Archive for the ‘Critical Thinking’ Category.

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,

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.

Opps

Yeah, I know I have used Alfred E. Neuman before, but is there any better example for our Village Idiot in Chief? According to the WaPo through leaks from our security agencies they are appalled at President Cheeto-heads actions, the moron released critical classified information:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and National Security Agency.

When the White House denied it, nobody believed them.  It is almost funny that we know it is the lying show. The leakers are far more credible than the White House.  Secretary of State Rex Tellerson came out and made an identical denial as the White House was pitching, and when the State Department was asked about it, they had no idea what he had said.  They were totally out of the loop.  Clearly it occurred and the hypocristy of going after Hillary’s email system when no damage has ever been identified, the classified material was not classified by some agencies, and this leak that will probably cost lives is just enormous.  I wonder if the Russians left any listening devices behind after their visit?  At least they got all the pictures.  The American Press was barred.

But I think the most poignant moment in this latest Cheeto-head fuck up came when Allen Dershowitz, famous attorney, was on CNN and got quite animated about warning fellow panelists not to conflate this with the collusion investigation.  “They are entirely two different things!”  No, Allen, they are not.  Now legally he is right, but they come from the same motivation and misunderstanding that caused them both.  

On the collusion thing, the reality I believe we will soon find out about is the flow of money to finance Trump adventures (investments), much of it laundered or being laundered through his deals.  So in Trump’s little mind the Russian boys and girls are really just good fellow business men and woman and of course there was collusion to send them a signal that the sanctions were just a hinderance to business.  I don’t know this, but I think it is the most likely scenario here with all the denials and head fakes.  Cheeto-head does not get the adversary thing at all.  And if I am right, they have their hooks in him and he has no idea.

So Cheeto-head does not see the Russians as an adversary, but a way to make lots of money. It’s jus business.  He has no idea he is so far out of his league that they are using him to undermining our democratic system.  Thus the leak was just an exchange among the boys and he is clueless about the damage done, as he is clueless about just about everything.  He is their perfect captured idiot in spy talk.  But, hey, it is just business, right?  And with a businessman in charge, everything should be hunky dory, right?  You people who voted for him are morons. As I have pointed out before, none of this is a suprise.

I know what we are going to hear next.  “Who leaked this?  We have to get those leakers! Leakers, leakers, leakers.” Or said another way, deflect, deflect, deflect. Except he is the biggest leaker of all.  And the leakers leaked in order to wake up the nation to the danger he poses and the damage he has done.  And it is only the beginning.  He alienated all the intelligence agencies and the FBI.  Now his bumbling is putting the nation at risk.  They are good Americans and will not stand idly by while he destroys their hard work and undermines our intelligence sources.  It is going to be a fun and dangerous ride.  I hope he did not kill anyone with his leak, but he may well have.  

How Did We Get Here?

By here I mean a President who is ethically and morally challenged, ignorant of history or our fundamental values, and we try to normalize him.  He has so many conflicts of interest it boggles the mind.  He just fired the person who was investigating him and seems to want to put Republican yes-men in his place. Loyalty to United States means loyalty to Donald Trump.  The very basis of democracy, a trust in our institutions and processes are being undermined at a hectic pace and the people who could do something, “proud” Republicans, do nothing.  We put a known racist and liar in charge of the Department of Justice*, and ethically challenged and climate change denier in charge of the EPA, a non scientist and who once said we should abolish the Department of Energy in charge of it, and a public educating hating and totally ignorant person in charge of public education. How did we get here?

Well first of all, there are no more “proud” Republicans except some pundits whose mind is clouded by the past that doesn’t exist anymore. Now I have spent lots of time in this blog explaining how middle America and Red States got dumbed down by a lazy press in bed with those they cover, being falsely fair and balanced claiming both sides do it, and a 50 year plan by conservative ideologues to take over the country.   But what I am talking about here is what happen to the Republican Party that no longer exists as a moderate conservative approach to government.

If you really want to understand this, look at it from 30,000 feet. Republicans won in 2000 by stealing an election and that set the tone for our next 17 years.  The tone set was winning is everything, whatever it takes.  The problem with that win in 2000 was when Republican ideas were actually implemented, we blew up the deficit with tax cuts, and eventually blew up the economy by removing regulations on banks.  All that is masked by the Afghanistan/Iraq war, but there it was.  Republican ideas simply did not work in a world economy. So in 2008, the country tried Barack Obama (Yes We Can!).  In the famous inauguration night meeting, Mitch McConnell and his Republican boys decided that they would do whatever it took to make Barack fail (No You Can’t!).  That was the end of the Republican Party as we knew it and the finally end to two-party governance.

That agreement was the stake in the heart of democracy because it went after the implicit contract we all live under, that we will abide by the vote, that ideas compete, and when you win election you get to try your ideas. If they could not be in charge they would ensure that no one else could run government. Republicans even turned their back on their own ideas if they were offered up by President Obama.  It got to be quite a joke.  And while spinning all the hate toward President Obama, they created the Tea Party, a right-wing, racist, nationalistic party that hardened the ideology.  The Tea Party, although a minority of Republicans, held the key to getting elected and the party swung further right and ideological.

Here is the fact that most people who call themselves Republicans (not politicians) have yet to grasp evidence by the fact that they are still Republicans:  The Republican Party is no more the party of small government, low taxes, and few regulations, with the caveat that rational logic told them that sometimes one size does not fit all and they had to compromise.    They are the party of the status quo, the rich, and continuing growing economic inequality.

Those people who were principled are gone forever, and what is left is a sniveling group of politicians led by Mitch McConnell that is terrified of their base, trapped by ideological beliefs that are fundamentally flawed, and gave up principled thinking many years ago.  Their only goal is to stay in office and to take total control of government and ensure that when things go south, democracy no longer functions so they are sent home.

That is where here is.  The Republican Party holds both houses of Congress and the Presidency, sort of.  They can now finally implement their agenda**. But there is a fly in ointment.  Donald Trump.  It is clear there was Russian interference in our elections although just this week Cheeto-head raised doubts about believing that. It is also becoming clear that there was some sort of collusion with his campaign and maybe his administration.  He has left the normal ethics of conflicts of interest out in the cold.  He has done morally reprehensible actions, and now he is trying to kill the investigation into his administration.  And Republicans, those “proud” Americans who wear their lapel pins so proudly and wave the Constitution every chance they get, they do nothing.  And now you know why.

We have faced threats throughout our history from the British, to the Civil War, to Communism, the Cold War, and now terrorism, but who would have thought that the real threat to our country was going to be from within, from the “proud” Republican Party that is now just a bunch of fanatical ideologues who are tearing down our Constitution in the name of conservative ideas.  Yes Virginia, Republicans are evil. So are people who vote for them when the truth is for everyone to see if only they will look.

*Sessions want to clamp down on Mary Jane and get tough on drug offenders again.  Turn back the clock, forget what we have learned and do more stupid stuff.

**They had their first chance on healthcare and the answer is, there is no conservative, market place fix for Obamacare.  So they either consider a single payer or deny millions healthcare.  They still haven’t faced that reality yet and there is no Republican plan.

Any Questions?

Executive Summary:  We (they) elected a crass, ignorant, pathological liar who is debasing (Timothy Egan used debase this morning and I like the ring to it) our culture and assaulting the very foundations of our democracy and the Republicans do nothing, decrying partisianship and describing brave loyal Americans as political hacks.

All it took was Cheeto-head deciding to take over messaging (lying) from his professional White House communications (lying) staff and he spilled the beans for all of us to see.  I am talking about his interview with Lester Holt of NBC where he basically spilled the beans.  Even if you are heartless, don’t care about destroying the planet (pollution and global warming),want to throw people off healthcare, and lust for packing the court with conservatives (Republicans), at this point one would think they could not see their place in history rapidly catching up to those who enabled Hitler.

So what did he do?  Well first he threw everyone in the White House under the bus  and showed they were lying (maybe on his orders) by admitting that he fired Comey because of his handling of the Russia investigation.  He fired the guy who is investigating him::

“And in fact, when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,’ It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won…I was going to fire Comey — my decision. I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”

So all the stories being told by the White House were made up lies including the Comey handling of Hillary’s investigation.  It was always about Russia from his own mouth.  Now a couple of things here.  We now have a White House Press corps who does not just try to spin the facts to put their guy in the best light, they lie repeatedly and have lost all credibility.  Forget the Hillary thing and the next lie, that Comey lost the respect of his troops.  We now have a White House who no one trusts a word they say.  Think about that.  The leader of the free world has a White House that looks like incompetent Keystone cops who lie as frequently as Russian Television (RT).

Second, we now have Cheeto-head admitting he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.  He wants it to go away.  Let’s see, what is that called? Obstruction of justice?  This is not just “improper”, it is against everything we believe in.  It undermines the rule of law and our institutions.  It is an attack on the very foundation of democracy, trust and faith in our processes and institutions.  And they impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex.  Seems kind of trivial now.  Cheeto-head lies about everything, is unstable, and tried to obstruct the investigation into the Russian connection and the Republicans are just “troubled”?

Then there was his description of the Comey meeting at a dinner where Cheeto-head described it as Comey pleading for his job:

Mr. Trump said Mr. Comey had reassured him first at a private dinner, and then during two phone conversations. He acknowledged that he had directly asked if he was being investigated.

“I said, ‘If it’s possible, would you let me know if I’m under investigation?’” Mr. Trump said. “He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’”

The admission raised questions on Thursday among reporters, who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, whether it was inappropriate for the president to ask the F.B.I. director whether he was under investigation. “No, I don’t believe it is,” Ms. Sanders said.

The president said Mr. Comey requested the dinner early in his administration to ask to keep his job. That would be an unusual — and perhaps unnecessary — step for an F.B.I. director, who by law is appointed for a 10-year term. Mr. Comey was four years into his term when Mr. Trump was inaugurated.

“He wanted to stay on as the F.B.I. head,” Mr. Trump said. “I said: ‘I’ll consider. We’ll see what happens.’ But we had a very nice dinner and at that time, he told me I wasn’t under investigation, which I knew anyway.”

Imagine a gangster having a polite dinner with the chief of police and he says he can keep his job as long as he keeps his nose out of the gangster’s business.  That is exactly what was going on from this description.  There are no more ethical standards and the Republicans do nothing.  It started with Cheeto-head’s conflicts of interest and now we are down to raw thuggery and the Republicans do nothing.

Comey let it be know that this not how things went at all:

Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.

Who to believe, the pathological liar or the guy who over moralizes everything?  And in either version we have the gangster to the politician basically saying forget your oath to the Constitution, be loyal to me and you can keep your job.  Welcome to the Trump Administration.  This morning Cheeto-head is tweeting that there might be tapes and warning Comey to not make anymore statements.  Free speech anyone, or is free and truth only defined by Cheeto-head.  I hope they do have tapes, but of course they don’t.  Either way, we will see Cheeto-head as the thug he is.

This morning Cheeto-head gave us this on twitter:

“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!”

“Maybe, the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”

Free speech is what he says it is, not to mention what is truth.  How did we get here?  Oh, and he is forming a commission to look into voter fraud and suppression.  There isn’t any fraud and the suppression is an attempt to deny minorities the right to vote.  This is another attempt to further undermine our democracy and our institutions.

So we are back to my Executive Summary:  We have a moron and a thug as president undermining the very foundation of democracy and we are becoming the laughing stock of the world. Kiss your exceptionalism goodbye.  How low can we go.  Impeach the bastard. Oh, and Republicans are gutless evil bastards.

I Can See Clearly Now

The only saving grace from the White House is their total incompetence.  The reason for the firing of James Comey is becoming crystal clear.  In spite of the memo claiming it was the outrageous treatment of Hillary, which nobody believes from this White House, White House minions were out with very different versions of Trump being unhappy with Comey for some time and had lost trust in him,  Of course that says what happened to the plot line that the new guy Rod Rosenstein who had been in office 12 days, writes a memo and the White House gets it, and then acts?  Well, nobody believes that one either. There are reports that when the White House started to lay blame on him, he threatened to resign.  We all know that was a fiction to get Sessions involved.  And it is clear Sessions’ involvement was a clear breach of his recusal.

Now the veil is slowly being lifted.  Apparently the Russia investigation was ramping up and Comey had asked for more money and resources.  Trump had been getting madder and madder about the ongoing investigation and that Comey would not follow orders to back off. He was mad that Comey had not supported his Obama had phone tapped me.  He was mad because Comey had confirmed an investigation into his campaign and administration.  And he was really mad because, as noted, Comey seemed to be ramping up the efforts.  And as now reported Comey thought Cheeto-head was mad in an insane way.  Oh, and did you see where yesterday after Cheeto-head’s meeting with the Russians (now there is a visual), he banned U.S. Reporters from the photo session/ meeting? And don’t forget Valdimir gave Cheeto-head a thumbs up for acting presidential.  That ought to count for something.

So there is no question about what is going on today.  The smoke was getting thicker and Trump ordered the hoses brought out.  No one listened.  And for an immature child, who has something very bad to hide, he went on a firing tantrum.  Republicans so far have failed to understand their duty to the country, with all of them hedging their comments, calling Sally Yates a political hack (although nothing in her testimony was political and backed up by multiple accounts) and saying the President had the right to fire Comey, which he did, but not noting that in an ongoing investigation of his administration, highly inappropriate and destructive  to our democracy and our confidence in it.  If it’s not clear at this juncture that we have a president who is out of control, has things to hide, and is a danger to a functioning democracy, then you must have voted for this dangerous moron in the first place, clear evidence of brain damage. And so far the Republicans are right there with him.

But I think the dam has broken.  There are so many lies and blame going on, that people are starting to push back.  I think what we have learned is that the political appointees cannot be trusted, Right now that is Acting Attorney General Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe are suspect, Rosenstein with his part in given cover to the White House for firing Comey and McCabe for failing to answer a simple question put before him by the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, did Comey tell Cheeto-head that he was not under investigation?  Oh, I get the privileged conversation, except the President already put it out there.  We ought to be able to know if it is true.  He did promise to report any political interference which kind of puts him on notice with career professionals.  I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.  Wouldn’t you have given Comey a heads up call?

So between the Republicans and the political hacks, the real ones, nothing will happen.  But as I mentioned earlier, the dam is broken.  Career professionals will take their Constitution and country as more important than toddying to the Firing-in-Chief.  Expect to see more leaks and a real blow up if the Republicans and Cheeto-head try to slow walk this.  Finally, I will give Comey the same advice I gave to Obama.  Speak out.  These are not normal times and the very foundation of our democracy is at stake.