Posts tagged ‘Republicans’

The Country we have Become

President DFF is so soiling the nation that we should all be ashamed. He claims to love conflict, but anyone who disagrees with him gets fired. What he really means is he wants fear and chaos around him so people will respect him a la Stalin. He tries to have a lawsuit to stop a porn star from telling her story about her affair with the DFF moved to federal court where he appoints judges. He threatens her with $20 million in lawsuits to try to get her to shut up, to move the suit to arbitration out of the sight of the public, a gross act of intimidation against the First Amendment. He has lied consistently about the affair and now his court filings expose those lies. As her lawyer put it:

To put it simply — they want to hide the truth from the American people. We will oppose this effort at every turn,” Avenatti wrote in an email. “The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus ‘damages’ against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is truly remarkable. Likely unprecedented in our history. We are not going away and we will not be intimidated by these threats.”

Then we have the spectacle of Andrew McCabe being fired 24 hours before he could retire. We don’t know what is in the Inspector General’s report, but here is what we do know. He served the FBI, a government job, for most of his life. He served admirably or who would not have been where he was. We know that President DFF was out to get him having tweeted his displeasure with him on numerous occasions, politicizing the FBI process and calling for him to be fired. We know that little Jeffey Sessions has no honor or integrity. We had the White House spokesperson call him a “bad actor” from the podium of the White House before the decision was made. And finally we know that the process moved extraordinarily fast to make sure he could not retire. It stinks of politics and the destruction of our independent agencies.

President DFF tweeted this this morning:

Trump tweeted early Saturday morning, “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

Make no mistake. He was probably set up to lie and the whole process is a move to try to tarnish the Mueller investigation. I am a federal retiree and I am shocked about what happen to McCabe. We give up a lot to work for the Federal government, and the one thing we enjoy is the promised retirement. This is a strike at all federal workers to let them know the system has been politicized and you had better be very careful. Forget doing the right thing, which is why most of us went to work for the federal government in the first place.

At this point I see all Republicans as traitors to this country. There is no other way to look at it. You make whatever equivocations you want to, this is open and blatant politicizing one of the most important independent institutions in our country. Whatever Andrew McCabe did or did not do, this sends a message loud and clear, Trump way or the highway. Republicans are allowing this to happen and they are all traitors to our Constitution. If we survive this, we will look back on this as our own Darkest Hour in America, where Americans supported and enabled a person as evil and corrupt as Donald Trump. The Republican Party and people who call themselves Republicans are traitors to the Constitution and everything we stand for. Full stop.

Fight back Andrew McCabe, fight back.  It is time for all good Americans to fight back.  When this nightmare ends we will have to hose out the White House, and maybe the Republican side of Congress. Oh, and on this one, deplorables, Hillary nailed it.

The Chaos Just Got More Chaotic

First, the Republicans on the Intelligence committee decide there is nothing there, and then the President fires Tillerson. Just another day in the week for President DFF and chaos. Let’s start with the Republican House Intelligence Committee finding that there was no collusion and the Russians did not try to help President DFF. Let’s think about that. These are the boys and girls who could not stop investigating Benghazi but can see nothing bad from Russia, even though really important witnesses refused to answer questions and the Republicans refused to subpoena them and get them under oath. “We don’t need no stink’n facts and answers.” Our intelligence agencies are unequivocal about the Russians helping Trump (or basically anyone else but Hillary) and yet they found nothing. And all those meetings with the Russians? Oh it was just friendly chit-chat. Had this been a Democrat there would have been a firing squad. This is partisanship bordering on treason.

Next, in the world of misdirection and confusion so you stop focusing on the ball, Rex Tillerson is fired (announced on Twitter) and Mike Pompeo moves to Secretary of State. Then he promotes Gina Haspel to CIA Chief. Here is what we know about her:

A 2017 New York Times report says Haspel, in 2002, oversaw the torture of two suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and later was involved in the destruction of videotapes documenting that torture. One of those prisoners was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls, and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide, says the Times.

As a result of such torture, she was shifted out of her role as head of the CIA’s clandestine service.

Haspel was picked to run the CIA’s clandestine operations unit in 2013, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, blocked the promotion because of Haspel’s history of torture.

Within the agency, though, Haspel is reportedly widely respected – and has support from members of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Where she stands personally on issues such as extreme interrogation techniques is an unknown, as she has not offered any public comments on policy, as you would expect for an undercover officer.

I, of course, run paranoid and I can’t help wondering if President DFF has a secondary agenda to get control of the intelligence agency. An attempt, I think, to get control of the flow of information to better control news and the Russia investigation. Republicans, of course, will rubber stamp her.

My conclusion? We are in very deep shit. We put government in the hands of Republicans and it turns out, they aren’t Americans any more, just lackeys carrying water for President DFF. Maybe the new oath of office will remove the “to defend and protect the Constitution” and replace it with “to defend and protect the Presidency only if it is Republican.” Yep, that is where we are this morning. You cannot paint this with a normalcy paint brush no matter how hard you try.

Crossing a Line

I listened to some of the impassioned speeches yesterday from the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and was amazed at the intelligence and passion of these young people. It made me once again a proud American to see our youth rise up to the occasion and speak so eloquently about the shooting and guns. I think this time will be different. I think we have crossed a line where, oh dare I say it, people are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. And I don’t think it is just about guns either, I think it is about our stagnant political system controlled by Republicans that as Florida showed, could ban porn, but not guns. I think there is a yearning out there to start getting things done and the realization that most politicians (Republicans) are representing status quo.

On the shootings, as the moron solutions from the Right ping around (arming all teachers, getting rid of bump stocks, maybe better background checks, and of course mental health reforms), none of these will really happen or address the real issue and these kids get it. Guns, too many guns. The data is unequivocal, the fewer guns you have, the fewer incidents you have whether you look country by country or even in our own country, state by state. As these kids pointed out, an AR-15 is for killing people and they should be banned. Second Amendment my ass. It was written when our military was a “well regulated militia”. That does not exist any more and do we think the shooter in Florida was part of a well regulated militia? We have a military now, well armed and the Second Amendment is no longer operative.

Think of it this way, the “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” is no longer operative because that function was taking over by the military. So there is no longer a need for “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This has been reinterpreted by the Right as we need guns to protect us from our own government except if that we operative, how come I can’t get a nuke on the internet? Rocket launchers anyone? If our government decided to take out a well regulated Militia (regulated by who again?), it would be no contest. The argument is nonsense.

But I get distracted. We have definitely crossed a line and this is not going to go away. Half measures will be seen as half measures to maintain the status quo. Do remember Prohibition? PBS did a really interesting piece on how a minority of people in America were successful in electing politicians that would change the Constitution. It was a minority that cared about one single issue and it was the litmus test for getting elected, do you support Prohibition. The Republicans did this in reverse in that one of their litmus test issues is NRA policies on guns. Now the tide may be turning as the litmus test will be responsible gun laws and getting rid of military grade weapons.

But I think that is only the beginning. There is one stumbling block to getting anything done in this country and it is not partisan bickering, it is Republicans. They don’t want to get anything done. The status quo is working so well for them and the 1%. It’s not and never has been about meeting in the middle because today’s Republican Party does not have a middle, only smoke and mirrors while the pretend to be reasonable. We had one of the most reasonable Presidents in this century in Barack Obama, and that was his downfall. They took him on a ride and everything he got done, and now they are undoing, was done without Republican help. It has taken Democrats a long time to understand that listening is a ploy for delay and no change. So it is with guns, but so it is with everything else we need to do to get this country moving forward again.

So the line I think has been crossed is that people are waking up to who is the problem. The killings in schools was the catalyst, and it is not just about guns which will be the Achilles Heel of Republicans. In order to get reasonable and effective gun controls, you have to throw Republicans out of office. In order to get reasonable and effective border control you have to throw Republicans out of office. In order to get reasonable and effective solutions to global warming, you have to throw Republicans out of office. In order to get reasonable and effective investments in our future in terms of infrastructure, education, healthcare, the environment, and our economy, you have to throw Republicans out of office. No, Democrats do not have all the answers and some are dumb, but they are willing to move the country and until we put them back in power, with new young progressives, we will continue to stagnant under a moron for President.

So yes, guns may become the litmus test of tomorrow, but it is just the beginning. Once you recognize that Republicans have sold their soul on that issue, it is only a matter of time to you recognize all the other things they have sold their souls for. I think we have crossed a line where change, and big change is in the air, and it will be spearheaded by a bunch of kids who finally said, “Hell no, we won’t take it anymore.” I really do think people will start voting again, because this kids are showing us who we vote for makes all the difference in the world, and for some kids, life or death.

The Traitors Within

I think the one thing about the Mueller 13 Russian Indictment is that while it was an attack on American and an attempt to mislead, it was mostly on social media, sometimes amplified by Fox News, and they are notorious sources of the real “Fake News”. When somebody sends me an article on Facebook, I ignore it. What was the source? Now I know that the conservative media and President DFF himself wants you to ignore the mainstream media, and yes, sometimes in an attempt to get the news first, they get it wrong, but they correct it and most of the time real journalists vet stories carefully and the best place to get the truth is established newspapers like the NYT, Wall Street Jounal or WaPo. Yes they all have opinions, but that is on the editorial page not the stories in the rest of the paper.

The thing that amazes me is that anyone believes anything they see on Facebook or Twitter posing as real news. Are we really that gullible? What went on in the last election on the Trump side was insanity, and not just his, but truly gullible and ignorant people acting on fiction and nonsense. Is it really that easy? I guess the problem is we are and few people actually read real newspapers anymore and get their news from Fox News and their feeds on their social media. We have forgotten what it means to know something, or at least many of us have.

How did conservative media and conservatives sour the population on science and facts? How did they turn most of their supporters away from news sources that might actually give them the truth? As we sit here and know (well at least some of us do) that the Russians interfered in our election, and of course they impacted the outcome, what about the conservatives that have worked so long to dumb down a large population in the United States to be susceptible to such an attack? You see where where I am going? The Russians certainly attack us, but whether wittingly or not, Republicans made it possible.

Now the question is how do we bring them back to reality? How do you teach people who look for what they want to believe, to look for what is, otherwise called critically thinking? The media helped with all this with he said/she said interviews without an honest broker of facts. Loudest most aggressive wins the day as he out shout the other so he must be right, right? Add to that the press briefings from the White House are full of lies and misrepresentations.  Who can forget the very first one about crowd size?

Sure science can be politicized, but usually by non-scientist, the first and most egregious was the Tobacco Industry which lied to us and miss represented the science to sell us addictive cancer sticks. The right took a page right out of their play book for global warming. Science, if you really understand it is a method that takes predisposition out of the process.  It is called the scientific method.  They don’t hunt just for what they want to find, but what there is to find, and then it is tested and vetted to death.  But the Right Wing Machine has turned science into politics because they don’t like what science shows us.  It does not fit neatly into their view of government.

But once you cast doubt on real science and facts, you have created a monster you cannot control. President DFF is not only attacking science and facts, where he tweets out lies and misrepresentations that are easily exposed just by running video from a few days before, but he is trying to undermine the very agencies that secure our government. Once again the aim is short-sighted, it is to try to survive an investigation into his connections to Russia and probable money laundering. If there was nothing there, why would he care? But he is undermining in his weak-minded followers the very institutions we depend upon for our security. And once again, Republicans have jumped in to help.

So yes, we were attacked by Russians but it should have been noise in the background that no one paid attention to. Instead it most probably changed and election and the root cause of all this is not the Russians, but the right wing attack on our democratic roots that depend on critical thinking, rational debate, facts and science. Yes, they are in fact, the traitors within. Forget the Russians, these are who are the real threat to our country.

Oh, How Democracy Crumbles

See the articles about Bob Corker rethinking re-election? Of course he would have to be a President DFF boy. Ah, but what better way to spend your aging days than in the Senate kissing goodbye everything you ever stood for? It seems to be the way of Republicans these days. Remember all that fiscal conservatism? Kiss that baby goodbye with the Tax Gut bill. Oh wait, it is starve the beast so they can get rid of all those pesky programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Can you say goodbye  SNAP (Food Stamps), which primarily helps kids and old people. Who needs them? Of course they are going to empty the Treasury and there will be no infrastructure except give-aways to capitalist cronies. Hey, pay for flush, what a great idea.

Meanwhile as Republicans totally co-opt themselves and the nation, the courts are trying to right the wrong in gerrymandering and their state legislature are trying to attack those courts. If you did not know any better you would think this is about some banana republic in South America, although these days they are run better than we are. The White House has become such a mockery of truth and justice (lies and deceit is closer to it) and the shame is that we just shrug. If any of this had happened under a Clinton administration imagine the public flogging and impeachment. Ah, but it is President DFF and we are attaching ourselves to him and his ignorance to pass our conservative agenda that will bankrupt the country.

I love the Olympics because it is a melting pot of diversity and exceptionalism. Could we learn from that? Not on your life. It is time to restrict immigration and become the white nation. Except every economist you want to talk to will tell you if we want GDP growth we need immigration. Maybe all those white supremists will lay down their robes/ropes/guns and get a job picking fruit, you think? No, we are on the precipice of the the big fall, just as in the Bush Administration, but not derivatives this time. We have authorized massive tax cuts to the wealthy spending our Treasury on nothing, probably driving up inflation, creating and unsustainable deficit just when we should be raising taxes, we are limiting our work force, and the me only trade policy is causing other nations to leave us behind as they make their own deals.

So keep voting Republican because they are the party of self-discipline and fiscal responsibility. See any sarcasm here? The only way to save our nation is to throw them all out. No one who says they are a Republican should be elected because while they feign disdain of that fat dumb f*ck as our president, they vote to enable him and his co-opted party. Oh, and don’t blame Democrats (So what are you going to do to stop them?), they are the minority because voters through them out for this mindless bunch and there is nothing they can do until you put them back in a super majority. So either admit you were a fool to vote Republican or kiss your country goodbye. The rate of destruction is increasing as I write. Just the mid-week blues.

Hypocrisy in Spades

I am one who has never been afraid of he debt. You know one of those crazy liberal tax and spend. The operative word in that statement is TAX. Increasing the debt in times when we need investment whether in a recession or when we need to upgrade our infrastructure for the future is quite normal and what we should care about is that it does not overly raise interest rates or spur inflation if we print money. Our present debt has done neither and with corporations fat with cash, borrowing, government versus the private sector, is not an issue. So debt is a relative term, and a necessary evil of investment in the future. The question is how much debt and remember debt is meaningless as a number until you compare it to GDP.

Okay, but our Republican friends who claim that debt is the devil just cut massive taxes for the wealthy. The Stock market is quite happy and President DFF waves the flag of how he, the biggest DFF in the room, has finally given us an economy that can grow (it already was and has been since 2009). But here is the thing, just like in the Bush days before the big crash, we got lower taxes and spend, spend, spend. Then we had the crash in 2008. Well here we are again. This is the Treasury Departments forecast for this year on our deficit because of the decreased tax revenues of the tax cut:

Now there are several things to note here. In 2009 it really spiked after who again wrecked the economy? Republicans. All that spending was to save the banks, activate the safety nets for all those who lost their jobs, and a small stimulus package to try to get the economy going again. Do you remember where the Stock Market Dow Jones was then, the Holy Grail of Republican metrics? $6500±. Note also that our deficit has steady dropped and then the spike for the Tax cut. Funny President DFF did not mention this in his State of the Union. Where is all the supply side new revenue? Non-existent. Sadly running up the debt to make rich people richer is a much different thing than running up our debt to invest in our future (infrastructure, education, healthcare). Oh and on that liberal tax and spend thing. Yeah, if you want to spend, and a tax cut is spending, you have to tax to afford it. You go there Tax and Spend liberals/progressives. Meanwhile the fear the debt Republicans are historically famous for running it up.

Let’s Go Deep – The Destruction of Democracy

There is a narrative out there, one I happen to think is true, that we are on the road to losing our democracy. We have a narcissist child President with a pathological need for lying, who has demonstrated his racism, ignorance, and nativism on numerous occasions, elected by a minority of the people. But I think we could solve that if our institutions and norms were not under assault.

Harvard professors of government Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have studied the demise of elected democracies around the world. In a new book, How Democracies Die, they argue that too many American politicians, including President DFF (I call him Trump DFF, Dumb Fat F*ck because, well isn’t it obvious?), are violating long-held norms of American democracy, including a respect for the legitimacy of political rivals and a commitment to some restraint in political combat.

They tell us there are four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:

1. The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules. 2. He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents. 3. He or she tolerates violence. 4. He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media.  

“With the exception of Richard Nixon, no major-party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century,” they say, which sounds reassuring. Unfortunately, they have one update: “Donald Trump met them all.”

But that is just the beginning. In the book and in interviews (The best one is a Podcast with Ezra Klein) they tell us is that “the primary way in which democracies have died since the end of the Cold War, over the last 30 years or so, is at the hands of elected leaders (See above), at the hands of governments that were often freely or close to freely elected, who then use democratic institutions to weaken or destroy democracy.”

Now let’s think about that a minute. We know that on many issues the Congress (Republicans who control both chambers) do not represent the will of the people, be that about Dreamers, simple background checks for gun ownership, or Obamacare. Starting with the House of Representatives, the authors above have shown in the next election Democrats could win by a margin of 6 or 7% and still not be in the majority. That is because of gerrymandering. In the Senate as I and many others have shown, representation favors those living in low population/rural/conservative states (two per state regardless of population). The population of California has the same representation in the Senate as Wyoming. Really, the ratio of population is 68:1. And as the authors above pointed out, those Republicans represent a smaller and smaller minority of white people as our country diversifies and grows.

This then actuated the “who then use democratic institutions to weaken or destroy democracy.” We saw it back in 2009 when Mitch McConnell and the Republicans decided to make the filibuster and needing a super majority for any major legislation the tool they would use to make Barack Obama a one-term President. We see it in gerrymandering and the successful attempt to deny President Obama a Supreme Court Justice so they could control the Supreme Court who is today reviewing gerrymandering. We see it in voter ID laws that are now in 30 states that have one and only one aim, to make it harder to vote for those that don’t support their policies. President DFF tried to continue that with his voter commission, but the states rebelled.

Think about purple North Carolina when in the last election their state government changed hands.  So what did the Republicans do?  In a lame duck session they passed laws that hamstrung the new government to benefit themselves.  That is democracy at work?  Where was the norm that the people want a new direction and we should release the reins of control? But still, with all this, our democracy would be self-correcting eventually, because the institutions and the Constitution would hold up and we would swing back the other way, except it isn’t happening. So why is that?

Levitsky and Ziblatt argue that:

To function well, democratic constitutions must be reinforced by two basic norms, or unwritten rules. The first is mutual toleration, according to which politicians accept their opponents as legitimate. When mutual toleration exists, we recognize that our partisan rivals are loyal citizens who love our country just as we do.

The second norm is forbearance, or self-restraint in the exercise of power. Forbearance is the act of not exercising a legal right. In politics, it means not deploying one’s institutional prerogatives to the hilt, even if it’s legal to do so.

Then they catalogue in an interesting way how that mutual toleration and forbearance has eroded.  One of their interesting assertions is that race has played an important role.  As long as the majority say the status quo of racial injustice was okay, we could work together because we had that one mutual interest.  See the formation of the Constitution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the passing of the voting rights act.  They point out that when South Carolina was Democratic, and Wyoming was Republican, we did have accommodation.  Today both are Republican and mutual toleration and forbearance are gone.

As Republicans represent a smaller and smaller segment of America, “Democrats being a party, essentially, of secular, educated whites and a diversity of ethnic minorities and the Republicans being a fairly homogeneous white, Protestant party, or white Christian party, the Republicans have basically come to represent a former ethnic majority in decline. You have many – certainly not all – but many Republican voters who feel like the country that they grew up with, or grew up in, is being taken away from them. And that can lead to pretty extremist views and voting patterns.

And they weren’t afraid to point who started this cycle of extremism:

We think that the most egregious sort of pushing of the envelope began with Republicans, particularly in the 1990s and that the most egregious acts of hardball have taken place at the hands of Republicans. I’ll just list four – the partisan impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 2003 mid-district redistricting in Texas, which was pushed by Tom DeLay, the denial – essentially, the theft of a Supreme Court seat with the refusal to even take up the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 and the so-called legislative coup pulled off by the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina in 2016. Those are among the most egregious acts of constitutional hardball that we see in the last generation, and they’re all carried out by Republicans.

Of course that does not include President DFF and the total capitulation of the Republicans in Congress to violate norms and the rule of law to try to tarnish and end the Mueller investigation.  The release of an obviously (from FBI statements) inaccurate and politicized Nunes Memo that could damage national security, destroy trust in government, is really the last straw. With all this, Levitsky and Ziblatt argue that if Democrats follow the same scorched earth policies of the Republicans, we lose democracy.  Here is where we part company.

Democrats are beginning to respond in kind. Their recent filibuster triggering a government shutdown took a page out of the Gingrich playbook. And if they retake the Senate in 2018, there is talk of denying President Trump the opportunity to fill any Supreme Court vacancy. This is a dangerous spiral.

American democracy retains important sources of strength, including vast national wealth, a vibrant media and civil society, and a robust judiciary and rule of law. But the norms that once protected our institutions are coming unmoored. President Trump has accelerated this norm erosion, but he didn’t start it. Intensifying polarization, driven by an extremist Republican Party, is making constitutional hardball a new norm for party politics.

The lessons of history are clear. Extreme polarization can wreck even established democracies. America is no exception. As long as Americans do not overcome their deepening partisan animosities, democracy remains at risk — President Trump or no President Trump.

I have been arguing for years that Republicans no longer represent legitimate partners in a democracy and we should treat them as such.  Not to do so turns our democracy into a wrecking machine. There is a difference between Democrats and Republicans that Levitsky and Ziblatt, as a bipartisan writing team, I don’t think recognize yet.  Democrats don’t usually lie and they believe in facts and science to inform their policies.  That actually leads to rational debate within the Democratic Party on the way forward.

Republicans through their use of Fox news , Right wingthink tanks and media create an alternate reality that does not allow for data, facts, and science, only dogma.  Their ignoring of the threat to America by Russia and following in line behind President DFF is just the latest proof of how illegitimate they are as defenders of the Constitution.

Now in the podcast I cited above, they argued that as the Republicans go further off the rails, the other side, as hard as that argument is to make, must be the adult in the room to save democracy with this argument:  Republicans have valid points of view that should be respected.  They used abortion which Republicans see as murder as an example.  We Democrats should respect that.

Okay, but in that argument they ignore what science tells us about the fetus and abortion, or that nature as a natural process aborts millions more that we ever do in a hospital. Finally and most importantly, Democrats giveRepublicans the right not to have one, to choose to or not to.  Republicans want to take their religious belief and force it down our throats using government, not moral arguments, to end abortions way past what science tells us is necessary.  That is fundamentally different than respecting a point of view.  It is capitulating to their intolerance in defiance of facts, data, and science.

I believe that while I understand their academic view of what is necessary for a democracy, seeing your opponent as legitimate and displaying forbearance, can only apply when your opponent is legitimate, that facts, science, and data can in fact inform an argument and lead to a resolution.  We no longer have in America rational debate.  We have one side creating a propaganda machine to change our perception of reality to maintain their hold power.

There is only one legitimate political party in our two-party system, the Democrats, and quite frankly that is where you will find real debates about the limits of government, the economy, action on global warming, tax reform, immigration policy, and many more issues.  On the other side we have dogma and misdirection to consolidate power, using the levers of a democracy to kill it.  Forbearance my ass.

I think the Democratic Party has to play hardball with an irrational foe.  The damage that we are seeing to institutions as the Republicans in Congress co-opt their need for control and power over good government, can no longer be forbeared.  Democrats can no longer act and look powerless as the truculent child acts freely to destroy our country.  The difference here is the Democrats will utilize facts, data, and science to attack Republicans, and no longer show restraint and forbearance in the face of bold lies.

There is one other dynamic that may be in play here, the Republicans have policies that facts, data, and science show us will badly damage America. As the damage builds up, maybe the radical right will come to their senses.  In the meantime, Democrats have to recognize that their political foe is no longer as Levitsky and Ziblatt argue worthy of tolerance and forbearance.  They lost that respect when they embarked on a fact free and propaganda mission to take over the government.  It is really time to fight back.


Obstruction of Justice

I have said this a million times before, it is about the money.  It is always about the money.  When, according to Michael Wolfe in his new book, Steve Bannon verified that, he was just saying the obvious.  Money is power in Trump world, well in our world too sadly, so colluding with the Russians, which of course they did and as Steve Bannon also got right, was treasonous, was all about money laundering. Trump never expected to win the election, but the Russians wanted to cripple a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and President DFF was indebted up to the hilt with money laundered loans.  That has always been the giant Trump fear that his illegal loans would get exposed

Up till now Republicans could throw cold water on all of that because there was still no real smoking gun, just circumstantial evidence that would even convict Jesus in a court of law.  But the gullible, the fools who voted for him and watch Fox News could delude themselves.  No more.  We have the damning book by Michael Wolfe that points out (and there may be tapes which is why those quoted have not denied they said what is quoted) that everyone who works with him understands he is dangerous and incompetent.  But more important was this little tidbit in a NYT story about how President DFF tried to get little Jeffey Sessions to not recuse himself:

The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. The president’s determination to fire Mr. Comey even led one White House lawyer to take the extraordinary step of misleading Mr. Trump about whether he had the authority to remove him.

This should terrify the White House because the Special Counsel has written evidence corroborating the Comey notes.  What else does he have?  The obstruction of justice “fake news” is quickly moving into a sure thing.  The collusion will come later and what is important about the money laundering is the motive for the collusion.  So it is panick time in the White House. Since it is clear he cannot be controlled, what will he do next?

But what should really concern us is those that know he is incompetent, ignorant, immoral, and dangerous and enable him.  Michelle Goldberb in a NYT op-ed today said this:

And yet these people continue to either prop up or defend this sick travesty of a presidency. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve: The “mess that might do serious damage to the nation, and, by association, to your own brand, might be transcended if you were seen as the person, by dint of competence and professional behavior, taking control of it.”

Then she points out this is wild fantasy and they are maybe irreparably damaging the country.  But one misses the real enablers, Republicans in the House and Senate.  This is the real travesty here.  The Founders knew that a president like our DFF might be elected and they gave us tools to deal with it.  Instead of dealing with an incompetent and dangerous president, they have tried to thwart the investigation into him, using smoke and mirrors of the appearance of an investigation without any meat.  Their need for implementing their unpopular ideology (most of the nation is against the tax cut, killing Obamacare, etc.) trumps (pun intended) our basic values and the Constitution.

Failure to subpoena witnesses, and provide their swore testimony or evasions to the American people is treasonous.  Their attempts to smear and defame the Special Counsel and his investigation as some partisan witch hunt is paranoid delusional, kind of like the email thing and Benghazi they pursued to against Hillary. They have proven themselves unfit for office.  In fact what they have done may itself be treasonous.

We will know when the tide has changed when Republicans. like the low life rats they are, start to abandon the sinking Trump ship.  But I can only hope Americans will remember, and Democrats will remind them, of how they enabled this travesty of a President, and if fact showed they are the problem in America.  Government is not the problem, Republicans in government is the problem. If you want to run against Trump in 2018, use this to show your Republican opponent is unfit for office.

“I Really Believe That When He Tells Me That…”

President DFF is being, well, a DFF as he goes about once again tarnishing our intelligence agencies and showing how truly stupid the man is. Of course I am referring to his comments about Putin’s claim of not interfering in our elections when the intelligence agencies have tons of data to show just exactly what they did do. We have tons of supportable data in the media to show exactly what they did including all the ad buys for Facebook and Twitter. But none of that matters because he has looked him in the eyes and can tell he, Putin, is insulted. Oh, where have we heard that or something very similar before? Wasn’t that George Bush?

I was at a party last night and someone who despairs this whole nightmare of President DFF and the Republicans was just despondent about this latest episode. I was not. I spent my after military service life as a lower level bureaucratic lackey serving the American public building and cleaning up things for the government. I know those people who work in the government well. Most are hard working, dedicated, and proud of what they do. President DFF just pissed off a whole bunch of people who probably have the goods on him. Here is from the Washington Post (WaPo):

On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place — including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — as “political hacks.” He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign’s connections to Russian officials, a “liar” and a “leaker.”

Clapper said in a statement that “the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election. His own DNI and CIA director have confirmed the finding in the intelligence community assessment. The fact that he would take Putin at his word over the intelligence community is unconscionable.”

…Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said he was so concerned by Trump’s statement that he contacted the agency to confirm that it stood by the January assessment. He described Trump’s remarks as “egregious comments on the character of folks who have been public servants . . . [and] the public should know that these guys are thoroughgoing professionals, and what the president left unsaid is that the people he put into these jobs agree with the so-called hacks.”

Senior officials in the intelligence community will be dismayed by the disparagement of two respected intelligence veterans, Hayden said. “People have a right to ask at senior levels: ‘Does what I do make a difference anymore?’ ”

In other words, other than his comments being imbecilic, he just kicked a hornet’s nest. Stand by for the leaks and ever more cooperation with Mueller. I opined in this discussion that it would not be long until President DFF probably gets removed and she shuddered at the thought of Mike Pence as President. But here is the thing. Republicans got nothing, and I seriously mean that. We have problems, big problems, and we have solutions. None of those solutions are palatable to Republican ideology. So things are going to get worse. It doesn’t matter if it is pious Pence or Joe College Ryan, they got nothing.

Their plan for the economy is tax cuts that only help the wealthy. They have no plan for healthcare which should be obvious by now. If they are successful at their tax cuts, which they won’t, President DFF’s base will be hurt and there will be no jobs. If they build the wall it will drag down our economy, not to mention be an environmental nightmare. Global warming which they ignore, will just get worse, and do you really think these boys and girls are going to pony up for infrastructure improvements without it being some giant give away to corporations?

We are in a waiting game for America to wake up out of their focused ignorance and finally understand, Republicans are bad for their health, livelihood, and peace of mind. You can only watch things crumble for so long before you say, let’s do something. Ask yourself this about the effectiveness of Republicans, how many people in Puerto Rico are still without power, our fellow Americans? You could be next. When that dawns on us and it seems to already be doing, things will start to look up. 2018 could be a banner year.

The New Normal

I have, as many others have, been warning against accepting the DFF and Republicans falling in line behind him as the new normal. I have argued this is not normal and we should not normalize him or them. But it is the new normal. I don’t know about you, but when you don’t think it could get any worse, then you peruse the morning paper, and it is much worse. What are you to do (vote)? Here was a smattering of what is in the news this morning:

Let’s take the last two. Remember the Tea Party and the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. They were going to make the government fiscally sound again, “Debt is the problem!” “Balanced budgets!” Those were the guys and gals who shut down, or threatened to shut down the government over increasing the debt limit (stupid in itself). Now those boys and girls just passed a tax cut (none of them have read) that will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Say what? Oh, don’t worry, when they are faced with increasing the debt limit to fund what they approved, as they have to do each year they will balk. Yeah, makes no sense whatsoever.

Meanwhile, what of Democrats? Who cares? And that is about it. From their loss of the House in 2010 on they have been clueless that they are clueless. And the biggest problem is that it is the same old people which is part of the reason that even though they are making sense, no one is listening. Here is from Eugene Robinson cited above:

Both major parties are in crisis, and I believe the reason is that the ground has shifted beneath them in ways they do not understand. Until the contours of the new political landscape become clear and the parties reshape themselves accordingly, I fear that chaos and turmoil will reign as the new normal.

Let me be clear: I am not postulating any sort of false equivalency. It was the Republican Party that nominated Trump for president, and it consequently must be blamed for this horror show of an administration. The party that loves to grandly invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln sent to the White House a crass egomaniac who cynically heightens racial animosities — a man who, by temperament and ability, is patently unfit for high office. You did that, Republicans.

…But the party (Democrats) managed to lose a presidential election to a man who had never been elected to public office, who slandered Mexican immigrants as rapists, who used African Americans and Latinos as foils to help him stoke feelings of grievance among whites, and who bragged about sexually harassing and assaulting random women. You lost to that guy, Democrats.

The party of Franklin Roosevelt allowed the GOP to pretend to champion the interests of the working class. Failure to connect with white voters in the Rust Belt is only part of the story of last year’s defeat, and maybe not the most important part. Democrats failed to sufficiently energize their core constituencies — urbanites, African Americans, Latinos, women, young people.

But what we got was the same old party pushing away the new blood and resurrecting the old establishment. As I noted yesterday, even Donna Brazile is back. So no one cares what they have to say because, let’s face it, they are losers. So that is where we are today. Republicans out of control trying to pass anything without the slightest scintilla of analysis, but a win on the coat strings of a narcissistic pig, and Democrats feckless to understand that the ground is moving under their feet. Just another Friday where it would seem the only news worth watching is sports news. Go Houston/Dodgers. I haven’t decided yet. This is just great baseball. Maybe that is all we have left of America.