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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates

My son Jed wrote this plea to the Democratic presidential candidates not gaining traction. I sent it on to my senators and ask that you do the same. They have a vested interest in seeing Massacre Mitch and his Republican henchman ousted.
Dear Beto O'Rourke, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar and Stacey Abrams,
We need you to be patriots. We need you to drop out of the democratic presidential primary and run home to your states and fight for democratic ideals and winnable seats. And, Stacey Abrams, we need you to enter the race - the senate race in Georgia.
We need you all to hold your seats or seek new office to take back the Senate, expand governorships and hold valuable ground we can't seed to a lost party that has been hijacked by white nationalism, Russian oligarchs, corporate wealth and lobbyists that fight against the welfare of our citizens.
Beto and Julian - Go back to Texas - Julian should run for Senate and Beto should build his case to become governor in 2022 by helping Julian win. If one of you runs for Senate, you might get Texas close to turning blue in the presidential race. You'll at least get the GOP spending money out of fear.
Delaney - Go back to Maryland and make the case to become governor in 2022. Flip that seat.
Bullock - go win the 2nd Senate seat in Montana. It's winnable in 2020.
Hickenlooper - Go win another Senate seat in Colorado. It's likely one of the most winnable GOP seats in 2020.
Inslee - Stay the course in Washington and keep making the case for climate change. Become our climate czar when we take back the White House.
Ryan - Keep building your profile and fighting for middle America. Hold your seat.
Klobuchar - Keep raising your voice and represent mid-western citizens and hold onto that seat.
Abrams - join the fight. Keep up your effort in Georgia to end voter suppression, but use that platform to build a case to win a Georgia senate seat. If you run, you might just get Georgia close to turning blue in the presidential race. You'll certainly get the GOP's attention and spending.
We need you all now more than ever in other places than the presidential primary. Beating Trump is a high priority, but it won't mean nearly as much if we don't flip critical Senate seats and governorships.
Respectfully,
A Concerned American

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How do we talk to friends who support Trump?

How do we talk to our friends who support Trump? We want to believe that our friends support Trump despite, not because of, his racism and anti-Semitism. Otherwise, we could not be friends with them. We should test that belief by asking them to think about the damage Trump is doing to the soul of this country and about the violence and hatred that his rhetoric has unleashed.
Trump has given us nothing on gun safety. Nothing on climate change. Nothing on access to affordable, quality health care. No strategy on Iran. Nothing for the middle class and those aspiring to the middle class. Nothing but tax breaks for those who least need or deserve it, separating families, caging detainees in inhumane conditions, abdicating American leadership abroad, palling around with dictators, and making America safe again for racism and bigotry.
If your friends are not racists, ask them what on the other side of the ledger outweighs Trump's racism and bigotry. Their own tax cuts and maybe less threat of regulatory red tape for their businesses? Our country doesn't always live up to its ideals, but Trump is undermining the ideals that are the raison d'etre of America, and that should be more important than any policy disagreement with a Democrat. They might not want Medicare for All, but it's not immoral or racist. Ideals can't always be counted in dollars, but we lose our humanity when ideals lose their value.
Trump's moving the embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights did nothing to make Israel safer or more secure and probably made Israel less safe by making a two-state solution harder, but if your friends can appreciate the symbolism of these gestures, ask them to think of the symbolism of Trump's racist rhetoric. The difference is that while his rhetoric on Israel has yielded no tangible benefit, his racist rhetoric has cost American lives, including Jewish lives in Pittsburgh and Poway. Jews feel less safe and secure under Trump, and so should all Americans.
Steve Shelley, Pro-Israel Chicagoland Blog

Friday, August 2, 2019

Traitor Trump

The resignation of Dan Coats and the nomination of Ratcliffe has caused me to reread my e mail about naming Traitor Trump. Hard to believe, but I was too easy on him.
It is not enough for me to have said that Traitor Trump embraced Russia. He did more than that. Our approximately 17 intelligence agency unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in our election. None of us have been privy to the information gathered by the intelligence agencies. But we are privy to the findings of the Mueller report. He gave numerous specific examples of Russian interference. He found that Russia had a widespread and systematic operation designed to interfere in our elections. He identified and indicted specific Russian agents. In other words in an investigation separate and apart from the intelligence agencies investigations, Mueller had proof positive of Russian interference.
At Helsinki, Trump took the word of Putin who said that Russia did not interfere. He took the word of Putin over his own intelligence agencies. Dan Coats almost immediately publicly disagreed with Traitor Trump. tRUMP did more than "embrace" Russia He actively supporting Russia over the United States. Russia is a hostile country. Except for people in the tRUMP cult, anyone would call this treason.
There was ample evidence in the years before tRUMP entered the race that Wikileaks had a close relationship with Russia. Since tRump knows nothing, it is entirely possible that he did not know about that relationship. But it is impossible that his advisers did not know. So when tRUMP publicly asked wikileaks to disclose stolen e mails and when he said wikileaks would be richly rewarded, he was speaking to a Russian controlled organization. Again, tRUMP did not passively sit by and embrace Russian interference, he proactively encouraged it.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage. The trial judge called them treasonous. Whom did they sell atomic secrets to? What a coincidence, Russia. It goes without saying that selling atomic secrets to Russia is a horrible thing. But so is encouraging Russia to interfere in one of our most precious freedoms, the right to vote in a fair and free election. tRUMP and his puppy dog McConnell will not allow voter protection laws to come up for a vote, even though they have bipartisan support. They are giving free reign to Russia interfering in 2020. How can this not be treason?
Traitor Trump has committed numerous high crimes and misdemeanors. I assume that if there are articles of impeachment, treason will not be included, but it should be.
As I think about it, so should bribery. We have heard a lot about the Emolument Clause. Traitor Trump has no doubt violated that clause. Emoluments are nothing more than bribery. It is interesting that the drafters of the Constitution put bribery in the impeachment clause. The president is particularly vulnerable to bribery. If there are articles of impeachment, bribery should be included.
Several weeks ago I supported a restrained approach as advocated by Nancy Pelosi. As you know, I have the highest regard for Pelosi. As I started writing this piece, I was leaning more and more toward the House beginning an impeachment hearing. By the time I finished the draft, Senator Stabenow, another person I hold in the highest esteem, publicly came out in favor of an impeachment hearing. As you know, Senator Stabenow is a very reasonable person, always willing to listen to all sides of an argument. If Senator Stabenow favors an impeachment hearing, that's good enough for me.
I well know the argument that such a hearing may cost votes in the 2020 election. On the other hand, maybe it will cost tRUMP votes. His high crimes and misdemeanors will be on full display On balance it is time to put principle before politics. A crook and a traitor should be in the Big House, not the White House.
We cannot be exhausted by this fight. We must win back our government, if not by impeachment than by winning 2020 elections. So let's do what we can for the next 16 months to get it done. As always, thanks for listening.
Richard Lenter

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Brenda Lawrence on Impeachment

The United States is composed of three separate, yet equal branches of government and relies on a system of checks and balances to ensure cooperation and accountability. Congress has the authority to create and pass legislation, as well as conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, I take this responsibility very seriously. President Trump continues to impede our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. I am now calling for an impeachment inquiry into his conduct so that Congress can obtain the documents necessary to fulfill our duties. 
 
The Trump Administration has made every attempt to prevent this Congress from performing its constitutional duties of oversight. They have blocked witnesses from testifying, ignored our subpoenas, and refused to turn over documents essential to our justified investigations. Administration officials have objected to precedents that have been in place for decades, while making baseless arguments to avoid complying with congressional requests. On the rare occasions that Administration officials have agreed to testify, they have stalled, obstructed, and disrespected the legislative process. 
 
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report laid out evidence that describes several instances in which President Trump obstructed justice by either trying to change the scope of the investigation or attempting to end it altogether. Given the heavy redactions made to the report, it is impossible to understand the full scope of the investigation. Special Counsel Mueller has stated on multiple occasions that his findings did not exonerate the President of a crime. The report made clear that any accountability would have to come from Congress when he explicitly wrote: “The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.” I look forward to hearing Special Counsel Mueller’s testimony in the House after months of misleading statements by the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration. 
 
The Trump Administration is challenging the power of a separate, yet equal branch of government, a precedent established by our Founding Fathers centuries ago. The House of Representatives has been hard at work in the 116th Congress passing landmark legislation, but President Trump continues to stand in the way of conducting meaningful oversight of his administration. I believe that we must launch an impeachment inquiry to fulfill our constitutional duties. No one is above the law, not even the President.
 
Serving as your representative in Congress is a great privilege. You can visit my website at  www.lawrence.house.gov  to send me an email or learn more about my voting record and positions on the issues that matter most to you.
Sincerely,



Rep. Brenda Lawrence
Member of Congress
MI-14

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

BIDEN and Healthcare

THINKING ALOUD ALLOWED: FINALLY A CANDIDATE WHO UNDERSTAND HEALTHCARE AND THE ACA: ,,,,,,,,,BIDEN KNOWS that after spending billions of tax dollars to establish the foundation of the ACA (Obamacare), that even with Trump's (and the Republican Congress) efforts to destroy the ACA healthcare for 20 million Americans, it still LIVES, because Americans want it.
He also knows that for this existing culture of healthcare in America, the SPH (Single Payer Healthcare) is not anywhere as popular as ACA for many reasons.

A. We know that ACA WORKS, but needs repair, but not enough to scuttle a health program that actually works well for millions and millions of people.
B. ONE EXAMPLE: If congress (Democratic) could change the insurance market to enable people in Wyoming, who have only one source to buy healthcare, and must pay higher premiums, to buy their healthcare insurance from Michigan or Ohio, or California or New York, where there are multiple insurance carriers, it would FORCE insurance rates to go down, and more people could enroll for more coverage at a lesser cost.
C. Preexisting Conditions, need I say more?

D, No sound thinking person would destroy a working business, without another working business already to replace it, and SPH cannot do this until such time as our government agrees on it's total concept of coverage. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO THIS NOW, OR IN THE NEAR FUTURE, BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS FRACTURED REPUBLICAN SENATE, A SPLIT DEMOCRATIC HOUSE, AND A PSYCHOTIC PRESIDENT WHO PROMISED THE BEST AND CHEAPEST HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD, BUT KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HEALTHCARE EXCEPT THE ACA WAS CREATED BY A MAN HE DESPISES, BARAK OBAMA
E. COST; There are no estimates on the cost of SPH, or how much, and in what manner will the funding of SPH be created.
But, we know exactly what Obamacare cost over the last 9 years, and how to fund it.

 
This alone is reason enough for me to support BIDEN for president, because with a great healthcare system you'll have a happy and great America
 
Of course it might take a few more issue like the environment, wage disparity, immigration to bring a smile to the 51% who win, hopefully Democrats

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Puzder, Acosta, Epstein,Dershowitz, Trump and Vance,

  Let me try to connect the dots between all of these miscreants.  Alex Acosta, tRUMP's  labor secretary, is all over the news for the giveaway deal he made with Epstein,  the pervert monster.  Until all of this hit the fan, I had forgotten that Acosta was tRUMP's second pick for labor secretary.  His first pick was Andrew Puzder, best known for having bikini clad models eating giant hamburgers in ads for his Carl's   Jr. hamburger chain.  

              Puzder withdrew from consideration when it came out that his ex wife had publicly accused  him of multiple acts of abuse.   Those allegations were first made public when it came out that she had twice called the police  alleging abuse.   She actually went on the Oprah show in disguise to talk about how powerful men get away with beating their wives.  She said that the bruises are never visible.  A number of years later she vehemently claimed that she had made the whole thing up.

              Does this sound familiar?  Ivana tRUMP said that she made up the allegations in a sworn complaint for divorcee that tRUMP had raped her.  When she did her disavowal , she said that she did not understand the definition of rape.  All  she needed to do is to look at the facts she alleged in her  complaint for divorce which she signed under oath to understand the definition. Recanting most assuredly was a condition for getting a massive divorce settlement.

              Acosta claims that the deal he made was a good deal because it guaranteed that Epstein would do jail time.  If it was such a good deal, why did he not tell the victims as required by law?  Equally damning, why was the deal made in secret and put under seal? 

             Epstein was charged pursuant to a 53 page  federal indictment.  In order to do the deal, the federal prosecutor had to dismiss the federal charges and get the Palm Beach County district attorney to file far less serious State charges.    The deal then had Epstein plead guilty to the State charges.  

            This is an incredibly ingenious way  to minimize Epstein's penalty.   Only a Harvard professor could think of such a thing.  Lo and behold it was a Harvard Professor, namely Allen Dershowitz.  I have not heard a single legal commentator say that he or she has ever heard of such an deal.

            Rumor has it that the Palm Beach police officers who worked on the case, and the Federal prosecutors who wrote the indictment were outraged by the result.  Why did Acosta do the deal.  So far only he knows.  There has not  been a suggestion that he was paid off.  Maybe he merely succumbed to Epstein's high powered lawyers.  Maybe they made some kind of threat. No matter the reason, this case shows that Epstein got the best representation that money could buy.  It also shows that Acosta should never again be allowed to collect a penny of taxpayer money. 

           A few words about Dershowitz.  His client list includes Claus Von Bulow, and O.J. Simpson both of whom killed their wives.  Now add Epstein to the list.  As far as I know he has not killed a wife.    I don't believe that Dershowitz has been  officially retained by tRUMP, another member of the rogue's gallery.  But he is certainly acting as an unofficial member of tRUMP's team.  He is all over TV making up absurd defenses of tRUMP.

          So how does Cyrus Vance Jr. get in my subject line.? Vance is the district  attorney for Manhattan.  His staff lawyers recommended charging Ivanka and Jared with criminal fraud for duping investors in one of their buildings.    Vance rejected their recommendation.  This rejection occurred after a tRUMP fixer dropped off a $25,000 check for Vance's reelection campaign.  
   
            Fast forward to Epstein.  Vance filed a petition in a New York court to have Epstein's sexual misconduct status changed from Level 3 (highest) to level 1 (lowest)  There has never been an explanation for this petition.  Fortunately the judge who heard the request was appalled and refused to grant it.  So we now know that Vance prevented tRUMP's  daughter and son in law from being criminally charged, and tried to make a deal for tRUMP's old  pervert buddy.  

           I will always remember Michael Cohen's poignant statement to tRUMP enablers that if they continue to support him they will end up like Cohen.  So Puzder stinks, Acosta stinks,  Dershowitz stinks and Vance stinks.  Boys, join the crowd.
             As always, thanks for listening.
                                                                   Richard

Monday, June 17, 2019

Andy Levin on Impeachment

When I was sworn into the 116th Congress, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. It's an oath I don't take lightly.
 
That's why I believe that the House must open an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Donald J. Trump. If you agree, add your name here.
 
Let me take a few moments to explain because it's important for you to understand how I arrived at this decision:
 
The evidence is clear that Mr. Trump has been violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution every day since he took office. The intermingling of his business dealings with governance and his profiting off his office is beyond improper. According to a recent analysis from  NBC News, representatives of 22 — 22! — different foreign governments have spent money at properties owned by the Trump Organization since 2017.
 
What's more — his refusal to share information about his taxes, which prevents the public from knowing the nature and extent of his conflicts of interest.  
 
As the Mueller Report makes clear, on more than ten occasions, the President obstructed justice or sought to obstruct justice — including by firing or attempting to fire people who were investigating him. And his brazen attitude towards foreign interference in our election process chills me to the bone — from his invitation to Vladimir Putin to meddle during 2016 to his comments this week about the 2020 election.
 
Until today, I have maintained the position that we should neither rush to impeach President Trump nor take impeachment off the table. However, I believe that even if our appeals to the courts continue to succeed, they will follow a timeline far too slow to meet the needs of the American people for truth and justice. 
 
After extensive discussion with colleagues on the committees of jurisdiction over various investigations, I have concluded that the only way to get to the bottom of Mr. Trump's activities and inform the public about what we learn is to consolidate and expedite the process through one select committee with the focus, power, and urgency that come with an impeachment inquiry.
 
 
Thank you for taking action on this,
 
Andy Levin

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Legacy of the Trump Presidency

What will be the legacy of the Trump Presidency?
There will likely be many, few of them good, but I think the worst (for Republicans in general and conservative evangelicals in particular, anyway) is that they have lost any moral high ground they were ever able to claim. Democrats, if their silly hearts ever led them to do so, could nominate a Harvey Weinstein candidate with a Bill Cosby running mate, and the Republicans would not be able to say a single word, not and be taken seriously, anyway. In his article, A Comprehensive List of Things Republicans Can No Longer Legitimately Criticize Thanks to Trump, here are a few of the things John Ziegler came up with:

Having no political experience.
Having no military experience.
Having actively dodged a war.
Having compared avoiding sexual diseases during a promiscuous period to going to war.
Having disparaged a war hero for having been captured.
Having claimed to have more military knowledge than our generals.
Having admitted to getting their military knowledge from watching TV.
Having been divorced, twice.
Having multiple affairs with porn stars and paying them, possibly with campaign cash, to keep them quiet.
Having a wife who posed nude in lesbian-themed photos and plagiarized her only major speech.
Bragging, on tape, about sexually assaulting women.
Running several failed businesses into the ground.
Trying to violate the Cuban embargo.
Using Chinese steel on their own buildings while decrying what China has done to our steel industry.
Pretending to be his own publicist in an effort to get media outlets to publish how much women want to have sex with them.
Settling a massive fraud lawsuit for $25 million.
Bragging about being “very pro-choice.”
Bragging about the size of their penis during a presidential debate.
Getting electoral help from an adversarial power and refusing to properly condemn or punish their meddling in our election.
Siding with a foreign adversary over our own intelligence agencies.
Claiming, without evidence, that the presidential election is “rigged.”
Obsessing and lying about, and forcing government employees to do the same, the size of the crowd at their swearing in.
Lying (or being abjectly ignorant about) the size of their election victory.
Falsely claiming, without a shred of evidence, that they lost the popular vote because of millions of illegally cast votes.
Claiming to be a Christian while having no knowledge of the Bible and claiming to never have asked for forgiveness, or hardly ever actually going to church services.
Engaging in blatant nepotism.
Threatening to take guns away from citizens without due process.
Being consistently pro-Russia and pro-Putin.
Making numerous statements indicating that they want to be a dictator and praising those foreign leaders who already are.
Referring to friendly nations as “shithole” countries.
Constantly attacking people, even political allies, based on their physical appearance.
Being abjectly ignorant of the basic functions of our government.
Not knowing basic facts about important issues.
Having a general and reckless disregard for the truth.
A Comprehensive List of Things Republicans Can No Longer Legitimately Criticize Thanks to Trump

In an article for The American Conservative, Rod Dreher (no bleeding heart liberal he) has some pretty pointed things to say about Christian Trump supporters: Quoting Michael Gerson, he writes, “Evangelicals have become loyal to a leader of shockingly low character. They have associated their faith with exclusion and bias. They have become another Washington interest group, striving for advantage rather than seeking the common good. And a movement that should be known for grace is now known for its seething resentments.” Christians Tempted By Trump Idolatry He goes on to quote himself from his book “The Benedict Opinion”: “…fair or not, conservative Christianity will be associated with Trump for the next few years, and no doubt beyond. If conservative church leaders aren’t extraordinarily careful in how they manage their public relationship to the Trump phenomenon, anti-Trump blowback will do severe damage to the church’s reputation. Trump’s election solves some problems for the church, but given the man’s character, it creates others. Political power is not a moral disinfectant.
“And this brings us to the more subtle but potentially more devastating effects of this unexpected GOP election victory. There is first the temptation to worship power, and to compromise one’s soul to maintain access to it. There are many ways to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar, and some prominent pro-Trump Christians arguably crossed that line during the campaign season. Again, political victory does not vitiate the vice of hypocrisy.” (ibid)

Conservatives have made a bed of thorns that they will be forced to sleep in for years to come.

MORE (may be a lot of repeats initially but there is new stuff also)

After Tuesday’s special election upset loss in Pennsylvania, many in the Republican Party are now resigned to the likely reality that the 2018 elections, which once set up extremely well for the GOP, are going to be a disaster for them. There are many reasons this is the case, but the most prominent, of course, is that the party has allowed itself to be completely defined by President Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of having sold out so thoroughly to Trump is that the GOP is now almost completely disarmed in their ability to legitimately attack Democratic candidates and office holders on numerous issues, especially in the realm of character. After all, once you have defended and accepted certain behavior from a president, it is awfully difficult, even in a world where hypocrisy is now longer seen as politically lethal, to claim that similar acts are unacceptable for any other elected office.

With this in mind, I recently attempted to put together a comprehensive — and ever growing — list of the things that had they been been true of a Democrat, Republicans and the conservative media would have been on the warpath to destroy them. I came up with almost 100 of them. I am sure the list is incomplete, and will probably grow by the end of the day, but here it is:

Being best known as a reality TV host.
Having no political experience.
Having no military experience.
Having actively dodged a war.
Having compared avoiding sexual diseases during a promiscuous period to going to war.
Having disparaged a war hero for having been captured.
Having claimed to have more military knowledge than our generals.
Having admitted to getting their military knowledge from watching TV.
Having been divorced, twice.
Having multiple affairs with porn stars and paying them, possibly with campaign cash, to keep them quiet.
Having a wife who posed nude in lesbian-themed photos and seemingly plagiarized her only major speech.
Bragging, on tape, about sexually assaulting women.
Running several failed businesses into the ground.
Running casinos and overtly sexual beauty pageants.
Declaring bankruptcy multiple times.
Trying to violate the Cuban embargo.
Using Chinese steel on their own buildings while decrying what China has done to our steel industry.
Having greatly misled about their academic record, while also questioning the academic record of a current president.
Falsely accusing a sitting president, with racist undertones, of not being eligible for the office.
Lavishly praising and giving lots of money to prominent Democrats.
Pretending to be his own publicist in an effort to get media outlets to publish how much women want to have sex with them.
Settling a massive fraud lawsuit for $25 million.
Dramatically flip-flopping on major issues, often within hours.
Bragging about being “very pro-choice.”
Bragging about the size of their penis during a presidential debate.
Bragging about massive wealth which doesn’t seem to actually exist.
Bragging about not paying taxes during a presidential debate.
Refusing to release their taxes, promising to do so if elected, and still not doing so.
Publicly asking for, and getting help from an international hacking/terrorist group to get elected.
Getting electoral help from an adversarial power and refusing to properly condemn or punish their meddling in our election.
Siding with a foreign adversary over our own intelligence agencies.
Claiming, without evidence, that the presidential election is “rigged.”
Obsessing and lying about, and forcing government employees to do the same, the size of the crowd at their swearing in.
Lying (or being abjectly ignorant about) the size of their election victory.
Falsely claiming, without a shred of evidence, that they lost the popular vote because of millions of illegally cast votes.
Claiming to be a Christian while having no knowledge of the Bible and claiming to never have asked for forgiveness, or hardly ever actually going to church services.
Making constant and dramatic campaign promises which never come close to being fulfilled.
Being unable to get hardly anything passed through a Congress controlled by their own party.
Causing run-away spending and massive deficits.
Taking credit for stock market advances they had almost nothing to do with.
Tanking the stock market with reckless statements.
Pardoning a political supporter for purely political reasons in their first year in office.
Having close senior aides quit and be fired at an alarming rate, even after having bragged that they would hire only the very best people.
Having multiple close aides plead guilty to serious crimes possibly related to their own election.
Hiring and then firing a National Security Adviser after they were correctly warned by the prior administration they were compromised by a foreign adversarial power.
Hiring a reality TV villain to work in the White House who ended up doing nothing and didn’t even last a year before being fired, provoking a bizarre security incident.
Having much of their close staff not be able to get top secret security clearances.
Having their chief economic advisor quit over a highly unpopular plan to impose huge tariffs.
Engaging in blatant nepotism.
Having a member of their own family caught up in a serious investigation of foreign meddling in our election and of allegedly using their influence to punish and reward countries based on personal business dealings.
Being in constant and clear violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution by personally benefiting financially from foreign states because of their position.
Threatening to take guns away from citizens without due process.
Being consistently pro-Russia and pro-Putin.
Aligning themselves with blatant conspiracy theorists and supporting obvious nut jobs.
Blatantly promoting, sometimes via government resources, highly partisan and non-credible media outlets.
Actively attacking legitimate media outlets (even those they give interviews to) as “fake” simply because they don’t like what is being reported.
Actively avoiding press conferences and extensive interviews with non-friendly news media.
Making numerous statements indicating that they want to be a dictator and praising those foreign leaders who already are.
Forcing the military to hold a parade in the streets of Washington for their own personal ego gratification.
Being consistently against the First Amendment, specifically with regard to libel laws and flag burning.
Taking credit for the release of college basketball players from China when the players had already been secured before they even got involved.
Endorsing a credibly accused child molester (and general nut job) for senator in a state they won big, and then having that person lose.
Publicly backing multiple friends accused of sexual misconduct who then turned out to be at least partly guilty.
Threatening to “lock up” their political opponents.
Having sub-40% approval ratings, and seeing that as a sign of failure.
Trying to fire a Special Counsel who is investigating their own campaign.
Firing an FBI Director because they don’t like the way they are handling an investigation that directly involves themselves.
Falsely and publicly claiming they might have tapes of private conversations with their FBI Director and then bragging that it was a good strategic move to lie.
Constantly publicly criticizing, and inappropriately directing, their own Attorney General.
Releasing a partisan memo over the objections of their own Justice Department.
Publicly describing a group of NFL players as, “that son of a bitch.”
Referring to friendly nations as “shithole” countries.
Constantly attacking people, even political allies, based on their physical appearance.
Publicly mocking a disabled reporter.
Routinely tweeting badly misspelled words and inaccurate statements.
Tweeting about frivolous subjects in the middle of the night.
Threatening a foreign country led by a madman with nuclear war.
Agreeing to meet with a madman without real preconditions and without consulting any diplomatic experts.
Threatening a damaging trade war, without aides knowing about it, because they are in a bad mood.
Using the House Intelligence Committee as a piece of partisan political machinery.
Firing their Secretary of State via Twitter.
Having their personal assistant escorted off the White House grounds due to a criminal probe and then immediately hiring the assistant to work on their campaign.
Campaigning for heavily favored candidates who end up losing.
Being abjectly ignorant of the basic functions of our government.
Not knowing basic facts about important issues.
Having a general and reckless disregard for the truth.


Jon Hill, Graphic designer: autodidact: Hist., PolySci., Religion


Monday, June 10, 2019

Two Legal Systems

“Read the AJC’s 36-page “Guide for the Perplexed” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and you wouldn’t know that in the West Bank Israel maintains two legal systems, one for Jews—which guarantees due process, free movement, citizenship in the country in which they live and the right to vote for the government that controls their lives—and a second, which denies all these rights to Palestinians.
The AJC constructs a cocoon that allows its supporters to believe that Israel is a thriving democracy even as it denies millions of Palestinians basic rights, and to believe that Israel yearns for a two state solution even as Benjamin Netanyahu boasts about opposing one.
And with the exception of Sanders, the major Democratic candidates didn’t challenge that intellectual and moral bubble. They inhabited it.

“I don’t know if Sanders would make a better president than his Democratic rivals. But this much is clear: When it comes to the conflict between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, he’s the only candidate who is boldly defending the moral principles — human dignity, anti-racism and equality under the law -— that all the Democratic candidates claim to prize. And he’s doing it in front of the audiences that want to hear that message least, and need to hear it most.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that he’s also the only Jewish candidate in the race. But one day, when the occupation is a distant memory and American Jews have long since acknowledged its profound injustice, our people will look back at speeches like the one he gave this week to the AJC with pride.”

Tanya

Friday, May 31, 2019

What Mueller said and what he did not say

  In the last 24 or so hours there have  been countless analyses of the Mueller statement.  Here is one more. I must first state  that Mueller is an American hero and a man of impeccable integrity.  Having said that,  I was disappointed by Mueller's statement, but not surprised.  He did exactly what I had predicted he would do.  Mueller is the ultimate example of understatement.  There were several instances where he could have stated conclusions.  Rather than doing that, he left it to the listener to draw conclusions.  
         While Mueller's position may be admirable, it allows tRUMP and his sycophants to state their own conclusions  from Mueller's statement.  And they did. Their response to Mueller's statement  is, "see, no collusion, no obstruction."  It goes without saying that they are lying.  But Mueller enabled them to do it.  So here's my take.

           Mueller began and ended his statement by stating that Russia had a massive systematic  and sweeping program to interfere with and influence  our election.    But I have a major problem with the following sentence, "This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy."  Mueller referred to the tRUMP campaign's response to the Russian campaign, but did not state what the response was..  Mueller's report explicitly stated  that the tRUMP campaign welcomed the Russian interference.  Why could Mueller not bring himself to say perhaps the most damning of all conclusions  in the report.  The vast majority of people who have not read the report would have no idea of this damning finding.

           Mueller went on to say that the Russian campaign was intended to damage a "presidential candidate."  Why could Mueller not say that it was intended to damage the Clinton campaign.  tRUMP has often said that the Russian interference was intended to help Clinton.  Mueller should have explicitly rejected that cockamamie B.S. Mueller expects people to draw the logical conclusion.  In my view, that is not enough.

            At the end of the statement Mueller praised the hard work and the integrity of the people on his team.  That praise was fine, but not nearly enough.  tRUMP has continuously called the investigation a hoax and a witch hunt being conducted by 18 angry Democrats.  tRUMP directly attacked the integrity of Mueller and his team. He accused two of them plus Comey  of treason. Barr is now investigating Mueller and his team to see if this was a political hoax.  I think it was incumbent on Mueller to explicitly rebuke tRUMP's claim.  He had a duty to maximize the protection of his team.  He needed to say that there was a sound basis for beginning the investigation and his team was not in anyway guided by political considerations.  

        Mueller said that he was constrained by the DOJ memo to not charge a sitting president with a crime.  There are plenty of legal scholars who disagree with the DOJ memo.  Mueller chose to abide by that memo.  It should be pointed out that Ken Starr did not feel the same constraint.  I would also say that two former federal prosecutors would not have felt the same constraint if they thought that Barack Obama had committed a crime.   Those former prosecutors are Giuliani and Christie.  Mueller said that the constitution had a remedy other than the criminal justice system to deal with a president who may have committed a crime.  Mueller simply could not get the word impeachment to come from his lips.  I understand why he couldn't, but he could have  just as easily told the American people what the alternative was.

    I cannot believe that Mueller chose to give high praise to Barr.  Mueller said that  at a point in time he requested that certain portions of his report be made public.  He was referring to the executive summaries of the report.  Once again Mueller could not bring himself to say what portions he was referring to.  More importantly he said that Barr made a decision to  largely make the entire report public.  Mueller than said, "I certainly do not question the attorney general's good faith in that decision."  This is just me, but I think it is outrageous for Mueller to have made that  statement.  Barr totally misrepresented the findings of the Mueller Report.  And  when Mueller saw the misrepresentation he sent  a letter to Barr urging him to release the executive summaries.  Barr refused.  So not only had Barr misrepresented,  he refused to correct the misrepresentation despite the urging of Mueller.  Again, it is extremely disappointing  that Mueller praised the good  faith of Barr.  Mueller at a minimum could have remained silent on the subject.  Now he has given Barr a pass he absolutely does not deserve.
     
        Finally, there is one  sentence which I initialed failed to understand the  significance of..  Mueller  said the investigation was important "to preserve evidence  while memories are fresh and documents available."  There is only one  reason to preserve evidence, and that is for future proceedings.  This innocuous sentence suggests that Mueller believes there may well be future proceedings, whether trials or impeachment. 

         For me, tRUMP's response to the Mueller statement is the most fascinating of all responses.  tRUMP said that there was insufficient evidence to prove there was a crime.  Therefore, case closed.  First, Mueller's reference to insufficient evidence related only to possible conspiracy by the tRUMP campaign with Russia.  Mueller never said that there was insufficient evidence that tRUMP committed the crime of obstruction of justice.  Second, the fact that Mueller said there was insufficient evidence of a crime, does not mean there was no crime.  By the way, I have read enough of the report to question how Mueller could have come to that conclusion.  I think the report contains plenty of evidence of conspiracy.  And third, it is jaw dropping that the President of the United States thinks that lack of evidence somehow vindicates him.  That is a very low bar for anyone, let alone the President.  There are plenty of crimes which are not prosecuted for lack of evidence.  That does not mean that the crime was not committed.

              I agree with both sides of the impeachment debate.  Whether or not the House moves toward impeachment,  I think the period between now and the election will reveal enumerable facts that show tRUMP is the head of a continuing criminal enterprise.  If we survive until 2020, we will boot the crime boss out of office.  Take care all.

                                                                           Richard

Monday, May 20, 2019

Justin Amash tweets

From the day tRUMP got elected we all asked whether there is even one Republican in Congress who would call out this despicable man.  There are  53 Republican senators and about 195 Republican congressmen.  Finally there is one.  Justin Amash from Grand Rapids marches to his own drummer.  He is a far right libertarian. He is a Tea Party stalwart. My liberal friends in Grand Rapids despise him.  But everyone agrees that Amash believes in certain principles and will not waver from them  So here are his tweets:

   Here are my principal conclusions:
                    1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented the 
                        Mueller report.

                    2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct

                    3.  Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances

                    4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

              I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller's redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.

                   In comparing Barr's principal conclusions, congressional testimony and other statements to Mueller's report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's analysis and findings.

                   Barr's misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies which he hopes people will not notice.

                    Under our Constitution, the president " shall be removed from Office on impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."  While "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

                     Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

                      In fact, Mueller's report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all of the elements of obstruction of justice and undoubtedly any person who is not the president would be indicted based on such evidence.

                     Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g. obstruction of justice) has been committed.  It simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

                 While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.

                 Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch's jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution.  When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the rule of law-the foundation of liberty crumbles.

Now this is Richard.  I hope that Amash's tweets become  a huge national story.  Amash has spoken truth to power.  I have heard for two years  that Republicans are afraid of tRUMP. Is it possible that a second and then a third and then more Republicans will have the political courage of Amash?  Then the Wizard Of Trump will come tumbling down.  Take care all.

                                                                    Richard
                                                            

PS:  Amash's parents are immigrants from the Middle East.  tRUMP will probably tweet that Amash should go back to where he came from.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question

Without question there are multiple bases to impeach tRUMP.  Most discussions center on Mueller's findings of obstruction of justice.  tRUMP says there were no high crimes or misdemeanors. I would like to point out there are more bases for impeachment than just those.  The constitution also provides for impeachment where there has been treason or bribery.   I suggest that any president who accepts  the word of the head of a foreign enemy and disparages his own security experts is guilty of treason. (remember the judge in the Michael Flynn case said that Flynn's actions sounded like treason.) I suggest that any president who makes money (emoluments) from foreign officials is guilty of bribery.   Whether to impeach, however, is a complicated question which could be only  answered with a crystal ball.  If  we knew for certain how impeachment proceedings would affect the 2020 elections, the answer would be simple.  Here is my analysis.

        Regardless of whether tRUMP is impeached by the House,  It is almost a certainty that tRUMP will be President until January 2021.  It is inconceivable that there will be 20 Republican Senators who would vote for conviction.  About the only way that would happen is if the golden shower tapes or some other bombshell drops.   So the number 1 priority is to make sure tRUMP is not President in February 2021. The number 2 priority is to make sure we retain the House.  Number  3 priority is winning the Senate.

           Democrats must make their best calculation as to how impeachment proceedings would affect the 2020 elections.  Many Democrats are gun shy because of the Republican experience with the Clinton impeachment.  That exercise resulted in Clinton's approval rating skyrocketing.  It would be an unmitigated disaster if an impeachment of tRUMP would result in an increase in his approval rating similar to Clinton's.  That could result in his reelection.  Then priority 1 is lost.  This must   be avoided at all costs.
     
           Let's talk about priority no. 2.  There were approximately 40 seats that flipped from red to blue.  Most if not all were Republican districts.  Every one of these new congress men and women, must consider the feelings of their Republican constituents who voted for them.  I think that not a single one of the flippers ran on an anti tRUMP platform.  They ran on the issues.  If they use strong anti tRUMP rhetoric will that turn off Republicans who voted for them?  It would be horrible if we lose the House.

           There are strong arguments that an impeachment of tRUMP is far  different than the impeachment of Clinton.  I agree.  But a much better historical perspective than Clinton is the Nixon impeachment.  The House hearings lasted for almost two years.  Very slowly facts came out that led to the inevitability of Nixon either resigning or being removed.  I said at the time that the Nixon hearings were analogous to the peeling of an onion.  Layer after layer was peeled back until eventually you get to the stinking center.  I think that is exactly what will happen to tRUMP.

           Several House Dems have introduced articles of impeachment.  Those are representatives from safe Democratic districts.  They have nothing to lose by going after tRUMP.  But they have everything to lose if they are no longer in the majority. The impeachment articles  make us  feel good.  I think they are a mistake.  I come to the same conclusion as Nancy Pelosi.  Be deliberative.    Mueller has published a truckload of facts.  Congressional hearings can result in another truckload.  Let the hearings move forward in a deliberative way.  Let tRUMP supporters continue to show their blind support for this disgraceful human being.  tRUMP's base will never move.  But maybe more facts will move independents and principled Republicans.  We must stay focused on our priorities.  We cannot take a chance that tRUMP get reelected.

           The attached NYT article is the best I've seen  in describing the Democrats dilemma.  If I had a vote, I would vote against an immediate rush to impeachment.   Let the facts work there way into the American consciousness.  I will be satisfied if tRUMP is no longer the president in February 2021.  If that happens, he will still be facing a boatload of criminal and civil charges. Remember he is Individual 1.  That's only the beginning. As always, thanks for listening.

                                                                    Richard
 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Please don't stop now

  I was struck by a portion of Michelle Goldberg's piece in today's New York Times.  She wrote, "Many people, having worked frantically to deliver the House to the Democrats in the midterms, are exhausted... Outrage is hard to sustain no matter how justified." Goldberg is right.  I wish she were wrong.  In recent weeks I have spoken to too many strong Democratic supporters who are done with politics at least for this year and into next year.  This is what frightens me.
          We are living through the most catastrophic presidency in our lifetimes and perhaps in the history of our country.  As patriots we must continue to do everything we can to end this scourge.  There is a danger that tRUMP can be reelected.  There is a danger that the Republicans can retake the house.  The way those things will not happen is if we maintain the energy that won in 2018.  So please maintain the energy and ask everyone you know to do so.  If that happens we win.  Then we can rest.
   
        Let's put our current position in perspective.  We have lived with the tRUMP election for two years and six months.  We have lived with his presidency for two years and three months.  This means we are more than half way through this nightmare if we beat the lunatic in Nov. 2020.  If we lose in 2020 we are about 1/4 of the way through tRUMP. So I am going to continue to write and on occasion to solicit.  I hope you will continue to read my e mails and forgive my solicitations.  We must win in 2020.  Then we can be exhausted.
        Now for a couple of comments on current news.  tRUMP is calling to "get rid" of judges.  Fascism 101.  tRUMP is purging the cabinet.  Dictatorship 101.  tRUMP wants to again separate children from their parents.  Psychopathology 101.  tRUMP's babbling is becoming more pronounced.  Dementia 101. 
         As tRUMP continues to break the law, advocates such as the ACLU and attorneys general across the country continue to fight for the rule of law.  And judges are denying tRUMP his illegal agenda.  Perhaps John Roberts" most significant  statement during his tenure on the Supreme Court was his rebuke of tRUMP for suggesting there are Obama judges.  Our institutions are holding. So let's do whatever we can to win in 2020.  Thanks for listening.
                                                                   Richard

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Trump Contagion

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Bandy X. Lee, and Ruth Ben-Ghiat  
Project Syndicate    |    March 25, 2019
 
US President Donald Trump’s growing rages may partly be the result of cognitive decline, suggested, for example, by his deteriorating ability to form complete sentences, use complex words, and maintain a coherent train of thought. What is certain is that Trump is putting the world at risk.

NEW YORK – Mental health professionals and others have been trying to warn the public about the dangers of US President Donald Trump since his election. Trump’s extreme narcissism, sadism, lack of empathy, and admiration for despots are on daily display. Some may wish to see him as a self-absorbed clown, but he is a clear and present danger to the world who must be prevented from leading (or misleading) it to disaster.

With the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the dangers have greatly multiplied. While we have not seen the actual text – only a version of it rendered by the president’s political ally, US Attorney General William Barr – Mueller’s purported conclusion that Trump did not collude with Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely embolden Trump to attack. What makes the Mueller claim especially disastrous is the reality of tacit collusion staring us in the face. Trump ran his 2016 campaign while secretly trying to score a real-estate mega-deal in Moscow (and, as usual, lying about it to the public). He publicly opined on canceling sanctions against Russia while pursuing this deal.

Trump will feel enabled in his vindictiveness and delusions of grandeur. In recent weeks, Trump repeatedly taunted a dead US senator and uttered not a word of regret for the 50 Muslim worshipers slaughtered in New Zealand by a white supremacist who referred specifically to him in a manifesto justifying the massacre. When criticized, Trump spends days raging against his foes on Twitter. He uses rallies and other public occasions to model a politics that regards humanitarianism and compassion as weaknesses rather than fundamental human values.

Trump’s growing rages may partly be the result of cognitive decline. Over time, for example, his ability to form complete sentences, use complex words, and maintain a coherent train of thought appears to have eroded. There is documented history of his father’s dementia.

What is certain is that Trump is putting the world at risk. He has now withdrawn from two nuclear treaties, one with Iran that was agreed to by the entire UN Security Council, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, in place since 1988. His absurdly incompetent diplomacy with North Korea lies in tatters, with that country now warning of a new round of nuclear tests.

Under Trump, the US government, alone among all 193 United Nations member countries, has repudiated the global effort to combat climate change, leaving Americans without sane leadership as climate crises grow in intensity. His response to Hurricane Maria, which left more than 3,000 dead in Puerto Rico, was one of contempt for and neglect of the victims, as was his response to the mega-fires that ravaged California last year, claiming dozens of lives, and to the mega-floods now causing catastrophic losses throughout the Midwest.

Trump’s worldview is echoed by white extremists around the world. Data show a surge in hate crimes in the US since the day after his election, including a doubling in the number of killings by white supremacists, as well as widespread schoolyard bullying in his name and a record number of mass shootings and gun murders. The mass murderer in the Pittsburgh synagogue, the “pipe bomber” who sought to assassinate major Democrats, and the recent mosque shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, are all examples of the influence of Trump’s echo chamber of violence. During his campaign, he famously boasted that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.” Since then, he has repeatedly endorsed violent behavior through taunts, incitement, and, most recently, a warning that his armed followers could spring into action upon his command.

This type of sadistic leader-follower relationship has cost millions of lives in the past and plunged countries into war and ruin. But it has never before played out in a country with thousands of nuclear weapons and troops in more than 100 countries around the world. Yet, even now, many continue to mistake Trump’s attraction to violence as mere political tactics, rather than the product of a deranged mind.

Since the start of his administration, Trump has followed the authoritarian playbook by attempting to rule by decree, most recently through his reckless declaration of emergency powers to build a wall on the US border with Mexico. He must be stopped before he launches a war, perhaps with Venezuelaor with Iran, or before his armed backers step up violence against his political opponents. The 2020 campaign could easily devolve into street violence at Trump’s instigation.

This assessment – and Trump’s own behavior – implies five steps that should be taken without delay.

First, the House of Representatives should start impeachment hearings. Trump is responsible for the same campaign finance illegalities that are sending his erstwhile lawyer, Michael Cohen, to prison. He has repeatedly and recklessly broken finance and tax laws through money laundering, the false valuations of assets, and chronic underpayment of taxes. The public release of the full Mueller report may add further grounds for impeachment.

Second, Congress should urgently reclaim the clear and unambiguous constitutional right to declare war. Sadly, Congress has effectively ceded this authority to the executive branch. Yet the authority to launch a war, especially in the case of a nuclear-armed power, must never be entrusted to only one person. That would be true even if the US had a sane president.

Third, mental health experts must fulfill their responsibility to protect society’s health and safety by explaining publicly, where necessary, that Trump is not just a conniving politician, or a forceful leader, but a mentally unstable individual capable of creating widespread harm. It is both their right and their professional obligation to bring critical information that enables lawmakers to protect the country.

Fourth, the media need to go beyond covering Trump’s mood of the day to covering his mental instability. The real story is not just that Trump lies relentlessly, or that he is cruel and bigoted, but that he is a threat to others.

Lastly, Americans need to organize politically to prevent another election debacle in 2020, perhaps one that Trump will try to stoke through cries of fraud and calls to his followers to violate the rules of democracy. If Trump is not impeached (as he should be), every effort must be made to preserve democracy and protect society from his destructiveness.
 
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/five-steps-to-counter-trump-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-et-al-2019-03

Mueller Report

I have spoken with and emailed with several friends who are profoundly depressed by the fact that Mueller will not issue any more indictments.  We are bewildered.  How could there not be indictments of tRUMP, his son and his son in law based upon what has already been made public.  We want to nail these crooks

        Today's NYT and Washington Post have great editorials and op eds that put the Mueller report into perspective.  We already have tRUMP's national security adviser, his campaign manager, and his personal lawyer as convicted felons. In the Cohen indictment the SDNY called tRUMP a felon (Individual 1).  Mueller has already found that Russia interfered in our election to help get tRUMP elected. The SDNY continues to investigate tRUMP's  felonious financial dealings.  They can indict. Remember Allen Weiselberg has given testimony to the SDNY under a grant of immunity. Congressional investigations will cover ground not within the purview of Mueller.  I have no doubt that the N.Y. Attorney General will issue more indictments.  While tRUMP may claim the N.Y. attorney general is part of a partisan witch hunt,  he can't escape facts.

          I am waiting for whatever details Barr decides to release.  It is foolish to speculate now.   I have almost zero confidence in Barr.  I hope i'm wrong. But tRUMP's criminality is beyond question.  It will be exposed for the remainder of his presidency.   We have somehow endured more than half of his presidency (Yes, we will win in 2020).  The House is a stopper for much of tRUMP's agenda.  The Mueller report is a blip, albeit a big blip.So stay tuned for another year and a half of exposure of tRUMP scandals. Take care all.  So don't be depressed.  Watch basketball.  Go Blue.

                                                                         Richard