Monday, November 20, 2017

We Should Still Do These Anti-Trump Things

I'll be gone about a month to six weeks with recuperating from a second hip replacement on November 29. So I leave you this post I did right after the election. It's still relevant and still necessary. Please heed its call to save our country.

Together, yes we can!

Here's the link:   Now What Do We Do?

One change to what that posting suggests: Instead of spending time trying to get the Democratic leadership to adopt better procedures and a better focus, just elect new Democrats to office and get them to make the changes needed. As Donna Brazile's book "Hacks" makes clear, a serious clean-up of the DNC is needed. Among other things, it let the Hillary Clinton campaign swipe for its own use most of the money donated to the DNC for state and local campaigns. That was a waste of the money and a terrible strangulation of the Democratic party state-to-state. No wonder we have few Democratic governors and few state legislatures. It was also probably an illegal transformation of soft money into hard money, i.e. allowing contributors to effectively give Clinton more than legally allowed.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

At Last! The Smoking Gun! From Trump Sr's Hand to Yours!

Finally!
This week the smoking gun of Donald Trump's election felony has at last emerged. Further, this smoking gun definitely has Trump's very own fingerprints on it, and —oh, the irony! — it exists because he can't control his compulsion to tweet.

The smoking gun turned up this week in a pile of material Donald, Jr.  submitted  to one of the Congressional committees investigating Russian aid to the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. We know that the Russians had feloniously interfered with our 2016 election. "On October 7th.... the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the National Intelligence Director had issued a joint statement, saying, 'The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.' Referring directly to WikiLeaks, the statement went on, 'These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.”'Donald Trump's Trump, Jr., Problem - whatrump.com


What the Russians did was a felony, and the feds are now preparing to arrest six of them, but a greater concern is whether the Trump organization was involved in the crime. The nexus of the felony is a foreign government giving "something of value" to one of our campaigns.  We know the Russians were involved as the giver of the hacked emails because our intelligence community has so concluded. These are hard-headed prosecutors who clearly believe they have a case.

Until this week two questions have nevertheless remained. Most basically, was there a gift in the legal sense? Giving Trump the hacked Clinton campaign materials certainly looks like a gift, but to be a gift in the legal sense there must be "acceptance".  

Until now there has been no clear evidence that Trump or his campaign accepted Russia's offers of help. The Russian-Trump email exchanges during this period are frustrating because, while Donald, Jr., says he "loves" the  "dirt" material on Hillary Clinton, the campaign doesn't seem to openly agree to using it.

That has just changed. Finally, the missing acceptance has been provided. It occurred as the result of a message exchange between Donald, Jr., and Wikileaks on October 12, 2016. As quoted in the New York Times, Wikileaks says to Donald, Jr., "[G]reat to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us." The link in question is to the emails hacked by Wikileaks or the Russians from the Democratic chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign, John Podesta. Donald Trump Jr. Communicated With WikiLeaks During Campaign ...
Julian Assange,founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. (Axel Schmidt/Reuters)


Only fifteen minutes later, like a bolt of lightningDonald Trump Senior leaps into tweeting his millions of followers: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”

In his compulsion to tweet, Trump has handed us the smoking gun. By availing himself of the Russian &/or Wikileaks materials he has "accepted" it. Thus there is a gift proffered and accepted. Trump has joined in the commission of a felony. 

Further, he can't push the culability off on his hapless dim son or some other campaign underling. Trump the candidate holds the gun.

He is also criminally complicit in another way.  He has aided and abetted the commission of the felony. By tweeting a boast about the Wikileaks material he has arguable heightened its circulation and increased its impact. And if that isn't aiding and abetting, what is?

Compounding Trump, Sr.'s aiding and abetting, just two days later Donald, Jr. tweeted to his followers the link to the Russian/Wikileaks hacked material, prefaced by this: “For those who have the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy all the @wikileaks emails are right here: http://wlsearch.tk/.”
One more issue: Had the Trumps accepted the gift from just Wikileaks, or were they accepting the hacked materials as a gift from Russia as well? It's important because if it was just Wikileaks then there's an issue of whether Wikileaks is a "foreign government"for the purposes of the federal statute.

Not to worry. For purposes of this case and this statute, the Russians and Wikileaks are virtually one, i.e. united in "a common enterprise". Since June 2016 the Russians had been promoting this material to the Trump folks and identifying Wikileaks as the immediate source for delivery to the campaign. Wikileaks and Russia were two hands washing each other. Luring in Trump and attacking our election was  their "common enterprise". 

Under another legal theory Wikileaks was Russia's "agent" in these transactions. Wikileaks either did the hacking itself and provided the results to Russia, or Russia did the hacking and then used Wikileaks as the distributor. 

 No matter the labeling, we are dealing with a Humpty-Dumpty, like your kids ganging up on you to swear you promised ice cream. These are two parties that are so close in motive, so united in purpose, and so conjoined in action that they are one. And please note that this theory of agency gets us out of having to  argue over whether Wikileaks itself is a foreign government. It's enough that Russia is.

Why did Trump do such a brash thing as to leap into this self-incriminating  twittering with no time to consider the possible result or to get advice from his attorney?  Because he is a brash and foolish man. He genuinely believes that everything he does is right.

But it isn't. In one reckless twitter he has scuttled the issues that might have saved him from being deemed in cahoots with Russia/Wikileaks.  He has demonstrated the moment that he and his campaign joined the Russians in attacking our election system. He has wronged us voters and his party. But most of all he has betrayed our system of government. He is in fact a traitor.

"Traitor" is a heavy word. It carries with it the thudding footstep of the executioner. And it should.

For treason is the one crime established in the Constitution as a capital offense. 

Sometimes I could almost support capital punishment. 












Friday, November 10, 2017

Hurrah! America Has Kicked Trump Hard! We're Taking Our Country Back!

I'm not allowed to sit long at the computer until after my hip surgery at the end of the month. So this will be brief. (Look for me to be back in January.)

Just want to say a BIG HURRAH! And a big thanks to the voters of VA, Montana, Washington State and elsewhere for kicking Trump into the weeds this past Tuesday. He and his kind lost virtually every contest! The voters said no to racism, homophobia, scare tactics, and all the other vile things he has used to attempt to divide our people.

America is still here. And it's still a great place.

In fact, one-third of the voters in VA who voted for the Democrat for governor instead of the Trumpish Republican told pollsters they voted that way in order "to send a message to Donald Trump."

Next year let's send lots of these anti-GOP messages so as to remove the Congress from the control of Trump's cohorts and enablers. Let's finish taking back our country!

Meantime Tuesday's results have made this 83-year-old Mama one happy kid!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Trump's Forces Rebel Against " Man Behind the Curtain."

The current rebellion in Washington against Trump is because most Americans understand our system, even if he doesn't. They also understand about climate change and other issues of the day that elude Trump in his ignorance.

   Burning of forest in Wildwood California last year. Large number of fires are attributed to climate change. Hottest Era in All of Civilization, Because of Man, U.S. Says
                                                                  ***************
Trump is not a president. He is grossly inadequate and probably in deep legal trouble. Those around him have noticed. Trump's staff, his GOP allies in Congress, department heads, attorneys, and spokespersons are therefore just tuning him out. He seems to have ceased being president. I can't remember such ever happening in the presidency in my 80 years nor reading of it in American history. The closest is Woodrow Wilson's fade-out after his stroke.

Trump still goes through some of the steps of being president. But his cloak of authority has been pulled away. Remember that scene in "The Wizard of Oz"? A little black doggie from Kansas reveals The Mighty Wizard to be just a charlatan peddler. In vain the Wizard cries out,"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"?

We all knew quite a while ago that this Trump fellow isn't presidential material. He publicly lies on average seven times a day, exaggerates like a four-year-old, has no noticeable train of thought, has no principles, has no policies. He has no dignity but screams out on Twitter like the demented peddlerman he actually is. He is crude, vulgar, self-absorbed and quite ignorant.

Now, in just one week, his staff, his party, his attorney, and his federal agencies have joined in disavowing his authority. They have quietly removed his cloak of authority by just ignoring it. As far as I recall, it began this past week with his own attorney — the improbably named Ty Cobb of the improbable mustaches. Mr. Cobb advised the world to ignore Trump's harsh remarks about Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating for any Trump/Russia conspiracy. Last Monday Mueller let the first shoes of his investigation hit the floor. Score to date: indictment of Trump's campaign manager and the latter's assistant, plus a confession by a campaign worker. There were not, as far as we can yet tell, revelations of a conspiracy, but the legal work showed the Trump campaign poised to go through that door.

Trump screamed, "NO COLLUSION!" (The capitals are his.)  He screamed other anti-Mueller, anti-investigation stuff over Twitter, but his attorney quietly maintained that Trump's remarks have nothing to do with the investigation and that Trump was cooperative with Mueller.  He isn't, but he would do well to be so because the public strongly supports Mueller. The public sides with Mueller - The Washington Post

Ty Cobb, the poor sod of an attorney, actually kept a straight face while announcing that Trump wasn't talking about Mueller. Cobb is trying to save Trump from roaring his way into yet another charge of obstruction of justice, one already looming from his firing of FBI Director James Comey, who began the investigation now in Cobb's hands.

Cobb's line was then taken up by Trump's press secretary, the smug and annoying Sarah Sanders.  She too kept a straight face while announcing that Trump's attacks on the Mueller investigation had nothing to do with Mueller and the investigation.

The Republicans in Congress this week also treated him like the man who wasn't there. Determined to get some kind of tax law enacted — no laws having been enacted all this year —  the GOP Congress gave only a cursory nod to Trump's urging they add a provision to the tax law so as to repeal Obamacare. As you'll recall, all year this Congress repeatedly failed to do anything about Obamacare.

Now, after several days of resounding silence from Congress, one chairman tentatively said they might consider including a repeal of the requirement that everybody get insurance. He was clear about this not being his idea:  “The president feels very strongly about including this at some step before the final process.” The Congressman soberly noted, however, that "the Senate has yet to produce 50 votes on anything related to health care that I’m aware of.”   G.O.P. May Repeal Health Mandate as Part of Tax Bill

So much for presidential authority in GOP law-making these days.

As if that weren't a slap in the face of presidential authority, look at the outright mutiny this week in thirteen federal departments.  "Directly contradicting much of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has occurred since the start of the 20th century, creating the warmest period in the history of civilization." Hottest Era in All of Civilization, Because of Man, U.S. Says


The federal prosecutors also have walked out on Trump, turning a deaf ear to him on sanctuary cities, immigrant bans, etc. Their job is to follow the law and the Justice Department rule book. Obviously it would be wrong for them to heed his bellowing of his prejudices. As for meting out justce, "Obviously, prosecutors don’t like to see people in positions of authority — including the president — commenting on possible penalties.’’ Mary McCord, a former senior national security official at the Justice Department, notes that “tweets and off-the-cuff statements make the jobs of career Justice Department people challenging. " When Trump speaks on legal matters, prosecutors try not to ...

In fact such commenting backfired on Trump this week when the ruling judge in the Army's Bowe Bergdahl desertion case refused to sentence Bergdahl to any jail time, taking into account that Trump had spent two years screaming that Bergdahl should be shot.  Trump just doesn't understand that demands by a high-placed office-holder can be seen as prejudicing the rights of an accused. In his persistent ignorance, Trump helped the man he considered a traitor!  Bergdahl Avoids Prison; Trump Once Urged Death Penalty

Words count, Mr. Trump. Learn that or no one who counts for anything will resume listening to you. Only your lonely little 33%. 

You can't govern with 33% and the ill will or disdain of everybody else, including your own federal staff.





















Wednesday, November 1, 2017

KGB Smarter Than Mueller? Questions About the Mueller Indictments/Confession

My son Matt in Norway just asked some questions of his old ma. Maybe some of the rest of you have been wondering about this stuff. I'll give it a try.

FIRST, MATT ASKS:

About Ty Cobb
What do you make of the recent indictments and this Popodopolous fellow? 
Trump's Lawyer Ty Cobb, allowed himself to be interviewed by the NYTimes and said that it is unfortunate that friends of Trumps are in such trouble but that his client is totally innocent, has nothing to hide, and wants to corporate fully with the investigation and get this waste of tax payer funded investigation behind him as soon as possible. So Ty Cobb is taking this confident posture. What do you make of that?

 Mueller vs the Used-To-Be KGB   Is Mueller actually up against the former KGB who may have painstakingly covered their tracks and created a clever firewall that protects their boy in Washington?

Ty Cobb being duped by Trump?  Is the real story here that we are dealing with a mental case who is so far removed from reality that he thinks he can outsmart Robert Mueller? And his attorney?

What do you think, Ma? The world wants to know. 

Matt

SECOND: MY ANSWERS:

To begin, congratulations on seeing this as a struggle between Mueller and the Russians. Frankly, I hadn't thought of it that way. Trump is relatively a nothing in all of this. A pawn.

Generally, I think well of Mueller's work though I'm probably not qualified to judge (1) because I don't know what he knows, and (2) he's probably better at this than I. His pace and timing seem right. His tactics seem good, i.e. getting the confession and keeping it sealed until the indictments. The confession makes the indictments look scarier to the other future defendants. And suggests they too can come and talk to Daddy Mueller and maybe get a better deal.

Does Ty Cobb believe Trump innocent, you ask. Ty Cobb's job is to pitch, i.e. to pitch his client's case. It's irrelevant whether he believes Trump or not. We defense attorneys are not judge and jury. We are the hired gun. And a noble job it is. We can act as if we believe our clients but cannot lie to the court about actual guilt we are sure of, nor can we help cover up present or future crimes. Keep in mind that we aren't just defending criminals; we are defending our justice system and your rights.

Cobb is also trying to keep Trump out of more trouble. Trump has a bad mouth problem. He's already talked himself into a possible conviction for obstruction of justice by firing Comey and then blasting off about it. So Cobb is making real nice about this investigation, insisting his client is cool with it. This is to avoid Trump coming across as trying to intimidate the other possible defendants and witnesses. Given Trump's fondness for fighting on the playground, his love of bullying, Cobb has a tough job in keeping him quiet.

Is Mueller a match for the KGB, you ask. Of course. They aren't super guys, as your stepdad could tell you. They look brilliant now because they duped Facebook,Twitter, etc. to carry their propaganda to about half the people of America and used Wikileaks for a bad purpose. That merely shows they are smarter than the guys running the social media who preferred to take the ad money and look the other way. The lesson here is that we have to get the social media to adopt self-governing codes that are tough and work, like those followed by the respectable mainstream traditional journalism which has as its first requirement that the items published be true. Any reporter knowingly using  false material or misrepresenting  sources is barred from journalism for life.

You ask, are the KGB even interested in protecting Trump any more? Probaby not. They know he can't lift the sanctions that are barring Putin's  nearly  trillion dollar oil deal with Exxon. Congress stepped up to the plate on that one not long after Trump was sworn in. It  enacted even tougher sanctions on Russia as payback for intruding in our election. This new law even prohibits Trump from removing sanctions. Ha ha on Putin! His puppet's strings have been cut. So Trump is of no longer of use to Russia as far as we know. This was all about money, chiefly money going into Putin's pocket. Trump can't deliver.

As for whether Trump is a genius or a mental case. He's sort of both: a clever bastard, a con man and snake oil salesman who understands exploiting media very well. But he's also a spoiled four-year-old in the body of a 70+ man with bad hair. He could be a dictator ala Hitler but is too lazy, lacking in focus, dumb, and dim about strategies.

We have to keep in mind that the electoral college is why we have Trump. Only 33% currently approve of him and that same 33% have been a pain in the ass throughout our history. He rallied them with racism, and the Democrats will never wean them off of hate for blacks. We just have to wait a bit as the 33% die off and/or are being outnumbered by a birthrate among minorities that's rapidly ending the white majority in America.

Meantime we should get down to business and fix the damn electoral college. In the last three elections that stupid electoral college provision has given the presidency to the one who LOST the election. Out of the hundreds of millions of votes cast, Trump became president by only 77,000 collective vote total margin in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. That's not democracy. That's a devil's bargain with the slave-holding South to get it to join the Union. We have to change it, and there's a way to do it without a constitutional convention.

My hope is that we grab back one of the houses of Congress next year, thus preventing Trump from getting anything done. That's better than impeachment because we don't want Pence becoming president. He's horrible on issues and knows how do get things done. Trump's only interested in money for himself and isn't bright enough to figure out how to get stuff done.

My real hope is to see Trump in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs after we win a house in Congress.

Hope I've given you sufficient answers. Thanks for asking.

See you Thanksgiving!

Meantime let's all be thankful Mueller is on the job. He has a great reputation and a great team of highly skilled prosecutors. Since they are pursuing business crimes, this will take time. But the payoff is good. Some of these crimes carry 20-year jail sentences.  Keep in mind that it took two years and two months to nail Nixon.

The wait is going to be worth it.



   



  














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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Donald Trump Ends the Way Joe McCarthy Did

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." This saying is often attributed to Mark Twain, who said everything except what Winston Churchill, Will Rogers and Abraham Lincoln said.

Besides rhyming, history also whistles as it walks past our open door. That's what happened yesterday after I wrote a blog post entitled "The End of Donald Trump." It was about how a corner has been turned in the downfall of Trump. In the space of only two weeks, three Republican senators have denounced him, as have former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and a former GOP Congressman from Florida. Even Trump's own Secretary of State, a darling of the oil industry and a big shot of big business, has called Trump "a moron." Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly has contributed to the slide by revealing that Kelly is not a steady hand in the White House but a fellow patient in the "adult day-care center" that the White House has become. Those tolerating the unstable Trump can no longer rely on the steadiness they attributed to General Kelly as a barrier to a nuclear exchange with North Korea.

After I posted yesterday's blog, a phrase started going through my mind: "At long last, sir, have you no decency left." It was history whistling as it crossed my doorway, whispering to me that it was a time of deja vue all over again.

Then about 10 p.m. I recognized the phrase. These are the words spoken in the mid-1950's that ended the reign of terror of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Since Trump's inauguration we have been living through another era like the McCarthy era but now — as happened then — honest words of strong character will mark the end of the Trump awfulness even as they marked the end of the reign of terror of Senator Joe McCarthy. History was whistling a cheery tune last night. Just as I heard it, so did Senator Flake last night, and thus he announced today on TV that we are now living in another  McCarthy era. If Senator Flake and I both heard the whisper and whistling, they've got to be for real!

The lesson for us in the McCarthy era is that it doesn't take hoards of dissenters to remove a monster.  It may take but one person of courage and well-chosen words. More than one such person spoke out against Donald Trump in the past two weeks, but the words of Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona could have done the job all by themselves. If you haven't heard or read them, you should. Read them and then save them for your children. Of such is history made. Full Transcript: Jeff Flake’s Speech on the Senate Floor

I am also including at the end of this post the words that marked the end of the McCarthy reign of terror. They were spoken by a gentle, quiet attorney for the U.S. Army named Joseph Welch in defense of a young attorney recently hired at his law firm, whom McCarthy now sought to besmirch as a Communist. McCarthy was simultaneously trying to use the "Communist" charge to bring down the Secretary of State, having already caused thousands of people to be fired in government and in the defense industry, the public schools, the ministry and even the Girl Scouts. What he did to Hollywood and to writers has been well-publicized. (For a fact-based drama on Hollywood's sufferings, see "The Front" and watch how the McCarthy era drove a comedian to suicide.) No one was too big or small to escape the terror. At the top even President Eisenhower was afraid of McCarthy (see account at the end of this posting).  At the bottom of the heap, a new graduate like me lost a job I had just been given when the interviewer suddenly asked, "Did you say you went to Cal? That Communist school?"

Not everyone survived the McCarthy era, but America got through it and somehow we put the pieces together again. A famous Hollywood director quietly sought scripts for black-listed directors. (I was among those solicited for such script and was doing one on a pair of gun-slingers named Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, unaware another writer had the jump on me.) Meantime the Academy Award for the great classic "High Noon" had been denied the true creator because of the blacklisting.

The words that ended McCarthy's cruel abuse of power are simple and heartfelt. As with Senator Flake's words, keep them for your children. And let your children know that the attorney who spoke them in real life later became the judge in that fine, fun film "Anatomy of a Murder". I guess giving him the role was Hollywood's attempt to say thank you to the soft-spoken man who braved the monster. Within a couple of months of Welch having denounced McCarthy, the Senate found its backbone and sanctioned McCarthy. He died a couple of years later of alcoholism.

And please enjoy one particular grace note that the lovely rhyming of history bestows on us in these events. Participating with McCarthy in those Senate hearings was Roy Cohn, later the chum of J. Edgar Hoover in his abuse of power. So that history may rhyme even more insistently, the vicious Roy Cohn soon became mentor and model to no other than the young Donald Trump. You can't make up stuff like this!  What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy's Right-Hand ...

Let us hope the circle now will close on such Frankenstein monsters as Cohn, McCarthy, and Trump so that America can go back to the happy businesses of baseball, movie-making, and Russian-free elections. There may still be some final fireworks to get through but — like Trump himself — they will be mostly empty noise. And not loud enough to drown out such soft-spoken words as these:

Joseph N. Welch - Wikipedia
Welch to McCarthy:
"Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us....Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.
When McCarthy tried to renew his attack, Welch interrupted him:
Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild ... Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"


Ike afraid of McCarthy:
"During the 1952 presidential election, the Eisenhower campaign toured Wisconsin with McCarthy. In a speech delivered in Green Bay, Eisenhower declared that while he agreed with McCarthy's goals, he disagreed with his methods. In draft versions of his speech, Eisenhower had also included a strong defense of his mentor, George Marshall, which was a direct rebuke of McCarthy's frequent attacks. However, under the advice of conservative colleagues who were fearful that Eisenhower could lose Wisconsin if he alienated McCarthy supporters, he deleted this defense from later versions of his speech. The deletion was discovered by William H. Laurence, a reporter for The New York Times, and featured on its front page the next day. Eisenhower was widely criticized for giving up his personal convictions, and the incident became the low point of his campaign....."   Joseph McCarthy - Wikipedia

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Ghost Whispers About the Coming End of Trump

Earlier today I posted a blog called "The End of Trump". Ever since then, all day long, a voice has been whispering to me, "At long last, sir........." This voice and these words kept teasing me. This evening, however, I discovered that this same ghost has been whispering this same mantra to Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.

These words and this whispering ghost directly relate to the coming demise of Donald Trump. Further they tell a story of a time in our not too distant past when an equally horrible man ascended to power in our country and threatened our democracy more perhaps even than Donald Trump does now.

But the hour now is late, and this story will keep until tomorrow.

Good ghost stories can always wait a day or two, right?

Meantime get ready for this good ghost story by reading the blog I posted earlier today: The End of Trump.