Category Archives: Blog

Whispers From Beyond

Myrtle Swenson-Stinton and daughter Ramona, circa 1935

I wake up some mornings with messages in my head.   Sometimes, they’re from people who are long gone, like my Swedish Grandmother from Minnesota.

It might be attributed to having awakened in the middle of a dream, or, for those of a more spiritual bent, a message from beyond the grave.  I can’t tell you what it is.  It just happens.  Sometimes, as with this most recent incident, it’s comforting.

My Grandmother, Myrtle Carolina Swenson-Stinton, was born in Minneapolis along with two sisters and four brothers.  Her father, Lars Swenson, was an immigrant, who got to the U.S. by serving as a a bond servant.   He had no money, and selling himself into servitude was apparently the only means he had of getting to America. Eventually,  after working off his debt, he learned the upholstery business and opened a furniture store in Minneapolis.

At some point in the process, he saw a photo of the woman who would be my Great Grandmother, Johanna.  He asked for her hand and she agreed.  He sent to Sweden for her, she arrived and they produced seven kids, my Grandmother Myrtle, among them.

It couldn’t have been easy.  In the few photos I have my Great Grandmother looks weary, as though she’s been beaten up by life, even though my Great Grandfather apparently died a wealthy man so he probably could have afforded to get her some help with that big family.

Non of this has anything to do with the message from my Grandmother.  Or maybe it does.   She too, led a relatively difficult life and it is perhaps helpful to occasionally remind ourselves that we don’t come from weak people.

I remember wash day, when my Grandmother would feed the bedclothes into an ancient washing machine down in the basement.   It was open on the top and she’d sprinkle in a little soap powder and then push the sheets down into the tub.  After the rotor had sufficiently beaten the sheets for a few minutes, she lifted them out  soaking wet and fed them into a wringer attached to the top of the machine.   She would then turn the wringer by hand as she fed the sheets into the contraption.  Once they had been wrung out she’d repeat the process with clean water to rinse out the soap.  I swear to God, it was barely a step above taking everything down to the river and beating it on the rocks, which, in fact, might have been an easier alternative.

Myrtle Swenson – Stinton, was a tall, slender woman, with an iron will and the disposition of a Minnesota Methodist.    There was no smoking, drinking or swearing in her house or on her property.   She was habitually neat and clean and I will forever remember those big white sheets drying on the line in her backyard, waving in the Minnesota breeze until they were freshly dried and fit for her family. While she rarely complained about anything or had a bad word to say about anybody,  this morning I awoke knowing exactly what she’d say about our current state of political affairs.

“It’ll all come out in the wash” she’d say.   Maybe she did say it, as it was the first thing in my head when my eyes opened?   Again, I have no idea where these things come from, but it was and is a comforting thought, so I’m not complaining.

One thing I do know for certain is that my Grandmother, a good Minnesota Methodist,  would never, ever,  tell a lie.   It’s nice to have someone you can count on, isn’t it?

Wanted: A Little Truth Telling

The most victimized by “fake news,” are those who most loudly decry its very existence. They fall prey to it because they don’t have the critical thinking skills needed to identify what it is and to recognize where it’s coming from – that it is being produced by the very same people and organizations they loudly support on the far-right.

Among these purveyors of political propaganda perhaps the most noteworthy is Donald J. Trump, who continues to stand the media on its head by declaring real news to be fake and vice-versa.

And now, rising to yet a new level of deceit, it appears there are those who are going to great lengths to design “leads” on fake news stories.  It’s a kind of reverse “phishing”  technique aimed at the legitimate media, attempting to get real news organizations hooked on a phony story by planting bogus information so that once the story comes out the alt-right can point its crooked finger at the legitimate media while screaming, “See we told you so!  Fake News!”   

It appears the legitimate media’s Queen of intellectual power and credibility, Rachel Maddow, was a recent target of this technique.

As “The Hill” reports – “MSNBC host Rachel Maddow warned other media outlets on Thursday that she believes she was provided forged National Security Agency documents alleging collusion between a Trump campaign official and Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s presidential election.

“I feel like I need to send this up like a flare for other news organizations in particular,” Maddow said on her program Thursday night.”

So Maddow and her producers didn’t fall for it.   They didn’t get sucked into the vortex of what appeared to be a big story based upon what appeared to be an official document.  Good for them.  As she pointed out on her show, one wonders who else has taken the bait, or might?   One wonders if Dan Rather’s producer at CBS and ultimately Rather himself,  might not have been victims of this same tactic?

There are those who might say a media organization will have only itself to blame if it fails to properly check out the information it’s using prior to airing or publishing a story.  And they’d be right.  However, if those planting the fake story are really good at what they’re doing,  if they have unlimited backing from some…oh, let’s call it an “evil empire”…. then it’s a good bet that eventually they will be able to hook somebody with their scheme.   Maybe as big a fish as Dan Rather or Rachel Maddow?

With the President of the United States acting as Finger Pointer in Chief,  firing off repeated allegations of “fake news” and even suggesting the law should be changed to make it easier to file a lawsuit against the media,  our political and media environments are growing stranger by the hour.   Every tweet, holds the potential for a new horror, like the latest from Donald Trump Jr.,  showing Donald Trump in a fighter jet shooting down another jet labeled “CNN.”   This is not funny or clever, it is unacceptable behavior that could lead to a member of the press being seriously injured or killed.

Much of this feels like one of those spy novels set in the 60’s, where the KGB was out to get us using anything that worked, be it disinformation, misinformation, blackmail, and probably a few other spy tricks most of us had never thought of, like hacking an American election or buying off highly-placed elected American officials?  The principle difference, of course, is that in the 60’s, it was the U.S. Government and the American press that were aligned against the Russians.   Now it’s Trump and the Russians, who appear to be aligned against the American press.

Against this backdrop Mr. Trump meets with Vladimir Putin, the President of the United States,  still under the influence of what appears to be continued denial with regard to Russian hacking as he agrees to set the hacking issue aside so that they can move forward with their relationship?

Question is, move forward with what?   Is the totalitarian Putin going to stop murdering journalists, jailing opposition politicians, invading neighboring countries, supporting a bloodthirsty dictator in Syria even while he promises a partial ceasefire?    And Donald Trump, the President of the United States, gives the appearance of being just one more useful idiot as he looks the other way in tacit approval of all that Putin stands for.

According to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the two sides came away from their two-hour meeting during the G20 Summit, with an agreement to hold further talks,  “regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process.”  It’s important to understand the insanity of believing the United States can work with the Russians on preventing future hacking incidents, when it’s the Russians who are doing the hacking but refuse to admit that it’s taking place.   And this apparently, is the “deal” Trump got from Putin.  It’s laughable.

Whose best interests does Trump have in mind?  Ours, or Putin and his Russian oligarchs?   And where do Trump’s business interests fit in?   Perhaps even more troubling is the question of whether this President has the intellectual capacity to sort it all out,  whether he may be suffering from one or more disabilities that preclude the possibility of rational thought?  More than one observer has commented that his personality appears to have been impacted since entering the political process, some saying he is changed man.  In addition, his physical well being remains suspect, as we have  yet to see anything approaching a comprehensive medical report on his 71 year-old physique.

Is the partial ceasefire real, or nothing but disinformation?   A lie that will turn to dust in a few weeks, after Trump has used it as red meat for his base, ostensibly proving that his relationship with Putin has some value after all, while the fact that Mr. Putin is believed to have directed the hacking of an American election will be nothing but an afterthought?  Just another bit of fake news.  Another Trumpian deflection,  targeting an American public who increasingly look like lambs to the slaughter as the Kremlin chalks up one more victory in its ongoing assault on Liberal Democracy.

Raqqa Who?

CNN is running an “exclusive” with their reporter going inside Raqqa, as the attack on ISIS continues. At this point in the exercise, how many Americans do you suppose even care? How many do you suppose have any idea where Raqqa is, or have any genuine concern at all for U.S. troops in combat zones in the Middle East or North Africa, so long as they aren’t impacted by another attack on U.S. soil?

Has the “backdoor draft” put an end to any real connectivity with troops in harm’s way?  What is our policy, our long-term plan with regard to the Middle East and North Africa?  Do we even have one?  Isn’t that the real story they should be covering, as opposed to this unending military police action with no end-game in sight while government officials heap praise on a Military-Industrial Complex that continues raking in billions from endless warfare?

Has the nightmare Eisenhower warned us of come to pass while a largely non-watchdog media refuses to recognize reality?   Can you point to Raqqa on a map or provide a description of its military significance?   Didn’t think so.   And most of us won’t give a damn unless there’s another attack on U.S. soil generating the fear and anger necessary to do whatever it takes militarily to solve the problem, ignoring the fact that in all likelihood the only real solution is political and not military.

A Little Time Away From The Political Madness

 

A friend, someone I hold in high regard, sent me a comment some weeks ago, complaining that “Trump is bad enough,” but to also read my political rants he said,  was just too much.  I thought about it and decided he’s right.  So I’ll be staying away from the pundits hashing and re-hashing the horribly depressing scene in D.C. for a while and focusing my energies on a book project I started several years ago but set aside when the move out of California began eating up my time.

That said, out of habit I landed on a discussion this morning relative to Russia, the United States, Hassad and Syria.   And it struck me.   We still have no end game in the Middle East, to the point that it’s not even on anybody’s radar anymore.  And that’s crazy.  Almost as crazy as having no policy for our involvement in the Middle East and North Africa, with an alleged President who has appointed his young and inexperienced son-in-law as the nation’s ad-hoc Secretary of State, while the real Secretary, Rex Tillerson, has been relegated to some bizarre backburner position while he waits for the chaos to settle.

No policy for our foreign involvement, a State Department that’s being treated as an unnecessary appendage by a White House and a government both of which have no end game under discussion, just the continuation of the apparent ongoing aimlessness of throwing more money and military personnel at a problem requiring a political rather than a military solution.

We need a stronger rather than a weaker State Department.  A President whose personality issues aren’t a daily concern would also be nice.   And that will be my last political posting for a while.

Simply put, I can’t take it anymore.   The insanity is exhausting.  Waiting for our elected leaders to reclaim the government and the nation is infuriating.

Going back to my book about O.J. Simpson, American jurisprudence and Journalism.   Having participated in the “slow-speed chase” and then covering both the criminal and civil trials, I am just now at a point of being able to overcome the extreme weight of having been obsessed with the case for nearly three years to the point of never wanting to get near it again.

 

Does This Stupid Ballgame Really Matter?

The shooting was a terrible thing but somebody needs to tell these people in Congress and the network pundits that beyond the beltway nobody gives a damn about their stupid baseball game.  I would hazard a guess that before the shooting, nobody outside of this current gang of D.C. insiders even knew the game existed.   Because it was irrelevant.

Real people,  those not blessed by holding elective office, are too busy worrying about healthcare costs, mortgage payments, the cost of college, the soaring cost of food and trying to understand all the added “fees” on their bank statements and cable bills.

This one silly game, with members of Congress prancing about in their little uniforms might raise some money for charity,  which some might think is justification for its existence, but there are more than 20-million Americans worried about losing their healthcare, thousands of others deployed overseas in endless wars and an ongoing issue with terrorism.   There’s also the small matter of being hacked by the Russians and a President who remains under investigation for possible collusion.

Cancel your stupid game.   Those of you who think it represents some imaginary symbolism of the left and right being able to come together, get real.  Once you’ve passed a balanced budget, brought the troops home, enacted universal healthcare, passed meaningful campaign finance reform, sensible gun control legislation and seen to caring for our very young and our elderly, then maybe you can go out and play.  Until then, get back to work and fix this mess.

 

Who The Hell Are We, Anyway?

The shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, was sad.   So are extremists who will now use the tragedy for their own mealy, disgusting, political purposes. There’s some level headed thinking to be had as well.

A couple of recent tweets are on point.   One comes from Republican political commentator Ana Navarro, who tweeted, “Shooting of Cong. by left-wing extremist as condemnable as slaughtering of heroes in OR by right-wing extremist. American on American hate.”  

The other was tweeted out by University of Minnesota Professor of Law and former attorney for the Bush Administration,  Richard Painter, who wrote, “A left wing nut with a gun is as dangerous as a right wing nut with a gun. But mental health coverage is harder for him to get than a gun?”

Those tweets shouldn’t make anybody angry.  They should make us think.

One thought that keeps running through my mind is that when compromise is impossible conflict is inevitable.  It would appear that we need to try and understand why compromise has become a thing of the past.  Why legislators who used to put country first, now care only for stringent business and party-line interests as party leaders worry more about special interest groups than for the concerns of the majority?

Do you suppose that business and government interests being allowed to pump truckloads of cash into our political process might have something to do with it?

Beyond that, why, with the election of President Obama, did the Republican Party become “The Party of No?”  Could racism and greed be factors and can we possibly get past our current divisions without first understanding who we are?  Is there no middle ground between the “general welfare” mentioned in the preamble to our Constitution and free trade Neocon Capitalism which ignores the general welfare of the many while providing great wealth to the few?

Are we condemned forever to repeat these idiotic boom and bust economic cycles that tear us to pieces?   Is there no resolution?

Who the hell are we, and how did we get to a point that a man from Illinois felt he had no viable alternative except to grab an assault rifle, drive to Virginia and open fire?     Can we be honest enough with ourselves and with one another to get past this?

 

The Democrats Are Gonna Blow It Again

Just watched the Sunday morning shows and I got that same old sinking feeling.  The Democrats are gonna blow it again.

I’m disgusted to the point of wanting to switch from the Democratic Party back to being an Independent, a political preference I held for many years before moving back to Maryland, which has an antiquated closed primary – meaning you must declare for a party if you want to vote for their candidate.  So I had to become a Democrat to vote for Bernie in the last election.   Closed primaries.  What nonsense.   In the end it only discourages people from taking part in the political process.   But back to the matter at hand. The dysfunctional self-immolating Democrats.

One of the highest compliments I was ever paid came from a colleague who said, “If I’m ever in an alley fight, I’d trust you to cover my back.”   The Democratic Party is currently in the alley fight of their lives.   Not only are they terrible fighters, they can’t even cover their colleague’s backs by getting on the same page.

Meantime, their opponents are on the same page, fully funded, well organized and ruthless, using a deadly political schematic developed over many years and with only one goal.  Winning.  The Republicans are out for political blood while the Dems are once again coming off like a debating society, filled with book-learning but with no street smarts at all.

First comes Chuck Schumer of New York,  that smiling gentleman of the Senate, sounding more like a member of a Harvard debate club than the loyal opposition.  He sounds like Barack Obama all over again, not a street fighter, but polite, measured and trying so hard to be civil.  It didn’t work for Obama and it won’t work for Schumer and the Democrats now.  The Republicans are uncompromising.  They are going to steal his lunch money, kick him to the ground and then laugh about it over cigars and congnac.

Nice and civil does not work with these cutthroats.  You have got to go over their heads and take your political truth about Trump directly to the people.

At least Nancy Pelosi had the gaul to issue the opinion that Donald Trump is unfit for the Presidency,  which is pretty obvious to anybody whose been paying attention.   Well, good for her, considering what the Republicans would be doing to Hillary, were she in the White House instead of Trump.  My God, they’d be dreaming up all kinds of insane allegations against Mrs. Clinton, before sending their followers into the streets screaming for her blood.  Or at least her incarceration.  It would be the nonsense of her emails and Benghazi and Vince Foster all over again.   And so, Minority Leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, stating the obvious, at least made me feel a little bit better.   Good for her.   At least it was something.  Something more than I’ve come to expect.

And then came Dianne Feinstein.  Democratic war-horse of California, who incredibly refused to back Pelosi’s play in calling Trump unfit.  She isn’t ready to “go that far” she said.  Well, when will she be ready?   When the Republican machine has spent its billions to recapture the House and Senate and Russia’s best friend on the world stage, Donald J. Trump, is on his way to winning a second term as President?

Think it can’t happen?   This is the country that elected George W. Bush twice and then followed up with Trump, the delusional man-child from New York.  A man who, by his own admissions and actions, seems to prefer dictators and autocrats to democratically elected leaders.   This guy is clearly dangerous.

And what are the Democrats doing?   They are in a street fight with an outlaw gang that cares nothing for rules and regulations or what’s best for the country.   Backed by billionaire investors, their only rule is doing whatever they must to win.   They continue to be as uncompromising as they were as the “party of no” when, for more than seven years, President Obama kept making the same mistake, over and over again.  He kept trying to compromise with a party that has no interest in a compromising on anything.  Their only interest is in winning and kicking their opposition to the ground in the process.

With Schumer, Pelosi and Feinstein, we are getting more of the same old Democratic Party line.  It did not work for Obama and it didn’t work for Hillary when both she and Michelle Obama tried to take the high ground proclaiming, “When they go low, we go high!”    It bombed and so did Mrs. Clinton.  And now the party that couldn’t win a political street fight in the past refuses to change its losing ways, putting politeness and civility ahead of bare  knuckles politics.

They need to turn the reigns of their party over to Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, the tough twosome from the good old DFL up in Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken,  Ted Lieu from California and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and then get the hell out of the way.   This current post-Wasserman Schultz leadership has nothing to offer other than more of the same, a formula that failed in the past and will fail in the future.  The Dems need to get back to being Democrats rather than neo-Liberals like Pelosi, Schumer and Feinstein who come off more like moderate Republicans than the true progressives their party once represented and needs to get back to representing once again.

Blessed Relief

The madness, horror, greed, obfuscation, ignorance and lies as hack politicians pretending to be leaders brush up against treason as they continue putting party ahead of country by making excuses for a president who clearly must be impeached asap provides a massive cud for the pundits to chew on.  It no longer matters why Donald Trump is so bad at the job.  All that matters is that he cannot do the job.  He is totally inept to the point of being a danger to the country and the world, and he must be gotten rid of.   Kicked to the curb ceremoniously or unceremoniously, so long as it’s legal.

In Britain, it’s more of the same, as the masses awaken and pressure from both young and old builds to force Theresa May to step aside as PM. Both May and Trump may have been (probably were) assisted by the great Russian propaganda machine, but what remains of Trump’s base is either totally uninformed or simply will not examine and accept facts.

What facts?

-Jared Kushner,  the young son-in-law that Trump put in charge of the nation’s affairs both domestic and foreign,  has publicly admitted that prior to the election the Trump organization was being kept afloat by an infusion of cash from the Russians, which is undoubtedly why DJT has repeatedly refused to release his tax records.

-Trump was surrounded by a cabal of Russian-influenced advisers during his campaign and early days in office.

-Intel reports indicate that in addition to hacking the American political machine the Russians were actively involved in supporting Britain’s exit from the EU, meaning, they were in all probability supporting Theresa May and Donald Trump.  With or without collusion.

-The Russians in the form of Putin and his oligarchs,  see the United States and the U.K., two of the world’s great democracies (our freedom), as the enemy, and yet, it could be many months or even years before this unholy mess is resolved by a Republican dominated Congress, that refuses to put country first.

-We got here by way of Wall Street and its oligarchic greed, pushing reasonable regulations aside, driving the world into a threatened economic collapse resulting in the billionaires and millionaires demanding not increased taxes to support society but a decrease in their taxes and “austerity” programs,  forcing millions of average Americans and Brits to give until it hurt, even though most of them had no more to give as millions of jobs were off-shored to feed the greed – an austerity that opened the door for the Russian supported “Brexit” in Europe and the collapse of American reason which ushered in the age of Trump as millions of desperate Americans decided that anything would be better than more of the same.

Well, it wasn’t.  Putin and his fascist oligarch buddies played us all for a bunch of suckers in what is turning into one of the worst downers of all time.

Can’t take it anymore.

Now watching The Peanuts Movie.

Blessed relief.

Up To Our Eyeballs In Russians

Day after day he keeps grinding away.  The Russian stooge in the oval office is now talking about dropping out of the Paris climate deal, making the once great United States one of only three nations rejecting the agreement to do something rational about climate change.   The other two would be Syria and Nicaragua, proving once again that the Donald knows nothing about being judged by the company he keeps.  Or he is forcing us to keep.

The big orange boob is also talking about once again slamming the door on Cuba, even though it is even now only partially open.   Why make the world a safer place when you can crank up decade’s old hatreds and tensions?   Why does Trump seem to feed off of chaos, confusion and conflict?   Is it because his daddy wouldn’t let him have a puppy?

That would be and should be enough for one day, but the man who would be king is also blubbering about letting a nest of Russian spies return to the country.  Remember the spies?  The bunch who were operating out of one location in New York and another in a big house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, before President Obama kicked them out of the country after warning Putin to stop attacking America’s cyber-infrastructure?  Remember any of that?

Donald Trump, in his ongoing “Russia can do no wrong” campaign, is talking about letting them back in.   Russian spies.  And why not? These could be some of the same guys who are advising Trump on how to use phrases like “witch hunt” when attempting to deflect the truth about the influence Russia holds over his tiny mind.  The same Russian operatives who left no fingerprints when they saw to it that Trump was surrounded by advisers who were and may remain in contact with their Russian handlers.

All of it is so very clever, targeting a country, a former democracy, that is ultra-sensitive to the call of a “witch hunt” following the horrible experience with Joe McCarthy in the 50’s and his right-hand-man and attorney Roy Cohn.  A closeted gay man who prosecuted other gays.  He also is said to have been Donald Trump’s mentor, the guy who taught him all those nasty tricks he used to get elected.  So maybe it’s not the Russians at all.   Maybe they just fell into a good thing, with a candidate who had been groomed to be their “useful idiot.”   Their stooge in the White House.

And so Donald has been surrounded by advisers with known ties to the Russians as he talks about letting Russian spies back into the country while the Democrats are calling for Jared Kushner to lose his top secret security clearance.

They shouldn’t just be “calling” for it, it should be a demand, and they should be taking it over the heads of the Administration and his Republican wonk supporters in the House and Senate.  They should be taking it directly to the American people.  The majority out there who don’t support Donald Trump and fear for the future of the nation.

To what degree have the Trumps and Kushners been dependent upon  Russian money keeping their business interests afloat over the years?   To what degree are they in no position to say no to the Russians now?

Each day you think it can’t get any worse.  And then it does, leaving some of us with a hollow feeling in our stomachs from the thought that treason may be afoot in the land but nobody is willing to talk about it much less put a stop to it?

No, dear friends, the talk, on the other hand, is about letting the Russian spies back in.   Imagine that.  Can’t be happening.  Not here.

America’s Problem: Alien Mind Control Or Something Else?

A recent poll indicates that 45% of all American voters approve of the job Donald Trump is doing. They couldn’t all have suddenly awakened from a coma, not all of them, so alien mind control has to be the answer. The space guys are beaming in on us.  Some of us, anyway.   Or it could be the Russians. Perhaps all those loonies in the park with tinfoil on their heads were getting it right.

Who are these people?  How can there be such a vast difference of opinion, or is this about something other than politics?   Something that runs much deeper?   Something that has remained unresolved for more than a hundred years?

Eighty percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump.  His base, if there is any truth to the pictures on tv and in the papers,  is nearly all white.

Trump, to anyone who has been paying the least little bit of attention beyond FOX and right-wing radio, is horribly incompetent, vastly overrated by the right, and a danger to the nation and the world.   He needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible. And yet, 45% of the American electorate approves of the job he’s doing as he fails to deliver on campaign promises while alienating our friends and allies as he befriends our long-time enemies, cozying-up to dictators, oligarchs and autocrats.

That same poll indicates that 43% of the American electorate thinks Trump should be impeached.  Now.  And yet, there is inexplicably, that 45% job approval rating.   For a man who, by all appearances, opposes Democracy and favors Fascism.

What’s really going on here?  Are we big enough to admit that it could be something other than politics?   Something that runs much deeper and has been around much longer than the past couple of election cycles?   Something that is so abhorrent and dangerous that most pundits fear letting the words “white nationalism” leave their lips?

Go Ahead And Yell, You’ll Feel Better

While watching a panel of the usual suspects on CNN’s “Situation Room,” I heard something that made me, once again, yell at the tv.  I’ve been doing a lot of that recently.

This time, one of the regulars, an alleged expert on the law (presuming these people are vetted before being allowed on camera),  was talking about Trump’s personal attorney refusing to comply with a request for documents issued by a congressional committee.  “Well, there’s really nothing they can do,” she said.  “They could hold him in contempt of congress,” she continued,  “But there’s really nothing they can do.”

What?  WHAT?  Yes there is something they can do.  You just said it (I thought to myself, pounding my head against the wall).  They can send out a subpoena and then throw his ass in jail for up to a year for contempt of congress if he fails to comply.  A YEAR IN JAIL.  As well as the impact non-compliance might have on his law practice.  You just said that and then you came back and totally contradicted yourself.

Is this the best we can do?  Really?   Why does one get the feeling that some of the pundits are still afraid of telling it like it is and in the process end up acting like apologists for Trump and the madness he represents which only helps to normalize insane behavior.   And that is really, really bad for us all.

Reality.  It’s a good thing.  Can we get rid of these worried weenies, both on-camera and presumably in management, who think the truth needs to be balanced out by the exaggerations and outright lies of surrogates?

Not that any of this matters.   This is one of those no-win situations where everyone blames the media., and then when things thoroughly melt down, those who were bitching about too much coverage will proclaim out loud that the coverage was inadequate, as they complain, “Why didn’t anybody tell us about this?   “Where was the media?”

The media was there, dummy.  You just weren’t paying attention. You  haven’t picked up a newspaper or a book in years have you?  You were probably relying on only one perverted, slanted source on television because they were telling you what you wanted to hear as opposed to the best available version of the truth, which is one hell of an accomplishment with Donald J. Trump in Office.

Ignorance is a dangerous thing.   If you can’t figure things out and you can’t see your way clear to do anything to help others then at the very least try not to do or say anything that hurts anybody.

Beyond that it’s probably okay to go ahead and yell at the tv.   Nobody gets hurt and you’ll feel better.

Trump Turns America Into A Joke

“Stupid is as stupid does.”  So true, so true.

The world according to Trump has gotten to a point where it’s beyond shocking or outrageous.   It’s now gotten to the point of being so stumblebum stupid that it’s humorous, and perhaps because of that, more dangerous than ever.

It’s difficult to notice your country being taken away while doubled over with laughter.  “You hire a clown and you get a circus.”   I don’t know who coined that one, but it’s a goodie.  And with Trump, it’s true.

Yesterday one of the pundits was talking about Donald’s son-in-law approaching the Russians with the request that the Trump Administration (or elements of it) be allowed to use Russian diplomatic facilities (the Russian Embassy in DC?) to open a secure back-channel to the Kremlin.

This is beyond crazy.  This is idiotic.  As a former CIA operative put it, “What were they going to send the Russians?  The nuclear codes?…the presidential daily briefing?”   It was also noted that Jared Kushner, is apparently deep in debt and that he might be looking for a Russian bailout.   Or who knows?   It could be another in a series of Russian bailouts for the family Trump?   We still haven’t seen those tax records.   I mean all the records, not the sanitized dribs and drabs King Donald wants us to see.

Reports of the “back-channel” espionage move coming from the President’s closest adviser, coupled with Donald selling us out to the Sunni Arabs while turning his back on the Shiites and NATO like a petulant child was too much.  Somewhere between the sword dance in Riyadh and reports of the back-channel initiative in D.C. I broke out laughing.  The circus is in town and like it or not, ringmaster Donald is making all of us here in the United States look like a bunch of boobs.

How could we have elected this guy?  We didn’t.   Only nine percent of the electorate voted in the primary to send Hillary and Donald to the general election.   Nine percent.  Most of us didn’t want either candidate, but at the same time, most of us were too lazy or just plain negligent to first pay attention to what was going on and then get up and go out to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens of these United States by voting in the primary.   All you guys who didn’t vote, you did this to us and to the world, which now looks on in horror wondering what the American ringmaster will call down next.

There’s the question of whether our two-party system is still even viable, but that’s another column.   As is the need to make it easier and not more difficult to vote.

Trump has taken sides with the Sunnis against the Shiites in the Middle East, and he doesn’t even know where the Middle East is.  Most of his base of supporters, for that matter, probably have no idea who the Sunnis and Shiites are, or what role they play in all of this.   Trump admitted his ignorance when he talked about having been in the Middle East upon his arrival in Israel.

The man clearly has personality issues.  Beyond that, he is just plain ignorant.

Before now, the U.S. was on the periphery of a holy war that’s more than a thousand years old.  Now, thanks to Donald J. Trump, we are in the middle of the dispute, which has no end in sight.

There was also the shoving incident at NATO, where the President of the United States looked like a spoiled pre-teen bully, shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of the way so that he, the mighty golden-domed Donald, could be at the front of the group for what appeared to be a photo-op.  This was perhaps, eclipsed only by Trump’s giving away the location of two nuclear submarines to the current dictator of the Philippines,  a man who advocates for common citizens to run out into the streets and opening fire on anyone they suspect of being a drug dealer (much easier than divorce?), only hours before being scolded by the Brits, who were understandably twisted out of shape about an intelligence leak coming from the U.S. regarding the suicide bombing in Manchester.

And of course his criticism of the “bad” Germans.   Those “bad, very bad” people who employ 33,000 Americans at their auto facilities on U.S. soil and who, at America’s calling,  sent their troops to serve in Afghanistan, as part of the U.S. led coalition.

The Donald seems intent upon doing all he can to pass the mantle of the leader of the free world over to Angela Merkle.

It was at some point during this unending nightmare that the great golden-domed idiot also congratulated congressional candidate Greg Gianforte on his win in Montana, saying nothing about the man body-slamming and then pounding a reporter for The Guardian newspaper a day before the election.  What did the reporter do to deserve the pummeling which sent him to the ER?   He asked the candidate for his position on a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.  Oh yeah, that’ll get you hammered every time.

One wonders if members of congress aren’t brushing up on their self-defense moves, now that Greg “The Fist” Gianforte, a man with a proven uncontrollable temper,  is headed for D.C.

Oh, he’ll probably be just fine, so long as he doesn’t get any questions about the Congressional Budget Office.  I mean, it’s not like politics is intertwined with funding, or anything.

And so, I couldn’t take it any longer and I just broke out laughing. Better than crying, I guess.  Although we may all be doing some of that as well, if the Republicans don’t grow a pair and vote for impeachment sooner instead of later.   Kushner’s reported request for a back-channel to the Kremlin out of a Russian property should be the last straw on the back of a camel barely standing under the weight of what appears to be criminal activity that threatens the nation.

Come on, people.  Trump has turned the country into an international joke.  A man who is the embodiment of a cross between Chauncey Gardner and Forrest Gump is making us all look like idiots.

Special Submission: A Moderate Speaks Out

SPECIAL TO THE WORKING REPORTER

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God help us. The too exhausted to tweet tour will soon come to an end. The deluded fat man from New York will return to learn that his lies are being uncovered.   That his budget is dead, the promise of cheaper and better healthcare is in a shambles, the air conditioning jobs he promised are being eliminated and a Republican candidate has thrown a reporter to the ground while screaming “Get the hell out of here,” much to the delight of what’s left of his geriatric, white nationalist, evangelical base – many of whom remain smacked-out on prescription meds – except for the coal miners who have finally figured it out and are now marching on the Capitol, shovels and picks in hand, while Paul Ryan,  his blue eyes deer-in-the-headlights wide, assumes the fetal position in a dark corner deep in the earth somewhere below the Rayburn Building.

There, in the cold, damp air,  reminiscent of the root-cellars back home in Wisconsin, the truth will finally land home like a shot put in a bowl of warm oatmeal.  It can’t be fixed.  This thing, this partially Russian-engineered Trump thing, isn’t going to work.

There are only two possibilities.  Either he knew what was going on and proceeded anyway, or he was serving their needs as a “useful idiot.”   Either way, at this point there’s no way to cover all the lies, hide all the nonsense – not with the fat man, still heady from the Saudi sword dance while dreaming of better times with golden showers, coming home.   None of it is going to work – no matter how much they smile or how many new lies they tell, the nose candy will eventually run out and their grand and greedy plan to extract all the cash from the people they pretended to lead will come to an end.

There will be nothing left but the Russian-loving fat man, his incessant tweets and the horrible crushing reality of what is.   Multiple investigations turning tyranny on its ugly head, concluding with the possibility of jail time as adults resume control of the Federal Government, with a special prosecutor and maybe an independent committee at he tip of the spear.

The sun will shine once again, casting a bright and hope-filled light on our Constitution and the wisdom of the founders in providing us with three co-equal branches of government.  A system of checks and balances that by the grace of God will prove to be too powerful for even the fat man from New York and his Russian backers to overcome.

The man who would be king will have been defeated, and we the people will again sleep peacefully in our beds.

Respectfully submitted,

F. Z. Mumfort,  American Moderate

Trump, Wahhabism And The Art Of The Deal

Did you catch the coverage of DJT and his newest best buddies the Saudis, at the Islamic “Counter-Terrorism Center?”  I might have missed something, but all I saw was a whole lot of Arab men (no women allowed) sitting at computers doing God knows what. Purifying the local Internet based upon Islamic law with a foundation in ultra-conservative Wahhabism, probably.   It might be easier to just call it what it is.  Good old fashioned censorship.

This highlights the contradictory thinking America continues struggling with when it comes to the Arabs.  It is also at the heart of the battle the ruling House of Saud is having with so much of its populace, which privately continues to support ISIS and other terrorist factions.   The House of Saud and their King, put on their best face when Trump comes to visit, but have to continually worry about facing an uprising should that face prove to be too progressive, setting the extremist Wahhabist’s hair on fire.

Watching the video come in I had two thoughts.  The first, was that there were no women working at the “Center.”   How are they supposed to get there when they can’t leave the house without their husband’s permission and they aren’t permitted to drive?  The second, was that the whole place would be emptied out once Trump and the Americans left the premises.

There’s a whole big cultural thing going on here, you see, and one has to wonder the degree to which Donald J. Trump and his advisers might be clueless.   It’s a geopolitical mistake western leaders have continued to make bigly since at least the end of World War I, when they carved up the Middle East with borders the Arabs and other indigenous peoples failed to recognize, and it’s getting really, really old.  Pretty sure there’s nothing about the Sunnis and the Shia and their centuries old differences in “The Art of the Deal.”   It’s not the kind of thing Donald would have picked up while doing his research watching “Fox and Friends,” the only media outlet he seems to approve of.

To date, everything he’s done on his trip  appears to be building polarization between the two branches of Islam, which can only lead to greater conflict rather than peace.

Then there’s the Administration’s aversion to our free press.

In Riyadh, Rex Tillerson again turned his back on American journalists, as they were kept out of a news conference Tillerson held with Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.   In the past, the Trump Administration had barred only select media outlets from attending press conferences at the White House while allowing only one reporter to accompany Tillerson on his trip to Japan.   Now they appear to be slamming the door on all the American media, while only the Saudi press is allowed through the door in Riyadh and the Russians hold sway in the Oval Office.   Remember the Russian press being allowed into the Oval Office while our guys were kept out when Donald met with the Russians?   And then the Russians turned around and bitch-slapped Donald, by releasing all those photos of the Prez grinning broadly with two enemy agents complicit in hacking the U.S. election in 2016?

A pattern seems to be developing, indicating the Donald favoring strong-man Kings and dictators, while having serious problems with the blessings of democracy and a free press.  And now there are issues with mere handshakes.

Remember Donald not wanting to shake Angela Merkle’s hand?” Well, he’s taken that several steps further in Israel,  where Bebe Netanyahu, reportedly had to order his entire cabinet to attend a welcoming ceremony for the Trumps, after cabinet members were told the American President had no interest in shaking their hands.

Hope Donald knows that praying at the “Wailing Wall” doesn’t mean that he should literally wail, as his entourage moves on to Israel.   Then again, who really cares?  The man just did a one-eighty with the Saudis who he earlier blamed for the attacks of 9-11.  Now he appears to be doing all he can to fire up war with Iran.  He has no credibility left.  Chaos, confusion and ill-will seem to follow him wherever he goes.  A little wailing might actually do him some good.

Trump Falls Into Saudi’s Open Arms – Turning His Back On Iran

It feels as though a blanket of calm has been spread over the country with Trump and his Russian-connected cabal out of the daily mix.

The President of the United States has taken his overseas road show to Saudi Arabia, where his first act was taking part in a sword dance, with our President standing in a line of Saudis, clad in their traditional robes and headgear, all waving swords in the air.  Very dignified.   When the Saudis come to visit the U.S., maybe Trump can stage a western gunfight with everybody clad in styles from the old west and shooting blanks at one another with six-guns.   Silly as it might be, we’ll still be a century or so ahead of the Saudis backward civilization.

While it’s doubtful the Arabs will be kind enough to keep him, one wonders at the damage he may be doing, signing agreements like a customs agent stamping out passports.   One wonders to what degree he might be selling us out.

CBS reports the arms deal with the Saudis is worth “$110-billion effective immediately and as much as $350 billion over ten years.”

There are those who fear DJT has already been purchased by the Russians, and now he’s accepting 40-billion from the Arabs to re-build America’s infrastructure and in what looks like a “sweetner” to the deal,  another 100-million from the Saudis and the UAE,  for a fund for women entrepreneurs in the Middle East, proposed by Ivanka Trump.  Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia?  Really?

Remember when the twin towers came crashing down?   Remember what may have been Rudy Giuliani’s finest moment as Mayor of New York (perhaps the finest moment of his life), when he told the Saudis to go to hell after they offered him 100-million in blood money just days after the attack?

One wonders what’s really going on with the Saudis, what the long-term impact will be after they set up production lines for weapons of war with America’s help.  One wonders whether this has been thought through.  One wonders if the Saudi blood money for 9-11 has finally been accepted and whether this new agreement to help the Arabs build their own weaponry could be the final nail in the coffin of any hope of establishing a relationship with Iran that can lead to peace rather than war.

One wonders as to the degree to which the Saudis, who face serious internal conflict, will be willing to take a lead in the fight against ISIS and terrorism in general, shutting down their madrassas and cutting the flow of private Saudi money to ISIS.   One wonders if that’s even possible considering the scope of this centuries old Sunni-Shia conflict.  One wonders if Donald Trump fully understands any of this, or if he’s under the impression that this is just another development deal.  Just another casino.

Oh wait, the American president is now speaking about “conquering extremism.”   He’s telling this to the Saudis who practice beheadings as an integral part of their Islamic justice system?   He’s preaching the evils of “inflexible idiology” to the Saudis, who prohibit women from driving cars, participating in sports or “showing off their beauty?”   A country where women are stoned to death for adultry?   Does he know where he is and who he is talking to, an auditorium with only three women visible in the audience and all three are Americans, including his wife and daughter?

Perhaps Trump will cut a groundbreaking deal marking a turn in the war on terrorism, or maybe we’d have been better off had he stayed in the U.S.