Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Trump's Base Is Leaving Him!

I am not supposed to sit at the computer but this news is just too good not to pass along.

Trump has lost a significant chunk of his rural voters. Be clear on this. These rural voters are his actual base. They have moved from approve to disapprove by 10 points over the summer. He now has only 45% approval with them as opposed to the prior 55%. That is great news. It means at the very least that he likely could not now win PA,WI or MI, where the rural vote gave him the margin necesssary to win the electoral college. In fact, he'd likely lose a bunch of other states as well.

But there's no presidential election going on now, you say. Well, here's poll numbers that are relevant right now. Trump has lost a big chunk of his GOP voters beyond the rural vote. Since June he has dropped twenty points in favorable GOP voters! He's plunged from 87% approval to about 67%. Loss of these GOP voters is the beginning of GOP politicians finding their backbone to stand up to the idiot in the White House.

In the weeks following his inauguration, Trump threw away almost all the power he might have had.  I have discussed that before and won't discuss it now. But he did have one strong card left: his base was numerous enough in the GOP and among rural voters as to scare the behoovies out of the GOP office holders. Now his wide margin among those voters is shrinking. And as more chickens come home to roost, his margin shall shrink even more. There's a tipping point in these things, and Trump's came in multiplicity all in the past week or two:

---- his mess-up in not achieving real assistance in Puerto Rico;

---- forcing people to choose between football and the American anthem;

---- being labeled "a moron" by his own Secretary of State;

---- having convinced a lot of TV's talking heads that he's taking us into WWIII;

---- being decidedly and convincingly outmouthed by one of the most prestigious GOP Senators, who boldly questioned Trump's competency and called his White House "an adult day care center."

It was water streaming over the head of a drowning man.

Because he is sliding ever faster down the slippery slope, his fellow Republicans will pull themselves further and further away from him, thus increasing the pace of his demise. He takes with him to his doom any chance of passing a tax rewrite to benefit himself and his cronies by billions. He will get nothing done that was on his agenda. He will be shown for what he is: an incompetent pitch man. And his voters will realize they have been fleeced.

Meet Trump. The Political Piece of Toast.

Oh, yes. I almost forgot something else in Trump's Bad Week: he's increasingly convinced the "experts" and the public that he's leading us into not just WWIII but nuclear war.

So shall we all be toast?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Time Out: So I Can Walk Again

I'll continue to be off-line until the New Year. And what a New Year it will be! On December 13 I get my second hip replacement and should be walking very well by New Years if the second replacement goes as well as the one I just had. Meantime, however, I can't spend more than an occasional few minutes at the computer because of circulation issues.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays and come back to this spot in the New Year.

Let's see what Trump's latest idiocy is then and whether he is yet being marched off to prison. So far he has dazzled the media with his craziness but he is actually just "sound and a fury, signifying nothing."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Has Trump Derailed the Mueller investigation?


THE WORST THING about Trump pardoning the racist Arizona sheriff Arpaio is that his doing so may impede the special investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller to determine if Trump and his associates were in collusion with the Russians to distort the 2016 election. 

By pardoning the Arizona sheriff Trump has effectively signaled Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and other apparent Russian-collusives that they don't need to trade information to Mueller in exchange for immunity. Trump's pardons can give them immunity. They don't even have to respond to Mueller's court-issued subpoenas or else face contempt of court charges. The sheriff was on his way to jail for defying a court order, and Trump's pardon spared him being jailed for contempt of court. Let's hope Mueller can make his case without the testimony of Trump's associates, accountants, etc.

Trump Imposes a Dictatorship? Charlottesville Proves "No!"

Here's a hilarious video from last year, making fun of Hitler, Trump and Ann Coulter.  Watch and then let's get down to the real news: Trump isn't going to succeed in making America a facist country.

Hitler Finds Out Trump Supports Amnesty

When a young woman has been senselessly murdered it may seem inappropriate to say that some good came out of the spectacle of facism and racism in Charlottesville that produced her murder.  Nevertheless, some good has emerged. Because of Charlottesville we now know almost certainly that Trump will not be able to impose a facist dictatorship on America. Until now, one had to wonder. He has made various moves that are standard with would-be dictators: denouncing the courts, attacking the media, conjuring a conspiracy of enemies against himself and his "base".

But Trump's reaction to Charlottesville sparked the reassurance we needed that we are safe from his facist leanings. His clumsy and stupid attempt to blame "all sides" for the events in Charlottesville and his initial refusal to denounce the parading Nazis and KKK brought a swift and highly significant reaction from many quarters. Key among these was the reaction of the business community and the military.

Several dozen corporate leaders walked off his presidential business commissions, making clear they could not be associated with him because of his failure to denounce Nazism and the KKK. Joining them in condemning Trump was the leadership of the U.S. military. As the New York Times noted, "The top officers of the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force and the National Guard had come out one by one after the violence in Charlottesville to say that racism, hatred and extremism had no place in the military, and ran counter to its most important values. Though they did not refer specifically to the commander in chief, the sharp contrast with some of Mr. Trump’s comments was as clear as it was unusual."  Trump Tries Out a New Line on Charlottesville: Echoing His ...

These two reactions establish that Trump is lacking what made Hitler's power grab successful. Hitler succeeded in taking over Germany mainly because he had the support of the industrialists and the military.  Since Charlotteseville we have seen that Trump and his rotten ideas don't have the support of either of these key groups. At least so far.

Is that likely to change? Probably not. For one thing, a Hitler-type dictatorship is not in the interest of either group. Nor are Trump's ill-thought-out policies. Hitler wrested control of Germany's army  from the military, invaded Russia over the miitary leaders' objections, and thus doomed Germany to defeat and devastation. Anyone can see that Trump-the-Show-Off would similarly be tempted to grab control of military action. Hasn't he said that he knows "more than the generals"? Hasn't he denounced specifics of their actions against ISIS? He's already a "buttinski". The top brass can see what he is. And thank heaven that three of them are in the White House, babysitting this infantile president.  The generals have Trump surrounded - The Washington Post

As for the business community, the big players favor international trade unhamperd by the restrictiveness Trump would impose. Boeing Aircraft for example depends very heavily on foreign sales. Many, many other companies do too. The harsh tariffs Trump favors would cause revengeful tariffs against us and be devastating to American business. They could produce a Second Great Depression. The business leaders who previously accepted Trump's appointments to his commission  probably thought little about these things at the time. After all, these commissions are essentially no more than a tip of the hat. They are nothing. Then suddenly Trump made the commission appointments into toxic waste by seemingly supporting Nazis and the KKK. What businesses can tolerate huge numbers of customers boycotting them because of Trump's repugnant statements?

Unlike the American public, both the military and the business community have pretty good memories. No one remembers our past wars as thoroughly as does our military. Prior wars are their textbooks. The leadership of the military knows very well, right to the core of their bones, how a Hitler-type egomanical dictator can destroy a military and its nation.

The business community is perhaps less savvy about history. At present, for example, it has forgotten that a middle-class which is living hand-to-mouth cannot supply growth to an economy nor perhaps even sustain what we have now, i.e. the rich getting ever richer and the middle class getting nothing of the prosperity it makes possible as workers and consumers. As in the game of Monopoly, once all the money is in one player's hands, the game is over. The core of capitalism is that money must move around. The activity this movement generates — the buying and selling, the jobs and producing — are what we actually mean when we speak of wealth.  Money locked away by a few people in trusts or luxury goods is an idle symbol, only its potential being of any value. We learned this hard lesson in 1929 and enacted regulations and laws to protect against it happening again as a Second Great Depression. But the business community and the likes of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton repealed much of the safeguards. The result was the George W crash of 2008 that the decisive action by President Obama kept from being the Second Great Depression.

But even if greed dims memory in the business community, Trump's anti-trade demagoguery may be enough to keep them from supporting any further grab he makes for dictatorial power.

I say "further grab" advisedly, for he has indeed made prior moves toward a dictatorship. His pardon of the execrable Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one such move. He has as good as announced he will pardon anybody who chooses to defy our courts and trample on people's civil rights. But let's back off on that. Trump's moves toward dictatorship are a subject for another time.

Meanwhile, apparently the military and possibly the business community stand between him and the role of a Hitler. As do the courts and the media. Even the Congressional GOP is turning against him. (More on that later too.) These forces should be enough to hold him in check even if he can rile up his base to take arms against the rest of us.

At least I sure hope they can block him from creating a Fourth Reicht right here.






















Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump Slipping Further With His Voters; McConnell's Big Worry


Trump's wobblier voters are wobbling away.




Until this new poll, so-called reluctant Trump voters approved of Trump's job performance by 83%. He has lost the approval of 20% of them. That's a whopping loss!

This bad news for Trump fits what we saw last week: that he has lost a large amount of approval in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the three key swing states that gave him the electoral college win by a three-state total of only 77,000 votes. He is now down to only 34, 35, and 36% approval in those three key states.

Trump is thus a one-term president unless, as a few voices yet wistfully murmur, he can reform who he is and save his presidency. On Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was reported as saying privately that he did not believe Trump can "save" his presidency.

McConnell probably isn't regretful about Trump's dire prospects. McConnell is probably a whole lot more worried about saving his Senate majority and thus his Senate leadership post. Trump this week gave McConnell more to worry about. Against all common sense and political basics, Trump expanded his attacks on several Republican senators who are up for re-election next year and facing a tough fight. He has gone after Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, even supporting Flake's GOP primary challenger. Trump has also been harsh on the embattled Nevada GOP senator Dean Keller.

Trump is shooting his own team members!

Doesn't Trump know that one and one make two and that the GOP has only a two-seat edge in the Senate? Trump is shoving the GOP Senate forces right to the edge of their majority. Nothing worse could happen to MConnell than losing his leadership post. It's obvious he loves being leader, smirking with his power. And he would be going down as a huge —  historically huge — loser, having failed to get repeal of Obamacare and having failed to get anything else done, including stronger conservative control of the Supreme Court. All McConnell's dreams and those of the GOP have been stymied by Trump. Trump's bullying about Obamacare alienated key Republican Senate votes. Now he threatens to destroy the rest of the legislative prospects of this GOP Congress.

How is Trump doing this? By threatening to shut down the government unless Congress votes him the billions he wants for his "beautiful wall" between the U.S. and Mexico. With Trump gumming up the Congressional works this fall with budget fighting, government shut downs, and maybe even a battle over the debt ceiling, McConnell and his fellow Congressional Republicans won't have a chance to enact any legislation. With next year an election year, the possibility of them getting anything substantive done is minuscule.

The complete GOP control over the government has evaporated under Donald Trump, turning into no control at all. Trump's out-of-control personality has infected the entire Washington scene. He has created chaos.

McConnell is in a very bad spot. All the D.C. Republicans are.

When you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.  The GOP sat down at the table with Trump, even crawled up into his lap, letting this outrageous and ignorant man be president. What's happening to the GOP now is richly deserved and totally predictable.

The devil has turned the table on them!  Where's their Alka-Selzer?

NOTE: Trump has just added another GOP senator to his attack list, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee who is another one up for re-election in 2018. Hey, Trump, two plus one is three, and three plus 48 is 51, giving the Senate majority to the Democrats! When are you going to shoot yourself in the other foot?





Monday, August 21, 2017

Did Trump Have Russian Help in the Primaries?

The penny has dropped.

Trump has likely been the Russians' candidate from Day One.

When was Day One? Could it have been — hold your breath! — as early as the GOP primaries? It was certainly earlier than the June 2016 meeting Donald Jr. had with the Russians to get "some dirt" from them on Hillary Clinton.

The penny dropped for me last Friday night when Rachel Maddow pointed out that Trump had given a list of five names to the editorial board of the Washington Post back when he was interviewed as a candidate, these five being his "foreign policy team". Maddow noted two things about these five men: (1) no one had ever heard of any of them, and (2) we now know that each of the five has a connection to the Russians.

The picture of the Russians owning the Trump folks keeps growing.* (See footnote)  The Russian collection of Trumpies apparently even reached far enough in his orbit to include those on his "foreign policy team". It was a wide circle and it began early. He had these five names before newspaper endorsements were made. Compare that with how slow he was to name staff after the election. Even now most of the upper posts at the State Department lack nominees.

Not only is virually everybody associated with Trump also associated with the Russians, but the Russians own Trump and his cohorts. We know from the investigations already made public that the Russians have bought Trump with huge loans when his repeated bankruptcies lost him access to credit in America. We also know the Russians bought Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manaford, with a huge fee for doing Russian dirty work in Ukrainian politics. And we know about Mike Flynn's pay-offs from the Russians. As for Donald Trump, Jr., he boasted several years ago that "85% of our earnings come from Russia." And Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, owes millions to the Russians.  All this is old news. To help facilitate some of these wheelings and dealings, a servor for Russia's biggest bank, one controlled by Putin, sat in the Manhattan Trump Tower that is home to Donald Trump. Pretty handy?

Everyone seems to assume that the Russian approach to Trump and his cohorts began in June 2016 with the "dangle" of some kind of trade for the dirt on Hillary Clinton. But why assume that was the actual beginning of the Russian presence? Looking back now, I see what struck me as odd about the reply emails from Kushner on the proposed June meeting: there was no expression of surprise.  Wouldn't you be a bit startled if you got an email from someone telling you that the Russians want to help you out with some important aspect of your life? I think I'd say   — and likely you would too —" The Russians? Why the Russians? Why me?" Especially concerning an American election! Who next? The Martians?

Donald Jr. just took it in stride. As did campaign manager Manaford and Trump son-in-law Kushner. Sure, the Russians. Of course, the Russians. Why not the Russians? Because, after all, they have been with us all along. 

When did the Russians decide to take over Trump and his campaign? I don't know, but I'll bet the farm it was before June 2016. Does it matter when they stepped in? Maybe. WAfter all, we need to know more about what they have done in our democratic politics, and the "when" may be an important clue as to the "what".  It certainly is a good thing that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is digging into Trump's earlier business history. We need to know when the Russian net closed around Trump and his minions so we can assess what that connection may have cost our election process.

Here's a question that no one has yet raised publicly: Did the Russian intrusion begin early enough to help Trump win the primaries?

Maybe the GOP could get more interested in the investigation of this mess if they began to suspect that they too had been victimized by Putin and his cohorts.

Oh, Lord, I'm 81 but I'm not ready to go! I want to see how this all turns out!

_________
* Just when I finished this, the NY Times identified yet another Russian who was present at the June 2016 Trump campaign meeting. The article describes his background in computer hacking. Isn't it possible the Russians were offering the Trump people hacking services that were more than the just material previously hacked? Were they offering the on-going services of the Russian described in this article, the hacking manager himself, to get into the American election process? To get into our voting machines? Lobbyist at Trump Campaign Meeting Has a Web of Russian ...

The plot sickens!
















Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump's Lost His Key Voters in the Three Swing States!

Sunday, August 20, 2017





You won't see this important news anywhere else today: Trump could not now get elected.  He has lost the key voters who made him president. The numbers have been published that point to this, but so far no one has connected the dots. Except you and me!

Trump won the electoral college last year by 77,000 votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan and thus became president even though he lost the national popular vote by 3 million.

Seven months into his presidency the present polls show he would not win those 77,000 votes today.

The three states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — went for Trump last year by a vote in the high 40's. Now he is has severely alienated much of that vote, reducing his popularity by over ten points.

In Wisconsin, only 34% now approve of Trump's performance as president. 56% disapprove. Stunningly, 64% say he is an "embarassment".  Only 25% say they are "proud" of him. The numbers for Pennsylvania and Michigan are virtually the same as Wisconsin's. Together they mark Trump's failure to hold his key voters.

And don't overlook the "embarrassment" numbers. They are very important. Much of Trump's appeal was on a personal/identification basis. His voters forgave him all his campaign mis-steps and obvious lies because he seemingly "spoke" for them. It was his personal manner that was his strongest glue.

Not any more. They can't forgive him any more. He is embarrassing and thus embarrasses them. Can they come back to him? Well, if they don't like being embarrassed by their presidential choice, how can they trust that he won't embarrass them again and again? The difficult thing for presidents about character issues is that people who are alienated by character failures are very hard to win back. When George W hit a 34% low as "trustworthy", we knew he and his presidency were through. Once you don't trust someone, you go on not trusting them. Similarly, once nutty Uncle Fred embarrasses everybody at dinner with your boss by picking his nose, you aren't likely to ask Uncle Fred anywhere important again.

The above figures on the three key swing states are from the latest NBC/Marist poll, which was announced today on "Meet the Press". Trump's Approval Rating Stands Below 40 Percent in Three Key ...  Oddly enough, moderator Chuck Todd seemingly didn't grasp their import. He acknowledged the drop in Trump's numbers but didn't correlate them as compared with the 2016 result in the electoral college. He missed that Trump could not today win those three states and thus the presidency.

As of this writing, no one else has caught on. I am very happy to be the first to bring you this good news. I just wish that it had been true on November 8. But at least we know Trump is already a lame duck who can't get re-elected.

Now the question is when and how do we get rid of him without getting Pence. Remember that Pence's policies are as bad as Trump's and Pence knows how to get them enacted.

If my favorite old saying is correct maybe Pence will crash along with Trump. The old saying is "God takes care of dogs, drunks, and the American people." Maybe God can figure out how we get rid of both guys.

Somebody has to.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How (and Why) to Make Fun of Nazis

The anti-racist forces in Charlottesville fell into a trap last week by fighting with the Nazi/KKK. They created more martyrdom for those self-pitying whites and gave Trump the coloring to say both sides were to blame. This excellent article describes a much more effective way to combat racist nonsense through ridicule. Ridicule wounds these idiots far mre than blows do! And history tells us that non-violent methds more effectively and more quickly defeat the bad guys.

Read this and always remember it!

               Op-Ed Contributor How to Make Fun of Nazis  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Trump's Terrible Week of Defeat on Four Fronts



This week was payback time!

Two women GOP Senators and John McCain killed the Trump/GOP repeal of Obamacare last night and thereby repaid Trump's nastiness to women and his denigration of McCain's having been a prisoner in Vietnam.

Of course, payback was not the main reason they voted against Trump's last hope for a repeal of Obamacare. But undoubtedly revenge lent a nice personal flavor to their voting down a bill that would have taken away health insurance from 16 million Americans. It was also the nail in the coffin of all efforts to repeal OBabmacare.

Trump once said, "Who could have imagined health insurance was so complicated". Well, Mr. Trump, obviously you also couldn't imagine that a bully would not always get his way and not be able turn the presidency into a dictatorship.

But it wasn't just Trump's enemies who poked Trump in the eye this week. The entire Congressional GOP smacked him down. The GOP Senate and the GOP House passed a law imposing increased sanctions on Trump's beloved Putin-Russia. This law also killed Trump's power to lift the new and existing sanctions against Russia. It was a smart way to signal Russia that messing in our elections will not get them a president who can give them what they want. Au contraire, honey lamb! On his own, the U.S. president can't do much, especially if the Congress won't let him. He ain't lifting those sanctions now or ever!  He can't! Congress has forbidden it.

That was the whole point of our Revolution and our Constitution. No kings here! No dictators here! A federal government of limited powers, with those limited powers controlled even further by being divided among the three branches of government.

Trump has therefore achieved virtually nothing of his grand plans. He never could because they were either grossly inappropriate goals or he and his cohorts were clueless as to how government and politics work.

TRUMP SCORECARD:

No lifting of sanctions on Russia.

No repeal of Obamacare.

No wall.

No massive tax break for the rich. (It died when the GOP in Congress failed to kill Obamacare and its Medicaid component, which was to be the source of the funding for the $700 billion tax break for the rich.)

No massive "round-up of illegal aliens".  (The actual "round-up" has been a thin and spotty thing. Most of the deported will be right back. They always are. I knew them in California. For centuries before the United States existed, their families have been going back and forth across what we declare to be our border. This land was their land for a long, long time.)

No leaving NAFTA nor the Iran deal.

No pulling out of NATO.

No massive influx of jobs.

No revival of the coal industry beyond a seasonal uptick.

No blocking of Muslims entering our country. (The lower courts blocked Trump's ban entirely; the Supreme Court then virtually gutted it and gave what was left some effect only for another 6 weeks.)

So what has Trump got? Nothing. Zip, zilch, goose egg, zero.

What will he get? Not much once the fall arrives because then the Congress will be pre-occupied with housekeeping stuff like the budget. And their budget will ignore Trump's proposed severe cuts because these GOP members of Congress don't want to upset more of their constituents by cutting PBS funding, parks, and other beloved federal programs that Trump has targeted.  Of course you know why Congress will be less Draconian in budget-cutting than Trump wants. Next year is an election year!  And the Congressional GOP is scared of losing the House and maybe the Senate. By an amazing factor of four the number of Democratic would-be-candidates currently beats the all-time record of either party for candidate sign-ups. These Democrats smell blood.

And it is red blood. Not blue blood.

Just to be fair, let's look for a moment at what Trump has lost these past six months. Namely the status of not being in jail.

Trump's bumbling allowed the Russian's meddling in our election to turn into a broad and formidable criminal investigation of Trump, his entourage, his family and all their financial dealings that may or may not involve the Russians. Looking into Trump's past, I find plenty of what looks like criminal liability and very suspicious dealings with the Russian government and other hoodlum governments. Because Trump's egomania led him to fire FBI Director James Comey, he brought on this investigation. Now, in trying to hound Jeff Sessions out of the AG's office so Trump can appoint someone to fire chief investigator Robert Mueller, Trump has so deeply offended Session's chums in the Senate that the GOP Senators made it clear this week that there will be no help from them in getting rid of Sessions or Mueller. Indeed, they plan to block any firing of Sessions or Mueller even if it takes legislation to do it.

In other words, the U.S. Senate Republicans have finally stood up on their hind legs and defied the would be dictator and bully boy.

Our government is still working as it was designed to. For a while we all wondered, didn't we? But it looks like we'll be okay.

Like the old saying goes, "God takes care of dogs, drunks, and the American people."

We sure keep Him busy these days.

Big P.S. I should have included a fifthTrump failure this week, namely his attempt to bar transgender people from the military by announcing such in a tweet. It was given short shrift by the military leadership. They sent him a letter telling him to resubmit the new policy in a formal manner and to have the Secretary of Defense send along the appropriate guidlines. (Guidelines are always a two-year job.) Meantime, the letter said, the military will continue to treat "all our personnel with respect." In effect, Trump was slapped across the face.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Down and Down Trump Goes!




🎼 "Down and down Trump goes ......." Look at that plunging approval rate! And, appropriately in red, the soaring disapproval line. (Graphics from RealClearPolitics at Presidential Job Approval.)

To further paraphrase the old song: "I'm loving the spin he's in." 

It's the spin of a downward spiral. And it's crashing the GOP hopes to hold the House next year. Plus his sinking popularity has destroyed his power to govern or even, thus far, to rope the Senators of his party into supporting his health care bill. They can't even figure out what his bill is!

So here's for your summer delight — a bouquet of articles charting the old black magic as Trump proceeds to cut himself in two! (I'll be back with my own writing in about a month/6 weeks, depending how soon the new hip-to come will let me sit and type.)

Enjoy! Leonhardt: G.O.P. Support for Trump Is Starting to Crack — New York Times

Analysis | No matter what he does, history says Trump will never be popular — Washington Post

Americans generally view Trump’s presidency as below average — Washington Post

      Bad News For House Republicans: Clinton Won’t Be On The Ballot In 2018   —  Nate Silver's 538

Poll finds Trump’s standing weakened since springtime — Washington Post

Have fun!



Friday, July 21, 2017

Trump Pardon Himself for Russian Crimes? His Question, Not Mine

A brief look at a wonderful turn of events. I can't do more than a few paragraphs because of hip pain when sitting at the computer. (New hip in 39 days!)

Trump apparently wants to know about his pardoning powers in connection with his crimes in the Russian matters, including his power to pardon himself  (And we thought he was incapable of thinking ahead!)

"Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the [Russian] probe, according to one of the sources. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves."  Trump’s lawyers explore pardoning powers and ways to undercut Russia investigation

This seems to indicate Trump has given up hope of getting rid of the Russian investigation. It also helps explain his belated rage at the head of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, who Trump seemingly thought would take control of the Russian investigation and subvert it to Trump's will. Instead Sessions ducked the play and recused himself, thus opening the door to the Justice Department appointing a special counsel, Robert Mueller. 


Now Trump has to give thought to what reading material he would like to take with him for all the long years in prison that some of his crimes make him eligible for. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act alone offers him a 2o-year stay, free of charge, at a federal prison.  


And — no — his free-of-charge accomodations won't be wearing the Trump Hotel brand.

______________
* For a reminder of some of Trump's pre-presidency crimes, check out this year's best piece of reporting on Trump to date: Donald Trump's Worst Deal | The New Yorker

 What if Trump now pardons family members, etc., in order to thwart the Russia investigation? That could be obstruction of justice.  Op-Ed Contributors If Trump Pardons, It Could Be a Crime

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trump Spiraling Down in Polls

Here's some happy news for summer. I'm officially on a break but couldn't pass up posting these stories. Read 'em and cheer!


Poll finds Trump’s standing weakened since springtime

Americans generally view Trump’s presidency as below average 

Trump on Attack as Russia Revelations Appear to Take Toll  (Here's a NY Times quoteregarding the poll reported in the aboveWashington Poast story.
"...[T]here is evidence that the drumbeat of Russia revelations is taking a toll on the president. A poll published Sunday showed that Mr. Trump’s approval ratings have eroded further in recent weeks, dropping to a level never before seen for a president during his first six months in officeStill, there is evidence that the drumbeat of Russia revelations is taking a toll on the president. A poll published Sunday showed that Mr. Trump’s approval ratings have eroded further in recent weeks, dropping to a level never before seen for a president during his first six months in office."

Is Trump's Approval Rating the House GOP's 2018 Ceiling ...

Support for Trump grows more tepid and opposition is increasingly inflamed  (A real wowser!)

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Russians Are Taking Trump Down, Plus "Putin on the Ritz"

Shortly after the election, I said that the Russians would be Trump's undoing, causing either his impeachment or imprisonment. And it's happening. Here's a summary of the latest "Made in Russia" Trump troubles. The irony is, of course, that the Russians really want him to stay on as president and do their bidding. Ain't going to happen, Putin! The snowball is rolling!

Here's an excellent summary of the legal issues raised by the June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer that included Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, plus a growing list of other Russians who are being revealed on a daily basis as meeting attendees. The Criminal Implications of the E-mails How Trump, Jr.,’s correspondence raises questions of possible campaign-finance violations. By Jeffrey Toobin.

As a super bonus the above article includes a link to what will likely put Trump et al in the hoosegow for about 20 years each. It's about a Trump family building project that seems to have broken a half dozen serious federal laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which just by itself carries a penalty of 20 years. Here's the link in case you miss it in reading the article: Adam Davidson’s story. Outstanding piece of reporting.

With this for your summer reading I leave you for several weeks on a summer break to get a hip replacement. At 81 some parts are wearing out. Any prayers, good wishes, good vibes or candles will be appreciated. 

And here's a video to make you smile a while. Enjoy!
Putin on the Ritz

Take care of everything while I'm gone, and remember that this is the 100th anniversary of the Radio Flyer. Kids still pull the little red wagon. So life is good!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trump Has Lost the Presidency

Maybe it looks like Trump can get away with anything. 

He lies. 
He knows nothing about government and doesn't even care about it.
He is cruel and rude.
He flip-flops on issues.
He boasts and brags and twitters irresponsibly.
He admires Putin, America's enemy.

Yet he is still in the White House, and his popular support, though dwindling, is only doing so rather slowly.

Don't be fooled. Trump has already paid a huge price for his nutsy narcissism and determined ignorance.

The price? He has lost the presidency. 

The presidency is more than a title. It is power. But Trump has lost all the power of the presidency. He is now only a figurehead. A cardboard cutout in the Oval Office. 

Further, he has squandered the GOP's chance to run the government with both the Congress and presidency in their control, something that hasn't been available to the GOP for a long, long time. But what's the point of the GOP having "control" of the White House? There is no power in the White House. A wheel has come off the tricycle. It ain't going anywhere. They are in control of a non-operable government.

Trump has smashed the GOP hopes and wiped himself off the presidential map just by being Trump. For six months he has been a disgusting near-psycho clown act. We all know all about him now and what to expect. We can all see him clearly now. He's a nothing. In these six months he has squandered all his credibility. In the world of politics, he is now toast.

Politics is generally despised, mostly because neither the media nor the public understands it very well. And also because it's essentially a hard-fought battle of different groups to get what they want. It's definitely a contact sport. But it has its rules, and he who doesn't follow them is out. 

Rule number one: You have to be reliable. If you say something to another politician or officeholder, it has to be true. Gerald Ford was picked by the Congress to replace Nixon because everyone in Congress knew they could trust him. As a key member of the House Armed Services Committee, he always told other representatives the accurate truth about everything to do with weapons, etc. 

Being reliable also means knowing your policy position and staying with it until something identifiable and credible changes it. I have to be able to count on your vote. That's what politics is all about. Getting votes for what each of us wants. If I can't count on you to stay with me or stay against me, then I won't ever bother with you. You're nothing.

Being reliable also means making sense. If no one can understand what you're saying or thinking, why bother with you? You're a pennyweight.

Being reliable also means being informed. Really informed. Not being fed fiction by Fox or fairy tales by the Net. It's why you have to have good staff. They make sure you know what's what.

Trump has none of these characteristics of reliability. He's a sink hole of unreliabiity. Further he lacks another of the key traits of reliability: being cool. For example, reliable people don't undercut their buddies. Trump has repeatedly made the health care reform effort harder for his GOP buddies by shooting off his mouth, messing in, even allowing one of his PACS to run an ad campaign against the imperiled GOP senator from Nevada, thus not only endangering this man's re-election but threatening Mitch McConnell's woefully thin margin in the Senate.

And a reliable person knows when to keep his mouth shut. Trump instead tells our security secrets to the Russians. 

As a politician Trump is a disaster. Yes, as a showman he won all those primaries, but he can't function in the real business of politics: getting things done. 

As a president, Trump has ceased to exist. For example, he has no leadership power in his own party. He is so toothless a tiger that no GOP senators are afraid of him and therefore — at least this far — he can't commandeer their votes for the GOP health care plan. If this legislation fails, other major parts of the GOP agenda crumble. Goodby, huge tax cuts for the rich because the cutting of Medicaid won't provide the offset for the cuts. And without a president to be cowboy, who will herd the votes on infrastructure when Rand Paul and other never-spend-a nickel senators refuse to go along?

Internationally, Trump as an American president has also ceased to exist. He did this entirely by himself. By pulling out of, or bad mouthing, the big trade deals, the mutual protection pacts, and the climate agreements, he announced loud and clear that he was picking up his marbles and going home, taking America off the stage for now. I imagine most of the world leaders were delighted to see him go. He is not a pleasant person — even literally pushing them out of his way to get to the front of a photo – and now they will have a chance at running things without the USA. In fact, America's absence for a while might have some good effects, especially re North Korea, oddly enough. But that's for another time.

Trump just doesn't matter any more politically. He's an empty suit and a big tie. That's all. He doesn't have to be impeached. He has impeached himself in a manner of speaking, i.e. removed himself from office.

He also lost power in another way. He and his advisor Steve Bannon are supposedly set on destroying the executive branch. At least they say so. Trump's failure to fill hundreds of executive positions has indeed crippled the executive branch they hate. But this is like cutting off one of your own hands. He has actually diminished the power of the presidency. He has diminshed his own power. He can't get his orders carried out. 

His flurry of ill-conceived and badly written executive orders has also reduced his power. Because they led to NOTHING! Most ended in court. Others made little sense and sit now in a file somewhere. No one up and down the chain of government will ever take this man seriously again.

I could go on. How his committee to investigate voter registration all across the nation has become a laughing stock, with most of the states saying "Go to hell" when asked for their records. And it being so transparent that he is still trying to prove he won the popular vote!  
George W was fine with his status of being president even though having lost the popular vote. Who would have ever thought there could be a president who would make George W look wise? 

Well, there isn't. Because Trump is not really a president. The other players have benched him. He's out of the game. 

In fact, he just might as well go to the showers and then head for home. 

His presidency is over. 

P.S. And he is stupid. Too stupid to be president. Too stupid to breathe. Get this, just published this evening: Trump minimizes hacking allegations, seeks to ‘move forward’ with Russia.  

Lawmakers bewildered by Trump’s suggestion of forming a ‘Cyber Security unit’ with Russia  This is like asking John Wilkes Boothe to be sure to stop by Lincoln's box at the theater.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Trump Is Going Down

Trump's disapproval numbers are going up, while his approval ratings are going down, as a New York Times columnist points out in the following short article. Even Trump's base is  eroding. 

I offer the following short article because it is clearly written on the topic of numbers, a factor which is vital in politics but often made obtuse or boring. Here all is clear and compelling. 

The writer is David Leonhardt in the NY Times of June 30. This short piece is actually an introduction to a group of articles he collected under the "Browser" section of the Times. His opener is, however, better than anything in his roundup. Unfortunately the Times provides no links for his excellent introductory pieces, so I offer it here in full. Read and cheer!
  
These numbers possible foreshadow the future of your country and your own future. Now let's get busy and translate these numbers into defeat of the GOP in next year's elections. With a push from us at the local level, Trump's bad numbers can sink all Republican boats, and by taking back the Senate the Democrats can block Trump's appointment of a Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Kennedy, thus preventing an arch-conservative court for your lifetime and that of your children.
                                   ************

 "President Trump’s latest explosion of meanness has, yet again, left many people disconsolate about the state of the country. Many are especially demoralized that Trump doesn’t seem to lose any popular support despite his erratic behavior.
His supporters, as Ric Steinberger of Incline Village, Nev., writes in a letter in today’s Times, “still tell pollsters that Mr. Trump is their voice.”
Is that accurate? Yes and no.
It’s true that Trump continues to draw the support of about 40 percent of American adults. But his approval ratings have fallen since he became president.
His current approval rating of 39.9 percent is down from 42 percent two months ago (on his 100th day in office) and from about 45 percent on Inauguration Day, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll average. And his disapproval rating has risen even more than his approval rating has dropped: by 13 points, to 54 percent.
Not only that, but the intensity of support for Trump — among those who continue to back him — has waned. Fewer say they “strongly approve,” and more say they “somewhat approve.” Trump’s base seems to be shrinking, as Nate Silver has written. Fewer Americans also find Trump believable than when he took office.
The polls aren’t the only place you can see this dynamic. One of the reasons the Senate health care bill has collapsed — for now, at least — is that Republican senators feel no need to do what their president wants. He isn’t popular enough to fear.
I too despair at watching my president stoop to schoolyard nastiness. And I too wish that more of my fellow citizens, from both parties, would reject this sort of behavior. But you shouldn’t worry that Trump is beyond all of the normal rules of politics.
He isn’t. His lack of results and his behavior as president matter. Despite our highly polarized country, he is ever so slowly losing the faith of people who once supported him."
                                    ***************
Remember, there are more of us than there are of Trump and his troops! Now let's go do it! Start organizing now for next year. Hurrah for 2018!

Friday, June 30, 2017

The GOP Plan To Achieve GOP Defeat in 2018, 2020



 I don't get it.

The GOP is constructing a complete failure for themselves in the coming elections. It's a genius of a plan if their intention is to wipe their party out. 

I just don't get why they are apparently deliberately plotting their own electoral suicide. But first, let's look at what that suicide plan is.

The centerpiece of their plan is their latest health insurance bill, which cuts a huge amount out of Medicaid so as to give that money to the rich as a tax cut. 

So guess who depends heavily on Medicaid? Seniors. The same seniors who always vote and mostly vote Republican. Without the senior vote, the GOP is toast.

Many of these same seniors are in nursing homes, their residency paid for by Medicaid. They are the same seniors who need other vital care that's not covered by Medicare but is covered by Medicaid, e.g. dentures, hearing aids, eyeglasses.

How can the GOP hang onto these voters when it takes away their nursing homes and other vital medical needs? As the GOP pushes the grandmas out of the nursing homes and over the cliff in their wheelchairs, those grannies will be angrily shaking their fists at the GOP as they go flying over the edge. 

But wait! There's even more ingenious election idiocy from the GOP. 

Everybody knows the GOP can't win the White House without certain states in the electoral college, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and — as of 2016 — Michigan and Wisconsin. Now get this. The GOP's  health insurance reform plan whacks 22 million people off their present insurance under Obamacare. And guess where most of these people live.

Unbelievably the biggest hits will be taken in those same states that control the electoral college outcome! Most of those key states will have their uninsured rate near-double or more! 

Take a look at this excellent depiction of what will happen: 
Which states would be hit hardest by Obamacare repealPennsylvania, for example, will have 1,221,000 more uninsured.  That's a  a 197% increase. Michigan: 1,014,000, also a 197% increase. And so on down the list.

Besides the Rust Belt states, look at what what happens to Kentucky and West Virginia! They get hit the hardest. Harder than 48 other states! Kentucky has its uninsured people increase by 231%! That makes it second only to West Virginia in loss of health care for its people. 

And guess which state Senator Mitch McConnell represents. 

Kentucky! 

This is a strange way to "represent" a state, isn't it?

These people who will be kicked off their health insurance are in effect being murdered. When reckless disregard becomes too egregious it changes from gross negligence to murder because the intent to kill can be presumed from the high degree of disregard of the inflicted danger. 

Do we know people die from lack of medical care? Yes, we do. Can we predict the elderly will die if kicked out of nursing homes? 

Well, duh!

In 2009 Harvard estimated that 45,000 people died each year for lack of health insurance in the years following the Clinton failure to enact coverage. These dead included a family friend whose life could have been saved if he had had insurance.  He was only in his 40's. We didn't know his plight or would have helped. He was too proud to ask, I guess. New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of ...

Then Obamacare came along and began to save people, not just from death, but from unneccesary, untreated pain and suffering. 

People could get help.

And now a majority of Americans like Obamacare, according to polls. More than half of Americans approve of Obamacare now, Gallup ...

By contrast, the GOP health insurance bill to replace Obamacare has polled this past week at approval rates of 12%, 16%, and 17%. In fact, if you add the low approval rate of the GOP bill to Trump's low approval rate, even the combined total is less than the approval rate for Obamacare standing alone.

I worked for 30 years in politics to help people. Much of this work was in running campaigns. In fact, I may have been the first woman to ever run a Congressional campaign. We lost that one, though we did get some benefits for the people, e.g. a hundred housing units for farmworkers who were living in hovels and a federal law to prohibit  mass arrest and detention without due process. Pretty good stuff. Still, we didn't win the election. 

But we didn't engineer our own loss like these Republicans are apparently now doing. We fought like hell to win even in a district that was "unwinnable" according to the registration numbers. 

So I don't get it. 

Why are the Republicans setting themselves up to lose the White House and the House of Representatives? Instead of going for broke like we did a half-century ago, they are breaking all hope of winning.

Am I missing something here? 

They can't all be as nutsy as the ostensible head of their party. Is there actually some dark, hidden goal in their apparent craziness?

Anyway, Happy Fourth of July! And don't worry. The Great Experiment will go on! Neither Trump nor the ruthlessness of Mitch McConnell's GOP will destroy this country. As Lincoln said, America is the last best hope of humankind. 

It shall not perish from the earth. 









Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why Democrats Won't Now Work With GOP on Health Insurance



Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to scare his stubborn fellow senators into geting on board with his version of a bill to repeal/replace Obamacare. His threat is that if they don't give him enough GOP votes he'll just have to work with the Democrats to pass his bill.  McConnell warns Trump, GOP on health bill failure - POLITICO

Big problem, Mitch: the Democrats aren't interested in working on your bill. After it dies and has been dragged away, they'll work with the GOP on fresh new ground. 

Sounds harsh? No, it's just sensible. The Democrats have at least two and a half good reasons to take a hands-off position regarding your bill.

First, you don't mean what you say. They know that you are just using the threat of Democratic participation to coerce reluctant GOP senators into voting your way. These hold-out GOP senators are indeed afraid of Democratic participation. In the states of these recalcitrant senators and many of the other GOP senators, co-operating with Democrats is heresy. Senators who work with Democrats are toast at election time. That's a political climate you have helped father. Let's hope it now bites you on the you-know-what. So yours is an empty threat. You won't risk losing even more  votes, those already on-board. Thus you are actually inviting the Democrats to a party that isn't going to happen, and the Democrats won't accept being shark bait in your duplicitous strong-arming of your ranks.

The second reason the Democrats want no part in tinkering with your very bad bill, Senator M, is that you and the Democrats can never agree on the issue most central to this bill: drastically cutting Medicaid. Be honest! You GOP don't actually want to reform health insurance but instead, under the guise of halth insurance reform, you want to cut Medicaid funding for elderly in nursing homes and for the poor in order to finance a big gift to the rich. 

Under your conniving the  $710 billion cut to Medicaid over 10 years is to be used to pay for a similar amount of tax cut for the rich. Further, this cut to Medicaid has to come before the tax measure. reform. Under Senate procedural rules, the money to balance your huge tax gift to the rich has to be ready and waiting, already identified, in order for your so-called tax reform bill to pass the Senate on a simple majority rather than a super-majority that would necessitate some Democratic votes. There are no Democrats conservative enough to vote for that tax gift to the rich. Therefore you are stuck with trying to get the Medicaid money now with just a simple majority vote. 

(The LA Times says nearly $800 billion. Other media today have other amounts. "[T]he bill reduces Medicaid funding by almost $800 billion over 10 years compared with what would have been spent under Obamacare."  Is Mitch McConnell trying to tank Trumpcare? - LA Times)

As for what's happening right now, there are no Democrats who will go along with your $710 billion cut to Medicaid. Democrats don't do what even Trump has called "mean" things. As the old saying goes, Democrats care about people; the GOP cares about money. The likelihood of some middle ground on this one doesn't come to mind. Heck, the  GOP can't find a middle ground on it among themselves so as to get a couple of more GOP votes!

So why should the Democrats enter into a hopeless "bipartisan" effort with you, Senator McC, that will go nowhere, plus give you a chance to blame the Democrats for the failure?

And now the one-half a reason the Democrats won't work to help save your bill:  The polls.

Yesterday four major polls reported American approval of the GOP bill has gone down through the crust of the earth.  12%, 16%, 17%, 24%. Even a majority of GOP hate the bill. Even a majority of Trump supporters hate it.

Why would anyone want to get involved in that? Especially when there's the hopeless stalemate about cutting Medicaid.

And get this straight, McConnell: bad polls or not for the bill,  Democrats are not throwing 22 million people off their health insurance and cutting life-and-death aid to our old and our poor. Not now. Not ever. 

That's not a raving liberal's point of view. The low polls I cited above show that almost all Americans oppose throwing the poor and the elderly over the cliff. Good for the American people!

In those poll numbers is the proof that America is truly great again!

Just like it always was. 






Monday, June 26, 2017

Supreme Court Did NOT Uphold Trump's Travel Ban! And Kennedy's Not Leaving!


First, about Justice Kennedy.
All the rumors about him retiring are apparently untrue. He made no retirement announcement today, the traditonal "goodbye day". Thank heaven! He's apparently staying. He's the swing vote in 5-4 decisions. His being replaced by a Trump appointee is too awful to think about. 

Nevertheless, right now Trump is likely strutting and balleyhooing that the Supreme Court has upheld his travel ban. 

That's not what's happened. 

Without having read the actual text of the Court decision (it's not available just yet), my reading of the news coverage is that the Court greatly restricted the ban so that it's virtually a nothing:

"[T]he ban may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.  (Quoted by the Washington Post, 
Supreme Court allows limited version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect.

That's a very porous ban! After all, it typically took two years to get a visa before the whole ban thing started!

Further sticking its finger into Trump's eye, the Court has given his now-decimated ban a very short shelf life,  just three months for the feds to come up with persuasive evidence that something like the ban is actually needed. Further, the lower court orders freezing the Trump ban since February have already gone a long way to running out the clock on Trump's ban. Five months have already gone by without the ban in effect.

The case is set for further Court review in the October session, at which time the executive branch has the burden of showing justification for such a measure. There isn't any.

Since the executive has also been firmly told that it has until October to make good on its claim it needed time to create better vetting, the executive will be faced in October with the weird task of proving that it still has a problem even after having been given a total of eight months to fix it! The Trump folks have had since late January to fix their vetting!

The actual big news is that the Court was willing to limit the executive power at all in the areas of national security, foreign affairs, and immigration — areas generally off limits to the Court by its own long-standing policy. In October it will take up the religious discrimination charged against the ban. That is if the ban is not moot by then. Which it likely will be.

In the meantime, the Court's "limited version" of Trump's ban is a three-legged horse, going nowhere very slowly. Consider the myriad number of court cases the Court's ruling will generate if the feds still try to exclude broadly under this Court-ordered weakening of the ban. Consider the termsit includes!  "[T]he ban may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. 

Almost all the people who were so cruelly excluded under Trump's original ban could have come within those exclusions. And if the feds fight to keep the exclusions narrow, an old attorney like me sees lots of litigation in that one sentence. What's a "credible claim"? A "bon fide relationship"? A "person"? An "entity"? 

It's the "Attorney Full Employment Act"!

I'll write later if a reading of the Supreme Court's complete text seems to warrant more comment from this old attorney. 

Meantime remember that those writing the news stories and the headlines are not attorneys. 

Also in the meantime ignore Trump's ignorant claims about this decision as he foments to his hardcore base. 

Ignoring Trump is a good motto for life! 





Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trump as a District Attorney Who Gets Tired of Winning

I am so seriously whacked by the rumor of Supreme Court justice Kennedy retiring that I have to find joy wherever I can. I won't even discuss Trump getting to appoint Kennedy's replacement. I need a dose of distraction!

And just as ever, here comes Mr Distraction himself: here's Trump to cheer us all up with his insane stupidity and the increasingly real image of him in an orange jumpsuit, sporting manacles, and headed out the door to prison. I borrowed this comment from my own Facebook page. Today is Saturday and I had a rough week so I get to cheat and plagarize my own stuff. Maybe this will cheer you up too!
                                        ***********



Here's a lessson on how to convict yourself of obstruction of justice. Note the masterful expertise of an idiot putting both his small feet in his mouth. Trump should be a DA. He could bring prosecutions against himself for crimes and thus "get tired of winning"! And why does he attack Obama for not punishing Russia for something that Trump doesn't even believe happened? An idiot for the ages. If there is a future, will anybody believe this guy existed?  His proud look here reminds me of an old theme song from the Golden Age of radio comedy:  "It pays to be ignorant, to be dumb, to be daft, to be ignorant." 

trump-indicates-tape-tweet-was-meant-to-affect-comey-testimony.html

He confesses he meant to affect Comey's testimony in a potential proceeding aginst him. He has here spelled out the requisite intent for the crime of obstruction of justice. It's textbook! No one has so blatantly convicted himself since some long-ago fool said, "I shot Cock Robin"! And Trump did this right out in front of God and the good folks of Iowa. It's enough to make a cat laugh!