This Congress passed a bill giving all unemployed Americans an additional $300 a month to help them until they can return to the workplace. I t was part of the massive covid relief bill which had unanimous Democratic support. And unanimous GOP rejection. As in all laws the GOP does not like, many GOP-run states are simply refusing to enforce it. They are rejecting the additional monies which help the poorest working families in their states.
As of 2 days ago the following states, all with Republican governments, chose to not allow their unemployed citizens the additional funding. Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have all told their poor unemployed: Sorry, no extra help for you. Yesterday, Ohio joined the parade.
To be clear, this money comes from the federal government. Which means most of it comes from the “blue” states which have been subsidizing the “red ” states for years. So, I suppose, those of us who have been keeping the welfare states afloat should be happy. Less money being drained from us.
A semi-intelligent person (me, for example) might ask the question: Why would the leadership of a state refuse free help for the workers in that state?Working families who need temporary assistance to pay the bills. How does that benefit, say, Idaho?
The governors of those states have the answer. If you give these unemployed workers all this money, they will refuse to work. They will sit on their fat (ethnic) butts and do nothing. As we break this down to dollars and cents.
The additional $300 a month breaks down to $10 per day. $10 per day. So, the Republican governors believe (do they?) that an additional $10 a day will keep people from going back to work.The lazy bastards are just sitting around rather than going out and getting a job for $7.25 (as in Idaho) . How are businesses going to get workers for $ 7.25 an hour when the lazy bastards can sit home and make 10 bucks a day?!
I understand the philosophy behind this. After all, the GOP in these states support keeping wages low for the working poor and profits high for non-working rich. I respect that philosophy. It is as old as the grand old Confederacy. Crush workers. No unionization. No benefits. Keep a population completely dependent and willing to take any job at any wage just to survive. It is a long held noble philosophy of the right wing.
But, being a practical man, I do not understand one thing. The federal government is giving workers an additional $10 a day. What are they going to do with that extra money? Invest it in the stock market? Put it away in their “Yacht Savings Account”? Maybe spend it on a Disney World vacation?
I would suggest that this $10 a day would be spent immediately. At the local grocery store. At the auto mechanic. Paying the bill to the local utility company. Shoes for kids. A visit to the local doctor. All of this additional money would go directly into the local economy. Which would create…uh…more jobs.
So, congratulations to the GOP states. You have not only deprived your own citizens (Of course, you don’t see working people as “your” citizens). You have taken money out of local economies. Money that would help keep the local grocer, mechanic, etc. afloat. Hard to figure.
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TCN… The Trump Court Network. Follow all the lawsuits filed against the greatest 45th President of the United States. Charges of tax fraud in New York. Election tampering in Georgia. Inciting the riot in DC. Rape allegations. Payoffs to former “girl friends”. Get it all here . Don’t miss a moment of the trials. The verdict is in: TCN is a winner.
GDT… Gun Deaths Today. Approximately 100 Americans are murdered each day by guns. All kinds of wonderful guns. That’s an equivalent number of deaths caused by one terror attack on 9/11, each and EVERY MONTH. Yet, most stations only cover the big ones, the mass shootings. But mass shootings are just a small part of the story. Stop ignoring the little guy. Every day, the GDT will bring you as many of murders as possible. Including our TOP TEN innocents killed. Don’t be left out. Keep up with the ongoing story of murders in America on Gun Deaths Today.
EMT… EMergency room Traumas… It’s finally here. Your one stop channel for all the traumas caused by the bullets entering the flesh. Gun deaths are only part of the picture. One of the most ignored stories in America. Every year gun related traumas cost society over $1 billion. Thousands of hospital beds are taken up by injured citizens. Yet this great story goes unreported. Keep up. Maybe your local hospital will be featured on the Trauma of the Week.
ICE… Immigrant Criminal Everyday. Get the latest on all the crimes committed by immigrants. US citizens are 2 and a half times more likely to commit violent crimes than illegal immigrants. But don’t let the evidence fool you. There is still PLENTY of criminal activity by illegal immigrants. Many don’t even have driver’s licenses!! But the ICE will keep you up to date on the latest public intoxication, shoplifting, jaywalking and other immigrant crimes. All day, every day. ! (Note: If your current package already includes Fox News this network will be redundant).
TGC… Trump Golf Championships. Follow the golfing adventures of the 45th President of the United States as he tours the championship tournaments of his own golf courses. Over the years he has won more tournaments on his own course that any golfer, living or dead. Watch as he wins title after title. The only man to ever win a golf tournament that he didn’t show up for ! Watch as his opponents’ balls mysteriously end up in sand traps after appearing to land on the green. See how his shots which seem to enter the woods are miraculously located in the center of the fairway. Don’t miss a single shot.
PSAH… Politician Sex Abuse Hotline. Open 24 hours a day. This hotline is there for you to report the latest sexual assault by your local politician. Been grabbed by the pussy lately? Kissed on the neck? Have your tits rubbed? Your ass patted? Propositioned in a public toilet? Have a child who wondered why the big man wanted to do that? Just give the hotline a call. BUT, Please be patient , as our 56 operators are always busy with another caller.
FUQ… Fantasy Unlimited with Q’Anon. Our newest, most funnest game show. Contestants vie for big prizes trying to decide which story is real and which is a Q’Anon fantasy. Jews using lasers to start the California fires? Sasquatch illegally voting in Georgia? The Clintons running a child sex trafficking ring? Is Trump really still the president? These and other fantasies are explained. Then you, the viewer, can earn prizes while voting on the best fantasies. Prizes include Viking horn hats, pink replica AR-15s and tickets to the Matt Gaetz Childrens’ Show and Tell Circus.
VST… Voter Suppression Today. Every day another state passes laws suppressing the votes. How can we keep up? Is it Georgia? Is it Arizona? Ohio? Mississippi? So many states and so little time. The VST makes it easy. Every day we bring you Republican lawmakers explaining how they are preventing blacks, students and other undesirables from voting. Keep democracy white. Watch the VST and feel good for a change. But don’t forget to bring your own water!!
GMK… Gerry the Mander for Kids. What package would be complete without a channel for the kids? Follow the hilarious exploits of that goofy guy we all love, Gerry the Salamander. He contorts himself into all kinds of weird shapes and forms as he travels from state to state helping the lawmakers draw new districts that are “just right”. This lovable cartoon character has all the answers for the kids. How do you stay in power with just a few votes? How to pack districts to make sure you win? And the kids can play along and help Gerry fix election after election. Both fun and a learning experience!
I like to try to write parody. But lately I find myself unable to compete with “reality”. It is extremely frustrating to try to outdo the current bunch of loonies masquerading as normal folks. For example. A brief summary of what the CPAC and their loons find essential to our nation. I should note that at the first day of CPAC no one mentioned the Covid relief needed by Americans. Unemployment. War. All non-issues to the major conservative “thinkers”.
The Muppets. Evidently the Muppets are somehow central to the right wing philosophy. I recall in the past that the conservatives hated the Muppets for “indoctrinating” our children with political correctness, like diversity. But no longer. According to CPAC, the Muppets have been cancelled.
For some reason Disney, which now owns the Muppets, saw fit to issue a “warning” that some of the Muppet shows may deal with stereotyping. So, this warning , according to CPAC , means the Muppets are victims of “cancel culture”. I am sure Miss Piggy will not take this sitting down.
For sake of full disclosure, Disney put forth the same warnings on “the Aristocrats”, “Swiss Family Robinson”, “Peter Pan” and “Dumbo”.
So, this little disclaimer is one of the major issues at CPAC. I am not sure who is harmed by this disclaimer. I mean, we are talking about the Muppets. It is possible that the CPAC members don’t understand that the Muppets are not real people. The live their entire non-existent lives as colorful pieces of cloth with human hands manipulating their hands and arms and with a hand stuck up their butts. They have no brains. They have no independent motions… Oh, wait. I just figured out why the Trump supporting CPAC members find this offensive.
Then there is the strange case of Mr Potato Head. The demise of Mr Potato Head by Hasbro is, according to CPAC, another example of the skid of our society into the depths of despair. Canceling this American icon is tantamount to blowing up the sculpture of Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. The final example of political correctness gone amok. How dare the liberals, in the name of gender equality, throw spud into the fire? How dare Hasbro to make a hash out of national icon? The horror! Oh God! Au Gratin!
OK, so Hasbro did not really turn Mr Potato Head into fries. What Hasbro did was change their own logo from “MR.” Potato Head to just “Potato Head”. That’s it. A private company changed with the times. Mr Potato Head is still around, as is Mrs. Potato Head and even Baby Potato Head. Still, the major conservative political organization is outraged by this. This is a major issue !
I recall Mr Potato Head from my youth. I have always found him(?) to be strangely gender neutral. Being a curious youth and a more curious adult and a potato grower myself I have tried for years to identify the gender of Yukon Gold and Norland. To no avail. Search as I might, I have never been able to locate a penis or vagina on any spud. And believe me I have tried. Which makes me wonder. Is Mrs Potato Head simply a transvestite? A transgender veggie? Have our children been victimized for years by this liberal plot to make us immune to the realities of sexually ambiguous vegetables? At least cucumbers leave no doubt about sexual orientation.
Finally, PAC rolled out the parody of all parodies. The Golden Ass statute of their god. The Golden Trump. Complete with patriot red, white and blue panties. An icon worthy of worship. This organization devoted to personal freedom and independence bowing down to the golden icon of the golden con. The golden wheeler dealer on wheels. A false god worthy of worship by false conservatives.
At first I was certain this statue was a liberal trick. A joke meant to poke fun at the CPAC worship of the most anti-freedom former president since James Buchanan. Certainly this would exposed as an Al Franken stunt or a SNL skit. An obviously foolish jibe at the brainless, mindless followers of the Golden Khan.
But no. The golden statue is real. The complaints about the puppets are real. The outrage over the naming of a vegetable toy is real.
I consider myself a pretty smart guy. Well, folks that know me are quite aware that I consider myself a fantastically smart guy. And they are right.
But some things I don’t understand. Like Ted Cruz.
Ted is currently involved in a scandal. He flew out of Texas to go to Cancun with his family. In the middle of a major disaster for the people of his state. And he is being mocked for it. Mercilessly.
According to various reports, Ted is the most hated man in the Senate. By other Senators. Lindsey Graham once said that if someone killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate and the Senate was the place for the trial, the perpetrator would be found not guilty. Hey… that rings a bell.
Then there is the Green woman from Georgia. A Q’anoner. An absolute nutcase. A space laser from the Jews started the California fires kind of nutcase. Makes the birthers seem like geniuses.
What I do get. I get there are plenty of people out there who are on the wrong side of the River Normal. Who have climbed Mount Stupid and can’t figure out how to get back down. I get that. OK.
What I don’t get. I don’t get how so many seemingly ordinary people can send these certified idiots to lead our government. I don’t get how so many people think these loons are the people who should be making our laws.
Voter suppression. The power of money. I can think of all the possible reasons for these inferiors winning elections. But it does not add up . How can a majority of ANY GROUP of people in any district or any community think that folks like Ted Cruz or The Green Q are fit to be making our laws. Making our laws. The most important job in America. How can they think that is a good idea?
Many presidents give a farewell address when they leave office. Washington warned about entangling alliances for the young, weak republic. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex, whose power we see flexed daily. Clinton outlined his accomplishments and called for national unity.
Some of Mr Trump’s advisors have been encouraging him to follow suit. He should speak to the American people about his accomplishments and thoughts about the future.
One of the last members of the administration still working at the White House happens to be a dear friend. He is the advisor to the keeper of the First Lady’s closet and information director for the chauffeur of Don Trump , Junior’s wife’s mother. (A lot of vacancies at this time require multiple posts to be filled). He is also the top speech writer for Kelly Anne Conway, Sean Hannity, Bobo the Talking Chimp and President Trump. I know, it sounds redundant.
At any rate, he leaked the Trump “Final Address to the Nation by the Best President Ever and Ever Will Be. Maybe the Final, Maybe Not.””
My fellow Americans, 4 years ago I promised to rid this government of experts, intelligent advisors, men and women of character and decency. And I succeeded. MAGA.
My accomplishments, which are the best accomplishments ever in the history of the world are amazing. That’s not what I say. That’s what people say. Many fine people. So many people say that. So many.
I have transformed this country from one where decency and honest disagreements can be fought on the battle ground of ideas, to one where real patriots fight on the steps of the Capitol. I won. I won. I won.
My followers have shown us what America CAN be if we follow my path. From the torch lit nights in Charlottesville filled with many fine people, to the patriots who beat to death the police officer in the Capitol. From the knee on the neck of George Floyd to the cages used to house children ripped from their parents arms. Brown children. We are now living in MY America. I love em all. Give em hell.
But enough about me. Let me talk about my accomplishments over the last 4 years.
I have packed the court with radical judges that will, for generations to come, repress the liberty of women and the communists. No president has ever made so many judges. I don’t know many of them. But Mitch handed me a list and I did my duty. I did what I was told and how does he repay me!
I promised to build a wall to keep out the brown skinned Mexicans and others. I built over 400 miles. Well, I built 40 new miles, the other 360 miles was substituting new wall for barricades that already existed. And Mexico is paying for it. I promise. We are paying these wonderful contractors now, but eventually Mexico will pay. They will. Eventually. Just like I promised.
I hired the best cabinet ever. With no regard for expertise, training or capability, I assembled a cabinet full of sycophants, liars, grifters and clowns never seen before in America. A millionaire Education secretary that knew nothing about education. Some Chinese woman married to Mitch who knew nothing about transportation. Some black guy who used to be a doctor, I put him in charge of Housing for the Negroes. (That’s why the Negroes love me). And a few of my appointees still have NOT been indicted for grifting . The BEST people. MAGA
I became good friends with Kim Jung Un and now he has promised to end his nuclear program. I love that little guy. He just added some nukes on submarines and is developing short range missiles that can hit targets in South Korea. And long range ones to target the USA. But he promised not to use them. A victory for me. Anyway, that’s Biden’s problem.
I took us out of the Climate Change Agreements and Iran nuclear deal. A couple hoaxes . Now, the evil Iranians are developing new nuclear capabilities, just as I predicted. And there is no climate change, it’s still winter in some places. I don’t see any polar bears in Florida, do you? Duh. Two more victories for me.
Now, about the economy. In my first 3 years, BEFORE the Chinese virus, my massive tax breaks to the wealthy created almost as many jobs as the Negro did in his last three years. Almost. And I leave you with the highest unemployment data since the Great Depression !! The so-called experts said it couldn’t be done, but I am the first president in modern times to leave office with fewer Americans employed than when he took office ! MAGA
I told you that fake pandemic would disappear and it has. Almost 400,000 dead Americans, and with each death another virus dies. That’s how you kill a virus. Plus, I had the virus and now it is gone! So, what’s the problem? The Chinese virus was just an attempt to make me look bad. It has disappeared from all my speeches and comments. Where is it? Where did it go? Who knows? Can’t find it.
As in regard to my good friend, Vlad Putin. We had many great meetings. People said they were the best meetings ever. Imagine that? The best ever. No one gives Vlad better meetings than me. No one. Even the Politiburo said so. I wish I could share with you the notes for those meetings. But they got lost.
So, as I leave the White House as the first president elected TWICE in a landslide I leave you with this thought. In 1923 a patriot in Bavaria named Adolph led a mob and tried to violently overthrow the government. He failed. He went to prison but was quickly pardoned. 10 years later he became the chancellor of the German republic.
So take heart. Anything is possible in politics. And keep those torches burning, it ain’t over by a long shot. MAGA
Gabriel Sterling is outraged. He is the Republican commissioner of elections in Georgia and he is mad. He is angry with Donald Trump and the Republican members of the US Senate. He has had enough! Some of what he has said:
“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions,” Sterling said, visibly angry. “This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”
Ouch! Calling out the POTUS. Why? Well, there has been a campaign of lies and disinformation about the Georgia election. Trump has even attacked REPUBLICAN leaders in Georgia. There have been death threats against election workers. Just guys doing their job.
And Sterling is mad as hell. A performance for the ages. Angry. How dare Mr Trump attack fellow Republicans? How dare Trump not condemn calls for violence against elected Republican officials? Finally, someone stands up for decency!
A Sterling Performance.
I have no doubt that Mr Sterling is sincere in his anger. His anger about lies. About calls for violence, no matter how thinly veiled. Mad as hell. Of course, Mr Sterling has made it clear that he supports Trump and his policies. He supports the two corrupt GOP candidates for the Senate in Georgia, as well. But he is mad as hell that Trump and his supporters are attacking Republicans.
But… I wonder where Mr Sterling has been over the last 5 years?
Where was his anger at the lies told by Trump about President Obama and where he was born. Birtherism?
Where was his anger when Trump led chants of “Lock Her Up” proposing that his opponent in the 2016 election be jailed?
Where was his outrage when Trump claimed massive voter fraud in 2016 but provided not evidence?
Where was his anger when Trump targeted Muslims as enemies of the US?
Where was his anger when Mr trump complimented racists at Charlottesville as very good people?
Where was his anger when Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals?
Where was his outrage when Trump engaged in a policy of ripping children from their parents at the border and shipping them across the country to be lost in the system?
Where was his outrage when Trump called on his supporters to “rebel” against the governor of Michigan?
Where was his anger at Mr Trump using the US government to try to force the president of Ukraine to make up false information about Joe Biden?
Where was his anger as thousands of Americans die for covid-19 while the corrupt president golfs?
And I could go on and on and on.
A Sterling performance. And typical of a political party that will accept any corruption. Any language. And lies. Anything goes.
As long as they are aimed at “the other”. As long as the targets are Democrats or liberals or blacks or Muslims.
I was looking for a contractor to dig a new foundation the other day and I came across Amy Coney Barrett. Contractor extraordinaire. Referred by Don the Con Construction Advisory Panel. So I had her come in and do an estimate.
Me: Hello Amy, I am happy to see you. So, what is your experience as a contractor?
Amy: I am certified as a contractor by Home Advisor and the Federalist Society.
Me: OK. So, need you to provide some references.
Amy: Certainly, just look at my website. It is all about me .
Me: I did that already. Yes, well your website says you are a contractor and that you are an honest contractor. No examples of your work. But, do you have any references from places you have done work for in the past?
Amy: That is a good question. I am well aware that references exist and that references are something that all contractors should have. However, divulging references at this point may prematurely influence your decision to hire me. However, at some time in the future I may or may not divulge references.
Me: I see. Well how many foundations have you dug and what kinds of materials do you use?
Amy: Excellent, thoughtful question. As you may or may not know, there are many types of foundations. It is important to find the type of foundation that best fits every individual’s needs. Some foundations are better than others. There are a variety of styles of foundations. As well as sizes.
Me: Ok. So what kind of foundations have you constructed in the past.
Amy: I would like to answer that question as fully as possible. I am certified to build foundations of many types and styles. At this time I cannot really commit to any one foundation, although I can assure you that I will faithfully build a foundation. Foundations are the foundation upon which buildings are built. Before I can discuss a foundation I will need you to sign my contract. Here is my contract.
Me: (Reading the contract). Hmm. Ok, it says here that I am hiring you for life. That is a pretty big commitment.
Amy: Yes. Before I can start to explain what a foundation is and what I may or may not build, I need a lifetime commitment from you that I will be the sole contractor you ever hire. And I will be paid regularly, of course, for the rest of my life. Whether or not I actually build any foundation is not the issue. It is the lifetime guarantee of employment that is important.
Me: I see. Well, so, can you tell me what you plan to build the foundation out of, before I sign the contract. And are there any guarantees on my end?
Amy: That is a good question. I would like to explain to you exactly what I do and how I will do it. However, to do so may influence how I make my foundation building decisions in the future. Certainly that would be unfair to any future construction. Premature. Just sign.
Me: Well, what about guarantees? What if the foundation collapses or leaks?
Amy: Interesting point. In the past there have been some contractors who would guarantee their work. In that case there is a guarantee. In other cases there is no guarantee. I feel it is premature to discuss any guarantee until you have signed and returned the contract to me. At that time I may, or may not, discuss guarantees.
Me: What about foundations you have dug in the past? Can you give me some addresses so I can look at them.
Amy: A very astute question. Which I think I already answered. Delving into the past is not needed. Whatever I may or may not have built in the past is not important. What is important is the future. I keep an open mind on each foundation I dig. If I dig foundations. Which I do. Or maybe I don’t .Can’t discuss it until the contract is signed.
Me: So, you want me to give you a job for life even though I have no idea how you are going to build a foundation or if you will guarantee your work. Or even if you will show up at all?
Amy: Well, to be clear. As I said in the past and I will say in the future. A contract is a contract and a guarantee is a guarantee. That said, I cannot commit at this time to the actual building of the foundation until the contract is signed. At that point I will open to discussions of all contractual arrangements.
Me: What if the foundation collapses and harms or kills my wife or kids.
Amy: That is a good question and I would like to discuss it now. However, any discussion of possible damages or injuries may be premature. There is nothing in the original Constitution that requires me to build a foundation that will not collapse. I refer you the the original document.
Me: Ok. Sounds like a good deal to me. I will give you a lifetime contract. You will not answer any questions about your past foundations or plans for building my foundation. You accept no responsibility for faulty work. I guess I could sign.
Amy: Good. Sign here and here and here. Ok. I will be back sometime in the future to perhaps perform a function for which you will pay me for the rest of my life. As for now, I have another appointment. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
Me: Thanks Amy. Sure is good to know I am in the hands of an honest professional.
I went to a Catholic elementary school. In the 1950s and 60s. Not just any school but one that was run by a group of nuns. Not just any nuns but nuns of the most traditional variety. Nuns who would have collected firewood for the fires of the Inquisition. Some may have.
The school was pretty strict. How strict was it? Well, a former guard at a Nazi death camp applied for a job as security but was rejected as being too soft. He ended up in tears after the job interview.
Of all the nuns, the one stand out was Sister Brutalitica. I don’t dare use her real name. She may have passed away by now but I am not taking any chances.
I bring this up because I watched the debate last night between Donald J Trump and Joe Biden. As I watched the constant interruptions and rudeness by the commander-in-chief I was stuck by how weak Chris Wallace was.
He was the moderator. He was in charge. The Trump and Biden campaigns had spent months pounding out the rules for the debate. Rules both sides agreed to. Wallace had one job. Ask questions and keep the debate on track.
To his credit, Wallace asked some very insightful questions. He went after the weaknesses of both candidates. He asked for specifics. But he failed miserably to control Donald. So, as was his plan, the president did everything in his power NOT to have a debate. He just wanted to insult and aggravate. Wallace was flummoxed.
So, I said to myself, what if?
What if this debate was moderated by Sister Brutalitica.
The first time Trump interrupted Biden I can see the good sister standing up and glaring. The glare of death. The glare of power. Her squinty eyes boring a hole in Trump’s thick skull. She says ‘Behave”.He shuts up.
The next time Trump interrupts Biden the good sister stands up again. This time she walks over to Trump. She stands toe to toe in front of him. She is five feet tall and still looks down on Donald. She looks him in the eyes : “Last chance”. He withers under her presence. He behaves.
The next time Trump interrupts Biden the good sister again stands up. She says not a word. Slowly and deliberately she strolls over to Donald. The entire room is silent. Anticipating. Hesitation. Beads of sweat form on Trump’s big head . Then, like a rattler waiting in the grass, she strikes.
Trump’s cheek reddens as he feels the back of the good sister’s hand. His carefully glued coiffure do springs up revealing the balding noggin. Sudden. Swift. Violent. He staggers backwards. He grasps the podium to keep his balance. Sister Brutalitica whispers quietly. “That’s it. No more”.
Trump, being who he is, continues to interrupt.
Oops. Now the nun is angry. Mad. Now, if you have never seen a mad nun consider yourself blessed by the Almighty. Cujo on steroids. Hannibal Lecter times three. Mussolini would hide. Pol Pot would slip quietly into the night.
Sister Brutalitica flies across the room. Her feet never touch the ground. A blur of black robes, dangling rosary beads and the “weapon”. The ruler. Not just any ruler. A custom made solid oak ruler. Monogrammed. Notched. A ruler never used to measure inches or feet. A ruler designed with one purpose. To bust knuckles. A wooden sword of justice. To keep the peace. To institute “law and order.” Known only as “The Ruler”.
No one knows what happened to Donald. We heard the crack of oak on skin. We sensed the knuckles breaking. We heard the cries and whimpers. We saw a tiny hand on the scruff of the neck. In a flash we saw an orange head connected to a bloated body go flying off the stage.
The debate was over.
Chris Wallace, take a lesson. Law and order, Sister Brutalitica style.
Kamala Harris has been chosen by Joe Biden to be his running mate in this election. Watching MSNBC , the liberal Democratic news channel, people are euphoric. She is , after all, a good, solid, intelligent choice. The obvious choice.
According to the talking heads she will only add to Biden’s upcoming victory. And beyond that, she is now in place to be the first woman president of the United States. They all agree, when Biden’s 4 years are up, he will relinquish the crown to Kamala.
She will then be elevated into the highest elective office in the land.
That is the “cart” of the current euphoric liberal Democrats. It’s in the bag. The presidency of Kamala Harris is inevitable. She’s in the cart.
Problem. Where is the horse?
In 2016 the “brain trusts” of the Hillary Clinton campaign put the cart before the horse. I recall in the last weeks of the campaign they were focusing on Arizona, a deeply red state. They wanted a big victory. And the polls (except for the LA Times) and pundits had only one question. How big was the victory going to be? By how much would she bury Donald Trump?
(One of the members of the Clinton brain trust was Donna Brazile. The same Donna Brazile who was the campaign manager for the failed Gore presidential bid. A man who lost his home state. Brilliant strategy. The same Brazile who worked on the Mondale campaign. He lost. The same Brazile who worked on the Gephardt campaign. He lost. the same Brazile who worked on the Dukakis campaign . A man who at one point held a 55-38% lead on George Bush. He lost. The same Brazile who worked on the Jackson campaign. He lost. Do you detect a pattern here? And after Hillary lost in 2016 Brazile changed jobs. The 5 time loser was hired as an expert. She became a commentator on the Fox News network).
Back to 2016. The Democratic brain trust did not send Clinton to Michigan. They did not get out the vote. Why not? It was in the cart. They did not have her campaign late in the election in Wisconsin. No problem. In the cart. Not in Pennsylvania. We got this. No worries. In the cart. Relax, it’s in the cart.
The brain trusts of the Hillary campaign were so sure of victory that they rented a massive hall with a “glass ceiling”. This was going to be an historic victory. The glass ceiling was going to be busted through. Smashed. The polls (except for the LA Times) were clear. And, to be sure, the American people overwhelmingly voted for Hillary. They were in the cart.
And the cart sat there. Full of hubris. The cart sat there as the votes came in. Full of the brain trusts. The cart sat there. The glass ceiling stayed intact. The cart was going nowhere.
Only one problem. Where is the horse? Who was supposed to bring the horse? What happened to the horse? We need a horse! But the brain trust had left open the barn door.
Good old Mr Ed was making a speech in Wisconsin. Whirlaway was away eating grass in a field in Ohio. Seabiscuit was out to lunch in Michigan. Secretariat was on vacation in Moscow. Hubris doesn’t pull a cart.
So, before we anoint Kamala Harris as the 47th president of the United States, perhaps we need to put first things first. Instead of a coronation we should harness up the workhorses and make sure the votes are counted in 2020. First things first. One step at a time.
Be excited. Yes. Be confident. Yes. Be hopeful, Yes. But leave the hubris behind. Don’t ask the advice of Donna Brazile. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
Mr Trump, who has not allowed any opposition within the GOP to his nomination, has to decide where to make his acceptance speech. According to news sources has has narrowed down his choices to the White House and Gettysburg. Two of the most important sites in US history.
However, I have learned though White House sources that these are not the only two places under consideration. The White House brain trust of Donald Junior, Ivanka, Jeb the night janitor and Bobo the One Eyed chimp are looking at other options and their pros and cons. They have formed a committee to investigate the possible itinerary for the speech, the Committee to Investigate Territory Now, (Comintern). I was able to speak with the most articulate member of the Committee, Bobo just last night.
Me: Hi Bobo. So, have a banana. What can you tell me about the possible speech sites?
Bobo: Hoot..hoot…hoot. (Through our interpreter, Jane) We have good sites. Many good sites.
Me: For example, what is on your list?
(Note : For simplification the rest of Bobo’s account will eliminate his actual words or hoots. They are the words of the Interpreter. Also, for clarification, Bobo did consume 3 bunches of bananas during the process)
Bobo: First thought was Mount Rushmore. Maybe taking a jack hammer to Lincoln to make room for a carving of the best president ever. Imagine. Donald Trump making the speech below a massive carving of Donald Trump. It boggles.
Me: So, what else?
Bobo: Then we thought, well, this was Ivanka’s idea, maybe fly to China. Have a great photo op in one of Ivanka’s purse factories. Donald could be surrounded by smiling faces of happy kids . Happy because they have a 30 minute break (unpaid, of course). But Xi would not agree. So that got nixed.
Me: So, other options?
Bobo: We tossed around the idea of Florida. Anywhere in Florida. At any hospital. Donald would go into a Covid-19 ICU and spray the patients with Clorox bleach. Show some real leadership fighting the pandemic. But no hospital would give us permission. Something about the Hippocratic Oath. Guess there are a lot of hypocrites in Florida.
Me: So, that one went down the tubes. Any other possibilities?
Bobo: Donald Junior suggested a golf course. One of Trump’s own golf courses. What symbolizes a connection with the white working class better than a country club? Donald would drive out in a gold plated golf cart onto the first tee. He would be followed by Pence in a silver plated golf cart. Pence would lie down on the tee box, balance a golf ball on his nose and Donald would smack it into the fairway. Then, they would ride down to the green of the first hole, Pence always 5 lengths behind Donald. Donald would drive his cart right up to the hole, lean down and take out a golden golf ball with MAGA emblazoned on it. Then give the best speech ever. We had a minor problem when we practiced this one. Pence is still recovering at Walter Reed hospital. Thank god for Obamacare.
Me: Well, Bobo, I hate to say it, but you guys really haven’t come up with much.
Bobo: Think not? You haven’t heard our back up emergency plan.
Me: Emergency plan?
Bobo: Yep, if Donald keeps dropping in the polls. And if the Manhattan district attorney gets a hold of Trump’s tax returns. We will fly the entire family along with Roger Stone and Bill Barr to the Kremlin. Kindly ask permission for an audience with Donald’s boss. Then the Donald will drop to his knees and deliver his farewell address at the feet of Vlad. It’s the last resort, of course. But certainly an option.
Me: Well, if that happens there will be a lot of angry Americans. And even more happy ones.
Bobo: No kidding. One thing for sure. Once we land in Moscow, they will never see Air Force One again. Pass that banana over here, would ya?
In the early 19th century a man named John Chapman wandered around Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states planting orchards. Orchards of apples. As time went on and stories about his life changed he became a legend.
Images and stories of Chapman wandering across the country flinging apple seeds hither and yon. Creating orchards in his wake. So John Chapman earned the nickname of “Johnny Appleseed”. An American folk hero.
Of course there is a lot of truth in these stories. Johnny did plant orchards of apple trees. Then he protected them from wild animals by fencing, as any good horticulturalist would do. He did travel across many states. He did spread apples across the “western”states.
Those seeds took root. He came out every year and tended those orchards. He made sure his wide ranging plantings were protected and managed. It worked. In the early 19th century clean water was not easy to come by. Which is why “cider” was a popular drink. The trees Johnny planted were not good for eating apples, but were great for cider. A real public service.
Now, on the internet, we have a new Johnny Appleseed. His name is Vladimir. He trolls through the vast web of on line information and plants the seeds. The seeds of dissent. The seeds of doubt. Flinging them hither and yon. Hoping they take root.
He is seeding and tending orchards of misinformation. Of false news. Of divisive, negative nonsense. He pretends he is a black man and sows seeds trying to divide blacks from whites. He pretends he is a Democrat or a Republican and sows seeds of hatred for the other side. He pretends he is a doctor and sows seeds of confusion concerning Covid-19. And it is working. Americans are confused. Divided as never before.
It worked in 2016 and it is working today. Vladimir Appleseed planted the misinformation of “Clinton Corruption” in 2016 and many folks devoured the apples. I recall doing a “search” on the name “Hillary Clinton” during the campaign. At one point the first 2 pages of links were all about the Clinton “health issues”
Of course, there were no health issues. But seeding the internet with false reports and bots, Vladimir Appleseed was able to push Clinton “health issues” to the top of the Google research pages. Because stories are placed in the order of how many others have clicked on the site. Not based on accuracy, just numbers. It worked.
So, Vladimir Appleseed is at it again. Joe Biden is some kind of child molester. Joe Biden has mental issues. Joe Biden is some kind of crook with contacts with the Ukraine. It’s all out there. Joe Biden is a racist. Joe Biden is a socialist. Seeded.
Now, Johnny Appleseed is an American hero. He was a fine man who spread the “good news”of apple trees. An overwhelmingly positive force. Except.
Except. John Chapman also planted a medicinal herb called “dogfennel”. An invasive, quick growing plant that has a certain odor. Unfortunately dogfennel is also poisonous. John didn’t know it, but he was spreading the seeds of poison as well as the seed of cider.
Johnny Appleseed spread apples and dogfennel. A great crop and a poisonous plant.
Vladimir Appleseed has skipped the apples and gone straight to the dogfennel. He knows exactly what he is doing. Spreading the seeds. The lies. the misinformation. And people are unaware of its poisonous properties.
A friend of mine, Diogenese Lamplighter, was walking around with a big smile on his face. Which is quite unusual for him. So, being curious and always willing to throw a blanket over happiness , I had to intervene.
Me: Dio, old boy. What have you got to smile about?
Dio: Well, cranky one, I have finally reached my goal. I have found an honest man. Just one. But he is an honest man.
Me: Needless to say, Dio, I am a bit skeptical. A truly honest man? Are you sure or have you been hitting ouzo again?
Dio: A man who tells it like it is. No bullshit. He says what he means and means what he says. Total honesty.
Me: Wow. Where did you find this guy? In a monastery or church…wait.. of course not. Hmm. In a cave somewhere far away from civilization? Where, oh, wise one, where?
Dio: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.
Me: OK. Let me google map that…hmmm… hey… wait a minute, Dio, that’s the White House! You mean there is someone in the White House who is an honest man? That would be a first.
Dio: Oh yes. A completely honest man. A man who hides nothing.
Me: (kind of excited now, which doesn’t happen much) Who? Who? Jared? No way. Maybe Steve Miller? Nah, can’t be. I know, I know..it’s got to be Barron? Right?
Dio: No, my foolish, disillusioned friend, it is none other than Donald J Trump, President of the United States.
Me: Sheesh. Now I KNOW you have been not only hitting the ouzo but also soaked the grape leaves in too much white wine. Trump? Honest? Give me a break.
Dio: I will do better. I will give you my analysis. After all these years of searching for an honest man, it has only been Donald J Trump, President of the United States, who has dared to speak the truth.
Me: But… but… he is a racist, a xenophobe, a climate change denier… even some Republicans don’t like him.
Dio: Oh, but you are missing the point. For the last 40 years the Republican party has done everything it legally can to support big business. At the expense of workers. And at the expense of the small business owner. They have pretended to care about workers but oppose the minimum wage. They say they want health care but have opposed health care reforms for years. They are in court right now, trying to destroy the ACA. As Mr Reagan said, in the eyes of the GOP the “government is the problem”. Because “government” is the only thing preventing corporations from driving out small business and keeping wages low.
Me: Well, I don’t know. Seems to me that the GOP over the last 40 years have just been advocating for following the Constitution.
Dio: Did the Constitution say corporations are “persons”? Or that voting should be suppressed? Or that black folks should not have equal protection under the law? Or that the post office should be destroyed? Or prisons privatized?
Me: So, what is your point?
Dio: My point is that the Republican party has been a party of racism (remember the Willie Horton ad), bigotry, sexism and anti-working man and anti-small business for at least 40 years. But they pretend to be otherwise. I mean, how can you win an election if you tell people that you’re main motivation is to screw them? How can you win an election if you tell folks ahead of time that you are giving millionaires massive tax breaks because it is good for people making $7.25 an hour (the minimum wage)? How can you win an election by telling working people that they would be better off without government protection of their water? But Trump. He is honest.
Me: So , you are saying that Trump just says what the GOP has been afraid to say? But that they really do support him and his racism and misogyny and general disdain for science and working people?
Dio: DUH. Mr Trump just says out loud what the GOP has been saying, with their policies, for the last 40 years. Now, I admit, he is a bit more vulgar than many in the GOP would like, but he has given them the government they want. Corrupt. Racist. Incompetent. Authoritarian.
Dio: I can snuff out the flame on my lamp. Finally, an honest man.
Congratulations to this years winner of the Mis Education contest. Before we announce this years winner let’s have a look at winners in the past.
In the past one of our winners had been the CEO of a Chicago school system. With a history of involvement in providing education to under privileged kids.
Also in the past we had a winner who was the Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Texas. An educator with a long history of working in education.
On the other hand, a number of previous winners have been political hacks who have had no background in education. In fact, of the 10 previous winners of the Mis Education contest only one had actually been a classroom teacher. Most were lawyers, political operatives or just folks with nothing else to do.
Which brings us to this year’s winner.
Mis Education comes from a background of being born wealthy. After attending a religious high school and college she went on to marry into the millions. Betsy Prince (yes, THAT Prince) became Betsy De Vos. The DeVos fortune based on AMWAY.
Despite this spousal inheritance she did not rest on her laurels. Or her husband’s family’s pyramid. She worked very hard to dismantle the public school system and transfer tax dollars from public to private schools. At the same time she was able to run the Republican Party in her home state.
She went on to invest some of the $ 5 billion family wealth (somewhere between $5-25,000,000) in a company to help kids. This company, Neurocore, uses biofeedback and nice films to treat a variety of childhood problems. According to Neurocore it can reduce the symptoms of autism and ADHD, without drugs.
Using the special Neurocore techniques the company website has pointed out that it is also a treatment for anxiety.And who doesn’t have anxiety. Another problem Neurocore attacks is depression. Also traumatic brain injury and sleep disorders. Stress? Gotcha.
What about folks like me? Well, it looks like Neurocore also treats Alzheimers and dementia. A cradle to grave solution for just about any mental disability or problem. The Neurocore website is replete with “reviews” by satisfied consumers.
However, if you look very carefully at the small, (did I say small?), at the tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the Neurocore website you will see that the product makes no claim that it can actually “cure” any conditions listed. So, while the product can be used to TREAT these disabilities, it does not cure them. Okey-dokey.
Well, this years winner of the Mis Education contest is a major shareholder in this wonderful company.
The truth in advertising website, however, found that Neurocore had to change its advertising claims because, well, there was no evidence to back up the claims of the $2,000 program.
“The problem for Neurocore, however, is that a recent review by NAD found that the company does not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate any of its health-related advertising claims. NAD reviewed more than 21 studies submitted by Neurocore as evidence that its neurofeedback brain training program could treat, cure, and/or alleviate the symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, memory problems, migraines and sleep issues. NAD concluded in a 17-page opinion that none of the studies submitted by Neurocore adequately supported the medical treatment claims being made by the company. As a result, NAD recommended that Neurocore stop making the following type of marketing claims…..”
So, this year’s winner of the Mis Education contest for the 4th year in a row is our own Betsy De Vos. Never one to let evidence, data or experience as a teacher get her way, Mrs. De Vos as once again won the prestigious award.
In defense of Mrs. De Vos, the Secretary of Education position has a long history of being held by scammers and non-educators. No teachers need apply. Makes sense. After all, you wouldn’t want the Pentagon run by soldiers, would you?
So, $600,000,000,000 (that’s $600 billion) has gone missing. Well, not really missing. Somebody has it. That’s the money that was earmarked for small businesses to help them get through the covid-19 pandemic.
The money Congress appropriated. Legal. Now, in order to get some of this money a business had to fill out an application. An application which made it clear that this money was not given in secret. No right to privacy. After all, its the taxpayers money you are getting.
Then something strange happened. My good friend, Stephen Mnuchin , Secretary of the Treasury, has decided the American people do not have the right to know what happened to those $600,000,000,000. (That’s billion).It’s secret. Hush. Hush money?
So, I called Steve and asked him about it.
Me: Hello Steve, how’s the trophy wife?
Steve: HA HA , you wish. She’s fine.
Me: What about this $600 billion dollars you gave away. Where did it go?
Steve: None of your business. Top secret. Private. No one needs to know. Trust me. It has all gone to a good cause.. or two.
Me: But shouldn’t the taxpayers know how their money is being spent? You know, oversight? Transparency?
Steve: Joe, Joe, Joe. You crack me up. I am the Secretary of the Treasury. It’s MY money, you silly guy…. (end of conversation)..
So, I say to myself, you know. Steve has the right idea. I think (and this is where I always get into trouble) I might try this in my own house. Not being as frugal as my better half, I have absolutely no savings. But, lucky spouse that I am, Betsy has a few bucks tucked away.
Being a rather charming and eloquent guy, I convinced Betsy to “loan” me $3,000 from her savings. She, of course, wanted to know why I needed the cash. I assured her that there are MANY things that need to be done around the house. And I was planning on putting the money to good use. It is probable that visions of painting rooms, fixing gutters and rewiring the basement flittered through her imagination. Who was I to dismiss such fantasies?
Anyhow. A week later.
Betsy: So, what have you bought with the money I gave you?
Me: Essentials. Things we needed. And I provided. I’m a provider.
Betsy: What, specifically.
Me: All kinds of good things. Things to make our household great again. Things you would approve of. Wonderful things.
Betsy: Look, Buster. I want specifics. What did you spend my 3,000 bucks on? And it better be good.
Me: Well, as my good friend Stephen Mnuchin says, you really don’t need to know. I consider it private . Let’s call it proprietary information. Need to know basis. None of your business, my dear. You are out of the loop, darling…… (end of conversation)…
An hour later, after I had time to staunch the bleeding in my nose and the ice pack on my left eye had melted, I hobbled out to the car. With tears in my eyes I drove back to Golfer’s World and reluctantly returned the $3,000 set of golf clubs and accoutrements.
As I was leaving the store I saw Steve and his wife exiting Alfredo’s Luxury Furs. Now, to be precise it was not his first wife, Kathyrn. Or his second wife, Heather. No. It was his third wife, Louise. And she was sporting a very fine Ocelot skin jacket. They made a very attractive couple.
Me: Hey, Steve, I was just wondering where…. (he interrupted, raising his hand)…
I live in the country in western New York about 5 miles from a small town. There has been some controversy over the Facebook pages for this town. It got so bad that the mayor and others set up a new Facebook page.
What seems to happen on Facebook is that people get progressively ruder and ruder. Folks who would give you the shirt off their backs turn into folks who would shoot you in the back. People who would gladly buy you a drink turn into folks who would poison your coffee. Now why is that?
As in all things, I have my theories. Not original by any means.
One idea is the fact that Facebook is largely anonymous. But that’s not really the case here. Most folks use their real names (I think). I use mine. So, anonymity cannot be the reason.
Another idea is that communication is much more than words. But Facebook, except for the lame emojis, is all words. Words. And not spoken words, but written words. Now, psychologists will tell us that 70-93% of all communication is “non-verbal”. That is, body language. Voice inflection. What a person looks like. Tone of voice. Etc. (Although that number has been challenged as too high by some researchers).
So, if that is true it would mean that the written word is only 30% of what is being communicated. The rest you have to figure out. This may be where the problem rests.
My friends know that I tend to be sarcastic (Tend?) So, when I SPEAK my tone will tell them that. Even when I write my blog or posts people who know me know that I may be ironic or intentionally dramatic. Hyperbolic. Not totally serious. But, someone who only reads the words I write may come away with an entirely different perception. They don’t get the humor. No subtlety.
I mean, just today someone responded to one of my rather feeble attempts at sarcastic humor by calling me (or I should say, “writing to me”) a “fu…ing idiot.”
To be clear. I am not now, nor ever have, claimed I am NOT a “fu…ing idiot.” I could very well be a “fu…ing idiot.” God knows, if you took a poll of the people who know me best, the results may be conclusive in a way that I would not prefer. But whether I am or am not a “fu….ing idiot” is not the point.
The point is that IN PERSON I doubt that anyone would call me a “fu…ing idiot” right to my face. At least not until they got to know me. On Facebook and other discussion sites people often make assumptions beyond the words. And base their responses on preconceived notions, based on , well, “baseless” assumptions.
I will be the first to admit that I am not immune. As a liberal who believes in the necessity of social programs I have a particular point of view. I start from a place based on my own life experiences and analysis of the systems within which we live. I try to use research and information from good sources.
For example, when I worked as a poll watcher I worked with Republicans. We have very different ideas about government, society and the role of government in that society. Yet, we were able to be pleasant, even joking, with each other for a day at the polls. As human beings, face to face, we did not devolve into name-calling “fu…ing idiots”.
Yet, when I get on some of these posts I morph . Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde. Or is it Heckel and Jeckel? I confuse the two. Reading someone else’s post can immediately put me into antagonistic mode. Arguments ensue. When that happens I notice that each side tries to cherry-pick a point or two that they see as the weakness in the other’s position. A little information is a dangerous thing. Taking a word or brief quote or statistic out of context can be a sword, but not a very useful one. Unless the only goal is to stab.
And that sometimes devolves into insults, open or veiled. Now, I don’t mind if someone IMPLIES that I am stupid. Or uninformed. As long as they can demonstrate they have evidence from a legitimate source to educate me. And as long as they are open to my evidence to the contrary.
This is where a breakdown occurs. A matter of sources. When people are getting their “information” from biased or questionable sources it means communication of other viewpoints becomes near impossible. I admit my main sources of information are the old stand bys. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The New Yorker. The Atlantic. Why these? Because all these sources have strong reputations for properly vetting information before they print it. That doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. But it means that as sources go you can be assured that there was no rush to print. And you can assume multiple sources for stories.
I had an online argument with a lady who simply said that she would not read the New York Times since they were not trustworthy. OK. Then we really can’t talk, because there is no common ground of evidence to discuss. (I want to make a distinction between the NY Times news and the NY Times EDITORIAL board. The editorial board tends to be liberal, no doubt. But the editorial board has no influence on the news sections).
So, can we discuss important issues on Facebook in a civil manner? I don’t know. But I do know that Facebook has a handy feature called “blocking”. I have blocked a couple people recently. Not because I disagree with them. Not because I don’t like their ideas. Not because they are always wrong and I am always right. I blocked them because they personally attacked me and one called me a “fu…ing idiot”.
And calling me a “fu…ing idiot” is reserved for family and friends.
I admit I did not know that the US had at least 10 military bases dedicated to traitors. 10 bases paid for by taxpayers of the USA dedicated to men who fought to destroy the USA. Learn something new every day.
Part 1. The list of LOSERS:
Beauregard … he was a Confederate leader who, after the war called for equal rights for blacks. That made him unique among the former Confederates honored by forts.
Benning… he wrote a speech explaining that the reason for the secession was to preserve slavery.
Bragg… known as the worst commander on either side of the war.
Gordon… known as one of the probable founders of the KKK in Georgia.
AP Hill… suffered from VD. Demanded to be buried standing up.
Hood… spoke about the “invincibility ” of the Confederate military.
Lee… opposed giving blacks the vote after the war.
Pickett.. his charge into union lines goes down as one of the stupidest military maneuvers in US history. A charge he watched from the safety of the rear.
Polk… an ordained bishop. Injured when the massive cannon named after his wife “Lady Polk” exploded when tested.
Rucker… only major commander who managed to get captured by the enemy.
Part 2. Mr Trump objects to renaming these forts after loyal American generals and soldiers. Men and women who fought in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Plenty of American soldiers who covered themselves with honor fighting for the USA, not against it.
Since Mr Trump seems enamored of America’s enemies who we have defeated over the years, I suggest we rename some of the other forts to honor those who fought against the ideas of freedom for all.
Rename West Point (NY) to Fort Benedict Arnold.
Rename Fort Grant (AZ) to Fort Adolph Hitler.
Rename Fort Nathan Hale (CT) to Fort Himmler.
Rename Fort Sherman (ID) to Fort Ho Chi Minh.
Rename Fort Sheridan (IL) to Fort Putin.
Rename Fort Defiance (KS) to Fort Saddam Hussein.
Rename Fort Sullivan (ME) to Fort bin Laden.
Rename Fort McHenry (MD) to Fort Goebbels.
Rename Fort Revere (MA) to Fort Kim Jung Un
And, of course, Rename Fort Washington (NH) to Fort Donald J Trump
I was watching an interview with Joe Biden on MSNBC last night. Also, on the show was the Georgian Democrat, Stacy Abrams. There seems to be a push by some on the left to make her Biden’s vice presidential candidate. That, in my opinion, would be a massive mistake. She is a nice enough lady but lacks the experience and recognition that Biden needs in a running mate.
So, I got to thinking. Always a unique and dangerous activity.
Want to watch Rush Limbaugh’s massive cranium blown apart like a giant pumpkin after a meeting with a shotgun blast?
How would you like to see Sean Hannity whining and crying (well, that’s nothing new) like a 3 year old as his noggin develops nodules and the bile spills out?
How about seeing the three Fox and Friends taking turns running in circles and jumping up and down like Mexican jumping beans (ILLEGAL Mexican jumping beans) while their noodles wilt like ice cubes in the sun.
Picture Lindsey Graham pouting, shouting, pounding, sounding, kazooming and glooming while his cranium is crushed like an anvil dropping on Wiley Coyote . Like that picture?
How about sitting back in your easy chair watching the Tweeter-in-Chief’s “biggest brain in the world” implode, explode, overload and miggletoad like a rotting tomato in the claws and jaws of a hungry squirrel ? Totally obliterated. OUCH.
Want to see that? Want to see unbridled panic? Want to see a political party and news network brought to it’s knees slobbering and babbling about a series of non sequitor non sequitors?
Easy. Joe Biden should select Michelle Obama as his running mate.
In a poll in 2018, Michelle Obama placed second among voters as the person they would want to see as the Democratic nominee. Only Joe Biden did better. Yes, even though she was not running and had no intention of running she placed better than Sanders, Harris, Warren, Booker…you name them.
In poll after poll, national and international, Michelle Obama is rated as either near the top or the most popular woman. Most respected. Classiest.
Imagine a campaign in which Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama are all in the Democratic limelight. Imagine the right wing misery to see one of the most popular former presidents and one of the most popular females in the US joining forces with Biden to win the election. Imagine how much excitement would be generated by this combination.
Imagine Michelle Obama, an advocate of decency and women’s rights, going up against Pence, Trump’s wooden soldier. Discussing voting rights, women’s rights, health care and general competency. She would have him for lunch. As a salad. Easy on the French dressing.
Obama -Biden won in 2012 and 2016. Biden-Obama can win, and I think win easily, in 2020. The Trump team knows it. There is no one they fear more than the Obamas, Barack and Michelle. The models for what a president and first family SHOULD be. (The reason for the Obamagate fantasy is precisely because they fear Barack and Michelle so much)
What a contrast that would be. Biden-Obama vs. Trump-Pence. What a contrast in the area of decency. Competency. Empathy. Experience. But best of all….
Just imagine the fun of watching the exploding heads on the right wing. KABOOM!
“A new report claims President Trump and members of his coronavirus task force are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to modify its coronavirus death-toll methodology in a way that could lead to fewer deaths being counted.
The report from The Daily Beast Wednesday cited five anonymous administration officials working on the federal government’s response to the pandemic. The outlet reports Trump has privately questioned the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, which topped 80,000 this week, and suggested they may be incorrect or inflated by the current methodology. ”
Over the past weeks we see members of the “real news” (right wing ) questioning the reporting of Covid-19 deaths. On one hand, most experts are convinced that the numbers, as reported are low. Probably a lot more than the 85,000 reported deaths. People have died at home or people died before the the virus deaths were being counted. Nebraska has solved this problem by refusing to release the actual numbers of deaths. A truly Trumpian solution.
But the Trump position is that the numbers of deaths have been inflated. Trump’s political opponents have been using the death numbers to make him look bad. Many of these people who are reported as victims of Covid-19 are actually victims of other illnesses. It’s all a plot !
Based on this new interpretation of data it is time to look at other statistics and see if they have also been misinterpreted by the so-called experts. To investigate this I called my good friend Barney Flopbottom. Barney is a self-educated statistician who has never been tainted by a college education. He does have a degree in Statistical Science from Trump University. It cost him $25,000. But Barney says it was money well spent. Where else can you get a degree without attending a class?
So, I called Barney to discuss the nature of statistical data.
Me: Hi ,Barney, how you doing?
Barney: Well, I have a temperature of 105 and have been coughing up blood for 3 days. But those are just numbers. I’m ok.
Me: So, Barney, you have said in the past that gun death statistics, put out by the federal government, are wrong. Can you explain?
Barney: Well, not only are they wrong, they do not exist. We have no gun deaths in the US.Never did, never will. Same is true of the coronavirus. No one has died form the virus. Zero.
Me: Well, what about the murders of little children at Sandy Hook, or the shootings at Columbine or the Las Vegas shootings?
Barney: What about them? None of these were caused by guns. It is a hoax. A Democratic hoax. A libtard hoax.
Me: Well, we saw pictures of the deaths. We saw the children being murdered. In fact about 30,000-35,000 Americans die each years from gun violence. That means since the terror attacks on 9/11, over 600,000 American men, women and children are now dead because they have been shot with a gun.
Barney: HA! What a bunch of nonsense. Just like the fake numbers of Covid-19 deaths. The fact is , not a single man, woman or child has been killed by a gun or by the virus. It’s all fake news. Put out by people who hate Trump.
Me: Are you saying that 600,000 Americans were not killed by guns? Or 85,000 Americans have not been killed by the virus?
Barney: Exactly. Let me explain. Let’s say you were a 7 year old at Sandy Hook. going to school. Happy to be with your friends and teachers. A sweet little 7 year old. Now, some guy comes in with an AR-15 and shoots a bunch of kids and one or maybe 17 of the bullets hits you. Did the gun kill you? NO Did the bullet kill you? NO. What happens is this. The bullet enters, let’s say, your little beating heart. Now, the heart stops pumping blood so you die. It was the HEART that killed you, not the bullet. Or if the bullet hits your brain it is the brain damage that kills you, not the bullet!
Same with the coronavirus. The virus does not kill anyone. Use grandma as an example. Let’s say the virus enters grandma’s lungs and she stops breathing. It is the ABSENCE of air in the lungs that kills grandma. So, stop blaming guns and the virus. Stop blaming Trump.
Me: So all the data on coronavirus deaths is wrong?
Barney: Amen. We need to redo all the statistics. Not a single death of the 85,000 has been caused by the virus. The cause of death should be: “Lung disease” or “heart failure” or “unknown” or “act of God”. It’s all a plot to make Trump look bad. Time for the CDC to put out new, accurate numbers. ZERO.
Me: Well, Barney, I have to admit. It is hard to argue with that type of logic. I guess the numbers are all wrong. So, does this mean, what I think it means? We need to go back and change some of our historical misconceptions? For example, does this mean that the Holocaust deniers are all correct? That the Nazis did not kill 6,000,000 people?
Barney: Yep. Exactly. We need to rewrite the history books. The Nazis did not kill millions of Jews. That is just another example of fake news. It was a lack of food that killed some of them. Starvation. For others it was because they were breathing Zyklon B gas. Lung failure. Others died from exposure to the cold. Hypothermia. Isn’t it time we stopped trying to make Hitler look bad?
We hear from the right wing media and our mentally ill president that the country must “reopen”. The shutdown of the states must end. Based on that we see hair-brained gun toting “patriots” take to the Michigan capital because their “freedoms” have been taken away. We see protests in other states because people are asked to wear masks or do social distancing. Open up America !!
On my planet, called Earth, there has never been a “shutdown”of America. There has been a “Stay at Home Please” order by New York and other states. Stay at home except for essential travel. But not a complete shutdown. Not even close.
You want to see a “shutdown’? I refer you to the Warsaw Ghetto. Or the London blitz. Or the concentration camps of Pol Pot. Those were shutdowns.
Since early March life has changed drastically. But we have never been deprived of essential services. Only the extras. we have never been completely “shutdown” as some might suggest.
We go to Aldis once every couple weeks and stock up on groceries. We wear our masks and Aldis practices social distancing in their store. We buy 2 weeks worth of food and go on our merry way. No shutdown.
This week I had to have my snow tires taken off and summer tires put on my car, along with an oil change. Made an appointment. Wore my mask, as did MOST, but not all of the dealership personnel. No shutdown.
Next week I am taking another car in for the annual state mandated inspection. No shutdown.
The local grocer is open. As is the liquor store. Garbage pick up continues. No shutdown.
When we are too lazy to cook Luigis pizza and the Main Moon restaurants are open for take outs. No shutdown.
Need a prescription filled or some Pepcid AC? The Naples pharmacy is open. No shutdown.
If the weather ever warms up I can golf. As long as I maintain social distancing. When I golf alone I notice my scores improve. No one to correct memory . No shutdown.
Next month my annual urology appointment with Dr. Joseph is going to be by phone. OK, I admit having a large finger stuck up my ass may be the highlight of my year, but I can do that myself at home. So, nothing missed there. No shutdown.
And even many non-essentials are readily available, delivered efficiently by our Postal Service, which for some reason, the GOP is trying to destroy. No shutdown.
So, what IS shutdown? Nail salons. Tattoo parlors. Seating in restaurants. Bars. Gun shops. Beaches. And parades. No Memorial Day parades. And sporting events. And visiting relatives in nursing homes.
All essential and many non-essential services are and always have been available.
So, why the whining? Because I am supposed to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of Covid-19? Because my “freedom” to sit at the end of the bar and drunkenly philosophize about the liberals trying to take away my freedom has been curtailed? Because I can’t add another AR-15 to my collection of manly toys? Because I need a new “Live Free or Die” tattoo?
Much of our economy, it seems, is based on non-essentials. On extras. Toys.
Feed a three year old and she is happy. Wash her. Take care of her and she will be healthy. But take away her favorite toy and she will whine and cry and blubber.
Welcome to the “shutdown” in America. A few children can’t have their toys. WAAAAHHHH.
I coached baseball, basketball , softball and soccer for many years. Mostly at the high school level. Every sport has a rule book. Very precise rules. Except soccer, which has more flexible “laws”. At any rate, the rules are written and you play by the rules.
That is what I tried to impress on my players. Know the rules. Play by the rules. If you break the rules, take the penalty. That is just sports.
But I also emphasized to them that there are actually two sets of rules. There are the rule book rules and then there are the actual rules. The second set of rules is more important. That set of rules changes for every contest. That second set of rules depends on the umpire or referee. The men and women who are interpreting the rules. Making decisions. Making the calls.
A good player will try to figure out how the ref is calling the game. If the umpire is calling low pitches “strikes” and high pitches “balls”, then your pitcher should keep it low. If the soccer ref is allowing a few elbows to fly now and then and some pushing, well, loosen up those elbows. If the basketball ref is calling every ticky-tack foul, stop ticky-tacking. In other words, play the rules, but also play the ref.
I recall umpiring a middle school baseball game between two competing schools. Now, middle school pitchers can often not be too accurate. And middle school age coaches want their players to hit the ball and play the game, not sit around and wait for walks. So, before the game I told both coaches that today was going to be a big strike zone. If the ball was near the plate its going to be a strike. Better be swinging the bat. They both concurred. Both were happy. As long as the rules were evenly enforced.
Which brings me to Mike Bloomberg.
Many Democrats are angry and frustrated that this billionaire has been spending like a drunken sailor on leave . (No offense, Dan). He is a real self-made billionaire (unlike the IMPOTUS) and has plenty to spend. Some say he is worth $60 billion. The 14th richest man in the world.
Some candidates are suggesting he is trying to buy the Democratic nomination . (DUH). They say he has an unfair advantage (DUH. DUH). They say they don’t want a billionaire stealing the nomination. Can’t say that I blame them. After all, they have been working for years to get this job and he just plunks down a pile of cash and he is in the race.
Well, we will know more about Bloomberg once he gets on stage and has to answer some questions. Another rich guy, Tom Steyer, got on the stage and, in my opinion, stunk it up. He showed that having money does not translate into being astute or knowledgeable. We will see how Bloomberg does.
But no matter how he does, the Dems had better understand the rules of the game. Not as they WANT the rules to be, but what the real rules are. And in the US elections money talks. And big money talks big. Money is part of the rules.
No matter what “laws” exist concerning campaign funding, the bottom line is that the Federal Election commission has virtually no enforcement ability. Imagine a football ref who could call a foul but could not enforce a penalty. That is the system under which we live.
Also, Citizens United has made the case that money equals speech. Logically, the more money you have, the more speech you have. So Bloomberg has the biggest mouth in America. Trump is the biggest gasbag, for sure. But Trump’s “wealth” is dwarfed by Mike’s. Minor league.
Back to the rules. The GOP has made it clear that they want no rules. Russian interference? No problem. Ukraine extortion? OK with them. Unregulated cash from (fill in the blanks) is okey-dokey. Those are the REAL rules.
The Trump campaign will flood the TV and internet and Facebook and Twitter with misinformation. Lies. Vulgarity. Coded messages (or not coded) supporting racism, misogyny and xenophobia. The Trump hate machine will be in full force. The gloves are off.
So, the Dems better bring some brass knuckles to the fight. Bloomberg can flood the media, as he has been doing. He has the money and personality to play by the real rules. Nothing to be scared of. He’s a wealthy billionaire plutocrat, but he’s OUR plutocrat. Embrace him. Welcome him. We need him.
We may not like these rules. We may not want these rules. But we better play by these rules. The real rules. Otherwise it will be four or MORE years of attacks on the separation of powers. If we don’t win this election it may very well be the LAST election. If that’s the case we may see the end of democracy. No matter what the written rules say.
So, don’t be afraid of Bloomberg. For too long the Dems have been playing it by the book. Time to throw the book out the window and play to win. Play by the rules.
As the three people who read my blog know, I am pretty good at predicting things. I predicted that Jeb Bush would win the presidency in 2016, that Medicare for all would be enacted and that all Republican gun owners would turn in their weapons as a show of support for children murdered every day in America. OK, so maybe no so good. HOWEVER, here is part of my end of the year prediction from December , 2017, when the GOP controlled both houses…
“Finally. Congress votes itself a 50% pay raise for a “job well done”. The legislative branch passed a total of three bills. They were: 1. “The Amazing Trump is the Best President Ever” bill awarding the Trump Medal of MAGA to the best person in America. This year’s recipient? Donald Trump. 2. “The FBI Traitor” law. Which labels all members of the FBI, former and current, official “enemies of the people” and subject to immediate permanent detention and prosecution for doing “bad stuff”. Mueller is the first to be perp walked. 3. “Congressional Vacation Act” which allows Congress to take a vacation for a period including January 2 through December 30, with pay and expenses for fact finding travel. Mr Trump signed all three bills and praised Congress for their services… which will no longer be necessary.”
I was watching the pundits on Morning Joe this morning talking about the demise of the Democratic Party because of the APP problems in counting the Iowa Democratic caucus votes. Their main theme was the incompetency of the Democratic Party. And by extension any Democratic administration. Okey Dokey.
This was similar to another Democratic government run debacle with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. We all remember how Obama and the Dems screwed that up. Big government at its worse. Except.
Except both the ACA roll out and the Iowa caucus problems were not caused by “big government” at all. Both were major technical problems made by private contractors, not the government. In a nation where the prevailing narrative remains that business is more efficient than government, we see the opposite. It is the private contractors that screw things up. Regularly.
Now, let’s look at really BIG government, the Social Security administration and Veterans administration. These are the government folks who send out your Social Security and Veterans benefit checks. And have been doing so for decades. Ever miss a payment? Ever have a check bounce. Ever have a failure to deliver? I rest my case.
But, back to the pundits who are already predicting the end of the Democratic Party. It is February 4, 2020. Between now and Election day there will be at least 10 new things that will once again give the pundits something new to predict. And they will be just as certain of themselves and just as wrong as they always are. As a self-made pundit, here are my 10 new things.
1. One of the Democratic candidates will be physically assaulted, by weapon or by fist. And she will punch back.
2. A major US corporation will file for bankruptcy. And be given tax dollars as compensation.
3. Kim Jung Un will announce that he has a nuclear weapon and the ability to reach the US with it. Also announces a contract for new Trump Tower in Pyongyang.
4. Donald Trump, Jr will announce the best trade deal ever with China, and the details will be forthcoming. The details never come forth.
5. A number of global warming catastrophes around the globe will prompt the UN to hold a global warming summit, which the US will refuse to support.
6. The GNP will continue to hover around 2.3% but no one knows what that means. Although 76% of the population is certain it has something to do with the Super Bowl.
7. Photos will emerge of Mike Pence leaving a room with a woman. She looks scared. So does he.
8. Israel will announce that they accept the Kushner peace plan which allows Palestinians to look at their former homes on the West Bank during Ramadan. For 2 minutes.
9. Mike Bloomberg will buy North Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas, giving him enough votes to win the election. He complains that he has used up all his pocket change for the week.
10. Vlad Putin will make a surprise appearance at the Republican convention and will graciously accept the nomination for president by acclimation of the party. Why not eliminate the middle man? Vlad will then appoint Ivanka Trump as his running mate.
So, those are my predictions. And after each event the pundits will all-knowingly tell us what it means. Again.
I know what you are thinking. Most of these are WAY OUT THERE and probably not going to happen. But number 10 is just obvious.
In 2017 he was accused, and later convicted, of shoplifting. The prosecution claims he had hidden some dog toys … yes, DOG TOYS … in his girlfriend’s purse. Then they left the store without paying.
Well, they did have SOME evidence against him, to be sure. They never actually found the toys in his girlfriend’s purse. BUT. They had a video of him going to the car and bringing his girlfriend’s purse into the store. They had some empty dog toy shelves. Stuff like that.
To be clear, they didn’t catch him in the act. It was only a day later when some store employers noticed some empty packaging in the dog toy department that they investigated. Sure enough, the Sherlock-type sleuths discovered that his girlfriend had absconded with $ 186 worth of dog toys!
Some of you who do not own pets may wonder how anyone could stuff $186 worth of dog toys into a purse unnoticed. I mean, that sounds like a lot of Fido fun. Loads of doggy diversions. Now, those of you WITH pets might have a different view. I mean, where can you get a purse load of dog toys for ONLY $186? Must have been in the discount bin. Give me the address of that store. But I digress.
So, despite his pleas of innocence (his girlfriend took complete responsibility, the sweet thing) he was convicted and sentenced. To 2 to 23 months in jail. For pilfering dog toys. Well, I said he was convicted of shoplifting, but not exactly. Since he, himself, never stole any dog toys he was actually convicted of “conspiracy to commit retail theft”. YIKES. That’s sounds a lot worse than shoplifting. A conspiracy.
So poor Benjamin was convicted. But that was then. This is now.
After watching hours and hours of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump from his prison cell, Benjamin had second thoughts. The first thought was this. Being forced to watch hours and hours of the impeachment trial may be grounds for release on a “cruel and unusual punishment” claim.
Second, he wanted a new trial with Lamar Alexander as foreman of the jury.
You see, Lamar Alexander has stated, in writing, publicly that “yes”, the House managers did present a convincing case. In fact, according to Lamar, he is convinced that president Trump DID solicit (extort) the Ukrainian government to try to force them to present an announcement of an investigation into the Bidens. He had seen enough, but it was not enough to convict.
So Senator Alexander does not need any more proof. Trump is a criminal. The facts are clear. Undisputed. But, since Trump is a criminal Lamar has decided NOT to vote to remove him from office. Or to seek any more evidence which might even further prove the case already proven by the House managers. Because, after all, if we convicted criminals what would be next? Slippery slope.
Lamar’s statement: “…There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.
“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate….”
When Benjamin saw this he leaped for joy. That is exactly the point he was trying to make. Just because he was found to have committed a crime does not mean he should be found GUILTY of committing a crime. Just because he was involved in a conspiracy, and that was proven by the prosecution, does not justify a GUILTY verdict. It was not really a crime, it was just “inappropriate” for him to conspire to shoplift. And, if we are to uphold what Senator Alexander calls “the principle of equal justice under the law” shouldn’t Benjamin go free?
Benjamin wants Senator Alexander on his jury. And Dershowitz as his lawyer. Mr Forsythe is hoping to call Donald Trump, Jr as his character witness. If he can afford the fee.
There is a new sheriff in town. His name is Lamar. His concept of the law: Some crimes are just not punishable. It all depends on who commits them.
Watching Alan Dershowitz make his arguments for presidential power was certainly mind numbing. Now, I can understand why Trump would have Dershowitz on his team. He has a long history of effectively defending people who might have otherwise been convicted based solely on evidence. OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein, Claus von Bulow and others. Also, his connections with Fox “news” and his connections with the same sex ring that Trump and Clinton seemed to be part of what made him a good choice.
Nevertheless, despite his person flaws and general lack of integrity aside, let’s look at his arguments. Remember, no other Constitutional scholar was willing to sit on the president’s team. Not even Jonathon Turley who the Republicans brought in to testify to the House inquiry. So, Alan stands alone as the expert on the Constitution for Trump.
His basic argument has been this.
If the president did something illegal, but he did it for good reasons, then that is not impeachable.
Furthermore, if the president THINKS that his own re-election is in the public interest, anything he does to secure his own re-election is not impeachable. As long as the president believes his re-election is what is best for the country he may take any actions to assure that re-election and , according to Dershowitz, that would not be an abuse of power.
Here are his own words: “Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest and, mostly, you’re right — your election is in the public interest,” Dershowitz said. “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.“
I taught European history for many years when it was part of the old New York State curriculum. Since then European history has been subsumed into a more comprehensive Global Studies curriculum.
Back in the day we spent a bit of time on the French Revolution and the historical basis for that event. The long term developments leading to the Revolution are rooted in the old monarchical system. In the 17th century there was a power struggle in France.
On one hand we had the monarch and on the other the nobles. The majority (98%) of the people could just pound sand. They really did not count.
In order to centralize his power Louis XIV decided that he needed to move against the nobles . Now, the power of the nobles was in the great city of Paris (Washington, DC). To eliminate that power center Louis decided to build a new power center, near the small village outside of Paris. A day’s ride from Paris. So he built Versailles (Mar -a – Lago). There he could control the nobles.
I have been to Versailles. It is mind boggling in both size and luxury. Especially when you consider it was built in the 17th century. A short train ride from Paris today, but in Louis’s time it was isolated from Paris. If a noble wanted to be part of the power structure he had to travel to Versailles. He had to genuflect to Louis. And so Louis was able to slowly bring the nobles under his control.
Most famously a quote attributed to Louis (whether he said it or not, he certainly acted as though he did) was : L’etat C’est Moi. I am the state.
What does that mean? There is no distinction between the interests of the state and the interest of the king. There is no division between what is good for the king and what is good for the state. I am the state. What is good for Mr Trump is, by definition good for the United States.
Now, if we accept this argument, then the following logically follows.
In November of 2020 Mr Trump believes that the election of his opponent is not in the best interests of the nation. However, he honestly believes that his own election is in the best interests of the nation. That being the case, on election night, the results are in.
Mr Trump’s opponent has won. But wait. The election of his opponent is not in the best interests of the nation. So, Mr Trump simply invalidates the election.
He asks Attorney General Barr offer his legal opinion and Mr Barr concurs. It is within the power of the president to annul the election because there is nothing in the Constitution that specifically states a president CANNOT nullify an election.
But wait, Congress can step and overturn the decision. No. According to the legal opinion of the Justice Department the president has unlimited power, as long as he is acting in what he (and he alone) considers is best for the country. The Congress cannot review any decision made by the president. He is above the law. The imperial presidency.
The impeachment trial of Donald Trump started last week. The House managers presented a very thorough case. Now it is the time for the defenders of the president to speak. Fair enough.
So, what should they say? Well, let’s look at what the House has presented and see how they can respond.
The House case focuses first on the withholding of aid to Ukraine and the withholding of a meeting in the Oval Office with the president of the Ukraine. Both are important to the Ukraine for what should be obvious reasons. Ukraine is partially occupied and is at war with Putin’s Russia. Not to belabor the point but again. Ukraine is partially occupied and at war with Putin’s Russia.
So, the Ukraine desperately needs military help. Which the Congress and the president have given them.They also just as desperately need Putin to understand that the US stands with Ukraine against his illegal occupation and aggression. So, both the military and political aid are essential.
It is a fact that the Department of Defense was ready to start to distribute the military aid to Ukraine on June 18, 2019. From the DOD website:
The DOD does not release any military aid unless a thorough review has been done to make sure the country is meeting the requirements for fighting corruption, insuring human rights, etc.
So, for the president’s Defense Team. The first point they need to address is why the military aid was withheld. What information came to light between June 18 and the hold on the aid? There may be legitimate reasons for withholding aid, if so, what were they? And why was the very process for withholding aid taken out of the usual channels and handed over to a political appointee, rather than a career official?
Along the same lines, the defense may argue that the president can unilaterally withhold aid for any reason. In fact, the aid was held up 9 different times, with no explanation. However, the Government Accounting Office relayed a decision that what Trump did was break the law. A law that requires him to notify Congress with reasons for any hold up in aid:
“In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation. Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA….”
So, the president or his staff broke the law. Period. His defense team needs to explain that and justify the hold on military aid. Why did the president think it was essential to break the law? Perhaps he had good reason.Legal reasons. What were they? And why was Congress never notified?
Furthermore, since aid was eventually released they need to answer another question. What happened to make the president change his mind and lift the hold? What new evidence emerged? Did he discover it was illegal or was there a change in Ukraine? What specific reason was there for all of a sudden releasing most of the aid?
The second charge on impeachment brought by the House managers was the obstruction of Congress. Now, it is pretty obvious that Congress was obstructed since the president refused to provide and documents or witnesses to help in the investigation. The question is, was that obstruction legal?
On Saturday the president’s team argued that the entire impeachment proceeding was illegal. So, since the proceeding was illegal they had no requirement to cooperate. Of course, this argument does have a major hole.
The position presupposes that the executive branch alone can decide for the House of Representatives what it can and cannot investigate. In other words, although the Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the House, the executive branch can overrule that power. The position falls flat on two levels. First, it disregards the specific language of the Constitution.
Article 1, Section 2: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Of course it makes no sense legally or logically for the object of an impeachment or investigation to have the power to end an impeachment or investigation.
Along the same lines the president’s defense claimed that the House violated their own rules, so therefore the very impeachment itself is illegal. Yet, here we are. The Senate, controlled by Mitch McConnell, recognized the legality of impeachment. The Supreme Court, along with Chief Justice Roberts, recognizes the legality of the impeachment. We are having a trial precisely because the House acted legally. So, once again we have the president, alone, making claims that no other branch of government agrees with.
Now, it is legal for the president to, in certain circumstances, invoke “executive privilege”. However, invoking that privilege means the president has to make a case, before a court, that the documents or testimony being withheld is being done for legitimate national security concerns. So far, Mr Trump has made no such claim.
His lawyers, however, have taken the position that he can claim executive privilege without making a formal claim of executive privilege. In their words, he can hide anything he wants for any reason he wants. In other words, the chief executive is supreme and cannot be investigated or impeached. Trump has taken this position publicly:
“…Trump was giving a speech at a Turning Point USA conference, where he predictably veered off into a tirade about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and how, as president, Trump could’ve stopped it.
“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” Trump said. “But I don’t even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction.”…”
“…During a pre-taped one-on-one interview with ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos, Trump argued that “a lot of great lawyers” agree that Article 2 of the Constitution means that the President can’t obstruct justice.
“So a president can’t obstruct justice?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“A president can run the country,” Trump responded. “And that’s what happened, George. I run the country and I run it well.”
“When the President does it, it’s not illegal?” Stephanopoulos asked….”
“I’m just saying a president under Article 2–it’s very strong, read it,” Trump said. “Do you have Article 2? Read it.”
(To be clear, executive privilege is not mentioned in the Constitution)
So, the president’s defense team will have to find a justification that he has refused to cooperate with Congress. While they may rightly point to very specific instances where other president’s have attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to invoke “executive privilege”, they will have to justify an unbridled power of the president to hide all his actions and documents.
Now, will the defense team address these issues raised by the House managers? Will they respond to the facts and evidence in the charges? Will they talk about how the Democrats have hated Trump from day one? Will they talk about Adam Schiff? Will they talk about the Mueller Report being a hoax? Will they claim the entire procedure is a “witch hunt”? Or will they talk about how corrupt the Biden’s are? Benghazi Redux?
In other words, will they address the points the Hose manager have made, or will they deflect ? Isn’t the answer obvious?
My good friend Bobo the Clown was indicted for murder.
The prosecutor had a video of Bobo walking into the bank. Shots were heard. Bobo left the bank with big bag.
The police were called. One bank teller was dead on the floor. Shot three times. In addition thousands of dollars were missing from the bank.
Bobo was arrested. He plead not guilty.
Bobo’s lawyer said it was a witch hunt. The police hated clowns. They were singling out Bobo because he was a clown.
So, the evidence was clear. But wait. just before the trial began 3 witnesses came forward. They all knew Bobo. They all said they saw Bobo with a gun and a bag of money. One of them even drove Bobo’s getaway car. A clown car.
Now, Bobo’s lawyer claims that these witnesses should not be allowed to testify. They are too late. They should have come forward earlier.
As it happens, the chairman of the jury, Moscow Mitch, agrees. Moscow Mitch , in addition to being chairman of the jury is a long time clown friend of Bobo. In addition Moscow Mitch decides what evidence can be presented at the trial. They go back a long way. He doesn’t want to hear anything else.