It’s So Easy to Lose Our Heads: The Need to Secure and Advance Democracy

It is so easy to lose our heads. To get angry or depressed or want to run and hide. Or blame someone ⎼ that’s always been a strategy to clutch at. Blame this person or that group. Blame Muslims, if you’re a supporter of T, or blame Congresswomen of color or just women. Or just people of color. Or just journalists. Or people who actually examine the news and think critically about it. Or scientists⎼ that’s a clever strategy. Blame the people who actually study our universe and invent things and keep our technology and healthcare, etc. advancing.

 

Or blame the Democratic Party and DNC. But wait. Some of my FB friends do that, too. Fellow progressives, liberals and lefties. Afterall, the DNC has certainly been despicable at times in the past. Some even claim the Democrats are no better than the Grand Old Party, the party which is no longer republican, but despotic or dictatorial, or the party of denial, denial of global warming, of the facts in the Ukrainian scandal, of facts, period. The GOP will deny global warming, but the Democrats just won’t act, they say.

 

This equation of the two parties distorts the reality and undermines our ability to act effectively. Just compare the efforts of the GOP, for example, to undermine voting and women’s rights and public education while protecting foreign interference in our elections and increasing the wealth of the wealthiest Americans, with the record of legislation passed by the House since the election of 2018.

 

We know the costs to ourselves and others of the blame game. When we look inside ourselves, we can see and feel it. It is the deadliest game out there in terms of creating suffering and delusion. To blame like this we build a wall between ourselves and the rest of humanity and the rest of the world, between what we see and feel and what we won’t. And we use emotions like fear and hate for the construction materials. The more we use fear and hate, the more we crave it.

 

We should support Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden or any of the other Democrats for President. Support whomever we feel will do the best job at building a truly democratic nation, creating a sane environmental and energy policy, providing good, affordable health care for all ⎼ and will support an equitable and meaningful public education system. But support them in a way that doesn’t undermine the other Democratic candidates in the general election if our favorite is not chosen.

 

Above all, we must keep in mind that without defeating T and his supporters, all that we hold dear might literally be destroyed. We can’t allow ourselves to lose our head or hope. Getting a little depressed might be common sense but we can’t let it go further than that. It’s just not an option we can afford. We must all put in time not only for getting T impeached, but for winning the Presidency and the Senate, getting out the vote and educating people about what’s at stake.

 

And we can’t allow ourselves to destroy possible alliances with would-be allies in the effort to unseat T and his followers. No matter how much I want Elizabeth or Bernie or Pete or Cory, I don’t want T.

 

We, those of us who truly value and want to strengthen democracy in this country, need someone in the White House who will listen to us, the people, not just rich white men. Who will give us a chance at saving our environment and thinking clearly about the problems we face, and who care about the other people and species that live in this world with us.

 

Many of the old Democratic politicians were bought out by corporate interests. But this is a different time. And this is a different party. Even if Democrats weren’t focused enough in the past on global warming, gun violence, etc. we have a chance with them, right now, that we will never have with T’s GOP. We must use this chance. Maybe we can also make the Democratic Party the party of democrats.

Is It Arrogance, Ignorance, An Impeachment Wish, Or All Three?

Hiding Investigations Crucial For the Rule of Law Behind Ones That Undermine that Rule

 

Last week was dramatic and this week more of the same has been occurring. We have heard clear evidence, once again, of possible criminal acts by T, lies and distortions topped with extortion. We’ve seen the President and his minions try to cover up, obfuscate, or distract our attention from what T did and attack those who reveal what occurred.

 

But this latest series of revelations regarding the Ukrainian affair is so obvious a violation of what any President should do and so obviously screams for impeachment, I wondered, once again how much of T’s behavior is from pure narcissistic arrogance and the craving for absolute power, how much from ignorance, and how much is it an impeachment-wish?

 

The most obvious evidence that the phone call between T and President Zelensky of Ukraine is impeachable (aside from the transcript of the call itself) comes from State Department official David Holmes who testified last Friday behind closed doors and will testify before a public hearing this Thursday. If you haven’t heard about his testimony, he overheard a phone call from the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland to T on July 26th, the day after the infamous phone call that is at the heart of the impeachment proceedings. This second phone call took place on Sondland’s non-secure cell phone in a restaurant in Kiev. Holmes could hear Mr. T clearly, as the Ambassador held the phone at a distance from his ear because the President was speaking very loudly.

 

In the July 26th call, T asked Sondland if the Ukrainians were “going to do the investigations?” Sondland replied that they were ready to do anything T asked of them. Later on, Sondland told Holmes that T only cared about “the big stuff.” When asked if the war in Ukraine was “big stuff” Sondland clarified that “big stuff” referred to anything that personally “benefits the President, like the quote, unquote, ‘Biden investigation’ that Mr. Giulani was pushing.” Saving Ukraine from Russia or supporting democracy were not “the big stuff.”

 

Earlier last Friday afternoon (11/15), I also felt a mixture of outrage and disbelief when I heard about the President’s tweet attacking Ambassador Yovanovitch during her testimony to Congress.  This tweet destroyed any pretense that the President cared about the law. It was not only a clear and very public example of witness intimidation, but it was done on the day it was announced that T’s adviser, Roger Stone, was found guilty of witness intimidation and other crimes.

 

The main point of the phone call between T and President Zelensky, as David Holmes and others made clear, was to force the Ukrainians to do T’s bidding. If they wanted a public meeting with the U. S. President and the military aid passed by Congress, they would have to announce they were undertaking two investigations, one into the Bidens and one to create evidence supporting the Russia backed claim that it was Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election, not Russia.

 

This is a strategy often utilized by the T administration and other Republicans in the past. Remember months of investigation into Benghazi and the eventual revelation that Mrs. Clinton followed procedure and that responsibility for the deaths at our embassy lay elsewhere? Remember “Lock her up” and T’s continual attacks and calls for investigations not only of Hillary Clinton but President Obama?

 

In the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, possibly to detract from Russia working to help him win the election as well as to counter the fact that he lost the popular vote, T claimed that millions of people voted illegally, despite there being no evidence to back up that claim. David Becker, from the Center for Election Innovation & Research, and others have examined Trump’s claim. They found no evidence of any massive illegal voting or fraud.

 

Despite the lack of evidence, T went on to appoint a White House Commission into voter fraud. The commission, despite being conducted by T supporters, also found that no state in the union uncovered any significant evidence of voter fraud and the commission was disbanded in 2018.

 

This strategy has been used to smear Democrats and undermine the rule of law. It is being used to attempt to make any investigation of T meaningless by creating counter and unwarranted investigations of their own. It is part of his larger tactic of attacking anyone who disagrees with him and creating fear in his political or economic opponents.

 

All through the Mueller Investigation, T claimed, without any evidence, that the investigation was a “Witch-hunt”, that it was based on shoddy intelligence or illegal wiretaps or a bias against him. When the Mueller Investigation was coming to an end, T and his GOP sycophants pushed to “investigate the investigators.”

 

The Trump DOJ has started several investigations to advance their agenda to hide the facts of T’s abuse of power and utilizing Russian interference to win an election. Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz has been examining how the FBI obtained a warrant to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

 

The DOJ has now opened a criminal investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe into the Russian Interference in the 2016 election. This investigation is being overseen by the Attorney General himself, William Barr, although it is being officially run by John Durham, the U. S. attorney in Connecticut. The targets of the investigation include FBI officials like James Comey, or anyone that was part of the Mueller team that could be accused of anti-Trump bias. Durham has been asking witnesses if the CIA somehow tricked the FBI into opening the Russia probe. Mr. Barr has personally participated in the investigation. According to the New York Times, he has flown to Italy to speak to their Prime Minister, and also contacted officials in Australia and Britain, and possibly Ukraine.

 

A recent blog by Mark Sumner for Daily Kos speaks about this and Barr’s efforts to protect T with a report on the Russia investigations. The report is due to come out before Thanksgiving and aims to re-write history and distract from the impeachment proceedings. It will repeat Russia’s claim that it never interfered in the 2016 election and attempt to discredit the evidence of 16 U. S. intelligence agencies to the contrary. And it will claim that T has been unfairly attacked ever since he was called the winner of the 2016 election.

 

Barr has often attacked the Democrats and the courts for working against the President’s agenda and, according to NPR and in his own words, working to “cripple the T administration from the beginning.” His position is that there are almost no legal restraints on T’s presidential power. He accused Democrats of the “systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.” According to Neil Kinkopf, a law professor who testified at Barr’s confirmation hearing, Barr believes that any dissent or opposition to the president is contrary to democracy. This is in line with T calling for Democrats to be arrested for treason for opposing him or calling for his impeachment.

 

So, this is what we face. I don’t know if T has a secret wish to be removed from office or not.  But I do know that if I had had any doubts about why T must be impeached or legally removed from office, ASAP, this evidence would convince me. The fight here is to preserve the rule of law, preserve our rights, freedoms, and the principle that political power resides in the people of this nation as a whole, not one person, party, class, race or gender, and not Russian or other foreign agents. And we must be prepared to defend those rights.

 

 

This blog was also published by The Good Men Project.

 

 

 

 

 

Impeachment Tremors

Since the news broke about T’s latest abuses of power in the Ukraine, and the Democrats in the House started their more formal impeachment investigations, I keep switching from being ecstatic, sad, and terrified. Ecstatic that what I and millions of others have wanted for the last two years might finally take place, namely the impeachment of a would-be dictator. Sad and angry that our nation and political situation has sunk so low and so many people are suffering because of the actions of this administration. Terrified by the realization that this man would risk destroying our nation and system of constitutional law in order to maintain his personal power or serve his personal interests, as we’ve possibly seen not only in the Ukraine but in Syria.

 

Syria, despite the latest cease-fire, is at best an example of incompetence, at worst a direct sell-out of our allies and security. But let me stick with the Ukraine phone calls.

 

You probably know the general story of the dramatic and chaotic events that have taken place and been revealed this month regarding Ukraine. President T withheld the money Congress had allotted to them to fight for the preservation of their nation against a Russian invasion. He then pressured the President of the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and come up with information to support his fabricated claim that Russia never interfered in the 2016 election in order to get that aid. The White House released its own summary record of the conversation between T and President Zelensky of Ukraine, which took place in July, 2019.

 

T’s guilt is shown not only by his actions and public comments but by his way of dealing with anyone who opposes his immoral, unlawful, or abusive behavior. He attacks, without any evidence, anyone who tries to hold him accountable of whatever it was he himself apparently did, and calls for investigations, unwarranted investigations, of his own.

 

He inappropriately, possibly illegally, and certainly in a manner that threatens US interests, withheld the aid needed by Ukraine. Although he shouted many times “No quid pro quo,” his own words, his chief of staff, and records released by his own White House show he did just that….

 

 

To read the whole post, go to the Good Men Project.

What Would We Do? ⎼ Celebrating the 4th by Fighting for Democracy

After listening to the news about a consultant for the T campaign creating a fake Joe Biden website in order to deceive people about who Joe Biden is, I realized T is borrowing from what Russia did in our 2016 election to once again undermine the electoral process. He is adopting techniques used by Russia to undermine the last presidential election in order to undermine the next one. And I asked myself: what would I do if I truly believed what my intellect was telling me about T and his supporters?

 

What would I do if I truly digested the fact that the President of the US joked with the Premier of Russia about eliminating journalists, and joked with Putin about interfering in our elections, not long after the GOP blocked bills in Congress to prevent campaigns from working with foreign governments to undermine our own?

 

Meanwhile, T called the New York Times treasonous for attacking him, just like, in Congress, he thought it treasonous that Democrats did not applaud his comments in his State of the Union Speech in 2018. And instead of a 4thof July to unite us, he divides us further by hijacking the government’s Washington, D. C. celebration and uses it to inflate his name and raise money for his campaign.

 

What if I truly allowed myself to feel my response to T inciting violence against journalists or against anyone who disagrees with him?

 

What would I do if I truly allowed myself to feel what it meant that he praised the Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un? That he said, in regard to the North Korean Dictator,  “it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line…I was proud” to be with such a brutal dictator responsible for not only the torture of an American citizen but of his own people.

 

What would I do if I truly let myself feel the pain and inhumanity of his border policy and treatment of young children? T calls asylum seekers fleeing gang violence in their own countries illegals. Meanwhile, he or his policies violate both US and international laws regarding asylum seekers, violate the law and court orders regarding the treatment of children. He is being investigated for violating so many laws ⎼ regarding emoluments, campaign finance, etc., obstructing justice⎼ it is laughable that he even utters the word ‘law.’

 

What would I do if I truly felt how T and the GOP are attacking women, refusing to renew the violence against women act and trying to deny women the right to control their own body.

 

What would I do if I let myself truly feel how the GOP are eliminating the chance to vote for thousands or millions of people and even, in some states like Florida, creating a poll tax?

 

What would I do if I let myself truly feel how T and his supporters are giving so much of the wealth of this nation to just a few thousand people, in a nation where 3 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of the population?

 

What would I do if I truly felt how T and his supporters are attacking education, attacking scientific research, attacking protections on our food supply, attacking our future and making it more and more difficult for the U. S. to respond to emergency situations or to global warming or even to economic competition with other nations?

 

T has done so many inhumane, unjust,  bigoted, hurtful things, lied so much, ignored so much, that it is impossible to keep track of it all. My head spins, my heart hurts. Can I use this pain and confusion to teach myself how to go beyond my comfort zone, how to act with more strength?

 

I keep thinking: What if everyone who reads this piece talked with their friends, pledged to vote in the next election, worked for a candidate, worked to get out the vote, to speak the truth at a town hall of a GOP candidate, gave money to those fighting for civil or immigrant’s rights, and made 5 calls a week about one injustice or another ⎼ and shared this blog?

 

Let’s do away with T anxiety and sleep disorder and replace it with the excitement of defeating hate and recognizing the humanity of everyone we meet.

 

I think we all have to ask this question: what will we do? What political, social, compassionate or creative actions will we take if we truly allow ourselves to feel how T is robbing a great majority of us of our rights, freedoms, justice, and a sustainable environment? What will we do?

 

And then ⎼ we do it.

 

This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project