How Trump Has Brought Us Closer to the Death of Democracy

“Trump’s campaign is openly floating the notion of trying to get friendly state legislatures to appoint electors who would overturn the will of the voters.”

Let that sink in for a moment. This isn’t reporting from some whacko left-wing publication This is from U.S. News – about as reliable a centrist magazine that exists. And they’re reporting Trump has now moved to trying to disenfranchise millions of voters.

And he’s started with Michigan. Trump Has invited two key MI legislators – State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield – to the White House.

According to multiple sources, his message will be to decertify the election and send a slate of pro-Trump electors to Washington.

If this “Hail Mary” play worked in just a handful of key states, we could wind up with another four years of Donald Trump.

So, what are the chances? Should we kiss Democracy good-bye?

The Good News Out of Michigan… Maybe

Majority Leader Shirkey has a reassuring message. “Michigan law does not include a provision for the Legislature to directly select electors,” Shirkey’s spokesperson said, “or to award electors to anyone other than the person who received the most votes.”

And a Nov. 6 tweet from Chatfield said: “Whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan! Period. End of story. Then we move on.”

Both politicians seem to be solidly behind the state’s voters. Then why would they agree to meet with Trump?

Perhaps because they feel they have to mollify Trump’s base in order to keep their jobs. But it appears clear they have no legal recourse to undo the results of the election.

Meanwhile Donald Trump called the two Republican members of Wayne County’s Board of Canvassers.

On Tuesday, the Board was split on certifying the results of the election. So they held a public meeting via Zoom.

For nearly three hours, the Board listened to angry Wayne County voters who objected to being disenfranchised. In the end, the two Republican members of the Board voted with the two Democrats to certify the results.

Then both Republicans received calls from Donald Trump. The following morning, they attempted to rescind their votes. But a spokesperson for the MI Secretary of State noted, “There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote.”

Bottom line: Joe Biden won by more than 150,000 votes… there’s no evidence of voter fraud… and Michigan’s electoral votes should go to Joe Biden.

And it appears they will.

But don’t get complacent.

Trump Still Has a Long Shot

According to Reuters, federal law allows a state legislature to name Electors “if voters failed to make a choice.” This would require determining there were so many “irregularities,” that a clear winner couldn’t be decided.

In reality, no state meets that standard. But Trump’s allies are apparently trying to convince Republican-led legislatures to make that determination. Which would allow them to name a full pro-Trump slate of Electors.

Reuters quotes Georgetown professor Paul Smith as saying, “There’s a lot of reasons to think that’s illegal and improper and politically infeasible. But some people are talking about it for sure.”

Considering how far the GOP has gone at this point, it doesn’t feel out of the question. This could lead to several scenarios – including “dueling slates” of Electors vying to cast their votes.

We can’t take a chance on this. Let your state and Federal legislators know: If they don’t follow the will of the people, they can expect to be swept from office in their next election. Because that’s the only language some of them understand.

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White, E., et al, “Trump Summons Michigan GOP Leaders for Extraordinary Meeting,” Associated Press, via U.S. News. Nov 19, 2020.

Hals, T., “Explainer: Can Trump override the popular vote?” Reuters. Nov 20, 2020.

An Open Letter to Angry Conservatives

Dear Fellow Americans,

I understand you’re hurting.

Disappointment isn’t easy. Think back to when you were just a kid. Somebody probably beat you time after time at checkers, hangman, or some other game. After a while, you got so frustrated, you didn’t want to play anymore.

But you grew out of it.

In school, the older kids beat you at dodgeball or red rover. No matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t come out on top. And you were pretty competitive. Chances are it made you pretty angry.

But you got over it.

In high school, a know-it-all in one class or another probably got all the answers right. And ruined the grading curve for everyone else. I’ll bet that got on your nerves.

Still, you worked your way past it.

Adult life is full of these disappointments. The boss who never sees when a lazy co-worker screws up…. but “catches” your tiniest mistakes. The cop who won’t cut you a break – even though you were only going 3 mph over the limit. The restaurant that “loses” your anniversary reservation, but finds room for some local VIP.

Yeah, accepting disappointment is hard. But it’s something all grownups have to learn.

And, right now, you’re probably feeling some major disappointment.

It’s Okay to Feel Your Loss

Look, I realize you believe in your causes. Just like I believe in mine. And I know you’re sincere. It’s okay to feel bad about your candidate losing. Everybody does.

Any loss naturally leads to grief. It takes time to work through that grief. And finally reach acceptance.

In fact, psychiatrists recognize people have to cycle through several “stages” of grief to reach acceptance. And we all share certain “stages” of the grieving process.

Grief starts with Denial, then moves to Anger. Next is Bargaining, then Depressions. Finally, at the far end, you find Acceptance.
All these court cases? That’s your Party in Denial, though some have moved on to Anger. Just listen to the voices from the “Million MAGA March.”

I don’t know what Bargaining will look like. But I can tell you about Depression. I felt a lot of that when my candidate received 3 million more votes than her opponent… and still lost the 2016 election. At least this year’s winner had a clear majority of votes.

(Though you may still be in Denial.)

Eventually, you’ll get to Acceptance. That doesn’t mean you’ll like it. But, eventually, reality will intrude. Well, maybe not for Donald Trump, but certainly for his Party. Probably for you, too.

Inevitable and Undeniable

Republican election officials say there’s no evidence of wide-spread fraud. Homeland Security’s top cyber-security expert called this the most secure election in U.S. history. GOP lawyers have admitted in court they’ve found no evidence of fraud.

State and federal courts have found no merit in any of the cases Trump’s lawyers have filed. Most have already been thrown out. And Rudy Giuliani didn’t fare well arguing in front of a federal judge in Pennsylvania.

So, it’s time to move on. Joe Biden is your president elect. Donald Trump – as much as he hates to admit it – lost the 2020 election. His foot-dragging and courtroom tantrums are just hurt national security. And slow our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

And that hurts you, his most loyal supporters. You don’t deserve that.

As Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s mayor, said, it’s time for Trump to “put his big boy pants on.” Even if all his campaign’s remaining lawsuits succeed, they won’t make enough difference to change the results in even a single state.

In fact, his newest lawyer, Marc Scaringi, has already said Trump’s legal maneuvers won’t work. “At the end of the day,” Scaringi said on his radio show, “in my view, the litigation will not work. It will not reverse this election.”

Add that to the law firms withdrawing from Trump’s court cases. The debunking of virtually all the claims of fraud. And the ongoing certification of vote counts.

It hurts. We understand. Losing always hurts. But throwing a tantrum doesn’t help. Especially if you’re the President of the United States.
I never thought I’d say this… but, try to be more of a grown-up than the President.

As the election draws closer – and Donald Trump’s unpopularity has begun to erode his support – the minority party has grown increasingly desperate. Following are a few observations and comments…

Chris Christy gets religion.

Christy, like much of the Republican leadership, mostly ignored the medical experts on the coronavirus. Then a maskless, non-social distancing Christy contracted Covid-19. And spent several days in the ICU before recovering.

Suddenly, Christy has seen the light. He’s advocating for masks and recommending social distancing. This is Christy’s first break with Trump since the 2016 election. But he won’t have to worry about upsetting Trump. The Donald has treated him like a dog the whole time.

Sen. Sasse grows a spine… sort of.

On a recent call with voters, Ben Sasse of Nebraska bad-mouthed Trump. Sasse criticized Trump for flirting with white supremacists, kissing dictators’ butts, selling out our allies, and mocking evangelicals in private.

Now that Trump’s popularity has taken a nosedive, Sasse says he never really liked the guy. Too bad he’s been a solid Trump voter while in office. Better to vote Blue than make the mistake of sending another Sasse to the Senate.

Lindsey Graham begs for money.

Over the course of barely two weeks, Sen. Graham recently appeared as a guest on Fox News no less than five times. Begging voters for financial support each time. His Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison, has been out-earning him by far. And his once safe Senate seat is now up for grabs.

I’m just going to take a shot at this, Lindsey… but maybe your massive hypocrisy over the last four years has something to do with it. In 2016, Trump was “unfit for office.” But now you’re solidly on his team? The hypocrisy chickens are finally coming home to roost.

Majority Leader McConnell shows his true colors.

Not that any clear-eyed observer ever believed anything else… but Mitch McConnell has little concern for our democracy. Or the voters he supposedly serves. This was on full display during his recent debate with challenger Amy McGrath.

When McGrath chided him for calling a Senate recess this spring – with no Covid-19 relief bill in sight – McConnell laughed.

That’s right the Senate Majority Leader thinks it’s funny when tens of thousands are dead… millions are out of work… and countless families face eviction. Apparently McConnell finds the suffering of the American people amusing.

Sen. David Purdue goes a little bit racist.

At a rally on Oct. 16, Georgia senator David Purdue made a little “oopsie.” At a campaign rally, he called Kamala Harris, “KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.”

Forgivable? Well, he has worked in the Senate with Harris for more than three years.

Yet Purdue insisted on mis-pronouncing her name. His press secretary claimed he “didn’t mean anything by it.” But can you imagine working side-by-side with anyone for three years and still not knowing their name?

In the end, it sure smells like racism.

Donald Trump goes tone deaf… again.

At a recent rally in Johnstown, PA, Trump made his case to “suburban women.”

“… I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs,’ Trump claimed, “and you’re going to live the American dream.”

Trump was referring to rolling back regulations on affordable housing in the suburbs. A move also generally known as “racism.”

“… So can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me?” Trump continued. “I saved your damn neighborhood, okay?”

Seriously. The President of the United States actually said that.

Meanwhile, Rudy Kazootie drops in from La-La Land.

Rudy Giuliani, the clown prince of the Trump administration, delivered “dirt” on Hunter Biden… straight from a legally blind computer repairman.

Hunter supposedly left a laptop with this technician and abandoned it. After sitting on this “blockbuster” information for months, the technician supposedly turned the info over to Giuliani.

Giuliani and that other pillar of truth, Steve Bannon, gave these “damning” e-mails to the NY Post. The Post belongs to Rupert Murdoch…a publisher so far to the right, he’d probably scare Ronald Reagan.

True to form, the Post published unverified and suspect “e-mails.” When CBS News interviewed the technician, his story changed repeatedly over two hours. And the Post refused to share any of the supposed trove of e-mails with other news outlets.

In other words, the NY Post published unsubstantiated claims from a questionable source… and represented them as fact. Giuliani’s historical sources not only include the suspect Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman… but also unreliable sources linked by the FBI to Russian Intelligence.

Lies on Top of Lies.

As the Trump Train careens further and further off the rails, expect to see more wild stories like these. Trump’s team will seemingly claim anything to slow the Blue Wave.

But, the truth is, if you care at all about Democracy, there’s simply no excuse for voting for Team Trump.

Is Trump Attempting to Buy Votes?

In Tammany Hall’s heyday, votes were allegedly for sale. New York’s 19th century ward bosses got out the vote by providing “incentives.” Stories of free beer and sandwiches – and even cash payouts – were rampant.

Election reforms eventually killed off the Tammany Society’s reign. But Donald Trump appears to have taken a liking to their tactics. Because he just made a move that seems to be awfully close to an out-and-out bribe for votes.

Trump’s New Cash-for-Votes Scheme?

Out of the blue, Trump just announced his administration will issue $200 discount cards to Medicare recipients. The cards would be used to cut the cost of prescription drugs.

Now, here’s an important point: The CDC says 85% of Americans over 60 take prescription drugs. Which means Trump just offered $200 to virtually everyone on Medicare.

Just weeks before an election he appears headed to lose.

Trump has no mechanism in place to cover the $7 billion this program would likely cost. But the promise will get the attention of at least some of the 33 million affected voters.

To all appearances, Donald Trump just offered to distribute $7 billion in taxpayer funds to buy up to 33 million votes.

But this is hardly a surprise.

Trump’s Self-Interest Always Comes First

For weeks now, the President has been promising a vaccine before the end of the year. And his references have increased as election day approaches.

Why?

The answer seems obvious: To win votes. Trump has been battered badly over his mis-handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Introducing a safe and effective vaccine would blunt the effect of his previous derelictions.

Never mind that all the experts cast doubt on his claims. Or that a vaccine isn’t likely to be widely available for another 9 months or more. His base doesn’t put much stock in science or “elites.”

He’s trying to win back votes he lost to the pandemic. It’s not the vaccine that matters to Trump. It’s the votes.

But his vaccine promise is very different from offering a specific group of voters a specific monetary reward. Even if he didn’t say, “If you vote for me…”

Empty Promises

Trump’s gift card scheme is essentially an empty promise.

There is no mechanism to put it in place. Or to pay for it. Trump once again used executive orders to make a show of action. But the executive orders don’t mention the cards.

Instead, they refer to a proposal to tie drug prices to the prices paid by foreign governments. Yet, as the Washington Post points out, the executive orders lack detail. So, they’re a far cry from Trump’s proposed giveaway.

In other words, it’s yet another Trumpian scheme to stay in power. All talk, with no real substance.

But it does reveal his level of desperation. Because this promise is just one small step from an open bribe. And the return of Tammany Hall.

Sources:

Martin, C.B., et al, “Prescription Drug Use in the United States, 2015–2016,” National Center for Health Statistics. May 2019.

Goldstein, A., et al, “Trump pledges to send $200 drug discount cards to Medicare recipients…” Washington Post. Sep 24, 2020.

Trump’s Foolish Tweets

Donald Trump has made it no secret he opposes mail-in voting. He’s okay with absentee ballots, which are exactly the same. But – somehow – voting by mail is evil. Here’s what he tweeted on 09/17/20:

“Want to register to vote? Request an Absentee Ballot or vote early – simply click the below link. My campaign has made it incredibly easy!”

Apparently voting by mail is only dangerous when Democrats do it.

“Just out:” he tweeted. “Some people in the Great State of North Carolina have been sent TWO BALLOTS. RIGGED ELECTION in waiting!”

Here’s the truth:

Less than 500 voters – out of more than 7.1 million – in NC were sent duplicate ballots. That’s less than seven 100,000ths of one percent. And the mistake was caught before anyone had voted.

What’s the phrase to describe Trump’s reaction? Oh, yeah: Fake news!

Want more? No problem.

“State Supreme Court in Pennsylvania just affirmed that Ballot harvesting remains illegal,” Trump tweeted recently.

“We will be watching that the Democrats do not Ballot Harvest – a felony. In other words, the Republican Party won on the atrocious Ballot Harvesting Scam…”

Interestingly, the only recent ballot harvesting scam involved a Republican operation in NC. But, hey, why worry about details? Lies are apparently much more fun.

Michigan recently printed about 400 military ballots incorrectly. The mistake was quickly found and corrected. And anyone who votes for Trump will still have their ballot counted.

Yet Trump tweeted, “The Democrat Trump Hater Secretary of State of Michigan, purposely misprinted Ballots for the Military, putting the wrong names on the Ballot, and actually listing a member of another party as a replacement for Vice President @Mike_Pence.”

There’s zero evidence the mistake was deliberate. It affects a tiny number of total military voters. And anyone who votes for Trump will still have their vote count. But President Bonespurs won’t let reality interfere with his fantasies.

And, finally, Trump went after the ghost of unsolicited ballots being mailed out willy-nilly.

“Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to ‘voters’, or wherever, this year,” Trump tweeted, “the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want. Another election disaster yesterday. Stop Ballot Madness!”

Most states require voters to request mail-in ballots. Those that don’t send them only to currently registered voters.

But, as usual, Donald Trump prefers to make wild and inaccurate claims. Because he can then stir up hysteria when things don’t go his way.

Don’t let Trump’s wild claims sway you. The mistakes so far have been tiny. And they’ve been caught early.

There is no difference between absentee ballots and mail-in ballots. Trump and his cronies know that. But they seek to delegitimize the election, because they expect Trump to lose.

Don’t worry about how you vote. Just be sure you do. If you vote by mail, do it early. And follow up to be sure your vote has been counted.

It’s time to sweep Trump and his cronies out of Washington… and into the dustbin of history. Where they so richly deserve to be.

Along with all their phony mail-in ballot scares.

A Message for Christians Planning to Vote for Donald Trump

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

– I Thessalonians 5:21, 22

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

– II Corinthians 6: 14, 15

What does the world see when a Bible-believing Christian supports Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is a thrice-married serial adulterer. A president who’s told over 20,000 lies since taking office. A man who’s been sued scores of times for cheating those he does business with.

A man who admits to walking in on half-dressed teenaged pageant contestants. And laughingly saying he could get away with it… because he was “inspecting” the premises.

A man who calls neo-Nazis and white supremacists “good people.” Who calls his political opponents “scum” and “enemies of the people.” Who publicly denigrates women for their physical appearance.

A man who’s counted gangsters and felons among his friends. Who called for the death penalty for the Central Park 5 – after they were proven innocent. And claims his friends have been treated unfairly – after they’ve been proven guilty of crimes.

A man who courts the favor of dictators and alienates our allies. Who mocks our fallen heroes. Who takes the word of oligarchs over our own intelligence services.

A man whose “university” and charitable foundation were both proven frauds. Whose political appointments have ended in numerous scandals. And who has joked openly about his physical attraction to his own daughter.

Yet Bible-believing Christians support this man who gleefully tramples nearly every Christian value underfoot.

Why?

Conservative Christians Have Become a One-Issue Voting Block

ABC News notes Donald Trump hosted a pro-choice fundraiser in 1989. A decade later, he declared himself “very pro-choice.” But in 2011, he was considering a run for the presidency. That’s when he announced he was opposed to abortion.

He had to. He planned to run as a Republican. And pro-choice Republicans don’t enjoy good odds in the primaries.

This was an even more important issue for Trump in the 2016 race. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Mike Huckabee all had stronger conservative Christian bona fides than Trump. If he hadn’t been on the bandwagon, he’d have no chance of winning.

But, with the right answer to the right question – and a little help from supporters like Jerry Falwell, Jr. – Trump was able to swing the conservative Christian vote his way.

Now this supremely un-Christian man is running for reelection. And he still appears to have the support of most of the religious right.

Again, why?

Trump’s Abysmal Record in Office

Nearly everything about Donald Trump should raise a red flag for Christians…

  • His tax plan gave billions to the rich… and mere crumbs to the poor.
  • His administration is suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Which would stirp healthcare from millions and remove protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • The Mueller Report listed nearly a dozen times Trump may have obstructed justice.
  • He had riot police attack peaceful protesters to enable his photo op at a church.

And on and on it goes.

What do Christians get in return? An embassy in Jerusalem and a promise to back a one-issue political platform.

Is that really enough to abandon the basic tenets of the Christian faith?

[Note: This week’s guest writer graduated from a conservative Bible College, ranking 2nd in his class. He also served as an outreach team member.]

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Keneally, M., “Donald Trump’s Evolving Stance on Abortion,” ABC News. Mar 31, 2016.

How Trump Plans to Steal the Election

Quick… Which government department predates the Declaration of Independence?

If you guessed the Post Office, give yourself a pat on the back. The post office was authorized on July 26, 1775. Almost a full year before the U.S. declared independence.

Think about that for a moment.

The Founding Fathers felt a postal service was so important, they established one before they even declared independence. And that’s not all…

The postal service was so important, our Founding Fathers included it in Article 1 of the Constitution.

Article 1.

They felt a postal service was so important, they even authorized it before they mentioned the presidency!

The USPS can trace its beginnings to well before we were a nation. Benjamin Franklin was named co-postmaster general way back in 1753. That’s how important the post office was to our Founders… and even those who pre-dated them.

And yet, Donald Trump thinks it’s expendable.

Here’s why he’s dead wrong.

Amazon Wasn’t a Losing Proposition

Donald Trump hates Jeff Bezos. After all, Bezos owns the Washington Post… and the Post doesn’t give Trump a break. The paper calls out every Trumpian move for what it is: An attempt to circumvent established law.

So, Trump lied about one of the USPS bright spots. He said Amazon.com was using the post office as a source of income. He claimed every package the post office delivered for Amazon was at a loss.

None of it was true. But that’s never stopped Trump.

Delivering packages for online services has been a revenue plus for the USPS. Analysts found “raising rates too much would lead private-sector competitors to develop their own cheaper methods to deliver packages.”

Trump’s obsession didn’t make package delivery any cheaper. But it did weaken the Postal Service. Those fancy Amazon delivery trucks are due, at least in part, to Donald Trump’s unrestrained anger.

But is revenge against Jeff Bezos Trump’s #1 objective? Hardly.

Stealing an Election

The coronavirus means many folks won’t be comfortable (or safe) voting in person. Mail-in voting – proven effective over many decades – is the obvious alternative.

And how do you disrupt mail-in voting? By restricting the delivery of ballots. That’s why Trump has questioned mail-in ballots… and appointed an anti-USPS Postmaster General.

Slowing delivery means millions of votes could be excluded. Requiring every voter to vote in person means they may have to weigh voting against survival.

Trump and his allies are worried they can’t win in a fair election. So, they’re trying to steal the election. Undermining the post office is part of the plan.

Which may be why Vanity Fair expressed concern over tens of thousands of ballots invalidated by arriving “late” in primaries.

Trump claims there’s a conspiracy to steal the election. He’s right. But he’s wrong about where it originates. The conspiracy originates with the Liar-in-Chief, Donald Trump himself.

The first clue? Trump’s new partisan Postmaster General orchestrated a major shake-up on a Friday night.

“Friday Night Massacres” are a regular feature of administrations hoping to make major power shifts without notice. Friday afternoon’s focus is on the weekend… and Friday night may not be remembered by Monday morning.

Friday night is when administrations perform their slimiest moves. It’s when underhanded moves attract the least attention. But when you get rid of key executives, and emasculate a couple dozen more… well, that’s hard to miss.

Yet it’s exactly what Postmaster General DeJoy did… consolidating his power.

DeJoy’s actions as Postmaster General has slowed the post office overall. And he’s made it harder to mail a ballot… by removing hundreds of mailboxes.

And he’s already promised he won’t roll back any of the steps he’s taken.

Advantage Trump.

But that doesn’t mean we have to roll over and play dead. Stealing an election isn’t quite as easy as 1-2-3.

Saving an Election

In spite of Trump’s efforts, we can still win this election.

For one thing, you can volunteer. Trump is counting on a lack of poll workers, due to the coronavirus. If you’re able, volunteering as a poll worker will help defeat Trump. If you can’t work at the polls, can you help any Democratic candidate reach more people? There are plenty of down-ballot races we need to win.

And, of course, you can let your elected officials know exactly how you feel about Trump’s  actions. And how they’ll lose your vote if they don’t act to reverse the effects. Even Republicans worry about election results.

Finally, vote. Every vote counts. Especially when one party is trying to steal an election. Don’t let that happen.

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“U.S. postal system established,” History.com. Updated Jul 24, 2020.

Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School. Undated.

Benen, S., “Why Trump is indifferent to the crisis at the US Postal Service,” MSNBC. Apr 13, 2020.

Lutz, E., “Trump’s Postal Service Meddling Could Blow Up the Election,” VanityFair.com. July 31, 2020.

Queally, J., “”Friday Night Massacre” at US Postal Service: Postmaster General boots top brass ahead of election,” Salon.com. Aug 8, 2020.

The Worst Job in the Trump Administration

You might think it’s hard to find the worst job in an administration where most positions translate to “lickspittle.” But you’d be wrong. It’s remarkably easy.

It’s the one job to which “lickspittle” doesn’t apply: The position of Inspector General (IG).

In an administration rife with contempt for ethics, being the moral conscience of a department can be tough.

Okay, let’s be honest. It sucks.

Imagine being in charge of the safety of 10,000 kittens in a swamp full of alligators. That job is going to get old. Fast.

Consider the latest example…

In Trump’s World, Snitches Do Get Stitches

Stephen Akard has just announced his resignation as the State Department’s IG. He’s been on the job for three whole months. Three months, and he’s done.

President Trump fired his predecessor, Steve Linick. Why? Because the department’s secretary, Mike Pompeo recommended the move. Again… way?

Well, Pompeo swears it wasn’t because Linick was investigating him and his wife for ethics violations. Pompeo claims he had no idea Linick was investigating his misuse of department funds.

There was one other little issue, too. Questions about how Pompeo green-lit arms sales to Saudi Arabia… in spite of objections from Congress. Linick was looking into that little matter, too.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), Linick had also questinoed the apparent political firings of several long-time public servants by the Trump administration.

“I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo,” noted Congressman Eliot Engel. “Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”

NPR also noted Trump had removed two other key investigators “in recent weeks.” Glenn Fine, named to look into the administration’s coronavirus response, and intelligence IG Michael Atkinson.

Oversight: An Endangered Species

In May 2020, CBS news sounded the alarm. Trump was dismantling oversight at an unheard of pace. In just six weeks, Trump axed five Inspectors General.

Intelligence, Transportation, Defense, Health and Human Services, and State. These departments all lost their IGs in a remarkably short period of time.

Once again, we ask why. Well…

  • Michael Atkinson was the Intelligence IG in charge of the investigation into the infamous Ukraine “quid pro quo” phone call.
  • Glenn Fine was the Defense Dept’s IG. But he was also the head of PRAC – the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The administration axed him in April.
  • Trump dumped Mitch Behm as acting IG at the Dept. of Transportation after less than four months on the job. But Behm was also a member of PRAC.
  • Christi Grimm was a trusted HHS employee since 1999. In January 2020, she was named acting IG. Grimm reported “widespread shortages of PPE” and other administration flubs. Trump announced her replacement on May 1.
  • And, of course, there’s the case of Steve Linick I noted above.

Do you see a pattern here? Criticize the administration, get the axe.

Line Up for Unemployment

In case after case, officials with the office of the Inspector General – regardless of the department – are seen as a liability after questioning the actions of the Trump administration.

It’s become increasingly clear that telling the truth makes you Trump’s enemy. As a result, ethics watchdogs have become an endangered species. Cross Trump, and you’ll find yourself on the unemployment line.

Yet, these brave Americans continue to champion truth over partisanship.

Now it’s up to us – the voters – to put a stop to this carnage. To restore the high ethical standards that once marked public office. And to bring accountability back to the presidency.

Come November, we must send a clear message to Donald Trump – and to the Republican establishment that’s let him run rampant. No more self-dealing. No more cover-ups. No more robbing the taxpayer to line their own pockets.

Your vote could win the election

Remember what happened in 2016. Too many patriotic Americans stayed home, thinking someone else would make the difference. If we do the same in 2020, you can kiss Democracy good-bye.

Trump is laying the foundation for an unfettered oligarchy. But if we all come out to vote in November, we can turn the tide. We can make accountability meaningful again. And reverse the stigma of the worst job in the Trump administration.

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Sources:

Hudson, J., “State Department watchdog resigns in another shake-up at IG’s office,” The Washington Post. Aug 5, 2020.

Kelemen, M., “Trump Removes State Department Inspector General Steve Linick,” NPR. May 16, 2020.

Quinn, M., “The internal watchdogs Trump has fired or replaced,” CBS News. May 19, 2020.

Keeping Up With the Trumps

Most of the country is focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 140,000 Americans killed… and record numbers being infected almost every day. You’d think our government would be razor-focused on defeating this microscopic enemy.

Not when the Trumps are involved.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Donald and company have their own version.

A Hill of Beans

The CEO of Goya appeared with the President and claimed we are blessed to have Trump at the helm.

The condemnation was swift and clear. Latinx Americans quickly called for a boycott of the company’s products.

The Trumps responded in kind.

The President’s daughter, Ivanka, posed awkwardly on Twitter with a can of Goya beans, with the company’s tag line in both English and Spanish.

When pretty much everyone pointed out this was a violation of ethics laws, President Trump acted quickly and decisively.

He posted a picture of himself with a variety of Goya products. Laid out in the Oval Office. On the Resolute Desk. Flashing two thumbs up.

Not to worry. If it’s wrong, Donald Trump will double down on it.

“So Are White People”

In a July 14 interview, Donald Trump took exception to a question s form a CBS reporter. She asked  why so many black Americans are being killed by police.

Trump called it a “terrible question,” and said, “So are White people.” Repeating the phrase three times.

But here’s the problem…

Black Americans are less than 13% of the population. Forbes magazine reports African-American men die at the hands of police at a rate of 3.5 times as often as white suspects.

Asked in the same interview about the Confederate battle flag, Trump said, “With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech.”

Meet the Stasi

When the Allies divided Europe after the second World War, much of Eastern Europe fell under the influence of the Soviet Union. No regime embraced the Soviet ideal more than East Germany’s.

The East German government was so gung-ho to emulate their sponsor state, they decided to do them one better. The Soviet Union had the KGB? East Germany spawned the Stasi.

The Stasi were East Germanys secret police, and they operated outside the law.

They scooped up anyone suspected – even on the flimsiest of excuses – and brought them in for interrogation. They wore no clear identification. Their vehicles were unmarked, and their missions were vague. It was almost like… almost like…

Well, almost like federal agents today in Portland, Oregon.

Where “suspects” are being scooped off the streets… by vaguely identified paramilitaries in unmarked SUVs… without warrants or probable cause… and subjected to questionable interrogations.

The ACLU – and many others – are fighting this unconstitutional invasion in court. And with the DHS (Dept of Homeland Security) inspector general.

But don’t expect Trump to follow the law. As with the Goya incident, he’ll double down… and hope he’ll win before the courts finally end his appeals.

Our only hope now?

Let’s Crush Trump’s Hopes at the Ballot Box

Our best option is to crush Trump’s goals at the ballot box.

Look… the next 3 – 4 months will be a long slog. Trump – and his allies – will pour millions of dollars into the battle. They’ll lie… throw shade… and generally try to distract voters.

So, we need to stay razor-focused on the TRUTH. And Trump has provided us with plenty of it. Don’t get distracted by side issues. Let’s expose Trump for the hypocrite he is.

It may be our only way to win.

What Happened to Draining the Swamp?

Quick… What’s the “swampiest” political move you can think of?

If you answered, “Making sure your cronies don’t pay for their crimes,” you’re right.

Using your elective office for personal gain is pretty swampy. So is appointing your unqualified buddies to high office. But getting your cronies off scot-free after they’ve committed crimes? That takes swampy balls the size of watermelons.

Which has got to make Donald Trump the King of Swamp Monsters.

He Came to Drain the Swamp

In December 2016, Trump tweeted, “Someone incorrectly stated that the phrase ‘DRAIN THE SWAMP’ was no longer being used by me. Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”

And that’s one of the few truths I can find among Trumps many tweets and quotes. He used the phrase in June 2020 to push for Sen. David Purdue’s reelection. Trump needs Purdue, he said, to help Drain the Swamp and Make America Great Again.

Side note: Well over than three years after becoming president, Trump admits he has neither drained the swamp nor made America great again. Sounds to me he’s admitting he’s failed. But, moving on…

In February 2020, Trump tweeted, “DRAIN THE SWAMP! We want bad people out of our government!”

Wait a minute. This guy took office in January 2017. Three years after taking the reins – and installing his hand-picked team at the head of every executive branch… Three years after taking office with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress… Three years after launching an unprecedented campaign to install friendly judges…

He’s still whining about draining the swamp?

Again, that sounds like failure to me. But here’s why he’s had such a hard time…

Bad Actors Don’t Make for Good Government

Back in February 2018 – barely a year after Trump took office – CNBC reported on his scandal-plagued administration. At that point, eight of Trump’s cabinet-level officials were already implicated in scandals.

  • Health and Human Services head Tom Price spent $900,000 of taxpayers’ money for trips on private or military jets… when commercial aircraft could have served the purpose.

 

  • David Shulkin, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, made a rather shady trip to Europe. To begin with, Shulkin improperly charged his wife’s travel expenses to taxpayers. He also allowed staff to handle disallowed personal travel details. And wrongly accepted tickets to a sporting event

 

  • Environmental Protection Agency secretary Scott Pruitt also came under fire for travel. CNBC points out Pruitt improperly flew first class – at a substantial cost to taxpayers. Over a 3-month period, Pruitt was absent from his office 46% of the time.

 

  • Ben Carson? Trump’s head of Housing and Urban Development was accused of nepotism. His wife’s firm even “won” a $485,000 government contract in an unusual no-bid situation.

 

  • Ryan Zinke? The former Interior Department secretary had a little travel problem. He charge the government $12,735 for one trip from Las Vegas to Montana. The department inspector general (IG) complained that Zinke failed to keep complete records of his travel.

 

  • Steve Mnuchin? His use of military jets instead of commercial flights was questioned by Treasury’s IG. Not the least of his offenses: Charging taxpayers for his wife’s travel to Fort Knox.

 

I could go on… but what’s the point?

Wilbur Ross sleeps through meetings. Rick Perry didn’t know the Department of Energy was responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. Betsy DeVos knows almost nothing about education. Ad infinitum.

The point is, you can’t “drain the swamp” by putting crooked, greedy, or ignorant people in positions of power.

Which is exactly what Trump has done. To your detriment.

So how do you fight back?

Should We Really Drain the Swamp?

First, let’s think about swamps. They’re not bad places at all. In fact, swamps support healthy ecosystems around the Earth. The problem with swamps is when someone introduces toxins… which then leak out into other ecosystems.

The key isn’t to drain swamps – which destroys ecosystems. It’s to keep out the toxins.

Swamps are healthy ecosystems. Ecosystems that promote a healthy environment. Draining swamps leads to the death of healthy ecosystems.

Only short-sighted, destructive people say, “Drain the swamp,” without considering the consequences.

But that’s the point of the Trump administration. They want to drain the swamp… regardless of the consequences. Because they see short-term gain.

But the swamp is where countless creatures start their lives. The “swamp” is the primordial ooze of Democracy. And the antithesis of Trump’s fascist goals.

Should we drain the swamp? Or should we rid it of the toxic ooze that threatens its very existence? Maybe we should go with Mother Nature.

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“Drain the Swamp,” Trump Twitter Archive. Jul 11, 2020.

Mangan, D., “Trump’s Cabinet has been rocked by a number of ethics scandals — here’s a complete guide,” CNBC. Feb 16, 2018.