"People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they are
"I find two opinions are better than one, particularly if one is mine," Sister Monica Joan, PBS Call The Midwife TV series
New York Times Endorses Amy Klobuchar & Elizabeth Warren
Wow. I came to a similar conclusion in October about Klobuchar. A national endorsement could be the game changer Amy needs as the Iowa caucus approaches:
"The New York Times editorial board endorsed the two leading female candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on Sunday, throwing its support behind Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The board’s decision to back not one but two candidates is a significant break with convention, one that it says is meant to address the “realist” and “radical” models being presented to voters by the 2020 Democratic field. While arguing that President Trump must be defeated, the board does not take a position on the best path forward for Democrats, writing that both approaches warrant serious consideration." [link]
I'm not a fan of either Warren or Sanders. Their proposals (free
health care, free college, etc.) are never going to get approved, even when
Democrats win back the Senate and give Mitch McConnell a pink-slip. Amy,
Pete & Joe are the logical choices in the elections ahead.
Lists of Shame
(Trump summary websites):
Trump Bashing; or, More Factual Reasons Why Trump Should Not Be President:
post: State of Union - threats
Other fairly interesting thoughts by Mike:
Most Americans Appear
To Be Overexposed
Are you, or are people you care about, being influenced in negative and nefarious ways? Sometimes it is difficult to discern. If you consider yourself to be average you are likely bein' exposed to around 5,000 ads each day ... and yes, plenty of those messages are duplicates. Snazzy marketeers have learned most folks need to receive (hear, read, experience) ad messages 7 times before they're inclined to take action. Academic types even gave that theory a name: "the rule of 7." Repetition apparently works, and likely over time, we all become a little brainwashed.
Think for a second of the ad-slogans that currently clutter & reside in our heads. Drawing a blank? Try our quiz (answers @ end). Name a product or company that used these slogans:
But do we really need all of these messages? That question may sound strange coming from a guy who enjoyed a career in advertising ... first, in newspaper/print ads - also known as "creative advertising" - sellers seeking buyers: "try NEW Zip Ultra!" Then I worked in directory advertising which is often viewed as "directional advertising" - buyers seeking sellers. Who fixes your broken what-cha'ma'call-it? (furnace, tire, smart-fone screen, etc.) I'll admit my opinion (do we need all of these ads) in a word, no. Though some folks may respond more forcefully, as in: "HELL NO!"
Think about it - from what we know about the Russian attempts to meddle in our election here in America, circa 2016 ... no votes that were cast were altered. The "meddling" largely had to do with influence peddling ... ads on social media & posts by robots or agents of the Russian hackers meant to be disruptive. While I'd like to see Facebook and other social media sites to be treated like all other media, they are not now, and we have an election in a bit over 9-months. The rules about intentionally posting fake news and inaccurate crap likely won't change soon, so it's up to consumers to provide their own personal filtration. One way to do this is block the messages in the 1st place. How? try this simple trick: STOP GIVING EVERY ONE YOUR EMAIL or "smart fone" number!!! Stop getting so many "news feeds" and "alerts." Just stop it. Russia meddling would not have any affect if people were ignoring it ... and why not cut off the nonsense at the source. If the messages, emails, social media posts were not responded to - they would soon stop. (I realize the likelihood of that happening are slim.)
But I feel the same is true with all sorts of problems society faces today. Tired of getting hacked and giving evil doers access to your private info? There are dozens of things consumers can do to protect themselves & their info/data ... but it'll take some effort on your part to do some research and change those bad habits. By staying on top of things you should be able to dramatically cut the volume of junk mail (postal & cyber) by carefully opting-out and use of free do-not-call/contact services. They won't stop all the junk, but will cut it tremendously. Also, unsubscribe from news-feeds and newsletters that do not delight you.
And most importantly, learn to consume legitimate news sources daily ... be it printed newspapers or online ... just make sure its an actual news entity and not some biased organization like Fox News, One America, Newsmax, or Info Wars. These are politically-backed purveyors of baloney & evil.
quiz answers: 1. Brylcreem; 2. Nike; 3. Alka-Seltzer; 4. Capital One.
posted on a frozen, but sunny day: 01.20.20
Dive For Cover As The Evidence Mounts: GOP Unfit For Office
The list of evidence grows. First, there is the list of Republicans who may have been "never Trumpers" before they caved & submitted to the Donald. The second list is the growing mountain of evidence which proves the case to remove Trump from office. Both lists oughta' be an embarrassment for voters who still support the president ... even in the face of the evidence already uncovered. "He's done a good job appointing conservative judges," the conservative voters say. Or, "it's the economy, stupid - of course I support the president." Never mind that the economy Trump inherited had largely been repaired by the Obama/Biden administration after the last Republican controlled White House (Bush/Cheney) nearly ruined the global economy with their unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts.
Embarrassing List One - the spineless "never Trumper" Republicans
March 2016 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo obviously flip-flopped on the Donald since he's now working for the guy. Back then Pompeo was campaigning for little Marco Rubio and the Washington Post reported: when he warned GOP voters in Kansas that a vote for Trump would be a vote for an authoritarian president, “It's time to turn down the lights on the circus.” Then, after the election, Pompeo ran away from home and joined the circus, and became a 'forever Trumper'. [Note: there are dozens of additional examples - and Mike may add s'more ... but for now, these two are pretty rich.]
Embarrassing List Two - evidence mounts, are Republicans really
Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to President Trump decided his best course of action was to go public and confess what he knows about
team Trump's shameful dealing with the Ukraine.
USA Today reports that
in the interviews with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC & Anderson Cooper on CNN that Parnas
said Trump "knew exactly what was going on" in a campaign to pressure
the Ukrainian gov't to open politically motivated investigations. Parnas said Giuliani told Ukrainian leaders that Parnas specifically spoke on the president’s behalf.
Democrats have cited these interviews and the thousands of pages
of documents he produced on as further evidence of the Trump
administration's involvement and knowledge in the scheme. Meanwhile, Republicans
"melt down as evidence of Trump’s guilt piles up" reports
the Daily Beast.
See Lindsey Graham's stunning about-face on Trump and impeachment [video link].
Also, you too can read the text of Graham's complete speech as lead House manager prosecuting Wm.
Jefferson Clinton back in 1998. >
U.S. Inquiry Into FBI, Clinton Spurred by Republicans Ends Without Results
Here's a news item that will get buried today on Fox News ... or ignored altogether:
For years a regular feature at every Trump rally has been the
full-throated audience participation chant lead by Donald J. Trump:
The funny thing is, the federal prosecutor Jeff Sessions assigned to the inquiry back in 2017 has finally determined it's a 'nothing burger' ... just as the "deep state" investigation by justice department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found: "no evidence of political bias by the bureau when it opened an investigation into contacts between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia in 2016".
What do you bet the chants will continue, regardless of the facts & truth?
Claims Proven To Be False - But His Base Doesn't Care
Whether it's reported on Fox News or One America or heard on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity's syndicated talk-fest radio programs, or Tweeted on the internet ... much of what President Trump says has been proven to be wrong. But his base of supporters largely do not care (nor do they know the facts). The trouble is, for Republicans, the facts are published and slowly Trump's base is waking up from their drunken haze and coming to their senses.
Example: a big chunk of the Donald's base has been the US military personnel. Just a year ago he had the support of a huge chunk of our nation's best & bravest. Not now. In a comprehensive survey this month by the right-wing respected Military Times, the Donald's favorable ratings have tanked. Today only 41.6% support Trump, while his unfavorable ratings have spiked to 49.9%.
Source: poll completed 12.02.19 of 1,630 active-duty troops conducted by the Military Times (partnered with Syracuse Univ Institute for Veterans & Military Families. The poll was completed 12.02.19. [read more]
More documented negative reviews: Snopes Truth-o-meter™ says Trump's claims are FALSE.
posted with pride 12.29.19 (Mike says: "I may be getting smoked by Louise in our annual college Bowl Pickers contest ... but when it comes to the volume of things the President has said or done that puts our nation in danger, or is just flat-out-false & wrong ... I have documented enough facts to significantly embarrass his supporters & justify impeachment.)
told me” (Ukraine is the real culprit)
Ukraine was the real culprit because “Putin told me,” Donald Trump said to several of his White House advisors during his rocky 3-yr term in office. Trump can not stand any hint that his election was tainted in any way which is why he fired two FBI directors, and fought against the Mueller investigation, and now battling the House impeachment inquiry. He's totally bought-in to the false claim circulated by Russian security services that it was Ukraine who interfered in 2016 elections. [source: there are hundreds of reports summarizing these details - like the Washington Post]
What is sad, however, is how many Republicans have adopted the same allegation which has been publicly debunked many times ... even by people who held offices in, and appointed by, the Trump administration. Fiona Hill, former WH expert on Russia & assistant to John Bolton, Trump's hand-picked National Security advisor, said during recent House public hearings: “Some of you on this committee,” said Hill, “appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.” Thanks to a variety of news sources we have actual video footage of these Republicans ... saying stuff that has been proven to be false ... yet, Republican voters keep re-electing these creepy people. Why?
Listen for yourself and join me in publicly shaming these people: Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Sec't of State Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow - interviewed by fellow wing-nut Sean Hannity of Fox News. There are more but I have better things to do with my time than spoon-feed Republican voters. Look 'em up yourself. posted 12.22.19
Largely Older, White, Less Educated Voters
It is not a surprise to political scientists: Trump's base is loaded with angry, less educated, older, white male voters from our nation's mid-section and Southern states.
Yes, it's true the Donald "won" in Northern states like Michigan, Wisconsin & Pennsylvania...but in Michigan his margin of victory was pretty slim: around 10,000 votes. No, Trump "won" Michigan because Democrats opted to not turn out and vote ... some say everyone thought Hillary was a "lock" so why bother. Others said just enough 3rd party votes were cast to defeat Hillary ... and as previously mentioned here, the Detroit/Wayne County, MI voter turnout was pathetically low. It's a fact: Black folks in Detroit did not turn out like they had in '08 & '12 ... and elections have consequences. And the consequence of 2016, besides meddling with Russians, the nation/world get to deal with Trump ... for now. Come 2020 if he's still in office voters will have a chance to remedy the situation with Trump as well as remove all the Republicans who obstructed/contributed to the problems we've faced the past 3-yrs.
Outside of MI, WI & PA there are a group of voters who see themselves as "left behind" by previous administrations, & comprise intolerant people who seldom bother to dig into issues for them selves - rather, these are people highly influenced by advertising (traditional & online thru unregulated venues like Facebook), and conservative media like One America and to a lesser extent lately, Fox News. These are the folks who often try to punish invisible minorities, women, gays, liberals, and are the same people who go to church on Sunday and then turn around and display their hatred for fellow Americans and immigrants on Monday. [note: there are tons of news stories that back up these observations - if you question the accuracy, Google it and read for yourself ... here's a link to one good source: the National Academy of Sciences.]
The NY Times reported a few months ago: "In less than a decade, from 2010 to 2018, whites without a college degree grew from 50 to 59 percent of all the Republican Party’s voters, while whites with college degrees fell from 40 to 29 percent of the party’s voters. The biggest shift took place from 2016 to 2018." Education levels did not change that much over such a short period of time - this shift involves voter movement from one party affiliation (or no affiliation) to another ... such as, Independents who became Republicans, or Democrats who put on a MAGA hat and joined the GOP.
Rush Limbaugh loves to attack residents on both the East & West coasts, claiming that Trump paid attention to a "forgotten group" in the Mid-West ... "fly-over country" el-Rushbo calls it. Yeah, as if it makes total sense that the savior of these "fly-over" folks would be a thrice married, fake billionaire, reality TV show host from New York City. Sorry, Rush but your theory doesn't hold up. "GOP success was driven far more by sexism and racism than by economic anxiety," writes Tom Jacobs for Pacific Standard. [read the source]
Amy Klobuchar’s big night on the Democratic presidential debate stage
Louise & I recorded the debate last night and have watched about 1/2 of it so far ... but our initial reaction is that PBS/Politico did a fairly nice job in coordinating this 6th Democratic debate production (though, please ixnay the annoying moving screen behind the candidates, please ... its not just a PBS problem - MSNBC and others do it too and it makes me dizzy).
Senator Klobuchar had the best responses to the moderators questions - and they don't sound like portions of past-stump speeches ... which is exactly what it sounds like when Bernie & Elizabeth speak ... like watching re-runs of their angry positions which will never fly in a general election. Mayor Pete seemed a bit distracted, less happy, less inspirational. Tom Steyer needs to channel his funds to Senatorial races to ensure Mitch McConnell gets neutralized & Democrats regain control of both houses of Congress; and, Andrew Yang needs to go find his neck-tie and lend a hand at home with the care of his special needs child.
Klobuchar & Biden? Biden & Klobuchar? Klobuchar & Buttigieg?
All the above combinations could be interesting ... and would eliminate the GOP claim that Democrats are nothing but lazy socialists. The debate offers a clear contrast between the major parties, and this clearly was Amy's night to shine. Joe Biden had a good night too. Maybe these two oughta' be our candidates - running mates - to defeat the Donald in November. Some folks have said: "Joe will be 82 in 2024 - surely if he wins in 2020 he'll be a one-term president given his age." Okay, fine, then VP Klobuchar can run for a promotion to the White House ... because there is no freaking way any Republican should be seriously considered for decades (given their track record the last two times the GOP won).
The Boston Globe says Klobuchar was the "dynamic, self-assured, and funny senator from Minnesota we saw Thursday on the Democratic presidential debate stage."
The Globe article went on: "Taken as a whole, her performance made a strong case for herself as a smart, pragmatic, legislatively accomplished center-left candidate — one with the prospect of bringing swing voters and swing states along." Well done, Senator.
|Voters Choice: Believe GOP/Fox News vs. Read/Think For Yourself|
Trump finally gets what he deserves: Impeachment!
Perhaps the biggest news story of the year is featured in Thursday's newspapers coast-to-coast ... and yes, the Detroit Free Press (Gannett/New Media) still devotes ¼ of their front page to ads ... selling vehicles.
posted with pride 12.19.19
Trump gets an "F"
for his 6-page rant |
Yesterday the President of the United States communicated with the Speaker of the House ... in writing no-less. He is, after all, the great communicator and negotiator!
Mr. Trump was so pleased with his weekend homework assignment he opted to leak it to the press. The press, as one might expect, took time to "fact-check" and grade the Donald's work. People who have actually been paying attention to the evidence produced in the House Impeachment Inquiry (much of that work is described below) have agreed, that besides the postal address for Pelosi, and the date of the memo, little else appears to be accurate.
The NY Times went so far as preparing an annotated version for your reading pleasure. It also makes a great stocking-stuffer for that special someone on your holiday gift-giving list. Links:
posted with pride 12.18.19
Evidence Impeachment Proceedings Right Now Is Playing Into The GOP & Trump's
Republicans have largely "drank the Donald's Kool-Aid" over the past 3-yrs and without some new incentive the GOP will not be voting in the Senate to remove Trump from office. The House has plenty of evidence to justify voting for impeachment but the Democrats have not persuaded Republicans to budge.
The Los Angles Times has a great opinion piece in today's news section that everyone who cares, oughta' read: "How Democrats can call the Republicans’ bluff on impeachment" Here's the essence of the article:
So much for impartiality, Mitch! Those comments on national TV alone oughta' cause you to recuse yourself from the trial. It's time Americans let the representatives in Congress know that they are paying attention and will vote in 2020 based who does or doesn't have a spine. Congress needs to hear from former NSC director John Bolton, acting WH Chief of Staff Mulvaney, Sec't of State Pompeo, as well as secure whatever documents the White House has blocked. Without their testimony and companion documents, there is no point bothering to have a vote in the Senate ... Trump will become a martyr.
So if the House vote on impeachment needs to be held off for a month or two, fine ... Congress should wait. Otherwise, the way things are heading if the House votes to impeach - without something new to consider - the Senate will just sweep it all under the rug and let Trump get away with their crimes - and, give Trump's base even more reason to ignore the facts & evidence.
It's a total crack-up hearing the hypocrites reversing their positions today from the Clinton impeachment era ...
learning their actions have consequences|
Some Democrats have harbored ill-will against Republicans ever since the GOP met on the eve of Barack Obama's 1st inauguration and plotted to block all legislative efforts to get anything accomplished. Their blockade failed - the nation's 1st black president got the Affordable Care Act passed, stabilized our economy that GW Bush & Republicans nearly ruined, and launched a consecutive string of monthly jobs growth that continues to this day.
Other progressives point to the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton - our 42nd president of these fractured US of A. There are plenty of reasons for progressive minded, positive people to be pissed about our nation's political landscape. Three-years of Donald Trump's reign of terror could explain much of the contempt voters have against the current administration. But most of us are currently focused on the questionable behavior of Congress - particularly Republicans.
sidebar: one of the most annoying
Republicans performing in these hearings is Matt
above, who has bought into the GOP conspiracy hoax
that Hunter Biden's position on a Ukrainian energy company is somehow
related to the impeachment issues. It is not, and the assertions that
Republicans have unsuccessfully kicked around for years simply illustrates
how low the GOP is willing to go to secure a "win" for Trump. Gaetz
implied in the hearings that Hunter Biden, son of former VP Joe Biden,
needed to make mega bucks because he had a substance abuse problem.
Never mind that #1: the Biden story has nothing to do with issues of a Trump
impeachment, #2: Gaetz himself has a history of substance abuse problems -
pictured above is a campaign billboard highlighting Gaetz 2008 DUI arrest.
Oddly Gaetz refused to allow a breathalyzer test, but charges were dropped
anyway, which contributes to Democrats calling Matt Gaetz a hypocrite.
First, Republicans allowed Trump's personal attorney general Bill Barr to poison the Mueller Report findings with his biased, inaccurate prequel which effectively squelched Congressional action that the Department of Justice sought. Why did Democrats & the media allow that to happen? The report contains scathing evidence, so much so that many people think portions of the Mueller Report findings should have been incorporated into the Articles of Impeachment - but Democrats wanted to keep the charges "simple & focused" for voters to be able to digest, understand & embrace. Meanwhile Republicans observed that DOJ policy prohibits prosecuting a sitting President. Mueller left that action up to Congress - but then Barr negated the issue, refusing to refer obstruction of justice charges to Congress, allowing Trump & his supporters to say the Mueller Report was a waste of 2-yrs and $25 million dollars. (Which is also false.)
Next, Republicans effectively blocked a full investigation into another matter: the Trump administration's handling of Ukrainian foreign aid. The GOP gave political cover to the most corrupt executive office administration in U.S. history; countless times in the past month our Republican members of Congress have done all they can to conflate, muddle, and lie about the facts surrounding the Trump Impeachment Investigation.
Republicans launched an assortment of hollow complaints about the process - most were false and misleading ... like calling the preliminary closed-door hearing "in the bunker" as "secret" even though nearly half of the committee members inside that "bunker" were Republicans who were free to ask witnesses their questions. Then Republicans complained the hearings were illegitimate since the full House had not approved the investigation - so Democrats passed such a vote by the full House of Representatives. Then the GOP complained that the witnesses including the Whistleblower only had "second-hand" information ... which was false - since many of the fact-witnesses testified their first-hand knowledge of the events and proved it was not a "perfect phone call" as Trump repeats constantly at his rallies and on Fox News. The GOP ignores that virtually all of the Whistleblower's charges have been corroborated by other witnesses ... and the call summary Trump produced is just about all the proof that should be required to prove guilt and remove the creep from office.
The people in Congress know better ... if they don't vote to impeach they need to be removed from office by the voters. And if voters act as if the GOP hoax, witch-hunt theories are accurate & true, they need to stop watching Fox News and start reading more source material (see Mike's handy reference library in the far right-hand column on this page) and think for themselves. After digesting the testimony of witnesses, many of whom Trump nominated, citizens get a clear picture that Republicans are lying and the lot of them oughta' get voted out of office.
report confirms the 'oranges' are no hoax|
"...the little fuzzy threads of that hairball conspiracy theory and found it all to be nonsense" - Rachel Maddow, MSNBC
It has not been a witch hunt, reports Justice Dept Inspector General Horowitz who determined: "overall, the FBI met the bar to open the 2016 Russia investigation, and that political animus toward Trump didn’t influence federal law enforcement’s decision to investigate the campaign. And Horowitz dismissed allegations that the FBI illegally spied on Trump’s campaign, destroying one of the president’s most vocal conspiracies." [read more from Vox News]
FBI Director Christopher Wray welcomes the findings and acknowledges the mistakes made by the FBI in seeking authorization for FISA warrant applications. Naturally, Trump and his personal attorney general Wm. Barr are unhappy the 2-yr investigation of the investigators conflate the story with more spin & pledges to launch yet another investigation! You can not make this stuff up.
note: Oranges? If the headline above is confusing, here's a refresher from Esquire magazine:
update: it's hilarious & sad to hear the Republicans popping up on Fox "News" and any other venue that don't mind broadcasting news/information that is factually challenged ... their current BS focus is on the Inspector General's comments about minor procedures and policy violations - process matters not appropriately followed by the FBI in the Carter Page FISA warrants. Forget the fact that the FBI already implemented some 40+ procedural changes (see above link to Christopher Wray) ... forget the fact that the two major findings by the I.G. (#1 - FBI investigations were justified on the Russian interference and possible coordination with the Trump 2016 election campaign; and #2 - no evidence of inappropriate "spying" on Trump & his staff) ... the link to Vox News settled these points yesterday.
My apologies to Ted Cruz for turning off his Fox "News" TV interview earlier today ... it's just so sad how many of these folks have "dunk the Kool-Aid" ... and here I thought Ted said he was a "never Trumper" after the Donald attacked Ted's wife & father. Hypocrites. Republicans are humiliating themselves right now trying to spin the I.G. Report, and intentionally confuse voters about the Trump Impeachment proceedings. Folks, if you are among the "confused" take a little time to become educated & better informed ... read the source material - the article of impeachment are less than nine pages long. The Executive Summary of Horowitz's Report (less than 1-½ pgs) as well as the Majority Report from the House joint committee on impeachment (.pdf file provided - see library item #12) ... you'll be glad you invested the time - and you'll be prepared to speak intelligently at family gatherings thru the holidays.
Where Have All The
That is the question posed by Republican Strategist Rick Wilson overheard on TV news summary shows the other day. Indeed, where are the reasonable Republicans who once stood tall on issues of law & order? Not long ago the GOP was interested in finding truth - honesty. Not so much these days.
"As the impeachment hearings have worn on and as evidence of the complete moral collapse of the Republican Party has become more and more evident, it has become quite obvious there really are traitors among us. There are elected officials who have made the decision to protect a corrupt president by embracing conspiracy theories, refusing to acknowledge sworn testimony of career foreign-service officials, and piling on to Trump’s attack of democratic institutions." [link to Wilson's complete article]
Louise & I have watched a great deal of the House impeachment proceedings - we heard most of the testimony of witnesses and have stayed fairly current on newsy developments ... we have a pretty good grasp who did what regarding this Ukraine controversy manufactured by this White House. So we're sickened when we hear the questions from Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee. It's like viewing the "opposite world" episode on Seinfeld. Everything seems to be eschew ... up is down, black is white.
Take the questioning & commentary from Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) ...
Has Trump fulfilled
his promises on our economy? (No.)|
“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We’ll bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams,” Trump said at his inauguration in January 2017. Sadly just about everything the Donald says or does is factually challenged. That's been true from the first Trump press briefing when press secretary Sean Spicer said "Donald Trump drew the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe." (Actually, that's false.)
photo: Trump visits
Carrier plant in 2018 - the initial good news (saving plant from closing,
moving work to Mexico)
Rinse, Spin (Lie), Repeat|
Two documents have been released in the past 2-days by our illustrious members of the House of Representatives - one offers a summary of facts uncovered thus far in the official investigation of the President of the United States ... the other offers comic relief and little in the way of substance. Republicans on the joint House impeachment investigative committee issued a mindless "prequel" anticipating the release of the official full committee report. The GOP "prequel" claims there are no facts to support any legal or political action by Congress ... while the official "Impeachment Inquiry Report" contains 300-pages of facts, testimony and rich detail that describe what the President and his administration did, and some clues as to why.
My suggestion: read both. To make that process as simple as operating a toaster ... take a gander at the far right-column which I've identified as my handy-dandy "Library". Items #12 & #13. The .pdf files can be accessed here on my server, or downloaded to your favorite device. For those who suspect that I have somehow doctored these documents (or worse-yet: contain some secret nefarious code) ... knock yourself out and go find your own source material. (I located these files at a website for that some Republicans have referred to as a "socialistic-commie news organization" known as National Public Radio. [Link to full House report; Link to GOP rebuttal pseudo-report]
After reading 'em, check back here. I'll likely have a few more thoughts. For now, I've got more reading to do.
posted early 12.04.19
CNBC reports today: "Stocks fell sharply Tuesday after President Donald Trump suggested he may want to delay a trade deal with China until after the 2020 presidential election. The Dow sank more than 400 points, led lower by trade-vulnerable Apple, Caterpillar and 3M." [read more]
Well, that's just great - Trump's dinky base of supporters (estimated at or below 43% of voters) says the President has done great things to positively affect our economy ... but when pressed with facts, the right-wing struggles to identify a single thing Trump has done that has actually worked. Tax Cuts? Nope, Trump's tax cuts are popular with wealthy folk but did not raise middle class income. Foreign trade? Nope. His tariffs have destroyed multiple sectors (namely agriculture & manufacturing) and the cost of his tariffs has been paid by the American consumer. End Middle East Wars? Hardly. All Trump did was show to the world that America no longer stands with it's allies ... and Trump's military no longer honors the motto: "leave no man behind". Border wall? Not an inch of new wall has been built - over 400 cases of eminent domain loom ... and lately the Trump's record on his multiple legal fights have been a disaster. Ah, but the market is at record heights! That was achieved 2-yrs ago. Since then Wall Street continues to run "sideways" - the major indexes are barely higher than they were in late 2017 ... and by the time the market closes today we may actually be below levels established in December 2017.
More Whacky News
(and some very important news)|
Most any of these items by themselves would have filled a week's worth of news stories in past years ... for the Trump administration, it's just another day ...
Will the Inspector General Report
burst Trump's claims of "deep state" and "spying" on his 2016 campaign?
Apparently so... |
For over 3-years Sean Hannity, unofficial advisor to President Trump*, has made whack-a-doodle comments about the "deep state" in Washington DC ... with each story becoming part of the radical right counter-strategy when Democrats bristle over the latest outrageous Trump comment or action. (The list of documented lies & inaccurate statements by the President now totals over 13,435 through mid-October 2019.)
Hannity is not alone ... when not on vacation, Rush Limbaugh speaks nearly every day about the pending report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz. So do most of the Fox News talking heads. Trump's personal attorney general William Barr claims there is a bizarre "deep state" indicating to Congress that he thinks there was "spying" on Trump campaign - Barr even traveled to & met with several foreign governments seeking "dirt on the 2016 election campaign". No one has produced any proof. But someone in the Justice Department has begun leaking preliminary news that Horowitz's report is due to be released on December 9th. And guess what? Not much of the report is critical of the FBI or the "origins of the Mueller Report".
The NY Times reports: "The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia's election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said." [link]
There does appear to be a few isolated critical comments about a FISA application that the FBI submitted but it's minor stuff ... certainly not any where near the level of wrong-doing Trump and his surrogates have claimed over & over & over again. I will use caution - the final I.G. report hasn't been released ... but the leaks make it appear that the Department of Justice is attempting to defuse the situation and soften the impact of more bad news for the President and his base.
In a related story former FBI lawyer Lisa Page says as she strikes back (finally) "There’s No Fathomable Way I Have Committed Any Crime at All". The Daily Beast interviewed Page and says: "The former FBI lawyer and ongoing Trump target breaks two-years of silence in this exclusive interview. And she has quite a lot to say." [link]
As all of the facts about Trump and his crimes slowly are revealed and truth becomes known, I have to admit the delight is gives me. The man, along with many of his supporters, belongs behind bars.
* Keep in mind that prior to launching his radical right-wing syndicated radio talk-show Sean Hannity's limited business experience included a brief stint as a bartender, and we must not forget the invaluable experience he gleaned as a "construction site grunt" (Hannity's own self-proclaimed glorified name for his entry-level manual labor position).
update 12.03.19 - Not a huge surprise given that Trump's personal attorney general obliterated the Mueller Report when it was released (and Democrats did nothing about it) William Barr says he disagrees with his Inspector General's report - the one he's been hyping for months ... and then delayed releasing because of the I.G.'s findings. In the past it would have been difficult for any politician to make something like this up ... today, this sort of insanity is "the new normal". Mike's plea to citizens: stay informed & read more - one good source may be today's Washington Post > "Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation"
Did Schiff Unfairly Squelch Stefanik at Impeachment Hearing?
(spoiler alert: No!)
While watching the opposition party today on FOX's Money Honey Show (Maria Bartiromo's Sunday Morning Futures) I heard guest Elise Stefanik (R-NY) once again complain about House committee Chairman Adam Schiff "cutting her off" as she attempted to ask a question directed to the witness, former Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch. Stefanik made the false accusation that Schiff had unfairly blocked her question at the hearing and was rebuffed - and now here she is ... AGAIN ... on the Sunday talk-show circuit repeating the same false narrative. Republicans are just pathetic the way they lie ... repeatedly.
Here's what transpired: Stefanik was attempting to use a portion of the ranking member Nunes' 45-min block of time and Schiff informed Stefanik she was not recognized. Stefanik went on to loudly rant: "the is the 5th time you have interrupted members of Congress...duly elected members of Congress." In the background Devin Nunes, smiling & beaming as he asks Schiff, like the smart-ass he is “You’re gagging the young lady from New York?”
No. Nunes knew all along that he and Stefanik were wrong, and that Schiff was correct to apply the House rules. Who says? Well, I have 3 sources who all agree.
A minor point, you say? Yep, but it really frosts me when the lying becomes so freaking blatant. The average Republican just hears this sort of critique and believes it.
Fiona Hill Testifies ‘Fictions’ on Ukraine Pushed by Trump Help Russia
The NY Times reports: "former top White House aide denounced a theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, as she tied the president’s pressure campaign to Russian efforts to sow political divisions in America." Actually, just about every news organization reported the same thing.
Louise & I have watched much of the testimony at these Congressional hearings ... thank goodness for the trusty DVR. We listened to former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch who Trump opted to remove as is his right ... but there was no need to inappropriately destroy her reputation. Same with National Security officer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who's patriotism was attacked by Republicans. The wealthy contributor who gave $1 million to Trump's inauguration testified that he worked with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney who had no business meddling in Ukrainian politics. US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and others, testified as "fact witnesses" were frequently ridiculed by GOP members of the joint House committee. Most of those testifying are Trump appointees ... so this is not some devious exclusively Democratic indictment of the President.
It's obvious to most observers that plenty of evidence has been gathered to warrant multiple articles of impeachment ... but it's sad how Congressional Republicans cling to nonsense arguments about "the Whistleblower", Hunter Biden, the Steele Dossier, and claims that the 2016 election meddling originated from the Ukraine (it wasn't). All of the GOP arguments have been disproven ... though enough whack-doodle commentators continue pounding the drums in their effort to deflect and confuse the public.
Especially shameful are the questions advanced by Republicans ... the following links represent some of the typical BS they embarrassed themselves with at the hearings: particularly by ranking minority leader Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who linked the investigative hearing to an extension of the Mueller investigation, or "Russian hoax" as he calls it. He's obviously talking directly to Trump and his base of supporters who will never bother to question the inaccuracy of his statements.
"This process is anything but fair!" whines Jim Jordan (R-OH) as he accuses Democrats of stomping on Trump's rights and conducting "secret investigations in the bunker". Again, Trump supporters will hear such critique of Dems and nod their heads in unison - not bothering to examine the facts. Like fact #1: Republicans followed the same process during their 3+ yr "Benghazi, Benghazi" investigation of Hillary Clinton - which seems to still be going on in the minds of some GOP legislators. Secret, closed-door hearings? Fact #2: over 40 Republicans who serve on the combined House committees were free to attend and interview witnesses ... a few didn't bother.
During the public hearings John Ratcliffe (R-TX) utilized much of his allotted time to purposely confuse issues, facts, & testimony of witnesses with his long-winded attacks on Democrats, the media, and the Trump-appointed witnesses. Several of the Republican members of the committee, who could not stomach the Republican strategy used by Nunes, Jordan & Ratcliffe, forfeited their time back to Nunes for more attacks by Jordan & Ratcliffe. Chris Stewart (R-UT) called the hearing "Year 4 of the ongoing impeachment of President Trump" without acknowledging that 99% of the chatter about impeachment was a result of something specific the president has done (like abandoning the Kurds, like separating children from parents along the Southern border, like reallocating Congressionally approved funds to pay for Trump's border-wall - the wall that the Donald originally claimed Mexico would pay for).
Elise Stefanik (R-NY) expanded upon her growing reputation for conflating facts by demanding not once but rather, multiple times that Hunter Biden needed to be deposed about his sweetheart deal on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company. Forget that it's already been reviewed in both the US and Ukraine - no laws were violated; Republicans have no evidence to warrant further investigation - and it certainly is not connected in anyway to the charges against President Trump. Stefanik seems to think if she continues to attack all-things-Obama - even though he's been out of office for 3-yrs - that her racist constituents will continue to support her & vote for her.
Jim Jordan was not the only Republican interrogator who used filibuster tactics in his questions of witnesses, Mike Turner (R-OH) frequently misstated facts or rudely interrupted witnesses who were attempting to answer his inflammatory questions. In one sequence during the final session of hearings (testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill) Turner used over 4½ minutes of his allotted 5-minutes to attack Dr. Hill and never ask her a question ... thereby not allowing her time to respond or rebut his crazed, factually-challenged assertions. Democrat Sean Maloney richly accused Turner of "epic mansplaining" (condescending). Turner even had the audacity to attack David Holmes who's only apparent mistake in Turner's warped mind was in testifying what he overheard when Ambassador Sondland placed an unsecure, inappropriate cell-phone call to Donald Trump from a public restaurant in Ukraine. [link]
It appears unlikely that the Republican Senate will find the President guilty (thereby remaining in office for the next 11-months). But these five wing-nuts in the House need to be exposed for their shameful, dirty tactics during the investigations and be voted OUT OF OFFICE.
Rosenberg: Pompeo's 'deafening and disgusting' silence is a 'complete failure of leadership'|
After reviewing the Congressional testimony of Marie Yovanovich, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Chuck Rosenberg, who served as acting DEA administrator during the first eight months of Trump’s tenure, appropriately admonished Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his lack of support for the personnel within the State Department during an interview with Nicole Wallace Friday November 15, 2019.
Rosenberg: "...this makes me very very angry. Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo. Like any leader...he has 3 obligations: first to the public - the American people, second to the mission of his agency and third, just as important, to the men & women who serve in that agency. His silence is deafening - it is an act of abject cowardice. I am astonished that somebody who went to West Point and was an Army Officer does not have the spine to stand up for the people in his organization who are being denigrated by this President. That silence, as I said, is deafening and it is disgusting."
Wallace: "does it suggest more than weakness though, does it suggest that he's a complicit actor in this dark op?"
Rosenberg: "Complicity will be determined down the road as we induce more facts. I know what I see. What I see from him is a complete failure of leadership. I doubt he's watching this show and I doubt listening to me, but if he was I would tell him he is a coward."
(for those who need to hear this for themselves ... which oughta' be 100% of all
registered voters and all students in any public school that receives taxpayer
Nicole Wallace is former White House Communications Director (2005-2006), and Rosenberg, former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and former US Attorney (2005-2008) ... were appointed to those positions by Republican G.W. Bush, & both are news analysts today for MSNBC.
If you have no idea who these people are - or why they are in the news ... here are a few hints: impeachment hearings ... President of the United States attacks his own appointed ambassador to Ukraine ... and her boss (Pompeo) is too weak to support or defend State Department personnel. And, if none of that sounds even remotely familiar I'd say you have a serious problem and oughta' consider emigrating from the U.S., or moving to the state of Mississippi. (It's just about the same thing in my book.)
Hearings blanket TV coverage
limits entertainment options for the "Basket of deplorables"|
What is a Trump booster to do? First, Trumpsters find their normal, favorite morning TV viewing is interrupted by the "pre-hearing" discussion ... and find instead an endless summary of who is testifying and what can we expect to hear. Then around 10 a.m. their world goes dark as the actual hearings begin. No Jeopardy ... no Wheel of Fortune ... The View? nope ... and The Chew will be delayed. A day without Fox & Friends? Chances are their format of covering for the President won't vary much. But will Hoda have one of her typical zany moments on the peacock network? Probably not today. Even Good Morning America felt different.
If there are future generations ... if the universe does not implode or explode ... those who take the proceedings seriously and actually watch the impeachment investigation hearings will be able to tell their grandchildren what a democratic America felt like. Folks who have bothered to stay informed & up-to-date know this is not an actual impeachment, yet ... regardless how Republicans have tried to spin it, we are only in the info-gathering phase. Who did what? Who said what? What did the President know and when did he know it?
Those who do pay attention will know that the President's oft-repeated defense ("read the transcript - it was a perfect call") is total baloney. Trump says "read the transcript" as if his base will interpret that brazen statement as proof of his obvious innocence - and not even bother to read it ... just as Trump's base bought into the claim the Mueller Investigation proved there was "no collusion, no obstruction" ... when in reality the Mueller report proved just the opposite to be true. CNN offered a nice rebuttal to the President's Ukraine nonsense:
As Rachel Maddow likes to say: "buckle-up." This should be interesting - at least many of us will find that to be true. And, sadly ... a bunch of folks will just sit around pissed-off that their normal, mindless routine is being interrupted.
posted 11.13.19 - update - late afternoon 11.13.19 ... so far today the Donald has launched 34 Tweets ... so much for not paying attention to the hearings. The Republicans embarrassed themselves badly today - in particular: Nunes, Jordan, Ratcliffe and that creepy Chris Stewart (R-UT). Three common themes - all flawed: 1. whistleblower s/b forced to testify (which is just wrong and is counter to Republican's previous stance on whistleblower anonymity); 2. none of the witnesses had 1st hand knowledge (they were not on the 7/25/19 phone call)... which is wrong because both of today's witnesses experienced other elements of the President's abuse of power. The call itself, we have Trump's summary document that by itself proves his guilt. And #3: the Bidens - Joe & Hunter ... both have been exonerated multiple times - neither are guilty of anything ... but just as Trump has a habit of doing, the GOP has decided to just keep asking the question & enough stupid voters will believe there is something to the story. There isn't.
Judge tosses Trump suit over New
York tax returns, rejects conspiracy claim|
It delights me when I read headlines like above ... more great news from NBC. The article goes on to say:
Jim Jordan: the
Ohio wing-nut Congressman has an aversion to sport coats & suits
The Congressman also has an aversion to telling the truth ... matters not if we're talking about some partisan issue or his recent history of ignoring reports of sexual abuse on the Ohio State wrestling team. Consider the following example, a news report from Reuters & CNBC:
Why do voters in Ohio keep re-electing this creepy guy???
Whistleblower, Whistleblower ...
Wherefore Art Thou?|
Makes one wonder does it not, why the obsession over the whistleblower at this stage of the Greatest Show On Earth? Our Reality TV Show President released a summary his staff prepared that reflects what was discussed and essentially who said what when Mr. Trump called the new Ukrainian President on July 25, 2019 ... so he has confirmed what the whistleblower complaint asserted. And since you read both the complaint & the summary of the call, you too can confirm this is true. What's that? Oh. You haven't had a chance to read 'em yet? Don't be embarrassed, you're not alone ... everyone is busy these days but you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Both documents are available thru this webpage - links in the far right hand column, items #10 & 11.
TIP: It's best if readers hum along to the tune: Matchmaker, Matchmaker from the musical Fiddler on the Roof - the link provided will cue up background music for your parody tune:
[My apologies to the songwriters Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick for my fiddling with their tune.]
A Whistleblower policy is effective when someone wishes to alert the world to potential wrong-doing ... possible violations of rules & regs ... but once the actual facts of an investigation are exposed, the importance of the Whistleblower vanishes. To quote Hillary Clinton from a different era, but addressing a similar nonsensical Republican argument: "What difference at this point does it make?" It really does get to be fairly tiring to keep the radical right-wing from hijacking evidence & truth ... but they keep trying to buffalo the American public with lies & deception & conflating the facts (see below).
The Whistleblower Complaint Has Largely Been Corroborated. Here's How.|
Tamara Keith, National Public Radio
When the House impeachment inquiry began more than a month ago, much of the focus was on a complaint from a whistleblower that drew attention to a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked for investigations into potential political rivals.
The whistleblower accused Trump of abusing his office for political gain and laid out a road map that House Democrats have followed in their investigation.
Trump has spent weeks questioning the whistleblower's motives and slamming the account for being inaccurate. But as this annotation shows, most of the complaint has been corroborated during closed-door depositions of administration officials, through public statements and from a rough transcript of the call itself, released by the White House.
Evolving GOP Defense of President
Reveals Flawed Impeachment Strategy
Americans oughta' be feeling a bit buffaloed* these days by Republican action in Washington DC.
First, Republicans defending the President were parroting Trump by claiming "the call was perfect - no Quid Pro Quo" (which is Latin for: a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something). More bluntly, such acts are usually referred to as "extortion".
Then, after people began to compare the summary text the WH released they realized that: yes indeed the Donald DID express his desire for Ukraine President to do something (in exchange for something: US appropriated funds). It's right there in black & white on pg 3: "I would like you to do us a favor though..."
So then, the 3rd position the GOP is now taking confirms Trump did demand a dirty deal but that "it's not an impeachable act." [NY Times: Republicans Try Different Response to Ukraine Call: Quid Pro Quo Isn’t Impeachable]
Ah, so now they are admitting that Trump did jeopardize our national security. Forget the reality that Trump and Republicans have been lying for weeks as they attacked the investigative process. Never mind that dozens of witnesses have come forward with testimony, when pieced together, confirms that Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani formed a shadow gov't entity along with select personnel from the State Department to apply pressure on Ukraine. [Care to read more? Try this link]
* Just hearing the word "buffaloed" causes my jukebox brain to play that catchy little tune Lasso the Moon ... you know the one ... the awkward little ditty George Bailey (James Stewart) sang with Mary Hatch (Donna Reed) in It's A Wonderful Life.
Say, Donald ... Is Your Beloved
Clean Coal Becoming Harder To Find?
The economy that Trump's base points to when trying to explain why they continue to support him - is not going so great. As previously reported: the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor was hardly impressive (see Sept Jobs Report) ... Wall Street has been going sideways for nearly 2-yrs ... income inequality is WAY up (see Trump Nation: how's that President working out for ya'll now?) ... and just the other day it was reported that the U.S. government's annual budget deficit is now the largest its been since 2012. Thank you Donald.
So I have to admit a little smirk was visible on my face this morning when I read "Trump losing his fight to save coal? Third major company since May files for bankruptcy" ... seems the nation just does not have the affection for Trump's "clean coal" that his Republican base fosters.
but wait ... there's more below !
Trump's farm bailout has cost taxpayers more than double the auto bailout
Louise & I heard this little ironic news item yesterday on Nicolle Wallace's TV show. The politically conservative Wallace, you will recall, was the nation's White House Communications Director during the George W. Bush administration. The Detroit Free Press (and the global USA Today Network) confirms the headline above ... under Republican President Donald Trump the land of the free & home of the brave has actually coughed-up more cash for farmers impacted by the Donald's insane Trade War tariffs than Bush & Obama paid out in the 'auto bailout' a decade ago. Ponder that a moment and reflect on all the news reports your brain has had to absorb about those "commie-socialist" UAW members pocketing your hard earned tax dollars back in 2008-2009 (they didn't).
The bulk of the "auto bailout" money NOT repaid by auto makers actually went to a bank ... Ally Bank, previously known as GMAC, General Motors Acceptance Corporation ... which had been spun off from GM several yrs before the '08 financial meltdown. GM & Chrysler paid back their auto-bailout loans with interest, ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, the US gov't has collected billions in taxes from corporations and individuals since the rescue. That was a case of good government vs. the crazy, self-inflicted Trump trade wars.
posted just in time for 'trick-or-treaters' 10.30.19
Negative Following Trump's ISIS News Conference
While Americans seem to be quite pleased our military located and eliminated ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ... the reaction to some details the President focused upon during his long-winded news announcement ... and the reaction has been swift and largely negative.
“I went from VERY successful businessman to top TV star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!”
The head scratching stuff and ridiculous statements Trump utters on a daily basis reminded me of an article in Newsweek earlier this year: "Trump Speaks at 4th-grade level, lowest of last 15 US Presidents." He needs to be removed from office either through impeachment process (unlikely GOP Senators will vote to do so, however) or through the ballot box.
Congrats to our Special Ops &
The news of a successful mission by our Special Ops forces announced by President Trump this morning truly deserve our nation's thanks and gratitude. Likely the President's lengthy announcement that Islamic State militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in a U.S.-led raid in northwestern Syria will be dissected and compared to similar messages from past Presidents. For example, Trump's news portion of the telecast lasted nearly 10-minutes before 45-minutes of Q&A with media vs. Barack Obama's announcement of Osama bin Laden's capture in 2011 which was significantly shorter.
One of the many odd aspects to the revealing comments Trump made during his graphic description of the Special Op's raid was his assertion (falsely) that he had predicted in 2000 that the U.S. needed to capture or apprehend or "take out" bin Laden. Conservative Fact-Checking website Snopes said such a claim is "false". Odd, too, was the amount of detail that Trump revealed that had to make intelligence officers cringe as Trump spoke, and spoke, and repeated himself 4 and 5 times on many details ... but that's our Reality Show TV Star who occupies the White House. For now.
Congrats, too, to Trump for controlling the news cycle and sitting on the reports of yesterday's raid until this morning - just as the weekly Sunday News Shows were about to begin. No doubt, rather than dwelling 100% on his likely impeachment that continues to loom, the Donald made sure the media had some fresh topics to discuss.
In 993 days Trump has made 13,435 false / misleading claims
Updated Oct. 9, 2019
Why are some voters unconcerned about the lies and inaccurate things President Trump says? Trump averages more than 13½ misstatements or mangled truths every day. That fun-fact is actually on the rise ... just 2-months ago the average was 12. To make matters worse, Trump often repeats the same false statements hundreds of times. Notice how the graph depicts how Trump's daily misstatements and lies are increasing?
So far the most outrageous single day in his brief term of office was November 5th (2018) when Donald Trump lied 139 times in a single day. How can his base of American voters, still support this lying disruptive egotistical jerk? I realize his supporters will not bother to read the details at the link below, but it may be handy to bookmark the article below and be prepared to counter-punch your weird & argumentative Uncle Harry or your equally mindless Aunt Jane with something they rarely are confronted with: FACTS.
Originally posted by Mike on 11.08.17, updated 10.26.19
Trump’s heralded whistleblower office at VA is failing in its most basic mission
Washington Post reported this past week: "One of President Trump’s signature initiatives to turn around a culture of retaliation against whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs is an office in disarray that instead has punished them — and held almost no wrongdoers accountable. Those are the conclusions of a scathing report released Thursday by the agency’s inspector general, which found that the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection created early in Trump’s term in 2017 has failed in its core mission." [got the stomach for readin' the rest of the story]
U.S. government's annual budget deficit largest since 2012
Said one Trump supporter: "He's going to restore our country." Another, a small business owner said recently: "I'm so tired of the media and Democrats bellyaching about Trump getting voted in." Trump himself said: "I have total net worth of $8.73bn,” he said (which is false). “I’m not doing that to brag. I’m doing that to show that’s the kind of thinking our country needs.”
Yea, right. Well then Republicans ... how do you explain how or why our Federal Government now has the largest budget deficit in the past 7-yrs??? True, the stock market has been running sideways since January 2018 ... but our tax base has been growing steady with 10-yrs of consecutive monthly employment gains. Under the previous administration the annual budget deficit was declining year over year, not growing.
So what gives, Mr. Donald I'm-One-Heck-Of-A-Business-dude Trump? Thought you had a lock on this part of the job. Trump has nearly doubled the budget deficit of Barack Obama's final year in office (Trump: $984 billion vs. Obama: $585 billion). [source]
Clown-car Republicans Offering Voters
Proof They Don't Deserve Re-election
The Republican stunt Tuesday with several dozen members of the GOP House attempting to barge into the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) located in the U.S. Capitol should be yet another clue to voters that most all incumbent Republicans do not deserve to be re-elected. Consider the flawed Republican faux objections:
posted 10.24.19 - updated 10.25.19
Betsy DeVos held in contempt by federal judge
Even Fox News has more bad news for the Trump administration: "A federal judge held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court on Thursday and sanctioned the Education Department with a $100,000 fine after it said DeVos refused to comply with a court mandate to cease collection of loans from students who were defrauded by now-defunct Corinthian Colleges. The move comes after the Education Department continued to garnish wages and seize tax returns of nearly 1,800 borrowers who were granted loan forgiveness by the courts under the borrower defense to repayment program, after Corinthian -- embroiled in scandal and bankruptcy -- was forced to close in 2015, the court said. The initiative sought to provide loan relief to students who were misled by the school, but DeVos, a Trump appointee, tried to limit the scope of the program even after a judge's ruling in 2018."
The part of the story I really liked was the notice by the judge that further steps will be taken should DeVos continue to "fail to comply" to existing orders. Since Hillary Clinton was never officially charged with any crime, the Trump Rally Rants ("lock her up") always seems to be more than a little whacky to me because it's a mindless, angry-mob rant not based on anything factual ... but now that DeVos has been held in contempt of court, maybe it is she who oughta' be threatened with a "lock-up"!
Flashback: Remember When
Republicans Were Normal?
News here in Michigan this past week that former Governor William G. Milliken had passed away was rather sad. Milliken became governor in 1969 when President Nixon appointed George Romney to his cabinet (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) and he served 14-yrs, longer than any governor in Michigan history. Term limits since adopted would make such long & experienced political service impossible today.
From my perspective Gov. Milliken was likely the last normal Republican to serve as Michigan's governor though there have been several members of today's GOP to have served ... namely John Engler and Rick Snyder ... who I still say oughta' be criminally charged for the Flint Water debacle.
Some of my relatives favor term limits which we've had in Michigan since 1992 and have proven to be a disaster especially among elected members of the state legislature who must leave office just as they have developed experience needed to be effective. Today lobbyists & various special interest groups weld more power than our representatives in Lansing. I say we always have had term limits ... and they are called "elections". As long as someone has public support they oughta' be allowed to serve.
Milliken was a effective working with Detroit Mayor Coleman Young to help the state heal from civil unrest & riots in '67 ... and also championed environmental causes vital to the Great Lakes state. Later in life Milliken supported causes and candidates that revealed his true independent, progressive nature. Milliken supported same-sex marriages and endorsed Hillary Clinton over Donald J. Trump in the 2016 election.
"Increasingly, the party is moving toward rigidity, and I don't like that," Mr. Milliken said. The Detroit Free Press reported today: "Milliken never left the Republican Party, but over time the party left him ... Today, he couldn't survive in D.C., as a Republican. They would probably throw him on the railroad tracks and run him over.” Which is one of many reasons I too no longer consider myself to be a Republican.
Evidence from White
House confirms Trump Impeachment Justified
I don't quite get it when some 30-40% of adult American voters continue to support Trump in spite of all the evidence against him. Republican Senators not named Romney should be ashamed of themselves for their silence. The facts and evidence is pretty clear and it's available to every American ... and it's your responsibility as a citizen here in the greatest country on Earth to read it!
First, we have the White House's own summary (often inaccurately referred to as a 'transcript') of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelensky (item #10 in my handy reference library shown in right hand column of this website). Radical right-wing extremists should be eating this up ... having a "suitable for framing" document direct from the White House that they can hold, and hug, and read! Because if you actually did read it you'd see that it clearly shows Trump withheld Congressionally approved payments to Ukraine and that he insisted that Ukraine participate with his shadow government lead by Rudy Giuliani in order to produce some dirt on one of his political opponents: Joe Biden. You would also quickly realize that our President does not understand what "pro quo" as he calls it, actually means or what the fuss is all about. There is additional testimony from former & current State Department personnel, including text messages confirms the argument.
Then last Thursday, Trump's "acting White House Chief of Staff" Mick Mulvaney (actually the Mickster has dual titles in that he's Trump's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, too) admitted live in front the nation's press corps and television cameras that: yes, the president corrupted US foreign policy to suit his own needs. And yes, he will do it again. “Get over it.” Oh, and by the way, we're holding the next G-7 Summit at Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida. [source for more info if needed...including video clip of Mulvaney admitting the President lied ... again]
Klobuchar & Buttigieg
Stand Out In Crowded Democratic Field
It was obvious to me and many members of the media that both Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have joined Vice President Biden as the Democratic contenders for the "reasonable, centrist voters" here in America.
Meanwhile, it's time closing time for a pack of also-rans (Tulsi, Beto, Tom, Cory, Andrew, Julian, & Kamala) as well as all remaining "candidates" who didn't make it to the stage of the 5th Democratic Party "debate". And since Tom (Steyer) has no policy thoughts other than IMPEACH TRUMP ... he can deposit the balance of his campaign cash directly into Klobuchar's tip-jar as he exits.
That leaves Bernie and 'Lizabeth to duke-it-out for the radical left wing supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Don't get me wrong, I actually like AOC but realize she can be toxic ... and, I know the GOP will do all they can to brand Democrats as a bunch of socialists. Really radical folks like Fox News have labeled the Democrats a bunch of commie-homo-socialists. Of course, that tactic will turn off as many voters as it attracts. That's why the future of the party rests on the adults in the room, moderates: Biden - Klobuchar - Buttigieg. Reportedly all three have raised enough cash to be invited to the 6th debate - Amy's camp says they need a bump in the polls to meet the popularity standard. Stay tuned.
For a few folks
... its hard admitting their support for radical right-wing causes
is misplaced. Slowly however, as the facts come out ... some of Trump's former
supporters are realizing how wrong this President and his administration really
are. Imagine if someone in your family fought to support American efforts in Syria as the
Kurds have. And then, even though Trump pledged to stick with 'em and
support 'em, the President reneges and goes back on his word, leaving the Kurds
exposed and vulnerable. Is America the sort of country that does this?
If you don't see a problem or are not quite sure you understand the details of
what has happened, read this: "Trump’s Betrayal of the Kurds Is as Incoherent as It Is Dangerous"
Prior to his stunning flip-flop on his policy in Syria Trump mentioned the Kurds 47 times since 2015. That's one of the many factual bits of information that one can glean at the Factba.se website mentioned below. Today Trump has sold out our allies as Turkey attacks Kurds in Syria, Trump says any ISIS escapees are Europe's problem.
But just over a year ago Trump held a press conference in New York - September 26, 2018 and said the opposite:
For the radical right wing extremists who think the media is evil & don't
trust news reports, go refresh your memory & see your President make a fool of
posted 10.12.19 & updated 10.15.19
Trump's losses mount in stunning day of setbacks
Back in 1955 Spencer Tracy starred in mystery/drama called Bad Day at Black Rock. Maybe the Donald order up a copy on his home entertainment system and lose himself in the story and imagine he's playing one of the tough-guys: Lee Marvin or Robert Ryan. To me, the Donald is more like the spineless Sheriff Tim Horn played by Dean Jagger in the movie. Pathetic, weak, lost.
Wow, quite a day for Democracy! The legal system demonstrated it can be fair and deliver just rulings that even as Trump packs the courts with far right judges ... including two on the Supreme Court (who shouldn't be there) ... even as Trump attempts using obstructive tactics to block Congressional oversight.
Trump did get a bit of unexpected good news from his perspective: Shepard Smith, Fox News veteran anchor and frequent Trump critic, abruptly resigns from the network. [link] Smith, who has been with the Fox network since it's founding in 1996, was Chief News Anchor and one of the few voices on Fox that could be trusted ... refreshingly normal. Wonder if Smith will just retire with his millions - or go to work for some other news venue? (Yes, millions - like so many of the long-time Fox News anchors, Smith was reportedly knocking down over $7 million a year on his latest 3-yr contract. Not quite as obscene as Sean Hannity getting paid $36 million per yr, or Limbaugh knocking down over $50/mil/yr.)
Trump rally in Minnesota packed with
Last night I paused to listen a bit to Trump's campaign rally in Minnesota. It has been a while since I had the stomach to listen to him speak ... but I've been getting messages from the Amy Klobuchar campaign about the president's visit, so I figured "what the heck".
Trump's speech was already in progress but the 1st thing I heard him say was something I happen to know is not completely true ... but he captured my attention! Trump was bragging about a program for the nation's veterans ("we got CHOICE for the vets!") which he's said before and it's been fact-checked several times ... and it's certainly not true the way he's trying to present it. Trump is taking credit for "The Veterans Choice" program - the trouble is, the law was passed in 2014 and signed by President Obama. Says CNN: "The Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by senators Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and modified the program." It should also be noted that the VA Mission Act is one of the few true decent bi-partisan pieces of legislation that made it thru both the House & Senate ... co-sponsored by John Tester (D-MT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
There were repeated statements like that which Trump made at his rally last night. Some of his mistakes were minor, but obviously intentional since its happened on multiple occasions, like Trump's tired claim about the 2016 election that he beat Hillary Clinton 306 electoral votes to "223." Clinton earned 232 electoral votes; Trump habitually says 223. He also repeated his inaccurate claim to be constructing new border wall - which even his department of Customs & Border Protection confess that no new spans of wall have been constructed (yet).
One of the more glaring statements Trump had was about our nation's military readiness as he tries to take credit for "fixing our broken military". Trump claims an unnamed general early in 2017 told him: "sir, we have no ammunition." It's obviously an exaggeration, and like the previous examples, it's a campaign rally staple - repeated over and over even when it's pointed out to him that it's factually incorrect. Admittedly, those examples are fairly minor compared to current investigations of possible impeachment and his selling out of the Kurds.
But it got me thinking: somewhere there likely is media outlet or news organization that has analyzed Trump rallies & speeches - fact-checking things he says which are often factually challenged. My mission this morning to find such a source paid off ... big time. Now included in my handy right-hand column of reference sources: Factba.se. His speeches, Tweets, policies ... all of it indexed and captured. Even lots of pre-election material. I need to spend more time at this site before I can say more ... but this appears to be the mother-lode of all the wacky and goofy things this president says and does. Stay tuned.
Trump loses appeal to stop House subpoena of his tax documents
Next appeal to Supreme Court?
CNN reports this morning that President Trump has lost his appeal to stop a House subpoena from producing his tax documents from Trump's accounting firm: Mazars USA. [source]
The "oranges" of Trump's crimes >
It seems fair to me ... if Trump's lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen is in jail for the same violation, it's time for Donald Trump to be hauled into court. After all, the department of justice "policy" of not prosecuting a sitting president does not apply to state prosecution. As the Trump rallies love to chant: "lock her up" ... it's time to turn the tables.
Oh, this is rich ...
Trump 'blames Rick Perry for the Ukraine whistleblower phone call
Yep. Our sleazebag president is throwing his Energy Secretary "under the bus" in his ever evolving attempt to avoid taking responsibility for his actions & his whacky beliefs. What a maroon.
This hilarious news item comes from AXIOS but also reported in The Hill. "President Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make."
Of course the Donald also repeated a bazillion times that his call with Ukraine President Zelensky was "perfect" and that he did nothing wrong. Which is much like the phrase he probably registered a trademark on the claim: "no collusion, no obstruction" even though those of us who have read the Mueller Report know that is not true.
Sadly, only a few brave patriotic republicans have called for the impeachment inquiry to continue.
Trump says House has votes to impeach, but believes Republicans in Senate will exonerate him
So says a story this morning in the Washington Post, and sadly ... they're probably correct. Given the lackluster response by Republicans one has to wonder exactly what sort of behavior or crime the occupant of the White House must engage in to before they, too, join the rest of America in demanding some action be taken.
On Friday I was reading an excellent opinion/commentary piece written by Max Boot also published in the Post, titled: "Impeachment is driving right-wingers crazy. Literally". Ok, ok. I admit I checked out the article mainly based on that headline ... but I'm sharing portions here because of the content which to me, seems spot-on accurate. Max identifies some of the media that's responsible for casting much of the GOP disinformation campaigns (like the "deep state" nonsense): "The modern right-wing media-industrial complex — Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Breitbart, Infowars, 4chan and all the rest — has provided a home for wacky conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Hillary Clinton’s involvement with Uranium One — and now the scandals that are putting the Trump Train on the fast track to impeachment."
Max goes on to discuss the inappropriate actions of our attorney general Bill Barr who's engaged in a global scavenger hunt encouraging some of our former allies (including Italy, Australia, Britain) to dig up dirt on Trump's political rivals. Even when Barr's actions are proven to be inappropriate, as he did contaminating the release of the Mueller Report, the public lets him get away with it.
Not that Barr is the only culprit in the GOP art of deception. Former attorney general during the GWB administration, Michael Mukasey has joined Barr & whack-a-doodle Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as they attempt to defend the Donald.
Max Boot describes it best: "Mukasey is a pillar of the Republican legal establishment — just like Barr and Giuliani. All three men once enjoyed bipartisan respect. But, like much of the right, they have succumbed to a collective madness that leads them to embrace nonsensical conspiracy theories just like the president that they inexplicably venerate. The rise of irrationality on the right is a deeply disturbing development that goes hand in hand with the right’s embrace of Trump’s authoritarianism. The willingness of so many Republicans to take leave of their senses rather than face the unpleasant facts about the president augurs poorly for our future. Will they become any saner once Trump is gone? I fear not."
So until we hear of some GOP support in the Senate - this effort will not remove Trump from office - but it will give voters a list of Republicans who need to be voted out of office in 2020.
Arrived early to fetch Sept
jobs report at the Bureau of Labor ...
Typically the monthly report "jobs report" appears by 8:30 am on the 1st Friday of the month, and I arrived a little early, so I just did what most curious folks do: I snooped. And I stumbled upon some other interesting data points like: a summary of typical expenses that many Americans incur around this time of year presented in a cute Happy Thanksgiving video: "How common Thanksgiving costs have changed over that past decade 2008-2018". It's the Trump administration dollars at work, apparently. "There are those that think I'm a very stable genius," Trump boasted the other day. Retail prices for turkey products are up 13.4%, alcoholic beverages up 9.1%. Planning to watch the big game on TV? Cable TV costs up 30.4%. Going to the local Turkey Trot? Footwear prices up 9.5%.
Oh, and yes, sorry for the delay ... the September jobs report data was released on-time, and the string of consecutive months of jobs growth that began during the 1st year of the Obama/Biden administration in 2009 continues today. It's one of the few accomplishments from the previous administration that Trump has not destroyed. The BLS reports that 136,000 jobs were created in September. [courteous applause appropriate here] More good news: July & August data previously reported was revised upward, an increase of 45,000 additional jobs. [you too can become a news junkie & read the full report]
posted 8:06 a.m. 10.04.19
Yep. It's early in this political campaign ... but at this moment, this is my personal pick.
Amy Klobuchar & Pete Buttigieg. Honesty, fresh ideas, smart thinking, uncommon decency.
originally posted 10.03.19
Shades of Rose Mary Woods
... Trump's Ukraine Records Edited
Back in 1973 one of the critical aspects of the Watergate investigation focused on an 18-minute gap in recordings captured in Richard Nixon's Oval Office.
Flash-forward to 2019 and it appears something similar has happened with Trump's records of his July phone conversation mentioned below that he had with the new Ukrainian president. Reportedly the conversation was 30-minutes in length, which the White House says no actual recordings were made, so there is no actual "transcript" either.
What the White House is offering to the public to read & review is a "summary" captured by staff in the "Situation Room". The summary contains 2,146 words. Typically, people speak at a rate of 125 to 150 words per minute, which means likely a complete transcript of Trump's phone call would include at least 1,604 more words than are contained in the WH summary version, which means it’s possible some passages were omitted/edited. [source]
posted 10.02.19 [golly, October already!]
Stephen Miller has a
twisted mind ... which is why he is so dangerous
Stephen Miller is President Trump's senior advisor. And he is dangerous because: 1) his mind is so skewed, so warped, and ... 2) 'cuz he's President Trump's senior advisor. Besides nurturing his own wicked, warped brain, Miller & Trump get to feed off each other's hate & malice toward people from other countries.
Miller, who just turned 34-yrs of age, honed his political chops in college while working with conservative white supremacist Richard Spencer, creator of the term "alt-right". Miller says a book by NRA's Wayne LaPierre (Guns, Crime & Freedom) influenced his conservative views, later reinforced while serving as press secretary to then Congresswoman and major-league wing-nut: Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Later Miller was Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions' communications director. He was also instrumental in helping tea-bagger Dave Brat unseat Eric Cantor in 2014 ... noteworthy 'cuz it's the 1st time since 1899 that a sitting House Majority Leader lost a primary challenge. Next, Miller joined the Trump campaign & worked with the Donald's chief strategist Steve Bannon to direct the wicked Trump administration's assault on US of A immigration law.
So what's that cool graphic all about? (another groovy Photoshop creation by Mike) Don'tcha love that view depicting multiple Miller talking heads, Max Headroom, style? Well I saw him on TV over the weekend and just can't shake the image from my mind. When you consider the wing-nuts this President has surrounded himself with ... is it any wonder they've had to deal with one scandal after another? I kept Miller's background info in mind as I watched some of the official GOP responses to the news which surfaced last week about Trump's phone conversation with the Ukrainian President. Trump clearly withheld funds that Congress authorized to assist the young nation defend themselves Russian from aggression. Trump also asked for Ukraine's help securing some "dirt" that he could use against Joe Biden in the 2020 election. This obstruction of justice combined with a confirmed "Whistle-Blower" charge could well lead to the President's impeachment, so I was curious to see how the GOP and the White House would try to defend themselves. Miller is but one of many insiders familiar with Trump policy who on conservative friendly Fox News. I watched with interest Chris Wallace's 13-minute "Fox News Sunday" interview ... and with that handy link, you can too! Life is good when you stay informed.
Miller had the audacity to claim that the investigation was a “political hit job” by the “deep state” and that Trump was really the “whistle-blower.” Miller said the complaint “drips with condescension” and “contempt for the president” while claiming both the DNI and ICIG (intelligence community inspector general) were “wrong” to say the whistle-blower’s comments were “credible and a matter of urgent concern.”
Miller continued his counter-assault - saying the whistle-blower complaint was a "7-page Nancy Drew novel" written by a partisan "deep state operative" out to get the president. It's hard to imagine that Trump's base of supporters actually eats this stuff up. “I know what the deep state looks like,” Miller declared. He oughta' know ... he invented it. “I know the difference between a whistle-blower and a deep state operative. This is a deep state operative, pure and simple.” When I hear that sort of talk I envision a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson. OK, since most of the patients in the movie were adorable in some sad sort of way, Stephen Miller would likely be one of the evil guards or a male nurse Ratched.
But Miller refused to offer specifics or explain why the complaint closely matched the summary of the phone call in question, released by the White House. To his credit, Chris Wallace noted that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden or his son Hunter.
Update: "Poll: Only 4 in 10 Republicans think Trump mentioned Biden on Ukraine call even though he acknowledged doing so," says USA Today. Folks ... sorry, this is not one of those things you get to ignore ... facts are facts. You absolutely are entitled to have your own opinion on matters like: do you prefer the Donald's necktie that he wore today more than you liked the tie that Pete Buttigieg had on. Or, you like the field Davison HS football Cardinals play at more than the field the Lightning play on in Lapeer (Michigan). You may prefer the Wall Street Journal over the L.A. Times, or favor the color blue for your next car vs. white. But the 6 people mentioned in the USA Today poll (above) don't get to decide whether or not Trump blew it on his July 25th 2019 phone call with the new Ukrainian President, because, yes indeed - the Donald has stepped in it - he did request that Ukraine help find "dirt" on Biden. And those 6 clueless Republicans polled by USA Today obviously are not readers of this webpage because the text of the "summary" of the call has been posted right here in Mike's handy reference library (item # 10, far right-hand column).
Trump Nation: how's that President working out for ya'll now?
It made me sick reading the comments from voters who supported Donald J. Trump in November 2016.
Some of those voters who were bragging about promoting Trump were featured in by USA Today in a special section titled "Trump Nation" with their photographs and over-simplified sound bite style quotes. USA Today bragged about their feature story (or were the writers laughing at these folks, making fun of them in a cruel sort of way?) "They’re not clichés. Who are Donald Trump’s supporters? The USA TODAY NETWORK interviewed voters in every state to find out."
Well, it turns out that this brilliant businessman hasn't been doing so well lately. Are you loving the Trump tariffs? Most factory workers aren't. Nor are farmers in Iowa.
Consider this news item found WALL STREET JOURNAL: US GDP Slips to 2% Growth in Second Quarter - The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2% annual rate in the second quarter. The April-June increase in the gross domestic product slipped from a brisk 3.1% gain in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported. 09.26.19 [Link to full story]
Or, this item in USA TODAY: Income Inequality Highest Level in 50 Years - According to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday, income inequality in the United States expanded from 2017 to 2018, to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality. 09.27.19 section B, page 1. [Link to full story; it's a topic Mike has been paying attention to - even wrote about it this past April - link to archived article.]
... oh, but wait ... there's more ...
I was also ticked off at voters who reside in pockets of PA, OH, MI & WI that opted to stay home and not vote. Downtown Detroit, Wayne County MI for example - in 2016 there were 109,012 FEWER votes cast vs. 2008, even though the state totals were nearly the same. And for those who did vote 7.6% more votes were cast for candidates other than the Democratic nominee. Detroiters stayed home in greater numbers & of those who voted, less of 'em voted for Clinton compared to the support Barack Obama enjoyed in 2008. And this is the reaction and thanks we got from the Detroit voters after the auto bailout in 2009 & Detroit bankruptcy in 2013. Short memories.
Keep in mind, too, that 2.9 million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump ... which is why I support abandoning the Electoral College.
Make America Great Again was the sickening slogan that seemed to resonate with voters in the 2016 campaign. Folks were acting as if life in the US of A was just gawd awful in 2016 and they collectively had a case of amnesia. The disgruntled Trump voters simply forgot who it was who wrecked our nation's economy the last time a Republican controlled the White House. Similar results occurred throughout the "Rust Belt" region that contributed to Trump's victory. How's that President Trump working out for you folks in Detroit? Milwaukee? Youngstown & Warren, Ohio?
Time to engage brain, think
for yourself & then decide: Impeach?
For years I've been urging people to get more involved in the process of being an informed, knowledgeable citizen. Stay current with the news, read actual reports and source material. Understand what is going on in your community and state governmental bodies - and by all means, stay fairly well-informed on Federal gov't & foreign affairs. The other day during a fund-raising effort on public radio it was said that being informed was a "right" sort of like the argument that it's every American citizen's right to have clean drinkable water ... others add health care to that list of rights. I get the point - the NPR staff was trying to highlight the value of their broadcasts ... it was an effort to raise cash to help pay for the radio network's operation. But, I disagree slightly with the analogy ... I think its every citizens RESPONSIBILITY to stay informed.
So with that said, it would be difficult to avoid the 24/7 hyper discussion of all things related to Donald Trump, the Ukraine, Congress, and the single most dreaded word in a reality TV star's vocabulary: IMPEACHMENT. That word obviously sends shivers up/down Donald Trump's spine as he's appeared before assorted press gaggles sounding increasingly unhinged in his rants and attacks on the media, the "whistle-blower", Democrats, and just about anyone who is not counted in his shrinking base of supporters.
It seems as if just the sight of a TV camera and what he calls the "fake news" journalists causes Trump's blood pressure to spike as he spins himself into yet another tirade. And when the media isn't present, there's always Twitter ... on Thursday September 26th the President fired off 60 messages. Sixty assorted attacks in a single day. Today before 7:30 a.m. Trump posted seven messages, or Tweets. Here's an example of just one of the President's mindless messages: "Liddle’ Adam Schiff, who has worked unsuccessfully for 3 years to hurt the Republican Party and President, has just said that the Whistle-blower, even though he or she only had second hand information, “is credible.” How can that be with zero info and a known bias. Democrat Scam!" As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, yes, Rep. Schiff has oversight responsibilities, a reality of our nation's governmental structure that the President simply does not understand or appreciate. It often seems as if he'd prefer being the nation's dictator. It's called co-equal branches of government, Mr. Trump ... something you oughta' learn about, as should all American citizens. And, Mr. Trump, please appreciate the reality that your Inspector General, a guy YOU appointed, who first labeled the whistle-blower's complaint to be "credible" ... and as we've seen, the charges are not baseless.
So, perhaps you oughta' do your homework ... and formulate your own thoughts based on facts, not based on what you read here, or ideas from Sean Hannity, or Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh. Read for yourself the summary text of the actual phone conversation between the Presidents of the US of A and Ukraine, and the actual Whistle-blower Complaint ... both items have been included right here on this website in my handy library listed in the right-hand column. Items #10 & 11. And for those who are time challenged ... just too busy to read a dozen pages of text, there is also a handy "audio-book" style file prepared by PRH Audio, a division of the publishing outfit: Random House. Digest it all and think for yourself. Do the charges made by this Whistle-blower concern you?
Trump Consistently Wrong
About All Aspects Of Ukraine Issues
President Trump is lying about his dealings with Ukraine and inaccurately depicts former Vice-President Biden's work in the previous (Obama-Biden) administration to promote reform in Ukraine to eliminate corruption "which had plagued the country ever since it gained independence in the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union," reports National Public Radio. The NY Times reports: "No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal." Let's repeat that again slowly: No Evidence. No evidence Vice-President Biden or his son did ANYTHING inappropriate or wrong. Zip. Na-da.
Even news sources in Kyiv dispute Trump & Rudy's attempt to shift the focus to Biden, his potential 2020 election opponent whom he fears will defeat the Donald. The Kyiv Post says "It has been refuted by countless experts and anti-corruption activists. In 2016, Biden indeed pressured Ukraine to fire Viktor Shokin, its ineffective, weak prosecutor general. In doing so, he called for a decision supported both by Ukrainian reformers and Kyiv’s Western partners. No conspiracy here."
What Trump has done violates the law ... for months he withheld funds appropriated by Congress to help Ukraine combat Russian aggression. And then Trump attempted to force the Ukraine to invent some manufactured scandal implicating Biden. Trouble is, people were listening to the President's phone calls. Communications with foreign leaders are always monitored; thankfully a conscientious patriot "whistle-blower" reported what transpired and Trump's appointed Inspector General agreed. Another case of obstruction in plain sight ... heck, even Fox News can see what is happening: "Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano warned on Monday that revelations of President Donald Trump’s alleged requests for election help from Ukraine are far more damning than any of the other scandals that have plagued his administration. “I think this is the most serious charge against the president, far more serious than what Bob Mueller dug or dragged up against him, if there was a quid pro quo,” Napolitano, a judge and the network’s senior judicial analyst, said Monday, referring to the former special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign."
Time for those Republicans in the Senate to step up and stop giving Trump shelter. Impeachment hearings won't be a serious threat to President Trump if the GOP ignores their responsibility ... which will give voters yet another reason to stop voting for Republicans, who need to be removed from office at all levels of gov't - local, state & Federal.
Autographs Border Wall Originally Built By President Obama
How embarrassing. Not just for the President but also for his dinky base of supporters ... ever the showman, and increasingly acting more like a snake-oil salesman, the Donald got a charge yesterday when he was invited to "autograph" a section of wall in Otay Mesa, CA originally built during the Obama administration. The construction work at the border wall was merely maintenance of existing border wall yet he attempted to fool his supporters into thinking this was proof that his border wall expansion was actually being built. Not true. It was the Democrats, who our president makes a point of inaccurately bashing, were the builders of this stretch of border security.
"The section of wall Trump visited Wednesday was a $147-million replacement project stretching 14 miles. His administration hasn't completed any new wall construction since he took office, but has replaced about 60 miles total," according to actual news reports that you too can read and verify.
"First and foremost, this isn’t Trump’s wall," Jonathan Pacheco, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector. "This isn’t the infrastructure that Trump is trying to bring in. … This new wall replacement has absolutely nothing to do with the prototypes that were shown over in the San Diego area," reports Politifact.
Not One Mile Of New Border Wall Has Gone Up
"Trump has been promising a big, beautiful wall for years now, but even after declaring a national emergency, there still isn’t a single section of new wall to show for it. Instead, all that has happened is that existing fences and other barriers have been beefed up or replaced. In total, the administration has thus far only repaired or replaced 60 miles of the border barrier. Even conservative news outlets like the Washington Examiner, usually a reliable cheerleader for Trump, have admitted that there’s no new wall ... Earlier this year, Trump spent taxpayer dollars to visit a plaque commemorating “completion of the first section of President Trump’s border wall.” That section was just a refurb as well," says the National Memo.
posted with pride 09.19.19
Trump Tweets about
hurricane is the real Category 5 Disaster
Once upon a time when politicians made mistakes they would apologize, explain themselves or suffer the consequences. That no longer seems to be the case. It seems President Trump's daily diet of assorted gaffes & mistakes well-documented by his Tweets & his comments captured on video ... yet his base of supporters continues to back the President. I expect to see his base erode & decline as those who voted for him feel a sense of shame & regret. Shame ... because those GOP voters supported the Donald even when there was plenty of evidence long before the election.
The latest example begins with a Tweet on Sunday Sept 1st when the Donald indicates that Alabama was in the path of hurricane Dorian. The National Weather Service responded within 30-minutes saying that was not true. “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”
Then yesterday Trump expands his bogus claim on Twitter:
It's really a very minor error, but citizens do rely on official NWS forecasts to stay safe. Rather than simply admitting his mistake, Trump doubles down with a flurry of Tweets that wastes more time of his staff by dragging 'em into a meeting in the Oval Office showing off a modified poster - news reporters say the poster appears to have been hand-drawn with a black Sharpie™ marker indicating the storm's path had changed. One Twitter message to Trump says the act of modifying an official weather forecast may actually be a criminal offense: "18 USC §2074 makes it a crime to issue a counterfeit weather forecast, claiming that it was issued by the Weather Bureau."
Another American citizen responded to Trump's 09.05.19 Tweet shown above:
Naturally, in tit-for-tat fashion a Trump-fan voiced their support on Twitter: "Robin Delano: You are willing to lie about our president just to fuel your own hate for him. You people are sick!"
Sorry Robin, it isn't a lie ... another Twitter fan responds: "Civic Politics writes: Who’s lying? He could have said 'my bad - I used the wrong map' and moved on. This man is incapable of admitting he made a mistake or is wrong. He is a sociopath."
Conflicts of Interest
Aplenty Surrounds Trump & His Administration
Two articles in this morning's USA Today newspaper touched on the issue of our President's business dealings. Page 4: "Pence plan to stay at Trump hotel defended" ... The Veep is heading to Ireland for a series of meetings & plans to house his entire entourage of assistants & Secret Service agents at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, per a suggestion from President Donald Trump ... even though there are dozens of secure facilities closer to the meetings which are being held hours away in Dublin (the opposite side of the country).
Item #2 is an OpEd written by Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW): "Trump original sin: Keeping his business G-7 at Doral would be among 2,300+ conflicts" ... Noah says there have been "643 visits to Trump properties from at least 253 Trump administration officials" during his first 2-disasterous years in office. He also points out: "Trump has visited his properties 365 times at taxpayer expense during his tenure, sometimes visiting more than one of them in a single day. The president has spent time at a Trump-brand property on nearly a third of the days he has been president." Repeat that last line out loud to your grandchild and ask them what they think about that ... because if that little fun-fact does not make you violently ill, there is something seriously wrong with you ... and only a check thru the unfiltered, unbiased eyes of youth can your soul be salvaged.
Will Congress investigate or conduct public hearings on the issue? Likely not, though they oughta'. My fantasy is on January 20, 2021 when someone more qualified in inaugurated as our President ... right at the podium, minutes after the Donald becomes a former President ... that he 's arrested and taken into custody - right on the spot with the world watching, as we sing our national anthem: "...You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring..."
posted with pride 09.04.19
Threatens Florida ... Trump Attacks TV Actress
Does it really make sense to Donald Trump's base that given all the things this world faces: hurricanes, gun violence, Brexit, Trump's trade wars & tariffs, massive protests in Hong Kong ... what the world really needs to focus on is his dispute with actress Debra Messing. "I have not forgotten that when it was announced that I was going to do The Apprentice, and when it then became a big hit, helping NBC’s failed lineup greatly, @DebraMessing came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me, even calling me “Sir.” How times have changed!" My, my. Now aren't we being more than a little bit shallow, Donald. Craving respect, much? [To read more about Trump's on-going feud with Messing ... see this month's Vanity Fair.]
Before 7:30 a.m. on this nation's Labor Day ... President Trump has fired off 16 Tweets in rapid-fire, and then proceeded to head to the golf course*. Ironic, isn't it? Republicans spent the better part of 8-yrs launching savage attacks on Barrack Obama for every golf outing he enjoyed during his 2-terms in office ... forget the fact that Eisenhower played far more often, and Trump is off to a pace in his 1st 2-yrs of office to break all records as our Golfer-in-Chief. Freaking hypocrites. [source]
Today, Trump made a half-hearted attempt to acknowledge American workers with an early Tweet that really was just more typical Trump self-aggrandizement bragging about things he's done which he views as "accomplishments". Most of us cringe when thinking about the havoc and destruction he's causing ... and I'm not talking about Trump's disregard for the rules of golf. [see "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump"]
The Donald celebrates Labor Day via Tweet: "When you put everything together, the pro growth Tax & Regulation Cuts, help to retrain workers, the Tariffs which encourage manufacturers to come back to America, along with President Trumps tough approach on immigration (strong stance on illegals, promoting Merit Based), it.......adds up to the most ambitious Pro-Worker policy agenda this Country has ever seen. The President promised Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and that is exactly what he is delivering." Sounds like that was written by Hogan Gidley or Stephanie Grisham.
For those craving a bit of normalcy ... here's a link to labor day speech President Obama gave at a picnic in Cincinnati in 2009 [link]. I fully realize that the racist haters who could not stand the thought of a black man in the White House is largely what has propelled much of the political division in this country ... but history will prove my assessment to be accurate and gradually the prejudice displayed by the white voting block, often referred to as the GOP, will become less significant and evolve into America's new minority party. They will become less significant with each ensuing election. Hope I live long enough to experience that development - I actually thought we were there in 2016. Guess it was more like Hope & Change ... I hoped the country had changed but it had not. Progressive voters sat on the sidelines and let a "trust fund baby, casino-bankrupting, reality TV rodeo clown" take control of the White House.
[confession: I've not watched more than 3 minutes of Trump's reality TV show (Apprentice). For that matter, I doubt I've watched even that much of any episode of Messing's "Will & Grace".]
** While 129 Tweets were actually listed on the Trump Twitter Index during Labor Day Weekend, I found that 2 of them were redundant.
Sidebar Note: Readers of these random thoughts ... the Diary of a MadDog ... may know instinctively that I am not a fan of Social Media as it is structured today. In my humble-bumble opinion, Facebook & Twitter both oughta' be regulated much more than they are now. But I am also the guy who wonders why "spam" continues to be a problem for some mindless folks. I mean: if no one responded to spam the evil doers would not make a dime and would stop sending it out ... the world has spam and fake news on social media because fools lack the ability to filter bogus claims ... maybe they lack some critical enzyme in their brains or a flaw in their DNA. I don't know - but I also don't get why so many people are deceived (by spam, and fake news, and, most everything Donald Trump says or Tweets about).
Trump deportation order
for sick immigrants establishes new, pathetic low
Isabel Bueso, helped develop a treatment for her rare disease but now faces a life-threatening situation if the Trump administration is successful in their efforts to deport her. Bueso is one of thousands of medical patients who are in the US of A ... legally participating in a program known as "medical deferred action" by the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) a unit of the Department of Homeland Security created by President G. W. Bush. Bueso was ordered last month to leave the US within 33 days. Pull the plug and get out!
The life-saving medical treatment program for patients like Isabel allows her to remain in the U.S. for two-year periods if they can prove extreme medical need. Many of the people affected by the policy change came to the U.S. through a visa or other permitted status and are requesting to stay beyond those terms to continue to receive medical treatment which often not available in their home country. USCIS clarified their policy shift to say that "medical deferred action requests are now submitted to ICE for consideration." That sure sounds like a typical excuse for the spineless Trump organization that seems hell-bent on inflicting as much pain as possible on defenseless human beings.
Doctors in California invited Bueso to participate in a clinical trial for a new drug to treat her condition: mucopolysaccharidosis type VI. "People with Bueso’s disease lack an enzyme that allows the body to break down certain sugars. The genetic mutation leads to very short stature, because the skeletal system cannot develop normally," reports KQED News in California. Every week, Bueso receives an intravenous infusion of medicine ... without it, she will not survive. In 2003, her family moved to the US of A from Guatemala. The success of this clinical trial has led to federal approval for the treatment which is now extended to other US residents in need.
Outraged? Contact your representatives in Congress (there appears to be a groundswell of bi-partisan support to reverse this awful decision). [read more]
update 09.03.19 NBC News reported on Monday 09.02.19 that "Trump admin walks back plan to end deportation protections for sick immigrants The Trump administration said it would reconsider the plan after telling sick immigrants they had just weeks to leave the country or would face deportation." Consider that a partial rollback of a really bad policy. Not good enough considering the anguish they have caused.
Fed up Fox host demolishes Trump’s claim about the wall
If regular FOX News viewers missed it, here's a link to a story that is driving the Donald absolutely crazy. [link] As one reader commented: "This is a true reporter ... Shepard Smith fact check'd & not a liar like Hannity or Carlson and Ingram."
It's really not news for the rest of us who have known for months that there was no new border wall construction along our Southern border, but the poor radical right-wing extremists had no clue because their favorite source for info & news ignored the truth & the facts. But now, as Rachel Maddow likes to say: "poof!" - the charade has been exposed. Guess this is one of the many reasons Trump is ticked-off at Fox News and is now advocating the wacky conservative propaganda source: One America News which many folks are saying is "Foxier Than Fox" ... er, make that: more right-wing than Fox News. Half of the video posted on YouTube includes additional, virtually brilliant insightful comments from the guy who posted the clip: Brian Tyler Cohen. Well done, Brian.
[In the interest of complete disclosure: our former accountant mentioned he was a big fan of One America - which maybe one of many reasons we no longer seek his services. Besides, we sold the store and can handle most of tax matters solo these days ... knock-on-wood.]
posted 08.31.19 - as Mike's rolling on the floor laughing & repeatedly playing Smith's video
Trump's Attack on Ford Motor Co. & the state of California
It happens all the time...over a dozen times a day Donald Trump says something that is intentionally inaccurate, or lies, or purposely miss-states something in his efforts to conflate and confuse American voters. While his base of supporters eats it up - the rest of us vomit & then track, document & chronicle his mistakes [Washington Post has documented & catalogued 12,019 false or misleading claims Trump has made " thru 08.05.19]. That's why I was so delighted to find several articles debunking Trump's story ... like the story below by the Associated Press:
AP Fact Check: Trump's false claims on fuel economy rules
President Donald Trump is misrepresenting the facts about his proposal to freeze Obama- era fuel economy requirements at 2021 levels.
In a tweet earlier Wednesday, Trump blasted auto executives as “foolish” and accused the companies of being “politically correct” for resisting the plan, which two of his agencies are putting together in a final regulation.
A look at Trump's claims and reality:
TRUMP: “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother. Very little impact on the environment! Foolish executives!”
THE FACTS: Trump is inflating the projected savings to consumers, minimizing the potential environmental harm and may be exaggerating the safety benefits.
His own administration, in documents proposing to freeze the standards, puts the cost of meeting the Obama-era requirements at around $2,700 per vehicle. It claims buyers would save that much by 2025, over standards in place in 2016. But that number is disputed by environmental groups and is more than double the estimates from the Obama administration. Trump's tweet also is ignoring money that consumers would save at the gas pump if cars get better mileage. A study released Aug. 7 by Consumer Reports found that the owner of a 2026 vehicle will pay over $3,300 more for gasoline during the life of a vehicle if the standards are frozen at 2021 levels. The administration's proposed freeze would hold the average fuel economy for the new vehicle fleet at 29.1 mpg in real-world driving, while the Obama-era standards would raise it to 37.5 mpg by 2026, according to Consumer Reports.
A White House spokesman had no immediate comment on how Trump came up with his claims. In regards to the environment, Trump claims his proposal would cause little harm, but documents from his own administration say that U.S. fuel consumption would increase by about 500,000 barrels per day, a 2% to 3% increase. Environmental groups predict even more fuel consumed, resulting in higher pollution.
Trump's statement that cars would be substantially safer also is in dispute. His administration argues that lower-cost vehicles would allow more people to buy new ones that are safer, cutting roadway deaths by 12,700 lives through the 2029 model year. But Consumer Reports says any safety impact from changes in gas mileage standards are small and won't vary much from zero.
There's little basis for Trump's claim that engines would run more smoothly. Early versions of cars with more fuel-efficient transmissions, turbochargers and technology that stops engines at red lights were rough, but those have been refined.
“The automakers have figured out how to use this technology and make the cars smoother driving, too,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing.
- Tom Krisher, The Associated Press (the AP article appeared in Detroit Free Press Thursday August 22, 2019 ... and USA Today wrote about it August 21st ... [link].
Mike posted all of this great stuff 08.31.19 & wishes all a "happy Labor Day Weekend"
Republicans who opposed the 2016
Donald Trump presidential campaign
Remember them? America used to have quite a few patriots ... what happened to 'em?
♪...and where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo, woo, woo. ♪♪
Recently I stumbled upon this amazing list at Wikipedia ... Republicans who opposed Trump in 2016 - some now consider themselves to be Independents today ... so I did what any decent American would do: I copied it and condensed it and created another web-page so that you too can have a copy, or you can post in your office next to the water cooler, or mail to your weird Uncle Max & even weirder Aunt Flo.
In preparation of the list I was struck by how normal these people seem to be compared to the current administration and cast of assorted boosters & wing-nuts who have wiggled out of the woodwork ... see if you agree - click here and scan the list. I also realize that some of these folks have flip-flopped. They were against him before they were for him ... such as that cast of 16 GOP candidates that Trump defeated ... "Lyin' Ted Cruz" & "little Marco Rubio" ... remember when those guys still had a spine? Whoa, whoa, whoa.
‘Sorry, it’s the way I negotiate’
Trump confounds the world at wild G7 Conference in France; increasingly unhinged
The president’s meandering statements and conflicting remarks left aides and allies alike guessing at his intended course of action — and his critics reviving questions about his fitness for office, Gabby Orr of Politico wrote yesterday. “Sorry, it’s the way I negotiate,” Trump shot back when questioned about whether there’s an actual strategy behind his constant back-and-forth on his positions regarding trade with China. “It has done very well for me over the years,” Trump said. “It’s doing even better for the country.”
We'd be able to appreciate that better, Mr. President if you'd release your freaking tax records for the past 2 decades so that we'd be able to see for ourselves how well you've actually done over the years ... we already have documentation that you received over $413 MILLION from 'yo Daddy. So much for being a "self-made" billionaire.
Upon departing for the summit last Friday Trump said he "hereby ordered" U.S. companies to seek alternatives to doing business in China and by Tweet, his preferred method for official White House communications, Trump said he would raise tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 15%. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative also said the U.S. would hike tariffs on another $250 billion in Chinese imports from 25% to 30% on Oct. 1st. By the way, don't you just love how Trump manages his domestic & foreign policy via social media? And this from the clown who wants to "lock her up" for the way Hillary used private emails over 4-yrs ago when she was Sec't of State. Doesn't his base realize the Donald uses a non-conforming private mobile device to send his Tweets??? For the record, Trump sent or forwarded 14 Tweets yesterday...9,937 Tweets as President, since his inauguration 01.17.17.
NBC News White House reporter Hallie Jackson asked President Trump at the G7 Conference in France about reports that he plans to host next year's summit at his floundering, nearly bankrupt Doral Country Club property in Miami. "What reassurances, if any, can you provide to Americans concerned you're seeking to profit off the presidency?"
Media Says Debate One, Night 2 Was Harris's "Breakout Moment" ...
Mike Says It Was Something Else...
Bloomberg News: "Kamala Harris created a breakout moment for her campaign Thursday night by reaching deep into her past. The California senator has pitched herself to Democratic voters as a steely prosecutor well equipped to take on the fight against President Donald Trump next year." [source]
I think it was just the sort of moment the media loves - a little controversy to keep the pot well-stirred. It's not so much a desire to reach truth as it is to secure high ratings and give the pundits the sort of topic they can discuss for a week - nonstop. And they did. Fox News said the debate gave Harris a boost in her campaign; NPR says Joe Biden "had a bad night". My assessment is a bit different. Throughout the evening, moderators tried hard to follow the time limits agreed to at the outset: "The candidates will have 60 seconds to answer, 30 seconds for any follow-ups," said NBC's co-host, Jose Diaz-Balart. Responses extending beyond those parameters got cut-off.
NBC News produced the 2½ hour debate - their commentators asked questions they felt would help the candidates to differentiate themselves. Savannah Guthrie, who has a law degree, started things off: "let's get to it ... we're going to start today with Senator Sanders. Good evening to you. You've called for big, new government benefits, like universal health care and free college. In a recent interview, you said you suspected that Americans would be, quote, "delighted" to pay more taxes for things like that. My question to you is, will taxes go up for the middle class in a Sanders administration? And if so, how do you sell that to voters?" Keep in mind, the Senator has just 60-seconds to answer a question that took Guthrie :32 seconds to ask. The fact there's 20 Democratic candidates makes a real "debate" impossible, but c'mon, 60-seconds to introduce complex campaign plans and connect with voters turns the program into 2½ hours of sound bites and slogans and memorized campaign messages? Too restrictive.
Kamala Harris's big "breakout moment" happened at the 54-minute mark of the event when co-host Rachel Maddow asked Mayor Pete Buttigieg about a recent shooting involving a South Bend police officer - which he answered. Gov. Hickenlooper briefly commented, as did Rep. Swalwell (D-CA). Author Marianne Williamson interjected a few thoughts about racial injustice and mentioned "...the Democratic Party should be on the side of reparations for slavery for this very reason" which prompted California Senator Harris to spring into action. It was obvious by what transpired that she was prepared for such an opening to launch the evening's first attack on Joe Biden. "As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race." Moderator Maddow said "we will give you 30 seconds, because we're going to come back to you on this again in just a moment. But go for 30 seconds." For the next five minutes the moderators opted to ignore the time-limits and gave Harris free rein for her convoluted, meandering recollections of being slighted as a child when a neighbor "told us her parents couldn't play with us because she -- because we were black." Seriously, Senator ... you're going to launch your debate to become President of the United States with a tale of a childhood slight? A disrespectful comment that may or may not have been accurately interpreted 45-50 yrs ago? Hearing her voice on the video vs. reading what she was asking in the transcript reveals a great deal more for me (which is why I have provided links below to the transcript and the video). This moment was rehearsed and it was intentional on Harris's part.
Harris then pivoted with this segue: "I'm going to now direct this at Vice President Biden..." and again referenced her childhood experiences: "...there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me." Ok, congrats, Senator - it sounds as if you supported busing and you were able to participate in & enjoy the desegregation efforts your community provided ... however, your effort to besmirch Biden sure sounds like a stretch to me. But your voice sounds quite indignant and outraged, even though Joe Biden is not a racist and has done nothing that warranted the attack other than being the front-runner in the polls to be the Democratic Presidential candidate. Harris ignores Biden's accurate response: "I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the Department of Education." But at this point, Harris has accomplished her goal of creating a bit of mischief. Damage done ... and the moderators allow it to happen 'cuz it's sensational and fits the network's self-serving interest to boost ratings.
Meanwhile, the red light on Harris's podium is visible on the video at the 58:21 mark, well beyond the 30-seconds Maddow had granted her to make her comment. Moderators make no effort to regain control - they seem to be loving the rapid fire exchange, as Harris breaks into the repetition phase of her little rant: "That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That's why we need to pass the Equality Act. That's why we need to pass the ERA" as if Biden needs to be lectured.
Prior to the debate I was very much impressed with Kamala Harris's questioning of Attorney General William Barr during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding Barr's release of the Mueller Report summary he wrote - even though Barr claimed his memo was "not a summary". (The memo in question says right in the text: "I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation." This nonsense from the Trump administration is rich, pathetic & sad, hilarious at the same time.)
Anyway, going into the debates, the candidates I was/am most interested in include: Biden, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Harris (in that order). There are others I hope to learn more about (Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet & Julián Castro) and several who I hope to see fall quickly in the polls, like: Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, & Elizabeth Warren. Those 3 would be preferable to me over Trump, but I'm concerned free college and free health care will only add to our nation's debt and create more "Buy-n-Large" citizens (see Mike's BNL comments below). So the next 14-months will be interesting - I just hope more Americans engage their minds and study up on this stuff ... because I am convinced, if they do Republicans will lose at all levels: local, state & federal ... and the nation can get back to issues that really matter.
text transcript of entire 1st debate: [link]
"...trust fund baby, casino-bankrupting, reality TV rodeo clown..."
Friday night I heard the neatest interview on “The Last Word” with Ali Velshi substituting for MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell. President Trump set the stage for economic chaos both at home and abroad as he heads to France and the G7 summit this weekend with a series of juvenile Tweets attacking his own Federal Reserve chair and ramping up his ongoing trade war with China asserting he has the authority to force US businesses to leave China. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, “We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them.”
“If there is anything that American CEOs love to do is take orders from a trust fund baby, casino-bankrupting, reality TV rodeo clown,” Linette Lopez, Business Insider senior finance correspondent. [See the video clip for yourself on You Tube; the Lopez quote occurs at the 4:00 mark.]
Awesome observation! As mentioned previously the "Trump economy" upon which he's running his re-election hopes continues to flounder even though he keeps saying how great everything is. His base may believe it, but it's factually not accurate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday at 25,628 points which is nearly a thousand points below the Dow's closing bell 01.28.18 - over a year-and-a-half ago! Economists estimate the Donald's China tariffs are costing the average American consumer over a thousand dollars per year ... and Trump's spending deficit has added $8.3 TRILLION to our national debt [source].
posted in disgust on 08.24.19
Nearly Forgot To Mention This Great Thought From First Debate ...
South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "The Republican party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion. Now, our party [Democrats] doesn’t talk about that as much, largely for a very good reason, which was we are committed to the separation of church and state, and we stand for people of any religion and people with no religion. But we should call out hypocrisy when we see it. And for a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that it is okay to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again." [Watch the video that captured this moment & thought]
Conservatives love to wear their religion on their sleeve. They'll argue about the sanctity of life but the hypocrisy of GOP “pro-life” ideology has become a joke. While nearly one hundred new abortion restrictions have been enacted at the state level, not a single bill has reached the floor of the US Senate that would attempt to address gun violence. It is pure political hypocrisy for those who claim to care for protecting human life with their Pro-Life rants and restrictive laws, yet ignore the gun violence that is killing 100 Americans every day. In 2017, gun deaths reached their highest level in at least 40 years, with 39,773 deaths. Voters need to face the facts: its typically a bunch of angry white male voices making the arguments to prevent women from exercising their right to make their own decisions about reproductive health. Time to vote them out of office - on both the state and Federal level.
Avoid relying on Social Media to keep you informed
The banner ad to the right is what my Google News summary thought I oughta' be reading ... the Washington Examiner's upcoming "political summit" ... in late October @ the ever swank resort in Sea Island, Georgia. Organizers who are eager to help part you from your money may think this is an appealing luxury destination. For me, the vibrant autumn colors found in the Midwest at that time of year are more alluring.
Thumbnail images may be too small to identify the "speakers" shown to the right. L to R: This auspicious conservative leaning group is lead by keynote speaker & former Trump White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders with guest appearances by former Trump Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired judge and former Baylor University President Ken Starr, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Florida Sen. Rick Scott, and Karl Rove, former GW Bush political advisor. Wow. A lot of "former" conservative political experts in that group. Most of us have not seen Karl Rove since his melt-down on the 2012 Fox News election results but we do recall he was a leading "Never Trumper" in 2016.
Perhaps 4 of the speakers: Blackburn, Nunes, McCarthy & Scott can explain why they & their peers in Congress have not been able to end ObamaCare as they promised, or build the Donald's Wall along our Southern border. Or maybe they can explain why they have been unable to pass any comprehensive immigration reform, or protect Americans from domestic terrorism. Perhaps the other 5 "formers" can explain why their opinions matter ... especially Huckabee-Sanders who left the WH in disgrace months after her last WH Press Briefing and history of delivering inaccurate information. [see summary below or visit Vanity Fair for more info.]
My real concern is the impact social media has on American voters, especially since all of the above speakers have been discredited in various ways over the past 2-years. But have voters grown to become so lazy, so detached from reality, that they actually believe Tweets and Facebook posts, and summits like this keep them informed? Do conservative voters actually believe this sort of political spin offered on social media is actually news? If so, you need to read a Wall Street Journal story published yesterday: "Twitter, Facebook Target Accounts Spreading Misinformation on Hong Kong Protests." Then repeat after me and pledge the following: "As an American adult voter it is my responsibility to stay informed; I pledge that I will read at least one newspaper daily, preferably one printed on newsprint" (vs. a cyber edition). Your 3rd grade civics teacher will be proud of you ... and if you start right now, today, just think how prepared you'll be for your annual family turkey feast in November!
That Matter To Trump
Crowd Size, Thrilling His Base
Even Fox News couldn't help but highlight the vacant seats at Trump's rally in New Hampshire this past week. Fox News actually stopped broadcasting the entire Trump rally - instead offering viewers with just highlights ... like the Donald confusing his supporters with protestors telling the audience the guy getting thrown out "needed to lose weight". Look who's talking. We've seen this behavior since the very beginning; Trump is compelled to exaggerate his appeal and popularity - like his 2016 Inauguration crowd being larger than President Obama's 2009 inauguration attendance.
Last week the Donald's organizers bribed employees to attend a Trump event that was paid-for by taxpayers, not his 2020 campaign (which is so very wrong). A bunch of Twitter comments today made a point highlighting the hypocrisy: "Union workers at a Royal Dutch Shell’s manufacturing facility in western PA were told that they had to attend ... Trump’s speech on Tuesday – or take the day off without pay ... Very China. Very N. Korea. Not American!"
When It Comes To Israel ... The Debate Has Become Unreasonable
So you've heard the news clips of Trump ranting about several Democratic Congresswomen "they are “anti-Israel" and" and "it’s very disgraceful, the things they’ve said. What they have said is disgraceful,” Trump repeats ... over & over without offering any specifics. “If other people had made that statement, there would have been hell to pay ... they’ve become the face of the Democrat Party".*
Wow. That's kinda' harsh. But, do you have any idea WHAT was actually said? Trump's base likely doesn't know ... they just blindly assume Rep. Omar must have really stepped in it, big-time. Which is why I'm writing about it here, because in my view, she didn't - in my view what she said was probably accurate. Here's the actual, complete quote attributed to Omar: "It's all about the Benjamins baby." That's it ... it's all about the Benjamins, baby. She referring to the money raised, much of it by conservative supporters of Israel, to fund their lobbying efforts. [source]
And Omar's comment about "the Benji's" was in response to a journalist's question about critical comments from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy about criticism of Israel. The subsequent outrage (which I contend was exaggerated and phony) prompted Omar to issue a more expansive, reasonable Twitter message (shown here to the left).
Funny, or sad, that seldom does a day pass where the Donald doesn't do or say something so terrible that it causes a more folks from his base to flee and drop their support for the guy. In this case Trump requests Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu to block the visit of two Democratic Congresswomen in an effort to keep the controversy alive.
At Trump's urging Israel says it will bar two U.S. congresswomen from entering the country. Netanyahu reversed his earlier decision to allow Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), both Muslims critical of Israeli policies, to visit. Yet, even members of the GOP are disagreeing with Trump publicly on this maneuver. The NY Times reports: "Israel’s decision was criticized not only by Democrats but also by some top Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, also said it was a mistake."
Maybe its time we rethink our support for this country which has increasingly tried to block adverse publicity to Israeli causes. Remember when Netanyahu demanded to address US Congress in 2015 in his protest over the Iran Nuclear agreement with the world's 8 leading nations? [source] I think it's time we re-think many aspects of our foreign aid program; American taxpayers have given over $134 BILLION in general aid to Israel since 1949, but that figure does not include defense and military costs, so the total level of US support is much greater ... some estimates say we've given these ungrateful, demanding people over $750 BILLION [read report]. On this issue I am in general agreement with Bernie Sanders - Israel needs to go it alone and decline our financial aid.
a minor point that I've made earlier but there is no such thing as the
Democrat Party ... the actual name is Democratic Party, Mr. Trump.]
How Moscow Mitch's chances for
re-election just tanked ...
Kentucky attracts foreign investment in aluminum plant after Russian Sanctions canceled
Newsweek reports: "Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, announced plans to invest around $200 million to build a new aluminum plant in Kentucky just months after the Trump administration removed it from the U.S. sanctions list." [source]
The problem for McConnell, in his haste to attract major funding for much-needed employment opportunities in his depressed home state of Kentucky ... is that 2 of his former staffers were the lead lobbyists in Congress & the Treasury Department to cancel the sanctions that were just implemented in April of 2018. Politico reports: "Attention over the sanctions relief deal has focused on McConnell, given his role in halting a bipartisan congressional effort in January to stop the penalties rollback. McConnell told reporters in May that his support for lifting the sanctions was “completely unrelated to anything that might happen in my home state.”"
Even voters in Kentucky aren't falling for that.
Fox News poll: Trump approval is down
Jeanine Santucci - USA TODAY - August 16, 2019
A Fox News poll released Wednesday indicated that support for President Donald Trump among voters has declined as his approval rating dropped to 43% from 46% in July. More respondents said Trump is “tearing the country apart” than did in previous years; 59% said he is divisive, while 31% said he is “drawing the country together.”
The poll, conducted Aug. 11-13, includes responses from more than 1,000 registered voters on both sides of the aisle. The overall margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. The latest rating is heavily influenced by Democratic responses. Only 7% of Democrats in the survey approved of Trump’s performance as president, compared with 88% of Republicans.
Trump’s overall response to the recent mass shootings was an issue for survey respondents: 52% disapproved. After the deaths of 22 victims in El Paso, Texas, and nine in Dayton, Ohio, Trump has called for stronger background checks; those measures were supported by the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans who were polled. According to the poll, a proposal to ban assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons would be favored by 86% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans. Democrats and Republicans both showed strong favor toward police removing guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. President Trump’s overall response to the recent mass shootings was an issue for survey respondents: 52% disapproved.
Now that's some great news! (posted 08.16.19)
If it sounds too fishy to be true...
... perhaps it is (a fishy tale). Or, something else entirely ... maybe a plant or a fake?
Yesterday's Rush Limbaugh radio program included a quick bit of dialogue with a call-in listener who sounded a bit too staged, too sterile to be real. Limbaugh was in the midst of his daily attacks on the Democratic Party as it related to the recent gun violence in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Limbaugh "opened his phone lines" to take a comment from a listener who identified himself as a "gay school teacher living in Los Angeles, CA."
What follows below is the transcript of the call & Rush's comments captured directly from his website. [source link] Even the photo of Rush Photoshopped in front of a highway road sign came from Limbaugh's website, though I confess: I did fix the awful crack along the middle of the 2-panels that formulate the sign. Notice how little the caller actually has to say, how non-specific he is … and what's this comment about the "industrial Midwest"? And what the heck is the "uni-party"? (See Dallas' final comment below.) Very odd. "I'm a gay schoolteacher living in Los Angeles, California…" who talks like that? Also, notice specific content of Dallas' call which provides Limbaugh with plausible deniability in the event this scheme blows-up in his face - Dallas did not say he was teaching school in L.A., only that he was "living" there. I suspect the "caller" was simply a set-up act - teeing-up a topic for Limbaugh to launch one of his typical rants. I'd love to be able to prove it was total BS.
The above transcript is from Limbaugh's website ... even the typos and poor writing comes directly from Rush's staff at EIB. https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2019/08/07/gay-california-schoolteacher-on-why-he-supports-trump/] For those who wonder why Limbaugh feels qualified to attack the fine state of California you should know his radio career began in earnest following a brief stint at KFBK in Sacramento before bolting to New York and a nationally syndicated ABC Radio show in 1988. Yes, Rush actually was employed by the "lame-stream media" at one point in his formative years. One of his former listeners commented a few years ago: "Who knew the windbag known as Rush would become the leader of the Republican party? This could not have happened with a well educated populace." [source]
I found a source to search CA teachers but can't get anywhere without a last name. Can anyone out there in California help flush-out the truth: is there really a teacher in L.A. with the first name of "Dallas"? Call me skeptical.
Mike ... what's with the BNL logo?
It does seem to be creeping into images on my website lately doesn't it? Take for example the 2 recent Trump stories below and the Donald's handsome BNL lapel pin.
Huh? Well, there are several reasons for incorporating this into these pages filled with opinions & comments. MY #1 obvious reason: it's personal - as my weight continued to mount over the years I've finally mustered the courage to do something about it. Exercise more, eat less ... particularly less junk (specifically - donuts - haven't had one since January). A few months ago I was fiddling with a Photoshop graphic for my piece on America's obsession over "Smart Phones" (below) ... my new goal is to look a bit more like that Mike - and thanks to Louise's encouragement & my new daily treadmill & stationary bike routine I'm down 30+ lbs., 50 more to go! And the whole time my brain is replaying that catchy Buy'N Large theme song written by Thomas Newman for the blockbuster silver screen hit: Wall-E. Here's a handy link to theme song where you, too, can hear the song & watch a collection of videos: the history of BNL [source].
Reason #2 relates to my concerns about the impact on our local communities when consumers abandon local independent businesses in favor of mega-shopping venues offered by companies like Amazon & Walmart. The fictitious Buy'N Large entity followed a familiar path: "Buy Yogurt" started small, initially making & selling a single product - frozen yogurt. Business grew and grew, as did their customers, so they acquired a clothing maker: Large Industries ... hence, the Buy'N Large name. Over time the firm became "a global leader in multiple fields" ... health care, fast-food, and "so much more" with over 2 million subsidiaries the BNL entity took over the world ... or so the story goes. "Cleaning up the messes, so you don't have to."
The theme song helps & before you know it, the treadmill session is complete - time to move on to another project.
Trump hate speech
backfires; Deadly violence heightens focus on domestic terrorism
How Many Attacks Will It Take Until the White-Supremacist Threat Is Taken Seriously?
Over the span of just a few weeks the world has witnessed evil on display in America lead by it's despicable President Donald J. Trump who has personally attacked members of Congress, and figuratively dumped on the community and people of Baltimore. Then, almost as if it were on cue from the White House a gunman in California terrorized the Gilroy Garlic Festival killing three people and injuring 15 others. Saturday, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas killing 22 and wounding 26 people. Hours later, another domestic terrorist in Dayton, Ohio, shot and killed 9 including the shooter's own sister. What in the world is going on? Some people ask, as if searching for answers and explanations.
A few weeks ago FBI director Christopher Wray told the Senate that the majority of domestic terrorist events in 2019 thus far have involved white nationalism. It is obvious to most informed observers except the President, Fox News, Mitch McConnell and bunch of Republicans in Congress that political radicalism and a rise of far-right nationalism are contributing to hate crime around the country. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) said to Senate Leader McConnell: "The House of Representatives, on a bipartisan basis, passed common sense gun safety legislation to the Senate. You are blocking those bills from coming to a vote." McConnell refuses to bring hundreds of bills to the floor for debate and/or a vote. Do the voters of Kentucky really need more reasons why the Senate Leader needs to be voted out of office? Meanwhile, from Twitter messages and a carefully crafted WH teleprompter speech the President has denied that any of his hate speech and hateful policies are responsible for the violent acts across the country.
Spread the word - its time the reality TV star, his administration, and his pathetic sycophants in Congress be removed for cause.
Dow closes down 760 pts; worst day of
'19 as trade war intensifies...Thanks, Donald
CNBC Reports: "Stocks fell sharply Monday as a trade war between the world’s largest economies intensified with China retaliating against President Donald Trump’s latest move. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 767.27 points, or 2.9%, to close at 25,717.74 and dropped as much as 961.63 points at one point. The S&P 500 dropped nearly 3% to 2,844.74. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, falling 3.5% to 7,726.04. it was the worst percentage drop for all three indexes this year." [source]
Trump announced yet another 10% tariff on Chinese imports - this time, applied to consumer goods which drove the market down for the 5th straight trading day. So what stocks suffered? Apple, Nike, FedEx, computer equipment makers AMD, Micron. So, likely FOX NEWS is not covering this story and the average Republican voter thinks: "hey, why watch the news? There's nothing on but coverage of all of these silly mass killings & Democrats trying to take my guns away." (No, actually, we're not.)
So ... Yo, Trump voters: still digging his economic policies?
Look What He's Done For Our
Jobs Growth Below Average; Dow Tanks 588 pts; Other Indices Down
Hopefully recent news is causing Trump's base to think again. I'm pointing at those voters who say: "I don't like his Tweets or disparaging things he says...but look what he's done for our economy! That's all that matters to me."
But Soft Jobs Numbers
Trump Tariffs Tank Market
U.S. Manufacturing Slipped
US Construction spending drops 1.3% in June
US pulls out of Cold War-era pact with Russia
'Lock her up' chant breaks out at Trump's Cincinnati rally
news summary posted 08.02.19
Everything Trump does is for self-aggrandizement
Immigration: First, President Trump threatens to deport millions of immigrants, then the number shrinks to thousands. Final tally of last week's "Operation Border Resolve"? 35. What a massive failure ... absolutely yuge, to quote the Donald. And the excuse sighted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)? "The news media telegraphed to the criminals that we were coming." Oh, I get it. Trump's failure is the fault of the fake news media. Reality: voters struggle to contain laughter. [fact-check link]
Border Wall: Day 917 of this Trump Presidency and not a single foot - not a yard, not a meter of new wall has been built. Zero. None. Na-da. But its obviously a "work-in-progress". After all, our reality TV show host, 'er President, said: "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall." [fact-check link]
Bring Back Coal: “We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal. We love it. And you know that’s indestructible stuff. In times of war, in times of conflict, you can blow up those windmills. They fall down real quick. You can blow up those pipelines. They go like this and you’re not going to fix them too fast. You can do a lot of things to those solar panels. But you know what you can’t hurt? Coal.” Actually, Mr. President, that is not true. [fact-check link] Despite Trump’s repeated promises that he would bring back the dying coal industry, more plants have closed during his first 2-yrs in office than during President Obama’s entire first term. [another fact-checking link]
Bring Back Coal - 2: And now we're learning that the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund created in 1973 to help miners suffering from Black Lung Disease - a deadly progressive massive fibrosis - is now billions of dollars in debt. The Black Lung Benefits Act created a gov't trust fund to pay benefits, financed by an excise tax on coal, which had been capped at 4.4% of coal's selling price. On January 1st, 2019 the excise tax dropped to 2% of the selling price. And, coal produced for export is not taxed (even though domestic miners are producing it ... and breathing the coal dust and silica dust). Historically as the fund operates in a deficit Congress has been known to cover portions of the debt ... which the Government Accounting Office estimates the debt will exceed $15 Billion in 2050. [fact-checking link]
Bring Back Coal - 3: As if the above news about the bankrupt Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is not bad enough for Trump's coal miners we now learn the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is resisting efforts to increase the excise tax needed to adequately fund the medical care plan. It appears McConnell is more beholden to the mining companies in his home state of KY (than he is to the miners themselves). Trump says, "the coal industry is back" ... back in debt. [fact-checking link]
Best Economy In Decades! Actually, no. Not true, but that won't stop Trump and his administration from saying such silly stuff. 2nd Q Gross Domestic Product figures were released today ... the number fell to 2.1% after 1st Q performance of 3.1%. The current trend is heading in the wrong direction, obviously. But the economy has been on a 10-yr positive run under the leadership of Obama & Biden following the last disastrous Republican who sat in the WH (GW Bush). [fact-checking link]
posted by Mike 07.26.19
Expectations high for Special Prosecutor - Were voters watching?
Even before citizens had a chance to watch the recordings of the two Congressional Hearings yesterday the media talking-heads decided that nothing revealed in the "dry" hearing was "new" and decided that Democratic clamor for impeachment was already beginning to fade. You did set your DVR to "record" before heading off to work, right? Oh ... you didn't. You'd rather let the news folks and the political spin-operatives tell you what happened? How sad. Those of us who have stayed informed had a different reaction - I watched all of the 2nd hearing and listened to most of the 1st as I was mowing my lawn, I've read a great deal of the report (not all, but more than half ... it's a work/task still in progress for me).
The Mueller Report is well documented & filled with details of questionable activity by team Trump before and after the election, but folks who haven't read it can easily be persuaded to think as Republicans want the public to think even if it's bad for the country to tear down the reputation of the FBI & our law enforcement professionals. Rarely do Republicans quibble over the facts presented in the report - instead their mission has always been to discredit the investigation and the investigators. Critics of yesterday's hearings say Mueller appeared to be rather "shaky" or "confused". Give me a break - the guy's going on 75 and devoted his life's work to serving our country. Instead of expecting to be entertained with hype and flash and sizzle the public should be focused on the content of the report & consider what was confirmed & revealed in the report and at the hearings:
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC had a positive assessment after the hearings. calling it a "bad day for Trump". Maddow pointed out the benefit of open congressional hearings in informing the public, establishing a common base of information, and improving the factual discussion of important issues. [link]
Not all news venues summarized the hearings quite as positively. The NY Times reported: "After months of anticipation, Mueller ... delivered nearly seven hours of dry, sometimes halting testimony before Congress. Republicans and Democrats sparred over his conclusions ... Mueller mostly reiterated the findings of his 2-yr investigation ... without offering any significant new disclosures." [link]
Politico, the online news venue, seemed to agree with Maddow: "Actually, Robert Mueller Was Awesome" in their assessment of yesterday's hearings. "After six hours of testimony, it was the 74-year-old career prosecutor and law enforcement officer who won the day. It wasn’t that close." [link]
NBC News contributor and former Republican Kurt Bardella says: "Were the Mueller hearings a disaster for Democrats? Only if Americans weren't really listening - Mueller did not exactly exude charisma, but his testimony before Congress was illuminating when distilled down to the key moments." [link]
So it seems the drum beat for impeachment has not changed a great deal which is fine with me. I just want the facts to come out - particularly those which shame President Trump and voters who foolishly supported him. Other investigations will continue, but the Mueller probe was quite narrow & limited in scope. It's time for investigators to focus more on Trump finances - follow the money! Because, unless something dramatic surfaces, we may very well be waiting for voters to resolve this and send the Donald packing ... but given the 2016 results & the fact that some 40% of voters actually support this President, I admit I am concerned.
Mueller Testifies, Trump Tweets,
Republicans Embarrass Themselves
Prior to Special Prosecutors Robert Mueller's testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee, President Trump went on a Twitter binge attack. "So Democrats and others can illegally fabricate a crime, try pinning it on a very innocent President, and when he fights back against this illegal and treasonous attack on our Country, they call It Obstruction? Wrong! Why didn’t Robert Mueller investigate the investigators?" That Tweet was posted at 5:50 a.m., followed by ten more angry, factually challenged Twitter messages prior to Mr. Mueller's opening remarks.
The Mueller team did "investigate the investigators" as has Congress, as has the Inspector General. William Barr, your Attorney General, has two additional investigations pending, likely to satisfy YOU. The obsession that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and some of your supporters with "deep state theories" and other criminal elements within the FBI are unfounded, unproven, unsubstantiated. The Steele Dossier has not been proven to be inaccurate as your minions asserted repeatedly in today's hearings. My question to Trump supporters is: have you even read the freaking Steele Dossier? If not, why not? A link is posted for your convenience to the far right column of this webpage in my "library". Rather than attack with innuendo, try growing a spine and read it!
It's ironic: since Attorney General William Barr inaccurately summarized The Mueller Report in April: "no collusion, no obstruction, completely exonerated" that FOX NEWS, and virtually every Republican (but not all), along with Trump himself and Trump's base have used the Barr Summary of the Mueller Report as their defense ... repeating tens of thousands of times "no collusion, no obstruction, completely exonerated". It is ironic that today, Republicans & Trump himself, are trying to ambush & discredit Mueller himself. Huh? Republicans have been claiming for months that the Mueller Report confirmed "no collusion, no obstruction, completely exonerated" - even though no where in the actual report did it say that. Those were William Barr's words, not Mueller.
The Democrats on both committees did a nice job, for a change, in taking a strategic approach to these hearings. They prepared - they practiced - they stayed focused their goal of communicating the content of the report to the general public, rather than grand-standing and trying to create re-election video sound bites, as they normally do (ineffectively). Republicans came across as uninformed creepy negative partisans - not the least bit concerned about election integrity; likely few GOP representatives bothered to read the report either. Democrats have always had the facts on their side - trouble has been that few voters and likely plenty of Congressmen never took the time to read the Mueller Report. Plenty of voters have not bothered either - which I find sad.
White House Senior Policy Advisor
Defends Trump's Racist Comments (& more)
Shear madness. Chris Wallace entertained Stephen Miller White House Senior Policy Advisor on Fox News Sunday and Miller proceeded to defend the President's recent racist comments attacking four US Congresswomen. Some of Trump's statements and video clips date back to 2014. Meanwhile, Miller claims the President's words are not racist - and he continued the same attack on the Congresswomen saying Trump's comments were justified.
Prior to the 2016 election Stephen Miller was considered to be an extreme wing nut by most ALL knowledgeable news analysts (including many on FOX NEWS). It was considered laughable that Trump was seriously paying attention to Miller in the weeks & months leading up to the election. When Miller was actually given a job in the White House most conservative Republicans raised their eyebrows. Miller is just 33-yrs of age, and minimal experience at any level of business or government. Even Miller's Uncle, David S. Glosser, calls Miller an 'Immigration Hypocrite'. Glosser writes in a column about the family's Jewish immigrant roots and makes a veiled comparison between the Trump administration’s policies and Nazism. Time magazine reports: "Glosser told the story of his father, Wolf-Leib Glosser (Miller’s grandfather), a Jewish refugee from Antopol, in what is now Belarus, who arrived in the U.S. in 1903 after fleeing anti-Jewish violence."
Cramer to Trump: More US companies blame tariffs than the Fed for the slowing economy
"Most of the companies I've talked to, Mr. President, are saying the slowdown is because of your tariffs," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street" [CNBC financial news program] "I'm not hearing people blame the Fed as much as they're blaming tariffs."
posted by Mike 07.21.19 ~ updated below 07.25.19
Cramer: Trump’s government has become the wildcard wreaking havoc in this market
Oh but wait! Just 4-days after Cramer shared the opinion above for voters, the popular economist doubles-down with another observation about the negative affects of this "Trump economy" that the administration loves to brag about.
Yesterday [07.18.19] I read the following two "opinion" articles published in the
& posted links to each. Having re-read them this morning I decided
everyone in America needs to read these & I don't want to take a chance that
old friends and relatives may be too lazy to click thru the links ... so I
copied & pasted the complete unedited text below. Why? Well, as
you'll read below there's a great line in the 1st article written by Rex Huppke: "Oh, the Republicans say, I don’t like all the things Trump says, but I stand behind the president."
Sound familiar? Rex continues:
"As if there’s daylight between “being racist” and “supporting a racist.” If you believe that, get ready to spend your days in darkness."
We don’t hate America, Donald Trump. What we hate is the mess you’ve created
posted (just the links to stories) 07.18.19 by Mike - full text added 07.19.19
Fact check: Trump’s false claims about Rep. Ilhan Omar
Mike: here's a small sample of the lies Donald Trump has been saying
about the Minnesota Congresswoman whom he obviously doesn't like ... trouble
is - virtually NONE of the things he's saying
as reported this
morning by USA Today is true. Total fabrication - and he gets
away with it because Fox News won't bother to verify his BS ... and his base
of supports eats this up. Here's a link for those who wish to see the
How can Republicans live with a guy like Trump who makes stuff up??? He's attributing comments to someone who never said this stuff. The article is substantially longer - every American needs to read this at USA Today's website ... my point in offering a sample here is give readers a tiny incentive to go read the rest of it - I urge everyone to share this info & link with others. Particularly those folks who continue to support this lying, evil man. It's just despicable what he is doing.
Poll: Most Americans call Trump's tweets targeting 4 congresswomen 'un-American'
USA Today - Susan Page - 07.18.19
Mike: I realize only 43% of Republican voters agree ... it's further proof that conservatives are in a minority. It also shows that voter's continue to shift away from the Republican Party, evidenced in the 2018 Mid-term Elections, and it appears to be gaining momentum.
Why Do Trump Voters Hate That Which
Made Our Country Great?
The questions were posed by USA Today: "Donald Trump is not America's first racist president, but hopefully he'll be our last...Why does Trump hate the things that make our country great? And how do the rest of us get beyond this hatred and ignorance?" [source]
Yesterday I heard a similar bit of reasoning by Bloomberg Opinion director Tim O'Brien who was a guest on Deadline: White House a news talk-show hosted by Nicolle Wallace, former GW Bush communications director. (A conservative.) "Donald Trump is debasing the core values of his party. He appeals to a group of voters who feel lost, and easily swayed by appealing to their hatred rather than their higher virtues." So true. Hateful people bask in negativity.
And it's not like O'Brien did not have intimate knowledge and experience in working directly with Trump ... he has plenty of experience. O'Brien had written book years earlier in collaboration with the Donald called "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald" which stated Trump was not a billionaire and that his net worth actually ranged between $150 million and $250 million. Ouch.
Trump saw the book as an attack on his brand and filed a $5 billion lawsuit against O'Brien ($2.5 billion in compensatory damages, and $2.5 billion in punitive damages). At the time Trump had given O'Brien access to his financial records and was expecting a "puff piece" glamorizing his wealth and massaging Trump's enormous ego. But O'Brien was a writer and reporter first (NY Times) and he uncovered the truth. Trump lost his lawsuit - the case was dismissed in 2009 and that ruling was affirmed in appellate court in 2011. After years of wrangling O'Brien said, "I'm deeply grateful that the court's decision has vindicated the reporting in TrumpNation." O'Brien referred to Trump as a "faux millionaire," a "train wreck," "the walking embodiment of financial pornography" and a "serial bankruptcy addict" ... and Trump was unable to refute the facts & analysis gleaned from his own files.
To be fair, President Donald Trump says he isn’t racist. But his denials lack substance. The actual record tells a different story; documented examples of Trump racism goes back decades.
Trump’s bigotry was a key part of his campaign
Simply put, Trump's shrinking base of voters share his racist views. Consider the facts:
Trump’s racism was a big part of his campaign his reign of terror in office appeals to the population of white Americans who harbor racial resentment. Sadly, that pool of Americans is larger than I had thought.
photo credit: Associated Press 06.24.19 "The Donald
sporting golf spikes"
Is The Donald Speaking To You?
Sunday the man elected President of the United States launched another Twitter tirade ... was he speaking to you? Trump is obviously not attempting to reach the majority of Americans - no one who tells over 10,000 lies and falsehoods across a two-year span is interested in telling the truth. Rather, his racist rant is designed to appeal to his "base". If that includes you about all I can say is that I'm sorry for you - but I won't forgive you. The nation is in serious trouble when the president trashes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, our Federal Reserve Board, NATO allies.
Surely the "leader" of the "greatest and most powerful Nation on earth" knows that 3 of the 4 "Progressive Democrat Congresswomen" he was attacking were actually born in the US of A and are as American as he is ... perhaps more so.
[Mike's snarky sidebar observation: funny how the guy who has called others to be "stupid" 183 times on Twitter does not know that he oughta' capitalize the word Earth.]
Since the Donald did not identify his targets by name I have to assume he is referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the national media often refers to her by her initials: AOC), Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley & Ilhan Omar - all members of the Democratic Party. It's a minor point but notice how Trump copies Rush Limbaugh's disrespectful policy of abbreviating the name of the Democratic Party? It's a 3rd grader's trick & pathetically juvenile. Anyway, only Ilhan Omar legally emigrated to the US of A from Somalia as a child when her father was granted asylum.
All four of the "Progressive Democrat Congresswomen" are US citizens. Unlike Trump, all four were elected to their positions by the majority of American voters from their respective districts. All 4 women are impressive in so many ways and not deserving of ridicule & harassment from an American President. AOC was born in NY & graduated cum laude from Boston Univ in 2011. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) was born in Chicago, IL and served on the Boston City Council 2010-19. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was born in Detroit, earned a law degree before serving as Representative in the Michigan State Legislature (2009-14). All four women are accomplished and contribute to the greater good, representing their communities; do I personally agree with them on all issues? Goodness no. The "New Green Deal" for instance ... I'm concerned about climate change but AOC's proposals go a little too far for my tastes ... but I'd rather deal with vs. dealing with mindless climate change deniers. Free college educations? Free national health care for all? Sorry ... those proposals are a bit too rich for my tastes - I think folks who work for things have a better appreciation for their accomplishments. $15/hour minimum wage? OK ... I can buy into that concept. Someone who works full-time oughta' earn enough to keep themselves above the national poverty threshold.
Trump knows these women are all citizens (even if you didn't). He is banking on the fact that his base is prone to believe such racist arguments. Maybe, in the long run, it's a good thing that we've exposed the evil among us - exposed the people who are causing so many troubles in our society ... that's assuming we survive the next 16-months before voters can solve this and vote the Republicans out of office on a national scale - local, state, federal. No more Mitch McConnell in the Senate ... and prosecution of those who caused this mess. Frankly, I hope to never have anything to do with you as long as we're both sucking down polluted air here on Earth.
More Proof That Trump and His
Republican Supporters Are Hypocrites
It may be hard for some folks to see it when they're looking in the mirror so it's essential we all point out the obvious hypocrisy when it surfaces. It happens almost every day which compounds the situation because Republicans claim the Democrats are guilty of 'piling-on' and exaggerating their critique of the President. But think back ... throughout Barack Obama's term conservatives howled over the President's use of the teleprompter. For that matter, everything President Obama accomplished, even issues and subjects they previously supported - were now attacked by Republicans because the goal was no longer managing government & serving the country - but rather, defeating all things Obama ... and it mattered not if the critique involved a teleprompter, a vacation, a round of golf, or the First Lady trying to help school kids eat healthier food ... everything that our illegitimate Kenyan-born President did or tried to do would be subjected to attack. Everything.
Actually the Republicans were attempting to counter-act President Obama's awesome oratorical skills since conservatives were always quite jealous. Forget that presidents from both parties had used teleprompters for decades to ensure precise, well-delivered communications & speeches. “It’s a negative because it’s a sign of inauthenticity. It’s a sign that you can’t speak on your own two feet. It’s a sign that you have handlers behind you telling you what to say,” said GOP media strategist Fred Davis back in 2012 as he urged Republican candidates to avoid using the communication tool. While campaigning in 2012 former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he could tell the truth better than Obama can "dissemble on the teleprompter." Teleprompters aid the a speaker whose every word is picked over, shielding him from inadvertently making a diplomatic faux pas.
That is unless you're Donald Trump ... the nation's breath-of-fresh-air President ... the only one who can clean the swamp "like no other." As Trump himself has observed his administration is "the most accomplished in U.S. history." Likely the goofy stuff that Trump said and did in his term of office will fill volumes of books ... many historians will spend the rest of their careers analyzing all that transpired.
During a July 4th speech at the base of the Lincoln Memorial Trump attempted to sound Presidential & pay tribute to the nation's armed forces but instead produced multiple huge (or "yuge") Trump-sized gaffes. The Donald began talking about air defenses during the American Revolution, which took place more than a century before the Wright Brothers invented the airplane: "Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports" Trump said of the fighting force created by the Continental Congress in 1775. He also made reference to Fort McHenry* which wasn't built until 1798, long after the Revolutionary War. The British bombarded Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and the battle was memorialized in a tribute written by Francis Scott Key (which school children learned as "The Star Spangled Banner").
Surely Trump's 4th of July Re-Election Campaign Parade & Speech will be among the thousands of topics dissected - analyzing the cost and inappropriateness of the first partisan Independence Day celebration in U.S. history. And naturally, when things go badly for Trump, typically he blames others - his normal punching bag would be the Democrats. But on the 4th he blamed the rain and his faulty teleprompter: "The teleprompter went out," Trump told reporters. "It just went out – it went kaput." Trump has a conflicted relationship with teleprompters. While he uses them routinely now, he used to ridicule President Obama for relying on them, calling him a “teleprompter guy” and saying “you don’t want a scripted president.”
That is such a dishonest argument; only a complete hypocrite would excuse Trump. Surely any of the Democrats who've declared an interest in being President will do a better job than Trump. (OK, maybe not Andrew Yang, but all the rest would be an "upgrade" to DJT.) The nation will recover eventually ... but how can voters who supported the Donald live with themselves or survive this era with any credibility?
posted 07.06.19; additional facts* incorporated 07.07.19; silhouette of hypocrite Trump added 07.18.19
Trump Administration Guilty of
Intentionally Treating Migrants With Cruelty
Trump and his angry mob of conservatives are trying, unsuccessfully, to send a message to migrants fleeing Central America: you're not welcome here. The Donald has been trashing immigrants for over a decade even though his own mother migrated to the US from Scotland in 1930.
Trump's Department of Homeland Security says America is badly handling the influx of migrants and those seeking asylum in the US of A. Far too many people are packed in overcrowded detention centers in squalid conditions. Sure, normal people have been saying these things for months, but now even Trump's Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General agrees and has released a scathing report that every American oughta' read ... especially those folks sporting the bright red MAGA hats and appearing at Trump's re-election rallies, or those losers who are driving around town with a Trump 2020 bumper sticker on their pickup truck with the Confederate Flag decal plastered to the rear window. As readers of this webpage have come to expect, the facts are right here in our handy reference library ... see item #9 in the far right column. Don't rely on FOX News to give you the straight story - read the freaking report for yourself!
Detention center overcrowding is so severe the visiting inspectors found migrants banging on windows, doors & walls of the cells, begging for help. “At one facility, some single adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week, and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells,” says the DHS report. And keep in mind, this is not the 1st bit of negative news on the Trump administration handling of the border crisis which they have totally mishandled. In May a similar summary from the DHS Inspector General was issued. What is it going to take for Trump to change his policies? Officials who violate human rights oughta' be prosecuted. Yep ... "Lock 'em up!"
Mike: I read this article in the 06.25.19 edition of
delivered to my home and felt compelled to "reprint" it here on my webpage.
Why? 'Cuz I believe strongly that the story has not been given fair
treatment by the American media and American voters. Even the journalists
that Trump loves to bash as "fake news" oughta' be ashamed...MSNBC,
NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, even PBS & NPR seems apathetic & shrugs it off Trump's
16th accuser of sexual assault. They care more about ratings then they
do covering the news. "Any other candidate would be annihilated" had
they been accused of rape...but for the President, even our liberal leaning
media barely gives the story hardly any coverage. So, I've copied & pasted
Melinda Henneberger's excellent column here because it needs to be read.
By everyone. If you have any courage you will copy and paste and mail
it to your representatives in Congress...to family, friends, enemies, your
therapist, teacher(s), neighbors, & co-workers.
Are we bored with rape? I hope not. Jean Carroll's Trump allegation deserves attention.
Melinda Henneberger, columnist
USA Today ~
June 24, 2019 'Joe Biden accused of standing too close' is apparently a way bigger story than 'Donald Trump accused of raping a public person in a public place.'
My first thought, reading longtime Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s description of being raped by Donald Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room decades ago, was that there might still be presidential DNA on the Donna Karan coat dress she was wearing that day and never laundered.
My second thought, though, was that no one would care if there were. Because — how does that script go again? — she must have been willing. Because Bill Clinton, always, and because anyway, all of this was so very long ago. Since she’s written a book, nothing in it can be believed. And because Trump is a modern-day King Cyrus, he in any case gets a pass from God himself.
(Apparently, a stray biblical reference to this previously obscure Persian royal, who despite his heathen ways did free the Jews from slavery in Babylon six centuries before Christ, so reminds some evangelicals of Trump — duh, right? — that they’re willing to shrug off every lesson in the New Testament. This imagined divine mandate makes everything from immigrant babies neglected in filthy detention centers to only this latest on-the-record sexual assault allegation against the president somehow not just defensible, but also part of some twisted but who-are-we-to-argue cosmic plan.)
Any other 2020 candidate would be annihilated
To all of the excuses for our lack of interest — that this was more than 20 years ago, that her motives have been compromised by her commercial interest in selling her book and, my personal favorite, that she should have come forward last year, at the #MeToo moment deemed appropriate by those who’ve never had to learn the hard way that whenever a woman comes forward is somehow the wrong moment — I have one question: If this had been alleged of any of Trump’s potential 2020 rivals, in either party, would the coverage and public response be so meek and measured?
"Joe Biden accused of standing too close" is apparently a way bigger story than "Donald Trump accused of raping a public person in a public place." Unlike most women, men and children who are sexually assaulted, Carroll told two friends at the time, and they back her up.
Why then is White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband so lonely in noting the credibility of this 16th sexual assault allegation against the 45th president of the United States?
Worn down and worn out is no excuse
Yes, we’re exhausted by the sheer volume of Trump scandals, and yes, we’re bored with rape, too, because that is so last year.
Maybe if he had been accused of swiping a sweater from Bergdorf’s, that would be new and different? Because allegations of slamming a woman against a wall and penetrating her is same old, same old at this point.
From those who camp out to get seats at Trump’s altar calls, I expect the response to be just what it has been — a cascade of excuses that all boil down to blaming E. Jean Carroll. She says she was never much tempted to come forward, both because that’s not what her generation did, and because “receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”
To Trump’s faithful, his denials and claims that “I’ve never met this person in my life” are in no way undercut by a photo of them chatting at a party. But for those who know better but can’t be bothered, I’m sorry to see the extent to which this man and this topic have worn us down and worn us out.
And to those who purport to support women but wish this particular woman had said something sooner, later or not at all, I say: What else is new?
Melinda Henneberger is an editorial columnist for The Kansas City Star and a member of the
Board of Contributors. posted 06.25.19
'Joe Biden accused of standing too close' is apparently a way bigger story than 'Donald Trump accused of raping a public person in a public place.'
My first thought, reading longtime Elle advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s description of being raped by Donald Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room decades ago, was that there might still be presidential DNA on the Donna Karan coat dress she was wearing that day and never laundered.
My second thought, though, was that no one would care if there were. Because — how does that script go again? — she must have been willing. Because Bill Clinton, always, and because anyway, all of this was so very long ago. Since she’s written a book, nothing in it can be believed. And because Trump is a modern-day King Cyrus, he in any case gets a pass from God himself.
(Apparently, a stray biblical reference to this previously obscure Persian royal, who despite his heathen ways did free the Jews from slavery in Babylon six centuries before Christ, so reminds some evangelicals of Trump — duh, right? — that they’re willing to shrug off every lesson in the New Testament. This imagined divine mandate makes everything from immigrant babies neglected in filthy detention centers to only this latest on-the-record sexual assault allegation against the president somehow not just defensible, but also part of some twisted but who-are-we-to-argue cosmic plan.)
Any other 2020 candidate would be annihilated
To all of the excuses for our lack of interest — that this was more than 20 years ago, that her motives have been compromised by her commercial interest in selling her book and, my personal favorite, that she should have come forward last year, at the #MeToo moment deemed appropriate by those who’ve never had to learn the hard way that whenever a woman comes forward is somehow the wrong moment — I have one question: If this had been alleged of any of Trump’s potential 2020 rivals, in either party, would the coverage and public response be so meek and measured?
"Joe Biden accused of standing too close" is apparently a way bigger story than "Donald Trump accused of raping a public person in a public place." Unlike most women, men and children who are sexually assaulted, Carroll told two friends at the time, and they back her up. Why then is White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband so lonely in noting the credibility of this 16th sexual assault allegation against the 45th president of the United States?
Worn down and worn out is no excuse Yes, we’re exhausted by the sheer volume of Trump scandals, and yes, we’re bored with rape, too, because that is so last year. Maybe if he had been accused of swiping a sweater from Bergdorf’s, that would be new and different? Because allegations of slamming a woman against a wall and penetrating her is same old, same old at this point. From those who camp out to get seats at Trump’s altar calls, I expect the response to be just what it has been — a cascade of excuses that all boil down to blaming E. Jean Carroll. She says she was never much tempted to come forward, both because that’s not what her generation did, and because “receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”
To Trump’s faithful, his denials and claims that “I’ve never met this person in my life” are in no way undercut by a photo of them chatting at a party. But for those who know better but can’t be bothered, I’m sorry to see the extent to which this man and this topic have worn us down and worn us out. And to those who purport to support women but wish this particular woman had said something sooner, later or not at all, I say: What else is new?
Melinda Henneberger is an editorial columnist for The Kansas City Star and a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors. posted 06.25.19
Trump Orders "Millions"
Deported...Then Cuts Order To "Thousands"...Then Cancels
Rachel Maddow likes to say, watch not what Trump says ... pay attention to
what he actually does. And other than nominating 2
conservatives to our Supreme Court the data can’t convince Americans the
economy is doing well. Donald Trump has few successes.
"I have actually done more than I promised. We've done a lot," Trump says.
Actually, no Donald, you haven't done much that can be considered "good" ... and I have the facts to prove it.
Deporting millions next week? Likely the Donald accomplished what he sought out to do: appease his base with more
immigrant-bashing and scare the heck out of immigrants well assimilated in
American life. Folks who most likely are employed,
contributing to society, perhaps children attending local schools.
News that likely has plenty of folks freaking out & wondering if they should
gather up family & flee. But flee to where?
Deporting millions next week? Likely the Donald accomplished what he sought out to do: appease his base with more immigrant-bashing and scare the heck out of immigrants well assimilated in American life. Folks who most likely are employed, contributing to society, perhaps children attending local schools. News that likely has plenty of folks freaking out & wondering if they should gather up family & flee. But flee to where?
When journalists began pushing back, asking where in Earth would ICE hold millions of people, Trump immigration enforcement staff had to admit they did not have the staff or facilities to accommodate millions. The deportation estimates shrank over night to thousands. But then as reasonable people protested our spineless President Trump caved - as usual. He tries talking tough, but ultimately his words prove to be simple performance art for this reality TV star.
To be clear I think immigrants with serious criminal records (felonies not misdemeanors) oughta' be booted just as they were throughout the Obama/Biden administration ... assuming the legal violation is something more than simply living in the US of A illegally. In most cases they are workers not criminals, often tackling jobs that Americans avoid.
Threats against poor defenseless folks aren't the only challenges & edicts Trump has declared to satisfy & rally his base ... but has not actually accomplished.
Reminder: Trump lost the "shut-down the Government" argument earlier this year ... seems like decades ago, doesn't it? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gotten the best of Trump for months since Democrats regained control of the House. Politico published a great summary how the Speaker "really gets under Trump's skin". Trump lied about his decision to alter/cancel his plan to retaliate against Iran for shooting down a US spy drone, but has increased military spending. He has also cut so-called "legal migration". When Trump spoke about American carnage at his inauguration few of us predicted how huge his wrecking ball would be, nor could we foresee the destruction Republicans would cause ... all because they just could not accept a black man in the White House the previous 8-yrs. Pathetic.
Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: "Not Donald Trump"
"I support Trump because of the economy, stupid," the raging-red faced conservative voter shouted, sounding an awful lot like James Carville & his famous line advocating Bill Clinton's 1992 election. The imitator's distain for the media was obvious & shaped (maybe even brainwashed, some observers say) by Trump's assertion that the press are "enemies of the people" as an angry crowd shouted at reporters in Orlando yesterday. This gathering was noteworthy: it marked another shameful Trump rally ... this one was dedicated to his 2020 re-election campaign.
It is difficult for me to even concede that Trump won the electoral college tally that put him in the White House in 2017 ... let alone acknowledge that America is actually contemplating re-electing the guy after all the damage and destruction he's caused in just 2-1/2 yrs. Recent polls show 42% of likely voters actually approve of Trump's "performance". YGBFKM (you-gotta-be-freaking-kidding-me). I keep asking myself rhetorically: what is wrong with people??? The creepy Trump-booster who was positively raging about the economy, as so many others have, is unable to offer any specific data points to support the notion that the nation's economy is so freaking good. I'll submit that when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney nearly ruined the global economy, triggering the worse recession since the "Great Depression, things did look more bleak that they do now. Brokerage houses (Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers) went under, mega-insurance giant AIG and 2 of America's leading car makers (GM & Chrysler) needed financial assistance & reorganization. Massive investments in our economy by the Federal Reserve were required and the steady hands of patriotic leaders Barrack Obama & Joe Biden guided our recovery. The nation has enjoyed positive job growth every month since mid-2009 even with aggressive, shameful resistance by the Tea Party faction on the conservative right. But recently Trump's employment numbers have been flat.
The best thing most economists can say about Trump's tenure is that he has not totally destroyed the gains we made in our economic recovery, but close. His decision to back out of the Iran nuke agreement and destabilized the Middle East. His global trade wars & tariffs have crippled domestic farmers and manufacturers alike. And even after a banner week so far on Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial average is still down some 151.17 points from our previous high-water mark established 18-months ago. In December 2018 the DJIA was at 26,616.71 ... closing bell Tuesday: 26,465.54 ... down 151.17 points.
So it's somewhat gratifying to read that the conservative, Republican leaning Orlando Sentinel newspaper has greeted Trump boosters to Orlando for their re-election campaign rally with a stunning rebuke. "Donald Trump is in Orlando to announce the kickoff of his re-election campaign. We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump."
The editorial was specific and spot-on ... realizing that Fox News won't likely read the article on their broadcast I figured I needed to help spread the word by sharing the rest of their awesome editorial:
Trump Warns of Epic Stock Market Crash If He's Not Re-Elected
Seriously, the guy is now resorting to threats. “The Trump Economy is setting records, and has a long way up to go," Trump told his 61 million Twitter followers on Saturday. "However, if anyone but me takes over in 2020 (I know the competition very well), there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before!” [source - or see the Donald's Twitter feed]
Yeah, right. About the only record team Trump is establishing right now are new depths for our budget deficit. The Wall Street Journal reported today: "U.S. Budget Deficit Grew 39% in First Eight Months of Fiscal Year." The Dow Jones Industrial average continues to run sideways as previously noted here just a few weeks ago ... the index is still negative over the past 18-months. The DJIA 18-months ago was at 26,616.71 ... closing bell Friday: 26,089.61 ... down 527.1 points. But wait, Donald, there's more negative economic news that you're trying hard to cover-up: the Labor Dept's May jobs report was a major disappointment - barely 75,000 jobs were created last month ... and the previous 2-months were re-calculated down 75,000 jobs ... which means we nearly established the 1st negative month for job growth since 2009 ... the last time the Obama/Biden team helped dig America out of the ditch the Republicans drove the nation into.
Facts, people are stubborn. We've gotta' pay attention to the numbers ... there is no good reason to cast any votes for any Republican in our next election. None, nada, zip.
Trump's Supporters Say The Darndest
Reading the comments from Trump boosters in the USA Today feature article mentioned above reminded me of a 1950's era TV program: Art Linkletter's House Party. A feature from that show became a spin-off program on it's own known as "Kids Say The Darndest Things!" You just never knew what sort of hilarious, whacky stuff that Linkletter would draw out of these kids. Just great, innocent fun.
There is little that these folks interviewed by USA Today have to offer that I think is "fun". I find 'em largely to be pathetic, sad, and their comments to be very unsettling. The country is in the mess it is in largely because we have a nation of voters who don't bother to stay informed. It's not a matter of opinions - its a matter of laziness, in my humble opinion. The average adult voter in our society today doesn't even bother to vote in most elections. The group of people that USA Today interviewed appears to "normal" - largely, they're nicely groomed & attractive. They could be our next-door neighbors or the clerk at a local store that we frequent ... but my goodness, how ignorant & misinformed they can be!
“I’m voting for Donald Trump because of his determination to improve our country and his honesty and his perseverance to make our country a better place. Hillary Clinton is a compulsive liar, and there’s many proven facts to show the history of that. She has gotten our country into a lot of trouble, started wars and she is also responsible for the death of four American citizens in Benghazi," says one particularly wrong individual named Christine P. from Nebraska. There is just so much about this comment that is factually inaccurate. It disturbs me to read that sort of nonsense but we have to face the reality that there are a lot of misinformed people out there ... so, no, Christine: Hillary Clinton did not start any wars, and no, she was not responsible for the brutal murders of 4 Americans in Benghazi.
“I can’t consider any other candidate. I mean, the choice that the Democrats made in Hillary Clinton, I think is insane. With her background ... she’s coming out of an old hippie culture that I think halfway destroyed our country. That’s just the way I see things. It’s not that I’m for Donald Trump so much, but I’m definitely against Hillary. We know what Hillary brings to the table. We only know about half of what Trump brings to the table. But Trump’s strong points is that he’s going to make the [US] a world power again. Right now we have the power, we won’t use it. And that’s not meant in a militaristic way, it’s just defensive. What I’m saying is for a defensive stature. We have no defense. Our country is falling apart.” Steve H., Iowa. Steve: huh? Hippie culture?
“The thing that appeals to me about Donald Trump is he is a political outsider, and he has succeeded at something; he’s succeeded at running something. He runs his own companies. Granted, he’s been bankrupt a number of times but he’s worth about $8 billion. He funded most of his campaign himself. In my opinion, we need somebody to think outside the box, and a political outsider with some, frankly, I’ll use the nice word, I'll say chutzpah, to say "yes we’re going to do this, no we’re not going to do that," and just stop the political correct speak and get down to the bottom line where we can get some things fixed.” Mike C., New York Yo, Mike: we don't know what Trump's worth because he refuses to release supporting data - but we're about to find out. And if you were reading the previous articles here like the NY Times expose` you know that the Donald received over $413 million grub-steak from his daddy, Fred C. Trump. He's hardly a successful self-made fellow.
“If we continue to vote for the same old governors, the same old senator, the same old politicians, we’re going to get the same old government. Changes have to take place in Washington, and I honestly feel that Mr. Trump is the one that can make those changes happen at the very minimum. It hasn’t worked with the career politicians, let’s give it a try. I don’t know how this is going to take, but at the victory party we had in Lee County at the California primary, I sat next to these folks and I was explaining [that] I was having a little difficulty with what he said and she looked at me and she said, "Have you put yourself in his position, okay, the same thing, you've got an issue that concerns illegals (sic) and this judge happens to have a Mexican background or Latino background, okay, would you not feel that quite possibly you’re not getting a good deal? Privately, when you’re thinking about that, you’ve got a case and it involves this sort of thing,"’ and I had to agree with her, I would think that way, but quite honestly I think I would put up with it, but I don’t know, I haven’t been in that position, but that’s the way I think I would feel.” Roz L., Florida Roz: It sounds as if you may need medical attention - your comments hint at possible prejudicial leanings. Regardless, I did not want to be accused of cutting you off so that entire quote is 100% Roz, and I say 100% wing-nut. Implementing "change" doesn't require insulting your allies and cozying-up to your enemies.
“He's not a politician in the strictest sense of the word. He doesn't owe anybody anything after the election. So I think he'll have at least a chance to accomplish something, to straighten out the business end of what's happened with government. I don't like the fact that he is very verbally disrespectful sometimes, but I think he's very honest, and it's not something we see. Usually politicians will tell this group what they want to hear and then they'll go tell the next group what they want to hear. It's refreshing to have somebody who actually has an opinion and is not afraid to voice it.” Meredith M., North Carolina Meredith: 'Honest' is hardly what I'd call someone who has told as many documented, proven lies as the Donald...and he obviously has no problem repeating his lies ... so he obviously has that swagger you seek in a chief executive.
“He seems to tell the truth. He don't 'bullcrap' and 'politic' you and lie to you upfront like Obama did and the rest of them did to get your vote and then you’re on your own. He’s about his business. He’s about a man of his word.” Randy H., Maryland A man of his word? Well Randy, somewhere along the line you missed the news analysis from Fact Checkers who have provided folks like us with detailed lists of the 10,000 LIES and INACCURATE statements he's made over the past 2-yrs ... and most of the Trump's nonsense has been captured on video - so its not like its all that difficult to research the truth.
“If Trump simply secures the border and protects us from foreign and domestic enemies as per the U.S. Constitution, balances the budget. If he just does those two things then I’m a happy camper.” Lynn M., California Lynn: I'm curious who you would define to be a "domestic enemy" ... perhaps some of the 16 candidates who ran against Trump in the GOP primary? Regarding your pipe-dream for this President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, most observers are less optimistic. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that Trump's "Goal for a balanced budget would be 2035." Likely you're ready to bolt & support someone new for 2020?
“Even before this cycle started, you know, I posted a number of posts to Facebook and social media about a need to return to a nationalism feeling in this country. And you know, I think mom and apple pie and baseball are notions that bring people together and it promotes unity. And so, you know, I think that the message that Donald Trump brings, "Let's make America great again," is you know, is a message that everyone can get behind ... So I think it's really a big opportunity for America to look at a candidate who has experience that extends beyond the government ... we need to be proud of who we are. And be proud about a country of immigrants. I mean, but, we can all be different and the same. I mean, we've been doing it for 200 years. And you know, I think the next president, if all they do, if they accomplish nothing for four years, is to get out of the American people, that greatness.” Craig M., Kentucky Craig: I'll just assume you were having a difficult time expressing yourself because, if you'll pardon my expression, but that's BS. You offer 'pablum' (simplistic notions). Are you by any chance in the business of selling something?
source: USA Today Network
Trump Lost Over $1.1 Billion 1985 thru 1994
Shame we don't have his tax returns to confirm Trump's recent tax picture, but CNBC and the NY Times reported on Tuesday 05.07.19 that "Trump’s IRS receipts showed he lost money every year during the 10-year period, for a cumulative $1.17 billion loss overall." The Times also said Trump didn’t pay income taxes in eight of 10-yrs 1985 thru 1994. What a "great American?" we ask those who still support him in spite of his terrible track record which includes, documented, over 10,000 lies, inaccurate statements, and statements proven to be untrue. [source]
"Trump, who rose to national fame in the 1980s as a New York real estate magnate with a tabloid lifestyle, has refused to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit. Every president since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns publicly available, and Democrats have used the issue to hammer and investigate Trump," CNBC reported. Rightfully so.
The Donald did not dispute the reports but naturally did attempt to distract the public with a series of Tweets - his preferred mode of communications. "Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s ... were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases ... You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes," Trump said in part. Naturally he tried to brand the NY Times as "fake news" but never attempted to refute a single item in the report. What a despicable human being. On the bright side, just think of how much $$$ the country will save on Secret Service costs when Trump is voted out of office and spends the rest of his life behind bars for tax fraud, obstruction of justice, and dozens of other crimes.
Elizabeth Warren: thanks but no thanks!
Senator, I am grateful to you for your work on many issues including consumer financial matters. Your work while serving the Obama administration lead to the creation in 2011 of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Well done.
The reason for my note today, however, is because I am not a fan of a number of your recent proposals. [link to details for those who aren't familiar with your plans] I realize you're trying to garner some enthusiasm for your presidential campaign, but I think many of your proposals would cost too much and also destroy some elements of personal initiative and personal responsibility. Specifically, your proposal to cancel existing student debt seems to reward people who made a host of bad decisions. (Estimated cost of the debt forgiveness plan: $1.25 TRILLION over 10-yrs.) Can't say I'm wild about your "free college plan" either. Some sort of assistance may well be desired at a local level for junior and community colleges but your broad plan is a bit too pricey for my tastes.
While we're at it, as much as I detest Donald Trump, and have previously endorsed the notion that he needs to be impeached - but I have come to realize it's a foolish path without support of your Republican colleagues in the Senate. Continue the investigations? Sure. But hasty moves to impeach the creep will just elevate the Donald to martyr status. I would prefer to see those who mindlessly support Trump to wake up and do some personal investigating ... read ... think for themselves ... and in so doing, I'm confident most reasonable folks will come to the same conclusion that the majority of Americans have always held: that Donald Trump is not good for America - never has been. The problems of the world are largely not caused by Donald Trump. But many of the world's problems can be attributed to our disengaged electorate - voters who ignore facts and information, and make some really, really bad decisions.
Trump Economy - Is It Really Better
Than The Path We Were Already On?
No. But I am always amazed when I hear voters say they support their President because of what he's done for the nation's economy. When pressed to offer details, very few can accurately provide any specifics...so I did a little research and have some facts to support my opinions.
So, with these verifiable facts listed above, how are Trump supporters feeling now? Clearly our strong economy has little to do with anything Trump has done ... his tax cuts for the wealthy have only added to our national debt. Oh, you never saw the $4,000 individual tax cut Trump was promising you? When that fact is pointed out many Trump fans pivot and point to his judicial picks as their basis for supporting him. "He's done more for America than any President in history," one wing-nut booster said in Grand Rapids, MI last week while waiting to attend a Trump Rally. Most Democratic & Independent voters agree - yes, Mr. Trump has implemented a great deal of change ... but not in a good way.
They used to be considered "fringe" but somehow these folks have become "mainstream"
It literally makes me ill sometimes when we consider who it is who has
influence on the President or his administration or the base of conservative
voters ... factually these folks tend to get it wrong more often than they
get it right. Just a few years ago, these people rarely were considered
to be influential. Not any more. Guys like Sean Hannity have
become part of the Donald's unofficial cabinet. Consider the following
observations (with links to some really great articles about these people):
voice of reason & sanity
And it is good seeing you, Mr. President! One day recently I sat down for lunch, flipped on the tube to see what in the world is going on...and couldn't believe my lucky stars that Barack Obama was delivering a speech at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I'm familiar with the tradition that former Presidents maintain a low-profile following their service to the country...as Mr. Obama has been largely silent the past year-and-a-half. But given the crazy stuff that the Donald has done and said since moving into the White House the majority of Americans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans largely welcomed Mr. Obama's entry back to our political scene as mid-term elections loom. (Okay, I realize some 39% of Americans representing the shrinking GOP base, was probably not interested...preferring to wallow in the angry hateful white supremacist inspired nonsense that is the Trump presidency.) Unlike 2016 and most all mid-term elections during my lifetime, America needs voters to turn out and do their civic duty: vote! This is no time to take a pass or to demonstrate your reluctance to get involved and participate.
The speech was nearly half over...but I pressed "record" on the DVR to preserve what I could for Louise (who was off on a nature hike with a good friend). Besides, I've come to learn that vital public events like this are captured digitally and shared with the world via the internet...that way, Louise & I could watch what we missed on the internet later...and then replay the 2nd half on the large screen. So I had not heard the President's opening line about flying into Urbana, IL and enjoying the sight of corn fields below as his plane descended & landed. But sure am glad I caught it on the re-run. If you missed the speech, I suggest you watch it or read it (or both) and then pass it on for others to experience - there are 2 handy links below...while you're at it, why not share 'em with your representatives in Washington? You'll be glad you did.
If you were watching the news, you noticed. Presidents Putin and Trump emerged from their 2-hour "secret summit" and enter the public press conference sporting dramatically different expressions and body language. As you can see from my collection of news photos that it looks as if the Donald has been spanked, much of the bluster and arrogance beaten out of him. Putin was smiling, standing tall & proud while Mr. Trump, shoulders slouched, eyes puffy, expression stoic, shows signs he's been defeated in their 2-hours of private "talks". He seemed to know that he dare not show any disrespect to President Putin...and no one has any evidence that this is not true. There was no one other than an interpreter present in these meetings who can testify as to the topics or discussion that transpired, though many suspect the Russians actually recorded the event. The media, and general public were outraged the way Trump bashed NATO the previous weekend, and deferred to Putin at every turn at their "secret summit". Even a handful of Republicans expressed concern - but already their voices have gone silent.
And, the chances are most folks in America did not notice or pay attention. The majority of Americans were not watching. Only a fraction of our adult population knows what the heck is going on - they have tuned-out and gradually have stopped following the news. Nearly 40% of registered voters skipped the 2016 election, and 66 percent of Facebook users get news there, according to a recent Pew Research study. Seriously, they get their news from social media??? Think about that. If you fall into that camp you're not alone - some 62 percent of American adults get their news from social media. Why is that? Is it because it's just so darned difficult to watch a regular news broadcast or read a newspaper? Can you name more than one member of Trump's cabinet? Do you even know the name of your representatives in Congress? Odds are you can't...or your neighbors can't. Have you any clue what the "Steele Dossier" is or what it's about? Have you bothered to read the indictments of the 12 Russians accused of meddling in our 2016 election? If not, why not Google it now - find a news source and sit down and read...it's only 29-pgs. (Ok, for those who do want to read the document but are concerned they may not be able to find it, here's a link to the Time magazine website - you can read it there.) These are dangerous times in America folks...you need to put the "smart phone" down and pick-up a paper...and read !
Growth That Began Under President Obama Continues
It is nearly a daily occurrence for the Donald or his spokespeople (Conway,
Huckabee-Sanders) to attempt to discredit or attack the previous
administration. Typically, facts tell a completely different story
like in the case of the economy & jobs. "We inherited a real mess,"
Trump says over and over. The fact is, what the Democrats inherited in
2009 was a government that had driven our economy into the ditch with 2
unfunded tax cuts, 2 unfunded wars, and unfunded Medicare drug benefits.
Republicans added nearly 10 trillion to our national debt and had the
audacity of blaming President Obama...now they're adding another trillion to
our nation's debt thanks to the Trump "tax cut".
See related story in Mike's "archive": Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
So goes my faith in the American voters. Actually most of my disgust is aimed at the 42.1% of registered voters who stayed away from the polls on Nov. 8th. Pathetic. My anger also extends to the media particularly commercial TV who have shamelessly chased after every Trump "rally" broadcasted free of charge for over a year. The talking heads universally trashed the man but coverage fueled the racist, alt-right faction of our society. "Drain the swamp"? Laughable. Look at who he's appointed - largely political insiders, all, except for a handful of faithful cast of wing-nuts.
So now the Trump reality slime-show will be fodder for the next 4-yrs of Evening News and SNL skits. The Donald meanwhile calls the media coverage of his flawed presidential administration a "witch hunt". No, Mr. President, that would be the treatment Republicans who employed 8-yrs of shameful attacks on Barack Obama and nearly 4-pathetic-years investigating Benghazi and Hillary Clinton. "Lock her up!" How rich is it now that news has leaked that both Ivanka Trump and Mike Pence used private email services while employed in gov't service? Freaking hypocrites.
|I tried the "blog" thing. 90% or
more of the "feedback" received was spam. Sifting thru the crud to find a
nugget or two became a chore...so after neglecting it for quite a while I nuked it.
Saved and archived are some of the previous articles I've written that folks responded
to...see the right hand column above. Mainly these articles will be about news,
politics, current events.
01.20.20 - archived many articles from earlier in the year (see right-hand column)