An interview with Putin in 2035

Apocalypse Now? Our friend Keith has stated what I’ve only had the nerve to whisper under my breath. Please read!

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Good morning. This is Natalia Smirnov with Fox/ RT News. I am here with Tsar Vladimir Putin in the first of a series of interviews looking back on his career. Good morning Comrade Tsar.

Q – Comrade Tsar, what do you see as your greatest achievement?
A – I believe the reconstitution of the New Soviet Republic. We are once again a country of great importance.

Q – What were the key events leading to this ascension?
A – Clearly, the fall of a united west was most critical, but that took a lot of planning. I also believe our alliance with China helped show the world that we are the future.

Q – You mention a lot of planning, what do you mean by that?
A – It took proactive and reactive planning to accomplish our goals without using military might. My training allowed us to take advantage of…

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A few quotes from Conservatives need wider coverage

Some days it is all too easy to become discouraged, listening to the endless twitterstorm, hearing the baseless accusations, wondering if this circus will every end. We look at the republicans defending Trump and wonder where they left their integrity. But, the winds are beginning to shift in the republican camp, and some are finding that there is no longer any defense for some of Trump’s words and actions. Our friend Keith has highlighted some of those, and I find a glimmer of hope in it. Thank you, Keith, for the post and permission (implied) to re-blog!

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As an independent voter, having been a member of both parties, I seek to find the truth and facts beneath the politics. The tribal nature requires its bellringers to denounce any criticism or facts that get in the way of their winning. The US president does this frequently with his claims of fake news when he does not like what is being said.

What concerns me is we have a president who has a modus operandi of heretofore questionable and dubious behavior to further his personal cause. Yet, the claims of fake news heightened by the narrative it is Democrats that are behind this. What I have observed is an increasing number of conservative voices who are exhibiting greater courage to speak out against actions and words of this president.

Here are a few that resonate with me:

Elsa Alcala,a former Texas judge, decided to leave the Republican party…

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A Glimmer of Hope?

I have said since the word “impeachment” was first mentioned, that there would be no chance the Senate would vote to convict, even if the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump.  Moscow Mitch McConnell has indicated that he would not even allow the case to be tried in “his” Senate.  But, there are some signs that the republicans are beginning to see Trump in a less favourable light these days.

Twice this summer I have written about Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL), “a group of life-long Republicans dedicated to defending the institutions of the republic and upholding the rule of law.”  Earlier this year, the group sponsored a 30-second ad calling for Trump’s impeachment that was aired on none other than Fox and Friends.  They also hand-delivered a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to every lawmaker in the republican party.

This week, our friend Keith wrote a post titled Republicans for the Rule of Law condemn Trump behavior (and obstruction) with Ukraine in which he updates us, telling us that RRL is once again standing for law and justice and calling Trump out on his recent actions.  Be sure to check out Keith’s post for more information.  The group has a new 30-second ad out now …

Bill Kristol is a neoconservative political analyst and frequent commentator on several networks, who has held senior positions in both Ronald Reagan’s and George H.W. Bush’s administrations.  Kristol is also one of the co-directors of Defending Democracy Together, the ‘parent’ organization for Republicans for Rule of Law.  Yesterday, Kristol wrote an OpEd in the New York Times that bears reading.

Republicans Don’t Have to Nominate Trump in 2020

The party can do better.

Bill-KristolRepublicans have had their differences these past few years. Most have supported President Trump; a few have not. Some of the president’s supporters have been enthusiastic; many have not. Some of the reluctant Trump supporters have expressed reservations at certain times; many have not.

But with the revelations of the last week, and the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry, we are at a new moment. This is obviously the case for Republicans in Congress, who will have to vote on impeachment and perhaps on conviction. They have a unique part to play in this drama; the rest of us are merely observers or advisers. All we can really now ask of members of Congress is to keep an open mind and to evaluate the facts as they emerge.

But we already have learned enough to know that the government whistle-blower is correct to say “that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” We know this latest instance is part of a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. We may not yet know whether removal from the office to which President Trump was elected is warranted. But surely we know enough to judge that Mr. Trump does not deserve renomination for that office for an additional four years.

The Republican Party faces a binary choice. It either will or will not renominate Donald Trump in 2020. (And if President Trump is removed as a consequence of impeachment and conviction, or if he resigns, the G.O.P. either will or will not nominate as its standard-bearer a newly sworn-in Mike Pence, who will have been at Mr. Trump’s side for his entire administration and has been a fervent defender of the president.)

The 2020 Republican nomination is an open question. It is a decision of great consequence on which all Republicans have a say, and all have a responsibility. Republican leaders in particular — Republican elected officials and former elected officials, Republican activists and donors, appointees of this administration and of former Republican administrations — bear a weighty responsibility. They can support Donald Trump, and put a stamp of approval on his tenure in office. They can keep quiet, a stamp of approval of its own sort. Or they can step up and act for the honor of their party and the good of their country.

There are currently three announced Republican challengers to Donald Trump. Republican leaders could in various ways support one or all three of them. There are also other Republicans who might well be stronger candidates for the nomination and who may well be more qualified to serve as president. Those individuals could be encouraged by colleagues, activists and donors, privately or publicly, to run — and they could be offered support if they do.

And may I say directly to those Republicans who could run: You have a unique chance to act for your party and your country. You can play a role in overcoming the shame and stain of the past three years, and in the reformation of a once great party. Win or lose, you will go down in the history books as a man or woman of honor.

The Republican Party has surely discovered over the past few years the wisdom of Virgil: “The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent, and easy is the way.”

But Republican leaders of conscience and courage now have an unusual moment “to return, and view the cheerful skies,” as Virgil put it. “In this the task and mighty labor lies.”

No, this doesn’t mean Mitch McConnell will immediately find his cojones and do the right thing, nor that the fools in the House Freedom Caucus will “see the light” and understand what Trump is doing to this nation.  But, it’s a start.  Some republicans have had enough of Trump and find that they can no longer support him.  The movement is gathering momentum, I think, and if it starts getting loud enough, the republicans in Congress will either listen or else pack up their belongings and go home in January 2021.  I’m not convinced that the congressional republicans will support impeachment, but I think what we are seeing is a step … a baby step perhaps, but a step nonetheless in the right direction.

♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫

I hadn’t even thought of a song for tonight, likely there wouldn’t have been one, as I’m still a bit under the weather and very tired.  But then I read Keith’s post about Motown, and the documentary movie Hitsville:  The Making of Motown, and suddenly I was in the mood for some Motown Sound!   I really thought I had played this one just a couple of weeks ago, but I find that I didn’t … must have gotten sidetracked.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an R&B/soul song written by the husband/wife songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla label, a division of Motown.  Nick Ashford was inspired by an experience when he first moved to New York. He was walking down a Manhattan thoroughfare, determined that New York City would not get the best of him; the words “Ain’t no mountain high enough” popped into his head.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded the original version, which peaked at #19 US in 1967. Uriel Jones of The Funk Brothers, who played the drums on Gaye and Terrell’s original version, recalled …

“Ashford and Simpson had written the song and they always came to the studio with charts. This time was no exception; they came with the song fully written out. The lyrics were written out too. They were one of the few producers and writers who had full charts and made us work from them. They knew 95 percent what they wanted to hear. Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua were the actual producers in charge of the recording. We did the rhythm track first, then they put the horns on second. Then they recorded Tammi Terrell’s vocal, then they did Marvin Gaye’s next. Each vocal was done separately, the singer in the studio with the producer on their own, and they put it all together at the end. You know, I never heard the finished song until I switched on the radio and it was playing.”

British soul singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song but Ashford & Simpson declined, hoping it would give them access to the Detroit-based label. As Valerie Simpson later recalled, “We played that song for her (Springfield) but wouldn’t give it to her, because we wanted to hold that back. We felt like that could be our entry to Motown.”

Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough which was more faithful to the Terrell-Gaye original version as a duet with The Temptations. That song was an album cut from a joint LP released by Motown Records in 1968 on the two superstar groups, titled Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations.

In spring 1970, after the Top 20 success of her first solo single, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single. Ross’ version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” rose up to number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. Ross received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

I prefer the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version, but the Diana Ross version is good, as well, so I proffer both!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

Listen baby, ain’t no mountain high
Ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough baby
If you need me call me no matter where you are
No matter how far don’t worry baby
Just call my name I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Oh no darling
No wind, no rain
Or winters cold can stop me baby, na na baby
‘Cause you are my goal
If you’re ever in trouble
I’ll be there on the double
Just send for me, oh baby, ha

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Don’tcha know that there
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
Ain’t mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough

Songwriters: Valerie Simpson / Nickolas Ashford
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

After his death, a second amendment supporter, leaves a message on gun violence

Most of us who call for stricter gun laws are not gun owners, so when a gun owner, supporter of the 2nd Amendment speaks out and calls for stricter gun legislation, it speaks loudly. Please take a moment to read this editorial by the late Larry Swenberg, a gun owner who, prior to his death, called for a ban on assault weapons. Thank you, Keith, for sharing this with us.

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The following posthumous editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer on August 6, 2019. It speaks for itself.

“Larry Swenberg died of ALS this spring, a few months before gunmen killed 29 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Swenberg, a retired doctor of veterinary medicine in Durham, was a gun owner and avid hunter, but he was horrified at mass shootings inflicted by assault-style weapons. His wife, Gwen, sent us this op-ed from her husband last week, before Dayton and El Paso. One of his last wishes, she said, was to leave a message for his fellow Second Amendment supporters — and all of us.:

I am a 73 year-old retired doctor of veterinary medicine and a political independent who is neither a politician nor a Washington insider, but a citizen pleading to stop the carnage of assault weapons. I am a former hunter, recreational shooter, current gun owner…

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India calls out Trump lie

Yesterday, I promised there would be a Part II to my post Open Mouth, Insert Foot, but I had some difficulties and hadn’t written the piece yet. Just as I was about to start it, I saw that our friend Keith had written of the incident with Trump v India, and he has done as fine a job as I could have done, so I figure … why re-invent the wheel, right? Thank you Keith for this post, for shining a light on a problem that many missed this week in light of all the detritus swirling about, and for permission to share your excellent work!

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A story that got very little press occurred this week regarding India and Pakistan. It was overshadowed by the Mueller testimony, budget bill and the presidential seal issue, but it was a major faux pas and harmed relations with India, an important ally.

In a HuffPost article by Mary Papenfuss called “India Calls Out Trump Lie That He Was Asked To Mediate Kashmir Conflict,” she spells out what happened.

“President Donald Trump spun a tale in front of reporters Monday that he was personally asked by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, to mediate the Kashmir conflict with Pakistan.Trump raised the issue during a meeting with Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, in the White House while reporters listened.

‘No such request has been made’by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the U.S. president, said a spokesman for India’s government, despite what Trump claimed.” It should be noted, the White House…

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Endangering people to win politically is not leadership

Keith’s post speaks for itself and needs no intro from me. Please read … we must all do our part to stop this madness. Thank you, Keith.

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One of the sad and scary truths with a president who lies, demeans, denigrates and bullies his critics is his more strident followers believe his rhetoric. A consequence of this stirring up of emotions is it places people who are critical of the president in danger of bodily harm or death.

Let me state this plainly. That is not leadership. It is promoting criminal behavior. It is not becoming of a president or any other legislatior or person, for that matter. And, it should not be tolerated regardless of who does it.

Three items of late come to mind. The president stirred up his audience beforehand, but after stretching the truth and taking statements out of context, he had his followers chanting “send her back” in response to his demonizing four elected representatives. And, do not believe a word the president said when he tried to weasel out of responsibility…

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An ostrich pulls his head out of the sand

With all the news this week being about Trump’s horrendous behaviour toward certain members of Congress, and his latest attack on asylum seekers, and Kellyanne skipping out on subpoena, you most likely missed a few tidbits. Our friend Keith has dug up one, which brings a bit of positive news, a hope that perhaps the GOP are not quite as united on denying climate change as we’ve been led to believe. Thank you, Keith, for bringing us this news … these are things we need to know that are being missed by the media during this feeding frenzy.

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This story should not be newsworthy as it is long overdue, but unfortunately it is. A headline from a USA Today last week proclaimed “Trump ally Lindsey Graham says president should ‘admit climate change is real’.” Senator Graham went on to say per the article:

“‘I’m tired of playing defense on the environment,’Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday as he and other GOP lawmakers announced the formation of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which will ’embrace and promote constructive efforts to resolve conservation and environmental problems.'”

I have written often about addressing climate change. Progress in fighting climate change is happening, but it desperately needs the leverage of the US federal government. Plus, we must alter harmful deregulation to our environment.

Rather than belabor these points, let me say I left the Republican Party about a dozen years ago, in part due to its stance on climate change. My thesis…

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Out of the pool

Once again, our friend Keith has been thinking and come up with some ideas that I think have a great deal of merit. Granted, they will likely never see the light of day, but … I surely wish they would. Heck, I’m all for starting a campaign to elect Keith Wilson as the next president of the United States! All in favour? Thank you, Keith, for some excellent thoughts.

musingsofanoldfart

I think it is time to fire any politician in Washington who is forgetting why they are there. We could start with the White House incumbent and then take out hundreds of members of Congress in both Houses. I understand fully Congress must investigate and provide oversight over the Executive Branch. That is part of their job and the current incumbent has given them cause to dig further.

Yet, I have this simple idea that leaders of both houses sit down with legislative liaisons from the White House and figure out some things they can pass and sign into law. I think a civilian board could list about a dozen major issues to focus on and say work these out. It should not take a civilian board, but these folks are too beholden to funders to come up with a workable list.

A key reason for not listing the problems…

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And now, a word from George Will

Our friend Keith has once again written a post that is thoughtful and makes some very valid points, with a little help from George Will. Thank you, Keith, for sharing these seeds of wisdom!

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I have noted before the significant number of respected conservative pundits and editorialists who have shared concerns over the President. George Will, a long time conservative, is among those who see the damage being done by the man in the White House. Like other conservative critics, his voice should be one that is heeded by those conservatives who are not totally in lock-step with the President.

In his most recent column called “Trump’s misery is also country’s,” Will is hypercritical of both the policies and behavior of the current President. He is also not too keen on the current Senate leadership for not doing their job to govern, being too interested in acquiescing to the President’s commands.

As for policy, he cited several examples, but two jump out. He is critical of the Trump and the GOP leadership as he notes, “Except that after two years of unified government under…

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