The Facts, Folks … Just The Facts

Okay, folks … it’s getting really old, don’t you think?  I’m sick and damn tired of listening to Trump blame every damn person he can find to blame for everything under the sun in order to deflect attention from his own corrupt, heinous behaviour. Never any facts, just speculation, just made up grievances, contrived situations in the tangled mind of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office.  ENOUGH!!!

There is no bloomin’ Obamagate, folks … it is a fantasy made up in the deranged mind of the Oaf in the Oval Office.  It doesn’t exist.  If you even remotely believe a single word of this made-up tale by Trump, his lawyers and his cronies, please do us all a favour and seek psychiatric counseling immediately!

The Facts:

Fact:  Russia interfered on behalf of Donald Trump in the U.S. 2016 election.  That is not disputable nor disputed and there is sufficient evidence to prove the fact to the blindest partisan.

Fact:  Michael Flynn is guilty of contacts with a Russian official, a series of high-profile leaks, blatant lies to the public and to the FBI, potential blackmail and almost everything in between.

Fact:  The Mueller investigation offered Flynn a plea deal whereby he would only be charged with lying to the FBI and not the rest of his crimes, in exchange for his testimony in the Russian investigation.

Fact:  Flynn was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012 to run the Defense Intelligence Agency, the top military intelligence service in the country.

Fact:  In 2014, Flynn came under suspicion as having too many close ties with Russians such as GRU chief General Igor Sergun, and a close Russian ‘associate’.  Because of his questionable associations, after two years on the job, Flynn’s contract was not renewed and he left the Defense Intelligence Agency and retired from the military.

Fast forward to 2016 …

Fact:  Flynn launched a consulting firm and reemerged in 2016 as a Trump adviser. He became a prominent campaign surrogate and gave a polarizing speech at the GOP convention calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed. On what grounds is anybody’s guess.

Fact:  During 2016, President Obama planned to impose a series of sanctions against the Russian government for their interference, by then well proven, in the 2016 election.  He planned to oust 35 Russian diplomats from the country in December 2016.

Fact:  Flynn, by this time having been named to be Trump’s national security advisor, was privy to this information and had numerous conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, whereby he made certain promises to reverse the sanctions as soon as Trump took office.  Because of Flynn’s past history with Russian agents, the calls were intercepted by US intelligence, the FBI and the Justice Department.

Fact:  President Obama, well aware of the conversations between Kislyak and Flynn, warned Trump that Flynn was a danger to the nation and warned him against making him his national security advisor.

Fact:  Days after Trump took office, the FBI questioned Flynn about the calls, and he told four distinct lies, according to court filings.  The lies were about a series of calls Flynn had with Sergey Kislyak. The calls were about two distinct events: a controversial vote at the United Nations about Israel and President Obama’s decision to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 US election.

Fact:  Justice Department officials soon warned the Trump White House about Flynn’s dishonesty, and how Vice President Mike Pence and others had publicly repeated Flynn’s lies, making them vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Flynn was fired in February 2017 after three weeks on the job, and Trump said at the time that Flynn had to go because he had lied to Pence.

Fact:  Michael Flynn and Robert Mueller reached a plea agreement in December 2017. Flynn agreed to help the probe and eventually provided evidence against Trump. Mueller let Flynn plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI and agreed not to bring charges on Flynn’s other lies or on the illegal lobbying.

Fact:  Last June, Flynn fired his lawyers and brought on an aggressive team of right-wing firebrands. Instead of letting the case wrap up as planned and proceed to sentencing, Flynn’s lawyers started accusing the FBI of bias and misconduct, and he later asked to withdraw his guilty plea.

Those are the facts, they are proven, documented, and not disputable.

Listen to lawyer Bradley Moss respond to the question of “Obamagate” on Fox ‘News’ …

Now this month, Trump’s toadie Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department would be dropping the single charge against Mike Flynn, he would be a free man, and both Trump and Pence announced their willingness to have him back on their team.  So … what happened?

My educated guess is that in mid-2019 Trump decided that Flynn, with his pre-established Russian connections, and given that the intelligence community has already verified that Russia is once again playing a role in our election, might be a useful tool, a liaison as it were.  So, Trump advised Flynn to fire his lawyers, withdraw his guilty plea, and he promised him a full pardon.  Then this spring, as Trump saw his polls tanking as a result of his shoddy response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump sought the help of his sycophant sitting at the head of the Justice Department … if one can still refer to it as the ‘Justice’ Department.

So, just where did Trump cook up his “Obamagate” conspiracy???  The first thing to remember is that Trump’s ego was damaged by the fact that he lost the popular vote, in essence lost the election, to Hillary Clinton.  His ego was further damaged by the facts uncovered by Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference into our election that did, regardless what anyone says, play a role in helping Trump get elected.  Would he have been elected even without Vladimir Putin’s assistance?  We’ll never know for sure, as there were other misdeeds afoot that also gave Trump an unfair advantage, but it’s a fact that Russia did help him in more ways than one.

Trump cannot, when his ego is prodded or poked, let sleeping dogs lie, cannot be the gentleman and realize that this, too, shall pass.  No, it is his nature to find someone to blame, someone to call names, someone to say “Lock her/him up!”  This time it happens to be President Obama.

When asked by Philip Rucker of The Washington Post just exactly what crime Trump was accusing President Obama of when he decried “Obamagate!”, Trump responded …

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

And that is really about all Trump has, folks.  A non-answer for a non-issue.  It was no different than when he called Bob Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” over and over again, ad nauseam.  It’s no different than his constant and annoying habit of referring to all the legitimate media as “fake media”.  It was no different than when he started the “Lock her up!” chant against Hillary Clinton, over and over again, ad nauseam.  It is a rallying cry, a ploy to turn the attention of the public from his own crimes to some imagined crimes by an imagined enemy.  Must be working, for I just spent two hours digging into the facts and writing this post in an effort to enlighten and clarify.

Don’t, however, let it fool you and don’t even dignify the questions and “whaddabout” queries by your republican friends. Smoke and mirrors.  Trump is a snake oil salesman and his act plays well with about 40% of the people in this country.  He deals in grandstanding, smoke & mirrors, and gaslighting.  He is not a politician, he is not a leader of people.  President Obama was a leader of people, a uniter, and a damn fine man … Trump is none of the above and he feels the lack … he retaliates in the only way he knows how … nastiness, name-calling and vicious lies.

I end where I began … there is no crime, no illegal act, by either President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden.  There is no Obamagate.  The crimes all lie with none other than Donald Trump, the worst, most corrupt president in the history of this nation.  Please, friends, help us get him out of power before he finalizes the destruction of the United States of America.  I’m begging … please.

Never-ending Snarky Snippets …

I was in the midst of writing an introspective piece about … well, I shan’t tell you what it was about, for hopefully one day soon I can finish it, and I don’t want to have spoiled the surprise.  Anyway, I was in the middle of calmly pondering and opining, when I decided to take a quick gander at the end-of-day news briefs … BIG mistake!  No longer could I calmly ponder, but instead needed to loudly rant.  Remember that old Sonny & Cher song, The Beat Goes On?  And the snark goes on … and on … and on.


Wah …

baby-trumpLest you thought that Trump was the only one in the White House with a juvenile mentality, rest assured there are more.  The latest example?  None other than Mike Pence.

As you all know, Trump holds daily ‘press briefings’ these days.  I use the term loosely, for they are mostly rants against his perceived ‘enemies’, rants against the press, opportunities to push drugs manufactured by companies in which he owns stock, and opportunities to pat himself on the back saying what a ‘great’ job he is doing.  I haven’t watched even one, nor will I, for watching him makes me physically ill.  Lately certain networks, seeing them for the propaganda they are, don’t carry the entire presser, but only the first part where he is reading from a card that someone else wrote.  One such network is CNN … one of Trump’s favourite targets for his ire.

Mike Pence decided to retaliate against CNN on behalf of his boss, and Pence decided to only allow the nation’s top health officials to appear on CNN and discuss the coronavirus pandemic if the network agreed to cover the entire rambling, lengthy press briefing.  What a waste of people’s time to listen to such drivel, and yet it is being shoved down our throats.  And … if anybody believes a word Trump says, then I’ve got a great bridge in Brooklyn for sale real cheap!  If I were CNN, I would have told Pence and Trump both just where they could put their pressers.

After the story was made public, Pence reversed course yesterday and kindly “allowed” CNN to book Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield for CNN’s Thursday night coronavirus town hall, and Dr. Anthony Fauci for Friday on “New Day.”  Wow, how very generous of him to allow the experts to be heard without forcing the moron down our throats.


You have GOT to be KIDDING me!!!

Jared and Ivanka … a pair of do-nothing, know-nothing dolts who couldn’t even pass muster to earn top-level security clearances (Trump overrode the decision), are now considered experts on the economy???jared-ivankaAn excerpt from an article in Bloomberg …

The White House is considering whether to create a working group focused on reviving the U.S. economy after the coronavirus pandemic eases, and whether the panel should include private-sector representatives.

The discussions are in their early stages, according to three people familiar with the matter. Administration officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, may be involved, the people said.

Meadows has also asked Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump to join the group, one person said. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are ongoing.

Neither Ivanka nor Jared are a) economists, or b) intelligent.  What could possibly go wrong, eh? This is what happens when nepotism runs rampant in government. This is what the Founders explicitly did not want. Yet, here we are, with our own twisted version of an American royal family.  As if one idiot in the White House wasn’t enough.


Two bleating arses …

I have little or no use for the editorial/opinion side of Fox News.  In truth, I have little use for Fox News, but admittedly some of their actual news reporters try to tell the truth every now and then.  But the editorial side consists of such flakes as Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Brian Kilmeade, and others who are no better than conspiracy theorists and hard-core Trump supporters.  They can take his most heinous act and find a way to justify it … in their own minds.  And sadly, their viewers lap it up as they sit in front of the television, smushing half of a cake into their mouths.

The latest?  Sean Hannity and former Fox persona Bill O’Reilly were conversing on Wednesday on Hannity’s radio show and … well, here is a short snippet from their conversation:

hannity-oreillySean Hannity (HOST): I want life back to normal, can you fix that in a simple way?

Bill O’Reilly: Oh man I wish I could, you know?

Sean Hannity: Oh, me too.

Bill O’Reilly: But we’re making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he’s — he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody. The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that. 

Sean Hannity: You’re gonna get — hold on, you’re going to get hammered for that.

Bill O’Reilly: Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.

What he should have said is a “simple-minded man”.  When I return to earth as a wolf, these two are going to get torn from limb to limb.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


And on that note, I leave you with just a couple of ‘toons …

Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c200408.tiftoon-2toon-3

Just Another Snarky Thursday …

There are, apparently, only two news stories this week: Joe Biden & the coronavirus.


Joe Biden …

It was obvious from the day Joe Biden announced his candidacy in the 2020 election that he was the candidate Trump most feared.  Hence, the now-infamous call to the president of the Ukraine that got Trump impeached, and if we had conscionable senators, would have removed him from office.

Just to set the record straight before I go any further, it has already been proven that Joe Biden did nothing illegal when his son worked for Burisma in the Ukraine.  It has been discussed, investigated, etc., ad nauseam, and there is nothing.

For a time, when Bernie Sanders seemed to be coming out ahead of the pack, Trump dropped off on his rhetoric about Biden.  It was reported that Russia was not only intervening on Trump’s behalf, but also on Sanders’.  Why would they do that?  Well, Russia helped put Trump in office in 2016 because Putin saw a puppet he could use.  Putin could never have manipulated Hillary Clinton in the ways he has Trump, he understood that Trump would be easy to sway, and that was that.  It’s in Putin’s best interest to keep his puppet in the White House.  It’s largely believed that Trump could beat Bernie Sanders, if for no other reason that that label, ‘democratic socialist’, that Bernie wears.  So, if Russia helps Bernie, they help Trump as well.

But now, it appears that Trump’s nemesis on November 3rd may well be Joe Biden after all, so … the day after Biden’s Super Tuesday win, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin attempted to plant a seed of doubt about Biden’s credibility.  He told reporters that the Senate Homeland Security Committee, of which Johnson is chairman, will be releasing an interim report on his panel’s probe of Hunter Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.  Oh for Pete’s sake, get over it, Johnson!  ENOUGH already!  First, it has been clearly established that, while Hunter Biden may not have used good judgment, he broke no laws, and at any rate, it was nothing whatsoever to do with his father!  DROP IT!

But, Trump is clearly not going to drop it, either, for in an interview Wednesday night on Fox, he opined that it …

“will be a major issue in the campaign, I will bring that up all the time because I don’t see any way out.”

So … in other words, if you can’t win fair and square, then lie, cheat and steal!  Why should we be surprised, for that’s how he ‘won’ in 2016, though he didn’t actually win, for he lost by nearly 3 million votes!


Coronavirus …

In the U.S., it isn’t so much the virus itself that is making headline news, as the response of the loon in the White House.  He (Trump) has been on some sort of tirade for weeks now, as if somebody must have concocted the virus to personally offend him.  First, it was a hoax, or rather the media coverage of it was a hoax, designed to “bring him down”.  The latest?

Due to slow and insufficient response to the virus by the Trump administration, testing has been haphazard and inadequate.  But, since nothing can ever be Trump’s fault, it must be Obama’s fault, right?  BINGO!  He’s blaming Obama for the shortage of test kits (is there really a shortage of kits, or is it simply that they aren’t being distributed properly?) …

“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with — I don’t think we would have made it — but for some reason it was made but we’ve undone that decision.”

As I said in this morning’s post … don’t believe a word of it.  But, as if that weren’t enough, Trump called in and had a chat with his good buddy Sean Hannity over at Fox last night.  Hannity asked Trump about the new estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the global fatality rate for the coronavirus is around 3.4%.  Trump, however, had a ‘hunch’ …

“I think the 3.4% is really a false number. Now, this is just my hunch, based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild – they’ll get better very rapidly, they don’t even see a doctor, they don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people, so you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population, in terms of this corona flu, and/or virus. So, you just can’t do that. You know, all of a sudden it seems like 3 or 4%, which is a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1%. So I think that that number is very high. I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1%.”

I didn’t realize you could earn a medical degree at Wharton School of Business.  Obviously, Trump knows sooooo much more than the scientists and medical experts.  Who needs all those experts when we can just ask Trump for his latest ‘hunch’?


I don’t know about you guys, but I am getting damn sick and tired of the childish, harmful games that Trump and his republican sycophants are playing.  They have put their own interests much higher on their priority list than ours, and now are even willing to gamble with our very lives.  Let’s send them a HUGE message on November 3rd … Let’s send them all packing!

America Needs Integrity, Not BS

Just the title of this one says it all … integrity … the thing that is most missing in our government today. Even Trump’s own sycophants cannot deny it, cannot justify or excuse it, so their latest tactic is to simply tell us to “get over it”. B.S. Thanks, Jerry, for the reminder of what we’re missing. I still say somebody must’ve drugged ol’ Tucker! 😉

On The Fence Voters

“Donald Trump is a salesman. He’s a talker. He’s a boaster, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. At times, he’s a full-blown BS artist.” If you assumed a liberal or even a conservative “never-Trumper” made that statement, you’d be wrong. Tucker Carlson, one of President Trump’s most loyal and vocal supporters, said that on his Fox TV show in late November of 2019. Carlson openly admitted what everyone knew, but that 35 percent of Americans still deny.

Carlson also admitted, “One of the reasons progressives say they hate Donald Trump is because he lies a lot.” Whether progressives hate Trump or not could be debated, but that Trump is a liar is now a settled fact, as attested to by one of his most-dedicated defenders. In that same broadcast, Carlson further acknowledged that Trump’s boast that his inaugural crowd was the largest in history was a lie: “The crowd at the…

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Discord & Dissension – Part II – “How did we get here? – Part 1”

As we promised last week, here is the first part of our project. We welcome all comments and suggestions and we hope you find this to be of value!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. This is the first part, the second will follow this afternoon. It seems we have a lot to say, and this is likely to happen from time to time. 😉

As my good friend Jill over at Filosofa’s Word pointed out in her excellent intro to this project last Friday, Wake Up America! 2020 is here, and if you thought 2016 was bad, buckle up your seat belts. Campaign 2020 promises to be one of the most divisive in history. As we speak, the current president of the United States is about to go on trial in the Senate for two articles of impeachment.

And he’s not happy about it.

But beyond the current chaos in Washington, our political…

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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.

Public Impeachment Inquiry Begins-Will America Care?

Tomorrow begins the public phase of the impeachment process and it will be widely televised. But, will anybody be watching? Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders this, and his words are astute and well worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Starting this Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the public portion of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump will begin. Will the American people care?

It’s an open question.

For a while, I wondered whether the major networks were going to cover the hearings. Much to my surprise, they indeed will be covering the event. Scheduled to appear Wednesday are Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant for European Affairs George Kent. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS will preempt regularly scheduled programming for live coverage. It was music to my ears.

I knew for sure that the major cable news networks and CSPAN would be covering the hearings, but now that the major networks are in the fray, there are no excuses for the American people. If you want to watch the proceedings, you can do so in multiple ways. If you can’t watch them live, you can undoubtedly tape them, or watch…

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The Words Of A Wise Man

Thomas Friedman is a weekly columnist for the New York Times, a well-respected author of seven books, numerous documentaries, and the recipient of three Pulitzer prizes.  His forte is foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.  Yesterday, his latest column crossed my desk and I felt it worthy of sharing.


It’s Not Trump vs. the Dems. It’s Trump vs. the Country’s True Defenders.

Public servants who swore to protect the Constitution also set the impeachment process in motion.

thomas-l-friedman-thumbLarge

by Thomas L. Friedman

Last Thursday and Friday, two important Americans bore witness to the state of our nation. One was President Trump, addressing political rallies. The other was Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine until suddenly told to get “on the next plane” — because Trump wanted her removed — without explanation.

Every American should contemplate their remarks, which I excerpt later, and then ask two questions: Whose speech would you want to read to your children’s civics class and which speaker do you think represents the America you want to see evolve and leave to your kids?

This exercise is vital because this impeachment process was not set in motion by the Democratic Party. It was set in motion by civil servants — whistle-blowers from the intelligence community, now supported by National Security Council staffers and diplomats. These public servants also took an oath to serve the country and protect the Constitution, and they have shown remarkable courage to risk their careers, and maybe more, to call out the president for violating his oath.

They are like antibodies fighting the cancer in our political system. John Bolton spoke for all of them when, while national security adviser, he reportedly instructed Fiona Hill, the N.S.C. Russia expert, to tell White House lawyers that he wanted no part “of whatever drug deal” the president’s cronies were cooking up as part of an off-the-books diplomatic effort being led by Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

It is breathtaking that virtually no Republican lawmakers have manifested similar courage — when all they have to lose is $174,000 in salary and free parking at Reagan Washington National Airport.

This point can’t be stressed enough. Because if Trump is removed from office and the country is healed afterward, it will only be because a majority of Americans understand that this is, at its core, a fight between these noncorrupt, apolitical civil servants — whose norms and institutions make America’s government so envied and respected around the world — and Giuliani and Trump and their pals, who care only about serving themselves and their conspiracy theories.

Trump and his enablers at the state-directed Fox News want to portray this as just another partisan fight — between Trump and his Democratic rivals — in the hope that the public will shrug and say, “There they go again.” They don’t want Americans to understand that this fight is about guarding the most cherished norms and institutions that define us as a nation.

We can’t let that happen. In service of that goal, I repeat some of Trump’s and Yovanovitch’s remarks.

Here’s Trump in Louisiana: “The radical Democrats’ policies are crazy. Their politicians are corrupt. Their candidates are terrible. And they know they can’t win on Election Day, so they’re pursuing an illegal, invalid and unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”

And here’s Trump in Minneapolis about Joe Biden: “He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”

And here’s Yovanovitch in her opening statement to the House impeachment investigators: “For the last 33 years, it has been my great honor to serve the American people as a Foreign Service officer, over six administrations — four Republican, and two Democratic. I have served in seven different countries, five of them hardship posts, and was appointed to serve as an ambassador three times — twice by a Republican president and once by a Democrat. Throughout my career, I have stayed true to the oath that Foreign Service officers take and observe every day: ‘that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ and ‘that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’”

She added: “My parents fled Communist and Nazi regimes. Having seen, firsthand, the war, poverty and displacement common to totalitarian regimes, they valued the freedom and democracy the U.S. represents. And they raised me to cherish these values as well.”

She continued: “From August 2016 until May 2019, I served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Our policy, fully embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike, was to help Ukraine become a stable and independent democratic state, with a market economy integrated into Europe.”

Then Yovanovitch added: “I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told the embassy team to ignore the president’s orders ‘since he was going to be impeached.’ That allegation is false. I have never said such a thing, to my embassy colleagues or to anyone else. … With respect to Mayor Giuliani, I have had only minimal contacts with him. … I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”YovanovitchAnd then she explained that after being asked in early March “to extend my tour until 2020, I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine ‘on the next plane.’ You will understandably want to ask why my posting ended so suddenly. I wanted to learn that, too, and I tried to find out. I met with the deputy secretary of state, who informed me of the curtailment of my term.

“He said that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador. He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

Alas, Secretary of State Pompeo did nothing to protect her.

Yovanovitch continued: “Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives. …

“I have served this nation honorably for more than 30 years. … Throughout that time, I — like my colleagues at the State Department — have always believed that we enjoyed a sacred trust with our government. … We repeatedly uproot our lives, and we frequently put ourselves in harm’s way to serve this nation. And we do that willingly, because we believe in America and its special role in the world. We also believe that, in return, our government will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests. That basic understanding no longer holds true.”

If this is how our government will now act, great long-term harm will be done to “our nation’s interest, perhaps irreparably,” Yovanovitch concluded. We will lose “many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” and “bad actors” in countries beyond Ukraine will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. In such circumstances, the only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia, that spread chaos and attack the institutions and norms that the U.S. helped create and which we have benefited from for the last 75 years.”

In both Minnesota and Louisiana, Trump supporters chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” at his red-meat lines. Read these two transcripts and then ask yourself, who’s really protecting and honoring “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.”?

Too Much Noise …

There is entirely too much noise these days.  Merriam-Webster defines noise as “loud, confused, or senseless shouting or outcry”, and Wikipedia defines it as “unwanted sound judged to be unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing”.  Both are apt descriptions of what we are experiencing today.  The noise is coming from the White House, it is coming from the GOP, and it is coming from the evangelicals.  Mostly, it is coming from the Fool on the Hill, Donald Trump, and his hired sycophants.  The noise is obnoxious and annoying, but worse, it is dangerous.

Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor who, by the way, won Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award in November 2016 for his bigoted and mindless bleating, is back in the news this week.  He appeared on Fox News’ program Fox and Friends Sunday where he said …

“I don’t pretend to speak for all evangelicals but this week I have been traveling the country and I’ve literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians, I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office, overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him. And I do want to make this prediction this morning: If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I’m afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.”

A ’Civil War-like fracture’?  I would rebut that Donald Trump has intentionally and with purpose caused the divide that is driving people apart in this nation.  He has denigrated everyone in one way or another, except of course his loyal fan base who don’t seem to understand the effect of his words and actions.  But, Mr. Jeffress’ words are dangerous, for some may well see them as a call to action.

The United States is a secular nation … that is, no religion determines policy, but policy is driven by the good of the nation as a whole.  The U.S. Constitution calls for separation of church and state.  And yet, Mr. Jeffress objects to that, as well …

“There is no such thing as a separation of church and state in the Constitution.  We have allowed the secularists, the atheists, the humanists to hijack our Constitution and pervert it into something our forefathers never intended.

And I’m gonna say this. I’m gonna say this, and it may cost me some book sales, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Thank God we have a president like Donald J. Trump who understands that. I don’t like seeing my friend under attack like he is under right now, but I don’t like the prospect of what’s going to happen in America if we allow the left to seize control of this country again.”

‘Scuse me, Mr. Jeffress, but I am in the group that you say have hijacked our Constitution, and I am not taking your words sitting down.  This nation wasn’t founded only for you evangelicals, but for all who live here, regardless of their religious views.  I have worked and paid taxes in this country since I was 13 years old, some 55 years ago.  I am a citizen, though not proud to be at this moment.  I vote … I vote in every election.  I have a voice in the government of this country.  I have taken no less than three graduate-level courses in Constitutional Law.  I have actually read the entire U.S. Constitution … many times … have you?  So just how the Sam Hell do you think I have fewer rights than you and your bigoted followers?

I respect your right to believe as you wish, to follow the tenets of whichever religion you choose, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to take away my rights to have as much say in the governance of this nation as you do.  And frankly, I’m a hell of a lot nicer than you are, for I care about people, about animals, about nature and our planet, whereas the only thing you seem to care about is wealth and your cockeyed religion, even though your interpretation of your religion is about hate, not love.  If I could award you Idiot of the Week a second time, I surely would.

See, folks, this is what all that noise does … it makes us all angry, puts us in fight mode, even when we don’t want to be.  It gives us ulcers, nightmares, and sleepless nights, loss of appetite for food and too much appetite for other substances.  And, perhaps most importantly, it keeps us rattled and distracted so we may not be keeping our eye on the ball as we should.  Perhaps that is the intent?

In addition to Jeffress, we have people starting conspiracy theories that are too idiotic, too inane to even mention.  And it’s not just the crew over at Fox, though they are certainly doing their fair share of it. The republicans are coming out of the woodwork with theories about FBI agents, Adam Schiff, Obama, and others that have absolutely no basis in fact, but … I guess it’s simpler than having to admit that you threw your lot in with a president who is almost certainly guilty of violating the very laws he took an oath to uphold, and who is facing impeachment by, at the very least, the House of Representatives.

There is one part of me that truly wishes the media would stop publishing his every word, would stop covering the fools who are trying to cover his sorry patootie.  Yes, I know … First Amendment rights, need to know, and freedom of the press, which I support fully … 100%.  But, responsible reporting … yes, we need to know what is happening, but I’m not sure we need to know every ignominious, hate-filled bit of rhetoric that Trump tweets.  Most of it is meaningless, almost every word is a lie anyway.  There must surely be room for balance.  If it is relevant or apropos of anything, then yes, we need to know.  But his eternal and meaningless rants do nothing more than rile us all, and that is not healthy for us or for the nation.

Your thoughts?

Snarkier Than Usual Snippets …

snarky-3Snarky.  I’m feeling very snarky today.  Come to think of it … I don’t think there has been a day in the last three years that I haven’t felt snarky!  Care to join me?


We don’t arrest children!!!

Last Thursday, two six-year-old children were arrested in Florida.  That’s right … six years old … arrested … taken to jail.  Their crimes?  Being kids.  One, we know, was a little girl named Kaia, who had a bit of a temper tantrum while in class.  Her grandmother says she is dealing with some health issues and had not slept the night before.  It is unclear what ‘crimes’ were committed by the other child, a little boy.  The children were handcuffed, put in the back of a police car, and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.  Handcuffs.  Police car.

The arresting officer, Dennis Turner, was a retired police officer serving as a “school resource officer”.  Let me tell you just a bit about Turner’s past record.  Turner was charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 in connection with his 7-year-old son.  In 2016, he was reprimanded for using excessive force after stunning a man five times with a Taser during an arrest.  And these are only the incidents that were reported last week after he arrested the two children.  Aggravated child abuse.  And yet, he was allowed to work as a resource office in a school.

Turner has since been terminated and the parents of the children have received an apology from Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón.  But, the question remains … how could this have been allowed to happen?  Who in their right mind thinks it is okay to treat children as young as six-years-old in this manner???  School resource officers came into being after the Columbine shootings in 1999, but it seems to me that arresting a six-year-old child for throwing a temper tantrum has literally nothing … nothing … to do with keeping children safe from guns!

Yes, Turner is gone, but the fact that school resource officers are able to arrest children is simply wrong. Is this an isolated incident, or have there been others that simply didn’t make it to the news?  This story likely wouldn’t have received national attention but for the fact that Kaia’s grandmother, justifiably outraged, spoke on camera of the incident to a local television station, and from there it exploded.

Y’know … if these are the extremes we must go to in order to protect our children from gun violence in schools, then maybe … just maybe … it’s time we address the real problem … the largely unchecked flow of guns into the hands of any who want them?  Think about it … but think quietly … wouldn’t want to upset the NRA and the legislators who are in their pockets now, would we?  Nah, far better to keep on traumatizing children than to upset Uncle Wayne!


Da Fox has a conscience? 

Well … Fox News seems to have a conscience, but a very limited one.  Yesterday, after young climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a blistering speech (more about that in a later post), Fox News invited right-wing commentator Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire to discuss Thunberg’s speech and the climate crisis.  Here’s what he said …

“If it were about science it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”

GASP!  Fortunately, I did not see this interview (I have never once turned on Fox News), or I would likely have thrown something through the television screen!  What a grade-A jackass!

Fox News actually issued an apology …

“The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful. We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”

So, you might think that perhaps Fox isn’t so bad after all, that maybe they have a heart and a conscience, yes?  Don’t be fooled.  For on the same day, Fox’ own Laura Ingraham, she of the poisonous tongue and zero values, used her program to criticize Greta Thunberg, saying …

“Greta Thunberg didn’t have to read her address, she actually memorized it. The implication is, of course, that to ensure the future, everyone must sign on to these globalist solutions. Cede control of our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have, and if we don’t go along, we will be punished by our own children. Does anyone else find that chilling? I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, Children of the Climate.”

Fox News has not commented on Ingraham’s nastiness.  Her own brother, however, apparently got the conscience and the brains in the family, for he did take her to task, saying …

“Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit. I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize. I can and will continue to call out the monstrous behavior and the bully commentary born out of anger.”

Thumbs up to Curtis Ingraham … at least somebody recognizes that his sister is a grade-A b**ch.


Oh, the IRONY!!!

Breaking news just in … “Trump officials threaten to withhold highway funds from California for its ‘chronic air quality problems’”

SAY WHAT???

Was it not just last week that Trump announced he would not allow California to set state emission standards that were stricter than the federal standards???  Does this ‘man’ carry a brain around with him at any point?  Oh wait … yeah, we all know where he carries his brain, and it damn sure ain’t in his head!  This is akin to a parent not allowing their child to eat healthy vegetables, but instead shoving cookies and candy into them, then punishing them for being fat!!!


And speaking of the Witless Wonder …

Yesterday, Trump popped into the UN briefly, though he did not participate in the Climate Summit that was taking place.  It appeared he only popped in to get his name in the news, to make a number of inane comments … to be the “center of attention” as he seems to feel a need to be.  One of his comments, though, is beyond belief:

“I would get a Nobel prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t. They gave one to Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency and he had no idea why he got it.”


And now that I have unleashed my snark, I must go clean something … take my hostilities out on dirt and dust!  But, I shall leave you with a bit of humour …