Encouragement From A Republican

These days there isn’t much that is encouraging, but one thing that gives me hope for the future (by future, I mean specifically November 3rd) is the number of life-long republicans that no longer support Trump and are even willing to throw their weight behind Joe Biden.  Michael Gerson is a republican op-ed columnist for The Washington Post who served as President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter from 2001 until June 2006, as a senior policy advisor from 2000 through June 2006, and was a member of the White House Iraq Group.  But, read what he had to say in his column yesterday …


The entire foundation of Trump’s appeal in 2016 has been swept away

michael-gersonOpinion by

Michael Gerson

Columnist

July 16, 2020 at 3:20 p.m. EDT

Whenever President Trump’s likely loss of the 2020 election is mentioned, many respond, in hope or in fear: “But 2016 . . .” The effect is to impute almost magical populist powers to the president. Anyone who pulled off such a political miracle can presumably perform one again.

Yet Trump won by mortal means. Like any elected president, he won by shaping a narrative that fit the public mood. In this effort, Trump and his allies made three successful arguments:

  • Things can’t get any worse. According to Trump, the United States was a “third-world country” and a “dumping ground for everyone else’s problems.” “For those suffering and hurting, I say: Give Donald J. Trump a chance. I will fix it. What do you have to lose?”
  • Governing is actually easy. In Trump’s view, politicians had failed because they were invariably “clowns” and “stupid.” America could be turned around by an inexperienced outsider without much difficulty.
  • Moral leadership doesn’t really matter. “We’re not electing a pastor in chief,” said Jerry Falwell Jr. Many values voters put their entire emphasis on policy and judicial appointments, not on presidential character.

None of these propositions that helped elect Trump in 2016 can be credibly maintained in 2020. The entire foundation of the president’s previous appeal has been swept away.

The claim that things can’t get any worse is disproved by any day’s headlines. When Trump was elected in 2016, job growth was steady, poverty was declining and the unemployment rate had returned to pre-Great Recession levels. And oh, by the way, a pandemic was not needlessly taking lives, crashing the economy and putting the United States at a massive competitive disadvantage, due (in large part) to the cowardice and incompetence of the president.

In 2016, Trump argued that the United States was in an existential crisis in order to increase the public’s tolerance for risk. If everything was going to hell anyway, why not take a chance on a vivid but inexperienced leader? This turns out to have been a choice of monumental irresponsibility and immaturity. As any true conservative knows, things can always get worse. Trump has provided empirical evidence.

The claim that governing is easy would now sound delusional in the mouth of our overmatched president (though his claim that the U.S. government is afflicted by clowns still has the ring of truth). Trump has attempted to compensate for his incompetence by criticizing acts of his own administration on Twitter (“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. . . . I will be meeting with them!!!”). This is an absolutely bizarre way to conduct business in the executive branch. Instead of working through a process to produce a consensus policy, which would generally be announced in a carefully prepared speech, the president takes pot shots at government experts on social media. Rather than leading, Trump seems more comfortable spectating and commenting. Whether this is a result of his laziness or his inability to operate the levers of power, it is pathetic.

Trump often tries to cover for his failures by asserting that he is a victim of the “deep state.” In this narrative, the problem is not Trump’s gross incompetence but sabotage by devious enemies. Many of Trump’s followers have bought this argument in theory. In practice, it involves pitting his credibility against admirable, nonpartisan public servants such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’s Anthony S. Fauci. And Trump does not triumph in any contest where knowledge and integrity determine the winner.

The claim that presidential character doesn’t count has also been tested and found foolish. Morality is not merely a matter of sexual ethics. It involves a determination to treat others with respect and to honor their essential dignity. This is what makes racism immoral. And this is what makes Trump’s increasingly unvarnished racism politically disqualifying. Trump’s failures of empathy and decency are the product of poor presidential character. At a time when the country is deliberating about sensitive matters of justice and equity, we have a president with a missing conscience. This is doing profound harm to the country.

The coming presidential election may offer its own surprises, but it is not a repeat of 2016. The ideological props beneath the Trump presidency have been removed, one by one. It is now clear that the country has much to lose, that governing skill is essential and that presidential decency counts. By all those measures, the Trump of 2020 is a loser.

How Will ‘The Donald’ Spin This One???

Robert Mueller worked tirelessly for about two years investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election, and he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt what most of us already knew, that the Russians did, in fact, attempt to help put Donald Trump into office with their high-level propaganda campaign, among other things.  Since Mueller was professional and cautious, and because Attorney General William Barr had already made it clear that Trump could not, would not, be prosecuted of any crimes, Mueller stopped short of recommending such an action.  Contrary to what Mr. Trump said after the report was released, the report did not clear or exonerate Trump, but rather left it up to the Department of Justice to decide whether his crimes ought to be prosecuted.  Trump called Mueller’s report a sham, a democratic witch hunt, and more, but the reality, the truth, was all there in black and white.  Except … the Department of Justice redacted so much of it that it was difficult to read three consecutive sentences.

So now, one year after the Mueller report was released, comes this from Politico

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Tuesday’s bipartisan report, from a panel chaired by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, undercuts Trump’s years of efforts to portray allegations of Kremlin assistance to his campaign as a “hoax,” driven by Democrats and a “deep state” embedded within the government bureaucracy.

[…]

Senators and committee aides examined everything from the sources and methods used for the intelligence-gathering, to the Kremlin’s actions itself. The 158-page report is heavily redacted, with dozens of pages blacked out entirely. But its final conclusions were unambiguous.

“The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions,” Burr said in a statement, adding that the intelligence community’s conclusions reflect “strong tradecraft” and “sound analytical reasoning.”

Lest anybody wish to say the report is biased, the Senate Intelligence Committee is chaired by a Republican, Richard Burr, and there are a total of 8 Republicans, 6 Democrats, and 1 Independent serving on the committee.  You can find the .pdf report here, but with all the redactions (including most of the Table of Contents), it’s really rather a waste of time.  Still, just how the hell many reports do we need before Trump’s band of loyal toadies finally accept what is right in front of their face???

Trump has openly criticized the intelligence community’s work, both as a presidential candidate and as commander in chief. His fury has only intensified since its inspector general alerted Congress last year of a whistleblower complaint regarding the president’s posture toward Ukraine, a process that resulted in his impeachment.

The president is still rejecting intelligence officials’ more recent warnings — delivered to lawmakers last month — that Russia is interfering in this year’s election and that Moscow has a preference for Trump.

Of course Moscow has a preference for Trump … he is both greedy and ignorant, meaning he is easily manipulated, used as a puppet in exchange for a small amount of praise and stroking of his ego.  What does this mean for November’s election?  Well, let’s see … the odds of a fair and honest election according to my calculations are slim-to-none.  Russia is and will continue to spout false narratives, gerrymandered states largely remain so, Trump still has an approximately 40% loyal following, Trump is fighting against mail-in voting that would level the playing field just a bit by encouraging everyone to vote … what could possibly go wrong?


We’ve been missing our occasional treat of a Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel monologue of late, so today in order to lighten the mood a bit (did I really just say that???) I found the latest ‘at home’ monologue by Jimmy.  Somehow, it’s just not the same without the audience, the band, etc., but still he tried.  At least you’ll get a bit of a chuckle.

Here we go again

In 2016, the media inadvertently helped Donald Trump by being so fascinated over his unlikely candidacy that they gave him almost unlimited FREE coverage. And today, our beloved “mainstream” media are doing something similar. Please read Jeff’s post, for this is something that I had not considered, and I bet many of you haven’t either, but we need to be aware. Many thanks, dear Jeff, for this post!

On The Fence Voters

It’s happening folks. Once again, our media is dropping the ball. If you remember, about 11 years ago, not long after the inauguration of the first African-American president, a so-called ‘grassroots’ movement began that called itself the Tea Party. Supposedly, this group was immensely upset at what they saw as an out of control socialist government. We now know, of course, that the grassroots part of this equation was bogus. Much of the movement was financed and promoted by right-wing billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Fox News (Trump TV).

And now with most of the country shutdown trying to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, another so-called grassroots movement seems to be gathering steam. But is it really?

Media expert Eric Boehlert at PressRun has another take. When it comes to exposing media hypocrisy, nobody does it better than Eric. Here’s his take on what looks increasingly like what we saw…

View original post 943 more words

King Donnie ???

As I have noted on a number of occasions, I do not and will not watch Trump’s daily ‘press briefings’ which are supposed to be daily updates about the current pandemic crisis, but from everything I’m reading, are thinly-disguised campaign rallies where he touts his “accomplishments” and pats himself on the back for the “great job” he’s done.  I am a busy woman … while others are finding themselves with more idle time these days, I spend more than half my 24-hour day researching, working on my blog and related tasks, a few hours sleeping, and maintain a household of eight (3 humans and 5 furry family members).  I do not have time to waste watching an ugly liar spout rubbish.  I do, however, catch the gist of his rallies in a variety of news outlets I keep up with, and I am increasingly both concerned and incensed.

First, the concern.  While Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, is unable to hold press events or campaign rallies due to the imposed isolation of the entire nation, Donald Trump has unlimited press access.  Now, his daily briefings are not supposed to be campaign rallies, they are supposed to be factual presentations, but he is using them as such.  It gives him a grossly unfair advantage, for media time is supposed to be paid for by candidates’ campaign funds, and Trump is getting his for free.  His face is on half the televisions in the nation daily, while Joe Biden is never seen, through no fault of his own.

I suggest that we begin an email campaign, writing letters to the editors of the major news outlets that are carrying his pressers, and demand that they refuse to air them, or at the very least, air only the parts where actual experts are giving factual data.  We are the ones who support the press, and they are doing an injustice to this nation by giving Trump an unfair advantage in the months leading up to the November 3rd election.  This is the same mistake they made in 2016 … do we really want a repeat of the fiasco known as the 2016 presidential election???

Second, the reason I am incensed comes from yesterday’s ‘briefing’.  I have said a few times recently that Trump, who claims he is going to re-open the country for business on May 1st, does not have control over that, for it will be up to the states’ governors whether they decide it is in the best interest of the people of their state.  Medical experts have urged caution, saying that to re-open too soon will only lead to a second wave of the coronavirus … in other words more cases, more deaths, and likely a second period of imposed isolation.  But Trump, you must remember, considers himself to be a ‘stable genius’, claims to know more than all the experts, and refuses to accept anything that doesn’t agree with what he wants.  Which led him to say yesterday …

“When somebody’s president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to to be. It’s total. It’s total. And the governors know that.  You have a couple bands of Democratic governors, but they will agree to it. They will agree to it. But the authority of the president of the United States, having to do with the subject we’re talking about, is total.”

His ‘authority is total,’ he claims.  Total authority … authoritarianism … dictatorship.  If you ever for one minute doubted that he sees himself as a dictator rather than a president, this one sentence should disabuse you of that notion.

Extrapolate the ramifications of his notion of total authority.  Do you seriously believe he will allow a fair and honest election with voting by mail, when he knows that if even 75% of all eligible voters voted, he wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance?  Why do you think he’s willing to let the United States Postal Service ‘sink or swim’ without assistance from the federal government?  The same federal government that is providing financial assistance to industries such as the hotel, airline, and fossil fuel industries.

And what do you think will happen if by some chance, slim though it seems at the moment, we do have a fair election whereby Trump is defeated?  Do you really think he’s going to do as every other outgoing president in history has and walk out, shaking hands with the incoming Joe Biden?  Not a chance.

Back to the governors vs Trump, though.  I don’t think that he can force any state to re-open their businesses, and I know for a fact that he cannot force any business to open, nor can he force We the People to frequent any businesses.  However, there are enough states with republican governors who already play footsies with Trump and his gang of thugs, that are likely to happily follow his mandate, to the detriment of their residents.  Will anybody stop the madness???  CAN anybody stop the madness?  For all our sakes, I hope so, but … I only wish I had more confidence in the checks and balances that have failed so damned miserably for the past three years.  I wish I had more faith in our media not to give him the attention he so craves.  And finally, I wish I had more faith in the people of this nation.

Grumbles …

Remember back a short 4 years ago?  Life seemed relatively stable, sane … normal.  Not so today …


Conspiracies abound …

Creating conspiracy theories seem to be the favourite hobby of those who haven’t the wits to do anything more constructive with their lives.  Trouble is, a lot of people will fall for them without either checking facts or thinking for themselves, and they sometimes become dangerous, such as the Pizzagate hoax back in 2016.

Ever since last year when tech companies began rolling out the latest generation of wireless communication, called 5G, conspiracy theories have run rampant.  Most of us roll our eyes and brush them off, for they are so far-fetched that even a child wouldn’t fall for them.  But, in this, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had our worlds turned upside down and perhaps aren’t thinking quite clearly.

This time, an internet conspiracy theory links the spread of the coronavirus to 5G technology.  Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus.  In other times, even as recently as four months ago, only a handful of people would likely have taken this seriously and even that handful would have been content to spout their nonsense on the ‘Net.  But, as I said, these are scary times with a pandemic inexplicably raging out of control and some are taking it all quite seriously.

5g-bags

Credit…Stefan Wermuth/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job.  When people start harming property and people because they fall for a hoax like this, it’s time to shut it down.  I am all for freedom of speech, but this is inciting violence and that’s when it’s no longer free speech but hate speech.

It doesn’t help that two prominent actors, Woody Harrelson and John Cusack, are promoting the falsehood … some will believe it if only because somebody famous said it.  Unfortunately, with most people in the western world being under forced isolation they have plenty of extra time to surf the internet and far too many will believe this sort of garbage.  Each of us who use WiFi or cell phones will pay the price for those damaged cell towers, as the companies who owned them will pass the costs for repairs and replacement, not to mention additional security, on to we the consumer.  Worse yet, eventually somebody will be hurt or killed … and all because this was someone’s idea of fun.  Doesn’t say much for the human condition, does it?


Speaking of conspiracy theories …

There are so many villains in the current administration that it’s hard to decide who’s the crookedest of them all.  I could name at least 30 off the top of my head, but for the moment I think Attorney General William Barr is at or near the top of the list.

William-Barr

You’ll remember, of course, the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump campaign’s illicit dealings with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.  Mueller’s investigation proved that certain people connected with Trump and/or his campaign did, in fact, engage in a conspiracy with Russia to give Trump assistance in winning the election.  The facts prove that, as does the fact that some of those people are now in prison.

But Bill Barr has decided the whole thing was a conspiracy theory designed to “sabotage the presidency”.  Now, first of all, he has no evidence whatsoever for his claim, but … hey, when did a lack of facts ever stop anybody in this administration from spouting off at the mouth?  Barr was being interviewed by the ignoble Laura Ingraham on Fox News when he claimed …

“I think the president has every right to be frustrated, because I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history.  Even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

Mr. Barr … just how stupid do you think the public are?  Perhaps you are judging us all by the company you keep, but that would be a mistake.  The justice department’s inspector general found in a December report that the FBI was fully justified in opening the investigation to protect against a potential national security threat. It did not find any evidence that the decision to start the investigation was motivated by political bias.

And … “one of the greatest travesties in American history”???  Seriously???  There are so many ‘travesties’ in the history of this country that it would take a thousand pages or more to tell about them all.  No, Bill, this is not even a minor travesty … this was due process of law in action.

This is not an administration, not a government, it is a three-ring circus populated by some of the world’s most ridiculous clowns!  I am insulted that these people expect us to believe the line of bullshit they constantly spout.


And then there’s this:

Remember that $2.3 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress?  Well, part of it was for we the people, part to help small businesses, and part to bail out big corporations so that the CEOs won’t have to reach into their own deep pockets.  Among those corporations are the airline industry, and one corporation within the airline industry is, of course, Boeing.

On Friday, Trump was asked by a reporter if Boeing should be penalized for mass layoffs (approximately 10% of their staff) despite receiving federal aid. Trump claimed that Boeing, which he described as “probably the greatest company in the world”, was yet to ask for aid, though he anticipated that the company would.

First of all, Trump lied (what a surprise, eh?) On March 17th,  ten days before the stimulus bill was even passed, Boeing requested $60bn in government aid.  But the bigger shock was that he had the gall to call Boeing the “greatest company in the world”!  Greatest company in the world???  The company who cut corners and cheated on safety to save money, causing the deaths of 346 people?  Boeing planes have been involved in countless incidents and near misses, twenty-five just since 2006.  Their 737 MAX, the plane involved in the two latest crashes, is grounded because of the software glitch that caused the crashes … a problem that proper testing would have detected before the plane was approved for flight if the FAA and Boeing had not let that ball drop.  No, Donnie boy, Boeing is not even in the top 500 companies in the world!  And yet we the taxpayers are bailing them out of trouble. Max-8-crash


And last but not least …

Trump reportedly asks for prayers for healthcare workers … Say WHAT???  How about sending them the equipment they’re practically begging for?  How about giving them the resources they need to do their jobs?  How about shutting up and letting them do their jobs?  Excuse me, Donnie, but your prayers, especially yours, are about as worthless as your ‘word’ on anything.  Do something right, just for once in your life!angry emoji

Filosofa is Snarky … Again

♫ I feel snarky, I feel snarky … ♫  Oh … hi!  In case you didn’t hear, I am feeling a bit snarky this afternoon!  But then, when don’t I feel snarky these days?


What the heck are they doing???

Today marks 173 years since rescuers first reached the Donner party who had been stranded by a snowstorm as they tried to make their way across the Sierra-Nevada Mountains.  The Donner story is a tragic one … of the 89 people that set out from Springfield, Illinois, in the summer of 1846, only 45 would survive.  But what the Donner story is most well-known for is that after they killed and ate their dogs and pack animals to keep from starving, they then began to eat their own, even killing two Native Americans who had joined their party, and roasting them.

Why, you ask, do I bring up the Donner story now?  They ate their own.  There is a parallel between the Donner party in 1846-47 and the Democratic Party in 2020, for the democrats seem to be hellbent and determined to lose the election in November by eating their own.

Bernie Sanders is polling at the head of the pack, a full 16 points ahead of #2 candidate Joe Biden.  So, wouldn’t you think democrats would get behind Bernie, help lift him?  After all, the democrats have stated more than once that the goal is to beat Trump, and much as I hate it, much as I would prefer to see a campaign based on the issues, I agree that the reign of Donald Trump must come to an end.

But, instead of patting Bernie on the back, helping make his candidacy even stronger, the pack is trying to eat Bernie!  Now, what sense does that make?  According to Politico, a democratic group called the Big Tent Project, has launched a million-dollar ad campaign in South Carolina and Nevada intended to bash Senator Sanders.  They are running two ads.  The first accuses Sanders of dumping waste in Latino communities — and profiting from it.

The second ad goes to the heart of some of the more moderate democrats’ concerns, that his plans are too aggressive, and too expensive.  The script …

“Socalist Bernie Sanders promises the world. But at what cost? Sixty trillion in new spending. Losing our private health care. Largest middle-class tax hike ever. The cost? Another four years of Donald Trump.”

Wow … why not just shoot him and be done with it?  The jackals who are stirring this pot are the very ones who will be handing Donald Trump the keys to the kingdom and he will stay in office until his death.  With our luck, he’ll live to be 100.

Come on, democrats … wake up!  Bernie Sanders is NOT the enemy, nor is Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden.  The enemy is sitting on his fat ass eating a Big Mac on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office!  STOP the damn infighting, stop supporting groups that put out these ads!  Believe me, the republicans will be running a full-throttle campaign of ads against Sanders and all the others … the democrats don’t need to join forces with them!  I can hear the republicans laughing now, saying, “Hell, boys, we don’t need to waste money on ads … they’re doin’ it for us!”

“United we stand, divided we fall” – John Dickinson

“Divide et impera” (Divide and conquer) – Julius Caesar


In other news …

According to The Guardian …

“Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.

Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, referred to evidence alleging that the former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange, now 48, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017.

A statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks”, Fitzgerald told Westminster magistrates court.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case at Westminster, said the evidence is admissible.

Assange is wanted in America to face 18 charges, including conspiring to commit computer intrusion, over the publication of US cables a decade ago.

He could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty. He is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.”

Can we say … WITNESS TAMPERING?????  Yet another criminal and impeachable offense to add to the ever-growing list.  Yo … republican senators!!!  Wake UP!!!


Okay, my blood pressure is sufficiently high … I’m going to go wash dishes and fold laundry now.

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.