Seeking Election Integrity …

Dan Coats was the director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019. He resigned on July 28th 2019 when he was apprised that he was about to be fired.  The reason?  He did not play Trump’s game, did not take that oath of fealty that required him to be naught more than a yes-man.  He affirmed in no uncertain terms that Russia had indeed interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, contrary to Trump’s denials of such interference.  Today, Mr. Coats has written the following OpEd in the New York Times about the security of the upcoming election and offers one possible solution.


What’s at Stake in This Election? The American Democratic Experiment

Trump’s former director of national intelligence on how to firmly and unambiguously reassure all Americans that their votes will be counted.

dan-coatsBy Dan Coats

We hear often that the November election is the most consequential in our lifetime. But the importance of the election is not just which candidate or which party wins. Voters also face the question of whether the American democratic experiment, one of the boldest political innovations in human history, will survive.

Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace.

If those are the results of this tumultuous election year, we are lost, no matter which candidate wins. No American, and certainly no American leader, should want such an outcome. Total destruction and sowing salt in the earth of American democracy is a catastrophe well beyond simple defeat and a poison for generations. An electoral victory on these terms would be no victory at all. The judgment of history, reflecting on the death of enlightened democracy, would be harsh.

The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.

The most important part of an effective response is to finally, at long last, forge a genuinely bipartisan effort to save our democracy, rejecting the vicious partisanship that has disabled and destabilized government for too long. If we cannot find common ground now, on this core issue at the very heart of our endangered system, we never will.

Our key goal should be reassurance. We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted. I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It should create a supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election. This commission would not circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results. But it would monitor those mechanisms and confirm for the public that the laws and regulations governing them have been scrupulously and expeditiously followed — or that violations have been exposed and dealt with — without political prejudice and without regard to political interests of either party.

Also, this commission would be responsible for monitoring those forces that seek to harm our electoral system through interference, fraud, disinformation or other distortions. These would be exposed to the American people in a timely manner and referred to appropriate law enforcement agencies and national security entities.

Such a commission must be composed of national leaders personally committed — by oath — to put partisan politics aside even in the midst of an electoral contest of such importance. They would accept as a personal moral responsibility to put the integrity and fairness of the election process above everything else, making public reassurance their goal.

Commission members undertaking this high, historic responsibility should come from both parties and could include congressional leaders, current and former governors, “elder statespersons,” former national security leaders, perhaps the former Supreme Court justices David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, and business leaders from social media companies.

This commission would be created by emergency legislative action. During that process, its precise mandate, composition, powers and resources would be defined. Among other aspects, the legislation would define the relationship between the commission and the intelligence and law enforcement communities with the capability necessary for the commission’s work. And it would define how the commission would work with all the individual states.

Congressional leaders must see the need as urgent and move quickly with common purpose. Seeking broad bipartisan unity on such an initiative at such a fraught time goes against the nature of the political creatures we have become. But this is the moment and this is the issue that demands a higher patriotism. No member of Congress could have any valid reason to reject any step that could contribute to the fundamental health of our Republic. With what should be the unanimous support of Congress, the legislation must call upon the election campaigns of both parties to commit in advance to respect the findings of the commission. Both presidential candidates should be called upon to make such personal commitments of their own.

If we fail to take every conceivable effort to ensure the integrity of our election, the winners will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Republicans or Democrats. The only winners will be Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei. No one who supports a healthy democracy could election 2020want that.

Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Earlier today, I re-blogged a post from Annie of annieasksyou fame, and this evening I am sharing another. Annie has collected a series of observations made by International Analyst Michael McFaul that paint a picture that is … chilling. Please do take a minute to check it out. Thanks again, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Michael McFaul, Stanford University

[Note from Annie:I’ve extracted from Twitter a series of observations made by Michael McFaul last week after viewing the Republican National Convention that I think form a compelling picture of the dangers we’ll face if we don’t remove President Trump from office in November.(The emphases are mine.)

McFaul served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012, and then as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The author of several books and an academic at Stanford, he cites his research interests as American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development.]

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For those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week…

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The Choice

Blogger friend Annie posted this post earlier this month (where has September gone???) and it is an excellent and timely reminder for those who may still be sitting on the fence about the November election. Please take a few minutes to read. Thank you, Annie & Infidel!

annieasksyou...

[Note from Annie: I feel the post below, written by my fellow blogger Infidel753, is so thoughtful and persuasive that I’m featuring it here.Infidel’s highly informative, provocative, and often entertaining blog may be accessed at infidel753.blogspot.com.]

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This November, one of two things will happen. Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected. Many people fervently believe there should be some third option. There isn’t. It’s going to be one of those two.

This post is addressed to those who, for whatever reason, don’t like Biden. Maybe you consider him too centrist or too old or too old-fashioned or “Republican-lite” or whatever. Maybe you think the Tara Reade accusation has credibility (though there are good reasons to believe otherwise). Maybe you think the process by which millions of rank-and-file Democrats chose the nominee (from among a remarkably large and varied group of candidates) was tainted…

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How The World Sees Us Now

We know about the divisiveness, the chaos, the hate that is dominating the headlines here in the U.S.  We are fed a steady diet of daily abominations, accusations, and ignorant spew.  But how do people in other countries see us?  Until four years ago, we were largely viewed with respect … sure, we had our flaws, but we tried to do the right thing … most of the time.  We helped our allies and others around the globe.  We were doing our part to promote solutions to climate change, nuclear disarmament, and to contribute to a global defense structure.  And then, came Donald Trump, riding the waves of the populist movement all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, occupying a chair that he would never fit.  So … how are we viewed abroad today?

From an article in The Guardian back in June …

The coronavirus crisis has caused a dramatic deterioration in the European public perception of the US, extensive new polling reveals.

More than 60% of respondents in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal said they had lost trust in the United States as a global leader.

A report based on the survey’s findings argues that the shock of the pandemic has “traumatised” European citizens, leaving them feeling “alone and vulnerable”.

In almost every country surveyed, a majority of people said their perception of the US had deteriorated since the outbreak. Negative attitudes of the US were most marked in Denmark (71%) Portugal (70%), France (68%), Germany (65%) and Spain (64%). In France, 46% and in Germany 42% said their view of the US had worsened “a lot” during the pandemic.

On Tuesday, PEW Research released a new poll of 13 foreign countries that reveals that perceptions of America have dropped drastically in recent years.  I strongly encourage you to take a look at their data.

PEW-chart

Let’s hear directly from some of those people, shall we?

  • Have you tried turning your country off and then on again?
  • I think Mexico is probably now in favour of that wall
  • Sad. Disappointed. We used to think pretty highly of you, but now we just feel sorry for you. You are so divided we’re not sure how you can ever come together as a country again. Your guns are out of control. Your racism is dividing you. Your politics are a disaster. Your healthcare system is a joke. Your pandemic is out of control and you will soon be in the depths of a depression, with more than 30m people without jobs. How do you feel so far?
  • Being an Italian and knowing roman history, I can say that in my opinion America is showing the classic symptoms of an empire in decline
  • The US always appeared like an older, stronger brother – now it feels like this brother started using meth.
  • Being in the U.K. right now kind of feels like being a little boat that has broken down and everyone’s too busy being mad at the captain to fix anything. But then you look to the left and there’s a big cruise ship burning as it sinks with people fighting on every deck, and the captain’s throwing gasoline on everything, and you feel a little bit better about the s***** boat you’re in.
  • I used to really admire America. The last few years have changed that perception drastically. The blatantly corrupt politics seem to have the whole country in such a tight grip that from the outside it looks like a 3rd world country. Your president is lying constantly and obviously yet he has outspoken followers in the millions who just disregard his lies. There seems to be no safety net for the average person at all and you seem to rely on luck to get through your life.
  • I live in Germany. When I was younger, I always wanted to live in America. I thought it was great. Now, not even for a million dollars, I would never move there
  • I knew there were lots of idiots, but the sheer quantity is mind blowing. And how so many Americans just can’t handle a view that’s different to their own or at least allow others to have a different view, is crazy.
  • You’re a country blessed with diverse land, money and democracy. But you have become your own worst enemy—healthy patriotism has turned into extreme nationalism and xenophobia, freedom has turned into anarchy. Also guns, like howww are they still a thing? Sad.
  • The Second Amendment is there to protect your precious democracy from tyrants. Ironic who the gun owners support the most.
  • What saddens me the most is how the basics, such as universal healthcare and social support are so reviled by so many. Worst is that those who are the most vocal are probably not far from those who would benefit the most.
  • I keep wondering why the “richest” country in the world still doesn’t have national free health services.
  • I can’t believe how Americans can politicise EVERYTHING?! Wearing masks, postal service and before these newer topics universal healthcare, free (or at least vastly cheaper) uni, higher taxation etc. are a reality in most developed countries, but in America it seems like you can just scream socialism and people are against everything. From my German point of view the two party system and electoral votes is seriously f**ked up and even the moderate democrats are pretty right-wing.
  • With the economic divide larger than ever, I don’t believe the majority of Americans, who struggle to live decently, pay for healthcare and their kids education, still buy the freaking “american dream” BS.
  • Trump is an Emperor, with his princess and princes. Everyone with any insight or brains can see it, but there are a lot of supremely uninformed Americans in the Rust belt, the south and parts of the north who have been fed the line from Fox and Facebook that he is their saviour.
  • I’m a Canadian, living in Mexico since 2014. I seriously can’t wrap my head around it from either vantage point. It’s like watching a slow-motion car wreck – it’s horrifying and you know nothing good is going to come of it but it’s fascinating at the same time.
  • As a Millennial from Toronto, I grew up thinking America was awesome. I thought it would be cool to live in New York when I was older. The past 5 years have been such a s*** show, I am so thankful to be from Canada. I dont think its Trump that is the main problem (although hes a huge one.) Its his legion of supporters that feel the same way he does. They will not go away once he leaves office. The problem is more permanent than some realize. Its been sad to see the US deteriorate.
  • I feel sorry for the sane people over there.
  • Sadness
  • I genuinely feel sorry for you people.

Remember when we were mostly respected by people in other countries?  Remember when Trump said he would “make America great again”?  Remember when we thought of this as a country of equal opportunity for all?  Remember when we had a president, not a tyrant in the Oval Office?  Think long and hard about it between now and November 3rd, for your vote could help save this country, or it could help sink it.

“It’ll Start Getting Cooler. You Just Watch.”

I’ve written a couple of times in the past week about the West Coast wildfires, but our friend Jeff today shared an open letter to Trump by the esteemed Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, that pulls no punches, that “tells it like it is”! I have always respected Governor Inslee, and now even more so! Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this letter!

On The Fence Voters

Every day, the current president seems to be on a mission to eliminate as many people as he can in the United States of America. Whether it’s through his immense incompetence and failures to address the worst pandemic in a century, or ignoring the ongoing climate crisis, we can see in real time how devastating another four years of this administration would be to human life and suffering.

Today, I’d like to share a letter written by the current Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, that was published today on Medium. In it, he addresses the current president in an open letter to lambaste him for his abject failure to even acknowledge there’s a climate crisis emergency in progress.

Open letter to President Donald Trump on the role of climate change in historic wildfires

WA Governor’s Office

WA Governor’s OfficeFollowSep 14·5min read

September 14, 2020

The Honorable…

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Snarky Snippets Is Baaaaack!

I have an overdose of snark tonight … it is turning my skin green, stopping up my right ear, and making steam come out of my nose!  I think I am not well equipped for life in the 21st century, and in fact I think I may be ill-equipped for life among the human species!  Nonetheless, perhaps because I am too  filled with snark tonight, I have only three brief ones …


Judge Brainless Twit rules against common sense …

Governor-WolfPennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is one of the better governors in the nation, in my view.  He cares about the people in his state, and it shows.  Back at the beginning of the pandemic six months ago, he did as many governors of both parties did, ordering restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down.  The reason, of course, was to attempt to slow the spread of the lethal coronavirus in his state.  This summer, he has lifted many of the restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen and canceling a statewide stay-at-home order.

In May, a lawsuit was filed by four Western Pennsylvania counties, as well as business owners and lawmakers, and their specific grievances included a March stay-at-home order that required all but “life-sustaining” businesses to close.

StickmanThe Pennsylvania Supreme Court had already ruled in Governor Wolf’s favour in a previous, similar case, but this time the case landed in U.S. District Court and was heard by a Trump-appointed judge, Judge William Stickman IV.  Yesterday, the Judge ruled in favour of the plaintiff’s and concluded that Governor Wolf’s lockdown orders had been unconstitutional. 

“The court believes that defendants undertook their actions in a well-intentioned effort to protect Pennsylvanians from the virus.  But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  🤬

Even the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld similar stay-at-home orders and forced business closures!  Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states, and after this judge’s grossly incompetent ruling, I would not be surprised if there are even more.  Y’know … republicans are screaming about their “constitutional rights” to keep businesses open, to congregate in bars, churches, and spas, but has it ever occurred to them that the only reason the state even needs to mandate these closures is because the people themselves are too damn stupid to use common sense to keep themselves and their families safe?  Just another instance of fools putting profit over people.


He’s not concerned – he’s far away!

This past weekend, Trump held a couple of his infamous and insidious rallies in Nevada.  The rallies that had been scheduled were cancelled due to state limitations on large gatherings, but Trump finally found a friend with a facility large enough to hold a few thousand people, so the Trump Freak Show was on.  I know little about the rally, care even less about it, but when asked by a reporter asked about the safety factor, Trump claimed …

“I’m on a stage and it’s very far away. And so I’m not at all concerned.”

Nothing about the whether he was concerned for the safety of his supporters, thousands of whom showed up at the rally, or their families or others they might encounter and pass the virus on to, if it spread at his event.  He’s not concerned because he is safe, and to hell with the thousands of his idiotic supporters who apparently also don’t care for their own or their family’s well-being!  Ask me again why I think Trump supporters are lacking in both intellect and common sense!

Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak said that the president acted selfishly and irresponsibly, defying emergency directives and endangering efforts to get the state’s economy back on track after the pandemic.  I would have loved to see the Nevada State Police show up and arrest Trump on charges of public endangerment and breaking the law forbidding large gatherings!  And if he resisted, perhaps they could have followed the advice he has given to police officers … “Shoot him!”  Wouldn’t have broken my heart.


Lay down Sally …

Hurricane Sally is rapidly intensifying and slowly edging toward the coastline of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, where it is forecast to push a dangerous surge ashore and unload tremendous rainfall through Wednesday.Hurricand-SallySince it is predicted to hit Alabama, at least Trump won’t have to get out his Sharpie this time.


While I do have several more topics on which I could deliver a bucket of snark, I am tired and growly, so I’ve enlisted the help of late night comedian Seth Meyers to give us his take on Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, the previews, and Trump’s juvenile response.  Heeeeeere’s Seth!

When Good People Don’t Act …

Over the last couple of years, I have wondered how so many of my friends could seemingly ignore what was happening in this nation.  It is as if they are oblivious to anything that is outside their own little world, as if they were wearing blinders and could not see the atrocities happening in our nation, but instead focus exclusively on what’s for supper, what concert they will go to next weekend, the cute little things their kids or grandkids said yesterday.  As if … nothing has changed, life goes on, it isn’t their problem that kids are kept in cages, that more than a thousand people die every day from the coronavirus, fires are raging on the West Coast, climate change is taking a steep toll and we are doing less than nothing to stop it, and there is a madman at the helm who will soon drive this ship into an iceberg.  None of that seems to bother far too many of the people I know.  Where is the outrage?  Do they simply not care?

The following by Charles Blow in yesterday’s New York Times mirrors my own thoughts, only much more eloquently than I can state them.


When Good People Don’t Act, Evil Reigns

Stop thinking that the horrors of the world will simply work themselves out.

Charles BlowCharles M. Blow

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

I have often wondered how major world tragedies and horrors were allowed to unfold. Where were all the good people, those who objected or should have? How did life simply go on with a horror in their midst?

How did the trans-Atlantic slave trade play out over hundreds of years? How did slavery thrive in this country? How was the Holocaust allowed to happen? How did the genocides in Rwanda or Darfur come to be?

There is, of course, nearly always an explanation. Often it is official policy; often it is driven by propaganda. But I’m more concerned with how people in the society considered these events at the time, and how any semblance of normalcy could be maintained while events unfolded.

It turns out that our current era is providing the unsettling answer: It was easy.

As I write this, nearly two hundred thousand Americans have died — many of them needlessly — from Covid-19, in large part because the Trump administration has refused to sufficiently address the crisis, be honest with the American people and urge caution. Instead, Trump has lied about the virus, downplayed it, resisted scientists’ warnings and continues to hold rallies with no social distancing and no mask requirements.

Things are poised to get worse: Models now predict that the number of Americans killed by the virus could double between now and Jan. 1. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington:

“We expect the daily death rate in the U.S., because of seasonality and declining public vigilance, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December. Cumulative deaths expected by Jan. 1 are 415,090; this is 222,522 deaths from now until the end of the year.”

And yet, Americans still flock to Trump rallies, Republicans continue to defend his pandemic response and it is not clear that he will be defeated in November. We are, in many states, back to restaurants and bars, schools and churches, gyms and spas. It’s not as if we don’t know that there is a deadly virus being transmitted through the air, but it seems as though many Americans, weary of restrictions, have simply made their peace with it.

We have a climate crisis that continues to worsen. Storms are getting stronger. Droughts are severe. Rivers are flooding. The sea level is rising. And yet, we don’t do nearly enough to stop it and may not do enough before it’s too late to do anything.

Right now much of the West Coast is ablaze with hellish scenes of orange skies, and yet too many of us entertain climate change deniers, or, perhaps worse, know well the gravity and precariousness of the situation and still haven’t changed our habits or voted for the candidates with the boldest visions to save the planet.

Right now, China has detained as many as one million mostly Muslim citizens, in indoctrination camps, hoping to remold many into what The New York Times called “loyal blue-collar workers to supply Chinese factories with cheap labor.”

And yet, the world does little. Many look away. Life goes on.

This is how these catastrophes happen — in full sight — and people with full knowledge don’t revolt. People sometimes think that the issue is far away, or if it’s not, that it’s too big and they are too powerless.

They think provincially, or even parochially, concerned with their own house, their own street, their own community.

“It’s too bad that those children are in cages, but I can’t worry about that now, the clothes in the dryer need folding.”

“It’s too bad that an unarmed Black man just got shot by the police, but I can’t worry about that now, the yard needs mowing.”

I guess in some ways this impulse is self-protecting, preventing the mind and spirit from becoming overwhelmed with angst and rage. But, the result is that evil — as a person or system — rampages, unchecked, taking your personal laissez-faire as public license.

If you don’t complain, you condone.

But this mustn’t be. Stop thinking of yourself as weak or helpless. Stop thinking that things will simply work themselves out. Stop thinking that evil will stop at the gate and not trample your own garden.

Gather the energy. Gather your neighbor. Fight, vote, email, post. Do all you can to stand up for the vulnerable, for the oppressed, for the planet itself. Don’t let history record this moment as it has recorded too many others: a time when good people did too little to confront wickedness and disaster.

As Edmund Burke wrote in his 1770 “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

But you may be more familiar with another quote often attributed to Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Roger Stone Strikes Again

I have long been against the death penalty, but I think I could make an exception in the case of Roger Stone. On July 10, Trump commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump’s prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.  Well, he is living up to that promise.roger-stoneLast Thursday, Stone made a video appearance on Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory program, InfoWars.  Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Senator Harry Reid (a democrat from Nevada) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Are you growling yet?  Just wait … it gets even better.

Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Representative Bob Barr, a republican from Georgia, as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”  Apparently, Stone defines “illegal activity” as anything that is not supportive of Donald Trump!  In essence, I am engaging in illegal activity by his definition simply by writing this post. roger-stone-3Now, it’s easy enough to write Stone off as the nutcase he is, but the danger here is that in the past he has been one of the people Trump listened to.  Is he still?  Are there saner heads in the Trump administration who would … or could … talk Trump out of following Roger Stone’s clearly unconstitutional advice?  Would the republicans in Congress finally grow a pair and understand that this behaviour is in essence burning the U.S. Constitution, breaking the highest law in the land?  Would the military refuse to do Trump’s bidding, should he decide to follow Stone’s advice?  Would William Barr finally decide to do his job instead of toadying up to Trump?

Yes, I hear you saying, “It’s not possible.  Even Trump wouldn’t act in such an irresponsible dictatorial manner.”  Think again.

The ‘norms’, the restraints on presidential power that are built into the Constitution, the checks and balances we once believed would ensure that we would not lose the democratic principles on which the nation was founded, have all been shattered in the past three years.  You also never imagined a president would turn on the people of this nation, calling them anarchists and criminals, simply because we don’t agree with him.  You also never dreamed a president would have so little regard for our lives that he would keep the secret of a deadly virus and encourage us to go out and be exposed, and if we die, well, “it is what it is”.  Think back … there are hundreds of things he has done that you never thought possible.

I told you this morning how the Trump administration is once again playing Russian roulette with our lives, altering and manipulating CDC data so as to not “make Trump look bad”.  The agencies we have always counted on to protect us are now agents of Donald Trump and are diligently seeking to undermine our freedoms, our Constitution, our alliances, and in fact our very lives.  So, is it really such a stretch to believe that Trump might impose martial law, or break the law to devalue our election?  Are we really so sure the safeguards are strong enough to hold against a corrupt president and his band of boot-licking sycophants?  Think about it.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 9/12

Every week, our friend TokyoSand searches high and low for the best political cartoons of the week.  This week was no exception.  TS has had some WordPress issues this week (we can all relate to that, I think!) and so I cannot re-blog her post in the usual way, but can only include a link.  I do hope you’ll pop over and check them out!  Thank you, TS, for all your amazing work!


A roundup of cartoons from the nation’s best editorial cartoonists reacting to this week’s top news stories.

Source: The Week’s Best Cartoons 9/12

“It Is What It Is” Says He

According to the latest reported numbers, the U.S. now has 6,676,601 total cases of the coronavirus, and 198,828 total deaths.  Both of those statistics are under-reported.  Let’s be clear, the daily “new cases” number has been significantly smaller of late, but NOT because we have fewer cases!  It is a result of a combination of things, including less testing being done, per Donald Trump’s orders.  Remember when he said that if we did less testing, we would have fewer cases?  Only an imbecile would make such a statement, but it is Trump we’re talking about here.  But there’s more … there seems to be some outright manipulation of the numbers.

From a Politico report yesterday …

The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.

In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messages [emphasis added] about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation.

Now listen, folks.  I know all about political gaming and I know that with Donald Trump, everything is a game, is all about him, his image, his profit, and what benefits him.  BUT these are our lives he and his adoring sycophants are playing with and I’m sick and damn tired of it!  We are not simply Donald Trump’s chattel to play with as he wishes!

The story continues …

But since Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background, was installed in April as the Health and Human Services department’s new spokesperson, there have been substantial efforts to align the reports with Trump’s statements, including the president’s claims that fears about the outbreak are overstated, or stop the reports altogether.

Caputo and his team have attempted to add caveats to the CDC’s findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior, according to the individuals familiar with the situation and emails reviewed by POLITICO.

Caputo’s team also has tried to halt the release of some CDC reports, including delaying a report that addressed how doctors were prescribing hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug favored by Trump as a coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The report, which was held for about a month after Caputo’s team raised questions about its authors’ political leanings, was finally published last week. It said that “the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks.”

As a CPA, I once worked for a company that asked me to make the monthly revenue numbers match the predictions the managers had sent to the corporate offices earlier in the month.  In other words, alter the facts to mirror the projection.  I refused and gave my notice the next morning.  It’s called ‘integrity’.  Facts and statistics cannot be tampered with to make a corporate manager or politician look good, for at that point they are no longer facts and statistics but are mere fantasy. Just as financial reports should have integrity, so should reports about how many people are sick and dying because of the greed and cruelty of the so-called president.

We the People cannot make wise decisions if we don’t have the facts.  Period.  If we had believed Trump back in the first quarter of this year, we would have gone on about our merry way, exposing ourselves on a daily basis … oh wait, that is what a lot of people, mainly Trump supporters, did, and that is why our death toll will surpass 300,000 by the end of this year!

And we now know, thanks to Bob Woodward’s book, Rage, coming out on Tuesday, that not only did Trump lie to us, but he did so fully knowing that lives would be lost as a result of his lies.  And now … he’s trying to fit a square peg into a round hole as he has his minions trying to manipulate the actual numbers.  Now, we have no credible source of information.  Now, we are entirely on our own to try to figure out what is safe and what isn’t.  And we will never know how many cases there actually were in the U.S., nor how many died as a result of the pandemic when they could have been saved if only Trump had put us ahead of his own financial & political gain.  Remember last month, when in an interview where he was being questioned about the death toll, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “It is what it is.”  That is how much he cares about you, me, or anybody else.

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