Archive for May 2017

Rational Thinking

Does it matter anymore?  The issues we face are nuanced and grey.  Where one can find an absolute principle, another might find a yes, but.  And those looking for an absolute principle don’t care about the yes, buts.  It is clear to me we have an unhinged President who hates democracy.  His Secretary of State just gave a press conference in Saudi Arabia and banned the U.S. Media.  Is there a plot by the press to get the president as many think, or are the facts just inconvenient for them?  Well I know the answer to that, but so do Trump supporters.  That is the most depressing thing going on right now.  If you can find that sliver of truth, nobody cares.  Rational thought does not count for anything.

So in the interest of those of us who still care about making sense and having policy that are not based upon ideology, but on the reality we live in and actual results, here are things to think about:

  • Healthcare – Fact:  People like the benefits that Obamacare has brought them and want to keep them, just with lower affordable rates.  Fact:  As the VIIC (Village Idiot in Charge) attacks Obamacare and threatens to destroy it, the markets get less stable and Obamacare becomes less viable. Fact:  Republicans have no way to fix it with market place solutions.  Covering more people and lowering rates can be done only by expanding the pools of people who pay in.  So the choice is simple.  Either you move to left and embrace a single payer system, or you move to the right, bring the market place back in, cancel many of the benefits of Obamacare and cover far fewer people.  That’s it.  All the rest is smoke and mirrors.  See the rest of the world and compare it to our history with health insurance for data and facts.
  • Corporate Taxes – Fact: Large corporations are not over taxed.  While it is true that the published rates are some of the highest in the world, the effective rates (after all those loopholes) is almost half that and many large corporations pay zero taxes.  Do we need real reform to spread out the burden more effectively?  Sure.  Do we think the Republican’s tax reform ideas will do that?  Not a chance.  Here is the economic policy institute crunching the actual numbers.

  • Jobs – Fact:  The president has proposed tax cuts and deregulation to solve our jobs problem and get the economy moving.  The reality is that this has never helped anyone but the wealthy.  As E. J. Dionne pointed out in an op-ed this morning hoping the Pope would counsel the VIIC:

Francis, after all, has explicitly condemned “trickle-down” economics as a system that “has never been confirmed by the facts” and “expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” Capitalism, as he sees it, “tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits.” He added that “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.”

Further, in places like Utah, the issue is lack of workers and really the need for more immigrants for many jobs.  So how again are tax cuts and removing regulations going to help?  Oh those fact things.

  • Global Warming – Fact:  The earth is warming and it is now happening faster than anyone thought.  But that goes against Trumpism ideology that man could have had anything to do with it so we ignore it.  Science is just another opinion.

Okay I think I have made my point.  Because we are ignoring facts and data we are doing almost everything wrong and making them worse.  Additionally we have a moral and ethically challenged administration that is restocking the swamp. not draining it.  We seem to have a national motto right now, fuck humanity, what is good for business is good for the U.S.

I don’t think that will serve us very well, but making rational arguments to point out the flaws in Trumpism seems to fall of deaf ears.  Okay, maybe I have some things wrong or maybe there is an element of truth to some of the complaints.  But where we are right now, compromise or nuanced plans to deal with these issues are not possible because they fail an ideological test from the right.  And make no mistake, this is all coming from the right.  I fear we will have to see massive failure before these ideas are cast aside.

One more depressing thought.  The VIIC is in the Middle East lining up with the Sunnis against the Shiites.  We seem to be overlooking the moral depravity of the Saudi government and their treatment of women as inconsequential to good business.  As the ship sinks, the VIIC is going to wag the dog and the safe bet is he will pick Iran as our foe instead of North Korea, because the short term damage would be less.

Yeah, I get that Iran is a bad player, but there society is much more aligned with the West and is changing.  Aligning ourselves with the very nation that imports radical Muslim extremism (Wahhadism) seems like we are pick the worst of two sides.  Why are we picking sides at all.  Why are we not working for peace instead of further arming the Saudis and making the Iranians feel even more threatened?

See what I mean by nuance?  Right now the people in charge are incapable of nuance.  We are living in a very dangerous place where irrationality is driving the train.  There can be no other way to see it.

Trump America

I was having a lovely day wine tasting when the ignorance and stupidity of Trump America raised its ugly head.  I was sitting sipping some wine outside a lovely winery when an acquaintance sat down next to me so we chit chatted for a few minutes and it turns out he has worked for a firm or with a firm I consult for.  I mentioned the Request for Proposal for the prototype border wall, and he launch into maybe we won’t need it since it would seem Trump’s rhetoric had scared many away and they would not be going to school tuition free and stealing our tax dollars.  Now none of that is true and is easily fact-checked on the web if you go to reliable sources.  But their minds are not up for changing.  Facts, real facts do not matter.

There are loans dedicated to undocumented immigrants to help them, but understand who we are talking about, Dreamers.  These are kids who know no other home and they just want to productive Americans.  Again a little work on the internet and you can educate yourself, but they just want to believe somebody is getting a better deal than they are.  They want to hate.

I tried to change the direction by saying what we really need is an immigration system where workers (especially farm workers) can come into the country fairly simply and leave again.  He stated that was already the system we have and they just need to get their green cards an we would have no problem in the fields.  I said that was not the case .  He lives in a different world than I do.

My point is simple.  We live with people who actually believe that somehow immigrants are stealing from them.  Somehow they were not getting their fair share and immigrants are the root of our problem, getting some kind of free ride..  And facts or the gray areas just don’t make any difference.  That is the Trump America we live in.  It is so much easier to blame someone who is different, than to see the humanity in their striving.  And in good Christian America, we are slapping the hand reaching out for help.

Was Vietnam Winnable?

That is the title for an op-ed in the NYT arguing it was. The author wrote and based his argument on American strategy and the North Vietnamese’s papers at the time.  Since this is a war that consumed me as a young man, and finally found me flying reconnaissance missions in the early 70’s there, I found it hard to read.  There are a lot of deep emotions in my and many of my fellow countrymen who were also consumed by this war.  I have a gut reaction to these arguments that they are nonsense, that we did not understand the war in any social or cultural sense, and the war was bound to fail.  So reading through this was hard.  It was one of those things you have to force yourself to do.

His argument was about strategy and he provided 3-things we could have done. “The most momentous blunder was the decision of the American ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, to foment the coup that overthrew Ngo Dinh Diem, which wrecked the South Vietnamese security apparatus and led North Vietnam to initiate a huge invasion of the South.” My thought here is most Americans will not remember this history.  Diem was Catholic in a Buddhist country and he was becoming ever more totalitarian and divisive making the country ungovernable.  We were propping him up.  So you don’t remove him and create a police state like North Korea?

Another mistake was Johnson’s decision to not insert American ground forces into Laos to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a move that would have transformed the war and reduced the need for American forces.” I flew in these “friendly skies” almost daily tracking the flow of war materials into the South, and we bombed it all the time.  Laos was a forbidding country where if you were shot down, they did not take prisoners.  So we just throw troops at it and we would not get bogged down in another war in Laos?  This makes little sense to me.  If we learned anything, the Vietnamese were resourceful. They would have found another way.

Finally the author argued that we needed to change the conversation about the war in the U.S. to support it so there was not so much resistance at home. I would argue here that the reality of the killing being presented on TV in a country that had no impact our national security made that idea inoperative.  Here is his argument:

During 1967, White House advisers and foreign leaders repeatedly urged Johnson to change course, to tell the American public why the United States was in Vietnam and what it was trying to achieve. But Johnson could not bring himself to do it, even as he increasingly recognized the damaging consequences of his silence. “If history indicts us for Vietnam,” Johnson admitted in the fall, “it will be for fighting a war without trying to stir up patriotism.”

Stir up patriotism?  We lost the war and Vietnam is now a good friend and trading partner, offsetting Chinese influence in the area. what are you talking about?  The war was for nothing.

I found this kind of thinking a tutorial on how we get into wars we don’t belong in.  First of all, why did we fight there?  The author never made the point of why 58,000 Americans and over 3 million Vietnamese had to die.  What was our strategic interest?  What have been the consequences of our losing it?  This just use better tactics approach to war is what got us in major problems in the Middle East.  Wars are not tactics on a game board.  They are about cultural and social issues that if not understood, undermine our whole endeavor.  That is the key to our failures in the Middle East and was the key to losing a war we could not win in Vietnam.

Finally, I would argue, define winnable?  How many killed, how much destroyed, and how long will the invading round-eye be resisted in a gorilla war and resented as an imperialist?  These are things he never addresses.  But the answer to all this is in the fact that Vietnam today is a good trading partner and they have forgiven us, so what again was the need to win this war? There are a lot of us out here who fought that war and know this is the nonsense that will continue getting Americans killed for ego and vanity.  Winning for winning.  The reader comments are what makes my day and here are three of my favorites:

AW:  “It’s slightly bizarre that the author of this piece does not so much as mention the question whether the US had the right to intervene in a civil war on the other side of the earth. We killed three million Vietnamese, lost 58,000 of our own people, dropped a greater tonnage of bombs on Vietnam than were dropped in all of World War II, dropped colossal amounts of Agent Orange, which killed thousands and is still making people sick, dropped an immense tonnage of bombs on Laos and Cambodia, killing hundreds of thousands of people and leading in the latter case directly to the genocide of Pol Pot, and the murder of 1.7 million people, and this author is sorry we didn’t go further. This is a pretty good definition of moral idiocy.”

Doc Kevorian: “We DID “win” the Vietnam War. Ten years after the fall of Saigon, all of our war aims were achieved. The new Vietnam is stable, prosperous, and is our staunch ally against China. Most amazingly, the Vietnamese people have forgiven us for what we did to them. That’s victory, but it shows how stupid and pointless the war was. I served two tours there, 1966-67, and 1970 and am a disabled veteran.”

mancuroc: “If the US had won the war, Vietnam would have been a good trading partner to the United States and its people would have been friendly to the Americans.

Oh, wait……”

I could not have said it better.

What a Week

Now for most of us, it is fairly obvious who Donald Trump is:  The Village Idiot In Charge (VIIC).  I actually thought that was apparent during the campaign when he spouted total lies and promised the world without a concrete plan to actually deliver.  And it was not like he was not called out on it.  The Press got infatuated with him because his rallies were such spectacles of lies and hate.  Sadly, a large portion of our population were blind to what most of us thought were obvious lies.  Add to that Hillary as a clueless campaigner, who was not someone that represented change in any real fashion.  But anyway, here we are.  And we are having a crisis in government almost entirely brought on by the VIIC himself.

So with his attack on our Constitutional system and his own admitted abuses of power, not to mention Russian involvement in our elections, why do conservatives still support him?  I am not talking about Republicans politicos who sold their souls to an agenda.  On that one, Paul Krugman nailed it on Friday with this:

The G.O.P., by contrast, is one branch of a monolithic structure, movement conservatism, with a rigid ideology — tax cuts for the rich above all else. Other branches of the structure include a captive media that parrots the party line every step of the way. Compare the coverage of recent political developments on Fox News with almost everywhere else; we’re talking North Korea levels of alternative reality.

And this monolithic structure — lavishly supported by a small number of very, very wealthy families — rewards, indeed insists on, absolute fealty. Furthermore, the structure has been in place for a long time: It has been 36 years since Reagan was elected, 22 years since the Gingrich takeover of Congress. What this means is that nearly all Republicans in today’s Congress are apparatchiks, political creatures with no higher principle beyond party loyalty.

The country does not matter any more, or said more precisely, the country not led by conservatives does not matter.  Hence their obstructionism during the Obama years in spite of him trying to use many of their ideas.  It explains their anti-intellectualism because facts and research undo much of what they believe. Okay, but what about the people out there in Red America that conservative policies hurts yet they are oblivious to the danger of the VIIC presidency.  Who believe that all that is going on is just a witch hunt? I think the answer was in an article about why people resist the removal of Civil War monuments to Southern generals:

“Beneath all of the talk is a longing for an America that is not only predominantly white but where the resources of a very, very rich nation are funneled almost exclusively toward whites,” said Anderson, author of the 2016 book “White Rage.” “These are who people believe that they are actually oppressed and disadvantaged whenever anyone else’s voice is heard, their needs addressed and their political will prevails.” WaPo

That was the nationalism, nativism, and racism that the VIIC pushed in his campaign to crowds who chanted “Lock her up.” That is who his base is made up of and who controls Republican elections.  No they are not a majority, but without their votes, conservatives in close elections are goners.  And they have elected the VIIC and put the country in extreme danger.  But we are being saved by the very thing the VIIC so attacked in his campaign, the free press.

I don’t think it was any accident that the VIIC attacked the judiciary and the free press during and after his election.  Of the three branches of government, he owned two, the executive and the legislative.  What could undermine him were the courts and the free press so he did his best to delegitimize them.  Note he also went after other inconvenient purveyors of reality, our intelligence agencies to try to intimidate them to tow his line.  The good news is he is failing badly, but had the candidate been a more cunning adversary, we could actually have voted away our Constitutional Democracy by electing this man.  That is something we have not faced yet.

We are saved because the man is so damaged that he is his own worst enemy which our press has been all over, and the rats are starting to desert a sinking and ineffectual ship.  Even Republican politicos (Senators and Congress people) recognize that he is sinking their ship of a grand conservative agenda and are starting to look for life boats*.  We can thank mostly the New York Times and the Washington Post for exposing him.  News papers are back (in electronic form). We can thank leakers who are risking a great deal to get the truth out there.  The wave is coming and even most of brain-dead America cannot ignore it.

Under normal circumstances I would expect the VIIC to be gone by the end of this summer.  Pious Pence’s role in all of this is starting to come out and the whole thing could be a house of cards.  But these are not normal times and the VIIC is in Saudi Arabia where he is being treated as he sees himself, royalty.  You know, all those Muslims he so hated during the campaign season are now his best friends.  Then he will trek to Israel and Iran will become the great devil.  My fear is that as he loses his grip at home he just might wag the dog and Iran or North Korea are likely targets.  This little adventure in nationalism we just experienced could be devastating if we are not careful.  I can’t help wondering if within the military establishment, they might be thinking the same thing I am and have put some safeguards in place to slow him down.  We will see.

*On the great conservative agenda, I actually hope they start down the road.  We have seen a conservative replacement for Obamacare where the answer is fewer people covered and ore risk for all of us.  Their great plan for tax reform will further empower corporations over people as tax cuts to the wealthy simply exacerbate growing economic inequality.  Infrastructure repair?  In your dreams.  Sadly we will have to experience these failures before we are ready for a new beginning.  Try to keep in mind that all this has been done before and failed from conservative healthcare reform, to tax reform.  It is Ideological Necrophilia: passionate love for the dead, ineffective political ideas.  But as noted above in the WaPo quote, it is our tribal white belief in our entitlement that drives all this.

In Other News…

The news channels I watch, mostly CNN and MSNBC have a fix on the VIIC (Village Idiot-in-Charge).  The lies and inconsistencies are starting to cascade so I thought I would turn to other news while the VIIC is in Saudi Arabia and Israel.  I mean, what harm could he possibly do there?  Obviously we need to sell them more arms to keep our war machine happy, but does anyone  then wonder why peace is so hard over there?  I just hope when he goes to Israel he doesn’t try to plant an American flag at the Wailing Wall.

So my first thought is on driverless trucking of the very near future.  As I drove back from Monterey yesterday on I-5, it occurred to me that there is so much trucking traffic that the drive could be described as cruising between truck passing zones.  Truck passing zones are those places where one truck must pass the other and for the next seven or eight miles they block both lanes as one creeps by the other.  So what happens on our two lane interstates when massive lines of trucks, driverless, chug along, I assume in the right lane actually doing the speed limit, so that the only available lane for travel is the left lane (pretty much as it is now)?  I would think we would need a massive building project to add another lane so that traffic is not totally controlled by trucks as it is now.

My second thought is the new study of the Antarctica ice sheet.  Did you know that it contains 60% of the fresh water on the earth and if it completely melted it would raise sea level by 160′.  Did you know it is melting much faster that we thought so what does that do to our predictions of a foot or two in the next 50 years?  Scientists are studying what is happening there so they can make better predictions.  Meanwhile our government under the VIIC and idiot minions are removing scientific data from websites so we won’t know what is coming until it is up to our…

On MSNBC, WTF.  First they bring in Greta to attract maybe more conservative listeners, but her bias is so pronounced conservative that she has a hard time processing all the stuff coming out about the VIIC and tries to make excuses. Chris Mathews processes information like it was still the 1990s, and Chris Hayes tries to present both sides to be fair and balanced when there is only one side. I switch over to CNN which seems more realistically in the hunt.  Now I hear they want to move Lawrence out of his prime time spot so they can give Brian William’s a better time slot. Lawrence is not having it.  Lawrence and Rachel are the heart of intelligent and thoughtful coverage.  Brian Williams’ coverage is fawning and lacks a there, there.  So we are again what, trying to dumb down news so we can dumb down America and make conservative palatable for idled brains?   Goodbye MSNBC if you pull that one off.

Finally, just a thought about the special counsel.  He, like the FBI, will be doing his investigation in the back room.  We still need to continue to dig in the committees if the Republicans will let them.  Last night it was reported that there were 18 more contacts with the VIICs campaign than earlier reporting.  You know there are recordings of those conversations somewhere.  How long does this take?  We the people need to see the truth, the earlier the better.  And as Bernie Sanders reminded us yesterday, focusing on the VIIC as Hillary did in the campaign as unfit to serve, does not provide an alternate path that most voters who don’t read this blog really care about.  It is still, was, and eternally about the economy.  Democrats have to pay attention and attack Republicans for their ideological necrophilia:  passionate love for the dead, ineffective political ideas. America needs options.

Oh, and one final back to the news of the day:  Joe Lieberman for FBI.  Yuck!  My first thought was the VIIC picked someone who was a member of the Senate Club, like Sessions, who would get a free pass.  No smell check required. Apparently that is not the case thankfully.  Why keep putting these old politicos in these positions and expect that anything will change?  Aren’t there professional/non-political people in either the Justice Department (think of all the U.S. Attorneys) or the FBI?  Lieberman is another political hack with a political agenda.  I wonder what those people who voted for change, think about this.  Oh, wait, they don’t think.

Reinventing Reality

Here is the Village Idiot in Chief (VIIC) last night on Twitter:

“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!”

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Clinton, he is talking about Hillary, was investigated by the FBI and 7 times by Congress.  They found nothing. Comey’s investigation is famous and again the finding was what she did, did not arise to a crime. So what the hell is he talking about? On Obama, it was one of the most scandal free administrations in history.  There were no major scandals as compared to previous administrations and they set extremely high ethical standards.

So he is delusional, but what do you expect from a village idiot.  What these Tweets suggest is that there is lots more to come as he recognizes he has lost control of the investigation and it will go where the facts take them.  Republicans have a real decision to make shortly.  If there is fire, and I think there is, where there is smoke, how long before they start separating themselves from this administration.  If there are real indications of collusion and obstruction of justice, the odds he will be impeached just went way up.

Here is one thing you might want to think about.  If it is just Trump, then the Republicans get Pious Pence (the homophobe), which would suit them fine because they could get back to their agenda.  But what if there was collusion and a real question of how the Russians impact the election? That raises real questions about the legitimacy of the entire election.  Then do we have a do-over?  I don’t think there is any known path forward.

Finally Republicans are taking the line that this is fine, we will get to the bottom of the matter, and we can get back to our agenda.  Actually, we have been distracted from their agenda, starting with the failure to find a fix for Obamacare (there is no marketplace/Republican fix unless you consider just trashing Obamacare a fix).  Next up is tax reform and when America sees their approach here, massive tax cuts for the wealthy, this will also go nowhere,  But wait, what about infrastructure repair which every pundit says is low fruit.  Not happening.  These guys will argue over a real program to invest in our tomorrow and one to turn our infrastructure over to corporations to find profits in charging the rest of us for infrastructure.

That in a nutshell is the Republican agenda.  Or as I said a few days ago, the Republicans are involved in Ideological Necrophilia: passionate love for the dead, ineffective political ideas. Maybe this time America will wake up.

Lovely Day in Monterey -The VIIC’s Goose is Cooked

I Xootred to the Monterey Aquarium and enjoyed the morning (sort of) marveling at the amazing variety of nature.  Then stopped on the way back with my girl friend (and wife for going on 38 years, for a Bloody Mary watching the surf break.  I say sort of because many people bring their children there and assume the place is a playground and they can just run amuck.  So glad California is not an open carry state.  But the Aquarium is just a wonderful place to learn about the ocean.  As always, watching the endangered sea otters is just a joy.  I did notice on my trip over that there were a lot of very large seals splayed out on the rocks.  Made me think maybe I don’t need to go on a diet, just learn how to bask in the sun on large rocks.  In that group I would be the svelte  one.

Okay to business. The Village Idiot in Charge (VIIC) went to the Coast Guard Academy to give a graduation speech and whined about the press.  I guess the hypocrisy of him telling them how important they are and his proposed 20% budget cut was lost on him.  Then the big news:  Rod Rosestein, acting Attorney General, appointed a Special Counsel to investigate the Russia Probe.  POW!

Now understand what that means.  The Republicans cannot now control the narrative in the investigation.  We have heard the “bi-partisan” Senate and House investigations, which aren’t really because the Republicans will call witnesses to confuse and obfuscate.  Now they will still do that, but reality is going on in the background and they have to be more circumspect.  

The VICC is going to screw himself into the wall because he can’t control the investigation anymore.  Acting Attorney General Rosenstein is toast.  Watch who is nominsted to lead the FBI because that will now be the only way VIIC can get inside the investigation.  Expect a political war here.  Also note who is nominated for Attorney General.  

Now, don’t expect things to take off.  Robert Mueller will take time to get up to speed, but as an ex-FBI Director, he knows the ropes.  He knows where the bodies are buried and how to dig them up.  But things could go dark for awhile with the Special Counsel because like the FBI, he should not comment on an on-going investigation.  Eventually the light will come on and the Senate and the House will look stupid if they do nothing and then we find out there is real smoke.  So this is a very good step forwartd.  We will get to the bottom of what happened.

One last thing.  Some are lamenting that a better approach would have been a bipartisan commission.  Maybe, but the Republicans were never going to let that happen.  Now they know if there is bad stuff there, it is going to come out.  They may soon start distancing themselves, and if we find there is real evidence, there may be talk of impeachment so they can get their guy Pence in.  Oh, I thought up a nickname for Pence.  Homophobic Mike.  The other possiblity is Pious Pence.  I like the latter,

Remember Your History?

The latest is that maybe the Village Idiot in Chief (VIIC) may have actually said what Comey alleges, but he really did not mean it. It is the way business people talk.  Remember Thomas Becket who was appointed by Henry II to take over the Church in England back in the 1100s and put it under the control of monarchy.  But Thomas eventually rebelled and the King got so frustrated that he was reported to utter, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, at which point the knights did just that with their swords. Henry was then faced with revolt and he is purported to claim he did not mean to have him killed. He was just talking casually.

Now the VIIC claims the same.  It is the consequences that change the meaning of words, apparently.

California Dreaming

It’s a good day to be alive.”

Good morning from Monterey.  Yes, we escaped down the coast for a couple of days to enjoy the ocean, some good food, the Aquarium, walks along the rocks, to get away from it all.  You know, getting out into nature, see the bounty of the ocean, and then go eat some of them.  We humans are interesting creatures. But the world keeps crashing back in as the next episode of As the Trump World Turns brings a new astounding revelation and every day is a new twitst in the World of Village Idiot in Chief.  David Brooks, a conservative columnist from the NYT gave us this yesterday:

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

That’s kind of how I think about pundits trying to analyze him or put some strategic meaning into his follies.  He is simply a village idiot thrashing about.  A very dangerous village idiot.  One has to marvel at the White House’s latest denial of the “alleged” memo from ex-Director Comey about the Village Idiot in Chief’s (VIIC) asking for Comey to back off on the Flynn investigation.  Really?  Alleged?  This is how you do “business” in the business world.  Wink, wink, nod, nod.  Some people are just special.  But in government, where Comey has spent his career, you are always looking for snakes and documenting everything.  Of course the memo exists.

There is some expression among pundits feeling sorry for the communications staff.  I find that rather naïve.  Do you remember the editorials back in November and December by Republicans who told people that they should go to work for the Trump Administration because he will need help?  I laughed then because it was getting on a train heading for a train wreck.  Sean Spicer had to know on day one when he was asked to go out and lie about crowd size.  From day one on, if you had not figured out who the man was, you knew then, and that was the time to walk away.  What we see know is the rationalization of moral/ethical principles down the drain.

Oh, and one last thing, which I find hysterically funny. The VIIC’s best friend Vlad, is offering to provide transcripts of their meeting last week to help out VIIC.  We are depending on Russia to provide a true accounting of what happened?  They probably do have better transcripts than the VIIC because of the multiple listening devices they left behind.  Okay, I hyperbolize, but really?  We can’t trust the White House to give us undoctored transcripts so we are turning to the Russkis?  Think about where we are at, and then consider that some Republicans are simply troubled as opposed to hair on fire, let’s get on with a full investigation.

Here is what I can’t figure out.  The sooner they impeach him, the sooner they will have Pence (I got come up with a nickname for him) to actually pursue the “Republican agenda”.  So why not get it over with?  One thought is the investigation might raise the whole issue of the legitimacy of the entire election including Mike Pence.  The other is that when they do have clear sailing, I am not sure anything will happen because they are fighting among themselves.  See healthcare reform as Exhibit A.

So just another day in what Red American brought us.  You think next time those who didn’t vote, who idealistically voted third party, or voted for a village idiot to shake up the system will think twice.  Maybe, if we have a next time.

Lessons From Around the World

Our march to an autocratic government has been noted by several writers from autocratic societies or ones on the march to them.  Cheeto-head has all the characteristics of an autocratic leader and we are seeing disturbing tendancies like trying to breakdown the independent judiciary, his attack on the free press, his clear lack of understanding of the fundamental principles of the Constitution, his attempt to sully our intelligence agencies to just tell him what he wants to hear, and of course his attempt to intimidate the independent Justice Department and FBI to loyality to him, not the Constitution.  We saw Republicans fall in line when Republican Senator Cornyn from Texas attack Sally Yates for hold to the very independence he demanded in her confirmation hearings.

There is an amazing underlying story of how “principled” individuals are being compromised.  National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster  provided a very brief press conference and parsed his words to not tell the truth without lying.  Rod Rosenstein was used as a dupe to identify the false reasons for firing Comey and now seems to resist doing the right thing by appointing a special prosecutor.  How many more are there, and the elephant in the room is that if the intelligence community decides Cheeto-head is unbalanced and dangerous (he is), will we have a true crisis in government itself in revolting against this presidency, whether overt, or covert?

Now as the WaPo tells us, the Administration is involved in a below the radar attack on information that is counter to Cheeto-heads beliefs:

The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses…Officials also removed websites run by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department that provided scientific information about climate change, eliminating access. for instance, to documents evaluating the danger that the desert ecology in the Southwest could face from future warming. (On Friday, protesting against the disappearance of the EPA website, the city of Chicago posted the site online as it had existed under the Obama administration.)

All the signs are there and were there way before we elected this man.  How could we elect such a poor choice to represent this country?  Well, in an essay today about how Turkey is losing their moderate secular democracy, The Turkey I no longer know, by Fethullah Gulen, he gave advice on how to win back their democracy and I found it the best advice we could give for our own citizens who threw away democracy when they voted for Cheeto-head:

Second, a school curriculum that emphasizes democratic and pluralistic values and encourages critical thinking must be developed. Every student must learn the importance of balancing state powers with individual rights, the separation of powers, judicial independence and press freedom, and the dangers of extreme nationalism, politicization of religion and veneration of the state or any leader.

He is describing where we are today.  We had almost half the nation who did not understand who and what Cheeto-head represented and we are where we are today because of it.  And it is no surprise.  Cheeto-head was quite clear about who he was and his ignorance, misgynomy, racism, autocracy, and nativism was there for everyone to see.  Those who are shocked, shocked, shocked today, are lying hypocrites.  It was out there for all of us to see for those who had their eyes open.  It is impeachment time.