Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump's Wrong! Here's Heartland America on the Rise!

Here's the real America — heartland America — getting great again without Donald Trump and his hate-filled ideas. Read this and be encouraged. America is still America. Innovative, community-based, full of initiative. As the longshoreman/philosopher Eric Hoffman said 50 years ago, "You can put a group of Americans on the side of a mountain and they would form a successful community."

From Thomas Friedman in the NY Times: Opinion | A Road Trip Through Rusting and Rising America


               Thomas L. Friedman A Road Trip Through Rusting and Rising America   

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dumb and Dumber: Flynn and Trump Share Today's Spotlight

Let's start with Donald Trump.

Today he hit the bottom of the "dumbness" barrel. He stood in front of TV cameras in Israel and emphatically proclaimed to the world that he had NOT mentioned the name of Israel when telling the Russians about the spy secrets he knew.  He didn't, he emphasized, identify Israel as his source.

Well, nobody official had yet revealed that the source was Israel. So far it's only been "leaked".

Until Trump shot off his big mouth in front of those TV cameras in Israel.

Now it's official: the USA will betray its spy allies at the drop of a hat. Or even without the drop of a hat. And then acknowledge doing so.

Israel's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, looked stunned for the flicker of a moment. He probably had already figured out that Trump is a dumb bunny, but the depth of the dumbness was still startling. He seemed unable to look at Trump, as if afraid he'd break out in a guffaw.

One of Israeli's big shots had just finished an on-camera interview, explaining to someone at CNN that Israel still is a best buddy with the US in sharing intelligence. As one who is repeating Israel's official stance, he can say that, but it doesn't mean his espionage service or that of any other country will feel comfortable hereafter sharing with us. Probably they will need assurances that Trump will never see their stuff or know where it came from.

In other words, don't let the three-year-old carry the lighted kerosene lamp.


Now for Michael Flynn as the other half of Dumb and Dumber.

Except he is dumb in the old sense of going silent. In fact, — unlike Trump — he is playing it smart by shutting up. Today his attorneys informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Flynn is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will not conform to their subpoena for his records.

Flynn is probably waiting for an offer of immunity from the FBI in exchange for becoming an informant. The Senate Committee could offer him immunity but it might not cover as broad a reach of naughtiness as the FBI is turning up.

Alternatively, the Senate Committee might not offer him anything. The FBI has probably asked the House and Senate investigating committees to refrain from providing immunity to any of the participants in the Trump & Co/Russian affair.  Why make the FBI's job harder?

So Michael Flynn is smart to dumb up until the FBI makes him an offer he can't refuse. And if the FBI doesn't want to bargain with him, he will at least have avoided convicting himself out of his own mouth.

Which is something his former boss — Donald Trump — has never learned. Trump went on camera and identified Israel as his source. He went on camera only a week ago and told Lester Holt he fired Comey because he wanted to stop the FBI investigation. He brags on a bus to a casual acquaintance about sexually assaulting women. He is a serial confessor of bad acts!

Maybe he'll make a real confession to the Pope?  (Don't hold your breath.)

In the ranking implied by the words "dumb and dumber", clearly one of the Flynn/Trump duo is stupider.

Can you figure out which one?


Friday, May 19, 2017

Mueller's Probe MUST Block Some Public Knowing

Don't be alarmed when you hear that there is a downside to Robert Mueller's being named to investigate Trump.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel is a huge step forward, though it comes at a bit of a price. Because Mueller is conducting a criminal prosecution, complete with a grand jury, we will not know all that his investigation uncovers unless such results in an indictment. Grand jury proceedings are secret and kept under wraps.

Further, those Mueller may call as witnesses, or who think they may be called,  have to be careful not to give testimony in other forums, such as a Congressional hearing, that can be used against them. Therefore, witnesses in front of any Congressional committees will be tight-lipped.

Also keep in mind that any evidence that gets made public from Mueller's investigation has to have been part of a scenario which has met the high bar of being adequte evidence for a criminal prosecution. This is a much higher test than that used in impeachment proceedings, the latter being a political procedure and not a criminal one. 

We will therefore possibly end up knowing a somewhat limited amount about the shenanigans of Trump and Co. (Or it could be a lot.)

But the alternative to Mueller's investigation was worse. It was extremely clear that the GOP-controlled investigative committees were going nowhere and doing it slowly. Further, Trump was actively influencing them. (Remember Rep. Devlin Nunes playing hide and seek in the dark on the White House grounds?) 

In fact, just before Mueller was appointed, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other hot-shot GOP were demanding that the just-fired FBI chief, James Comey, produce his notes memorializing Trump pressuring him to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn. The GOP was trying to switch from Trump to Comey the burden of being a bad guy who can't be believed on just his word. 

It certainly hasn't looked like the GOP was going to do anything meaningful about Trump.

By contrast, with Mueller in place, we at least have the prospect that someone may be criminally prosecuted. 

But is that what we want? Sort of. But don't we really want the whole truth a lot more? 

We want to know what the Russians did to our election process in 2016 and whether they had help from Trump's campaign. We also want to know what Trump's puzzling bond wih Putin actually consists of, i.e. has he been engaged in any treasonous-leaning relationship with Russia. Have any in his circle? With other countries, such as Turkey and Iran? Are his financial affairs wrapped into Russia, Azerbaijan or other countries inappropriately? Has he been money-laundering or even violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act? (Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker)

There's more. But how much of this comes within the category of criminal? Something can be very bad but not be a crime. And not all crimes can be prosecuted because there may not be sufficient evidence.

The insufficient evidence of a crime is nevertheless evidence of a kind. It can still be adequate for impeachment. It can still be adequate for political punishment at the polls. 

The problem is that maybe we will never know about it. Mueller has to shield all evidence and witnesses that do not make up a prosecutable crime. 

Conceivably, Trump & Co. may get away with a lot, as far as Mueller's investigation goes. 

But the alternative was that Trump & Co were going to get away with everything. And also be free in the interim to destroy our democracy.

Can the GOP-run Congressional committees yet redeem themselves by having meaningful hearings so we can hear this other evidence? 

But why would they want to do anything any more? Things are fine for them now. Trump is now Mueller's problem, not theirs. They can smile and say, "It's all being taken care of."

Meantime Karma will likely get 'em anyway! Because Trump will go on being Trump and likely make more problems for the GOP Congress folks. They dined with the Devil and didn't use a long enough spoon. Now they are stuck with him.

Donald Trump is the gift that never stops giving. He will yet generate more than the GOP Congress can put a lid on. He's just too stupid to know what terrible jeopardy he is in now that hard-headed Mueller is running an investigation.

Just possibly Trump should be getting measured for a new suit. "You want that in stripes or in orange, Mr.Trump?"

NOTE: Keep in mind that other investigations and lawsuits are going on that may get into things Mueller doesn't. There are private suits against Trump and investigations by other federal agencies. Almost all of these are focussed on money questions and his investments. Most likely involve transactions on paper and are thus larely free of witnesses taking the Fifth.These suits and investigations may continue unabated and bear fruit, answering things Mueller doesn't. I'll write about them when I finish getting info on them. Meantime, smile. It ain't over till it's over! This horse has legs!


Fun Time! Trump's Traveling So Let's Have Some Laughs While We Can....

Here's a present for you. The nicest I could give anyone. Comedy is our answer to life and its weirdness.

Enjoy these fun clips while Trump is winging along in Air Force One and out of our hair for a while. (I shouldn't have mentioned hair?)


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Special Counsel Means Trump Has Seven Choices

A sigh of relief: we have a Special Counselor, a man of good repute, to investigate Trump and Co. But what now from Trump? Will he do one or more of the following?

1. He can stay calm and try to show he is fit for the job, exuding quiet confidence that the Special Counsel's investigation will exonerate him and his campaign.

2. He can note the likelihood that his taxes and other financial secrets will be made public and therefore choose to resign because (a) he really isn't rich and doesn't want people to know the truth, or (b) he's been money laundering for Russia, et al, or (c) he did prohibited business with Iran's military (SEE: Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker), or (d) all of the foregoing.

3. He could panic and shoot himself in yet another foot with yet another wild violation of the Constitution or an outrageous idiocy.

4. He could sink below panic into his normal obtuse arrogance and ignorance and continue screwing up America at home and abroad.

5. He could play the poor-me pathetic dictator and rouse his troops to violence against "the elites", (Trump Calls Himself the Victim of a ‘Witch Hunt’) calling himself the victim of the elites, i.e. people who know how to hold a fork and can read without moving their lips.

6. To retaliate against the grown-ups now moving in on him, he could launch a nuclear war just to "show them".

7. He may try to fire the Special Counselor.  (Soon I'll wrote about why he can't in reality.)

Well, what do you think he'll do?

I wonder what odds Vegas would give on these alternative scenarios.

In any event, welcome aboard, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, our new Special Counselor. The ship of state sure has needed you!

Monday, May 15, 2017

I Was Wrong About Trump. HE'S A DANGEROUS TRAITOR!

(Note: White House officials are now denying this happened. But can we ever trust them again? And who will our allies and our intelligence sources believe? The wording of the denial is the same non-denial/denial word game the Nixon White House played. Analysis The White House isn’t denying that Trump gave Russia classified information — not really )

So help me God, I started this post this morning before we knew about Trump giving classified information to the Russians. I used the same title, i.e. "I Was Wrong About Trump", referring to posts a couple of weeks ago:Why We No Longer Need Impeach Trump Nor Want To  and I'm Happy! Trump Is Just An Ignorant, Frightened M...

Now I have to admit I was wrong, and now add: "HE'S A DANGEROUS TRAITOR."

My text had originally begun with the following, "Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) appeared Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and spoke the essential truth: 'I think we ought to get to the bottom line here. President Trump is dangerous'.” Opinion The amateurish autocrat E.J Dionne Washington Post. 5-15-17. He was talking about Trump destroying our government.

We are beyond that now. We are beyond the danger Trump poses to our constitutional democracy and the rule of law. He is now endangering our national security and our safety.

His disclosures to the Russians in the Oval Office last week have destroyed one of our key secret sources of intelligence in the Middle East which was focused on ISIS, so important a source as to have warned us about bombs being put in laptops to be carried on planes.

He has also destroyed the confidence of all our sources of intelligence because they see now that can't trust us to keep our president's big mouth shut. He even gave the Russians the city in Syria where our source is located, that being sufficient information for Russia to figure out who our source is.

God help that poor agent, if he or she isn't already dead and the Russians perceive a threat to their Syria agenda.

If the GOP Senators don't take action now about Trump, they too are traitors.

If you think I am being melodramatic and if you have any aging relatives who worked in intelligence, ask them about this incident.

Here's the Washington Post story that just was published revealing Trump's act of treason: Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Trump Must Be Impeached

The article linked below says it all far better than I can. It is by the nation's leading authority on the Constitution, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School.

I would only add two things.
(1) As long as the GOP in Congress think they can get their agenda done with Trump, they will keep him in power. They will also not dump him if he is still popular with the GOP voters. Last week 85% of GOP voters viewed him favorably. This was prior to his firing Comey. Though his rating with Independents is slipping, it's the GOP voters in next year's primaries who are of concern to incumbent GOP Congress members up for re-election. If GOP voters continue to like Trump, GOP candidates will be scared to go against him.

(2) Trump should also be impeached for his stupidity. As I pointed out in my two previous postings, he has been stupid and ignorant enough to blatantly commit obstruction of justice and then own up to it even after his staff hasd concocted a cover story that might have saved him. We can't have this stupid, ignorant egomaniac as president.

Please read this piece: Trump must be impeached. Here’s why.