On Wednesday, I began my column by saying “It’s nighttime in America.”
Today, I’m happy to report that at 11:30 am, on Saturday November 7th, the media called the 2020 US presidential election, and named as winners former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and his running mate– the first woman elected to the vice presidency– California Senator Kamala Harris.
And suddenly – it’s a new day in America.
(Paging Bill Barr… Mr. William Barr … has anybody seen the Attorney General? It’s been days!)
Ah, forget about him. Barr and the rest of trump’s cast of sycophantic minions are about to be returned to the reeking garbage scows from which they were so serendipitously plucked before being delicately mixed in with Washington’s miasma of swamp creatures. Today, I can finally say that I believe a day will come – very soon! – when we will be able to say, with true confusion … “Ivanka Who?”
And to think, it all started with one broke man with a crazy dream, riding a golden escalator.
But for now, my friends, it is time to dance in the streets. Rejoice, righteously, for those who fearlessly stood up for democracy. It wasn’t easy. It truly has been America’s long national nightmare, four years that felt more like four decades, and it ain’t the COVID that has left most of us looking ten years older, and feeling twenty years older, than when it first began.
He told us who and what he was, but many didn’t believe him. Five years after that escalator ride, trump had showed the entire planet exactly who and what he was, and still, many don’t believe what they see with their own eyes. A dictator wannabe, lacking in character, incompetent, vengeful, sadistic. Also, a proven coward, apathetic and weak.
And yet, he nearly succeeded in ending democracy in America.
The next person hellbent on that kind of mission may not be so incompetent. He or she may have learned how not to telegraph every treasonous move. He or she may succeed.
Which is why – it’s not over. It’s never over.
Politics is hard, and unending, when done right. So many of us like to slag off politics and politicians, branding them all useless and corrupt. And certainly, many are. We have stunning evidence of that, in history, and in current politics. But politics is not just those men and women who chose to enter the field – democratic politics, our preferred norm, actually DEMANDS that we all take an active part in a successful society. In other words, like it or lump it, you too … are in politics.
Surprise! Being a good citizen doesn’t end with casting a vote. It means actually knowing the issues on the table, being honest, trustworthy, and law abiding. It means being a good neighbour, of being respectful of the rights and property of others, and being a good global citizen, respecting nature. It means taking responsibility for your actions.
All of those attributes may seem quaint, but without the majority of us following those rules, our society falls apart. We’re stronger when we’re all together, working together, not against each other.
It hurts to think that over 71 million Americans watched the evil trump and his administration perpetrated, and voted for more, and worse to come. 71 million voters were okay with kids being torn from their parents; with the DACA kids being cast adrift; with Russia offering bounties to Afghanis for American military scalps; with a lawless administration; with the only thing preventing a depression being bailouts to those nearly bankrupted by bad trade deals …. And by the reality of more than 230,000 Americans already in their graves, dead from COVID-19.
We already knew that, coming up, the least of the evils about to be visited on America, under a re-elected trump, would be the firing of Dr Fauci. On the agenda, under his packed and stacked Supreme Court were the final killing blow to the Affordable Care Act’s protection of those with pre-existing conditions. And he’d tentatively moved forward to dismantling Medicare and Social Security. No plans for stemming the tide of COVID deaths. Things were looking pretty bleak.
How bad was it? Enough to make a grown man cry.
But 71 million voters were okay with all of that, because they had a few more bucks in their pocket under trump’s reign.
As marketer Seth Godin said, “If your guiding principle is to do whatever benefits you right now, you don’t have principles of much value.”
It would appear that there are two diametrically opposed political ideologies in today’s America, and that it comes down to generations of right-wing media creating a fictional world that gives them comfort, clashing with those who are living in a reality-based community. Both sides believe they are right, but only one has the receipts.
So, there’s still much to worry about. There’s a long, hard, road ahead of us. Biden’s win is just the first step on that journey.
I’m pretty sure that trump won’t be leaving behind a handy list of “All the Bad Stuff I Did.’ Instead, the new administration will have to figure out which Jenga pegs he pulled from which vital institutions, and try to plug those holes as quickly as they can, to prevent the tower from toppling.
Remember, there were people who died on battlefields, and in concentration camps, and yes, in cotton fields in the Deep South, after peace and freedom was declared. There are many who are suffering right now, who may not live long enough to see the end of this administration.
And though thousands of Americans are dying daily, needlessly, from COVID-19, which did not miraculously disappear on November 4th, as promised by trump, trump actually outperformed Biden in states like Texas, Florida, Iowa, Montana and both Dakotas, all of which had the highest numbers of new cases per capita in recent weeks. His followers seem unperturbed, which I can only compare to the mental gymnastics of groupies who are fine with the long-term effects of various venereal diseases, if they can proudly claim to have caught them from their teen cult idol.
Biden’s got a plan to beat the virus into submission, and it’s going into place this coming week. But it won’t be enough to save everyone from the months of neglect on disease containment.
Trump can, and will, do a lot of damage on his way out. That’s a given. He’s a man that can hold a grudge for decades, waiting for the moment when he finally gets to lower a (nuclear) boom. Look to history – dictators are not benevolent in defeat. Germany was bombed to smouldering rubble as Hitler ranted in his bunker.
Some in the Republican party have been pleading that the new administration go easy on poor old Donnie. They suggest we turn down the heat, and that Dems respect that this is all so very hard for a young and naive 74-year-old to deal with all at once.
Which brings us to the next conundrum: what happens next to the boy who never wanted to grow up? Does he get pardoned? Plead insanity? It’s going to be pretty hard to pull off an insanity defense. In the case of COVID-19 alone, there are many hours of taped conversation between trump and Bob Woodward, in which trump bragged about lying about the virus to the American people. He knew, all along, exactly how virulent and deadly the infection would be, and did not act. It was a lack of leadership, and criminal negligence, that sentenced a quarter of a million Americans to death, not a ‘Kung Flu.’ Trump is a murderous sociopath, and it will only be by making an example of his sedition that another, more capable, traitor is prevented.
But Ding Dong, the Witch is Nearly Dead – the Empire has been saved – and it is right and just that those who worked to stop the fascistic arc, that those who voted to stop trump – rejoice!
The long nightmare did not belong to America alone. This glorious moment, this breath of fresh air, belongs to us all.
Congratulations to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and his running mate– the first woman elected to the vice presidency– California Senator Kamala Harris.
So does trump really have COVID-19? Or is this a giant hoax, meant to get him out of further debates, and create a ‘sympathy’ vote for the poor sick baboo?
Will he emerge from quarantine, rosy and rested, to crow to the world that he rassled that ol’ bug to the ground, and it’s not nearly as bad as those so called ‘experts’ say! Oh, and by the way, the price of that miracle drug, hydroxychloroquine, which he just happens to have 29 million doses of, right here – just got more expensive?
Are Mike Pence and Ivanka taking turns trying on crowns, both assuming they’ll be ascending to the throne?
And if it is a hoax, does he know that it is? Could it be that his handlers were so freaked by his debate performance that they created a false testing in order to manipulate him into silence for the last month of the campaign?
(And no, you can’t point to how the doctors are saying they’re proceeding with his care at Walter Reed. For one thing, a narcissist, or any one with the right personality, can make themselves sick unto death if they BELIEVE that they are ill. It has happened many times, as any medical expert can tell you. Le mal imaginaire.)
(And also – so now you trust these doctors? The two main ones are actually Army, which means that trump is their Commander-in-Chief, and they cannot disobey a direct order given to them.)
Or is it actually possible, in an “Isn’t it Ironic?” kind of way, that the guy who has ‘downplayed’ (read: lied to Americans about the severity and infectious transmission) a potentially fatal virus, mocked those who protected themselves with masks, and insisted that the United States re-open to save HIS economy, 210,000 dead Americans be damned, and thrown the nation’s future – it’s children – under the bus – or rather, down the coal mines to act as it’s canaries …. might have finally, and with complete predictability, caught the killer bug thru his own insane flouting of science and reason?
I can argue any side. There’s enough mis- and disinformation flying around right now to fill the SkyDome. A history of lies and a lack of transparency means that very few people are prepared to simply swallow that trump became (justifiably) ill, and is being successfully treated by expert medical staff and scientists at Walter Reed.
And, if it isn’t a postponement mechanism, a mere ploy to stave off an election he knows he will most likely lose, it is to be hoped that he is now experiencing just a tiny bit of the agony, uncertainty, fear, and pain that he condemned every American to, by not attempting to prevent the virus’ forward movement, or to help those who became ill due to a lack of leadership.
Imagine that – trump and Melanoma are being treated for a disease they called a ‘hoax,’ through government healthcare that they deride as ‘socialism’ when it’s available to the rest of the country. He’s got the best care, all mod cons, and it’s not costing him a penny. Imagine that.
But first… hasn’t it been lovely and quiet for the last few days? Almost no tweets, no angry, ugly rants, no ‘mustsee’ press conferences ….sure, we’re all following what the media is teasing out from Walter Reed and the White House about the president’s health, but, in truth, it hasn’t been nearly as chaotic. Have you noticed that? It’s like a breath of fresh air. A lack of trumpiness makes the whole world feel so much cleaner and clearer. And quieter.
(This too, I worry about. We’ve been on the crack pipe of constant news, drama, anger, suspicion, endless highs and lows, and the ridiculous belief that we are somehow on top, in the know, and part of the larger histrionics emanating from the Conniption-in-Chief for nearly four years. Is there enough Metoprolol in the world to safely block constant adrenaline stimulation and to bring down our blood pressure before our hearts just explode like a grenade? Fingers crossed!)
What can I tell you that you haven’t already heard in a dozen different ways, by a dozen talking heads or more, all of which have very good reason to believe that some, if not all, of the ‘official’ information is not as it appears?
Medical pundit Dr Sanjay Gupta says trump’s in a way more serious condition than we have been lead to believe. Doctors at Walter Reed are throwing “the kitchen sink” at Trump, feeding him 3 different “serious” medications, one of which is experimental in nature, another which is only meant to be given when the patient is hospitalized, and on oxygen.
And yet, here come the videos! See trump smile and say he’s fine! See trump pretend to sign blank papers in a simulated office as empty of reality as the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Notice that he’s wearing the same suit that he was wearing when he strode from the White House to the waiting helicopter on Friday afternoon, after the Stock Market had closed for the day and the week. Wonder how it could be that, even at this time, trump’s STILL not wearing a mask, to prevent transmission to, at minimum, the photographer taking the video, the Secret Service escorts, and probably a half a dozen White House staffers.
Consider that the doctor overseeing the medical team surrounding the POTUS, and monitoring his care, is not an MD .. Medical Doctor … but rather, a D.O., Doctor of Osteopathic medicine. Osteopathic medicine focuses on holistic care, so if trump needs acupuncture, cupping, or manual manipulation, he’s got the right guy in charge. I might have preferred a Respirologist or Infectious Disease expert in charge of me in a similar situation, but we all know that trump must be trump. So – it is what it is.
Whether this is a hoax or not, one thing is certain; the Biden campaign is making hay while the sun shines. Upon hearing of trump’s diagnosis, the campaign immediately announced that there would be no ‘negative’ advertising released while the president was hospitalized. (The Republican campaign just laughed at the suggestion, roared that they’d do no such thing on their end, and kicked dust in the face of the nearest 98 pound weakling for good effect.)
In truth, with only 30 days remaining until the election, Biden’s rising in the polls like an overly excited hot air balloon. If the GOP had thought a sympathy vote might help, in truth, many Americans, both right and left wingers, are nodding thoughtfully as they tell pollsters that the guy really just brought it upon himself by taking zero precautions. Karma, baby.
Oh sure, his base is having a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, but that’s pretty much something they do on a weekly basis, so no one’s terribly surprised that the hypocrisy is flowing fast and thick. That’s just what we expect from them.
Sadly, if trump had just actually been the ‘wonderful’ ‘perfect’ ‘best’ president he always claimed to be, he’d have no need to be afraid of this election at all – people would be rushing to vote for him, sick or not sick. But he wasn’t. He was terrible. He was a cruel, sadistic, manipulative, greedy, soulless mess, and to vote for him is just to accept another four years of more of the same.
Let’s take a little look at what else happened this week, maybe get some perspective on why trump just MIGHT want to hide out from, for a few days, to let the air out of some of the worst updates that have plagued the trump administration.
Hmm… last Sunday and Monday we got a good look at trump’s taxes, and learned that he has paid a grand total of $1500 to the IRS over the last dozen or so years. Then, in rapid succession, we learned that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the shrieking magpie who scared us all with her tirade at the GOP Convention, lost her job at FOX when her assistant sued, and won, a $4 million dollar settlement for having to put up with Kim’s sexual harassment. (Kim’s Don Jr’s boo, by the way. A match made in an alternate universe.) And that trump’s previous campaign manager, Brad Parscale, was a domestic abuser who is having a mental breakdown that is likely caused by an investigation into his role in campaign fraud in the 2016 election.
Two white supremacists were charged with voter suppression in Michigan, and the GOP governor of Texas announced that there’d be only one drop off ballot box per county, even though some Texan counties are as large as 1500+ square miles. 1600 DOJ alumni sent an open letter, warning statement about AG Bill Barr using his influence to undermine free and fair elections, and a member of the Grand Jury on the Breonna Taylor case is blowing the whistle on the Kentucky AG, who lied to the public about their deliberations.
And as the coronavirus surges across several states, CNN is playing tapes of Melanoma saying, “give me a f**king break” about immigrant children separated from their parents, a whistleblower let it be known that trump officials were being pressed to make favorable comments on that kid who shot three people, killing two, in Portland, and it was learned that Supreme Court hopeful, Barrett, failed to disclose that she signed on to an ad calling for the repeal of Roe v Wade, and accepted donations from an anti-gay group.
It also turns out that trump and his entourage arrived late to the debate stage on Tuesday, which meant that they did not have time to be virus-tested. The Clinic accepted his admin’s assertion that they were all negative, believing that there was some sort of ‘honour’ amongst this group of criminals, when in fact, trump was channelling Genghis Khan, figuratively launching plague-ridden bodies into the camp of his opponent.
And while Chris Wallace, Biden, Biden’s family, along with anyone who attended the debate, Secret Service people, attendees at a Minnesota rally, a New Jersey fundraiser, and many more now wait to see if they’ve been affected by Typhoid Trumpy, many of his own admin and aides, including Chris Christie, Kelly Anne Conway, and trump’s current campaign manager, Bill Stepien, amongst others, have all tested positive.
This is just despicable. Utterly reprehensible. Contemptible. Beyond the pale. Trump endangered, and possibly infected all of those people without a care for anyone but himself.
So is this odious, loathsome, monstrous, cretin on death’s door? I don’t really care, do you?
The general attitude across the planet, minus his tiny band of blindly fanatical followers, is that, if he is ill, it is hoped that he has a very lengthy recovery And is then severely, brutally, decisively, trounced at the polls, and forced to leave office, and probably the country, with his tail between his legs, until such time as his many crimes are brought to trial, and he along with them.
I was preparing dinner in the kitchen on Friday night, when Shawn came into the room and said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died.”
One hand flew to my mouth, the other to my heart, and I gasped in shock, a reaction that I know was echoed by many in the 24 hours following news of her passing.
How can it be that one small, 87-year-old woman, riddled with cancer, became the only check in the vaunted checks and balances meant to keep an entire nation democratic? How did she become the last bastion of sanity and decency in a country that claims to be ‘exceptional’? Why did it take the loss of her presence on the Supreme Court to wake hundreds of millions of Americans to the stripping away of civil and human rights that awaits them, as early as next month?
While those who claim to be pro-life insist that their religious beliefs should trump the rights of all women to control their own bodies, the Trump administration is already lined up to strip away the health care rights of EVERY American – male, female, black, white, young and old – when their request to invalidate the Affordable Care Act is heard. Some 20 million Americans, many of them low income, will lose health care coverage, and be denied any form of coverage due to pre-existing conditions (something that every single American may have following the COVID pandemic), and will discover that these changes will also disallow children from staying on their parents health plans until the age of 26.
Trump has repeatedly promised that he has a ‘beautiful! New!’ health care plan in the works, but after more than three years of these idle promises, no one should be holding their breath for that to emerge.
Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion nationwide nearly fifty years ago, is also on the line. Tom Cotton, one of trump’s proposed new jurists, is on record stating that this would be his first priority.
Short of overturning Wade, there are still several cases in the pipeline that could effectively restrict access to the procedure, including one case already before the court in which the trump admin has asked the justices to overturn a federal judge’s decision that lifted restrictions on telemedicine abortions during the pandemic. And in terms of the most common second trimester abortion procedure, the D&C, (dilation and evacuation) at least 10 states are on record seeking to outlaw clinics providing this option.
Women’s rights to control over their own body is not the only controversial issue. There’s even talk of rolling back the landmark case, Brown v Board of Education (1954) which famously dismantled segregation. The more recent cases that decided on the rights of the LGBTQ, the handicapped, and other minority communities will also be on the table with a fifth Conservative Supreme Justice.
One small, fragile, senior, woman held back that tide of discrimination, prejudice, and misogyny for as long as she physically could. But within two hours of her death, and in defiance of her stated last wish that her seat remain unfilled until a new president was in power, trump was already declaring his intent to fill her seat with a person of his own choosing.
And that follows in a horrific pattern in which four out of five of the conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court (Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) were nominated by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote
Two of trump’s most loathsome minions, who campaigned ruthlessly to prevent President Obama from appointing a Justice in his last year of office, have reversed their ‘hand on the bible’ statements from 2016.
And today ….
But they are not the only Republican Senators displaying blatant hypocrisy, and a lack of ethical morality, in their decision to blindly follow in their leader’s doddering steps.
The very idea that matters considered so integral to how justice is allowed or denied should be in the hands of judges who profess fealty to a specific political party boggles the mind. Having trampled upon any pretense of a separation of church and state, the modern Court openly skews either liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. That can’t be right. The law must be the law, not something that can be warped to suit the needs of the politicians currently in power. If the decisions are made based on party, then the decisions are only opinions, frothy and transitory, as worthless as the blatherings of a drunk at the end of the bar. The justices lose all credibility, cease to be the ultimate legal decision makers, and are instead mere pundits. .
Mitch McConnell seems determined to rush the seating of a lifetime justice, in hopes that, regardless of the outcome of this election, the conservative, Republican ideals will remain the law of the land for decades to come. McConnell is cementing his position as the man who broke American democracy, and brought the pillars of American justice down around it’s citizens, the modern-day Benedict Arnold, made mad thru his insatiable lust for relevance and power.
“According to American political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” (Wikipedia)
During this administration, each of those pillars has been systematically mocked, repeatedly attacked, and is in peril of becoming a dead issue.
ONE: “ a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections;
Despite having won (by Electoral College) the presidency in 2016, trump attacked all forms of voting, insisting, despite his own repeated investigations that found no tampering, that all American elections were fundamentally flawed and rigged. With the pandemic impairing the ability of citizens to safely vote in person, he then first verbally attacked mail-in voting, intentionally underfunded the Postal Service, and then appointed Louis Dejoy as Post Master General, who viciously decimated staff and equipment in the nation’s postal offices, bringing the mails to a slowdown unlike any in it’s history, and making the handling of the volumes of mail ensured by election mail-in voting nearly impossible to consider.
As some Americans opt for early voting in states like Virginia, trump’s goons are swarming polling locations and would be voters, in blatant acts of voter intimidation. Trump has already admitted that these acts of intimidation will be severely ramped up on Election Day, November 3. He has also admitted that he might challenge the 2020 election results, or even stay in the White House, despite a loss. It is quite likely that the final results may be delayed by days, or even weeks, based on these restrictions, and while a late decision on who has won is actually not illegal, trump’s mouthpieces are spreading disinformation on the legality of such a delay.
Two: “the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; “
Trump’s first town hall meeting in, I believe, the entirety of his four-year term, was held just this past week. The people allowed to question him were thoroughly vetted, and most questions were fairly straightforward and logical. However, his answers merely echoed the beerhall rants familiar from his rallies – mainly incoherent, highly self-congratulatory, and rarely with any semblance to the real world everyone but trump is inhabiting.
Three: “protection of the human rights of all citizens; “ Since the first month of trump’s ascendency to the presidency, the rights of all citizens, American or otherwise, were secondary to his platform. Within hours of his first day in office, he began the process to repeal Obamacare, and within days, had put into place executive orders to set in motion travel bans and restrictions on refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. By April, 800,000 ‘DREAMers’ had their lives upended and their futures made uncertain.
By the spring, new armies of ICE agents began arresting and deporting many immigrants who were in the process of becoming citizens. And of course, the infamous border wall, persecution of would be refugees, and camps for kids weren’t far behind.
Four: “a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.” Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Attorney General William Barr … personal lawyer to the POTUS, and expediter of pardons and the overturning of legal decisions.
America is in crisis. American democracy is on its last legs. And as the citizens limp towards the election, burdened with a lethal pandemic, massive unemployment, and the threat of homelessness looming over the heads of about 40 million people, they must also contend with almost daily revelations informing them of trump’s knowledge of exactly how deadly this pandemic is, and that he hid that knowledge from the people, for his own re-election plans.
Rather than shore up America’s defenses, rather than trust the people whom he took an oath to protect and defend from this deadly virus, trump has instead relied on the snake oil sellers he’s seen hawking junk on FOX to its addled viewers. And now, finally, he’s admitted … his plan is to not have a plan, but instead to gamble on ‘herd immunity’.
This new non-plan will kill as many as 3 million people. “Trump has a plan for coronavirus: herd immunity. Say goodbye to your parents, your neighbors, and your friends. Because the Trump plan will kill millions in the next four years.”
And in the midst of all of this madness, and with a plan that’s not a plan but rather an abdication to the power of the virus, trump has told the American people that he believes that he alone has the right to name yet another conservative judge to the Supreme Court, to join the previous two that were foisted upon the nation.
Despite the last wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said, ‘ My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’.
A NEW president. Not this used up condom of a failed, incompetent, wannabe dictator.
If Americans want to fulfill her last wish, with the added bonus of saving the nation from plunging into fascism, they’re going to have to vote like their lives depend upon it.
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.
… while those of us who DO remember the past, are doomed to watch those who DO NOT, make the same mistakes, over and over again….
One of the few benefits of
getting older is having not only a lot of past to remember, but for some, the
time to do so in a leisurely fashion, and with a philosophical bent. If we are
lucky, and if we look back with clear eyes, we may actually begin to see where
we’ve been, and maybe even to see how our past has impacted upon our present.
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering how and why so much of the civilized world, and North America in particular, has been working very hard to turn back time and progress.
if you grew up in the
fifties and sixties, you remember fighting for civil rights, equal rights for
women, abortion rights, and so much more. My generation had an enormous impact
So what went wrong? How is
it that the despots of today are being allowed to turn back the clock to the
ugly world of before?
I guess it could be argued
that not every one was happy with the advances we made – that in fact, there
were misogynists, xenophobes, bigots and racists that weren’t very happy at all
with those advances.
Are those the people
hell-bent on returning us to those days?
Children of the fifties and
sixties were shaped by the dramatic events of our time. Since we’d never known
any other kind of world, it felt relatively normal to us. But it was the most
explosive, impactful, and eventful time in modern history.
Bear with me now – cast your mind back.
In the United States, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy was
shepherding a form of terror by government into place from the late 1940s
through the 1950s, as ordinary citizens were accused of subversion or treason
without any regard for evidence.
70 years on we have replaced
McCarthy with Attorney General William Barr, who has been stealthily
‘investigating the investigators’ of the Mueller Report, despite no
evidence of impropriety.
Just a month after the United States tested the first atomic bomb, in July 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico, it used that same technology to obliterate Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A lot of us boomers had parents who’d been in WWII, or in Korea, and many of those parents brought back photographic images of the horrors on view in the destruction of occupied Europe and Japan. By 1949, the USSR had exploded it’s own atomic bomb, raising those stakes even higher. It was only by a series of high level discussions, and the implementation of the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine of military strategy and national security policy that we brought to an end a nuclear escalation that could have caused the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender in a nuclear war.
Today, many countries are moving towards nuclear armament, including North Korea, where a very miffed Kim Jong Un has been testing his arsenal of approximately 20 to 30 nuclear weapons, now deemed capable of reaching Washington, DC.
Back in the fifties and sixties, we were being flooded with a new wave of science fiction movies and magazines tasked with the job of distracting North Americans, and soon we were looking ahead to driverless, flying cars.
Remember Them! (giant irradiated ants, ) X The Unknown (radiation run amuck in Scotland,) and a host of other films in which radiation and/or atomic fallout caused the ordinary to radically change into mutant monsters?
“Some of these films envisioned a terrestrial holocaust destroying or threatening humanity as a result of nuclear testing or war [World Without End (1956), On the Beach (1959), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), Crack in the World (1965)]. Nearly all of the atomic films centered on the strange powers of radiation.
This kind of radiation causes Douglas Fairbanks Jr’s duck to lay uranium eggs in Val Guests’s Mr. Drake’s Duck (1950), makes Mickey Rooney glow in The Atomic Kid, puts Peter Arne seven and a half seconds into the future in Timeslip, creates geniuses or zombies in John Gillings’s The Gamma People (1956), shrinks Grant Williams in Jack Arnold’s The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), grows Glenn Langan in Bert I. Gordon’s The Amazing Colossal Man, revives a murderous native as a walking tree in Dan Milner’s From Hell It Came (1957), makes Japanese gangsters sentient slime in Ishiro Honda’s Bijo to Ekatai Ningen, turns Ron Randell to steel in Allan Dwan’s The Most Dangerous Man Alive and makes Tor Johnson into Coleman Francis’s The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961).”
While titillating, these films really sought to make the impossible and the unreal – radiation, invisible yet deadly, that could change nor only our very own bodies, but the DNA of our flora and fauna; aliens, and future technology – into something we could accept as normal and even possible.
These films turned what were real dangers – like radiation and the destruction of war – into the mundane, and therefore something that the average human could, with a little forethought and planning, survive. These movies didn’t challenge what was wrong with the politics of the countries that blithely obliterated millions of living creatures and their habitats, they instead focused our native paranoia and fear of otherness, by dehumanizing people and creatures unlike ourselves.
Or, as Susan Sontag wrote in 1964, “Ours is indeed an age of extremity. For we live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters. For one job that fantasy can do is to lift us out of the unbearably humdrum and to distract us from terrors, real or anticipated-by an escape into exotic dangerous situations which have last-minute happy endings. But another one of the things that fantasy can do is to normalize what is psychologically unbearable, thereby inuring us to it. In the one case, fantasy beautifies the world. In the other, it neutralizes it.”
Sound familiar? You’ve been
soaking in entertainment that attempts to prepare you for your future in
exactly the same way. The tsunami of zombie films are a representation
of immigrants and refugees, displaced through war or climate change, who
the fearful imagine as innumerable, insatiable, and unstoppable creatures that
are coming for your land and your food.
All of the Sharknado films, Geostorm, WaterWorld, The Day After Tomorrow ….those films present a world in which climate change is a survival issue. Luckily for you, Hollywood’s obsession with global warming has conscripted top movie stars to show you how these problems can be handled without messing your hair.
And the Mad Max films, along with so many others that envision life after an apocalyptic event, are all meant to lull you into a false security about an uncertain future. All you’ll need is enough ammo to bully yourself into power, right?
But in truth, the sci fi
films of my day, many of which focused on monsters actually CREATED by that
fall out and radiation, did little to prepare us for October 1962, and the days
of the Cuban Crisis. Even if you’d only seen posters of those films, or
heard parents or older siblings talking about them, it was stretching
credibility for those of us who were school aged at the time to believe that
our little wooden desks would protect us from bombs and nuclear fall out.
And in all of the films – either of the past or today – that are subtly meant to prepare this generation for climate change, floods of displaced people, possible nuclear attacks by foreign entities, or a civil war in which families battle each other .. not a single one of those films points to what will actually be the salvation of those remaining, or the rebuilding of society.
It’s not sexy – real life rarely is – but the only sort of society that will allow mankind to crawl out of whatever viper pit they’ve managed to fall into in a dystopic apocalypse is going to rely on only a few things.
And weapons aren’t high on that list. After all, if you’ve just lost a large portion of humanity, every soul will be as precious as those fetuses the religious radicals revere. Only this will be for real, not for show.
What will save humanity will
be empathy, respect and regard for every person. Whomever can work
compassionately and equitably with others will be a leader.
That leader will need the
sense to scavenge not just the physical things needed, but the information held
by elders, and in libraries. You’ll need to redevelop agriculture, and, without
those tools farmers use today, you’ll have little time to do much else than
You’ll need to reconstruct
the calendar, in order to prepare for the seasons and survival, and to be able
to predict best times for sowing and harvesting. In time you will also need to
figure out how to make soap, windmills, steam engines, and all the myriad necessities
we take for granted today.
And then, dear reader, you
will look back to today, and call these times the good ol’ days …
” There is something
almost arbitrary about this scandal
instigating impeachment, given the barbarity of Trump and his administration.
On a scale that includes keeping immigrant children in cages, I’m not quite
sure where to rank the president’s pressuring the leader of a foreign country
to investigate a political rival’s son. But it also doesn’t really matter.
Impeachment is long overdue. If Trump’s call with Zelinsky is what gets us
there, so be it.”Alex Shephard, The New Republic
I’ll be the first to admit,
I’ve been banging the impeachment drum since almost the moment the inauguration balloons began to
When the Democrats took the
House in November 2018, public sentiment seemed to point to a belief that they
would move towards impeaching Trump, based on any number of issues. And when
the Mueller Report landed with all the grace of a mother dropping a baby
on it’s head, the impeachment issue was again raised. After all, Mueller’s
‘conclusion’ was that he’d done his job, and now it was up to the Democrats to move
Nancy Pelosi, however, disagreed on moving to impeach the president. Repeatedly, she told her party and her country that she’d rather beat him, resoundingly, in the 2020 election.
Many of us wondered if America could last that long.
Beyond the mental and
emotional exhaustion that has been engendered by Trump’s incessant need for
excitement and attention, there was a case to be made that failing to prosecute
the president for his misdeeds, based on a fear of electoral retribution, made
us wonder how long the Dems could shirk their constitutional responsibilities
to hold him accountable for his many crimes, whether real or perceived.
Of course, they – and we – knew that any accusation levelled at Trump or his administration would result in a solid phalanx of his highest level co-conspirators rising up through the swampy waters to defend his right to do whatever he wanted, up to and including a late night whim to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, just to see if it lost him any of his base. (It wouldn’t.)
We knew in advance that the
pearl clutching, eternal victims would level false accusations at those whom
they would accuse of simply being jealous rivals, and call any attempt at
bringing the executive branch into control as an undeserved ‘witch hunt.’ “Smoking gun? What smoking gun?
But Trump, like any addict,
simply couldn’t help himself. The very day after the Mueller Report toothlessly
mamby pambied through a sorta kinda accusation of Russia having meddled in the 2016 election (to help
Trump) he was on the phone to the newly
elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenksky, asking for ‘a favour’
…. that Zelensky take his focus off protecting his own country to
investigate the son of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.
Trump subscribed to a debunked conspiracy theory that accused then Vice President Biden of urging the Ukrainians to fire the Kyiv general prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in order to save his son, Hunter Biden, from being accused of corruption. In fact, this position on Shokin was supported by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists, European allies, and groups like the International Monetary Foundation. (IMF)
Trump’s phone call to the Ukraine was asking for ‘dirt’ on a political rival, from a
foreign country – exactly what he’d been accused and found guilty of doing in
2016. “Russia … if you’re listening… ‘
However, his own Department
of Justice so roiled the waters that the Democrats knew they’d have trouble
convincing the nation to agree that this was an impeachable offence.
Trump’s call also had a more sinister overtone; a week prior to the call, Trump had told his acting White House Chief of Staff, Nick Mulvaney, to slow walk the Congressionally approved $390 million dollars of military aid that Ukraine desperately needed to fight back against Russian advances.
Implicit in Trump’s request
for ‘a favour’ was that the aid might never actually reach the Ukraine at all, should Zelensky refuse to investigate the
On August 12th, a
whistleblower reported an ‘urgent concern’ to the Inspector General of the Department
of National Intelligence (DNI) Michael Atkinson. After review, the
inspector general deemed the complaint to be credible, and he kicked it
upstairs, to the attention of the acting director of the DNI, Joseph
For reasons that still don’t
make any sense, Maguire opted to ask for the recommendations of both the Oval
Office, and the Department of Justice, despite the complaint explicitly naming
both Trump and AG Barr as the focus of the complaint. And .. wonder of wonders!
both Trump and Barr thought it would be best to just let this complaint go,
On September 9th, the
inspector general reported the complaint to House Intelligence Chairman, Adam
Schiff, advising him that Maguire had dismissed the complaint. On September
19th, the House Committee met with Atkinson behind closed doors to discuss the
situation, although Atkinson did not disclose the nature of the complaint.
But the word was now out on
the street – something worthy of whistleblowing had happened in the Oval
Office. No one knew what that might be – at first.
It wasn’t long before Trump,
and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, began speculating to the press that it
might be about this phone call. They hadn’t done it, they assured the world,
but if they did, it would be okay because .. Trump is above the law. Or so it
With information that pointed to an abuse of power, a request for help in getting dirt on a political rival, AND the appearance of a cover up in hand, Pelosi announced on September 24th that the House would begin a formal impeachment enquiry into Trump.
defence was to produce a heavily redacted five page summary of the thirty
minute conversation that they believed would exonerate the president. In fact,
it only dug the hole deeper.
When the actual whistleblower’s complaint was declassified and released the following day, the nation discovered that the issues raised had to do with the president “using the power of his office” to solicit foreign election help, and included a description of efforts by senior White House officials hiding away and ‘locking down’ access to all records of the call.
Forget Roy Cohn – what Trump really needed was a Rose Mary Woods.
As more information has
appeared, it’s become apparent to about 70% of Americans that this president
needs to be investigated, and probably, impeached. The 30% that disagree are
his ‘deplorable’ base, and his highest ranking party members, who have circled
the wagons to protect his criminality…. again.
As Giuliani, Lindsey
Graham, and other GOP talking heads made the rounds of the Sunday morning
political talk shows, it became clear that they have decided to use the same
old defences of the last hundred scandals; start by denying, deflect by saying
someone else did the same thing, and then distract by having a temper tantrum,
complete with raised voice and red face.
Just as he and his party did
when Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual improprieties, they would blame and
shame the victim … and let the accused walk free to take his throne again.
Last night, Graham
was overheard having a full blown, loud conversation on his cell phone with
“Jared” – presumably Jared Kushner, on a Jet Blue flight. He
mentioned that he would be on Face the Nation, and coordinated his
talking points, saying, “Listen – this is what I’m going to lay out.
This is Kavanaugh on steroids! This is hearsay – and this person has
This morning, on Face the Nation, Mr Graham equated the whistleblower’s complaint to the sexual accusations against Kavanaugh, saying – without truth – that the transcript of the call, and the particulars of the complaint, were not matched. He became increasingly angry with the interviewer, who disagreed, and he then proceeded to demand to know, ” Who is this whistleblower? What bias do they have? .. I wanna know why the whistleblower was told about this phone call … Who told the whistleblower about the transcript? Who helped this person write this complaint? Who told the whistleblower about a phone call between the POTUS and a foreign leader? Who are these people and what are they up to?”
This is ‘whataboutism‘
to the nth degree; faced with what seems to be a credible accusation, that the
president and his personal lawyer have, even unwittingly, confirmed, Graham
reacts with indignation towards an unknown person who acted with more backbone
and courage than Graham could ever scrape up in all of his miserable 64 years
on the planet. Shoot the messenger! It’s a witch hunt!
Lindsey Graham wants to
speak to your manager!
(damn … I’d love to know what they have on Graham. It’s gotta be some very, very fine kompromat.)
These efforts to uncover the
whistleblower’s identity are not only dangerous to the wellbeing of the
whistleblower, but in the long run, may well serve to compromise, and perhaps
fatally damage, the very act of whistle blowing, which has been an important
weapon in finding and rooting out political corruption at the highest levels.
At this point, it would seem that the whistleblower’s words have been corroborated, in some cases, by the president himself.
We can probably already
guess exactly how Trump will defend himself through this trial …. he will
react as he always does, with denial, deflection, whataboutism, and then just
simply walking away to play another game of golf at the tax payer’s expense. That’s his pattern.
Trump is incapable of seeing
himself as a teammate in a party, just as good or as bad as previous American
presidents, because he demands to be considered better than all the presidents
who’ve gone before him. His allegiance to Russia is beyond troublesome, and
Russia’s request that any phone calls between Trump and Putin remain classified
also suggests that there’s been the same sort of extortion discussed in those
calls – though which side is pressuring which is yet to be determined.
We know he will denigrate
the media, and, with his usual projection, proclaim them “the laughing stock of the world.”
And we know he will dump manure on the heads of America’s intelligence officials, willy nilly, because any
kind of intelligence just scares the pants off of little Donny.
And in the end, Trump will
proclaim that the whole thing is ‘just a continuation of the witch hunt.’ But I don’t see any witches around here. What
I see is a president betraying his country, to achieve his own personal ends.
The other day, Trump told his cronies that he believed the whistleblower was a type of spy, and he lamented that spies were not treated as harshly as they’d been, back in the day. Well, there’s a very large segment of the population that wishes that traitors who committed treason were punished as they were, back in the day, as well.
Happy Easter! Did you find any chocolate in inappropriate places today?
We’re not religious, nor do we have any little ones in the house, so we just sort of forgot about the whole thing until we tried to buy some milk, and found the grocery store closed Friday.
Christians in the West celebrate Easter somewhere between March 22 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the full moon of the vernal equinox on March 21. This timing, and the halting of capitalism for the day, is brought to you by the pagan Teutonic goddess of the dawn, fertility and spring – Eostre. If that sounds familiar, it’s because her name is the ‘root’ for words like estrogen … the female hormone necessary for fertilization and child bearing.
As cavemen, we couldn’t be 100% sure that Winter would actually end, or when. The pagan ritual of the Spring Equinox is a celebration of the change and renewed life we yearn for in this season. Early priestesses encouraged worship of Eostre as the symbol for this return.
” Today, pagans continue to celebrate spring and attribute the change of the seasons to the powers of their god and goddess – also portrayed as The Green Man and Mother Earth.”
That’s an irony indeed, since today’s pagans are greatly outnumbered by those who are intent on stripping the earth of all her wealth and beauty, in order to enrich a small number of people.
Ah well, mustn’t grumble. Let’s eat some chocolate and sing along with Deanna Durbin!
Think the timing for the official pre-wash with extra spin cycle of the Mueller Report might have had a little something to do with Easter? As in … hopefully most people will have forgotten about it by the time they get back from their holidays?
….. and how about that Barr, eh?
It seems like only yesterday that I was opining on the wisdom of the official Attorney General of the United States position being a partisan one; surely the top law enforcement office for ALL of the citizens of the United States should be one that rules from a bipartisan stance.
And why, oh why, by all that’s holy, does William Barr have to look like a Bizarro World John Goodman?
Following in the footsteps of a president that favours his base over the greater populace, AG Barr came down firmly on the side of Trump, donning kid gloves to handle how the Mueller Report was unveiled, and, like a mum defending her bad widdle boy, provided excuses for the despicable behavior that has irrevocably despoiled the presidential seat, ahead of the actual report outlining those behaviors.
He was shilling for the POTUS like a two bit carny trying to get the punters to buy tickets to see the Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Grrrrrll.
Worse still, his toadying ensured that the Report only deepened the public distrust of the justice department, while revealing conclusively that the Republican Party is morally and legally bankrupt.
“We have in Mueller’s report a narrative, a timeline narrative, of the cover up by the President and his actions. There’s absolutely no question that this has been a vast Presidential cover up.” says legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.
“Bernstein, a CNN analyst, cited his former Watergate colleague Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House, in which Woodward reported that former Cabinet officials believed Trump was not acting in the best interests of the United States and was a danger to national security.” (CNN)
And even the legal beagles of FOX (News) were more honest in their comments, if cautious not to bring down the full wrath of the president upon them, than the Republicans in the Senate who are still attempting to defend the indefensible.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on Thursday noted that there were items in the report that Barr failed to mention during the pre-spin press conference on Thursday morning.
“The president—the behavior of the president is immoral, deceptive, and repellent,” Napolitano exclaimed. “But it doesn’t rise to the level of criminality.”
We should be reminded that the worst of the president’s impulses, that would have lead indelibly to criminality, were generally forestalled by unelected, career administration personnel, who had to try and read his rants and determine if he was just blowing off steam, ‘joking,’ or really intended for others to commit criminal acts on his behalf. A master of deception, Trump will never put anything implicating himself in wrong doing in writing – he leaves it for his minions to divine his intent, to carry out his crimes, and then pay the legal price for their loyalty.
Well, his previous conduct, and the belief that a sitting president cannot be indicted might have kept him out of jail so far, but the aftermath of the Report’s release may change how he goes forward.
Bear in mind … the report only covered the lead up to his inauguration, and his first few months in office. What he’s gotten up to in the two years since then are blowing up the pages of American history on a daily basis.
You’d think by now we’d be inured to his constant threats and bullying. Trump is lashing out, demanding an investigation of the investigators, and causing those who testified against him to fear for their futures. He has called the investigation an illegal witch hunt, and said that “the whole episode was an illegal takedown that failed … and somebody’s going to be looking at the other side.”
Despite overwhelming evidence that the Russians did, indeed, meddle in the 2016 election to help Trump win the presidency, Trump continues to fight the ghost of his defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton, and now,-incredibly – has begun to blame his predecessor, President Obama, for not stopping the Russian interference, for some nefarious purpose that doesn’t make much sense at all … why would Obama encourage the electoral win of a Republican candidate by allowing a foreign power to influence the outcome? Do you have to be in full blown senile dementia to understand that convoluted contention?
But what now has to be determined is if the Democrats are prepared to pick up the gauntlet that the Report has thrown down.
” In its extensive discussion of the constitutional issues implicated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation, the report asserts that Congress has the authority to apply law “to all persons – including the President.” Specifically, Congress may “protect its own legislative functions against corrupt efforts designed to impede legitimate fact-gathering and lawmaking efforts.” The authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of power, the report finds, is essential to “our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
The report declines to reach a judgment on whether the president has committed a crime because Mueller views himself as bound by Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president. This does not mean that the president has not committed a crime. Indeed, Mueller’s refusal to reach a judgment is based partly on principles of fairness to the president: while people accused of a crime usually have the opportunity to give their story at trial, in this case, when no charges can be brought, the accused has no opportunity to clear his name. Mueller pointedly notes that the sitting president’s immunity, however, would not preclude prosecution “once the President’s term is over or he is otherwise removed from office” — that is, impeached.” (USAToday, 2019/4/21)
And this is where the going is gonna get rough for traditional Democrats. In the past, egregious interferences into Obama’s presidency were largely tolerated, rather than called out as the profound malfeasance McConnell practiced for eight years. This must stop .. right here, and right now … if America is to regain her fading democracy.
The time for the battle is when it presents itself, not somewhere down the road, when the contentious actions have become ‘old news’ and the battle itself appears to be nothing but hurt feelings and the re-treading of old ground.
The time to stop McConnell from preventing Merrick Garland’s appointment was in 2016, when it happened. The Democrats assumed they’d win 2016, and ‘fix it in the mix,’ but that political hubris now has America dealing with a Supreme Court and minor courts stacked with Trump loyalists that will impact upon major legal decisions for decades to come.
No, now is the time for the Democrats to show some of the backbone and ‘strong man’ attitude that so many in the United States believe to be the measure of their vigour. This is not the time to ‘go high.’ It’s the time to stand up and fight.
No more delicate tippy toeing towards justice, fearful of causing upset. It’s time to roar ahead, just like the Republicans did against Clinton, when they showed that they were prepared to go to the mat over a presidential blow job, to win, no matter the cost. And it worked for them electorally, got them more seats, and moved Lindsey Graham into a position of power he could only have dreamed of before he snatched the media spotlight with his pearl clutching antics.
There has been some talk from moderate Dems that they would like to conduct a few more lengthy investigations before deciding on whether or not to consider impeachment procedures, but in my view, that has the potential of further angering the populace, who are fed up with what looks to them to be a major waste of time and tax payer dollars.
There’s also been talk that it would be smarter, this close to the next election, to focus on positive progression on the health and environmental front, but let’s face it .. ain’t nothing good coming from that as long as Trump has the bullhorn, and his gang of sycophants are blocking any forward movement from the Dems.
Although it IS possible to talk impeachment AND other concerns simultaneously.
Some contrarians are advising that calls for impeachment might lead to a further division of the country, but, apart from the Civil War, it would be hard indeed to find another time in history when the country was so critically divided.
Despite the voluminous material, articles, and books – AND this Report – that have been written outlining the illegalities and corruption of the current administration, those who have drunk the Trump Kool-Aid are not going to change their minds on what they believe. Six more months, another year, of investigations, are not going to change the hearts and minds of his base.
It is up to the Congress, who are charged with oversight, to hold the president accountable for the obstruction that he has committed.
The only way the Dems are going to change the current trajectory of American history is to stop trying to be the party that always has to be perfect and correct, always taking the punishment that ensues with a gracious smile. They have to put an immediate stop to McConnell’s sneakiness, and burn it down the minute he raises his unholy turtle head. They have to stop pretending that politics is a gentleman’s game, where everyone plays fair – they have solid proof that fairness is a foreign concept to career Republicans, and that playing nice only benefits the GOP. Ignoring how dirty the Republicans play is only making the Democrats appear like weaklings.
As the Democrats wonder if they dare go after a career criminal, the GOP are already in attack mode, with a double pronged frontal attack that is determined to punish those they consider treasonous for the audaciousness of investigating the election, while also implying that a move to impeach the president would mean that the Democrats do not love their country. The banners are being printed, the catch phrases practiced, and the talking points sharpened.
In Trump, the Republicans have found their savior, and they are not afraid to use every last fibre of their beings to stand by their man, even as they abet his corruption, and help destroy the country they claim to so love. It may be a twisted, ultimately destructive, passion, but it definitely trumps the indecisiveness that the Dems are bringing to the skirmish.
Yes, a call for impeachment has little hope of succeeding, in the face of a Republican senate and presidency. But it is what the Democrats must be seen to do, charged as they are by their elected positions to bring oversight to the most powerful position in the nation. They must be seen to be the face of all of those who decry this president, who rules from a throne of lies and corruption.
The road to impeachment has been laid out for them to follow. All they have to do is pick up the gauntlet, and fight for those who put them into power.
The Democrats have to look to 2020, and their crop of young, exciting, fresh faces with progressive ideas looking to be the next leaders of the nation.
All that the Republicans bring to the party is a senile old man, whose lies and corruptions will drag them down, and a bunch of long in the tooth senators content to live out their last years fighting against someone who hasn’t even held office in over eight years.
Launching an impeachment at this time will throw into sharp contrast the difference between the party of tomorrow, and the party of the old, corrupt, past.
Please Note: I wrote this on the morning of March 24th, and, like all days since Trump’s inauguration, additional info, obfuscation, and possibly, even more obstruction in the Barr four page note on the Report, happened immediately thereafter.
If you’ve ever thought you’d like to be a blogger or a journalist, this time period is either exhilarating, or utterly exhausting… For me, it’s a little of both. Anyway… here we go…
FOX News is trying to spike the ball on it already, declaring total victory for Trump before anyone has even seen what is in the statement, and despite the results of a poll of their own viewers showing that a majority of Americans believe that the president tried to interfere in the investigation.
In other news, the president has threatened the American people with his quasi Brown Shirts enforcement crews of military, police and motorcycle heavies, should the evidence contain anything that hurts his standing or feelings .. but mostly his feelings.
All because the Mueller Report dropped on Friday, This is the 500 plus page compendium that Mueller handed in to Attorney General William Barr, a Trump supporter, recently elevated to replace former AG Jeff “Keebler Elf” Sessions.
To recap, Sessions recused himself from the Trump-Russia probe on March 2, 2017, and then found he’d become the butt of Trump’s fury nearly every day thereafter, until he resigned/was fired on November 7, 2018.
Just as I was thinking to myself, hmmm .. wouldn’t you think that a pivotal post like Attorney General for all of the American people should be a bipartisan office?, this came over the social media transom ….
” … CNN reports that McGaughey, the husband of Barr’s youngest daughter, has been hired as an attorney in the White House counsel’s office, where he’ll “advise the president, the executive office, and White House staff on legal issues concerning the president and the presidency.” While the division is separate from the legal team that defends Trump in the Russia investigation—a group of leading lights that includes Rudy “maybe there was collusion” Giuliani—its work nevertheless does “intersect with the investigation.” (Trump reportedly blamed former White House counsel Don McGahn for failing to bring the probe to a close.) Meanwhile, Mary Daly, Barr’s oldest daughter, will be leaving her current job in the deputy attorney general’s office for a gig at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which has had its own Russian intrigues.”
This is how potentially explosive political info is handled, in Trump’s Bizarro World.“Nice kids you got there.. would be a pity if something… happened … to him .. or her … “
Every day, in every way, the Trump administration is penning an alternative American history that weaves Mafia style organized crime intrigue along it’s white supremacist backbone. It’s like we’re living in a chronicle of our times in the form of a forced literary mating of The Godfather and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Be that as it may, Trump, his ‘friends,’ and those who profit from his administration, have softened the ground well in advance of the release of the report; they’ve made sure that his base and the undecided see any rejoicing over this report as a ‘piling on’ by the Dems, and a celebration prior to a launch of a charge of impeachment, rather than what it is … an attempt to pull back the curtain on a very real attack on the American electoral system – as broken as it may be – by a hostile foreign power.
The Mueller Report’s primary question is, Did Donald Trump collude with Russia to win the presidency?
And the follow up, unspoken but explosively critical second question would be, “If it is found conclusively that he did, is he actually the legitimate current president of the United States?”
At this point we have no idea if those questions have even been definitely answered. All we have is the hope of a hero, in the form of Mueller, offering us the reassurance that there can be a return to order, that real leadership is in our future, and that our faith can eventually be both earned and restored by those whom we have elevated to positions of great power.
To my mind, there should really never have been any confusion over whether or not Trump was working with the Russians. Prior to the election, he stood in front of a televised rally, and said, ” “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” It appears that they were, since that night, Russian hackers tried to get into Clinton’s personal email.
That’s what actually happened, even as Trump and his minions tried to laugh off the comment as a joke, and the hack as a coincidence – even as he continued to repeat the same request on Twitter.
” What, you’ve never jokingly invited a hostile foreign power to compromise your nation’s cyber-security before?” (Vanity Fair headline)
And we also knew that they had indeed fiddled with the election .. by June 2017, it was being reported in Bloomberg and other major business and political journals.
” Russia’s cyber attack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.”
Now, make no mistake, the very idea that a candidate for president of the United States – or an actual president who blithely fires heads of justice departments, and discloses highly classified security information to Russian foreign ministers while they dally in the Oval Office – might be compromised by a hostile foreign power, should be of interest to the average citizen.
But sadly, that’s not really the case. Jane and Joe Citizen have a life to lead, kids to raise, a mortgage to pay. For most, political or military history is just trivia to everyone except aspiring Jeopardy contestants. There hasn’t been a ‘war’ on American soil since the Aleutian Islands Campaign of 1942. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War are baby boomer lore, and “Russia – tear down that wall!” is nothing but a bit of Reaganology. In polls taken around 2016, 55% of Americans thought that Russia was America’s enemy and unfriendly, but 25% were unsure, and 19% thought Russia was a friendly nation.
America is just not that into Russia.
Russia, on the other hand, has a long history of anti-Americanism, a simmering, seething hatred of the United States, and a belief that the U.S. is Enemy Number One. Russia doesn’t forget easily, and Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, has no soft spot for America or her president, despite Trump’s belief that he and Vlad are BFFs.
Truthfully, given Mueller’s mandate for the report, there should be little new information for anyone but those who’ve lived in an underground bunker since the summer of 2016.
Don’t be waiting for any juicy bits of gossip or innuendo about Trump’s money laundering or corruption – that’s the stuff that Mueller passed on to the Southern District of New York and other justice departments better able to service the subpoenas already issued, and the almost one hundred rumoured subpoenas still being held under lock and key for the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.. soon come, mon ….
Like Al Capone, whom the justice system pursued for nearly a decade before he was brought down for tax evasion, there’s an array of Trump/GOP criminality that has been, and is being, committed in plain view, every day, since the inauguration, and it’s only now that some of these tangled webs are getting straightened out. It’s exhausting, watching the swamp attain new depths daily. I think a lot of people started to believe it was unstoppable by anything but supernatural means.
“Mueller’s report is likely geared not towards telling a story, or answering non-criminal questions, but toward fulfilling the purpose of the regulation – that is, explaining his prosecutorial decisions. Unless Mueller understands his role especially grandly, the report is likely not designed to fill the oversight shoes of Congress, or to assist the legislature’s role in the impeachment process. Yet unless the report is particularly spare in factual detail, that will not stop politicians and commentators for redeploying it for all sorts of other purposes.” (Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare)
Too many have been content to believe that it would have to be the Mueller Report, acting as a magic wand, that would finally stop the flow of corruption.
Instead, the reality is that all of the indictments, trials, and actual criminal records earned by advisors, his personal lawyer, and campaign manager, just to name a few, have to be served and serviced by the proper jurisdictions, advocates, and criminal lawyers charged with pursuing gross abuses of power and criminality. These are the people who will take down the bad guys, not Mueller
Mueller had his mandate, but, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we have always had the power to ‘go home’ – we just kept waiting for a house to fall on the evil witch, rather than expecting our justice department surrogates to find their hearts, brains and courage, click together their legal heels, and start arresting these unusual suspects.
And yet another of our priceless Toronto musical treasures, singer/songwriter Joe Hall, has left the building. Rest well, Joe.“ It is with profound sadness that I have to announce the death on Friday of my dear old friend and collaborator Joe Hall. We just brought out a new recording in December…in his opinion and mine, the best ever. He will be missed, he was unique. He was the only Canadian songwriter I would seriously compare to Leonard Cohen.” Tony Quarrington
From his website: ” He’s been compared to everyone from Frank Zappa to Tom Waits, but Joe Hall is a true original, whose sharp wit, insightful social commentary, and wildly entertaining stage presence made him one of Canada’s legendary folk rockers. A fixture of the 70s Queen St scene in Toronto with his band The Continental Drift, Joe has called Peterborough home for 25 years and continues to play, record and tour ”