Lock HER Up?

I saw this a week or so ago and meant to write about it, but with everything that’s happened in the past 10 days, it fell off my radar. Our friend Jeff, however, has a better radar tracking system than I do, and he has written an excellent, passionate piece about Trump’s near-constant attempts to demonize Hillary Clinton, who has once again been found innocent of any wrongdoing. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

So in the middle of being on the cusp of war, impeachment, and God knows what else, the Trump administration’s Justice Department has meekly announced that their investigation into Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation has found the following: NOTHING.

Oh, you didn’t hear the news? Buried under all the other scandals of the Trump regime, the findings barely got a mention by the mainstream media. And why would it? It pales in comparison to all of the other misdeeds of this administration. But the fact the Justice Department didn’t even have a press conference speaks volumes about where we are in the political environment in Washington, D.C.

For those of you who didn’t even know about this investigation into the Clinton’s, you’re not alone. This inquiry is the one that Attorney General Bill Barr, who also moonlights as Trump’s lawyer (sarcasm alert) , started several months ago. And by…

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Discord & Dissension – Part I – Intro

The year is 2020.  Ten days into the new year, and so much has already happened that we cannot keep up.  The world is teetering on the brink, and all thanks to one ‘man’:  Donald Trump.  Yes, that Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who sits in the White House, in the highest position of leadership in the nation, despite the fact that he lost the election by nearly 3 million votes.

The year is 2020, and the United States will be having an election on November 3rd, in just 298 days the people of this nation will head to the polls to cast their vote for their representative, some for their senator, and all for the next president.  Or will they?  In 2016, between 58% – 59% of eligible voters actually voted.  WHY?  Because …

  • Hillary Clinton was a woman
  • Hillary Clinton was not “warm and fuzzy”
  • Hillary Clinton was blamed for her husband’s indiscretions
  • Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the lives lost in Benghazi, though that myth was long since de-bunked
  • People who had hoped that either Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein would gain the Democratic Party nomination were disappointed and thus stayed home, rather than vote at all
  • People claimed they were “making a statement” by not voting

There are many more reasons, of course, but folks … think about it … barely more than half of the people who could have voted, did.  Throughout the relatively short history of this nation, men and women have put their lives on the line to protect our right to have a voice in our government, and some 40% of the nation’s citizens threw that right away.

Because of that … mainly the apathy and ignorance of people in this nation … we are currently facing a number of crises in this nation, not the least of which is that an impeached president, trying to distract the public from his own crimes, is leading us down a path of destruction.

The year is 2020, an election year, possibly the most crucial one in the 233-year history of the United States of America.  If we lose this one, we may well be responsible for ending life on this planet as we know it today.

The year is 2020, and here in the U.S., the two parties, Democratic and Republican, are more divided than at any time in history.  There are strong ideological differences, as there have always been, but it goes even beyond that.  We are almost two separate nations without a line of demarcation, and the sheer antagonism between the two is toxic.  How did we get to this point?  How can we ever reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable differences? Where do we go from here?

The year is 2020, and we are determined to make our voices heard, to do our part to put an end to the madness that has overtaking the U.S.  Who are we?  We are Jeff and Jill – you know us from On the Fence Voters and Filosofa’s Word.  We are going to spend part of our time and some of our voices in the coming ten months trying to make a difference. We will be in your inbox most Fridays screaming WAKE UP, AMERICA!! We are all, democrat or republican, Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist, black, brown or white … we are all in this together and in order to make this nation whole and healthy again, we need to start … somewhere!  We hope you will join us in our little project, and we look forward to your input and suggestions.

Next Friday, 17 January, Jeff will begin with a bit about each of the two parties, the origins and how they got where they are today, then Jill will follow up with where we go from here.  After that, we are going to be considering ways we can make a difference in this year’s upcoming election, how we can get voters engaged, make them see how important their vote is, etc. We will also be discussing things like religious liberty, the long-term effect of judicial appointments, and whatever else seems relevant in any given week.  We want you to feel free to jump in with comments or even a guest post if you feel so inclined!  That’s our plan for now, at least, but with the landscape changing daily, sometimes hourly, our focus could change over time.  That’s the fun part … we have no idea where we’ll end up!  So, until next Friday …

Elmo

The Price For Ignorance …

It is a well-known fact that Donald Trump does not understand the Middle East.  It is an equally well-known fact that diplomacy is not Trump’s strong suit … in fact, I rather doubt the word ‘diplomacy’ is in his vocabulary.  He is a bully who thinks that “might equals right”, and that has not changed simply because he is now in a position where it matters more than ever.

There are a number of people who have dedicated much of their lives studying the Middle East, who understand the dynamics in play, but those people are not in Donald Trump’s administration.  However, those experts have something to say about Trump’s ignorant ‘maximum pressure’ policy toward Iran.

The fight began in May 2018, when Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, leaving our allies scrambling trying to keep the deal intact, for by all accounts the Iranians were upholding their part of the deal.  The tensions intensified last spring, when the U.S. designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization and moved to shut off Iran’s ability to export oil. Middle East experts warned that Iran would meet America’s escalation with escalation of its own. The Revolutionary Guard Corps designation was opposed by even some top Trump administration national security officials who said it could incite retaliation by Tehran against American troops and intelligence officers.

These predictions have proved correct. In May, the United States accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Then, in June, Iran shot down an American drone.

Then last week an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, Kataib Hezbollah, fired on an Iraqi military base, wounding four American servicemen and killing an American contractor. Trump foolishly responded with force: On Sunday, the U.S. military launched air strikes against the militia’s forces in Iraq and Syria, killing 24 people and wounding 50.

Iran-2On Tuesday, thousands of supporters of Kataib Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, shouting “Death to America”, a chant reminiscent of the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, 40 years ago. Outraged by the U.S. attacks, many of Iraq’s top clerics and politicians are now demanding the withdrawal of all American troops.  So, what does Trump do now?  Just what Trump always does when he doesn’t know what else to do, he threatens and bullies.

“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.”

He seems to be ignorant of the fact that he does not have the power to force other nations to act according to his will … remember the “Mexico will pay for the wall” statement that he screeched over and over?  How well did that work out?  Former U.S. officials who are experts in Middle Eastern foreign policy are critical of Trump’s “maximum pressure” initiative, saying it is far too heavy on economic sanctions and military deterrence, far too light on serious diplomatic outreach, and not focused enough on the other countries caught in the middle.

“It’s not working because the administration has no idea why it’s applying pressure or what it wants.” — Ilan Goldenberg, a former Pentagon and State Department official

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly cancelled a trip to the Ukraine in order to closely monitor the situation.  I can imagine he is chewing his fingernails, for he was one of the biggest critics, blaming Hillary Clinton almost exclusively for her handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.  Secretary Clinton was absolved of any wrongdoing.

When you play a game without understanding the rules, you will almost inevitably lose.  That is what Donald Trump is doing in the Middle East … the only difference between this and a game of Battleship is that real lives are at stake.  This is likely to end in one of two ways … war or loss of face.  War is unthinkable, but to Trump, loss of face is even worse.  His ego trumps human lives, at least in his mind.

As often happens, Jeff from On the Fence Voters and I were on the same page tonight, and he reminds us that this is an election year, Trump has just been impeached, and Kim Jong-un is rattling his saber once again, all of which adds up to … sigh.  So I would ask you to hop over and take a look at his post, too!

Snarky Mini-Snippets To Start The Weekend!

snarky-2Today, I had a bunch of snark-buildup, but all just little things, small thoughts (no comment from the peanut gallery about small minds –> small thoughts!) that only warrant about a paragraph each, so I went with calling them mini-snippets.  Besides that, it’s housecleaning day, so my time to write is somewhat limited … somebody’s got to keep this place from being condemned by the city!


What is this with the republican loons, from Trump and his family, to Fox News, to the republicans in Congress running around saying that the ongoing impeachment process is naught but an attempt to overturn the 2016 election???  No, dear misguided republicans, it is not an attempt to ‘overturn’ an election that happened three years ago.  It is an attempt to remove from office the most corrupt and dangerous president who has ever been in the Oval Office.  It is an attempt to restore some semblance of order to our federal government.  It is an attempt to save what shreds are left of our democratic system.  Got it?  Does that register?  I, for one, am sick and damn tired of hearing that sorry attempt at a defense.


Now it comes out that not only did Trump attempt to blackmail Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in order to force him to announce an investigation of presidential candidate Joe Biden, but also his former nemesis Hillary Clinton.  WTF???  Why Hillary Clinton?  My best guess is that he is still so embarrassed by the fact that she won nearly three million votes more than Trump did in the 2016 election that he will not leave her alone until he takes his last breath!  Vindictive, ignorant, jealous … what a waste of space on earth is Donald Trump.  If he spent half as much time studying the briefs his staff provide him, trying to understand how our government works, actually reading the Constitution, why we might actually have a president.  As it is, we have a very ignorant and dangerous juvenile delinquent in an old man’s body.


Trump has been ordered by New York Judge Saliann Scarpulla to pay $2 million in damages for misusing funds from a tax-exempt charity — taking the charity’s money to pay debts for his for-profit businesses, to boost his 2016 campaign and to buy a painting of himself.  A painting of himself?  Blech.  In addition to the $2 million, Trump also agreed to disburse the $1.8 million remaining in the foundation to a set of charities, and to shutter it for good.  Funny, isn’t it, that the man who claims to be president of the country, a man who holds our lives in his hands, bilked people out of millions of dollars, spent them on himself rather than such things as helping the poor, or veterans, and yet he remains in office.  What a low this nation has sunken to.


bloombergFormer New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is apparently throwing his hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential election, after saying he would not do so earlier this year.  Bloomberg is another billionaire businessman, folks … just about the last thing we need at this point.  At least he does have some governing experience and has a bit of a brain in his head, unlike the incumbent, but still … we do not need somebody with such great wealth that he cannot even begin to appreciate the problems of the average person struggling to provide for their families.  Not, mind you, that any of the top candidates in this race are living below the poverty level:  Elizabeth Warren’s net worth is estimated at $12 million, Joe Biden’s at $1.5 million, and Bernie Sanders’ at $1.9 million.  Still, they are peons as compared to Bloomberg.

Trump, by the way, has already picked his nickname for Bloomberg:  Little Michael.  He says Bloomberg won’t do well because he has “some personal problems”, and that there is nobody he’d rather run against.  Personally, I think he’s jealous because Bloomberg has more money, with a net worth of $51.5 billion, than he does.


Ol’ two-faced Lindsey Graham is back on the radar (did he ever leave it?)  Lindsey is so certain that the impeachment process against Donald Trump is without merit that he now says he will not even bother to read the evidence, the pages of testimony that has provided proof that Donald Trump broke the law.  Talk about hypocrisy!  Look what Lindsey had to say back in 1999 after Bill Clinton had been impeached by the House and was facing trial in the Senate:

“So, the point I’m trying to make is: You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic, if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role … because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Yes, Lindsey … let us ‘cleanse’ the Oval Office, let us restore some honour and integrity to the office.  And speaking of honour and integrity, Lindsey … where is yours???


Seems that there are millions of people out there, mostly republicans, who claim to think that everything Trump has done is ‘okay’.  Obstruction of justice in trying to shut down the very legitimate Mueller investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election.  Obstruction of justice in refusing to allow government employees to honour subpoenas by the House investigative committees.  Blackmailing the Ukrainian government to help him against a competitor in the 2020 election.  Threatening and bullying political opponents.  Removing almost every environmental protection that was on the books and selling off our national land to the fossil fuel and logging industries. Lying on a daily basis to cover his own a$$.  And much, much more, yet all of it is ‘A-okay’ with those 40% or so of people who still sing Trump’s praises.  Let me just throw out a single question here:  What if it was President Barack Obama who had done even a small percentage of those things?


Well, those little mini-snippets should give you something to ponder on this weekend, eh?  And to start the weekend off on a humorous note, here’s Seth Meyers …

The Video …

By now, I’m sure you have all heard of “The Video”.  That would be the video that was played at a three-day conference, which was held by a pro-Trump group, American Priority, at Trump National Doral Miami.  A conference, I might add, that was attended by Trump’s son, Junior, as well as by former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, among others.

I watched this video tonight, and halfway through I felt ill and had to turn it off.  Folks, this is the most disgusting thing I have seen in the world of politics in all of my 68 years.  It is vile, it is violent, it is horrific and far beneath the dignity of … well, anybody, except possibly Charles Manson.  But worse yet, it is dangerous.  It was designed for one purpose and one purpose only:  to rile the masses, Trump’s base.

The video was taken from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” and showed the actor Colin Firth in a gory church massacre scene. In the movie, the people killed are members of a fundamentalist  church.

The doctored video depicts a scene inside the “Church of Fake News,” where parishioners rise as Trump — dressed in a black pinstripe suit and tie — walks down the aisle. Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.

Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage. As the parishioners try to flee, Trump fires at them. He shoots Black Lives Matter in the head, and also shoots Vice News.

Some of those in the church try to apprehend Trump. He fends them off and makes his way toward the altar, knocking over several pews. He wrestles a parishioner with a Vice News logo as a face to the ground and then shoots the person at point blank range. In the background, the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, is seen trying to get away.

From there, Trump attacks a range of his critics. He strikes the late Arizona senator John McCain in the back of the neck. He hits the television personality Rosie O’Donnell in the face and then stabs her in the head. He strikes Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. He lights the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, one of his democratic rivals, on fire.

He takes Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, hostage before throwing him to the ground. Then he strikes former President Barack Obama in the back and throws him against a wall.

Others shown in the video include Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former President Bill Clinton; the film producer Harvey Weinstein; and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is overseeing an impeachment inquiry of Trump.

The clip ends with Trump putting a stake into the head of a person with a CNN logo for a face. Trump then stands on the altar, admiring his rampage, and smiles.

I am not embedding the video here, for I don’t recommend watching it, however if you have a stomach of iron, or as I did, feel that you should watch it to see for yourself, here is a link.

Trump did not create this video, nor do I hold him accountable for its creation.  It is the work of an unidentified creator who operates under the name of “The GeekzTeam” and who has proclaimed on Twitter to be a “red blooded American with ZERO tolerance for the liberal agenda.”  However, Trump himself is not without blame.  Since early in his campaign, he has denigrated the press, calling them “fake news”, and worse yet, “the enemy of the people”.  He has made up nasty nicknames for any who disagree with him, for with Trump, there can be no middle ground … you’re either 100% for him, or you are “the enemy”.

Much of Trump’s most avid base is, obviously, comprised of the less-educated … people who could care less about those things they don’t understand:  Syria, alliances, immigration, tariffs, policy goals, Russians, taxes (unless it’s their own).  They care only about what affects them directly and noticeably.  Tariffs affect them, but they don’t notice if the price of apples jumps by 50 cents a pound, and if they do notice, they don’t connect it to tariffs.  The mistrust of our allies, based on Trump’s foreign policies, if they can even be called policies, is naught but a concept to them, and they don’t understand that it makes our own nation a lot less safe.

And … most of them own guns.

So, when a video such as this one is shown online, when those most avid among Trump supporters see it, at least a few are quite likely to get ideas.  They’ve heard Trump tell them that the press is the enemy, and there he is in the video, killing members of every legitimate news outlet.  They’ve heard him put down people like Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Adam Schiff, and the woman he will always resent, for she beat him in 2016, Hillary Clinton.  Now, I see you thinking that no sane person would watch that video and then try to act violently against any of those people.  And most wouldn’t, not even those die-hard Trumpeters.  But …

Remember Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., the man who sent pipe bombs to Obama, Biden, Clinton, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Maxine Waters, and others including CNN?  He believed certain conspiracy theories he had seen on Sean Hannity’s Fox Network show, and thought that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil.

Remember the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that posited Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a pedophilia and human trafficking ring in the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria?  Edgar Maddison Welch took it seriously, took an AR-15 assault rifle to the restaurant with the intent of killing whoever he found there.  Luckily, he was stopped before anybody died, but think what might have happened.

Remember Jarrod Warren Ramos who entered the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in June 2018, began shooting and killed five people?  Though he did not cite Trump, most believe that newspapers and news outlets are increasingly susceptible to violence as a result of Trump’s near-constant criticism.

Remember Brenton Harrison Tarrant?  You probably don’t for his name was intentionally not made noteworthy, but he was the man who killed 57 people in two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this past March.  In his “manifesto”, he cited Trump as part of his inspiration, calling him “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.

Now, is it really so far-fetched to think that someone, somewhere, might see this video and go after members of the media or some of those people who Trump has called names, said they should be “locked up”, or threatened to sue?  Or maybe even a simple little blogger who is anti-Trump and whose blog he just happened to see one day?

Think about it.

Election 2020 … Part First of Many To Come

I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say that the democrats will win big in 2020, that Trump doesn’t stand a chance, that the democrats have a bunch of good candidates, that the nation will not re-elect Donald Trump, etc., etc.  And I know those people saying this mean well, and in most cases, I think they believe it.  But folks … make no mistake … it will be an uphill battle, and we haven’t yet taken the first step up that hill.  In this post, I want to talk just a bit about what is wrong with the democratic stance and what some of the problems facing the democrats are going to be.  I speak at the moment only of the presidential election, though I will later talk about the Senate and at some point, the House.

First problem … yes, we have a number of highly qualified candidates, from the elders, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, to the newbies like Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.  But that is exactly the problem.  Let me explain …

In 2016, when Bernie Sanders failed to be nominated by the Democratic Party, what did his most loyal supporters do?  Some voted for independent candidates, some even voted for Trump, but the majority simply did not vote.  If every Bernie supporter had cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, we would not have Trump in the Oval Office today.  So, next year, at the Democratic Convention, if Kamala Harris is the nominee, what will Buttigieg’s and Warren’s supporters do?  Some will vote for Ms. Harris, but more will likely either vote for an independent simply to show their anger with the Democratic Party or will simply stay home and not vote at all.  Some will even vote for Trump.  This is a big problem, folks, and while it makes no sense, it is reality.

Second problem … this election will not be, for the Democratic Party, about who is the most qualified and capable candidate, but will be only about who can beat Donald Trump.  Which translates to:  who has the most public appeal, who is the best-looking, who can win what will be naught more than a popularity contest.  Oh yes, I hear you saying that we all care about the issues, and I agree … those reading this post no doubt care more about the candidate’s stance on such things as climate change, health care, taxes, foreign policy, gun regulation, Social Security, etc.  But we, my friends, are not the majority.  The majority do not vote with their heads, do not study the candidates and issues, but rather vote with their hearts.  Why do you think Hillary failed to attain a larger margin in 2016? (I remind you that she did win the election by nearly 3 million votes)  Because she was not warm & fuzzy, was not a ‘likeable’ persona.  And the two straws that broke the camel’s back were her calling republicans ‘deplorables’, and Jim Comey’s “October Surprise”.

Third problem … nobody seems to be doing a damned thing about the fact that Russia did, in fact, influence our 2016 election and, while we will never know for certain if Hillary would have won the electoral college without the Russian influence, we can surmise that would have been the case.  This should be something that Congress is demanding be addressed by our intelligence community, and perhaps it is being addressed, but it doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously at all.

Fourth problem … voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.  Most of Trump’s base are white, middle-income, Christian, non-college-educated voters.  They have driver’s licenses, they own cars, and they live in predominantly white, middle class neighborhoods with a polling place only a short distance.  A large number of likely democratic voters are poor, are minorities, and live in neighborhoods where there are no polling places close by.  They may not have driver’s licenses, they may not own reliable vehicles.  They work at minimum wage jobs and by the time they get off work, take a bus to the closest polling place, it has closed, or the line is so long that they cannot wait in line to vote, for they must pick their child up at daycare.  States are, even today, trying to pass stricter voting laws.  In Texas, proposed legislation would force anyone taking more than 3 non-family-members to the polls to fill out a form listing the people being transported and the reason.  In many states around the nation, voter ID laws are being introduced.  Polling places on college campuses are being dismantled.  And I haven’t seen much being done in the way of re-districting gerrymandered districts.  These are all blatant attempts to discourage poor and minority voters, to make it harder for them to vote, and to ensure their votes are diluted when they can vote.

Fifth problem … voter apathy.  We are so bombarded every day with news of corruption on both sides of the aisle that some people … I have had people tell me this … just throw up their hands and say, essentially, “To heck with it … they are all corrupt, so why bother?”  As heated as the 2016 election was, do you know what percentage of eligible voters didn’t bother to vote?  Take a guess.  Almost 40%!!!  Colorado, Minnesota, Maine & New Hampshire were the only states where 70% or more of eligible voters turned out to vote.

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but the real danger, as I see it, is in being too complacent, in believing that because Trump is such a terrible president, he cannot possibly win.  He was an awful candidate, but he won in 2016, largely because of Russian interference, Hillary’s unpopularity, voter apathy, and voter disenfranchisement.  The Democratic Party needs to seriously get their act together, unite behind the best qualified candidate, and put together a winning platform that includes health care solutions, environmental stewardship, civil rights reform, gun reform, and a host of other solutions to the issues that are plaguing this nation today, such as dealing with Iran, North Korea and Russia, not to mention mending fences that Trump has torn down with our allies.

Let us not make the same mistake we made in 2016, thinking that Trump is such a buffoon he cannot possibly win.  He is a buffoon, he is a madman, but … he won in 2016.  Let us not let him win in 2020.

‘Toons To Make You Laugh … Or Cry

Tonight I am inundated with the utter ignorance of the republicans and Fox “News” who have all decided, wrongly, that Robert Mueller’s report exonerates Trump and his court jesters.  It does not.  But, I seriously do not feel like arguing the point with the fools tonight, so instead, I shall relieve my own angst, and hopefully yours, with a few well-pointed ‘toons.  Have a Happy Sunday, if you can …

First, there is Donald Trump, white supremacist and racist of the highest order …Trump-white-supremacy

Trump-white-supremacy-2

Trump-white-supremacy-3

And what about Trump’s code of morals, eh?Trump-morals

Remember the big deal about Hillary using a private email server?

Hillary-emails.png

I think this is spot on for how most of us feel these days …

Worry

And lastly, there is Trump the Duffer … er, ‘golfer’ …

Trump-golf

Trump-golf-2.png

Trump-golf-tantrum.gif

Wise Words From A Wise Man

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

I have shared Mr. Reich’s work a few times before, and today I do so again.  His topic is one that I have given much thought to over the past two years and have serious concerns about.  Please take a few minutes to read it and think about this, for I believe Mr. Reich is correct, have long believed so.

Robert Reich: Be afraid of the president who refuses to lose

Photo of Robert Reich

The United States is now headed by someone pathologically incapable of admitting defeat. This doesn’t bode well for the 2020 presidential election.

Among the most chilling words uttered last month by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, were “given my experience working for Mr. Trump I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

Cohen should know better than anyone, but we already had reason to worry. In 2016, when polls showed Hillary Clinton with a wide lead, Trump claimed the election was rigged against him.

He refused to commit to honoring the election results if he lost, warning that he’d “reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” He added that he’d accept the results of the election “if I win.”

Throughout the summer of 2016, Trump’s claim of election rigging was echoed on Fox News. Newt Gingrich spoke of “a long tradition on the part of Democratic machines of trying to steal elections.” Rudolph Giuliani declared that “Hillary and [Tim] Kaine are right in the middle of the Washington insider rigged system.”

Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, said federal officials couldn’t be trusted to prevent voter fraud, warning that “if you’re relying on the Justice Department to ensure the security of the elections, we have to be worried.”

By early August 2016, according to a Bloomberg poll, 56 percent of Trump supporters believed the election would be rigged. (Among all voters, only 34 percent predicted a rigged election; 60 percent rejected the idea.)

Even after the election, Trump refused to accept that he had lost the popular vote. Still claiming election fraud, he established a presidential commission to find it. When the commission came back empty-handed, he abruptly dissolved it, saying (wrongly) that it had uncovered “substantial evidence of voter fraud.” No such evidence emerged.

For Trump, losing is the deepest form of humiliation, and humiliation is intolerable.

Every time he has lost a legislative or legal battle during his presidency he has blamed the other side, and has lashed back: shuttering the government, declaring a national emergency, whipping up his followers against recalcitrant judges, Democrats, the media or whomever he holds responsible.

Imagine it’s November 2020 and Trump has lost the election. He charges voter fraud, claiming that the “deep state” organized tens of millions of illegal immigrants to vote against him, and says he has an obligation not to step down.

Only this time he’s already president, with all the powers a president commands.

Traditionally, Americans have trusted our system of government enough that we abide by its outcomes even though we may disagree with them. Only once in our history, in 1861, did enough of us distrust the system so much we succumbed to civil war.

Typically, when an election is over, the peaceful transition of power reminds the public that our allegiance is not toward a particular person but to our system of government.

Five weeks after the bitterly contested election of 2000, and just one day after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of George W Bush, Al Gore graciously declared: “I say to President-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country.”

But what happens if an incumbent president claims our system is no longer trustworthy?

Trump’s emissaries have already seeded the battlefield. Last April, Sean Hannity of Fox News predicted that an attempt to impeach Trump (or presumably remove him from office any other way) would cause “fighting and dividing this country at a level we’ve never seen … those that stand for truth and those that literally buy into the corrupt deep state attacks against a duly elected president.”

Trump’s former consiglieri, Roger Stone, has warned of “an insurrection like you’ve never seen” and claimed that any politician who voted to oust Trump “would be endangering their own life.”

Just last month, Steve Bannon, another of Trump’s bottom feeders, predicted that “2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the Civil War, and I include Vietnam in that.” He didn’t make a prediction about 2020, but we can guess.

We should take seriously Michael Cohen’s admonition that if Trump is defeated in 2020, he will not leave office peacefully.

Republican leaders as well as Supreme Court justices and civic and religious leaders across the land must be prepared to assert the primacy of our system of government over the will of the man who refuses to lose.

Under The Big Top …

I just love it when all the clowns congregate in one place at one time and spout endless, mindless inanities, for it makes my job so much easier … one website has it all!  I’m speaking, of course, about CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that is organized by the American Conservative Union and features a star-studded array of many of the most radical right-wingers in the Republican Party.  Take a look at this year’s cast of characters …

These are just some of the strange characters that can be seen, but they are joined by the likes of Glenn Beck, Kellyanne Conway, Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, Jerry Falwell and others too numerous to name – the worst of the worst.  Welcome to … THE CIRCUS!circusYesterday morning at 11:30, the ringmaster, Donald J. Trump, spoke at this circus of horrors.  His speech was long.  When I say long, I mean loooooooooooooonnnnnnnngggg.  How long was it, you may ask?  It was two hours, two minutes and seventeen seconds.  Yes, that’s 2:02:17.  One hundred, twenty-two minutes and 17 seconds.  The speech was nasty, even by his standards.  He couldn’t seem to utter more than three sentences before cussing and using foul language.  And lies???  Holy guacamole, Batman!  I’ve never heard so many lies in one lousy speech!  For the record … I tried to listen to a 2-minute clip of his speech, and right around the 1-minute mark, I jerked my headphones off and threw them on the table in disgust.  Daughter Chris looked at me and said, “Trump?”.  Ayuh … who else?

But the thing is about this speech, is that it was all old material … material he has been using in his campaign rallies since he threw his hat in the ring in mid-2015.  For instance …

  • He joked about Hillary Clinton’s emails and soon had the crowd chanting that tired old phrase, “Lock her up”. Why the Sam Heck aren’t they chanting ‘lock him up’?
  • He railed against former FBI Director James Comey who he fired two years ago.
  • He mocked Representative Adam Schiff, referring to him as “Little Shifty Schiff”, which is an improvement over what he has called him in the past.
  • He criticized Robert Mueller, naturally, and also Jeff Sessions, mocking Sessions’ southern accent … watch …
  • He defended … sigh … his ignominious “declaration of a national emergency”, which is indefensible as the majority of the people in this nation know.
  • He spent, I am told, a great deal of his time mocking the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a means to prevent the extinction of the human race and other valuable species.
  • He also made false claims about everything from the unemployment rate to the crowd size at his inauguration. Yes, he’s still babbling on … and on … about his inauguration more than two years later.

See what I mean?  Nothing new, just the same old sixes and sevens he began with two, three years ago.  And the same tired people are applauding the same tired lines.  It would be humorous if it weren’t so … old, tiresome, sickening and ridiculous.Trump cuddles flagNow, how can anybody spend two solid hours simply mocking and criticizing others?  Is this, then, Trump’s platform, his ideology?  To mock others?  Has he no actual ideas for how to make America ‘better’, but rather only to denigrate others?  Is this the basis on which our government is now founded, the foundation upon which it rests?  And what of those who salaciously applauded his every word?  Are they off their bloomin’ rockers?

“You know I’m totally off script right now and this is how I got elected, by being off script. And if we don’t go off script, our country’s in big trouble, folks, because we have to get it back.”

Being ‘off script’ was how he got elected.  Yep.  Remember those chants?  Trump saying, “Who’s gonna pay for the wall?”, and the crowd responding as if by rote, “Mexico!”  Well, guess what, folks?  Those of you who bought that line of horse hockey must be feeling pretty foolish right about now, eh?

“Right now we have people in Congress that hate our country and you know that. And we can name every one of ’em if they want. They hate our country. Sad. It’s very sad. When I see some of the things being made, the statements being made, it’s very, very sad.

And find out, how did they do in their country? Just ask ’em, how did they do? Did they do well, were they succeeding? Just ask that question. Somebody would say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible that he brings that up.’ But that’s OK, I don’t mind, I’ll bring it up. How did they do in their country? Not so good, not so good.”

What the heck is he even talking about?

Between Cohen’s credible testimony that Trump has lied, cheated and stolen from the American taxpayer, the evidence that he forced John Kelly to push through top security clearance for his son-in-law Jared Kushner despite concerns by high-ranking officials, and his utter failure in his summit with Kim Jong-un, he has no bragging rights, but brag he did, and lie he did.  A few of the most egregious, nonsensical ramblings from the ‘man’ who some call president, and just a bit of my snarkiness in blue

“I see senators that are there for 20 years, white hair. See, I don’t have white hair. I don’t have white hair. I see these white hairs, longtime senators, standing behind this young woman, and she’s ranting and raving like a lunatic, and these senators: ‘Yes, I agree with this. Yes I agree.’ The crazy female senator from the state of Ohio.”  Um, excuse me, but both of Ohio’s senators are men.  And about that ‘hair’ … it changes colour almost daily, apparently according to which toupee you are wearing, so who knows, if you have real hair, what the colour?

“Robert Mueller put 13 of the angriest Democrats in the history of our country on the commission. How do you do that? These are angry, angry people. You take a look at them. One of them was involved with the Hillary Clinton Foundation, running it. Another one has perhaps the worst reputation of any human being I’ve ever seen. All killers.”  Not a single one of Mueller’s team have run the Clinton Foundation, nor are any of them killers.  Excuse me, but … isn’t this slander?  Is this not illegal?

“I just returned from Vietnam, where I had very productive meetings with Chairman Kim Jong Un. We get along. We’ve developed a good relationship, very good, and made great historic progress. … One administration gave billions of dollars to him and got nothing. We haven’t given him anything yet. I look forward to maybe doing something at some point.”  Huh?  Say WHAT???  Trump failed completely, then lied about it.  How is that ‘great historic progress’?

And there you have it, folks.  Proof positive, in case you needed more, that there is an incompetent megalomaniac in the White House who surely must be removed before he destroys us all.  I may have more about CPAC, about some of the other clowns who attended, a bit later.  Then again, I may decide I’m so disgusted by the whole thing that I cannot take any more of it.

It Finally Happened. President’s Buddy Roger Stone Has Been Arrested By FBI On 1/25/19

Yet another thread in the tangled web of Trump/Russia connections that served to put an unqualified person in the White House, has been exposed. Roger Stone has … well, just read Gronda’s ‘good news’ post. Trump’s web of lies is unraveling. Thank you, Gronda, for starting the weekend out with some good news!

Gronda Morin

Related image PAUL MANAFORT/ ROGER STONE

On January 25, 2019, I was watching the MSNBC TV show, “Morning Joe,” when it was announced that the FBI under the auspices of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, heading its Trump-Russia Probe, arrested the republican President Donald Trump’s old friend, Roger Stone on the morning of the 25th of January 2019 based on being charged on 7 counts. The charges include one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

As per NYT:  Read the indictment.

Roger Stone had worked in President Trump’s campaign for a short time in an official capacity until August 2015 but then they parted ways. There are different accounts as to why Roger Stone left the campaign but it is important to note that President Trump, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have had a relationship, going…

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