The Sham Trial Begins

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!

On The Fence Voters

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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Words of Un-Wisdom …

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.

How About Schiff for President?

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!

On The Fence Voters

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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Tears of Shame … Again

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.VindmanOn 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.

Two More Patriots Testify

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 …

On The Fence Voters

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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Impeachment Inquiry-Day Five

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!

On The Fence Voters

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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Decency on Display at Hearing Today

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!

On The Fence Voters

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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Schiff and Pelosi strike the right tone

I did not catch the press conference with Speaker Pelosi and Representative Schiff on Wednesday, though I have read a bit about it and have seen a few clips about Trump ranting like a 2-year-old while the president of Finland looked on in either amusement or disgust. But, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters did see it and this is his take on it. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

After watching the press conference yesterday with Rep. Adam Schiff and Speaker Pelosi, I became a believer that things are getting serious. And not only did the press conference strike the right tone, but it made me realize that we need more of them.

I’ve been critical of Democratic leadership in recent days, and rightly so in my view. More often than not, when compared to President Trump’s bombastic and confrontational style, they’ve appeared weak and on the defensive. With the White House in pure panic mode, though, it seems the Democrats have found their voice. And it couldn’t have come at a more convenient time.

At times, both Pelosi and Schiff have gone out of their way not to appear partisan. They’ve always struck a cautionary tone when it comes to the prospect of impeachment. But after yesterday, it seems that the gloves are officially off. When you hear…

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Are You Tired Of Snarky Snippets Yet?

I have a few in-depth pieces I’m trying to work on, but lately all these little things keep cropping up that aren’t quite enough to fill an entire post, but that are important.  If Donnie could just be locked away for a day or two, perhaps in a subterranean storeroom under the White House, then the news cycle might slow down enough for me to catch  my breath!


Donnie didn’t get his way this time …

As we’ve heard ad nauseam for the past week or so, Donald Trump has told Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that he wants him to cut the interest rates … “to zero or below”.  To do so would be extremely foolish, but then … look who’s asking.

Yesterday, Mr. Powell announced a 0.25% cut in the interest rate, bringing it to between 1.75% and 2%.  A good portion of the members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee felt the move was unnecessary.  I am not an economist, nor do I pretend to be, but based on my understanding, I agree that it was unnecessary and likely would not have been made were it not for Trump’s bullying.  But, is Trump satisfied?

Of course not!

“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Ahhhh … such professionalism, eh?  Now, if another person in the Trump administration displeased him so, that person would likely be packing up their desk today, but fortunately in the case of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, ol’ Trumpie cannot just yell, “You’re Fired!”  Of course, he may not yet realize that, for back in June, when he was annoyed with Powell for the same reason, he said …

“I have the right to demote him. I have the right to fire him.”

Not quite true.  The Chairman can be fired only ‘for cause’, according to the Federal Reserve Act.  Historically the courts have not interpreted that to include policy differences.  Now, Trump could demote Powell if he so chose, but again, it would likely end up in a court battle that would almost certainly have an impact on the stability of the economy.  I applaud Mr. Powell for having the courage to stand up to the bully in the Oval Office and for doing what he believes to be the proper thing.


A ‘credible and urgent threat’ – but WHAT???

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that last month Trump had some interaction by phone with some foreign leader and promised that foreign leader something. Vague enough for you?  Whatever it was he promised to whomever he promised it set off alarms for at least one official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community on August 12th.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson reviewed the complaint and determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that ordinarily requires notification of congressional oversight committees.  But … acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers.

Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff subpoenaed Maguire for the complaint, accusing him of violating whistleblower law by failing to have notified the committee.  In his letter to Maguire, Schiff wrote …

“The committee — and the American people — must know why, in violation of law, a whistleblower complaint is being concealed, whether the underlying conduct involves the president or those around him, and whether the White House is involved in trying to cover up this authorized disclosure.”

To add insult to injury, Maguire consulted with the Department of Justice, ie., Trump’s main boot-licker William Barr, which is, at the very least, unorthodox, and leads to questions as to whether there is an attempt to cover for some wrongdoing by Trump.

Atkinson is scheduled to appear at a closed hearing of the Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning and Maguire has agreed to testify before the panel in open session a week later.  This whole thing is troubling, folks.  Obviously, Donald Trump has promised some foreign leader … Putin?  MbS?  Kim? … something that is very troublesome, and people are going to great lengths to keep it from being properly investigated or made public.  This is NOT how our government is supposed to operate.  Trump has declared himself to be above the law, and this is yet further proof that there are those in our government who are willing to sacrifice their integrity to allow it.  Stay tuned …


Is it Sean, or a giant chicken???

And, because I think you guys need a bit of humour, I share with you this short clip of none other than former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in his debut on Dancing with the Stars.  I’m not sure, but I think that’s a fluffy chicken costume he’s wearing!

First thoughts on Mueller’s testimony

Yesterday, at long last, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified in a televised session before Congress … for nearly seven hours! I did not watch it, for a) I don’t have 7 hours to spare in any given day, b) I cannot sit and do nothing for more than about 5 minutes, which is why it takes me nearly a week to get through a movie, and c) I knew I could catch the action during and after the fact from a wide variety of sources.

One of those sources is our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters, and he did not disappoint. His take on it is honest, unbiased, clear, and cuts through all the b.s. to wrap it all up into a neat, easily readable, OpEd. My comment on Jeff’s post will give you my opinion of it all. Thank you, Jeff, for writing this with such clarity and saving me 4-5 hours of work! I owe you one!

On The Fence Voters

The marine who received a purple heart for his exemplary service in Vietnam and spent most of his life working for the American people, spoke today. My question is, did the American people listen?

The vast majority of the people in this country has not read the Mueller Report. Anyone expecting to learn a great deal more about the report from Robert Mueller’s testimony today was going to be sorely disappointed. My expectations were low, to begin with, and after watching the nearly seven-hour spectacle, that opinion has not changed.

Based on his nine-minute press conference a few months ago, which culminated in his resignation from the Special Counsel’s office, it wasn’t hard to figure out that if called to testify, he would do so reluctantly, and would not veer from the report in any substantial way. And that’s precisely how it went today.

It was also easy to predict…

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