Here’s a Clue for White Liberal “Political Junkies”

What is it about so-called “political junkies” that makes them watch “the news” and “follow politics” constantly, and yet get nothing out of it? How is it possible to be a “political activist” for upwards of 40-50 years and not even notice that the two major parties have changed drastically and are practically polar opposites from where they were back in the 1960s?

Seriously, folks…

If you think you can sit in front of your computer at this point in time and rail about “Blue Dogs” and “DINOs” as if this was 1968, you need to give up your drug of choice (politics) and look around for perspective. If you think “Medicare For All” is an absolute political winner, your head is so far in the political bubble, you have lost contact with the real world. And if you think the only solution to students graduating from college with too much debt is tuition-free college, you really need to get out more.

Not only that, but there are TWO viable major parties out there right now, and one of them reflexively blocks everything they see as even remotely “liberal.” One political party nominated, elected and continues to support a fat orange narcissist for president, and they do nothing to hold him accountable for anything. The idea that we have the absolute luxury of cleaning our own house while the other party runs the government into the ground is just seriously twisted. Once Democrats have permanent majorities in Congress and most state legislatures and governor’s mansions, then we can start picking off the worst players. You know, like 2-3 of the worst Senators (once Democrats have at least 75 seats) and maybe a dozen or so of the worst congressional representatives (once Democrats have at least 350 seats), but not everyone who doesn’t share your pure vision of an America where the rich pay for everything and the poor pay for nothing.

Come on, people. Politics is a process. There are no shortcuts and wishes do not equal votes. You can want “free college” and “free healthcare” all you want, but unless you elect a majority who are at least willing to listen to us about things we care about, all you’re doing is talking. You’re not an “activist,” you’re a blowhard.

And please stop with the “unity” bullshit. I mean this sincerely, primarily because of the way the unicorn progressives see the term “unity.” Democrats are fully and strongly united on the only issue that actually matters at this point in time, and that is getting rid of the current incarnation of the GOP. If you expect total unanimity on every issue, that will never happen, but it doesn’t have to. Republicans are in lockstep on everything; if you think that’s a good thing, you’re kinda dumb. If you think that would work for those of us on the left, again, you’ve been in the bubble too long. The far right controls about 20-24% of the electorate; we have the potential to control the other three quarters, but only if we don’t dismiss people who aren’t “exactly like us.”

There seems to be a sense among the unicorn types that “Democrat” and “progressive” are synonyms. That has never been the case. The vast majority of progressives are Democrats, but it has never been true that the majority of Democrats are progressive. There are moderate Democrats and there are conservative Democrats. There used to be right wing Democrats, but they all left the Democratic Party almost a half century ago and became Republicans. I’m sure there may be a few strays still registered Democratic because they’re too lazy to head to the registrar to change it, but they always vote Republican because that’s what a lockstep party does.

The strength of the Democratic Party is its diversity and I don’t just mean ethnic diversity. I’m also talking about diversity of thought and political diversity. And as a lifelong liberal, I embrace that. Let’s be real here; in politics, the only way we can get to where we need to go is by winning elections, and the only way to win elections is by voting with a majority. While a lot of “political junkies” don’t seem to grasp this, there are not enough liberals out there to win anything without help. And if we’re talking about white liberals, the number is even more grim. Most liberals in this country are people of color. The number of white liberals probably represents 5-8% of the electorate, which means, we’re not winning anything at all without help.

And now you know why it’s so distressing to see so many white liberals act as if they should be in charge of the Democratic Party. We are not in charge of the Democratic Party. White liberals used to own the Democratic Party, but they largely abandoned the Party about 50 years ago, when they had their first hissy fit and helped elect Nixon and declare themselves “progressive independents.”

It’s even more distressing to see otherwise well-meaning white liberals try to take over the party as if they have a birthright to it. “Your Revolution” is not the Democratic Party’s base. The Party’s base consists of Blacks. Latinos, LGBTQ people, and immigrants, and the heart and soul of the current Democratic Party is Black women. Therefore, when a group of white liberals forms a group (many of whom aren’t even registered Democrats) and makes demands of the Democratic Party and declares themselves the “base,” the level of insult to the actual base of the party is incalculable. “The Democratic Party” doesn’t take minorities and women for granted, the white liberal pseudo-base does.

When white liberal “political junkies” try to take over a party whose heart and soul is represented by Black women and Latinas, I am personally embarrassed. Get a clue, unicorn progressives. Please.

Vote Blue to Make this a “Can-Do Nation” Again

This is one of the most famous video clips in liberal history. And it’s popular for one reason. It’s true. 

The thing is, while everything Will McAvoy says in this video is true, it still makes everyone uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made them uncomfortable enough to actually start a movement, even though we can point the finger of blame at one single, solitary political movement and one single political party. The GOP. 

That’s right; if you truly want to make this country great again, everyone who cares about this country will make sure the current version of the Republican Party never wins another election. Face it; the current version of the Republican Party has turned this country into a “can’t-do” nation. 

And no, Bernie Stans; that does not mean we should be embracing your fantasies in which everyone in the country gets what they want for free. That’s a different discussion. Period. 

Let’s go back in time for a minute. Imagine it’s the America of 1952 or 1962 and the Soviet Union has sent people into polling locations to flip switches and rig voting machines. Imagine Russian operatives had gone into city after city to steal the rolls of paper where people recorded their votes and took them out to open spaces to burn them. There is no way the government, which was run by Democrats at the time, would let that slide. They would be imposing sanctions and they would be threatening the Soviets in every way possible because that’s the only thing Russians listen to. 

Now, in 2017-2018, however, we have a president in the Oval Office who is obviously doing the bidding of the Russian President and who is avoiding saying anything negative about Russia following incidents in which they messed with our democracy to a greater degree than burning our votes. And they continue to try to hack the democracy to this day, and the political party in charge of most of the government, the Republican Party, seems to be fearful of saying anything about it. 

Constider climate change for a minute. We all know that, if the Russians and many other countries declared climate change to be real in 1952 and 1962, and they were investing heavily in solar panels and wind turbines to fight it, the Democrats and most Republicans would have jumped on the alternative fuels bandwagon and kicked major ass to make sure we ceded no ground. Yet here we are, in 2018, and climate change is proven, yet, we have a major political party – the one in charge, no less – who has killed a comprehensive agreement on fighting climate change and ceding the entire market to the rest of the world, even as they are led by Lord Donny, who whines and cries about getting back manufacturing jobs in industries that are outdated and damn near dead. What sense does it make to reject the alternative energy industry, which is the future and embrace the 18th Century technology of the internal combustion engine? Yet, that’s what the Republican Party is doing, while stating that we just “CAN’T” move forward with technology in that area. You know, we can all have a watch that tracks our health and can do an ECG on the spot, but we can’t possibly generate most of our power using the sun, the wind, geothermal energy and/or the tides. 

Look at what we did when it came to the space race back in the day. We did what was necessary to meet a goal that was largely no more than a point of pride. We got a whole lot out of the space program, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to do it first and brag to everyone else how great we were. And there is nothing wrong with that. But I don’t believe it’s a stretch at all to say that, had the current version of the GOP been around back then,   we’d never have gone to the moon. Look at what has happened to the space program with Republicans in charge. We went to the moon a few more times, and then we stopped. These days, space has largely been privatized and while once in a while, a Republican will talk about grandly heading to Mars, nothing is actually done about it. Most of the high points of the last 40 years of space exploration have come from ideas and technology that originated in the 1960s and 1970s. Hell; under the Republicans, we have come to depend on the Russians to send our astronauts to the International Space Station. 

Why the hell did we let Republicans do this to us? Why can’t we seem to do anything worthwhile about any of our most pressing problems? We used to address problems we saw and search for solutions, but now, we seem to see problems and try to avoid addressing them. Prior to 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president and we started going down the unfortunate path we are on, we were well on our way to weaning ourselves from our fossil fuel addiction. By the time he took office, we had been through two oil supply crises, both the fact that oil was no longer a market-based commodity, but a tightly controlled product that was dirty and which had the potential to ruin our economy. The federal government had instituted a number of conservation methods and they were investing heavily in alternative energy production, including solar, wind, geothermal, and other resources. As of 1981, it was projected that we would reduce oil production by between 3-5% every year for decades. which would have put us in excellent shape heading into new century. It would also have prevented the price volatility we experience now, in which the price of gas is either too much or too little. 

Most modern-day Republicans are pure cynics, which means they understand the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Here in Arizona, they are fighting tooth and nail over a proposition on our ballot in November, which would mandate that utilities use more solar and wind power. Now, I know most of you have never lived here, but I have and I can tell you, the one resource we have in plentiful supply is sun. There’s also a lot of wind year round, but there are maybe 25-30 days every year where we don’t see the sun. Most of us steep our tea in big glass jars by sitting them outside in the sunshine. And yet. with most sunshine than most other places in the country, this state’s most prolific utility gets SIX PERCENT of its power from the sun. 

This is not a new thing. In 1981, the first thing Saint Reagan did was to roll back almost all of the energy initiatives Democrats had passed previously, and which were working. They sent us backwards on conservation and renewables and we ended up with a government that was encouraging us to drive gas guzzlers and treat gas consumption as if it is our god-given right. Republicans essentially crashed the oil economy, causing record low gas prices, and insinuated there was so much oil, we’d never pay over $1 per gallon again. They actually sought to perpetuate the precarious situation we were in and then lied their asses off to protect oil company profits. Our situation with regard to energy continues to be precarious, primarily because we can’t do anything about it.

Add to that the specter of climate change and the dangers that brings to our coastlines, our farms and a great number of other industries, not to mention human life in general. Recently, China became the largest producer of solar power in the world, and the response by the Republican leader in the White House was to add tariffs to steel and aluminum, thus forcing China to reciprocate by adding tariffs to nearly everything we buy from them. At the same time, Lord Donny is trying to promote coal, and lying to the people in coal-producing states, telling them coal jobs are returning, which is the opposite of true.There was a time when the mere mention of China as the king of solar power would have moved this country to act to snatch many trillions in profits away from them and invest like hell in solar power.

Of course, that was back when Democrats ran things. Under Republicans, that just won’t happen. They shrug their shoulders and tell us there is nothing that can be done. They swear to us that climate change is a hoax and use that as a pretext for doing nothing about the overuse of fossil fuels.

Since 1981, the GOP has transformed this nation, and not in a good way. we’ve been told by Republicans that we can’t do anything about any of the problems we face. We can’t afford to wean ourselves from oil because doing so is too expensive and impractical. We can’t afford to do much of anything except to waste hundreds of billions of dollars to build out a war machine we will never use. Think about all of the things we’ve been told we can’t do by Republicans, that other countries are doing as a matter of course. Every other industrialized nation in the world has a universal health insurance system, and we finally have the beginnings of one, but the Republican Party would rather kill that than improve it and make it more efficient. Consider that piece of shit bill they tried to push on us last month. Their primary goal is to erase anything good Democrats have done; they don’t even seem to care about doing great things for America and outperforming the Democrats.

With Republicans in charge, we have become a “cant-do” nation.

The vast majority of industrialized nations have built or are building robust transportation infrastructures, including better highways, but also including other modern public transportation projects, including high tech energy efficient rail projects. Yet, despite the fact that we have more wealth than any of those nations, Republican will always kill such projects here, while claiming we can’t afford such “extravagance.” While nations with far less wealth are happily investing public money to build out and then support a manufacturing base that is preparing them for a future that features more technology and fewer fossil fuels, our Republican Party tells us we can’t do such things. They tell us we’re broke, when we’re anything but. Our national household wealth recently topped $100 trillion for the first time, and we were, by far, the first nation to do this. We still the richest country in the world, by far, but it’s in spite of Republicans telling us we “can’t do” anything.

Why would anyone believe anything the GOP said, anyway, especially regarding economy? Their economic ideology caused the Great Depression. Their attempts to undo everything in the New Deal is why our economy crashed in 2008. They believe wholeheartedly in deregulation, no matter how many times it has led to disaster in the past. They loved the $29 trillion in fake money their unregulated mortgage market produced so much, they really want to do it again. 

We can wean ourselves off fossil fuels and eliminate our dependence on countries we cannot safely depend on and we have to stop allowing Republicans to tell us we can’t. And we can make sure everyone in this country has access to food shelter and healthcare. We can afford to build out our infrastructure, including a working electrical grid and a national public transportation infrastructure that is the greatest on Earth. 

However, we can’t do it with Republicans in charge. Let’s get them the hell out of government, so we can do stuff again. As a nation, we have proven that we can do anything, but with Republicans in charge, we have become a “can’t do” nation. That has to stop. 

The Future of Energy is NOW: Vote Blue

Once upon a time, when I was in elementary and junior high, we took a lot of field trips, mostly to Washington, DC and Philadelphia, although there were a couple of trips that could only be accurately described as “indoctrination” into the wonderful world of nuclear power. The first, when I was about 11, was to Calvert Cliffs, ostensibly to hunt for fossils. But in addition to the fossil hunt, we were taken to a “visitors center” for a nuclear power plant that was under construction. Nuclear power was sold to us as “clean” and “cheap.” Two to three years later, we were taken to Peach Bottom, in southern Pennsylvania. that plant was already open, and they had a really elaborate visitors area, complete with cartoons and colorful brochures explaining to us kids that nuclear power would save us from all of that smoke pollution emanating from coal and oil-fired plants (they had a point at the time, frankly).

The indoctrination didn’t really take, but I didn’t really think about nuclear power until 1978, when I was living in Los Angeles and I started protesting the profoundly stupid concept of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which was located within a few miles of two fault lines. Yes, I said TWO. Between 1978 and 1983, I was involved in a number of protests with the Abalone Alliance, and I was even arrested twice. In 1979, the Three Mile Island disaster woke a lot of people up, and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which rendered a large portion of Russia (then the Soviet Union) uninhabitable, made it clear that nuclear power was too risky. Unfortunately, it took the Fukushima disaster in Japan two and a half years ago to quite possibly kill the concept of nuclear power once and for all, although it will take a long time – and a Congress and state houses with as few Republicans as possible, since the entire party has always been beholden to the nuclear lobby as possible.

Over the past few years, a number of plants nationwide have gone offline, even though closing a nuclear plant isn’t the same as junking a car. The San Onofre plant in California is one of those decommissioned, in part because of its population and because former Senator Barbara Boxer took the lead. Around 8 million people lived within a 50-mile radius of the plant.  Unit 1 was decommissioned in 1992. Now, Units 2 and 3 will go down, a process which will take years. However, there is another dilemma; where to put the waste. Yes, folks. This industry has a nearly 70-year history, and for almost 40 years, we kept building plants, without a plan for the nuclear waste that would be generated; waste that will continue to emit deadly radiation for thousands of years.

This post is not about nuclear power. It’s about this country’s penchant for doing things before we have managed to think things through.  It’s also about suppressing good technology that could conceivably be used to replace bad technology. Worse, it’s about continuing to do those things long after we realize how bad they are, especially when we don’t have to.

There has never been a good reason to build nuclear power plants in this country. In fact, the only reason they even exist in the first place is because of the Cold War. Eisenhower wanted to build a bunch of nuclear bombs as a “deterrent” to the nuclear Soviet Union, and saw building a bunch of nuclear plants as a way to reduce costs to the government. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (another Republican “triumph”) basically turned nuclear power into a consumer product, and encouraged the building of plants, without even testing a few first. over a period of just over 20 years, we built 65 nuclear power plants in 31 states. And again, almost 65 years after the passage of the Atomic Energy Act, we still have no idea where to put the radioactive waste.

Do you know what else happened in 1954? The invention of the first silicon solar cell, which is the basis for solar power so many years later. Here’s a copy of the original patent. In other words, at the same time the government was encouraging the development of nuclear power as a way to make cheaper bombs we would hopefully never use, Bell Labs had made the first major foray into modern solar power. In other words, way back then, we had a choice; we could pursue a technology that could potentially lay waste to huge sections of the country if something went wrong, or we could promote solar power, using the most plentiful energy source on the planet, as well as one of the safest. 

Imagine we had started to invest in renewable energy, beginning with solar, from the very beginning of the modern era. With small investment from the government (almost none during the 1980s), amazing progress has been made. By 1992, with almost no real public investment, except a little during the late 1970s (still think Carter sucked?), solar cell efficiency had risen from 6% to about 16%. Two years later, with a little more investment, the first 30% efficient solar cells were developed, and the first 40% efficient solar cells were developed in 2006. The 40% threshold was crucial to making solar energy viable, and now, the costs of solar power are competitive with fossil fuels. In fact, the cost of what is euphemistically referred to as “clean coal” is so high, it is virtually even with solar power. And that’s without a massive investment and adoption of solar power.

Here’s a report to examine, which came out in 2011. In particular, check out the charts on pages 18 and 29. The government’s investment in solar (and wind and hydro) has been dwarfed by investment in oil and gas power, which is the largest investment, and nuclear power, which is second. Oil and gas and nuclear combined receive an average of more than $8.3 billion per year in subsidies, while biofuels and renewables have averaged $1.4 billion per year, and only in the last 20 years. And let’s get real; most of the biofuels money goes to ethanol production, because large companies like ADM tend to “invest” heavily in Republicans. Biofuels are NOT the future. They’re only marginally better than fossil fuels for the environment, and we really have to get away from burning things for fuel. Also, do we really want our food supply to be integrated into our energy supply? Look at what’s been happening with corn and grain prices over the past decade or so.

Think about it; what are we really investing in when we subsidize oil and gas, or nuclear, which are mature technologies? Why would we not invest heavily to develop solar, wind and geothermal power? Oil is running out. Natural gas will eventually run out. If we ever run out of solar or wind power, we’ll have bigger problems than electricity to worry about. Screw the oil and natural gas companies; we should be plowing our money into building factories to build millions of solar panels, and more into constructing solar farms all over this country. If solar power is competitive now, imagine how cheap it will be after that. We should also be investing in development and deployment of wind turbines. Every new home and/or housing development should be as self-sufficient as possible, equipped with solar panels and/or wind turbines, and our emphasis should move away from humongous power plants, except in large cities. where individual energy plants are less practical. And we should be moving to replace oil, coal and gas-powered plants with solar, wind and geothermal power generation. We should also be conservation junkies. If we can figure out how to run an iPhone for 47 cents per year, and to get the same light from a 20-watt bulb that we used to get from a 100-watt bulb, then we can figure out how to use even less in the future. Imagine a future where we use half the energy, and we’re selling excess power back to the utilities, instead of paying them $300 per month.

We have been investing in the wrong technologies under Republican rule and in the process, we’re making ourselves obsolete. China and most of Europe are already way ahead of us with regard to renewable energy technologies, while we continue to waste our time and money protecting a 19th Century technology that is running out fast, and a 20th Century technology with the potential to destroy us. These are not smart choices. We need to make smart choices. Many Democrats are leading the way on the development of future energy sources, and even those who are not are open to the possibilities. On the other hand, we can’t get Republicans to even discuss this. They are so beholden to the oil and gas industries, they seem completely unable to even consider moving this country forward.

Coal, oil and natural gas will always have a place in the energy landscape, but we cannot continue to depend on them to the degree we do. Yet, with Republicans in charge, we are allowing other countries to lead the world in the use of renewable energy, which is the future. In other words, not only are we killing our air and water and quite possibly our climate without our overuse of fossil fuels, but we are ceding a huge market to countries like China, Russia and Europe, among others, which means we are giving away more of our economic leadership, as well. At a time when Republicans have taken a $900 billion national debt and in 38 years have increased that by 2200%, can we afford to cede economic ground to our largest competitors? 

This is another reason to vote Democratic on November 6 and beyond. It’s time we moved into the future, and the current GOP simply cannot do that. 

How to Defeat Brett Kavanaugh (Yes We Can!)

If you really don’t want Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed (and no one should), then stop the protests right now. This is no time to march in the streets before people who will never see you. It’s time to take to the phones. Everyone who has a Republican Senator or a Democratic Senator who is in a tough fight against a far-right Republican challenger needs tons of phone calls telling them why they cannot allow Brett Kavanaugh to be seated on the Supreme Court of the United States. There are 51 Republican Senators and maybe a half-dozen Democratic Senators who may need reminding that this guy is an awful nominee, and if they don’t vote against him, they can forget about getting another term.

That means we cannot just put all our efforts onto Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and hope they do the right thing. There is less than a 20 percent chance they will because they’re Republican. 

What’s wrong with Kavanaugh? I can’t touch on everything here, but I’ll get to a lot of it. Well, except for the fact that is fce is almost as punchable as Donny’s. 

For instance, we know about his likely stance on abortion. While he has recently claimed a more moderate stance and he has apparently conned Collins into thinking he’ll treat Roe v. Wade as settled law, he’s not trustworthy. If he joins the court, the right to an abortion will be overturned, which means we’ll return to the old days; a patchwork of states who either ban or allow abortions, which means women of means will get the abortion they want and poor women will too often die. Yes, it is that serious. In fact, if you’ll recall the recent case about the immigrant woman who wanted an abortion – as is her right – Kavanaugh dissented from the ruling in that case, in which the court ruled she was indeed entitled to one, even though Trump immigration officials prevented her from seeing a doctor until it was too late for a legal abortion. At the very least, those progressives with Republican Senators in blue and purple states should be wearing out their phones calling their Senators. The Senate switchboard number is, (202) 224-3121. Get to it.

We also know the real reason Trump appointed him in the first place. Of all the right-wing pseudo-Christian anti-choicers out there to choose from, it’s clear Trump chose him because he has written in the past that a president can’t be sued or charged with a crime while sitting as president, thus placing a president above the law, which would lace Trump on a par with his heroes, Putin, Duterte and Kim. We know the other four right-wing justices (stop calling them “conservatives,” they’re not) are quite political and will go along with anything the Republicans want to do, so Kavanaugh could very well be the swing vote on any number of issues the Mueller probe will bring forth. This would be very dangerous, and not just when it comes to Trump. It would essentially give carte blanche to any future president whose party runs Congress by implying the only way to make a president accountable is through impeachment. Again, if you ever want to hold a president accountable for corruption ever again, call that damn switchboard and hold every Republican to account, at (202) 224-3121

But there are more reasons why Kavanaugh needs to be defeated. For one thing, it was proven during the hearings last week that Kavanaugh perjured himself during the hearings for his appointment to the Circuit Court in 2006. In fact, a criminal complaint has already been filed against him, which means there is a good chance, if he gets the seat, he will face impeachment around the same time as Trump, if not before. The complaint can be seen here: (Source).

Another problem with Kavanaugh could be hazardous to the health of millions. You see, Brett is that he feels the “pre-existing condition” rules in the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional. This one is less troubling, in a way, because Chief Justice John Roberts has already written a ruling upholding the ACA, but no one has challenged this specific provision previously. That would result in thousands of potential deaths, if insurance companies decide to stop covering people with “pre-existing conditions.”Kavanaugh has also ruled that the birth control mandate in the ACA was an unconstitutional violation of religious rights.  Again, get on the phone and read Republicans in the Senate the riots act, at (202) 224-3121. In particular, target Republican Senators who are retiring and have a beef with Trump. We only have to get a few to vote against Kavanaugh, and they might like to stick a finger in Trump’s eye on their way out.

Kavanaugh also has a long record of ruling against everyday citizens and workers and against the government agencies charged with protecting them. At the same time, he is extremely pro-business. If you think the current gutting of the EPA is bad, keep in mind, Anthony Kennedy often supported them with his swing vote while there are many signs Kavanaugh simply will not. In addition to sniping about the EPA, Kavanaugh also has called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s very existence “unconstitutional”

He is also untrustworthy when it comes to the regulation of nuclear waste. Back in 2013, Kavanaugh and Merrick Garland (you remember him, right?) found themselves on opposite sides of a case regarding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s procedures for storing nuclear waste. Kavanaugh wrote that the NRC had wrongly delayed licensing a nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada and Garland wrote a dissenting opinion, suggesting taking longer to make sure a nuclear storage facility was safe was neither a waste of time nor money. (Source

That’s just the surface stuff. Kavanaugh also has a mixed track record when it comes to privacy rights. For example, he rejected a challenge to the NSA’s data collection policies. He also once ruled, in a case that involved law enforcement placing a GPS tracker on a suspect vehicle, that the government may have violated the target’s property rights by tampering with his vehicle. That argument was so compelling, Scalia cribbed it when he ruled that LEOs needed a warrant.In other words, the government can collect all the information it wants from innocent citizens, but it needs a warrant if property rights.

Stop waiting for someone else to get rid of Brett Kavanaugh and keep him off the court. Call the offices of both Senators from your state and record your objection. Make them feel like they’re taking a risk by voting for this asshole. Again, the Senate switchboard is at (202) 224-3121. Call now and call often. The future depends on it.

An Obama Speech to Make Your Day

President Obama spoke at the University of Illinois today, and if it doesn’t make you feel nostalgic for a time when the president was dignified, eloquent and made us proud, then you’re not pro-America. 

In this speech, President Obama uses his innate eloquence to take on the current occupant of the White House and the Republican Party in a way that few can argue with. You will enjoy this one and you will learn from it. Watch it all… 

An Anonymous Hero? No.

Before I start, I’d like to say, everything that follows is pure opinion. I know the difference between opinion and fact, and this is the former. Therefore, it can’t be “Fake News.”

I know a lot of people are really trying to dissect the anonymous op-ed published by the New York Times a few nights ago, and many are trying to find out who wrote it for various reasons. I get that, I really do. What I don’t get are the people who are treating this guy (it’s the Trump Administration; you know it’s a man!) as if he’s some sort of hero.

He’s no hero. In fact, he may be the opposite of a hero, in every way possible. The content is only remarkable in that it confirms everything we already knew about the Trump Regime and the enormous chaos that has ensued since the Russians helped steal him an election. I will admit, I find it amusing to watch Donny making himself crazy trying to figure out who wrote it – and thus, unwittingly, proving everything in the article true – but Trump’s Twitter feed and all the books written about Trump in the White House already reveal the truth in that.

In other words, we already knew everything in the article. We also knew, since we haven’t all been blown up yet, that someone inside the White House was keeping him in check. The excerpts of Bob Woodward’s book that appeared earlier this week already did that, and Woodward proudly put his name and reputation and his reputation on the line to report it. This “Senior Official” reminds me of an old Chris Rock bit, in which he suggested “certain people” wanted credit for doing what they’re supposed to do. In this case, “Senior Official” wants us to thank him for not allowing Trump to go “too far” with his petulant nonsense. He wants us to give him a Milk-Bone because he and his band of Merry “Senior Officials” haven’t allowed him to start World War III, and to that, I say to hell with that.

I took me a few days to respond to this anonymous drivel, in part because its existence made Donny crazy. As I said, that part made me happy. However, something about this always struck me as wrong, somehow. It was “anonymous,” for one thing, and I am never comfortable with people who won’t speak out under their own name. To me, it shows an element of cowardice. Again, this guy wants a cookie for being such a great American, but he’s too afraid of losing his job to tell us who he is.

This is one reason Trump and the GOP get to scream “Fake News” at anything they don’t like and get away with it. Say what you will about Michael Wolff and (ick) Omarosa, but at least they made accusations and put their reputations on the line. This guy wants to be a hero, but he’s too afraid of losing his job to make himself accountable. Of course, for all we know, it could have been written by “John Barron” himself as a ruse to take attention away from the Woodward book, the half dozen investigations and the fact that most people think a president who is under federal investigation should be allowed to appoint a swing vote to the Supreme Court, especially one who could decide whether or not he can be charged for his crimes.

Then, there’s the message itself. Whereas this asshole wants to be given the Congressional Medal of Honor for placing a barrier around Trump, to keep him from doing anything too stupid, he also praises Trump for some of the “good things” he’s done. Presumably, he means the GOP Tax Scam, which could end up bankrupting the government. At the very least, it will saddle our kids with paying back an ever-increasing debt, so huge corporations can save a few bucks they don’t need now. It must also mean his disastrous “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which penalizes people who come here to escape oppression and which has resulted in creating hundreds of orphans of children who came her with their families. If you stop Trump from bringing on nuclear winter, but allow him to throw a few thousand vulnerable kids in cages, how heroic are you, really? He is also apparently quite okay with the Trumpian attempts to take health insurance away from as many as 30 million people and return us to the insurance system that was about to implode when we passed the ACA and started to save it.

Basically, this “Senior official” wants to reassure us that “reasonable people” are thwarting Trump from doing anything “too stupid,” but if it’s that big a chore, wouldn’t it be more of a relief if they just invoked the 25th Amendment and got him the hell out of there? And yes, I know; Pence isn’t much of an improvement, from our liberal perspective, but this guy is saying Trump is batshit crazy and is trying to do things that are so heinous, they have to “resist” him. With Pence, we’ll still have to deal with the policy crap, but we will have to worry less about the “president” having a hissy fit and launching a nuclear strike against Iran or North Korea.

Also, this whole “no matter what you hear, the adults have things under control” notion posited by this screed has an air of Guiliani’s “truth isn’t truth” to it. Again, if you can moderate Trump, why not stop him altogether. Either invoke the 25th Amendment yourselves, if you have enough people to sign off on it, or advise the American people and the Congress of the dire situation we are in and suggest ways we can fix it. This isn’t a “resistance,” it’s babysitting gig. And knowing someone’s babysitting this huge orange turd isn’t making anyone feel better.

The few people who are close to Trump and still feel a duty to country over party or Donny are actually our best hope, at least until “we, the people” get our say in 60 days and un-elect Trump’s GOP enablers in Congress. But even then, we’ll have to wait until January to see the effects. His “Senior officials” need to protect us from him, but they can’t just “resist” from the inside. Just as the rest of us who are being wronged have to take our case to court and present evidence to gain restitution, people like “Senior official” have a duty to present their case and tell Mueller and other officials what is going on in the White House and then they need to DO SOMETHING TO GET HIM OUT OF THERE.

“Senior official” really is not a hero. In fact, he’s the opposite because he and the others in his internal “resistance” have the means to end this thing, and they are doing nothing except writing anonymous articles and touting their own skill in preventing disaster. That’s not good enough. We need action, not mere words.

Trump’s Criminal Troubles

As I said in my last column, there are many reasons why no one should feel the need to put all their eggs in the Mueller investigation basket. Of course, the Mueller investigation is important and it has borne a lot of fruit already and promises to bring down the worst regime in American history. However, when we put all our hopes and dreams into one thing, the likelihood of them not working out as we hope multiplies.

The purpose of this column is to demonstrate that Trump is closer to the end than many think. As noted in the previous column, the seemingly strong base of support Donny once had seems to be crumbling, even as his opposition is strengthening. But things are about to get worse for Trump. There is so much more awaiting him than just Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Trump Crime Family is more likely to go down than not the only question is when. Not if, but when.

While Trump spends most of his time trying to “distract” you from the Mueller investigation, that particular investigation may be the least of his worries. I have said all along that I think he’ll resign before he’s ever impeached. Many people laugh at me for that and say he’s “too narcissistic” to ever quit, but why would anyone think he would want to take a chance on being the first “president” to ever be impeached and ordered removed from the White House? Why do people think he’ll sit still as his entire life as a criminal businessman falls down around him? Why do you think we haven’t seen his tax returns? This is a public control freak who has never willfully submitted his business records for scrutiny and who is the first person to run for president in more than 40 years to NOT release his tax returns. In any impeachment trial involving money or Russia, he will be forced to release his financials publicly. Why do you think he’s even more vocal about the press than even Mueller. He’s looking to blame them when he goes down.

And he will go down.

As of now, four separate investigative bodies are conducting at least a half-dozen concurrent investigations against Trump and his cronies. In addition, at least two state attorneys general have brought a civil lawsuit as to whether Donny is in violation of the emoluments clause of the US Constitution. Since we pretty much all know, instinctively, that Trump was a crook and a cheat as a businessman and that he most certainly colluded with Russia, all these investigations will likely lead to some useful information to be used as evidence. And if we can do our jobs and lead an absolute massacre of Republicans in thus year’s elections, and present them with a mountain of evidence of crimes and constitutional violations, it will be incredibly difficult for Republican Senators to not vote to convict. As I noted in my last post, the dam has already begun to burst; by April or May of next year, it is likely articles of impeachment will pass and the evidence will likely be enough to get 12-15 Republican Senators to vote with Democrats to convict. We may see a repeat of the spectacle in which Senate Republicans sent Barry Goldwater to the White House to tell Richard Nixon the jig was up and he needed to resign. Keep in mind, while this year’s election sees 24 Democratic seats and 8 Republican Senate seats up for election, in 2020, those numbers will be switched, with 24-25 Republican seats available, as opposed to nine Democrats. By then, they will no longer want to protect a likely lame duck like Trump. Face it; unless an unforeseen miracle happens, Trump’s reelection race won’t be close enough to steal and likely not close enough for two dozen Republican Senators to hang their hopes on.

So, what about all these investigations? What can we look forward to?

Well, you know about the Mueller investigation of Trump’s relationship with Russia, or you should. If you want to know everything, I’ll refer you to this article from Politifact. (Source) There is no question Russia interfered and tried to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. The only question left is how much Trump and his campaign knew about the efforts and how many Trumpians worked with the Russians, wittingly or not.

For the record, the Russia investigation didn’t start with the Mueller investigation; it actually began when the FBI counter-intelligence group started looking into the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia way before Trump was inaugurated. However, the timeline will go into that. And while it will go into great detail about what is being covered, keep in mind, no one knows what Mueller actually has because nothing has leaked from his investigation.

That said, the Department of Justice is also looking into a number of instances of obstruction of justice, including his firing of James Comey as FBI Director and a number of misleading statements made by Junior Douchebag, his oldest son, regarding the infamous June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, including Donny Junior, a number of Russian intelligence officers and, most likely, Donny himself, in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

While Donny screams “Witch Hunt!” every couple days at least, the one way you know something is a witch hunt is because the hunt doesn’t catch anyone, so we know this is no actual witch hunt. Already, Mueller has obtained guilty plea deals with Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a former foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign. In addition, top campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates have been convicted already, and Paul Manafort has also been convicted on eight counts, with another trial coming in about two weeks. Manafort’s close associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, has been indicted for witness tampering and another, Alex van der Zwaan, pleaded guilty to lying under oath and has already served time in jail. That’s in addition to the 25 Russian nationals and intel officers and three Russian companies indicted since the beginning of the investigation.

A true “witch hunt” would never produce such results within such a relatively short time. Benghazi, which produced zero indictments and zero crimes on the part of Americans, was a witch hunt. This one is not. 

However, as noted, the Mueller probe is only the beginning of Trump’s worries. Consider that it’s only been two weeks since Trump’s very own lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to six counts of tax evasion and bank fraud, in addition to two counts of violating campaign finance laws related to his payments to two women to buy their silence in service to the Trump campaign. Despite Trump’s pleas to the contrary, Cohen’s plea deal directly implicated Donny in several felonies and he did so again under oath in the courtroom. That case wasn’t handled by Mueller; that was handed off to the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

At the same time, Cohen also gave SDNY prosecutors all the details regarding the close work he did with another Trump crony, David Pecker, the owner of American Media, Inc., whose most prominent publication is the vaunted news publication (from the Trumpian POV, anyway), The National Enquirer. Apparently Donny had a deal with Pecker (making Trump a true Peckerhead), in which he would pay Pecker and Pecker would spike embarrassing stories upon Trump’s order to do so. That’s what Pecker did with Karen MacDougal’s story. She was the Playboy model with whom Trump had an affair years ago, and Pecker paid MacDougal $150,000 to do an exclusive interview for the Enquirer, which Pecker then promised Trump never to publish, as a favor to his campaign. That’s in addition to the $130,000 payment, personally made by Cohen to Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet, as well, just to help the Trump campaign.

And to make sure they can verify Cohen’s story, which would nail Trump at least as well as the Mueller probe, SDNY prosecutors have secured immunity deals with such key Trumpians as David Pecker and the Enquirer’s Editor-in-Chief Dylan Howard, both of whom should have a ton of evidence to provide, as well as the guy who holds all of Donald Trump’s business secrets, the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Allen Weisselberg. Allen is among Donny’s closest financial advisers and he knows where all the financial bodies are buried (assuming there are no actual bodies buried, which is not a sure thing). He also runs the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which is the entity in which Trump pretended to place all his business assets when he became president. On paper, Donny Junior and Eric own the Trust, and one of those is allegedly “working” on behalf of the American people, even as he supposedly runs the Trump business empire. They should all be able to confirm all the details, and that will put Trump on some very icy ground for a while. Whether the immunity deals are simply to confirm facts Mueller and SDNY prosecutors already know, or they promise to provide new details to investigators, Trump is in some seriously deep shit now with regard to the campaign finance violations, and they could also prove direct ties to Russia’s efforts to get Trump elected, with Trump’s cooperation.

If you’re worrying about Trump just issuing massive numbers of pardons to excuse those who could bring him down, it’s not worth your time, since the New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood is also investigating the Trump Foundation for fraud and the Trump campaign for campaign violations.The NY AG’s office is also conducting a similar probe of Michael Cohen, on state tax law and fraud charges. And as much as he’d like to, Donny can only pardon people for “crimes against the United States,” which means he can’t pardon anyone for crimes against the state of New York. And yes, that includes himself.

Underwood has already filed a criminal lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, in which it is alleged that the supposed charitable nonprofit engaged in all sorts of illegal activity. Among these potential crimes include self-dealing to personally benefit Donald Trump and his spawn, coordinating with the Trump Campaign, which would be illegal, and a lot more. The lawsuit is asking that the Foundation be dissolved, and that no member of the Trump Crime Family (not Tiffany) be allowed to serve on the board of a nonprofit for a time. They are also asking for millions in financial penalties. Their investigation of the Trump Foundation revealed it to be “…little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” according to a statement Underwood made t the time the suit was filed. They found that, at one point, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski personally directed payments from the Trump Foundation into Trump’s campaign coffers, just before the 2016 Iowa caucus. At one point, Trump used Foundation money to purchase a self-portrait to hang at one of his golf courses, and he often used Foundation money to settle lawsuits against him.

Underwood’s investigation may indicate why Trump still refuses to release his tax returns, since she is working with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance on the investigation of the Trump Foundation. The Department of Taxation has already subpoenaed Cohen to both testify and turn over documents related to the Foundation’s finances. Underwood is already seeking an indictment of Cohen for state tax law violations, as well, which could very well doom Donny at the state level.

In addition to the state criminal charges, the New York Times (Source) is reporting that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could very well pursue criminal charges against the Trump Organization for Trump’s reimbursement to Cohen for the payments the lawyer made to Stormy Daniels and Karen MacDougal, in which he paid Cohen back for the payments at a rate of $35,000 per month, and labeled the payments as “legal services.” Based on the Times article, this could be just the first of many criminal charges against Trump’s company. There have already been calls to dissolve the Trump Organization.

These investigations come out of numerous allegations that the Trump Organization has been a money laundering machine for a while, possibly decades. There have long been numerous press reports questioning the sheer volume of wealthy foreigners, particularly from Russia and former Soviet states who have purchased condos in some of his buildings. There are also many questions as to where Trump got his money after his last (sixth) bankruptcy when he was in debt to the tune of $3.4 billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) and no one in the Western world would lend him money. It is well-reported that Russians bailed him out, arranging for numerous loans from Russian-friendly banks, and it is known that a large number of Russian oligarchs own condos in many Trump properties, including the Trump Tower in Manhattan, and New York prosecutors want to know the details, as one could imagine.

There are so many questions about how Donny does business, there is likely to be a lot for prosecutors in Manhattan and New York to look at. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether the Trump Organization laundered money from the Iranian government when they failed in a number of failed attempts to build Trump monstrosities in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Brazil during the transition, after the election and the inauguration. That may explain his eagerness to cancel the Iranian nuclear deal. Since then, a number of his partners in those countries are under corruption investigations themselves.

The New York investigations only promise to get worse, as NY Attorney General candidate, Democrat Zephyr Teachout has promised to fully investigate Trump’s business dealings. In fact, it is the central promise in her campaign. That may not seem smart, politically – it’s a really bad idea for Democrats to make Trump the center of their campaigns most places, since healthcare is considered the most important issue for most voters this year – but she is a favorite to win in New York and she will have a lot more ammunition than Underwood, thanks to the plea and immunity deals. As noted, there have already been calls for dissolving the Trump Organization, and it’s only going to get worse for him.

New York isn’t the only state in which the attorney general is looking at Trump’s possibly criminal handling of money. The Attorneys General of Maryland and Washington, DC have also filed suit against Trump and what they find may force even Republicans in Congress to impeach and remove him, as their suit alleges massive violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. This Clause forbids all federal officials, including (especially) the “president,” from accepting payments or gifts, or anything from which they derive benefit, from any government entity, including foreign governments, but also national and state government entities. Since the Clause was included to prevent corruption at the highest levels of government, it’s pretty important.

That lawsuit alleges Trump may be in violation of the Emoluments Clause in part because his Trump International Hotel, which is located just blacks from the White House, is located in the Old Post Office building, which is wholly owned by the federal government and the Trump organization leases. Besides the awkward idea that, as “president,” Donny is in the unique position of being his own landlord, the hotel and the Trump Organization have received numerous payments from foreign governments, including many who are actively seeking to influence Donny’s policies.

This is the only investigation of Trump that is not a criminal one, but the lawsuit, which Trump unsuccessfully tried to block, could force Donny to disclose many important documents showing how foreign governments may be using Trump properties to buy influence from him. Of course, it could also result in Trump losing the lease on the DC property altogether.

With so many investigations and so much scrutiny of Trump’s business practices, Trump is already regretting his entry into politics, and things are just going tom get worse for him, especially if Democrats pull off a Blue Tsunami.

Donny’s Political Trouble

For those of you putting all your faith in Robert Mueller – and honestly, Lord Donny seems to be one of them – you should really look more closely because the Trump Regime is likely to crash and burn sooner rather than later.

First of all, Trump’s is easily the least popular “presidency” in history. According to a credible Washington Post/ABC News poll (Source), taken a week after his former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen pled guilty and Paul Manafort was convicted of eight felonies, Trump’s disapprovals are at a new and near-record high of 60 percent. More striking is, 53 percent of respondents express strong disapproval. At the same time, his approval rating is at its lowest, at 36 percent, and overall, Trump’s average approval rating is the lowest of any president since the dawn of modern polling.

Oh, but it gets worse for “The Donny.” His approvals are the softest they have ever been. This poll notes that the government is more corrupt since Trump took office and only 13 percent believe Donny is “draining the swamp” and reducing corruption. In addition, 61 percent say, if Cohen’s assertions about him are true, then Trump broke the law. In addition, a full 53 percent already believe Trump has obstructed the Mueller investigation. In all, 63 percent want the Mueller probe to continue, with 52 percent giving the investigation their strong support and only 29 percent objecting to it. Support for the Mueller probe is 85 percent among Democrats, and it is supported by 32 percent of Republicans, which is way up from just a few months ago.

As of today, with Republicans still in charge of Congress, 49 percent fully support impeachment, versus 46 percent who apparently feel it’s still too soon.

What all this means is, all of Lord Donny’s plaintive cries of “no collusion” and his constant insistence that he has done nothing wrong are falling on largely deaf ears. It also indicates the public will be receptive to them when (not if, but when) charges are brought against the Trump family and Trump himself. And the more indictments we see, especially among those closer to Trump than even Manafort and Cohen, the stronger the opposition to Trump will become.

Trump’s plaintive whines regarding Manafort and Attorney General Jeff Sessions aren’t even working, according to this poll. The public sides with Sessions, 63-23 percent and 64 percent oppose Trump firing Sessions, with only 19 percent supporting it. At the same time, 67 percent say Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort was justified with only 17 percent siding with Donny and saying it wasn’t. The idea of Trump pardoning Manafort is rejected by 67 percent, while only 17 percent support such a thing. Even among Republicans, only 36 percent support such a pardon, while 45 percent oppose it. Again, even though 36 percent still claim to approve of Donny’s performance, stop assuming his support is not impregnable. It’s not even close to that. Even among Republicans, his 78 percent approval rating spells trouble, since the conventional wisdom says no Republican has any chance of winning anything with less than 80 percent of the Republican vote. Also, the single biggest shift in support has been with college-educated white women, with whom he only has 23 percent support. Their disapproval of him is now 75 percent, which is 20 points higher than a year ago. Combine that with the drop in support from non-college white men, who are his “sweet spot,” and you can see tremendous political trouble for Donald Trump, even if he’s too stupid and narcissistic to realize it.

Oh, and one last thing. Thought Trump keeps bragging on Twitter about his support among blacks doubling, this poll shows that to be complete bullshit. His black approvals are THREE PERCENT, with a 93 percent disapproval, and 8- percent of blacks support impeachment proceedings. As if those of us who actually know black people have always understood, his claim of 36 percent black support is insanely ridiculous.

Donald Trump is toast, politically, and most everyone but Trump knows it. Next, I’ll show why Robert Mueller is the least of his worries.

White Unicorn “Progressives” are NOT the Democratic Base.

Many “progressives” out there seem to believe merely being “liberal” or “progressive” automatically qualifies them to be part of the “Democratic base.” 

As usual, they would be wrong.

To qualify as part of the Democratic base, you must first demonstrate a virtually unwavering loyalty to Democrats, over and above simply being liberal and voting for Democrats on that rare occasion when you actually cast a vote, or when you don’t waste your vote on a “third party” or “independent” with no chance of winning. Being part of the party’s base requires a lot more than self-description. You have to be a vital cog in the Democrats’ machine and you have to do whatever you can to make sure they win a majority in every election. Democrats must be able to depend on your vote and your support in getting other people to vote for that party.

There is a benefit to being part of the Democratic base. By demonstrating loyalty over a long period of time, you can then exert influence over the party by threatening to withhold your vote. On the other hand, when you rarely offer it in the first place, you cannot threaten to withhold your vote if you rarely vote for them in the first place. That doesn’t work, no matter how much some unicorn progressives wish it. 

That is the major reason most unicorn progressives and Bernie Cultists fail so often. A bunch of white liberals have insinuated themselves into the Democratic Party’s working to demand changes, as if they were King Shit of turd Island. They received a couple concessions that are essentially meaningless, and they are all over the Internet bragging about it like they won the lottery. And in the process, they are so dense, they have no clue the insults they inevitably hurl at the very people who DO make up the Democratic base, such as Black people, Latinos, immigrants and (especially) women of color. 

Yes, I said it; you white liberal “progressives” who start ridiculous groups called “Our Revolution” to infiltrate the Democratic Party to make changes you think will benefit your “independent” candidate like Bernie Sanders are not only wrong-headed about that but you, by strutting around the Party as if you own it, are doing grave insult to the people who actually built the current Democratic Party, which really is the “Party of the People,” despite your incessant whining.  

Really, think about it a bit. In the post-Crash era until about 1968, progressives and the Democratic Party were inseparable, and almost everything we wanted to do got done. There was only one glitch really; most right-wingers at the time were Democrats. Then, about 1968, about the same time Blacks and other minorities started swarming INTO the Democratic Party because of the civil rights legislation we passed, WHITE liberal “progressives” started to abandon them. 

In other words, white liberals, as soon as the black people moved into the Democratic Party, the white Dixiecrats AND YOU moved out. It was much like the blockbusting and redlining eras in the post-civil rights era. If you’re not familiar with that period, following the passage of the equal housing laws, championed and passed by Democrats as the “Party of the People,” which forbade discrimination when it came to real estate, right white developers would buy up one home in a neighborhood and move a black family into it. The resultant white panic would cause the others in the neighborhood to sell their homes at far less than they were worth, for fear of being robbed, raped, and/or murdered in their sleep. It’s the origin of the phrase, “There goes the neighborhood.” 

The abandonment of white people from the Democratic Party was much like that. It was certainly the case for Dixiecrats, and I’m not saying white liberals left for the same reasons, but if you’re a member of a minority group and the white people leave the Party in droves, including the white liberals, as soon as you move into it and find a home, what would you expect them to think? 

Moreover, what would you think 40 years later, when black and brown people make up most of the Democratic Party base, and white liberals are basically looking past you on everything? Jesus, folks, during the 2016 nominating process, Hillary Clinton, who was the candidate chosen by the Democratic Party base, the virtually ALL WHITE Bernie Cult was essentially telling them they didn’t count. When Hillary nearly swept the Super Tuesday southern states, getting upwards of 80% of the vote in most of them, the Bernie Stans dismissed the wins as unimportant or irrelevant because none of those states were “going to win in the general election, anyway.” They dismissed the wins using the phrase, “Old Confederacy,” as if the vast majority of Democrats in those states were not Black these days. How do you imagine that felt to the base?

It’s also insulting as hell to the minorities in the Democratic base when white liberals say truly stupid shit like, “the Democratic corporatists” are as bad as Republicans, or when they refer to “establishment Democrats,” as if the same “establishment” that ran the party in the 1960s was the same group that runs it today. Of course, even if that was true, what was so bad about the Democratic Party in the 1960s, anyway? They brought the country to the greatest prosperity in history, with an economy in which one job was enough to pay the bills for the entire family, and in which labor unions thrived.  Yes, I know, they got us deeper into Vietnam, but splitting the vote enough to elect Richard Nixon sure as shit didn’t get us out. Besides; that was a half-century ago. Get a grip.

You know what else is really stupid? The rationale that white liberals use to proclaim the Democratic Party has “moved too far to the right.” There very concept is asinine. All the right-wingers and overt racists vote and support Republicans now. Since the Dixiecrats made up more than a quarter of the Democratic Party until about 1966 and the number of Democrats has actually increased over time, that would indicate the farthest right of the party at the time were replaced by someone. Now, I will admit the Democratic Party doesn’t lean as far left as it should, but that’s because white progressives largely abandoned the Party completely over the past 50+ years. Here’s a hint, unicorn progressives; if you want to move the Democratic Party to the left, then join it. Vote for it religiously and support it. 

If you want to know why we have the biggest anti-American imbecile sitting in the Oval Office right now, white “progressives,” look in the mirror. In the 2016 election, MOST white people voted for Trump. Even a majority of white women voted for that asshole. Fully 10 percent of Bernie Sanders primary voters voted for Trump. The electoral college was so close, at least five states could have gone to Hillary with a swing of two percent or less. In three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the total margin was about 77,000 votes, which means recounts in those states very well could have changed the result. However, because the unicorn progressive segment of the electorate have been screwing with elections for so long, all three states are being run by Republicans, so there was no recount. 

One thing to remember, folks: all politics is local. Never forget that.

Unicorn progressives (especially Bernie Stans) also like to blame Democrats for the failure of the progressive movement to make significant strides over the last few… decades. In 2010, they blamed President Obama and “Blue Dogs” for everything, even though Democrats in Congress passed 375 bills that were blocked by Republicans in the Senate. It was unicorn progressives  and their insane “Blue Dog Purge” in 2010 that led to the rise of the Tea Party. They were so clueless and stupid, they continued the purge in 2014 thus giving Republicans their largest congressional majority since 1928. (Gee, what happened a year after 1928? Lemme think…)  The Democratic base had no problem with “Blue Dogs,” or conservative Democrats, but white liberals, as usual, like to believe they know more than anyone else.  And isn’t that the problem?

Dear white liberals; If you were a member of a minority group, especially Black people, and white liberals were always reminding you about how stupid you are, why would they embrace the white liberal agenda? For that matter, why should they not resent it when you infiltrate THEIR PARTY and demand changes to the superdelegate process and the caucus process, short of eliminating as many caucuses as is practical? 

Democratic base? Don’t make me laugh, white liberals. At some point, unicorn progressives have to figure out they’re not in charge of anything any longer, and People of Color are. And instead of working on your own to “revolutionize” the Democratic Party, work WITH the Democratic Party’s base to get things done. If you are waiting for the national Democratic Party to embrace your views on issues, you really should understand that you are part of the problem. Not only is jumping in and taking charge of the Party as if you’re part of the base flat stupid, politically speaking, but it’s also insulting to the actual base; the people we will have to depend on to lead us out of the abyss and into a new progressive era. 

Acknowledge your white privilege and accept the help minorities want to give us. We need it. Aren’t you sick of losing? 

Don’t Let the Gunloons Win

I have been advocating for stricter gun laws for more than 30 years, in part because it’s an issue that is very personal to me. More than 30 years ago,  someone I knew and loved was gunned down senselessly in a robbery committed by someone who should never have been able to buy or carry a gun. A few years before that, another friend was selling Bibles door-to-door and some asshole shot him for the money in his pocket and also stole the Bibles he was carrying. In the intervening years, guns and ammo have become far more efficient in their lethality, but the laws haven’t taken that into account. Based on the way the laws have been written, it seems the Republicans in charge thin all guns are shotguns these days. In fact, with Republicans having far too much power in all levels of government, the situation has gotten progressively worse. Some people simply have no business owning or carrying any sort of firearm, but a solid case can be made that no one should be able to own a military-style weapon and carry it around.  

Owning and carrying a gun requires a level of responsibility that many people are simply not prepared to accept. It’s really that simple. It’s like driving a car. Sure everyone should have the right to drive a car, but only if they can demonstrate their ability to do so responsibly.

Whenever I write about guns, I get the same profoundly stupid responses from the people I call “gunloons.” To clarify, the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and take care of their guns, which means their guns will likely never lead to harm. That said, we don’t create laws and regulations for the vast majority of people; we create them to protect ourselves from the exceptions, meaning those who are not responsible.

In this post, I want to talk about the dumb arguments all gunloons make when it comes to the modest common-sense gun regulations I always recommend, which include basic registration of all guns, licensing of all gun owners and insurance on all guns, with rules to enforce greater responsibility. None of this is controversial, really.  I know a lot of you have been snowed into believing that the gun “debate” is enormously polarized, but it’s really not. Almost everyone, including most gun owners, are in favor of greater regulation. The only people against gun regulation are a small minority who represent the Tea Party and who put Trump over the top. The problem is, they run a major political party, the Republican Party. Unfortunately, our side of the debate, can’t seem to get our shit together enough to stop them.

How is that possible? I mean, have you heard some of the arguments gunloons make? Well, following are the ones they use the most with me, and why they are phenomenally stupid. Use this as a wake-up call. We can win this argument; it’s not hard. But we also have to win elections for Democrats.

Here are a few of the most ridiculous myths surrounding firearms:

Regulation of guns is a violation of the Second Amendment.

I do radio programs about the gun issue quite often and, no matter how much I want to, I’m not allowed to say, “Fuck the NRA,” despite the fact that I have freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The FCC says I can’t say anything I want on a broadcast and the FBI would also warn me against threatening politicians. In other words, there are limits to all rights because everyone has rights, not just you, and there has to be a balance. It’s why I can’t stand on your front sidewalk at 3 a.m with a bullhorn and advocate for Hillary or Bernie and why the government can regulate arms. In fact, in Article I, Section 8, Congress (and with the 14th Amendment, the government in general) is charged with regulating the militia, which is the basis for the Second Amendment.  None other than the Late Justice Scalia, in the DC v Heller case, admitted that states and municipal governments could regulate weapons.

Hell; we already do, right? I mean, you’re not allowed to set up a rocket launcher in your backyard or place a missile silo on your ranch. No one can make a rational argument that banning ownership of cruise missiles in residential neighborhoods is a violation of the Second Amendment, so you can’t rationally claim that all weapons control violates rights, nor that the line can’t move. You have a right to protect yourself and your loved ones, you do not have a right to be able to fire 700 rounds in the space of a minute or two. Besides, the rest of us have a right to life, which means we have the power to protect ourselves. Got it?

Registration and licensing will lead to even greater confiscation

There are an estimated 300 million legally owned firearms in this country. If the government has a goal of confiscating all guns, they suck at it. Under no circumstances could our government confiscate 300 million guns, any more than they could deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. In other words, it’s not happening. In fact, because of our Constitution, if they banned some guns, the most they could do would be to offer to buy them back. That’s right; the government can’t legally take anyone’s guns. They can order them registered, but they can’t just confiscate them without a hearing. Can you imagine hearings to confiscate hundreds of millions of guns? And since only a scant few delusional people are talking about banning all guns, in any case, the argument is doubly asinine.

Registration of cars has not prevented any law abiding car owner from driving a car, so there is no rational reason to believe that registration would lead to mass confiscation of guns that you feel you need to protect yourself. If you have 30 guns, they might make an offer to buy 28 of them. If you demonstrate a lack of responsibility for the 30 guns you own, they might take them away after a hearing, but they won’t just collect them and melt them down.

Gun Control wouldn’t have stopped (name of incident), so why bother? Gun Control Doesn’t Work

Again, can you imagine if that first one was a standard for passing laws? There would be none. No one in their right mind thinks basic gun control would reduce the number of gun deaths to zero. However, if we could reduce the number by 10%, we’d save nearly 4,000 lives per year. If we could cut them in half over time, as these measures become part of the culture, we’d save 16,000 lives per year and 80,000 every five years. If we tighten gun laws, eliminate the “drug war,” replaced the “gun culture” with a “gun respect culture,” and improved mental health treatment, and cut the rate by 60-70%, we might save 24,000 lives a year and a quarter million every decade. How could anyone be against such a thing? Does it really make any logical sense to refuse to enact regulations that could save thousands of lives because we can save everyone?

As for the second one, I’ll just point out that every other industrialized country with gun control has a rate of gun deaths that is minuscule compared to ours. About 20 years ago, Australia saw a single mass shooting with a military-style weapon and they banned their sale and held a buy-back. Since then, the number of homicides Is far less than ours. Just over our northern border, in 2012, Canada had 172 homicides, whereas there were 8,813 here. Even accounting for population difference, that means we had roughly seven times as many. Therefore, it defies logic to claim that gun control doesn’t work when we have examples of it working fine.

Besides, given that we’ve never tried gun control here, we don’t know that it won’t work.

Having a gun makes you safer.

Except for those who live in extremely rural areas, the only way a gun could conceivably make someone safer would be if they expect to use it and most never need to use theirs. The only purpose of a gun in a city or a suburb is to kill another person and, while having a gun may give some people a heightened sense of security, it gives others a heightened sense of false bravado. Gun ownership can indicate an irrational fear, and irrational people rarely make responsible decisions at crucial times.

The statistics bear this out. According to one study, “(f)or every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” (Source) According to another, “People with a household gun were 3.7 times as likely to die by an unintentional gunshot injury as those living in a home without guns.” (Source) Yet another study suggests there is a far greater chance that a firearm will be used in a homicide, suicide or accidental death in a home with a gun than one without. (Source) And if guns make us safer, ask yourself why there are nearly 50 times as many murders as justifiable homicides. (Source) and (Source)  There were only 260 justifiable homicides in 2011. According to a gunloon favorite,  the Kleck Study, there are “between 500,000 and 3 million” instances of gun self-defense every year, so how were there only 260 justifiable homicides that year?

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people

Gun control isn’t about guns. It’s about people. More specifically, it’s about getting. A handle on who has guns and making sure people who shouldn’t have guns have a difficult time getting one. Again, it’s like cars. Cars don’t crash into other cars, people do. That’s why we register cars and license drivers. The goal is to do what we can to make sure fewer accidents happen.  Without gun control, anyone who buys a gun can resell it to anyone who wants it in most states, and no law is broken. Just as troubling, guns can go across state lines, be shipped from state to state and there is no tracking process to stop it, even if such a thing is technically illegal without a permit. A gun can be purchased legally in Georgia, move through many hands in many states and end up being used in a shooting in Chicago, and there is no way to know who’s responsible for it at the time of the shooting. Gun control is about gun regulations that make it harder for people who want to kill to use a gun to do so.

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns

Virtually no one is trying to outlaw guns. There are rational reasons for some people to own guns. Farmers need to get rid of predatory animals, for example. And rational people who are being targeted for harm are legally entitled to carry one for protection. Gun control is about keeping track of firearms. There is no rational reason why we shouldn’t make sure those who are carrying them have a basic knowledge of their safe use, and to be able to show financial responsibility, should anyone be harmed through negligent use of that firearm.

There are already plenty of gun laws. We just need to enforce the laws we have

With 32,000 gun deaths per year, obviously gun laws are deficient in some way. The number of laws is irrelevant, if key laws are missing. There are basic laws preventing people from owning guns if they are convicted felons, but there are no regulations on the books to facilitate law enforcement in knowing who these people are. Obviously, our current gun laws aren’t working. Look at how easy it is to get a gun. The asshole who shot 100 people at a gay bar over the weekend was on the terrorist watch list, he was a domestic abuser and may have been treated for mental illness. Yet, there was nothing in the law that would stop him from buying as many guns, extended clips and ammo as he wanted. We can’t enforce what we don’t have.

Gunloons, your arguments are tired and stupid. And gun control advocates, if we can’t win on this issue, we’re pathetic.

“Progressives”: Stop Attacking Democrats

It’s hard to believe, really…

We have just over two months until the most important and consequential midterm election in our lives and the beginning of the most consequential period in the history of our democracy, and there are still (mostly white) “progressives” going after Democrats to “reform,” as if that was the most important thing we have to deal with right now.

Just in the last few days, I have witnessed an attack on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, endless attacks on Andrew Cuomo, endless attacks on Nancy Pelosi, and crowing on the part of a white liberal minority after they got “reforms” in the Democratic nominating process that will have absolutely no effect on the nominating process. And there is no good reason for any of it. Wasserman-Schultz is no longer in charge of the DNC. In fact, she will represent one district in Florida, and that is all, IF she wins. She won’t be Speaker and she won’t be Democratic Whip; she will be one vote in the Democratic caucus. Hopefully, as part of a majority, but if progressives once again successfully sabotage the Democratic Party, who knows?

White progressives really need to stop attacking Democrats. That particular trait is one of the key reasons we have a fat orange buffoon sitting in the Oval Office, attacking those who can’t fight back and it’s a key reason the Republican Party has been entrenched in most of the government for the last 20-25 years and why they have held a disproportionate influence over the government over the last 40 years.

If you consider yourself a “progressive,” but you think it’s necessary to go after Democrats and the Party for any reason, you’re really politically naive and really should take up another hobby. I know you people think you should “primary” everyone who isn’t as fanatic as you about their politics, but the reality is, that’s just insane. First of all, there is no point to “primarying” a Democrat unless you can win. And far left politics can’t win everywhere. Sending Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Iowa to stump for a far lefty running in a conservative district because you think it will help is based purely on fantasy.

And if you are a “progressive” running in a Democratic Party primary, or you’re one of their supporters, and you think the best way to help your candidate win is to attack the other Democrat(s) mercilessly, you’re politically very stupid. The Bernie Stans’ constant attacks on Hillary Clinton both during and after the primaries had as much to do with putting Trump in the White House as anyone, including Russia. In a race that was decided by less than 80,000 votes in three key states, that’s just a fact, whether we’re talking about Bernie supporters who voted for Trump, or those who just spent the entire election lying about her, there’s no way you get to escape responsibility in such a close election.

Let’s take on the crap I heard this past weekend…

Trashing Andrew Cuomo I service to Cynthia Nixon is purely stupid, from a progressive perspective. First of all, Cuomo has done a credible job as Governor of New York. The reason given by the Nixon folks is truly ridiculous; they oppose Cuomo because he occasionally reached out to Republicans. That SOB! How DARE he be a governor for all New Yorkers. That sounds suspiciously like something another, earlier, Nixon politician would say. Just as importantly, attacking Democrats who don’t support Nixon is about the dumbest strategy possible. She is running as a fucking Democrat! How is insulting most Democrats (she’s never had a majority) a really solid political strategy when running for the Democratic nomination? Keep in mind, Cynthia Nixon is an actress who has never worked in politics. Therefore, she has a built-in disadvantage running to be the chief executive of a state the size of New York.  She should run for the state legislature and get some seasoning first; many of us don’t like the idea of a novice running every agency in the state. Ask Minnesota (Jesse Ventura) and California (Arnold Schwarzenegger) how that works out…

Debbie Wassermann Schultz is a very effective member of Congress. She’s also from Florida and she’s from a district that is not as safe as, say, Maxine Waters’ district in California. She was actually an effective DSNC chair, until white far lefties took after her because she preferred Hillary over Bernie. The Bernie Cultists seem to think the DNC is the king when it comes to the Democratic nominating process, and they believed DWS’ preference for Hillary would practically guarantee her the nomination, a belief that is politically stupid, really naive and based on fantasy, yet again.

The DNC raises money and coordinates resources among campaigns. They have almost no say in the nominating process at all. That’s it. They work with states to determine primary dates, but ultimately, the states (NOT the state parties) decide the dates of the primaries and they take charge of every state primary involving a vote. The DNC has no power, really, which means the obsession over DWS when she chaired the DNC was misplaced and the continued obsession over her his also way off base.

The same fantasies seem to run through the “reforms” the DNC agreed to over the weekend. Unicorn progressives were falling all over themselves to pat themselves on the back for all the “revolution” they were able to cause. They managed to get super delegates off the first ballot at the convention, and you’d think they’d done something amazing.

Here’s the reality, unicorns and Bernie Stans;

Superdelegates are a failsafe only. The Democratic Party has never yet needed a failsafe, to prevent a totally unqualified idiot from being nominated, so in the 30+ years since super delegates were added, they have never swung a nomination. That includes the very close nominating process won by Barack Obama in 2008. Therefore, pushing them to the second ballot changes nothing, really. In 2016, Bernie would have lost by the same landslide and Hillary would have still won the nomination.

The most galling thing I saw over the weekend is something I have been seeing for two solid years; a call for MORE CAUCUSES in the Democratic nominating process. Since the caucus is easily the least democratic process imaginable, the call by these unicorn progressive Bernie Stans for more caucuses is a naked attempt to create circumstances that would give a Bernie Sanders a better chance to “win.” If these people really gave a shit about democracy, they would actually call for most caucuses to be replaced with primary elections. Caucuses may have made sense back i the old days, but only in states with small, rural populations of Democrats. They make sense in places like Utah and Wyoming, where being a Democrat is akin to being an endangered species, but Nevada? Nevada has grown so much, there is no way they should still be holding caucuses. And even Nevada’s largest industry and what most Nevada Democrats do for a living, holding a caucus at noon on a Saturday is pretty much the definition of voter suppression. Do you think the housekeepers and hosts working in the hotels and casinos I Nevada would have thew time to attend a caucus at noon on a Saturday? The only real reform of caucuses favored by the Democratic base is the elimination of almost all of them. Anything less isn’t a revolution.

Now, let’s address the far left’s attacks on Nancy Pelosi. There is so much bullshit in them, there is no other explanation for them than misogyny and ageism. This woman was the most effective Speaker in the history of the House, for Chrissakes. In 2009-2010, the Congress was very prolific, passing more bills than have been passed since. That, despite the fact that she ushered through 375 Democratic-sponsored bills that were blocked by Republicans in the Senate. The constant bitching about Pelosi sure as hell has nothing to do with merit.

One last thing, unicorn progressives and Bernie Cultists; you are the epitome of white privilege, and you need to stop it. We white liberals are a distinct minority within the Democratic Party. The heart and soul of the Democratic Party are black women, but the base of the party includes most People of Color, most LGBTQ people, most first- and second-generation immigrants and the like. Hell; even most white WOMEN voted for Trump. Therefore, it is imperative that white liberals stop acting as if this was still 1964 and we still have a majority in the party. Treat People of Color with respect and stop dismissing them, we if we have some sort of knowledge advantage because we’re white.

You don’t think you do that? Think again. Over the weekend, a so-called “progressive” (very white, based on her Twitter avi) lamented the fact that “so many conservative states” come first in the primary order. They meant red southern states and it was clear they think that put Bernie at a disadvantage in 2016. I had to remind them that the Democrats in those states are actually quite progressive and most of them are People of Color. It reminded me of the reaction to “Super Tuesday,” March 1, 2016, when Hilary essentially sewed up the Democratic nomination and the Bernie Stans essentially wrote off the 60-point primary wins because the states were “in the old Confederacy.”

Black people are the heart and soul of our party. If you want to build a progressive country, we need them. We can’t afford to write them off.

The Best Argument for Gun Control Comes From Gunloons

I have been saying this for years. A few years back, for example, the NRA and the gunloons on the far right were trying to make a case for “open carry” everywhere. You’ll remember this, if you remember the spectacle of moronic rednecks nonsense by carrying their AR-15s and other military weapons in places where families shop, like Target, Subway (because nothing says “family lunch” like assholes carrying AR-15s within three feet of your kids. No one makes a better case for gun control than the average gunloon.

Rednecks and guns: What can go wrong?

Earlier this year, some 19-year-old asshole shot up a school with a fully accessorized AR-15 that he should have never been allowed to buy. That was just over six months ago, and the “usual suspects,” meaning NRA loyalists and the people who place guns above God in their lives, have actually spent more time attacking the surviving students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida than doing anything to actually protect their so-called rights. Some have even taken to calling Cameron Kasky, David Hogg and other students “bullies” because they have dared suggest that no civilian needs a gun capable of firing 45 rounds per minute. They seem to have no clue that the greatest danger to their right to bear arms comes from doing nothing and encouraging a stronger response to gun violence. Instead, they value their short-term ownership of military assault weapons over the lives of children. 

The gunloon class truly believe they’re making a case against any sort of gun control with their petulance, and their obstinate attempt to force everyone else in the country to accept their absolutely fictional and baseless interpretation of the Second Amendment. Of course, as is the case with everything they do, they’re wrong. In fact, they’re making a better case for gun control than any non-gun person could ever make.

Back when “good old boys” were gathering together to show everyone how “brave” they were by carrying guns in peaceful places where there were plenty of children and there were no threats present, they were just being stupid. I will never forget the images of Cletus, Bubba and Homer, proudly brandishing their guns at the local Target, is if the gun was a symbol of their manhood, rather than a replacement. I know their fevered brains, such as they were, told them they were “reinforcing gun rights,” but what they actually did was to make everyone fear them and realize there is no place they belong. I also remember an iconic photo, in which some asshole with an assault rifle was standing in line as a Subway sandwich shop, with a bunch of kids around, with an assault weapon around his neck, as if he wasn’t scaring anyone.

Whereas these gunloons think they were making guns seem less scary, the fact is, they were actually reinforcing the notion that anyone who wants one can obviously buy a gun, and wield it anywhere they want. That’s not a positive development at all. When I see some asshole walking through the local supermarket, I don’t feel safer; I’m hoping to fuck he’s not some psycho who plans to shoot others. I am also worried that someone might come in with a weapon and actually want to do harm and Cletus will shoot the wrong person. Seriously, are we just supposed to hope these guys know what the fuck they’re doing? How is that making anyone safer?

Worse, all these idiots claim they’re protected by the Constitution when they’re not. That concept is absurd. No one has a right to carry a gun on private property, for one thing. That’s up to the owners.  If the executives at Target decide that pissing off gunloons is worth the effort, they can toss these idiots and ban them for life. They can also have them arrested. And if I were a Target executive, I’d have to ask how many people are refusing to shop in their stores because they see crazy-looking goobers with guns running around on their property and scaring the kids. And really, if you have to carry an AR-15 into a Subway to get a shitty sandwich, your level of paranoia is high enough to warrant counseling.

Right now, because Republicans have been running the show for too long, anyone could take a loaded AR-15 into a Target store. And until they shoot someone, here is no way to tell whether they are good or bad, and they could open fire without warning. At some point, someone will walk into a retail store that allows this sort of silliness and kill people. And there will be nothing police or store security can do to stop them. 

Yeah, I said it; a lack of gun control is the main reason most business owners ban guns from their premises, and it’s why all businesses should do so. There is currently no possible way to know who is carrying a gun into your establishment, and anything could happen.

On the other hand (and gunloons really need to pay attention here), if all guns were registered and all gun owners/carriers were licensed, certified and background checked on a regular basis, it’s possible that all anyone – whether it’s a police officer or a store security guard – would have to do is scan a person’s identification to have at least a reasonable belief that the person toting the gun is a law-abiding gun owner, rather than a troublemaker.

And that is why we need comprehensive gun control. We need to be able to tell good guys from bad guys. For too long, gunloons have derived benefit from the country being run by a Republican Party with neither courage or conviction stand by and watch the carnage. We, as voters, have to change the dynamic. No more Republicans and no more kowtowing to the NRA vision of the Second Amendment, in which any restriction on gun ownership is somehow a violation of their rights. That’s insane and we can no longer afford insane when it comes to guns.  No other country in the world loses as many of its citizens via gunfire. It’s time this all stopped. 

The Trump Crime Family

I happen to be a fan of all The Godfather movies. Before that, I read the book. I am such a fan, I even like Godfather III. I’ve always wondered why I have been fascinated by “Th Godfather,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino” and many other films about crime families. Then, a few years ago, it came to me; I have been fascinated by such “families” because I know nothing about them and I have ever met families like these.

All that has changed, of course, since we now have a veritable “crime family” living in the White House. Now, we are all confronted by a crime family, the Trumps, who literally occupy the highest echelons of government. Worse, they are also backed by a syndicate, called “The Republican Party,” who support the Trump Crime Family at every turn.

Actually, that last little simile may not be entirely accurate. The GOP may be more like the police department, who is supposed to enforce the law and put them in jail, but instead looks the other way because they’re getting something they want in return. It is the job of Congress to keep the “president” in check, as a co-equal branch, but in the hands of Republicans, they simply sit on their hands and do nothing. Oh, sure, once in a while a smattering of them complain a little at times, but not a single one of them actually does anything.

Consider; upon taking office, the current occupant of the White House was/is legally required to divest of his personal business holdings. The purpose for that should be obvious; if a “president” is still conducting personal business while leading the federal government, there will always be a temptation to take actions that benefit him, rather than the country. Also, if he has to deal with companies or individuals with whom he does business, he is less likely to put the country first and enforce the law. We all know it is easier to be compromised by people who know us and do business with us, and allowing foreign governments that much leverage is an unwise thing to do because most will take advantage of that.

We’ve already seen the damage, as Trump has pulled out of most trade agreements we were once part of, with nothing to replace them. He also has started trade wars with a number of countries, which is bound to do significant damage to the country. His company secured a half-billion-dollar loan from China to build a resort in Indonesia, and one of the first things he did was to undermine the sanctions against Chinese telecom company ZTE by lamenting the “loss of jobs” in China.

Another thing to consider; although Trump is not taking his $400,000 per year salary, claiming he doesn’t need it; we would be better off as taxpayers if he took the salary and was forced to reimburse the Treasury for the constant trips to Trump-owned properties, all of which essentially put tax money straight into his pocket. I’m not just talking about taking Air Force out every weekend, although that is expensive. No, it’s the other stuff. Every time he goes, he takes an entourage of aides and, of course, a dozen or two Secret Service agents. Everyone in his group is paying for rooms at his hotels, paying for food at his restaurants and possibly greens fees to play on his golf courses. Not only that, but he’s also making more money on memberships, based on his status as “president.” We all know he raised the cost of an annual membership to Mar-a-Lago from $100,000 per year to $200,000 per year. That resort has 500 members, so he is making an extra $50 million per year from “being president.” Sure, it’s proof that rich people are stupid as shit, but it also means he is personally profiting from the presidency. And in case you’re wondering, about 425 people with more money than.brains pay upwards of $300,000 per years for a membership to Bedminster, his “summer retreat,” although finding exact numbers for Bedminster is a little more difficult than Mar-a-Lago. By most estimates, Trump’s weekly vacations to his own resorts have cost taxpayers at least $20 million so far, although some estimates have it far higher. Talk about an “imperial presidency.”

The entire Trump Regime (I hesitate calling it an “administration,” since they “administer” nothing; the entire operation is run by the extra-large seat of Trump’s pants.) is run very much like that of a crime family. So far, a large portion of his Cabinet are facing possible criminal charges for their excesses. While some Republicans have been caught insider trading, the Trump people make them look like pikers. From all indications, no one in the Trump regime has divested themselves of their business holdings as required by law, and more than a few of them have used their positions to make a profit. Consider the time Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was called by a New York Times reporter and asked about a certain company and Ross took the opportunity to short the stock and make a quick buck; actually, between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of “quick bucks.” That information was non-public, which makes that insider trading, which is illegal for any ( Source )

Ross has been using his position in the Trump Regime to enrich himself and his private company in many ways, and yet, there has been no pushback from the branch of government charged with oversight of that sort of thing, precisely because it’s run by Republicans, who will never go after “their own.” Ross claims he has divested himself of his business assets, but he only transferred them to a trust, but it’s administered by his family, who are still quite active, which means the conflicts of interest are profound. According to Forbes, Ross has assets that are tied to the Bank of Cyprus, which has and will continue to hold a prominent place in the Russia investigation. He also has business ties to the Chinese government, with whom the Regime will have to deal with regularly on economic matters, so this could create problems. Ross can easily leverage the power of the entire Commerce Department to enrich his family. (Source )

Do I even have to mention Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt? Not only has he implemented regulations designed to enrich his cronies in the fossil fuel industry, as well as any business who finds cleaning up their mess to be too expensive, but he’s also tried really hard to enrich himself, using his government job as leverage. Not only did he use his position in government to help his wife acquire a Chick-fil-A franchise and to get his daughter into law school, but he has also been called out for sending government-salaried aides to get himself a used mattress and to get cases of a special moisturizer he likes that is only sold at Ritz-Carlton.

This is, of course, the top of the iceberg. His two oldest children are working at high levels in the White House, even though they are completely unqualified. His son-in-law, who already has a pedigree as a greedy slumlord, has been put in charge of “Middle East Peace” based solely on the fact that he’s Jewish, apparently. And all of them and the hapless Eric Trump, are doing Trump Organization business and cutting deals with governments and others, to enrich themselves, and they’re doing so on the taxpayer’s dime. They are living high on the hog, even as their political party is actively working to take food away from children and steal health insurance from families who need it. They are still living the lives of spoiled rich kids, even though they’re practically middle-aged, and they’re making us pay for it, even as they promote policies that break up immigrant families.

Of course is just part of a pattern; entitled rich boys and girls who feel entitled and have a mindset that makes them believe they can use the federal government the same way they used their former companies. If they want something, they believe they can just send one of their employees to go get it for them, or expense it out. The conspicuous corruption that runs rampant throughout the Trump Regime is disgusting, yet the only people who can do something about it right now are just ignoring it. Not only that, but most of the press treats it only as something slightly abnormal. It’s almost as if these divas paying for their excesses with public money is only slightly unusual. First, we had Dick Cheney and George W. Bush handing no-bid Iraq contracts to crony companies and that was really bad, but they at least tried to hide it and excuse it. At least Dick Cheney did put his assets in a blind trust. These days, the Trump Regime doesn’t even hide it. They openly violate federal law and the Emoluments Clause and show even less respect for the law than Bush or Cheney.

It’s so bad, Trump isn’t even trying to hide his strong mob influence these days. Within the last few days, he’s referred to people as “rats” and he has praised Paul Manafort for not talking. He has suggested, on national TV, no less, that “Flipping,” which refers to “turning state’s evidence” and is a key law enforcement tool for getting the worst criminals in the country, should be illegal. In other words, even though his standard endorsement includes “tough on crime,” he actually embraces criminals who remain loyal to their criminal bosses.

We don’t need a president who is surrounded by slobbering “Yes men” who are loyal to him. We need a “president” who is loyal to this country above all else and who surrounds himself with people who share his loyalty to the American people. It’s time to begin to rid ourselves of the Trump Crime Family and to begin the restoration of a government in which the people we elect see themselves as servants to us, and not the other way around.

Start With Pence…

There is a lot of talk about impeaching Donald Trump, especially since Tuesday, when his former lawyer and former campaign chairman became felons. Granted, Manafort was not convicted for anything related to Trump, but he goes on trial again in a couple weeks, and it’s not looking good. If Democrats can take back the House in just over two months, impeachment is a foregone conclusion. If they can take back the Senate, as well, they may only have to get a dozen or so Republican Senators to help convict, which may be doable, once they see the list of offenses and the evidence backing each one.

It’s possible Trump will be indicted as 2019 begins, but there is a lot of controversy over whether or not that can fly. But it doesn’t matter, really. If we can impeach and remove him, then the indictments can flow, and there will be no question.

However, before we impeach Trump, there is another order of business we should take care of first…

We have to get rid of Mike Pence.

Think about it. If we manage to get rid of Trump, we still have to deal with Pence. On the one hand, Pence is quite possibly more sane than Lord Donny, but that aspect of who Pence is may make him more dangerous. He has more finely honed political skills and he is a “true believer,” meaning he will do whatever the religious right tells him to do, without question or pause.

With Pence, we could get rid of him via impeachment, but we could also see indictments. There is no question a Vice President can be charged and convicted of a crime; we already have a precedent in Republican Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign after accepting a plea bargain for “tax evasion,” even though his actual crimes included getting kickbacks on Baltimore County and Maryland state contracts all through his political career, including while he was VP. He wasn’t indicted, exactly, but when he tried to claim he couldn’t be, his contention was opposed by almost everyone.

While Mike Pence and his staunchest Republican supporters in Washington would love for you to believe he’s not involved in any of Trump’s shenanigans, the truth is far different.

For one thing, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has already pleaded guilty to crimes, in part based on his failure to inform Pence of his contacts in Russia. The thing is, Flynn supposedly lied about his discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, claiming he and the ambassador never discussed lifting sanctions. Pence repeated that same lie to the press. Did he also lie to investigators? The claim was that Flynn had lied to Pence and that affront meant Flynn simply has to be fired.

Speaking of Flynn, the former General was also paid $500,000 to lobby on behalf of Turkey while simultaneously advising the Trump campaign. He failed to register as a foreign agent, and did so retroactively during the transition. Flynn informed the Trump transition legal team of this, but to this day, Pence claims no one told him, even though he was in charge of the transition. In a congressional hearing before the Oversight Committee in March 2017, Pence claimed he had just found out about the problem with Flynn, even though the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, sent Pence a letter back on Nov. 18, 2016, in which he went into considerable detail about Flynn’s Turkish connection.

Since it was Pence’s job to vet the nominee for the position of national security adviser, the fact that he chose one who had disturbing ties to a foreign government because “he didn’t know” about things he was apparently told fails to pass a sniff test.

Then, there is Pence’s lies about the James Comey firing. Right after Trump fired Comey via Tweet, because he has no actual balls, Pence appeared before the press and claimed Trump’s decision to fire Comey came about because the Justice Department (more specifically, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein) recommended it. According to Pence:

“The President took strong and decisive leadership here to put the safety and the security of the American people first by accepting the recommendation of the deputy attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI.”

The truth is, Trump has always intended to fire Comey. We know this because Trump himself admitted it during his infamous interview with Lester Holt. Later, Rosenstein confirmed it to a Senate hearing, when he testified that he was instructed to write the memo after being told Comey would be fired. So, Pence was in on the Comey firing, which Trump has admitted was because of the Russia investigation, and he lied about it.

There are also questions surrounding Pence’s choice as Trump’s running mate in the first place, given that he was championed by Paul Manafort, who was just found guilty of eight felonies and only missed being convicted on 10 more when a MAGAt juror decided to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Trump, who had never even met Pence before he was chosen, was unsure, but it was convicted felon Manafort who assured Donny the choice was a good one. (Source) There is not doubt whatsoever that Manafort placed Pence in the Vice President’s office, regardless of Donny’s pleas that Manafort played a “limited role” in his campaign. That choice makes Manafort a critical player on the Trump campaign, and connects Pence directly to a convicted felon.

It’s not like Pence was highly qualified for the job. In fact, one of the main reasons he put himself in the running for Vice President was because he was facing a very difficult reelection bid for governor of Indiana. He was getting a lot of heat for his leadership in passing the state’s so-called “religious freedom law,” which was opposed by most people in the state, and the polls were suggesting Indiana wanted a new governor in 2016. Now, a few years later, he is next in line to replace the least popular president in history and the first one in 44 years who will likely face impeachment. Worst of all, Pence is loathe to go against Trump on anything, regardless of how illegal or unconstitutional his actions may seem. According to some, Pence believes in a concept called “servant leadership,” which means he will always obey those in higher positions and never buck the leadership.

The thing is, this subservient attitude comes at a price; not to Pence, but the country. According to reports, Pence spends hours with Donny every day, when he isn’t flitting around the country pushing Trump’s stupid idea like the obedient lapdog he is. Whereas Joe Biden reinvented the vice presidency in a positive way, as a partner to President Obama, Pence has reverted the position to the “bucket of warm piss” model that most other vice presidents in the past lamented.

Is that impeachable? Why not? Pence is next in line for the presidency; it is beyond the pale to vet Pence for his leadership ability, as well as his various problems, like the fact that, as governor of Indiana, Pence used a private email server, and was hacked at least once?

Yes, that’s right. As part of the Trump campaign and its barrage of attacks on Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, Mike Pence himself used a private email account to conduct public business. If Donny and the Republicans in Congress can continue to hold hearings on Hillary’s use of email, why not look into Pence, who used his personal AOL account to communicate with top advisors about issues having to do with state security and individual constituents’ personal issues. Also at issue is that Pence’s email was hacked in 2015, according to the Indianapolis Star. (Source)

After all, if Pence can demand that Attorney General Loretta Lynch bring charges against Hillary Clinton for her email use, which was never hacked, shouldn’t that be grounds for impeachment of Mike Pence?

There are other worrisome things about Pence, including Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, who once served as a top campaign advisor to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. According to a Missouri Ethics Commission filing, Grietens’ campaign is still paying Ayers’ consulting firm, C5 Consulting, for services rendered by the campaign. While Ayers stepped away from that firm to work for Pence, even the Trump regime is concerned enough to question Missouri officials. Grietens has already been indicted on felony charges for computer tampering. How closely did Pence vet this guy? Was this another example of his vetting prowess, along the lines of Michael Flynn?

The question is, what would be the point to replacing a thoroughly incompetent president with an equally incompetent Vice President? Since that is not something anyone really wants, let’s do the Pence impeachment first. Besides, this could have the added benefit of getting Donny to think he’s off the hook. That would be fun…

The Swamp Creature Will Not Escape

There are times when I really hate being right, and this is one of them. A great many people who are smarter than I keep expressing surprise that Donald Trump is as corrupt as he is. They say silly shit like, “I never thought it would be this bad,” or “This is worse than I ever imagined,” and these are coming from people who claim to be “news junkies,” who immerse themselves in the news and who claim to spend every waking moment watching or reading “the news.”

Of course, these are the same people who obsess over “Rachel” (Maddow) and “Lawrence” (O’Donnell) and who damn near slit their wrists when Keith Olbermann left MSNBC, so their sense of what is “news” is perhaps stunted, as it were. Whatever the reason, there is no way anyone shouldn’t have seen the disaster that is the Trump Train Wreck long before he swore the oath he was never going to keep.

This week, we watched as two of Trump’s most prominent henchmen, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, went down, big time. Manafort’s crimes were not directly related to Trump (at least this time – his second trial in September will be different), but the fact that Manafort was convicted of eight felonies and Trump was bleating support for him every chance he got shows just how deep the corruption is inside the White House. Now, we have word that David Pecker, the guy who publishes the National Enquirer, has been given immunity, which means he will be telling even more about the deals Trump made to hide his sexual conquests from voters. Such is the swamp we are living in.

I know Trump promised his braindead followers he would “drain the swamp,” but goddammit, folks, he’s filled it so much, he’s about to drown in it. He’s already an “unindicted co-conspirator,” a designation that took Nixon two years to accomplish. The best news is, once Nixon became that, he never recovered. And as bad as Nixon screwed up, his since were nothing compared to Trump’s. Consider, Trump is already pretty much guaranteed to be found guilty on a couple felonies, and we haven’t even gotten to the Russia investigation.

This is something to think about. Donny has been fingered (eww) in two conspiracies to buy off women to save his campaign, and all he could Tweet this morning was:

Well, that came after a hint about a Manafort pardon yesterday:

“Poor, put-upon Paul.” All he did was evade paying taxes and screw others out of money. In Donny’s world, that’s not a crime, it’s simply a critical part of doing business.

And this is what makes the Trump regime particularly swampy, to the point that it looks as if the whole thing might drown. Donny has been getting away with all kinds of things for a half century that would put any small business owner in jail. However, because he was Donald Fricking Trump, officials essentially let him get away with it. Now, they can’t. See, Donny made a huge mistake when he decided to tun for president without knowing anything about the job. He thought he could be the “Boss of America,” continue to do what he did with the Trump Organization and get away with it.

As usual, he was wrong. He is under too much scrutiny as “president” to simply hide anything, and he’s too ignorant to realize this. If you think I’m wrong, consider the great fanfare that accompanies his “executive orders,” which he thinks are actual “orders” given by the “Boss of America” to the Americans. Look at how pissed off he gets when the courts are essentially “insubordinate” and knock down one of his orders for their lack of constitutionality. He becomes petulant and often talks about the courts as if they work for him.

Thankfully, what happened Tuesday and what is happening every day is a reminder that the system works, even with a Giant Orange Toddler in charge, and it will continue to be okay, as long as “we, the people” don’t neglect it. The swamp creature is on his way out, we just have to make sure this never happens again. That means getting rid of the entire GOP and forcing them to reconstitute as something that isn’t downright anti-American. The only thing keeping our Swamp Thing afloat right now is the Republican Congress, who refuse to create their legislative bodies with the respect and dignity required of them, and who keep the Swamp Creature alive.