It looks like the next election will be a choice among 3 old white guys. But 3 old white guys with significantly different views of the role of government in our lives. WHAT? You mean all old white guys are not the same? Who knew.
This race got me thinking. Always a problem. Thinking about roller coasters.
Roller coasters have always made me sick. Literally. I haven’t been riding on one in probably 30 years. They make me nauseous. Some people like them. Thrilling. Up and down. And up. And down. And up. Not for me. Give me Mr Toad’s wild ride in the teacup.
We have been on a roller coaster for 4 years. Many people wanted the roller coaster. They wanted to shake us up. Make some of us sick. Excite us. So we have seen what 4 years of riding a roller coaster brings.
Now, some folks still like the roller coaster. Four years are not enough. They want four more years of the up and down. They want to ride it forever. The swirls and twirls and thrills as the scenery screams by. And the folks on the roller coaster are also screaming. Some with joy. Others in horror.It’s a blast!
Why did I get on this thing? What was I thinking? Let me off!
So, now we have three choices.
We can stay on the roller coaster for 4 more years. Up and down. Vomiting. Thrilled to death. Wheeeee!
There are some folks want to get off one ride and jump right on another one. We can get off the roller coaster and look around. Hey , look at that. It’s a Tilt-a-Whirl. Not as bad as the roller coaster. Tilting up and down and round and round. Tilting. Looks like fun. OK, maybe it’s still a bit unsettling, but at least it’s not the roller coaster. I will probably be okay.
Then there are folks like me. Still staggering from the roller coaster. Waiting for my stomach to settle down. Looking for a bench. A nice bench by the pond. Stop and sit. Have a hamburger. Sip a Coca-Cola. Relax.
We have a choice. Ride the roller coaster for 4 more years? Try out the Tilt-a-Whirl for 4 years and see how that settles the stomach? Or take a long rest? Take a break. Take a breath.
As for me, I don’t need any more amusement park rides. I am not amused.
Again I watched and listened to the Democratic debate. Well, hardly a debate. A few years ago I read the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglass debates. The format was this.
Lincoln spoke for an hour. Douglass spoke for an hour and a half. Lincoln spoke for half an hour. Each side was given 90 minutes to talk. Explain. Extrapolate.
No moderators. That was a debate.
Last night I watched something that was called a debate, but was actually one of a series of made for TV soundbite shows. OK. OK. With 6 candidates you can’t have a real debate, but that does not necessitate the ridiculous system now controlled by networks and moderators.
The discussion , which should elicit in depth, comprehensive explanations of views and policies, instead only encouraged “gotcha ” questions and hostile statements. I ask: What did anyone LEARN about the positions of the candidates? Not much, if anything.
Before I honor you with my solutions, let us re-enact the discussion.
Start Moderator # 1 (because, to be honest, the discussion is more about the “cleverness” of the moderators than the substance of the candidates): Mayor Bloomberg. You run a 60 billion dollar empire and have been around since Jesus walked the Earth. We now have 3 anonymous women who say you told a dirty joke in 1986. Since we now know you are a misogynistic, racist pig who rapes little girls, why are you even on the stage, and not in prison? You have 75 seconds to respond.
Star Moderator # 2: Senator Sanders. You are a communist through and through. You want to give everyone a communist health care plan that will destroy the very fabric of American society. You also had at least one heart attack. So, do you really think America is ready to elect a sickly, disgusting Mao-loving communist who will take away all their rights? You have 75 seconds to discuss all your plans and explain why you love Stalin.
Star Moderator # 3: Vice President Biden. You suck. We all know you are too old and you suck. And what about your son? You are trying to ride Obama’s coattails. Because you are old, a crook and suck, why should people vote for you? Hell, why am I even talking to you, you loser. You have 75 seconds to explain all of your work as vice president.
Star Moderator # 4: Senator Klobuchar. When you were a prosecutor in Minnesota you put black people in prison for crimes. Also, you cannot name the youngest daughter of the Vice President of Guatemala. In view of this history of racism and anti-Latino sentiment, please answer the following. Why are you a racist and why do you hate Latinos and why should any person of color even consider voting for such an obvious hater? Please limit your response to 75 seconds, you racist bitch.
Star Moderator # 5: Senator Warren. You are behind in the polls. You want to do better. You have these very hard to understand plans that no one cares about because they aren’t going to happen. You have been very unladylike today . Do you think being a strident , screeching female who thinks she is so smart will make men turn off to your campaign. I mean, what man wants to hear you talk like you know more than they do? Have you always turned off men or is this a new phenomenon? You have only 60 seconds because you talk too much.
Star Moderator # 6: Mayor Pete. You little cutie pie. Are you insane? You are gay. You are young. You are a smarty pants. You were in the military but no one cares about that. What the hell makes you think you have any right to run for president? I don’t care what your views are. Bottom line. Other than your “husband” and others in “that community” do you really think anyone else is ever going to vote for you? Please answer in 75 seconds and don’t play the lame “military” and “gay” cards.
As the discussion comes to a close the 6 moderators all congratulate each other on their insightful questioning.
Questions not asked by the insightful moderators. Questions which might have elicited intelligent , thoughtful responses.
Explain your health care plan, what it would cost and how you would pay for it.
Mr Trump has turned the Constitution upside down. Explain two ways you would bring us back to be a nation with respect for the law.
Immigration reform has been talked about for years. What is your plan for protecting the border, dealing with the Dreamers and developing a comprehensive plan for legal immigration?
To what extent should we be involved, with troops on the ground, in the Middle East? Explain.
Of course, questions like this cannot be answered in 75 seconds.
So, my suggestions.
1.Give each candidate 4-5 minutes to answer any question, uninterrupted.
2.Ask the exact same question to every candidate.
3. Do not allow candidates to ask each other questions except in the context of their own allotted time.
4. Make sure each candidate gets the same amount of time as the others.
Now these rules would mean that the moderators would no longer be the stars of the show. They would have to bury their egos. Actually, you would need only one moderator who could just ask the questions and keep time.
This would change the entire feel of the discussion. It would have depth. It would be BORING. Nothing but facts, ideas, plans and explanations. So people who wanted more information about these candidates could get that information.
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.
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?
A new poll came out from Monmouth University this week. It reported that 40% of Republicans believe that Mr Trump , in his call to the President of the Ukraine, asked for help in finding dirt on Biden. That means that 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump asked about Biden. 60%
This is from the WHITE HOUSE release of the transcript of the call:
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
So, the White House says that Trump referred to Biden in the call. And asked for an investigation.
The Whistleblower, supported by the Inspector General, was concerned that Trump was making a deal to help himself in 2020 by pressuring the Ukraine to “investigate” the Bidens.
From the Whistleblower complaint:
“…Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:
initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;….”
A number of members of Trump’s staff evidently told this to the whistleblower, which cause d him to blow the whistle in the first place.
Various news outlets have been reporting on the story, including the exact words of the transcript.
So, everyone right up through the White House says that, yes, Trump asked the president of the Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. I mean, it is there in black and white.
Yet, despite this, 60% of Republicans do not believe that Trump said what he said. Hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless.
I didn’t watch all of the Democratic candidate debates. But I saw enough. It’s time to thin the herd. Be merciful. Cut out the slackers.
There are only 4 people who have a chance at the Democratic nomination.
Warren. Harris. Biden. Buttigieg.
The rest are toast. Window dressing.
Warren because of her command of the specifics. Her ability to take complex issues and explain complex solutions in a way most folks can understand. She created the Consumer Protection Agency and was prevented from leading it by Moscow Mitch and his gang of pirates. So. She simply ran for the Senate and now leads the charge for progressive policies. Sweet revenge. Moscow Mitch can’t get rid of her.
Harris. Smart. Able. Organized. She can articulate why Trump has devastated the nation and how she will fix it. A former prosecutor , she understands the legal and judicial systems. Not afraid of a fight. Willing to do whatever it takes.
Biden. The last gasp of the old guard. He has plenty of favors to call in. He still wears the mantle of his vice presidency under Obama. And Obama is still the most popular president alive. A long time liberal who is willing to negotiate. Thinks he can bring folks together after the travesty of the Trump years.
Buttigieg. Young. Gifted. Articulate. Brilliant. If he represents the new wave of Democratic politicians we are indeed in good hands. He will bring in voters of his generation and younger. He looks to the future and grasps the mistakes of the past. Time to move on.
Only a fool makes predictions about politics, especially over a year ahead of time. So, here are mine.
A Harris-Buttigieg ticket. The best of both worlds. Progressive but also practical. Ethnic woman from California; young military veteran from a farm state. Being gay won’t even enter into the conversation on the Dem side.
A perfect foil to the Trump-Pence fiasco. Two old, fading authoritarians versus forward thinking, intelligent democrats. What could be better?
And you can be sure that Harris-Buttigieg will not make the same mistakes that Clinton’s handlers did. They understand that the US election is not a popular vote, but a state by state contest. They will not ignore Michigan or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.
Why not Biden? He looks like he’s done. His time has passed. He does not project the energy needed to defeat Trump, Putin and the American oligarchs.
Why not Sanders? Warren has the same basic policies but articulates them better and in more detail. Bernie is long on gesture but short on substance. That will be exposed in smaller debates, as it was in 2016.
Why not Warren? She is almost too aggressive. People, especially suburban women, do not like that in a woman. Nor do many men. I would not count her out if given the chance to defeat Trump, but I don’t think the primary voters will give her that chance.
The rest of the pack? They should go home right now and run for the Senate of House or Governorship in their own states, They had their time in the limelight. It was nice, but now it’s over. Don’t waste our time or money.
Some new Go Fund Me accounts that all of us should support.
Donald To Deutschland. Accepting all variety of coin (rubles preferred) to send Donald back to the homeland of his father. His father, Herr Frederich von Trumpenhausen, was born in a nice place somewhere in Germany. Help Donald return to der fadderland. Help him find a nice place. A place where the black folks don’t roam. A place where they had a wonderful wall that worked…well, maybe not so much. A beautiful place. The best place ever. A place he could love to call home…if it was 1936. A long way from here. One way ticket only.
DeVos Year Abroad Fund. Betsy grew up in Holland , Michigan and after her private high school (in Holland, Michigan) went to a small private religious college called Calvin College. Also in Holland, Michigan. There she studied the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, who encouraged the subjugation of all to absolute authority. So, her thought processes have been formed by those of Calvin and Hobbes. Once, in 1978, she left Holland, Michigan when she took a wrong turn on a side street. Never made that mistake again. We feel that sending her overseas may broaden her knowledge of the world, since she is the Secretary of “Education”. Then, again, maybe it won’t. Perhaps a trip to a foreign country, like Puerto Rico, might do the trick.
Pills For Pence. Obamacare just doesn’t cover everything. Mike Pence cannot control his sexual urges. He refuses to have lunch or dinner or be in a room with a woman alone. The temptation to attack her and sexually assault her is too great . (Not a problem for the commander-in-chief, however). He cannot trust himself. Of course, so far in his lifetime there has never been a woman who would eat lunch with him or be in a room with him by herself. But that is another Go Fund Me. This account will fund an adequate supply of Rohypnol for the veep. It is hoped that by ingesting this drug his personality will be elevated above the current comatose state.
Bears For Biden. This crazed hugger cannot control his emotions. Maybe it is that he misses his first wife and young son who were killed in a car accident in 1972. Or maybe he misses his other son who died in 2013 of brain cancer. Or maybe he just likes people. Who knows? But, in 2019, it is inappropriate to show any affection to anyone at anytime. Period. So, Joe needs a big , fat Teddy Bear to hug. One of those gigantic bears that can take having the stuffing hugged out of him,or, preferably, her. Hug away Joe. Just look out for the MeBearToo movement.
Bribes For Bibi. Bibi needs cash. Cold hard cash. Under the table cash. Untraceable cash. It’s just not fair. Everyone else is doing it, why can’t Bibi? OK, so he got caught taking a few little payments. Big deal. His mother told him he should have been a doctor. Anyway, Bibi’s cash flow is drying up. In Israel, they CAN indict the leader for crimes. What a crazy Idea. Who knew? So, keep Bibi above water. Send your shekels ASAP. What else can you do? (Shrug).
Mensches For Miller. You have to feel for Stephen Miller. He raises ugly to new heights. I don’t mean his physical appearance, I mean his entire persona. (OK, also his physical appearance).This guy couldn’t get a date from a palm tree. He is wrapped tighter than Oprah’s butt in a string bikini (Now that you read it, try to get THAT IMAGE out of your head). Let’s face it . Miller needs a MAN. A real MAN. Someone he can look up to for guidance. Someone with whom he can “redirect” his outflow of hostility, his expulsion of anger, his eruption of animosity, his explosion of malevolence. In short , he needs a man. Not just any man. He needs to buy himself a night with a mensch. He needs to blow off some steam. Mensches for Miller … send real US money… no Jews need contribute.
Gonads for GOPS. This is an emergency. Like, a MAJOR emergency. Someone has stolen the gonads from the entire GOP. Every last one. Since McCain died, there has not been a gonad in sight. Lindsey Graham donated his to Donald. McConnell had his surgically removed . Romney left his in Utah. Rubio’s were too small to locate in the first place. Barr’s are in a bottle. The only GOPer with any left is Ann Coulter, and she ain’t about to share hers with anyone. So, send your bucks to buy some artificial gonads. We can get them in bulk from Russia. Putin has an entire room full of em. He might even send out at a discount.