Category Archives: Blog

Just Another Day In Trump’s America

Not sure what’s up with Facebook, but I can’t get into it right now, so I’ll pour out my angst here. Maybe it’s the Russians? Speaking of which-

Donald J.Trump’s former campaign manager and known associate of certain Russian operatives, Paul Manafort (who signed onto Trump’s campaign for gratis), has just been handed a 16-count indictment by the State of New York relating to allegations of fraudulent business practices. The move by New York prosecutors came moments after he was sentenced to a total of 7-1/2 years in jail by the feds. The federal sentences are pardonable by President Trump, convictions that might result from the state charges, will not be.

Also today, President Trump announced that the federal government is grounding all Boeing 737 Max-8 and 737 Max-9 aircraft. The move by the U.S. was announced only after nearly every other developed country in the world had grounded the aircraft over safety concerns following two crashes. Canada, grounded the aircraft just a short while before the announcement by Trump. Aviation experts say it was unusual for the President to make this announcement rather that the Secretary of Transportation or the FAA. CNN reports that Trump is a long-time supporter of Boeing and that his former Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is now on the board at Boeing.

Finally, but not least interesting, is the ongoing conversation about the fairness of the application process at U.S. colleges and universities following the “shocking” announcement by the FBI that some families, including a couple of Hollywood celebs, were allegedly paying off the right people to get their kids into prestigious institutions of higher learning. Seriously? Was everyone asleep in years gone by as wealthy families funneled millions upon millions of dollars into their favorite colleges or universities prior to those same families kids being admitted whether they deserved it or not? Are you all kidding? Not everyone can be like Donald J. Trump, who was admitted to Wharton because of his self-admitted genius.

Just another day in Trump’s America.

Our Most Recent “Long National Nightmare”

Democrats are now in charge of the House. Things that were not happening with the Republicans in charge, are now happening.

The president’s former lawyer and so-called “fixer,” Michael Cohen, will be questioned about reported irregularities with the Trump organization, including his campaign and subsequent administration with regard to meetings with Russians in the Trump Tower, alleged “hush-money” payments to Mr. Trump’s women friends and more.

The House Oversight Committee, will once again begin carrying out its assigned duty of overseeing the executive branch of the federal government. Something for which the Republicans, exhibited absolute negligence over the past two years as they looked the other way, letting Donald J. Trump run roughshod over the nation with his Mafia boss style of governance. The Democrats, have a lot of catching up to do.

Even with all the lies and unacceptable activity, with Donald Trump publicly soliciting the help of the Russians to throw the 2016 election, with his publicly taking the side of Vladimir Putin over United States intelligence agencies, with his defaming a great American like John McCain and smearing a Gold Star Family, with him publicly proclaiming that there are good neo-Nazis among us as he continues to conduct a presidency by Twitter, even with all of that and more, there are still those out there who continue to support the Republican Party, the party of Trump. According to some pollsters, Trump’s support is running as high as 40%. How can that be possible?

To paraphrase progressive satirist, Bill Maher, anyone who still thinks there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, hasn’t been paying attention for the past twenty years. This is a real pet peeve of mine, especially for those who think it’s okay to continue supporting Republicans at the local level, even though they disapprove of Mr. Trump. It’s not. Can’t have it both ways. With the Republicans, if you’re in for a dime, you’re in for a dollar. Trump’s dirty, bullying, racist, sexist, boss hog politics have polluted the Republican party with self aggrandizing political filth, including, but not limited to, cozying up to the Russians while turning his back on our allies. Speaking out against our free press, with his unbelievable acts and statements piling atop one-another, eventually forming a mountain of deceit.

Those who have read Orwell, might liken our would-be dictator Donald Trump and his current batch of Republicans to a neo-feudal movement, using deceit to take their naive followers to a new world of haves and have-nots. Only rich and poor, with the poor realizing far too late that they made the wrong choice in worshiping greed and fear, surrendering their self-determination rather than having the courage to pursue the common good and promotion of our general welfare through Democracy. The former needing only followers, the latter requiring those with the courage to lead.

With Donald Trump in Vietnam for talks with North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, one is reminded of Nixon being praised for his China initiative, even while the Watergate scandal was approaching its inevitable conclusion. Reminded of the sad and pathetic denials of Richard Nixon, despite a mountain of evidence towering over his presidency. It can, I think, be legitimately compared to the sad and irresponsible and possibly treasonous behavior of Republicans in congress who did nothing while Donald Trump ran wild with what may be the most dangerous American presidency in history, even while Michael Cohen prepared to offer public testimony, now that Democrats have regained control of the House.

If you still think there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, you really haven’t been paying attention.

Many of us who have been paying attention, I fear, are nearing exhaustion, feeling a need to turn away from Facebook and Twitter and even the daily news, as we grow weary from attempting to refute the lies and half-truths of the right, weary from wondering if those we argue with are actually who they seem to be or might be a Russian bot or agent. We are seeking some relief from the intellectual overload of daily nonsense coming from the Administration of Donald J. Trump, while hoping more of America, at least some portion of those who continue to be in Trump’s tribal camp, will wake up to the facts, rather than right-wing fiction, to help us deliver the country from this most recent “long national nightmare.” So that we can once again, as President Gerald R. Ford said not so many years ago, “go forward now together.”

Remembering Bill Knight

Bill Knight is second camera from the left – Photo courtesy of Guy Aoki

I worked with Bill Knight and Zimmy Zimmerman for ten years and with Bill alone for another five at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. As Bill’s partner for fifteen years I feel a need to say something about his passing. Mostly, I feel a need to tell you about his dedication to the craft. So, here’s a story.

We were headed down the Hollywood Freeway, just south of the 101/134 split, returning to KTLA when a car shot by us on the left followed by a CHP car in hot pursuit. They both jagged to the right in front of us and hit an off-ramp, which, if memory serves, was at Lankershim. I looked at Bill, he looked at me and we both had the same thought. “Let’s go” I said as Bill headed for the ramp. It may be of interest, although possibly not pertinent, that I was, as fate would have it, on the phone with the press-relations guy for the FBI, discussing a story I was working on. So he ended up hearing bits and pieces of the whole thing.

We wound our way down the ramp to find the suspect car stopped at a traffic light with the CHP car directly behind it. The driver’s-side front door of the CHP car was open. The officer was standing next to the suspect car, his weapon drawn and pointed directly at the man seated behind the wheel. Suddenly, what could have been a mundane pursuit ending with a possible evading charge or maybe a speeding ticket had turned into something else.

Moving faster than I’d ever seen him move, Bill flew out the door, popped open the tail-gate and grabbed his camera. Within seconds he was over on a “grassy knoll” just to the left of our truck and about twenty feet behind the cop. A perfect spot to shoot whatever was coming next. It was then that the officer did something I still can’t explain. He stepped out in front of the car, still pointing his weapon at the driver. It was almost as though he was daring the guy to run him down. Which the driver proceeded to do. He moved the car slowly forward toward the cop, who reacted by opening fire. Firing first at the front window, with shots ricocheting back toward me and Bill, and then at the driver’s side window, as the suspect fled. “Shots fired! Shots fired!” I yelled into the phone, while also giving the FBI agent at the other end of the line our location. The cop had emptied his gun, nine shots as I remember, and through it all Bill Knight never moved. He never ducked, he never took cover. He just stood there and kept rolling.

As the cop jumped into his cruiser to pursue the suspect, Knight returned to get behind the wheel and follow the pursuit. It ended in a church parking lot a few blocks away where the suspect, surrounded by CHP and LAPD cars had been taken into custody. There was clearly no time for us to mess around. Bill jumped out, grabbed his camera and ran, leaving me to park the truck.

I pulled into the nearest space and ran over to the parking lot about a half-block away. What I saw wasn’t good. Bill, who was inside the yellow tape trying to shoot the incident, was surrounded by four or five CHP and LAPD cops, who were trying to take his camera away – literally trying to tear it off his shoulder. Bill, was resisting. By the time I got over to the scene, they had Bill in handcuffs and slammed face down on the hood of an LAPD cruiser.

A CHP officer, a young buffed-out cop, who looked like he spent all his off-hours at the gym, insisted upon pressing charges, so Bill went to jail despite a call to Bernie Parks, who allegedly said he “wanted this one for the guys out in the field.” I did what I could with an LAPD lieutenant at the scene, including a charge that the CHP, the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles were in violation of the First Amendment, and state law 409.5 which deals with press access to crime scenes, but they took Bill away. I did get our camera and videotape back even though the CHP wanted to keep it.

It turned out that when Bill first got there and started shooting, he was standing outside the yellow tape – a “do not cross” line the police put up at crime scenes. However, while he was rolling, the cops decided to move the tape, and Bill, back. And Bill objected to it.

Much to their credit our managers at KTLA hired one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the country, Alan Isaacman, to get Bill out. Isaacman, is the same guy who argued (and won) Larry Flynt’s First Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court. I’m not sure Bill ever really understood just how high-powered (and high-priced) his lawyer was. Anyway, Issacman, got Bill out of jail and kept him out.

And that’s the story. Love him or hate him, Bill Knight, always got the shot. Never, not even once, did I come back from a story working with Bill with too little video. In the case of the CHP cop who opened fire on the off-ramp, not only did I get plenty of video, Bill and I also were honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award. But it was Bill who got the story. He always did.

Condolences to Betty and the family. So long Bill. RIP

Ron

Dear Mr. Schultz: Please stop emulating Ralph Nader

On wonders if Howard Schultz is just naive, or whether he is colluding with other billionaires to be a spoiler for the Dems in 2020? Surely he can’t be so blind as to think the votes he would draw away from the Dems wouldn’t matter? Or can he?

What are we supposed to think about a billionaire who publicly proclaims progressive taxation to be a bad idea? Someone who thinks it is better to wring another 30-cents a day out of poor Liza Doolittle than to increase taxes on those who have more than they can possibly use or might ever really need? Even if that might mean going without a fourth gated estate, a second private jet or another yacht? Someone who tells us that so-called “Medicare for all” will bankrupt the nation, even while other developed countries like the U.K., Germany, Taiwan, France and Canada, are doing quite well with national health insurance?

For some, enough, it seems, will never be enough. Is it possible that the concept of being rich only gets “filthy,” when one stops caring about others and rationalizes away their immorality?

Simply put, it’s called “sharing the wealth.” Those of us raised in the Christian faith learned all about it in Bible class. You can be sure those of other faiths and even Secular Humanists, are familiar with it as well. The founders obviously held it close to their hearts, referring to it as our “general Welfare” in the preamble to the Constitution.

I have learned never to equate great wealth with intelligence. Some of these guys, and I’ve know a bunch of them, just fall over backwards into a pile of money. Like….ah….Donald Trump. Making Mr. Schultz an even bigger threat, is that he has Steve Schmidt working on his campaign. Schmidt, is very smart and very savvy, and he could greatly increase the number of voters Schultz draws away from the Dems. I know, I know, Steve Schmidt convinced McCain to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. So he screwed up (massively) on that one. However, if you’ve listened to any of what he’s had to say on the talk shows, then you already know that generally he’s a very bright guy.

In other news for the intellectually battered and weary, scientists at the University of Minnesota are working on a new “what it feels like” scale for the weather. This one is for pets and it will be based upon the time it takes a hairless cat to succumb to hypothermia when it’s 0 degrees with a 10mph wind blowing. Not really. It’s a joke. I’m just really tired of weathercasters telling me not just how cold it is outside, which is something I can relate to, but what it will “feel like” if I’m mindless enough to stay outside without proper clothing long enough to get into trouble. Meaningless hype. That said, some idiot wanting to make a name for himself is probably out there working on a “what it feels like” scale for pets, right now.

Perhaps they should instead be pondering how long it will take us all to freeze to death if the Russians or the Chinese or the Russians in collusion with the Chinese, shut down the power grid? Cold, is cold. Twenty below can kill you even if you feel like it’s 25 below while you are dying. Just tell me how cold it is and leave it at that. Cut out all the hype. And do a little research on the Russian hacking thing, how they can kill our power at will. That’ll really scare you. Almost as much as somebody telling the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, that he needs to go over to the White House and “educate” the President. Those two, Coats and Russian hacking, are both on the “for real” scale, as opposed to “how it will feel.”

Wouldn’t We All Be Better Off Without Twitter?

For me, the exchange of information, much of it valid news, is a chief advantage of being on Facebook. Beyond that, there is the ability to stay in touch with friends scattered around the country and the world.

That said, I have been trying to determine what value, if any, Twitter has? It seems to me to be nothing but a vehicle for celebrities with a huge fan base to communicate their personal feelings to their fans. Their personal feelings and opinions may or may not have any informational value, they may in fact be spreading misinformation, but Twitter gives them free reign to disperse what may be blather to millions of adoring subjects without any fact checking or editing. In as much, it could be considered a purveyor of intellectual chaos.

For the rest of us, who don’t have millions of fans and who have no desire to lock horns with strangers in meaningless confrontations, what possible use does Twitter have – other than being a social networking gossip channel for kids? Why are we even using it, considering one of its most noteworthy impacts has been to assist DJT (and others like him) in threatening our democracy by giving him instant and free contact with his base? Even now, some argue that the very threat of a flurry of angry Trumpist tweets is preventing the Congress from taking action on the government shutdown.

I’m pretty sure the founders never imagined anything like this when they came up with the First Amendment. Extending freedom of the press to the massive white noise that is Twitter, is quite a stretch. Or maybe not? How far can and should free speech be extended with regard to all this new technology?

So why are so many of us still using it? Could it be because we continue hoping it will fulfill some promise of providing us with something – a credibility perhaps, or a purpose that gives it value – that simply is not there?

Is Twitter potentially too dangerous, too politically and culturally toxic, to be left to its own devices? Like putting a loaded shotgun in the hands of a small child? Equally troubling is the obvious fact that much of the Congress is largely ignorant as to how the Internet functions, much less the way dozens of various applications might impact our national security.

Who Will Make It Stop?

With the current partial shutdown and Trump’s obvious affinity for the Russians, my thinking keeps returning to Steve Bannon’s vow to push forward with the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

At what point does “deconstruction” cross over into destruction?

Coupled with the chaos of Brexit, we should all be wondering not whether, but the degree to which both the U.S. and the British are being played by the Russians. Only our law enforcement and intelligence agencies can protect us, but Donald Trump continues bloviating against them as well as our traditional allies and NATO. Why? Surely, you can’t think he came up with all of this himself?

It is to Russia’s advantage to split up the EU, and to throw the U.S. Government into chaos while America pulls her troops out of Syria with Donald Trump spouting ridiculous revisionist history with regard to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan, an act nearly as repulsive as his sycophantic display in Helsinki.

Is this really so difficult to understand? Are there any Republicans left who care more for the long-term good of the nation, the survival of our American democracy, than for their own short-term political advantage?

To what degree are they willing to continue selling us out? How much farther will this political charade be permitted to go before Mitch McConnell allows a bill to be introduced on the floor of the Senate that reclaims congressional oversight of the executive? Surely the fact that McConnell’s wife and brother-in-law are both employed by Trump, wouldn’t have any influence with regard to his responsibilities as Senate Majority Leader?

Russians, Russians, Everywhere…

The Brits are all agog about Theresa May surviving a no-confidence vote by her conservative party in the midst of the continuing fight over Brexit.  And they should be  It’s a big deal.  It means they won’t have to go through the pain of choosing a new Prime Minister.  However, with a vote of 200 for May and 117 against, she is still anything but popular within the ranks of her own party.   It’s also a sign that the British Government is as chaotic or perhaps even more chaotic than the U.S. Government under Donald J. Trump.

What I cannot understand, is the absolute absence of any discussion about the degree to which the Russians might have influenced the original Brexit vote.   A referendum which, a great many British now regret.   Hence, the chaos.

A report, commissioned by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee some months ago, points to concerns about possible Russian influence over Brexit, as British finance laws have loopholes allowing non-British companies to funnel money into British politics without being detected.   According to a piece in The Guardian,  “This opacity,…may have enabled Russian-related money to be directed with insufficient scrutiny to various UK political actors………Investigative journalists have also raised questions about the sources of sudden and possibly illicit wealth that may have been directed to support the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign.”

Whether Russian money found its way into the hands of Brexit supporters or not, it’s fascinating that the United States has a similar problem following the Supreme Court’s decision in the “Citizens United” case, which also allows the flow of “dark money” into our political arena.   So, who really knows what the Russians may or  many not be up to?

All we do know is that the U.K. and the U.S. are in political chaos, with a President in the United States who appears to be a lap dog for Vladimir Putin and British politicians who have forgotten that the Russians may have had a hand, or may still have a hand in the whole Brexit mess, which is spilling over into the rest of Europe.

Sounds like the ingredients for a counter-intelligence board game or possibly something Russian intelligence dreamed up to throw the world’s democracies into chaos.  However, I wouldn’t dare suggest that.  I don’t want anybody calling me a conspiracy theory nut.

With all this going on one wonders how much time President Trump, who seems to be into Vladimir Putin to the point of bromantic adoration,  has invested in seeing to it that our political process is protected from Russian hacking as another election approaches?   He hasn’t said a word about it, has he?  Not lately, anyway.

Not to worry though.  President Puffery is going after that border wall thing with a vengeance.  That’s at least as important as the security of our electoral process or the stability of European democracies.

Trump’s First Real Challenge – Avoiding World War III

A conspiracy-minded person might wonder if  Vladimir Putin is going to let the situation in Ukraine continue building to a flash-point for WW III, before bringing in Trump for talks that will completely defuse the situation – with the purpose of rebuilding whatever image Trump has left in the U.S.   Sounds like something Russian intelligence would come up with, doesn’t it?

The other possibility is that the Russians have no further use for Trump,  that they are giving up on him as their political tool,  while they risk another world war by blocking off the Sea of Azov and possibly seizing more real estate by marching farther into the Ukraine.

Recent court filings, sentencing recommendations  in the Southern District of NY and from Robert Mueller, which point to Donald Trump being a felon  are big news, but the obvious hazards of the situation in Ukraine and the potential economic explosion from the arrest of one of China’s top business executives, the CFO of Huawei,  Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the request of the United States,  are as big or bigger.   Huawei, is an electronics giant.  Wanzhou, is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei,  who is a former military technologist with the People’s Liberation Army.

Think of Bill Gates daughter being arrested while changing planes in Venezuela at the request of the People’s Republic of China.   Think the U.S. would be the least little bit upset?

We now have a Chinese dragon by the tail and are coming nose-to-nose with the Russian bear with intemperate and uninformed Donald Trump taking the point on handling what could be his first great geopolitical challenge while John Kelly, one of the few adults still standing,  makes an exit from the White House.  All the while, alleged Republican leaders continue their flirtatious relationship with treason by refusing to take greater control by reigning in this pretend president, putting the country and the world in ever-greater danger.

Instead of taking care of geopolitical business in the form of a clear and present danger from the Russians and this current president’s obvious inability to deal with it, the Republicans are behind closed doors in show-hearings for their base,  again asking  former FBI Director Comey about Hillary’s emails.    Their behavior represents extreme negligence.  At long last do they have no shame?

It may be time to look up from the football game and pay more attention to politics.

East Coast Media Fails To Give Adequate Coverage To California Wildfires

A friend in Oakland, CA, wrote yesterday, telling me the smoke is so thick in the bay area that he can’t go outside for more than twenty or thirty minutes before his eyes and throat start to burn.  Concerned, I got up this morning and turned to Morning Joe on MSNBC,  and then CNN, hoping to get the latest on the wildfires that continue to ravage the nation’s most populous state.   What I saw was disappointing.

CNN, gave the story all of two minutes, with no context at all.  No word on what, if anything, continues to burn or where.  Nothing about the air quality over vast portions of the state, even in areas like Oakland, which isn’t near a burn area.   At least I don’t think there’s any active fire close to Oakland at this time.  It’s difficult to tell, with such poor coverage.   Not a single frame of video from Southern California for example, where fires continue to burn, and even now, evacuees are just being allowed to return to their homes.

CNN did do a live interview with California Congressman, Ted Lieu, but not to discuss the wildfires.  They brought him out to talk about whether Nancy Pelosi will be able to regain the position of Speaker of the House.   Congressman Lieu, forced the issue.   The first words out of his mouth were to express concern for the people of California and to thank first responders who continue fighting the fires.  The anchors immediately changed the subject back to Nancy Pelosi and said not another word about the wildfires.   It almost felt as though they were afraid to talk about it.   Is California on another planet?

Two minutes for such a massive disaster impacting so many people?  Why?  East coast bias?  Is that why the major news outlets all but ignore California, even though more than 600 people are now missing or unaccounted for with the number of dead from the Camp Fire at 63?   The Camp Fire in northern Calif alone, has destroyed more than 11,000 structures including 9,700 homes and 290 businesses.   52,000 people had to evacuate as the fire has now grown to 140,000 acres.   Conditions, apparently meaning the wind, temperature and low humidity,  are expected to grow worse over the coming weekend.

According to one source, containment of the Camp Fire, is at something around 40%.  I really don’t know, from watching CNN and MSNBC, as they said nothing about containment or where the fire is still burning, or whether anyone or anything continues to be threatened.   If MSNBC is going to cover nothing but politics, okay, fine.  But I do seem to remember them providing hurricane coverage?  And CNN?  There is no excuse for what CNN is failing to cover if they wish to be considered a news outlet offering something more than political punditry.   Remember their hurricane coverage?  They were all over it, but then, that was an east coast story, wasn’t it?

In Southern California, down by Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire, has now grown to something above 98,000 acres.  Some residents are being allowed to return to their homes in the Malibu, Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley areas.   Containment here, is said to be around 57%.

To their credit, NBC, did send Lester Holt to California, but their reporting lacked context, presumably because they no longer have the kind of fully-staffed bureaus they once had in the west, and understanding the scope and scale of California is not something you can pick up in a few hours at the scene.    It’s not the reporter’s fault, it’s the companies they work for.

Imagine more than six hundred people unaccounted for with 52,000 evacuated and smoke so thick that you can’t go outdoors, and all of it happening from New York City down to South Carolina.   Think the networks would be giving that more coverage than they’re now giving California,  our most populous state with the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world?   They’d be all over it, 24 hours a day seven days a week.  Like they cover hurricanes or winter storms that hit the east coast.

Don’t tell me the east coast media has no anti-west coast bias.   I have friends in California and I think about it every day the state continues to burn.    Calif should get considerably more coverage tomorrow when Donald Trump arrives dragging the White House press corps with him.   I wonder if he’ll throw paper towels to the evacuees?

Message From The Los Angeles Press Club

 

We Support Jim Acosta

AND A FREE PRESS

Ron,

The Los Angeles Press Club stands in unity with the National Press Club, the New York Press Club, the White House Correspondents’ Association and all journalist organizations and media outlets that band together in support of the ousted CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

We call for the immediate reinstatement of Jim Acosta’s credentials and defend the right of Acosta and all other White House reporters to question the president without being threatened, retaliated against or being called the enemy of the people.

The LA Press Club joins the NY Press Club in offering participation in any joint statement or action on the part of media organizations to end the Trump administration’s attempts to interfere with coverage critical of the president.

The hostility against the press, whether it be Jim Acosta or Tucker Carlson, not only threatens the safety of journalists but Democracy itself.

“As President Trump knows better than anyone, the press is not the enemy of the people,” said Chris Palmeri, the club’s president. “We’re the guardians of the truth.”

A Free Press is the Pillar of Democracy. #NotTheEnemy

The New American Abby Normal

Remember that great bit in “Young Frankenstein,” when the doctor’s assistant, played by Marty Feldman, robs the brain depository and inadvertently comes back with a brain belonging to someone named “Abby Normal,”  which the good doctor then implants in the monster?  Welcome to Halloween 2018.  American style.

Following DJT, is not covering government.  It is a Trump-defined nonstop Abby Normal reality show on CNN, MSNBC and FOX, starring Donald Trump and his sycophants on one side and those who oppose him and his antics on the other.

We are all being held hostage by Trump’s brain.

Attempting to determine what should be taken seriously, like the apparent murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post journalist on one side with Donald spouting a line of absolute drivel as he tries to excuse the Saudis and his calling for a 5% spending cut at the federal level to help make up for tax cuts to the rich on the other (experts say it won’t happen),  is a daily assault on the senses of any thinking person.

Binge watching Halloween horror movies will be a welcome relief.  They’re currently running Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis.  After two years of Trump, the once terrifying theme music is now like a soothing balm.    Elevator music for the 21st Century.

Waiting For DJT’s Next New Low

It was encouraging today to see that another prominent Republican, former Congressman David Jolly, has joined Steve Schmidt, Susan Eisenhower, Mary Matalin, and so many others in leaving the Republican Party.

Was also pleased to see DJT’s trophy wife did not wear her “I don’t care” jacket when she and hubby paid their required visit to hurricane victims in Florida, pretending that they actually do care even though Mara Lago was spared.  That must be the difference in their minds between Florida residents and the Puerto Ricans. For one group they pretend to care. For the other, trophy wife wears a jacket showing open resentment and disrespect for people that have had their entire island wiped out.   Or was it her trip to Texas, to inspect the temporary quarters for immigrant kids torn away from their parents?  Is that when she wore the jacket?  With repeated acts of an outrageous nature taking place a certain amount of confusion is bound to set in.

In addition, there is the unavoidable white elephant in the room, reminding us that Republicans generally view white people (Floridians) as being different from people of color (Puerto Ricans).  But we don’t talk about that, do we?  Too embarrassing.   Like Katrina, where the Bush White House largely ignored all those suffering black Americans for nearly a week.   Amazing how fast they got that stadium back up and running when they needed it for football.

Also, weren’t you proud when POTUS handed out bottled water to Hurricane victims in FLA? Better than his mediocre Tom Brady imitation, throwing rolls of paper towels through the air to homeless Puerto Ricans, and you wonder….what if anything is going through this man’s mind other than absolute and overwhelming self-love and a total indifference for others?

Aren’t you tired of waiting for his next new low? November 6th is coming. For God’s sake and for the sake of us all go out and fill in the blanks for Democrats.   This current situation is immoral, unprincipled and unacceptable.   That’s what the Republican Party now stands for, immorality, unprincipled behavior and unacceptable governance.   Think about it before going to the polls.

With Thanks To Ford, Nike And John McCain

Haven’t written anything in a while, mostly because I was just too bummed out.   Filled with an ongoing sense of ennui brought about by the endless onslaught of instability filling our national discourse making those of us with any sense of decency feeling as though the abolitionist movement never was.  That we would be forced to start all over again against the undercurrent of racism that came roaring back to the surface with Donald Trump and his “good” Nazis.  In 2018.   It strains belief.

As a white man, I will never be able to appreciate what it must feel like to have to worry about being pulled over for “driving while black” each and every time I pull out of the garage.    I will never be able to truly appreciate the black experience in America or being Latino with a president calling out Latino immigrants for being “rapists.”   I might try, and I might think I can sympathize and even empathize with black and Latino Americans, but I really can’t.   Not fully.  Not after growing up wrapped in the arms of white privilege.

Just when I was about to step off the cliff and into the eternal abyss the Ford Motor Company did something that was noble and right.  They came out in support of black athletes being allowed their freedom of expression.   The good folks at Ford  own the Detroit Lions, by the way, so this was no small gesture – particularly on top of what Nike did with their continued support of Colin Kaepernick, which boosted Nike’s online sales by more than thirty percent.

Suddenly I was feeling not great, but something at least approaching good, again.   I mean it’s really something when  you feel like giving thanks for a week-long memorial service, only because it provided a  pause from the relentless madness emanating from the White House.   A temporary return to civic decency provided by the funeral of American hero, John McCain.   A man who may have been the last good Republican standing.

However, as it turned out this new-found flicker of decency promising to light the fire of hope didn’t stop there.  It kept burning with Bob Woodward’s book, followed closely by a gut-spilling op-ed in the New York Times, telling us all that there are still adults keeping an eye on things at the White House.   That yes, our commander in chief might be a freaking loon, but that there are patriotic Americans working behind the scenes to make sure the Donald doesn’t fly into a rage and do something really, really stupid – beyond his normal stupidity –  because his nanny showed up late for work and consequently failed to provide him with a clean nappy for his shiny giant heiny.

Thank you, Ford.  Thank you, Nike.   Thank you, New York Times.  Thanks to all those nameless patriots who stand for civil rights and against racial injustice. Thanks to all those nameless bureaucrats who daily, stand between Donald J. Trump and the potential annihilation of the Republic.   Thank God and the founders, for our free press.

What an interesting coalition this is turning out to be,  American corporate capitalists joining forces with pro-athlete civil rights protesters, the FBI and unnamed behind-the-scenes patriots in the man-child president’s inner-circle supported by a free press.

To be sure, Ford and Nike never would have taken the positions they adopted without first conducting enough market research to ensure that what they were doing wouldn’t cripple their bottom lines.  So what?  The point,  is that instead of playing it safe, they did it.   Additionally, their research surely convinced them that there are more of their customers out there who want us to work out our problems than to continue denying and failing to deal with the ongoing problem of racism in America.

Hang on, a resolution is coming.   A big blue wave that will wash over the fat blubbering man-child lying on the floor of the Oval Office, banging his fists into the carpet and flailing his fat feet,  trying hard to pronounce actual words as he throws his latest tantrum for being unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood.   For in his mind, he is the only one that matters.   The one and only one.   Therein lies the real danger.  And his party does nothing.    If this fact alone doesn’t motivate you to throw these Republican bums out in November, then you will deserve nothing less than the economic ruin and assorted chaos that is sure to follow.    Vote.  We are so much better than this.

 

Have A Nice Day…

And now Trump is threatening Iran with..what? No one is quite sure. He is also threatening to strip security clearances from former U.S. officials, some of whom no longer even have a security clearance. This president, who has abandoned our allies and who may be mentally unstable, according to more than two-dozen mental health professionals who wrote a book on the subject, has no credibility. All we can be sure of is his loyalty to Putin and the Russians.

This madness, supported by the Republican Party and a base seized by an uninformed blind faith that elevates Donald Trump to the level of a deity, is our new reality.

Oh, and did you see the news in the WSJ, that the Russians appear to have the capability to hack into and maybe shut down our power grids? Isn’t that special?  There was speculation on this months ago. Now, as our intelligence community likes to put it, the warning lights are apparently “blinking red.”

This would be the same intelligence community that’s trying to protect the United States.   The very same intelligence community that Donald Trump opposes as he sides with Vladimir Putin and the Russians against our best interests.   Madness.  Or is it?

The pundits speculate that much of what Trump does is done to distract, which could of course, be true.   Don’t fall for it.   Collusion with the Russians and Trump turning his back on our allies are the biggest issues out there and they aren’t going away.  Unless Donald starts another shooting war.   That would be the biggest distraction of all.

Donald Trump / A Way Out For America

President Donald J. Trump, has just turned his back on our NATO allies and surrendered the country to former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin and the Russians.   And he did it on the world stage.  This is madness.  Some are suggesting that Mr. Trump may be suffering from dementia.

For whatever reason, Trump is clearly putting the interests of a hostile foreign power above the interests of the United States.  This is clearly unacceptable.

There is a way to remove Trump from office short of impeachment.  The Republicans will have to do it, as they hold the vice presidency,  a majority in both houses and a majority of what the Constitution calls the “executive departments” of the government.  That way, is the 25th Amendment.  Here is what it says.

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”  – 25th Amendment, Section 4

Will this happen?  Never say never, but so long as some 40% of the country remains in denial it is highly unlikely.   However, this latest embarrassment  on the world stage being what it was,  indicating quite possibly that things will only get worse,  would lead one to believe that at some point the 25th Amendment might be seen as a viable option – but only if enough Republicans believe that doing nothing will be more costly to their party at the polls.