What’s It Going To Take?

Jeff’s post this evening reflects my own feelings perfectly. When are Americans going to grow up and shed their bigotry, judge people by who they are rather than what gender, race or religion they are? My best guess is … never. Backward country this has become. Good post, Jeff — thanks!

On The Fence Voters

I’m a 58-year-old white male, and I think it’s time we had a woman president. There, I said it. On Thursday, amid Senator Elizabeth Warren suspending her campaign, I watched a panel on MSNBC discussing the Senator’s exit from the race. Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell was the lone woman at the table.

She said something to host Craig Melvin and AP Reporter Jonathan Lemire, the two males at the table, that resonated with me. “I think it’s way past time that we started to hear from men. We need to listen to them say, ‘It’s time for a woman president.’ Men need to step up to the plate and speak out.” I may be paraphrasing a bit here, but I heard her proclamation loud and clear.

What’s it going to take, folks? In 2016 we had one of the most qualified individuals, in Hillary Clinton, to have ever run for…

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The Bernie & Joe Show

While there remain four candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination, it is obvious that there are really only two viable ones.  Tulsi Gabbard should have dropped out long before, as she never stood a snowball’s chance.  Mike Bloomberg, who won not a single state last night, announced he is dropping out this morning, and will be supporting Joe Biden.  And, much as I hate to see her go, the time has come for Elizabeth Warren to remove her hat and announce her support for either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.  Yep, folks, for the next four months it will be the Bernie & Joe Show.

A few of my own thoughts …

I am sometimes saddened and sometimes angry that the people of this country, even some who are supposedly liberal-minded and forward-thinking, are still too cowardly to actually elect a woman as president.  Why did Hillary Clinton lose?  Sure, Trump with the assistance of Russia, Julian Assange, and FBI Director James Comey sabotaged her campaign.  Sure, she had some baggage and she was lacking the ‘warm, fuzzy’ persona that people expect from a … woman.  Despite the Trump/Russian interference, despite the Bill Clinton debacle, and even despite her faux pas when she referred to republicans as ‘deplorables’, Hillary Clinton won the election by nearly 3 million votes.  If Hillary Clinton had been a man, if she had been “anatomically correct” for a presidential candidate, she would have swept the election and the electoral college, for she had experience, decorum, and intelligence.  All she lacked was a penis.

And it disgusts me that on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in this nation, we still cannot pass an Equal Rights Amendment to legally give women equal rights under the Constitution.  Then again, we haven’t managed, after all these years, to pass an anti-lynching bill, either.  We still refuse to place a woman in the Oval Office.  Some churches in this country still teach that a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, subservient to her husband.  Elizabeth Warren would have made a great president.  Perhaps in another hundred years or so, the people of this country will accept that women are as capable as men of being leaders.  Obviously, it isn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

Another thing that disgusts me about the Democrats this year, or perhaps I should say about the Democratic Party, is that they are so determined to squeeze Bernie Sanders out.  Now, don’t get me wrong … I like Joe Biden just fine and will be happy as a lark if, by this time next year, we are talking about President Biden.  However, I don’t like the hatchet job that the Party is doing on Bernie Sanders.

There may be good reasons that Bernie is not the ‘best man for the job’, as our friend Gronda notes in her post this morning.    But, it should not be up to the Democratic Party to decide, nor the media.  It should be up to We the People.  That, my friends, is one of the principles upon which this nation was founded … that the people have the right to choose their leaders.  Will the people sometimes make mistakes?  Sure … that much is painfully obvious from the result we’ve lived with for over three years now.  But, it is still the people’s right to choose, not a handful of people who control the Party.

I would very much like to see the media use their loud voices to educate and inform, rather than to try to tell us what is good for us.  I’m willing to bet that more than half the people who are either registered Democrats or Independents don’t know the actual platforms of either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.  They hear that label, “democratic socialist” and that’s all they want to know.  They form their opinions directly from the opinions of whichever media personality they most like or most often watch.  The media could play such an important role, but instead they pander to gossip and emotion.

I strongly suspect that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and as I said, I’m fine with that.  I would love to see him pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, but I doubt that will happen.  My next best hope is that he will choose Senator Kamala Harris, who is an intelligent, well-spoken woman who I might have even voted for, had she not dropped out of the running early on.  It is time, folks, to drop those preconceived notions that a woman is “too emotional” or somehow just not qualified to sit in the Oval Office.  If Biden selects Harris, perhaps in time she will be our first woman president.  And about damn time, too!

So, folks, fasten your seat belts and prepare for the next four months of … The Bernie & Joe Show!

A Different Perspective About Bernie

Everywhere I look, I see pundits opining that Bernie Sanders is the worst possible choice for Democrats, that he is too far left, that moderates will never vote for him, that he cannot possibly beat Donald Trump.  It disturbs me to see even the democrats writing such drivel, but I hadn’t been able to come up with my own well-reasoned response, though I knew there was one somewhere inside this head, if only I could find it.  Well, once again Robert Reich comes to the rescue!

Calm down, establishment Democrats. Bernie Sanders might be the safest choice.
“Moderate” candidates won’t be electable if they can’t speak to middle- and working-class frustrations.

Robert Reich-4Right after Sen. Bernie Sanders’s big win in last week’s Nevada caucuses, Joe Lockhart, President Bill Clinton’s former press secretary, expressed the fear gripping the Democratic establishment in an op-ed for CNN: “I don’t believe the country is prepared to support a Democratic socialist, and I agree with the theory that Sanders would lose in a matchup against Trump.”

Like much of the party establishment, he is viewing American politics through outmoded lenses of left versus right, with Sanders (I-Vt.) on the far left and President Trump on the far right. So-called moderates such as former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg supposedly occupy the political center, appealing to a broader swath of the electorate.

This may have been the correct frame for politics decades ago, when America still had a growing middle class, but it’s obsolete today. As wealth and power have moved to the top and the middle class has shrunk, more Americans feel politically disempowered and economically insecure. Today’s main divide isn’t left versus right. It’s establishment versus anti-establishment.

Some background: In the fall of 2015, I visited Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri and North Carolina, researching the changing nature of work for my book, “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.” I spoke with many of the same people I had met two decades prior, when I was secretary of labor, as well as some of their grown children. I asked them about their jobs and their views about the economy. I was most interested in their sense of our system as a whole and how they were faring in it.

What I heard surprised me. Twenty years before, most said they had been working hard and were frustrated that they weren’t doing better. Now they were angry — at their employers, the government and Wall Street; angry that they had not been able to save adequately for retirement, and that their children weren’t doing any better. Several had lost jobs, savings or homes during the Great Recession. By the time I spoke with them, most were employed, but the jobs hardly paid any more than they had years before.

I heard the phrase “rigged system” so often that I began asking people what they meant by it. They spoke about the bailout of the banks, political payoffs, insider deals and out-of-control CEO pay. The resentments came from self-identified Republicans, Democrats and independents; white, black, Latino and Asian American; union households and non-union. The common thread was that everyone was either middle or working class.

With the 2016 primaries on the horizon, I asked which candidates they found most attractive. At the time, party leaders favored Democratic former secretary of state Hillary Clinton or former Florida Republican governor Jeb Bush. But the people I spoke with repeatedly mentioned Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They said Sanders or Trump would “shake things up,” “make the system work again,” “stop the corruption” or “end the rigging.”

The next year, Sanders — a Jewish, 74-year-old Vermonter and self-described Democratic socialist — barely lost to Clinton in the Iowa caucuses, beat her decisively in the New Hampshire primary, garnered 47 percent of the caucus-goers in Nevada and ended up with 45 percent of the pledged delegates from Democratic primaries and caucuses.

Trump, then a 69-year-old egomaniacal maybe-billionaire and reality TV star who had never held office and never had any previous standing in the Republican Party, won the GOP primaries and then went on to beat Clinton (though not, of course, in the popular vote), one of the most experienced and well-connected politicians in modern America.

It was seismic, and it cannot be fully explained by Sanders’s or Trump’s appeal to their core base voters. It was a rebellion against the establishment. Clinton and Bush started with all the advantages, but neither could credibly convince voters they were not part of the system.

A direct line connected decades of stagnant wages, the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of the tea party and the occupy movement and the emergence of Sanders and Trump in 2016. The people I spoke with no longer felt they had a fair chance to make it. National polls told much the same story: According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who felt most people could get ahead through hard work dropped by 13 points between 2000 and 2015. In 2006, according to Gallup, 59 percent of Americans thought government corruption was widespread; by 2013, 79 percent did.

Trump galvanized millions of blue-collar voters living in places that never recovered from the tidal wave of factory closings. He promised to bring back jobs, revive manufacturing and get tough on trade and immigration. “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” he roared. “Five, 10 years from now — different party. You’re going to have a workers’ party,” he forecast. “A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry.” He blasted politicians and financiers who “took away from the people their means of making a living and supporting their families.”

Trump’s populist pose, of course, was one of the biggest cons in American political history. Since his election he has given the denizens of C-suites and boardrooms almost everything they’ve wanted and hasn’t markedly improved the lives of his working-class supporters, even if his politically incorrect, in-your-face style continues to make many feel as if he’s taking on the system.

The frustrations today are larger than they were four years ago. Even though corporate profits and executive pay have soared, the typical worker’s pay has barely risen, jobs are less secure, and health care less affordable.

The best way for Democrats to defeat Trump’s fake populism is with the real thing, coupled with an agenda of systemic reform. This is what Sanders offers. For that reason, he has the best chance of generating the energy and enthusiasm needed to regain the White House.

He will need a coalition of young voters, people of color and the white working class. He seems on his way: In Nevada, according to entrance polls, he won with Latino voters and white voters, women and men, college and non-college graduates. He was the first choice of every age group except for over-65. Nationally, he is narrowing former vice president Joe Biden’s edge with African American voters.

In a general election, Republicans would surely do everything they can to tag Sanders with the “socialist” label. But that hasn’t hurt him so far, partly because it doesn’t come with the stigma it once did.

And worries about a Nixon-McGovern-like blowout in 2020 seem far-fetched. In 1972, the middle class was expanding, not contracting. Polls currently show Sanders tied with or beating Trump: A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows Sanders beating Trump head-to-head in Michigan and Pennsylvania (but shows Trump beating all Democrats head-to-head in Wisconsin). A CBS News-YouGov poll released this week has Sanders beating Trump nationally.

Instead of hand-wringing about Sanders’s electability, maybe establishment Democrats should worry that a “moderate” Democrat might be nominated instead.

Think about it …

An OUTRAGE!

Roger Stone … he’s a nasty piece of work.  He’s part of the reason we are in the mess we’re in today, with a president who thinks he’s king, with the wealthy calling the shots while the rest of us are lied to and our rights diminished on a daily basis.  But let’s go back a little further …For many years in the 1980s and ‘90s, Stone was a lobbyist for Donald Trump on behalf of his casino businesses.  Stone has been involved in so many scandals that I’ve lost count.  Stone is also associated with Proud Boys, a far-right, fascist, white supremacist group.  He has been affiliated with Alex Jones’ Infowars, Breitbart, and the conspiracy theory that claimed President Obama was born outside the U.S.  Stone has linked his fortunes with so many nasties that it would take me the whole day to tell you about them all.  But his most recent crimes landed him, finally, in very hot water.stone-angryRoger Stone was largely responsible, along with Russian operators and Julian Assange, for hacking into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 election.  On January 25, 2019 Stone was arrested on seven criminal charges in relation to Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election:  one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

On February 18, 2019, Stone posted on Instagram a photo of the federal judge overseeing his case, Amy Berman Jackson, with what resembled rifle scope crosshairs next to her head.Amy-Berman-JacksonAfter a week-long trial in November 2019, the jury convicted Stone on all counts.  His sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for February 6th, but his attorneys requested a delay until sometime after March 9th.  Stone’s attorneys have argued for no jail time, but only probation.  Yesterday, prosecutors recommended a sentence of between 7 and 9 years.  Immediately Donald Trump tweeted inanely …

“This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

And now I come to the part of this story that should horrify you.

Stone-orange-suitThe Department of Justice plans to reduce its sentencing recommendation.  No word yet on whether they will recommend only probation, or perhaps a sentence of only a few months.  But think about this one, folks.  The man is a criminal, has been a criminal all his adult life, has been proven to have broken countless laws including lying to Congress and threatening a witness, and he is a large part of the reason that Donald Trump is sitting in the Oval Office today, though not through legitimate means.  And yet, because Donald Trump threw a hissy fit, the Department of Justice, under Trump’s lackey William Barr, is going to actually override justice to please the “president”.  In other words … we have no Department of Justice and Trump is now calling the shots.

Think about it … it can work in both ways.  Say I’m arrested outside the White House for protesting something that Trump has done … if Trump told William Barr he wanted me put away for life, no amount of arguing by my attorneys would change the verdict.  Is this what we’ve allowed to happen in this nation? Paul Manafort is serving a 7 ½ year sentence for his crimes … why should Stone get any less, for his crimes were every bit as serious as Manafort’s?

broken-justiceJustice.  It’s a funny word, for it’s open to interpretation.  There are grey areas, for sure.  But, when the ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office can literally override the courts, can decide what he wants and the Department of “Justice” will accede to his whims and wishes, then … there is no justice.  If the court gives Roger Stone no more than a slap on the wrist for his very serious crimes, then this nation is in deep trouble … the last bastion of hope for salvation from a cruel dictator will have crumbled.

Some Food For Thought …

Like many of you, I’m extremely disappointed in the events of the past few days … the Iowa caucus chaos, the State of the Union reality show, and of course the Senate’s unconscionable acquittal of the most corrupt and criminal president in history.  To say that I’m discouraged would be an understatement.  I am overwhelmed, burned out by the onslaught of news and the number of times the face of the ugliest man in history has cropped up on my computer screen.  I’ve spent the last three hours trying to pull together a meaningful post, and finally gave up … decided there would be no morning post on Filosofa’s Word today.  But then, I stumbled across Robert Reich’s latest video.  I’ve shared his work before … he is intelligent, well experienced in government, and has a good head on his shoulders.

This video is from Tuesday, the day of the State of the Union address, and in it, Reich puts forth some thought-provoking premises about why we are where we are today, and what Democrats must do in order to beat Trump in November.  Much of what he says, we have all talked about before, but he puts it all together in a way that makes us stop and think for a moment.  Now if only we can get the democratic candidates to watch the video!

Take a look, let me know your thoughts, and I hope to get a bit of sleep and come out of the rabbit hole in time for my afternoon post.

A Conservative Talks Sense

Today I am sharing a column by Ross Douthat of the New York Times.  The thing I find most interesting about this piece is that Mr. Douthat is a conservative, a Republican, and yet he is arguing in favour of Trump’s defeat in November.  It is encouraging to see that not all republicans have partaken of the toxic Kool-Aid.

The Only Way to Remove Trump

To eject the president, you need to beat him.

ross-douthat-thumbLargeBy Ross Douthat, Opinion Columnist

All you have to do is beat him.

Donald Trump is not a Caesar; he does not bestride our narrow world like a colossus, undefeatable save by desperate or underhanded means. He is an instinct-driven chancer who has exploited the decadence of his party and the larger system to grasp and hold a certain kind of power.

But he is also a reckless and distracted figure, a serial squanderer of opportunities, who barely won the presidency and whose coalition is united only in partisan solidarity and fear of liberalism. He may not be removable by the impeachment process, but is not a king; he is a widely hated, legislatively constrained president facing a difficult re-election.

All you have to do is beat him.

For a long time during Trump’s ascent I wrote columns demanding that the leaders of the Republican Party do something to keep this obviously unfit, chaotic, cruel man from becoming their nominee for president. Those columns were morally correct but structurally naïve, based on theories of party decision-making that no longer obtain in our era of institutional decay.

But Trump could have been stopped in the Republican primaries the old-fashioned way — by being beaten at the polls. His base was limited, his popularity fluctuated, and if his rivals had recognized the threat earlier, campaigned against him consistently, strategized with one another more effectively, and avoided their own meltdowns and missteps, there was no reason he could not have been defeated.

All you have to do is beat him.

After Trump’s administration began and immediately descended into chaos, I had one last flare of institutionalism, one last moment of outrage and 25th Amendment fantasy. But since then I have left the outrage to my liberal friends, watching them put their hopes in Robert Mueller’s investigation, in law-enforcement and intelligence-agency leaks and whistle-blowing, and finally — though with less real hope, and more grim resignation — in the House’s articles of impeachment.

Now that last effort is ending, as everyone with eyes could see it would, with the Republicans who failed to beat Trump when it counted declining to turn on him now that partisan consolidation and improving national conditions have sealed their base to him. The mix of expedience and cravenness with which the institutional G.O.P. approached impeachment is no different than the way the institutional G.O.P. behaved during Trump’s initial ascent, and it leaves Trump’s opposition no worse off than before. A failed impeachment doesn’t give him new powers or new popularity; it just shows that the normal way to be rid of an unpopular president is the way that Democrats must take.

All you have to do is beat him.

Of course, in trying to beat him they have to cope with the fact that he is chronically unscrupulous, as the Biden-Ukraine foray shows. And they have to overcome the advantage that his particular coalition enjoys in the Electoral College.

But in other ways the Democrats are lucky to have Trump to run against, as they were lucky in 2016. In a year when the fundamentals mildly favored Republicans, Hillary Clinton got to face off against the most-disliked G.O.P. nominee of modern times. And she would have beaten him — even with Russia, even with Comey — had her campaign taken just a few more steps to counter his team’s long-shot strategy to flip the Midwest.

All you have to do is beat him.

As with 2016, so with politics since. Liberal hand-wringing about their structural disadvantages ignores the advantages that Trump keeps giving them — the fact that in the best economy in 20 years he can’t stop making people hate him, can’t stop missing opportunities to expand his base, can’t stop forcing vulnerable Republicans to kiss his ring and thereby weaken their own prospects.

Impeachment has only extended this pattern, with Republicans voting to shorten the trial even when it makes them look like lackeys, and too cowed in many cases to even take the acquit-but-still-condemn approach that Democrats took with Bill Clinton. So now most of the country thinks the president did something wrong, most of the country thinks Republicans are protecting him, and most of the country is open, entirely open, to voting Trump and the most vulnerable Republican senators out in nine short months.

All you have to do is beat him.

It’s worth remembering, too, that liberalism is not just struggling in America, with our Electoral College and right-tilting Senate; it is struggling all around the world. Which, again, suggests that American liberals are fortunate to have Trump as their Great Foe. If he were merely as disciplined and competent as Boris Johnson or Viktor Orban, to choose leaders with whom he has a few things in common, he would be coasting to re-election.

Instead it is very likely that he will lose. But it was likely that he would lose in 2016 as well. One essential lesson of the Trump era is that likelihoods are not enough; if you want to end the Trump era only one thing will suffice.

You have to beat him.

Robert Reich And The Founding Fathers Speak

Many people who support Trump, both in and out of government, claim that what Trump has done is not an impeachable offense.  Some even go so far as to claim his extortion of the Ukrainian president, holding up much-needed military support in exchange for President Zelenskyy announcing he would investigate Trump’s rival Joe Biden, is “business as usual”.  I can talk until I’m blue in the face, and those people will say I’m just a sore loser, still angry because Hillary Clinton didn’t win in 2016.  They’d be wrong … Hillary actually did win by nearly 3 million votes.  The unfair skewing of districts in many states, however, handed Trump enough undeserved electoral votes to carry him into the Oval Office.

But, about impeachment … though I studied Constitutional Law for two years, and have read the Constitution probably 30-40 times, I am not an expert on Constitutional Law.  But I know of someone who is.

Robert Reich-4

Robert Reich

Robert Reich is an American economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.

Reich has been the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley since January 2006. He was formerly a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and professor of social and economic policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University.

Suffice it to say that this man knows how government works, and knows the Constitution far better than, say, a president who has never read the short, 8.000-word document.  So, let’s hear what Mr. Reich has to say about whether what Trump has done is impeachable.

He’s Got To GO!

Folks, it’s just not funny anymore, okay?  Oh wait … it was never funny, was it?  When lives are at stake, there can be no laughter.  When the foundations of a government is at stake, the time for laughter has passed.

On November 8th of 2016, some 62,979,879 people voted for a ‘man’ named Donald Trump.  A ‘man’ few had heard of in political circles, for he was naught but a real estate ‘mogul’ and a television entertainer.  I had heard the name, but not being a watcher of television, nor an occupier of casino stools, it was largely irrelevant to me.  Until June 2015, that is.  The vote for Trump was not the majority, but nonetheless, because of racial gerrymandering, he managed to win the electoral college and thus was inaugurated on January 20th, 2017, into the highest office of the United States government.

Since that fateful day, he has been hellbent and determined to destroy the nation he swore to protect, to oppose the Constitution he swore to uphold, and most of all … to profit.

He was the most unqualified, unprepared person imaginable for this position.  He said he would surround himself with the ‘best people’.  They said he would learn … they said he would become ‘presidential’.

They were all wrong.  He didn’t.

It is now 33 months into his term, and much of the destruction he has wrought is irreversible.  The latest horror may well have been the last straw for this nation, for it has convinced our allies that our word is worth less than the paper it is written on.  As a result of his decision to remove U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, at least 38 civilians and 81 Kurdish fighters have been killed.  Those deaths are attributable to the United States.  Their blood is on the hands of none other than Donald Trump who negotiated with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, Trump immediately removed troops from Syria, and within hours Erdoğan began brutally attacking the Kurds.

Donald Trump does not feel badly about the deaths, but instead made comments on Wednesday that the “Kurds are no angels”, and that the Turks attacking the Kurds in Syria has “nothing to do with us”.

“I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria to be, for the United States, strategically brilliant. Our soldiers are out of there, they’re totally safe. They’ve got to work it out. Maybe they can do it without fighting.”

A classic case of that arrogant saying, “I got mine”.

Trump’s ignorance has cost human lives.  That, my friends, is not reversible.  I would like to hear from some of those who support Trump if they are okay with our allies being murdered because Trump didn’t know what he was doing.

The House of Representatives held a vote on Tuesday on whether to condemn Trump’s actions in the Middle East.  The bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support in favour of condemning Trump’s actions:  354 Yea; 60 Nay; 4 Present; 14 Not Voting.  81% of the entire House condemns Trump’s foolhardy action.  My own representative voted Nay, and had a scathing email from me waiting in his in box this morning.  The biggest disappointment was that Justin Amash, who left the GOP earlier this year after voicing support for impeachment, abstained, voting only “Present”.  Ah well, I suppose his bout of conscience didn’t last very long, did it?

What does this condemnation mean?  Not a damn thing, really, for it is mainly symbolic.  What it does signal, however, is that at least 129 republicans in the House of Representatives have had enough … for them, Trump has finally crossed a line.  This is, perhaps, the true significance of this move … it sends a message, loud and clear, that there are limits to what he can do and still have the support of his party in Congress.  My hope is that some of those 129 republicans will also now think long and hard about impeachment and see that it may be the only way to salvage what is left of our reputation before he finishes his process of destruction.  The presidency of Donald Trump is costing the people of this nation far, far too much.

Yesterday, Trump boasted of a cease-fire that had been worked out between Mike Pence and Recep Erdoğan.  It is not a cease fire.  Let’s be clear … it is a cessation of attack for five days, 120 hours, to “give the Kurds time to clear out”.  But … the Kurds have a right to be there.  The Kurds should not have to ‘clear out’.  The implication is clear … any who remain at the end of five days will be obliterated.  This amounts to nothing more than a further abandonment on the part of the U.S. of our allies.  What happens, I wonder, if Trump’s buddy Putin decides he would like to add the UK or France or Germany to his vision for an expanded USSR-style Russian empire?

It seems to me that the person who has the least understanding of international affairs, is calling all the shots now.  Or, rather, he is the puppet whose strings are being pulled by the likes of Putin and Erdoğan, who are actually calling all the shots.

And the latest, announced late yesterday, is that he has awarded himself a prize!  He, in his great and unmatched wisdom, has decided that next year’s G7 summit will be held at Trump’s Doral Resort, so that he can profit ‘bigly’.  This, my friends, is against the law.  But, will anybody hold him accountable?  Will anybody say, “No, Donnie, you cannot do that?”  It remains to be seen.  Thus far, I’ve only seen looks of disbelief and shaking heads, but no action.  Perhaps, if Trump stays on his current path of shoving our allies under the bus, he will be the one not invited to next year’s G7.

There is growing support around the nation for impeachment.  Just today, White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, let slip that Trump had, in fact, offered “quid pro quo” to the Ukranian President Zelinskyy, in exchange for providing false information about the Bidens in order to affect the outcome of next year’s election.  My friends … It is time for Donald Trump to go, and frankly, I don’t care in what form or fashion, for if he remains in office for another five years, this nation will hit rock bottom.  I firmly believe that.

If we don’t vote, we’ll get HIM again

I know thirteen months seems like a long time, but … November 3rd 2020, election day in the U.S., will be here before you know it. It is not too soon to start thinking about some things. Oh sure, most who are reading this know that they will vote for the democratic nominee, no matter who it is. But what about those who won’t likely vote? Just this morning I saw a tweet that said if Biden is the nominee, she won’t vote. What, if anything, can we do to motivate and encourage everyone to vote? Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking post about this and I encourage you to read it, think about it. We’ll chat more soon, for I have some ideas. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

I can’t remember a time where the news cycle is so fluid that you can’t even keep up with it. The media is undoubtedly earning their stripes in the era of Trump. When one scandal erupts over here, another one erupts over there. I go on Twitter for 10 minutes, and multiple stories are breaking all at once.

Is this what we signed up for? Sadly, yes, it is. According to Pew Research, Americans are one of the least active voting populations among developed countries, ranking 26 out of 32 countries in voter turnout. Belgium, for example, saw over 87 percent of voters turn out it 2014. Compare that to the approximately 56 percent who turned out in the 2016 American election, and it’s tough not to conclude that there’s a sizable portion of our population who are not engaged in our democracy.

And in 2016, that disengagement hurt…

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Mitch McConnell: Enemy of the People

Senator Mitch McConnell has gone too far, has far overstepped his bounds.  In fact, it would seem that there are no limits, no boundaries to what McConnell believes is within his rights.

There is hard, irrefutable, fact-based evidence that the Russians interfered in numerous ways with our 2016 election, likely the only reason we have a madman in the Oval Office today.  Set aside for the moment the issue of how involved Donald Trump’s campaign was with the Russian efforts, for while that is important, today I wish to address something else. mcconnell-2Our intelligence agencies have warned that the Russians are already up to their shenanigans in an effort to do a repeat performance in 2020.  Even Trump’s butt-kissing Attorney General Barr has said that conditions still exist that would allow this scenario to repeat in 2020.  FBI Director Christopher Wray and Robert Mueller have warned that if we do nothing, the 2020 election will be compromised.

Last year, a bill with bipartisan support in the Senate, the Secure Elections Act, that would have …

  • Promoted better information sharing about cybersecurity threats
  • Funded improvements to state election systems and processes through federal grants
  • Established a bug bounty program to uncover new vulnerabilities in election systems

Not enough, but a darn good start.  The bill was squelched just 90 minutes before it was set to be heard on August 22nd.  We now know who squelched it … Mitch McConnell.  Today, there are three bills in the Senate that address election security:

  • Protecting the Right to Independent and Democratic Elections (PRIDE) Act
  • Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act
  • Honest Ads Act, which would give online political ads the same disclosure requirements as political ads on television and other media

All three were introduced last year and re-introduced this year after the 115th Congress failed to act.  And, it looks as if the 116th will also fail to act, all because of one man:  Mitch McConnell.mcconnell-1Last week, it came to light from another senator, Roy Blunt of Missouri, that McConnell has made it quite clear that he will not allow the Senate to consider any election security bills.  Process that for a minute.  One man … one single man has the power to ensure that we will have an election, perhaps the most important election in our lifetimes, that completely lacks integrity.

His reason appears to be that any talk of the 2016 Russian interference upsets Donald Trump, and McConnell, among others, lacks the courage, the guts, to stand up to Trump and do the right thing.  How does such a wimp get elected to the Senate to begin with, let alone stay there for thirty-four years?  Mitch is 77 years of age … he’s well past his prime and is another of those old, bigoted white men that we need to purge from Congress!

This is the third time in a week that I have heard of people doing the wrong thing for the sole purpose of protecting Don Trump’s fragile ego.  Wake up, people!  Don Trump is 72 years old, not two.  If he couldn’t take the heat, he should have stayed out of the kitchen!

There is but one republican in all of Congress who I can respect, who has courage, who is not attached by puppet strings to Donald Trump, and that is Justin Amash.  But again, that is a story for another day.

I don’t know about you folks, but I am livid at the thought that an elected official, one who has been taking taxpayer money for 34 years now, would so blatantly act against the best interests of every single person in this nation in order to keep Trump happy, for everyone knows that if you make Trump angry, he will call you names.

Consider for a moment the results of the Russian interference in 2016.  We ended up with the most corrupt president the nation has ever seen.  A madman, a warmonger, a fool who acts first and thinks later, if he thinks at all.  And now, according to McConnell, we may well end up stuck with him for at least another four years, just because Mitch wishes to stay in the good graces of that same fool?  Not only that, but quite possibly the interference will filter down to congressional elections also, and it may be that he who gets the most votes … loses.

We’ve heard a lot about ‘obstruction of justice’ lately … is what McConnell is doing not also obstruction of justice?  He is, after all, keeping Congress from doing their job and denying the people of this nation, the people who pay his salary, the right to a fair and unfettered election.