Blood on his Hands

Most of us never heard the name Crede Bailey, but our friend Jeff is correcting that oversight for us, and showing us yet again the effects of the cruelty in Trump’s handling … bungling … of the pandemic. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

I assume that most of you have not heard of Crede Bailey, so I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned about him the past few days.

Bailey, a 54-year-old married father of one and career civil servant, is the current White House director of security. His job includes handling White House credentials and working with the Secret Service. If you remember, back in September, we began to hear about numerous Covid-19 infections spreading within the White House.

It’s believed that Bailey contracted Covid around this time and was hospitalized shortly before the official September 26 super-spreader event nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. I remember hearing about Bailey around this time and how he was very sick but have not heard anything since then. Until Monday, that is.

It turns out that Bailey has been gravely ill for the last three months, spending much…

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The New Rules of Presidential Etiquette

For eight years, the Republicans gave President Barack Obama and his family grief.  I’m not even talking policy here, not talking about ACA, Afghanistan, Gitmo, or any of a thousand other issues.  I am talking style, demeanor, etiquette.  Just a few examples:

  • For a time, during the 2008 campaign, before Obama was even elected, he was criticized for not wearing the flag lapel pin that all candidates wear to signal their patriotism, even as they are lying through their teeth. Obama stated in 2007 that he felt the wearing of the lapel pin had become a substitute for true patriotism, but to hear the republicans, why he might as well have been an axe murderer.
  • During a White House press briefing in 2014, President Obama had the unmitigated gall to … GASP … wear a tan-coloured suit! He might just as well have come to the briefing in his flannel jammies and bunny slippers, for all the hullabaloo over the ‘casualness’ of his attire.

tan suit 2

  • In August 2013, there was “shock, outrage and mocking criticism” as a picture hit the media of President Obama with … GASP … his feet on his desk! Perish the thought!!!

feet on desk

  • And hold on to your seats, folks, for in April 2009, Obama had the cheek to actually toss a football … in the Oval Office!!! How this man was not impeached, we’ll never understand!
  • At one point, Obama was even criticized for eating Dijon mustard on his hamburger, and Fox News’ own Sean Hannity referred to him as ‘President Poupon’. Why, he must be some sort of communist pinko, eating that there French mustard … what’s wrong with good ol’ American yellow mustard?

These stories were all headline news at the time, and the republicans were shocked, horrified, and disgusted, but unfortunately, they were not rendered speechless as we might have hoped.  But it didn’t begin and end only with the president.  His family was to feel the wrath of the republicans also.

  • michelle-4Often and repeatedly Michelle Obama was criticized for ‘weighing too much’, despite the fact that she is quite slim and in excellent physical condition. She was criticized by Sarah Palin for not paying enough attention to dessert.  She was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress.  She was criticized for doing push-ups.  And of course she was criticized for making healthier school lunches a part of her agenda as First Lady.

While any president’s minor children are typically considered to be ‘off limits’, the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha, took their share of criticism.

  • They were criticized for their dress and behaviour and told to ‘try showing a little class’. Note that when Obama was inaugurated, Malia was 11 years old, and Sasha was 8.  Given their ages and the situation into which they found themselves thrust, I would say they showed remarkable class (remember George W. Bush’s daughters?)  But they were criticized during their 8 years in the White House for everything from their dress to Malia’s choice of a college in 2016.

So as we can see, it appears that the public and particularly republicans, are very particular about things like etiquette and deportment of the president and his family, yes?

Republicans guide etiquette

The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Behaviour

In May 2017, three months into Donald Trump’s regime, the New York Times ran what would become a series, The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Behavior.    It is a tongue-in-cheek series outlining how the standards have changed in the short time since Trump has been in office.  A few examples from the May article:

If you are the president, you may freely:

  • demand personal loyalty from the F.B.I. director

  • attack private citizens on Twitter

  • accuse a former president, without evidence, of an impeachable offense

  • call the media “the enemy of the American people”

  • intimidate congressional witnesses

  • hide the White House visitors’ list from the public

  • vacation at one of your private residences nearly every weekend

  • criticize specific businesses for dropping your family members’ products

  • review and discuss highly sensitive intelligence in a restaurant, and allow the Army officer carrying the “nuclear football” to be photographed and identified by name

  • hire relatives for key White House posts, and let them meet with foreign officials and engage in business at the same time

The list goes on, but remember, that was only in the first three months!  Well, the article, written by he Times’ Editorial Board, was originally intended to be a one-shot thing, but by October, it became obvious that a follow-up was needed, so they came up with another:

In 2017, there’s a whole new bar for tolerable conduct by the commander in chief. Our original guide cataloged several dozen examples. Almost five months later, it’s clear that an update is necessary. This expanded list is meant to ensure that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans never forget what they now condone in a president.

So, if you are the president, you may:

  • Mock a foreign leader with a demeaning nickname and threaten his country with nuclear annihilation over Twitter

  • Call for the firing of “son of a bitch” athletes who choose to exercise their right to free speech

  • Criticize victims of that hurricane still living without drinking water or electricity by saying they “want everything to be done for them”

  • Attack a senator battling terminal cancer

  • Behave so erratically and irresponsibly that senators of your own party resort to saying you’re treated like someone at “an adult day-care center” to keep you from starting World War III

  • Spend one of every three days as president visiting at least one of your own properties

  • Tweet GIFs of yourself violently attacking the media and your former political opponent

And again, the list goes on.  But the new standards weren’t yet complete, even in October, so once again, this month, January 2018, the Times’ Editorial Board saw a need to further update the list:

As part of our continuing effort to resist the exhausting and numbing effects of living under a relentlessly abusive and degrading president, we present, for the third time in nine months, an updated guide to what Republicans now consider to be acceptable behavior from the commander in chief.

IF YOU ARE PRESIDENT, YOU MAY NOW:

  • Imply, without evidence, that a television anchor was involved in a murder

  • Question the authenticity of a recording of you bragging about sexual assault, even though you previously admitted it was real

  • Retweet inflammatory and fake anti-Muslim videos from an ultranationalist British group

  • Call the American justice system a “joke” and a “laughingstock”

  • Have your lawyer pay $130,000 in hush money to a porn star with whom you had an affair while your wife was at home caring for your new son

  • Exploit a White House event honoring Native American veterans to mock a senator with a racially charged slur

  • Tell your rich friends after your tax bill passes, “You all just got a lot richer”

And still, the list goes on.  I strongly suspect there will be a fourth installment of this New York Times series, unless we are fortunate enough to see Trump leave the Oval Office sometime in the coming months.  They said that the Obamas lacked dignity and grace, had no class?  President Obama had more class in his little toe than Donald Trump will ever have.  Stay tuned for more …

trump-golf

Where Have All The Big Macs Gone?

 

The Beginning of the End?

It started when media mogul Harvey Weinstein stood accused of crimes against women.  Not, mind you, a few women, but it seems sometimes that every female who ever aspired to become an actress in Hollywood has, at one time or another, been sexually harassed or abused by none other than Harvey Weinstein.  Once his accusers began telling their stories, it was if a floodgate had been opened, as if the tears that had been held in check for years, decades, suddenly began to flow freely, and there could be no stopping them. Even today Weinstein is headline news.  A movement by women who have been victims of men abusing their power called #me too, went viral on social media, and suddenly women were empowered.  Weinstein does not stand alone … such notables as NBC’s Matt Lauer, writer Garrison Keillor, playwright Israel Horovitz, Senate candidate Roy Moore, actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, journalist and writer Mark Halperin, and a number of members of Congress stand accused.

While this topic needs to be discussed more, it is not the purpose of this particular post, but rather I mention it to show the tidal wave that started as a result of the accusations leveled at Harvey Weinstein, and to point out that once started, it became as an avalanche, unstoppable.  Fast forward to today …

Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the F.B.I. and Will Cooperate With Russia Inquiry – New York Times, 01 December 2017

Trump-Russia: Michael Flynn admits lying to FBI, BBC News, 01 December 2017

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia’s ambassador weeks before Donald Trump became president.

Appearing in a federal court in Washington DC on Friday, he admitted to one count of knowingly making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements”. Flynn was asked by Judge Rudolph Contreras if he wished to plead guilty and responded with the words “Yes, sir”. The judge continued: “I accept your guilty plea. There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal.”

I realize that my predictions for the past year or two have been somewhat less than accurate, but I am not alone in believing that this will turn into the same type of avalanche as the revelations about Weinstein have.  I think those who have been dodging questions from the various committees investigatimg the dd Russian interference in the election and the role(s) of the Trump campaign and the ‘man’ himself must be sweating right about now.

“I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to co-operate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country”.

So, what might Mr. Flynn know that he will be sharing with Bob Mueller and his team in the coming weeks?  I am not going to speculate just yet, but perhaps Mr. Flynn’s memory is better than some and he can shed some light on things that Jeff Sessions, Jared Kusher and others claim they cannot remember.  Personally, I don’t even mind if, at the end of the day, they grant Michael Flynn full immunity from prosecution if his information can be used to turn over all those rocks that are hiding very ugly, treacherous secrets in our White House.

The administration wasted no time in seeking to distance itself from the now-toxic Flynn:

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.” – White House attorney, Ty Cobb

Right … go think up some more, Ty … you’ll be earning your pay quite soon, I should think.

President Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and reportedly warned Trump about Flynn during a discussion two days after the election.

I have concerns over how Trump may decide to behave in the coming days, for we have seen many times how he reacts under pressure, and it is not a pretty sight.  I hope that his handlers can keep him from doing anything too radically disastrous, for he must almost certainly see the handwriting on the wall, understand that this may well be the beginning of the end.

Will others follow Flynn’s lead?  I am betting on it, just as the women who have felt they could not come forth with their secrets of abuse and harassment suddenly felt the door open wide for them after the fall of Harvey Weinstein.  Who will be next?  I have no idea, but watch for it.  We must keep our eyes on the ball now and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the smoke screens that Trump and his minions are surely building even now.  Wait for it, folks, for I believe that, as Miss Goose said earlier, this could well signal the ‘beginning of the end’.

The Pointless Death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla

Their names are Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani.  Mr. Kuchibhotla is dead now, and Mr. Madasani is wounded.  51-year-old Adam W. Purinton, apparently did not like immigrants and believed it was his right, as a white male, to take their lives into his own hands.

kuchilbhotla

Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wife, Sunayana Dumala

It started in a restaurant in Olathe, Kansas where Mr. Kuchibhotla and Mr. Madasani were enjoying an after work drink before heading home.  The two gentlemen, originally from India, were both educated in the U.S., and both were engineers, employed by Swiss communication device company, Garmin.  Nonetheless, Mr. Purinton took umbrage at their very presence, and started spouting ethnic slurs, finally telling them to “get out of my country.”  Mr. Madasani finally tired of the verbal abuse and went in search of the restaurant’s manager to lodge a complaint.  When he returned to his table, Purinton was being escorted out, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the episode was over.

purinton-2

Purinton

But a few minutes later, Purinton returned, gun in hand, and opened fire. When the gunshots stopped, another patron, Ian Grillot, thinking the shooter had run out of ammunition, came out to attempt to subdue him, and for his heroic efforts was rewarded with a gunshot to the chest and hand. Meanwhile, Mr. Kuchibhotla lay dying, and Mr. Madasani was receiving CPR.  Their only crime was that they were not WASPs.  Mr. Purinton’s crime, however is a hate crime … it is a crime against ALL of humanity just as surely as is any terrorist attack.

Had the tables been turned … had an immigrant from ANY country shot a white man … you can bet your last dollar that Donald Trump would have tweeted until he had blisters on his tiny fingers.  But on this?  Not a single twit nor tweet.  Silence.  Silencio.  Nada. Zip. In fact, the only response from the administration in Washington came from Sean Spicer who said that any loss of life is tragic but it would be absurd to link the action to Trump’s stance on immigrants. I do not think it is ‘absurd’ at all, and neither does the Indian government.

Purinton was arrested later that day at an Applebee’s restaurant in Clinton, Missouri, where he told the bartender, “I’m on the run; I’m hiding out from the law. I shot those guys, and that’s why I’m hiding out from the police.”  Not only white and with a sense of entitlement, but also incredibly stupid. Apparently known as the town drunk, a neighbor said, “We always wondered if he might hurt himself, but we didn’t think he would hurt someone else.” Purinton has reportedly been charged with murder in the first degree and remains in jail pending a $100,000 bond.

Mr. Kuchibhotla’s widow, Sunayana Dumala, said in a press conference yesterday, “I, especially, I was always concerned, are we doing the right thing of staying in the United States of America? But he always assured me that only good things happen to good people.” Welcome to Trump’s America. The Hindustan Times carries a full transcript of her touching speech in which she seeks answers and ponders moving back to India.

The Indian Embassy in the U.S. has called for a speedier investigation and asked to be kept abreast of the investigation. Investigators have stopped short of calling this a ‘hate crime’, but I ask … what else can it be?  And, since the FBI is involved in the investigation, it is obviously being considered a hate crime. Hate crimes have become so predominant since Trump’s election that the New York Times now devotes a weekly column, titled ‘This Week in Hate’, to report and track them. This, Mr. Trump, is your legacy — a legacy of hate and inhumanity.

So where is all that anger over this crime?  Where is all that self-righteous, ‘moral’ indignation?  Where are all those indignant people who would be foaming at the mouth, including the so-called leader of the nation?  The incident has been reported, though not widely commented on, and the White House remains silent.  People get more angry and vocal when it comes to who can use which restroom than they do the murder of a good man. A life is a life.  One is no more important than another, yet it would seem that to the politicians and a large portion of U.S. society, Mr. Kuchibhotla’s life was of lesser value … hardly worth mentioning.  Is this who we have become?  Is this the same nation who once valued its immigrant population?  I do not recognize it, and I am deeply ashamed of it.