I watched today’s January 6th Committee hearing in its entirety and … phew. As I folded a load of towels after watching the last bit of it, the only thing I could think of was that if what was done to some of these election officials is considered ‘okay’, then democracy is dead in the United States of ‘America’. If some 30% or more of the people in this nation believe that it’s okay to threaten a Secretary of State because he refused to change the votes of the people, if they believe it is okay to harass not only the election officials, but their parents, spouses, children and grandchildren … then folks, we are not “… one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
At a time when the people of this country are in dire circumstances, one might be forgiven for thinking that the single most important focus of the nation’s government, particularly the person in the highest position of authority, would be focused on the crisis at hand. That is how we think of leadership, but it is time for those of us who reside in the United States to realize that we actually have no real leader. Instead, we have a vindictive, cruel, narcissistic megalomaniac at the helm of this sinking ship. And make no mistake — this ship is sinking.
Late last night, Trump sent this letter to Congress …Michael Atkinson, you may remember, is the Inspector General who alerted lawmakers to a whistleblower complaint last September that was at the center of allegations that led to Trump’s impeachment. Michael Atkinson did his job – Donald Trump did not. This is nothing more or less than revenge, pure and simple. One would hope that the person in the highest office of government would be above petty revenge, but not here.
In the words of Representative Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee …
“This is decapitating the leadership of the intelligence community in the middle of a national crisis. It’s unconscionable. And of course, it sends a message throughout the federal government and in particular to other inspectors general that if they do their job as this professional did and Michael Atkinson was a complete professional, they too may be fired by a vindictive president. He’s settling scores. We’re in the middle of this pandemic and thousands of people are dying and he is retaliating against people who are on his enemies list and doing it in the dead of night.”
Trump claims that Atkinson was wrong to have taken his concerns to Congress, that Trump had the right to hide his own improper and illegal behaviour from both Congress and from We the People, who he is paid to serve. He seems to have completely forgotten that he is, despite the fancy trappings that accompany his position, naught more than a public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People.
“Whether it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, Captain Crozier, or Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson: President Trump fires people for telling the truth. Michael Atkinson is a man of integrity who has served our nation for almost two decades. Being fired for having the courage to speak truth to power makes him a patriot.” – Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was a Ukraine specialist on the White House National Security Council who testified during the House impeachment about monitoring Trump’s July 25 telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was that call that raised concerns Trump was pressing Zelensky for a political favor. Vindman was removed from his White House post days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
Captain Brett Crozier was the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was removed after the leaking of a blunt letter he wrote to his superiors about what he saw as insufficient measures to fight a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.
At this, a time when we look to our heads of government to provide stability and leadership, we are getting slapped in the face, we have a madman with no conscience sitting in the chair in the Oval Office. I call on Mike Pence and every other cabinet member to invoke the 25th Amendment NOW! Donald Trump is clearly unfit to lead this nation, is clearly mentally unstable, and is clearly more interested in his own reputation, his own power and wealth, than he is in the people of this nation. His narcissism is costing lives – OURS!
This is just the latest in a series of people he has fired, people who were doing their jobs, who were protecting this nation, but who refused to swear an oath of fealty to Donald Trump. A public servant’s oath is to the people of the nation, not the person occupying the Oval Office. No, I don’t expect that Mike Pence or any other member of Trump’s cabinet will have the cojones to put the people of this nation ahead of their own self-interest, for they are too afraid for their own futures. But, I DO expect the people of this nation to open their eyes, take off the damned rose-coloured glasses through which you have been viewing the madman, and VOTE HIM OUT in November! If we don’t then we will have the blood of future generations on our hands.
It would seem that Filosofa never runs out of something to be snarky about these days. Gee, I wonder why that is? Well, tonight is no exception …
Trump’s revenge …
I knew that Trump was likely to escalate his bad behaviour for lack of a better word, once he was acquitted by the Senate. Even I, the ultimate cynic, didn’t realize how quickly he would act. Brosephus told us yesterday evening about the data the republicans in the Senate have gathered from federal agencies in just over a day regarding Hunter Biden and his travel. Then, last night, I learned that Trump is planning to fire Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, for testifying in the House impeachment proceedings. Yep, you heard right. Revenge, pure and simple.
After his testimony in November, Vindman and his family received criticism and threats from Trump’s allies, including allegations of political bias and disloyalty to the US because of their refugee status.
There are laws against terminating an employee for testifying against a corrupt boss, but given that Trump has gotten by with breaking hundreds of laws already … well, what’s one more. Who’s to stop him? Not Congress, for the Senate doesn’t even have the cojones to censure him. Not the courts, when all roads lead to Chief Justice John Roberts who didn’t have the courage or integrity to force a fair impeachment trial.
Apparently, Trump also plans to fire other National Security Council officials who he considers were ‘disloyal’ to him, and the White House is expected to say that it is part of a broader effort to clean house and decrease bureaucracy. If this is the modus operandi of the government of this country, then it’s time we changed the government before we lose the ability to do so.
State of the Environment …
On Tuesday, a coalition of nine conservation groups issued a statement:
“Donald Trump’s administration has unleashed an unprecedented assault on our environment and the health of our communities. His policies threaten our climate, air, water, public lands, wildlife, and oceans; no amount of his greenwashing can change the simple fact: Donald Trump has been the worst president for our environment in history. Unfortunately, our children will pay the costs of this president’s recklessness. Our organizations have repeatedly fought back against these attacks and we will continue to fight to ensure that our kids don’t bear the brunt of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental agenda.”
The statement was offered by Alaska Wilderness League Action, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, EDF Action, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.
Later that evening, Trump gave his circus-like State of the Union address, but the above statement seems to me far more meaningful.
Midnight in Washington
They are called Eleven Films, and according to their Facebook bio, they are …
Portland/Vancouver based media company founded on 11 November 2011, specializing in creative internet content, documentaries, news, music and film. Since 2018, Eleven Films has amassed over 30 million views across all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube). Aside from their original films, Eleven Films has created ads for Presidential candidates, Senatorial candidates, PACs, Causes, New York Times best-selling authors and general business. Their ads have aired on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News.
Eleven Films’ content has been shared by celebrities, politicians, insiders and influencers including: Alyssa Milano, Rosie O’Donnell, Don Cheadle, Frances Fisher, Debra Messing, Justine Bateman, Martina Navratilova, Jon Favreau, Judd Appetow, Vincent D’Onofrio, Don Winslow, Adrian McKinty, Alice Evans, Adam Parkhomanko, David Yankovich, Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Lieu, Eric Swalwell, Carolyn Maloney, Veronica Escobar, Mike Levin, Maya Wiley, Eddie Glaude, Joy Ried, Abby Finkenauer to name a few.
That’s just about all I know of Eleven Films, but tonight one of their ads crossed my radar and … I was stunned. This is possibly the most powerful clip of its sort that I have ever seen. The film, titled Midnight in Washington, is very short, only one minute, 26 seconds, but it packs a punch. Please take 1:26 to watch this. You may also want to check out some of their other works on their website.
Stay tuned this afternoon for the next installment in Jeff’s and my project, Discord & Dissension – Part V!
I gave you my take on the impeachment trial, the dog-and-pony show yesterday, but I thought it would be interesting to read Jeff’s perspective as well. He and I think a lot alike, and even use some of the same verbiage, but since he is actually listening to the trial (what a way to spend your vacation, eh?) he has a bit better view of the participants. Thanks Jeff … good work!
Reflections from the car
So here we are my friends. Finally, the President of the United States is being held to account. The impeachment trial is in progress and it’s heartening to see the Republican Party stepping up to the plate to make sure he answers for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. My sarcasm vein is ready to burst!
Seriously, though, I wanted to quickly share some thoughts from yesterday’s sham trial in the United States Senate. And I’m going to do it from a different perspective. Yesterday, my better half and I departed on a vacation to Southern California. The trip is a long one from the Pacific Northwest, and we’re driving.
Instead of watching it on TV, we listened to the proceedings on the radio, in the car for over six hours. To some, that might be considered torture. To me…
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Trump held a rally in Toledo, Ohio, last Thursday, less than a week after ordering the assassination of a high-level foreign official, nearly starting a war, and indirectly causing the deaths of 176 people. Tonight, I would like to share some of his words of wisdom with you, so you can see just what a brilliant leader this nation has. And, of course I cannot resist an occasional snarky comment of my own.
- “So, we have all forms of energy. We have every form of energy and we are doing great, but they want to cripple your state’s economy. And our air and our water right now is cleaner than it’s been in 40 years, and sadly, I can’t say historic because, you know, a couple of hundred years ago there was nobody here, right? So, I assume that 200 or 300 years ago was cleaner, probably. You never know, but our water and our air is as clean as it’s ever been, and I took us out of that horrible Paris accord.” A couple of hundred years ago there was nobody here? According to the latest scientific journals, humans have been on earth for approximately 60,000 years, and on what is now known as the North American continent for some 17,000 years. Dumb, Donnie, dumb. And about that clean air … that you have made progressively worse in your vendetta against our last real president, President Barack Obama.
- “We are finally putting America first. But while we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the Washington Democrats are wasting America’s time with demented hoaxes and crazy witch hunts. Think of it. From the day I came down that escalator, it started. Who the hell else could have taken this stuff, right? Do I get some credit for that? Most guys would have been in the corner with their thumb in their mouth. Saying, mommy, mommy take me home. These are bad people.” Why should “America” be first? We are among the most arrogant, greedy, bigoted people on earth! Really, Donnie? You who whines like a toddler whenever anybody criticizes you?
- “Last year alone, ICE officers, who by the way, are heroes. These are brave people. I don’t want to do it. You don’t want to do it. Let’s see if you could do it? You could do it over there, you could do it. Mostly, you would not. I mean, I’ve seen it. They have these people, they like are killers and our guys are here and they run and they call them nets, they have nets, and they run and they’re swinging and punching.” Do what, Donnie??? Chase poor refugees with butterfly nets? Do you know what you’re talking about? I sure as hell don’t!
- “Democrats stand for crime, corruption, and chaos. Republicans stand for law, order, and justice. That’s really the way it is. I have to tell you, a lot of things are happening.” Um, yeah, like the illegal assassination of an Iranian general that has no justification, like nearly starting a war, like destroying our reputation in the Western world, like …
- “But see, I don’t like doing this too soon. I did it with Pocahontas. I came up with this great name. I came up with a lot of different stuff. I said she was a total fraud and everybody believed me, and she went down.” The leader of one of the largest western nations bragging about his bigotry and misogyny, and about making up childish names to taunt an opponent. Just wow.
- “Virtually, every top Democrat also now supports late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb right up until the moment of birth. That is why I’ve asked Congress to prohibit late-term abortion because Republicans believe that every child is a sacred gift from God.” Um, Donnie? “Ripping babies from the womb at the moment of birth”? That’s called “childbirth” and it is a natural process … the same one by which you, unfortunately, came into the world.
- “Now, you have a President who is standing up for America. Great. At stake in our present battle is the survival of the American nation. If you want your children to inherit the blessings that generations of Americans have fought and died for, and fought so hard to secure, then, we must devote everything we have toward victory in 2020. We have to win. Only this way can we save the America that we love and drain the Washington swamp once and for all, and I have seen that dirty, rotten swamp better than anybody else in America, a lot of crooked people.” YOU appointed all those crooked people, Donnie! YOU filled the swamp! “Who would’ve thought that’s possible? Who would have thought that’s possible? We will defend privacy, free speech, religious liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms. And above all, we will never stop fighting for the sacred values that bind us together as one big beautiful America. We support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Would that be the same Constitution you have trampled, spat on, and lit afire?
- “I am such a smart guy. I said this is the most brilliant thing ever and I went back to my people and I said, you know, I have an idea.” Mark the day on your calendar folks.
- “And we have Bernie and Nancy Pelosi, we have them all.” All two of ’em, Donnie? Let’s just count and make sure, shall we?
- “We got to get lined up, Adam, you little pencil neck, nine inches.” If he has nine inches, he’s got you beat by five, Donnie.
And this is the one that takes the cake, my friends …
- “I’m going to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ll tell you about that. I made a deal. I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said, what — did I have something to do with it? Yeah, but you know that’s the way it is. As long as we know, that’s all that matters, OK? I saved a big war, saved a couple of them, but under my administration, we will never make excuses for America’s enemies. We will never hesitate in defending American lives, and we will never stop working to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, never.” The winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize was Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Mr Abiy has introduced massive liberalising reforms to Ethiopia, shaking up what was a tightly controlled nation. He freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home. He has also allowed the media to operate freely and appointed women to prominent positions. I fail to see what Trump believes he contributed … 🤷
Well, there you have it folks … as they say in poker … “read ‘em and weep”. These are the words of the person who holds our lives in his tiny hands. Think about that one for a minute.
Adam Schiff, who I once thought of as rather ineffectual, has proven himself to be quite the opposite over the past few weeks during the impeachment hearings. He has stood strong in the face of much criticism, and stoically gone on about the business of the day. Our friend Jeff tells us a bit about Adam and floats an idea … not for the present, but perhaps for some point in the future. Thanks, Jeff, for giving Adam his due credit, and for helping us to get to know him a bit better!
Schiff’s stature grows with inquiry leadership
It’s been quite the wild ride the past two weeks. I’ve weighed in with my thoughts throughout this impeachment inquiry. So many things have stood out—the patriotic testimony of career public servants, the continued obstruction by the President of the United States, and the sycophantic performances of the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, to name a few.
But something else also stood out as well. While I’ve gotten to know a bit more about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff the last couple of years, his stewardship over the hearings was beyond stellar, in my view. The contrast between himself and the Ranking Member, Devin Nunes, couldn’t have been more stark. His steely resolve and iron-willed determination differed mightily from the conspiracy theorist and Trump boot-licker Nunes.
Time and again, Republicans attacked his leadership, as well as the rules he set down before the…
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Periodically, I write a post that begs for the title “Tears of Shame”, or some variation of that. Since 2016, there have been eight such posts … tonight makes nine.
Healthy debate, civil discourse … I’m all for both of those. If I make a statement, you have an opposing point of view, then fine … let’s each present our views and see if we can find a middle ground. Even if we cannot find that middle ground, we will have each gained a better understanding of why we think the way we do. This is good for a friendship, it is good for opposing factions within a nation, and it is good for international relations – much better than lobbing bombs. This is how civilized society remains civilized.
However, when two people disagree and one of those people has neither facts nor sound basis for his views, then his only way of expressing himself is likely to be personal attacks and lies. It is a tactic that, unfortunately, works well for some people, though it has ended many a friendship. It is also a very unprofessional way to conduct the business of government.
The republican response to the witness testimony in the ongoing impeachment hearings is an example of such. Testimony after testimony by credible witnesses, career civil service employees and others, has put the republicans at a loss. They have zero truthful or valid explanations for the actions by Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Giuliani and others. So … they attack. Who do they attack? Everybody. Adam Schiff, whose job is to conduct these hearings in a professional manner and get to the truth. They attack the media. They attack “Democrats” in general.
But, the worst of their attacks are not only vicious, unfounded and brutal … but they have put human lives, the lives of people who have dedicated their entire career to the service of this nation, in danger. Their attacks on these people, in my opinion, raises the victims of their attacks to an even higher level of esteem, and frankly the attacks make the republicans doing the attacking look like the fools they are. They also bring down the reputation of the entire Republican Party, where I assume there are some good people. (sarcasm intended)
These attacks would be laughable except for the current climate of hate and divisiveness in this nation – a climate that has been largely created by none other than Donald Trump. But, they are not laughable, for in this nation we have 40% of the adult population who still support Donald Trump, who do not care about facts, but rather believe whatever Trump and his cronies over at Fox ‘News’ tell them to believe. And they own guns. Some of them own lots of guns. Please note that I am not saying all republicans are bloody idiots that are going to go out and shoot one of these witnesses for speaking against their beloved leader. Not at all. However, there is a portion that would consider it their patriotic duty. You know it and I know it.
A point in case is Alexander Vindman, who testified on Tuesday that he became so concerned during a July 25 phone call in which President Trump asked Ukraine’s president for help with political investigations that he reported his alarm to a superior. Immediately, Fox ‘News’ personas Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson jumped on the attack wagon.On Ingraham’s show, The Ingraham Angle, it was suggested by her guest John Yoo, with no evidence whatsoever, that Colonel Vindman was guilty of ‘espionage’, a felony punishable by death. It should be noted here that Colonel Vindman received a Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq. He is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who was 3 years old when his family fled to the United States. Even some republicans were incensed by this, including Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, and Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who called Mr. Yoo’s accusation “shameful”.
Senator Ron Johnson, a republican from Wisconsin wrote …
“I believe a significant number of bureaucrats . . . resent [Trump’s] unorthodox style and his intrusion on their ‘turf’. They react by leaking to the press and participating in the ongoing effort to sabotage his policies and, if possible, remove him from office. It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”
On CNN’s New Day, republican Sean Duffy, a former representative from Wisconsin also called Vindman’s loyalty into question …
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy. He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.”
Tucker Carlson has an even more elaborate conspiracy theory, claiming that the Ukraine has repeatedly asked Vindman to take over their entire military!
And then, Vindman began getting threats against himself and his family. The U.S. military stands guard and ready to move Colonel Vindman and his family to a secure location on a nearby military base if it is felt that there is an imminent danger. Other witnesses have also reported getting anonymous threats. Because they believe that their duty is to the country, not the ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office. Because they told the truth.
An attorney for Colonel Vindman, David Pressman, has sent Fox News a letter requesting a public retraction of the comment on Laura Ingraham’s show that suggested Vindman was guilty of espionage. However, even if Fox retracts and apologizes, it is far too little, too late. Words, once spoken, can never be unheard.
I would ask my republican friends, if in fact I had any left, if this is the legacy they wish to leave, if this is the nation they believe in, and if they are proud of the people, from Donald Trump on down the line, who have so terribly abused those who were willing to tell an uncomfortable truth in order to try to preserve the integrity of this nation. I, for one, am not proud. If I were asked by a stranger tomorrow my country of origin, I think I would rattle off the name of the first country I could think of … Sardinia … Cambodia … Sri Lanka.
Our friend Jeff has some sobering thoughts, after today’s impeachment hearings. His words are both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Our world has turned upside-down, my friends. Please take a minute to read Jeff’s post …
The right-wing echo chamber not amused
Today we heard testimony from two more patriots. Today, we also heard more of the same from a political party that’s out of touch and out of defenses for the President of the United States. Indeed, the last two weeks didn’t go well for him.
And frankly, the next several weeks will not go well for him either. His impeachment is imminent, though it’s not clear what the Democrats plan is for the next stage. I’m assuming it’s a work in progress, but it does appear that witness testimony has concluded today.
Of course, there’s always the chance that former National Security Adviser John Bolton might reach deep into his conscience for some patriotism and decide to come forward. But, he’s got a book deal. That’s much more important.
Former National Security Council official Dr. Fiona Hill and State Department official David Holmes answered…
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There is so much to write about that I simply cannot keep up … I need more than 24 hours in a day! Thankfully, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written about yesterday’s testimony in the impeachment hearings by Gordon Sondland. I would only add that somebody needs to take Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan back to pre-school and let the adults get on with the business at hand! Thank you, Jeff, for this great summary of yesterday’s events!
Another tough day for the POTUS
We’re now on day five of the impeachment inquiry, and once again, the current President of the United States is having another tough day. His million-dollar donor, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, not only through him under the bus, but also just about anyone else who’s involved in this fiasco.
I guess when a few years in prison might await, the generous donation to the President for an Ambassadorship doesn’t seem all that important. In the end, instead of pleading the fifth as many in the media had speculated he might do, Sondland decided to come clean–kind of.
After his first deposition Sondland came to the realization that based on testimony from others such as Ambassador William Taylor, his recollection was a bit hazy, which led him to amend some of his original statements. Then today, the Ambassador decided that the President, Secretary of State Mike…
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Our friend Jeff reminds us of something … what true decency is. The difference between evil cruelty and common decency is as pronounced as the difference between night and day. Thank you, Jeff … have a great weekend!
Hint: Not from the President of the United States
Soon out here in the Pacific Northwest, the weekend will officially begin. The wife will come home from work, we’ll crack open a cold IPA and discuss a bit about what happened in Trumpworld today.
I hadn’t planned on weighing in because I didn’t know if I’d have the time. But something occurred to me and I wanted to briefly share it with you.
As you’re hopefully ready to enjoy the upcoming weekend, I’d like to leave you with a word that kept coming into my head as I watched Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch testify today: D E C E N C Y.
Why that word? Simply put, the current President of the United States does not have a lick of it in his body. We see it every day through his tweets or press interactions. We’re nearly three years into his…
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