game, y'all.

This would be funny-stupid if it remained the provenance of an addled conspiracy theorist, his cable news propagandists, and an incel chatroom. Instead, the ruling political party, not to mention the politicized Department of Justice, is pretending to take it seriously — or, worse, has drunk the Kool-Aid — which is more scary-stupid.

Either way, dais-pounding congressional hearings into the origins of the Russia investigation and ginned-up prosecutions of the investigators are coming, just in time for the November election.

Here, by the way, is what Republicans see as "evidence" of the plot:

Just before leaving office, outgoing national security adviser Susan Rice sent herself an email memorializing a brief meeting that President Obama's intelligence team had about Michael Flynn shortly after he promised Russia that Trump would ease sanctions put in place as punishment for election interference.

In the email, Rice wrote that Obama said he wanted everything done by the book, which meant the White House should stay out of law-enforcement matters. "From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it related to Russia."

FBI director James Comey said he had concerns about Flynn but no evidence he was leaking sensitive information. Obama told Comey to advise him if anything changed. The meeting ended.

According to Republicans, this email, which the Trump administration declassified, is proof that Obama was spying on Trump. Senator Martha Blackburn: "Susan Rice knew exactly what she was doing. That's why she wrote herself emails in a desperate attempt to cover her tracks."

[Pauses, stares at camera.]

With Trump down between 8 (Fox News) and 11 (Quinnipiac) points in the polls, our long, hot, stupid summer is just beginning. While Senator Lindsey Graham will hold hearings on "Obamagate," fellow lickspittle Senator Ron Johnson has taken a renewed interest in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that handsomely paid Hunter Biden for a board position, another outrage in search of a scandal.

As vice president, Joe Biden leveraged loan guarantees to force Ukraine's president to fire a prosecutor. Trump's Burisma theory — pursued by globetrotting super-sleuth Rudy Giuliani — is that he did so because the prosecutor was investigating Hunter and the corrupt Burisma. Except he wasn't investigating Burisma — or any corruption. That was the problem. Biden was acting in furtherance of U.S., European Union, and International Monetary Fund policy; they believed the prosecutor turned a blind eye to corruption, which impeded economic reform in Ukraine.

Trump got impeached after demanding that Ukraine announce an investigation into the Bidens — as well as a crackpot theory about the DNC email server — in exchange for military aid. There's nothing new now, but Johnson wants to first offer Trump a veneer of vindication, and second, envelop the Bidens in a cloud of vague, ill-defined scandal.

Indeed, endless Benghazi hearings, though they uncovered no wrongdoing, damaged Hillary Clinton's approval ratings. Create enough smoke, and people will assume there's fire somewhere. There's no reason not to call that play again.

Again, this is the tip of the (melting) iceberg.

Trump just fired a State Department inspector general for doing his job too well, part of an ongoing purge of anyone who would dare hold him accountable, and Republicans cheered him on. The GOP Senate confirmed — I shit you not — a QAnon-curious Trump loyalist named John Ratcliffe as head of the country's intelligence apparatus, though he has basically zero background in intelligence. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, appears to be leaning into the unitary presidency, blocking access to documents that Congress needs to conduct oversight.

We're nearing 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in three months — many of which could've been prevented if the president listened to experts and/or didn't have the attention span of a glue-huffing 12-year-old — and Trump is still hawking hydroxychloroquine, even as science tells us it's much more dangerous than helpful for COVID patients. Meanwhile, he won't wear a mask in public — though they actually save lives — because he wants us to pretend that everything is normal. (Besides, those things are for betas.)

Trump's reelection always hinged on a good economy. With unemployment at Great Depression levels, he needs you to Get Back to Work, pandemic or not. To that end, Mitch McConnell wants to end the federal unemployment benefits Congress passed in March so that you layabouts will stop leeching off Uncle Sam. All over the country, Republicans are ramping up pressure to reopen state economies, consequences be damned. In the likely event of a second wave this fall, Trump says, he won't shut anything down no matter what public health experts say.

To be sure, Trump doesn't have a monopoly on stupid. On Friday, Joe Biden told radio host Charlamagne Tha God that if Black voters support Trump, "you ain't Black," which is definitely not something a white boomer should ever say.

If there's an upside, it's that one stupid outburst might head off a more consequential stupid decision. On Thursday, we learned that Biden was formally vetting Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a gold standard milquetoast suburban WASP, for vice president. Perhaps needing to make amends with younger African Americans might inspire Gramps to make a slightly less mind-dulling choice.

The coronavirus has made life difficult for independent media. You can help keep Informed Dissent viable by contributing to patreon.com/jeffreycbillman.

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