The networks and other news organizations need to focus more on income inequality, campaign finance reform, Russian influence in the U.K. and America, and how and whether the U.S. Supreme Court can be cleansed of political influence. Perhaps fixing the first three problems will automatically lead to a solution of the fourth?
Donald J. Trump has 65.2-million followers on Twitter. So, whatever idea might pop into his head, no matter how crazed, he can immediately blast it out to all 65.2-million of his minions. That, is political power. It is also frightening, because it is totally unfiltered.
Not long ago, in a time before cellphones, there were the newspapers and three major over-the-air broadcasting networks controlling most of the flow of information in America. For the most part, they had professional news organizations staffed with journalists who took their craft seriously, taking care to uphold the public trust with a standard for quality journalism, while serving as a filter for their readers, listeners and viewers, ensuring a degree of accuracy and truthfulness in what Americans read and heard. The worst thing these journalists could do, and they knew it, would be to betray the public trust and lose their credibility. And so, they took their work seriously.
Consequently, when CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam and told America that the Vietnam War had us mired in a stalemate, that the war was unwinnable and that a negotiated settlement was needed, the nation listened. Polls indicated Cronkite to be the most trusted man in America. There were calls for him to run for public office. Journalists were held in high esteem.
There were lapses of course, like “Yellow Journalism” during Hearst’s battle with Joe Pulitzer, but for the most part it worked pretty well. For the most part, America was protected by her journalistic filter. Then came cable, satellite news and the internet, and all bets were off.
And now here we are, with no filter to protect us and a highly questionable personality in the Oval Office with his finger not just on the nuclear trigger but on his massive Twitter feed as well. I’m not sure which might turn out to be more threatening to the country, or what we should do about it going forward. Clearly, what technology has given us may be more than our Democratic Constitutional Republic can handle. In a very real sense, it may be a clear and present danger.
In this age of Trump, it’s something every day, so why should today be any different? King Donald is now sending troops (more troops) over to Saudi Arabia (Sunnis) and the United Arab Emirates (Sunnis), to help defend against Houthi rebels (Primarily Shia) in Yemen. Once again, His Majesty is militarily inserting the United States into a 15-hundred year-old holy war perpetuating the insanity of the past 18 years with the absence of anything even roughly resembling a coherent policy to deal with the Middle East and North Africa.
What is our goal? Is there a plan for an end-game or is the U.S. military the world’s new police force courtesy of American taxpayers with no end in sight?
On CNN, military experts expound upon how vulnerable the Saudis are to drone attacks, adding that the U.S. is equally vulnerable so we should all be very afraid. Okay fine, but why ask someone whose career is built around going to war about going to a war we shouldn’t be in at all? A better question would be, “Why not let the Saudis, who are swimming in oil money and who have the third largest military budget in the world, defend themselves?”
“As long as little children were being bombed in Yemen by the Saudis, no one cared. But touch a Saudi oil pump and it’s WW III!” – FB meme
Could it be because King Donald and his royal family have some personal connection to the Saudi Royal Family? Some debt to be paid, such as it were, that might be revealed should we the people finally come into possession of an actual accounting of his business practices over the past many years? Is there some reason we are still talking to a country that stones women, beheads lawbreakers with swords and murdered a journalist working here in the U.S., by some accounts cutting his body into pieces before secreting it out of the country?
Oh wait, it’s the oil, isn’t it? Even though the United States now exports more oil than it imports?
All of that’s more than bad enough, but true to his disgusting fashion, His Majesty is now calling upon the elected leader of another country to intercede in the upcoming election by digging up dirt on one of his opponents. He’s using the Office of the President as leverage and he see’s nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all. He would say that of course, as he’s openly done it before with the Russians, calling upon them to hack into the private email of a former Secretary of State.
Nothing wrong with any of this, right? Of course something’s wrong. An American election is supposed to be held by and for Americans, without interference from outside parties, who hold their and not our best interest at heart. It’s just that simple. Like His Majesty, King Donald. Simple. Like firing public officials because they’re carrying out proper oversight by investigating the King or treating the Attorney General of the United States as his private attorney, his very own Roy Cohen.
I used to think Nancy Pelosi’s “go slow” technique on impeachment was the smart way to go, as it would drag things out into next year, bringing even more of the madness of King Donald out into the open, in closer proximity to the election. But now, the way things are going as his madness seem to be growing by the minute, I’m afraid the slower Pelosi and the Democrats go, the more perilous the situation will become.
He’s not even trying to hide his absolute belief that he has absolute unchecked power. That he’s in charge with no checks and balances coming from the Congress because Republicans in the Senate refuse to fulfill their pledge to protect and defend. He thinks he can get away with anything because they’re letting him do pretty much anything he wants. As with any spoiled child, it’s only going to get worse.
Those who sit by doing nothing while this madness continues are traitors to the country. The danger King Donald poses is real and immediate, and it must be dealt with now by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in the House. I’ve always feared that Pelosi, or at least her image, was just too weak to lead. Image is important. Look what it’s done for Donald J. Trump. Is Pelosi tough enough to take him on? Does she appear to be? Where the hell is she? The country needs a lion, not a mouse. Those of us who had reservations about bringing Pelosi back as Speaker were told she’s a brilliant tactician and tough as nails. Really? Right now it feels like the Democrats are afraid. Like they’re off somewhere cowering in a corner. In some ways it feels like the party could be headed into 2016 all over again.
At the very least the record must show that we tried, that we did something to fight back, as a spoiled man-child tyrant from New York surrounded himself with sycophants and did all he could to disassemble our institutions and tear down our democracy. Congress must do something to re-establish its power as an equal-partner in government and it must act now, even if that means the House taking the lead with impeachment or possibly the power of the purse, and hoping traitorous Republicans in the Senate can be shamed into doing the right thing.
God only knows what King Donald may be doing at this very moment and where it might take us.
With political madness swirling about us like a daily sharknado from hell, it may be good to remember that we have had better times with far better people. Like former Texas Governor Ann Richards.
For me, one of the finest moments in American political history was when Richards took center stage at the DNC to proclaim, “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth!” I also loved it when she leaned forward at the lectern and said, “Friends, let’s talk about how the cow ate the cabbage.” Rather, must have loved that one. It was pure down-home Texas. And pure Ann Richards.
I did finally get to meet Governor Richards. It was at the DNC 2000 in Los Angeles, and I told her how much I had enjoyed that moment when she talked about the cow eating the cabbage. She was every bit as charming and gracious as she appeared to be on television. She was good for Texas, and for the country. And we need more like her. All that we can get.
Ann Richards, has been described as “salty” and “irreverent.” A mother of four, she wore white leathers to match her hair and she rode a Harley. And she was filled with optimism. Could be that’s why I am so fond of the optimism, intelligence and strength of Elizabeth Warren – because she reminds me of Governor Ann Richards, a larger than life woman who lived up to the larger than life American promise of giving everybody an equal shot at success. Even those who weren’t born with a silver foot in their mouth.
Just when one thinks there is nothing more Donald Trump can possibly do to further amaze and astonish, he again tops himself.
The BBC is reporting that Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of peace talks with the Taliban had nothing to do with the death of a U.S. solider in Afghanistan. No, they say it had more to do with the Taliban’s refusal to take a trip to Camp David, purely to provide Trump with a bigger public relations splash, as a deal had already been reached at the table in Qatar, and the Taliban wanted to sign it. Instead, with a peace treaty at his fingertips, Donald Trump pulled out of the talks because he wanted the signing to take place at Camp David, presumably because he wanted to give the appearance that only he had the skill to get it done.
If anyone on the Republican side has had any reservations at all about continuing to support this president, then with this, those reservations should be fully erased. This president is not well. Agreeing to peace with the Taliban and ending a 20 year war would have been a monumental accomplishment, giving his party and his reelection bid a tremendous boost, with or without a meeting at Camp David. In fact, in refusing to take the trip before signing the deal, the Taliban were inadvertently doing him a favor, as the politics of the situation would probably have left Trump and his party in a weaker position had the Camp David meeting taken place.
Republicans should take heed of what conservatives in the U.K. are doing in response to the madness of Boris Johnson. They are leaving their party, or being ejected from it, in far greater numbers than the few Republicans who have abandoned their party here in the U.S. In other words, British conservatives have the strength and conscience to put the good of their country above their party and their own financial self-interest. Something most American conservatives have not seen fit to do. Their silence makes them implicit with the inexplicable mentality and failures of Donald Trump, who once again appears to be making decisions with all the maturity of a petulant child.
The “walkback” from the Trumpists on this one should be massive.
Can it be true that Donald invited the Taliban to come to Camp David and then changed his mind? My God, this idiot would have asked Hitler over for tea. Or asked Russian agents into the oval office. Or for a summit with Korea’s Mr. Kim. Oh wait, he actually did those last two, didn’t he?
When each day brings a new and incomprehensible act or pronouncement it feels increasingly like we’re going code blue, a situation made worse by the Republican Party threatening to cancel primaries in an effort to prop up Putin’s puppet for yet another term. History, will see these people as flirting with or perhaps committing treason. And 44% of registered Republicans approve?
No wonder Biden blew out an eyeball at the town hall.
Riot police have just entered the airport in Hong Kong, where pro-Democracy activists are trying to maintain what freedom they currently have from being taken away by the Commies in Beijing.
In North Korea, a smiling Kim Jong-un, continues firing rockets into the sea.
In Russia, thousands of anti-Putin protesters are in the streets, demanding real elections as opposed to an ongoing dictatorship that either imprisons or murders the opposition.
Here in the U.S., Donald Trump thinks Putin is a good guy and – as has been indicated by his words and actions – wishes our system was more like Russia and North Korea, so he could declare himself president for life and throw big military parades on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Donald Trump obviously does not believe in government of, for and by the people. He’s taking this ride strictly for himself.
Why is this so difficult for some to understand? How can Donald Trump still have a “base?” Who are these people who support a leader who favors tyranny over democracy and his own personal enrichment over promoting “the general welfare” and securing the “blessings of liberty?”
With three mass shootings in the U.S. in less than a week, two of them happening within the past 24 hours taking 29 lives, with all of that happening, what does it say about us that we are out going to ballgames or otherwise pretending that everything is okay?
What the hell have we become with our white supremacist president who refuses to condemn white supremacist terrorists running around with assault weapons gunning down innocent people while our Congress is away on a month-long vacation?
Anxiety is caused by uncertainty and an inability to do anything about it, and it’s only getting worse. We have got to stop pretending everything is just fine. It most definitely is not. No more so than when the Nazis were separating families and putting them in “camps.”
Think “it can’t happen here?” It already is. We have been putting children in cages. It’s being done in our names, so we have been doing it. And now “we” will do nothing once again as our fellow citizens continue to be slaughtered in public places with weapons of war that should not be readily available to the general public.
I was going to watch the O’s game today. Now, I don’t think so. I just don’t feel like it. With “251-mass-shootings in the U.S. in 216 days” our country is turning into a model for murder incorporated. Don’t feel much like watching a game.
Shed a tear for the Brits and another for the free democratic world. Former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is the U.K.’s new prime minister. He is promising to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, even if that means “crashing out” with no agreement on how to move forward. The results could and quite likely will be enormous and potentially damaging for the U.K. and its allies as well.
The poor Brits now have their very own version of Donald Trump. The two have more in common than curious coiffures. Both front conservative parties. Both were born in New York City. Like Trump, Boris has a reputation for bluster, the occasional antic and saying whatever he must to win an argument regardless of the facts. They are both living caricatures. Trump, oblivious to factual information and ignorant of history and Johnson, apparently oblivious to Parliament’s many past failures in reaching a deal on “Brexit.” He appears to epitomize those who have no knowledge of that old saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
The markets are said to be very nervous with Johnson’s election. They should be. We should be too. Disunity among democratic nations is to Russia’s advantage. There is in fact some evidence that Putin and his cyber-spies helped engineer the popular push for taking the U.K. out of the European Union, just as they helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. (Read the Mueller Report. Please.)
The British people were convinced that leaving the E.U. would be a good idea, so they voted for it, just like the American people voted for Donald Trump. Not unlike the British system, the American system is so fouled up with its Electoral College, that Trump won the presidency without a majority of the popular vote. And now a man named Boris is the Prime Minister because he leads a party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons.
It is worth noting that Johnson was so disliked as London’s Mayor, that Londoners got as far away from his conservative persona as they possible could in their next election, bringing in a labor party Muslim to replace him. His two years as Foreign Secretary have been called “disastrous.” And now, because of the hazards, rancor and chaos of parliamentary politics, he has been named Prime Minister. That said, the British system might still be superior to American politics. We’re the ones saddled with Donald Trump, who has just vetoed a bill banning arms sales to the Saudis, so that they can ramp up the war in Yemen, a war the U.N. has declared to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Boris Johnson in the U.K. and Donald Trump in the U.S. It’s so obviously bad for the world’s democracies and good for bullies, tyrants and strong men. Good for all those who prefer dictators, oligarchs and Neo-Feudalism, even though a majority of the British were conned into voting in favor of Brexit, which is where the situation gets really twisted for the British Parliament. It’s almost as vexing as America having to deal with a President who was elected even though he lost the popular vote, ignores the Constitution and is widely believed to have issues demanding a doctor’s care. He’s lost control. He’s now yelling at reporters when he doesn’t like their questions. His mental condition is the Republican elephant in the middle of the room that nobody wants to talk about.
Somewhere, Vladimir Putin must be smiling. Again. He’s probably been smiling a lot since he helped put Trump in the White House. We can only hope that America follows London’s lead in 2020, and votes in a new president who is as far away from Donald Trump as we can possibly get. We need to recover from this mess before recovery becomes next to impossible.
As for our cousins across the pond, all we can do is wish them the best of luck in surviving their very own version of “The Donald” and his call to “Make America Great Again.” Most of America, I think, held the belief that we were already a great nation. We were the county that was essential in winning World War II. Remember? We are also the folks who put a man on the moon.
It’s difficult to determine if Johnson is mimicking Trump as some kind of heroic ideal but it’s certain that they have more in common than bizarre hair. Johnson’s admonition on his first day as PM was to “make this country the greatest place on earth.” I wonder how Her Majesty feels about that? If Boris Johnson feels there is a better place to be, then why isn’t he living there? Maybe he and Trump can find an island somewhere and leave the rest of us alone?
It appears NBC,ABC, CBS and MSNBC will not be covering Trump’s speech tonight. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel like congratulating the networks for having the courage to refuse coverage to this narcissist who would be king. On the other, Trump’s base (lemming people) will automatically go to FOX to watch the “salute to Donald,” so they will miss nothing by the nets refusals to provide coverage. And yet, there might be those who would be repulsed by what Trump is doing, but who will not see the bloviating blowhard doing his thing complete with tanks on display and a military flyover. So there’s that, as well. There is also the fact that even for those of us who are repulsed by the man, he is nevertheless, the president. Not covering his official 4th of July publicity stunt may serve only to give more firepower to the far-right. And maybe not. Not sure how I feel about this. Personally, I won’t be celebrating the 4th until Trump, and the threat he represents, is out of office.
I’d prefer to ignore everything the man says and does, but God only knows what he is liable to do or say next.
At the same time, no matter how we feel about Trump hijacking a national holiday, we can all feel good about the U.S. women’s soccer team, which appears to be headed for victory at the World Cup on Sunday. They are true champions, especially their star striker, Megan Rapinoe, who has already stated that she won’t be answering an invitation to visit the White House. Hopefully the other women on the team will follow suit, as U.S. women’s soccer gives us all something we can feel good about. Even while Trump, exhibiting his usual rhetorical elegance and wit, has called Rapinoe, “a loser.” Mr. Trump’s habit of transferring his personal shortcomings onto others is becoming so tiresome.
It was so quiet for a while and now he (it) is back. The great orange buffoon tweeting out that the Russians really did help him win the election. Which we already knew. There’s also word that the White House asked the Navy to hide the destroyer, the USS John McCain, so that it wouldn’t be visible while the orange one was in Japan.
It’s just too painful. Nothing to do but ignore politics and hope we make it to the next election intact. Baseball, is a good option. It’s a game where the rules still apply and players are held accountable for their actions. The way America is supposed to be.
Remember the words of James Earl Jones as Terence Mann in the movie, “Field of Dreams.” – “The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. ”
Angst filled though we may be, we are still all playing on the same team. God willing, America will survive Donald Trump. When it gets to the point where you think you can’t take it any more, go down to your local ballpark (or as my former colleague at KDKA, Bill Curry used to say, “down to the ball yard”) and watch a baseball game. Buy a ticket, take a seat, and let the past come rushing back. Let yourself be immersed in real American values, “all that once was good, and that could be again.”
British intelligence says there is no “increased threat” from Iran. Nevertheless, the Trump Administration has a carrier task-force backed up by heavy bombers headed for the Persian Gulf and is reportedly considering sending in more than 100-thousand troops. Trump has also ordered the evacuation of all non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in nearby Iraq.
The Republicans haven’t wagged the dog this hard since the W. Bush Administration was finding yellow cake in Niger and aluminum centrifuge tubes all over Iraq.
How many times are we going to fall for this same ploy? How many times are we going to let the Republicans take the country to war to win an election? How many times have you speculated that we would have been better off leaving Saddam in place, which would have meant no ISIS? Was Saddam that much worse than Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who has imprisoned journalists, judges, and pretty much anybody who opposes his regime while he continues his war against our allies the Kurds?
It’s easy to forget that Saddam had our implicit support when he went to war with Iran, and that he would still be holding the Iranians in check had the Untied States not demonized him before invading his sovereign nation in the name of regime change. Sure, Saddam was a nasty guy, but preventing the formation of ISIS and holding Iran in check while eliminating the need for a massive deployment of U.S. troops is no small matter.
What George W. Bush said about “democratizing” all the of Middle East popped into my head the other day. One wonders how many in the current administration continue to believe that’s a good idea? How many there are who think that leaving our troops permanently scattered across the Middle East and North Africa at the U.S. taxpayers expense is a viable option? Presidential adviser John Bolton, is a known supporter of regime change in Iran. In simple terms, Bolton thinks it would be a good idea to invade another sovereign nation to overthrow another sitting government.
We never used to even contemplate doing that kind of thing unless a nation-state or other entity presented a clear and present danger to us or threatened a country with whom we had a mutual defense agreement. It just wasn’t what America did. We were better than that. Apparently that ended with Vietnam, another country we invaded based upon an apparent lie. More than 58,000 Americans died in that one. Sadly, documents and tapes in the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library prove that Johnson had both the South and the North Vietnamese ready to sign a peace treaty, but that the deal died when Richard Nixon’s campaign convinced the South Vietnamese that it would be to their advantage to keep the war going until after Nixon was elected. It would be years later before a disgusted American public became so disenchanted with the unending war that they took to the streets and demanded that the military-industrial complex disengage.
When did the very idea of peace become unreachable while ongoing war feels like the norm? Something we simply cannot avoid? Do you suppose the profitability of war factors into any of this?
Which do you prefer? Educating our kids and giving the country a national healthcare program, or killing strangers on foreign soil? Why isn’t that even discussed? When did the very concept of peace become not just unfashionable, but un-American?
An “exit strategy” to pull our people out of the Middle-East and North Africa, has been all but forgotten, as has an actual long-term game plan for why we are still there. Also nearly forgotten is the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the need for national healthcare, the overwhelming need for campaign finance reform along with real immigration reform and the role the Russians played in rigging our last election.
War with Iran, might very well ensure our national lapse in memory continues long enough to get Donald Trump re-elected. Until then, the chaos this one man has created continues to provide Republicans with excellent cover to continue putting the self-interest of a relative few above the national interest of the many.
Our real enemies appear to be the Russians, who, our intelligence services tell us, continue plotting ways to rig our next election, and the Saudis, who have never stopped spreading a worldwide campaign of anti-American hatred. All the while, Donald Trump, in his infinite wisdom, is laying the groundwork for another war. The ultimate diversion heading into 2020.
Turned on CNN International this morning to hear their guest, a law professor, stating that the United States is now in the midst of “a constitutional crisis.” This, following the Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, allegedly the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, refusing to show up for questioning before the House Judiciary Committee which is trying to get to the bottom of what was redacted from the Muller Report and whether Mr. Barr has greater interest in being the Attorney General of the United States or a personal attorney for Donald J. Trump, doing all he can to give Mr. Trump cover from his obvious collusion with the Russians, followed by his equally obvious obstruction of justice, outlined in the Mueller Report. A report which, Mr. Barr now admits, he has not read and did not read, prior to telling the American people that it clears Donald Trump of any wrong doing. That is to say, no collusion and no obstruction of justice.
We now know, of course, following Barr’s appearance before a Senate committee on Wednesday, that Mr. Mueller complained in writing to Mr. Barr, that he had mischaracterized the contents of the report to the American people. When his complaint was ignored, Mueller, complained again. Barr, apparently did not care, as he went before the Senate Judiciary Committee and said he had a conversation with Muller and that Muller’s chief complaint was not that Barr had mischaracterized the report’s contents, but that the media was getting it all wrong.
It’s the White House playbook. When caught in a lie, blame the media. If that doesn’t work, blame Hillary Clinton. The folks back home will buy it every time. They don’t read, so all that really matters is what they hear, first from FOX or Rush, and then from one-another.
Ostensibly, William Barr, is refusing to show up for questioning because he doesn’t like the format House Democrats are going to use of bringing in an outside attorney to help with the questioning. Republicans say the Dems are out of line in trying to use this technique, even though it is the same form of questioning the Republicans insisted upon when questioning Christine Blasey Ford.
The Republicans are famous for their “do as I say and not as I do” moves. When you have a constituency that doesn’t read and reacts from emotion rather than intellect, it works every time.
Beyond that, and just to clear up any confusion, the Judiciary Committee is charged with overseeing the Federal Courts and Federal law enforcement agencies, like Mr. Barr and the FBI. So in a very real sense (as opposed to “alternative facts”), Barr, is answerable to the Committee. His refusal to show up for a committee hearing is not unlike telling one’s boss to “go stuff it.”
So here we are. If the law professor is correct, and I think she probably is, Donald J. Trump, and his water-carrying Attorney General, have brought us to the brink of becoming a full-blown banana republic. The United States of America, where tens of thousands have gone into into battle to die or be wounded to protect our way of life, our Democracy, and now a spoiled man-child from New York, a man who may have mental health issues, is being allowed to bring it all to the brink?
When you enter the military, you raise your right hand and take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” Trump seems to have no concept of what that means. He is talking and acting like a monarch, because he is being allowed to talk and act like one. He apparently has no idea that the Congress is co-equal to the Executive.
It’s a problem which, at this point, only the Republicans with their majority in the Senate, can fix. However, to fix it, they will have to put country ahead of their party and the polls. So far they have refused, and in their intransigence and unending support for this President who would be king, they have shown themselves to be traitors to the cause of American Democracy.
They are turning their backs on each and every young American who has taken an oath to “support and defend” the Constitution. A document this current Republican Party has no interest in defending. If they did, they would be joining the growing chorus of those who refuse to stand by and watch our great nation being turned into something resembling a third-world country being run by a tyrant who is beyond the reach of the law and without accountability for his words and actions. A man who has delivered us into a constitutional crisis. He is Vladimir Putin’s fondest desire.
Whether Trump understands what he’s doing is no longer relevant. He is doing it. That, is all that really matters. Have you seen what’s happening in Venezuela right now? Don’t think it can’t happen here.
Well, that was interesting. We all knew Attorney General Barr, would continue in his role as White House cheerleader, but why was Rod Rosenstein there, standing up for everything Barr said as he turned the Mueller Report into a political puff-piece for Donald Trump?
There is so much disingenuity and flip-flopping going on that it’s difficult to keep track, but I seem to remember AG Barr saying he would not be sending the report over to the White House before releasing it to the Congress. However, that’s exactly what he did, giving the President’s lawyers a legal leg-up on everyone else.
“William Barr writes he has ‘no plans’ to give Trump or the White House a chance to review the report before its release.” – 3/29/19 Politico
The pundits and writers will now go through the report line by line, as both the Republicans and the Dems seek to use it to their political advantage. Initially though, it appears the bar for what constitutes a campaign’s illegal contact with a foreign power is set so high, that it was unreachable by Mueller’s team. As for obstruction, Mueller found there were ten possible counts, but passed the buck onto the congress to decide whether anything should or could be done about them.
For a time, the question of whether a president can be indicted appeared to be unsettled law. Then, at some point during the Mueller investigation, someone inside the DOJ announced that it was settled law and that the Department’s position was that a sitting president cannot be indicted. A position which was then endlessly parroted by the pundits. This, despite a 56 page memo the New York Times got its hands on indicating the issue was resolved during the investigation of Bill Clinton by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. The memo says in part, “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties,” the Starr office memo concludes. “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.” -NYT’s
Apparently reversing their earlier decision, the Department of Justice now does not agree with Mr. Starr’s legal team. They now think the president is above the law, so the answer as to what legally can be done to the President – other than impeachment or removal from office by using the 25th Amendment – is apparently absolutely nothing. It follows, that in all likelihood, nothing will be done so long as Republicans continue to control the Senate.
It is somewhat surprising that the AG has agreed to turn over an unredacted version of the report to congressional leaders for their perusal. He may be doing this because DJT’s lawyers have decided the wisest course of action is to keep it out of court.
An analysis by key congressional leaders will be worth waiting for, as will Robert Mueller’s testimony before congressional committees. AG Barr, says he has no problem with Mueller testifying. At least, that’s what he is saying now. One wonders if he’ll get a phone call from the White House directing him to change his mind. Again.
As for all the rest of it – all the noise to come – I’ll be preserving what sanity I have left by watching baseball, as we appear to be stuck with Trump and his bizarre band of cronies until the next election despite evidence of obstruction of justice and obvious collusion with the Russians, even if it doesn’t meet one legal standard or another. Like so many Americans, I am now officially suffering from chronic Trump fatigue.
Everything AG William Barr is now saying he will do, like investigating the investigators because he thinks there was “spying” during the runup to the 2016 election, was called for by Donald Trump during his campaign at the same time he was praising Wikileaks for dumping info on HRC’s email. The insanity with Trump wanting this, is that the investigators he want’s investigated are some of the same people who inadvertently helped Trump win the election by going public with information on Hillary’s emails. Or more precisely, her email server. If memory serves.
We have no Attorney General. We have the Trump family running the country like it’s their private business, with the most powerful man in the world making irrational decisions and using the AG as his private attorney while he kicks up as much dust as he possibly can by creating a “crisis” on the border with Mexico. Trump needs a curtain to hide behind. Chaos fueled by hyperbole or outright dishonesty, is the curtain giving him continued cover from the real question of whether and to what degree his campaign was in collusion with or impacted by the Russians.
“Wikileaks! I love Wikileaks!” – Donald J. Trump
Poor Julian Assange. At least he is now finally out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. With all the propaganda being thrown about, one way and the other, it’s difficult not to be conflicted about the guy. In the end, it could all boil down to whether the United States can prove he actually assisted Chelsea Manning in obtaining classified information, or if Manning got the data on her own and simply passed it along to Assange, who then published it.
Legal experts speculate that if it’s the latter, Assange was acting as a publisher, just like the New York Times. Meaning, he should be protected by the First Amendment. Either way, you can be sure Donald Trump’s promotion of and love for Wikileaks, is sure to be highlighted in the weeks and months to come, as will Daniel Ellsberg and his release of the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg beat an espionage/conspiracy rap because he was discredited by the U.S. Government. Can’t the same be said of Julian Assange? Do ya think? Is it possible for the government to hate Assange enough to want to throw him in prison even while the president professes his love for leakers? And what will the Mueller Report have to say about Assange and the Russians?
Across the pond, the Brits have not only succeeded in arresting an unshaven Julian Assange by dragging him out of the Embassy, they have also bought themselves some breathing room by extending the Brexit deadline into October. The Brits can breath again, at least for a while, without having to worry about their chaotic government crashing out of the EU. Could be a terrible mess, don’t you know. With the extension, all they need worry about is whether to hold another referendum, and if they do, whether that’s contradictory to their democratic principles, since one referendum was already held which directed the government to leave the EU. However, another referendum may be their only viable option, because the House of Commons can’t agree on when to break for lunch, much less a compromise on Brexit.
With the United States and the U.K. both in the grip of governmental chaos and even the Israelis voting to support a “strong man” in the person of Benjamin Netanyahu, you can be sure that somewhere deep inside the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin is loving every minute of it as he dreams of the demise of democracy and the rise of what? Plutocracy? Fascism? Some form of Neo-Feudalism that benefits the few but denies the many while convincing the hordes of commoners that a good screwing is in their best interest? Anyway, why should any of that matter to Putin, so long as it strengthens his position on the world stage.