Category Archives: Politics

Modern Probs

 

Kanye West says he loves Donald Trump who is in a public touchy-feely bromance with Emmanuel Macron with Trump showing his dominance by “grooming” Macron. Meantime, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen says he misses Donald and wants to come back as the leaders of North and South Korea hold hands while they skip back and forth across the DMZ while grinning.   And now even Tom Brokaw has been accused of sexual impropriety. What a world, what a world….

Waiting for the backstory on Mr. Rogers and a hard-hitting look at the sexual confusion of Winnie the Pooh.

Ronald Reagan Must Be Spinning In His Grave

We no longer have a Federal Government. Just a daily soap opera masquerading as real life, with our lives hanging in the balance.

Following the Easter Egg roll at the White House, with Donald urging the kiddies to think about the $700 billion that’s being spent on our military as a bespectacled giant bunny looked on and the story in the Daily Mail about Jared Kushner turning over U.S. intelligence to the Saudis, one wonders if Donald Trump might be secretly disassembling our nuclear arsenal on orders from Vladimir Putin.

Can we withstand this? Considering the threat Trump and his posse pose to the country how can the Republican Party allow this daily insanity to continue?  Was Kushner eventually able to get that “back channel” to the Kremlin he went after in the Trump Administration’s opening days?   If he did get it, does the CIA know about it?  Are they listening?

As Ronald Reagan put it,  “So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride–the temptation of blithely..uh..declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”  

The “evil empire” Reagan spoke of in 1983 isn’t gone, it’s just changed in form from the Soviet Union with its KGB, transformed into the new Russian Mafia with Putin as Godfather and Donald Trump in his pocket.   Sanctions, Trump has  finally been forced to put in place against Russia only after significant evidence that the Russians committed multiple murders on British soil, could be nothing more than a temporary necessary step to provide cover so that the Trump/Putin relationship can survive.   Or maybe Donald Trump really is the “moron” he is charged with being.   Just one more “useful idiot” for the Putin machine.  Either way, Republican standard-bearer Ronald Reagan,  a president who was always on guard to the threat posed by Russia and who died thinking the cold war might finally be coming to an end,  must be spinning in his grave.

“Progressive” Is Not A Dirty Word

Those on the right have always accused the media of being on the left, even when the media was increasingly acquired by those on the right. Point in fact, is that righties don’t like anybody saying anything they perceive as negative about them regardless of the truth, which puts them in opposition to journalism.   And that dear friends, is the truth.

With massive deregulation, we are increasingly subjected to the threat of the practice of objective journalism being labeled as “fake news.” This is the right’s new standard practice and it is a very real threat.

All that can be done is to vote for a straight Democratic slate in November and then, if the Dems regain control, push like hell for a Dem president two years later who will agree to re-regulate the business and work to bust up these massive media conglomerates. You might also consider becoming a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, which supports objective, ethical journalism.  My experience in more than forty years in the craft is that most journalists try and do this to the best of their ability – tell the truth, that is, irrespective of what the Trumpists and others on the right might say.

Any employer’s blatant demand to put words in journalist’s mouths or to intentionally insert bias into an otherwise legit newscast while trying to pass it off as being objective is both disappointing and dangerous. And it should be illegal because it threatens our democratic way of life.

Instead of forcing broadcast journalists at dozens of its 193 stations to parrot the same corporate language about “The sharing of biased and false news” becoming “all too common,”  Sinclair Broadcasting should consider having all its news operations join the SPJ, while making a corporate pledge to do their level best to have their employees abide by the SPJ’s code of ethics.  Now that would be something the corporation and its employees could feel good about – as opposed to forcing their employees to parrot a message – the very delivery of which – appears to contradict their mission statement.

To those who will accuse me of being biased, hell yes, I’m biased, particularly so when I feel the country is threatened. I’m also retired and now do opinion pieces as opposed to straight-ahead journalism. However, unlike some of those on the right, I don’t try and pass off my opinions as being straight-ahead “just the facts” news.

Progressive, is not a dirty word, particularly when those on the  regressive side are brushing up against supporting fascism.

Trump Finally Draws Swords With Putin – Or Does He?

On the heels of the Stormy Daniels interview on CBS and the march on Washington to protest a lack of legislation dealing with firearms – but on an even larger scale, a protest against the way this current administration and Republican legislators conduct themselves – Donald Trump, uncharacteristically silent, has suddenly decided to draw swords with Vladimir Putin, kicking Russian diplomats and spies from U.S. soil, possibly a precursor to stronger action.

For months, some have wondered out loud, whether Donald Trump would try and go to war with North Korea or Iran as a diversion against his personal and professional issues at home. This move against Russia, could be that diversion. This will not only divert attention from the march and Stormy Daniels.  The harder Trump pushes against Russia, the more it will pull attention away from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, making it appear less likely that Trump or his people colluded with the Russians.

One wonders how hard Trump will push, whether there could be economic sanctions to follow?   According to the experts, that, and not diplomatic expulsions, is what would really get to Putin and his oligarchs.  However, Putin, should not be expected to sit back and do nothing in response.  He apparently has the ability to shut down at least some of America’s power grid, as well as the power in Ukraine and possibly elsewhere.  Who knows the extent to which the Russians have hacked into other countries systems?   The threat of such a cyber-attack can surely be considered nothing less than an act of terrorism?

Even more interesting for some of us, is the question of whether Trump’s stand might not motivate Putin to release any information he might have been using as leverage (blackmail) against Donald trump.  If there are video tapes, might this not cause Putin to release them to humiliate the American President?   Or might something else be going on here?  With Putin and Donald Trump, who, up until now, has refused to even utter a bad word about the Russian dictator, one never knows.

We do have a few facts to consider.   One, is how brazen the Russians were in launching an attack with a military-grade nerve agent on British soil.    It was as though they wanted the world to know what they were doing.   Another, is that the United States was almost sure to back whatever play the Brits made against the Russians as the U.K. is among America’s oldest and strongest allies.   And finally, we must never forget that Putin is a former KGB officer, and a key player with regard to the deconstruction of what was once a promising Russian democracy which was then usurped by the former KGB network with Vladimir Putin as their new strong man.

It is also possible that the attack in the U.K. was designed to make Putin politically stronger at home, making it appear as though the Russian dictator was forced to take a stand against a renewed attack from the west.

The more the conflict with Russia grows, the more other issues will shrink into insignificance, to the possible advantage of both Putin and Donald Trump.  It’s probably all just coincidence?  A very real problem for loyal Americans is that this current President is without credibility, so we have no way of knowing one way or the other.

It’s difficult to imagine Vladimir Putin would invite this much trouble internationally unless he’s in far greater political trouble at home than any of us understands.

Whatever is going on behind the political curtain, kicking a few diplomats from the country is no big thing.  We’ll see if it’s just a little dust-up to divert attention from the march, the Mueller investigation and DJT’s issues with women, or whether Trump is serious and takes it further with meaningful economic sanctions.

While this is an equation filled with unknowns, it can be said with some certainty that intentional or not, Putin and the Russians have just handed Trump and the Republicans a huge diversionary gift.

Threats Of A Presidential Slugfest?

While our politicos debate what should be done about kids slaughtering other kids in our schools with assault weapons, we now have a former Vice President and our current President threatening each other with assault.   They’re talking about taking it out behind the barn and slugging it out.  Wonderful.

Bad enough we have to juggle Donald’s illicit love affairs with his love for Putin.   Now he’s talking about taking it out behind the barn.

Out in the real world, boy wonder, 33 year-old Mark Zuckerberg, doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of his website providing more than half of America with their news.  Think about that.  More than half of Americans 50 or older,  presumably think that what they are reading on Facebook, is news.  That it’s valid.

During an interview with “Wired,” regarding Facebook’s information sharing issues, Zuckerberg said, “The good news here is that the big actions that we needed to take to prevent this from happening today we took three or four years ago. But had we taken them five or six years ago, we wouldn’t be here right now.”   

What?  Where?  Who?  And this guy’s in charge of America’s most potent opinion forming platform?

Pew Research reports, “For the first time in the Center’s surveys, more than half (55%) of Americans ages 50 or older report getting news on social media sites.”   Click here, to read the report, “News Across Social Media Platforms in 2017.”

While the pundits prattle on about Stormy Daniels and Joe Biden dreams to taking Trump out behind the gym (although Trump prefers “the barn”), the nation’s business is left undone – except for anything the Republicans can quietly pull off behind the huge political smokescreen that’s covering the nation’s capitol.

It’s at once both frightening and fatiguing.   Feels like we could crash at any minute with the Republican Party at the wheel, as an uncontrolled Internet provides all the bogus and biased news either side cares to consume, some of it coming from Russian bot farms while Donald praises Vladimir Putin on his “electoral” win.

Where have all the adults gone?    Is John McCain the last sane Republican standing?  How is it even possible that this current batch of Republicans is so totally devoid of conscience and shame that they risk throwing over the country for a pot of gold?  Can this even be happening?

Don’t be fooled.  There is a difference between the two parties.  Vote for Democrats in November.  Throw these Republican bums out.

And to those who have recently charged me with being something less than a journalist because I state opinions, please try and understand that this is what I do.   As it states on the front page of my website, what you are getting here is “news and opinion.”   The difference between me and those other guys, is that I tell you up front that I’m writing opinion pieces.   If you don’t like what you see here, then please feel free to stay away.

The Failure Of Thoughts And Prayers

Another school shooting.  This one was here in Maryland, down in St. Mary’s County, and again we have public officials sending out “thoughts and prayers.”

I don’t begrudge anyone their desire to pray about something, but isn’t too little attention being given to the central question of why these kids are taking guns to school?   Are they all hearing voices or is the answer more complex and maybe having to do with an acceptance of violence by our society coupled with a rejection of attributes like kindness and peace with the need for health care and education being replaced by dog-eat-dog capitalism at home and expanding militarism overseas?

Maybe these kids see adults not giving a damn about one another and they’re following suit?   Their condition amplified by violent video games, tv and movies?  Could it be that being raised on a steady diet of visual violence is causing some young people to act it out?

It could be that this isn’t just about gun control or any other single issue – although the question of why any American civilian needs a military-grade assault weapon is certainly valid and needs to be hashed out.   Beyond that, it could be this requires a broader look at our cultural phenomenon of wanting to kill one-another in near record numbers.

You’d probably have to go back to the the mob wars in Chicago in the 30’s, or maybe even the Civil War,  to find this many Americans blowing one another away on a regular basis over a prolonged period of time.  Think about Florida and Las Vegas and Sandy Hook and all the others.  It’s slaughter.  But we seem to have no clear idea as to why.   Isn’t that the central question?   Don’t we need to identify the cause before setting out to cure the illness?

Thoughts and prayers clearly aren’t working.   Talking about what a great job the lone cop in the school in Maryland did, and whether we should have cops in some schools while training and arming teachers in others is not the discussion we should be having.    Common sense tells any sentient being that introducing more weapons into a society that’s already armed to the teeth is not a reasonable response to the problem of people shooting one another.

Those leaders left standing who can get beyond their personal political aggrandizement, should be putting together a panel of the nation’s top mental health professionals to figure this out.   To prepare a report based upon the best science available, so that we can all have a little more information going forward.   Something more than thoughts and prayers or the latest position from NRA-funded politicians.   Something that might point to an actual solution.

Until then, please be encouraged to keep praying.    You may be all we’ve got.

 

Waiting For Donald’s Big Parade

It’s getting scarier and scarier out there.  Or as our regressively  evolving jargon might have it, “more scary.”   Illiteracy in America.  It’s a terrible thing.  Did you know that eighty-five percent of all the kids who get into trouble and subsequently come into contact with the courts are functionally illiterate?  Here in America?

Yesterday, our fearless leader was at a Marine Corps Air Station in California, talking about the need for a “Space Force,” because in the near future, our Air Force, presumably won’t be enough.  “My God, he’s been watching ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ again” I thought as beads of sweat formed on my forehead while pouring a big glass of Chardonnay to help kill the pain of contemporary living.

I needed it, as today I awoke to find the fat man had issued a tweet, talking about the Marine “Core.”  Maybe it was a Russian bot?  One can only hope.  Pretty sure it was the fat man though and not his buddy Putin who’s being charged with spreading a military-grade nerve agent on the streets of the UK, putting three people including a police officer in the hospital, all in critical condition.

But hey, fourteen suspicious deaths are now being investigated for possible links to Russian assassins in the UK, so this most recent nerve agent murder spree was probably just Vlad out doing his thing as a warning to anyone who might be thinking of betraying Mother Russia.   That’s what some of the pundits think.

They also warn that it could happen here on U.S soil, where we’re busy enough killing ourselves and our kids with military grade assault weapons available over-the-counter at your local gun store,  with full-auto conversion kits available at some gun shows.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1,300 children die from gunshot wounds in the U.S. annually with no help at all from Russian assassins.   That number is thirteen-hundred.  Each year.  Shot dead.   With or without “bump stocks.”

If all of that isn’t enough to scare you into never again leaving home, the networks are now warning about Russia’s increased activity in submarine warfare up in the Arctic.    Remember “The Hunt for Red October,” with Sean Connery?  That kind of thing.  Only this is apparently real.   Scary, huh?   Doesn’t it feel at times like somebody might be trying to make things even scarier than they really are?

In light of these terrible threats,  our fearless leader was out speaking to an audience of military personnel, promising them a pay raise just to guarantee applause.   He was presumably at a military installation because most of the country no longer wants to have anything to do with him or his peculiar brand of madness as he fires his Secretary of State just before breaking an agreement with one country over the possible development of nuclear weapons and works to establish ties with another rouge nation over…..ah…..that exact same thing.

It feels like one of those old Daffy Duck cartoons, where Daffy is out of control, bouncing off the walls and yelling, “Woo woo!  Woo woo!  Woo woo!”   Except this isn’t Daffy Duck, this is our very own fearless leader.   And now he’s talking about a new war in space, a war that so far is taking place only in that bizarre space inside his head while he waits for his upcoming military parade.

Who can you think of that uses irrational fear to promote unlimited military growth at the cost of more civilized behavior, like putting money into education, affordable healthcare and care for the nation’s very young and very old?   Where in the world do autocratic leaders demand military parades serving no purpose but to make the autocrats look powerful while their pitiful powerless subjects are forced to ignore how little they actually have?   Where does that happen?

It happened in Germany and Italy in the 1930’s.  It’s happening now in places like Russia, North Korea and anywhere else Democracy has been snuffed out by the kind of authoritarian madness our very own fearless leader appears to admire, as he awaits his own big fat military parade through the streets of our nation’s capitol paid for by millions of our tax dollars.

“Woo woo!  Woo woo! Woo woo!” everybody, and fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

 

The Millennial’s Revenge – Power At The Polls

According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump won the last election by 80,000 votes in three states.    Stack that up against the 3.6 million kids who will graduate from high school and become eligible voters in 2018.

All those MIllenials out marching today may be able to put a big dent in the NRA’s plans.    All they need to do is remember who failed to support gun control legislation and then vote them out of office.

If 3.6 million new voters can’t get it done, then all they need to do is wait a year and let their numbers grow to something over 7 million. Or wait for two years and send 10 million to the polls in a giant Millennial wave.

Wait for it.  Hopefully, it’s coming, as they continue to realize their potential for political power.    The future is in their hands, but only if they can stay focused as a group long enough to grab it.

Trump Fires Tillerson

Rex Tillerson, is out as Secretary of State, reportedly learning he had been dismissed from a tweet by President Trump, who said he had fired Tillerson, because, “We were not really thinking the same.”  The President is moving over Mike Pompeo from CIA to be the new Secretary of State, presumably because he will be more agreeable.

Tillerson, committed an unforgivable sin,  reportedly calling Donald Trump a “moron.”   Some would say his only infraction was telling the truth.   I was never a fan of Tillerson, or his big oil background, but in this Administration he was like a shining beacon of principled behavior and stability.   One of a few individuals in Trump’s orbit who added a bit of credibility to an otherwise incredible and often times frightening  situation.    Recently, for example,  speaking in Moon Township, PA, where a crowd of his supporters cheered him on,  Trump belittled the Office of the President of the United States.    Think about it.

With this president we should expect anything, and on a daily basis, as he seems to confuse dissent with disloyalty.   It would appear that anyone who disagrees with DJT will be on the way out.  With the Brits just announcing that the Russians appear to be responsible for a military-grade nerve agent attack on British soil that put a police officer in the hospital and a possible meeting with North Korea just weeks away, this continues to be a very dangerous political stew.  With Tillerson gone, possibly even more dangerous than before.

It is at least, interesting, that one of Tillerson’s last acts at State, was blaming Russia for the nerve agent attack in the U.K.  Something President Trump has thus far refused to do, as he refuses to say nearly anything derogatory about the dictatorship of Russian Godfather Vladimir Putin and his gang of oligarchs.

Republicans, showing themselves to be self-serving cowards, continue putting party before country,  exhibiting little or no opposition to Donald J. Trump irrespective of his obvious distaste for democracy,  love of autocracy and potentially dangerous action or inaction on any given issue.  With Republican leadership acting in a fashion that brushes up against treason, the nation’s only hope appears to be a blue wave washing over the polls in November.  Hopefully, DJT won’t have the country embroiled in another war  before we’ve all been given an opportunity to register our disgust, fear and  fatigue.

The Age Of Trump – One Diversionary Dust-up After Another

Now that the great memo crisis is over, or nearly so, the politicians and the pundits have moved on to Rob Portman.   What Gen. Kelly knew and when he knew it.   Once that runs out, in a couple of weeks, maybe three, there will be some new Trump generated tempest to take the focus off of the real problem, which is money.

The great disparity of income between the wealthy and nearly everyone else in the U.S., as the oligarchs tighten their grip on power,  and the absence of anything resembling a reasonable limit on campaign financing which is the only way to regulate the runaway greed that currently has the nation by its throat.

It no longer matters if this current president does what he does intentionally or whether he’s a burrito short of a full combo-plate.  Either way, the effect is the same.  We are all his victims with the nearly full support of the Republican Party.   Most of those who don’t support the Donald, have decided to jump ship and not take another run at office.   There are 34 Republicans leaving the House and Corker, Flake and Hatch in the Senate.  It’s that bad.

Urge your friends to vote for Democrats and Democrats only in 2018.  Please.  The Dem Party is far from perfect.   I was no fan of Hillary Clinton, and was nearly made ill by the DNC debacle, but they are still far better for the country than this current Republican Party,  which will be noted by history for its extreme negligence.

There could be a third party somewhere in the future but for now our house is on fire and the Democrats are the only party in sight with the potential for putting it out.   Regardless of what any White House generated memo might say.

 

Forget The Stupid Memo – It’s The Russians!

It’s all about that damn stupid GOP memo.   Something the White House put together to be delivered by presidential water carrier, Devin Nunes.   Nunes, should be booted to the curb from his job of Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, because of his obvious, overt and continuing bias for Donald Trump.  The Committee Nunes chairs, is supposed to look out for our best interest, not Donald Trump’s.   But it’s the memo that’s really getting to me, and the way the mainstream media has been thoroughly sucked in by it.

When I went to bed they were talking about the memo.  What might be in the memo.  What might not be in the memo.  What might have been redacted from the memo.  When Trump would release the memo, or maybe not release the memo.   Memo, memo, memo, whose got the memo now….   Blah, blah, blah…..   When I got up this morning, they were still on it.  An endless loop of memo blather.

The memo, is probably nothing.  It’s a memo for God’s sake, not a formula for rocket fuel that was stolen by the Russians or proof that the Trump family has been purchased by Russian money over the past ten years so completely that this current president has no choice whatsoever but to abide by whatever Vladimir Putin wants, like failing to enforce sanctions approved by a majority, with only five no votes in the House and Senate.  Nothing like that.  No, it’s just a stupid memo.  In all likelihood, nothing but blather made up out of whole cloth by those in the Administration who would condemn the FBI and other American intelligence agencies while sneaking in the top three Russian spymasters for clandestine meetings with Trump appointees on U.S. soil.   One, who had been barred from entering the United States because of his involvement in the attack on the Ukraine and subsequent invasion and capture of Crimea.

What?  Seriously?  Yes, according to Reuters and confirmed by others, that’s exactly what happened.  The Trumpists brought in Russia’s spymasters.  Probably to talk about how best to make those nasty sanctions go away, but there could have been more.   Maybe they’ve come up with some way to set up that “back door” secure communications channel to the Kremlin via the Russian embassy, Jared Kushner  discussed with the Russian ambassador during the transition?   Why would Trump need a secure channel to Moscow?   What is it he needs to hide?

That’s the point.  The Russians.  Everything with this administration always seems to come back to the Russians.   Even this current obsession with condemning the American intelligence establishment while seemingly trying to promote Russia’s ability to further infiltrate and influence the American political process.

It’s the Russians.   It’s the spymasters secret visit to the U.S. at the apparent invitation of the Trumpists.   It’s the way this administration favors Russia over the United States.  That’s  what the media needs to focus on, not this stupid memo and the diversion it has caused.

While doing all he could to undermine the credibility of the FBI, Donald Trump was waving in Boris and Natahsa through the rose garden doors.  Even now some covert think tank in Moscow is probably working on a cover story for the Russian spymaster’s trip to the U.S.  Something along the lines of their being here to discuss peace in Syria or a joint response to North Korea or a continued response to the Taliban or a cost saving plan to pull U.S. troops away from the Russian border.   Don’t be fooled.

Over the past couple of days I’ve had more than one conversation about the “memo” as a diversion.   More than once I have used the analogy that good reporters should be like hungry watchdogs.  Oh, the watchdogs are out there all right, but most have forgotten or never learned how to identify a bone, so when one is thrown their way they miss it altogether or are diverted.   A situation made all the more difficult by a president who keeps throwing giant bags of kibble into the air.

Which brings us to one last point.  Do you think Donald Trump is crafty enough to come up with all this stuff?  Diversion after diversion leading to an all-out attack on the FBI while refusing to enforce sanctions against the Russians, at a time when the FBI is investigating Russian interference in U.S. elections?   Do you?

Fast forward to a dimly lit room deep within the Kremlin.   A half-dozen men in dark suits drain bottles of the finest vodka while congratulating themselves, holding their sides they emit howls of laughter at how easily the stupid Americans can be deceived, controlled and contained as one by one  America’s long-standing institutions continue to weaken.

Maybe Dr. Evil Will Save Us?

Is Michael Wolff really the author of this new book outlining how nutso Donald Trump is, or is that Mike Meyers doing his Dr. Evil thing?   The resemblance is uncanny.  Will the Donald, “He is like a child,”  be able to fend off a major frontal attack by the evil one?

Whatever you might think of Wolff and his book “Fire and Fury,” it should be of interest that mainstream, credible reporters, have been checking with their White House sources to be told that generally the book gets it right.   Donald J. Trump, is dangerously incompetent and possibly unstable.   More than two-dozen mental health professionals wrote a book about that same frightening issue months ago.   And that begs the question:  Where are the Democrats?   Remember those guys?

Trump’s fellow Republicans clearly care nothing for the common good of the country, only the good of their wealthy benefactors,  as they support Trump’s ravings, cutting healthcare to the poor, opening the nation to more off-shore oil wells, mining in wilderness areas, the destruction of the EPA and huge tax cuts for the wealthy while they threaten to do away with Medicare and Social Security.

Where are the Democrats?  Will they ever grow a spine?   They should be at the forefront, screaming about Trump’s possible mental instability, his family’s admitted Russia connection and demanding that the Republicans begin impeachment proceedings in the House immediately.  Or at least get the IRS to show us his tax returns.  Some of us are still waiting.

Nothing much is at stake here, just the future of the country.

It’s one thing to stay out of the way as your opponent destroys himself.  It’s entirely another to run away like scared little mice, holding your silence, while the nation remains in very real jeopardy from an executive inner-circle that resembles a Looney Tunes cartoon with Daffy Duck in the lead.

With the mostly silent Democrats going all weak in the knees before swooning and falling to the ground, it is perhaps fitting that none other than Dr. Evil should come to our rescue.   Somebody had to do it.  These cowardly Dems couldn’t even see to it that Al Franken was given the due process he deserved.   Oh no, the party of the weak and neurotic was only too eager to help boot Franken out the door.

Can’t wait for Mini-Me to get here.  With Donald, the Doctor will need all the support he can get.  FDR, Teddy Kennedy and now even Al Franken are unfortunately,  long gone.

Sally Yates Is On Target

“That’s why Democratic and Republican administrations alike, at least since Watergate, have honored that the rule of law requires a strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House on criminal cases and investigations. This wall of separation is what ensures the public can have confidence that the criminal process is not being used as a sword to go after one’s political enemies or as a shield to protect those in power. It’s what separates us from an autocracy.” – Sally Yates

Ms. Yates words are reminiscent of another “wall of separation” that once existed between editorial and sales in the news business, a wall that prevented advertisers from dictating what we the people were being allowed to know.   A wall no less important to the preservation of freedom than the wall that’s supposed to be in place at the Justice Dept. Her words also remind me of the founder’s worries that merchant-bankers would one day control the country, unless they were prevented from doing so by yet another “wall,” one that bit by bit has been torn down over the past many years with little or no recognition from the media with regard to the issue’s very real threat to Democracy.

To wit:

“And I sincerely believe with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies…” -Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John  Taylor in 1816.

And that dear friends, brings us to another wall, one that was thoughtlessly torn asunder by the United States Supreme Court in its  “Citizens United” decision in 2010, opening the floodgates on limitless injections of money into political campaigns coming from any number of both non-profit and commercial enterprises, such as (dare we even think it?) Russian oligarchs and banks filtering their cash through others so as to be nearly impossible to trace?

It is entirely possible that foreign entities, to an unknown degree, now own us.  They have been permitted to buy our political process, thereby giving them a degree of power over those who write our laws and control our freedoms.  It’s what you get when the wall between commercial and investment banking is knocked down and anything resembling reasonable campaign finance reform is but a distant memory.

You get a campaign infiltrated by political operatives with Russian connections and an Attorney General who is fired from her job after warning her boss the president that the Russians aren’t just coming, they are here, and that his executive order on travel and immigration, might not be lawful.

Sally Yates,  was, and continues to be, on target.  Donald J. Trump, in his apparent refusal to listen to the best and brightest around him and then showing himself to be unwilling to act on the best information available has repeatedly been unable to hit the broad side of a barn with a  load of buckshot.

(Sally Yates, served as Deputy United States Attorney General and then Acting United States Attorney General, until being fired by Donald J. Trump in January of 2017.)

A Christmas Revelation

Over the past thirty years or so the national agenda has been moved so far to the right by fear, misinformation and disinformation that conservatives like George Will and Bill Kristol now sound like moderates.

Even if the Republicans lose the House and Senate in 2018 and the White House in 2020,  conservative forces in the U.S. will have moved the nation so far toward neo-feudalism, that it will take decades before Americans again feel comfortable with anything resembling a common good, or acceptance without guilt,  that peace is preferable to militarism and that Christians everywhere have a responsibility to care for one another regardless of their ability to provide proof of insurance.

Thoughts On Trump, God, The FBI, And The Death Of American Democracy

Recent developments beg the question:  “Can our traditionally democratic way of life survive what’s happening?”  Purely insane developments like the White House issuing orders to the Centers for Disease Control, dictating  that some words and phrases like “fetus” and “science based” can no longer be part of any wording the CDC uses in budget documents with the Congress.

This is of course, Orwellian.   Power brokers with a totally ideological agenda are dictating what our scientists can and cannot tell the nation’s lawmakers.    It’s crazy.   It’s also dangerous.  Imposing a political or religious ideology on science undermines everything science should be.   Except for those who think humans cohabited the planet with dinosaurs and that non-heterosexuals should pray the gay away.

It’s all about keeping lawmakers in the dark.  Limiting what they are permitted to know.  Just as so many Americans are being limited by the “thought police” of right-wing media.   It’s like beating the stuffings out of millions of people each day and then convincing them that it’s in their best interest to have their entrails scattered about on the ground.

A wonderful word coined by the late, great Steve Allen continues coming to mind.  The word is “Dumbth.”  He used it for the title of one of his books.  The book’s full title is, “Dumbth:  The Lost Art of Thinking With 101 Ways to Reason Better & Improve Your Mind.”   He wrote it twenty years ago.   Since then, things have gotten worse as some in our political and media establishments have taken to using disinformation tactics that could be straight out of an old KGB playbook.   Or the pages of Orwell’s “1984.”

Does Trump have any idea what he’s actually saying when he says it?   At this point does it even matter as he threatens to tear down the very American institution that may be all that stands between our freedom and the ever-increasing control of the American political process by Oligarchs, some of whom represent the very worst that Russia has to offer?

Donald J. Trump, attacked the FBI, saying, “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re gonna rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump trumpeted. “But it is very sad when you look at those documents, and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful. And you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it. It’s a very sad thing to watch, I will tell you that.”

Donald Trump is going to “rebuild” the FBI?    This is the same man who had a chief adviser in the person of Steve Bannon,  who promised “deconstruction of the administrative state.”   He might as well have been direct about it and called it the end of American democracy through the destruction of our national institutions.

It now sounds as though Donald Trump wants to tear down the FBI, rebuilding it into an organization that will be more Trump friendly while he continues turning so many federal agencies into paper tigers, the obvious objective being the elimination of regulation to the point that no one stands between the American people and the desires of predatory capitalists who care little or nothing for traditional American principles, only for greed on a multi-national scale as they continue extracting the wealth of America.

Don’t worry about running out of cash in your golden years, you will be able to get a reverse mortgage while making only minimum payments on your credit card debt.

That’s what this is really all about, you know.  Extracting our wealth.  Dylan Ratigan, had it nailed years ago, before leaving MSNBC, where he frequently refused to suffer fools gladly.   Extract the wealth.  Suck us all dry, until the Oligarchs and the multi-nationals have it all, leaving the huddled masses wondering what happened.  Wondering why the corporate controlled media didn’t come to their defense sooner in the process.

Why would Donald J. Trump be so contemptuous of an American institution whose purpose is to put criminals, liars and thieves behind bars?   To ferret out enemies of the nation who would seek to control and otherwise overthrow us?   Perhaps, like so many of his disciples,  he simply accepts an explanation that suits his purpose, biased, bigoted and bloated though it might be.

Dumbth.

The weak-minded accept the disinformation that flows from various nonsense peddlers on the far right, that Robert Mueller’s purpose is political rather than legal (as in rule of law) and is therefore corrupt.

Trump is transferring his motives and traits to the FBI as he and his media mavens of the right proclaim the truth to be fake news.  This is, again, disinformation, and it’s right out of the old KGB playbook.  But will he somehow pull off firing Mueller,  hindering the Russia investigation to the point that the American people will never get to the truth?   And if he does, will what’s left of our democracy be able to survive this current onslaught of deceit?

Could be that it’s already too late.

Some very heavy thinkers at Princeton and Northwestern University believe American democracy may be a thing of the past.   A study published in 2014 by  Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin I. Page, concludes, “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”   

This won’t come as a shock to many.   It certainly won’t be anything new to those thinkers who lie awake nights wondering how much time we have left before our national denial abandons us and the ruse of American democracy is laid bare for all to see – leaving us alone and naked, nose to nose with the devil.   And then what the hell will we do?   Or are we already there and doing little or nothing?

Our biggest issue right now may be that a majority of America knows what’s going on.  That the Republican tax bill is a sham for the wealthy, that cutting Medicare and Social Security is a real bad idea, that the Internet needs to be beyond the reach of corporate control and that our federal government has been bought and paid for by those very same interests highlighted by Prof’s Gilens and Page.

So who’s going to do something about it?   Certainly not some old white guy on Capitol Hill,  sweating bullets as he counts his monthly campaign contributions and waits for sexual abuse allegations to begin arriving from alleged victims he can’t remember.

The hard cold truth, is that the American agenda is no longer being driven by the American people.   With a Russian loving oligarch in the White House and members of Congress swimming in corporate cash this could be one last national nightmare from which there is no awakening.   We’ll find out at the polls in 2018.  And maybe, just maybe, God willing, Trump won’t make it to 2020, leaving us with Mike Pence, who could be nearly as bad but hopefully not worse, as he won’t start out by surrounding himself with Russians and their money.

I don’t personally believe that men walked the Earth with dinosaurs but when things are this bad I’ll call down help from wherever I can find it.   If God wants Donald Trump impeached, I’ll take it.   And all those Bible beating Evangelicals in the South will have to take it too.  Amen.