Not in the Mood

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t really feel like celebrating Independence Day.

The country is in the grip of a pseudo-theocratic, proto-fascist regime. The leader is obviously corrupt to all but the willingly oblivious, and has turned his supporters into a cult. Members of the party he nominally belongs to are so afraid of retribution from this cult that they dare not do even the minimum to check his worst impulses.

“Dear Leader” himself lies almost hourly, has no consistent policies, and seems hell-bent on destroying our international reputation while sucking up to our most important geopolitical rival. Sadly, almost the only saving grace here is his incompetence.

A perfect example of just how far we’ve fallen is his border “policy” with our neighbor to the south. One cannot and should not sugar coat it. The Trump Regime kidnapped children, with the intent of scaring huddled masses yearning to breathe free away from immigrating or even applying for asylum. And there was no thought given to returning the hostages of his jingoism to their families, since after a court order to do so, it came out that there was no system to keep track of who was where. And in those few cases where they are able to reunite families, the parents find that they are required to pay ransom in the form of a transport fee. Or they are being given the choice of being deported with or without their children. Or stay in detention until the courts eventually get around to hearing their asylum case.

Is it any wonder that some writers are starting to think we may have been better off staying a part of Britain?

Thankfully, all is not lost.

Elections are coming up in a mere four months. You can vote Dear Leader’s accomplices out of office, and vote in people who will restore some dignity and honor to our country.

“Don’t waste time mourning – Organize!” – Joe Hill

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Never Forget

It seems that every day, there’s another stupidity, outrage, or stupid outrage coming out of the Trump Administration.

Corruption in the Cabinet, bribery (anyone else notice that just a few days before Trump started making nice to China’s ZTE telecom firm, Chinese banks gave huge loans to a development project in Indonesia that just happened to include some Trump properties?), jingoistic displays, the headspinning lies coming from his various flacks and mouthpieces, the on again, off again of the Korea “meet and greet”, his tyrannical pronouncements that strongly imply that he really believes he is above the law, the utter inhumanity of his immigration policies….

It’s impossible to keep up. Each new one pushes the last one to the back.

So let’s take a step back, and look back on the most important one. Not only is it the formal cause of all the others, they all pale in comparison to it.

In 2016, Russia, our most important geopolitical rival, conducted a sophisticated campaign of information warfare on the US. This is a fact.

Their intent was to influence the presidential campaign in favor of Donald Trump. This is also unquestioned.

During the campaign, and also during the transition period, a number of key members of the Trump campaign and his staff had many suspicious contacts with known Russian agents. This is also demonstrably true.

After the inauguration, when the Russian interference was made known, the Trump administration refused to impose penalties on Russia. And they have also refused to take steps that could prevent it from happening again.

The Trump White House has also worked constantly to undermine and discredit the investigation into the connections between his campaign team and Russia.

And the Republicans in control of Congress are so scared of their constituents not re-electing them that they refuse to do anything about it.

If we were in a shooting war, they’d all be arrested for treason.

How Else Do You Explain It?

Last week, we witnessed one of the biggest farces in recent memory with the release of the Nunes Memo. Intended to prove that the Mueller Investigation was compromised because the document that spurred the investigation was a partisan attack, it actually showed the exact opposite.

One continues to see all manner of windbaggery claiming that the entire investigation into the president and his campaign’s ties to Russia is nothing more than a treasonous witch hunt. While it is still remotely possible for it to turn out to be a great “nothingburger”, I have yet to see anyone put forth an alternate explanation for the events of the past year or so.

Anyone trying to claim that the Russian Collusion theory is false needs to answer some questions:

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Investigations, Indictments, and Impeachment

There was a brief bit of excitement as the first round of indictments came out of Robert Muller’s investigation a few days ago. Some on The Left started doing a happy dance, hoping that this was just the beginning, and the dragnet would very shortly close in around the president and force the start of the impeachment process.

Well, it’s not that simple. There’s still a lot more to do and uncover, and even then it might not be enough for an impeachment. Sure, Trump’s sympathies (such as they are) are pro-Russia. But that, in and of itself, isn’t a crime. One would need direct evidence that he conspired with Russia. Or that members of his campaign team did, and he knew about it and did nothing.

Given his recent panic over the investigation, it seems as if things are hitting close to home. Perhaps he really does have something to worry about, or he’s so insecure that he cannot handle any challenge to his authority. Either way, there are two things we need to watch out for.

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Does America Have a Bad Boss?

In today’s New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman has an essay where he looks at how Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been treated lately by President Trump, and then looks at what professional management experts and human resources people have to say about bad bosses.

I thought it might be interesting to compile some “signs of a bad boss” into one great list, and see how many of them apply to President Trump. There will be a few similarities and repetitions; consider those to be the ones the experts say are most important. I’ve left off a few that are irrelevant. For example, “Your boss bothers you on your time off” and “It’s hard to get up and go to work in the morning” don’t really apply here….

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Festina Lente

Now that a Special Counsel has been appointed, the cries of “Impeach!” have died down a bit. Having the president out of the country playing with a palantir helps, too. We can all stop, catch our breath, and consider just what it is we are asking for with an impeachment.

You can look up the details of the impeachment process and history just as easily as I can, so I’ll leave that to you.

However, given the situation in Congress, and that Vice President Mike Pence may be caught up in the scandal, it’s worth it for the liberals / Democrats to come up with a long-term strategy. Something other than a simple “Get Trump out as soon as possible” plan.

Should Trump be removed from office, VP Pence becomes President, and he gets to nominate someone to take over as VP. That person must be confirmed by a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress before taking office. Although they are fractured, the Republicans still control both the House and Senate at the present time. It should be considered highly likely that they will force the selection of someone easily pliable, and able to help push through their agenda. The same outcome would happen if Pence is forced out first, and Trump (guided by the GOP) gets to “nominate” a replacement.

If Trump *and* Pence are both run out on the same rail, then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan becomes Acting President – and everything goes bonkers. The Constitution gives absolutely no guidelines on what happens then. Are special elections held right away? What powers does he have? Who takes his place in the House? Who becomes Acting VP? Whatever happens, the Republicans still control Congress, so they will basically have all the cards in this situation.

Arguably the best thing for the Democrats to do would be to let the investigation proceed and the evidence accumulate until the 2018 mid-term elections (Note that it took a year after the first try at a resolution of impeachment before Nixon finally resigned). They can then use the scandal – and the prospect of impeachment – as the driving issue in the campaign. Don’t give the Republicans time to recover and regroup. If they aren’t totally inept, the Democrats should be able to take control of the House. And with a little luck, the Senate as well. That will put them in a great position to control the agenda for the remaining two years, and set them up well for the 2020 election.

In the meantime, they can be the principled opposition, and block everything evil that Trump and the GOP try to do. While it’s tempting to kick Trump out as soon as possible, we probably don’t want to leave his enablers in power. Let Trump and the GOP destroy themselves while continuing to mitigate the damage. It won’t be easy to keep the radical left (the ones chanting “Lock him up!”) in line, but if patience helps get rid of the worst / most reactionary elements in the GOP, it will be worth it in the end.

Unless, of course, Trump’s offenses are shown to be so egregious that we cannot afford to keep him in office one day longer.

 

#Resist

The First Hundred Days

Ever since FDR became president – and had to push through a lot of things right away as the economy was in free fall, the “first hundred days” of a presidency has become a sort of “meme” for the press. It really is an arbitrary point; it just happens to be a nice round number that sounds better than “three months”. There’s also the idea of a “honeymoon” period, where the new president can ride the wave of popularity that won him the election to trade some of that free political capital on advancing his agenda and fulfilling a campaign promise or two.

It isn’t really fair to judge a presidency on what amounts to a mere seven percent of a full term. And a lot can change in the country and the world over four years. But it is fair to use it as an estimate, a sort of “probationary period”, of what sort of person is living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And if the White House staff itself is fully on board with the “100 days” idea, then it’s fair to judge them on it.

So, what have we got?

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Fighting the Good Fight

Seems that like the woman in the back at that Obama rally, everyone is “Fired Up! Ready to Go!

Hundreds of thousands of people have been attending rallies and demonstrations and protests. Congressional phones have been clogged with calls. And it’s been working. The House gave up on its plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics thanks to public outrage. Other House plans have been put on the back burner. Presidential appointments are facing a much tougher road to confirmation than expected. Members of the House of Representatives recently had a meeting to talk about how do deal with angry constituents when they go back home to their districts.

This is all very good, but one must keep up the pressure.

A few things to keep in mind….
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