WHAT A WASTE!!!

The total annual salaries for the 435 members of the House of Representatives is $76,300,300.  That’s just the salary, not including benefits, travel, and other perks, and not including all their staff!  When you add it all up, the total budget for the House of Representatives is $1.715 billion!  We the Taxpayers are the ones who pay these salaries.  Now, mind you, I don’t begrudge them their pay and relative to what the average corporate executive earns in a year, House members’ salaries are actually less.  But what I do mind is paying for people to do a job that they are not doing, but instead are spending their time and our money on pointless, stupid time-wasting games.

As the Republican Party leadership makes plans for their next session beginning January 3rd, 2023, we hear that their sole intent will be to impeach President Biden … multiple times if possible … for grounds as yet undetermined.  They play to spend their entire first year doing nothing but running investigations into every aspect of the Biden administration, including the president’s family members, looking for evidence of … what???

These are just a few of the ‘investigations’ they are plotting:

  • They will seek to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, not for misdeeds but because they are displeased that the Biden administration’s immigration policies are more humane than the Trump administration’s.

  • They’re planning to probe the alleged “politicization” of the Justice Department, claiming it is a hotbed of leftists and Democratic partisans. Additionally, they plan an investigation into what they claim is the ‘mistreatment’ of the January 6th insurrectionists.  Say WHAT???

  • They intend to investigate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the goal of gutting the IRS budget. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provided funding for additional IRS staffing to pursue tax fraud by corporations and the wealthy, but the Republicans want to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  • They say they plan to waste even more time and resources “investigating” the source of Covid, claiming that there was some vast ‘conspiracy’ involving none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, responsible for the virus. They say they want to see Fauci imprisoned, or perhaps even executed for his alleged ‘crimes’.

  • And of course they plan to make President Biden’s son, Hunter, the subject of some massive investigation into his emails, his computer, his sexual relationships, and probably the brand of socks he wears! Funny the double standard here … Trump’s children were involved in a number of unsavory things, but not once was an investigation launched into their shenanigans.  In fact, they were given high-level security clearances against the recommendations of the White House personnel security office at Trump’s behest.

These are but a few of the pseudo-investigations that Kevin McCarthy, Marge Greene and others are rubbing their hands together and salivating over launching.  The end goal, as I mentioned, is to impeach President Biden.  Why?  Because he’s not a Republican, because he won the 2020 election, because he’s a man of conscience and integrity, unlike most of the Republicans.  And there may well be yet another reason … because Donald Trump asked ordered them to.

Now, we can shrug it off, for it’s unlikely with the slim majority the Republicans will have in the House that they will succeed in impeaching the president.  Surely there are at least a few who would be uncomfortable with such a dramatic and ludicrous move.  And even if they succeeded in impeachment, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the Senate would convict him.  But it is still important because it is a denigration of our entire government, turning the United States Congress into a circus act.  In my mind, at least, it signals the beginning of the end of a democratic system.  The Republicans are obviously not interested in earning their keep, in providing good governance, but are only interested in domination.  Then again, maybe part of the scheme is to deflect attention from their own crimes and those of their ‘leader’, Donald Trump.

What makes me furious is that the Republicans have absolutely no plan for policy-making or for legislating, which is what we hired them to do!  Their sole focus is going to be on trying to bring down the Biden administration and block any and all legislation proposed by the Democrats.  And for this … for this we are going to pay them $76,300,300!!!  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m sick and damned tired of paying hard-earned tax dollars and getting absolutely nothing in return!  I’d far rather my tax dollars go to help improve the lot in life of people who are struggling just to survive in this world than the already-wealthy bozos the Republicans have shoved into Congress!

What Do You Want: Governance Or A Show?

There are many policy and ideological differences between the two major political parties in the U.S., but as I was reading an article yesterday, one came to me that I had not thought of before:  Democrats in Congress take lawmaking seriously, while for Republicans it is a game, a show.  Republican voters seem to require a circus … the most ludicrous, most outrageous and loudest candidate wins with the Republican voters.  Democratic voters, on the other hand, prefer old school staid, nose-to-the-grindstone politicians who they can trust to make laws that benefit the nation and its people.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a look at one issue that exemplifies what I just stated … the impeachment of Joe Biden et al.

Already, even without a majority in either House or Senate, knowing their efforts would come to naught, numerous impeachment resolutions have been filed against President Biden, the first one coming less than 24 hours after he took his oath of office on 20 January 2021.  That one, House Resolution #57,   was filed by mad dog Marge Greene, claiming that the President had committed “abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Wow … all that within less than a day of taking office!  Actually, she was referencing his time four years prior as Vice President, conjecturing something mysterious about his son, Hunter, and more of the right-wing conspiracy theories she’s picked up from her QAnon buddies and from watching the likes of Tucker Carlson over at Fox ‘News’.

Since that first resolution, there have been at least 8 more resolutions to impeach President Biden, and also one introduced by mad dog Greene’s best buddy, pistol mama Lauren Boebert, to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris!  And oh the irony here, but one of the bullet points in Boebert’s attempt to impeach Harris is that the Vice President “neglected her duties as Vice President by failing to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Biden from office due to his clear inability to effectively and competently handle his duties as Commander in Chief.”  Say WHAT???  Boebert wants to impeach the Vice President because she didn’t invoke the 25th Amendment?  OH THE IRONY!

None … not a single one … of these resolutions will lead to actual impeachment, for the Republicans don’t have the votes to get them through now, and in January when the next Congress is seated, these resolutions will all expire.  It’s not serious legislative work … it’s all for show, my friends.  The people whose salary YOU pay, wasted precious time and resources playing games that they knew had no actual meaning. They can then go back to their districts and yell and puff out their chests and say, “I wrote a resolution to impeach the President!” and their supporters will whistle, applaud, and cheer.  It is not governance, it is a circus.

And what should we look forward to come next year?  More of the same crap.  Already, they are gathering their resources, consulting with the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative ‘think tank’, and plotting ‘strategy’, such as it is.  They not only plan to impeach President Biden and Kamala Harris, but also Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  I seriously doubt they will be successful, and even if they are, I would not expect the Senate to convict and expel any of these from their positions, but these faux impeachments, along with other of their clownish antics, will keep this nation in perpetual turmoil for the next two years, which may well be the goal of the soulless Republican Party.

  • Democrats talk about enhanced voting rights; Republicans talk about impeaching the President
  • Democrats talk about expansion of renewable energy sources to help save life on Planet Earth; Republicans talk about impeaching the Attorney General
  • Democrats talk about gun regulations to cut down on violent crime; Republicans talk about impeaching the Vice-President
  • Democrats talk about human rights – LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, etc.; Republicans talk about impeaching the Secretary of Homeland Security

Do you begin to see a pattern here?  Once again, my friends, repeat after me:  Republicans do not want governance, they want a show.  Vote for them and that is all you’ll get … a horror show.

A Dangerous Double Standard

I’d like to ask those who are defending the former guy in everything he’s done, who claim he is above the law, to think about a few things.

  • What if, during the 2012 election season when President Barack Obama was running for re-election, it had been discovered that Obama had attempted to coerce a foreign nation to create a scandal about his opponent, Mitt Romney and threatened to withhold much-needed aid from that country if they did not do so? Would you have shrugged your shoulders and chalked it up to ‘just politics’?
  • What if President Obama had lost his bid for re-election in 2012? Do you think he would have decried the election to have been rigged?  Do you think he would have spent millions of our hard-earned tax dollars in a variety of attempts to de-certify or reverse the results of the election?  And if he did any of that, do you think the people of this nation would still have cheered him on?
  • What if President Obama had brought together thousands of thugs to storm the Capitol on the day the election was to be officially certified, and had called for the assassination of then-Vice-President Biden for doing his job as outlined in the U.S. Constitution? Would the people of this country be saying that he was within his rights to do everything possible, whether legal or not, to stay in the White House?  Would they have applauded his efforts?
  • What if President Obama had, upon leaving the White House with no further recourse open to him, taken with him documents that could very well threaten the security of this nation with regard to other countries who are not our allies, such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea? Could you, would anybody, defend him under such circumstances?  Would the Courts be protecting him even in light of his dishonesty?

I think we all know the answer to all of the above questions … If President Obama had done just one of those things, he would almost certainly have been impeached and convicted in the first three instances, and charged within his first year out of office in the fourth.  Heck … remember how much flack President Obama was subjected to for having the unmitigated gall to wear … {GASP} a tan suit to a press conference on August 28, 2014?  Or the time First Lady Michelle Obama was equally ostracized for wearing {GASP again} a sleeveless dress!  And yet, Melania Trump’s nude modeling pictures were all over the internet and not a peep did you hear.  Now, ask yourself this … why is there such a difference between Obama and Trump?  Could it be … is it just possible that the difference in how they were treated, or would have been treated under similar circumstances, stems from something … something irrelevant like, say, skin colour?  Next time you are in a ‘discussion’ with some maga friends, pose these questions to them … watch them stumble and stutter while trying to devise an answer.

If … IF President Obama had done any of the things I mentioned above, such as attempting to blackmail a foreign nation to interfere in our election by providing false information against an opponent, stealing highly classified documents, or inciting an attempted coup, I would be all for charging him, convicting him, and punishing him with prison time, just as I advocate that result for Trump.  But the fact is that no other president in our history has been so brazenly corrupt and endangered the entire nation for his own self-interest, to feed his own ego (not to mention his bank account).  None.  Ever.

People can whine and cry all they want, but Trump must be held accountable for his crimes.  Period.  Two major reasons:

  • As a free ‘man’ who still has a voice and followers in this nation, he is a danger. The threat that he could run again in 2024 and even possibly win, is one that undermines the very principles of democracy in this nation.  His continued ‘voice’ incites and advocates for violence if that is what it takes to return him to the Oval Office.  And violence IS happening as a result. At a Dairy Queen in Pennsylvania, police arrested an armed man who said he was planning to “kill Democrats and liberals.”  And this is just one of many examples.
  • If Trump is not made to pay the price for his perfidy, his crimes, then how can we possibly hold any future president accountable for doing the same? That may well be the scariest part of this scenario, that it will set a precedent that basically says no president can ever be charged with a crime and that he/she is above the law both during their term and after!   Just NO.

There is a double standard in the minds of the maga-cult and it is a dangerous one to the fate of the nation.  I am truly curious to hear how some people would respond to my questions.

A Chilling Tweet

There are probably no more than five Republicans sitting in Congress today who are deserving of the honour of representing We the People, and of the new ones currently seeking a seat in Congress, not a single one is qualified.  And yet, their lies and wild conspiracy theories have gained them a following and there is a possibility that Republicans will gain a majority in one or possibly both chambers of Congress next year.  That, in and of itself should make intelligent people of good conscience more determined than ever to overcome the barriers and get out to vote, take their neighbors to the polls, volunteer as a poll worker … whatever it takes to keep Republicans out of Congress.  I have never been a member of either party, have always been an Independent, but I’ve never felt as affiliated, even if unofficially, with a party as I do the Democrats today.

This morning, the following text by Kevin McCarthy sent a distinct chill down my spine …

And the first thought that came to my mind was … they plan to impeach President Biden!

For what?  For nothing.

The article he refers to in the New York Post was written by none other than McCarthy himself and the ignoble Jim (Gym) Jordan, neither of which are known for being truthful or men of good conscience.

Let’s be clear here … I neither know nor particularly care what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do when he worked for Burisma Holdings.  Hunter Biden is not the president of the U.S.  Hunter Biden does have a drug problem, but that does not make him a criminal, and frankly I think we all … each and every one of us … have a family member with a drug or alcohol problem … I know I do.  But more to the point, we don’t blame people for the sins of their family members … if we did, nobody could ever be elected to any public office.  If we did, Justice Clarence Thomas would have been ousted from the Supreme Court already.

In fact, McCarthy himself does not have a clean nose.  He dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House in 2015 after his affair with a congresswoman from North Carolina was made public, and … his brother-in-law owns a construction company that has suspiciously received more than $7.6 million in federal contracts since 2000.  All of which is irrelevant, but points to the old saying that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Think about this one for a minute … if the Republicans gain a majority in the House and Senate, and if the Republicans are stupid enough to vote for McCarthy to be the Speaker of the House following November’s election, then they could indeed begin investigations and could indeed dig up or make up something about some member of the President’s family, could embellish it to the point of making it sound like a smoking gun, and vote to impeach.  See, here’s the thing … the Republican Party of today is one without values, without integrity, without a conscience.  The Constitution no longer means anything to them … We the People no longer mean anything, except to be manipulated and used as a tool for their own benefit. It is a party that is in the fearsome grip of a madman who hopes to become the dictator of this nation two years hence.  So, even without any viable or legitimate evidence, there is no doubt that the Republicans in both chambers of Congress would fall in line, be in lockstep with McCarthy’s plot.

So, what if they impeach Biden?  Kamala Harris would be the only thing standing in the way of a “President Kevin McCarthy”.  Are you chilled yet?  And we can bet money that a “President McCarthy” would be a puppet of the evil ‘man’ currently residing at Mar-a-Lago.

We the People have the power to stop this plan in its tracks, but WE MUST ALL VOTE!!!  That is, literally, the ONLY way to preserve what is left of the democratic foundations of this country.  VOTE McCarthy OUT, for Pete’s Sake!  Vote them all out!!!  The Republican Party is no longer one of decency, of conscience, of integrity or values.  Their only goal is power … absolute power … and they will lie, cheat, and steal to obtain that goal.  And that, my friends, should scare the hell out of you.

Filosofa Tries Not To Rant … Oops!

I tried really hard last night to write a post that didn’t turn into a rant.  I failed.  The only news I read that didn’t evoke a rant, put me to sleep!  There’s just so darned much to rant about these days …


It appears that the inglorious Republican Party is determined to impeach President Biden.  It started the day after his inauguration when Margie Greene filed articles of impeachment against the President (before he had even settled in, let alone made any policy decisions) claiming that he had ‘abused’ his power.  Nobody took it seriously, knowing that Margie is a conspiracy theorist, follower of QAnon, and not terribly intelligent.

The latest, though, really sent me into rant mode.  Senator Ted Cruz, also not terribly intelligent, has said that the Republican Party will impeach President Biden in 2023 if, in fact, they manage a majority in both chambers of Congress in the mid-term elections this November.  He made it clear that there was really no reason for impeachment, no legitimate cause, other than “just because we can.”

“… whether it’s justified or not … the Democrats weaponized impeachment. They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. And one of the real disadvantages of doing that . . . is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

No, you Jackass!  Trump was not impeached because we disagreed with him!  He was impeached … TWICE … because he broke the law, abused the power of his office, and stabbed the people of this nation in the back with his autocratic ways!  Take your head out of your rather large posterior and wake up, Senator Cruz!

Now, I don’t anticipate that the Senate, even if led by a Republican majority, will vote to convict President Biden and remove him from office, because so doing would leave them with … GASP … a president who is both a Woman and Black!  The two things they hate most!

Unfortunately, Cruz is not up for re-election until 2024, at which time I hope the good people of Texas will remember how he abandoned them when a winter storm left them without electricity, leaving the country and heading for Cancún where the temps were in the 80s and electricity was plentiful.


Two of the former guy’s minions seem to have established organizations that are, in addition to other issues, advocating murder.  Okay, I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m angry.  They are actually suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandates, which in my book means they prefer that everybody has the right to remain unvaccinated and thus go about spreading the lethal virus, infecting and killing people.

The first such organization is headed by the man with Nazi ties, former senior adviser and the architect of the former guy’s draconian immigration policies, Stephen Miller.  The organization is America First Legal (AFL), whose goal is to “oppose the radical left’s anti-jobs, anti-freedom, anti-faith, anti-borders, anti-police, and anti-American crusade” and “defend our citizens from unconstitutional executive overreach.”  Also affiliated with the AFL are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker – a whole bunch of arseholes all under one umbrella.

The group is suing the Biden administration over “tyrannical and unconstitutional vaccine mandates,” claiming, among other things, that OSHA doesn’t have the power to “try and end pandemics.”  Like … ending the pandemic is a bad thing??????????  Sheesh!

The second group is led by former Vice-President Mike Pence and calls itself Advancing American Freedom (AAF).  You notice how these groups toss about that term ‘American’ as if anybody not on their side must not qualify to be an ‘American’?  AAF has joined forces with AFL to attempt to convince the Supreme Court to block the implementation of OSHA’s vaccine-or-testing mandate, arguing it is unconstitutional and poses a burden on workers.  WHAT burden???  The burden to keep safe and also help keep their co-workers, families, friends and neighbors safe?  Is that really such a burden?

My daughter, granddaughter and I have all been fully vaccinated, including the booster, and I can tell you that it did NOT infringe on our personal freedoms nor cause us any ‘burden’ in any way, shape, or form!  We can end this pandemic if every person does their part, but some would obviously prefer to spend massive amounts of time and money ensuring that more and more of us will become ill and many more will die needlessly.


And now, I will stop ranting so I can manage a bit of sleep tonight and so you can find something cheerier to read on a Sunday morn!  Have a great day!

Open Letter To All Republicans In Congress

Dear Sir or Madam,

Never in my 70 years have I been as disgusted with the Republican Party as I am today.  You have taken politics to an all time low, completely disregarding the will of the people and the best interests of the nation.  Your only goal seems to be to take over the nation and hand the reins of power to a cruel and evil dictator.

Note that your party is in the minority, both in Congress and in the nation, yet rather than trying to develop policies that would help people and thereby attract new members, you push people away with your hateful, guttersnipe rhetoric.  One example, Margie Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who sits in the House of Representatives.  Just since returning from her Twitter ban, she has said that she will personally spend money to ensure that every one of the 19 senators who voted for the infrastructure bill will face a primary candidate next year.  Why?  Only because they worked across the aisle in an attempt to do their jobs.  And then, she claimed that she is drawing up impeachment papers against President Biden … no reason given.

And speaking of the infrastructure bill, there’s Ron Johnson who tells us that he hasn’t even read it and doesn’t plan to … he just knows he plans not to vote for it no matter what is or isn’t in it.  This is obstructionism to the nth degree.

Politics is a career intended to be peopled by educated people who understand how government works and who are dedicated to the principles enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.  Instead, what we get from your side of the aisle is gibberish that makes less sense than a kindergarten child on the playground.  Those of us who have even a basic knowledge of the Constitution and understand a bit about how government is supposed to work are appalled by your actions of the last decade or so, and especially the past year.

We elect you to act in our best interests, to put our welfare ahead of your own personal wealth and lust for power, but thus far you have not done that.  We elect you, then pay you a fair salary, and in return we expect you to show up for work every day, to read every bill you are asked to consider, to give those bills due consideration, debate them, and then make a decision based on whether this bill will be good for the nation and its people.  That’s really all we ask of you!  We don’t ask you to flit about the country holding rallies in which to spew a message of hate.  We don’t ask you to visit the former guy to help him work up his campaign strategy for the next election that is more than three years away.  In fact, that is a conflict of interest and We the People would be well within our rights to call for the resignation of those who have done so.  We don’t ask you to tweet condemnation of every single thing the president says or does – that’s not in your job description.

We the People are your employers, not Mitch McConnell, not Kevin McCarthy, and for damn sure not Donald Trump!

In 1854, your party was founded for a very noble purpose:  to stop the spread of slavery.  Throughout the years, the Republican Party has made some positive contributions to this nation.  But today?  You contribute only to the angst of the people who need help, who need you to put on your grown-up underwear and step up to the plate, do the right thing.  You have an opportunity to make vast improvements in the Republican Party, but instead you are more concerned about increasing your own power and wealthy at the expense of the very people to whom you owe your jobs.

For far too long now, the Republican Party, once known as the Grand Old Party, has been the “party of ‘no’”, the obstructionist party with no relevant goals or policies other than to naysay any legislation that is proposed by the Democratic Party.  Well, guess what … at least they have ideas!

It is time for the Republican Party to reassess their values, to step back and ask yourselves exactly what are you contributing besides chaos?  With all the challenges that face us today, I would think this would be the time to set partisan politics, greed and arrogance aside and work toward fixing the problems, toward making this a safer, more equal nation.  Instead, you are doing the exact opposite.

Think about it.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, independent voter, taxpayer, citizen

The Bright Spots in 2020: Yes, There Were Some

The year 2020 will likely go down as one of the worst in the history of the United States, however … there were bright spots!  Our friend TokyoSand has spent hours and hours digging for the best stories from the past year, and she has done one fantastic job of it!  Please take a few minutes to read her wonderful post, reminding us that all was not lost in this year of the pandemic.


year-in-review

We are very close to putting 2020 behind us, but before we do, let’s take one last look back. Now if you’re thinking this is going to be a dreary look at everything that went wrong, you would be wrong. This list is all about the bright spots of light that appeared throughout the year, including some entries I received from my Twitter friends, plus a handful of editorial cartoons I liked. Let’s take a look:

January

The Supreme Court affirmed that cities may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of experiencing homelessness.

When Trump authorized the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani (which he may not have had the legal authority to do), anti-war protests were held in over 70 cities and calls from activists poured into Congress. Politicians from both parties, notably in the Senate, pushed back against the administration and passed a resolution to limit Trump’s war powers.

Read TokyoSand’s entire post!

WHY???

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


Get the orange jumpsuit ready: Extra-large!

bill-pressBy Bill Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Honourable Man: Alexander Vindman

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman served this nation with honour and integrity for 21 years.  A career U.S. Army officer, he served on the National Security Council as the director for Eastern European, Caucasus and Russian affairs, as the Russia political-military affairs officer for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  He received a Purple Heart medal for wounds he received from an IED attack in the Iraq War in 2004.  In October 2019 he testified before the United States Congress regarding the Trump–Ukraine scandal.  On February 7th, two days after the U.S. Senate let the nation down, failing to uphold their oaths and failing to convict Trump on well-proven impeachment charges, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was fired, or rather “reassigned within the army” and in a tacky gesture, escorted off the White House grounds.  Last month, he resigned, citing untenable circumstances of bullying and harassment by Trump and his sycophants.  What follows is an OpEd he wrote that was published this morning in The Washington Post.  Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is a man of honour and integrity who served this nation well.


Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career.

I still believe doing what’s right matters.

VindmanOpinion by Alexander S. Vindman

August 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EDT

After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.

This experience has been painful, but I am not alone in this ignominious fate. The circumstances of my departure might have been more public, yet they are little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.

A year ago, having served the nation in uniform in positions of critical importance, I was on the cusp of a career-topping promotion to colonel. A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president’s conduct and the president’s efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.

At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving.

Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents. Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished. The president recklessly downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as it swept through our country. The economic collapse that followed highlighted the growing income disparities in our society. Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings.

There is another way.

During my testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, I reassured my father, who experienced Soviet authoritarianism firsthand, saying, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” Despite Trump’s retaliation, I stand by that conviction. Even as I experience the low of ending my military career, I have also experienced the loving support of tens of thousands of Americans. Theirs is a chorus of hope that drowns out the spurious attacks of a disreputable man and his sycophants.

Since the struggle for our nation’s independence, America has been a union of purpose: a union born from the belief that although each individual is the pilot of their own destiny, when we come together, we change the world. We are stronger as a woven rope than as unbound threads.

America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice and protect the nation. It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act.

Despite some personal turmoil, I remain hopeful for the future for both my family and for our nation. Impeachment exposed Trump’s corruption, but the confluence of a pandemic, a financial crisis and the stoking of societal divisions has roused the soul of the American people. A groundswell is building that will issue a mandate to reject hate and bigotry and a return to the ideals that set the United States apart from the rest of the world. I look forward to contributing to that effort.

In retirement from the Army, I will continue to defend my nation. I will demand accountability of our leadership and call for leaders of moral courage and public servants of integrity. I will speak about the attacks on our national security. I will advocate for policies and strategies that will keep our nation safe and strong against internal and external threats. I will promote public service and exalt the contribution that service brings to all areas of society.

The 23-year-old me who was commissioned in December 1998 could never have imagined the opportunities and experiences I have had. I joined the military to serve the country that sheltered my family’s escape from authoritarianism, and yet the privilege has been all mine.

When I was asked why I had the confidence to tell my father not to worry about my testimony, my response was, “Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served, and here, right matters.”

To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream. I believe that in America, right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.

The Purge Continues …

At a time when the people of this country are in dire circumstances, one might be forgiven for thinking that the single most important focus of the nation’s government, particularly the person in the highest position of authority, would be focused on the crisis at hand.  That is how we think of leadership, but it is time for those of us who reside in the United States to realize that we actually have no real leader.  Instead, we have a vindictive, cruel, narcissistic megalomaniac at the helm of this sinking ship.  And make no mistake — this ship is sinking.

Late last night, Trump sent this letter to Congress …Atkinson-letterMichael Atkinson, you may remember, is the Inspector General who alerted lawmakers to a whistleblower complaint last September that was at the center of allegations that led to Trump’s impeachment.  Michael Atkinson did his job – Donald Trump did not.  This is nothing more or less than revenge, pure and simple.  One would hope that the person in the highest office of government would be above petty revenge, but not here.

In the words of Representative Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee …

“This is decapitating the leadership of the intelligence community in the middle of a national crisis.  It’s unconscionable. And of course, it sends a message throughout the federal government and in particular to other inspectors general that if they do their job as this professional did and Michael Atkinson was a complete professional, they too may be fired by a vindictive president. He’s settling scores. We’re in the middle of this pandemic and thousands of people are dying and he is retaliating against people who are on his enemies list and doing it in the dead of night.”

Trump claims that Atkinson was wrong to have taken his concerns to Congress, that Trump had the right to hide his own improper and illegal behaviour from both Congress and from We the People, who he is paid to serve.  He seems to have completely forgotten that he is, despite the fancy trappings that accompany his position, naught more than a public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People.

“Whether it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, Captain Crozier, or Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson: President Trump fires people for telling the truth. Michael Atkinson is a man of integrity who has served our nation for almost two decades. Being fired for having the courage to speak truth to power makes him a patriot.” – Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was a Ukraine specialist on the White House National Security Council who testified during the House impeachment about monitoring Trump’s July 25 telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was that call that raised concerns Trump was pressing Zelensky for a political favor. Vindman was removed from his White House post days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

Captain Brett Crozier was the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was removed after the leaking of a blunt letter he wrote to his superiors about what he saw as insufficient measures to fight a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.

At this, a time when we look to our heads of government to provide stability and leadership, we are getting slapped in the face, we have a madman with no conscience sitting in the chair in the Oval Office.  I call on Mike Pence and every other cabinet member to invoke the 25th Amendment NOW!  Donald Trump is clearly unfit to lead this nation, is clearly mentally unstable, and is clearly more interested in his own reputation, his own power and wealth, than he is in the people of this nation.  His narcissism is costing lives – OURS!

This is just the latest in a series of people he has fired, people who were doing their jobs, who were protecting this nation, but who refused to swear an oath of fealty to Donald Trump.  A public servant’s oath is to the people of the nation, not the person occupying the Oval Office.  No, I don’t expect that Mike Pence or any other member of Trump’s cabinet will have the cojones to put the people of this nation ahead of their own self-interest, for they are too afraid for their own futures.  But, I DO expect the people of this nation to open their eyes, take off the damned rose-coloured glasses through which you have been viewing the madman, and VOTE HIM OUT in November!  If we don’t then we will have the blood of future generations on our hands.