Posts tagged ‘Graham’

Thank You Dianne

As some have noted, extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and that is what one of most traditionalist Senators did yesterday.  She realized that the Republicans were being totally disingenuous about what was said in the Fusion GPS transcript, cherry picking data out of context and then claiming this was a plan to smear Trump by the Democrats that then started the FBI investigation.  They also characterized, Glenn Simpson the head of Fusion GPS as being evasive.  Neither are true and you can read the interview yourself.  Bottom line here is that the Fusion GPS was just one more data point that the FBI had received (others from foreign intelligence services) that Trump and company were having disturbing contacts with the Russians.  Note that almost everything in this report has turned out to be true

It exposed Senator Graham and Grassley as lying sacks of shit as they totally misrepresented what was said and tried to bring criminal charges against Mr. Steel the former British spy hired to investigate the campaign’s ties to Russia for lying when it is clear he did not and the whole thing was bogus attempt to distract from the Russia probe.   So that is what we have from Republicans in Congress.  There are no more honorable Republicans who put their country before party.  The nice thing is that it is now out there for all to read, you know, it’s called transparency. something those freedom loving Republicans want to throw mud on.

But it gets better.  Senate Democrats put out their own report on Russian interference in the election on day after Senator Dianne Feinstein releases the Fusion GPS transcript.

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a 206-page report that said President Trump’s failure to recognize the danger or to challenge Putin means Russia is likely to interfere in the next U.S. presidential race in a repeat of the 2016 campaign.

The key finding is that we aren’t doing anything.  As Republicans try to deflect on the Trump collusion, they fail to follow-up on the known facts:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that a Russian intelligence operation, approved at the highest levels of the Kremlin, used hacked Democratic Party emails, phony social media accounts, disinformation and other tactics to try to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race. The agencies did not look at whether the Russian effort affected any votes.

So who are these Republicans?  Traitors to the United States of America.  We are at war with them and extrodinary times require extrodinary actions They are all evil.

Playing with Real Fire

No, not the child in the Bronx that burned down his building, the Republicans.  But the result could be the same, with damage, destruction, and death all around. With the further release of data showing the President obstructed justice by trying to use the Justice Department as a shield to any investigations, in this case little Jeffey Sessions, the letters from Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham to investigate the author of the famous dossier on Trump and Russia (A British citizen who will never be investigated, nor is there any basis for the investigation), new investigations into Hillary and the Clinton Foundation that nobody cares about and has been investigated to the ninth degree, and Congressman Nunes attempts to gain access (apparently successful) to Mueller investigations to try to thwart it, it is quite apparent that Republicans are now fully engaged is trying to thwart finding the truth.

Right now President DFF is having a meeting with senior staff and his Cabinet at Camp David and guess who did not get an invitation?  Little Jeffey Sessions.  Fire him and put some in place who can seriously damage the Mueller investigation or fire Mueller?  As the NYT opined this morning:

All of these specifics make sense within the constructed world of the Trump presidency. But we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. Trump’s view of his power and the power of the Department of Justice he leads is that this power can justifiably be leveled against his political opponents. This is in part because Trump fails to understand that the allegations he’s embracing are often specious (a diet heavy in Sean Hannity will do that to you). But it’s also in part because Trump came to office with the idea that he would wield influence at the White House as he did at Trump Tower: by fiat and without question.

It was expected that the delicate-if-uneven balance of power in Washington would help guide and temper Trump’s inclinations to target his political detractors, and it has, for the most part. This week, though, we saw a number of ways in which that balance is testing — and wavering.

Said in another way, are the institutions that we believe in finally being totally corrupted by the Republicans to serve political ends that undermine our faith and adherence to out government and the rule of law?  As one reader commented, “…after a year of sustained assaults, federal law enforcement is crumbling as an independent institution and is morphing into more of an authoritarian model, in which the FBI pursues the political enemies of the ruling party.”  I think we have entered various dangerous times.  If this perception becomes widespread, and remember the majority of our nation neither voted for or supports this President, what happens to the rule of law?

Trump and the Republicans are making an assault on states with the tax bill which penalizes those who voted against him, his ruling to ignore states’ ban on off shore drilling (this has even angered some Republicans), his attack on the legalization of marijuana, and his disregard for global warming. The Republicans have now joined in, afraid their hold on power is slipping.  The very people who are supposed to be the firewall against this kind of tyranny are aiding and abetting it.  Are we now lighting the fuse for mass demonstrations and violence? The Republicans are laying the ground work for violent protests and revolution.

My own feelings are one of extreme anger and I am an old may with not a lot of time left on this planet.  I cannot imagine what young people are feeling when they see the ignorant of our political spectrum take over and destroy this country.  Democracy depends on institutions that are insulated from the political whims of politicians, and seek justice and fairness, not political gain. When that is lost, and make no mistake, the Republicans and Right Wing media are doing their best to destroy it, revolution will result.  Who could have thought this could happen in America?  And no, both sides don’t do it, Republicans are in charge.

One reader of the article cited above said this: “We are in uncharted territory, in which the greatest national security threat we face is the President of the United States.” I would add, and what makes this now so dangerous, the greatest national security threat we face is the President of the United States and the Republican Party.  If you have not figured it out, the days of working together died in 2008.  They have been at war with us since.  It is time to return the favor.

Is The Middle East Blowing Up?

Yes.  Is it our fault? Not really.  I guess you could argue that had we entered into Syria earlier we could have nipped this thing, but again that is a simple-minded construct of a very complex and impossible scenario.  I will give you my version of what I think is what is really going on and what we ought to do (less, not more).

Start with our own European history.  Remember the Dark Ages, agrarian monarchist theocracies?  Remember the never-ending religious wars and the beginning of rights for citizens with the Magna Carte in 1215?  It was a long slog culminating in the Enlightenment and rational government no longer religion based, with defined minority rights.  Well, they never got it.  They lived in 7th-10th century monarchist theocracies that resisted all change or even questioning of their beliefs.  Now they are basically dictatorships with the same suppression, and except for oil income, are failed economies.

They have not evolved.  And for their young (mostly men since women are considered property) there are few economic opportunities and a West that seems to have it all.  Add to that, a West that has seen fit to support (much like we did in South America) these backward countries and their suppression of human rights because it suited our oil interests or maintaining a less volatile area.  So they are living without hope except what their religion gives them and the obvious answer is that decadent ways have subverted your life and we need to return to our religious roots.  And all this in a society that has never allowed any questioning of those religious roots or their assumptions.

Now these extremist societies are going to fail because they are simply recreating the suppression that has resulted in their failed societies in the first place just with different rulers. So until they evolve a bit, it is not going to be pretty.  Here is the problem:  The West has been providing them with very destructive weapons and they are putting us all at risk as they strike out.  So what should we be doing?

Well, first we should never have gotten involved.  See Afghanistan and Iraq.  Once we rolled up Bin Laden, which we could have done quite early had we not turned our attention to Iraq, we should have been out of there.  Remember why Bin Laden attacked us?  We had established bases in the holy land, Saudi Arabia, because they are our oil friend and we used them to run Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.  But we stayed there.  Saudi Arabia is about as oppressive and theocratic as they come, but they have oil.  Sad isn’t it?

Now enter present day and McCain and Graham, with the Republican Party on their coat tails blame Syria on the United States not supporting the rebels.  But I have to go with the President on this one, which rebels?  There is this whole religious thing mixed up in an evolving society and the good guys depends upon your perspective and the time of day.  Ask yourself why Iraq with all our support, can’t get rid of ISIS.  It is the same answer that all of South Vietnam with 500,000 U.S. troops couldn’t rid themselves of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong.  It’s their war.  Now Yemen is falling apart so now what?

Well we still have not figured out that the drone war has mostly failed.  We just become a target instead of the solution.  Unless you could form a coalition of Arab/Middle East forces bent on not only rooting out ISIS and Assad, and establishing a country that recognizes women and minority rights, we are wasting our time and blood.  And that is not going to happen because such a state is a threat to every other male centered totalitarian state in the region (all of them).

So my recommendation is to quit being part of the problem.  Let them kill each other until they are willing to put an end to it.  Isolate them from the rest of the world and establish zones where people can flee.  But the rules for the zones would be an open society that accepts minority rights.  If they object deport them.  Provide massive humanitarian aid where we can and end our support of repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia.  Walk our talk.  Conflict begets conflict and if we haven’t learned that by now, well, we are hopeless.  We simply can’t solve it, and we have to contain it while it sorts itself out.

But what do I know.  Well I do know a good wine when I taste it.

Not Sure You Are Getting It

I listened to the news this morning and it is about who won, who lost, who is up politically. It was nonsense and political posturing. Here is the reality if you still don’t get it yet:

  1. We don’t want the rebels to win. We don’t want Assad to win. We want a stalemate that requires a negotiated settlement. We want the instruments of government and control left in place to ensure that chaos and sectarian score settling does not result. We don’t want the same mistake we made in Iraq when we banned Saddam’s party from the instruments of government when they were the only ones who could maintain control. That is the problem with McCain and Graham. Just like Vietnam, John McCain and his sycophant, Lindsey Graham, fail to understand the social political dynamics of this war. They think if their brand of rebels wins, all is well, instead of a descent into chaos. So our ultimate goal is a political settlement that does not destabilize the whole area, not one side or the other prevailing.
  2. Here is the other key point: The region is working through religious wars, old power struggles. and perceived uncorrected tribal or sectarian wrongs held off by totalitarian governments. Our concept of democracy requires a respect for minority groups. They are not there yet and right now it is winner takes all. There is very little we can do about these things and they have to work out their own way forward.
  3. Our interest is to see that that struggle does not turn the region into chaos and threaten the rest of the modern world. That is why the focus on the chemical weapons instead of the humanitarian, stop the killing. In order to stop the killing for sure, we have to get involved, and then like Iraq, the blowback could be substantial. The chemical weapons we may be able to do something about, the rest is really beyond our control unless we want boots on the ground and a 50 year war.
  4. Finally, we have a chance for a political solution because of our creditable threat of the use of bombing to change the balance of power. If the nay sayers take this away, Katy bar the door.

Today we are hearing criticism and false nit picking when if you understood our real goals and what is really possible, you would see we are going down the only possible road. The Middle East is going to be a hot bed for killing, turbulence, and score settling for years to come as the governments evolve into the 21st century. They have to go through their own Enlightenment and recognize that religion and government don’t mix, or their wars will go on forever (a lesson the religious right in our country seems to be impervious to). We can do very little except to try to ensure that their soul searching and evolution does not destabilize the whole world and give them the weapons to do that. My suggestion is to turn off the news because the muckrakers are looking for conflict, political winners and losers, not rational foreign policy.

As It Ever Was, Only Worse

I think two things should be coming clear in politics:

  1. Republicans either won’t, or more realistically can’t examine why they are losing mainstream America
  2. Republicans will take us over the fiscal curb

On the first, I am somewhat amused by the pundits who say the Republicans will do some introspection after the election.  That assumes they can just jettison the bubble they are living in and they cannot.  It has been too well built up over time. I stand amazed at what Republicans believe as factual, and I am not talking about the obvious nonsense like born in Kenya, is a Muslim and their denial of global warming.  I am talking about the very foundation of what they believe, that it is us against them, and an economic theory of flow down and favoring “job creators”, that has demonstrably failed.  They have cultivated a base for over 60 years that began with racism and slowly evolved to elitism as blatant racism became less acceptable.

In the words of Paul Ryan, there are takers and makers.  In the words of Mitt Romney, the 47%.  Yesterday in a teleconference, he once again showed that is exactly what he believes and it is reflective throughout the Republican Party.  They are a party that is at its core, us against them, and exclusionism.  They are totally out of touch with real America today and see everyone as looking for handouts instead seeing that they want government to level the playing field for them.  Paul Krugman did a good job of disecting Mitt’s teleconference to donors to see this effect (The Moocher Majority).  The point is simply that the moderates in the party will get it, but they have sold their soul to the Tea Party who will never get it.  The party just needs to die because it is not going to change.

The latest attack by John McCain and Lindsey Graham shows that obstructionism is alive and well.  Here are the only two Senators in the Senate who think we should staying in Afghanistan until hell freezes over attacking a woman who is faultless is this affair and they know it.  They are playing partisan politics again as it ever was and they have lowered themselves to the level of pond scum.  But again it is representative that they don’t accept that we need to get things done instead of settle old scores and play partisan politics.  Republicans are always going to obstruct.  If they didn’t, it would require that they admitt they are wrong on so many things, and they are just not going there.

On the second point, the fiscal cliff or more realistically, the austerity bomb, I think Chuck Todd of MSNBC had the best analysis.  Basically you would have to find 30-35 Republican House members who would raise taxes on the rich.  The way the Republicans have gerrymandered their districts, that would be suicide.  They will face a Tea Party challenge in the primaries and don’t stand a chance of re-election.  So no, even though they might get a better deal now before we hit the austerity bomb (it is not a cliff), they will go over it.

President Obama actually gave them an out, in that they could approve the middle class extension now (that is continuing a tax cut), go over the cliff claiming the Democrats were unreasonable, and let the rates go up automatically on the rich and blame the Democrats.  I don’t think they will do this because then they lose all leverage, so it is over the cliff we go, Hi Ho, Hi Ho.

The most amazing thing about all this fiscal cliff nonsense is that this is what the Tea Party wanted to cure the deficit.  It is a giant austerity package.  Now that the reality of what curing the deficit right up front has dawned on them, they are screaming, “We will go over the cliff.  Help! Help!  One they and their rediculous ideolgy designed for us.  In effect they are saying, we believe in Keynsian economics, government spending is important to the economy.  But of course in these times where the bubble they live does not allow for critical thought, they hang on to two mutual opposed ideas, we can cure the defict by cutting spending, and cutting spending costs jobs so don’t cut spending.  It is as they ever were.