Real Time With Bill Maher ~ New Rule: The Baldy Awards

My friend Kim, over at By Hook or By Book, published the single most relevant and important video clip yesterday that I have seen in ages. It is a 7-minute clip of Bill Maher, ‘telling it like it is’. Bill Maher puts every one of the knuckleheads who attacked the Capitol and our Congress on January 6th to shame, and he reminds us who the real ‘patriots’, the real people who are driving change for the better are. Please, if you watch nothing else today, take 7 minutes to watch this … I promise you will not regret it. Many thanks, Kim, for sharing this absolutely excellent clip with us!

By Hook Or By Book

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Filosofa Is Boiling Mad …

If there was ever a person on whom oxygen was wasted, it is Marjorie Taylor-Greene.  My ornery she-cat has more values and is better deserving of a seat in the United States House of Representatives than Ms. Greene.  I have a laundry list as long as my arm of Ms. Greene’s crimes against this nation, against humanity.

mtg-trump-maskLess than 28 hours after President Joe Biden took his oath of office, Ms. Greene filed impeachment charges against him!  The charge?  “Abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Don’t ask me what the hell she’s even talking about … no sane person could possibly figure out what happens inside this … woman’s … head.  She even had the unmitigated gall to post a video of herself bragging about filing the false charges!

She filed these articles “on” him based on the falsehoods that Donald Trump and his sycophants claimed his son, Hunter Biden, had done, all of which have been disproven many times over.  Republicans love to say that Democrats were out to get Donald Trump from the start because one of their members, Representative Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, first filed impeachment articles 11 months after Trump took office. Now we have H. Res. 57, “Impeaching Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States, for abuse of power…” — filed on Biden’s first full day in office!  Talk about a double standard!

I’m not concerned about the pseudo-charges Ms. Greene filed, for they won’t fly, but it shows a lack of seriousness of purpose on Ms. Greene’s part, and is yet another wedge driven between right and left, another bit of nonsense that will cause friction.  But, back to Ms. Greene herself …

mtg-censored-maskIt was two weeks ago that she wore a mask that read “CENSORED” even as she delivered nationally televised remarks from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Four days later, she was temporarily suspended from Twitter for repeatedly claiming that Georgia’s election results (the same ones that made her a member of Congress) were stolen. Fresh from her Twitter suspension, she declared Biden to be the president of “Communist China.”

She has claimed that the Parkland school shooting was staged (did she take lessons from Alex Jones?), and worse, she has harassed a survivor of the Parkland massacre, David Hogg, accusing him of being an actor paid by George Soros.  She also confronted him, calling him a ‘coward’ and saying he is ‘attacking the second amendment.’

She also claims that the attempted assassination on Ronald Reagan and the 9/11 attacks were “false flag” operations, that they were staged and never really happened.  Among her looniest conspiracy theories are that that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton murdered a child during a satanic ritual and drank her blood.

Greene has endorsed on social media sites the idea of executing Democratic leaders, suggesting getting rid of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with “a bullet to the head.”

Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has no conscience of his own, said he found some of her remarks to be “deeply disturbing” and that he “plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them.”

Representative Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat from California, has announced that he will introduce a resolution to expel Greene from the House, which is something you would think the institution would want to do for its own sake.  At a minimum, Greene should be censured, with the idea that she is on some sort of probation that could lead to being kicked out if she doesn’t clean up her act.  But the predictable outcome, given the general mind-set of Republicans these days, is that such a drive would only elevate her as a martyr and bring wails of “cancel culture” from the prime-time pundits on Fox News.

To the people in Georgia who voted for this trollop, WAKE THE F**K UP!!!  Governance is NOT a game, not something you can throw a pile of dog poop such as Ms. Greene into and stand back prepared to laugh when the flies swarm to it!  This is the future of the nation and the lives of 330 million people you are playing your stupid game with … GROW UP!!!  The filth and garbage you sent to Congress in the form of Marjorie Taylor Greene belongs in a dung heap somewhere, not on Capitol Hill!  And to the other Republicans in Congress:  GET HER OUT!!!  Our nation is torn apart as it is, and you want to let this piece of shit have a voice in Congress?  WRONG!

Yesterday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, during a news briefing …

“The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside.”

Damn straight it is.

He Lost-Get over it!

Jeff has perfectly stated my own thoughts with this post. I’ve been pondering a similar post for two days, but my temper gets in the way of coherence, so … thank you, Jeff, for putting my feelings into words.

On The Fence Voters

Around 2:30 in the morning on November 9, 2016, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to congratulate him and concede the election.

Later that same day, with her husband Bill behind her, and a crowd of her campaign staff and supporters in the audience, she publicly did the same thing. Eyes welling up with tears, she stood there and showed the nation what it’s like to be a patriot. This is how we do it in the United States of America:

“Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.”

You battle and fight hard…

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Presidential Vandalism

Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat graciously is certainly no surprise.  The ‘man’ does not know the meaning of the word gracious.  Still, though I am not surprised by his antics over the past week since it became clear that Joe Biden has won the presidential election, I find it deeply disturbing.  That so many people in and out of government are playing along with his little game, either out of fear or because they have no respect for the founding principles of this nation, is even more disturbing.  Never before in the history of this nation have We the People been treated with more disdain and disrespect by the top elected official than we are today.

Yesterday, I came across the following OpEd by Nickholas Kristof reminding us how other presidents have accepted their defeat.  No matter what you thought of Hillary Clinton, you have to admit her response to her loss was far more dignified and professional than any we’ve seen since then.


When Trump Vandalizes Our Country

The president should grit his teeth and repeat Hillary Clinton’s line from 2016: “We must accept this result.”

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

Nov. 11, 2020

As it became clear that she would lose the 2016 election and news organizations called the race for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton spoke to her supporters.

“We must accept this result,” she declared. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

She did not boast that she had won 2.9 million more votes than Trump. She did not file lawsuits to try to reverse thin margins. And she did not offer evidence-free allegations of voter fraud — as Trump did, even though he had won. Rather, she buttressed the norm in American electoral politics of the loser acknowledging the winner.

This norm is as traditional as it is wrenching for the losers. In conceding the presidential race in 1952 and sharing how he felt, Adlai Stevenson recalled what Lincoln supposedly said after losing an election: “He said he felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark. He was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.” Still, Stevenson resolutely called on his backers to support Dwight Eisenhower in the presidency.

In 2000, after the Supreme Court effectively ended Al Gore’s quest for the presidency, Gore likewise admitted his heartache but urged voters: “I call on all Americans — I particularly urge all who stood with us — to unite behind our next president.”

Trump might study the particularly eloquent speech by John McCain as he conceded to Barack Obama in 2008. McCain said: “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together.”

President Trump’s pattern instead has been to scrape the wounds opened during campaigns, for he has been a sore loser as well as a sore winner. In 2016, when Trump lost the Iowa caucuses, he claimed that “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it.”

Today Trump is not simply saying that we should wait for every vote to be counted in the 2020 election. Rather, he is fabricating election fraud and falsely claiming that he won, sowing doubts within his base about American democracy itself. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of Republicans don’t believe the election was free and fair.

Republican officials have, with some noble exceptions, joined Trump in this dangerous charade, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting — perhaps jokingly — that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

The blunt truth is that there is zero evidence of widespread fraud or impropriety, and in any case, the average statewide recount over 20 years has resulted in a shift of just 430 votes. There is no realistic chance for recounts to shift enough votes for Trump to win a second term.

Yet Trump is denying reality and impeding a lawful transition in ways that diminish the United States before the world, that make our country less governable and that risk inciting violence. This is presidential vandalism.

Can America heal?

The most likely course ahead, I believe, is that reality will gradually take hold: Trump’s litigation will fail, voting results will be certified and the Trump administration will grumpily accept the inevitable and cooperate with a transition.

But I may be wrong. If Republicans egg Trump on, rather than try to rein him in, might he try to block the transition in ways that would be comparable to an attempted coup d’état?

Sean Wilentz, the historian, told my colleague Thomas B. Edsall that if Trump were to deny the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, “It would be an act of disloyalty unsurpassed in American history except by the Southern secession in 1860-61.”

One impediment to healing is that we now all have our own news ecosystems to feed our selection bias, reinforce our prejudices and dial up our outrage. In recent days I’ve been tuning to the conservative outlet One America News, and it’s the simplest way to travel to another planet: On that planet, Democrats are engaging in massive election fraud and trying to steal the election. If you live on that planet, with Facebook feeds that reinforce that fiction, you’re not inclined to sing “Kumbaya.”

Yet we have to try to heal and reassert norms of civility that are the lubricant that make democracy work. Biden has modeled those norms in his outreach to Trump voters, in empathizing with their disappointment, in quoting the Bible in his call for Americans to unite and heal. But it will take all of us, on both sides of this divide, to join him.

Republicans scoff that Democrats, after delegitimizing Trump for four years, now preach harmony. I take their point. But for the most part Democrats protested that Trump was a bad president, not that he wasn’t president at all. It is possible, imperfectly, to uphold norms both of acknowledging losses and of pushing accountability.

The day after the 2016 election I wrote a column saying that “having lost, we owe it to our nation to grit our teeth and give President-elect Trump a chance.” I now invite Republicans, having lost, to grit their teeth and give President-elect Biden a chance.

I Couldn’t Have Said It Better

This morning’s OpEd by Frank Bruni in the New York Times took the words right out of my mouth.  I think most everyone who reads Filosofa’s Word will be able to relate to his words, will find themselves nodding and saying, “Yes, that’s it exactly!”  His piece won’t change any minds … at this late date, just 5 days before the most consequential election of our lifetime, minds are already made up, votes already cast.  But Bruni gives us food for thought, and that’s all most of us can do.


How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?

Oct. 29, 2020

bruni-2By Frank Bruni

It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.

I was putting too much trust in Americans.

I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.

We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.

Except, it turned out, we weren’t.

Never mind that the Russians gave him a boost. Or that he lost the popular vote. Some 46 percent of the Americans who cast ballots for president in 2016 picked him, and as he moved into the White House and proceeded to soil it, most of those Americans stood by him solidly enough that Republicans in Congress didn’t dare to cross him and in fact went to great, conscience-immolating lengths to prop him up. These lawmakers weren’t swooning for a demagogue. They were reading the populace.

And it was a populace I didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t want to.

What has Trump’s presidency taken from us? I’m reasonably sure that many Americans feel the same loss that I do, and I’m struggling to assign just one word to it.

Innocence? Optimism? Faith? Go to the place on the Venn diagram where those states of mind overlap. That’s the piece of me now missing when I look at this beloved country of mine.

Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.

He played Russian roulette with Americans’ lives. He played Russian roulette with his own aides’ lives. In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.

Polls from mid-October showed that about 44 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance — and this was after he’d concealed aspects of his coronavirus infection from the public, shrugged off the larger meaning of it, established the White House as its own superspreader environment and cavalierly marched on.

Forty-four percent. Who in God’s name are we?

I’m not forgetting pre-Trump American history. I’m not erasing hundreds of years of slavery, the internment of Japanese Americans, the many kinds of discrimination that have flourished in my own lifetime, all the elections in which we Americans made stupid choices and all the presidents who did “un-American” things. We’re a grossly imperfect country, our behavior at frequent odds with our ideals.

But for every abomination, I could name a moment of grace. For many of our sins, stabs at atonement. We demonstrated a yearning to correct our mistakes and, I think, a tropism toward goodness. On balance we were open, generous. When I traveled abroad, people from other countries routinely complimented Americans for that. They experienced us as arrogant, but also as special.

Now they just pity us.

How much of this can we pin on Trump? Not as much as we try to. And oh, how we’ve tried. This obsession of the news media and his detractors with every last eccentricity and inanity isn’t just about keeping a complete record, I’ve come to realize. It’s also a deflection, an evasion: If he gets the whole of the stage, then Americans’ complicity and collaboration are shoved into the wings.

And the freakier we make him out to be, the less emblematic he is. The more he becomes a random, isolated event. We emphasized what a vanquishable opponent Hillary Clinton was because that diminished the significance of the vanquishing and the vanquisher. We spoke of a perfect storm of circumstances that led to his election as a way of disowning the weather.

We cheered on Robert Mueller’s investigation not just because it might hold Trump and his wretched accomplices to account but also because it might explain him away, proving that he reached the White House by cheating, not because he was what nearly half of the country decided that they wanted.

We tried to make him a one-and-done one-off. But deep into his presidency, when his execrable character had been fully exposed, his Fox News cheerleaders continued to draw huge audiences for their sycophantic panegyrics.

Trump himself continued to attract big crowds to his rallies, like the one in Greenville, N.C., in July 2019, when he pressed his attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, including Representative Ilhan Omar, who immigrated from Somalia. Egged on by him, his audience chanted: “Send her back! Send her back!” He stopped speaking to give those words room, and he soaked them in.

Or what about the recent rally in Muskegon, Mich., where he freshly assailed the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, despite the fact that his obsessive denunciations of her had possibly been a factor in an alleged plot by 14 men to kidnap her? “Lock her up!” many of the attendees bellowed, to Trump’s obvious amusement.

Again, how has his approval rating not fallen to negative integers?

I’m not saying that support for him is spun entirely of malice or bias. Keen economic anxiety and profound political estrangement are why many voters turned to him, as my Times colleague Farah Stockman explained especially well in a recent editorial that was set in America’s disheartened heartland. “Even false hope,” she noted, “is a form of hope, perhaps the most ubiquitous kind.”

The headline on the article was “Why They Loved Him.” But why haven’t more of them stopped loving him? And how did so many Americans beyond that group fall so hard for him, thrilling to his recklessness, applauding his divisiveness, indulging his unscrupulousness? He tapped into more cynicism and nihilism than this land of boundless tomorrows was supposed to contain.

He tapped into more conspiratorialism, too. And I do mean “tapped.” Trump didn’t draw out anything that wasn’t already there, burbling beneath the surface.

He didn’t sire white supremacists. He didn’t script the dark fantasies of QAnon. He didn’t create all the Americans who rebelled against protective masks and mocked those who wore them, a selfish mind-set that helps explain our tragic lot. It just flourished under him.

And it will almost certainly survive him. The foul spirit of these past five years — I’m including his hateful campaign — has been both pervasive and strangely proud. That’s what makes it different. That’s what makes it so chilling.

I could be overreacting. Maybe, just ahead, there will be moments of grace, enough of them to redeem us. Maybe I’ll look up on or after Nov. 3 and see that Biden has won North Carolina, has won Michigan, has won every closely contested state and the presidency in a landslide. Maybe I’ll have to eat my words.

Please, my fellow Americans, feed me my words. I’d relish that meal.

What’s It Going To Take?

Jeff’s post this evening reflects my own feelings perfectly. When are Americans going to grow up and shed their bigotry, judge people by who they are rather than what gender, race or religion they are? My best guess is … never. Backward country this has become. Good post, Jeff — thanks!

On The Fence Voters

I’m a 58-year-old white male, and I think it’s time we had a woman president. There, I said it. On Thursday, amid Senator Elizabeth Warren suspending her campaign, I watched a panel on MSNBC discussing the Senator’s exit from the race. Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell was the lone woman at the table.

She said something to host Craig Melvin and AP Reporter Jonathan Lemire, the two males at the table, that resonated with me. “I think it’s way past time that we started to hear from men. We need to listen to them say, ‘It’s time for a woman president.’ Men need to step up to the plate and speak out.” I may be paraphrasing a bit here, but I heard her proclamation loud and clear.

What’s it going to take, folks? In 2016 we had one of the most qualified individuals, in Hillary Clinton, to have ever run for…

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The Bernie & Joe Show

While there remain four candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination, it is obvious that there are really only two viable ones.  Tulsi Gabbard should have dropped out long before, as she never stood a snowball’s chance.  Mike Bloomberg, who won not a single state last night, announced he is dropping out this morning, and will be supporting Joe Biden.  And, much as I hate to see her go, the time has come for Elizabeth Warren to remove her hat and announce her support for either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.  Yep, folks, for the next four months it will be the Bernie & Joe Show.

A few of my own thoughts …

I am sometimes saddened and sometimes angry that the people of this country, even some who are supposedly liberal-minded and forward-thinking, are still too cowardly to actually elect a woman as president.  Why did Hillary Clinton lose?  Sure, Trump with the assistance of Russia, Julian Assange, and FBI Director James Comey sabotaged her campaign.  Sure, she had some baggage and she was lacking the ‘warm, fuzzy’ persona that people expect from a … woman.  Despite the Trump/Russian interference, despite the Bill Clinton debacle, and even despite her faux pas when she referred to republicans as ‘deplorables’, Hillary Clinton won the election by nearly 3 million votes.  If Hillary Clinton had been a man, if she had been “anatomically correct” for a presidential candidate, she would have swept the election and the electoral college, for she had experience, decorum, and intelligence.  All she lacked was a penis.

And it disgusts me that on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in this nation, we still cannot pass an Equal Rights Amendment to legally give women equal rights under the Constitution.  Then again, we haven’t managed, after all these years, to pass an anti-lynching bill, either.  We still refuse to place a woman in the Oval Office.  Some churches in this country still teach that a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, subservient to her husband.  Elizabeth Warren would have made a great president.  Perhaps in another hundred years or so, the people of this country will accept that women are as capable as men of being leaders.  Obviously, it isn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

Another thing that disgusts me about the Democrats this year, or perhaps I should say about the Democratic Party, is that they are so determined to squeeze Bernie Sanders out.  Now, don’t get me wrong … I like Joe Biden just fine and will be happy as a lark if, by this time next year, we are talking about President Biden.  However, I don’t like the hatchet job that the Party is doing on Bernie Sanders.

There may be good reasons that Bernie is not the ‘best man for the job’, as our friend Gronda notes in her post this morning.    But, it should not be up to the Democratic Party to decide, nor the media.  It should be up to We the People.  That, my friends, is one of the principles upon which this nation was founded … that the people have the right to choose their leaders.  Will the people sometimes make mistakes?  Sure … that much is painfully obvious from the result we’ve lived with for over three years now.  But, it is still the people’s right to choose, not a handful of people who control the Party.

I would very much like to see the media use their loud voices to educate and inform, rather than to try to tell us what is good for us.  I’m willing to bet that more than half the people who are either registered Democrats or Independents don’t know the actual platforms of either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.  They hear that label, “democratic socialist” and that’s all they want to know.  They form their opinions directly from the opinions of whichever media personality they most like or most often watch.  The media could play such an important role, but instead they pander to gossip and emotion.

I strongly suspect that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and as I said, I’m fine with that.  I would love to see him pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, but I doubt that will happen.  My next best hope is that he will choose Senator Kamala Harris, who is an intelligent, well-spoken woman who I might have even voted for, had she not dropped out of the running early on.  It is time, folks, to drop those preconceived notions that a woman is “too emotional” or somehow just not qualified to sit in the Oval Office.  If Biden selects Harris, perhaps in time she will be our first woman president.  And about damn time, too!

So, folks, fasten your seat belts and prepare for the next four months of … The Bernie & Joe Show!

Filosofa is Snarky … Again

♫ I feel snarky, I feel snarky … ♫  Oh … hi!  In case you didn’t hear, I am feeling a bit snarky this afternoon!  But then, when don’t I feel snarky these days?


What the heck are they doing???

Today marks 173 years since rescuers first reached the Donner party who had been stranded by a snowstorm as they tried to make their way across the Sierra-Nevada Mountains.  The Donner story is a tragic one … of the 89 people that set out from Springfield, Illinois, in the summer of 1846, only 45 would survive.  But what the Donner story is most well-known for is that after they killed and ate their dogs and pack animals to keep from starving, they then began to eat their own, even killing two Native Americans who had joined their party, and roasting them.

Why, you ask, do I bring up the Donner story now?  They ate their own.  There is a parallel between the Donner party in 1846-47 and the Democratic Party in 2020, for the democrats seem to be hellbent and determined to lose the election in November by eating their own.

Bernie Sanders is polling at the head of the pack, a full 16 points ahead of #2 candidate Joe Biden.  So, wouldn’t you think democrats would get behind Bernie, help lift him?  After all, the democrats have stated more than once that the goal is to beat Trump, and much as I hate it, much as I would prefer to see a campaign based on the issues, I agree that the reign of Donald Trump must come to an end.

But, instead of patting Bernie on the back, helping make his candidacy even stronger, the pack is trying to eat Bernie!  Now, what sense does that make?  According to Politico, a democratic group called the Big Tent Project, has launched a million-dollar ad campaign in South Carolina and Nevada intended to bash Senator Sanders.  They are running two ads.  The first accuses Sanders of dumping waste in Latino communities — and profiting from it.

The second ad goes to the heart of some of the more moderate democrats’ concerns, that his plans are too aggressive, and too expensive.  The script …

“Socalist Bernie Sanders promises the world. But at what cost? Sixty trillion in new spending. Losing our private health care. Largest middle-class tax hike ever. The cost? Another four years of Donald Trump.”

Wow … why not just shoot him and be done with it?  The jackals who are stirring this pot are the very ones who will be handing Donald Trump the keys to the kingdom and he will stay in office until his death.  With our luck, he’ll live to be 100.

Come on, democrats … wake up!  Bernie Sanders is NOT the enemy, nor is Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden.  The enemy is sitting on his fat ass eating a Big Mac on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office!  STOP the damn infighting, stop supporting groups that put out these ads!  Believe me, the republicans will be running a full-throttle campaign of ads against Sanders and all the others … the democrats don’t need to join forces with them!  I can hear the republicans laughing now, saying, “Hell, boys, we don’t need to waste money on ads … they’re doin’ it for us!”

“United we stand, divided we fall” – John Dickinson

“Divide et impera” (Divide and conquer) – Julius Caesar


In other news …

According to The Guardian …

“Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he would say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic party emails, a court in London has been told.

The extraordinary claim was made at Westminster magistrates court before the opening next week of Assange’s legal battle to block attempts to extradite him to the US.

Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, referred to evidence alleging that the former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange, now 48, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2017.

A statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson shows “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange … said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks”, Fitzgerald told Westminster magistrates court.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case at Westminster, said the evidence is admissible.

Assange is wanted in America to face 18 charges, including conspiring to commit computer intrusion, over the publication of US cables a decade ago.

He could face up to 175 years in jail if found guilty. He is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.”

Can we say … WITNESS TAMPERING?????  Yet another criminal and impeachable offense to add to the ever-growing list.  Yo … republican senators!!!  Wake UP!!!


Okay, my blood pressure is sufficiently high … I’m going to go wash dishes and fold laundry now.

Some Food For Thought …

Like many of you, I’m extremely disappointed in the events of the past few days … the Iowa caucus chaos, the State of the Union reality show, and of course the Senate’s unconscionable acquittal of the most corrupt and criminal president in history.  To say that I’m discouraged would be an understatement.  I am overwhelmed, burned out by the onslaught of news and the number of times the face of the ugliest man in history has cropped up on my computer screen.  I’ve spent the last three hours trying to pull together a meaningful post, and finally gave up … decided there would be no morning post on Filosofa’s Word today.  But then, I stumbled across Robert Reich’s latest video.  I’ve shared his work before … he is intelligent, well experienced in government, and has a good head on his shoulders.

This video is from Tuesday, the day of the State of the Union address, and in it, Reich puts forth some thought-provoking premises about why we are where we are today, and what Democrats must do in order to beat Trump in November.  Much of what he says, we have all talked about before, but he puts it all together in a way that makes us stop and think for a moment.  Now if only we can get the democratic candidates to watch the video!

Take a look, let me know your thoughts, and I hope to get a bit of sleep and come out of the rabbit hole in time for my afternoon post.

A Conservative Talks Sense

Today I am sharing a column by Ross Douthat of the New York Times.  The thing I find most interesting about this piece is that Mr. Douthat is a conservative, a Republican, and yet he is arguing in favour of Trump’s defeat in November.  It is encouraging to see that not all republicans have partaken of the toxic Kool-Aid.

The Only Way to Remove Trump

To eject the president, you need to beat him.

ross-douthat-thumbLargeBy Ross Douthat, Opinion Columnist

All you have to do is beat him.

Donald Trump is not a Caesar; he does not bestride our narrow world like a colossus, undefeatable save by desperate or underhanded means. He is an instinct-driven chancer who has exploited the decadence of his party and the larger system to grasp and hold a certain kind of power.

But he is also a reckless and distracted figure, a serial squanderer of opportunities, who barely won the presidency and whose coalition is united only in partisan solidarity and fear of liberalism. He may not be removable by the impeachment process, but is not a king; he is a widely hated, legislatively constrained president facing a difficult re-election.

All you have to do is beat him.

For a long time during Trump’s ascent I wrote columns demanding that the leaders of the Republican Party do something to keep this obviously unfit, chaotic, cruel man from becoming their nominee for president. Those columns were morally correct but structurally naïve, based on theories of party decision-making that no longer obtain in our era of institutional decay.

But Trump could have been stopped in the Republican primaries the old-fashioned way — by being beaten at the polls. His base was limited, his popularity fluctuated, and if his rivals had recognized the threat earlier, campaigned against him consistently, strategized with one another more effectively, and avoided their own meltdowns and missteps, there was no reason he could not have been defeated.

All you have to do is beat him.

After Trump’s administration began and immediately descended into chaos, I had one last flare of institutionalism, one last moment of outrage and 25th Amendment fantasy. But since then I have left the outrage to my liberal friends, watching them put their hopes in Robert Mueller’s investigation, in law-enforcement and intelligence-agency leaks and whistle-blowing, and finally — though with less real hope, and more grim resignation — in the House’s articles of impeachment.

Now that last effort is ending, as everyone with eyes could see it would, with the Republicans who failed to beat Trump when it counted declining to turn on him now that partisan consolidation and improving national conditions have sealed their base to him. The mix of expedience and cravenness with which the institutional G.O.P. approached impeachment is no different than the way the institutional G.O.P. behaved during Trump’s initial ascent, and it leaves Trump’s opposition no worse off than before. A failed impeachment doesn’t give him new powers or new popularity; it just shows that the normal way to be rid of an unpopular president is the way that Democrats must take.

All you have to do is beat him.

Of course, in trying to beat him they have to cope with the fact that he is chronically unscrupulous, as the Biden-Ukraine foray shows. And they have to overcome the advantage that his particular coalition enjoys in the Electoral College.

But in other ways the Democrats are lucky to have Trump to run against, as they were lucky in 2016. In a year when the fundamentals mildly favored Republicans, Hillary Clinton got to face off against the most-disliked G.O.P. nominee of modern times. And she would have beaten him — even with Russia, even with Comey — had her campaign taken just a few more steps to counter his team’s long-shot strategy to flip the Midwest.

All you have to do is beat him.

As with 2016, so with politics since. Liberal hand-wringing about their structural disadvantages ignores the advantages that Trump keeps giving them — the fact that in the best economy in 20 years he can’t stop making people hate him, can’t stop missing opportunities to expand his base, can’t stop forcing vulnerable Republicans to kiss his ring and thereby weaken their own prospects.

Impeachment has only extended this pattern, with Republicans voting to shorten the trial even when it makes them look like lackeys, and too cowed in many cases to even take the acquit-but-still-condemn approach that Democrats took with Bill Clinton. So now most of the country thinks the president did something wrong, most of the country thinks Republicans are protecting him, and most of the country is open, entirely open, to voting Trump and the most vulnerable Republican senators out in nine short months.

All you have to do is beat him.

It’s worth remembering, too, that liberalism is not just struggling in America, with our Electoral College and right-tilting Senate; it is struggling all around the world. Which, again, suggests that American liberals are fortunate to have Trump as their Great Foe. If he were merely as disciplined and competent as Boris Johnson or Viktor Orban, to choose leaders with whom he has a few things in common, he would be coasting to re-election.

Instead it is very likely that he will lose. But it was likely that he would lose in 2016 as well. One essential lesson of the Trump era is that likelihoods are not enough; if you want to end the Trump era only one thing will suffice.

You have to beat him.