WHY???

Today, Donald Trump is in the process of attempting to bribe two election officials from Michigan to override the voice of We the People in that state.  This is treason, it is illegal, and if these two election officials take the bait and rescind their certification of Joe Biden as winner in the State of Michigan, they should be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for the rest of their lives.  And if he succeeds in bribing these two to lie, cheat and steal, who will be next?  The election officials in Georgia?  Pennsylvania?  Wisconsin?  If he can convince election officials in any three of those states to lie, to override the will of the people, he might just manage to stay in office, against the will of the people and to the detriment of the entire world.  And WHY???   He has never been fit for the office of the president, has never cared one whit about the people of this country, so why the hell is he so damn determined to lie, cheat and steal to stay in office?  The following column by Bill Press may answer that question.


Get the orange jumpsuit ready: Extra-large!

bill-pressBy Bill Press

Everybody knows it’s crazy. But nobody can figure out why he’s doing it. Even Donald Trump knows Joe Biden won. But nobody can figure out why Trump, more than two weeks after the election, still insists he won, refuses to concede, and is doing everything he can to overturn the election results.

Speculation abounds. His ego can’t accept defeat. He thinks Rudy Giuliani can actually pull this off. He’s trying to rev up his base for the January 5 Senate run-off in Georgia. Or he’s laying the groundwork to run for president in 2024.

Interesting theories, but they’re all wrong. There’s only one reason Donald Trump’s so desperate to stay in the White House: because he knows it’s the only way he can stay out of prison. Once Joe Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2021, Trump’s open to prosecution for all the crimes he’s committed, both before and after becoming president. And it’s a long list.

Roll the tape. In a telephone call, Trump tried to bribe Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The fact that Trump’s Republican friends in the Senate chose not to convict him doesn’t change anything. It’s still a federal crime.

Read the report. The Mueller Report details multiple occasions in which Trump tried to obstruct justice by undermining an ongoing Justice Department investigation. The fact that Trump’s bootlicker attorney general chose not to indict him doesn’t change a thing. It’s still a federal crime for which he can and should still be held responsible.

Check the record. Every day, Trump’s profiteering from the presidency at his golf courses, office buildings, condos and hotels. By accepting money from foreign governments, he’s in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause. Trump’s lease on his Washington hotel is illegal under rules of the General Services Administration. Again, the fact that Attorney General Barr chose not to prosecute doesn’t change anything. They’re still against the law.

And, speaking of federal crimes, what about standing on the sidelines and doing nothing while 11 million Americans are infected with COVID-19 and 250,000 have died from it? Indeed, he’s making matters worse by deliberately downplaying the disease, telling people not to wear a mask, and holding his own super-spreader events. Trump lied, and thousands of people died. If that’s not a crime, I don’t know what is.

Some argue that Trump will never face federal charges because he could resign the presidency and be pardoned by Mike Pence. That’s true. Like Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon, Pence could give a blanket pardon to Donald Trump – but for federal crimes only. That would not absolve Trump from prosecution for criminal activity at the state level.

Starting with sexual harassment. Since the ’70s, 26 women have accused Donald Trump of “unwanted sexual contact.” Two lawsuits by women against Donald Trump are actively making their way in New York state courts: one by E. Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of raping her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman; a second by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, suing Trump for defamation for accusing her of lying about his sexual abuse.

Even more serious is the investigation underway by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into Trump’s financial dealings, including illegal campaign payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and tax and bank fraud, as revealed by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, where Trump inflated his net worth in seeking loans from banks, yet deflated it when paying taxes. Most ominously, courts recently gave Vance access to Trump’s tax returns.

Both at the federal and state level, in other words, Trump’s in deep criminal doo-doo. He’s headed for the slammer. The only real question is whether President-elect Biden will allow his Justice Department to go there. It’s eerily reminiscent of 2009, when Barack Obama decided not to pursue George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for war crimes – because, he said, it was important to move forward and not focus on the past.

And what happened? Donald Trump concluded you could do whatever you wanted as president, no matter how illegal, and still get away with it. We can’t make that mistake again. As Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) noted this week, failure to prosecute Trump would “embolden criminality by our national leaders.”

Trump doesn’t deserve to walk out of the White House a free man. He deserves to be behind bars. And not just him, the whole Trump gang: Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Jared, and Rudy Giuliani.

On Complicity …

I receive a weekly newsletter titled “Opinionated” … a weekly summation of opinions by writers both well-known and obscure.  One of the leading contributors to the newsletter is Bill Press, a long-time political commentator and author of several books.  Last week’s column was along the lines of one I’ve been considering for several weeks: the complicity of the republicans in the U.S. Senate in the  atrocities our nation is facing today.  While I might disagree with Mr. Press’ opening sentence, for I no longer see this nation as anywhere near ‘great’, I fully agree with the rest of his commentary …


Fifty-three Republican cowards: Hold them responsible

bill-pressGreat country that we are, there are still shameful moments in our history. Among them: 1857, the Dred Scott case, when the Supreme Court upheld the institution of slavery; 1942, FDR’s Executive Order, which forced the relocation and incarceration of Japanese-Americans; 1950-54, the failure of President Eisenhower and other leading Republicans to repudiate the ugly red-baiting by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. And the list goes on.

As bad as they are, however, we’ve experienced perhaps the most shameful moment of all: February 2020, when 53 cowardly Republican senators refused to hold Donald Trump responsible and toss him out of the White House. In so doing, they not only ignored overwhelming evidence – all of which has subsequently been confirmed – that Trump tried to bribe the president of Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 presidential election and, on multiple occasions, abused the powers of his office to obstruct justice, they also degraded the image of the United States by ratifying Trump’s criminal, ugly, racist, boorish behavior as acceptable conduct for the highest officer of the land.

Fifty-one Republican senators voted not to call any witnesses in the Senate trial. Fifty-two Republicans, all except Mitt Romney, voted to acquit him of abuse of power. Fifty-three, including Romney, voted to acquit him of obstruction of Congress. In the end, all 53 Republican senators put their party above country. And we’ve been paying the price ever since. Just consider the disasters we’ve suffered over the last six months.

For his incompetent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his disastrous and premature attempts to force reopening of the economy, his insensitive response to the Black Lives Matter movement, and his shocking failure to act on reports that Russia was paying bounties to members of the Taliban for killing American soldiers – Yes, blame Donald Trump. But blame especially those 53 Republican senators who voted to keep him in office.

On the coronavirus. After first denying or minimizing the risk and refusing to set an example by wearing a mask, Trump suddenly declared the virus over, stopped talking about it, and urged states to reopen bars and restaurants. The result: more COVID-19 cases in more states than ever before, with 200,000 projected to die of the disease by October 1. Blame Trump, yes. But also blame the enablers who kept him in office.

After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, when millions of Americans across the country took to the streets to protest repeated examples of systemic racism in police departments, Trump called protesters terrorists, ordered the use of tear gas and armed troops to clear streets around the White House for a photo op, and denounced Black Lives Matter as a “symbol of hate.” Blame Trump, yes. But also blame the enablers who kept him in office.

And, in the most unbelievable display of lack of presidential leadership, when intelligence agencies warned the White House that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban militants to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, Donald Trump – who’s never discovered anything yet about Vladimir Putin he doesn’t admire – did absolutely nothing. Repeat: Russia reportedly pays members of the Taliban to kill American soldiers and Donald Trump orders no investigation, takes no action, and instead, calls it a “hoax.” Again, blame Trump. But also blame the enablers who kept him in office.

Trump’s response to each of these crises proves that he’s unfit to be president of the United States. But remember: Trump wouldn’t still be there, these disasters might not have happened, or might not have been so severe, America could have been spared – if only those 53 senators had done the right thing.

Unfortunately, we can’t boot all 53 Republican senators out of office at the same time. But 20 Republican senators are up for re-election this year (see cookpolitical.com for full list) and must be held responsible. No matter what other good things they may have done in the Senate, for their vote to acquit Donald Trump, for that one vote alone, every one of them – every one of them – should lose their seat. And no one deserves to lose more than Susan Collins.

“I believe that the president has learned from this case,” she told CBS News in trying to justify her vote. What nonsense. As we’ve seen over the last six months, the only lesson Donald Trump learned from not being convicted in the Senate is that as long as there are cowardly Republican senators like Susan Collins, he can say and do anything with impunity. But, hopefully, not after November 3.

Thoughts on Impeachment …

As most of you know, I have been vacillating on whether the time is right for the House to begin the process to ultimately impeach Donald Trump or not.  Still today, I have mixed feelings about it … I definitely think he ought to be impeached, but it’s not just that simple.  This morning I stumbled across a piece in The Opinionated by political analyst and author Bill Press, whose work I have always respected, and his words made a lot of sense to me.  The article helped clarify my own thoughts, both pro and con.

Bill-Press

Bill Press

With all due apologies, I know I’ve weighed in on the debate about impeaching Donald Trump in previous columns. The reason I take it up again is because so many Democrats still can’t decide how to proceed.

Democrats are split into two camps. Those who say it’s a mistake to start impeachment hearings because they’re bound to fail. Trump will still be in the White House because Senate Trumpers will never vote to convict him. And those who insist that — even if they’re sure to fail — Democrats must begin impeachment hearings anyway, because not doing so would in effect endorse Trump’s unacceptable presidential behavior. More than any other factor, how that issue is resolved, I believe, could determine what happens in 2020.

First, let’s be clear. Why should Donald Trump be impeached? As Elizabeth Barrett Browning famously wrote, “Let me count the ways.” He’s debased the office of the presidency. He’s told thousands of lies. He played footsie with a foreign adversary to win an election. He obstructed justice, many times. He intimidated witnesses. He ordered top aides to commit crimes. He defied congressional subpoenas.

There’s no doubt, as Republican Congressman Justin Amash concluded after reading the Mueller report, Trump has “engaged in impeachable conduct.” Whether he actually committed crimes does not matter, Amash points out, because impeachment “simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct” — all spelled out in Mueller’s report.

Still, no matter how strong the case, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advised Democrats in Congress not to rush into impeachment. They’re better off, she told them, focusing instead on three priorities: their legislative agenda, especially health care; oversight hearings and beating Donald Trump in 2020. And, for a while, most Democrats agreed to hold back. Until this week, when Trump did everything he could to force impeachment hearings.

For many Democrats, what made the difference was Trump’s stopping former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats wanted to hear from McGahn because, in his report, after revealing that Trump twice ordered McGahn to fire him as special counsel and then lie to the New York Times about it, Mueller says it’s up to Congress to investigate further in order to determine whether Trump is guilty of criminal obstruction of justice. By blocking McGahn’s testimony, Trump’s also blocking Congress from doing its job.

On top of that came Baby Donnie’s White House temper tantrum. In a political stunt clearly orchestrated ahead of time, Trump stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, supposedly upset because Pelosi had earlier accused him of engaging in a cover-up (which he has!), and went directly to the Rose Garden, where reporters were already assembled in front of a campaign-style podium with the sign “No Collusion. No Obstruction.” “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump fumed. No, and Nixon wasn’t a crook, either.

With that, the anti-impeachment dam so carefully built by Nancy Pelosi began to crumble. A week ago, there were only a handful of Democrats wanting to start impeachment hearings right away. Today, there are 30 to 40, including at least one member of the House leadership, Rhode Island’s David Cicilline. It’s reached the point where House Budget Chairman John Yarmouth told me, impeachment hearings are now “inevitable.”

Still, Pelosi urges restraint, based on five arguments. One, doing impeachment would suck up all the oxygen and make it practically impossible to pass legislation on any issue. Two, impeachment has little public and zero, aside from Justin Amash, bipartisan support. Three, Democrats can achieve almost the same results by proceeding first with oversight hearings now underway in the judiciary, intelligence, financial services, ways and means and oversight committees. Four, as noted above, impeachment would hit a dead end in the Senate. Five, impeachment might actually help Donald Trump, by allowing him to run for re-election as a victim.

For now, I believe, Speaker Pelosi makes a strong case. Democrats are smart to hold off, while letting the case build against Trump for 2020. But that could still change, depending on how he responds to court rulings against him.

That’s the key. After refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, if Trump also rejects court orders to comply, he’d be declaring war on not one, but two co-equal branches of government. At that point, Democrats would have no choice but to launch impeachment hearings. And it’s a safe bet that’s what’s going to happen.

Bill has also recently published a book, Trump Must Go: The 100 Top Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him)Bill-Press-book

It’s Not The Rhetoric, It’s The Guns – Bill Press, 16 June 2017

I almost never do this, copy an article in its entirety, but this one stands out and I think deserves to be heard.  Bill Press is a political analyst/commentator, author, and talk show host.  He is among my favourites because, though liberal leaning, he is always fair and respectful.  The column you are about to read was actually deleted by Opinionated, a weekly op-ed aggregator to which I subscribe.  My curiosity was piqued when I saw that this column had been deleted last Sunday morning, so I went in search of the column to find out why it was the victim of censorship.  After reading the column, I am still not certain why, but I believe these words should be shared.  

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Bill Press

It’s not the rhetoric, it’s the guns – Bill Press, 16 June 2017

No words can adequately describe the tragedy we experienced this week when a lone gunman opened fire on a group of congressmen doing nothing more than playing baseball — getting in one last practice in Alexandria, Virginia, before this year’s version of the last occasion left in Washington where members of both parties actually have a good time together: the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Within minutes, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA.) was down and one staffer and one former staffer were wounded, as were two brave Capitol Police officers who rushed the shooter and returned fire. Without a doubt, had those two officers not been present, the ballfield would have turned into a slaughterhouse.

In the wake of the shooting, there were those who seized the moment to unite the country in the right mix of outrage and sorrow, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, who told House Members: “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” One image of that day he’ll never forget, said Ryan: “And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news.”

Sadly, there were also dunderheads who seized the moment to divide the country by scoring political points, led by former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called the shooting “part of a pattern” and told Fox News: “You’ve had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” While Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) rushed to blame Democrats: “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric.”

Turning an attempted assassination into cheap partisan sniping is not only disgusting, it’s dead wrong. Just because the gunman happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter who hated Republicans doesn’t mean he represents all Democrats, any more than a mass murderer who happens to be a Christian represents Jesus Christ.

Moreover, while it’s true there’s too much hate-filled language in today’s politics and everybody needs to tone down the rhetoric, the most inflammatory language is not coming from the left. It’s from the right. And nobody’s guiltier of it than Donald Trump, who has called James Comey a “nut job,” Barack Obama a “sick man,” Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman,” and journalists “the enemy of the American people.”

Or consider this tweet from Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) campaign, just one year ago, on June 23, 2016, quoting Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano: “Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical.” One can only hope the good Senator had second thoughts about that kind of incendiary rhetoric when he himself was one of those shot at on the Alexandria ballfield.

More importantly, the whole discussion about political rhetoric misses the point. It doesn’t matter whether the gunman was a Democrat, Republican, independent, socialist, communist, or Green Party member. The point is: He had no business being able to buy, own, and tote around an assault rifle and an automatic pistol.

Where’s the outrage about gun violence? In 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 384 mass shootings — defined as four or more killed or wounded by gunfire — in the United States. More than one a day! So far in 2017, there have been 154. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, between 2001 and 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. An average 31 Americans are murdered by guns every day.

What happened in Alexandria, in fact, wasn’t the only shooting on June 14. Three people were also gunned down at a UPS facility in San Francisco. Six people were killed and 37 wounded by gunfire on the streets of Chicago last weekend. And, as shocking as it was to see a U.S. congressman struck by gunfire, let’s not forget this: the life of every one of those victims in San Francisco and Chicago is worth every bit as much as the life of any Member of Congress.

What will it take for Congress to act? What will it take before Congress stops protecting the gun manufacturers and starts protecting the American people?

Even though they failed to act after Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Charleston, or Orlando, you might think they’d consider some common-sense gun safety measures after one of their own is struck.

Think again. Six years ago, Congress did nothing after Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot. They’ll do nothing this year after Congressman Steve Scalise was shot. The NRA still rules the U.S. Congress. Shame!

Not Just The “Lesser of Two Evils”

bill-pressOne of the columnists I follow regularly is Bill Press.  Although Bill is a liberal and a Democrat, his views are always fair and well-reasoned.  His latest column is a must-read for anyone who plans to vote in the November 8th election, Republican and Democrat alike.  Some of us, myself included, have been so busy bashing Trump that we have not given much attention to the only viable candidate in the race.  We have been so busy defending Hillary Clinton against the attacks of da trumpeter and his minions that we have missed opportunities to extol Clinton’s virtues.  As Bill Press points out in his column, she is actually a very strong candidate in experience, qualifications and temperament, and most of that has been overlooked in this divisive, contentious election period.  It is a disservice to vote for Hillary simply as “the lesser of two evils”.  So, without further ado, I shall let Mr. Press speak for himself ….

Don’t just vote against Trump; vote for Hillary

Regular readers of this column will remember two recent offerings on this crazy 2016 presidential election: one, a warning not to risk destroying everything we’ve gained by voting for Donald Trump; two, a plea not to make a mockery of this election by voting for Gary Johnson.

Here today the important third installment: Making your vote count — not just by voting against Trump or Johnson — but by voting for Hillary Clinton.

For all Democrats, for all Republicans who love their country more than their party, and, yes, for all former Bernie Sanders supporters like me, voting for Hillary Clinton should be an easy, automatic and enthusiastic choice. A no-brainer.

She is, hands down, as President Obama frequently notes, the most qualified person to run for president — ever! Yes, we know, experience doesn’t always count for everything. But it counts for a lot. And certainly her experience as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state gives her an unparalleled grasp of how government works and how to get things done. There will be no period of on-the-job training needed for Hillary Clinton.

Even outside of public office, Clinton has a lifetime record of fighting for good causes, especially children and women’s rights. In high school, she volunteered to baby-sit children of migrant workers. In law school, she volunteered on child abuse cases at New Haven Hospital. Her first job after law school was as staff attorney to the Children’s Defense Fund. And her lifelong passion for women’s rights led directly to her historic 1995 speech to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing where she looked China’s repressive leaders in the eye and declared: “If there is one message that echoes from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

For Americans sick of Washington’s ugly political battles, Clinton also offers the best hope of ending partisan gridlock. She definitely will have a better working relationship with Congress than President Obama ever had. She proved it, in the Senate, where she sponsored dozens of bills with Republican senators, including such conservative icons as Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and James Inhofe (R-OK) (payments to public service officers after Sept. 11); Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and John McCain (R-AZ) (auto safety); and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (health care for National Guard families). In 2001, she so surprised GOP senators by showing up and becoming a regular member of their weekly prayer meetings that Sam Brownback, then Republican senator from Kansas, stood up and begged forgiveness for hating her. She was confirmed by the Senate for Secretary of State 94 to 2.

And let there be no doubt for Bernie Sanders supporters, young and older: If you really believe in what Bernie stands for, if you really want to see the progressive agenda become real, Hillary Clinton’s your only hope. She’s already embraced many of the issues Sanders raised during the primary: opposition to TPP; tuition-free community college; $15 minimum wage; cutting prescription drug costs and adding a public plan option under Obamacare as a first step toward a single-payer health care system. The challenge will be to hold her feet to the fire once she’s in the White House. But that’s the job of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and progressive organizations.

There’s one other reason for voting for Clinton, one she never talks about. Voting for her because she’s a woman is not alone sufficient reason, but it is important. We made history in 2008 by electing our first African-American president. How great to make history again in 2016 by electing our first female president. Madame President? It’s about time!

And if you had any doubts about voting for Hillary Clinton, this week’s third and final presidential debate should have convinced you. She was never stronger or in more command of the issues. He was never more flummoxed or unhinged. Trump bragged about his respect for women, then called Clinton “such a nasty woman.” He asserted his confidence in the military, then accused the U.S. military of helping the Iraqi Army retake Mosul only to help Hillary get elected. And then he refused to say whether he would accept the results on Nov. 8, thereby undermining the very foundation of democracy, which has carried us for 240 years.

Isn’t that enough? Rule No. 1: Any candidate who refuses to accept the will of the voters should be disqualified from running for president.

Link to this and other of Bill’s columns

Lewandowski – A Trump Plant?

So, Donald Trump fires his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski on Monday, June 20th, and CNN hires Lewandowski to be a political commentator on Thursday, June 23rd.  Why?  This move makes absolutely no sense and is proving to be a terrible mistake, at least in the eyes of the viewing public.

lew2First of all, Mr. Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement that likely includes “During the term of your service and at all times thereafter, you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the company, Mr. Trump, any Trump company, any family member, or any family member company.”  So he cannot do ‘unbiased’ reporting.  Second, Mr. Lewandowski has historically shown a lack of respect bordering on volatile toward members of the press.  Point in case:  his manhandling of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign rally.  Though charges were dropped, the incident happened, and he was caught on tape … a video that every news viewer saw, so there is no plausible denial.  An investigation by Politico back in March reported that he was “rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority.”

Most shook their head, on hearing that CNN had snatched up Lewandowski so quickly, and asked the same question I asked:  WHY?  What has he to offer us, the viewers?  The answer, it turns out, is nothing, possibly even less than nothing.  And what has he to offer CNN in exchange for a reportedly fat salary?  Quite possibly a loss of viewers and the beginning of their fall into the pit of news network oblivion.  For my part, I did not turn CNN on this morning, as I usually do, nor have I checked their website. There are a handful of CNN anchors/reporters that I respect, that I see as relatively intellectual, thought-provoking, and yet non-confrontational, including Christiane Amanpour, Peter Bergen, Wolf Blitzer, Donna Brazile, Bill Press, and Fareed Zakaria.  The addition of a crass, right-wing former Trump advisor is a slap in the face to these men and women, in fact to all serious journalists.

Thus far, Lewandowski has proven to be as much of a dud as we all anticipated.  Here are a few of his comments regarding his former employer’s shenanigans:

  • “Mr. Trump’s best speech of the presidential cycle.”
  • “This is a very, very strong message for him and, I think, the best speech he’s given all cycle.”
  • “The speech was delivered clearly, articulately, and again, the best speech of the campaign so ”
  • “Trump is the only person who’s going to save this country for my children.”

Oh please, shoot me now!

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When asked by fellow reporter Alisyn Camerota why Donald Trump went to the UK and criticized the president, when there is an unwritten rule that this simply is not good etiquette, he deflected the question and muttered a bunch of gibberish about how wonderful it was that Trump and family built such a wonderful golf course in Scotland.  More recently, he defended Trump’s use of the Star of David to attack Hillary Clinton.

 

Those are the facts of the matter.  Now for my speculation.  Lewandowski’s termination from Donald Trump’s employ seemed a bit enigmatic at the time.  There appeared to be no hard feelings on either side; Lewandowski expressed no anger, disappointment, or other emotion that would be normal and expected under the circumstances, especially one with a proven volatile temperament.  Within hours of his termination, Lewandowski interviewed with both MSNBC and CNN.  Three days later he is hired on by CNN as a political commentator despite the fact that CNN executives had to know his history toward journalists and had to know that he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.  (In addition, the man has the personality of a dead sloth, but that is not relevant) That said, I cannot help wondering if this was a pre-conceived plan to plant a Trumpian in one of the most-viewed cable news networks in the nation.

Though most news agencies lean at least slightly toward one side or another when it comes to politics and social issues, CNN has a history for being among the least biased of the major news providers.  I am not doling them stars here, as they have other faults, but overall, they have had commentators and reporters from both sides of the aisle and try to present both sides somewhat fairly.  They certainly top MSNBC and Fox!  However, this latest hiring is not only a push to the right, but to a specific candidate on the right.  Since he emphatically defended Trumps anti-semitic tweet last week, it will be quite interesting to see if CNN has drawn any line in the sand, and if so, where that line lies. Perhaps by next year it will be called DNN … “Donnie’s News Network”.

Then there is the matter of salary.  It is well-documented that Mr. Lewandowski earned $20,000 per month plus the benefit of an apartment, and I am certain other ‘benefits’ while working as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.  The base salary alone comes to $240,000.  But, some months Trump paid Lewandowski as much as $75,000.  So, some simple math, simply averaging the two, and Mr. Lewandowski was quite possibly earning about $570,000 per year, not including his apartment.  When CNN President Jeff Zucker hired Lewandowski, rumour had it that his contract was for $500,000.  Zucker later denied the rumour, saying “I can assure you we are paying him nowhere near $500,000.”  Really?  So, Lewandowski is willing to take a huge salary cut simply to sit in front of a camera with his powdered nose and say nice things about his former boss?  I don’t think so.

I believe that Lewandowski continues on the Trump payroll to this day and beyond.  I believe this is a huge farce to plant Lewandowski in a major news network to toot the Trumpet in an attempt to recruit even more lemmings to walk over the cliff.  No, I have no proof of this, it is strictly speculation on my part. However, there are far too many curious aspects, too many unanswered questions surrounding the entire matter.  To use the tired old phrase, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ … and it is getting smokier here than an old backroom pool hall!

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Fatal Fracture or Fixable Fissure?

I have read many disturbing opinions by seasoned veterans of past political wars who claim that recent bickering between the two democratic candidates are increasing Trump’s odds of actually winning the election come November. Some have proposed that the Democratic Party is as badly split, fatally fractured, as the GOP. On the surface, that might seem a logical conclusion, but upon reading  Bill Press’ column in Opinionated last Sunday, I began to look beyond the surface and view things from a different perspective.

The republican party, which was broken long before Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring last June, is still broken.  It does not matter how many republican governors, senators, representatives and party leaders now endorse Trump, it is still broken.  Words are a funny thing … once spoken, they never truly go away.  They take up residence in the minds of those who heard them, and while they may be forgiven, they are never truly forgotten.  Nearly every politico who has recently endorsed Trump previously condemned and criticized him.  You can switch trains in mid-track, but the train you were on is still there.  It causes a thinking person to stop and wonder how sincere their endorsement of da trumpeter really is?  My best guess is that GOP leadership, in their scramble to pull the party into some semblance of cohesion, of unification, has issued both promises and threats to its members.  Remember how ill Chris Christie looked when he announced his endorsement of Trump?  He was promised something that he apparently believed was of greater value than his integrity.  So, though the GOP may be chortling over the recent escalation in conflict between Clinton and Sanders, their own closet is chock full of skeletons that, I think, will begin making appearances soon enough.

Now, undeniably the heat has been turned up on the democratic side as well, but there are some major differences.  The points of contention between the two democratic candidates are policy-based, not personal attacks.  Clinton accuses Sanders of promising more to the people than he could ever possibly deliver, while Sanders questions her ties to Wall Street.  Neither have ever referred to the other as “ugly”, or a “pathological liar”, or a “narcissist”, as Trump has referred to various of the original 16 competitors from time to time.  Additionally there is always, despite heated debate, an element of respect between Sanders and Clinton, with him referring to her as Secretary Clinton and she referring to him as Senator Sanders.  Quite a contrast, I think, from Trump referring to Ted Cruz as “lyin’ Ted”, or calling Marco Rubio “little Marco”, a crude reference to either Rubio’s height or their previous discussion about the size of their … hands.

Debate on policy-related issues is a healthy thing, and serves to educate the public.  Most who have watched any of the debates or Sunday morning television interviews have a pretty good idea of the policy platforms of both Sanders and Clinton.  If not, both can easily be found online in numerous places around the internet.  In contrast, followers of Trump are at a loss when it comes to pinpointing what actual policies comprise his platform, or ‘agenda’ as he prefers to call it, mainly because he has so few and those that he does have change from week to week.  He prefers to mobilize his followers with hate speech, ranting and raving, name-calling and bluster.

This week, Clinton declined an invitation to debate Sanders before the June 7th California primary.  The media would suggest this is a snub, but I disagree.  They have had ten debates already.  The previous debates covered every policy issue imaginable, these two candidates have not wavered in their positions throughout the campaign, so I ask, what is there to be gained by wasting time and money with yet another?  The media remind me of a bloodthirsty pack of hyenas, licking their chops and hoping for a feast.  Go over to the other side, guys, I am sure you will find plenty to love over there.  Meanwhile, let Clinton and Sanders focus on their campaigns and defeating the real enemy.

Bill Press offers the following advice to both democratic candidates: “Sanders supporters must remember that Hillary Clinton’s the most experienced and best qualified presidential candidate in our lifetime, prepared to step into the Oval Office on day one. Clinton supporters must acknowledge that Bernie Sanders has re-energized the Democratic Party by putting forth a bold progressive agenda with tremendous popular appeal. We’d be lucky with either one of them as our next president. And, of course, from now on both sides must focus most of their fire on Donald Trump.”

Both the RNC (Republican National Committee) and the DNC (Democratic National Committee) have problems within their organization.  The primary/caucus system is a deplorable mess and absolutely must be revamped before the beginning of the 2020 election season (which will probably start early next year!)  The chairs of both parties are ineffectual, at best.  The democrats ‘super delegates’ are a sham, a ‘fail-safe’ to enable the party leaders to retain some level of control over who ultimately becomes the party’s nominee.  These are things that must be addressed.  But the democratic party, overall, will withstand the test of Clinton vs. Sanders, just as it withstood the test of Obama vs. Clinton eight years ago.

There is too much at stake for it to be otherwise, for it is not only the Presidency, but also the Senate, House, and Supreme Court.  And one final reason:  the very thought of a Trump presidency is the recipe for nightmares far beyond anything we have seen so far. At the end of the day, I foresee Clinton and Sanders working together, doing their best for the selected nominee, to defeat Trump and ward off the nightmare.  I am not, however, suggesting or even supporting the idea of Sanders as Clinton’s running mate, as I believe he can do more good overall by staying in the Senate.  Time will tell.