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.

Trump vs The 1st Amendment

Since the U.S. Senate handed Donald Trump the keys to the castle and told him to “have fun” and promised that “we’ve got your back” no matter what he does, he has been on quite a spree.  Last week, it was the firing of qualified career people within the administration and their replacement with highly unqualified people.  Then came the news that any non-loyalists, any not willing to basically swear an oath of fealty to Trump, would be fired and replaced with those loyal to the king Trump.

All last week, I waited for the other shoe to fall.  What ‘other shoe’ you ask?  The press, my friends.  Ever since the day he threw his hat in the proverbial ring in mid-2015, Trump has been denigrating the press, referring to them as “the enemy of the people”, attempting to revoke press passes of those like Jim Acosta who had the unmitigated gall to ask him the uncomfortable questions he didn’t want to answer.  And remember how, during his first year in office, he often threatened to change federal libel laws to make it more difficult for the free press to report the truth?

Yesterday morning it was announced that the Trump re-election campaign is filing a libel suit against the New York Times in the New York state court.  Their claim is that the Times had intentionally published a false opinion article that suggested Russia and the campaign had an overarching deal in the 2016 U.S. election.  The suit accuses the times of “extreme bias against and animosity toward the campaign,” and cited what it called the Times’ “exuberance to improperly influence the presidential election in November 2020.”

The New York Times responded with a statement:

“The Trump Campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable. Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case.”

Interestingly, the Times had not yet, at that point, been served official notice of the case, but rather had learned of it through media reports.

The case relates to a March 27, 2019, opinion article written by Max Frankel, a former executive editor of the Times who left the paper in 1994.

You may remember that the New York Times was involved in a landmark 1964 Supreme Court ruling that has served as a safeguard for media reporting on public figures. In the case New York Times v. Sullivan, the court decided that the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protection for freedom of the press allows even statements that are false to be published as long as the publication was not done with “actual malice.”  Thus, the suit, according to the draft copy released by the campaign, accused the newspaper of a “malicious motive” and “reckless disregard for the truth.”

Now, note that this OpEd was written just under a year ago, and two years after Trump took office, and just under three weeks before the redacted version of the Mueller report was released.  The Mueller report documented Moscow’s campaign of hacking and social media propaganda to boost Trump’s 2016 candidacy and harm his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. It also documented numerous contacts between people associated with Trump’s campaign and Russians.  What it did not do, as Trump claimed, was ‘exonerate’ him.

A portion of Frankel’s piece stated …

“Collusion – or a lack of it – turns out to have been the rhetorical trap that ensnared President Trump’s pursuers.  There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”

All of which is, in this writer’s opinion, proven true.  And, although it took him two years, Trump did lift the Obama administration’s sanctions on Russia in January 2019.

A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign said yesterday …

“The statements were and are 100 percent false and defamatory. The complaint alleges The Times was aware of the falsity at the time it published them but did so for the intentional purpose of hurting the campaign, while misleading its own readers in the process.”

Well … seems to me the statements were true, but either way, it was an opinion piece written by somebody who was not on the Times’ staff.  Thing is, Trump has just been itching for an excuse to shred the “freedom of press” portion of the 1st Amendment since even before taking office.  Now that he is feeling newly emboldened, feeling invincible and that he can do anything he pleases, this is but his first step in the process of attempting to rein in the media.

Stuart Karle, an adjunct professor of media law at Columbia Journalism School, told Forbes the lawsuit is “an abuse of the court system and completely inappropriate.”  Karle said he didn’t think Trump’s campaign expects to win the case, and believes it was filed for political reasons: “It’s using the courts to argue with their critics.”

I don’t see how he could possibly win this case, but … it feels very much like a portent of things to come.  It feels very much as if this is designed to send a message to the media as a whole.  I don’t like it … not one bit.  At the very least, he is wasting taxpayer dollars, tying up the courts.  At the very most, he will gain the attention of his faithful followers who will, of course, be more convinced than ever in the months leading up to the election, that the press is against Trump and that they should not believe a word that is said about him unless it comes from his chosen Fox “News”.

Keep your eye on this ball, friends …

House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment

Today marks the next stage in the Trump impeachment process. Fellow-blogger Brosephus has some thoughts on the process thus far, the evidence, and the fiasco that is certain to ensue as the republicans continue to attempt to defend the indefensible. He also provides a link to the live coverage and other valuable information. Thank you, Brosephus, for all this valuable information!

The Mind of Brosephus

Today marks the first day of impeachment hearings being held by the House Judiciary Committee.  This committee would be the one responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment that would ultimately be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.  Since impeachment is typically a once in a lifetime event, today’s hearing is basically going to be a history lesson on impeachment.  There will be historians and scholars who will testify about the aspects of impeachment.  It will likely be a drab hearing, but I still expect Republicans to do what they do best, which is try to muddy the waters while defending Trump.

As I did for the Intelligence Committee, I’m providing a live-stream of the hearings for those who can’t access it otherwise.  This is a historical event regardless of where your politics reside.  I agree with Democratic members of Congress that these allegations need to be investigated. …

View original post 442 more words

Your Tuesday Dose of Snarky Snippets

I wonder if the day will ever come in whatever is left of my lifetime that there won’t be something for me to be snarky or rant about?  I’m thinking not, but I wouldn’t mind … honest I wouldn’t!  But, for today, there is plenty to bring my blood to a boiling point and have me gritting my teeth ‘til they crack.


Creative Obfuscation 101

Some of the republicans have scrambled around and wracked their little brains to come up with some of he most novel excuses for the mass shootings last weekend.  The usual stock ‘reasons’ they offer are mental illness, video games, television, and social media.  But this time, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick came up with a rather unique excuse.  He claims it is because we no longer have mandatory school prayer (I’m still scratching my head over this one).  Perhaps Mr. Patrick has forgotten about the concept of separation of church and state?  Frankly, I find religion to be the cause of much of the violence in the world today, not the antidote.

But, you see, they have to make up excuses, for if they cannot direct the conversation into some other channel, then it is going to the most logical reason for mass shootings … guns.  Or rather, gun laws, of which we have too few.  And they don’t want to talk about gun laws, because … their little buddies over at the NRA who are channeling money into their accounts, will be vewy, vewy angwy.assault-weapons.pngIt rather reminds me of the overweight lady who, rather than blame the fact that she eats too much and exercises too little, blames: hormones, metabolism, marital strife, past pregnancies, and anything else that removes the responsibility from her own self.


Where are your values, Mitchie?

We all know that political campaigns can be pretty ugly.  It seems to me that the ugliest ones are by candidates that have the least to offer, so lacking any viable platform on which to run, they go on the offensive and attack their opponents.  Mitch McConnell, aka #MoscowMitch, crossed the line this weekend, though.

On Saturday evening, just hours after a gunman opened fire in a Wal-Mart in El Paso, leaving 22 people dead and 26 injured, there was a campaign event at a place called Fancy Farm.  One of the “attractions” at the event was this …Mitchie-2Notice the “tombstone” in the front on the right … the one that reads “R.I.P. Amy McGrath”.  Amy McGrath is the woman that is running against Mitch next year.  Amy McGrath is also the first female Marine Corps pilot to fly the F/A-18 on a combat mission. McGrath served for 20 years in the Marine Corps during which time she flew 89 combat missions bombing al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Mitchell McConnell, on the other hand, served exactly five weeks in the Army Reserve in 1967.

At any time and under any circumstances, the faux tombstone with his opponent’s name would be highly inappropriate.  But … the timing here could not have been much worse.  We just saw, for the umpteenth time, how a politician’s incitement can lead to deadly violence, and he pulls this crap?  And, not content to leave it alone, his campaign posted the pic on Twitter, alongside one of a smiling Mitchie, and the tweet is still there … has not been removed.  Every comment I read was negative, calling Mitch out for inciting violence, for disrespect, for inappropriateness.  If you ever wondered whether McConnell has a heart or a conscience, this should answer your question.

Ms. McGrath responded the next day …

“Hours after the El Paso shooting, Mitch McConnell proudly tweeted this photo. I find it so troubling that our politics have become so nasty and personal that the Senate Majority Leader thinks it’s appropriate to use imagery of the death of a political opponent (me) as messaging.”


The judge is pondering …

The judge is Judge Reggie Walton, and what he is pondering is … whether the redactions by the Justice Department in Robert Mueller’s final report fall under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and ought to be released to the public.

Two organizations, BuzzFeed and the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have filed a lawsuit seeking to remove the black bars covering nearly 1,000 items in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page final report.  While no ruling has yet been handed down, at several points during yesterday’s proceedings, Judge Walton seemed increasingly skeptical of the government’s arguments pressing him to leave the redactions untouched.

Now, it is the opinion of this writer that the only valid reason at this point to have all those redactions would be if releasing them would cause a national security issue.  Frankly, I cannot conceive of a single piece of information in Mueller’s report that would create a genuine national security issue.  The long and short of it is that the redacted portions almost certainly prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump and his cronies acted outside the law.  It isn’t a ‘national’ security issue, but rather a ‘Trump’ security issue.

But, before you get excited, let me caution you that if Judge Walton rules for the plaintiffs (BuzzFeed and EPIC), Trump’s lawyers will have an appeal all ready to file, and it will be filed before you can blink your eyes five times.  The next judge may well be more of the opinion that Trump is above the law and that the public has no right to know how many laws he broke on the path to the Oval Office.  Still, there is some hope.


Okay, friends … enough snark for one day, don’t you think?  I leave you with a bit of humour …McConnell.jpg

I Can’t Seem To Stop The Snarky …

Will there ever come a day that I don’t have an excess of angst just bubbling over, demanding to put fingers to the keyboard and words to the page?  I have my doubts.


On Sunday morning, Trump posted the following tweet that was liked by 52 thousand mindless people:

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

There are multiple problems with these brief 103 words.

The first, of course, is that the New York Times is not failing, nor is The Washington Post, and that neither are necessarily dishonest, though they occasionally get it wrong.  Both have made mistakes, and to their credit, they have printed apologies and retractions when necessary.  Neither are “the enemy of the people”, and in fact they are #2 and #3 on my daily source list, preceded only by The Guardian.

The second problem with Trump’s tweet is that Trump is doing nothing that even has the remotest chance of making the United States ‘great’, and it is highly speculative that he will have another six years, at least, if we have such a thing as a fair and honest election in 2020.

And lastly, though perhaps most importantly, is his innuendo that perhaps “people would demand [he] stay longer”.  No.  Effing.  Way.  The United States Constitution which, albeit singed around the edges, remains in place today, is clear on just how long a president may serve, and it is not one single day over eight years.  Trump will be an exception ONLY IF he is, at the end of his term, a dictator rather than a president.  If that happens, I blame every single person who ever voted for him, who ever attended one of his rallies and chanted “lock her up”, or who ever wore a maga hat.


Arthur-Laffer

Arthur Laffer

On Wednesday, Trump will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a man named Arthur Laffer. Who, you might ask, is Arthur Laffer?  Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the concept that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will result in maximum tax revenue for government.  More to the point, Laffer was an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.  This, more than anything, is why he is receiving the Medal of Freedom.  Like Miriam Adelson, who received the medal last year for no reason other than her and her husband’s magnanimous donations to Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The medal no longer has any meaning for it is now being given as a reward to those who lick Trump’s boots.


Last week ABC News aired an interview on This Week between Donald Trump an ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.  There is quite a bit that was of interest in the interview, and the part where he said he would accept information from a foreign entity about his political opponent if it were offered has already been discussed at some length in the news and other blogs.  But, I want to share with you a bit of the dialogue they had concerning Robert Mueller’s report.  Remember, folks, don’t expect truth from the mouth of da trumpeter …

STEPHANOPOULOS:  What’s your pitch to the swing voter on the fence? 

TRUMP: Safety, security, great economy. I think I’ve done more than any other first-term president ever. I have a phony witch hunt, which is just a phony pile of stuff. Mueller comes out. There’s no collusion. And essentially a ruling that no obstruction. And they keep going with it. You know what? People are angry about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t think that’s why he found — but we don’t have time for that now. We’ll talk about later.

TRUMP: That is what they found. Excuse me. He found no collusion. And they didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t examine collusion. He laid out evidence of obstruction. 

TRUMP: Oh, are you trying to say now that there was collusion even though he said there was no collusion? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t say there’s no collusion. 

TRUMP: He said no collusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he didn’t look at collusion.

TRUMP: George, the report said no collusion. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you read the report? 

TRUMP: Uh, yes I did, and you should read it, too. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: I read every word.

TRUMP: All right, let’s go. You should read it, too, George.

monday-toon-1It’s reminiscent of an Abbott and Costello clip, don’t you think?  A more stupid man has never sat in the Oval Office.  And then the conversation turned to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who testified under oath to Robert Mueller’s team that Trump had asked him to fire Mueller, and then later that he had asked him to deny that he had ever asked him.

TRUMP: I don’t care what he says. It doesn’t matter. That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was. Now, he may have gotten confused with the fact that I’ve always said, and I’ve said it to you, and I’ve said to anybody that would listen, Robert Mueller was conflicted. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why would Don McGahn lie — … Why would he lie under oath? Why would he lie under oath to Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. Or — or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen, including you, including the media, that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.

After the interview, he tweeted …

“Think I will do many more Network Interviews, as I did in 2016, in order to get the word out that no President has done what I have in … the first 2 1/2 years of his Presidency, including the fact that we have one of the best Economies in the history of our Country. It is called Earned Media. In any event, enjoy the show!”

I think it is a threat to torture us!  And by the way … Trump’s approval rating based on an aggregate of polls rose from 41.2% to 42.5% just last week … an increase of 1.3%.  Can anybody ‘splain to me what the heck he did last week to make more people like him???


Last but not least, I promised a picture of my latest bumper sticker …

20190617_105216-e1560787388980.jpg

20190617_105211.jpg


And now, I return you to your own life, and I am going to knead some onion bread for tonight’s supper.

OBSTRUCTION!!!

Donald Trump is playing games with our lives.  Today, in a strictly retaliatory move against Congress and We the People, he played that tired old “executive privilege” card.  Congress had made known earlier this week its intent to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failure to answer the subpoenas they were issued by the House Oversight Committee to release certain documents.  Trump threatened that if they did so, he would invoke ‘executive privilege’ on the documents the committee had requested regarding how a citizenship question came to be added to the 2020 census form.  Just a few hours ago, Trump acted on his threat and invoked that ‘executive privilege’ that he has so often used and abused.

Congress has not only a constitutional right, but a constitutional mandate to investigate, to find the truth. That truth is being hidden, kept from Congress, purloined from the public.  This move reeks of dictatorship, of an authoritarian government, one where the ‘man’ at the top considers himself to be a supreme leader, rather than a democratically elected public servant.

Trump’s refusal to allow documents to be released, his threats and bullying key witnesses to keep them from testifying before Congress is nothing less than obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report laid out nearly a dozen proven instances in which Trump had obstructed, or attempted to obstruct, the ongoing investigation. Nothing has changed … he is still obstructing justice and has become even more blatant about it, for nobody and nothing to date has stopped him.  His minions, his boot-lickers both in the cabinet, the White House staff, and in Congress have lied and covered for him, have pointed the finger of blame in every direction except the right one, and thus we now have a dictator who believes that he has the right to hide the truth, to trample the Constitution for his own purposes.

Trump is a ‘fake’ president and is leading this nation down a dark path.  Yes, folks, he most definitely IS guilty of obstruction of justice, as recently as five hours ago!  We the People are being increasingly kept in the dark, being given only the tidbits that Trump wants us to have.  Do you know when was the last time Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a White House Press Briefing?  March 11th … 92 days ago!  More than three months.  During that time, she has been a regular on Fox News, but has disappeared from the legitimate press.  Not, mind you, that she ever told the truth anyway, but still …

As for William Barr and Wilbur Ross … I would like to see them both cited for contempt of Congress and given 24 hours to comply, else be arrested and put in jail just as you or I would be in similar circumstances.  As for Trump … he claims the Mueller report exonerated him.  It did not.  He claims “no collusion, no obstruction”.  He lies … he is guilty of both, but Mueller’s hands were tied, so he tossed the ball to Congress.  Now Trump and Co are trying to tie Congress’ hands.  If that isn’t obstruction, I don’t know what is.

Chris Britt / Illinois Times

R.J. Matson / Roll CallNick Anderson cartoonAdam Zyglis / Buffalo NewsJeff Danziger cartoon

Timely Advice From Morning Joe

Yesterday, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of news … tariffs, Trump’s trip to the UK, anti-trust investigations, impeachment, gun control, anti-abortion laws, etc., etc., etc.  Where to start?  My mind spun, then bounced as I read article after article, most somehow involving Donald Trump.  I think we are all beginning to feel as if we are on a carousel that is spinning faster and faster while we try to hold on for dear life.

This morning I happened upon an OpEd by former member of Congress, now host of Morning Joe on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough that I think makes a lot of sense.  Mr. Scarborough offers us some timely advice about keeping our eye on the ball, so I decided to share it with you.

Disregard Trump’s ground noise. Focus on the signal.

By Joe Scarborough, June 3 at 4:08 PM

Joe-ScarboroughMy first year in Congress was spent absorbing attacks from a local newspaper unimpressed by the fact I was the first Republican elected in my area of Florida since Reconstruction. They appreciated my lectures on small government conservatism no more than does the current collection of Big Government Republicans in Washington.

During my freshman year on the Hill, I tried to respond to every charge from every article, political cartoon or editorial page. After one particularly stem-winding speech that I delivered at the downtown Rotary Club in Pensacola, Fla., three-star admiral Jack Fetterman took me aside and gently offered advice that I carry with me a quarter-century later. He put his arm around me and said, “Joe, you have to learn to separate the ground noise from the signal. And here’s the secret, son: It’s almost always ground noise.”

I thought of the admiral’s words this weekend as I glanced at the news feed coming in over my phone.

Video from the Sun, a British tabloid, showed that President Trump called a princess “nasty”; then he denied calling her that; then Trump had his team release a tape that showed he called her that; then Fox News hosts attacked those quoting the Trump manuscript that showed he called her “nasty.”

Trump then dismissed reports of him calling her “nasty,” waving off the Sun’s transcripts as “fake news.”

I also learned from my news feed that Trump staffers told the Navy to keep the USS John S. McCain out of Trump’s line of sight; Trump then denied that request was ever made; Reporters proved that request was, in fact, made. Trump staffers admitted to the request.

Trump then dismissed the reports as “fake news.”

It is easy to be blinkered by the ground noise generated by from the president’s Twitter feed, or from his ministers of propaganda, or from his quivering quislings on Capitol Hill. It is difficult to brush aside the steady stream of lies and half-truths that insult our intelligence. But the good admiral would tell you that you have no other choice unless you want to fly your fighter jet straight into the side of a mountain.

Ignore the ground noise and search for the signal, instead. That may seem difficult but, after three years of Trumpian madness, it is imperative.

The signal is the Mueller report. Read it. The evidence inside is both impeachable and indictable. It also documents that the Russians tried to undermine U.S. democracy and that the president and his team, rather than reporting the interference, welcomed our enemy’s help.

William P. Barr is ground noise. The attorney general has been caught lying to the American people with his letter, lying to Congress with his testimony and lying to the media in his interviews. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times accurately labeled Barr as Trump’s minister of disinformation. She is right. His words are now as meaningless as Kellyanne Conway’s or Roger Stone’s.

The signal is the United States’ $22 trillion debt; record deficits; a fading bond market; trade wars with Mexico and China; a $16 billion welfare scheme for farmers; tariff taxes; a bloated defense budget that funds military-industrial complex programs that the Pentagon does not even want; a Middle Eastern war taxpayers are underwriting for the benefit of a bloodthirsty Saudi prince; and rising tensions in the Persian Gulf also aimed at mollifying that same leader, who had a Post contributing columnist tortured and killed.

Focus also on the pattern of behavior. After the economic crisis, Donald Trump endorsed the Wall Street bailout and praised the feds for giving billions of dollars to bankers whose greed had crushed middle-class workers. A decade later, the populist plutocrat championed tax cuts for multinational corporations and millionaire members inside his clubs. As Trump told a group of wealthy Mar-a-Lago Club members the day he signed the tax bill into law, “You all just got a lot richer.” In this one respect, Trump was right. His Palm Beach buddies did make millions from “tax reform,” but as with the tariffs he keeps touting, it is working-class Americans who will ultimately pay the tab.

Ignore the noise and focus on the signal coming from North Korea, where the building of a nuclear program continues unimpeded. The president’s bewildering response to this growing threat has been to adopt the party line of North Korea’s Communist Party and profess his love for the dictator who tortured and caused the death of a U.S. college student for trying to bring a poster home. A strong warning signal also gets sent every time Trump chooses to accept the word of a former KGB agent over the professional conclusions of the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and Homeland Security leaders that the president, himself, appointed.

That signal may lead us back to the Mueller report as well as Trump’s personal pursuit of riches. And focusing on that signal may lead us to better understanding why the president has been so willing to sell out American democracy to Russian dictators and Saudi Arabian sheikhs.

Text dividers

A City Of Two Tales …

Saturday Surprise is on hiatus this week for mysterious, undisclosed reasons.  Mis disculpas.

Washington D.C. … so much goes on there these days that it sucks the air out of the rest of the nation.  Every day there are more and more stories of lies and corruption.  Today I bring you two tales from that city … one encouraging, one discouraging.


There are conscionable republicans?  Who knew?

In Thursday’s Snarky Snippets post, I mentioned an organization, Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) who are planning a 30-second ad calling for Trump’s impeachment (the ‘I’-word) that will be aired on none other than Fox and Friends, Trump’s favorite show, next week.  Curiosity piqued, for I had never heard of this group, I went in search of more information about RRL.

On the “About Us” section of the group’s website, they state …

“Republicans for the Rule of Law is a group of life-long Republicans dedicated to defending the institutions of our republic and upholding the rule of law. We are fighting to make sure that the laws apply equally to everyone, from the average citizen to the president of the United States. We believe in fidelity to the Constitution, transparency, and the independence of prosecutors from politics.”

On Thursday, RRL announced that it would hand-deliver a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to every lawmaker in the republican party.  In a letter to lawmakers, the group said …

“As Republicans and conservatives, we consider an uncompromising commitment to the rule of law in the best interests of both the Republican Party and the United States. With this pre-highlighted copy of the Mueller report in hand, all Republicans in Congress will have an easy defense against charges of not having read it.”

Along with the letter and highlighted report, Republicans for the Rule of Law released a video with three GOP-appointed federal prosecutors claiming Trump would have been indicted if he were not president.  These three men, all republicans, all having worked under republican administrations, make a clear and concise case that Donald Trump is, in fact, guilty of obstruction of justice.  Take a look …

Chris Traux, legal advisor and spokesman for Republicans for the Rule of Law, said …

“The rule of law has always been a nonnegotiable principle of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. These veterans of the Reagan and Bush Administrations are reminding us that the law applies the same to everyone — even the president. Republicans and all Americans need to listen.”

The 30-second ad to be aired on Fox and Friends is said to be a clip from the above video.

I find it encouraging that there are republicans who are willing to put country first, for it seems that with the lone exception of Representative Justin Amash, none of the republicans in Congress are willing to do so.  My hope is that this group and their actions can stir the consciences of at least a few of the republican members of Congress so that we might proceed with the impeachment of Donald Trump, for it is increasingly obvious that he is taking our nation down a path of destruction.


But … it’s a court order, for Pete’s sake!

In early May, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered that the Justice Department make public various materials related to the case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first National Security advisor. The order included transcripts of any audio recordings of Flynn, such as his conversations with Russian officials, specifically Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as well as unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn.

These requests by Judge Sullivan were not subpoenas from Congress but were a direct order by a court of law.  And guess what, folks?  The United States Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr refused to comply with that court order.  Prosecutors Brandon L. Van Grack and Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis of Washington provided little explanation as to why they were not turning over the transcripts but indicated that the judge had asked for material that was not relevant to Flynn’s eventual sentencing.

The Justice Department did provide one of the items the Judge ordered … a full transcript of a voice mail that John Dowd, a private attorney for Trump, left for Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner in November 2017.  But guess what?  It was fully quoted in Mueller’s report anyway.

So, let’s recap here.  The House of Representatives is conducting an investigation as is not only their right, but their constitutional duty, and as such, they are issuing requests and subpoenas for information, but the Trump, Barr, Mnuchin and others are flat out refusing to provide such information.  Michael Flynn, who served only 24 days as Trump’s national security advisor because it was proven he had lied to the FBI about the nature and content of his communications with Kislyak, has been tried, found guilty, and is awaiting sentencing.  The judge in the case asks for relevant information, but Trump’s hand-picked, corrupt Attorney General refuses the order.

Law.  Either we have one or we do not.  What do you think would happen if you were subpoenaed to court and didn’t show up?  What do you think would happen if a policeman pulled in behind you, lights flashing, and you kept going?  That’s right, folks … the law applies to us.  Obviously, at this point, it does not apply to the officials in the federal government.  Can there be any doubt that this is the most corrupt government in the 230+ year history of this nation?


Now go forth and have a lovely weekend!

Thoughts on Impeachment …

As most of you know, I have been vacillating on whether the time is right for the House to begin the process to ultimately impeach Donald Trump or not.  Still today, I have mixed feelings about it … I definitely think he ought to be impeached, but it’s not just that simple.  This morning I stumbled across a piece in The Opinionated by political analyst and author Bill Press, whose work I have always respected, and his words made a lot of sense to me.  The article helped clarify my own thoughts, both pro and con.

Bill-Press

Bill Press

With all due apologies, I know I’ve weighed in on the debate about impeaching Donald Trump in previous columns. The reason I take it up again is because so many Democrats still can’t decide how to proceed.

Democrats are split into two camps. Those who say it’s a mistake to start impeachment hearings because they’re bound to fail. Trump will still be in the White House because Senate Trumpers will never vote to convict him. And those who insist that — even if they’re sure to fail — Democrats must begin impeachment hearings anyway, because not doing so would in effect endorse Trump’s unacceptable presidential behavior. More than any other factor, how that issue is resolved, I believe, could determine what happens in 2020.

First, let’s be clear. Why should Donald Trump be impeached? As Elizabeth Barrett Browning famously wrote, “Let me count the ways.” He’s debased the office of the presidency. He’s told thousands of lies. He played footsie with a foreign adversary to win an election. He obstructed justice, many times. He intimidated witnesses. He ordered top aides to commit crimes. He defied congressional subpoenas.

There’s no doubt, as Republican Congressman Justin Amash concluded after reading the Mueller report, Trump has “engaged in impeachable conduct.” Whether he actually committed crimes does not matter, Amash points out, because impeachment “simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct” — all spelled out in Mueller’s report.

Still, no matter how strong the case, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advised Democrats in Congress not to rush into impeachment. They’re better off, she told them, focusing instead on three priorities: their legislative agenda, especially health care; oversight hearings and beating Donald Trump in 2020. And, for a while, most Democrats agreed to hold back. Until this week, when Trump did everything he could to force impeachment hearings.

For many Democrats, what made the difference was Trump’s stopping former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats wanted to hear from McGahn because, in his report, after revealing that Trump twice ordered McGahn to fire him as special counsel and then lie to the New York Times about it, Mueller says it’s up to Congress to investigate further in order to determine whether Trump is guilty of criminal obstruction of justice. By blocking McGahn’s testimony, Trump’s also blocking Congress from doing its job.

On top of that came Baby Donnie’s White House temper tantrum. In a political stunt clearly orchestrated ahead of time, Trump stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, supposedly upset because Pelosi had earlier accused him of engaging in a cover-up (which he has!), and went directly to the Rose Garden, where reporters were already assembled in front of a campaign-style podium with the sign “No Collusion. No Obstruction.” “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump fumed. No, and Nixon wasn’t a crook, either.

With that, the anti-impeachment dam so carefully built by Nancy Pelosi began to crumble. A week ago, there were only a handful of Democrats wanting to start impeachment hearings right away. Today, there are 30 to 40, including at least one member of the House leadership, Rhode Island’s David Cicilline. It’s reached the point where House Budget Chairman John Yarmouth told me, impeachment hearings are now “inevitable.”

Still, Pelosi urges restraint, based on five arguments. One, doing impeachment would suck up all the oxygen and make it practically impossible to pass legislation on any issue. Two, impeachment has little public and zero, aside from Justin Amash, bipartisan support. Three, Democrats can achieve almost the same results by proceeding first with oversight hearings now underway in the judiciary, intelligence, financial services, ways and means and oversight committees. Four, as noted above, impeachment would hit a dead end in the Senate. Five, impeachment might actually help Donald Trump, by allowing him to run for re-election as a victim.

For now, I believe, Speaker Pelosi makes a strong case. Democrats are smart to hold off, while letting the case build against Trump for 2020. But that could still change, depending on how he responds to court rulings against him.

That’s the key. After refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, if Trump also rejects court orders to comply, he’d be declaring war on not one, but two co-equal branches of government. At that point, Democrats would have no choice but to launch impeachment hearings. And it’s a safe bet that’s what’s going to happen.

Bill has also recently published a book, Trump Must Go: The 100 Top Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him)Bill-Press-book

Impeaching Trump: What would the Founders say?

Impeachment, or as Trump calls it, “the I-word”, is on the minds of many of us these days. It is debatable whether impeachment would be successful at this juncture, hence the caution being exercised by Speaker Pelosi. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has done his homework and pondered the situation from the perspective of how the framers of the U.S. Constitution might have viewed it, and I think the results of his pondering are worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff, for this thoughtful work and for allowing me to share …

On The Fence Voters

In the course of any given day lately, I find myself grappling with the following question: What would the Founders do about it? Or, even better—what were they thinking and what were their arguments as they went about writing that sacred document we call the United States Constitution?

Actually, it’s a practice I’ve been doing for quite some time. I mean, between gun rights, abortion rights, immigration, and so many other issues, our Constitution is the basis for trying to figure out how to deal with these controversial issues. Often, we try to gauge what the intent of the Founders was. We can read their words in such publications like The Federalist Papers, and other discussions and arguments they were engaged in, that have been documented in letters, debates, and of course, The Constitutional Convention itself.

Currently, though, the impeachment process is front and center. Ever since the Democrats took…

View original post 1,101 more words