Are We All in this Together? Sketches of A Future Drawn in the Present

I wish I had at least a vague idea of what the future could look like in a year, or even a month, but I don’t. When the world is threatened, the urge to know can become overwhelming. Usually, we at least know what the usual is. But now, for many of us, aside from what the inside of our homes looks like, we don’t even know that. Too many changes.

 

Every 10 days or so I drive into town. The roads and buildings are the same as before the pandemic, and I imagine once this crisis is over, we can simply return to our “normal” lives.

 

But then I notice all the restaurants and stores with closed signs. I hear on the radio that news outlets have been losing so many workers (except Fox) they can barely function. Accurate news reporting could be threatened. Or, on the positive side, NPR reported that pharmacy companies, previously known for putting CEO and shareholder profits above everything else, are joining together to find vaccines and treatments for the virus.

 

One prediction I can make is that more people in the future will want to become doctors, nurses and other first responders, the heroes of this time.

 

What I mainly have are questions. On the tv and radio, in advertisements and public service announcements, the meme “we are all in this together” keeps getting repeated. It is a sentiment I agree with and one that has become a powerful force for creating pressure to improve our overall health care system and for legislation to protect most Americans, not just the rich and corporations, from the harmful consequences of the pandemic.

 

It expresses a dynamic truth. With an illness that is so destructive, that can be deadly and spread so easily, with many people infected but showing no symptoms ⎼ anyone can get it, even the powerful, rich, and famous. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain, got the illness and wound up in the ICU. Many celebrities, athletes, politicians have been infected. Too many have died. Over 158,000 people worldwide have died so far from it.

 

So if anyone can get it, we are all in this together.

 

But some are more likely than others. The poor more than the rich. The people who work in the fields or production plants and can’t stop working, either because their job is too essential or they can’t afford to stop. For example, one of the Smithfield food processing plants was closed only after the mayor of Sioux Falls forced them to. 350 of its workers had tested positive for the virus. The pandemic is exposing social inequities that have existed for years and have been getting worse. The racism. The poverty. These have always threatened people’s lives and they are doing so now….

 

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

 

Lies Are Killing People: Lies and Caring Only for One’s Own Power

On Thursday, 4/2, Ari Melber, on his MSNBC program, interviewed Kirsten Gillibrand and later talked with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and others. I greatly appreciated Senator Gillibrand saying “we need truthtellers now.” And Dr. Emanuel continuing with this theme, saying we have to pay attention to facts. Lies are killing people.

 

The Coronavirus is making it abundantly clear what half of the population of the US already knew—not only that DT lies, constantly. Not only does he do so to serve his own self-interest or express his ignorance. But these lies are dangerous. They can and are, right now, killing people. We have to combat the lies, distortions, fake news in order to save not only ourselves but the lives of all those we care about.

 

Likewise, earlier in the week Senator Chris Coons (D, Delaware), and on Friday, Rachel Maddow, talked about the fact that DT, just like George Bush with Katrina, and most of the “reduce government” GOP, feel it is not their job to save lives in a crisis, not their job to organize the manufacture and supply of medical equipment or relief aid.

 

In fact, according to CNN and recordings of the “news conference,” on Thursday, 4/2, DT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is now in charge of the coronavirus relief effort, chastised governors for asking the Federal Government to send the medical supplies in its stockpiles to the cities and states that desperately need them. At one point, Kushner even said that the federal stockpile of emergency medical supplies is not meant for the states. “It’s supposed to be our stockpile.” The CNN article questioned who did Kushner mean by “our?” I wonder. Did he mean the Trump family? Or the Federal government? If he meant the latter, the Federal Government, clearly that would mean the people of this nation who need them, right? If he meant the former, he shouldn’t be in charge of anything in the government.

 

But maybe the Trump family is exactly what he meant. Kushner’s father-in-law told Vice President Pence to ignore the calls for aid by Governors who did not show appreciation for him. Some states, like Florida, led by devotees of DT, got all the aid they asked for, and quickly. Others still haven’t seen all or any equipment. Meanwhile, DT outbid Governors for needed supplies.

 

Since he became President, DT ignored warnings of a possible pandemic and ignored warnings about this pandemic. He cut funds for the CDC, NSC, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services to fight global diseases and dismantled the White House team in charge of global health security.

 

According to the New York Times, he has invoked the Defense Production Act hundreds of thousands of times to help the military.  But now, when so many lives are at stake, he won’t actually use it. There is no rational reason for this behavior except that he doesn’t think it is in the best interests of corporations to use this power, or he thinks it is not in his best interest to end the crisis quickly, and not his job to serve the best interests of most of the people of this nation. This is one aspect of what “smaller government” means to him and to many in the GOP.

 

It is not just that DT is totally unsuited for the Presidency but that he will use anything, even a pandemic, as a means to serve his own ends, even if those means end up sacrificing the nation.

 

We need to get or stay healthy, and when we can, make calls, write letters, put up signs, do everything we can not only to vote but to get others out to vote in November, and secure mail-in ballots for all. As we can now see, our lives might depend on it.

 

*This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

Cutting the Jugular Vein of Democracy

Do you feel the news cycle is speeding up or things are getting even worse since the impeachment trial? I thought the world was in trouble ever since DT was elected. But since the Senate abdicated its role in holding the President accountable for his actions, DT’s tweets and actions have spiraled out of control. Or maybe his aim is clearer. He has gone directly toward the jugular vein of democracy and has cut it.

 

Even Bill Barr, his legal fixer, spoke out saying enough is enough. Whether it was real or more likely political theatre, he said that DT’s tweets attacking the justice department, attacking actual judicial proceedings, was making his job impossible and undermine the legal system.

 

The context for Barr’s comments was DT’s direct and obvious intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, his “friend” and supporter who knows where so much dirt is buried. DT even attacked the judge and a juror in the case, illustrating what his lawyers, as well as GOP Senators (other than Mitt Romney), proclaimed: DT thinks he can do whatever he wants, thus destroying the concept of a fair trial. As the New York Times, Adam Schiff and others pointed out, if he is the law then there is no rule of law, and the constitutional separation of powers is dead.

 

After Barr warned him to stop his tweets, DT went on to say that he had the power to interfere in the Stone Case, or any case. And Barr’s move to make sure any investigation of the President must go through him, just cements DT’s control over the DOJ and judiciary and destroys the constitutional balance of powers.

 

As Rachel Maddow pointed out, DT is interfering in cases and pardoning criminals in order to make clear: if you violate the law on my behalf, you get a free pass. If you oppose me, as his firing of Ambassador Sondland, and Colonel Vindman and his attacks on Adam Schiff illustrate, you will pay a severe price.

 

And it is not just DT and those close to him who are speeding up their attacks on democracy, but Russia and some corporate media outlets. Last week, as reported by the New York Times, former acting director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire had officials from his agency brief the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering right now in the 2020 election to aid DT’s re-election campaign. This led to DT angrily berating Maguire and replacing him with Richard Grenell, someone with no experience in intelligence but who is a DT loyalist….

 

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

 

For the New Year, Imagine A True Democracy and a President We Can Respect

What are your resolutions for the New Year? Before I discuss one of mine, let me give the  context.

 

Last week, did you read DT’s letter to Nancy Pelosi about his impeachment? Or listen to the impeachment hearings? Many of us talk about the constant lies by DT and how the GOP has become his army of deception. Or we joke about it because the deceptions are just so blatant and outrageous that it’s too incredible to believe that he said what he did, or we don’t want to believe it. But it’s true. We are witnessing the GOP defining truth as whatever DT says it is as they attempt to create a dictatorship right before our eyes.

 

DT’s letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi is so full of lies and distortions stated so forcefully and blatantly that I cringed reading it. The GOP during the hearings were so off base in most of their comments that it appeared to many news commentators that we were witnessing an alternative reality.

 

We’re facing the possibility that anyone who opposes DT will get investigated or arrested as a traitor. DT called any GOP who oppose him, as well as FBI officials who investigate Russian interference in our election, “human scum.” He has accused Democrats of treason for opposing or impeaching him, a label he earlier applied to the New York Times.

 

His Attorney General, William Barr, has been acting as the President’s agent, appointing US attorney John Durham to investigate former CIA Director John Brennan for his stated views on the investigations of DT’s Russian connections. Barr’s DOJ also opened a criminal investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe of Russian Interference in the 2016 election.

 

We’re facing the possibility of our public schools being further undermined by the GOP and replaced with private, yet publicly funded, Charter and Christian schools where education quality is formally tied to economic class and/or race and critical thinking is limited and controlled through standardized testing. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has worked for years to end public education and build “God’s Kingdom” here in the US.

 

Back in 2016, Diane Rehms had three guests (Moises Naim, Alina Polyakova, Yascha Mounk) on her NPR radio show who discussed their analysis that many Americans had been taking democracy for granted. Yascha Mounk said that when Americans born in the 1930s were asked how important it was to live in a democracy, over two thirds said it was of top importance, ten on a one-to-ten scale. When, for example, Millennials in the US were asked the same question prior to 2016, less than one third thought democracy important.

 

Maybe some Millennials did not understand then what they understand now, namely how it would be like to live in a dictatorship, Fascist state or an oligarchy, where the majority of citizens of a nation had no institutionalized power. They never fought a Fascist government, for example. They did not understand that democracy in a large and diverse nation meant compromise and required effort and were focused only on the negative side of US politics. They did not understand that once the institutions of a democracy were undermined, it would be extremely difficult to build them back. Now, 2 years later, I think more of them, and us, recognize the value of democracy ⎼ as we see it murdered before our eyes. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of millennials who voted nearly doubled from 2014 to 2018 and outvoted the older generations of Americans.

 

Even though 49.3% of eligible voters voted in 2018, the highest percentage since 1914 to vote in a midterm election according to the United States Election Project, the number of Americans who do not vote is astounding. In 2014, the turnout was 36.7%, the lowest in 72 years. In the Presidential election of 2012, it was 58.6%. In 2016, it was 60.1%. This means about 40% of Americans didn’t vote. Why?

 

The Pew Research Center says 4% of voters did not vote in the past due to “registration problems,” like being expunged from the voter rolls or due to having a criminal history, and the problem is getting worse. The Brennan Center found 4 million were purged between 2014 and 2016 and more are being purged in GOP controlled states right now. In fact, one of DT’s advisers said on tape that voter suppression was the key to the GOP’s efforts in 2020. Other people are apathetic, too busy, think the system is corrupt or they lack information. Some argue that the vote is meaningless, the Dems are just as bad as Republicans, or the vote doesn’t affect their daily life.

 

Imagine everything that you think is wrong or falling apart now getting worse ⎼ police attacks on people of color, or the court system being biased, or more children of immigrants being separated from parents, or public schooling destroyed, or roads, water supply, and electric becoming even more undependable or unsafe. Imagine being jailed for speaking out against a politician’s corruption. Imagine tanks…

 

Or imagine the opposite future. Imagine education being considered as important as military defense and schools being designed to promote the well-being and expand the critical thinking capacity of each individual student. Imagine higher education and vocational training easily affordable by everyone.

 

Imagine health care that is comprehensive and affordable. In France, for example, health care is much less expensive and open to everyone. Two of my cousins live in France part of the year and have described to me how easy it is to see a doctor and how much less it costs. Doctors have even made house calls for them.

 

Imagine the costs of phones and phone service (which is much higher in the US than Europe, for example⎼ DT’s FCC, headed by Ajit Pai, has worked to decrease controls on providers and increase costs to consumers) and the quality, speed and cost of internet service improving. Imagine alternative energy being cheaply available to everyone.

 

Imagine scientific research into medicine, alternative energy, and simply a better understanding of our universe being applied to political policy and admired alongside emotional intelligence, diversity, and compassion. Imagine friends and neighbors getting together in groups to advise politicians. And imagine voting is encouraged so much that it is a national holiday. Imagine a President we can respect, who knows the facts and will speak truthfully (even most of the time) about the state of the world.

 

This is why we vote. The difference between one future and the other is largely up to all of us, up to our votes, and up to how much political action we take. And it might be up to how willing we are to talk with anyone who claims voting and politics don’t matter.

 

So, if this is how you feel, this is the year to act.

 

This post has been syndicated by the Good Men Project.

Open Warfare Between T and the Constitution

For the last few weeks, if not the whole of his administration, T has been standing in front of the American people and tearing up the constitution. His lawlessness, public obstruction of justice and efforts to undermine this nation have reached new levels of affront. If we don’t respond with a tidal wave of pressure on Congress to begin an impeachment investigation, then I fear a would-be dictator would become a dictator in fact.

 

Democrats are calling for more investigations. Certainly, public testimony in congress about T’s corruption, obstruction, and back and front-door negotiating with Russians would be helpful to create this tidal wave. But I disagree with the argument that “we should focus only on legislation on bread and butter issues.” Such legislation would be wonderful. But any legislation that truly serves the interests of the majority of American people concerning health care, economic reform, education, environmental protections, voting, women’s, workers and children’s rights, or even protecting our election infrastructure will not pass the Senate and be signed by the President as long as Mr. T is President.

 

I likewise disagree with those who say we should “let the ballot box speak.” We have already seen Russia interfere in the last Presidential election. Can we wait for the next one? And as Watergate reporter Elizabeth Drew said to the New York Times and on MSNBC last Thursday, can we afford not to impeach him? The biggest danger, she said, might be in not impeaching him. What precedent would be created by not holding a president accountable for dangerous misdeeds? What if T thought his misdeeds were in fact condoned? Wouldn’t he feel emboldened to take even more dangerous actions?

 

Mueller neglected to call for charging the President with obstruction of justice, despite overwhelming evidence for the charge, partly because there is a DOJ policy not to indict a sitting PresidentMueller concluded that “as an operative of the Department of Justice (DOJ), he was bound to follow that guideline…” The problem is, as Martin London in an article in Time Magazine and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC show, this policy is certainly questionable. It is not in the constitution and clearly places the President in a position above the law, while he is President. The policy therefore makes Mr. T even more desperate to do anything he can to remain President. Remaining President might be the only way he stays out of jail.

 

T has been acting more vehement and lawless, if that is possible, since just before and certainly after the Mueller Report, or the Barr Report, was made public. The Barr summary, news conference, and decision to redact the report were clear attempts by Barr to obstruct justice and obstruct any further investigations by distorting or lying about what Mueller had to say.

 

Barr told the American public the President was exonerated from any charge of obstructing justice when, in fact, the report clearly stated T was not exonerated. Barr said the President did not conspire with Russia to attack the 2016 election despite the fact the Mueller Report detailed clear attempts by the President, or his campaign and advisers, to meet with Russians to release information to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign, establish back channel avenues of communication, and hide economic ties to Russia. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, gave the Russians essential polling data that might have helped them in their social media attacks. These are not the actions of an innocent man.

 

Since the release of the Mueller Report, T said he would fight “all the subpoenas” issued by the House. For example, he has refused to let a White House official respond to a subpoena regarding security clearances and said he would prevent his former lawyer, Don McGahn, from testifying before the House.

 

The Mueller Report, according to VOX, amounts to a “devastating indictment of Trump’s approach to politics.” Even if T was not, as many claim, an agent of Putin, he clearly has been doing all he can to weaken our nation.

 

For example, he did not act to secure our own electoral integrity after Russia hacked and shared Hillary’s emails and manipulated social media during the 2016 election. USAToday reported that Senate Republicans recently voted to block $250 million to beef up election securityThe New York Times recently reported that Kirstjen Nielsen, before resigning as head of the Department of Homeland Security, became increasingly concerned about Russian activity in the US. But she was told by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney not to bring this up with Mr. T. As a consequence, she never met with the different cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect our elections, nor did she inform Americans of the latest version of Russian attacks on our nation.

 

Last Friday, FBI director Christopher Wray announced he has shifted resources to counter the Russian threat, largely without any White House support.

 

Instead of going after the Russians who attacked us, the Mueller Report reveals T tried to get the Department of Justice to prosecute political rivals in the U. S., most notably Hillary Clinton ⎼ to avenge or protect himself, not the nation.

 

Mr. T has driven wedges between the US and our NATO allies. He has provided sanctions relief to Russian oligarchs, lowered the standing of the US in international affairs, failed to adequately staff and support the state department and other non-military agencies meant to protect our national security, etc. He has also granted security clearances to people with compromised histories despite being warned of the danger these clearances could pose to national security.

 

T also has been acting to undermine the rule of law in ways not related to the Mueller investigation. For example, T told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan that if he violated the law by blocking asylum seekers from entering the US and was arrested, he, T, would pardon him. T also threatened to release imprisoned immigrants into sanctuary cities in order to get back at Democrats.

 

We could go on and on, with assaults on the truth, on those who oppose him, on the free press, and on our very humanity.

 

Those of us who are lucky can turn off the news and get lost in our homes, jobs, family and in the beauty of the spring. And we all need moments of quiet and reflection. But we can’t deceive ourselves into thinking we can forget what T is doing and expect to keep any semblance of a democracy, or our homes, jobs, and the beauty of the earth.

 

No matter how sick we are of hearing his name or seeing his face, or how upsetting the news, actions must be taken to create a wave of pressure on Congress to investigate and impeach the President (and Vice President). Whether it be in new and creative ways, or making calls, protesting, writing emails or letters to the editor, working for Democratic candidates, or contributing money to organizations fighting T’s policies, it is time to act.

 

**And the time is right. T has never had the support of even half of the nation. His overall approval rating since being elected is lower than any President, certainly any since World War II. And since the release of the redacted Mueller Report, according to the Politico/Morning Consult survey, his support has dropped to 39% of the surveyed public.

 

**This post has been syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

 

 

The President of Lies and Corruption Strikes Again

Did you listen to the President of lies and corruption last night? I couldn’t listen to him for even five minutes in a row. It just made me too angry. I heard the bulk of the speech this morning.

As Lawrence O’Donnell reported, this was a fundraiser for his re-election funded by the tv networks. Both before and after the speech, T sent out requests to his base for contributions to raise $500,000 in one day for a fund to secure the border. However, the checks were to be sent to T’s re-election campaign, to the Make America Great Again site. O’Donnell called it T’s first re-election speech. T says these funds will go to build a wall, when they have apparently been earmarked to pay for his re-election campaign.

As for other lies and deceptions: T called the border a humanitarian and security crisis. The humanitarian crisis is one created or worsened by T’s policies and those of other nations south of the border. As for security, he said “every week, 300 citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of it floods across the southern border.” As the New York Times fact-checked, most heroin comes through legal points of entry so a wall would do nothing to stop it.

As for the opioid crisis, this has little to do with Mexico, as most of the opioids come from China. And the crisis was not created by immigrants. It was created by policies internal to the US, by doctors over-prescription and such.

According to the Washington Post, apprehensions of people at the southern border peaked in the year 2000 at 1.6 million and have been in decline ever since. In 2017, Customs and Border Protection reported 303,916 apprehensions. There is no crisis except in who we have as president.

One of his biggest claims regarding security was that US officials have blocked nearly 4000 known or suspected terrorists from entering the country through the southern border. This, too, is false. T’s own government statistics show that almost all terrorists known to have entered the US recently did so through air flights. There can be no wall through the airwaves. There is no credible evidence of terrorists coming across this land border.

During the 2016 campaign, T said Mexico would pay for the wall. Now he says the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement will pay for it. This, too, is deceptive. The trade agreement has not been ratified by Congress. Although T said he has already started building the wall, in fact only bollard fencing has been built, and this is from a bill passed in 2009.

So, this speech of T’s is more of the same thing. More statements lacking evidence, more racism, more corruption, more lack of respect for the rule of law, more putting himself before the well-being of most Americans. Please make calls, write letters, read the NYT and Washington Post fact-checks or watch the MSNBC, BBC or other reliable reports. T is, as many have said, holding us hostage, shutting down part of the government, trying to waste our tax money in order to save face with his base. We must do what we can to stop him.

Ending The Politics of Hate Begins With Us, In The Voting Booth

I woke up early this morning thanks to a nightmare. I, as an adult, was back in my childhood home looking through the front window. Several white men with stern faces and a business-like or zombie-like manner were nailing boards over the windows from the outside. They were nailing in my wife and me. I yelled to my wife that we had to get out—and then awoke.

Afterwards, I lay in bed with the image pressing down on me. In my mind I took the dream further, imagining us grabbing our phones and money, chasing our cats out an upper story window as we followed them out and ran. I imagined the attackers might be planning more than just locking us inside.

Back in the late 1970s I wrote a play that was produced locally. It was indirectly about the JFK assassination, or more accurately, about a woman, Wilma Tice, who was called by the Warren Commission to give testimony related to the assassination. After Wilma heard the President had been shot and was being taken to Parkland Hospital, in Dallas, she drove to the hospital. It was only 15 minutes from her home. When she was there, she saw Jack Ruby walking next to the stretcher that was carrying JFK’s body after it was wheeled inside the hospital.

The Warren Commission inquiry was established about a week after the assassination, on November 29th, 1963. She later wrote to them about what she had seen. But after receiving a letter from the Commission telling her where and when she would give her testimony, she received threatening phone calls and faced tremendous opposition. It was never made clear how anyone learned she was going to testify.

The night before she was supposed to appear before the Commission, she was home alone; her husband worked nights. She woke up to find herself “barricaded” in the house; her windows and doors blockaded shut. She couldn’t get out until her husband came home and broke her out.

When she arrived for the interview, instead of supporting or compelling her testimony, they told her that, if she feared for her life, maybe she should not testify.

The whole image of people locked into a structure by others who hated or wanted to silence them reverberates through history. Consider what happened to Jewish people locked in Synagogues or African-Americans locked in churches that were burned.

When I hear about T’s actions and statements, I feel they themselves are a form of terrorism….

**This blog was submitted before Saturday’s horrible act of terrorism in a Pittsburgh synagogue. This act is truly upsetting and we must meet it with thoughts of compassion for the people hurt and killed, their families, the whole congregation, the police and other first responders.

 

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

 

 

T Is A Hurricane Of Historic Proportions

I have many calm moments, when I meditate, exercise, walk in the woods, talk with friends or simply breathe. Beautiful moments. And then—I turn on the radio or my phone and who knows what insanity might ensue.

Like everyone I know, since the Kavanaugh hearings and his appointment to the Supreme Court, and almost two years of the T administration, I have become overly sensitive to bad news.

It’s just eight days since I heard the news about Hurricane Michael smashing into the Florida panhandle with winds of up to 155 miles an hour (on Wednesday, October 10). The hurricane is now recognized as the strongest to strike the coast in 100 years. And it grew so quickly, from a category 2 on that Sunday, to almost a category 5 on Wednesday. It grew so quickly probably due to waters overheated by global warming, the same global warming the GOP deny despite the overwhelming scientific evidence.

Nature itself seems to be yelling at us to wake up to what we humans are doing to our world. The day after the hurricane, a neighbor called to tell me of two sightings of Fishers, a carnivorous mammal related to weasels. They have only recently returned to this area (along with other recent and not-so-welcome additions, like coyotes, coy-wolves, and ticks) and kill squirrels and other small animals, including porcupine and hare, occasionally wild turkey, bobcat, and even house cats. They are excellent climbers and can be vicious. I immediately went to the front door of my house to call in my cats.

This administration puts us all on a continual threat alert and I think this is exactly what they want. People continually stressed are not as likely to think clearly or feel powerful or vote. According to Tali Sharot in the book The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others, fear is most effective in influencing the behavior of others under two conditions—when what they are trying to do is cause inaction and the person they’re trying to influence is already anxious.

 The last two weeks and the hearings and discussion on Judge Kavanaugh were especially bad. They were a continual assault, a political hurricane of historic proportions threatening not only women but all of us who are not misogynists, not white nationalists or sycophantic supporters of the President, or who are not in favor of considering corporate rights or the rights of the wealthy as more important than any other rights.

These GOP attacked anyone who called for a real investigation into Kavanaugh’s past and were especially vicious in their attacks on any of the women who came forward. In fact, T even mocked Dr. Ford.  He called for holding those who made “false” claims against Kavanaugh liable. What about false claims by, or in support of, Kavanaugh? Would Kavanaugh or any his supporters who lied or rushed to hide the truth be held accountable?

Many wondered: was the GOP rush to judgment due to fears about what will happen in the November election? Or was something else involved?

The Supreme Court is going to hear a case called Gamble v US. It involves a felon arrested for possession of a firearm. It could, however, have grave implications if T is ever impeached, indicted, or tries to use his power to pardon anyone from his administration or campaign who have been prosecuted for crimes or called to testify to the Mueller investigation….  

 

To read the whole piece, please click on the link to the Good Men Project.

 

 

 

 

Who Leaked What and Why?

I find it funny when I hear people ask why Russia would want to interfere in our elections. Isn’t it obvious? It is not just to put Trumpf in power so he could honor an agreement with Putin to remove the sanctions the US placed on them. It is to crash our whole political system. To isolate us from other nations and undermine our power and what’s left of democracy. This is not the old cold war revivified. It is a new species of conflict. It’s not a battle so much of armies but of information, of insight versus self-deceit, or agency versus pacifity.

 

Right now, our government is broken. And what happened this past week has just highlighted the whole situation.

 

The New York Times article, about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaking with members of the FBI and others about the possibility of wearing a hidden microphone to record the President, exemplifies what has happened to our government and news media. The information was leaked to the Times by unnamed sources. How do we hear that news?

 

The differences in coverage (of the NYT’s coverage) of this story are striking. When I first heard the story on CNN and other media, what was emphasized in the story, in my opinion, was that Rosenstein spoke to others about secretly recording the president. I thought their coverage (hopefully unintentionally) fed the Trump narrative of a there being conspiracy against him.

 

The Washington Post and David Corn of MSNBC and the Huffington Post discussed the news differently. They cited several sources, people who were actually in the room when Rosenstein’s comment was made, who said the comment was sarcastic. It was not something Rosenstein really intended to do (or ever did). People are allowed to talk with others about what action is appropriate. These sources go on to stress the whole context in which the comment was made—which was after Comey was fired. Their focus was on the chaos in the White House and people in government trying to figure out what to do about it. I focused in the article on what Rosenstein’s state of mind was working for the DOJ in this time.

 

According to the article in the NYT, Rosenstein said “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. …I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda.”

 

So, who leaked this information? And what was the purpose of the leak? Right wing media in general immediately called for the firing of Rosenstein (although even Fox News soon had some doubts about the facts of what Rosenstein did and if Trumpf should fire him).

 

The NYT which has, of late, been so crucial in the fight to hold Trumpf accountable, to reveal his lies and the dangers he represents, may have now given him and his allies the excuse they dreamed of (or conspired to achieve?) to fire Rosenstein, appoint a lackey to oversee or end the Mueller Investigation, and try to destroy what’s left of our democracy. It certainly has distracted many people from the revelations about Cohen and Manafort and the threat they present to Trumpf.

 

It almost distracted us, or maybe for a few minutes, from the GOP misogynistic response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the threat Judge Kavanaugh and the GOP agenda poses to our nation. Almost. The opposition to Judge Kavanaugh and the revelations of GOP perfidy continues to grow.

 

The two main parties of our government are almost at arms with each other. Will Russia be the ultimate winner of the battle? Or will this newest conflict lead to the impeachment of the President for obstruction of justice, collusion, etc., etc.? I hope we all vote in November, as well as do all we can until then to fight for the resurrection of our rights and the protections that government should afford us instead of take from us. We can’t afford to lose.

 

**I called the NYT comment line and shared some of what I wrote above. Maybe you could call and do the same? (844-698-6397) In the past 2 years, The NYT has been crucial in terms of holding Trumpf accountable and limiting his attempts to undermine democracy. The article on the comments by Rosenstein does the opposite. It provides Trumpf with the excuse to fire Rosenstein and further undermine the rule of law in this country. Any possible good served by the value of the information, if accurate, was undermined by the possible consequences. I hope you can publish an article, by Thursday, that reveals something that will stay T’s hand—or maybe how you were duped. And how Rosenstein should not resign.

An Inhumane and Abusive Policy: Please Speak Up Now

According to the New York Times and several other news sources, since April 19 the U. S. government has separated 1995 children from the parents of asylum seekers, migrants, as well as immigrants illegally trying to cross our southern border. These children, as young as toddlers, have been placed in hastily established shelters, in prison-like conditions.  Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley said many of the children are being held in what amounts to dog cages. The facilities already in use are getting too full, so the administration is planning to erect a tent city in Tornillo, Texas to hold newly seized children —young children kept in tents in the hot Texas summer sun.

 

Imagine a one year old kept in a cage. Imagine a child being taken from her breast-feeding Mom. Imagine the irreparable harm being done to children. If it continues, imagine a generation traumatized by our government, hating our nation, and what might happen in the future. Hate sows hate.

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to defend the policy by saying the bible tells us to obey the law. He did not speak about the verses telling people to be kind, compassionate, or loving to one another. Earlier, he said the policy was part of a “zero tolerance policy” with lawbreakers. John Kelly said the policy is meant as a deterrent to keep immigrants away from our borders. Mr. T tried to somehow blame Democrats: “Separating families at the border is the fault of bad legislation passed by Democrats.”  T is upset that Dems have not passed laws giving him what he wants, like a border wall.

 

The Washington Post fact checked T’s claim: there is no “Democrats’ law” necessitating that children be separated from their parents at the border. This was a policy created by this administration.

 

Meanwhile, the UN has condemned the policy, calling it illegal, and urged the US to end the policy. According to an article in the NYT, the UN said the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child.”

 

The GOP claim their legislation proposed recently would stop the inhumane separation of child from parent but, according an article in VOX, this is not true.

 

We need to do what we can to stop this inhumanity. If they get away with this, what’s next? We can call Congresspeople, especially Republicans, every day. Twice, three times a day if possible. Demand that they speak up and pass emergency legislation to stop it. Call your state and local representatives so that all levels of government act to stop it. Speak up in what ways you think appropriate. Share this post, copy it or write your own. This has to stop.

 

Here is a link from the NYT that I just saw, shared by Elaine Mansfield, of other things to do to oppose the policy.

 

 

HERE ARE A FEW NUMBERS:

GOP SENATORS:

Collins (R-ME) (202) 224-2523

Capito (R-WV) (202) 224-6472
Cassidy (R-LA) (202) 224-5824

Corker: 202 224 3344 [901683 1910]
Flake (R-AZ) (202) 224-4521
Gardner (R-CO) (202) 224-5941
Portman (R-OH) (202) 224-3353

 

NY DEMOCRATIC SENATORS:

Gillibrand: 202 224 4451    [NYC office: 212 688 6262

Schumer: 202 224 6542     [NYC office: 212 486 4430]

 

GOP HOUSE:

Tom Reed: 202 225 3161

Paul Ryan: 202 225 0600