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.

The Will of the People

If you’ve been listening to the President’s defenders, you’ve probably noticed a common theme. Trump’s supporters say – over and over – the Democrats are trying to reverse the will of the people. To undo the vote. To overturn the election.

But here’s the thing: Trump didn’t win the election. He won the Electoral College. And that’s something very different.

In real terms, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million. In other words, Americans elected Clinton President… and the system overruled the election results.

Which is exactly how the last two Republican presidents came into office. Not by the will of the people… but by the will of an outmoded system.

That’s why the GOP doesn’t want to mess with the Electoral College. But here’s why we should…

A (Sort of) Good Idea Gone Bad

It’s the end of the 18thcentury. A new Republic is getting its first footing. But there are challenges. According to some sources, election logistics were the major issue.

The 13 colonies covered a vast territory in a time when traveling 20 miles a day was admirable. There were no phones… no telegraph… no mass communication. How could you get election results from New Hampshire or South Carolina to the Capital in short order?

The simple answer: Consolidate. Don’t deliver results from every podunk town and village to the capital. Just deliver the state results.

Meet the Electoral College.

The Electoral College boiled every hamlet and village’s votes into a state-by-state result. Which made the final tally quick and simple.

Other sources say the College began as a compromise. Some Founding Fathers felt Congress should choose the President – instead of the average bumpkin landowner. Others felt it should be left entirely to the will of the people. The Electoral College system gave something to both sides.

For those who didn’t trust the average farmer or craftsman to make good decisions, the College diluted the bad choices of individuals. But it would still ensure – usually – that the candidate with the greatest overall support would win.

Still others point to concerns over big state advantages. Just three colonies – Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts – had nearly half the population of the original colonies. These three could have effectively decided any presidential election… mooting the votes of most of the other colonies.

The thing is, we’re not in the 18thcentury any more. None of these arguments hold water in today’s world. The Electoral College has become more hinderance than help. Because the person with the most votes doesn’t win… the person with the most Electors does.

And, as the last two Republican victories show, this means America may choose one candidate, but their opponent wins the election.

The Electoral College Is Anti-Democratic… and Anti-American

The Electoral College effectively negates the “one-person, one-vote” concept. With electors awarded on a winner-take-all basis in 48 states, narrow victories for one party in key states can easily hand the election over to the loser of the popular vote.

That’s how Donald Trump and George W. Bush both wound up in the Oval Office.

The College has become little more than a way to legally steal elections. Now it’s time for it to go away. Because Democracy matters.

Of course, you won’t get much support for this idea from the GOP. They’ve learned how to twist Electoral College results to their benefit. To ensure the will of the majority of voters doesn’t count.

Which has led to handing the Oval Office over to a dangerous clown like Donald Trump.

Trump, who’s alienated most of our key allies… aligned himself with dictators and oligarchs… used his office to enrich himself… and altered tax laws to favor his cronies.

Trump, who’s elevated crooks and incompetents to Cabinet-level positions… promoted white nationalism… and dismantled environmental protections.

Trump, who’s lied to voters over 16,000 times in just 3 years… used his office to damage political rivals… and spent 20% of his time in office golfing.

All accomplished with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary.

It’s Time to Bid the Electoral College Good-Bye

The Electoral College doesn’t serve America’s best interests. It’s become little more than a tool for cynical politicians to “game” the system.

Narrow victories in swing states, like Florida, can hand an election to the popular vote’s loser. And overrulethe will of the people.

Far more voters identify with the Democrats’ platform. Yet manipulation of a flawed system hands elections to the minority party. And our government has begun to look less and less like the one voters say they want.

Trump’s tax breaks for the rich come with calls for cuts to programs that support Americas poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

“Give me your tired, your poor,” Emma Lazarus wrote in The New Colossus, “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Today’s GOP leadership complains about immigration from “sh*thole nations,” and wonders why more Norwegians don’t move here.

Republicans use “massive voter fraud” as an excuse to enact laws making voting harder for minorities and the poor. Yet the only cases of large-scale voter fraud in recent years have been perpetrated by pro-GOP forces.

This is why every eligible voter must exercise their rights. Why every election matters. And why the Electoral College has to go.

Every office in the land is filled by direct election… except the most important one. And the Right is using that exception to pervert Democracy. This must stop.

It’s time to end the Electoral College. To end what’s become a perversion of Democracy. And to hand our most important election over to the people.

GOP Leaders: The Constitution Is Now Optional

With a year left in his second term, Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Garland is well-respected by both the Left and the Right. His qualifications are clear. And his record is spotless. His nomination should have breezed through the Senate. Instead, it never came up for a vote.

Instead, the Senate majority leader – Mitch McConnell – refused to allow Garland even an interview. Let alone a vote. Although the next election was a year away, McConnell insisted voters should have a voice in the decision.

Of course, McConnell quickly cited the Constitution’s “voters’ voice” rule in Article… Um. No. Hold on a minute. There is no “voters’ voice” reference regarding the confirmation of judges. The concept is just something McConnell invented to prevent President Obama from naming a Supreme Court justice.

Welcome to the Republicans’ world… where following the Constitution is strictly optional.

Beware the Phony Emoluments Clause

For more than 200 years, politicians on both sides of the aisle took the Constitution to be the law of the land. Apparently, they were mistaken.

Donald Trump has declared the Emoluments Clause “phony” and impeachment “a hoax” and a “witch hunt.”

His press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham – along with other Republicans – have termed the inquiry a “kangaroo court.” As has Trump.

Never mind the process is enshrined in the Constitution. And the GOP used it with glee to attack Bill Clinton. Suddenly, aspects of the Constitution have become “phony.”

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration – with the explicit support of its Congressional allies – has sought to hinder or delegitimize every aspect of the inquiry.

Claiming non-existent powers to prevent Congressional testimony. Pointing to positive economic numbers to “prove” the inquiry is a sham. Even attacking a decorated military officer – and Trump aide – when his honest testimony wasn’t favorable to Trump.

All while trying to gloss over…

  • How Trump’s businesses have raked in millions from foreign governments. Such as a lobbyist for Saudi interests rented hundreds of nights in Trump’s Washington hotel.
  • Trump sticking taxpayers with over $100 million in bills for stays at his own properties.
  • Trump trying to schedule next year’s G7 summit at one of his own golf properties.

All of which Trump’s Congressional defenders appear more than willing to forgive. Especially since Trump is luring Senatorial support with cash.

Cash “Trumps” the Constitution

Donald Trump speaks one language… and one language only. Cash.

Wealth is Trump’s one measure of worth. And spreading it to gain influence his one measure of power.

Which helps explain why Trump is flexing his fundraising muscles to help vulnerable Republican senators. As long as they stand behind him.

If the House votes to impeach, the trial will be held in the Senate. And Trump desperately wants a favorable majority in the Senate.

One way to ensure that is to keep his supporters in office. So, Trump has been “co-fundraising” with GOP Senators whose seats are in peril. At least, those who are reliably in his corner.

Sometime critics – like Maine’s Susan Collins – have been frozen out.

Stand behind Trump, and his influence with mega-donors is yours to exploit. Cross him, and you have to rely on actual voter support to retain your seat.

Politico points out how backing Trump has helped some of the GOP’s most vulnerable senators. “The donors listen to the president,” former George W. Bush aide Scott Jennings, “and he has the most capacity to energize small-dollar contributions by making the case that he needs a Senate majority to be successful.”

In other words, Trump is buying support in the Senate. If he can ensure a senatorial majority in 2020… any impeachment trial could be doomed to failure. Not based on facts, but on cronyism.

For all practical intents and purposes, Trump is attempting to buy support in the Senate.

Call me crazy – and I’m sure the GOP will – but I’m pretty sure that’s not in the Constitution.

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Easley, J., “Trump Calls The Constitution Phony While Comparing Himself To George Washington,” PoliticusUSA.com. Oct 21, 2019.

Wagner, J. “Live updates: White House expects impeachment, press secretary says; Trump calls Pelosi and Schiff ‘corrupt politicians’,” Washington Post. Nov 1, 2019.

Isenstadt, A., “Trump lures GOP senators on impeachment with cold cash,” Politico.com. Oct 31, 2019.

The GOP Has Abandoned American Ideals

“You people with this phony Emoluments Clause.” That’s what Donald Trump said to reporters. A safeguard enshrined in the United States Constitution. And Trump calls it “phony.”

You’d think this would be the final straw for GOP lawmakers. The line none of them would cross.

You’d think. But you’d be wrong. Even after he’s attacked the Constitution itself, Republican leaders still back their boy. Another example of party before country.

But it’s not the only one. Not by a long shot.

For the GOP, Lies “Trump” Truth

GOP members of Congress recently forced their way into a closed committee meeting on impeachment. They demanded a more open and “transparent” process. The Dems, they claimed, were holding secret meetings… and keeping GOP members in the dark.

Never mind that half the committee is made up of Republicans – who could share info with their fellow Repubs. Never mind this was exactly the same policy followed by Trey Gowdy’s GOP Benghazi investigation.

And – most importantly – never mind the committees are following rules laid out by the GOP-majority Congress in 2015.

Now that a Republican is under scrutiny, the process is somehow unfair.

Here’s how insane this “protest” is…

Fox News commentator, Andrew Napolitano, called out the GOP Congressmen on their protest.

That’s right. A Fox News contributor told Conservative members of Congress they are wrong. That’s how far off the charts the GOP has gone.

A federal judge has also ruled the inquiry is legal. House rules allow for subpoenas – and standing committees can interview witnesses in secret – much like a grand jury.

Now that Dems control the process, GOP legislators protest. But they had no objections when Hillary Clinton was the subject of the Benghazi investigations.

Back then, closed committee hearings were critical. In defending closed hearings, GOP Rep. Gowdy said, “Interviews also allow the committee to safeguard the privacy of witnesses who may fear retaliation for cooperating or whose work requires anonymity, such as intelligence community operatives.”

Good reasons for closed-door meetings. Unless, of course, you’re a GOP Congressman trying to defend the indefensible. Then those safeguards become threats to democracy.

And an excuse to breach their own party’s rules…

The Twisted Logic of Matt Gaetz, et al

Perhaps no GOP rep encapsulates the insanity of “party-first” politics than Florida’s Matt Gaetz.

“The Democrats’ impeachment process deserves to be in front of the American people and not behind closed doors,” Gaetz tweeted. “I was proud to lead the charge for transparency with my Republican colleagues last week.”

Yup. Gaetz is proud to lead the charge against his own party’s rules. Proud to breach the sanctity of a secure Congressional hearing room. Proud to bring smart phones into a Congressional chamber where all outside electronics are banned. And probably proud of the pizza they ordered during their “protest.”

Yes… The brave GOP protestors sent out for pizza to sustain themselves during their protest.

According to Gaetz, “Schiff’s anarchic impeachment sham has devolved into mayhem and is entirely antithetical to constitutional principles.”

It’s anarchic, because… what? Because the majority of American voters favor impeachment? A sham because it’s enshrined in the Constitution?

It’s devolved into mayhem? Really? The only mayhem has been the assault on the secure Congressional hearing room by GOP reps. And it’s hard to imagine that a process enshrined in the Constitution is “entirely antithetical to constitutional principles.”

Keep in mind we’re talking about a president who’s used his office to enrich his family business time and again. Who’s uttered more than 13,000 recordedlies since taking office. And who set a quid pro quo to release funding Congress directed for a key ally.

He’s favored the word of a Russian oligarch over the findings of our combined intelligence community. He’s consistently praised dictators, while alienating our democratic allies. And he’s nominated ethically challenged cronies to the highest executive offices in the land.

Yet Gaetz and company consistently defend Trump. The GOP has abandoned American ideals. Winning for the party has become more important than serving their country. And “the party” represents – more and more – a shrinking base of wealthy white males.

The GOP Is Bringing Us Back to America’s Beginning

Our Founding Fathers had vision. But it was vision informed by a narrow view. Wealthy white men had controlled their world for as long as they knew. So, they established a nation with high ideals… but hampered by the view that wealthy white men were superior.

Bit by bit, America grew. We slowly accepted that blacks, Native Americans, and women were equal to white males. We fought past open racism… past segregation… past immigration quotas… past religious barriers… and past prejudices against women.

Black Americans counted as more than 3/5 of a person. Women won the right to vote. Native Americans were counted as citizens. We made progress.

The GOP wants to change all that.

Their immigration policies favor rich whites. And ban “undesirables.” Their tax plan – already enacted – favors the rich. Who are mostly white.

They want to control women’s reproductive choices. They want to expand a prison system already the most extensive in the world. They want to slowly strangle Social Security and Medicare – in favor of a bloated military budget.

The GOP wants to take us back to a time when wealthy white men controlled everything. Essentially, back to the beginning of our Republic. But with no chance for growth.

Which is why we have to stand firm. To fight every regressive step the GOP champions. To call out anti-Americans like Matt Gaetz for what they are: Regressives.

The GOP has no interest in progress. Just the opposite. Their goal is to turn the clock back. Back to a time when all the power was in the hands of a few rich white men.

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.

The Cascade of Lies

Yesterday, the Republican response to the infamous Ukraine transcript was muted. Today, the GOP came out with guns blazing. And – as usual – the Dems seemed unprepared for the onslaught.

Everyone from KellyAnne Conway to Ronna McDaniel to the official GOP Twitter account were flooding social media with their version of the story. And, as you might imagine, it was pretty far removed from reality.

But here’s the thing: As George Orwell pointed out, if you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it.

For instance…

Meet Adam Schiff, Evil-Doer

In his opening statements in today’s hearings, Adam Schiff paraphrased the transcript of the call. He accurately stated the gist of the conversation… but put it more or less in gangster terms. It was crystal clear what he was doing.

That’s okay, social media accounts on the Right immediately posted how Schiff had “made stuff up” and “lied” about what was in the transcript. Technically – taken completely out of context – these claims were true.

When Schiff pointed out he was parodying what went on during the call, the Right was ready. Schiff, they broadcast, has admitted to lying and making stuff up. Again, technically – and taken entirely out of context – true.

But a clear misrepresentation.

That won’t matter to Trump’s core voters, though. They’ll take these half-truths and misrepresentations as gospel. Which erodes what little chance there may have been of waking up some of these Trumpers.

Then there’s poor President Zelensky.

Meet the Embattled National Leader

Imagine living in Ukraine. After decades of domination by the U.S.S.R., your nation wins its freedom. It begins to reach out to the West… and Mother Russia gets royally pissed off.

To make a long story short, an unhappy Russia seizes the Crimean Peninsula – one of your nation’s jewels. At the same time, your giant neighbor foments unrest in your Eastern provinces. And years of looting by crooked Putin-backed politicians has left you low on funds.

Your government needs Western support to survive. And the U.S. is there, dangling hundreds of millions in military aid.

Then your newly elected president gets a call from Donald Trump. We’ve been very good to you, Trump says… but it seems like you haven’t returned the favor.

What can Zelensky – a political neophyte – do? He agrees. 1,000%. We need a favor, Trump tells him.

Could any reasonable person expect Zelensky to refuse? His nation’s existence hangs in the balance… and a powerful potential ally wants a little favor. A favor so small and inconsequential, Trump feels the need to state and restate it eight times.

You say, “Yes,” of course. Your country desperately needs those defense dollars.

Work with A.G. Bill Barr? No problem. And Rudy Giuliani? Done. Investigate a closed investigation? Sure. If you’re worried about your country’s continued existence, you’d agree to a lot more than that.

Now picture Zelensky at a press conference with Trump. Trump says it was just an ordinary, friendly call… right? What do you say in front of all those cameras? You say, “Yes,” of course. “No pushed.”

But if you watch President Zelensky’s face during the press conference, you know differently. This is a man who felt cornered. A man who loves his country so much, he’ll put up with Trump’s lies and bullying to get what Ukraine needs.

Even Zelensky, the professional actor, couldn’t hide how awful he felt in those moments.

The Abandonment of Truth… and Legality

As Trump’s apologists go to work, let’s take a quick look at how the Trump administration has fared legally.

According to The Daily Kos, by September of 2018, Trump’s team had achieved quite a distinction. More members of the Trump administration have been indicted and convicted of federal crimes than any Democratic administration of the last 50 years!

In fact, over the last 50 years (as of September 2018), only 4 members of Democratic campaigns and administrations have been indicted for felonies. For Republicans, the number is 127. If you include foreigners, the numbers change to 4 and 155.

That’s right. Almost 39 times moreRepublican officials have been charged with serious crimes than Democrats. And – at only 2 years old at the time of this survey – Trump’s administration was already second only to Nixon’s.

In the last 50 years, two members of Democratic administrations have been convicted of felonies. For Republicans, that number is 95.

The whistleblower report shows how Trump has used U.S. funds to influence foreign leaders to support his re-election. The report also claims Trump may have used similar tactics before. And that White House operatives have actively sought to cover up for their boss by filing calls on a high-security server… rather than the server where such “routine” calls should be kept.

Yet operatives on the Right continue to defend Trump. Regardless of how far they have to stray from the truth… or how far out of legal bounds Trump roams.

By the numbers, Trump’s administration is corrupt… second only to Nixon’s. With more than 12,000 confirmed lies under his belt, how can anyone believe anything he says?

Yet the Right is flooding social media with distortions – and outright lies – to combat the truth. So their “chosen one” can dismantle our Democracy.

The Left has to stop being silent. We need to speak out – and forcefully. If we don’t stem this cascade of lies, we risk losing it all.

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“UPDATED: Comparing Presidential Administrations by felony arrests and convictions,” The Daily Kos. Sep 18, 2018.

The Party of Lincoln?

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so I’ll keep this short. Once again, racism has raised its ugly head in the form of a Republican leader.

Ronald Reagan, speaking to President Richard Nixon, made some of the most offensive racist remarks I’ve ever heard. “Last night, I tell you,” Reagan commented, “to watch that thing on television as I did. To see those monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”

That’s pretty bad… but so was Nixon’s response. He laughed.

That’s right. Two Republican presidents of the last half-century shared an incredibly racist moment.

The Republicans call themselves “the party of Lincoln.” But literally half their presidents in the last 50 years have been unapologetic racists.

And Trump is no different.

A Consistent History of Racism

Reagan’s opposition to civil rights legislation is a matter of record. And how much more do you need from Nixon than that laugh? Well, how about this:

“We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls…”

Now, to his credit (?), Nixon followed this up with a claim he had “the greatest affection for” African Americans. But he also noted, “…but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too.”

Nixon also appeared to blame African nations for the U.N. vote to seat Beijing in place of Taiwan in 1971.

“As you can imagine, there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as he (Reagan) said,” Nixon complained to then-Secretary of State Rogers, “he saw these, as he said, he saw these… these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

“Negro bastards”… “cannibals”… No racism there, right?

Reagan made quite an impression on Nixon on that call. “But he is, of course,” the president told Secretary Rogers, “outraged. And I found out what outraged him… and he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.”

Yup. There’s the “party of Lincoln,” actively pursuing racial equality. But here’s the point…

The Tail Follows the Head

Some may claim “rogue elements” within the Republican Party are also racist. But that’s not how a body works.

The tail wags when the head tells it to. And if the racist tail of the Republican Party is wagging, it’s only because they’ve gotten a message from the head.

Like neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville protests being “fine people.” Or the “Send her back,” chanters at Trump’s recent rally being “incredible patriots.”

Or Trump’s misrepresentation of NFL players’ protests against police violence. He re-cast the protests as being anti-flag and anti-American. Not anti-violence.

Or his frequent attacks on majority-black communities as “rat-infested, “crime-infested,” or any number of other negatives. Noting “no human being” would want to live in Baltimore… suggesting those who do are something less than human.

The resurgence of open racism in America has taken its cues from the Racist-in-Chief. Trump has normalized racist sentiments. He consistently depicts non-whites as sub-human. And when anyone dares push back, he accuses them of racism.

Lincoln Is Spinning in His Grave

Lincoln may have been a reluctant convert to equality. But he saw it as the key to a successful Union. And to his credit, he took the ultimate political gamble. He fought Congress to make black Americans at least nominally equal to white Americans.

But the party of Lincoln has been hijacked. The GOP long ago abandoned the idea of equality. And that’s been abundantly illustrated by the party’s leadership over the last 50 years. Their fight to preserve segregation… their “separate but equal” charade… their opposition to the civil rights movement.

Nixon was a racist… Reagan was a racist… and so is Trump.

Time and again, Trump denies his racism while sounding racist dog whistles. He claims ignorance, while white supremacists praise his words and actions. He protests his innocence, while his administration pursues a clearly racist agenda.

Why has the only black Republican Congressman just announced his retirement? Why is there only one black Cabinet member? And why has the Trump Organization been dogged by charges of racial discrimination since the 1970s?

Let’s face it. The party of Lincoln has become the party of White Privilege… and those in power are reluctant to share. Especially with people of color.

As for Honest Abe, he’s busy spinning in his grave.

Time to Wake Up! The Republicans Are Gaslighting America.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R – LA) just appeared on Fox News. One of his talking points? The so-called “Green New Deal.”

“The Green New Deal,” he said. “Just think about how laughable… cows are banned… planes are banned…”

Of course, this is pure B.S. But it’s a common GOP talking point. And, as they continue to hammer on this fantasy, their core supporters eat it up.

Scalise’s idiotic depiction of the Green New Deal came on the heels of a comment on how much Trump has done “to get this economy moving again.”

Which, in reality is almost nothing. The economy crashed under our last Republican president – George W. Bush. The economy got moving again under President Obama. Under Obama…

  • Unemployment dropped significantly
  • The stock market came roaring back
  • The avalanche of home foreclosures slowed to a trickle.

But Trump and the Republicans are taking credit for it all.

They’re Gaslighting America… and we have to call them on it every time.

The Republican Assault on Truth Rules the Twitterverse

My Twitter feed this morning included these pro-Trump posts…

  • The GOP quoted chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, saying “… the Democrat Party wants to take away Pretty much everything from the American people… to fund a health care plan.” This, of course, is blatantly false.
  • A GOP re-tweet of a McDaniel post claiming, “[Democrats]want the government to take over every aspect of our lives from education to health care.” Again, completely false.
  • A misleading post from Rep. Jim Jordan doing a hatched job on Jim Comey.
  • A post from Sarah Huckabee Sanders mis-stating the Democratic position on firearms.
  • A wildly spun post from the “Trump War Room” saying Pete Buttigieg accused Trump voters in his state of “supporting racism.” He didn’t. He said, at best, Trump voters are “looking the other way” on the issue. And the comment wasn’t aimed at Hoosiers.
  • Another GOP retweet – this one from Elizabeth Harrington – implying Beto O’Rourke was in favor of ignoring the 2ndAmendment, and wanted to take away everyone’s guns. O’Rourke actually said he was in favor of ending private ownership of assault weapons.

And on and on it went. Every single Republican tweet I read was either misleading or out-and-out false.

Luckily for us, the Democrats have an active well-orchestrated truth machine countering this onslaught on reality.

Just kidding. For the most part, the Dems seem to ignore the GOP gaslighting campaign… with just a few notable exceptions.

The Democratic Party Is Wimping Out

This morning’s tweet from the Dems? An offer to win two tickets to the next candidates’ debate. I kid you not.

The GOP flooded Twitter with misinformation – or massive “spin,” if you prefer. The Dems respond by offering two tickets to a snooze-fest. Really? Have they learned nothing from The Squad? Apparently so.

Meanwhile, a Republican PAC ran an ad during the Democratic debate depicting an image of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) going up in flames. That’s a violent act that encourages more acts of violence.

AOC responded by calling out Republican “hysteria” and laying out her party’s goals. Fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib backed her up.

But the Democratic Party? Crickets.

I follow the Dems on Twitter, and they post far less than the GOP. The opposition is pumping out an endless stream of mis-information… and the Dems remain virtually silent.

For a growing number of voters, social media is a key source of information… and the Dems are blowing it. Who could have imagined a bunch of old white guys could out-gun the diverse Democratic Party on social media?

But it sure seems to be happening.

Guess what, Dems. If you don’t wise up, democracy as we know it will be at an end. So enough with the snooze-fest tickets already!

You have to fight back.

And that means more of your team has to spend a lot more time at their keyboards.

Demographics Are on Our Side

The GOP is the party of old white men. The party of religious conservatives. The party of white nationalists.

Democrats tend to be younger, more diverse, and technologically savvier. Better educated. So why isn’t the party reaching out more effectively on social media? Lord only knows.

The Dems lost state houses because the party focused on the big picture. And all but ignored local races. Now they seem to be losing the social media battle because…

Because… Well, nobody has a good idea why. Lack of trying, maybe? Did the party learn nothing from Obama’s online success? Apparently so.

The GOP is blanketing social media with misinformation. The longer the Dems ignore it, the stronger the grip these lies will have.

Look… Dems have the demographic advantage. They need to use it. They need to get more active online. To broadcast the truth on social media. To fight fear-mongering with facts. To call out the GOP’s lies and mis-representations.

To flood social media with the truth.

The Squad can’t do it for you. But they canset an example. Yes; they’re younger and more progressive. But – in the final analysis – their goals are the same as yours: An America that’s just. That shining light on the hill.

2020 is fast approaching. Our democracy may not withstand 4 more years of Trump. But it’s not too late.

President Obama showed how powerful social media can be. The Squad has shown how easily it can be turned to your cause.

The truth is a powerful ally. Use it to counter the GOP’s Gaslight campaign online. Because the alternative is unthinkable.

The Party of Lincoln

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so I’ll keep this short. Once again, racism has raised it’s ugly head in the form of a Republican leader.

Ronald Reagan, speaking to President Richard Nixon, made some tryly offensive racist remarks. “Last night, I tell you,” Reagan commented, “to watch that thing on television as I did. To see those monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”

That’s pretty bad… but so was Nixon’s response. He laughed.

That’s right. Two Republican presidents of the last half-century shared an incredibly racist moment.

The Republicans endlessly refer to themselves as “the party of Lincoln.” But literally half their presidents over the last 50 years were apparently unapologetic racists.

And Trump is no different.

A Consistent History of Racism

Reagan’s opposition to civil rights legislation is a matter of record. And how much more do you need from Nixon than that laugh? Well, how about this:

“We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls…”

Now, to his credit (?), Nixon followed this up with a claim he had “the greatest affection for” African Americans. But he also noted, “…but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too.”

Nixon also appeared to blame African nations for the U.N. vote to seat Beijing in place of Taiwan in 1971.

“As you can imagine, there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as he [Reagan] said,” Nixon complained to then-Secretary of State Rogers, “He saw these, as he said, he saw these… these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

“Negro bastards”… “cannibals”… No racism there, right?

Reagan made quite an impression on Nixon on that call. The president told Secretary Rogers, “Reagan called me last night, and I didn’t talk to him until this morning.”

“But he is,” Nixon continued, “of course, outraged. And I found out what outraged him… and he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.”

Yup. There’s the “party of Lincoln,” actively pursuing racial equality. But here’s the salient point…

The Tail Follows the Head

You can claim there are simply “rogue elements” within the Republican Party who are also racist. But that’s not how a body works.

The tail wags when the head tells it to. And if the racist tail of the Republican Party is wagging, it’s only because they’ve gotten a message from the head.

Like neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville protests being “fine people.” Or the “Send her back,” chanters at Trump’s recent rally being “incredible patriots.”

Or the response to Trump’s misrepresentation of black NFL players’ protests against police violence. He re-cast the protests as being anti-flag and anti-American.

Or his frequent attacks on majority-black communities as “rat-infested, “crime-infested,” or any number of other negatives. Noting “no human being” would want to live in Baltimore… suggesting those who do are something less than human.

The resurgence of open racism in America has taken its cues from the Racist-in-Chief. Trump has normalized racist sentiments. He consistently depicts non-whites as sub-human. And when anyone dares push back, he accuses them of racism.

Lincoln Is Spinning in His Grave

Lincoln may have been a reluctant convert to equality. But he saw it as the key to a successful Union. And to his credit, he took the ultimate political gamble. He fought Congress to make black Americans at least nominally equal to white Americans.

But the party of Lincoln has been hijacked. The GOP long ago abandoned the idea of equality. And that’s been abundantly illustrated by the party’s leadership over the last 50 years. Just look at their opposition to the civil rights movement. And how they’re trying to roll its gains back even today.

Nixon was racist… Reagan was racist… and so is Trump.

Time and again, Trump denies his racism while sounding racist dog whistles. He claims ignorance, while white supremacists praise his words and actions. He protests his innocence, while his administration pursues a clearly racist agenda.

Why has the only black Republican Congressman just announced his retirement? Why is there only one black Cabinet member? And why has the Trump Organization been dogged by charges of racial discrimination since the 1970s?

Let’s face it. The party of Lincoln has become the party of White Privilege… and those in power are reluctant to share.

As for Honest Abe, he’s busy spinning in his grave.

If They Don’t Like It Here…

We all heard Donald Trump’s latest (as I write this, anyway) racist dog whistle. “Why don’t they go back,” he tweeted about four members of Congress, “and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Generations of racists have shouted pretty much the same thing to anyone in the U.S. that didn’t look like them. Or speak their language. Or go to their church. Etc.

Now that his base has gotten the message, Trump has been backing off just a bit on the language. Now he’s not saying, “Go back where you came from!” Instead, he’s tempered his message to “If you don’t like it here, leave.”

There are two reasons this message may be even more dangerous than the openly racist “Go back where you came from.” Here’s why…

Nobody Said They Didn’t Like It Here

Trump’s “tempered” message starts with a boatload of lies. Members of The Squad – as they’re now known – hate America. They’re anti-Semitic. They’ve called Americans “garbage” and praised al-Qaida.

Of course, none of these claims are true. Trump is making it all up. Just as he made up the claim that he tried to stop attendees at his rally from chanting, “Send her back!” He basked in the chant till it stopped on its own – a full 13 seconds. Then he said nothing to discourage the audience.

Congresswomen Pressley, Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez have shown they love our country. Their policy stands favor the majority of Americans over the handful of wealthy masters Trump serves. They press for a living wage… universal healthcare… a clean environment… women’s equality… LGBTQ rights… and affordable college. (To name a few.)

All these issues put them at odds with the Trump Administration. And they’re not shy about calling Trump and his cronies out.

Those disagreements are why Trump says they hate America. And he’s willing to fabricate all sorts of horror stories to “prove” it.

Open racism is indefensible. Criticizing those who hate America isn’t. So, Trump has moved on to safer ground. As he so often does.

Give the base a solid shout-out… then back off a bit to a safer path. A path that’s usually paved with lies.

The Master of Hypocrisy

Let’s take Trump at his word for a moment. What he really meant, he tells us, was they can leave if they don’t like it here. And they must not like it, because they’re always complaining.

Okay, fair enough. Let’s look at someone else complaining…

If there’s one thing Donald Trump knows how to do it’s complain. Followed closely by finding fault. So you’d think he’d leave any country or organization he didn’t like, right?

Let’s see how Trump has tweeted about his own political party over the years. Here’s a sampling…

  • Jul 2011 – “The GOP doesn’t waste an opportunity to waste an opportunity.”
  • Oct 2011 – “The GOP primary schedule is a disaster.”
  • Jan 2012 – “The GOP primary is getting very nasty. The candidates need to remember that @BarackObama is the main target.”
  • Jan 2013 – “The worst negotiators in history (otherwise known as Republicans) have just offered to suspend debt ceiling for four months. Pathetic!”
  • Jan 2013 – “@GOP is burying itself. 63% of Republican voters think @GOP Congress is ‘out of touch.’”
  • Feb 2013 – “The ruling @GOP consultant class of losers like @KarlRove have no respect for the Tea Party. They do this at their own peril!”
  • Feb 2013 – “What is wrong with the @GOP? Now they want to give all authority on the sequester cuts to Obama… Pathetic.”
  • Jul 2013 – “Why is the @GOP congress focusing on amnesty when so many Americans are unemployed?”
  • Apr 2015 – “Why are the Republicans giving Obama fast track authority for TPP and the Iran agreement?! Obama gets more from the GOP than his own party.”

And then Trump entered the 2016 race…

  • Jul 2015 – “@GovernorPerry failed on the border. He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate.”
  • Nov 2015 – “Going to Ohio, home of one of the worst presidential candidates in history–Kasich.”
  • Nov 2015 – “With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stab a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage – don’t people get it?”
  • Dec 2015 – “A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent.”
  • Feb 2016 – “Cruz is the worst liar, crazy or very dishonest. Perhaps all 3?”
  • Mar 2016 – Rubio is weak on illegal immigration, with the worst voting record in the U.S. Senate in many years.”
  • Feb 2016 – “Lightweight @JebBush said tonight he didn’t know his family used private eminent domain in Texas- Lie!”
  • Feb 2016 – “Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics…”
  • Feb 2016 – “Wow, Jeb Bush, whose campaign is a total disaster, had to bring in mommy to take a slap at me.”
  • Aug 2017 – “Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done.”

And this is just a sampling from Trump’s tweets. No speeches, interviews, or other sources. Just. His. Tweets. And look how he apparently despises the GOP.

Yet he ran as a Republican. Hired the people he trashed during the primaries. And praised others he had so recently run down. What happened to “love it or leave it?” What’s the difference?

The difference is clear. The members of Congress he attacked are women of color. Trump’s message couldn’t be clearer: America is for whites. All others can take the crumbs they’re tossed… or they’re welcome to leave.

And it just doesn’t get any more racist – or anti-American – than that.

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Tweets sourced from trumptwitterarchive.com.