The Facts, Folks … Just The Facts

Okay, folks … it’s getting really old, don’t you think?  I’m sick and damn tired of listening to Trump blame every damn person he can find to blame for everything under the sun in order to deflect attention from his own corrupt, heinous behaviour. Never any facts, just speculation, just made up grievances, contrived situations in the tangled mind of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office.  ENOUGH!!!

There is no bloomin’ Obamagate, folks … it is a fantasy made up in the deranged mind of the Oaf in the Oval Office.  It doesn’t exist.  If you even remotely believe a single word of this made-up tale by Trump, his lawyers and his cronies, please do us all a favour and seek psychiatric counseling immediately!

The Facts:

Fact:  Russia interfered on behalf of Donald Trump in the U.S. 2016 election.  That is not disputable nor disputed and there is sufficient evidence to prove the fact to the blindest partisan.

Fact:  Michael Flynn is guilty of contacts with a Russian official, a series of high-profile leaks, blatant lies to the public and to the FBI, potential blackmail and almost everything in between.

Fact:  The Mueller investigation offered Flynn a plea deal whereby he would only be charged with lying to the FBI and not the rest of his crimes, in exchange for his testimony in the Russian investigation.

Fact:  Flynn was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012 to run the Defense Intelligence Agency, the top military intelligence service in the country.

Fact:  In 2014, Flynn came under suspicion as having too many close ties with Russians such as GRU chief General Igor Sergun, and a close Russian ‘associate’.  Because of his questionable associations, after two years on the job, Flynn’s contract was not renewed and he left the Defense Intelligence Agency and retired from the military.

Fast forward to 2016 …

Fact:  Flynn launched a consulting firm and reemerged in 2016 as a Trump adviser. He became a prominent campaign surrogate and gave a polarizing speech at the GOP convention calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed. On what grounds is anybody’s guess.

Fact:  During 2016, President Obama planned to impose a series of sanctions against the Russian government for their interference, by then well proven, in the 2016 election.  He planned to oust 35 Russian diplomats from the country in December 2016.

Fact:  Flynn, by this time having been named to be Trump’s national security advisor, was privy to this information and had numerous conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, whereby he made certain promises to reverse the sanctions as soon as Trump took office.  Because of Flynn’s past history with Russian agents, the calls were intercepted by US intelligence, the FBI and the Justice Department.

Fact:  President Obama, well aware of the conversations between Kislyak and Flynn, warned Trump that Flynn was a danger to the nation and warned him against making him his national security advisor.

Fact:  Days after Trump took office, the FBI questioned Flynn about the calls, and he told four distinct lies, according to court filings.  The lies were about a series of calls Flynn had with Sergey Kislyak. The calls were about two distinct events: a controversial vote at the United Nations about Israel and President Obama’s decision to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 US election.

Fact:  Justice Department officials soon warned the Trump White House about Flynn’s dishonesty, and how Vice President Mike Pence and others had publicly repeated Flynn’s lies, making them vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Flynn was fired in February 2017 after three weeks on the job, and Trump said at the time that Flynn had to go because he had lied to Pence.

Fact:  Michael Flynn and Robert Mueller reached a plea agreement in December 2017. Flynn agreed to help the probe and eventually provided evidence against Trump. Mueller let Flynn plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI and agreed not to bring charges on Flynn’s other lies or on the illegal lobbying.

Fact:  Last June, Flynn fired his lawyers and brought on an aggressive team of right-wing firebrands. Instead of letting the case wrap up as planned and proceed to sentencing, Flynn’s lawyers started accusing the FBI of bias and misconduct, and he later asked to withdraw his guilty plea.

Those are the facts, they are proven, documented, and not disputable.

Listen to lawyer Bradley Moss respond to the question of “Obamagate” on Fox ‘News’ …

Now this month, Trump’s toadie Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department would be dropping the single charge against Mike Flynn, he would be a free man, and both Trump and Pence announced their willingness to have him back on their team.  So … what happened?

My educated guess is that in mid-2019 Trump decided that Flynn, with his pre-established Russian connections, and given that the intelligence community has already verified that Russia is once again playing a role in our election, might be a useful tool, a liaison as it were.  So, Trump advised Flynn to fire his lawyers, withdraw his guilty plea, and he promised him a full pardon.  Then this spring, as Trump saw his polls tanking as a result of his shoddy response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump sought the help of his sycophant sitting at the head of the Justice Department … if one can still refer to it as the ‘Justice’ Department.

So, just where did Trump cook up his “Obamagate” conspiracy???  The first thing to remember is that Trump’s ego was damaged by the fact that he lost the popular vote, in essence lost the election, to Hillary Clinton.  His ego was further damaged by the facts uncovered by Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference into our election that did, regardless what anyone says, play a role in helping Trump get elected.  Would he have been elected even without Vladimir Putin’s assistance?  We’ll never know for sure, as there were other misdeeds afoot that also gave Trump an unfair advantage, but it’s a fact that Russia did help him in more ways than one.

Trump cannot, when his ego is prodded or poked, let sleeping dogs lie, cannot be the gentleman and realize that this, too, shall pass.  No, it is his nature to find someone to blame, someone to call names, someone to say “Lock her/him up!”  This time it happens to be President Obama.

When asked by Philip Rucker of The Washington Post just exactly what crime Trump was accusing President Obama of when he decried “Obamagate!”, Trump responded …

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

And that is really about all Trump has, folks.  A non-answer for a non-issue.  It was no different than when he called Bob Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” over and over again, ad nauseam.  It’s no different than his constant and annoying habit of referring to all the legitimate media as “fake media”.  It was no different than when he started the “Lock her up!” chant against Hillary Clinton, over and over again, ad nauseam.  It is a rallying cry, a ploy to turn the attention of the public from his own crimes to some imagined crimes by an imagined enemy.  Must be working, for I just spent two hours digging into the facts and writing this post in an effort to enlighten and clarify.

Don’t, however, let it fool you and don’t even dignify the questions and “whaddabout” queries by your republican friends. Smoke and mirrors.  Trump is a snake oil salesman and his act plays well with about 40% of the people in this country.  He deals in grandstanding, smoke & mirrors, and gaslighting.  He is not a politician, he is not a leader of people.  President Obama was a leader of people, a uniter, and a damn fine man … Trump is none of the above and he feels the lack … he retaliates in the only way he knows how … nastiness, name-calling and vicious lies.

I end where I began … there is no crime, no illegal act, by either President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden.  There is no Obamagate.  The crimes all lie with none other than Donald Trump, the worst, most corrupt president in the history of this nation.  Please, friends, help us get him out of power before he finalizes the destruction of the United States of America.  I’m begging … please.

Where’s The Common Sense???

I’ve been under the weather for a few days, still not quite up to snuff, but it surely didn’t take much to get me growling with anger again …


Elon-Musk-1Elon Musk is an engineer, industrial designer and technology entrepreneur. He is a citizen of South Africa, the United States (where he has lived most of his life and currently resides), and Canada. He is the founder, CEO and chief engineer/designer of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc., and other lesser-known companies.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People, and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. As of May 2020, he has a net worth of $36.5 billion and is listed by Forbes as the 31st-richest person in the world. He is the longest tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally.

Now let me tell you a few more things about Elon Musk.  He is a spoiled brat, a fool, and he doesn’t care if you or I live or die … all he cares about is making more and more and more money.  All of the above accolades do not impress me after his behaviour of this past week.

Mr. Musk has a Tesla manufacturing company located in Fremont, California.  In March, under shutdown orders due to the wildfire spread of the coronavirus, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all non-essential businesses, which included auto manufacturers, to close temporarily.  Those orders still remain in most counties, but Mr. Musk, having decided that since he is such a wealthy and important man, first threatened to relocate his plant to another state.  He filed a suit against Alameda County where his factory is located. When that little temper tantrum got him nowhere, he defied the law and opened his plant in Fremont anyway.

Since January, Mr. Musk has pooh-poohed the idea that the coronavirus was anything more than the common cold, citing “research” that said there would be no new cases by the end of April.  Well, we can see how well that worked out, when we have 85,000+ deaths in the United States alone, with over 1,000 deaths per day.  Musk is willing to risk the lives of his employees, their families, and anyone else they might come into contact with … just so that he can make more electric cars that, frankly, right now nobody has any interest in buying.

In a recent phone call, Musk called the stay-at-home orders “fascist”, saying …

“They’re breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are wrong and are not why people came here or built this country.”

Trump, of course, had to get in on the act, tweeting, “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”  And just what does HE know???  He is largely responsible for some of those 85,000+ lives that we’ve already lost!

For the time being, Musk seems to have won the battle, but perhaps not the war.  Country officials implemented strict safety regulations for the plant and if any are not followed, they are prepared to force Musk to shut it down.  Personally, I think he is evil, a spoiled brat, and wish we could send him back to South Africa where he was born, for if the making of a damn car is more important than human lives, then he is the exact sort of inhumane jackass that we do not need in this country.


My friend Brian, aka Equinoxio21 on WordPress, made a comment today that I think covers most everything I write about lately: “Common sense has just been listed on the WWF list of endangered species …”

The latest in the demise of common sense annals in the U.S. …

The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton (a republican, of course) moved to enforce restrictions on mail-in ballots, insisting that people who fear getting infected with the coronavirus must still vote in person.  Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court to order election officials in five Democratic-led counties to follow state law on mail-in ballots. Mr. Paxton argued that Texas law requires in-person voting.  Perhaps Mr. Paxton has not heard that in Wisconsin last month, 67 people caught the coronavirus after being forced to vote in person?  Oh … and speaking of Wisconsin …

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the extension of a stay-at-home order by Governor Tony Evers, siding with Republicans in one of most high-profile challenges of its kind to the emergency authority of a statewide official during the coronavirus pandemic.  Governor Evers had extended the prohibition on most travel and operations of nonessential businesses until May 26.  Less than two more weeks.

There have been legal challenges to stay-at-home orders in Michigan, California, Kentucky and Illinois, but none of those were successful in persuading a court to fully strike down the order, as the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin case were.

And what would a circus of fools be without the biggest fool of them all?

Donald Trump pushed Wednesday to reopen the country’s schools and criticized the testimony delivered on Tuesday by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who had cautioned the Senate about the unknown effects that the coronavirus has on children.  Said Trump …

“I was surprised by his answer. To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

Translation: “I don’t care if your kids die … kids don’t support the economy and I want businesses back up and running.  Open the schools so parents can go back to work and get the economy back on its feet before election day so I can take credit and win the election.”

Perhaps he fails to realize that the coronavirus is non-partisan and will kill as many republicans as democrats.  And perhaps he doesn’t realize that no parent who loses a child due to his lack of due diligence and stewardship will ever vote for him.  And perhaps he fails to realize that the majority of people in this nation aren’t going to go rushing out and spend money on things we’ve managed just fine without for two months now.  I’m in no hurry to go out to restaurants or shops, nor is anyone I’ve talked to lately.  Capitalism only works if people buy the stuff that producers produce.


That’s all I’ve got time for tonight … I’m sure I’ll be back later today with something else.  Keep safe out there, remember your hand sanitizer and … your common sense!

Snarky Snippets Is Baaaaack …

A few things are on my radar this afternoon … several actually, but three that are jumping up and down screaming, “Pick me!  Pick ME!”  And so, the choice has been made for me, it would seem.


Who could’a seen it coming?

This in this morning’s The Guardian

Despite Donald Trump’s claims that the spread of coronavirus is dropping around the US, new infection hotspots are cropping up across Republican heartlands, including in Texas and Alabama. Many of the new hotspots are in states where governors refused to instruct residents to stay at home, or are following Trump’s advice to relax lockdown restrictions.

These figures could be seen as the realisation of a warning from Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the president’s long-suffering right-hand man on coronavirus, on Tuesday.

In his latest contradiction of the president, Fauci warned the virus would not go away on its own, and that reopening the country too quickly could result in a surge in “little spikes that might turn into outbreaks”.

I wonder how those gun-totin’ fools who stormed statehouses brandishing their big guns and displaying their Nazi insignia feel now that they’ve gotten their way?  I wonder how many more have to die because of fools like them?


Will justice prevail?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments from Trump’s lawyers concerning the release of his tax and other financial records, as subpoenaed by Congress.  Trump’s lawyers contend that he should not be so constrained by Congress and cannot be prosecuted while in office.  However, at least four on the Supreme Court feel differently …

  • “There is a long, long history of Congress seeking records and getting them” from occupants of the Oval Office. – Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer brought up requests for documents during the Watergate and Whitewater scandals, which occurred under Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton and were decided unanimously against the president concerned.
  • Elena Kagan told Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow a “fundamental precept of our constitutional order is that the president is not above the law”.

The case in a nutshell:

Every president since Nixon, who was elected in 1968, had released tax information. But there is no legal compunction to do so.

Democrats in Congress are attempting to establish whether Trump is breaking ethics laws and constitutional safeguards against profiting from the presidency.

The New York prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr wants to find out if hush money payments to women who claimed affairs with Trump involved illegal business practices.

Trump is asking the justices to put an end to subpoenas for tax, bank and other financial records which seek information from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and the Mazars USA accounting firm.

Trump’s lawyers, supported by the justice department, contend that he should not be so constrained by Congress and cannot be prosecuted while in office.

Opponents of the president say he is simply not above the law.

Appellate courts in Washington and New York have ruled that the documents should be turned over. Those courts brushed aside the president’s broad arguments, focusing on the fact that the subpoenas were addressed to third parties asking for records of Trump’s business and financial dealings as a private citizen, not as president.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked Trump lawyer Patrick Strawbridge: “Do you concede any power in the House to subpoena personal papers of the president?”

The Trump attorney said it was “difficult to imagine” a situation in which that would be justified.

However, in 1974 the justices acted unanimously in requiring Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. And in 1997, another unanimous decision allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed against Clinton.

What makes Trump different than Nixon or Clinton?  What is it that makes Attorney General Barr proclaim him to be ‘above the law’ in all things?  Trump is only a flawed human, just as were Nixon and Clinton.  He has already been proven to be more corrupt than even Nixon.  Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress is tasked with the oversight of the Executive Branch of government.  So why … why should he be given carte blanche to hide his possible misdeeds, to keep his dirty secrets from the people of this nation?  If he had nothing to hide, he wouldn’t be hiding behind Bill Barr’s very wide coat, now would he?

I hope that Chief Justice Roberts finds that he still has a conscience when it comes time for a vote on this case.  There is far more at stake here than whether Trump is allowed to keep his dirty little secrets, for this case will set a precedent for all future presidents.  A ruling is expected within a matter of weeks.


Not so fast, Billy Barr …

Remember last week when the Department of Justice under William Barr announced that it would be dropping the charges against Michael Flynn?  Most non-trumpies were incensed, as was I.

Bill Barr auditioned for the role of Attorney General by writing a lengthy memo arguing in favor of a fringe legal theory that a President could not obstruct justice, no matter what he did. From the very beginning, Barr has made it clear that he would be Trump’s man in the Department of Justice, and that his loyalty would always be to the President — not the rule of law, not the people of this nation.

But this time Barr may have to answer to a higher authority … the federal courts.  Judge Emmet Sullivan has put the Justice Department’s decision on hold – opening the door for legal experts and other outside parties to oppose the administration’s motion to exonerate Flynn of lying to the FBI.

Critics, including Barack Obama and hundreds of former FBI and justice department officials, have questioned whether William Barr was orchestrating favors for Trump. Flynn, guilty of far greater crimes, pleaded guilty to the single charge of lying to the FBI as part of a plea deal arranged in exchange for testimony to Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russia’s interference on behalf of Trump in 2016.  Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Flynn did nothing wrong, that he was set up, but the hard evidence says differently and in fact, had he not agreed to the plea deal, he would have been charged with far more crimes, possibly up to and including treason.

It is interesting to note that within the Justice Department, only Barr argued in favour of dropping the charges against Flynn.  None of the line prosecutors supervising the case signed the motion and one withdrew from the case.  That, to me, speaks volumes.

When Flynn was forced from the White House, Vice-President Mike Pence said he was disappointed the national security adviser had misled him about his talks with the Russian ambassador. Donald Trump called the deception unacceptable.

Now Pence says he would welcome Flynn back to the administration, calling him a “patriot”, as Trump pronounces him exonerated.  Ask yourself … ‘Why?’  There’s a reason, and I suspect it pertains to the role Flynn could play as a liaison between Trump and Russia in the upcoming election.  Just an educated guess on my part, of course.

I cannot begin to guess at this point how this will end, but it’s good to know the judge isn’t taking his responsibility to truth and justice lightly.  This one will keep me on the edge of my seat!

History is Written By the Winners

Attorney General William Barr, one of Trump’s lackeys, stated that “History is written by the winners …” Face it, folks … in the U.S. today, the only ‘winners’ are the greedy capitalists and corrupt politicians … the other 99.9% of us are losing every day. It’s time to turn this around, as our friend TokyoSand has written. Thank you, T.S.

Political⚡Charge

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Is the rule of law dead under this administration?

Yesterday, the Department of Justice under the leadership of Attorney General Bill Barr, announced they were no longer pursuing the case against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and moved to have his case dismissed entirely. This sparked immediate outrage, but only from one side of the aisle. Here’s a taste of the sentiment:

I won’t do an explainer on the Flynn case today, as Vox has already done one that is excellent. You can find it here: The Justice Department has dropped Michael Flynn’s case  But I will…

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Mourning In America

If you haven’t seen this latest advertisement by The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans with consciences, it speaks for itself.  And it must be working, for Donald Trump wasted his time at 12:46 a.m. writing a series of mindless tweets in a rambling, incoherent response.  The day after this ad was released, The Lincoln Project saw their biggest fundraising day to date, so apparently some people are listening, perhaps opening their minds.  Thumbs up for the Lincoln Project, and I sincerely hope they can make a difference.

Ominous Tidbits …

Yesterday I wrote about Trump’s purges and how he has been removing those tasked with oversight of his administration.  Then this morning, I awakened to the news that members of the coronavirus task force – and their deputies – are barred from testifying before Congress unless they get special permission from chief of staff Mark Meadows.

A memo to congressional staff directors said this restriction on testimony also applies to the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and State. It decrees that committees are limited to no more than four virus-related hearings this month.  According to the memo …

“Given these competing demands in these unprecedented times, it is reasonable to expect that agencies will have to decline invitations to hearings to remain focused on implementing of COVID-19 response, including declining to participate in multiple hearings on the same or overlapping topics.”

NO, it is not ‘reasonable’ to expect that the committees overseeing the spending of $2.3 trillion of our tax dollars cannot be bothered to tell Congress where that money is going!!!  🤯

And now, we come to the truth of the matter … the real reason Congress via its committees, and therefore We the People, are being kept in the dark.  From the great manipulator himself …

“When you see all these committees, seven or eight committees, we haven’t even started, and they have all these committees looking for trouble, just looking for trouble. Every enemy I have is put on a Democrat committee.”

No, Donnie, not every enemy you have is on a committee, for I am not on any committee, yet I am most certainly your enemy.

Remember, folks, that it is our money that is being spent. We already have proof that at least $50 million intended to help small businesses went to fossil fuel companies with links to Donald Trump and his cronies.  $28 million went to three coal mining companies, all with ties to Trump officials, and the other $22m is being paid out to oil and gas services and equipment providers and other firms that work with drillers and coal miners. In other words, WE have spent at least $50 million to help kill the environment that we depend on for life.  Rather like hiring a hit man to kill us.

How much more of our money has been misappropriated, or will soon be, without congressional oversight?  It is the duty of Congress to oversee the executive branch, the president and his minions, and yet, Trump has effectively tied their hands.  Will we continue to put up with this bullshit, or will we vote the son-of-a-bitch out of office in November?  I know my answer.


Meanwhile, in Russia, it is reported that three doctors, each of whom had complained about shortages of medical supplies and being forced to work despite testing positive for coronavirus, have fallen out of windows … two died and the third,  Dr. Alexander Shulepov, survived, although he has a fractured skull and is in critical condition.  Any bets on his chances of recovery?

Prior to his ‘fall’, Dr. Shulepov and a colleague, ambulance paramedic Alexander Kosyakin, had published a video in which they complained about their boss forcing Shulepov and his colleagues to continue working together even after his positive test result.

I suppose the only logical conclusion we can draw is that Russian doctors are very clumsy, eh?  Let’s just hope that American doctors who speak out don’t contract this clumsiness syndrome.


Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, with 22 years of military experience, was an analyst on Fox News until March 2018 when he resigned, calling the network a “propaganda machine” for the Trump administration and accused the network of “wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”  On April 25th, Anderson Cooper interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Peters and what he said mirrors much of what my own thoughts have been … and still are.  Take a look …

Something To Think About …

If you speak the truth, tell the facts, but your facts are not what Trump wants the people of this country to believe, you will be punished.  If your position is within Trump’s reach, you will be fired.  At the very least, your voice will be stifled, and you will be publicly denigrated by Trump.  This is the new reality in our government … you either agree with all that Trump says or pay the price.

The latest casualty of Trump’s war against We the People is Christi A. Grimm, the inspector general with the Department of Health and Human Services.  Her ‘crime’?  She told the truth.  She issued a report chronicling testing delays — up to seven days in some cases — as well as severe shortages of supplies in hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic.  Part of her report states …

“Hospitals reported that they were unable to keep up with COVID-19 testing demands because they lacked complete kits and/or the individual components and supplies needed to complete tests. When patient stays were extended while awaiting test results, this strained bed availability, personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, and staffing.”

Trump’s response was to falsely claim that the report was not only wrong but was politically motivated.  Say WHAT???  He demanded to know the name of the Inspector General who wrote the report, then demeaned her on his favourite venue, Twitter …

“Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!”

Just as an aside, if 17,000 people died from the H1N1 flu, how does that compare to the 70,000+ dead already in the U.S. alone, with another 100,000 or more projected in the next few months?  Not even in the same ballpark.

Ms. Grimm is a career official, not a political appointee, and began serving in the Office of the Inspector General in 1999, ten years before President Obama took office.  She is the third inspector general that Trump has fired in just over a month.  In early April he fired Michael Atkinson for his proper handling of the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment.  Then just a few days later, he fired Glenn Fine, the inspector general at the Department of Defense, who had been chosen to lead the newly formed Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.  The committee was to oversee the disbursement of the $2.3 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress.

Three inspectors general fired in a month’s time.  A U.S. federal inspector general (IG) is the head of an independent, non-partisan organization established within each executive branch agency assigned to audit the agency’s operation in order to discover and investigate cases of misconduct, waste, fraud and other abuse of government procedures.  So, in essence, Trump is removing all oversight of his administration, replacing men and women of conscience with his own hand-picked people.  This is akin to the fox guarding the henhouse.  And it poses a danger to this nation, for it evades all accountability by this administration.

Who will be next on his hit list?  When the U.S. Senate failed miserably to do their job on February 5th, they unleashed a monster.  They essentially told Trump just what Attorney General William Barr told him last year, that there is no law that applies to Donald Trump, that he is free to do as he wishes.  He began his purge with Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and his brother, then Admiral Joseph Maguire.  There may have been others that just didn’t cross my radar … almost certainly were.  And there will be more.

To date, every single senate-confirmed person has been removed from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  All that remain are appointees or ‘acting’ officials, none approved by anyone other than Trump himself.  It is also worth noting that Trump’s purging isn’t just retaliatory, it’s forward-looking, too. By removing officials who committed the sin of trying to defend the rule of law from his efforts to corrupt it, Trump sends a message to others about what awaits them if they try to stand in the way.

These are the moves of an autocrat, folks.  This reeks of corruption, and it sets off warning bells, at least in my head, that Trump is setting the stage, making sure there are none left who will stand in his way.  His way of what?  Think about it.

Trump Has A Plan — We Should Be Afraid!

Trump apparently has a ‘plan’, a four-step plan, to open the U.S. for business again. His intent has nothing to do with the well being of the people of this nation, but is a thinly-disguised attempt to restore the economy and thus his approval rating prior to the November 3rd election.  The esteemed Robert Reich tells us why his plan is an abomination, why it will be lethal to the people of this country …


Donald Trump’s four-step plan to reopen the US economy – and why it will be lethal

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The president and his allies are hiding the facts and pretending ‘freedom’ conquers all. As a result, more Americans will die

Donald Trump is getting nervous. Internal polls show him losing in November unless the economy comes roaring back.

But much of the economy remains closed because of the pandemic. The number of infections and deaths continue to climb.

So what is Trump’s re-election strategy? Reopen the economy anyway, despite the risks.

Step 1 – Remove income support, so people have no choice but to return to work.

Trump’s labor department has decided that furloughed employees “must accept” an employer’s offer to return to work and therefore forfeit unemployment benefits, regardless of Covid-19.

Trump’s ally, Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, says employees cannot refuse to return to work for fear of contracting the disease. “That’s a voluntary quit,” making someone ineligible for benefits.

GOP officials in Oklahoma are even threatening to withhold the $600 a week of extra unemployment benefits Congress has provided workers, if an employer wants to hire them. Safety is irrelevant.

“If the employer will contact us … we will cut off their benefits,” says Teresa Thomas Keller of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Forcing people to choose between getting Covid-19 or losing their livelihood is inhumane. It is also nonsensical. Public health still depends on as many workers as possible staying home. That’s a big reason why Congress provided the extra benefits.

Step 2 – Hide the facts.

No one knows how many Americans are infected because the Trump administration continues to drag its heels on testing. To date only 6.5m tests have been completed in a population of more than 200 million adults.

Florida, one of the first states to reopen, has stopped releasing medical examiners’ statistics on the number of Covid-19 victims because the figures are higher than the state’s official count.

But it’s impossible to fight the virus without adequate data. Dr Anthony Fauci, the administration’s leading infectious disease expert, warns that reopening poses “a really significant risk” without more testing.

Not surprisingly, the White House has blocked Fauci from testifying before the House.

Step 3 – Pretend it’s about “freedom”.

Weeks ago, Trump called on citizens to “LIBERATE” states like Michigan, whose Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, imposed strict stay-at-home rules.

Michigan has the third-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in America, although it is 10th in population. When on Thursday Whitmer extended the rules to 28 May, gun-toting protesters rushed the state house chanting: “Lock her up!”

Rather than condemn their behavior, Trump suggested Whitmer “make a deal” with them.

“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire,” he tweeted. “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!”

Meanwhile, the attorney general, William Barr, has directed the justice department to take legal action against any state or local authorities imposing lockdown measures that “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens”.

Making this about “freedom” is absurd. Freedom is meaningless for people who have no choice but to accept a job that risks their health.

Step 4 – Shield businesses against lawsuits for spreading the infection.

Trump is pushing to give businesses that reopen a “liability shield” against legal action by workers or customers who get infected by the virus.

This week, he announced he would use the Defense Production Act to force meat-processing plants to remain open, despite high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths among meatpackers.

“We’re going to sign an executive order today, I believe, and that’ll solve any liability problems,” Trump said.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, insists that proposed legislation giving state and local governments funding they desperately need must include legal immunity for corporations that cause workers or consumers to become infected.

“We have a red line on liability,” McConnell said. “It won’t pass the Senate without it.”

But how can the economy safely reopen if companies don’t have an incentive to keep people safe? Promises to provide protective gear and other safeguards are worthless absent the threat of damages if workers or customers become infected.

The truth – The biggest obstacle to reopening the economy is the pandemic itself.

Any rush to reopen without adequate testing and tracing – far more than now under way – will cause a resurgence of the disease and another and longer economic crisis.

Maybe Trump is betting that any resurgence will occur after the election, when the economy appears to be on the road to recovery.

The first responsibility of a president is to keep the public safe. But Donald Trump couldn’t care less. He was slow to respond to the threat, then he lied about it, then made it hard for states – especially those with Democratic governors – to get the equipment they need.

Now he’s trying to force the economy to reopen in order to boost his electoral chances this November, and he’s selling out Americans’ health to seal the deal. This is beyond contemptible.

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Isn’t it a damn shame that the person charged with seeing to the well-being of the nation actually poses the gravest danger to the people of that nation?  Think about it.

Truth Must Triumph

In this, the era of ‘alternative facts’, has truth taken a long hike, is it gone forever, or do we just need to dig a little deeper to sift through the detritus? Jerry from On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful piece about truth in the era of Trump . And at the end, there’s a petition to sign to “Make America Rational Again”, though in truth, that starts with We the People on November 3rd. Thanks Jerry!

On The Fence Voters

Nearly two decades ago, the evangelical mega-ministry Focus on the Family produced a video/teaching series with the title The Truth Project. I’ve watched only the first episode of the series, and that’s all one needs to watch to know the series’ emphasis, which is, as Jesus said, “For this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37, emphasis added).

Del Tackett, the series’ presenter, quotes the 1828 version of Webster’s Dictionary for his definition of truth: “conformity to fact or reality.” That’s a nice, concise, easy-to-remember definition—although it might be a bit too simple. In an infinite universe that, as most physicists now postulate, consists of at least 10 dimensions, finite beings cannot always determine what is fact or reality.

But in most situations, and for our purpose here, that simple, straightforward definition of truth—conformity to…

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Discord & Dissension-A Pause

Jeff and I are taking a little break from our project … I’ll let Jeff explain …

On The Fence Voters

At the beginning of the year, Jill Dennison and I decided to collaborate on a project that we hoped would focus our collective attention on the upcoming presidential election. Both of us felt then, and now that this election is the most consequential of our lives.

We told you how we got to the present hyperventilating partisanship in Washington, D.C. We reminded you how one political party was doing its level best to keep as many people from voting via unprecedented suppression tactics and gerrymandering.

We told you about the current administration’s unprecedented corruption, their total denial of climate change, and their attempt to destroy the administrative state. We alluded to how important the courts were to our future, as well as showcasing the myriad of issues that will confront voters in this election.

We also touched upon the growing dispute going on at the time between Bernie Sanders and…

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