VOTE!!! – Part II — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

This is Part II of a guest post on voting in the 2020 election, by our friend, Roger Jacob … Roger has a clear view from across the big pond of what is happening in the U.S. today, and has some words of wisdom, from a historical context, that we all need to hear.  Many thanks, Roger, for your wise words, and for taking the time out of your own writing schedule to write this post for us.

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part II

The Unhappy but Unavoidable Basics

“Democracy is a very bad form of government. But I ask you never to forget: All the others are so much worse.”

This stirring and wise little statement is from the opening credits of each episode of the brief CBS drama 1963-1964 Slattery’s People. The outline being the local politics and a state legislator James Slattery.

Churchill’s earlier version was, one of his less erudite and not so stirring “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, which it is argued was not one of his own and probably explains why it lacks a Churchillian ‘something’

Thus when you objectively compare the other forms of government (or antics masquerading as government) the ask yourself this ‘Would I like to live there for the rest of my life?’. For make no mistake, in this current era of Human history of large aggressive states and huge corporations central government of a nation by a small group of people is the only alternative, unless you can find a very small piece of isolated land that no one wants and survive on it…while hoping no one finds valuable resources thereupon. You are dealing with a 7.7 billion sized very flawed but inventive species here, hiding out and surviving can be difficult.

On Democracy and more Unavoidables

Having to accept the fact that someone is going to run the place wherever you live and thus have an impact on your life, having a say in who gets there is an attractive option. As you are going to vote in people and not saintly beings there will be mistakes, flaws, compromise, disappointments and all the other baggage humans drag around with them. This is also unavoidable. This is the Current Reality. If you are looking for perfection in government. Sorry that era has not arrived yet…hopefully it will, if we survive that long.

Another facet of democracy is that folk who have very strong opinions will make sure they can get out there and vote. Now you may not care for the folk with the Strong Opinions, but if you don’t vote then they will have a disproportionate say in your life. Again you don’t get to avoid this. Yes you can protest, yes you can organise campaigns and you might win a few, but ‘they’ the elected of the ‘Strong Opinions’ will still be there and the only chance you will get to remove them will be at the next election.

This is how the flawed process of Democracy works. Participation is the only stable, civic way you can ensure it remains Stable and Civic.

Narrowing in. The USA in 2020

I address this portion to the citizens of voting age in the USA.

You will not need me to list, report or otherwise enumerate the controversial decisions, statements and persons who have appeared upon the political stage since the election of 2016. You have them burned into your memory and possibly your hearts. You know full well that the temperature of the political atmosphere has risen and thus increased the level of toxicity. You know, as I suggested before Consensus is a very endangered species, in some regions it is extinct.

Now it may be, it is possible that many of the folk associated with the current administration are not racists, homophobic, anti-minority, narrow-minded reactionaries or religious zealots. It maybe. However by the actions and statements coming out of the administration these views have been given an air of respectability, they can be howled out under the guise of the much-abused term ‘Free Speech’. There are people striding about the public domain who back in the 1960s & 1970s would have labelled ‘wackos’ and generally laughed at. Now they have far too many followers.

In this situation I will ask those of you who do not vote this very hard question. Are you content with that situation? Are you not bothered about what is happening along the US Mexican border? Are you at ease with the mass shooting? Are you at ease with the Hate-Crime and unprovoked attacks on minority peoples? Are you? Now be careful with your reply as you might feel inclined to reply to me, because whatever you write however you argue, I will be replying too … with those questions. For there is no option if you choose to stay in the USA. Are you content with this administration and its followers? Are you?  Are you willing to stand by and do naught but simply write an impassioned piece in Social Media in the belief that somehow that will change things? For ‘they’ write impassioned pieces too.

We dial back to the previous post. And that that 60,000,000+ folk voted from this administration and rest assured they will vote again, and again, and again. This 25%-30% of the numbers. But they are not the majority…they were not the majority in 2016 … thanks to a narrow margin and a freak of your system they ‘won’. So do they truly represent anyone other than themselves. Are you content with these people telling you how the nation is going to be run. Are you?

For the non-voter by principal here is your paradox which in this case has to be answered. You might well have very strong views on government, which is why you do not vote. I will again  come back to the earlier point. Someone is going to run the nation. Are you content with this administration running it, or would you rather chance another, and yes risk those disappointment? Some might say ‘better the devil you know’… Let me say from a study of American political history ‘Well folks, if you are content with a devil …’

This I will hammer home again, and again. Are you content? Are you willing to let things go on the way they are? Do you truly think that an alternative will be The Same? Do you? Are you willing to risk the lives and well-being of minorities to satisfy your own views? Are you content for them to lay there upon some allegorical petri dish while you muse over your own political philosophies hoping to gain some ephemeral moral high-ground. Sorry, but that is not the real world you are living in. Oh yes you can talk about change and I would not challenge that but in this climate you do not get the chance to make that change because it comes by steady, slow evolution and right now we are looking at a possible political extinct event.

Polemic? Yes of course. Because currently American politics is a place of polemics from both sides and in that toxic environment your way does not have a hope. Civil War does. But not yours. Not at this time. The atmosphere is too toxic.

Your only option to change is to get out there and vote.

Defeatism

This is something of fall-back cop-out which comes in many forms. Let us leave the lazy ‘What’s the point’ excuse, I’ve put up enough arguments against that in the above words. NO need to repeat. There are others worries. These needed to be address by activism

Gerrymandering- Yes, they will do that. You need a rather dull and stodgy UK style Boundaries Commission to guard against that and even then there is huffing and puffing. However you are in pre-war situation here and propaganda  plays a part. Imagine the result when Trump’s dream gerrymandering has worked. For Trump 65,000,000. Against Trump 90,000,000. Imagine what the media and world media would make of that. It would be quite comic, and the streets would be clogged with protestors. And where is Trump’s mandate? Also that would have many a congress or senate member worrying about the next election.

Not Eligible – This is an old trick which was used in the South to keep ‘those people’ out of the booths when the local politicians were queasy about ‘good ol’ boys’ with clubs. This takes finesse as what would be required would be a strongly created website were folk denied the vote could register their names and the reason. Imagine millions of  names turning up? Of course that does need, as I said a very good site.

The Russians – Yeah. That’s another old one from the European book of tricks. Influence the nation, or make you think they are influencing the nation and thus erode the feeling a vote will count. Get out there and vote and make a noise about it. As with the other two problems it is all about raising the opposition profile.

Summary

Your nation is on tracks for an extremist disaster. Trump is only a small part of it. The main issue is the polarisation. The only way that can be defeated is by The Active Moderate, who demands their voice be heard. The one who will not be silent, and the only way they will listen by is the counting of the votes and the voice of those who voted.

Anything else is quite frankly fluff the current administration will blow away with its own propaganda.

The administration’s supporters will vote you can be sure of that. By not voting you are simply supporting them and stoking the fires.

Are you content with that?

Are you comfortable with the persecution of minorities?

Are you at ease with the erosion of the environment?

Are you glad the rich are getting richer?

If you don’t vote out of choice, then you must be.

Stands to reason.

Note to readers:  I will be re-running these two posts, as well as others, in the days leading up to election day.  Meanwhile, feel free to use these to help try to convince people you may know who claim it is too much bother to vote, or have other excuses. 

VOTE!!! – Part I — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

A week or so ago, our friend Roger and I were chatting about how crucial next year’s election will be in the U.S., how it is likely to be the single most important election in the history of the nation, and how critical it is that every eligible person uses the power of his vote on 03 November 2020.  Roger is a gifted writer with a strong sense of history, and when he offered to write a guest post on this subject, I jumped at the offer!  Roger lives in Wales (UK) and I find that often, those outside the U.S. see our situation with more clarity than we who live in this muck every day do. What follows is the first of a two-part guest post titled:

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part I-

Motivations, Histories, Circumstances

Preface, Emotions and History

Firstly, I would not be writing this were I not for many years pro-American. I do not subscribe to the tired old ‘USA is the root of all evils’ jag. If you are going to be critical of the USA then you had better include sentences on Russia and China in your comments, they do not get a free-ride. The Three Big Powers. Big Powers are ugly in their dealings with the world. A brief read of the histories of Empires or Very Large Nations anywhere anywhen should convince you of that.

That said back to my relationship with the USA. The music, the humour, the variety, the enthusiasm, the can-do. I thought them wonderful, exhilarating. Dare I use the shallow phrase ‘I love(d) The USA!’. I still value its freedom of art, this vast sprawling inventive nation not shackled by clichés of faux-rebellion and cliques of the self-aggrandised and their followers smaller nations can suffer with.

This opening paragraph is essential to my argument. Because I care about the USA and I see its potential about to be ruined. Torn apart by the negative parts of the Human, those which History warns us have always been there and despite the myriad of examples still lurk, with dread patience. You, The USA is at one of the turning points many nations have encountered. You can journey on. Or you can implode. 2020’s Presidential election beckons.

2016 Election

Being a retired Civil Servant I promptly started checking stats and quite frankly became very side-lined. I will spare my fascination with numbers and give you some simple facts: Clinton = 65,853,514 Trump = 62,984,828. Whereas Trump is legally and constitutionally the USA president more people voted for Clinton. 245,500,000 Americans are 18 & over. Therefore, Trump was voted in by 25.6 % of the adult population. This in itself is not unusual, other than the fact that there is a minority president. Combined these show hardly a stunning mandate.  

Ramifications

Because of the divisive nature of Trump there is at best a stubborn refusal for one side to see the other’s argument against or for him. At worse there is a loud, vociferous and toxic climate in American politics in which consensus has long since withered and there is naught but conflict. Trump has done nothing to assuage the opposition, in fact he has goaded them and relied upon his own loyal base to stoke up his confidence. Thus, widening the gap. Into such an atmosphere naturally the rabble rousers and extremists will turn up and prosper by feeding the supporters with a diet of anger, mockery of the foe and most of all hate (and rake in the bucks folks…notice how Bannon does not live in a shack or trailer park). This is always the situation prior to a civil or civic strife. A House Divided. You will see this phrase again.

Trump

People talk of Trump as if he was so great political operator with an inane sense of genius. This is not so. As businessmen before him he thought he could run the country like he runs his businesses and by woeful chance he appeared at a time when: (1) a portion of the population were reeling from having one of ‘those’ people in the Whitehouse for two terms (2) The culture wars were entering their fourth decade and getting hotter (3) The antics of ‘The Hill’ were getting on people’s nerves. Thus, Trump is but the manifestations of millions of people’s fears, angers (and in some cases) blind prejudices. As far as they are concerned he is their man and not (as he believes) the other way around. Thus, this vocal and furious approximately 25% now hold sway in the Nation. A multi-cultured, five time zone, 300,000,000 + population, politically polarised with easy access to firearms Nation. A more astute generation of politicians would have picked up on this and would be doing something to damp down the fires. Not Trump, bloated with the adulation of his creators he sees only them and their needs. Woefully ignorant of the forces which are at work. A House Divided. History beckons.

Warning

The entrenchments of both sides indicate those who are currently involved within the political processes, be they politicians, aides, activists or voters have in most cases already made up their minds. The nation has in round terms 123,000,000 voters willing to make their mark, to repeat there is a potential in round terms of of 245,000,000. The questions to ask at this stage are is approximately one-half of the population content to let (1) Their future be fought over by another divided half. (2) Thus, content to be told how Life is going to be by a subsequent victorious quarter. If you didn’t vote last time because ‘why bother’ or ‘my principals’ were your fall back reasons, ask yourself:

Are you really content with a quarter of the population dictating to you?

Do you really think in this toxic situation you or folk close and dear to you will not be affected some day, some how, some when?

In the next part we will discuss this in more detail.

Thank you so much, Roger!  😊  Stay tuned for Part II …

He Speaks The Truth …

Two thumbs-up to President Jimmy Carter  👍👍

President Jimmy Carter spoke with historian/author Jon Meacham this week, and this is, in part, what he said …

“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

Asked by Meacham if he considers Trump to be an ‘illegitimate president’ …

“Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract. I would say yes.”

I like a man who isn’t afraid to speak what he believes, and President Carter has always been one such person.  In addition, he is, first and foremost, a humanitarian, a man who spends his spare time building houses for the poor.  A good person.  The antithesis of Donald Trump.

I don’t know nor care what Trump’s response to Carter’s assertion was, but I have just one question for you all, especially for any stray republicans that might accidentally stumble across this post:  Who would you trust more … a liar, a cheat, and a thief, or a man who builds houses for the poor?

I know my answer … what’s yours?Jimmy-Carter

Wise Words From A Wise Man

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

I have shared Mr. Reich’s work a few times before, and today I do so again.  His topic is one that I have given much thought to over the past two years and have serious concerns about.  Please take a few minutes to read it and think about this, for I believe Mr. Reich is correct, have long believed so.

Robert Reich: Be afraid of the president who refuses to lose

Photo of Robert Reich

The United States is now headed by someone pathologically incapable of admitting defeat. This doesn’t bode well for the 2020 presidential election.

Among the most chilling words uttered last month by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, were “given my experience working for Mr. Trump I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

Cohen should know better than anyone, but we already had reason to worry. In 2016, when polls showed Hillary Clinton with a wide lead, Trump claimed the election was rigged against him.

He refused to commit to honoring the election results if he lost, warning that he’d “reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” He added that he’d accept the results of the election “if I win.”

Throughout the summer of 2016, Trump’s claim of election rigging was echoed on Fox News. Newt Gingrich spoke of “a long tradition on the part of Democratic machines of trying to steal elections.” Rudolph Giuliani declared that “Hillary and [Tim] Kaine are right in the middle of the Washington insider rigged system.”

Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, said federal officials couldn’t be trusted to prevent voter fraud, warning that “if you’re relying on the Justice Department to ensure the security of the elections, we have to be worried.”

By early August 2016, according to a Bloomberg poll, 56 percent of Trump supporters believed the election would be rigged. (Among all voters, only 34 percent predicted a rigged election; 60 percent rejected the idea.)

Even after the election, Trump refused to accept that he had lost the popular vote. Still claiming election fraud, he established a presidential commission to find it. When the commission came back empty-handed, he abruptly dissolved it, saying (wrongly) that it had uncovered “substantial evidence of voter fraud.” No such evidence emerged.

For Trump, losing is the deepest form of humiliation, and humiliation is intolerable.

Every time he has lost a legislative or legal battle during his presidency he has blamed the other side, and has lashed back: shuttering the government, declaring a national emergency, whipping up his followers against recalcitrant judges, Democrats, the media or whomever he holds responsible.

Imagine it’s November 2020 and Trump has lost the election. He charges voter fraud, claiming that the “deep state” organized tens of millions of illegal immigrants to vote against him, and says he has an obligation not to step down.

Only this time he’s already president, with all the powers a president commands.

Traditionally, Americans have trusted our system of government enough that we abide by its outcomes even though we may disagree with them. Only once in our history, in 1861, did enough of us distrust the system so much we succumbed to civil war.

Typically, when an election is over, the peaceful transition of power reminds the public that our allegiance is not toward a particular person but to our system of government.

Five weeks after the bitterly contested election of 2000, and just one day after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of George W Bush, Al Gore graciously declared: “I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country.”

But what happens if an incumbent president claims our system is no longer trustworthy?

Trump’s emissaries have already seeded the battlefield. Last April, Sean Hannity of Fox News predicted that an attempt to impeach Trump (or presumably remove him from office any other way) would cause “fighting and dividing this country at a level we’ve never seen … those that stand for truth and those that literally buy into the corrupt deep state attacks against a duly elected president.”

Trump’s former consiglieri, Roger Stone, has warned of “an insurrection like you’ve never seen” and claimed that any politician who voted to oust Trump “would be endangering their own life.”

Just last month, Steve Bannon, another of Trump’s bottom feeders, predicted that “2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the Civil War, and I include Vietnam in that.” He didn’t make a prediction about 2020, but we can guess.

We should take seriously Michael Cohen’s admonition that if Trump is defeated in 2020, he will not leave office peacefully.

Republican leaders as well as Supreme Court justices and civic and religious leaders across the land must be prepared to assert the primacy of our system of government over the will of the man who refuses to lose.

We The People — A Letter

Dear Attorney General Barr,

I write to you on behalf of the majority of We the People of the United States of America.  You may recognize that line from the Preamble to the United States Constitution. Or perhaps not, though I believe this is a document that, as Attorney General of the United States, you have sworn an oath to uphold.

My reason for writing today is that we … that is We the People … are concerned that once the investigation by the esteemed Robert Mueller is complete, we (the People) will not be privy to the results and final report of said investigation.  This, Mr. Barr, is … unthinkable.  Simply put, it will not be accepted by the majority … of We the People.

Since early in 2016, we (the People) knew that something fishy was going on with Trump’s bid for the highest office in the land.  His calls for protestors to be beaten, his chants of “lock her up”, and his brazen calls for violence set our noses to twitching. Then there was the day that, on national television, he called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails!  Some people thought it was funny, but to the vast majority of us, it was a defining moment … one that defined Trump as mafia-esque, as a brute.

When the investigation into Russia’s attempts (successful, obviously) to meddle into our election was announced, we all applauded … well, most of us applauded.  Some of those who knew Trump to be a criminal but voted for him anyway kept their hands in their pockets.  And then came the incontrovertible evidence that some in Trump’s inner circle had helped Russia, and we were … what?  Appalled?  Certainly.  Horrified?  Without a doubt.  Pleased?  Yes, even that, for if it would lead to the downfall of the Idiot-in-Chief, it was worth having been played for fools.Robert-MuellerRobert Mueller is the person most qualified to have led this investigation.  He is a man of good conscience (a word vastly misunderstood in the Trump administration), and a man of ethics.  Personal feelings aside, we knew from the start that he could be trusted to do the right thing.  For nearly two years we have patiently waited.  As I often told friends who wanted to rush the process … it is a very tangled web and it will take time to sort through all the filthy filaments.  And so … we waited … mostly with patience, for the outcome would surely justify the wait.

But today, we are in doubt whether we will ever know the truth.  Why?  Because it is said that you may or may not allow us (that’s We the People to you) to know the full truth.  Or even part of the truth.  Let me make something perfectly clear to you, Mr. Barr … We the People will settle for nothing less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!  The ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office is a shyster, a crook!  We all know this, but what we need is verification to convince the not-so-bright among us.  You know it too, but you … well, you owe your job to that ‘man’, so your view is not without prejudice, is it?  That said, though you may owe Donald Trump for your job, your allegiance, lest you have forgotten, is to We the People, not to the faux president who occupies the Oval Office.

We (the People) demand a full accounting.  We demand to know what Robert Mueller has found – every last dirty detail of it.  We demand truth and justice.  If we don’t get it … if you withhold certain facts and evidence from us (that’s us, as in We the People), there will be a hue and cry, the likes of which have not been seen in this nation since, perhaps, the Vietnam War. For there is no longer a nation if Donald Trump remains in office.  If you withhold Robert Mueller’s report from us, then there is no longer a Department of Justice, by the very definition of the word, “justice”.

We have heard that you are a good man, an intelligent man, and that you can be trusted to do the right thing.  When you declared that you might not be willing to share the results of the Mueller investigation with us (the people), my level of trust in you dropped quite significantly, and I think I can say the same for a majority of the people.  Make it right, Mr. Barr.  Do the right thing.  Remember the Constitution that you swore to uphold.  Remember the people who work hard every day to pay your salary.  Restore our trust, not only in you, but in the laws of this nation, in truth and justice, for that trust has been gone for more than two years now and if this nation is to survive, the people must be able to trust their government.  Restore that trust, please, else suffer the consequences along with the rest of the dirty blokes in Washington.  We the People have had enough.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, on behalf of We the People

America In The Eyes Of The World – A Guest Post by Gary Metcalfe

Today I am happy to present the second guest post in response to my plea for friends outside the U.S. to give us their insight about how they view the U.S. today.  This one is by Gary Metcalfe, who blogs as bereavedandbeingasingleparent, or as I call him, Bereaved Dad.  Thank you, Gary, for taking the time and effort to write this illuminating piece!


IS YORKSHIRE CLOSER TO WASHINGTON OR PARIS

Geography doesn’t really come easily to a simple Yorkshire chap like myself. I’m lucky to find my way round the house never mind circumnavigate the globe.  But distance wise I am pretty sure we are closer to France than America. It has always puzzled me if I should call America – America or is it the USA? Let’s go for America. So, although we are physically closer to France, in terms of relationships are we closer to Washington or Paris?

This is such a difficult question given the fact that my own country has clearly gone barking mad. So badly divided over Brexit. Increasingly violent and seeing the worrying rise of extremism. Less tolerant. Without any effective leadership. Obsessed with the cult of personality over substance. A country with ever widening inequalities. Happy to criticise others yet reluctant to cooperate or make any meaningful international contribution.  Occasionally sending a few war planes into the Middle East does not really count as a constructive policy.

To be fair if Washington and Paris had any sense they would distance themselves from the UK. I suspect the leaders in Europe secretly can’t wait to get rid of us. When I worked for the NHS I went to a conference and the Secretary of State for Health started slagging off our European partners. He held up a European Competition Framework and complained that it was 300 pages long and was a clear sign of European bureaucracy gone mad. Unfortunately, he failed to mention that the vast majority of the bureaucracy in that document had been inserted at the request of the U.K. to protect our own interests. That document will be much slimmer when we have left.

Although we talk as if we are European we have historically seen our closest ally as America. America is often portrayed as vibrant, modern, yes a bit brash but also so very inclusive. Yes, we have seen things which make us shake our heads. The obsession with guns … what is all that about. Wouldn’t an obsession with something like Tea or Old Car Restoration be an awful lot safer for your kids. But still we could trust America. Then Obama came along and suddenly our closest ally became a real beacon of hope.

In 2011 the American President said a few simple words that resonated (he had a brilliant talent for that):

“We should do everything we can to ensure this country lives up to our children’s expectations”

 The words came at such a tragic time for the American People, but Obama was the leader we all wished we had. Intelligent, caring, passionate and someone who understood he had obligations to the upcoming generations. That’s a great look for country and certainly a friend we can work with.  Then the hope appeared to fade, stagnated by a divided country. Principles had to be compromised.  But still America was a trusted partner. Someone we could turn to when we fell out with Europe.

 Then we all got trumped.

 When Trump received his nomination it never really sunk in. We knew of him. A billionaire, a golfer, luxury hotel owner, someone who appeared in Home Alone 2 and the winner of the WWE Battle of the Billionaires with Vince McMahon – didn’t get his head shaved. That was it.

We didn’t focus on him too much as obviously Hillary would win, as obviously the UK would vote to stay in Europe. Then even after he won he wasn’t taken that seriously. He won’t last long, people started placing bets on how long he would be President. Most people seemed to think anywhere between 6 months to 1 week. But he stayed.

For the first period of his presidency it appeared from the U.K. that if you just ignored his frequent twitter rants then things would be ok. He hadn’t blown anything up. Apart from the noise nothing seemed to be happening. Yes, the revolving door approach to presidential appointments seemed vaguely amusing. Moving the White House engine room to a golf course (as clearly a golf course is where a President can do his best work) was not really a surprise. In fact, all we really heard was how much time he spent playing golf.  But slowly the news of the what trumping really meant started to filter across the pond.

  • Apparently dangerous links with Russia and certain Middle East tyrannies existed. But we couldn’t lecture on this as we have equally close links with Saudi Arabia.

  • The Paul Manafort saga (too confusing to really follow as we only heard about snippets of the story) but it clearly implied incompetence or something more sinister. Whatever the underlying cause it’s not a great example to the world of American Ethics.

  • The handling of the Puerto Rico natural disaster was just really insensitive, self-centred and despicable.

  • The apparent haste to fall out with your historic partners like Canada, France and Germany. But you have found a new buddy in North Korea.

  • He bizarrely started to openly condemn his own Intelligence Agencies and the FBI. Yet he didn’t seem as willing to condemn the Extreme Right operating in his own country.

  • The Complete disregard for international climate change commitments. It really felt like he was saying ‘stuff you’ to the world and future generations. Maybe he thinks it’s not my problem as I will be gone by the time the world burns. Contrast that with Obama’s approach. Monumentally stupid or colossally selfish.

  • Favouring the interest of the NRA over child safety. Seriously arming teachers….

  • Attacks on the Free Press and attempts to stifle debate. These are particularly worrying as some of our politicians are clearly starting to copy Trumps strategy. What happened to the Leader of the Free World role.

  • That Wall. That Magic Wall which will solve all of America’s problems. The Wall which is so precious that it’s worth freezing Government for. That must be some Wall. But the sight of a modern Leader seemingly taking personal delight at the shutdown. Probably thinks it makes him look like a big man. We are talking about people’s lives here being sacrificed for a few bricks.  Kids are dying on the border. Oh, I forgot they are just migrants. Are the golf courses still open?

To the vast majority in our country your President appears to be at best a misguided clown at worst a dangerously unbalanced self-obsessed bully. Either are not a good look for a leader and certainly not as a leader who we are trying to forge a partnership with. Many in our country feel that Trump has gone too far. That we should be distancing ourselves from him. But our PM is desperate, she sees an American trade deal (regardless of how bad it is) as a way of saving her job. So, unless we get a new government it’s going to happen.

Where does that leave us across the pond. Rapidly burning our bridges with Europe. Yet looking on at America with increasing consternation and alarm. At a time when we should be embracing closer links with Washington we see a dangerous superpower. Potentially a threat. Yes, a threat. And yet. And yet. As our country careens out of control into a world with few friends, our government views Trump as someone we might be able to quickly do business with. He clearly hates Europe as much as our Brexiteers. But at what cost. Is an unbalanced trade deal really worth further opening up our beloved National Health Service to Trump’s golfing buddies. Are we really that tainted as a country that we are prepared to sacrifice our moral principles for the price of a document which Trump could declare void at any stage.

So back to the big question. Are we closer to Washington or Paris? The answer is sadly neither.Text dividers

A Guest Post by David M. Prosser …

Yesterday, I put out a plea for some of my friends and readers who live outside the U.S. to write a guest post for this blog about how they view the United States as it stands today.  I’m calling my project simply ‘Coexist’, for despite thousands of miles and oceans between us, we really are neighbors in todays global world, and as such, we need to find a way to understand, to coexist.  We rely on each other for trade, for security, and perhaps most importantly, for cultural understanding.  The U.S. has not been a very good neighbor of late, and most of us are well aware that our standing in the world is greatly diminished.  We know from the media how the leaders of other nations view us, but I want to know how the people of those nations, our friends and neighbors, view us, both as a nation and as people.  The first person to respond to my plea was my dear friend, David Prosser of North Wales in the UK, and today I am publishing his guest post.  Thank you so very much, David, for your time and effort, and for sharing your thoughts.


In answer to my friend Jill Dennison’s call, I am writing to give an opinion from abroad as to how Trump, and more importantly America are viewed these days.

It’s important to note that back in 2016 the American elections were the cause of more interest than usual because a woman was attempting to get to the White House and this time in her own right and not as the wife of a candidate. Would we see the President and her First Man? To be honest most of us gave little or no credence to Donald Trump as the nomination of the Republicans. This was the man who started the rumour that President Obama was not American born. Probably the vilest man in America. As the campaign wore on he started with a chant of ‘Lock her up’ against Hilary Clinton which seemed to overshadow any of her policies, but even so, he couldn’t win. When he had neo Nazis at his events, or KKK and could describe them in glowing terms you knew he couldn’t win. The American people had more sense.

He won, after the electoral college gave him their votes. The popular vote was for Hilary Clinton showing that Americans could vote for both a black man and now a woman to be President. But the electoral College votes were enough to overturn expectations. The worrying thing is that here was a man who had waffled his way through an election on an  unwarranted chant against an opponent and a call for a wall to be built between Mexico and the United States which Mexico would be funding. Most of us never took that as a promise made and thought Mexico would be surprised at Trump’s cheek. It appears they were and they quickly made it clear that no funding for a wall would be coming from Mexico. Trump is a fanaticist who just opens his mouth and lets any stray thought slip out.

We’ve all been following Mr Mueller’s efforts to find the truth behind the election and some of Trump’s mutterings. Within my own little group expectations are that we’ll find that Trump is heavily in hock to Russian banks and that he’s accepted a degree of help from his friend President Putin at manipulating the election. Certainly Russia spent an awful lot of money on the Social sites to bolster Trump’s campaign.

In the two years since he was elected Trump seems to have emasculated the US and turned it into either a laughing stock or a nonentity on the world stage. Trump has single-handedly removed America away from Europe and has canceled America’s promises from the Paris Accord regarding global warming. It amazes us that Trump seems to have declared friendship for the World’s greatest Dictators and have OK’d it for the States to become racist again. It appears the last 50 years have been wiped out and he black people are to be treated as inferior beings again. The worst thing is it looks like this was a feeling kept in the background just waiting to come out again. It’s also OK to want to deny immigration. A country built on immigrants now says ‘No More’ and attempts to block any Moslems from entering the country except Saudi Arabia which though it funds terrorism including the planes hitting the twin towers can do no wrong in Trump’s eyes. It’s still a major surprise here that despite the rubbish that Trump spouts, much of it deliberate lies, that approx 40% of the US continue to support him. At this rate he’ll sell America to the highest bidder before his term ends and retire to some isolated island where he and all his money can happily retire. The family can stay behind and face Mueller’s findings.

Know this, that most of the UK feels for you and wishes you were Trump free. The best we can say for now is Good Luck.Text dividers

Thank you again, David!  And thank you for the Good Luck wishes … after tomorrow night we may need them more than ever!  Now come on, dear friends!  I need a few more volunteers!  I promise it’ll be fun!  

 

Shoot The Messenger???

The news on the street … well, okay, on the internet … is that the Freedom Caucus of the House of Representatives has prepared paperwork to propose impeachment proceedings against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Apparently, in light of his indictments against 12 Russians in the Robert Mueller investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election, the House Freedom Caucus has decided to shoot the messenger rather than try to understand what happened two years ago.  Now, in preparation for this post, I did some research into the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) and the Tea Party movement and I turned over some facts that I found very interesting.

The Tea Party movement began almost immediately following Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration (in January 2009) when his administration announced plans to give financial aid to bankrupt homeowners.  It is notable that this was one of the first things Trump reversed via executive order after he took office.  The driving force behind the movement was none other than David H. Koch of Koch brothers fame.  But here’s the really interesting thing … one of the things the party stands firmly in favour of is a reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit.  The tax bill of December 2017 ensured the exact opposite of both of these goals!  Both debt and deficit have been increased and are projected to be ‘bigly’ increased over the coming decade.

Left to right:  Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Mick Mulvaney

The House Freedom Caucus was founded by none other than current Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney, and is currently chaired by Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, consists of the following members:

Justin Amash Michigan
Joe Barton Texas
Andy Biggs Arizona
Rod Blum Iowa
Dave Brat Virginia
Mo Brooks Alabama
Ken Buck Colorado
Ted Budd North Carolina
Warren Davidson Ohio
Ron DeSantis Florida
Scott DesJarlais Tennessee
Jeff Duncan South Carolina
Matt Gaetz Florida
Tom Garrett Jr. Virginia]
Louie Gohmert Texas
Paul Gosar Arizona
Morgan Griffith Virginia
Andy Harris Maryland
Jody Hice Georgia
Jim Jordan Ohio
Raúl Labrador Idaho
Mark Meadows North Carolina
Alex Mooney West Virginia
Gary Palmer Alabama
Steve Pearce New Mexico
Scott Perry Pennsylvania
Bill Posey Florida
Mark Sanford South Carolina
David Schweikert Arizona
Randy Weber Texas
Ted Yoho Florida

These 31 men are the most radically conservative in the U.S. Congress, and they have been preparing the impeachment documents against Mr. Rosenstein since April, it is said.  Their focus on Rosenstein is explained by the fact that it is he to whom Robert Mueller reports on the status and results of the ongoing investigation into the election of 2016.  Initially, the investigation was to determine the extent to which Russia had interfered in the election and who was involved.  The investigation quickly expanded, however, as various members of the Trump campaign, and even some of his family members were found to have involvement.  The HFC is apparently feeling threatened by the mounting evidence and intends to shut the investigation down, one way or another.

The House Freedom Caucus has only 31 members, and 31 is not a majority in a House comprised of 435 members.  It would require the support of 187 additional members to pass, and that seems somewhat unlikely.  But then … there are an awful lot of boot-lickers these days who seem willing to sell their souls to support and protect the worst president in the history of the U.S.

Rosenstein, for his part, deserves a standing ovation.  He has stood his ground and been the voice of reason, perhaps the only voice of reason in this past week.  Here is a small part of his speech … you can read the full speech here if you are interested.

“We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who are actually conducting these investigations. We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures, and we reserve judgment. We complete our investigations, and we evaluate all of the relevant evidence before we reach any conclusion. That is how the American people expect their Department of Justice to operate, and that is how our department is going to operate.

The indictment was returned today because prosecutors determined that the evidence was sufficient to present these allegations to a federal grand jury. Our analysis is based solely on the facts, the law, and Department of Justice policies. I briefed President Trump about these allegations earlier this week. The president is fully aware of the department’s actions today.

There will always be adversaries who seek to exacerbate our divisions and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed. A partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity, and unity of the American people. The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who commit election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.”

In addition to the data theft, hacked emails and computers of key people in the DNC, it has been determined that the Russians were responsible for hacking the website of a state election board and stealing information about 500,000 voters.  A half-million of us private citizens had our personal information stolen as part of a giant scheme to rig the election in favour of Donald Trump, and the republicans are mad at Rod Rosenstein???

I am going to be emailing my representatives tomorrow to inform them in no uncertain terms that I will break their kneecaps not stand silently by and allow this ridiculously blatant attempt to cover up a massive crime against the citizens of this nation!  I stand by Mr. Robert Mueller and Mr. Rod Rosenstein – possibly the only two men in Washington that have a conscience and are trying to do the right thing for the people of the U.S.

The Puppeteer

Disclaimer:  The story you are about to read is fiction, a product of the bouncing mind of Filosofa, and to the best of my knowledge, none of the following conversations took place, though similar ones may or may not have.

The exact date is unimportant, but it was sometime around mid-2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin was enjoying a nice supper with two of his closest advisors.  They were discussing Barack Obama and the United States, supposedly an ally, but not acting very much like one, in Putin’s view. seperatorFRANCE-RUSSIA-US-POLITICS-DIPLOMACYPutin:  America’s interference in Iraq and Libya have led to regime changes that give our people ideas.  I do not like it!  The United States needs to stay on its own side of the globe and President Obama needs to tend to his business at home and stop meddling in our business.  Imposing sanctions for what he considers to be human rights violations!  Pah! Я бы удар его задницу!!!

Advisor #1:  Well, Obama has only two more years, and then there will be a new president.  I hear that clown that has some television show in America where he goes around firing people and screaming “You’re fired!!!” is thinking about entering the race.

Putin:  Really?  You mean that … oh, what is his name … Chump?

Advisor #2:  I believe it is Trump … Donald Trump.

Putin:  Oh yes, that’s it!  Both of you, work on a dossier … I want to know everything there is to know about this man, his businesses, his family, his connections, even down to what brand of toilet tissue he buys!  I’m getting a seed of an idea …  Have that dossier on my desk no later than Monday morning!seperatorThe following Monday, Putin meets again with his advisors after reading the information they provided earlier that day.

advisorsPutin: Excellent information!  I just got off the phone with Sergey Kislyak, and he is going to schedule a meeting with this Donald Chump later this week.  From what I have read in your reports, the man is not only an egomaniac, but not a very bright one!  He spends more time in bankruptcy court than he does managing his businesses, he has had as many failures as successes.  He is also a liar and a cheat, according to everyone who has ever done business with him, including his own ex-wife!  Perfect … absolutely perfect for what I have in mind!

Advisor #2: And what exactly is it that you have in mind, sir?  The man, after all, is a bumbling fool whose own ego matters more to him than anything else.

Putin:  Exactly!!!  He is as pliable as clay, and his ego is his Achilles heel.  My plan, you ask?  My plan is to make certain that Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States!

Advisor #1:  Brilliant, Mr. President!

Advisor #2:  Brilliant, Mr. President!

Putin:  By dangling shiny objects in front of him and at the same time, stroking his massive ego, he will become our puppet.  Those sanctions that Obama has imposed will disappear, and Mr. Trump will do our bidding!

Advisor #2:  But Mr. President, if you don’t mind my asking, how do you plan to ensure this Mr. Trump is elected?  American elections are very democratic.

Putin:  The details I will leave to the two of you.  You may utilize any staff and any other resources you may need, but it is your job for the next two years to ensure that the election in November 2016 goes to the fool with the bad hair.  Once you have carried out your mission, I will be able to control the puppet we have placed in the White House in Washington D.C.

putin puppeteerseperatorIt is now 02 March 2016.  A lot has happened in the nine months since Trump announced his candidacy, and Putin is once again having a nice dinner at the famed Mari Vanna restaurant with his two advisors.

Putin:  Tonight, we celebrate, yes?  Our Chump has taken the bait and I don’t know how you’ve done it, but the fool just won 7 of the 11 states that vote on Super Tuesday!  You will see a little something extra in your pay stockings this week!

Advisor #1:  Thank you, Mr. President.  It hasn’t been easy, for Trump seems to wish to bring about his own downfall on a near-daily basis!  He offends literally everyone with his crassness and disrespect for all.

Advisor #2:  We have paid agitators at all his rallies, and that has helped, for once they start chanting “Lock her up!”, he re-focuses on his diatribe against Ms. Clinton and we are able to bring him back on track.

Putin:  You’ve done well, but the hardest part is still ahead of us, and that is getting enough votes.  How is the advertising campaign coming?

Advisor #1:  We have set up accounts all over social media, and it is successful beyond our wildest imaginings!  People are actually believing nearly everything we tell them!  I never knew how pliable, how gullible, the American people are!

Putin:  Well you must understand this … they are greedy to a fault.  If you tell them that they are so underpaid, that they deserve so much better, and that Trump is the answer, that he will make them wealthy, they will believe it because they want to believe it.  They want it to be so.  And the hacking of the voting machines?

Advisor #2:  That is not coming quite as well, sir.  The security is excellent, and of the 21 states whose machines we have attempted to breach, only two have been minimally successful, Illinois and Arizona.  We have our best cyber-techs on it, and have even hired assistance from, believe it or not, Silicon Valley!  As well, of course, as the Swiss.

Putin:  Okay, it is clear that we will not have as much impact as we would like in that area, but don’t give up!  We must focus, then, on making sure the people are convinced that Ms. Clinton, whom is actually quite nice, but far too smart, is seen as a criminal with much to hide, and that Mr. Chump, er, Trump, is seen as the one who will make all their dreams come true.  Have you been successful in making contact within the Trump camp?

Assistant #1:  Yes sir, that has been quite successful, and we are told that Trump’s grown children play a major part in his campaign, and even better, that they are no more intelligent than Trump himself, so we are hoping to soon be able to make direct contact with one or possibly two of them.

Putin:  And you have been acquiring the information to use as blackmail if needs be, yes?

Assistant #2:  Of course, sir.  Once elected, he will do our bidding in the areas that concern us, as we will have him ‘by the short hairs’, as they say in the U.S.  In other areas, we will leave him to his own devices.

Putin:  Perfect!  I am well pleased by your work and I think we will be celebrating on the ninth of November!

seperatorRussia's President Putin holds a glass during a ceremony of receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in MoscowThere were many more meetings over the course of the next nine months, but let us fast forward to November 9th, at 9:00 a.m. Moscow time, 1:00 a.m. in Washington D.C.  Putin and his advisors are once again meeting, and when the advisors arrive, Putin has a huge bottle of champagne waiting.

Putin:  Well, gentlemen, we did it!  We have pulled off the biggest heist in the history of mankind!  We literally stole an election!  There is still much work to be done, however you both must take a vacation for two weeks and recharge, for we now embark on the next phase.

Advisor #1:  {groans}  Yes sir, thank you very much President Putin.

Advisor #2:  {groans}  And what, sir, is the next phase, if I am permitted to ask?

Putin:  Chaos.  We must create so much chaos within the two parties and among the people, in the halls of Congress, that they cannot agree with each other on virtually anything!

Advisor #2:  And might I ask the goal of this chaos campaign?

Putin:  To keep the people of the United States from coming together, discussing ideas, and perhaps figuring out that Donald Trump is a crass fool who cannot fulfill his promises to them, and had no intention of doing so anyway.  It wouldn’t be hard to figure out if they simply stopped screaming at each other and talked, so we must keep the chaos at a high level, keep them biting and snarling at each other, and give the Chump free reign, for he will inadvertently play along with our plan!  {sips champagne}  And now, gentlemen, I must make some calls, if you will excuse me?  Enjoy your vacations!

happy putinseperator

Sleep well tonight, my friends.

Former US Top Spy Calls President A Russian Asset/ Mueller’s Possession Of Trump’s Emails

With so many facets to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump/Russian ties, interference in our election last year, and collusion with Russia by Trump & Co., it is nearly impossible to keep up. Our friend Gronda, however, has done a great job in bringing us up to date on the latest, and I couldn’t have said it better than she, so please take a few minutes to read her excellent post. Thank you, Gronda, for all your research and hard work … this is excellent information!

Gronda Morin

It has been my hypothesis that the republican President Donald J. Trump has indeed been a Russian asset before he ever set foot in the White House. The reason that the FBI’S Special Counsel Robert Mueller III has been delving into the president’s past financial history, is that his financial holdings have been inextricably intertwined with Russian financing for decades so that his business could thrive during some financially troubling times. Because the president had a history of filing for bankruptcies in the early 1990s, he had trouble garnering the financing he required through US banking institutions for his numerous projects, but it was Russian monies that came to his rescue.

Being beholden to Russian financing to where there is outstanding debt is similar to being beholden to the Mafia for loans. They both expect a return on their investment. This is the crux of the probe which helps in…

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