Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Try To Have A Happy And Smarter New Year

Moderately Confused

2016 was surreal.  Fifty-four percent of voters cast their ballot for someone else, but the Orange-Tufted Tweety Bird still managed to win the election.  It was the year of post-truth and the death of facts.  It was the year of Idiot Nation, the year of willful ignorance.  It was the year of "how friggin' dumb can you be?"  

Glad you asked.  From a December 17th poll of Trump voters by The Economist/YouGov, here's how dumb:
  • 60% of Trump voters say the U.S. was better off economically eight years ago than it is today, and 19% say there is no difference.
  • 74% say fewer Americans have health insurance today than five years ago.
  • 64% do not believe that humans contribute to climate change.
  • 68% believe that Saddam Hussein had WMD's in 2003.
  • 52% believe President Obama was born in Kenya.
  • 80% say that Russia's cyber attacks were not for the purpose of helping Trump win the election.
  • 62% say millions of illegal votes were cast for Hillary Clinton.
  • 46% believe that Hillary Clinton was running a satanic child-sex ring out of a D.C. pizza shop.

That's 'Murica!  Happy New Year to all.  Let's hope it's a smarter one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Buster's 2016 Year-End Review, In Twelve Easy Pieces

Excluding sports, is it possible it was all just one long bad dream?

In Norway, they have high taxes and high incomes, lots of paid vacation time, a wide spectrum of government benefits at little to no cost, including health care and college, few guns, little gun violence, and no Trump-ish buffoons.  (The View From Norway, 1/28/16)

Q.  Why do so many people take an instant dislike to Ted Cruz?  A.  It just saves time.  (A Question About Ted Cruz, 2/13/16)

"[Coverage of Trump] may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS.  The money is rolling in.  Bring it on, Donald.  Keep going."  -- Leslie Moonves, CEO & Chairman of CBS.  (Les Moonves, Teller of the Awful Truth, 3/1/16)

"If you feel as though somebody is doing something wrong against you, can you just, for a second, get over it, you know, this thing will settle down." -- John Kasich.  Wouldn't you love to hear him trying to tell Martin Luther King to just get over it?  (Kasich Wants You To "Just Get Over It," 4/19/16) 

I don't care who uses the men's room as long as they don't talk to me while I'm peeing.  (Buster On The Bathroom Wars, 5/24/16)

It got a little loud on my back porch last night when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship.  The TV was blaring, there was yelling and dancing and slapping high fives.  Both dogs were howling.  My apologies to all in the immediate area.  (BELIEVE!!!, 6/20/16)

VP nominee Mike Pence, a virtual unknown who will run the country if King Donald is elected, vowed to unite the party around the critical issues of gay bashing, potty police, and the illegal suppression of a woman's right to an abortion.  (What I Missed at Trump-Con, Day 3, 7/21/16)

He sticks to his routine:  say something awful and outrageous, draw the anticipated media coverage (ratings!), then deny everything, move rapidly on to the next outrage and dare all of us to try to keep up.  (Crazy-Trump Unchained, 8/13/16)

Said that paying no income tax "makes me smart," rooting for the financial crisis and the housing crash "is called business," refusing to pay contractors is OK, and if people don't like his multiple bankruptcies they should "change the laws."  WTF?  (The Daily Donald WTF, 9/28/16)

A Fairfield, Ohio man says he'll be an active albeit unofficial election supervisor on behalf of Trump:  "I'll look for . . . well, it's called racial profiling.  Mexicans.  Syrians.  People who can't speak American."  (And Now, Another Moment With the Deplorables, 10/24/16)

The unthinkable has happened -- a fascist fraud will become our next president.  Great job, America!  (Thinking About The Unthinkable, 11/11/16)

Money can't buy intelligence, class, empathy, ability, or good taste.  Trump and his cabinet picks are proof of that.  (Rise of the Plutocrats, 12/9/16)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rejected By The Bureau Of Motor Vehicles

The idea was fairly inspired.  Naturally, it was not mine.

The dear wife, the lovely Mrs. Gammons, had the thought to get me personalized license plates for my car as a surprise Christmas gift.  I've never been a bumper sticker/vanity plate kind of guy, but so what?

Such special plates may be requested online via the BMV website.  Her first request was for a plate reading "FDT."  (That stands for, well, you know what it stands for.)  The website informed her that FDT was already issued.  Really?  So she requested "FDTMP" (which adds either more specificity, or the VP-elect's initials, depending on how you look at it.).  FDTMP was accepted!  She entered her credit card info and awaited shipment, pleased with her cleverness.

The next day she got a phone call from a BMV representative, informing her that, upon further review, FDTMP wasn't gonna fly.  Looks too much like, well, you know what it looks like.  No surprise plates for me, and a refund for her.  Oh well.

I heard all about it on Christmas Day, and we all LOL'd.  Although either plate would have expressed my sentiments precisely, I'm not sure I would have been entirely comfortable driving around with it.  So perhaps it worked out for the best.  And besides, it's the thought that counts, right?

P.S.  Today's mail brought me an envelope from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles regarding my recent  "INAPPROPRIATE REQUEST & NOTICE OF DENIAL."  The state wanted me to know that "the BMV does not provide motorists with a forum for promoting messages or causes which may be distasteful or offensive.  The Special Plates Committee has denied your request due to the potential perception of inappropriateness." 

This from the same state that routinely issues special plates with an anti-abortion message.  Go figure. 

And who knew we had a "Special Plates Committee"?  Sounds like an interesting gig.  I wonder if they're hiring.


Obamacare Is Not The Problem, Our System Is

I'd Like It Noted For The Record

If the apocalypse begins, I'd like it to be noted that I voted for the cool black guy and for the woman in the pantsuit who made Putin behave like a frightened little boy.

Getting Ready for the Next President

"Many Americans would not be surprised if, on January 20th, Vladimir Putin administers the oath of office, the KKK youth choir regales the crowd with a stirring rendition of "Dixie," the Chamber of Commerce marching band performs "Hail to the Chief" and the inaugural party is catered by Carl's Jr.  Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs could pay for the whole thing." -- Dr. Peter Dreier, author, professor, urban policy analyst

In these Divided States of America, many of us are now dedicating ourselves to fighting Trumpism and thinking strategically about how to move forward in the next four years.

Here is Peter Dreier's 10-point list of suggestions for us, politicians and serious media outlets:

1.  Don't forget, Trump does not have a mandate.  Not even close.  Hillary Clinton won 2.9 million more popular votes.  Many Republicans did not really want Trump.

2.  Challenge Trump's nominees.  They are a basket of deplorable billionaires, bullies and bigots.

3.  Don't normalize Trump.  Genuine reporting and journalism requires fact-checking him constantly and calling bullshit on all his lies.

4.  Focus on real people.  Tell us how and why Trump's policies will hurt real people, real families.  Tell us how he and his entourage incite violence and encourage hate crimes.

5.  Protest and engage in civil disobedience.  Americans need to channel their anger into ongoing strategic and constructive dissent, directed at Congress and at Trump's business interests.

6.  Oppose Trump's infrastructure plan.  It sounds good, but his plan is just crony capitalism.  In exchange for tax credits and usage fees, private developers would "invest" in certain projects which they'd end up owning and profiting from.

7.  Obstruct his presidency.  Citizens and politicians in Democratic states and cities must defend their common sense policies by taking a page from the GOP playbook -- erect all possible roadblocks, legal and other, against regressive Trumpism.

8.  Exploit Republican infighting.  Trump will inevitably say and do things which will embarass and harm Republicans.  Sooner or later, Trump voters will feel some buyer's remorse.  When it happens, rub their noses in it.

9.  Mobilize for the next elections.  Start working, organizing, and investing now for the 2018 mid-term and the 2020 general elections.

10.  Start Presidential vetting now.  Elizabeth Warren?  Kirsten Gillibrand?  Sherrod Brown?  Let's get it figured out.

(Posted by a FB friend.  Thanks, FB friend!)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Miracle By The Lake


Cleveland 20, San Diego 17.  The Browns season record is now 1-14.

But I heard him exclaim 
ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and 
. . . Holy shit, the Browns won!"

Friday, December 23, 2016

"I Triple-Dog Dare Ya!"

"Thtuck?  Thtuck!  THTUCK!!"

Merry Christmas, Then Nuclear Winter?

After decades of multilateral non-proliferation efforts aimed at reducing nuclear arms, what madman, after all that, would now say:

"The U.S. must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability," and

"Let it be an arms race.  We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

Was it this guy?

Or maybe this guy?
Guess again.

How about this guy?

So, from the madman-elect to all of us, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Enjoy it.  It may be our last.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sometimes, Stupid Wins. Good Luck To All Of Us.

When I worked as a corporate trainer, our big meeting room had a small plaque on the wall.  It read:  "Ignorance Can Be Fixed, But Stupid Is Forever."  I think of that plaque often these days.

Prior to his current occupation, Sen. Al Franken (D-Min) was a Saturday Night Live cast member, satirist, radio host, and author of "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot (And Other Observations)" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:  A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

Like many of us, Franken is troubled by the election of Duke Nuke 'Em and the failure of facts in our idiotic post-truth nation: 

Satire is when you take a reality, exaggerate it, and you show how ridiculous it is.  But what if no one notices the difference between the fact and the fiction, much less cares to recognize the absurdity of the details?  What's the use of satire, or straight-out ridicule, if your target can't even be bothered to care?  A big irony for me is that I once made some of my living by writing books about people who lied, like Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Hannity.  It just seems adorable now that I could make a living doing that, fighting misstatements of fact.  And people then were like, "Oh, that's terrible, I can't believe it."  And now it just doesn't matter.
Sen. Al Franken, in the NY Times Magazine, 12/18/16.

(This was sent to me today by a faithful reader.  Thank you, faithful reader!)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an influential Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident in Hitler's Germany.  He was imprisoned in 1943 and executed in 1945, just a month before VE Day.

To this day, his words ring true.  Especially this day.

Senator Al, I don't know what we do when a large chunk of our population doesn't know the difference between fact and fiction.  Keep on speaking the truth and pointing out the lies, I think.

But I'm afraid dear Dietrich was right -- stupid people are dangerous and cannot be persuaded and we are defenseless against them.

In these posts and in person, I've spent a good part of the last eight years trying to persuade, cajole and convince a handful of stupid people with whom I'm acquainted to snap the fuck out of it.  It hasn't worked. The old plaque was right too.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hark, The Hairy Angel Sings, Advocating Awful Things

Dear readers, it is oh-so-difficult to get in the spirit this season.  But let's suck it up for a Very Scary Christmas and a Hateful New Year, and just try and muddle through this.

Post-Truth World

Monday, December 19, 2016

He Was Stiff For Stiffs

(Sent from a faithful reader.  I LOL'd!)

Sad news.  I was informed just this evening that after much rigorous training followed by years of hard work, a very good friend of mine has lost his license to practice due to a minor indiscretion.  To get to the point, he slept with one of his patients and the State Board removed his license.  It is doubtful that he will ever be able to get it back.  What a waste of time, effort, training, and money.  He's a genuinely nice guy and an excellent mortician.

"Fearless Leader Gives Us Mission To Kill Moose And Squirrel"

New Men's Fragrance Makes A Great Christmas Gift!


Tricky Dick Nixon once bragged, "When the president does it, that means it's not illegal."

And now, the Weathered Saddlebag Covered In Cheez-Whiz has updated the Dick's boast:  "The law is totally on my side.  The president can't have a conflict of interest."  

Well, yes he can, and Mein Trumpf has a boatload of 'em.  In fact, we've never had a president with so damn many unresolved conflicts of interest, foreign entanglements, and ethical problems.  Some may be technically permissible, but most are not, and all are clearly inadvisable.  There is the Emoluments clause of the Constitution which prohibits U.S. officials from benefiting in any way from foreign states.  There are laws against nepotism.  There is our long presidential history of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.  Obama put all his assets and investments in a truly independent blind trust, Carter sold his peanut farm, et al.

Trump, on the other hand, drags his feet, postpones, and insists he can do whatever he likes, because he's Lider Maximo.  And besides, others are to blame.  "Only the crooked media makes it a big deal," he tweeted.  (I'm getting really sick of his tweets.)

Trump intentionally violates both the spirit and the letter of the law, and willfully ignores a couple hundred years of precedent.  His business interests and debts are global, not just Russian, and he has no intention of severing ties in any meaningful way.  He's behaving like a banana republic dictator.

Imagine the outcry if it had been discovered in 1940 that FDR was a financial partner in a number of Berlin hotels and office buildings!  We'd be reading about President Wendell Wilkie in the history books.

To put it in more modern terms, WWRDIODT?  What would Republicans do if Obama did this?

We know the answer:  They'd go ballistic!  They'd throw an absolute shit-fit!  They'd call for blood!  We'd never hear the end of it.

Nixon was wrong then, Trump is wrong now.  There are a few basic rules.

I believe we must now apply the WWRDIODT principle to Little Donnie Whinydiaper's boundless ethical dilemma.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

North Carolina Trying To Win "Worst State In America" Contest

It was very close, but a recount confirmed the November result -- Roy Cooper (D) defeated the incumbent Mitch McPotty (R) to become governor-elect of North Carolina.  Grudgingly, McPotty conceded.  He leaves a disgraceful legacy of unconstitutional voter suppression, abortion limits, and insane worry about who pees where.

Then the state's gerrymandered, GOP-dominated, racist legislature called a special last-minute, lame-duck session ostensibly for helping flood and wildfire victims.  Instead, the all-white caucus cooked up a new bill under which the incoming Gov. Cooper will lose his ability to appoint election boards, university trustees, and other executive appointees.  The state senate will be able to veto his cabinet picks.

The goober Republicans in the legislature saw no need for such restrictions when a fellow R was governor, but now . . .  These guys don't do subtle, do they?

In a final flip-off gesture, McPotty immediately signed the power-grab bill into law.  Worm.  Slime.  Coward.

His henchmen in the legislature aren't governing, they're just cheating, stacking the deck and rigging the game.  They vote to pass blatantly unconscionable horseshit, and then dare somebody to do something about it.

And like before, that's exactly what will happen.  Roy Cooper and the D's will have to sue, and they will, and like before, they will win.  Time and money will be squandered, but justice will prevail.

Shame on the North Carolina Republicans.

Friday, December 16, 2016

He Makes Netanyahu Look Like Gandhi

The Prevaricating Peach has appointed David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.  Friedman a far-right, hard-line belligerent.  He rejects a Palestinian state, he's called President Obama a Jew-hater, he's called liberal-leaning Jews Nazi sympathizers, he encourages more settlements on the West Bank, and wants to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  He's a real charmer.

Must every member of the incoming administration be a complete asshole?

This Friedman character is still fighting the Crusades!  He's so far right, he makes Bibi Netanyahu look like Mahatma Gandhi!

We'll Need A Special Prosecutor

If we had to have a special prosecutor and even an impeachment proceeding just because Bill Clinton got his carrot waxed in the Oval Office, shouldn't we demand a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection?

And all this is before the Fancy Bear/Cozy Bear hacks.

An Observation From A Faithful Reader

Sent by a faithful reader.  Thank you, faithful reader!

Isn't curious to observe how all the Jesus-loving, flag-waving, Commie-hating, capitalism-promoting, dictator-despising, law and order-demanding, USA-shouting, national anthem-singing members of the former Party of Lincoln can so casually dismiss every intelligence agency in our government, to side with and admire the likes of Vladimr Putin. 

The old adage says, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."  But remember, when you sleep with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Time Management, Trump Style

"I don't need daily intelligence briefings on national security, believe me, and I'll give ya three reasons why I don't, OK?"

"One, I'm, like, a smart person, OK?"

"Two, all those briefings cut into my time hangin' with Kanye." 

"And three, everybody already knows what the biggest threat to America is -- it's Alec Baldwin in a wig!"

No Prize For Being Bad Instead Of Monstrous

On their way back home for a Very Republican Christmas, Ohio's GOP-gerrymandered lame duck legislature presented Gov. Kasich with not one but two -- count them, two! -- anti-abortion bills.  Gift-wrapped, no doubt.

One called for banning all abortions after just 6 weeks of gestation, and the other after 20 weeks.

The restriction imposed by the first bill was clearly unwise and unconstitutional, and Kasich vetoed it.  Good!  But he went ahead and signed the 20 week restriction into law.  Not good.

The 20 week restriction is the current favorite chip-away tactic from anti-abortion fanatics.  It is arbitrary, medically unsound, bad policy, and an unconstitutional limitation.  It will force some women to give birth to babies they don't want.  It criminalizes doctors.  Sixteen Republican-run states have now passed 20 week bans, knowing it takes time and money to fight them in court.  They are daring the pro-choice forces to challenge them.  So far, such laws in three states have been overturned, and more are pending.  Still, most of these dictatorial laws stand for now, capriciously and cruelly reducing women's rights to access.

In some doltish circles, Kasich is getting atta-boys for vetoing the clearly awful 6 week ban while approving what, by contrast, appears to be more "moderate."  But moderately awful is still awful, and bad law is still bad law.

To paraphrase the great comment from Van Jones about today's Republicans, you don't get credit for being the most-improved bigot.  And there's no prize for being bad instead of monstrous.

No prize for you, Kay-suck.
"In the nauseating bus terminal restroom that is the Republican party,
John Kasich can at first seem like the least disgusting stall."
-- Samantha Bee

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump's Conflicts Of Interest Have Conflicts Of Interest!

By way of contrast, Drumpf the Angry Dreamsicle refuses to release his tax returns, refuses to place his business interests in a blind trust, fills his Cabinet with corporate cronies, continues to schmooze his clients and investors, and will preside from a Manhattan skyscraper with his own name on it.

What a schmuck.


If Only It Were True!

Here's an example of a widely-circulated fake news image and story.  A conservative acquaintance swore it was true.  He claimed that Obama would secretly militarize all departments and agencies and stage an armed takeover of the federal government on Inauguration Day in 2017.

Total crapola, of course, but compared to what's coming, don't you wish it were true?

Energy To Trump Transition Trolls: "Hell No!"

He and his Cabinet of Deplorables are intent on ignoring the Paris Climate Agreement, rolling back emissions regulations in the U.S., and gutting the EPA.  Prima Donald thought he could facilitate the process by threatening the Dept. of Energy a la Joe McCarthy.  He had his goon squad (a.k.a. transition team) send the folks at Energy a little ol' questionnaire.  "You will give me names!"

Per the Washington Post:

The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department, asking officials there to identify which department employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation’s carbon output.

The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and “which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

To their tremendous credit, leadership at the Energy Dept. refused, and told the Butterscotch Boss Hogg to go piss up a rope.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: The Remake

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 1920 German horror film.  The remake is now underway.  They're calling it The Cabinet of Dr. Trumpigari.  It's another horror show -- the scariest thing you've ever seen.  It's packed with monstrous people of evil intent and no regard for humanity, and it's only going to get worse.  Run for your lives!

Because what else is there?
Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State?  Tillerson is an old-school Texas oilman.  The CEO of Exxon Mobil, he was a long-time denier of global warming who's now found it expedient to modify his rhetoric.  He's a career Exxon employee and has never worked elsewhere.  He's utterly devoted to oil and gas production, and Exxon profitability, period.  He has zero other experience and seems uniquely unqualified for the State Dept.  "Doing massive deals" for international oil extraction is not diplomacy.  Plus, he's so far up Russia's oily ass that when Putin opens his mouth, Rex can see Red Square!

Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy?  Was a flunkwad student at Texas A&M.  His family owned a private hunting ranch they named "Niggerhead."  Is the village idiot ex-governor of Texas.  And now he'll head the Cabinet department he said he'd eliminate but whose name he couldn't remember.  Oops!  He's a paid board member of the company building the now-halted Dakota Access Pipeline.  Oops again!  It's doubtful that Rick the Dick knows that the DOE regulates things like energy research and production, nuclear safety, and military nuclear weapons programs.  Rick Perry, nuclear scientist . . . said no one, ever.
Doug Niedermeyer, Sergeant-At-Arms?

I'd like to say "Wake me when it's over," but I'm too dismayed to sleep.


Monday, December 12, 2016

A Year In The Life Of Donnie And Vladi

Trumpelstilskin wants us to believe the idea that Russia tried to influence the election to help him win the presidency is "ridiculous."  Here's plenty of evidence to suggest it's not ridiculous at all.

By Steve Benen on The Maddow Blog

 A Year in the Life of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

As evidence mounts that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government intervened in the American presidential election, allegedly taking deliberate steps to help elect Donald Trump, it’s easy to forget that this story has unfolded slowly, piece by piece, over the course of about a year.

With that in mind, let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

September 30, 2015: Trump, the then-frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, publicly praised the Russian autocrat while denouncing the American president, declaring, “I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, [Putin’s] getting an ‘A’ and our president is not doing so well.”

October 15, 2015:  After an international consensus emerged that pro-Russian forces in Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, killing nearly 300 people, Trump stressed Russia’s denial, adding, “No one really knows who did it.”

December 17, 2015: At an annual press conference, Putin sang Trump’s praises. Though precise translations vary, by one account, the Russian president said of the Republican, “He’s a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt. It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race.”

December 18, 2015: Trump appeared on MSNBC and was asked about Putin’s habit of invading countries and killing critics. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied, “unlike what we have in this country.” Reminded that Putin has been accused of ordering the murder of journalists, Trump replied, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also.”

April 20, 2016: Trump elevated Paul Manafort, a Republican lobbyist with longstanding ties to Putin’s government in Russia, to serve as his campaign chairman.

April 27, 2016: Trump delivered a speech outlining his foreign-policy vision and vowed to ease “tensions” between Russia and the United States, and end “this horrible cycle of hostility.” While the GOP candidate talked about all of the things he expects countries like China and Mexico to do to make a Trump administration happy, he made no comparable demands of Russia or its leaders.

May 5, 2016: Trump sat down for an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who asked if he’d ever spoken directly to Vladimir Putin. “Yeah, I have no comment on that,” Trump replied. “No comment.” Reminded that he rarely shies away from questions, the presidential candidate added, “Yeah, but I don’t want to comment.”

July 13, 2016:  Delegates to the Republican National Convention reported that Trump campaign officials quietly worked behind the scenes to make the party’s platform more in line with Russia’s preferences. One GOP congressman was quoted saying soon after that the “most under-covered story of convention” was Team Trump’s efforts to change the party platform “to be more pro-Putin.”

July 20, 2016: The New York Times asked Trump if he’d honor the NATO treaty and defend allied nations if attacked. Trump balked – saying he’d check first to see if he’s satisfied with their contributions to the alliance. “We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills,” he said. (Putin, of course, is a fierce NATO critic.)

July 24, 2016: Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, told ABC News, “Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC…. It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” The same day, a Washington Post report added, “In the past 24 hours, cybersecurity experts have said that the email cache released by WikiLeaks on Friday appears to have been given to the anti-secrecy group by Russian intelligence.”

July 27, 2016: In a move without precedent in American history, Trump held a press conference in which he publicly urged Putin’s espionage services to help sabotage the Clinton campaign and put help Trump in the White House.

July 31, 2016: Following a series of contradictory statements about the nature of his connections with Putin – at different times, Trump said he “got to know him very well,” followed by, “I don’t know who Putin is” – the Republican candidate was asked to clarify. Trump responded, “I had – no, I – look. What do you call a relationship?”

July 31, 2016: In the same interview, Trump conceded that people on his team may have weakened the Republican platform to be more in line with Putin’s wishes.

September 23, 2016: Yahoo News reported that Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, was suspected by U.S. intelligence officials of having “opened up private communications with senior Russian officials – including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president.”

September 26, 2016: Despite having been briefed by intelligence officials on Russia’s role in the DNC hack, Trump declares at a debate, “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. [Clinton’s] saying, ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ but I don’t – maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

October 9, 2016: During the second presidential debate, Trump announced that he disagreed with his own running mate about “provocations by Russia” needing to be met “with American strength.” Trump specifically said, “[Mike Pence] and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”

October 9, 2016: At the same event, despite having already speculated about the source of the DNC hack, Trump declared, “Maybe there is no hacking.”

October 17, 2016: Trump complained that Clinton’s rhetoric towards Putin was too “tough,” and she shouldn’t be so quick to “insult” the Russian leader. Trump added, “If I win on Nov. 8, I could see myself meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration.”

October 19, 2016: In the final presidential debate, Clinton explained that Putin would “rather have a puppet as president of the United States.” Trump responded, “No puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet. No, you’re the puppet.”

October 19, 2016: In the same debate, the moderator asked Trump if he rejects the assessments from U.S. intelligence officials about Russia’s U.S. cyber-attack. The Republican replied, “Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.”

October 27, 2016: The same day Trump complained it’s not “smart” for Clinton to speak “badly” about Putin, the Russian president publicly praised the Republican candidate. “He represents the interests of the part of the society tired of the elites that have held power for decades,” Putin said.

November 10, 2016: Despite denials from Trump campaign officials, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “there were contacts” between the Russian government and Trump’s team before the U.S. presidential election. Further contradicting the Republican campaign’s claims, Ryabkov added that “quite a few” members of Trump’s team “have been staying in touch with Russian representatives” ahead of the American election.

November 23, 2016: McClatchy reported that Trump had spoken directly with Putin after the U.S. election more than he’d talked to any other foreign leader.

December 3, 2016: Viktor Nazarov, the governor of Omsk, Russia, declared in a radio interview, “It turns out that United Russia won the elections in America.”

December 4, 2016: Putin again publicly praised Trump, telling a Russian television station, “Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man.”

December 9, 2016: Confronted with reports that the CIA believes Russia tried to help elect Trump, Trump’s transition team issued a statement – which didn’t include a denial – criticizing U.S. intelligence agencies.

December 11, 2016: Trump said he’s considering ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Putin’s closest American ally, to be his Secretary of State nominee, in part because Tillerson “does massive deals in Russia.”