Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The disgusting false parallels of Donald Trump

The president of the United States just passionately equated “both sides” as being responsible for  the Charlottesville violence and murder over the weekend.  He actually sees Nazis and anti-Nazis as morally equivalent.  He astonishingly sees white supremacists and anti-white supremacists as morally equivalent.  Mr. Trump clearly came out in defense of his white supremacist base. 

I find this disgusting.

I am sure some of my conservative friends might feel obligated to agree with the president.  And I also condemn left wing violence as well as right wing.  But Charlottesville is not ambiguous.  This is not a confusing moment.  One side was very, very wrong.  One side is responsible for the violence.

Some headlines:

·         USA Today: “Former KKK leader David Duke praises Trump for his 'courage.'”

·         Los Angeles Times: “Trump provokes new furor by giving foes of white supremacists equal blame.”

·         Wall Street Journal: “With New Remarks on Charlottesville, Trump Leaves Himself Isolated.”


Here are some pertinent tweets:

A congressman from Michigan: "Very fine people" do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 15, 2017

Arizona's senior senator, battling brain cancer: There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017



A Northern Virginia congresswoman facing a tough reelection fight next year: Mr. President, there were not "very fine people" on the NeoNazi, white supremacist side; only haters. Grateful DOJ understands this. https://t.co/MDmYPcUP5h
— Barbara Comstock (@BarbaraComstock) August 15, 2017

The GOP nominee for governor of Virginia and a former RNC chair:The white supremacists and neoNazis who invaded cville espouse reprehensible views that have no redeeming value whatsoever. Simple as that.
— Ed Gillespie (@EdWGillespie) August 15, 2017

From the commandant of the Marine Corps: No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act. 
— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) August 15, 2017


The former spokesman for the Obama Justice Department: Quite possibly the worst thing he has ever said. The white supremacists who were there heard him loud and clear. And so did the rest of us. https://t.co/QsuC7UWnWS

— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) August 15, 2017

A senior adviser to Obama: Republican Party: This is on you, you did this, and only you can do something about this
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 15, 2017


Some Democrats: 

.@realDonaldTrump, you are embarrassing our country and the millions of Americans who fought and died to defeat Nazism.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2017

Mr. President - Heather Heyer was not murdered by "both sides."
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) August 15, 2017

If @realDonaldTrump wants to fight white supremacy, he should do three simple things:
1) #FireBannon
2) #FireGorka
3) #FireMiller
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) August 15, 2017

.@realDonaldTrump: "Both sides" did not wield torches, swastikas, and drive a car into a crowd, killing a woman. https://t.co/gqeTLpzfBY

— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) August 15, 2017

Dear @realDonaldTrump: Yes there were both sides in #Charlottesville. The Nazi side & the side opposing the Nazis. You're on the wrong side. https://t.co/jtaZnoLqLl

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 15, 2017

From a Brookings fellow:
When determining whether or not the president is a racist, I'll defer to the professional racists, who very much seem to think he is.
— Jamie Kirchick 🌹 (@jkirchick) August 15, 2017

From the editor of Wired Magazine:
The weird thing about "both sides" isn't just that one side is Nazis---but also that they killed someone.
— Nicholas Thompson (@nxthompson) August 15, 2017

Hollywood celebrities piled on:
Trump just said there were "very fine people on both sides" in #Charlottesville. I don't know any "very fine" white supremacists, sir. None.

— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 15, 2017


I fought Nazis in World War II. They aren’t “very fine people,” @realDonaldTrump#Charlottesville https://t.co/IS5J5x0oI9

— Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) August 15, 2017


Only the Republicans can get rid of this disgrace of a president.  The Democrats don’t have the votes to impeach him.  When do the Republicans flip the switch?  He can be impeached on a number of grounds, starting with his violation of the emoluments clause in the constitution, plus the bribery clause.  Plus, eventually I expect we will see evidence of conspiracy with a hostile foreign power to influence the election in his favor.  Plus, of course, his blatant obstruction of justice in firing the head of the FBI who had been in charge of investigating Russian election interference.

Do the Republicans wait until they see their own careers jeopardized?  Or can they react out of their own sense of honor and dignity to turn on this most dishonorable and undignified person?


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trump's two failures

Last week was a bad week for us all.  The question has always been how will this unstable and childish president react to actual difficult world events?  How will this person who has major emotional public meltdowns when he is criticized publicly stand up to an actual crisis?

He failed - twice in one week.

First, he responded to Kim Jong Un's test firing of ICBMs by doing pretty much the stupidest thing you can do when dealing with a paranoid tyrant - he threatened nuclear war.  I know this excited his brutish base.  But, speaking of his base...

White supremacists violently rallied in Charlottesville - confederate flags, Nazi flags, assault rifles, batons, shields, torches at night - and created violent confrontations with counter protesters.  Three people died. Two police died in a helicopter crash, and one was killed by an appalling full throttle acceleration of his car into a crowd of counter protesters.  Many others were injured.  

So, our president's response?  To blame both sides.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides."

And then he went on to talk about how wonderful the economy is under his stellar leadership...

It is certainly appropriate to ask for calm, on both sides. But only after strongly condemning the instigators of the violence - the armed white supremacists who came to create violence.  But, of course, Trump didn't do that.  Indeed he can't do that - the heart of his base is the white supremacist community, who have been given permission by this white supremacist president to come out of the dark hiding places they have been lurking in for decades and strut proudly in the limelight - and do so with violence.  

Trump's favorite poll is the Rasmussen Poll which consistently skews conservative.  His approval there is 45%, compared to about 37% average of all the other polls.  But inside the Rasmussen Poll is 27% who Strongly Favor Trump.  It is not hard to conclude that the white supremacist agitators in Charlottesville are amongst the Strongly Favor group.




Friday, August 11, 2017

It's the Republicans too

It’s not just Trump that is a problem in today’s politics.  Those Republicans caught in the various bubbles of conservative dogma are the ones doing great damage to the country and the world.  Trump is the peacock - the Republicans are the wolves.

For example – health care.  The “Freedom Caucus” in the House of Representatives and their dogmatic compatriots in the Senate are promoting the repeal of Obamacare, but the impact of that obsession is to make it impossible for about 20 million people or more to be able to afford health insurance.  This is not something that provides freedom for people.  It is something that enslaves them to untreated health problems, robs them of the freedom of a healthy body that access to medical care gives them.  The “Freedom Caucus” might best be renamed the “Trap the Citizens in a Spiral of Poverty Caucus”.

For example – the environment.  The Republicans have been so blinded by the dogma of Reaganomics (in this case the deregulation part of Reaganomics) that they are stripping the country of the protections put in place to fight against the corporate polluters.  Those captured by this piece of dogma think they taking the restraints off of business and creating jobs, but what is really happening is that they are going back to the “good old days” of filthy air and water.  I find this disgusting.

For example – tax breaks for the wealthy.  Here is the second part of the obsolete and damaging dogma of Reaganomics – tax cuts for the wealthy.  I understand the idea that reducing taxes on the "job creators" is supposed to stimulate the economy.  I thought that myself up until the financial crash of 2008.  But I now understand that it doesn’t work.  What stimulates the economy is to empower the middle class, not to give more money to the wealthy.  As I have written often, Reagan lowered taxes and the economy grew, Clinton raised taxes and the economy grew more, Bush lowered taxes and the economy stagnated.  Tax rates for the wealthy do not have much of any effect on the growth of the economy.  Yet, this is a dogmatic belief of the Republican Party.

For example – restrict immigration and kick out immigrants.  This is especially dumb, it seems to me.  Less educated immigrants have always been a spur to the American economy.   Plus, highly educated immigrants are key to the tech industry.  This is little more than bigotry.

For example – talking tough.  Good grief!  We now have a president that thinks the way to deal with the paranoid man-child running North Korea is to threaten him with nuclear holocaust.  And there is a portion of the Republicans who are glad that we finally have a president with Balls.  Idiotic.  What you do is de-escalate, not escalate the rhetoric.  Trump is very “brave” – putting the lives of South Koreans, Japanese, Guamanians, and Chinese at risk in order to strut his childish bravado. 

I’m not sure when the Republican Party lost its ability to think, probably about the time talk radio and Fox News became vehicles for the Oligarchy propaganda machine. 


I realize that there is much to criticize about those lost in left wing dogmatic bubbles as well – the ridiculous extremities of identity politics, the unaffordable notion of Medicare for everybody, the dumbing down of a college education if college becomes a free entitlement, etc.  But the left wing is in the margins and the right wing is running the country off the cliff.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Children with nukes...

Kim Jong Un tests ICBMs - the U.N. unanimously imposes tough sanctions - Kim threatens nuclear strike against U.S. - Trump threatens nuclear strike against North Korea ....  WHAT?  ... Kim threatens nuclear strike against U.S. Territory, Guam ...

Children with nukes. Not good.

Apparently, the ridiculously ignorant, unstable, childish man that the Republican Party elected to be our president thinks that if Kim Jong Un threatens to use nukes against the U.S. that Kim is insulting his personal manhood.

I believe that Kim Jong Un knows that the only way he doesn't become Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein is to be a nuclear power, and to be threatening.  So, don't escalate! Stay calm and carry on.  He will only become a real threat if we have another child looking back at him from the U.S. thinking that it's all about his pathetically insecure manhood.  Kim's only point is that he can launch if he is invaded. The U.S is under no threat of invasion by North Korea. 


The big question has always been how will this disturbingly childish president react to a real crisis?  This guy has melt downs if he sees someone on the news criticize him, so what does he do if a real crisis leaps up in his face? Hurricane? Environmental catastrophe?  Financial meltdown? Foreign policy threats and aggressions?

Children can get into a schoolyard fight, but the ones who die are us....

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Republican compulsion to cut taxes

What's the most important thing to Republicans? Cutting taxes on the wealthy.  The wealthy are the ones who want it, and the wealthy have managed to convince the middle class Republican voter that cutting taxes on the wealthy will create jobs for them - all nonsense of course, but political beliefs are hard to change, and decades of propaganda by the Oligarchy have had their effect.  The failed attempt by the Republicans to kill Obamacare was really not much more than a tax cut for the wealthy, camouflaged with distracting rhetoric. 

It's an ideology called Reaganomics - cut taxes to spur the economy.  But it doesn't work.  Reagan cut taxes and the economy grew (after he raised taxes again a few times).  Clinton raised taxes and the economy grew even more.  W cut taxes and the economy flat-lined.  Reaganomics is just a dogmatic belief that doesn't work, but the duped by the Oligarchy Republican common voter hasn't figured that out yet.

Dogma, dogma, dogma - the killer of democracy.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Profiles in Compassion

Republican senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and John McCain defied their President and their Republican Senate leadership and voted against the last ditch attempt by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  

Thank goodness.

I give a special salute to John McCain who postponed his treatment for brain cancer to come back to the Senate.  He voted Yes to allow debate and amendments to the Republican plans - a dignified approval of the democratic process.  And he voted No to the Republican efforts to overthrow Obamacare - a compassionate caring for the people of America.  His biggest message to Congress is to stop the blind dogmatic opposition to the Other Party, reach across the isle and fix and improve the current health care system.  Of course, that is the obvious solution. 

Obvious facts - repealing Obamacare will put somewhere between 15 and 30 million people without health care.  The conservative dismissal of that idea is that many of those people would be young and healthy people who don't want health care. 

But the liberal rejoinder is that without the healthy in the insurance pools the cost for the sick, the infants, and the elderly would be prohibitive and they would not be able to afford health care.  The result would be all of these people would not have regular check ups and would not have preventative health care, and they would end up in emergency rooms with advanced stages of illness and injury that would further drive up insurance costs, driving more people out of insurance, creating more unhealthy going to emergency rooms, etc. etc. etc.  

I side with the liberal argument because I believe it makes the most sense, and it is the most compassionate.

Unfortunately, the Heartless-In-Chief immediately declared he would "let" Obamacare fail - that is to say, he will continue his cruel sabotage of Obamacare.  States that worked constructively with Obamacare have had good health care, and states that sabotaged Obamacare have had bad health care for their people.  Those that will continue to sabotage the existing law will make life much more miserable and dangerous for their people.

But, today, I salute and honor these three Republicans with a heart.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

419 - 3 and 98 - 2 against Trump' appeasement of Russia

There may be hope for America after all. The House and the Senate voted 419 - 3 and 98 - 2 to sanction Russia for interfering with our elections AND gives Congress veto power over the president if he tries to relax the sanctions. Plus, some of the penalties have been converted to law, making it even harder for Trump to statisfy his Russian puppet masters. 

Also sanctioned are North Korea and Iran. 

Trump doesn't get to be king. He is getting away with a lot, but I am happy to see both sides of the isle putting him in his place regarding Russian sanctions. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Is Trump just dumb?

It is already obvious that our president is emotionally unstable, impulsive, willfully ignorant, and childish.  But, is he also just dumb?  How about some evidence?

The first thing he did was attack the media.  But, the media’s entire job is to find things out.  And Trump has things to hide.

The next thing he did is attack his own intelligence services.  But, the intelligence services entire job is to find things out.  And Trump has things to hide.

The next thing he did was attack the judicial system when he fired James Comey who was heading up the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.  But that just caused the Attorney General’s office to appoint Robert Mueller as a special investigator into this very issue.  And it is these people’s entire job to find things out.

Then, he just recently implied that if Mueller investigates his finances rather than just his ties to Russia he might fire him.  Isn’t this just telling Mueller what he needs to investigate?  Isn’t he just pointing him to what he is trying to hide?  As one tweeter pointed out, this is like an officer pulling a car over and the driver says he's done nothing wrong and there is absolutely nothing in the trunk of his car even though you might see blood on the back bumper.

I think that Trump may just be good old fashioned dumb.

But, but, but you say, he is a billionaire.  Don’t you have to be smart to be rich?  Apparently not.  Apparently all you have to do is stiff your investors, stiff your vendors, screw your customers, borrow money from the Russian mafia and use your hotels and golf courses to launder dirty Russian money and you too can become a billionaire.  And have a fake reality TV show that pretends you are a smart businessman.


Next time my conservative  friends nominate someone for president I hope they find someone with more character, dignity, knowledge, and  - oh yes – brains.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

150,000 attempts to hack South Carolina voting system on election day

By the way, just in case some of my friends want to think that evidence of Russian interference just isn't there, on election day in South Carolina there were about 150,000 attempts to hack the voting system on election day.  Apparently not successful, but we have been warned.  Too bad we have a president who is thankful for Russian interference on his behalf rather than a president who sees the danger to American democracy and to America itself.

Disgusting man.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump Jr, aka "Fredo", spills the beans

Apparently Donald Trump Jr. has the nickname of "Fredo" amongst Trump campaign staff, referring to the incompetent son of mob boss, Vito Corleone, in the movie “The Godfather”.  Even amongst the low standards of ethics and wisdom of the Trump world Trump Jr. seems to set a low bar.  Recent revelations show that he took a meeting with a Russian operative on the promise that he would receive damaging opposition research from the Russians.  Remember that Russia is a hostile foreign power whose boss, Putin, is dedicated to weakening America any way that he can.

This is direct evidence that:
·         Russia was interfering in our American elections
·         Russia was interfering so as to defeat Clinton and elect Trump
·         the Trump campaign was willing to work with the hostile foreign power, Russia, to defeat Clinton.  

Smoking gun.  Conspiracy.  Perhaps treason.  


"The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with opposition research on Hillary Clinton.
The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
If the future president’s elder son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.
He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
*******
Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would most likely bring along “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers.
On June 9, the Russian lawyer was sitting in the younger Mr. Trump’s office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, just one level below the office of the future president."
So, what should Jr, and (Manafort and Kushner) have done? Inform the FBI! This is a serious crime against our very democracy itself.
"When Gore campaign was sent Bush debate brief book, they called FBI. If foreign interests offer you info on former SOS, you call the FBI.
— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) July 10, 2017"

It has never been much of a mystery why Trump has been trying to stop the investigation into conspiracy between the Trump campaign and hostile foreign power of Russia.  Just win baby?  Even if it takes an act of treason to do so?  Well, let’s hope that these remarkably corrupt people do not get away with it.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Donald "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" Trump

Donald Trump thinks he is more powerful than the Congress of the United States because he is president.  I believe he will be president only as long as the Republicans in Congress allow him to be president.  They can impeach him at any time because there are grounds for impeachment any time they decide to exercise them.  And he keeps pressing his luck.  Will he eventually become so disgusting that Republicans will decide the only way to protect themselves is to get rid of him?

His most recent offense is a personal, disgusting attack on the co-host of the Morning Joe TV show.  What an embarrassment this “man” is.

Speaker Paul Ryan criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for a crude attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s physical appearance.
“I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” Ryan said at a press conference, less than three hours after Trump ridiculed “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” for “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
The point is that Trump presents many targets for impeachment.  He has been in violation of the Emoluments Clause ever since he refused to divest himself on his businesses and put them into a blind trust – his properties and brands are ways that he gets money from countries who curry this president’s  favors.  This might even be considered a violation of the Bribery Clause which is a black letter impeachment offense.  Indeed, Trump got a deal with China for using his trademark in China prior to his negotiating U.S. trade business with China as President.  Isn’t this bribery?  Here is the quote from the Constitution:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Obstruction of justice was the first article of impeachment against both Nixon and Clinton.  His firing of the FBI director, James Comey, because Comey was investigating the Trump campaign, and possibly Trump himself, for collusion with a hostile foreign power, Russia, to get Trump elected is certainly obstruction of justice.

Any time the Republicans finally decide that this dangerous and embarrassing buffoon is endangering their jobs he is toast, it seems to me.  And if they see the House falling to the Dems in 2018, that could be the final straw.

I think some of my conservative friends think the push to impeach Trump is just politics as usual, liberals trying to stop conservatism.  But, that is not how it is to me.  Trump is the walking definition of an unqualified person to be entrusted with the powers of the presidency.  If he is thrown out his successor is the right wing fundamentalist true believer Mike Pence, who is worse for liberals ideologically than Trump.  My desire is to stop a deeply corrupt and unstable person with strong authoritarian urges. 


Impeaching Trump is not about stopping conservatism; it may be what is needed to preserve our precious democracy.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Senate Republicans' health care bill cuts 22 million from health care

Imagine if some kind of economic catastrophe in the United States caused 22 million people to lose their health care.  Imagine the headlines, the photographs, the videos, the stories of untreated illnesses, of the diminished lives, of the diseases and deaths of of millions upon millions of people.

What kind of economic catastrophe could do that?  Stock market crash? Massive unemployment? Depression, deflation, hyper-inflation? Russian cyber-war that destroys the banking system? 

How about a man made catastrophe of the most avoidable kind - ideologically caused economic catastrophe.

That is what the Republican Party is rushing to do to America today.  This isn't Trump's doing.  Trump just barely has an opinion about health care in America.  Trump never thought for more than a few moments about health care in his life, other than to find the hot button phrases that could excite the conservative base into voting for him.

No, this is ideology - a blind ideology that has been entrenched ever since Obamacare was debated and put into law. This is the ideology of the Republican Party, and it is a disastrous lurch into economic calamity.  This is a rush to pass a law without debate, without inputs from the various medical players, without testimony from expert witnesses - oh, I forgot, conservatives don't like experts, they hate experts I guess because experts say different things than talk radio and Fox News folks say, so you can't trust experts because experts don't say simple things that can be put on bumper stickers or baseball caps.

The CBO projection is that 22 million people will lose their health care if the Senate Republican plan becomes law.  The CBO projected that 24 million people would lose their health care if the House of Representative plan would become law. Is this supposed to progress?

My conservative friends justify this stunning cruelty by telling themselves that Obamacare is collapsing of its own fatal flaws.  But it seems to me that those states that cooperated with Obamacare are having a pretty good experience, and those states that refused and obstructed Obamacare are having bad experiences.  It seems pretty clear to me that many Republicans, unfortunately including the president, are doing all they can to sabotage Obamacare, as if Obamacare were just some kind of idea that they didn't like rather than being the thing keeping people in their states alive and healthy.

I don't think the Republicans will overturn Obamacare because they won't be able to get the votes of both the "moderates" (i.e. those who don't want to watch folks die for lack of Medicaid funding in their states) and the "conservatives" (those who think the only thing that counts is cutting spending and shrinking or better yet eliminating the federal government which they see as some kind of evil restraint on freedom).

If a bill gets out of the Senate and goes to committee, it is hard for me to believe that a bill will then be be approved by both the House and the Senate and become law.  The "freedom caucus" (who I think are really pretty much blinded by their own dogmas and fanatical obsessions) will never go along with anything that smacks of compassion for the poor in favor of their most sacred of all desires - tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

All I can say is that if a terrible health care law gets passed by both houses and is signed by Trump, people will be much better off if they live in California than if they live in Kansas.  I fully expect that those states that have encouraged people to enroll in Obamacare, and who have cooperated with the Federal Government's efforts to make it work will treat their people much better than those states that have done everything they could to sabotage it.   


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Warren Sapp to donate his brain to research when he dies

Multiple Pro Bowl football player Warren Sapp is donating his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for research upon his death.  He is 44 years old and is losing cognitive function due to the violence to his brain during his football years.  It doesn't matter how strong one's body is, or how much pain one is willing to take, there is no way to toughen up the brain to withstand blows to the head. 

"We're playing in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything. Legends of the game," he said. "There's no way any of us wanna really admit that we can't remember how to get home or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be.

"You try to [say], 'All right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep -- maybe it's something I did last night, maybe something I drank,' or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not that it's my brain, that I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes.
"It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep.""

He hopes the research can make the game safer, but as far as I can tell there is no way to make the game of football safe from brain trauma and damage.

I expect parents to stop letting their children play football. I expect the game to fade away.  All I see when I watch football is blocks, tackles, and brain damage.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trump's inability to understand the Russian threat

Trump's hyper-fragile grandiose ego has changed the Russia probe from what it really is - an investigation into Russian interference into the American election - into Trump's egocentric view of it - an investigation to discredit Trump's "fabulous" victory in November. 

This is about Russia's war on the U.S. and all of the West.  Russia tried to elect a Fascist in France, but the French were on to the ruse and defeated Russia's candidate.  Russia had and continues to havre massive control over Ukraine.  Russia continues to interfere in American politics.  It must be uncovered and countered.  They have fractured America's political system and damaged America's relations with our allies.  Russia is winning this war, which our president doesn't even recognize.  Amazing.

Russia has found new weapons in today's electronic world - hacking.  They are being quite successful, unfortunately.  And our current president is missing the entire point.  Not a big surprise, of course. 

It's not about Trump - it's the Russians, stupid...

Of course, if he actually did/does collude with the Russians, it becomes about him too...Could be a motive for him to try to stop the investigation, of course.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Why I think Putin is controlling Trump

I think Russia's Vladimir Putin is controlling America's president, Donald Trump.  Here's why:

  • The Russians hacked into the Hillary campaign and dumped emails into the media to damage her candidacy, while they did nothing of the sort to Trump
  • Trump cared about only one thing at the Republican Convention during the forming of the platform, and that was to delete any mention of condemnation of Russia's take-over of Crimea and Ukaraine
  • After the election and before the inauguration the CIA, FBI, and NSA all concluded that Russia interfered in the election with the goal of electing Trump
  • President Trump pressured FBI director Comey, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency to call off investigations into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign
  • Top Trump campaign people are known to have Russian connections - from Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions to Ashton Carter, Roger Stone, and now Jared Kushner
So, what is the entire point of Putin putting Trump into office?  What does Putin want from Trump?  I think he just got it.  Trump refused to affirm America's support of Article 5 of NATO which says an attack on any member of NATO is an attack on all of us.  Germany has said that it is becoming clear that Europe was going to have to stop relying on America.

Perhaps Putin's prime goal is to keep NATO from opposing Putin's takeover of the Baltic states.  Looks like Mr Trump is in agreement with Mr Putin.

And then, of course, there is just the general Putin strategy around the world to discredit and weaken all democracies as his way of lifting Russia back into international power status.  How could he have done that more effectively than by putting an ignorant child into the White House.

Why is Trump letting Putin tell him what to do? Possible reasons - Trump owes Putin and his oligarchs billions of dollars - Putin has humiliating and/or incriminating evidence he can release against Trump - or Trump is just Putin's chump.

Not good for America or the world.  I believe.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Speaking of obstruction of justice...

So, Trump put pressure on the head of the FBI, James Comey, to call off investigations into the Russian interference in the presidential election, and fired Comey when he refused.  And, what else did he do?  Oops - he put pressure on others as well - Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and Mike Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency.  

All three refused the "inappropriate requests" - otherwise known as obstruction of justice, also thought of as potential grounds for impeachment.  The president put pressure on the leaders of top intelligence agencies to stop investigating his campaign, and by implication to stop investigating him.

His actions scream guilt.  

Let the investigations proceed, with all possible speed.  This man is either dangerous, or dangerously clueless.

Only the Republicans can decide to impeach this anti-democracy president, and they will only do so when they see their own futures being threatened by his presidency.  Wouldn't it be nice if they made their decision based upon this man's threats to democracy rather than just threats to their electoral chances?  

Oh well, hoping for Profiles in Courage from today's Republicans seems to be a Bridge Too Far.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hats off to Trump

I was knocked out by Trump's speech to Middle Eastern dignitaries in Saudi Arabia this morning.  I was surprised to hear a reasoned, forceful entreaty for all nations to unite against the evil of terrorists.  

I was a little concerned that he called out Iran as the locus of evil in the region, especially after Iran just elected the reformist Rouhani to be their president, but I hope that Rouhani and the Iranian people can take that as an impetus to back off the Iranian Shiite extremist wars against the Sunni extremists in the region and around the world.

Of course, unmentioned by Trump was the fact that Saudi Arabia is the other center of extremist dogma.  Iran fuels the Shia and Saudi Arabia fuel the Sunni extremists.  But I was very encouraged that Saudi Arabia hosted our president whose biggest statement of his speech was that all nations should drive out fundamentalist extremists and stop funding and supporting them.

Obama made special efforts to reach out to Iran, leading to a nuclear agreement and eventually to the election of Rouhani.  Trump has declared Iran the source of Middle Eastern butchery, and although that is true, it is only half of the truth.  Saudi Arabia feeds the Sunni butchers on the other side of this terrible religious and civil war in the Middle East which has spread throughout the region and into the West as well.

I was happy to hear the president say that America will stand with them in the fight against terrorists, but we can't make their decisions for them:

"America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security, but the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their country, and frankly for their families, for their children. It's a choice between two futures, and it is a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.
Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land. And drive them out of this earth."
I have been appalled by most of what President Trump has said and done, but I have to give him credit when I think he has  done something well, and I was impressed by this speech. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How authoritarian is Trump?

The president shows alarming tendencies toward  authoritarianism. By firing the FBI Director who was investigating his campaign connections to the hostile foreaign power, Russia, by showing admiration for authoritarian rulers like Putin and Erdogan, by telling the FBI Director that journalists should be imprisoned, he gives me reason to fear him. 

But, I have reason to hope that his desires for authoritarian rule will peter out, for two reasons. 

First, Trump himself doesn't seem to have the gravitas to be a dictator. He has no passionate agenda other than ego gratification in him. Plus, he doesn't have the focus and stamina to follow through to create a totalitarian state. 

Second, and more importantly, the country doesn't want a dictator. 

Without the Nazis, Hitler was just a loud mouthed nut. The Hitler Youth, the Brown Shirts, were authoritarian thugs driven be racist pride and love of cruelty to carry out their leader's quest for racial supremacy.  Hitler had enough of the vicious to support him that he was able to take over the country and slaughter tens of millions. 

It is true that actual white supremacists support Trump, that actual people longing for authoritarian leadership support him, but I believe they are very much just a scary minority. I believe the bulk of Trump support comes from just plain old fashioned conseratives trying to establish the agenda of the Conservative Movement. 

Trump is being, and will be, thwarted by men and women of integrity and honor who see the threat of authoritarianism. America, and the ideals and honor of American democracy, will prevail, I am convinced. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Special Counsel into Russia-Trump investigation named

Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate possible Russian - Trump Campaign ties and collusion during the presidential campaign.  

Trump has said that the investigation will prove there is nothing there.  That is possible, but given how fiercely the President tried to stop this investigation, it is pretty unlikely, it seems to me.

Had Trump been innocent all along, he would have welcomed and supported such an investigation so as to clear his name, and to clear the reputation of his electoral victory.  But, of course, he did just the opposite.

I have written many times that he is just a child, with a insatiable and very fragile ego.  One thing that I can learn from this man-child is that when we think with our egos we become very stupid.  This is axiomatic on the golf course when the ego says you can hit the ball over the water onto the green and have an eagle putt.  If your not a pro, you can't.  

How smart is it for Mr Trump to attack the CIA, FBI, and all of the intelligence agencies?  Aren't they in the business of finding things out?  

How smart is it for Mr Trump to attack the Media?  Aren't they in the business of finding things out?  

Some politicians wouldn't have to worry about investigations because they have nothing to hide.  That certainly does not describe Mr Trump, who has a very checkered past and a very questionable present.  

What reason is most likely that Mr Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns?  Isn't it most likely to be financial ties to Putin and Russian oligarchs?

The latest revelation that the President tried to get the FBI Director to stop investigating the Russia-Trump ties is probably an illegal obstruction of justice, which charge was the leading charge against Nixon and Clinton in their impeachment hearings.

I think Trump supporters have been thinking of him as a Republican or a conservative and see this and all of the fierce opposition to Trump as ideological.  I think it is not.  I think it is a response to a president they see as undermining the rule of law, undermining the institutions of America, undermining the Press, undermining the courts, undermining democracy itself.  If Pence becomes president, I will not be happy because I am likely to oppose his fundamentalist sense of morality, but I will be very relieved that the Trump anti-democratic train was derailed.

Where this will lead we don't know.  But I am pretty sure the President is not feeling real good right now.  


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Why we shouldn't put children in the White House

When it came time for Donald Trump to be given his first intelligence briefing many of us shuddered at the thought because he was so obviously childish that the chances were good that he would blurt something out that could severely harm the country or the world.  Well, yesterday he did just that - to his best buddies, the hostile foreign power Russia.  Not because he is an evil traitor, but because he is a 9 year old who needs to brag about how important he is.  Here is the quote:

"In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange"

So he gave them a piece of intelligence that can easily be used by the Russians to uncover a very highly guarded source providing intel on Isis - who is likely now in danger for his or her life.  What foreign intelligence will now share highly sensitive intel with the U.S.?  What does our intelligence service share or withhold from him?

God help us all.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Overt Authotitarian move by Trump

Trump just fired FBI dirctor James Comey. We are supposed to believe it was because his Attorney General recommended it. So, he does something while claiming it is someone else's idea. Typical. But, of course, totally unbelievable.

We're supposed to believe it is because of the way Comey dealt with Hillary's emails last July during the presidential race. What nonsense. The last person to be upset by Comey's handling of Hillary emails would be Trump, who benefited greatly by Comey's handling of her emails.  Totally unbelievable.

We're supposed to pretend that we don't remember that Comey and the FBI are investigating links between a hostile foreign power, Russia, and Trump, interfering in our 2016 presidential election with the goal of helping Trump become president. But we don't forget.

We're supposed to believe that Trump will not appoint a lackey who will try to kill the Russia-Trump investigation. I certainly don't.

Trump is making a very overt Authoritarian move - fire someone who is investigating him. This is the kind of thing Putin does.

Nixon tried that. Didn't work out too well for him.

Time to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Russia-Trump ties, and influence.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Trumpcare will dramatically increase bankruptcies of the Middle Class

One of the good things about Obamacare was the elimination of yearly and lifetime caps on insurance coverage. Middle class families were going bankrupt when confronted with skyrocketing costs to save the lives of family members, or to pay for the effort to save a dying family member. Then Obamacare was instituted and guess what?  Bankruptcies in America have been cut in half, from a high of 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016.  See chart:




Republican's Trumpcare will bring Middle and Lower Middle Class bankruptcies due to unafordable costs to treat seriously ill and dying family members back.  Isn't that nice of them?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Republicans make Americans less safe with Trumpcare

The House of Representatives passed Trumpcare today by two votes, opposed by all Dems.  I think it is both cruel and foolish.

The cruelty first - it allows states to - waive essential benefits requiring out of pocket, unexpected and perhaps unaffordable expenses for some basic care - impose spending caps and thus reintroducing bankruptcy for the middle class if catastrophic expenses are required for the family - waive pre-existing conditions exemptions thus making health care for so many people so expensive as to be unaffordable. 

So people will die.

Although the Reps forced it through before the CBO could issue an analysis I expect that it will throw about the same number of people off of health care as Trumpcare 1.0 - 14,000,000 initially and 24,000,000 in ten years.  The Rep talking point that more people will be covered depends on none of the states waiving essential parts of it, but since they are allowed to, I expect many will. So people will die.

And it cuts Medicaid by $880 Billion - you know, it's for poor and disabled people so who cares?  People will die.

The foolishness next.  They voted on a bill that was not analysed by the CBO, so nobody knows what it will cost and nobody knows how many will lose their coverage. That's moronic.  Obamacare took two years to grind through Congress with endless expert testimony and analysis; Trumpcare took two weeks with no testimony or analysis. The Reps in the House just passed a bill that will affect 1/6 of the country's economy in two weeks with no analysis.  Astonishingly irresponsible.  What on earth happened to the Republican Party?

Also, the states where Obamacare is not working are the states that are controlled by Reps who have done all that they can to sabotage Obamacare.  These are the same states that will be allowed to slash care in the Trumpcare bill.  Gee, what are the chances?

Who suffers?  The people in those states.  Who are the people in those states? Those who voted for Trump.  

It looks to me like the House Reps just voted to dramatically hurt their own voters, their base.  Are they counting on the idea that they won't notice?  How much do they disrespect their own base?  How little do they care about their own base?

I think the whole idea of the Republican Party in particular, and conservatives in general, is that it is the party of men, hard men, courageous men, responsible men who are dedicated to the protection of the country and its people.  Today, the Reps didn't protect America's people, it threw them to the wolves - good luck on your own, suckers, the Reps got their tax break for the Plutocracy.

A very sad day, it seems to me, for America.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Confused President

President Trump seems to me to be pretty confused about what to do as president.  He seems more symbolic than substantive as a president.  He has issued a flurry of executive orders that attack the safety of Americans – attacking environmental protections, attacking safety and worker regulations, attacking sanctuary cities, harassing and deporting immigrants (which makes the immigrant communities shrink away from law enforcement and not come forward to help fight the crime and even terrorist activities in their beleaguered societies), etc. – but I actually don’t know how effective those are, or if they are mostly photo ops on the Trump as President Reality TV show.

His attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act throws millions off of the insurance rolls – another attack on the safety of Americans, and one that hurts the poor rural Trump voters the hardest.  But, the good news is that since he never had a clue how to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare it will go nowhere.  Turns out the Republican Congress never had a clue how to replace Obamacare either, so they all just bumble around – thank goodness. 

His security team seems to be a good one, and I am grateful for that.

His Attorney General looks to me like a fanatical anti-immigrant Confedreate nut case out to harm as many non-white people as possible, but I guess that is what ultimately got Mr. Trump elected.

He actually said that trying to replace Obamacare was very complicated – “Who knew?”- Only everybody who was paying any attention eight years ago when Obamacare was being painfully cobbled together.

He actually said that being president is a lot harder than he thought it was going to be.  This, of course, confirms many of our thoughts about this shallow man – that he is a dilettante without the focus or stamina to do this job.

He is good at making headlines.  Good at keeping his hard core base in line, but they should start having “aha moments” of realization that he Is NOT one of them, he is not one of anyone, he is only for himself and his pathetically grandiose and needy ego.

I will give him credit for one thing – he allowed himself to be talked out of suspending NAFTA so as not to devastate the parts of the country that voted for him.  Apparently, there are some folks who have access to him who can present reality to him, which is very different than the alt-right grab bag of “alternative facts” that he played to during his campaign.  Makes the Alternative Facts folks pretty unhappy, I would presume.

If he ever becomes a real liability to the Republican politicians in Congress, he is toast.  He is eminently impeachable in a couple of ways – first he is in obvious violation of the Emoluments Clause of the constitution, and second, the investigations into his collusion with the hostile government of Russia in order to get elected grinds on despite his efforts to distract us all with his song and dance show.  Only the Reps can impeach him, but it is not all that unlikely given his unquestioned ability to dramatically screw things up.


Being a real president is hard work – who knew?  It’s probably time for him to pull a Palin and resign to pursue his true passion as a media star.