In the face of a soon to be ex-president who has lost spectacularly and consistently, at the polls, and in and out of court since November 3rd, it’s hard to grant any credibility whatsoever to the Republican Party – no, scratch that – the Trump Party. The cult is being run by a master gaslighter, who tried, but failed to steal an election, despite using every dirty trick in the book, who is now arguing that the election was stolen from him, he believes, by a better thief than he.
Let’s be very clear; if there is one thing at which trump excels, it’s gaslighting. He is a walking Master Class in the art of brain scrambling. His particular brand is almost indistinguishable from the sort of emotional, verbal and physical abuse routinely dealt out to children and spouses by malignant narcissists. Those who manage to escape from that sort of trauma generally need years of counselling and treatment to find their way back to emotional equilibrium, post abuse.
Trump told the nation repeatedly that the election would be fraudulent. He seeded the ground for his base to believe that anything but a trump win would be illegal. He said that he would not lose the election, and that he was going to continue being their president for as long as he wanted. He told them he wouldn’t be going. He told them he wouldn’t concede. He told them that there’d be no peaceful transfer of power. He told them over and over again exactly who and what he was.
So why is anyone surprised that that is exactly what he’s doing now?
What DOES surprise me is how meek the Democrats have acted in the face of this sedition. While I understand Biden’s wish to soothe America’s soul, there will be a point at which even his supporters will consider his soft-heartedness as simply the mirror image of the political depravity of the GOP.
Leaving aside the issue of whether or not Trump will be held accountable for his crimes against humanity throughout his presidency, can someone tell me why Lindsay Graham was not charged when he attempted to interfere with the results of Georgia’s election? On November 17th, he told reporters straight out that his efforts to overturn Biden’s win included pressure campaigns in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona.
“Sen. Graham is bordering on a crime against his country by trying to overturn a free and fair election to keep Trump in office.”PoliticusUSA
The decision to not charge Graham, or at the very least sanction him publicly, has been read as license for other Republicans in the party of ‘Law and Order” to throw caution (and legality) to the wind, and go even bigger.
Sure, there was an ethics complaint filed by Walter Shaub, demanding that Graham’s conduct, which constitutes an abuse of office and conduct unbecoming, be investigated, after Georgia’s Secretary of State confirmed that Graham had called him in an attempt to have him throw the election. But that, and a couple of bucks, will get you a coffee at MacDonald’s. By the time the complaint inches it’s way to the front of the line, most of us will barely remember this seditious action.
“Results of a Washington Post survey of all 249 Republicans in the House and Senate that began the morning after Trump posted a 46-minute video Wednesday evening in which he wrongly claimed he had defeated Biden and leveled wild and unsubstantiated allegations of “corrupt forces” who stole the outcome from the sitting president… showed that just two Republicans consider Trump the winner despite all evidence showing otherwise. And another 220 GOP members of the House and Senate — about 88 percent of all Republicans serving in Congress — will simply not say who won the election.”Washington Post, December 5, 2020
Truly, any Republican senator who refuses to recognize that Biden won the election and must be respected as president elect, should resign their seat, since what they’re saying is contrary to their oaths to protect the constitution, the results of a free and fair election, and democracy.
By their words and actions, every one of those Republicans is guilty of sedition.
“By assaulting U.S. democracy in so many ways, Trump has shone a light on its weaknesses. We should seize this moment to strengthen our institutions,” Fareed says, proposing nonpartisan boards to oversee US elections, a requirement that presidents place their business holdings in blind trusts, and other changes. “That way, if another Trump-like politician (or Trump himself in four years) tries to pervert the system again, American democracy will be better equipped to withstand it.” (Fareed Zakaria)
You know what’s the craziest part of it all, through this insane clown rodeo? That so many high-tension moments in the last four years have just passed through and been forgotten in the diarrheic flow of yet more unbelievable moments. Madness piled upon insanity, a never-ending story of cruelty, sadism, vengeance, and hatred. Stunning moments of craven loyalty, followed by equally stunning acts of retributive disloyalty. A nonstop flow of adrenaline raising accusations and hysteria, that never allows America’s cortisone level to return to anything vaguely resembling normality.
In the face of this, is it so hard to believe that those of weaker minds and ethics have simply had their ability to reason broken? That it becomes easier for them to hear the unbelievable and wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, it IS all ‘fake news’, and that it’s trump that’s telling them the truth, despite his history of tens of thousands of lies?
I’m a huge fan of the bellicose and belligerent newscaster Keith Olbermann, who hosted a political web series called “The Resistance” for GQ from September 13, 2016 to November 27, 2017. He’s back, with another round of very loud yelling at the soon to be ex-president with a new grouping of targeted accusations, that he’s calling “Olbermann vs Trump – The Worst Person in the World.”
Here’s his latest screed, post trump’s whinefest in Georgia, in which he describes how trump accidentally conceded the election by baffling his own self with his own bullsh*t, and then names names of those blatantly committing crimes in support of the failed president’s tantrums. It’s six good minutes any NeverTrumper can thoroughly enjoy.
“As of Friday, the leading cause of death in America is Donald Trump.”
73 million people voted for Trump for a second time, in November. They wanted more of a pathological liar, a sadist, and a malignant narcissistic sociopath, who bullies the handicapped, and lacks empathy even for children. Trump is the Mad King, the ruler in near exile, who wants America to prove its loyalty to him by ripping itself in half. The worrying thing is that, while Biden will very likely be inaugurated on January 20th, 2021, the damage to the nation may never be completely healed, a Trumpian legacy that no one saw coming, despite the neon lights and klaxons that heralded its approach.
In the last several years, I’ve written umpteen thousands of words about the trump presidency. I’ve tried my best to point readers and voters towards the truth of what so many warned us about – a rogue presidency ending in political, financial, and physical disaster for American citizens.
Three years into his disastrous reign, the damage being inflicted on the people, their institutions, and, sadly, their psyches, is no longer up for question. If there is to be any hope for the country in the future, it will require decades of labour, just to bring things back to where they were in November 2016, when Trump won the Electoral College, after losing the popular vote to Clinton by 2.8 million votes.
Whether America will ever get the chance to even start that repair, is now moot.
Despite the guardrails set in place by the Founders and the Constitution, trump has successfully kept two of the three governing branches under his thumb, coupled with his having put two trump loyalists in the Supreme Court, and installing a trump sycophant as Attorney General of the United States. With the entire system rigged against dissent, many hoped that there might be a few patriots remaining in the Republican Party who could look beyond their own wealth and best interests for long enough to rein in trump’s excesses.
But that was a lost cause; there are no heroes in the GOP, just a lot of evil, incompetent, long past their best before date, cowards.
Nancy Pelosi didn’t want an impeachment investigation during her time as Minority Leader. She often declared that she would prefer the next presidency be decided at the ballot box. Her reticence might perhaps also have been partially due to the line of succession; in the event that a president is successfully impeached and removed from office, the presidency then goes to the Vice-President, and if he is also impeached, goes to the Minority Leader. That could be construed a conflict of interest, if the articles of impeachment were deemed not to rise to a sufficient level of concern.
When Pelosi finally opted for an impeachment investigation, it was predicated by a whistle-blower’s suspicions, which were later corroborated by several witnesses, that the president had engaged in bribery, by withholding funds that Congress had voted to give to the Ukraine for their defence against Russian aggression. Trump insisted that he would not release those funds, nor formally acknowledge/host the new president of the Ukraine, until an investigation was announced that would look into possible corruption on the part of Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, who is currently the front runner for the Democratic party in the run up to the November 2020 election.
The funds were eventually dispersed, after the whistle-blower’s allegations emerged.
Despite the president’s denials, withholding those funds DID have a negative impact on the Ukraine.
“At least 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed while President Donald Trump’s administration was withholding military aid from the country from mid-July to mid-September. The men, aged from 20 to 45, are among at least 78 Ukrainian soldiers killed in action up to mid-September this year in the east of the country, according to various local media and Ukrainian government reports.
It is impossible to say whether timely delivery of American aid would have helped any individual soldier. But their deaths are a potent reminder that while the Trump administration was wrangling over military assistance, Kiev was—and remains—locked in a deadly struggle with its Russian-backed separatist adversaries.” (Newsweek, Oct 2019)
Throughout the impeachment process, the Republicans in both the House and the Senate behaved like spoiled children being denied their candy; they impeded the process at every turn. Rather than mount a defense against the alleged crimes, they attacked the process itself, and the White House repeatedly refused to allow people in the administration to testify during the preliminary meetings. They also refused to release documentation that would have clarified much of the testimony.
They upped the ante during the trial itself, with trump’s ‘tv’ lawyers perjuring themselves endlessly, while Justice Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, sat like a bump on a log in a dress, ignoring falsehoods and outright lies with a ‘supreme’ lack of interest.
Despite the brilliant outlining of the crimes with which trump was being charged, the Republican Senators in the Congress ignored what they could not deny, playing crossword puzzles, doodling, checking their (illegal) phones, or dozing during Democratic testimony. And when the time came for the Senators to vote on whether or not to allow additional witnesses, the GOP decided that they’d heard enough, and denied the request.
There has never been an impeachment trial, in the history of the US, that did not include witnesses, and proper evidence. The trial was rigged, from start to finish, with the aid of the president, the Senate, and the Supreme Court.
This trial made a mockery of justice in America. And, on Wednesday, when these same Senators vote to acquit the president of the charges, they will, in effect, raise the president to the position of King, establishing a trump monarchy as the government of the United States.
“If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment, “ Dershowitz said.
L’Etat – c’est moi……
Incredibly, many of the Senators agreed that the president WAS guilty as charged, they just didn’t think it rose to the level of impeachment. Some said that they feared what an impeachment might do to the country. Considering what happened in Kentucky on Jan 31st, they might have had a point.
From Twitter: “Weirdest thing about guns in the Kentucky Capitol: if you have one, you’re told to walk around the metal detector. Others must pass through and get wanded.”
Also, and probably to be expected, many of the Senators blamed the Democrats for having insufficient witnesses or evidence, despite these lacks being wholly the fault of trump and the White House.
“We will never know how this impeachment trial would have unfolded if the House had waited to secure additional testimony and court orders. One thing is certain, however: The case against President Trump could only have become stronger,” wrote law professor and House Judiciary witness Jonathan Turley.”
Without being able to call witnesses, and without further requested evidence, there’s nothing left now but for the Republican party to vote on Wednesday, and do as they have said they would do all along – acquit him of the charges. Despite the oath that they swore, promising to perform honestly and with due diligence, and despite knowing – and ADMITTING – that he is guilty of the charges, they have opted to ignore his corruption, and, essentially, proclaim that the president of the United States is literally above the law. Trump becomes America’s first King.
And America is about to get royally reamed.
Wanting presidential accountability Is not about party. It’s not a ‘trump delusion syndrome’. It’s not about assessing how he’s behaved all of his life, unfaithful to the women in his life, screwing over those unfortunates who did work for him for which they’ve never been properly paid, or even that he’s been pathologically dishonest throughout his entire presidency.
No. It’s about looking at the facts, objectively, and seeing the truth – that the role of president needs to be held by someone who is better than this, but more than that, that the president must be held accountable for criminal actions.
Denying that accountability renders the rule of law moot. Elevating the POTUS to Monarch is exactly what the Founders tried so hard to prevent, in demanding accountability through impeachment.
“There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “Arepublic, if you can keep it.”
How crazy could things get in a post-impeachment America? Well, just yesterday, Wyoming State Rep Rodney Garcia made a statement at a state party gathering in which Garcia’s concern about socialists ‘entering our government’ and socialists ‘everywhere’ in Billings, ended with Garcia insisting that the Constitution says to either shoot socialists, or put them in jail – despite his inability to point out exactly where in the Constitution this is written.
As Jim Wright, aka StoneKettle Station, wrote yesterday, we have to accept the reality that the Republican party is not just protecting their own seats, or being cowardly, they are profoundly evil. Just like all those who committed atrocities and horrors in the past.
“It’s easier to believe that the people who are right now selling out the Republic are doing so because of some vast complex invisible multinational conspiracy, than to believe they are just … bad people.
As if the Nazis needed to blackmailed into being genocidal monsters.
As if the Confederacy or the Klan needed be blackmailed into racism.
As if the Proud Boys had to be blackmailed into hating women.
As if all the people who’ve listened to Rush Limbaugh for the last 20 years only did so because Vladimir Putin threatened to kill their kids.
As if human nature wasn’t enough.
I don’t know.
Maybe it speaks well of you that you believe these are decent people who have to be blackmailed into doing terrible things.
Maybe you’re a better person than me, probably you are, in that you believe there has to be more than just hate and fear, ignorance, deliberate stupidity, greed, selfishness, and lust for power.
Evil has won. On Wednesday the Republican party will sell out the country when they vote to acquit a man they admit is guilty of the crimes outlined in the impeachment process. Trump will be acquitted, but he will still be impeached. That doesn’t go away.
There will be no show of integrity, duty, or courage on the part of the Senators casting their votes. And when, inevitably, more crimes are committed, more citizens are harmed by his hair-brained, demented ideas, more countries are denied access to the nation, and inevitably, tales of sadistic, horrific injuries are perpetrated against trump’s enemies, they will clutch their pearls, and deny their part in the atrocities.
American will continue its descent into a sinkhole of depravity. Good people will continue to be emotionally, physically, and financially abused by his policies. Attempts to fight back – legal, peaceful protests protected under the first amendment – will soon be deemed to be ‘against the nation’s best interests.’ Eventually protests will be banned, and protestors, most likely found guilty without trial, will discover their possessions forfeited under new laws that only serve those in power.
The early lessons learned from tormenting the likes of comedian Kathy Griffin will blossom into full-blown assaults designed not just to humiliate those who fail to show loyalty, but to grind them into total subservience.
It’s entirely possible that trump will simply cancel the 2020 elections, but whether he does or not, we can rest assured that a lack of prophylactic work beforehand to keep the elections from being rigged pretty much guarantees that the outcome is already determined, as surely as Russia’s have been for decades.
Meanwhile, on social media, some are demanding that the Democrats walk out on Wednesday’s vote to impeach, as a protest against the rigged trial. Others think that the invitation to the State of the Union should be rescinded.
But none of that matters anymore. The game is already lost. I wouldn’t bet the farm on a ‘blue wave’ where they’ll get to vote all the bad guys out. I wouldn’t bet the farm on there even being anything resembling a normal election.
All this kind of thinking does is push the battle along, to be fought months away from now. They’re saying, let’s not fight the battle now, while the war is raging, but somewhere down the line where, if Jupiter aligns with Mars, and the exact right, suitably virtuous, Dem is given the nod, well, maybe … maybe … maybe …
This all smacks of wishful, magical thinking.
Americans have to face the truth, and that is that Lady Justice is not just blind, she’s been raped and murdered, her broken body left on the steps of the Washington Monument.
Democracy dies in darkness, but this week, it was murdered in broad daylight, by the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” in the Upper house of the United States Congress.
Oh America. So many wanted to believe in the ‘shining city on the hill,’ and your declaration that your people deserved ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ‘ Millions of immigrants looked for salvation on your shores, and believed that the poem, etched on the base of that sacred icon, the Statue of Liberty, and a gift from a country that knew well what it meant to overthrow a tyrannical monarchy and bask in a newfound freedom, was a prayer and a promise written just for them.
But beneath the anthems, the ‘rockets red
glare’ and the hands pressed to hearts, too many have learned that there lies a
nation built on genocide, slavery and a slavish devotion to capitalism that has
devolved into an insatiable greed and selfishness.
Now we know the dirty little secret of the
United States of America; all of the
high flying words, the protestations of freedom, the claims that all were
created equal, the vaunted checks and balances meant to assure the republic
would remain a democratic country, were nothing but lip service.
Well, at least according to FOX News, and trump and his henchmen.
” On August 12, 2019, Ken Cuccinelli,, acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, revised a line from the poem to outline a new immigration policy that would evaluate potential visa/green card immigrants on the basis of income and education, stating: “Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” In a subsequent interview, Cuccinelli also interpreted the poem as referring to “people coming from Europe” (wikipedia)
The framers of the U.S. Constitution knew well that the people could one day be fooled by cunning con men and those seeking to enrich themselves by abusing power, so they created a system that co-equally divided the powers and responsibilities of three branches; the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judiciary branch.
They also put into place a system of checks and balances, that, combined
with the separation of powers, they hoped would guard against a tyranny imposed upon the people, in the event that
any one branch attempted to grab too much power.
But checks and balances only work when those charged with obeying them
are men of honour with a respect for the laws and institutions that are the
framework of a democratic nation.
As James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “In framing a government which is to be
administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first
enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it
to control itself.”
As prescient as the Founders were in their attempts to keep America from devolving to a monarchy or dictatorship, they couldn’t possibly have guessed that men like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, never mind the self-loathing white nationalists lead by Stephen Miller, would one day come to power, with an agenda designed solely to enrich themselves, while keeping the American people complacent and subjected to their will through fear, force, and/or intimidation.
Those who fled countries under the thrall of
dictatorship, or under threat of physical
or intellectual assault, believed that America’s
shores would, like the Gates of Heaven, usher them into a life where all men
had the opportunity to be free, and to seek to enrich their lives through a
lifetime of hard work, and dedication.
Apparently they were wrong.
“Dad, my sitting here today,
in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the
right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of
a better life for our family,” he said. “Do not worry. I will
be fine for telling the truth.”
Even as those brave witnesses came forward in
these last two weeks to testify to the crimes and corrupt behaviour exhibited
by, not just the POTUS, but a cabal of his henchmen, in the Ukraine scandal,
those witnesses were having their lifetimes of dedicated civil service smeared,
and have since described harrowing incidents of harassment, threats and attack
on their very lives, and the lives of their families.
So, no, Lt Col Vindman, you are not ‘fine.’
Your dad was right to worry. You won’t be fine for devoting 40 years of loyal
service to your adopted country. Instead, the military must find somewhere to
shelter you and your family from the wrath of America’s
elected representatives, it’s president, and his cultist followers.
Lt Col Vindman, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Jennifer Williams, former White House national security official Fiona Hill, and others from the former or current administration are being viciously attacked for daring to testify to the corruption and felonious actions of trump and his shadow government.
Whatever side of the political divide you may
be on, this case is ridiculously easy to understand. Trump attempted to force
new Ukraine president Zelensky to personally appear on the Sunday political
edition of CNN’s journalist Fareed Zakaria’s program
to inform the rest of the ‘free world’ that he (Zelensky) was about to open an
investigation into potential misdeeds perpetrated in the Ukraine by Hunter
Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, who is currently a front
runner in the Democratic presidential nomination in the run up to the 2020
election. If Zelensky agreed to do so, trump would release over $400 million
set aside by Congress to aid in the Ukraine’s
defence against Russia.
By doing so, trump would then hold enormous power over Zelensky for as long as either of them were in power, since this would be an act of corruption perpetrated by a new president, swept in on a platform of anti-corruption.
It would also be a federal offence, as outlined in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act of 1974, which was put into place after then
president Richard Nixon impounded tens of billions of dollars,
and refused to spend funds appropriated by Congress, particularly if the
impounding of those funds would cause programs he didn’t like to be gutted.
This precipitated a constitutional
crisis, as the Constitution, in it’s separation of powers,
granted Congress the power of the purse.
And so the 1974 Congressional Budget and
Impoundment Control Act was created, in order to limit the powers of an out of
Trump is a scofflaw, who believes himself above the law, and certainly that he is above such niceties as obeying federal laws, but that is precisely what he has broken. And he has compounded that felony with the impeachable act of attempted bribery, in order to solicit re-election aid from a foreign power.
In any other place or time, this would be
an open and shut case, and trump would be impeached, removed from power, and
However, trump’s America is a BizarroWorld of
GOP officials as corrupt as in any third world dictatorship, that is colluding
with a branch of Justice headed up by an Attorney General who is himself
implicated in the corruption, and aided and abetted by a cultlike following who
are prepared to commit any atrocity in the service and name of their GodKing.
So, this is not the America
that Lt Col Vindman thought it was. It’s not a country where those who devote
their lives in service to their country can feel secure that speaking the truth
will set them free. In trump’s BizarroWorld, only his truth is viable, and
anyone speaking against it must be thoroughly punished to the full extent of
his presidential powers.
Further, trump, in lockstep with the wishes of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, wanted Zelensky to confess to a meddling in the 2016 elections by the previous government. This would then allow trump to ‘prove’ a debunked conspiracy theory, and to deny the conclusions of all of the American intelligence agency leaders, that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, by shuffling the blame upon the Ukraine government instead. By doing so, trump could then insist that American sanctions upon Russia must be lifted.
Trump demanded, as was made clear on his call to Zelensky, was that Ukraine lend credence to
the Crowdstrike conspiracy theory. Not only did Trump make that demand,
but Nunes and others have been attempting to support that claim during
the hearings. And that is why Dr. Hill made her statement about
Republicans not believing in Russian interference: They are actively
working, right now, in concert with Trump, to “prove” that there was no Russian
interference. They are no longer willing to admit even the things they admitted
in that report they’re still waving around.
Every single time someone
mentioned “investigating the 2016 election,” what they really meant was “exonerating Vladimir
Putin and shifting the blame to Hillary Clinton.” And while it’s
understandable that no one wanted to use their five minutes to unwind this
ridiculous “Hillary hacked herself and hid the server in Ukraine”
theory that Attorney General William Barr is chasing around the world,
not taking that time allowed Republicans to pretend that they’re not actively working to clear Russia as well as
Trump. When they are. They really, really are.“(Mark Sumner, Daily Kos)
Yes … the lord giveth, and
the lord taketh away. The last two weeks of witness testimony at the
impeachment inquiry hearings have gladdened the heart of many who want to see
trump’s iron grip on America’s institutions and justice system broken, and for
him to suffer the consequences of his impeachable and felonious actions.
On the other hand, the
American public are not united in their need to see an unbridled and omnipotent
POTUS overthrown. There remains a firm 23% of Americans who will follow their
president wherever he takes them, even if where they’re going is to hell in a
And the timing isn’t great
either, when the American thanksgiving is right around the corner, followed by America’s most beloved holiday, the Black Friday sales.
Christmas will follow, and then much of the nation will be dealing with
inclement weather for several months.
Political junkies will follow impeachment proceedings as they occur, but for many Americans, lulled now into numbness by three years of constant tweets, executive orders, and ‘chopper talk’ pronouncements vilifying anyone against the trump juggernaut as ‘human scum,’ it may well be that trump slides into a second term handily, as have so many past incumbent presidents, and despite his crimes.
And if that happens …..
the rest of the world can only wish America ‘good luck.’ Because trump and his cabal have spent
the last three years destroying any vestige of what was once the great white
hope of the rest of the world. They have murdered Captain America, and put a slavering,
rapacious Golem in his place.
In time, the America we once thought existed will be a legend as outdated as tales of Atlantis.
At the end of the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King Jr famously paraphrased the words of Theodore Parker, American transcendentalist and pastor, when he stated,
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
There are many days when only that aspiration keeps me going. Some days, I’ll find myself wondering if that’s a light up ahead, or just the headlights of an oncoming train …. but after this week, for a number of reasons, I’m liking the odds that it is truly a light.
Three things happened this week to make me think that there might be some hope, and that, maybe – just maybe! we ARE gonna be okay. Maybe that arc really is moving in the right direction.
The first event was long in coming, but something I’d been rooting for; the investigation into Trump’s misdeeds has morphed into an inquiry. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of a shockingly corrupt and criminal abuse of power by America’s POTUS.
The way an impeachment works is regulated at the federal level, under the American Constitution. First the Congress investigates, and then, based on their findings, the House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment. Those articles will be the formal allegation or allegations of what are considered to be ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’
According to the Harvard Law Review“The majority
view is that a president can legally be impeached for ‘intentional, evil deeds’
that ‘drastically subvert the Constitution and involve an unforgivable abuse of
the presidency’ — even if those deeds didn’t violate any criminal laws.”
So we’re in phase two now, prior to, hopefully, phase three, wherein the Senate will be called upon to try the accused. Many have said that the Senate will likely fail to actually impeach Trump, but there is some hope that these investigations, and the live television transmittal of the honourable men and women testifying to Trump’s misdeeds/crimes, at home and abroad, will sway the American voters, and by extension, the Republican Senators who are in danger of losing re-election in 2020 if they continue to align with trump.
One big hope is that the Dems get their way, and voting is done by anonymous, secret ballot. If that were to happen, it’s guesstimated that at least 30 Republicans would vote with the Dems, thus ensuring impeachment.
Meanwhile, the POTUS is flailing as the truth emerges about his endeavour to tempt the new President of Ukraine,Volodymyr Zelensky, into corruption. He dangled Congressionally approved military aid for the Ukraine, that would shore up the embattled nation in their war with Russia .. if Zelensky would just grant trump ‘one favour’ …
“When Mr. Zelensky said Ukraine was almost ready to purchase American
Javelin anti-tank missiles so it could better repel armored assaults by
Russian-supported fighters, Mr. Trump pounced.
would like you to do us a favor though,” Mr. Trump responded, beginning a
series of pointed requests. The president pressed Mr. Zelensky to use the help
of Attorney General William P. Barr in opening an investigation of a company
involved in the beginnings of the F.B.I. inquiry of Russia’s 2016 election interference. He also
wanted a corruption investigation connected to former Vice President Joseph R.
Biden Jr., a Democratic rival.
Both held the potential to benefit Mr.
Trump politically. And in case Mr. Zelensky needed reminding, Mr. Trump was
quick to point out that “the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”
Mr. Trump’s suggestion that American
law enforcement be directly involved and in contact with Ukraine’s government
marks the first evidence that the president personally sought to harness the
power of the United States government to further a political
investigation.” (from the New York Times, Sept 25/2019)
Actually, trump wanted THREE favours …
from Vice’s coverage of the memo,
1. He asked Zelensky to “look into” Joe Biden
2. He asked Zelensky to speak to Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr , while insinuating that Giuliani had the real information on corruption in the Ukraine, and smearing the American Ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, saying, “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.”
3. He oddly asked Zelensky to investigate Crowdstrike
“I would like you to find
out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you
have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that
went on, the whole situation,” Trump continued.
In a nutshell, trump sought to impel Zelensky, a new president, swept in on an anti-corruption platform, to agree to commit corruption in order to receive monies that had already been pledged to Ukraine, by the American Congress. Trump had NO right to a say in the over $400 million due to Ukraine, yet he behaved as though it were his personal money, bribe money to be used to get what he wanted … a public, foreign investigation into the son of his main opponent in the 2020 election..
“Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump
is a businessman,” Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told House
investigators. “When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who
owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before
signing the check.”
Except that this was not a business transaction, it was a diplomatic, Congressionally approved, transaction, Zelensky owed trump nothing, and it wasn’t trump’s own money. But since trump couldn’t take a cut of the millions, he took the opportunity to attempt to blackmail Zelensky, a move that would seem to be straight out of the Putin Playbook for “how to use kompromat to tie another country’s president to you in perpetuity.” (with at least one chapter on how to best preserve sheets used for golden showers by wannabe presidents.)
There can be NO logical explanation or excuse that makes what trump asked of Zelensky anything other than an attempt at bribery, potential blackmail, an attempt to elevate a conspiracy theory that excuses Russia’s role in election meddling by placing Ukraine in that role, and a gross abuse of power, despite how many frantic and hysterical tweets he vomits up on Twitter.
Hopefully the Republicans will soon see that their desperate attempts to
smear those who have the courage to testify is backfiring upon them. Or maybe
they’re still too terrified of the ‘wrath of trump’ to realize that everyone
around trump eventually winds up under the bus, no matter how good they are at
The second event – la deuxième étoile ! – that heralded a sea change to our society happened, not when Don Cherry said,
“You people love, that come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,”
No, it happened when Rogers/Sportsnet
caved to the flood of callers who demanded that Cherry be summarily dismissed. That’s
the Free Market that so many extol; in this case, it worked against
those who have pedestaled their hero and that notion. The market/shareholders
spoke, and Don Cherry, still refusing to apologize, fell.
Don ‘Sour ‘Grapes’ Cherry is
85, worth $14 million, makes $800K a year, and is still a miserable cuss. He plays to the mob, and relishes any chance
to punch down at his targets.
Political correctness aside, Cherry was spewing hate and spreading misinformation on Hockey Night in Canada. That’s not free speech, it’s hate speech. As a public figure, and on a platform that reaches millions, his commentary targeted people already vulnerable, because Don Cherry and his fans feel free to look down upon people of colour, and of those who aren’t ‘pur laine’, Canadians.
And whether he liked it or not, he had a signed contract that prohibits
certain forms of speech.
This kind of xenophobia and bigotry is unCanadian, even when it comes
from a man who was once honoured by being ranked at number 7 in the 2004 CBC
miniseries, The Greatest Canadian.
Cherry should have cleared the ice before it all turned into a gongshow.
Event three – and one that, I’m gonna guess, huge portions of this column’s readers missed entirely, happened on Wednesday night, on a double episode of Survivor – Island of the Idols. Survivor got #MeToo-ed.
From the very first episode
of Survivor:Borneo, in the summer of 2000, the reality series has
spoken to a huge swath of Middle American viewers. In that first season, crusty
Rudy Boesch, a 72 year old retired Navy Seal, and still the
oldest contestant to ever play the game, kept a stiff upper lip as Richard
Hatch, openly gay, and flagrantly arrogant, spent many hours parading
around naked in an attempt to rattle the other players. Rudy and Richard became
good friends over the course of the game, and when Rudy died recently, Hatch
was one of the many mourners to pay him tribute. The Rudy/Richard friendship
influenced how many viewers felt about people who, on the surface, appeared
completely unlike themselves. The viewers learned that appearances and even
long held opinions, could be deceiving.
During these 39 seasons, viewers have learned a great deal about opinions, prejudices, and why it’s foolhardy to have preconceived ideas about any other person. Viewers have seen the game, with it’s motto of “Outwit. Outplay. Outlast,” change with the times, even as the definition of what constitutes normalcy, equality, and ‘fair play’ changes as American society itself changes.
In 2003, contestant Jon
Dalton told what host/producer Jeff Probst would call “the
greatest lie in Survivor history” when he concocted a scheme to
manipulate his fellow players by saying that his grandmother had died. She had
not. Although ‘Johnny FairPlay’ entered Survivor history, he didn’t win
the series, and his name became synonymous with UNfair play in the game.
In 2013, bread baking Mormon mama Dawn Meehan had not the slightest qualms about voting off her best buddy Brenda Lowe, despite Brenda having salvaged Dawn’s dignity by finding the missing false teeth Dawn had lost in a pond. It’s a game, and anything that gets you further in the game is by definition ‘within the rules.’ How you live with yourself afterwards is your problem.; if you win, you’ll have a lot of fans, and a million dollars to keep your warm.
In 2019, we are once again revisiting the idea of what exactly constitutes ‘fair play’ in the contest.
As the two tribes merged,
contestant Kellee Kim, a 29 year-old Harvard grad and MBA student,
realized that she’d once again have to deal with contestant Dan Spito, a
48 year-old LA talent manager who had a little ‘issue’ with his physicality
when female players were near. Kellee had briefly dealt with him at the
beginning of the game, and told him in no uncertain terms that she did not like
or want him to touch her. Dan seemed to accept that, and fate sent the two
players off in different directions for the first half of the season.
But since the two teams had
merged and converged in one small area of the island, Dan’s hands were at it
again, tiptoeing through the ladies. And Kellee was not at all happy with his
presumption that her body and hair, as
well as that of other female contestants, were fair game.
the merge feast last night…. I feel someone wiggling my toes, and I’m like, I
wonder who it could be? And it’s him.” said contestant Missy
“It’s inappropriate touching. I’m not an object.”
In one of the segments,
Kellee tearfully told team mate Janet that she found Dan’s attentions
upsetting. Janet hadn’t really noticed that Kellee and several of the other
young women were being targeted. But she
was ready to help, if she could.
But as Kellee told the camera, “It’s super upsetting, because you can’t do anything about it. There are always consequences for standing up. It happens in real life, in work settings, in school … and you can’t say anything because it will affect your upward trajectory, it’s gonna affect how people look at you.”
The show’s producer, in an
unprecedented move, broke the fourth wall, saying, “You know, if there are issues to the point where
things need to happen, come to me and I will make sure that stops. ‘Cause
that’s…I don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable.”
A title card then appeared on screen, which read,“The following morning the producers met with all the players, both as a group and individually. They were cautioned about personal boundaries and reminded that producers are available to them at all times. Based on the outcome of those discussions, the game continued. In addition, producers met privately with Dan, at which time he was issued a warning for his behavior. Producers continue to monitor the situation.”
If that had been the end of the situation, as usually happens in our society, it would have been just another day in misogyny. But what happened next was a REAL lesson for Middle America; two of the other female players, Elizabeth and Molly, decided to use this moment to hatch a plan that would smear Dan while saving themselves, by making Dan and Kellee targets for elimination. Worse still, they abused the trust and faith of Janet to do so, knowing that Janet would see it as her place, as an older, mother figure, to do whatever it might take to help the girls.
In truth, neither Elizabeth nor Molly actually felt unsafe or uncomfortable around Dan. If anything, they thought he and his wandering hands were a non-issue, easily ignored.
Inevitably, #MeToo came up squarely against game strategy, and it was Kellee who was voted ‘off the island’ while Janet was left to understand that the other girls had willfully played upon her better nature to further their own game, at Kellee (and Janet’s) expense.
At a later tribal council, the women tried to defend their actions by calling it ‘game play,’ while a male player, Aaron, refused to believe that it had happened, because, “if it had, I would have known.”
Jamal tried to explain why Aaron was wrong, saying,
“This whole idea that you would have known about it – that’s exactly
what happens in the real world, guys. When a woman brings up a charge, and
people want to negate whether or not it’s legitimate, they say, well if it was
such a big issue, then she would have brought it up last year, two years ago,
three years ago. We are not entitled to ‘know’ things just because we’re men,
or just because we’re in power. “
As Kellee had said, “There are always consequences for standing up. ” For his pains, and his insight, Jamal was the next to leave the game.
As Jeff Probst later said, “Survivor is a
microcosm for our real world. Situations just like this one are playing out in
offices and bars and colleges across the country and the world. “
And that is, of course, sadly true.
However, it was the enormous backlash against the two female players, for their
deceit, and their ugly manipulation of Janet’s protective nature, that raged
mightily across social media on Thursday
morning that really gave me hope. Is it possible – can it really be – that
sometimes the right people will actually be punished for making the lives of
others miserable, just because they can?
This is the week that #MeToo came to reality TV, big time, and Middle America got to see how it works, from all sides and angles. Anyone that watched the double episode play out is now in possession of all the information they need to make life better for 51% of society (that’s women, by the way.)
The question is, will they? Can they be bothered? Or is life a whole lot easier when we just toss off the island those people who are only asking to be treated like people instead of objects?
I will continue to hope that the light at the end of the tunnel really is dawn breaking somewhere.
” If you knew of a child who was being forced by a parent or guardian to sleep on a cold concrete floor, in overcrowded surroundings, with screaming lights always on overhead that made it hard to sleep, had limited access to a bathroom, no way to brush their teeth, no soap and no towel — would you do something? “
That’s the question NPR‘s Scott Simon asked in his latest column. For many Americans under Trump’s spell – the answer is ‘no.’
Trump has always wanted some kind of a monument to celebrate his legacy as president. He wanted a wall … a multi-billion dollar wall … that I’m sure he’d inevitably gild to better reflect what he believes is his own brilliance.
Instead, history will look upon Trump’s administration with revulsion. His sadistic cruelty will give him a singular place of dishonour in a Hall of Infamy, where his actions will place him shoulder to shoulder beside other human monsters.
And his legacy will be the cries of abused, mistreated babies in concentration camps. The TrumpCamps. A place where the hopes of the downtrodden, the ‘huddled masses yearning to be free,‘ go to have their dreams beaten out of them.
Trump likes to say that he didn’t start this border policy, that he is only continuing on what President Obama had previously put into place. But, as a man who had told over 10,000 lies by the time he’d been in office for just two years, his words are .. you guessed it .. more lies.
” During the Obama administration, family separations were rare and predicated upon two conditions: whether border officials felt the parents or guardians posed a threat to the children, or whether the adults, under U.S. immigration law, had to be detained based on prior criminal convictions.” (The Los Angeles Times, Scott Martell)
” While it’s true that Obama did, during a 2014 surge in migration, implement wide-scale detention of families, Trump’s administration chose a much harsher path.. As part of a broader border crackdown, Trump instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in April 2018 that called for every illegal entry case to be prosecuted. That policy resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents before Trump walked it back two months later, amid international outcry, with an executive order. (The ACLU estimates over 700 families have been separated since then due to loopholes in a federal ruling that ordered the Trump administration to reunify separated families.)
While Obama was undoubtedly tough on immigration — his administration still holds the record for most deportations — border officials used discretion during his presidency to determine which illegal crossing cases to prosecute. On the other hand, in April 2018, the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions instituted a “zero tolerance” policy that called for every illegal entry case to be prosecuted. This resulted in children being separated from parents — even when the parents had done nothing more than try to cross the border.” (Vox.com/June 2019)
And, as Speaker Pelosi recently said, no migrant children died for 10 years prior, but already six are dead under the Trump regime and conditions are worsening.
So let’s address the moral loophole that so many of trump’s followers use to excuse their being complicit in the abuse of children – that the children should suffer, in order to punish the parents, and to deter others from coming to America, because they have ‘broken a law.‘
Well, crossing the border is actually only a misdemeanor. And asking for asylum, which is what the majority of these families are attempting to do, is a human right. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
And that’s before we even mention that the United States Constitution grants many of the same legal rights to non-citizens and citizens, as does the American legal system, which allows federal prosecutors to use their discretion when deciding whether to prosecute a crime.
But let’s say we do call their pleas for asylum and refuge a crime; at best, it is a misdemeanor. So just how far are you willing to go to punish them for this great ‘crime’?
And before you answer that … remember that there are other laws frequently broken by pretty much everyone, be they citizen, tourist, or asylum seeker. There are tons of opportunities to commit a misdemeanor in the United States, and maybe you yourself have done so at some time. Things like … buying fireworks, or pot … illegal in many states, federally illegal everywhere. Jaywalking. Cutting down your own tree for Christmas from a National forest. Trespassing on federal lands – if you like mountain biking on the Pacific Crest Trail, you better not have kids; should they choose to prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, the feds could grab them.
It’s very safe to say that the immigration laws, as put into place under Trump by Jeff Sessions, constitute a cruel and unusual interpretation and enforcement of normal border protection. Worse yet, the way they went about putting this quasi-legal abuse into place has only triggered yet more refugees intent on reaching America before the border is closed entirely. This plan has backfired spectacularly.
Perhaps there is a lesser, though just as noteworthy, part of Trump’s disgusting legacy; his perverse twisting of laws in order to thwart the nation’s freedom, rights, and democracy itself, and the gross, self-serving, monsters who rush to enforce his bidding.
Can you possibly imagine the logic used by this woman, as she attempts to argue that babies, toddlers, children, and parents really have no need for soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a towel, or even a bed? I can only believe that there are twisting worms and maggots in her skull that have replaced whatever brain she had prior to this court appearance.
Considering what private contractors are being paid to house the refugees – it’s around $750, per day, per person – it is hard to believe the contractors cannot afford to keep the children safe and sanitary.
For the private corporations driving this incarceration, the millions are rolling in, all paid for by the taxpayers. For just a little idea of what this is costing, consider that Comprehensive Health Services Inc., a private company based in Cape Canaveral, were paid $50.7 million to cover the costs of keeping 1,000 migrant kids warehoused between February 22 and July 6, 2019. Pretty sweet money for less than five months work.
And yet, government officials have blamed detention facilities lack of amenities on Congress’ not yet having passed an emergency funding package of almost $3 billion.
The sad truth is that “Money isn’t keeping guards from allowing people to access toilets,” she said. “Money isn’t causing guards to take clothing and medicine away from children.” Nope, it’s not the money that makes them sadists – they already were, and cruelty has always been the point of these camps.
This lack of human kindness is a vile enough comment on the lack of compassion being shown to these refugees. It’s so vile that journalist and author Michael Scott Moore, once held captive by Somali pirates, noted that the pirates at least gave him soap and a toothbrush. Trump’s administration treats migrants more harshly than Somali pirates do their hostages.
And Trump has the nerve to call other countries ‘third world shitholes.’
Despite the continual gaslighting around the existence and conditions of these camps, we are slowly beginning to understand the depth of the perverse cruelty implicit in how they are being run.
While the administration attempted to deny, in the beginning, that children were being separated from their families, it soon became clear that this separation was not only a key part of Sessions’ brutal orders, but that the staff and guards of the camps had no interest in the well being of the kids, nor had they any intention of ensuring that the children could at some point be reunited with their families. There were no records kept, even as the youngest of babies, just a few months old, were torn from their mothers’ breasts and put into freezing centres with no facilities to properly care for the children.
No identifying marks. No paperwork. Not even a tattoo, temporary or permanent, to ensure that these little ones would be able to see their parents again. That’s not how you treat immigrants, it’s how you treat children and adults whom you intend to enslave, or to use for sexual trafficking or as human guinea pigs. Without a paper trail, these asylum seekers were more likely to be raped or murdered by the Customs and Border Patrol than they were by the coyotes who preyed upon them on their long trek.
The horror stories of shocking neglect and incompetence by the staff that have come out in the last few weeks should be enough to break the heart of anyone not made of stone. In one case, four toddlers under the age of three … two year old babies! … were so severely neglected and sick that lawyers had to force … FORCE … the government to hospitalize the children, less they die in the camp.
“One 2-year-old’s eyes were rolled back in her head, and she was “completely unresponsive” and limp, according to Toby Gialluca, a Florida-based attorney. She described seeing terror in the children’s eyes.
“It’s just a cold, fearful look that you should never see in a child of that age,” Gialluca said. “You look at them and you think, ‘What have you seen?’”
The camps are hellholes, and conditions are so unsanitary that the sites are ripe for tuberculosis, dysentery, or Durchfall, a disorder of the digestive system caused by improper and inadequate food. In fact, many babies and toddlers are already refusing food and water, as they are too frail to keep anything down.
Would you call the police if you knew that thousands of children were being held in cold, cramped, filthy and uncomfortable circumstances? Would you have the guts to report that the facilities where they are kept are riddled with flu and lice outbreaks, and the cells are so crowed that children and babies sleep on the floor, on a mat, beside an open toilet?
The lawyers that visited the Texas camp last week were sickened by the neglect and visibly filthy conditions, and appalled at the lack of proper adult supervision. The Associated Press report said that the site lacked adequate food, water or sanitation inside, and described teen mothers and other younger kids being asked to care for infants and toddlers on their own.
Conditions are ripe for the spread of contagious diseases like scabies, boils, rashes, and abscesses that result mostly from vitamin deficiency and infections. While some may argue that these camps are just holding places, not the death camps of World War Two, once the dominoes of illness begin to fall, death will certainly sweep through thesegrossly unsanitary centres.
I have often been accused of being too kind-hearted. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that I believe in treating every living creature with respect and kindness. I see neither of those being offered to the children of the camps.
Instead, Trump is now using the most sickening and gruesome accounts of this sadistic treatment of babies and asylum seekers as a rally point in his election stomping. He’s actively encouraging a blood lust in his fans, whipping up the worst qualities of these people who can only make themselves feel bigger by seeing others as smaller.
Trump plays on that divisiveness. He knows that if he turns his supporters against others, he can get away with his overt sadism and racism. He knows that, no matter how bad things get because of his tax or tariff decisions for his base, and even as he steals away their health care and social security, they treasure his promises to be even crueler to immigrants and those Trump calls his enemies.
This week’s announcement that ‘millions’ of illegal immigrants would be rounded up and deported was just one more action of a leader who is completely out of control and power drunk. The point was to terrorize these families who have long been integrated into American society, but who have not yet attained citizenship, often through no fault of their own. These are your neighbours, the people that care for your children and your sick and elderly, the people who work in your gardens and fields. They are the citizens least likely to commit crimes, and most likely to be drastically underpaid, which keeps the price of goods and services low for other Americans.
Just before giving the order to begin the round up, Trump decided to postpone the show — and put it back on the road for the July 4th weekend, a weekend once dedicated to the celebration of ‘life, liberty, and the American Way.”
Could there be a more fitting cap to his legacy of terror, detention, cruelty, and horrific neglect? Only he could turn America’s birthday into a day that will go down in infamy as a day filled with terror and the cries of the innocent.
When, inevitably, the pendulum swings back, and Trump has become history, I foresee a day when being called a “Republican” will have the same cachet as being called a “Nazi,” and the name “Trump” will be as reviled as that of “Hitler.”
For baby boomers, on whom the shadow of World War II fell the darkest , the post war years teemed with possibility. Our future lay before us like a shimmering landscape, designed by the brilliant minds now free to bring us sci fi and fantasy tales of a world filled with scientific and technical advances beyond our wildest dreams.
Flying cars anyone?
But, if we looked to our families, who were now coping with war’s aftermath, or when we saw the shadow of a tattoo on someone’s wrist, we felt the pain of the millions who’d perished for a tyrant’s narcissistic wet dream, and, even the youngest of us wondered .. why didn’t anyone stop Hitler when he first started killing people?
During Hitler’s years in power, there were 42 failed assassination attempts on his life, that we know of. Surrounded by bodyguards and security forces, it’s pretty hard to kill a dictator.
But if you were a writer possessed of a fantastical mind, you might have asked yourself; what if you could go back in time, and kill a younger version of Hitler, before his rise to power?
It is perhaps unsurprising that this particular trope appealed to hundreds, if not thousands, of scribes, and that the attempt to find a time travel exemption to changing the past, continues to be tested. As recently as August 2011, my fave sci fi series, Doctor Who, took their own stab at the genre, in an episode called, “Let’s Kill Hitler.” (Spoiler alert; they failed to kill him.)
Actually, the very first story to do so was published in Weird Tales, in July 1941, and was called, “I Killed Hitler.”
In James Gleick’s book, Time Travel, he posits that “humans invented time travel to counter the regret that we only have one life to live. “ The question isn’t really, “Should you kill Baby Hitler?” But rather, “How do we best come to terms with a world where evil exists?””
But why do I bring this up, you ask? We’re all aware that Godwin’s Law says that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” So it’s moot, right?
Well, here’s the thing… by June 24, 2018, even Mike Godwin had to admit that “The question of evil, understood historically, is bigger than party politics.”
“The seeds of future horrors are sometimes visible in the first steps a government takes toward institutionalizing cruelty. In his 1957 book “Language of the Third Reich,” Victor Klemperer recounted how, at the beginning of the Nazi regime, he “was still so used to living in a state governed by the rule of law” that he couldn’t imagine the horrors yet to come. “Regardless of how much worse it was going to get,” he added, “everything which was later to emerge in terms of National Socialist attitudes, actions and language was already apparent in embryonic form in these first months.
So I don’t think Godwin’s Law needs to be updated or amended. It still serves us as a tool to recognize specious comparisons to Nazism — but also, by contrast, to recognize comparisons that aren’t. And sometimes the comparisons can spot the earliest symptoms of horrific “attitudes, actions and language” well before our society falls prey to the full-blown disease.”
So, why am I bringing up this comparison? The answer lies in a portion of a new digital exhibit, the 1938Projekt, that catalogues the final days of European Jewry.
” As was the case with French Jews who threw lavish parties in the months leading up to their deportation, or the Poles who helped manufacture the very weapons that would be used against them a year later, for my family the impending loss of their property, their homes, and even their lives seemed so surreal as to be almost impossible. They don’t actually mean it. They’ll make a show of it but we’ll be fine. There’s no chance we’ll really be gone tomorrow. The tragedy is that we don’t recognize how intractable these political climates are with a sudden timely realization, but rather as a slow burn—imperceptible until only after the damage is done.”
“You’d have to have been crazy to have predicted such a thing as the Holocaust. Most of them simply didn’t believe that there was any credible reason why things would suddenly surpass normal levels of anti-Semitism and go from bad to catastrophic.
It is the story of how easy it is to become inured to the progression of a deteriorating situation. Through its lens, we see the time more clearly for what it was: not just another brief chapter in the thousands-of-years-old story called anti-Semitism, but a tinderbox heating up with the passage of each day. It’s easy to look now and see a series of warnings plastered onto the walls of the past, plain and clear for all Jews to see, only for fools to ignore.
But if someone were to tell you about a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and swastikas graffitied on the Upper West Side and Nazi marches and Jewish cemeteries being defaced and a president who calls himself a nationalist and ordinances that dissolve the rights of immigrants and of the queer community and a caravan of refugees, and told you to leave behind your family business and your belongings and your home and move across the world to a place where you didn’t know a soul and didn’t know the language, would you? You’d have to be crazy.” (https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/274646/what-it-was-like-to-be-a-german-jew-in-1938)
You see, I think that, like those long ago writers of science fiction who yearned to turn back the clock to a time before Hitler took power, we’re now living in a time when there is a chance to change what seems to be inevitable.
And I think that, if a change doesn’t happen, we’ll see future writers scribbling about wanting to time travel back and kill a baby Trump, before the real horrors began in America.
Unlike a lot of people who still cling to the idea that checks and balances, and the application of the Constitution, will prevent anything too destructive from happening in America, I see that we are once again following a historic arc that has always moved in a horrific direction, and that swing is accelerating.
The assaults on the justice system and law itself are compounding daily. Where is the outrage over Khashoggi‘s murder? Why have those who swore to stand by AG Sessions, or to defend Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation, suddenly disavowed their previous words?
What did you think it meant when President Trump suggested he could pull press credentials from any reporters who didn’t show him “respect.” Can you not see that Trump has essentially revoked the First Amendment without even having to use an ‘executive order’ to do so? Like all dictators, first they must take out the press, in any way possible, because the press are they that would show you the misdeeds the administration would rather conceal.
The POTUS, on his bully pulpit, cannot repeatedly tear down American institutions verbally, without risking their actual destruction. When every speech at his rallies sounds like the words of an authoritarian, the supposition of an authoritarian regime can’t be avoided.
Post midterms, and post some of the most despicable attempts to thwart a legitimate election in recent history, many Republicans are publicly calling the attempt to count every ballot cast, voter fraud, and an attempt to ‘steal’ an election. But this is not theft or a fraud … you may not recognize it, GOP, but this is democracy.
When I hear Americans cry, “...but this isn’t America. This isn’t who we are!” I have to beg to differ.
There’s an historic pattern of racism and xenophobia that has a long through line, from America’s very beginnings, right through to the US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to gut a key element of the 1965 voting rights act, based on the election of a man of colour to the presidency. That law demanded that areas with a history of racial discrimination at the polls get prior authorisation before changing their election or voting laws. As we’ve just seen in the 2018 midterms – we really needed that provision. We all watched the disastrous Republican-run elections that slashed the rights and ability of people of colour and indigenous people, to cast their votes, in the name of non-existent voter fraud. What you saw was voter suppression.. they never got a chance to vote, so there was never a chance of fraudulence, except on the part of those making up these rules to benefit their own party.
“That problem is solved,” Justice Roberts intoned, dismissing centuries of racism and exclusion.
“This isn’t who we are!” you say?
Do you remember the poem that begins, “first they came?” America’s version begins with calling Mexicans rapists and claiming that they bring drugs and crime, then moves on to the torment of American Muslims, before dancing on to the Dreamers, the Trans community, the LGBTQ, Puerto Ricans, Hondurans… and eventually, it comes to the Jews, as it ever has.
The massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue came at the hands of a white, middle aged, right wing, Trump supporter, who thinks Trump isn’t hard enough on the Jewish citizens of America, and so he murdered 11 people in Trump’s name.
Ironically, and In spite of his overtly racist leanings, Trump enjoys solid support from the Jewish community. One of his most fervent supporters, Miriam Adelson, the wife of Sheldon Adelson, will soon receive a Medal of Freedom, that is essentially her reward for her part in her husband’s donation of $113 million to Trump’s election and midterm support.
Like those in Germany, Poland and France that went to the movies, or threw parties, mere days before they were marched to camps, supporters like the Adelsons think his racism will stop with Mexican immigrants and African-Americans.
The pattern is too consistent. History shows horrible acts of racism, over and over and over again, against the most vulnerable of citizens. The United States, like 1984’s Oceania, has always been at war .. with itself.
This IS who you are, America.
Bill Maher has been calling this flaunting of law by the Trump administration a ‘slow moving coup‘ for the last year. With the illegal appointment of Whitaker to the position of Acting United States Attorney General, that coup picked up speed.
“In third world dictatorships, the chief law enforcement officer‘s main qualification is – he doesn’t enforce the law. Officials of independent mind are hounded out, or shoved aside.”
As Maher said, “In mid 2017, I first read you my dictator checklist, but since this week is the week we first added, “install your personal protector as head of the justice department, ” after adding in September, “install your personal protector on the highest Court,” let’s review the dictator list one more time.
You’re a narcissist who likes to see his name and face on buildings. You appoint family members to position of power You hold rallies, even when you are not running, and they are scary. You talk about jailing the press, and political opponents. You want to hold military parades, and muse openly about being president for life. You use your office for personal financial gain. You love other dictators. You lie so frequently your supporters don’t know what the truth is anymore, and don’t’ care.
For a coup to work, it is first necessary for truth itself to be destroyed – as well as the people who try to report it. So the dictator is free to say anything, and his followers believe it.
Adding to that dictator checklist, we now have state TV in this country, an actual propaganda channel, where the ‘reporters’ openly endorse the leaders. And we have people who oversee the elections they are running in.
In August of this year, Trump’s semi-liquid mob mouthpiece, Rudy Giuliani, said “the truth isn’t the truth.”
So – truth isn’t truth, the press is the enemy of the people, there are ‘alternative facts,’ “there’s no proof of anything, ” “What you’re seeing and reading isn’t what’s happening.”
In 1986, after 21 years of being the president (dictator) of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, and his wife, Imelda Marcos, had their reign of corruption overturned, and the family was sent into exile. It is estimated that the couple plundered between 5 and 10 $BILLION US dollars from the Philippine people during those years.
And yet, Imelda made a comeback, and somehow managed to get elected to the the Philippine House of Representatives , not once, but FOUR times, despite having been called a kleptocrat by historians, being listed by Newsweek as one of the “greediest people of all time” and having had the distinction of having committed, along with her husband, the greatest robbery of a government, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
In November 2018, Mrs. Marcos was convicted of corruption involving US$200 million, from the time between 1978 and 184, when she was governor of Metro Manila. She has been sentenced to a total term of up to 77 years of imprisonment.
I’m telling you this because of the parallels between the Marcos and Trump camp … neither can quit their love for a self-serving, selfish, corrupt, world champion thief. Nothing you say will change the opinions of his or her cult. And just as the Filipinos kept voting Imelda back in, as she siphoned over $200 million from the people to her Swiss bank account, there will still be Americans voting for Trump some ten, twenty years down the road, and probably even after his death.. maybe especially after his death.
“Godwin’s Law was never meant to block us from challenging the institutionalization of cruelty or the callousness of officials who claim to be just following the law. It definitely wasn’t meant to shield our leaders from being slammed for the current fashion of pitching falsehoods as fact. These behaviors, distressing as they are, may not yet add up to a new Reich, but please forgive me for worrying that they’re the “embryonic form” of a horror we hoped we had put behind us.” Mike Godwin
Lest we forget …. On this, and every Remembrance Day, I remember and thank my family for their sacrifice.
WWI: Uncle Len, Uncle Cecil
WWII: Uncle John, Auntie Anne, Auntie Pat
KOREA: Uncle Leo, my dad
and Uncle Dennis, who served in peacetime.
If anyone had said to me, even a couple of months ago, that in July of 2017 the President of the United States would suddenly decree, apropos of nothing, and via Twitter no less! to “please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” … I’d have snorted like an outraged donkey.
What the lemon scented fart? If any further proof was needed that the POTUS is not only ignorant of the Constitution, civil rights and the year, his homophobic proclamation sealed the deal.
I get it. He’s 71, and possibly – no, make that probably – suffering from senile dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, and was never the hippest dude on the block even during his heyday, but this ridiculous knee-jerk revealed the ignorant, paranoid and prejudiced clod that somehow managed to fool enough of America to hit his Peter Principle pinnacle; the American President has reached the extreme tippity top limit of his competence, and is sliding into total incompetence and irrelevance, while clutching America’s nuclear codes like a paper fortune teller.
The news cycle went into overdrive after his tweet. Possible reasons for this cruel verdict included the reveal that a congressional fight over gender reassignment surgery, which threatened funding for his controversial wall with Mexico, was at least partly to blame. This despite studies that clearly showed that the highest possible cost estimates of hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery would range from $2.4 million to $8.4 million, (equivalent to two or three Trump weekend getaways to Mar A Lago.) Costs overall would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care.
The military spends much more on Viagra. The Department of Defence spends $49.3 billion each year on health care.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the President was concerned about the policy. “This is a very expensive and disruptive policy and, based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, he came to the conclusion that is erodes military readiness and unit cohesion and made the decision based on that,” she said.
I’m gonna guess that consultation involved less of the security team and more of his little, green, G.I. Joe figurines.
Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA’s director of Gender, Sexuality, and Identity program said Mr Trump’s decision violated the human rights of all transgender Americans, adding: “It lays bare the president’s prejudice and underlines the fact that creating policy based on bigotry is becoming a dangerous and cruel pattern for President Trump.”
In other words, his own prejudice about how he personally would feel about serving alongside transgender military personnel was to supersede the many surveys and studies done within the actual military community that concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few (between 1,320 and 6,630) in the military’s 1.3 million-member force. Awful big talk from the Bone Spur King.
Beyond any real or imaginary financial or morale implications, Trump’s words were a dog whistle to his base, those who agree with his fearful and intolerant ravings. Thankfully, there are less and less of them.
Without getting into all of the macho silliness and obvious fear of sexual inadequacy 45 has displayed throughout his life, you’d still think that he’d, by the age of seventy-one, at least be over his fear that the gay might get on him.
Because at the heart of it, an awful lot of people, especially older men like Trump, fear that their sexuality is a delicate thing. Masculinity, defined by male genitalia, is apparently so fragile that even a chance encounter with another male’s naughty bits will break it. Those kids in school who feared getting the gay cooties, who thought the queer might rub off on them if they even spoke to a transgendered kid, or who yelled out “fag” at anyone who broke fashion ranks with the ‘boys’ are more scared of their fragile grasp on their own sexuality than their victims are of their tormentors.
Even the word “homophobia” is a misnomer. A phobia is defined as an “irrational fear or hate,” something you might feel about heights, or spiders. If anything, the term would more appropriately be “homoism” since the range of negative attitudes and feelings towards those whose sexual taste differs from one’s own is more akin to words like racism, sexism, or ageism.
“(Homophobia) has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear, and is often related to religious beliefs.” (wikipedia)
Those emotions are a lot more definitive and deep seated than any you’d bring to bear on that poor spider who just happened to wander into your shower.
No, this whole ridiculous and overt terror that some ostensibly macho men exhibit is their fear that contact of any kind with homosexuals or the transgendered might change their “All Boy” identity into one that is “not-normal“.
It’s also that they’re afraid that a man will hit on them the way they hit on women.
It’s so irrational that it even out-irrationalizes racism; a bigot may hate people of a different colour, but he’s really not too worried that he might wake up one morning and find his skin tone has changed to black. No, that would be silly!
But a homophobe does have a secret fear that they could wake up one fine morning and find that they suddenly crave the touch and scent and feel of someone who’s got all the same plumbing as they themselves are concealing in their boxers.
Several studies have linked homophobia to latent homosexual arousal. Maybe. After all, it’s not uncommon for those entering puberty to wonder about their own sex’s sexy bits, as well as the opposite’s. Most young people are worried that the acting out of their desires will disqualify them from fitting in with their peers. Closet homosexuals, therefore, have the most to fear; namely, that they’ll be found out, and socially ostracized.
It’s crazy and irrational, and that’s why civilized society had to take a stand, and let the grownups decide that the establishment of civil rights made it a federal crime to “by force or by threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with anyone. ” And that means ALL people, regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin, and, since 1974, gender.
Which didn’t stop a small group of people, all puffed up with religious arrogance, from deciding that their own Holy Book‘s preachings gave them the right to ignore that legislation, and discriminate against legal same sex marriage.
“ By late 2014, same-sex marriage had become legal in states that contained more than 70% of the United States population. More than 70% of Americans lived in a jurisdiction where same-sex couples could legally marry. .. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalized it in all fifty states, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses” (wiki)
Those who morally disagreed with this decision pushed back. Some, putting the lie to that old saying, “If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake,” refused to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages. So sue me, they said. And the newlyweds did …
“What makes people fear the gay and gay marriage? It’s because you’re giving these people equality. And that’s the biggest fear that people with power have: that you’ll get some too. … “I don’t want to be married. But if two people are crazy enough to be that in love with each other, damn, that’s a great thing. Give them a break. Life’s really short. … If you don’t want a gay marriage, then don’t have one.”
— Henry Rollins on Big Think”
Trump’s declaration of war upon those who protect their fellow citizens during times of both war and peace is unsavory, ill-advised, homophobic, and unconstitutional. It’s also very ill timed, since it was just last June 30, 2016, that then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that transgender people would be able to serve openly in the military in a memorandum directing the completion of such inclusion by June 30, 2017.
With the deadline approaching, current Defense Secretary James ‘Mad Dog” Mattis announced that he would be delaying the policy, writing: “After consulting with the service chiefs and secretaries, I have determined that it is necessary to defer the start of accessions for six months. … We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.”
Mattis and Trump seem unaware of the legally sticky wicket they’re facing with this strategy. An attempt to enforce a reinstated ban against transgender persons currently serving in the military would face steep legal challenges and precedent. Under well-settled law, the courts would almost certainly hold that soldiers who came out as openly transgender in reliance on the military’s own policy could not be subsequently penalized for doing so. Current transgender soldiers, who are relying not just on a policy of de facto tolerance, but on an official policy expressly permitting open service, could and would take legal action.
More importantly, and on a human level, the conversation about transgender military service should not revolve around numbers, or deeply held, albeit illegal, prejudices. Either America respects it’s values and citizens, or it does not. The current President of all Americans has drawn a hard line demonstrating that he stands with those who lack respect for the value and rights of LGBTQ American citizens.
And now, a musical interlude to clear your palate …
In the bad old days, the majority of LGBTQ people in the entertainment business strove to cover their sexual proclivities. But there were a few brave souls who dared to flaunt their fabulousness.
One bright light that graced Toronto‘s stages was Jackie Shane. Born in Nashville in 1940, he cut his teeth touring with musical house mother, ‘Queen of the Blues’, Marion James, eventually becoming part of the band, The Motley Crew, which was based in Toronto.
Jackie was a soul/R&B singer who frequently performed at the Sapphire Tavern. His appearance was androgynous; he often wore makeup, and sometimes an evening gown.
His flamboyant stage act, makeup and attire so threatened the media gatekeepers that even the CHUM radio station refused to interview him on-air, and only began playing his hit single, “Any Other Way,” after it had begun climbing the charts, finally peaking at the number two spot in Canada in 1962.
“Jackie Shane wasn’t bringing his act to Toronto so it could be better understood. Instead he was taking it out of context, to someplace where it seemed more alien and strange. Maybe he liked it better that way. By coming to Toronto he was escaping segregation and getting to perform to white people with presumably deeper pockets, who had never seen anything like him before. You could cross over in the States, but then you’d have to pull a Little Richard and turn your ‘freak’ show into a clown act, taking out the gay innuendo.” (Carl Wilson, music journalist)
Shane was the stuff of mystery and legend. Rumours swirled around him, including one that claimed Shane was cousin to Little Richard. Shane left Toronto in 1971, moving to Los Angeles, where Jackie turned down an offer to be part of the band Funkadelic.
After returning to Nashville after her mother’s death, Jackie lived as a woman. Shane had become a legend, and, like most legends, there were rumours of her death, including one claiming that she had been murdered in 1998.
She was gone – but not forgotten.
From Now Toronto‘s Michael Rancic, ” In 2010 the CBC produced a radio documentary about her life, and rare live footage of Shane was featured in Bruce McDonald’s three-part TV documentary, Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories, in 2011.
Noted music journalist Carl Wilson wrote his own extensive take on Shane’s enduring relevance for Hazlitt in 2013, placing Shane within a larger context of the history of queer and Black performers. The following year, Videofag hosted an exhibition for an animation by Sonya Reynolds and Lauren Hortie called Whatever Happened To Jackie Shane?
Her live album was nominated for the Polaris Heritage Prize in both 2015 and 2016, and earlier this year, The Globe And Mail published an article calling Shane a “lost transgender superstar,” and a volume of Toronto queer history, Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer, was published by Coach House and featured an essay by Steven Maynard.
“Archival record label Numero Group is releasing the first-ever artist-approved collection of soul singer Jackie Shane’s work.
Named after her most well-known single, Any Other Way is an extensive collection of all six of Shane’s 45s, highlights from the often bootlegged 1967 live set recorded at Toronto’s famed Sapphire Tavern, as well as three never-before-heard tracks.”
It used to be so easy to mock the North American political process. Comedians had a field day, lampooning gaffes or silly political correctness amongst candidates and politicians seeking or in office. Most pols can be counted on to screw up at some point. The joker outing the naked Emperor poked fun without fear of reprisal.
That all changed for Canada, yesterday. Bill C-51 – the so called “Anti Terrorist Act,” was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, despite vocal opposition from everyone from Margaret Atwood to Ralph Nader .
Over nearly a decade, Canadians have seen Canada’s world image plunge from a once lofty high the envy of the free world, to a race to the bottom. Since 2006, the Harper government has governed with an iron-fist, hidden public information and political subterfuge in cumbersome omnibus bills or simple denials, and has become the most secretive administration in Canadian history.
How do you find anything funny about an increasingly militaristic and confrontational police presence that ‘serves and protects’ only those steely, unsmiling, hand-picked minions to the Prime Minister?
Where’s the laughs when our scientists have been muzzled, and precious and irreplaceable environmental books and documents have been trashed? Where’s the irony in watching the Boreal Forest, which represents more than half of Canada’s landmass, and which plays a critical role in mitigating global climate change, be threatened by logging, hydrodams, mining and the tar sands? (Industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000.)
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt remained seated, silent, and cross armed while others broke out in a standing ovation at the conclusion of the six year study of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the “cultural genocide” of Aboriginal peoples through Canada’s residential school system. The commission pushed for a national inquiry and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and requested 94 wide-ranging recommendations.
“Federal Conservatives have suggested they will reject calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for both a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and Canada’s implementation of a landmark United Nations document on First Nations’ rights.” (Huffington Post)
It’s very hard to find something even vaguely funny about such overt contempt.
As people become more concerned about the very food they eat, the Conservative Party continues to support genetically modified foods and Monsanto, fighting tooth and nail against every citizen action requesting even so much as the labelling of foods. (Canada and the United States are the only two nations in the Free World that do not require GMO labelling.)
And then there’s Bill C-51 itself, an act so heinous that everyone from former prime ministers, to constitutional lawyers – and hundreds of thousands of Canadians – have begged, cajoled and screamed for it’s demise.
The Bill allows the police to ignore Canadians’ rights, and rides roughshod over civil liberties. It eviscerates the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms, and inherently stomps on Canadians’ constitutional rights.
It defines ‘terrorism’ as “activity that undermines the security of Canada.” Those activities include advocacy, legal protests, threats to “public safety” and the “economic or financial stability of Canada.” It also creates a new speech-related criminal offence of “promoting” or “advocating” terrorism.
And it allows information sharing across very broad areas, from the Department of Immigration, to the financial sector, from the Department of Transport to your own doctor and Public Health, besides the usual suspects (the police, RCMP, CSIS, or Border Control.) Bill C-51 effectively neuters the core protections found in the Privacy Act, and also permits additional use and disclosure of information “in accordance with the law…to any person, for any purpose.”
Let me put this even plainer. If, for some reason, a conversation you have – in person, by email, or on social media – triggers the interest of ANY government official … or even a spurned lover or a miffed colleague with a grudge … you could be arrested and detained for up to seven days without charges on mere suspicion of future criminal activity.
“Bill C-51’s gives powers of “preventive detention,” which means jail time for individuals even when there isn’t any suspicion criminal activity has taken place.”
So, I’m finding it a little hard to laugh, or even smile. In what dystopia would these dictatorial and fascistic measures call for a chuckle?
Oh, sure, we’ve got Rick Mercer’s weekly jabs and rants, but honestly – how do you poke fun at a Canadian government blindly led by an evangelistic dictator set on destroying the country he rules with an iron fist?
Our only hope for a re-discovery of our political comedy mojo under such an oppressive regime is a resounding “NO!” to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government in the coming election.