Who You Gonna Trust?

If you call a plumber to repair a leaky pipe, and he diagnoses the problem, hands you an estimate for a new piece of pipe and attachments plus his labour, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you don’t need a new pipe, only a piece of duct tape.  If you have pain in your side, you go to the doctor, and he tells you that you have appendicitis and need an operation, you don’t typically tell him that he’s wrong and you only need an antacid.  When things go wrong, we rely on experts to diagnose and fix the problem.  Experts have specialized education, training and skills that we lack, so we trust them to take care of the problems that occur, whether with our homes, our cars, or our bodies.

Within the administration of our federal government, we have experts in all fields from the environment to housing to public health and more.  Two of those public health experts are Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.  Let me tell you just a little bit about them …

fauciDr. Fauci graduated first in his class from Cornell University Medical College with a Doctor of Medicine in 1966. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now known as New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine. In 1968, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 1974, he became Head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI, and in 1980 was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. In 1984, he became director of NIAID, a position he still holds as of 2020. In that role he is responsible for an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses. He has turned down several offers to lead his agency’s parent, the NIH, and has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.

He played a significant role in the early 2000s in creating the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and in driving development of biodefense drugs and vaccines following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dr. Fauci has been a visiting professor at many medical centers and has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Dr. Birx received a BS in chemistry from Houghton College in 1976, completing her undergraduate studies in just two years. In 1980, Birx earned an MD from the Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University.  From 1980 to 1994, Birx served as an active duty reserve officer in the United States Army. From 1994 to 2008, Birx was active duty regular Army, achieving the rank of Colonel.

birxFrom 1980 to 1989, Birx worked as a physician at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1981, Birx completed a one-year internship and did a two-year residency in internal medicine. From 1983 to 1986, she completed two fellowships in clinical immunology in the areas of allergies and diagnostics, where she worked in Anthony Fauci’s lab. From 1985 to 1989, Birx was the assistant chief of the Walter Reed Allergy/Immunology Service. Birx started her career as a clinician in immunology, eventually focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research.  From 1986 to 1989, Birx worked at the National Institutes of Health as an investigator specializing in cellular immunology.  From 2005 to 2014, Birx served as the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), part of the agency’s Center for Global Health.

In January 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Birx to be the Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.

I think there can be no doubt that Drs. Fauci and Birx are experts in the field of immunology, infectious diseases, and public health.  In the past week, Donald Trump has dissed both of these experts and their opinions.

Last week, Dr. Fauci testified before a House subcommittee that the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic.  On Saturday, Trump tweeted …

“Wrong!  We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases.”

This is akin to saying that if I just don’t go down to the basement where that pipe is leaking, it won’t be leaking.

And then came Dr. Birx’ turn.  On Sunday Birx said the US is in a new phase in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and that the deadly virus is more widespread than when it first took hold in the US earlier this year.  She also did not rule out the possibility that the nation’s coronavirus death toll could double by the end of the year to 300,000 and that most schools should offer only online learning this year.  Trump fired back on Monday …

“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”

And then …

“With the exception of New York & a few other locations, we’ve done MUCH better than most other Countries in dealing with the China Virus. Many of these countries are now having a major second wave. The Fake News is working overtime to make the USA (& me) look as bad as possible!  Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!”

Nancy Pelosi had criticized Dr. Birx last week, saying she had lost confidence in her for she was helping Trump spread disinformation about the progress … or lack thereof … being made in the U.S. in combatting the virus.  Historically, Dr. Birx has tended to paint a rosier picture than Dr. Fauci, less inclined to risk disagreeing with Trump, but she now seems to agree that the virus is spinning out of control here.

In contrast to Trump, Joe Biden took to Twitter in response to Trump’s tweet attacking Birx:

“It’s hard to believe this has to be said, but if I’m elected president, I’ll spend my Monday mornings working with our nation’s top experts to control this virus — not insulting them on Twitter.”

Now, I began with a brief overview of the credentials of both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.  Donald Trump has now denigrated both of these highly respected experts.  Take a look at the credentials of Donald Trump in the field of medicine and public health …

blank-pageYep, that’s it, folks … he has none.  Who you gonna believe, two highly qualified experts who have dedicated their lives to the study of medicine, or a television clown who has dedicated his life to screwing people?  To date, the U.S. has 4,862,174 reported cases, or 26% of the world’s 18,443,484 total.  We also have, as of this writing, 158,929 reported deaths, or 23% of the world’s 697,189 total.  And, most experts agree that the U.S. data is under-reported by at least 30%.  So no, my friends, we are not “doing very well”.  Donald Trump is wrong and the experts are right.  What a surprise, eh?  I strongly advise we believe the experts … our very lives depend on it.

Let’s Do the One Thing Trump Is Incapable Of: FOCUS

We are bombarded with so much ‘news’ on a daily basis, much of it designed to raise our hackles, to speak to our worst nightmares, to instill either fear or a sense of hopelessness. Our friend TokyoSand reminds us that in order to win in November, in order to defeat the current regime and begin to restore some semblance of democratic principles, we must maintain our focus. She makes some excellent points that we all need to keep in mind. Thank you once again for your clear thinking and sound advice!

Political⚡Charge

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

How did you feel when you heard that Trump had suggested delaying the election last week?

Outraged? Scared? Angry?

I certainly saw all of these things in articles, opinion pieces, on social media, and in conversations. And people talked and talked and talked. I found it hard to be online, with so much fear and panic in the air.

It didn’t seem to matter when folks–including constitutional professors and scholars–pointed out that Trump can’t delay the election. That the only body that has that authority is Congress, and Pelosi and McConnell would have to agree to a new date. That just is never going to happen.

No, what I saw was people who WANTED to wallow in the fear and “what if” scenarios and dive deeper into the darkness.

Not to be mean, but I just don’t have time for that. I will respond…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/1

As usual these days, the cartoonists have been kept on their toes. Our friend TokyoSand has been busy scouting out the best of the bunch for us. Thank you, TS, for our weekly dose of humour!

Political⚡Charge

ByNick Anderson

Did this seem like a long week to you? It sure did to me. Looking at all of the many topics editorial cartoonists covered this week, I think I better understand why. As always, I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite cartoons from the week. If you have a favorite, do let me know by commenting!

Election 2020

ByJack Ohman, The Sacramento Bee

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByEd Hall

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

BySteve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump’s Goons

By Marian Kamensky

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

By Mark Fiore, KQED News

ByGraeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

ByClay Jones

ByMike Luckovich

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A View From The ‘Other Side’

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was planning to sneak into republican territory to try to gain a better understanding of their ideology … and why they still support Trump after all the death and destruction he has wrought.  So far, I’ve been a bit slow in doing that, for I find I have a low tolerance for much of what I find on the Republican’s turf.  Today, however, an opinion piece by conservative writer Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Post columnist, raised my hackles sufficiently that I had to address it.  I won’t replay the entire piece, but you can find it over at The Washington Post if you feel so inclined.  What I will do is address a few of his more ludicrous statements.

The title of Mr. Hewitt’s piece was telling in itself: The case for Trump will come down to his record. It’s a strong one.”

I knew right then it was likely to make me growl, and I wasn’t disappointed.  A few snippets from his column, with my responses in blue

“With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.”  Change the word “buttressed” to “battered”.  I’m glad to see he assigns blame for this mess to McConnell, as well.  No wonder ol’ Mitchie has an ever-expanding ego!

“Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world.”  Trump’s tax cuts mostly went to the wealthy, and the unemployment was already low before Trump took office.  He does not get credit for that.  But more to the point … to blame China for “criminal recklessness” is the most ridiculous thing.  China did not, contrary to the conspiracy theorists, manufacture the virus intentionally in a lab!  The only ‘criminal recklessness’ that has led to more than 156,000 deaths in the U.S. was Trump’s horrific mishandling from day #1!  And that ‘massive deregulation’ has contributed to the further destruction of our air, water, and wildlife on planet Earth.

“Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.”  Oh goodie … while people are homeless, going to bed hungry, and cannot afford health care, even more of our tax dollars are going to support an already over-bloated military so that we can start a war with China!  I sure feel better, don’t you?  The U.S. already has the largest military on the globe, and now we have a warmonger in the White House … what could possibly go wrong?

“Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.”  One commenter to Hewitt’s piece said she’d like to have some of what he’s been smoking … I agree.  The environment is in real trouble and the Paris Accords were the last best hope for getting all nations to work together to try to preserve life on the planet, yet Mr. Hewitt is applauding Trump’s decisions that have made the extinction of most living species almost a certainty?  Are you growling yet?  And as for the coal industry in Pennsylvania … coal is on its way out, and nothing … nothing Trump can do is going to change that.  Retraining the miners in another industry, such as renewable energy, would have been much kinder.

“Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with [sic] be 300 miles by September.”  Of the 200 miles, only 3 miles is new, and the other 197 miles replaced existing border barriers.  The funds to build this ‘wall’ have been hijacked from budgets earmarked for other, more important things.  And the cost thus far has been over $15 billion.  Further … the experts have shown that such a structure will not stop illegal immigration.  More of our tax dollars wasted while children go to bed hungry at night!

“Trump has also stripped off the veneer of objectivity from the “fake news.” “Blue Bubble” journalists are the last to know the contempt in which they are held beyond the Acela corridor and outside Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They mistake their small audience share for success.”  Seriously?  ‘Small audience’???  The New York Times had, as of the 4th quarter last year, 3.43 million paid subscribers, and The Washington Post is estimated to have more than 2 million. 

I read around 30 comments responding to Mr. Hewitt, and of those, only one was favourable to Mr. Hewitt, the rest calling his words ‘a spoof’, ‘laughable’, and more.  The one positive comment simply said, “What a wonderful man.”  Not a single comment that I saw supported Hewitt’s premises, and several pointed out a few of Trump’s worst blunders, including his handling of the pandemic that has led to so much unnecessary loss of life.

I went into this in hopes of gaining understanding, but with such views as Mr. Hewitt’s, I am left to wonder how right and left can move closer to understanding each other and finding common ground.  How do we unite two sides that are so very far apart in their views and ideologies?  Is it a lost cause, and are we doomed to be a nation so divided forever?  If so, we will not remain a single nation for long, for the chasm in which we live today is untenable.  The United States of America is not by any stretch of the imagination ‘united’ today.

An Honourable Man: Alexander Vindman

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman served this nation with honour and integrity for 21 years.  A career U.S. Army officer, he served on the National Security Council as the director for Eastern European, Caucasus and Russian affairs, as the Russia political-military affairs officer for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  He received a Purple Heart medal for wounds he received from an IED attack in the Iraq War in 2004.  In October 2019 he testified before the United States Congress regarding the Trump–Ukraine scandal.  On February 7th, two days after the U.S. Senate let the nation down, failing to uphold their oaths and failing to convict Trump on well-proven impeachment charges, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was fired, or rather “reassigned within the army” and in a tacky gesture, escorted off the White House grounds.  Last month, he resigned, citing untenable circumstances of bullying and harassment by Trump and his sycophants.  What follows is an OpEd he wrote that was published this morning in The Washington Post.  Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is a man of honour and integrity who served this nation well.


Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career.

I still believe doing what’s right matters.

VindmanOpinion by Alexander S. Vindman

August 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EDT

After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.

This experience has been painful, but I am not alone in this ignominious fate. The circumstances of my departure might have been more public, yet they are little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.

A year ago, having served the nation in uniform in positions of critical importance, I was on the cusp of a career-topping promotion to colonel. A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president’s conduct and the president’s efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.

At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving.

Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents. Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished. The president recklessly downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as it swept through our country. The economic collapse that followed highlighted the growing income disparities in our society. Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings.

There is another way.

During my testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, I reassured my father, who experienced Soviet authoritarianism firsthand, saying, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” Despite Trump’s retaliation, I stand by that conviction. Even as I experience the low of ending my military career, I have also experienced the loving support of tens of thousands of Americans. Theirs is a chorus of hope that drowns out the spurious attacks of a disreputable man and his sycophants.

Since the struggle for our nation’s independence, America has been a union of purpose: a union born from the belief that although each individual is the pilot of their own destiny, when we come together, we change the world. We are stronger as a woven rope than as unbound threads.

America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice and protect the nation. It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act.

Despite some personal turmoil, I remain hopeful for the future for both my family and for our nation. Impeachment exposed Trump’s corruption, but the confluence of a pandemic, a financial crisis and the stoking of societal divisions has roused the soul of the American people. A groundswell is building that will issue a mandate to reject hate and bigotry and a return to the ideals that set the United States apart from the rest of the world. I look forward to contributing to that effort.

In retirement from the Army, I will continue to defend my nation. I will demand accountability of our leadership and call for leaders of moral courage and public servants of integrity. I will speak about the attacks on our national security. I will advocate for policies and strategies that will keep our nation safe and strong against internal and external threats. I will promote public service and exalt the contribution that service brings to all areas of society.

The 23-year-old me who was commissioned in December 1998 could never have imagined the opportunities and experiences I have had. I joined the military to serve the country that sheltered my family’s escape from authoritarianism, and yet the privilege has been all mine.

When I was asked why I had the confidence to tell my father not to worry about my testimony, my response was, “Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served, and here, right matters.”

To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream. I believe that in America, right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.

The Voice Of Reason — From A Republican

Of late, I’ve taken to doing something I had not done, but should have, before – reading opinion pieces by conservative writers.  Not all of them, of course, for some I find to be simply too odious to read more than a paragraph, but those conservative writers who take a more moderate stance, who aren’t so far to the right as to be moronic, have something to say and I want to listen.  I want to understand what makes them tick, why they think as they do.  Yesterday, I came across an opinion essay in the New York Times by Stuart Stevens, a long-time Republican political consultant.  Mr. Stevens joined the Lincoln Project earlier this year. This essay resonates, it helps explain some things, maybe answer some questions we’ve been asking, and I think it is worth sharing here.  I hope you’ll take a minute to read Mr. Stevens’ words.


I Hope This Is Not Another Lie About the Republican Party

But it might be lost forever.

stuart-stevensBy Stuart Stevens

After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, commissioned an internal party study to examine why the party had won the popular vote only once since 1988.

The results of that so-called autopsy were fairly obvious: The party needed to appeal to more people of color, reach out to younger voters, become more welcoming to women. Those conclusions were presented as not only a political necessity but also a moral mandate if the Republican Party were to be a governing party in a rapidly changing America.

Then Donald Trump emerged and the party threw all those conclusions out the window with an almost audible sigh of relief: Thank God we can win without pretending we really care about this stuff. That reaction was sadly predictable.

I spent decades working to elect Republicans, including Mr. Romney and four other presidential candidates, and I am here to bear reluctant witness that Mr. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. He is the logical conclusion of what the party became over the past 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race-baiting, self-deception and anger that now dominate it. Hold Donald Trump up to a mirror and that bulging, scowling orange face is today’s Republican Party.

I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse. Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.

What is most telling is that the Republican Party actively embraced, supported, defended and now enthusiastically identifies with a man who eagerly exploits the nation’s racial tensions. In our system, political parties should serve a circuit breaker function. The Republican Party never pulled the switch.

Racism is the original sin of the modern Republican Party. While many Republicans today like to mourn the absence of an intellectual voice like William Buckley, it is often overlooked that Mr. Buckley began his career as a racist defending segregation.

In the Richard Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips wrote a re-election campaign memo headed “Dividing the Democrats” in which they outlined what would come to be known as the Southern Strategy. It assumes there is little Republicans can do to attract Black Americans and details a two-pronged strategy: Utilize Black support of Democrats to alienate white voters while trying to decrease that support by sowing dissension within the Democratic Party.

That strategy has worked so well that it was copied by the Russians in their 2016 efforts to help elect Mr. Trump.

In the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, on which I worked, we acknowledged the failures of Republicans to attract significant nonwhite support. When Mr. Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative,” some on the right attacked him, calling it an admission that conservatism had not been compassionate. That was true; it had not been. Many of us believed we could steer the party to that “kinder, gentler” place his father described. We were wrong.

Reading Mr. Bush’s 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention now is like stumbling across a document from a lost civilization, with its calls for humility, service and compassion. That message couldn’t attract 20 percent in a Republican presidential primary today. If there really was a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, we lost.

There is a collective blame to be shared by those of us who have created the modern Republican Party that has so egregiously betrayed the principles it claimed to represent. My j’accuse is against us all, not a few individuals who were the most egregious.

How did this happen? How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t. The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held. What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced. I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.

Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.

This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.

This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.

That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.

Snarky … Yes Again … Snippets

After a day off from snarking, I find the snark buildup is bubbling, threatening to overflow.  And so … here we go again …


Remember yesterday when I told you about Representative Louie Gohmert who had contracted the coronavirus and tried to claim he got it from wearing a mask?  Well, I knew Gohmert had been on my radar before, and right after I wrote that, another instance of his apparent insanity hit my inbox.

Last week, Gohmert introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that calls on the U.S. House to bar all Democrats from the chamber because of the party’s historical ties to slavery and racism unless the party is renamed.  Say WHAT???

Said Gohmert in a Breitbart (go figure) article …

“Efforts by Democrats to destroy all public traces of their own history of supporting slavery, the Confederacy, and segregation in an attempt to shift blame onto Republicans must no longer go unchallenged. It is time for Democrats to play by their own rules, and accept the standards they have forced onto everyone else. They must divest themselves of their name that has denied so many the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Now, we all know that this ‘resolution’ is going nowhere and is naught but Mr. Gohmert’s childish attempt to counter the removal of the confederate statues that he apparently loved from the Capitol building.  But for PETE’S SAKE, people of Texas!!!  Keep this arsehole in Texas!  Please, do NOT send him back to Washington, or I might just go bash his head in myself!

Congress cannot seem to come up with a single meaningful piece of legislation (thank you, Mitch McConnell), they are allowing critical safeguards for people in dire need to lapse at midnight tonight because they are too damn divided by partisanship and driven by egos to uphold their oaths of office, yet we have representatives … people whose salary WE THE PEOPLE are paying, playing these childish games, wasting both time and money … OUR money!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to oversee missions involving anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.  It was created in November 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and began operations the following year.  And yet, yesterday The Washington Post reported that DHS has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon.  Please take a moment to let that one sink in, my friends.  Journalists are NOT the nation’s enemy, but rather the free press is the one thing that stands between us and a dictatorship!

The DHS intelligence reports, which are unclassified, are traditionally used for sharing the department’s analysis with federal law enforcement agencies, state and local officials and some foreign governments. They are not intended to disseminate information about American citizens who have no connection to terrorists or other violent actors and who are engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment, such as a free press!  Said John Sandweg, who previously served as the department’s acting general counsel …

“This has no operational value whatsoever.  This will just damage the intelligence office’s reputation.”

The two journalists were New York Times reporter Mike Baker and Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor in chief of Lawfare.  Baker co-wrote an article on July 28 that revealed an internal DHS memo indicating that the camouflaged federal agents sent to put down the unrest in Portland didn’t understand the nature of the protests they were facing.  Wittes posted, among other information, a DHS memo admonishing department personnel not to give information to reporters.

Once again, my friends, we are being treated as the enemy … our constitutional rights are being trampled!  The Department of Homeland Security is there to keep us safe, but instead they are endangering our very lives by attempting to harm our free press.


On Tuesday, Donald Trump showed us what he is made of.  With, as of this writing, more than 155,000 deaths in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump held a press briefing, the main purpose of which seemed to be to whine that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx had higher approval ratings than he does.

“And yet, they’re highly thought of — but nobody likes me.”

Has it occurred to him that … he has cost this nation so much in terms of our democratic foundation, our human rights, our health, and our very lives that he is not at all ‘likeable’?  Apparently not.  Has it occurred to him that the presidency is not a popularity contest, but a serious responsibility — one that he has failed in over and over again?  Has it occurred to him that his constant criticism of all who disagree with him, his constant bragging about things he has no claim to brag about, and his continual shirking of his responsibility makes him an abomination rather than a ‘man’ worthy of respect?

Please take a moment … well, a few moments, actually, to watch Chris Cuomo explain to “Mr. President” [sic] why the people of this nation trust Drs. Fauci & Birx more than they trust Donald Trump … he makes his case well.

Let’s Embrace The Lincoln Project-For Now

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent post about the Lincoln Project, their work, and how they are helping to oust the current Madman-in-Chief. Please take a look, and especially be sure to watch the videos … especially the first one! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Many of you may not know who The Lincoln Project is, or what they’re all about. But the fact is, the group is currently producing some of the most scathing political ads now airing against the current president. It’s gotten his attention, as well as the rest of the Republican hierarchy.

For some background, the group consists of former Republicans who are self-described “Never Trumpers.” Many of the individuals in the group include former Republican campaign operatives like Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson. They cut their teeth in the political world, working for previous candidates such as John McCain and George W. Bush. George Conway, an attorney who’s married to White House advisor Kelly Anne Conway, is also a group member.

Anyone who has seen Schmidt or Wilson on the various talk shows know that they are two of the most anti-Trump spokespersons. Schmidt, for one, is perhaps the most…

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No, He Cannot Do That …

This morning, Donald Trump tweeted …

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Put your mind at ease, folks … it ain’t gonna happen.

First, his claims about election fraud are unfounded and false.  The reality here is that he is dropping in the polls and isn’t likely to gain much ground in the remaining three months before the election, given the fact that the coronavirus continues to rage out of control, his federal troops are creating chaos in our cities, and he is his own worst enemy.

But more to the point, he does not have the power to postpone the election, the date of which was set by an 1845 federal law placing it the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  The date could move theoretically with action by Congress — but that would require agreement both by the Democrats who control the House and the Republicans who control the Senate. Neither side supports the idea.  Even the ignoble Mitch McConnell rebuffed Trump’s idea, saying that the election date is “set in stone.”

Representative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over elections, issued a statement saying …

“Americans have voted during the Civil War, in the midst of the Great Depression, in the shadow of World Wars, and in the wake of terrorist attacks. Americans will stand united to vote this November.”

Freedom House issued the following statement:

Washington  –  July 30, 2020 —  In response to President Donald Trump’s latest claims that mail-in voting will enable massive fraud in the November general elections, and suggestion that the elections be delayed, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The president does not have the power to delay the elections,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The danger here is that he is using groundless claims about the integrity of mail-in voting to try to delegitimize the electoral process. Those of us who hold democracy dear must reject this ploy.”

“The president’s baseless attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting are grossly irresponsible and must end before any further damage to public confidence is done. It is extremely unusual, in the United States or anywhere in the world, for an incumbent leader to predict fraud in his own bid for reelection. President Trump has a duty to safeguard the electoral system while in office, and if he is concerned that state officials and the postal service are unprepared, he should ask Congress to allocate more resources without further delay.”

“The fact is that large-scale postal voting has been used safely for many years in several states, and electoral officials of both parties have moved to increase access to vote-by-mail procedures in light of the threat posed by COVID-19,” Abramowitz added. “While authorities should also ensure that in-person voting is safe and accessible, for instance by allowing early voting and extending voting hours on election day, mail-in voting has become an essential component of democratic practice in 2020.”

So, put your minds at ease, folks … the election will be held on November 3rd!

John Lewis’ Final Words …

John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today.  I let his words speak for themselves …


John-Lewis

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.