The Purge Begins …

President Richard Nixon kept an “enemies list”, the purpose of which was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the Internal Revenue Service, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”  According to then-White House counsel John Dean …

“This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly—how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

At one point, there were as many as 576 names on Nixon’s list.  Some have jokingly referred to Trump’s own ‘enemies list’.  It is no longer a joking matter.  While Nixon sought to punish his ‘enemies’ through such things as tax audits, Trump uses no subterfuge, no circuities.

In a 1992 interview with Charlie Rose, Donald Trump said …

“I love getting even when I get screwed by someone … Always get even. When you are in business you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back 15 times harder. You do it not only to get the person who messed with you but also to show the others who are watching what will happen to them if they mess with you. If someone attacks you, do not hesitate. Go for the jugular.”

 When he did a television program called The Apprentice, apparently his buzz line was “You’re fired!”  He used that three times yesterday, and unless I miss my guess, he intends to use it a few more times.

First, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was fired from his role as the top Ukraine policy officer on the National Security Council and was escorted from the White House.  At the same time, his brother Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman was also fired from his NSC job.

A few hours later, Trump ordered U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordan Sondland, recalled from his post and fired.

Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland’s only ‘crime’ was that they told the truth.  Both testified in the impeachment hearings held by the House last fall … an act Trump claims was ‘disloyal’ to him.  Funny that … I always believed that any government official’s loyalty was to the nation and to We the People, not to the person occupying the Oval Office.  Yevgeny’s only crime, apparently, was being Alexander’s brother.

The day after the Senate voted to acquit Trump of his crimes, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who never holds press briefings, said …

“… how horribly he was treated, and maybe people should pay for that.”

It seems the Trump purge has begun.  Of the twelve people who testified against Trump in the impeachment hearings, only three remain in their positions:  David Holmes, a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine; Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon; and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state.  Will their heads roll next?

Others on his ‘enemies list’ no doubt include various members of Congress, starting with Mitt Romney, the only senator with the courage to vote to convict Trump on one of the articles of impeachment, Jerry Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Joe Manchin and others.  Since Trump cannot fire a member of Congress, one wonders how he plans to extract his ‘revenge’.  Think about this one for a few minutes, folks.  The aforementioned Stephanie Grisham stated earlier this week …

“Adam Schiff lied to Congress and the American people with a totally made up statement about the president’s phone call. Will there be no retribution?”

It should be noted that a threat was made on Adam Schiff’s life earlier this year.  And then there was this statement by Jeff Buckles, a police department assistant chief in the Alabama town of Geraldine …

“Pelosi just ripped up his speach [sic]. Road Side bomb on her way home and any other Dumbocrats.”

Hyperbole?  Probably, but troubling, nonetheless.  Remember Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs through the mail to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other democrats?  Remember Jarrod Ramos who shot and killed five employees at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis Maryland in 2018?  In the divisive atmosphere in this nation today, and with so many avid Trumpeters determined to keep their hero in office, and with more guns in the hands of civilians than there are people in the entire nation … what could possibly go wrong?  Trump has convinced his base, some 40% of adults in the nation, that he is their savior, that he is great and has made their lives somehow better.  He riles the masses at his rallies and in his speeches.  This is a toxic situation.

One report I read claims a “person in the know” said former national security advisor John Bolton is at or near the top of the list.  No doubt there are others, perhaps some in the press, perhaps some who testified but have already left the administration, such as Fiona Hill, the Europe policy chief at the National Security Council, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine.

I don’t care if you identify as a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, or none of the above … you must be incensed by this purge!  This is not normal and we simply cannot turn a blind eye and allow it to become normal!  Never in my life did I imagine that this country would stoop so low, would become, in essence, a tin pot dictatorship, yet for all intents and purposes, that is what we have become.  It is a dark day for the United States.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks, for this is only the beginning.darkness

Are You Listening, Democrats?

This morning I happened upon Greg Sargent’s column in The Washington Post in which he writes about what we can expect from Trump in the coming nine months after he is almost certainly acquitted of his crimes tomorrow afternoon.  But more importantly, he makes some suggestions for the democratic-led House in the coming months that I think are very prudent.  At the very least, Congress must continue pulling back the layers to expose the corruption, and keep We the People informed so that we do not go blindly to the polls in November.  Let’s hope Nancy Pelosi and others in the House read Mr. Sargent’s column!


The Plum Line

Opinion

Trump is about to get a lot more dangerous. Here’s what’s coming.

Image without a caption
Greg Sargent
Opinion writer
Feb. 4, 2020 at 9:38 a.m. EST

When President Trump is acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, he’ll surely take from it the message that he can continue abusing his powers however he sees fit to corrupt the 2020 election. He now knows he’ll face zero consequences.

But House Democrats can try to do something about this. They can redouble their oversight and investigative efforts, post-impeachment, geared toward the specific aim of illuminating — and preventing — future efforts by Trump to wield the machinery of government to influence the election’s outcome.

Some ultra-savvy pundits will scoff: Didn’t Democrats just get through impeachment? And some Democrats will be tempted to slink away in defeat, muttering that impeachment wasn’t “worth” the “trouble.”

But this is precisely the wrong message to take from what just happened. The impeachment and trial produced a remarkable new fact record documenting extraordinary misconduct and likely criminality on Trump’s part. This has stripped away any illusions about what Trump is capable of inflicting on our political system — demonstrating why continued efforts to protect the country are even more imperative.

“We have to use all the oversight powers we have to try to check efforts by Trump and the White House to steal the election,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, told me.

“Just because we’ve impeached the president does not mean his schemes have stopped,” Raskin added. “He continues to be a one-man crime wave.”

Subpoena Bolton

For starters: One of the House committees should immediately invite former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, and if he refuses, subpoena him.

Bolton’s forthcoming book will report that Trump privately linked nearly $400 million in frozen military aid to Ukraine directly to his demand for sham investigations validating lies about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election that absolve Russia of that crime and smearing potential 2020 foe Joe Biden.

Bolton’s book will also report that as early as last May, Trump instructed Bolton to press the Ukrainian president to work with personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani on the scheme to extort those announcements from Ukraine.

Learning more about both these episodes — which Senate Republicans refused to do — will further illuminate the scope, reach and inner workings of this whole scheme. Bolton can almost certainly detail other episodes implicated with it.

This matters because this scheme is still in operation today. Republicans have been running ads in Iowa that echo the fabricated narrative of Biden corruption in Ukraine. Giuliani has been meeting with former Ukrainian officials to further validate that narrative.

And Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, is still pursuing a “review” of the origins of the Russia investigation that appear designed to discredit that investigation — and its conclusion that Russia sabotaged the 2016 election to help Trump — just as Trump wants.

What this all means is that post-acquittal, Trump will simply keep up his smearing of Biden with disinformation, including with “evidence” fabricated by Giuliani with the help of foreign officials, as well as his ongoing whitewashing of Russia’s 2016 attack on our political system.

A maximal picture of Trump’s willingness to corrupt the government in service of this whole effort will better equip the American people to evaluate the disinformation and lies we’ll continue seeing on all these fronts. Testimony from Bolton about Trump’s orchestration of this scheme will focus public attention on it as it continues.

Call Lev Parnas

That’s also why House Democrats should seek testimony from Lev Parnas, the former Giuliani associate who turned on Trump after getting indicted on campaign finance charges in connection with efforts to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who stood in the way of the extortion plot.

Parnas’s lawyer has indicated he is prepared to testify in detail about the whole scheme, including the role played in it by Trump and Giuliani, and other players such as Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

To repeat, this scheme is ongoing as we speak. Trump’s propaganda network will continue to bombard voters with disinformation about fake Biden corruption and invented Ukrainian 2016 electoral sabotage. House Democrats need to keep the focus on this disinformation’s corrupt origins.

“Parnas can speak to the shady characters Rudy is talking to,” Sam Berger, an expert on democracy reform at the Center for American Progress, told me. “Congress needs to figure out everything it can about Trump’s ongoing efforts to cheat in the upcoming election.”

Get to the bottom of Barr’s activities

As part of the case against Parnas, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have opened a criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke U.S. laws by working with foreign officials to oust Yovanovitch, something that could further implicate Trump.

Has Barr allowed this case to proceed undisturbed? We have no idea.

Trump has threatened retribution against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead impeachment manager. And Gabriel Sherman reports that Trump has privately told people he wants to see Bolton criminally prosecuted. Fox News’s Sean Hannity has preposterously claimed Biden broke laws in Ukraine.

Given Barr’s role in helping Trump whitewash Russia’s attack on our democracy, one cannot rule out at least the possibility of Barr somehow using the Justice Department against one or more Trump foes in some form, perhaps to lend validity to Trump’s narratives.

What exactly is Barr doing with his “review” of the Russia probe? Has Trump ever tried to instruct him to prosecute one or more of these enemies? Democrats should try to grill Barr on these matters.

“Every other attorney general has appeared before the Judiciary Committee,” Raskin told me. “I would expect this attorney general to appear as well.”

Administration officials will resist any and all efforts at such oversight. But Democrats must try and, if necessary, go to court. Protecting the country demands no less.

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Bastards

Filosofa is growling tonight … Filosofa’s blood pressure is likely through the roof tonight … Filosofa needs to rant tonight.  But first, one kudos …


The courage of her convictions …

Whatever else you may think of Senator (and presidential hopeful) Elizabeth Warren, you’ve gotta love the woman’s courage, her chutzpah, as my grandmother would have said.  Yesterday, while the questioning portion of the impeachment trial was ongoing, and senators/jurors were sending their questions, rather like passing notes in high school, to Chief Justice John Roberts to read, Senator Warren submitted one of her own …

“Does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?”

elizabeth-warrenThe shock at her audacity was palpable in the chamber.  As Republicans grow increasingly confident that they have the votes to block calling new witnesses and evidence, Democrats have turned to Chief Justice Roberts as a potential savior for their cause: If there is a tie, it could fall to the chief justice to decide whether to break it.  I think Senator Warren’s question was a pointed reminder to Chief Justice Roberts that he is expected to be ‘fair and impartial’.  Let’s hope it works!  Meanwhile, either way, I give Senator Warren high fives and thumbs up for her courage and tenacity.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

It might interest you to know that at least two of Trump’s lawyers, Ken Starr and Robert Ray, have donated mega-bucks to … wait for it … Senate Majority Leader and ignominious tortoise … Mitch McConnell!  So … what a shocker, eh?  In July 2019 alone, Starr gave $2,800 to Moscow Mitch, and in September 2019, Ray gave him $5,600.  Not huge sums, relatively, but enough to ensure he would do all in his power to protect a rogue president?  Maybe.  It was only a month or so after that Mitchie announced he would be in “total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”

Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow has contributed to multiple Republican senators, as have White House counsel Pat Cipollone and deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin.  Hmmmm … are you starting to smell a rat here?

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The bastards …

And this just in, as I am writing tonight …

Sen. Lamar Alexander to oppose new witnesses in trial, signaling vote likely to be defeated

lamar-alexanderSon of a bitch!  I hope your dog bites your leg, it gets infected by Tibetan fleas, and you die a slow and painful death, Lamar!  You have single-handedly ensured that we are now officially a nation run by a cruel, maniacal dictator.

What happened to the “5-10” republicans who, upon hearing of Lev Parnas’ statements and John Bolton’s pending book, claimed they had decided we need to hear witness testimony???  Who threatened them and with what?  Did their cojones shrivel up?For those of my readers who are rolling your eyes right about now, thinking, “Filosofa’s done gone and lost her marbles”, let me ask you to ponder something.

The ignoble Alan Dershowitz in his defense of Trump on Wednesday claimed that if a politician, say the president, acts illegally, but because he believes his actions are in the best interest of the nation, then it is okay … he can do that without being called to account.  Once Trump is acquitted, most likely later today, he will gloat … he will be so emboldened that he will push the limits of his power even further than before.

On November 3rd, we are to have an election … an election that we are hoping will replace not only the president, but certain assholes in Congress such as Jim Jordan, Warren Davidson, Lindsey Graham, and most notably Mitchell McConnell.  So … what happens if Trump decides … in all his “great and unmatched wisdom” … to cancel the November 3rd election because he claims to believe it is in the best interest of the nation?

Can’t happen, you say?  Oh ho ho ho ho ho … it couldn’t happen that a presidential candidate could buy an election … until Trump did just that.  It couldn’t happen that a president would defy every law on the books, lock kids in cages, write executive orders to destroy the environment, and assassinate a foreign general … until it did happen.  Between Attorney General Barr saying that Trump is above the law, cannot be charged with a crime as long as his fat ass sits in the Oval Office, and now Alan Dershowitz claiming that Trump can do anything, so long as he claims to believe it is in the “best interest of the country”, a dictator has been created … a monster such as this nation has never seen before.  Thought Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were bad?  Wait for it.impeach-8


And now, I bid you buenas noches … sleep well, if you can, for I doubt I will.

Cartoon of Woman Lying in Bed and Unable to Sleep Because of Insomnia

Mad As Hell! (Part II)

Last week I wrote a post titled “Mad as Hell!”, and then after some thought, I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be more to come, so I added “(Part I)” to the title.  Lo and behold, I was right.  I can only wonder how many parts I will end up with.

The word of the day is … well, actually there are several words of the day:  stonewall, injustice, dishonesty, and I could think of more, but why bother?  Yes, I am talking about the Mitch McConnell Dog-and-Pony show happening as we speak in the Capitol building in Washington D.C.  McConnell and his cronies seem to be programmed to say one word only:  NO.  No, you can’t subpoena documents from the White House.  No, you can’t call John Bolton or Mick Mulvaney or Robert Blair or Michael Duffy or virtually any other witness.  No, you cannot subpoena documents from either the Department of Defense or the Office of Management and Budget.  What a SHAM this trial has already, after only one day, turned into.

My question … at least my first one … is this:  If McConnell and the other 52 republican fools in the Senate truly believe that Donald Trump is NOT guilty of any wrongdoing, then why the hell are they so afraid of any witness testimony or document review?  It seems to me that if they believe he is innocent, they would welcome such witnesses and evidence, to show the American public once and for all that Trump did nothing wrong.  So … all this subterfuge, all the games that McConnell is engaging in … they point heavily to the fact that McConnell and the entire rest of the right side of the aisle in the Senate are altogether too well aware that the defendant, Donald Trump, is guilty as charged … and then some.

And if you thought that Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts presiding over the trial would bring even an element of fairness, then think again, for he is proving himself to be naught more than just another of Trump’s hired goons.  History will not be kind to him, nor to any of the actors in this dog-and-pony show, but they don’t seem to think past the nose on their faces.

Granted, we all knew that at the end of the day, Trump will be acquitted because … for some reason that as yet eludes me, they seem scared shitless of Trump and will throw their very careers in the trash to bow to his wishes.  However, one would think they would at least … at the very least … give the appearance of a fair trial.  But nooooooo … they might as well stand up and say, “Trump is guilty as hell and we therefore find him innocent.” 

The thing that disturbs me most about this is not that Trump will remain in office until he is (hopefully, fingers crossed) voted out in November … I already had that one pegged from the first time the word “impeachment” was mentioned.  No, what is most disturbing and should scare the hell out of us all is the precedent this sets.

At just over 8,000 words, the U.S. Constitution does not cover all bases, but merely lays the foundation for a government based on democratic principles.  Specifics are left to two things:  laws and precedent.  Both, once set, are difficult to reverse.  If a fair trial, at least on the surface, is conducted and Trump is yet acquitted, it would be no different than when Bill Clinton was impeached but acquitted at trial.  However, if this trial continues to be a sham, a circus according to the wishes of Mitch McConnell, the precedent it sets is that no president is ever likely to be impeached again.  But … even that is not the worst of it.

The very worst is that in using his office, his power, for personal gain and political purposes, Trump effectively tore down any constraints or barriers to unlimited power.  Checks and balances?  Where???  Congress is tasked with overseeing the executive branch, and yet they have handed him the keys to the kingdom and said, “Do whatever you wish … we won’t stop you.”  The judiciary has largely said the same.  Where, my friends, do you suppose that leaves us … the 330 million people of this nation whose voices have been stifled by the very people we voted into office and whose salaries we pay?

We have laws in this country … laws that are not being enforced today, laws that are being laughed at by the very people we have entrusted to enforce those laws.  Imagine if you vandalized your neighbor’s car and ten people were standing on the street and saw you.  One of them finally calls the police while you continue to use your baseball bat to break every window in the car.  Now imagine that at your trial, not a single one of those ten people are called to testify.  A neighbor’s home security camera caught the whole incident on video, but that is not allowed at your trial, either.  That is exactly what this impeachment trial is.  There is no doubt that what Trump did was wrong, nor is there doubt that he did attempt to use the leverage of assistance to the Ukraine in order to force them to publicly announce an investigation into Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.  There’s not a shred of reasonable doubt.  But … if no evidence is allowed to be presented, if no witnesses are allowed to tell what they know … where’s the damn justice???

Too many times already in the past three years, Trump has gotten by with abusing the power of his office, with obstruction of justice, with endangering the nation and its people.  If he is not held accountable now, then folks, we have an autocrat, an “Imperial President” who has no bounds, no conscience, and no reason to honour his oath of office.  The republicans in Congress are in the process of creating a monster, one that will destroy this nation.

I have emailed the republican senator for my state, Rob Portman, twice within the past ten days and have not received a single response, which leads me to believe that as a citizen and taxpayer, I have no voice in my government.  And that leaves me mad as hell!

Mad As Hell! (Part I)

Okay, folks, I’ve had enough.  All day, there has been a slow burn building up and it’s just about to ‘splode, so hold on to your hats.

Today will be the first official day of the Impeachment Trial of one Donald F. Trump.  This is a serious affair, for Mr. Trump has abused the power of his office, has utterly failed to uphold the Constitution he took an oath to uphold, has used the office of president for his own personal gain, and in so doing has put the entire nation at risk.  He has already, and will remain throughout history, a dishonoured, impeached president, but now it is up to the U.S. Senate to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to convict him, thereby removing him from office and protecting the nation from further atrocities.

Now, if the Senate carefully reviews the evidence, listens to witness testimony, and then decides to acquit Trump, I will be disappointed, but I will not scream from the rooftops.  But, as of this writing, it appears that there will be no such thing as a fair and honest trial, as impartial judges, and We the People will not be served.  First, as I reported previously, Senator Mitch McConnell said he would conduct the trial according to the wishes of the White House, and Senator Lindsey Graham blatantly said he had no intention of being fair and impartial, but that he had already decided to acquit Trump.

The “White House” sent its first ‘legal brief’1 yesterday, all 171 pages, signed by twelve of the attorneys representing Trump.  171 pages!  Twelve lawyers!  I found it highly interesting to note the name of Jordan Sekulow as one of the signers of the document.  Jordan Sekulow is the son of Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer.  Both Jay and Jordan are talk radio show hosts, as well as lawyers.  The document begins with the Executive Summary that starts …

The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions. The Articles themselves—and the rigged process that brought them here—are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected.

Rigged???  Sounds just like something coming out of Trump’s mouth, doesn’t it?  A dozen lawyers and this is how they start a 171-page legal brief?  But more importantly are those last three words, “must be rejected”.  The document goes on to urge senators to “immediately” acquit the president of the charges that will be formally presented at his trial that starts in earnest this week, even before hearing evidence or testimony!  Trump’s legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, wrote that Trump “did absolutely nothing wrong” as it accused the House Democrats who impeached the president of attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election and “to interfere in the 2020 election.”  SAY WHAT???

“The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers.”

Trampling of the separation of powers.  Now, isn’t that funny, coming from the lawyers representing the ‘man’ who has refused to allow congressional oversight time and time and time again.  This from the ‘man’ who ordered an assassination of a high-ranking foreign general without cause and without bothering to mention it to Congress.  This from a ‘man’ who forbade people both within and outside the administration from answering congressional subpoenas.

I am not a lawyer … I took a few Constitutional Law classes during my post-graduate studies, but I am in no way an expert.  Still, I know bullshit when I hear it, I know that these guys, under other circumstances, in a fair and honest trial, wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting their client off.  But, these are not other circumstances, and this is not at all likely to be either a fair or honest trial.

The seven House members who will be prosecuting this case submitted a 9-page response2 … nine pages to respond to 171 pages.  Tells you that a) most of the 171 pages were just what I said, bullshit, and b) the House members have better things to do with their time.  The response begins …

The American people entrusted President Trump with the extraordinary powers vested in his Office by the Constitution, powers which he swore a sacred Oath to use for the Nation’s benefit. President Trump broke that promise. He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit. In doing so, he jeopardized our national security and our democratic self-governance. He then used his Presidential powers to orchestrate a cover-up unprecedented in the history of our Republic: a complete and relentless blockade of the House’s constitutional power to investigate high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment. That is a chilling assertion.

It is, indeed, a chilling assertion. Any other president in the history of this nation would have been tried, convicted, and escorted out of the White House, probably in handcuffs by now for the many abuses of power Trump has committed, both before his election and since taking office.  Any other president would have been impeached and removed from office after the release of Robert Mueller’s report last year.  But, no other president in the past 233 years, not even Richard M. Nixon, has abused the office of the president in the many ways Trump has.  Since he has gotten by with it thus far, he seems to believe that he is invincible.

And maybe he is, since he has rid the government of those with morals and integrity, surrounding himself with characters who have little experience to qualify them for their jobs, but are slavishly dedicated and loyal to Donald F. Trump.

One more thing …

In the event that at least four republican senators vote to hear witness testimony, Trump’s lawyers and sycophants in the Senate are preparing a “Plan B” to ensure that John Bolton will not be allowed to testify, or that if he does, his testimony will be kept from the public.  Another abuse of the power of the office, another denigration of the separation of powers.  I hope … I sincerely hope that John Bolton has the cojones to give an interview to the New York Times or another credible media outlet and tells all.

If you have any remaining illusions that this is still, as Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, you’d be wrong.  This is a government of, by, and for the wealthiest few people in this nation, including Donald F. Trump.  We the People are NOT being served, but rather are being royally screwed.

White House legal brief

House Prosecutor’s response

Meanwhile, Back At The Impeachment …

Donald Trump may believe that his warmongering, his assassination of a top Iranian general, his threats to Iran that he will destroy 52 of their cultural icons, and his attempt to start WWIII will cause us to all lose sight of his impeachment and looming trial.  It won’t.  Impeachment news may have taken a backseat in the press, but it definitely is not going away, as Trump had obviously intended.  A few things made their way into the news yesterday regarding impeachment.

So, former National Security Advisor John Bolton says he will be willing to testify before the Senate impeachment trial if allowed to do so.  At least 4 republicans and every democrat in the Senate will have to vote in favour of hearing Bolton’s testimony, and I’m not sure there are four republican senators who own a pair, much less remember where they keep them.

However, my question is this … why didn’t Bolton come through and testify during the House impeachment hearings?  His lawyer says he knew about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine matter that had not been shared with impeachment investigators.  It is also said that he was “deeply troubled” by the campaign to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats.  So, if all of that was true, and if Mr. Bolton has a conscience and wishes to do the right thing, where was that conscience in November and December?

And then, there was Lindsey Graham.  Good ol’ Lindsey who cannot remember from one day to the next who his friends are, and who one day wants to censure Trump, and the next day thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Lindsey Graham who stabbed his “best friend” John McCain in the back.  Now Lindsey has decided it is up to him to decide to change the Senate rules regarding Trump’s trial and (hopefully) conviction.

Nancy Pelosi, as you know, has not yet sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate, pending some indication from the Senate that they are prepared to hold some semblance of a fair and impartial trial.  To date, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have blatantly stated that they had no intention of being fair, that the trial would simply be a formality to be gotten through, with Trump’s acquittal the pre-determined outcome.  This is not acceptable, and Ms. Pelosi is holding back sending the articles, hoping for some reassurance that the Senate will do their proper job.

That is what has Lindsey and a number of other senators up in arms.  Why do they care?  Because, the closer it gets to November 3rd, election day, the less they want the publicity of an ongoing impeachment trial to be fresh on the minds of the voters.  The republican senators want the trial to be speedy and low-key, with few or no witnesses called, and to be over and done as quickly and early as possible.  Not, mind you, because it is in the best interest of We the People, but only because it is in their best interests for re-election.  People have short attention spans, especially in the current climate with war looking more and more likely, and if the trial were held in late January, by November a large percentage of people would have forgotten all about it.

What Lindsey is proposing is a change in the Senate rules …

“What I would do, if she continues to refuse to send the articles as required by the Constitution, I would work with Senator McConnell to change the rules of the Senate so we could start the trial without her, if necessary.

Well, we’re not going to let Nancy Pelosi use the rules of the Senate to her advantage. This is dangerous to the presidency as an institution. They impeached the president, but the speaker of the House is holding the articles back, trying to extort from the majority leader of the Senate a trial to her liking. They’re trying to hold these articles over the head of the president.

If we don’t get the articles this week, then we need to take matters in our own hands and change the rules, deem them to be delivered to the Senate so we can start the trial, invite the House over to participate if they would like. If they don’t come, dismiss the case and get on with governing the country.”

Get on with governing the country, Lindsey???  WTF are you talking about, for you and your ignoble buddies there in the Senate have refused to pass legislation sent over by the House of Representatives for over a bloody year now!  You haven’t done a thing but sit on your fat ass and run your ignorant mouth.  Govern the country, my foot!

The way I see it, the impeachment trial has now taken on an even greater importance, for in the last 5 days, Trump has proven that he is, indeed, the madman I’ve been calling him.  This nation absolutely cannot handle another five years of his presidency, and frankly I’m not sure we can survive another year and come out intact.  It is on the Senate to make sure his trial is by the book, that witnesses are called by both parties, that the evidence is seriously considered, and that he is convicted and removed from office.  Anything less than that is unacceptable and will cost lives … many lives.

The Words Of A Wise Man

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


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

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

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by Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Week’s News In ‘Toons … 🙄

Sometimes, the news is best conveyed in pictures.  Actually, for those who support Trump, a picture is likely the only way they will get it.


On Friday, a federal appeals court resurrected the first lawsuit President Donald Trump faced over claims that his business dealings violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars federal officials receiving payments from foreign governments.  It’s funny that Trump claims he isn’t benefiting from the presidency, that it is in fact costing him money, but there are a multitude of examples of him, his family, and his business enjoying financial gain that he would not have otherwise had.  For instance, Mike Pence, and military crews staying at his place over in Scotland.  His entire family traveling with him, on our tax dollar.  Foreign dignitaries staying at Trump hotels.  And of course, his unworkable plan to host next year’s G7 at one of his Florida resorts (ain’t gonna happen) …

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Of course, the big news of the week was the firing … or resignation … of National Security Advisor, John Bolton.  Trump says he fired him, Bolton says he resigned … either way, he is out and nobody’s quite sure who Trump will choose for his fourth NSA.  

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Those last two lead me to the other big “news” of the last couple of weeks, that which has come to be known as ‘Sharpiegate’.  Y’know … for someone who doesn’t like to be mocked or made fun of, he sure does do some really, really stupid, mock-worthy things!  He invites it …

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Just so you know that we in the U.S. aren’t the only ones having fun with the cringe-worthy news, our friends over in the UK have their share of troubles lately with Boris Johnson and Brexit.  I don’t usually say too much about Brexit, because I have friends on both sides of the issue, and really, it’s not my place to weigh in.  But, Boris Johnson, whom I have often referred to as Trump’s brother, is another matter … he is mock-worthy no matter what side of the Brexit issue you come down on …

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And then, there was Trump’s threat to ban e-cigarettes.  I weighed in on that yesterday, so I needn’t say more, but the issue for many of us is that he is obsessed with banning vaping, saying it is killing our people (six have died), while he steadfastly refuses to even consider sensible gun legislation, when on average 100 people die each day of gun-related incidents.  There is a disconnect here, and I think it’s in his brain!

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Well, folks, I think that’s about as much humour as we can take this morning, don’t you?  I’m feeling rather ill, myself.  Have a great rest of the weekend!  One for the road …

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More CHAOS In The Oval Office

Thirty-three months Donald Trump has spent tweeting from the potty in the Oval Office, and in that time, he has broken more norms than all the presidents of the 20th and 21st centuries combined!  I am not even addressing his hate-filled spew, his denigration of all who oppose him, but simply the things he has done that will cause this nation troubles for decades to come.

On Monday, it was announced that National Security Advisor John Bolton is no longer an employee of the U.S. government.  It’s debatable whether he resigned, or Trump fired him, and it really matters very little, for the end result is the same either way.  What this means, though, is that now Trump is seeking to hire a new National Security Advisor – it will be his fourth in less than three years.

flynnThe first, of course, was Mike Flynn who took up his position on the day of Trump’s inauguration, 20 January 2017, and lasted exactly 24 days, resigning after information surfaced that he had misled the FBI about the nature and content of his communications with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

McMasterThe second was General Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster, who took office on 20 February 2017, just one week after Flynn’s resignation, and he lasted an entire 413 days, until 09 April 2018!  McMaster either resigned or was fired by Trump and his imminent departure announced by Twitter 18 days before his departure date.  The issue between McMaster and Trump was McMaster’s disagreement about foreign policy decisions, particularly those involving Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

bolton-near-tearsAnd then, on April 9th last year, came John Bolton, the one who has had itchy fingers to bomb Iran for decades.  Bolton lasted 499 days, until Monday when he either tendered his resignation, or Trump tendered his bootheel.  Bolton was a war hawk who, given a choice would prefer settling differences by war rather than diplomacy.  He had long advocated for regime change in Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea.  He supported the Iraq war, supported withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and was a staunch critic of President Obama.

So, what happened between Bolton and Trump?  Trouble has apparently been brewing for a while over the same things Trump and McMaster fell out over – policy differences over Iran, North Korea, and recently Afghanistan.  But, it is said that the straw that broke the camel’s back was Trump’s plan to host the leaders of the Taliban at Camp David just days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Trump ultimately canceled the visit anyway, though likely not for the reason he claimed, but he was said to be furious with Bolton for disagreeing with him in the first place.

KuppermanSo, what comes next.  Trump says he will announce his new choice next week, but meanwhile, the position will be filled by the Deputy National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman.  Kupperman came on board 11 January 2018 and is said to be a war hawk very similar to Bolton.  His tenure is likely to be short-lived.

Who, then, might Trump select to fill the slot this time?  Speculation runs rampant, and for once, Trump seems to be keeping his mouth shut!  Some names that are being floated are …

  • Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff
  • Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and a former acting national security adviser
  • Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chairman currently advising the vice president on national security
  • Robert Blair, an adviser to acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney
  • Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s hostage envoy who called Mr. Trump the greatest hostage negotiator in American history Seriously??? 
  • Stephen E. Biegun, United States’ special representative for North Korea
  • Brian H. Hook, special representative for Iran and a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Douglas Macgregor, retired Army colonel who has written several books on reorganizing the military; is also a frequent guest on one of Trump’s favorite Fox programs, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
  • Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany who stirred much ire when he first arrived

One foreign policy analyst said that no matter who he hires, the position is no longer as important, for it has been diluted and in essence is likely to be just another ‘yes-man’ to Trump, lending legitimacy to whatever crazy schemes Trump comes up with.

It has been Trump’s tradition since taking office to replace outgoing staff with ones who are even worse for the sake of the nation than their predecessor.  If he continues along that path, then my money is on Douglas Macgregor, if for no other reason than he really hasn’t much relevant experience, but mainly because of his ties to Tucker Carlson and Fox ‘News’.

Trump has more ‘acting’ directors in his cabinet than any president before him, nearly three years into his term.  The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Federal Emergency Management Agency are but a few of the departments who have no nominated and confirmed leader.  And, of course there is acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who also currently serves as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Except for Mulvaney’s position, all the others require Senate confirmation, which is likely why there are no nominees yet.

Acting officials can serve for no more than 210 days, or 7 months.  Trump claims he prefers to have ‘acting’ directors because …

“It’s easier to make moves when they’re acting. I like ‘acting’ because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility.”

In other words, it makes it easier for him to do whatever he damn well pleases.  There will be many words associated with Trump and his administration in the history books – most are not nice words.  One word that must be the keyword of Trump’s nightmarish administration is “chaos”.  We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.