Why I’m Worried About America’s Future

Our Founding Father’s worried about the future of the Colonies. King George had to balance his checkbook, and the Seven Years War had put the British Empire deep into debt.

Although six European powers had been involved – and the war stretched over the whole of the Empire – George and his Parliament leaned heavily on the American colonies to pay off their debt. After all, the French and Indian War had been a part of this global conflict.

So Mother Britain looked to the Colonies to pay down the debt.

A series of laws flowed out of Parliament – where the colonists had no representation – placing heavy burdens on the Colonies. For many, the Stamp Act was the final straw.

The Stamp Act placed a duty (tax) on virtually every legal document produced in the Colonies. And on newspapers, playing cards, pamphlets, calendars, and more.

Want to place an ad in the local paper? His Majesty gets two shillings. Are you printing pamphlets of less than one whole page? That will be one penny. Each. Want to play dice? Not till you’ve paid the King’s ten shillings tax on them.

Taxation without representation triggered a rebellion. And, so, our nation was born.

Fast forward 244 years…

Once Again, Liberty Stands at a Crossroads

The election of 2020 was messy. America is polarized. Though he’s wildly unpopular, Donald Trump’s base is solid. His opponent is a respected Washington insider: Joe Biden. Biden’s last job was serving as V.P. under the charismatic Barak Obama.

Trump and his allies did all they could to sway the election. Many GOP-controlled states made early and mail-in voting as difficult as they could.

Key states fell, one after another, to Biden. Trump refused to concede.

Trump’s campaign and his allies mounted dozens of legal challenges. The courts slapped down all but one. Even judges appointed by Trump himself deemed some cases meritless.

Trump’s personal lawyers floated conspiracy theories. Votes were changed while being counted in Spain. Catering vans delivered fake ballots to counting locations. A dead Venezuelan dictator had voting machine software sabotaged. Each claim was crazier than the last. All have been disproved.

State after state certified the results. Even swing states controlled by Republican administrations. Trump’s own Depts. of Justice and Homeland Security noted there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Still, Trump and his cronies continue to claim fraud. And they’re turning to ever more desperate ways to overthrow a duly elected government. Even before that government has been seated.

Meet the Party From Crazytown

In Arizona, Trump supporters chanted, “Count those votes!” in hopes of Trump gaining an advantage. At virtually the same time, in Michigan, Trump’s minions were chanting, “Stop the count,” as Biden pulled ahead.

Some GOP-controlled legislatures blocked counting mail-in ballots before election day… meaning millions of votes were counted after in-person votes. Since Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, this led to large last-minute gains by Biden.

Their own party created this situation. But that didn’t stop many Republicans from claiming this predictable situation proved election fraud.

Seventeen Republican attorneys general signed on to a Texas lawsuit trying to deny four swing  states the right to count mail-in ballots received according to those states’ laws. Laws that are strikingly similar to the laws in some of the states that joined the suit.

Consider what Trump’s lawyers are saying in court.

Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s other minions are quick to claim massive fraud in front of the media. But in front of a judge? Not so much.

  • In a PA case, the judge asked a Trump lawyer if he was claiming voter fraud. The response was, “To my knowledge at present, no.”
  • In an AZ suit, a Trump campaign lawyer said, “We are not alleging fraud in this lawsuit.”
  • And, in federal court, Rudy Giuliani himself told the judge, “This is not a fraud case.”

Why? Maybe because lying to a judge has serious consequences.

More Word from Crazytown

Texas Rep. Louis Gomert tried to overthrow the Constitution by suing V.P. Pence over Pence’s role in the counting of Electoral College votes. This suit was such a stretch, Pence and the Dept. of Justice both asked the court to dismiss the case. Which it did.

And still GOP operatives try to overthrow the will of the people.

Freshman Senator Josh Hawley (R- MO), says he will challenge Biden’s victory when the Electoral College count comes up in the Senate on Jan. 6. He joins more than 100 GOP members of Congress.

Hawley’s challenge will trigger debate in both Houses… but should have little effect. First, all the evidence points to Biden winning by over 7 million votes. Second, the grown-ups in the House and Senate are generally opposed to undermining our democracy.

So, Hawley and his co-conspirators appear to be doing this just for political points. And you really have to be from Crazytown to risk our Republic for personal political gain.

But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did when he called Georgia’s Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger.

Trump spent an hour begging and bullying Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to turn the election his way. After the votes had been counted and recounted… twice.

Trump offered a list of already-disproven rumors as excuses. But it all came down to this:

“All I want to do is this,” Trump said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Flattery, threats, pleading… Trump tried it all. It was pitiful, but there it is.

What About the Aftermath?

Here’s where I really worry. Because the only effective solution is a painful one. It’s tempting to “let bygones be bygones.” But that teaches a destructive lesson:

If you get away with it long enough, they’ll let you off scot-free.

To preserve our Democracy, Trump and his cronies must face the music. All the lies… the ethics violations… the crimes. They have to be laid bare. And they must have consequences.

Robert Mueller found 10 instances of Trump possibly obstructing justice. Prosecutors should evaluate each. The Georgia phone call. Profiting from his lease on the Old Post Office in DC. The list goes on and on.

Plus the state investigations. Did the Trump Organization manipulate values for favorable loans and tax rates? That’s potential bank and tax fraud. Why did Deutsche Bank loan Trump so much money when nobody else would? And why did the executives in charge of Trump’s accounts suddenly resign on Dec. 22, 2020?

We need a full accounting and a resolution to these – and many other – questions before we can move on as a nation.

America’s future hangs in the balance. The resolution lies in laying bare all of Trump’s antics. And that’s why I’m worried.

Because it will involve exposing all Trump’s cronies in Congress.

Can it happen? Yes. But only if Joe Biden’s Department of Justice is ready to yank the bandage off a particularly nasty scab.

Sources:

Peters, C., “The Supreme Court rejects Texas’s undemocratic election lawsuit,” msn(dot)dom. Dec 12, 2020.

Kruzel, J., “GOP lawmaker sues Pence in bid to overturn Biden win,” TheHill(dot)com. Dec 28, 2020.

Berenson, T., “Donald Trump And His Lawyers Are Making Sweeping Allegations of Voter Fraud In Public. In Court, They Say No Such Thing,” time(dot)com. Nov 20, 2020.

Scannell, K., “Trump’s private bankers resign from Deutsche Bank,” CNN(dot) com. Dec 22, 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.

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.

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.

The Insanity of Donald Trump

Donald Trump has accomplished something no one else in America has ever done. He’s normalized insanity.

Covid-19 has killed over 120,000 Americans. More than half the states have infection rates rising… some of them precipitously. Trump, meanwhile, pats himself on the back for “saving millions of lives.”

Weeks of protests followed the murder of an unarmed black man by a police officer. Trump responded with threats of violence against the protesters. Yet, when armed right wingers menaced legislators in Michigan’s capital, Trump urged the governor to compromise with them.

At almost the very moment Trump declared himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters” – he had a peaceful protest violently broken up by law enforcement in full riot gear. So he could stroll across a square for a photo op.

As Covid-19 ran unchecked and protests continued, Trump complained the “Lamestream Media” hadn’t paid enough attention to his rally’s ratings on Fox News.

He calls himself the “law and order” president. But he blithely violates laws left and right… ignores the Constitution.

Trump warns Democrats will push to limit American’s 2nd Amendment rights. At the same time, he tramples on the 1stAmendment, calling for journalists and flag burners to be jailed.

Trump shows no empathy for those affected by systemic racism. But he thinks those who deface or tear down statues of racist traitors should spend 10 years in jail.

All this, yet few Republican officials call him out. Most Christian evangelicals continue to support him. And his white supremacist fans are absolutely beside themselves with joy.

This is where Donald Trump has brought America.

You may not be a Joe Biden fan. It doesn’t matter. He’s the option. Support him. Campaign for him. And, for goodness sake, vote for him. Because you know what the alternative is.

We must bring Trump down in November. Because, if we don’t, he’ll bring us all down with him.

The New American Exceptionalism

One thing you have to admit about Donald Trump and his cronies: They’ve changed the definition of American Exceptionalism.

  • Conservatives around the world believe in a pay-as-you-go government… except Americans.
  • The people of developed nations all agree healthcare is a right… except Americans.
  • Everyone agrees the Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy… except the richest Americans.

Because, as a new report reveals, America’s billionaires have made out like the bandits so many of them are.

Tens of millions have lost their jobs. Nearly 100,000 have lost their lives. Many are now looking at losing their homes. But this international tragedy has yielded windfall profits for a relative handful of Americans.

A 2-Month Profit Bigger Than the GDP of Half the Earth’s Nations

According to Statistics Times, about half the nations on Earth have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) under $34 billion. Yes, most are smaller countries. But this number includes developed nations like Estonia and Iceland.

Well, that’s less than Jeff Bezos has seen his fortune grow during the pandemic – so far. So says a report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness.

The report found Bezos’ fortune has grown $34.6 billion during the pandemic. Mark Zuckerberg came in second with a $25 billion boost to his personal wealth.

In all, the report found America’s 600 billionaires raked in $434 billion in just two months. In 2019, only 39 countries had an annual output that valued higher.

Think about that: 600 people saw their wealth grow more in 60 days than the output of about three-quarters of the nations on Earth!

Which brings us to one more example of the new American Exceptionalism.

Why Are They So Hot to “Open America” Again?

The answer is simple: To protect their gains.

You see, most of these billionaires keep their fortunes growing through investing. They can sustain short-term stock-market losses. But a true crash could erase most – or all – of their gains.

So, America’s economy hasto get going again. Otherwise the market will plunge… and so will all those juicy profits. When you look at the situation this way, Trump’s actions make perfect sense.

The medical experts we should take it slow. But Trump pushes us to rush back to “normal.” Even when no states had yet met his own White House guidelines.

Trump tweets inflammatory messages like “Liberate Michigan!” knowing full well it will encourage his followers to protest. And, even though they’re a clear minority of Americans, they get almost all the news coverage.

Meanwhile, Trump’s allies do their part. The governors of Georgia and Florida muddy or cover up the numbers. Infectious disease experts are sidelined. Their recommendations ignored – or changed under pressure.

And Trump leads the charge to minimize the importance of testing. One day, somebody’s well; the next, they’re sick. Somehow, in Trump’s mind, this means testing is pointless. Plus, being the world leader in Covid-19 cases is a “badge of honor.”

Which adds one more first for American Exceptionalism. Every other nation on Earth would be horrified to lose 100,000 citizens to a disease. But in Trump’s version of America, it proves we’re doing a good job.

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“List of Countries by GDP (Nominal),” statisticstimes(dot)com. Jan 12, 2020.

Frank, R., “American billionaires got $434 billion richer during the pandemic,” CNBC(dot)com. May 21, 2020.