Monday, January 30, 2017

Your Immediate Help Needed by the Travelers Trump Still Holds

As of today (Sunday) at 2 p.m. there are still travelers under arrest at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. due to the Trump ban on their entry. This is in defiance of yesterday's court order by the federal judge in Virginia.

We are informed of this by our longtime friend who is the attorney on scene at Dulles. She obtained the order from the court and is with the pro bono rights organization Legal Aid Justice Center/Justice For All. This group needs your donations right now to help these victims of Trump's idiocy and abuse of power.

Go to the website: and contribute what you can.

This weekend the ACLU received $24 million in donations, but this group on-site at Dulles and doing the heavy-lifting there has only received $11 thousand.

Sending money is the least we can do to help those in need and help the attorneys who are donating the work.

We have to rescue these people that our nation has victimized.  Let's show the world we are not all stupid and evil of heart.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Conned By Staff, Don the Con Signs Useless "Executive Orders"

Is Trump's staff conning Don the Con Man? It sure looks like it!

Trump campaigned on doing things right away. His staff is obliging him by giving him one-page orders to sign in rapid succession that are nothing but boiler-plate and vague statements of what he'd like. In addition to being fatally vague they are almost all barred any effect by existing federal law or the Constitution.

The con is being conned! 

Donald Trump and his supporters will learn in due course that it does NOT pay to be ignorant! He is ignorant of the Constitution and federal law. His current dog-and-pony show should therefore end in disillusionment for his supporters as the so-called orders run into a bunch of federal judges. Meantime he has enraged environmentalists, women, human rights advocates, federal workers, and others who know how to organize and retaliate.

How do I know his executive orders are zilch? I am an attorney, I have written legislation, and I have taught law school classes in legislative drafting and analysis. My biggest case wins have been based on   careful analysis of statutes.Most of Trump's executive orders for which I have seen texts are a bunch of nothing. Others clearly contravene existing law.  Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal

So just trust me on this one. I can thus spare you a tedious examination of the wording of his orders, orders now floating down like the snowfall outside my window. You can take my word: almost all his orders are by and large useless. Like the snowflakes, they will melt away.

That is, if our system of checks and balances works. Will the judges stand firm? I have more confidence in the ones President Obama appointed, but I don't abandon hope in the GOP-appointed judges. They may indeed be ethically responsible people and patriotic enough to do their duty.

As for the Supreme Court and these pseudo-orders, it may be years before cases challenging the orders get to the Court, the average journey taking about eight years. Hopefully Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg can hang on for four years until we get Trump out and can have a Democratically-appointed judge replace her instead of the Clarence Thomas clone Trump would likely choose. (Remember that the seat now open was held by the granite-brain Scalia. It's hard to imagine Trump could find a worse judge to replace Scalia, but he'll undoubtedly try. In any event, the Court will not essentially get worse than it's been if Trump has just this one appointment..)

Look also for another barrier to Trump's orders being effective. The federal employees generally love the subject matter of their jobs whether protecting our forests or fighting disease or protecting us from bad food. They will not placidly accept Trump's attacks on their work. To fight him, they can — and will — foot-drag forever. I know from my eight years working for Governor Jerry Brown in his first governorship of California when I served  in the next rank to cabinet secretary. Not long after I got to Sacramento, an old hand in the civil service took me to lunch one day. "It takes forever to turn a big ship" he said. "You political people come and go. We staff go on forever." 

Then I watched the implications of that unfold around me, and I countered by being very, very nice to the staff. If you are nice to people they are generally nice right back. Of course, I never asked them to betray their basic mission. But I did do something equally challenging; I asked them to go the extra mile, to get something extra done, or to expedite something. When other people wanted stuff done, they contacted me. "You're the one who can get things done around here." I even had requests like that from long-time legislators as well as administrators and citizen groups. I had learned how to turn the ship, thanks to that old guy who was named Frank and is now long dead. As a result the people of California owe many parks, beaches, redwoods, historic sites and other good things to good old Frank's wise words.

Now just imagine how little love the federal employees already have toward Trump. They have been his ultimate whipping boys/gals throughout his campaign. All his condemnation of Washington D.C. is ultimately aimed at them. Plus he has even made the mistake of allowing talk in his campaign of ending the federal employee unions and getting rid of civil service. Trump campaign against bureaucracy alarms federal workers

Them's fighting words, Mac!  

It's a challenge to the ranks of one of the finest group of workers in any government in the world! It's a proposed attack on the integrity of government we have achieved through the civil service system. 

Not only has he tried to make the civi servants fearful, but he is not nice to people. He fawns on the few, including Obama briefly. But he is generally a snide and arrogant man. No one is gonna love this boss!

Add to all this that he has — with a couple of exceptions — appointed obviously incompetent people to head the federal departments. These nominees know nothing about the work of the departments in question. Even worse, some of them have vowed to destroy the department to which they are named and to undo all its achievements. 

This is not a good way to ingratiate oneself with the rank and file, is it?

Trump's destruction-minded proposed cabinet secretaries are in for a rough ride. I like to start out thinking small, e.g. no toilet paper in their executive bathrooms. Phones that don't work. Messages that "got lost". AC that fails in their offices in the midst of D.C.'s sweatbox summers. 

And leaks! Leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks, leaks. 

Like Nixon, Trump will be tempted to create a group of "plumbers" to fix the leaks. And that was Nixon's road to Watergate! (I see Trump headed already for impeachment. More on that another time soon.)

Already hot stuff is leaking out of such super-sealed venues as the White House staff and also this week's meeting of the GOP to plan strategy. From the latter we even have an audio tape on which GOP Congressmen can be heard bemoaning the impossibility of repealing Obamacare and replacing it.  In Private, G.O.P. Agonizes Over Health Law Repeal

Did a waiter make this tape as happened in 2012 to Mitt Romney and his "47%" speech? 

Since Trump notoriously fails to pay "the little people" who work for him, I'll bet the waiters of the world really hate him.  Well, now I am getting carried away, but the truth remains: everybody you kick on your way up is waiting to kick you on your way down. 

Trump and his minions have sown lots of ill will. Even now the chickens are gathering for the flight home to roost.

Trump's smug crowing will soon be drowned out by the real roosters asserting their rule in their own yards of government territory. 

It isn't easy to turn a big ship. 

(And how's that for mixing metaphors?  Chickens and sailing ships.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trump Causes Stampede to the Border and a Human Crisis

I have have virtually to say about this story from today's New York Times. It speaks for itself about the stupidity and inhumanity of our so-called president. It's worse than Bush flying over New Orleans and doing nothing to help relieve the wretchedness of the Superdome. It's worse because Bush didn't cause Hurricane Katrina but Trump caused this panic.

As Migrants Strain Border Towns, Pressure Builds on Mexico to Act   

Monday, January 23, 2017

Now Is Our Moment of "Amazing Hope"


Let's battle Trump! This is your chance to do the most meaningful thing you will ever do in your life. And you will do it with the help of these heroes. Three wise guys like these! How can we lose?

President Obama,

Yogi Berra,  cntr                              

Anand Giridharadas, rt

American author Anand Giridharadas sets the stage for the best time you will ever have in your life, identifying this time as "A moment of amazing hope for a generation that gets to live in a time that matters. It's not usually pleasant times that matter."

This era can be Trump's era or it can be your era. It can be your 1960s, your Civil Rights era, your chance to be as good as the "greatest generation" that fought and won WWII. Each of those times was a fight for the survival of what was the best in America, to extend America to all her people, or for America's very survival. Now we shall be fighting for America's existence as a democracy. And perhaps the survival of the world.

President Obama tells us that his daughters aren't "moping" about Trump's election. Nor should we. He also says that "Only the end of the world is actually the end of the world."

He's rented an office in Washington D.C. and says he will be joining with Eric Holder to rescue and repair the parts of our election system that are so broken as to have made an unfit Donald Trump president even though he did not win the popular vote. Obama and Holder will also work to stop the voter suppression which may have caused Trump's supposed win in Wisconsin, Michgan and Pennsylvania. They will also work to fix the redistricting scheme by which the GOP holds control of the House of Representatives even though the Democrats polled a million more votes nationally for their Democratic House candidates. We are going to help President Obama and former US Attorney General Holder. Obama has not abandoned us and we shall not abandon him.

I'll let you know when the action begins and what we can do.  I was a community organizer, so was Obama, and you can be too. Or a sign painter, a host for a coffee fund-raiser, a letter writer, a driver to a rally. Or a candidate for public office or for a position in the party. We can do this thing.

Yes, we can. Si, se puedes!

Some Democratic big shots are also thinking about what they can do. Inauguration Becomes a Time to Protest and Plan  Yes, there are indeed some big names in this bunch. But don't figure you'll just let them do the job. They are the ones who dropped the ball until now! As did the Democratic National Committee and Nancy Pelosi. Please notice there's no mention of Howard Dean in this article! He's the one who guided the Democratic party to winning the House and the Senate in 2006 when he was chair of the Democratic National Committee. He's the one who knows how to do the work and does it! Maybe we can lure him in at some point.

Meantime we can remember Anand's comforting and challenging words. And we can support the efforts of Obama and Holder.

But what, you ask, is Yogi Berra doing here?

He's the excellent ball player who knew that we shouldn't give up easily and would—to the astonishment of all—rescue his team by hitting impossible pitches in the clutches  He said all those wonderful zany things that obscured what a good player he was and was credited with some he didn't say. "I never said a lot of those things I said." But one of his best sayings wasn't zanny at all. It was profound. Asked his opinion about a game the Yankees were trailing in, he replied: "It ain't over till it's over."

Our America is not over. Our democracy is not over. Not unless we give up now and "mope". Your team is up to bat now.

C'mon! We can do this. Yes, we can. Si, se puedes!

Batter up!

P.S. An ex-president retains the title"President".  In labeling Obama as President I am therefore not being unrealistic. In fact, I am the most realistic person you will ever encounter and that is what has made me an idealist. Because only ideals, high hopes, faith and perserverance are real. Because they get results that endure. Evil never lasts.

P.P.S. Yes, I know there are no women among the "three wise guys". I was a liberated woman before there was Women's Lib. I was one of those who broke down the brick walls for you younger ones. I chose these three guys because they suited my purpose in this essay.  My purpose here and for a while into the future is to be sure that the next time a woman runs she gets a fair shot from election machinery that isn't broken. My other purpose is to preserve all the civil rights, ethnic rights, women's rights, environmental protections, and other good things that I helped win for you!  I am 80. You are the ones I did it for originally (back then you were "the future") and you are all I care about now. I am sidelined now except for writing, so I'll be "Coach" or cheering section, okay?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pence's Own Planet? No! It's Yogi and The Onion!

This posting is mainly about Mike Pence, but it's healthier for you to look at Yogi Berra. We'll get back to Berra at the end!

Now for Pence!
The following Onion piece is so funny because it seems so plausible. We already knew Vice-President Pence lives on a different planet. So now The Onion puts his daughter there too!

WASHINGTON—Admonishing those responsible for failing to uphold their moral duties, Vice President Mike Pence expressed disappointment Saturday in the 200,000 husbands and fathers who had allowed the women and girls in their charge to attend the Women’s March on Washington. “I can’t tell you how let down I feel by the heads of these households who did not simply give their wives and daughters a firm, decisive ‘no’ when they asked to participate in today’s demonstration,” said Pence, noting with frustration that many of the protesters had been granted permission to travel across the country alone and stay for several days in a faraway city with no male chaperone whatsoever to guide and look after them. “There are a few men marching as well, so they must be the ones supervising this whole thing, and thank God for that. But I can’t help but feel that these ladies’ custodians—the ones who were supposed to be providing a masculine voice of reason on these sorts of matters—have really come up short today.” Pence stressed that he, for example, had told his 23-year-old eldest daughter that it was simply out of the question when she mentioned she was thinking of attending the march.  
Mike Pence Disappointed In The 200,000 Husbands And Fathers Who Permitted Women To Attend March - The Onion - America's Finest News Source  (Thanks for Onion piece to Joel, my artist friend on a mountain top in New Mexico.)

Do you think China will be taken in by this as it has been by other Onion bits? 

Naw! China already knows from TV footage and "crowd scientists" that there were more than 200,000 at the March on Washington.  Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March Had 3 Times as Many People as Inauguration

Notice that the Onion hasn't scored against Trump like it has against Pence. Trump is already so preposterous he can't be an Onion target.  If a guy is already flat on his keester he no longer has to fear banana peels!

My new motto:  Laugh! Trump may be president but at least he's not dictator. 

Not yet!

And as for Pence? He'll be busy being Yogi Berra, doing it to cover for Trump as he did in the VP debate. Mike Pence To America: Trump Never Said Those Things He Said ...

Yogi Bera is, of course, the one who originally said, "I never said all those things I said."

He also said, "It isn't over until it's over."

That's profoundly true for right now. Like President Obama said in his final press conference, "Only the end of the world is the end of the world."

Trump and Pence are not the end of the America. The end of America comes only when you give up fighting for her to be better.

One more look at Yogi? Sure.

He was sunny and funny and a hell of a ball player. You be those things too. Now get into the game of shutting down Trump and Pence! (Instructions to follow after Obama finishes his vacation.)

Batter up!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump's Tiny Crowd and His Big Tantrum

Trump failed miserably on his way into office Friday, getting only a small crowd for his inauguration. Nobody much cares, but he sure does. He's gone on an angry tear ever since, screetchng about the media "lying" about his size of crowd. (His size of things matters a lot to him apparently).

He had predicted a "record-breaking" turnout. In reality, it was pathetic. The latest estimates run about 200,000 to 300,000. CNN, 7 p.m. EST, 7-21-17.

By contrast President Obama's inauguration filled the entire Mall between the White House and the Washington Monument with an estimated 1.8 million people. Even George W got about 500,000 at his inaugurations.

As photos show, Trump couldn't even fill the first few squares of the Mall nearest the ceremonies. And he can't blame the weather. Trump Day was a mild 40 degrees in D.C. with occasional rain, but it was a frigid 20 degrees for Obama's big day.

Oblivious to the fact that we can see with our own eyes the enormous difference in crowd sizes, Trump is insiting that the media is lying and that he actually had a bigger crowd than Obama. The man is now president of the United States and he is arguing about the size of his crowd! There is no bottom to how far this guy can sink

Note: Both photos were taken at the same point in time at each proceeding. For more, see  Inauguration crowd comparison: Trump's crowd size smaller ...

Obama's Inauguration 2009 v. Trump's in 2017                                                          

The white plastic stuff has been used before by the Park Department to protect the soggy grass from trampling by a crowd, e.g. 2013 for Obama's second inauguration. But on Friday the crowd didn't show up in sufficient numbers to cover the plastic as it did for Obama's event. A side effect of the white stuff is to make clear that the crowd is very, very small for Trump. Now he will probably attack the Park Department!

He's the Rube Waddell of politics. Waddell was baseball's wild man, a pitcher who was terrific but could be distracted by people waving teddy bears at him while he was pitching or by a fire engine going past. He'd even leave the field to run after a fire engine.

Well, better a distracted Trump than one who focuses on making bad policy. Unless his bad temper  and his childish defensivness suddenly involves striking back with nuclear weapons!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Standing in Cold Rain to SaveTheir Future

Standing in the Cold Rain to Save Their Future

In a little town in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania high school students stood in the cold winter rain today to counter the inauguration of Trump. Their motto: "Love Trumps Hate". Their message: "Peace and Love to All".

Reminds you of another time? The 60s with its fight against the Vietnam War and its message of "Peace and Love"?

This is better than that. This is not young people also protesting for free love, drugs, and don't-draft-me-to die. The goal here isn't more benefits to them. It's more freedom, dignity and safety for all. It's fear of classmates being deported, of federal lands being given away to businesses, of cuts to public education and the arts.... Fears too numerous to list. 

They also fear the suppression of the press and stifling of free speech. They fear the use of violence in politics. They truly fear the divison in America.

An enlightened school administration approved this demonstration, not from any political beliefs but from a belief in our Constitution and from a sound belief that we learn by doing. This was, the administration said, an opportunity for the students to experience their First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.

But we SHALL overcome. This is the saddest time since the death of JFK. Yet, as he said, we also can say: "The torch has passed to a new generation." Here is that generation, standing in the cold rain.

Happily it is broad enough to include you, no matter your age. But it's lovely that "a child shall lead us." For the children have the most to lose.

Take heart! As Michael Moore said to us last night regarding Trump's supporters, "Don't be afraid. There's more of us than there are of them."

Now YOU Must Be The Greatest Generation

Whenever German or British vehicles — tanks, staff cars, trucks — broke down during WWII, the German and British soldiers simply abandoned them. When American vehicles broke down, the US soldiers got out and fixed them.

Our federal government now is broken and our democracy could be dying. A totally inadequate and seemingly vicious man will became president today, not elected by a majority but chosen through a broken system, the  now-infamous "electoral college". The Congress is likewise not representative of a majority. The Democrats got the most Congressional votes nationwide by one million in 2012, even after the gerrymandering of 2010, but have been consistently denied control of the House of Representatives. In 2016 the Democrats polled just 1.1% fewer votes nationally for House seats but were allotted 24% fewer seats!

Similarly, the minority party's appointees have ruled the Supreme Court for 59 years. Last year, defying the Constitution, the GOP-conrolled Senate blocked the nation's majority party and its president from filling the current vacancy. Thus the control of the Court by the minority party will continue, the same Court that has upheld voter suppression laws enacted by the minority party after it gerrymandered itself into unbreakable control of the House of Representatives and many state legislatures. Like no other time in our history since the pre-Civil Rights era has a Supreme Court so assiduously worked to deny voting rights.

In short, America's system of selecting its government is broken. Like the "greatest generation" of GIs in WWII we have to fix it. Join the coming effort by President Obama and Eric Holder to fix the structural shortcomings that have undercut our democracy.

Yes, we can. Because we must.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Force Against Trump Arises Far Away!

Watch out Donald Trump and the GOP! The people are on the march again! Take a look at the schedule that ends this post. It lists what's coming at you even from sparsely-populated rural Oregon, the site of the 2015 march pictured here. And this time these gallant folks won't be alone on their Oregon road. All kinds of concerned people are coming to fix our country. They outnumbered Trump voters by 3 million in November! All across our country, these people will heed Mother Teresa's words as we fight to take back our America: "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."  

This was, I grant you, a small though brave force back in March 2015. But it was a big deal for its time and place. Oregon is one of America's mostly-empty places. Lots of beautiful vistas of mountains and sea, vineyards and orchards, roiling rivers and mighty forests. The people are few, scattered, and hard-working. There is only one city—Portland, which isn't really big but puts on a brave front.

This march in Oregon is America the powerful. A nation of people whom the rest of the world and Donald Trump do not understand. Oregon is typical of many American states in being rural. But it's not hiding from today's world and the changes that demography is bringing. Its people are strong and capable.

Whenever I get discouraged I think of this picture of the folks walking that road along the tracks. It gives me hope and peace and light in these last years of my life. What a great group, great picture, and great hope to close out my life. I can leave, knowing America is in good hands.

For Oregonians are very American — tough, resilient and self-reliant. They illustrate two stories which in turn illustrate the American "can do" character. First is one from the Gold Rush of 160 years ago. On mountain sides in Nevada and California, the gold-seekers enacted laws about how claims were to be established and maintained so as to avoid violence. There in the wilderness they devised their own government and its rules, and the mining laws they produced became the law of mining thereafter.

The other story is from WWII. Whenever German or British vehicles broke down — tanks, staff cars, trucks — the German and British soldiers simply abandoned them. When American vehicles broke down, the US soldiers got out and fixed them.

Our federal government now is broken and our democracy could be dying. A totally inadequate man will become president in two days, not elected by a majority but chosen through a broken system, the  now-infamous "electoral college".

The Congress is likewise not representative of a majority. The Democrats got the most Congressional votes nationwide by one million in 2012, even after the gerrymandering of 2010, but have been consistently denied control of the House of Representatives. In 2016 the Democrats polled just 1.1% fewer votes nationally for House seats but were allotted 24% fewer seats!

Similarly, the minority party's appointees have ruled the Supreme Court for 59 years. Last year, defying the Constitution, the GOP-controlled Senate blocked the nation's majority party and its president from filling the current vacancy. Thus the control of the Court by the minority party will continue, the same Court that has upheld voter suppression laws enacted by the minority party after it gerrymandered itself into unbreakable control of the House of Representatives and many state legislatures. Like no other time in our history since the pre-Civil Rights era has a Supreme Court so assiduously worked to deny voting rights.

In short, America's system of selecting its government is broken. Our democracy is broken.We have lost what we had on those mountainsides: self-government by majority vote.

But here come the troops to fix the vehicle and assert proper government on the mountainside. I show you now the email notice from one little Democratic Club in one little Oregon town, the same club as in the above picture. The newsletter is published by a grandmother named Liz, whom I am very proud to call my friend. I salute her. She worked assiduously for Obama in 2008 and 2012, then for Bernie and Clinton in turn in 2016.  She picked herself up from the dust of the 2016 dysfunctional election and has set her people on the march again. If all over the country the Democrats and their allies do as Liz is doing, we are going to take back our country and our government. Liz concludes each of her news letter by quoting Mother Teresa:"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."   

So here from beautiful McMinnville Oregon is Liz's action schedule:

Wednesday, January 18, 6 p.m. ​ Community Organizing 101. First Baptist Church Social Hall, 125 SW Cowls Street, McMinnville. Sponsored by Action Together Oregon: Yamhill Valley.

Saturday, January 21, 12 noon. Yamhill County Women's March. McMinnville Grand Ballroom. 325 NE 3rd Street. Hosted by Yamhill County Awareness. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families--recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. This is a family focused event; children welcome. We will gather in the McMinnville Grand Ballroom for an informal Meet & Greet; some speakers will be present. The march will begin at 1:30; please bring signs. Donations are accepted to defray any cost. 

Salem Women's March11am. Salem Capitol Mall, 900 Court Street. Contact for details and RSVP.

Portland Women's March12 noon. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 2 SW Naito Parkway. Contact for details and RSVP.

Saturday, January 21, 3:30pm; dinner at 5:30Yamhill Valley Peacemakers Work Session/Vegetarian Potluck Dinner. Davis/Gunn Home, 652 SE Washington Street, McMinnville. Welcome all who are curious or interested in YVP's potential and would like to explore a variety of options. RSVP  Wayne & Kathy Beckwith at or 503-864-2749.

Sunday, January 222 - 3:15pm.  "I'm Glad You're My Neighbor" Vigil and Day of Action. ​
The event will be from 2:00-3:15pm at Newberg Friends on 4th & College, and the march will begin in downtown Newberg at 3:30pm.
​ ​
At this point in our national history, we feel the need to intentionally get to know our neighbors, share our hopes and fears, and to stand in solidarity with one another here in Newberg.
 Wednesday, January 25, 5:30pmCommunity Rights Workshop Follow-up. Liz's home: 1525 NE 18th Street, McMinnville. RSVP for Soup & Bread dinner.

Thursday, January 26, 6:15pm.​ Meeting of the Yamhill County Democrats. (Calling all Progressives!) Windrose Conference & Meeting Center, 809 W 1st, Newberg. Come early for dinner at 5:45pm.

Attached are documents: Safehouse Window Design and the Indivisible Guide - A Practical Guide for Defending against the Trump Agenda. Please share with others.

Moving Forward... 


Find a group near you. Or organize your own. Our families and ancestors died for democracy. If you don't rescue it, who will? Let's all move forward with, Liz! 

Hey, Liz, wait for us! We're coming too!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Scales Are Tipping Against Trump and Toward "Puppet"

The scales are tipping against Donald Trump on the important issue of whether he is a "Manchurian candidate", i.e. a Russian puppet, though not by the brain washing used in the iconic film. (His brain doesn't stay focused long enough to be washed, I would guess.) 

He is possibly controlled by leverage Putin has over him. Readers of ex-spy novelist John Le Carre know whereof I speak. Readers of actual WWII and Cold War espionage also know what I'm talking about. 

Or he is just such an idiot as to believe he should go along with strong-man Putin, a real life model for a school yard bully. 

We need to know which it is.

This week the report on Trump and his Russian ties worked its way into the media via the New York Times  and BuzzFeed. Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had ... ; BuzzFeed link is full document

After my initial shouting of "smoking gun", I backed off, becoming more cautious about whether the report's provenance makes it an actual "smoking gun" as to Trump being a Russian puppet in collusion with the Russian's hacking of the 2016 campaign. Or is the report a piece of disinformation from the Russians or even just a bunch of nothing but rumors. Having backed off for a day I then remembered how long it took for the smoking gun to emerge in Watergate. A year!

Now I'm just watching and waiting for the chickens to come home to roost. And they seem to be.

In the last two days, four items have joined together that seem to support the original "unsubstantiated" report of Trump being a Russian "puppet". 

First, I remember he boasted last year of business deals in Russia, but yesterday he denied them
though "his dealings there go back decades."   donald-trump-a-modern-manchurian-candidate.html

Second, he refused at yesterday's press conference to answer whether he or his people had been in touch with the Russians during the campaign. Mr. Trump, We Need an Answer  (My recollection is that there were reports at the time of such visits to Russia.)

Third, as Lawrence O'Donnell has noted, Trump attacks everybody but never attacks Russia. "The Last Word", MSNBC, 1-11-17. No cite yet available.

Fourth,Trump won't release his income taxes, which might show Russian investments. His lame excuse is that he's under IRS audit. When I studied tax in law school, an audit did not preclude a taxpayer from releasing his own returns.

Lots of unanswered questions about Trump aren't there?

Maybe the best one is Jimmy Fallon's last night: "Can you impeach someone before they're sworn in?"

We're Coming With You, President Obama!

We too are sad at your leaving the White House. But you are not leaving us. And we are not leaving you. You have announced you now want to work on getting state legislatures back into the Democratic column before the next redistricting.

Nothing is more important. We can thereby get a fair shake in the next redistricting of Congressional seats.

We can then also have fair-minded legislatures to repeal the voter suppression laws that gave the election to Donald Trump.  the-massive-election-rigging-scandal-the-media-ignored_partner

We can also have truly democratic (small "d" intentional) that will join the current interstate movement to change how the electoral college votes so that it corresponds with the national popular vote. (Watch for my upcoming blog on this.)

We can also have conscientious state legislatures backstopping the federal environmental protections that Trump has promised to dismantle. And the same regarding consumer protections, health care, job safety, labor unions, wages, college funding.... and on and on.

Trump is set on much destruction. Let us destroy Trump's agenda by taking over the state capitols. Let's get behind Obama in his wise choice of what he will next do.

Tell him we are coming! Contact him now! Before he leaves the White House next week.

Let him leave knowing that we are with him, that he is still our leader, and that we have his back.

The very best way is by snail mail because the effort it requires makes it very impressive.  Next best is phone. E-mails come in such profusion that it's hard for a staff to get through them all. Here's contact info for all three:Write or Call the White House | Best is possibly on-line messaging. The link for that is:

Let's send him on his way with something to be glad about and with our encouragement as he takes on a new job. In his farewell speech he spoke of the hope we have inspired in him. Let us justify that hope.  

Yes, we can. Si se puedes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The President's Farewell Has Broken Our Hearts

The 20,000 who came to hear him speak were the saddest looking crowd of faces I have seen since 1963 when we said goodbye to John Kennedy. And it's not because of what comes next. That doesn't bear thinking about. No, it's entirely because President Obama is going away. We have lost him to the passing of time. Eight years have slipped away. 

But I shall always remember the dancing in the streets on Election Night in 2008 here in this little town in the mountains of Pennsylvania and around the whole world. And who can forget Jesse Jackson in Chicago's Grant Park with his face covered with tears. 

We cried with joy when you came, President Obama, but these are not tears of joy as you leave.

Do not fear for your legacy. You are secure in our hearts. Especially among the Native Americans, for in you they found the only friend they have ever had in the White House. You need not wonder as does this poet: 

"I wonder if when all is done
Anyone heard my voice
But from the start, we have no choice
Our journeys just begun
I'll never know if I was right
Did I fight hard enough?
Or when the battles grew too rough
Should I have given in?
But here I stand and swear to you
I did the best that I could do
I know my voice was just a whisper
But someone may have heard
There were nights the moon above me stirred
And let me grab a hold
My hands have touched the gold
My heart's been driven by extremes
Blind with dreams, tight with fear
But still, God knows I was here
And oh, I was alive! And now I lay the past to rest
For in the end I did my best."


Mr. President, it was a splendid best.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Looming End of Trump The Brat/Dictator

From the beginning, Donald Trump has unceasingly attacked the media. Now he has attacked the intelligence agencies. As Evan McMullen, former CIA officer and recent presidential candidate, pointed out on MSNBC last week, these are the classic first moves of a dictator, i.e. discrediting the forces that might criticize his behavior. MSNBC Lawrence O'Donnell - Intel agencies could disprove.

Should we be in a panic about Trump? Is he really set on being a nuclear-wielding dictator and is now taking the first steps toward that goal? Or is he merely a rich spoiled brat like my cousin Harold, who never in his long life outgrew throwing tantrums?

How dangerous is Trump really?

Well, even a three-year-old is dangerous if he gets hold of matches. Theoretically so is a 70-year-old brat who gets hold of a government and all its powers, including nuclear weapons.

Let's take that big worry off the table first. Even though Trump will get the nuclear codes, the U.S. military will stand between him and launch. You don't believe that? Look back at Watergate: Nixon is alone in the White House, deep in depression and drinking heavily as he faces impeachment, Pat Nixon is long-estranged and of no comfort, and Nixon's trusted top aides and friends Haldeman and Erlichman are on the way to jail. On his way out of the White House Erlichman has pulled an Army general into the White House—Alexander Haig— as Nixon's keeper. No one has  ever asked why an Army general was pulled in. But it seems obvious: to be certain that Nixon—increasingly drunk and unstable— didn't launch missiles. The military doesn't want a nuclear war, partly because there's no "la gloire" about it, no one around afterwards to hand out medals. The military will find a way to block an unjustified launch by Trump.

Second worry: Trump will wipe out the planet, not with nuclear winter, but with causing a global hot box. No, he won't. I already discussed that a couple of days after the election. What Can Trump REALLY Do? First of all, state environmental laws replicate many federal laws and are in many cases tougher and more nimble. Also, even executive orders (a principle environmental tool of President Obama) can't be reversed legally without a court-acceptable rationale. And the election outcome has driven many milions in contributions into the coffers of the environmental groups. Any changes Trump seeks to weaken environmental protection will be tied up in the courts for years and years.

Third big worry: repeal of Obamacare. The GOP Congress has no replacement plan so it's going to lie. Its current tactic will be to vote the repeal of Obamacare on the first day but the repeal's effect will be set for down the road by two years (or even four). Thus the GOP Congress could say it "kept the promise" of "voting immediate repeal" without really doing immediate repeal. It will have bought itself a couple of years to solve a problem it has had six years to solve but failed to do so. As for those who thus lose their Obamacare, most of them voted for Trump!

Fourth big worry: destruction of bank regulations and other financial measures, terminating consumer protections, etc.  Pretty tough to do when there will be a piercing scream from the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, the public would be justifiably outraged with letting the banks go back to wildly speculating, shafting the public, and then needing bailouts again.

Fifth big worry: Trump will reduce the CIA and make us vulnerable to another 9-11.  That makes a good anti-Trump slogan for now but it won't happen. I'll explain why in my next blog.

Sixth big worry: we will be tromped by Russia. This is a non-starter. Trump and his crony, the president of Exxon, have lots to gain financially by snuggling up to Russia on oil deals. But the USA has nothing to gain that justifies being cozy with Russia, short of each agreeing to destroy its own nuclear arsenal.  Such will never happen under Putin. Nuclear weapons are all Russia has to be pseudo-big-time. (We might join forces with Russia against ISIS, but we are actually decimating them pretty well on our own.) Russia exports nothing we need. It exports nothing anybody needs except some energy to some Eastern European countries.

In the global scheme of things, it's just not much of a player except to be a mischief-maker. And it can't use the nukes! The real threat Russia poses is hacking, as we now know. But we can out-hack Russia.  We can shut it down. It may be able to do the same to us. Yet—as with nuclear war—everybody loses in such a contest. We just need to smarten up and spend some fed money on cyber protections. Such funds should now flow readily from Congress because of Russia's attempt to interfere in the election.

The subject of Russia really focuses us on Congress. The biggest barrier between Trump and Russia is the Republican Congressional majority. The GOP is a party based on half a century of hate-and-fear-Russia. As well as hating Russia, the GOP Congressmen also are not Trump's friends. All through the campaign he spat on the GOP Congressmen and they spat back. Now he needs them and they don't need him. They would gladly be rid of him. He's an embarrassment. If he gets too cozy with Russia they will pounce, possibly finding in such conduct an impeachable offense of aiding and giving comfort to an enemy. Many in Congress are likely also to be now giving a fond look at the Espionage Act of 1917.

Keep in mind that if they impeach Trump they get something they really want: Pence, the v.p. to-be. Whereas Trump is an erratic wild card with no sense of party, Pence is one of the GOP good old boys. He's one of their own. They can work with him. I think he's awful, but we're talking here about why the GOP would impeach Trump.

We are in for an interesting ride through all this. But it seems that this ride is more perilous for Trump than it is for us. Rather than be a dictator, more likely than not he actually just wants to make a lot of money off his presidency. His son-in-law is already trying to cut deals for hotels in China and a major New York City project financed by a Chinese corporation. But Trump and his family will be scrutinized by the media for just such activity. The irony is that Trump's attacks on the Clintons for their greedy grabs have heightened the media's attention to such possible activity by him.

Trump stands in great risk of impeachment if he goes over the line on anything. GOP members of the Senate are already making threatening noises. Remember the old saying: "Everybody you kick on the way up is waiting to kick you on the way down." Right now the GOP is keeping a relatively low profile and not bucking Trump much. I imagine they are letting him have a lot of rope to do you-know-what.

And the Democrats are wisely being very quiet too. Senator Chuck Schumer has vowed not to allow a bad Supreme Court appointment to get through, but otherwise the Democrats are also letting Trump cut his own throat for now and letting the GOP hold the basin. The Democrats will not tarnish any GOP pouncing with a premature Democratic demand of impeachment that can be labeled "partisan attack by Democrats" and make the removal of Trump less credible to the public.

"Let the GOP do its own dirty laundry." That was the Democratic motto in the beginning re Watergate and the Nixon impeachment.

And it worked just fine.