Voting Is Imperative, And Not Enough.

What I am having the hardest time grasping isn’t why the Republican leadership is supporting Kavanaugh.

That is, sadly, entirely within character for the party leadership and not at all surprising. They need this man on the bench, more than any other, because they know he’ll protect them at the highest levels of our court system from repercussions for their actions in support of this administration even if the balance of power in Congress shifts.

It isn’t why the die hard Trump supporters are either, they’ve already demonstrated that they’re willing to screw over themselves with their votes and campaign donations as long as they think they people they hate are getting screwed over more.

What I don’t get are all the parents out there of teen and pre-teen children. The ones with those kids just starting to become aware of political discourse as their school social studies classes turn to current events. The ones with kids in the early years of high school that will be voting in the fall of 2020.

I don’t get how they can watch these discussions of what it ultimately means to be male or female in our society with their kids, and remain idle, apathetic, or worse supportive of those that strive to keep it this way.

Discussions of why young men shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions, especially if those actions are a result of reckless underage drinking.

Discussions of why young women need to have a stricter dress code than men so they don’t tempt boys to treat them poorly. Why young women have to be more careful at parties and never leave their drinks unattended in case someone might drug them. Why women should always travel together, even to the bathroom in public spaces, so they have strength in numbers. Why young women shouldn’t make accusations of assault against their attackers because we don’t want to ruin a young man’s promising future. Why women shouldn’t make accusations against their assaulter because we don’t want to ruin a man’s career or reputation. Why women should expect if they come forward about an attack to have every aspect of their life — attire, attitude, past history, other sexual experiences, sexual identity, sexuality, friendships, social circles, drinking habits, recreational drug use/experimentation, and more — ripped to shreds in order to find an excuse for the way her assaulter treated her so we don’t have to actually blame him. Why women shouldn’t be allowed the choice to have an abortion even if their pregnancy is the result of a non-consensual sexual assault. Why women who have kids before they’re ready, even as a result of such attacks shouldn’t be provided aid and assistance as single parents.

Discussions of why no man should have to bear the hardship of being accused unless the woman can provide physical DNA evidence, at least 2 eye-witnesses, and preferably a video recording of the incident (which the court and jury will be shown to further traumatize her) and even with all of that, why she’ll still have to endure all of the crap mentioned above being done to her just to give her accuser a couple months jail time and possible registration on the sexual offenders list if he can’t plead his way out of it.

How do they look at their daughters, and say “This is what you’ll have to endure the rest of your life, and I’m not going to try to do anything to fix it.”

How do they look at their sons and say “No matter what we’ve tried to teach you about manners, etiquette, moral and ethical conduct, this is what society will accept and expect of you, and I’m not going to do anything to try to fix it.”

Yes, voting is essential.  It is a moral imperative.  Please vote.

But voting is not enough.

We must change our culture. We must break free of the #Culturalinertia that has us mired in the acceptance of this. In the use of the terminology and mindset that allows it to continue even as we talk about how unfair and not right it is.

These people that condone this and profit off it and remain in power through it need to be removed. Those people that stand idly by and allow it to continue need to be corrected and/or removed.

We need to get off our asses and force the change that needs to happen. Because it isn’t going to happen without us.

Ask yourself “Who has to be victimized before I have had enough?”

Then ask yourself, “Am I really willing to wait for that to happen?”

Because honestly, statistically the odds are, no matter who you named in that first question, it’s likely begun to happen already.

If not us, then who?

If not now, then when?

Can We Trust An Amoral Source To Lead The Resistance Against An Amoral President?

All right, bear with me here.
Discussions on the Tim’s Timely Topics Facebook Page and elsewhere over the last two days have led me to better shape my thoughts on the New York Time’s Op-Ed from the “White House Resistance.” I’d like to share those thoughts with you here, in one message. I am also including this link to the original piece to allow you easy access to full context of any quotes I pull out.
I do not think the decision to release a statement exposing the President’s incompetence to be cowardly.   This president has a long and well documented history of using whatever power available to him to personally and professionally destroy anyone who dares to defy him.   And he currently has access to a considerable amount of power to use toward such goals.
I do not think writing this letter was an act of bravery either though.   No proof of the claims made is provided to be used by us, the readers, to force correction.   No specific incidences of wrong doing are given.
The author, and whatever group is working with him/her, are showing the worst of both aspects here.  They refuse accountability or responsibility while complaining of problems and providing no means to address them.
They do this because they want the problems to continue.  It is to their advantage to create more chaos within the White House, as long as they are suspicious of everyone, they won’t zero in on anyone.   This allows them to keep doing exactly what they are doing.    Which is no better than the president himself.
My original thought, and I still believe it to be the best guess available, is that it was authored by the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. I also believe that it does matter who wrote it, beyond whether it was legitimately written by a member of the White House staff.
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Let me start by saying that I am grateful to know that there are members of the staff that see the problem with Trump’s dangerous lack of morality.
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.
 
This is absolutely a problem, and we need people to buffer the world from the damage it could cause while we work to remove him.
But, there’s the rub.
This so called resistance isn’t really attempting to protect the people from the President as it claims.

 

“That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
This is not at all what they are doing.

 

What they are doing is protecting themselves and their corporate donors from the President’s complete lack of understanding of economic and ecological policy and foreign and domestic diplomacy needs.

 

 

They are willing to not only overlook but help obstruct the investigation into his conspiracy with adversarial foreign powers to usurp the Executive Branch of government, and they are willing to overlook and even participate in his stocking of racial hatred and religious bigotry to achieve their party line goals.

“Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more. But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective. From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.”
They even went so far as to consider invoking Article 4 of the 25th Amendment to declare him unfit for the office in order to bypass impeachment and remove him.
“Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”
To sum it all up, this man operating from the shadows for fear of retaliation from both sides, has told us there is a faction in the White House Presidential Administration working against the both the people and the President.   They are overlooking the worst aspects of this president and all the damage he is doing to the American people, economy, and geopolitical power structure, for as long as possible solely so that they can force their own agendas through without us knowing it was them.
They are using the President to shield themselves from accountability to us, and they are protecting him from his own accountability to us to do so.
If they believe that we have a dangerously amoral, incompetent, ignorant, Commander-in-Chief n office then they are duty-bound to do everything within their considerable power to remove him, not to use him to their advantage.
The most truthful, and self-aware, passage in the entire Op-Ed essay is this one, where they tell us they recognize the problem, and have specifically chosen to abdicate themselves from responsibility to fix it at as long as it continues to benefit them:

 

“The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.”
They have the power to fix this, and they have chosen not to for personal gain.
What could be more amoral than co-opting amorality to further a personal agenda?
There is no moral high ground for them to claim here.
If they want our respect and gratitude, they must fulfill their duty to the people, and make the hard decisions.
Step forward.  Step up.

Is There, Really, A Case For Impeachment?

The question keeps coming up about whether a president can be charged, or maybe even be investigated, while in office.

The Constitution has clear instructions on what to do if a president is removed based upon conviction of certain crimes, which could not happen without such an investigation being held and charges being filed.

Article II Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States reads:

 

Article 2 – The Executive Branch
Section 4 – Disqualification

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.

 

Bribery and other high Crimes and Misdemeanor charges are no doubt already forthcoming from the Mueller staff based upon everything we have already seen, especially the developments from this last week.

Mueller is now up to 192 indictment charges, nearly thirty people and three companies are among those charged already and the indictments clearly indicate charges against more as yet unnamed conspirators coming soon.

Roger Stone openly admitted that not only was he likely the unnamed “U.S. Person” serving as the conduit between a Russian operative and the President’s campaign but that the only person on that campaign he had contact with during that time was Donald Trump.   Thus, openly confessing live on CNN not only his own guilt but that of President Trump.

 

According to the indictment: “The Conspirators, posting as Guccifer 2.0, also communicated with U.S. persons about the release of stolen documents. On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, “thank u for writing back…”

“In initially denying that this passage referred to him, Stone stepped in it, bigly. He told CNN (emphasis mine) that he didn’t think he was the unnamed person in the indictment because, ‘My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials.'”

And then, “I think I probably am the person referred to,” he said on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time.

 

The Mueller investigation has already documented quite a few different ways the Russians were funneling money to the Trump campaign, including through the NRA, so bribery has easily been established.

Each of these by itself is grounds for impeachment and conviction, which would then invalidate the placement of the entire administration under the Constitutional article referenced above.

Now, after the Helsinki Summit, we’re hearing talk of Treason.

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

However, the Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of dis-loyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution. Nor do acts of Espionage committed on behalf of an ally constitute treason.

It is also important to note that under Article III a person can levy war against the United States without the use of arms, weapons, or military equipment.

In 2012, the Pentagon concluded that computer sabotage by another country could constitute an act of war.

 

The officials emphasize, however, that not every attack would lead to retaliation. Such a cyber attack would have to be so serious it would threaten American lives, commerce, infrastructure or worse, and there would have to be indisputable evidence leading to the nation state involved.

 

Saundra McDavid, Faculty Member of School of Business at American Military University, explains:

Actions that would qualify as acts of war are 1) the disruption or destruction of a nation’s financial institutions and nuclear command and control systems, and 2) computer-induced failures of power grids, transportation networks or financial systems that might result in physical damage or economic disruption of Department of Defense (DoD) operations. These events would rise to the level of cyber attacks that could prompt a declaration of war.

We have linked the cyber attack to Russia, both through social engineering, through hacking efforts against the DNC and Clinton campaign, through manipulation of our voting machines, and our voter registration databases.

We have established links for the funding of it through the NRA.

We have linked both the Russian operatives and the the NRA operatives to the Trump campaign and directly to the President through Roger Stone, at the very least.

The result of these actions is the destruction of American environmental protections by Trump appointed EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

The near complete undoing of Civil Rights by Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos in the Justice and Education departments respectively.

The stoking of racial and religious hate crimes by the President himself.

The threat of abandoning our allies in the United Nations along with the agreement to pull back from North Korea leaving all the former territories of the U.S.S. R. unprotected and ripe for re absorption by Putin’s Russia.

Starting trade wars that are detrimental to American farmers and businesses, and our allies, but beneficial to Russia who will fill the gap in product loss on the international markets caused by the tariff wars.

Trump is dismantling our government from the top of every organization downward.   He is destroying long standing economic alliances.   He is putting American jobs at risk while claiming the corporate profits are rising.  He is putting American lives at risk by removing environmental protections of them and stoking violent hate crimes.  His administration is committing crimes against humanity at our southern border, by actively abducting and trafficking in immigrant children while extorting their families for political purposes.

No matter what issue is raised about this president, and his administration, it all boils down simply.

 

We need to remember that we are fighting against a small group of kleptocrats put in power by an adversarial government with the purposes of dismantling America’s democracy and its international influence, and they are using willful ignorance, racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, and divisive partisan politics to accomplish it.

 

When viewed in that light, every single thing he has done, and everything others are doing to defend him, makes perfect sense.

The president of the United States accepted bribes from a hostile foreign government and conspired to assume power and put that government’s interests in advance of Americans to the determent of American lives.

The attack on our elections was an act of war directly resulting in the disruption or destruction of a nation’s financial institutions and nuclear command and control systems and financial systems that might result in physical damage or economic disruption of Department of Defense (DoD) operations.

It has threatened American lives, commerce, infrastructure and worse, and there is indisputable evidence leading to the nation state involved

This is treason.

This is every single issue the founders said could individually result in not only the removal of the President, but also his Vice President and every civil service member of his administration.    This should invalidate any appointments or laws executive orders issued by such a president as well.

Any member of congress who, knowing all of these things, continues to obstruct Mueller’s investigation is just as guilty as those already convicted of these acts.

There will be pressure, very soon, from Republicans on Trump to resign, as Nixon did, to prevent impeachment.  If this happens, and the investigation stalls as a result, the rest of the Trump administration and cabinet will be allowed to remain in place.

There is enough evidence already to impeach and remove them all.

Barring that, absolutely no further appointments should be confirmed until the investigation has completed, especially not life long judicial appointments.

Is Accountability Really What You Want?

Remember that the Republicans devoted more than a two-year investigation, encompassing 33 hearings held in congressional investigations and four public hearings, at an estimated cost of $7 million and counting, to the involvement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the events related to the attack on Benghazi.

 

Ultimately, while the conclusions drawn by the competing reports are in sharp contrast with each other, neither place blame directly on Clinton for her actions during the Benghazi attack. The Republicans’ report alleges that “the response to the attacks suffered from confusion and miscommunication circulating between agencies,” NBC News reports. The Democrats’ report concludes, “the U.S. military could not have done anything differently on the night of the attacks that would have saved the lives of the four brave Americans killed in Benghazi.” Both, undoubtedly, are correct to some degree. Perhaps now, after four years and eight separate investigations that all failed to find evidence of a cover-up, the G.O.P. can move on.

 

We can all rest assured that if the Republicans — who spent nearly three decades campaigning against the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency — had found a single actionable item with enough merit to convene a grand jury or allow them to bring charges they would have done so.  If for no other reason than to be able to say she was on trial during the 2016 campaign cycle.

 

But they didn’t, because their own investigations always led back to the same conclusions.   That the blame for the incident lied solely with Republican forced budget cuts to the State Department’s security funding, and that as a result, no support troops were in range to respond within a time frame to have prevented the outcome that occurred.

Recently the Republican President added the African nation of Chad last month to his most recent installment of travel restrictions, and everyone from the Pentagon to Chad’s leaders to the French government was perplexed. The U.S. has praised Chad’s cooperation on counterterrorism, especially its campaign against a vicious Boko Haram insurgency spilling over from Nigeria.

 

All because Chad had simply run out of passport paper to issue new passports.

 

Instead of allowing those with proper passports to enter, Trump decided to add everyone from the nation to his ban of all travelers to the U.S. 

 

At a crucial moment, the Trump administration has caused unnecessary friction with Chad, whose military is the strongest in the region.

 

As a result, Chad’s leadership withdrew their soldiers that were the primary fighting force against ISIS and Boko Haram in Niger from the region.

 

This allowed for an immediate resurgence of enemy forces that led to the deaths of four American Army special forces personnel who were on a mission in unarmored non-military vehicles with no planned air support.

 

The French military provided air support within 30 minutes of being called, but refused to open fire because they could not identify a specific target without the risk of hitting U.S. and Nigerian forces also.

 

The extraction of this team was farmed out to a French “contractor,” Berry Aviation., which failed to recover one of soldiers during the extraction effort.

 

The Republican president’s administration covered up the incident for several days until that last body could be recovered.

 

Then the president diverted attention from the actual incident by redirecting it to his mismanagement of the contact of family members and subsequent obvious lies about that.

 

He then had his Chief of Staff publicly attack the integrity of a Black Congresswoman with fabricated accusations to create more diversion from the original incident in retaliation of her exposure of the lies.

 

Anyone still screaming “Lock her up!”, or “But Benghazi!”, and not equally incensed about the details of the deaths in Niger, were clearly never interested in achieving accountability, in protecting or saving American lives, or in identifying the issues that led to these deaths and preventing them from happening again.   They are simply desperate to “Lock her up” on whatever Trumped up charge they can get to stick.

 

Shouldn’t this newest incident, and these four new deaths, warrant the same level of diligent investigation as the first?

 

If you think not; why not?

 

Please show your work.

Let’s Discuss “Medicare For All”

People on both sides of the political isle are making a big deal out of the sudden Democratic support for Bernie Sander’s annual “Medicare for All” bill.
This is something he has proposed almost every year since he’s been in Congress. This is the first year the party is showing support for it.
First let’s look at this bill from the Democrat’s perspective:
Nobody in the party expects this bill to pass through a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House to reach the Oval Office for signature by a Republican President.
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For Democrats, this current bill’s only purposes are to force Democrats to decide if they’re going to align themselves for the 2018 midterms with the populist progressive base that rose up within their party last year or that entrenched corporatism of the health care lobbyists and their deep donor pockets.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Warren, Booker and others are aligning with Sanders, while Pelosi and her camp are still for maintaining the ACA as is instead of using it as a launch pad to something even better. Even Clinton, today, came out against the Medicare for All bill, and Sanders who introduced it..
The folks at Fight For Healthcare are even keeping a running list of which Democrats have supported the bill and which have not along with the tagline:
“If your senator isn’t supporting medicare for all, call & ask them “Why not?”
But for anyone that’s been following along with the political climate for the last few years, there should be few if any surprises on that list.

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For the Republicans, this is a perfect opportunity to continue the intentional conflation of socialized medicine with Socialism.  It will serve as their own rally cry for 2018, as they scream:
“How can we afford it?”
“Who’s going to pay for it?”
“Where’s the money going to come from?”
“Not my taxes!”
But this is nothing new either, we already have decades of proof from the Nixon era on, but especially since the advent of “Reaganomics.” that the price tag for compassion is far to steep for Republicans to tolerate.
So let’s take a moment to answer those questions, because the Democrats, including Sanders don’t seem to be doing a great job of doing so in a coherent and meaningful manner.
From a fiscally conservative standpoint, how can we afford not to?
If the populace had access to Medicare for All for fundamental care, it would immediately eliminate the need for ACA subsidies for health insurance assistance, all of which could be instantly diverted to this pool of money as well.
It would lower the cost of actual health care through nationally negotiated single payer rates.
It would eliminate the necessity for mandatory insurance penalty taxes from the ACA.
It would eliminate the need for employers to carry insurance plans for their employees, as well as the necessity to pay the employer portion of the premiums for those plans.  This would allow them to free up money to pay higher wages or hire more workers, both of which boost the economy.
It would eliminate the need for employees to pay exorbitant health care premiums for care they can’t afford to use anyway because of the massive deductibles.    This would in essence give a net income raise to all of our citizens as their disposable income would greatly increase each month as a result.   Thus making a living minimum wage, a lower requirement for employers to shoulder.   Consider how significant a portion health care and health care insurance play in the current cost of living in our nation.
That release of corporate obligation in health care would also free employers over any concern due to religious objection as to what care is available to their employees.
It would also allow for the closure of quite a few corporate welfare tax loopholes over health care expenses.   The proceeds from which could be diverted into the funds for Medicare for All instead of back to the corporations.
It would eliminate the requirement for “in network” insurance limitations and confusing variable fees for the populace.
It would make insurance valid anywhere in the United States without having to absorb those out of network fees.  Thus making the workforce more open to relocation and travel as well as making leisure travel more likely for people have avoid it for due to concerns over availability of care.
It would lead to people pursing the use of more preventative care to avoid illness instead of focusing on reactive care only after they become ill.   This will mean that employees will require less sick days and health will be less of a factor in creating non-productivity due to untreated chronic illness at work.

The availability of preventative care for all would greatly lower the risk pool for more expensive medical needs.

It wouldn’t take a significant new additional Medicare tax on income for people and/or businesses to cover it, and that new would be more than offset by both the individual savings of the people and their employers.
Finally, it wouldn’t even end the Insurance business as many will ask you to believe.
Even now, those on Medicare can pursue additional supplemental insurance for elective procedures and other issues.   There is no reason those options will not continue, and continue to be quite lucrative for the companies that offer them.
  • A healthier populace.
  • Increase in Net Income for everyone (for many the difference between poverty and middle class) as a result of lifting insurance costs
  • Increase in corporate profits for all businesses already carrying health insurance for their staff for the same reasons, leading to more profits, the ability to hire more or pay more, as well as increase marketing and reinvestment in the company
  • Economic boost from businesses investing more and populace with more disposable income.
  • Removal of insurance as a middle man to prevent care, so insurance can become a supplement for add-on and elective services.

 

How can we honestly accept that not moving to Universal Health Care is the fiscally conservative option?

Finally, there is the wild card in this entire political battle over health care.

 

 

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While Trump campaigned heavily on ending the Affordable Care Act — that dreaded ‘Obamacare’ — but he also mentioned more than once the promise that he’d improve health care and get everyone covered with better care.
If the bill does make it to his desk, I give it a better than 50-50 chance that he signs it, because doing so allows him to claim he ended ‘Obamacare,’ while also punishing all those Republicans who have openly disparaged him throughout his campaign and presidency.
It will play right into his narrative of being an outsider.
And the change will directly benefit every one of his own personal business interests.

“…On Many Sides…”

Back in 2015, Donald Trump spoke about the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson and Baltimore:

“I saw them with hate coming down the street last week talking about cops and police, and what should be done to them. And that was not good. And I think it’s a disgrace that they’re getting away with it.”

This statement was brought about by his fear and hatred of people of Color — and the White people that ally with them — attempting to stand up and speak out for reform of systemic injustice, police brutality, imbalanced judicial punishments, and denial of both human and Constitutional rights of entire segments of the population by civil servants.

Militias from all over the country came to make sure that “those people” didn’t get out of hand. Police attacked them aggressively, immediately.

Mr. Trump said nothing to condemn the violent response by both citizens and police to the gathering of protesters in those situations.

In January, one week after taking office as the Republican President, his new administration put up their official White House web site. On their page titled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community,” they included this statement:

“Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.”

In the short time since, we’ve watched his Department of Justice and Department of Education whitewash over half a century of civil rights protections from our governmental structure, and heard him tell police to be more violent with their arrests of “those people.”

Now yesterday, in the midst of a gathering of people armed with both torches and weapons, angrily descending on a city not to defend their human or Constitutional rights, but their privilege to memorialize in public spaces idols to treasonous leaders in a movement to overthrow the government of our nation to retain the right to oppress and literally own other humans as chattel slaves.

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

Trump said this during a short statement from his private golf club in New Jersey regarding the domestic terrorism events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Worse, he then visibly retreated when asked to specifically condemn the violence perpetrated by the White Nationalists as well as the injuries and death created by a domestic terrorist on their behalf.

With his limited statement, his retreat, and the context of his previous statements and actions, he has set the stage for a second civil war.

He has given the political legitimacy of the Presidential Office’s consent to the false equivalency of violent KKK gatherings — David Duke was in attendance in Charlottesville and praising Trump’s support of their cause — with protest against oppression due to racial and religious bigotry.

This is how his message was received by those White Supremacists on one of their leading national websites:

“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate…on both sides!

So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.

Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

No condemnation at all.

When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

Really, really good.”

All of this makes him a greater threat to the safety and security of every person on United States soil than any radical extremist from the Middle Eastern nations or fascist North Korean dictator. The fact that he continues to intentionally escalate those threats as well, just makes him even more dangerous to us all.

The only important question that remains is do you stand with the President and his support of reviving the “Lost Cause” or do you stand with your fellow citizens against an assault on human and Constitutional rights from the Oval Office?

The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to a literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional Southern white society to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.  White Southerners sought consolation in attributing their loss to factors beyond their control and to betrayals of their heroes and cause.  Those who contributed to the movement tended to portray the Confederacy’s cause as noble and most of the Confederacy’s leaders as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry defeated by the Union armies not through superior military skill, but by overwhelming force.  They also tended to condemn Reconstruction.

As long as those of you on the conservative right continue to ignore — or worse, support and defend — their religiously intolerant White Nationalist, Neo-Nazi, racist extremists committing hate crimes and acts of domestic terrorism, there is no legitimacy to the designator of “alternate” for the “Alt-Right.”

A wholesale embrace of this behavior is the path the Republican President decided was necessary to “Make America Great Again [For White People].”

We should strip away the deflection of the rebranding efforts and expose these violent extremists for exactly what they are; which is nothing more or less than modern Republicans.

I have no idea if you identify as Republican or not, conservative or not.

I’m just stating the fact that if you support them at all, you’re allowing them to speak for you. If you don’t approve of their messaging and methods, denounce it and stop supporting them.

Anyone who supports a party whose entire platform and path to success is a wholesale embrace of this ideology, will find they’re going to be lumped into it.

This is the modern Republican party.

Any conservatives that don’t agree with it, need to either form a new party to distinguish themselves or openly and vehemently denounce these extremists and work to purge them, their rhetoric, and their White Nationalist, Christian theocracy policies and legislation from their party.

This is not a fringe element.

This is the Republican party leadership.

This is Congress.

This is the Republican White House administration and the close inner circle of trusted advisors.

This is the President of the United States.

2020 Reelection Campaign Already?!

In July of 2016, the Urban Dictionary added the definition of “Trumpence” as:

trumpence

 

Roughly one month after making a mockery of the Oath of Office — by violating the constitutional emoluments clause while saying the words — Donald J. Trump filed the official papers to open his 2020 reelection campaign.

Today, , writing for Vox, informs us that the Republican president’s first reelection fundraiser is a $35,000-a-ticket soiree at his own hotel.”

You might ask “Why?”

Why would a president less than a year into office already be campaigning for reelection instead of focusing on implementing the policy he pushed during his first campaign?

There are many answers to that question, and all of them are correct.   All of them should prove to you that you should not support this reelection campaign.

First, as the Vox article points out:

 

In hosting the dinner at his hotel, Trump manages to raise money not only for his 2020 campaign but for himself too. After all, any business the hotel does is personal profit for the president, who still owns the Trump Organization. It’s unclear if the hotel will make money from the dinner, but even if the hotel gave the food for free, any money attendees spend on hotel rooms, at the bar, or at shops in the hotel goes straight to the Trump Organization.

 

Hosting the event as his own hotel is a revenue windfall for the hotel even if it doesn’t charge the President’s campaign itself a dime; but they’ll charge in order to funnel the money from the campaign back into the family business coffers.

But there are other several other, and probably far more important reasons that Trump is doing this, and they need to be exposed as well.   Which brings us to the second reason.

By establishing the campaign fund, and officially holding rallies, large donors who want Presidential favor can funnel money into his campaign efforts through various SuperPac funds over the entire first four years of the Presidential term in return for pay-to-play favoritism.

But, wait, don’t order yet, there’s more!

The big trick is declaring all of his public appearances as official campaign rallies or fund raisers.   By doing so, he can block access to whomever he wants without violating constitutional rights of anyone that doesn’t agree with him.   He can have protestors, hecklers, and anyone who speaks out forcibly removed as an “unapproved guest” instead of being forced to hear what those citizens have to say in opposition to him.

It allows him to continue the “Lock her up!” and “Repeal and Replace!” chants while deflecting from his own inability to do either and from the investigations into his own unethical and possibly criminal infractions.

Next, there is the fact that political campaign speech is protected in a way that the official words of a civil servant are not, so it is much harder — legally — to hold him accountable for the “dog whistle” and overt racist rhetoric he uses at these campaigns to rile up the”Alt-Right,” Neo-Nazi, and  White Nationalist voter base that refuses to abandon him as long as he keeps speaking their language.

Let us not forget the fact that the continuation of the campaign allows him to keep the merchandise sales flowing as well.

Finally, there is the fact that he can set up reservations and accommodations in his own properties for foreign government agents to accidentally — on purpose — bump into him for a brief unscheduled meeting that is off the White House records, while claiming those agents were just there at the same time as his rally/fund-raiser purely by coincidence.

Please, I implore you, do not allow yourself to be one of the willfully ignorant targets of this trumpence campaign that gets whipped into enough uninformed outrage to vote for this administration a second time.

Drain The Swamp

It wasn’t so long ago, that the Republican president was screaming about fixing the issues with foreign collusion, pay-to-play access, cover-ups, and bribery.

He claimed he would be the one to end all of that.

 

 

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that if he drained a swamp, he pumped all that sludge and even a few creatures from that black lagoon right into the White House offices.

Just so we’re clear on the sequence of events over the last two days:

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates just pledged $100 million to Ivanka Trump’s fund for women entrepreneurs.

 

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In return Saudi Arabia received a $110B arms deal from the United States, and they get to purchase — through the Blackstone Group —  a significant ownership of the infrastructure work Trump promised his voters during his campaign, which will mostly involve toll roads and other services that American citizens will have to pay to use, on top of paying their taxes to support and supposedly fund.

 

 

 

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So the Trump’s family gets a massive personal payout, Saudi Arabia gets a tremendous amount of weapons while not addressing any of their long list of Human Rights violations, and they receive control over a substantial segment of American infrastructure system.

Robert Reich has some raised some additional concerns specifically about that last point:

 

 

“Saudi Arabia just joined the parade of investors into U.S. public works by pledging a record $20 billion investment with Blackstone Group’s new infrastructure fund.
It’s the latest push around the world by large investors to buy up U.S. airports, roads, bridges, water systems, and other public projects.
Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated infrastructure, the states and the federal government increasingly are giving rich investors tax credits to encourage them to do it.
The investors then charge tolls and user fees, and earn big profits.
So the public pays twice – once when we subsidize the investors with our tax dollars, and then again when we pay the tolls and user fees that also go into their pockets.
We don’t even get the infrastructure that’s most needed. Projects most attractive to investors are those whose tolls and fees bring in the biggest bucks – giant mega-projects like major new throughways and new bridges.
Not the thousands of smaller bridges, airports, pipes, and water treatment facilities most in need of repair. Not the needs of rural communities and smaller cities and towns too small to generate the tolls and other user fees equity investors want. Not clean energy.
To really make America great again we need more and better infrastructure that’s for the public – not for big developers and investors. And the only way we get that is if corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.”

Leadership 101

To be a great leader, you do not need to be able to do everything or even know everything. But you do need to know enough about yourself to recognize your strengths, admit your weaknesses, and both understand and acknowledge what you do not know.

If you are capable of that you can assemble a team that compensates for your weaknesses and compliments your strengths.

Unfortunately if you are not capable of that, such a team won’t put up with your inability to lead competently; good people will quit, while the best will never accept the job with you. Then the only people you’ll be left with, that are willing to work for you, are a team of people who either can’t get other work elsewhere or are willing to be sycophants feeding your ego enough to convince you that you’re a good leader while everything around you falls to pieces.

The Republican president is not a good leader, because he thinks he knows more than everyone else, he thinks he can do every job better than every one else. And as this synopsis of a single day of his presidency shows, he is completely and utterly wrong about both of those things. He is also incapable of admitting a mistake, and more importantly incapable of learning from it.

He has already assembled his team of incompetent sycophants, and we’re all watching everything around him fall to pieces. The only one that doesn’t see it — including his supporters — is he, himself. His narcissistic delusions of grandeur shield him from any version of truth and reality.

“Wag The Dog.”

“Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence,” the President’s son, Eric, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “I’m sure she said ‘listen, this is horrible stuff.’ My father will act in times like that.”

 

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But let’s set aside the fact that the Republican President’s own son claims his father can be provoked into committing acts of war without Congressional consent by emotional appeals from Ivanka — that could make a very lengthy essay report of its own — because there is still much to be concerned about.

“Why does a dog wag its tail?

Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail was smarter, the tail would wag the dog.”

Interpretations differ as to the meaning of this metaphor.

Some suggest the dog is public opinion, and the tail represents the media; the dog is the media, and the tail is political campaigns; or the dog is the people, and the tail is the government.

Moreover, the expression “the tail wagging the dog” refers to any case where something of greater significance is driven by something lesser.

This concept was explored in Larry Beinhart‘s novel American Hero, which inspired the 1997 movie “Wag The Dog.”

Wikipedia lists the plot of the movie as:

The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Kirsten Dunst) in Albania.

 

When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by the idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.

 

When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.

 

While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.

According to Eric Trump, this response undermined “ridiculous” allegations of links between the Republican president’s campaign staffers and Russian officials, which the FBI and Congress are investigating.

“If there was anything that Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie,” he said.

And that is exactly the point.

They did this to divert us all from their collusion.

Putin needs a war to rescue the failing Russian economy and deflect his domestic rivals from his mismanagement.   Trump needs a war to prove to himself that he’s as tough as he says he is, and to distract his domestic rivals from his own treasonous collusion with Russia.

Both achieve their needs by going to war with each other in a “visually important” manner, in a nation that neither cares about any collateral damage at all.

As The Telegraph reports:

Russia knew in advance that Syria was planning a chemical weapons attack on its own people but did nothing to prevent it, the US has concluded.

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Not only did Russia do nothing to prevent it; but,

A senior US official told AP that Washington had analysed reports of a drone flying over the site, and determined that the drone was operated by the Russians.

 

The drone went up immediately after the April 4 sarin gas attack, and begun hovering over a local hospital as victims began pouring in.  Five hours after the sarin attack, the camera switched off and a Russian-made aircraft struck the hospital. The two military officials said that it was unclear whether the aircraft were Russian or Syrian as the Syrians buy Russian-made aircraft.

 

US officials believe the jet bombed the hospital in an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.

With even supposedly liberal and/or progressive newscasters calling the action “presidential,” we easily run the risk of being played into a sense of complacency by Putin and Trump as they escalate a war both want to save their combined political power, throwing away as many lives as necessary in the process.