The madness is coming in so fast that it’s difficult to keep up. Stuff like Forbes reporting that Donald’s real indebtedness is something above a billion dollars and that Mexico’s former Defense Minister has been arrested at LAX on charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering. This would be like our former Secretary of Defense, being arrested at the airport in Mexico City for drug-running.
It’s reported that General Salvador Cienfuegos, is in custody and that he will eventually be transferred to New York. For six years, Cienfuegos, was in charge of Mexico’s war on drugs, which could be why they haven’t made more progress. There’s also the fact that Americans keep buying all the product they can hustle across the border. Can’t really blame anybody. With Trump still in office, the need for self-medication is worse than ever.
The real “dark state” in the U.S., is Donald J. Trump and his debtors. In Mexico, it appears to be a government hierarchy that has been co-opted by the country’s drug lords. Then there’s all that dark money out there. We don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going. All we can be certain of is that it has nothing to do with good government. And that we’re still waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall, which has yet to be built. Much like a Republican health plan.
Did you see it, or perhaps I should say, can you remember any of it with your eyes still burning from all that smoke in the air? It was in the headlines less than a week ago, but is mostly forgotten, hidden behind the Trump Administration’s giant smoke machine.
The latest cloud of nonsense from Trump, is another possibly bogus treatment for Covid-19. First it was the possibility of injecting sanitizers into the body or flooding the body with some kind of magic light. Then came hydroxychloroquine. The doctors gave that one a big thumbs-down. This time it’s the “emergency authorization of convalescent plasma” to attack the virus. Donald Trump, a man with no medical training, has assured the public that it will work. He has made this assurance before medical trials have been completed. So he has no real idea whether it will work. Medical experts apparently don’t either, which is why actual doctors haven’t broadly recommended it.
It may not work, at least not to the degree that Trump wants us to believe, but it’s sending out another giant plume of smoke, one more huge deflective dust-up for the general public to try and deal with, at least those who are still paying attention after being worn thin with exhaustion from Trump’s misinformation and disinformation.
It almost feels like something the Russian KGB would have put together during the cold war, doesn’t it?
Trying to sort out just one piece of Trump’s PR putrification is enough to throw the public completely off track, which is what has happened since, less than a week ago, NBC News reported that “The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019,…” Just days after the story broke, former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, was taken into custody from a yacht off the coast of Maine. So what about the others? Principally, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr.? Will they be arrested next?
It’s all very close to home for Donald Trump, with “criminal referrals” being recommended by top Intel Committee Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Wikipedia, says a criminal referral, is “a notice to a prosecutory body, recommending criminal investigation or prosecution of one or more entities for crimes which fall into that body’s jurisdiction.”
They went after Bannon, so what about Don Jr. and Jared Kushner? Will they be deemed immune from prosecution by William Barr’s Justice Department? Will Steve Bannon, be the temporary sacrificial goat, out on bail until and if he’s escorted to jail only to be issued a presidential pardon?
All we really need to know is that Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee think there is enough evidence of collusion with the Rusians in the 2016 election, to recommend a criminal investigation into Bannon, Kushner and Trump Jr. Obviously, they think there is something there, something that might lead to criminal convictions.
All we need to know is that Donald John Trump broke the law, grossly violating the emoluments clause, when he asked Russia to help him defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is a criminal.
All we need to know is no matter how despicable Jeffrey Epstein might have been, his possibly being denied due process is a threat to us all. The very fact that we now must wonder if suicide actually was his cause of death is troubling enough, with implications that reach even into the British Royal Family.
All we need to know is that almost every angry accusation that comes from the Trump family or their minions, is a projection of themselves. We can feel the uncertainty of those who live in Turkey, Russia, North Korea and Belarus, as Donald Trump does all he can to turn our system into a totalitarian state. His need for control unfettered by the advise and consent of the Congress is transparent. History will likely judge this Republican controlled Senate to be traitorous in their refusal to conduct adequate oversight of the Trump White House.
One can only pity the mainstream press in this era of Trump. All they need to do to be condemned for being slanted in favor of the left is to tell the truth. And so they are condemned for doing their jobs. The urge to be less than objective to avoid attacks from the massive and well organized echo chamber of the right has to be nearly overwhelming. Attacks from politicians are to be expected, but never before, at least not in recent times, has the normalization of the abnormal been so prevalent, has the promotion of abject lies as the truth become so normalized, as to drive the acceptability of a totalitarian thug who exhibits “co-morbid” mental issues.
Beyond the traditional news media and its struggle to deal with this current madness, a bigger question might be whether we are at a point where a madman (or woman) with a Twitter account can control the direction of the country?
But back to our premise of trying to remember what is and isn’t real in the chaos-strewn world of Donald J. Trump – with his latest new miracle cure for Covid and TikTok suing the Administration over Trump’s threatened ban. With the Republican Party announcing that they will have no platform for the upcoming convention, that their only platform will be to back their golden boy. With Trump’s Niece, Psychologist, Dr. Mary Trump, writing a tell-all book alleging Donald exhibits psychological “co-morbidity” and then releasing audio of Donald’s sister, who happens to be a retired federal judge, corroborating some of the claims laid out in the book? Or Donald’s completely bogus threat to send law enforcement officials to oversee the upcoming election, something he has no power to do? Did I mention the apparently intentional crippling of the USPS in what appears to be an overt act of voter suppression while sending anonymous federal “police” out into our streets to detain peaceful protesters? And now, topping it all off, Trump mainstay and misinformation guru Kellyanne Conway, the woman who coined the unforgettable term “alternative facts” is quitting her job with the White House. Apparently we aren’t alone in reaching the point of exhaustion.
How long before Kellyanne shows up on Fox? Does former Trump attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, have audio or maybe even video of the “golden showers” incident with Donald Trump he has admitted to witnessing in Las Vegas? But mostly, how is America supposed to focus on the Senate Intel Committee’s recommendation of a criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump’s eldest son and son-in-law? Like that doesn’t matter? That was huge folks, a monster story, while much of this other stuff is just noise. But it’s the noise, the smoke, that obscures all else, and it’s gonna get worse. The closer the election the more Trump and his evil minions will ratchet their giant smoke machine into high-gear, bellowing, bloviating and blathering to the max to the very last minute in an effort to obscure the truth, hide the facts, hoodwink the American public and hijack an election while somewhere deep within the bowels of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, smiles.
So Trump went out to interact with the Lincoln Memorial. The only other president I can remember doing anything similar was Richard Nixon, who also wandered around the White House by himself at night, talking to portraits of dead presidents. Could have been too much scotch. Could have been he was a little nuts. Could have been he should never have been in the White House, and that he wouldn’t have gotten there without his campaign cutting a deal with the South Vietnamese that killed a peace deal that would have ended the Vietnam War. It’s all on audio tape and available from the Johnson Library – Lyndon’s conversation about Nixon’s treason with Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. Johnson opted not to go public with it, probably because he thought it would tear the country apart. Instead he stood down and withdrew from the race.
In case you missed it, here’s the short version: Lyndon Johnson cut a deal to end the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon cut a deal to prolong the war, because he knew if Johnson ended it, that he, Johnson, would easily get reelected, beating Nixon like a drum. So Nixon got in, the war went on, and thousands more Americans lost their lives needlessly.
I’m also reminded by numerous posts on Facebook, that today is the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State. If you’re too young to remember, then all you really need to know is that former Ohio Governor, James (“Jobs and progress!”) Rhodes, sent the National Guard up to Kent State to do something about anti-war demonstrations that were taking place.
What happened, is that a bunch of white kids in uniform shot and killed four students and wounded nine others, leading to white people, mostly older white people, re-thinking the whole anti-war issue in America. Eleven days later, city and state police would kill two students and injure twelve others at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, but it was mostly the impact of white kids killing other white kids at Kent State that had rednecks and warmongers alike scratching their heads from coast to coast.
It’s a problem that’s still with us, isn’t it?
Imagine if all those rednecks carrying assault rifles that showed up at the statehouse in Lansing, Michigan, had been black. Do you really think the “non-response” would have been the same?
What was the message those gun-toting militia members were trying to send to their beloved state lawmakers? Was it to ignore the Coronavirus pandemic and open up the state or lead would fill the air?
Who are we and what the hell are we doing? Nixon, got in with the help of the South Vietnamese and Trump, with the help of the Russians. And here we all are, waiting out the Coronavirus, regardless of our political preferences, and hoping nobody opens fire as a tiny minority of misinformed and misguided militia with assault weapons stand watch over our state legislatures threatening to turn their armed ignorance into one more American tragedy.
Waiting out the virus is bad enough. The threat of armed insurrection only makes it worse for everybody, while making the assault weapons ban set to be adopted adopted by Canada all the more attractive.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Constitution of the United States, Article III, Section III
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.
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.
Good morning, and now the news…Hopelessly unable to reach a compromise, the Brits remain deadlocked on the Brexit issue, with at least one conservative MP resigning his position in frustration while all of the EU and the UK continue to wonder what chaos will follow should Britain “crash out” of the European Union. Venezuelan strongman, Nicolas Maduro, has appointed someone named “Igor” to take over what Maduro calls the country’s “war on electricity.” (Think Young Frankenstein.) No word yet on how much influence Russian advisers who are now on the ground in Venezuela (as opposed to floating slightly above it), might have had on Maduro’s decision. Here in the U.S., Donald Trump says the GOP will delay implementing its new health plan he has been promising (it’s a secret, apparently) until after the 2020 election while he complains that Puerto Ricans in need of assistance would be stealing money from Americans, apparently forgetting that Puerto Rico is part of America. (Think pathological liar, malignant sociopath and big dummy.) The only sign of political sanity comes from Ankara, Turkey, of all places, where President Erdogan’s semi-fascist party (those who disagree with him are thrown in prison) appears to be losing in the polls. And finally, agriculture experts predict we will run out of avocados in three weeks time, should Donald follow through with his snit-fit promise to close the border with Mexico potentially costing both Mexico and the U.S. billions in lost trade. In Toronto, proving the world may actually be spinning off its axis, the Baltimore Orioles winning streak continues. The Orioles, last year’s worst team in American baseball, are now three and one, having taken two games from the Yankees in a three game series and then winning yesterday’s first game against the Toronto Bluejays. Gotta love those O’s. And that’s the real news, nothing fake about it, so you can now turn off MSNBC and FOX for the rest of the day. As for me, I’m going back to bed. Wake me when it’s over. Or by seven, when the Orioles play their next game in the series up in Toronto. If we last that long.
A conspiracy-minded person might wonder if Vladimir Putin is going to let the situation in Ukraine continue building to a flash-point for WW III, before bringing in Trump for talks that will completely defuse the situation – with the purpose of rebuilding whatever image Trump has left in the U.S. Sounds like something Russian intelligence would come up with, doesn’t it?
The other possibility is that the Russians have no further use for Trump, that they are giving up on him as their political tool, while they risk another world war by blocking off the Sea of Azov and possibly seizing more real estate by marching farther into the Ukraine.
Recent court filings, sentencing recommendations in the Southern District of NY and from Robert Mueller, which point to Donald Trump being a felon are big news, but the obvious hazards of the situation in Ukraine and the potential economic explosion from the arrest of one of China’s top business executives, the CFO of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the request of the United States, are as big or bigger. Huawei, is an electronics giant. Wanzhou, is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, who is a former military technologist with the People’s Liberation Army.
Think of Bill Gates daughter being arrested while changing planes in Venezuela at the request of the People’s Republic of China. Think the U.S. would be the least little bit upset?
We now have a Chinese dragon by the tail and are coming nose-to-nose with the Russian bear with intemperate and uninformed Donald Trump taking the point on handling what could be his first great geopolitical challenge while John Kelly, one of the few adults still standing, makes an exit from the White House. All the while, alleged Republican leaders continue their flirtatious relationship with treason by refusing to take greater control by reigning in this pretend president, putting the country and the world in ever-greater danger.
Instead of taking care of geopolitical business in the form of a clear and present danger from the Russians and this current president’s obvious inability to deal with it, the Republicans are behind closed doors in show-hearings for their base, again asking former FBI Director Comey about Hillary’s emails. Their behavior represents extreme negligence. At long last do they have no shame?
It may be time to look up from the football game and pay more attention to politics.
It was encouraging today to see that another prominent Republican, former Congressman David Jolly, has joined Steve Schmidt, Susan Eisenhower, Mary Matalin, and so many others in leaving the Republican Party.
Was also pleased to see DJT’s trophy wife did not wear her “I don’t care” jacket when she and hubby paid their required visit to hurricane victims in Florida, pretending that they actually do care even though Mara Lago was spared. That must be the difference in their minds between Florida residents and the Puerto Ricans. For one group they pretend to care. For the other, trophy wife wears a jacket showing open resentment and disrespect for people that have had their entire island wiped out. Or was it her trip to Texas, to inspect the temporary quarters for immigrant kids torn away from their parents? Is that when she wore the jacket? With repeated acts of an outrageous nature taking place a certain amount of confusion is bound to set in.
In addition, there is the unavoidable white elephant in the room, reminding us that Republicans generally view white people (Floridians) as being different from people of color (Puerto Ricans). But we don’t talk about that, do we? Too embarrassing. Like Katrina, where the Bush White House largely ignored all those suffering black Americans for nearly a week. Amazing how fast they got that stadium back up and running when they needed it for football.
Also, weren’t you proud when POTUS handed out bottled water to Hurricane victims in FLA? Better than his mediocre Tom Brady imitation, throwing rolls of paper towels through the air to homeless Puerto Ricans, and you wonder….what if anything is going through this man’s mind other than absolute and overwhelming self-love and a total indifference for others?
Aren’t you tired of waiting for his next new low? November 6th is coming. For God’s sake and for the sake of us all go out and fill in the blanks for Democrats. This current situation is immoral, unprincipled and unacceptable. That’s what the Republican Party now stands for, immorality, unprincipled behavior and unacceptable governance. Think about it before going to the polls.
President Donald J. Trump, has just turned his back on our NATO allies and surrendered the country to former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin and the Russians. And he did it on the world stage. This is madness. Some are suggesting that Mr. Trump may be suffering from dementia.
For whatever reason, Trump is clearly putting the interests of a hostile foreign power above the interests of the United States. This is clearly unacceptable.
There is a way to remove Trump from office short of impeachment. The Republicans will have to do it, as they hold the vice presidency, a majority in both houses and a majority of what the Constitution calls the “executive departments” of the government. That way, is the 25th Amendment. Here is what it says.
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.” – 25th Amendment, Section 4
Will this happen? Never say never, but so long as some 40% of the country remains in denial it is highly unlikely. However, this latest embarrassment on the world stage being what it was, indicating quite possibly that things will only get worse, would lead one to believe that at some point the 25th Amendment might be seen as a viable option – but only if enough Republicans believe that doing nothing will be more costly to their party at the polls.
12 members of the Russian GRU (military intelligence) have been indicted for working to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. Who ya gonna side with? The FBI and all of American intelligence, or Donald and his Russian buddies, who undoubtedly have long-term dream scenarios of overthrowing the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., while fracturing the EU into pieces while Soviet (whoops, excuse me) Russian influence floods the globe?
Pardon my paranoia, but sometimes a little paranoia can be a good thing. Can’t prove any of this, but sometimes things are exactly as they seem.
I can’t help but think there was a very specific reason the FBI announced these indictments just prior to DJT’s very private meeting with Vladimir Putin, to be attended only by interpreters. I think it may have been more than pushback for the show trial in the House the Republicans held to slam the FBI and the Mueller investigation. It almost feels like Trump and his supporters in the House, are doing all they can to provide cover for Putin and the Russians. All of it leads one to think that the country could be in far more peril than anyone suspects, except for the intelligence community, and that they were sending a message to Putin and his American puppet to back off.
There are two games being played. The one we’re all watching on television, and the other, taking place out of the spotlight, on an international chessboard with pieces being moved in the shadows.
We do know that Donald J. Trump, refuses to admit the Russians meddled in the election and that he continued that refusal even after being briefed about these new indictments by the FBI. We also know that his son-in-law, Jerad Kushner, was talking to the Russians during the runup to the election, trying to set up a back-channel to the Kremlin out of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.
There’s so much more.
Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, paid Donald Trump $95 million for a Florida property Trump purchased for $41 million. It’s not uncommon for property to appreciate in value over time and Palm Beach is a pricey neighborhood but almost everybody concerned agrees that this was an unusually high profit. It did in fact, at that time, set a record for the price of a single family home anywhere in the U.S. Rybolovlev’s people say it was simply an investment. However, there is evidence that Rybolovlev and Trump may be more than casual business associates. The Seattle Times reports that, “Federal Aviation Administration records reviewed by The Palm Beach Post and other news outlets have tracked Rybolovlev’s private plane to cities where Trump has traveled, both during his campaign and into his presidency.”
The New York Times reported that Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg met with Trump attorney Michael Cohen at Trump Tower eleven days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, to discuss ways to improve US-Russia relations. A short time later, one of the oligarch’s subsidiaries signed a million-dollar contract with Cohen, according to an article in salon.com.
Just days ago, the State of Maryland was notified by the FBI that a Russian oligarch owns the company that handles their election registration software. According to State Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael Bush, “We were briefed late yesterday, along with Governor Hogan, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the software vendor who maintains portions of the State Board of Elections voter registration platform was purchased by a Russian investor in 2015, without the knowledge of state officials.”
According to the New York Post, from 2011 to 2013 the FBI bugged a unit on the 63rd floor of Trump Tower, which was allegedly being used by the Russian mob for gambling and money laundering.
Politico reports that Donald Trump Jr. praised the Russians at a real estate conference in 2008, saying, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” he said of Trump Organization properties. “There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.”
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who popped up from out of thin air, was a former adviser to the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who is a political ally of Russian President, Vladimir Putin. When the Yanukovych government fell amidst evidence of widespread corruption, Yanukovych, fled to Russia.
To this day DJT has refused to take any action to stop the Russians from meddling in upcoming elections. He’s done nothing. Almost as though he is under orders to stand down, to avoid getting in the way of the Russians.
Trump is turning his back on our friends and allies while singing the praises of dictators and tyrants who oppose the very concept of democratic freedoms and self-determination.
How much more do you need? Sometimes things are exactly as they seem.
It’s impossible to watch what is now happening in the Southwest, with the Trump Administration setting up internment camps for children and babies, without being reminded of Germany in the late 1930’s and 40’s. For those of us who know a little history, what’s happening is also somewhat reminiscint of Roman Carthage.
Around 150 BC, the Romans marched in and captured Carthage, eventually turning it into one of the biggest cities in the Roman Empire. They held it until 435, when the Vandals came in, capturing the city while most of the sports-obsessed Romans were off attending the games, chariot races, gladiatorial contests and whatnot, at the local coliseum.
It may be overstating things to say the Vandals might never have taken the city, had the sports-obsessed Romans paid more attention to their defenses and less to sporting events. Then again, maybe not, which brings us back to a parallel with the United States.
Not only are we an overextended empire, as were the Romans, we are equally sports-obsessed. One wonders how the country would function if the populace spent one-third of the time it spends watching sporting events or playing fantasy football, with reading and thinking about how the country is being run. This doesn’t mean getting all of one’s “news” on the FOX News Network, it means actually reading a mainstream newspaper either online or by subscription. They will still bring it to your front door for a very nominal fee and it is still a good way to absorb some solid, objective information. You might consider it your patriotic duty.
Mainstream newspapers are not engaged in doing fake news, regardless of what Donald Trump may be telling you. Most of the fake news, in fact, has been coming from the mouth of Donald J. Trump. And it’s bringing down our country.
Without belaboring the point of how fascism did not grab Germany by the throat overnight, that it was a process that developed over years and not months or days, it is not unreasonable to draw parallels with what is happening in the U.S., particularly in light of Trump’s “birther” movement, a president who equates Mexicans with “rapists,” who labels all those of the Muslim faith as being dangerous, who turns his back on the needs of storm-ravaged Puerto Ricans and more recently gave his approval to torch carrying neo-Nazis, marching through the streets of Charlottesville. And now, in one more horrendous and unbelievable stroke, Donald Trump has set up internment camps for toddlers and babies, calling them “tender age” camps, in an effort to make the fact that he has fixed his approval to tearing babies and kids away from their parents sound less harsh than it actually is. It is simply monstrous, and Trump, unrestrained by his Republican Party, is acting like a dictator. Or at the very least, a power-mad oligarch, playing the race card for all it’s worth, as he attempts to turn white Americans against all people of color.
According to a study done at Princeton, our Democracy, once the envy of the world, is already dead. Gone. The scholarly study says we are now an Oligarchy, which works well for Donald J. Trump, who has shown himself to be a modern-day authoritarian Julius Caesar wannabe. Are we now, with Vandals approaching the city, literally playing ourselves into the hands of fascism?
With thousands of kids being torn from their parents, and no sign that the country has any idea as to how to eventually reunite them, isn’t it finally time to say “enough?” Isn’t it beyond time for men and women of good conscience and decency to set aside politics, restore our system of checks and balances, and remove Donald J. Trump and his poisonous, hateful, racist band of scoundrels from office?
Let us pray that our elected officials act responsibly before we lose all hope of regaining a representative federal government. Don’t think it can’t happen here. The unthinkable is happening right now, down on our southern border. Thousands of kids are being torn from their parents and it’s being done in our names. Yours and mine.
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.
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.