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.

The American Ideal Dies on the Senate Floor

“There have been 15 impeachments in the history of the country. Two of them were cut short by resignations. In the other 13 impeachments there were witnesses… It’s not unusual to have a witness in a trial. It’s certainly not unusual to have witness in an impeachment trial.”

– Senator Mitch McConnell, Jan. 1999

“The whole point that we’re trying to make is that in every trial that there’s ever been in the Senate, regarding impeachment, witnesses were called… What I’m saying about witnesses is that if you take them off the table in the Senate… That would be bad for impeachment law. That would be against precedent, and I hope that doesn’t happen here.”

– Senator Lindsey Graham, Jan. 1999

“I’m not an impartial juror.”

– Senator Mitch McConnell, Dec 2019

“I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

– Senator Lindsey Graham, Dec. 2019

When Bill Clinton’s presidency was on the line, Senators McConnell and Graham argued passionately for witnesses. As both pointed out, witnesses were called in every previous impeachment trial in the Senate.

Then, when Donald Trump faced impeachment, both became dismissive of the need for witnesses. After all, why would you need witnesses in a trial?

But it gets worse…

A Show Trial in Reverse

Both McConnell and Graham swore an oath at the start of the trial. They swore to act as impartial jurors.

For the record, their oath says, “… that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [NAME], I will do impartial justice, according to law.” That’s been the oath – with very little variation – since 1798.

When they took that oath, McConnell and Graham were lying. How do we know? Because both had already announced publically they had no intention of acting impartially. Is it a crime? Perhaps not.

But it certainly makes them liars. And violates the oath of office they took to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and to “faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

Trump’s trial in the Senate has been like a show trial in reverse. It’s not the government railroading some poor sucker on false charges. It’s the party in power working hand in glove with the defense to assure an acquittal.

With McConnell and Graham leading the charge against the Constitution. And most of their party members following along like the obedient lapdogs they are.

Only two Republican Senators voted to hear witnesses. Which further added to the bizarre nature of this trial.

In a normal show trial, those in power parade out all sorts of false evidence. In Trump’s trial, those with the power have done all they can to blockevidence from being presented.

The damage they’re doing won’t just hurt our Democracy today. This sham trial is setting precedent. Which means it will haunt our nation for generations.

What if There’s “Nothing Wrong” With Abusing Power?

The President’s lawyers presented a strange argument. If the president believes his/her reelection is in the public interest, then he/she can do no wrong in seeking that reelection.

Use funds to force an ally to announce an investigation into a perfectly legal business relationship? No problem. It’s for the public good.

So how far does this concept carry? If a president thinks assassinating an opponent is necessary for his/her reelection, then that’sokay?

Alan Dershowitz, one of Trump’s lawyers, testified a president would have to commit a crime to trigger impeachment. But back in 1999, when Clinton’s career was in the balance, Dershowitz felt very differently.

“It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime,” Dershowitz claimed in 1998, “if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty. You don’t need a technical crime.”

He couldn’t have described Trump more accurately with a crystal ball.

Too bad his crystal ball didn’t tell him there were no federal criminal statutes on the books when the Constitution was written. Divining the Founding Fathers’ thoughts isn’t quite as clear-cut as he’d like us believe.

The President’s defenders and enablers have decided a GOP president can do no wrong. They’ve closed ranks. And they’ve abandoned the Constitution. En masse.

But here’s the most important point: They’re still the minority party. And a significant faction within that party doesn’t support the Crook-in-Chief.

If we set aside our differences, true Americans – of all stripes – can send Trump packing. If not this coming week, then certainly in November.

And I can’t imagine any better reason to work together for the common good.

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Barrett, T., “McConnell opposes impeachment witnesses now — but supported them during Clinton trial,” CNN(dot)com. Dec 16, 2019

Crowley, J., “Resurfaced Video Shows Lindsey Graham Arguing for Witnesses to Testify at Bill Clinton Impeachment Trial,” CNN(dot)com. Jan 7, 2020

Watkins, M., “Sen. Mitch McConnell on Possible Impeachment Trial: ‘I’m not an impartial juror’,” Courier-Journal. Dec 18, 2019.

Goldiner, D., “Lindsey Graham Says ‘not pretending to be fair juror’ on Trump Impeachment,” NY Daily News. Dec 14, 2019.

Beckwith, R.T., “Senator Oath for Trump Impeachment Trial Stirs Partisan Rancor,” Bloomberg(dot)com. Dec 21, 2019.

Mazza, E., “Alan Dershowitz’s Old Comments About Impeachment Come Back To Haunt Him,” HuffPost(dot)com. Jan 20, 2020.

Once Again, the GOP Denies Reality

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) just released his long-awaited report on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.

The IG found the investigation was justified. The procedures followed were largely proper. And there was no political bias involved. Case closed, right?

Hardly. The ink was barely dried on the paper when both the President – and his Attorney General (AG) – attacked the report. Just weeks after AG Barr sang the IG’s praises, he went on the attack.

Barr questioned the IG’s report and suggested his own hand-picked investigator would find different results. Except that man, federal prosecutor John Durham, has already said he can’t dispute this key finding of the IG report.

Neither the inspector General, nor Barr’s hand-picked investigator, can find any evidence of a “set-up.” In other words, the GOP “deep state” theory is dead in the water.

Case closed… maybe? If you thought so, you don’t know the GOP.

This Is Your “Independent” Attorney General?

In late November, AG Barr praised the DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, for his independence and abilities. Then, in December, Barr completely misrepresented Horowitz’s findings.

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear,” Barr claimed, “that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”

“It is also clear that, from its inception,” Barr wrote, “the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”

Former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah called Barr’s statements “wildly inappropriate” referring to them as “political spin.”

This should be familiar ground. Robert Mueller wrote to Barr about Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report. And it wasn’t flowery praise.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24,” Mueller wrote, “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions.”

Barr, in other words, is spinning findings to favor his boss. And he’s doing so at the expense of reality. Even to the point of calling the investigation “completely baseless.”

Even though his own Inspector General found this wasn’t true.

Barr denies the facts to favor his boss. Just as many of Trump’s GOP allies do…

Stand by Your Man

Trump has called the Horowitz’s report “a disgrace,” “an embarrassment to our country,” and “Far worse than I would have ever thought possible…”

Not surprising, since the report basically justified the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign.

Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ronna McDaniel, and Stephanie Grisham all had their own twisted takes on the report…

  • Cruz claimed the report showed the DOJ “spied on” an opponent of the current administration
  • Graham called the FBI’s actions “criminal”
  • The report, according to McDaniel, showed the FBI “spied” on Trump’s campaign
  • And Grisham said the report proved an attempt to “overthrow the president.”

Of course, the report supports none of these claims.

But the GOP is closing ranks. Denying reality once again. To defend a man who’s siphoned off millions of dollars of taxpayer funds for personal gain… defended racists… handed billion to the rich – at the expense of ordinary Americans. A man who’s told over 40,000 lies since his election.

Once again, Trump’s apologists are closing ranks. The IG’s report clearly exonerates the FBI. Yet, once again, Trump’s allies are attacking our intelligence services in favor of a proven liar. And, in the process, furthering the efforts of the Russian government to destabilize our democracy.

This is no mishap or sideshow. It’s a key battle in the effort to save the Republic. If we don’t stand up to the GOP’s assaults on this report, we’ll be one step closer to a Russian-style oligarchy.

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“AG Barr’s handpicked prosecutor says he doesn’t have evidence Russia probe was a setup, per report,” kgun9(dot)com. Dec 4, 2019.

Lemieux, M., “Former Federal Prosecutor Blasts AG Barr’s ‘Political Spin’ of IG Report: ‘So Wildly Inappropriate’,” Newsweek(dot)com. Dec 9, 2019.

Corn, D., “William Barr’s War on Reality, Truth, and the Law,” MotherJones(dot)com. Dec 10, 2019.

Benen, S., “Republicans turn to gaslighting in response to Justice Dept report,” msn(dot)com. Dec 10, 2019.

Where the H*ll Are the Democrats?

The GOP tweets propaganda several times a day. Their chairwoman also tweets propaganda on a daily basis. The President tweets propaganda almost non-stop. Fox News issues pro-Trump tweets. And various members of Congress tweet their support for the President regularly.

An endless stream of pro-Trump B.S. floods the Twitterverse non-stop.

Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership seems to tweet almost never. There’s a steady stream of unanswered GOP lies and deceptions. All being sucked up by voters. But virtually no opposition from official Democratic sources.

Here’s the thing: If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it. The GOP lies just become part of the national narrative.

In other words, Trump is winning – at least in part – because the Democrats can’t seem to post more often on Twitter.

So how can we fix this problem? The answer is depressingly simple.

The Truth Is Powerful… But Only if You Use It

I’ve seen dozens of GOP claims on Twitter that the impeachment inquiry is a “witch hunt.” It’s the same claim they made throughout the Mueller inquiry.

But this so-called “witch-hunt” has snared an awful lot of witches. Where are the Dems’ posts pointing out how many Trump operatives have pled guilty – or been convicted? Or how many Russian operatives have been indicted?

The Dems seem to leave their defense to individual posters. The party has no clear response. So, the GOP’s message takes the forefront in voters’ minds. Even though it’s usually untrue.

The Dems’ lack of a clear response gives the GOP’s point credibility. Faced with an unbroken onslaught of GOP propaganda, reasonable voters will go with the flow.

The Dems have seemingly ceded the Twitterverse to the GOP. Is it any wonder Donald Trump is still in the White House?

Reclaiming Barak Obama’s Turf

It wasn’t that long ago an Internet-savvy candidate used the online world to pull off an “impossible” victory. An unlikely candidate turned, “Yes, we can,” into “Yes, we did.” And Barack Obama became the first African-American president of the U.S.

The GOP may have learned from Obama’s victory, but the Dems apparently didn’t. And pro-Trump tweets, on the party level, outnumber anti-Trump tweets by a wide margin.

Why is this important? For one thing, widely distributed tweets are far more likely to be featured on the platform.

As of this writing, Donald Trump has 67 million followers on Twitter. Newsweek reports almost a third of them – 29% – are fake accounts. Still, that’s nearly 41 million real people following Trump.

Twitter is more likely to feature a tweet from a celebrity with 41 million followers than someone with 41… or 41,000… or even 4.1 million. Especially when that celebrity is the President. When he tweets 130 times over a single weekend… well, that’s a heck of a lot of impressions.

Add in multiple daily tweets from his allies – many with millions of followers of their own – and, Houston, we have a problem.

Obama may have held the high ground early on… but the rest of his party seems to have missed the memo. The GOP has broken the code, and they’re flooding Twitter with propaganda. Virtually unchallenged by their opponents.

It’s Not Too Late… But We’re Getting Close

You know who has more Twitter followers than Donald Trump, by a wide margin? Barack Obama. He proves an intelligent and measured voice can even command more attention than a raging nut job.

Party stand-outs, like AOC, are building solid followings. But Trump has a years-long jump on these rising stars. Still, if the Dems built a real social media strategy, they could at least be competitive.

Today, the GOP posted a clip from Fox News, featuring Devin Nunes declaring the impeachment hearings a “disaster” for the Dems. Really? Maybe Nunes didn’t see his own face after Gordon Sondland’s testimony. “Deer in the headlights” doesn’t do it justice.

Witnesses swore under oath Trump was only interested in getting dirt on the Bidens. That most of his top aides were in the loop on this. That he had no real interest in corruption. And that it was made clear to the Ukraine government the military aide and a Trump/White House visit hinged on a Biden investigation.

This is what Nunes calls a “disaster” for the Dems? Clearly this is a joke ripe for a sarcastic reply. Nope. Cue the crickets. I follow the Dems on Twitter, and there was nothing in my feed. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nothing!

It appears the Dems have either the laziest, or the dumbest, social media team on Earth. Twitter should be awash in impeachment hearing news from the Dems.

Where’s the outrage over Lindsay Graham’s “investigation” of the Bidens? Can you say “Benghazi”? I can. In fact, I’ve covered that charade at least twice.

GOP conspiracy theories? Pizzgate isn’t whacko enough for you? Trump’s links to birtherism? Deep state sabotage? Come on! What are you waiting for? Those naked pics of Trump Nunes said you were after?

The GOP and its allies have made a mockery of our political system. Up is down. Black is white. In is out. And the Dems are tweeting about tech giants and Black Friday deals. Geez! You can’t leave allthe hard work to CNN.

It’s not too late to fight back. But we’re getting uncomfortably close. You need someone tweeting 20, 30, 50 times a day. Not just in response to the GOP propaganda… but getting your story out in advance of their B.S.

If you don’t fight back now, you’ll lose more than the 2020 election. You’ll lose much of the brittle support your party has left.

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Cole, B., “Trump Has 15 Million Fake Twitter Followers,” newsweek(dot)com. May 22, 2018.

Donald Trump and The Republicans’ Sunk Cost Problem

Donald Trump created a problem for the Republican Party the day he declared his candidacy. He opened his campaign outside the normal bounds. And once the GOP began backing him, they had a problem.

You see, Trump’s campaign started on a dicey note. He launched it with an appeal to white nationalism. He made racist comments about Mexicans. His party failed to respond. And this set the direction the GOP had no choice but to follow ever since.

Here’s how Donald Trump hijacked his party… and made it all but impossible for them to break from him.

The Theory of Sunk Costs

A sunk cost is an investment you can’t get back if you change direction. The phrase began with the oil industry… but it quickly made sense in politics.

For example, the GOP leadership didn’t outright condemn Trump’s early racist comments. They saw his core voters respond to his racist message. They probably thought they could transfer these voters’ loyalty to a more reasonable candidate during the primaries. So, they remained silent.

That silence was a sunk cost. Once you begin digging a racist hole, there’s no climbing out.

With each outrageous act and statement, Trump dug the GOP’s hole a little deeper. The party leadership continued to think they could reel in Trump’s supporters when he failed. Only Trump’s primary opponents voiced dissent.

Then those opponents fell one by one. Trump won the nomination. Then he won the Electoral College… and his voice became the official voice of the GOP.

Every event – like the Charlottesville incident – moved Trump and his supporters further and further from the mainstream. And dragged the Republican party with them.

Step by step, the Republican Party had multiplied their sunk costs in Trump. To maintain unity, the GOP had to defend his increasingly bizarre words and actions.

Party leaders had to bend over backwards to explain what Trump “actually meant” when he said something crazy – or racist. To spin his outrageous claims into something the rank and file could swallow. To excuse his bizarre behavior.

Now, they find themselves defending the actions of an increasingly unhinged would-be dictator. The sunk costs have grown too large. So, the GOP has dug in.

Party Before Country

Trump suggested to the president of Ukraine that U.S. financial support hinges on Ukraine “investigating” Joe Biden. Trump knows this is wrong, because White House senior staff “buried” the call in a top-secret server. Even though nothing on the call involved secrets.

Now we know this isn’t the first time White House staffers have done this – to protect the President from himself. Calls with other leaders have suffered the same “bury-the-evidence” fate… Even though nothing on the calls was classified or secret.

Just potentially damaging to the President. And the GOP that backs him.

After all, this is the man who…

  • Revealed classified information to Russian officials – and laughed about it
  • Suggested those who exposed his unlawful acts should be executed
  • Claimed speaking to whistleblowers should be considered “treason.”

Trump withholds information from Congress – even information the Constitution says Congress should have. He’s “hinted” he’d pardon staffers who ignore the law. He’s even suggested defying him could lead to civil war.

This lawlessness should set off alarm bells for any American – especially those sworn to uphold the Constitution. But his GOP allies have dug in, and continue to defend their standard-bearer.

Mike Pompeo sat in on the Ukraine call… but feigned ignorance when asked about the transcript. Congressman Jim Jordan lied to Jake Tapper on national television about that call. GOP leadership insists Trump did nothing wrong on the call – in spite of the clear quid pro quo even the doctored transcript reveals.

The GOP has thrown their lot in with Trump. They’ve backed his radical platform to the hilt. Now, not backing Trump means not backing their own platform.

Today’s Republican party can’t abandon Trump. They’ve tied themselves too closely to his radical agenda. So, as suicidal as it may seem, Republicans have no choice but to back Trump.

Facing the GOP’s Hard Reality

That’s why the GOP isn’t calling for impeachment. And why most Republican leaders will fight it tooth and nail. Damning Trump has become the same as damning themselves.

As richly deserved as that irony may be, the GOP can’t go there.

They counter charges of Trump’s corruption with a fabricated story about Joe Biden’s “corrupt” defense of his son. They’re counting on the repetition of a lie to create controversy. It’s the age-old “charge-your-enemy-with-the-crimes-you’ve-committed” play.

Fortunately, we now have the ability to record – and play back – the truth. Which shows the GOP’s claims about the Bidens are lies.

But they’ve invested so much in their corrupt leadership, they have no other viable option. They must follow Trump off the rails. Or undermine their whole position.

So, the White House refuses to cooperate with Congress. The GOP leadership lies about the call. And their party defends a president who used strong-arm tactics to get a foreign government to smear a political opponent.

But – for better or worse – they’ve hitched their star to Trump. Maybe they should have listened to one of his biggest detractors back in 2016.

A Sober Assessment of Donald Trump by a Leading Conservative

So, what does the Republican leadership really think of Donald Trump? Here are some thoughts from one of their most influential members.

“At the end of the day, Donald Trump, his foreign policy is gibberish,” he said. “His understanding of the world is bizarre…”

“I think Donald Trump would be a pathetic commander in chief,” this Trump foe continued, “unequal in temperament, judgment and understanding of who our friends are.”

This same man also said of Trump, “He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.” And claimed, “He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for… He’s the ISIL man of the year.”

Another observation from the same source: “I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative, nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as commander in chief.”

In February 2016, this GOP leader said, “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”

So, who is this GOP official with such a low opinion of Donald Trump?

None other than Senator Lindsey Graham. Yes… the same Lindsey Graham who golfs with Trump regularly, defends the President’s every indiscretion, and seemingly worships the ground Trump walks on.

The party has invested so much in Trump, even his harshest critics within the GOP have become toadies. Lindsey Graham now dances like a puppet on the end of Trump’s string.

And if Graham – one of Trump’s harshest critics – will do this… imagine how far the rest of the party leadership will go. Because they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

So, we can’t rely on help from the Right to defeat Trump. Which means we have to get out the vote of every reasonable, freedom-loving American in 2020. Because, if we don’t, we may not have the chance in 2024.

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Walker, H., “Lindsey Graham fires back at ‘pathetic’ Donald Trump,” Yahoo!News. Feb 18, 2016.

Brest, M., “FLASHBACK: Graham says Trump is ‘a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,’” Washington Examiner. Jul 15, 2019.

Bergengruen, V., “Sen. Lindsey Graham: I won’t vote for Trump in 2016,” McClatchydc.com. May 6, 2016.

Mazza, E., “Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Old Words About Trump Come Back To Bite Him In The Butt,” HuffPost.com. Nov 30, 2017.

It’s Time for America to Wake Up!

Note: I completed the original version of this article yesterday, then went online to find Nancy Pelosi’s announcement.

The Trump administration is out of control. Every time they manage to circumvent the law, they rise to a higher level of contempt for our Democracy. It’s gotten so bad, they’re almost not even trying to hide it. Just look at Rudy Giuliani’s most recent turn on the Sunday talk shows.

On CNN, he denied pressuring Ukraine’s president to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son. (Hunter Biden had a business relationship with a Ukrainian gas company.) Just 30 seconds later, Giuliani admitted it was true.

Then he called the claim he’d applied pressure “ridiculous” – immediately followed by saying he was proud for doing it – and then said once again the claim was “ridiculous.”

Now, we may be used to this sort of insanity from Giuliani – the President’s personal lawyer. But is it normal? Is it sane? Not by a long shot.

But Giuliani’s insanity offers good cover for his boss’s “admission creep.”

No… Maybe… Yes, But Who Cares?

Donald Trump has a style for making admissions. First, he denies he did something. Next, he waffles. Then he makes a low-key admission… and finally harps about “who cares?” Deny, suggest, minimize.

It’s worked pretty well for Trump so far. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise he used this tactic when faced with claims about pressuring Ukraine’s newly elected president to dig up dirt on Trump’s leading foe in the 2020 election.

First, he didn’t bring up Biden. Then he did, but there was no pressure. Now we know he may have brought up the topic as many as eight times during a single call.

And when combined with the way he held up sorely needed aid to Ukraine… well, let’s just say it’s suspicious.

Because Trump appears to have held hundreds of millions of dollars hostage to his investigation demands.

And now his administration is doing all it can to prevent Congress from exercising its Constitutional oversight duty.

Another pattern we’ve seen over and over.

  • Trump allies stonewall Congressional committee investigations
  • Cabinet heads refuse to comply with laws requiring them to turn information over to Congress
  • Trump’s Justice Department refuses to prosecute those charged with contempt of Congress

The result is an Executive Branch that has effectively removed itself from any checks and balances on its whims. And this lawlessness is aided and abetted by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and his Congressional cronies. Who back Trump’s actions… no matter how outrageous.

But this latest affront to our Democracy may be the last straw… or the last gasp.

Has Trump Finally Awakened the Sleeping Giant?

Yesterday (09/23/19), seven Democrats called out this latest Trump misadventure in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. What makes this article stand out is this:

  • The authors are all freshmen members of Congress – usually a quiet bunch
  • None of them are members of “The Squad”
  • All of them have a background in the military, defense, or intelligence.

And they’ve plainly stated the allegations against Trump are an impeachable offense… the withholding of the whistleblower complaint from Congress is illegal… and that Congress must take immediate action.

But will it? Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been open to calling for impeachment. Maybe she thinks it will mobilize Trump’s base. Could she be facing a mutiny?

If she refuses to take Trump to account for his blatant flouting of the law, she should. Yes; she’d rather see him in prison… blah, blah, blah. But her only control is over the here and now in Congress. So, this is her one chance to act.

We can’t allow the corruption to continue. Congressional leadership must step up. The Trump administration’s assault on Democracy could do permanent damage. For goodness sake, the man “jokes” about staying in office beyond two terms.

And he’s openly stated he might question any election result that doesn’t put him on top. Is it any wonder he’s courted the favor of well-armed white supremacists?

Congress must act now. If they don’t treat this scandal as the last straw, it may become our Democracy’s last gasp.

Addendum: A Reason for Hope?

So much has happened since I began this article. Trump released the “transcript” of his call… The Senate unanimously called for the administration to release the whistleblower report to the appropriate committees… Nancy Pelosi had finally had enough and got the impeachment ball rolling.

Perhaps most heartening of all, there were darn few Republican lawmakers on the attack. Even Lindsey Graham seemed muted in his response.

Sure, Graham said the move to impeach is “insane,” but he didn’t have any of his usual swagger and righteous indignation. Instead he looked sweaty and tired. There was no conviction in his voice.

What Graham should keep in mind is that this isn’t the only reason to start impeachment proceedings. Just the one that broke the camel’s back.

Mueller outlined 10 times Trump likely obstructed justice during the Russia probe. There’s the sudden jump in Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry golf resort… putting thousands into Trump’s personal coffers. There’s the influx of foreign dignitaries staying at Trump properties.

There’s the “unindicted co-conspirator” issue with paying off mistresses to remain silent. Don’t forget: His fixer went to jail over these illegal campaign contributions. And Trump was in the mess up to his neck.

And, of course, there are the other issues in the whistleblower complaint that we don’t even know yet.

If Congress is smart, they’ll charge Trump with everything applicable. Which could make letting him off the hook political suicide for his die-hard supporters in the Senate.

So, maybe – just maybe – we have reason for hope.

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Cisneros, G., et al, “Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” Washington Post. Sep 23, 2019.

Leading Republicans Speak Their Minds on Trump

Republicans complain the Left trash-talks Trump. “How could you?” they exclaim as they clutch at their hearts and stagger in feigned shock.

Never mind how their boy publicly runs down anyone who disagrees with him. And has a history of making misogynistic and openly racist comments.

Now he’s calling himself “the chosen one.” And accepting praise as “the King of Israel” and “the Second Coming.”

Time for someone to take Deluded Donnie down a peg or two. And who better than his allies? Note: About half of these date from after the 2016 election…

  • Lindsay Graham: “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.” (Feb 2016)
  • Ted Cruz: “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies…” (May 2016)
  • Marco Rubio: “We cannot have a commander-in-chief that is not ready the first day in office.” (Feb 2016)
  • The late Sen. John McCain: “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.” (Jul 2018)
  • Mitt Romney: “On balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” (Jan 2019)
  • Former Sen. Bob Corker: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful…” (Aug 2017)
  • Rand Paul: “Conservatives have to decide if he’s a fake conservative or not. And I think truly he is a fake conservative, because he’s been on every side of every issue in the last five years.” (Aug 2015)
  • Former Gov. John Kasich: “The things that have swirled around this White House are the reasons that caused me not to move forward and support him… also there wasn’t a real grasp on the issues that I think are so important.” (May 2017)
  • Former Gov. Judd Gregg: “Generating confusion is not a track that leads to making America great again. Rather, it takes us down a road that diminishes our international reputation.” (Jun 2017)
  • Susan Collins: “Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.” (Aug 2016)
  • Republican Strategist Ana Navarro-Cardenas: “Then… you realize just how much he is diminishing the presidency of the United States… He is embarrassing. He is shameful. He is disgusting.” (June 2017)
  • Former Sen. Jeff Flake: “The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined… by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters… is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.” (Oct 2017)
  • Ben Sasse: “Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former Gov. Rick Perry: “Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” (Jul 2015)
  • Former Rep. Todd Rokita: “… someone who is vulgar, if not profane.” (Feb 2016)
  • Former FL Ag. Comm. Adam Putnam: “He keeps running his mouth about the most ridiculous things…” and “Even by the base standards of this campaign season, his comments were vile and obscene.” (Both in 2016)
  • OH Sec’y. of State Frank LaRose: “I like the idea of a president that’s a role model for our children. Our current president doesn’t really fall into that category.” (Aug 2018)

This is the man the GOP wants to return to the White House in 2020. The man of whom Barbara Bush – the Republican’s Republican – said after election day, “I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.”

Let’s close with an observation from John McCain. McCain flew 23 missions over North Viet Nam before being shot down and taken prisoner…

“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

Dems: Keep Your Hands Off That Self-Destruct Button

Dear Democratic Presidential Hopefuls,

Thank you for your interest in representing your party in the 2020 election. It’s a long haul to the nomination, and a lot can go right – or wrong – in that time. So here are three thoughts to get you through to the nominating convention…

First and foremost, know your enemy.

Quick quiz. Fill in the blank: My party should nominate me because ________.

Did you answer “Because Bernie’s too old”… “Because Joe always has his foot in his mouth”… “Because a gay man is unelectable”… “Because Elizabeth is too much of a wonk”… or with a comment about any other contender(s)?

If so, you should not be the party’s nominee. In fact, you should leave the race now.

Why? Because your opponents for the nomination are notthe enemy. But every time you run one of your fellow Democrats down, you’re just making the GOP’s job easier. You don’t think the DNC’s favoring Hillary last time around didn’t hurt? If so, that’s another reason you shouldn’t be running.

Stop telling us what’s wrong with your fellow Democrats… and tell the voters what’s rightwith you. In relation to Trump.

Would you be a better president than Donald Trump? Absolutely! But you won’t beat him by cutting fellow Democrats to pieces before we even get to the convention.

Second, your ego does not count.

Nobody wants a mass of Democrats vying for the nomination more than the GOP. Why? Because you’ll tap out your financial support that much sooner. Nothing looks better to a well-funded GOP than an opposition party with a begging cup in its hand.

So, as hard as it may be, it’s time to put your ego aside. If you’re polling in the single digits now, you have no chance of beating Trump. So why waste the time and money?

Sure, you know you’d make a great president. But most Democrats don’t think so. And they’re the ones who’ll make the nominating decision. Don’t suck resources the party will desperately need come next year on a vanity project.

Here’s an idea: Pick a House or Senate race in your state currently held by a Republican. Or even a statewide job, like governor, attorney general or secretary of state. Run for that office. We need qualified Dems to run in those races, too.

And your chances of winning in those races are a whole lot better.

So, put your ego aside. Leave this race to the contenders with a chance of actually winning.

Third, Don’t Forget the Team.

Trump’s team, I mean. Yes, you should call out Trump when he makes inflammatory and racist remarks. You should contest his many lies. But you should also focus on what Trump’s party is doing while we’re pre-occupied with his slash-and-burn rhetoric.

Mitch McConnell has blocked virtually all meaningful legislation put forth by the Dems since the mid-terms. Including multiple bills meant to protect our election process. It’s almost as if he’s fighting with Trump to earn Putin’s favor.

Trump’s cabinet secretaries – and acting secretaries – are dismantling key protections piece by piece. Our education system, our environment, and our social safety net are all under attack. And Trump’s attorney general has abandoned all pretense of defending the Constitution.

Name names. State facts. And make noise. Our Democracy has never been on such thin ice. At least tryto act like that’s more important than your presidential run.

Finally, Prepare Yourself to Support the Eventual Nominee.

Look… Only one of you will win the party’s nomination. If you’ve run down the competition for months leading up to the nomination, who’s going to believe you when you throw your “support” behind them?

Look at Lindsey Graham. In 2016, he said Trump would make “a terrible commander-in-chief.” He boycotted the GOP convention. And announced he would not vote for Trump.

For his part, Trump called Graham “…an embarrassment to the great people of South Carolina,” and “…one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States…”

Now, Graham defends Trump like a life-long friend, golfs with him, and supports virtually every hare-brained scheme Trump proposes.

Lindsey Graham has become a national joke.

Are you prepared to be the next Lindsey Graham? To be the poster boy (or girl) for trading integrity for political capital? To become a laughingstock?

Graham, Rubio, Cruz… Almost all of Trump’s mud-slinging opponents are now sycophants. Toadies who kowtow to Trump’s every whim… and defend his every racist rant.

Don’t let your party sink that low. If you don’t have a snowball’s chance in H*ll, got out of the race now. And prepare to support your party’s candidate whole-heartedly.

Because, if you don’t, we can expect four more years of Trumpian disaster. And our democracy may not survive thatassault intact.