The Mob is Unleashed

President Donald Trump and his GOP friends  explicitly state that the Democrat mob will take control if the Democrats win in November and that America is in danger.

We are in danger from mob violence. But the source of danger is just the opposite from what he claims. The Trump-inspired mob is growing more visible, more brazen, and more dangerous every day. The examples are too numerous to count – whites calling the police or assaulting on law-abiding blacks or Muslims, men assaulting women because Trump said it was OK, right-wing white celebrities uttering racially insensitive comments, Proud Boy Fascist thugs beating up anti-Trump protestors, and many more.

Now it has reached a new level. The mail bomber arrested in Florida was an ardent Trump supporter who had acted to eliminate those who he perceived were on Trump’s Enemies List. Cesar Sayoc is just one example of the true danger to our country created by Trump and his vitriolic language. Make no mistake: this was an attempt by a MAGA disciple to undermine our Democracy by decapitating one of our political parties. The fact that this domestic terrorist was incompetent is just a fluke. Plenty of his extremist right-wing predecessors, including Timothy McVeigh, Dylan Roof, Steven Paddock and others have succeeded in their terrorist attempts.

There are 10’s of thousands of die-hard Trump supporters who believe that the rules of a Christian society and the laws of this country do not apply to them. They will do everything in their power to enable the President-for-Life desire of Donald Trump and an end to our Democracy. They have guns, bombs, and the tacit support of the Republican Party, Fox News, Breitbart, Limbaugh, and their ilk. This mob of modern-day Brownshirts are are still a small minority of Americans but their voice is stronger than ever because of their support from the GOP and its allies. Unlike the caravan of refugees from Central America, or heavily vetted immigrants from Muslim countries, these Trump-worshipping domestic terrorists pose a clear and present danger to our Democracy.

We, the People, must stop them before its too late. Now is the time. We must vote for Democrats who will take back our Country from Trump and the Fascists.

The Last Chance to Save our Country?

The election of 2018 may be the last chance to save the United States from the forces that are acting to destroy our 230-year old democracy.

Donald Trump expressed his intentions many times when he was running for President. He likes to say: “Promises made, promises kept”. And indeed many of his promises are coming true:

  • He promised to overturn Roe v. Wade. This promise is about to come true.
  • He promised to stop the flow of immigrants – be they Mexican or Muslim. This promise is slowly coming true – including family separations, and continuing efforts to build the wall.
  • He promised to eliminate regulations which hamper business. This promise is leading to the elimination of regulations that protect our air, water, food, pharmaceuticals, and everything else we buy.
  • He said that “Climate Change is a hoax”, and promised to halt all US efforts to address climate change. He has succeeded in removing us from the Paris agreement and in pushing us ever further into the embrace of fossil fuels.
  • He promised to punish China. And his sledgehammer approach has punished millions of Americans as collateral damage.
  • He promised to “Repeal and Replace Obamacare”. While that didn’t work out his way, he has instead worked to slowly dismantle and cripple the Affordable Care Act.
  • Mr Trump repeatedly told his supporters that every single undocumented immigrant – of which there are 11.3 million – “have to go”. Although they are no where reaching 11 million, ICE is rounding up and deporting people by the hundreds.

These efforts are slowly turning the US into a Police state. A place where the rights of Women, Blacks, LGBT, non-Christians, and indeed all Americans who don’t agree with him are being threatened. And the Republican-led Congress has no interest in taking him on.

So what else does he want to do?

  • He promotes racial separation and violence. By refusing to condemn the KKK and Nazis, he has given such groups a license to attack others. Trump-loving hate groups such as the Proud Boys now attack others on the street with impunity.
  • He has stated that 3 million people voted illegally in 2016, and he set up an advisory Commission of Election Integrity – with the intent of reducing the voting rolls. While the commission has disbanded, Trump still wants to reduce voting rights.
  • Mr Trump said he would approve waterboarding “immediately” and “make it also much worse”, adding “torture works”. Only strong words from his Cabinet members (most of whom are now gone) forced him to back down.
  • Trump calls the Press “the enemy of the people” and said: “What you are seeing and reading in the media is not what’s happening”. He has repeatedly called for new laws to limit what the press can say.
  • When talking to Chinese President Xi, he said: “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. . . And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

In short, Donald Trump has, in two years as President, damaged this country to the core. But he wants to do so much more. Think of the damage he could do if he has two more years of control of all three branches of government. He will have a great chance to accomplish his many other goals –  including his primary goal of cementing his hold on power so that he can eventually become “president for life” e.g. Dictator.

There is only one force that stands in the way of Trump gaining so much power that he will destroy our democracy. That force is the will of the people. But that force will likely be rendered meaningless unless it is used now – in the upcoming election.

It takes courage to vote. But it took more courage to face the British at Trenton or the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The courage of the men who fought those battles helped created the America we know today. We are now engaged in a different kind of battle, but it is no less vital to the future of the United States. All those who believe in America must find the will and the courage to vote for Democrats who will defend it from the greatest threat of this generation.

 

Mike Pence is Machiavellian

Niccolo Machiavelli famously wrote: “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” This quote perfectly describes Mike Pence.

Mike appears to be a full-throated supporter of President Donald Trump. But if you look more deeply, you can see that he’s keeping as much distance as he can between himself and the bulk of Trump’s administration of cronies, while still espousing loyalty to Trump. He’s happy to talk about the economy, foreign relations, and other conventional Republican topics, but his expressions of support are carefully calculated to avoid the danger zones: Russia, Trump’s kleptocratic buddies, Stormy and company, etc.

But Mike Pence knows what everyone who is not is not duped by the Fox News propaganda machine already understands: Donald Trump’s days as President are numbered. Trump acts like he’s guilty in the Russia probe because he is – we don’t yet know exactly what of, but we know that its bad. Mike knows that only two things can prevent him from becoming President Pence: 1) Donald Trump believes he is no longer loyal and (somehow) manages to dump him, or 2) he becomes embroiled in one of the Trump scandals and goes down with the ship as part of a negotiated exit.

The first scenario is highly unlikely, but Pence is taking no chances. Pence is LOVED by Republicans in both houses, and they are almost universally anxious for the day when their standard bearer is an adult. So, even if Trump tried to move against him, the party would put a quick stop to any such plan. But Pence is looking to the 2020 Presidential election, and knows that he will need Trump voters to win. So, he’s playing the role of a faithful soldier. He will never be at the head of the dump Trump train, but he may secretly be its biggest booster.

The second scenario is where some danger lies for Pence. He may indeed be connected to the Russia thing – but we have yet to know the whole story. Assuming that he was minimally involved and preserves a degree of plausible deniability, his exposure should be limited. Republicans will do everything they can to give him the benefit of the doubt, so as long as they are in power, he’s likely safe.

Now we come to the central question: When do the Republicans make this happen? It is NOT a legal issue – its strictly a political calculation. Are they better off with President Trump or with President Pence? As the noose begins to tighten on Trump and his behavior becomes even more erratic and indefensible, the movement will gather steam.

So will Republicans dump Trump before the 2018 election? If so, they may retain one or both majorities. Or will they (as the Democrats hope) stick with Trump until they lose one or both Congressional majorities and numerous state majorities? If that happens, Trump will come under intense pressure and – like any bully who loses a fight – will quit during the lame duck session (and he will expect a pardon). Trump doesn’t really like being President, and he really won’t like it if he has to endure even one day of what will be endless Democratic-led congressional inquiries.

Either way, Trump will be gone by January 1, 2019. The only question is, what will be left of the mighty Republican Party once Mike Pence becomes its leader?

 

The Russians are Destroying the Republican Party

The primary goal of the Russian government in interfering with our election process is to sow discord and strife within the United States. But a secondary goal is to destroy the Republican Party and eliminate its history of belligerence towards Russia. The plan is working to perfection.

With the President as a willing co-conspirator, the Russians have completely changed the conversation about Russia within Republican circles. No longer is Russia the “Evil Empire” of Ronald Reagan, now Donald Trump will do anything he can to “get along with Russia” and refuses to fight back for America against Russian aggression. We know that Russia has been manipulating social media and thereby public opinion so as to promote Trump and his views since he began running for President. Its important to remember that they specifically picked him.

So how does this impact the rest of the Republican Party? For some time now, there has been a huge dilemma for elected GOP officials. For the most part, they see the oncoming train wreck of the Trump Presidency. They know that Mueller will soon demonstrate that the Trump campaign engaged in multiple crimes and that they should be doing everything they can to distance themselves from Trump. But they have been afraid to antagonize the legion of vociferous Trump supporters. So they have hidden their heads in the sand – neither defending or (other than a few who have eschewed re-election) criticizing the President and hoped for the best.

Elected Republicans have already shown that they have no moral compass, so we are wasting our time expecting them to behave in the best interests of the country. But we do expect that they will behave in ways that will maximize their re-election chances – which they normally do.

But now the Republicans have learned from Mueller’s February 16 indictments that some (most?) of the pro-Trump social media posts were actually from Russian nationals and were amplified by Russian-sponsored bots. So what are Republicans to do? Why should they follow the pro-Trump echo chamber if it isn’t real? Can they believe anything from Social media that is Pro-Trump?

The Republican Party has been, and continues to be manipulated by Russia into a collective suicide pact by supporting Trump. Its clear that Mueller is in the homestretch, and equally clear that his report will show that Trump is guilty of treasonous behavior. When the voters find out the truth, they will crucify all those who were in any way complicit. The party will be crushed and will split into multiple warring factions.

Every day that goes by with GOP following the Trump-Russia playbook is a day closer to the death of the Republican Party. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

 

Mueller’s Probe Will Soon End – and Libs Will be Bummed

The Mueller probe is in the home stretch. Given that he has been at it for 10 months, and seems to have completed all of his interviews (Trump will never be interviewed), its time for him to pull together all the pieces into a final report.

Like a blind man trying to understand the shape of an elephant, we know much of what Mueller has collected, but we don’t know what he knows. However, given the reams of documents, the testimony of multiple Trump campaign and administration associates that are cooperating, and the already documented facts (Don Jr.’s e-mails, etc.), we can make some certain deductions about what Mueller will unveil:

  1. The evidence will clearly show that the Trump family, along with multiple other campaign members has long been involved in money laundering with various Russian oligarchs and mobsters. This explains Trump’s refusal to release his Tax Returns, his Russian banking connection, and how the Russians initially exerted control over him.
  2. The evidence offered by Papadopoulos, Flynn, and now Gates, along with the Don Jr. e-mails and many other corroborating documents will show that the Trump organization did, in no uncertain terms, collaborate with the Russians to alter the course of the 2016 election. The efforts were probably initiated by the Russians, just as any blackmailer would draw a victim deeper into criminal behavior. But criminal behavior it is, and Mueller will prove it.
  3. The attempt to hide the criminal behavior will be shown by Mueller to be Obstruction of Justice. Unlike so many other political crimes, obstruction won’t be the biggest part of this case – but it will be fully documented via a solid set of facts.

This may not be a perfect representation of Mueller’s report, but its a minimum of what he has on Trump. Mueller will connect the dots to give us a photographic blueprint of the entire case. And Mueller has shown at every step that he has had more than anyone has expected, so the report will likely include additional items that are not yet known. But even if its just these three items, they will be damning.

So why would liberals be bummed over this turn of events? Because Mueller will be too cautious to issue the fourth, and most damning accusation – that of Treason.

Why does Trump refuse to impose congressionally mandated sanctions? Why does he believe Putin over his own Cabinet members? Why does he refuse to call out Russia for its meddling? The answer is obvious – because Putin controls Trump through blackmail. Trump is betraying the United States to an enemy power, because that enemy power has the power to destroy him. The only way to save our country is for us to destroy him before he can do any more harm.

The Mueller report is urgently needed. Then Congress MUST act immediately to remove Trump from power. Then we can deal with the rest of the mess.

 

 

FBI Bias and the Secret Memo

There has been much speculation about the FBI being biased against the President and the dangers this poses to the country. The House just voted to release a secret memo which purports to shed new light on the bias at the FBI. But we already know quite a bit about the bias that actually exists at the FBI.

Lets go back to a few weeks before the 2016 election. At the time (late October 2016), Hillary Clinton was beating Donald Trump by an average of six points in the composite polls. But by election day, that lead had evaporated, and most polls showed the race very close – although many of them still showed that Clinton would win. In the end Clinton won the popular vote, thanks to California, but Trump won the electoral vote and the presidency. But it was very close. Trump won four states by less than 1%, and Florida by 1.2%. Those few states propelled him to victory.

So what caused Hillary’s lead to evaporate over a two week period? On October 28, 2016, 12 days before the election, James Comey released a letter announcing that he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary’s e-mails. The reason given was to examine a batch of e-mails found on Anthony Weiner’s PC. It soon became obvious that this new investigation made no sense, given that all the e-mails on Weiner’s PC had already been among those that had been reviewed. Trump immediately pounced with accusations that Comey’s announcement showed that Hillary engaged in a treasonous act. Trump’s accusations, which were given widespread airplay on all networks, were not at all consistent with Comey’s letter. But Comey said nothing to refute what Trump was saying, so many people took Trump’s version as reality. For many voters, this reinforced the impression that Hillary was perpetually involved in shady/corrupt activities, an impression that the Republicans had spent years creating. Although Comey came back with an exoneration of Hillary on November 6, by that time Hillary’s lead was gone and on November 8, Trump was elected.

What Comey and the FBI knew, but the public did not, was that the FBI was also investigating the Trump campaign for the Russia activities. We don’t yet know that those investigations will prove that Trump engaged in collusion, but we do know that many members of his campaign were in continuous contact with Russians and that Don Jr. attempted collusion.

If Comey had either told the public that Trump’s campaign was also under investigation, OR would have not re-opened the investigation into Clinton under bogus circumstances, then Hillary would now be President.

As with every law enforcement agency in the country, the members of the FBI are primarily conservative by nature, and primarily Republicans in their politics. Any suggestion that the FBI is filled with liberals that must be purged is ridiculous. The pro-Trump bias of the FBI already exists, and was the reason for his election.

But there are still a large number of people who believe in Country over party in the FBI and Justice Department. The goal of the Trump people is not to purge the FBI of Democrats, but rather to purge those who believe in public service rather than service to the cult of Trump. The secret memo that is about to be released by the House shows Congress’s complicity in this process. We continue to move inexorably down the road to an authoritarian government in which the Justice Department becomes the President’s secret police.

Trump and the Republicans in Congress must be stopped. We, the people must vote for those who will uphold the laws of the United States. We must elect Democrats to majorities in both the House and Senate in 2018. If we fail, we may not get another chance.

 

 

America’s Future at Risk

We live in a world in which only the fittest will survive and prosper. This is a basic law of nature, and it applies to nations just the same as it applies to the creatures of the jungle.

America has, for the past 100+ years, been the strongest nation in the world, and all of us have prospered because of our position of strength. It didn’t happen all at once. A series of smart decisions, many of them made more than 50 years ago, all led to today’s position as the world’s one true superpower. But we live in dangerous times, and our long term position is at risk. While these risks may not impact anyone over 75, they will impact our children, and their children and so on down the generations. As adults, we must do our part to protect and preserve the viability of this country so that our children and grandchildren may thrive.

Lets talk for a bit about Risk Management. Risk Management is the science of identifying risks, prioritizing the most severe, and developing strategies to either avoid them or mitigate their impacts. This strategy is employed every day in business and by our military. But we never seem to apply it to the most important topic – the long term success of the United States.

So what are the biggest risks to the future of American greatness over the next 25-50 years? If you were to watch Fox News or read Breitbart, you’d think the biggest risks are radical Islam, immigration, and North Korea. Let’s examine the risks posed to the existence of the US by each of them.

Radical Islam (Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban, etc.) clearly poses a threat to the lives of ordinary Americans. They have killed thousands of American civilians (mostly on September 11, 2001) over the past 20 or so years. But do they pose a threat to the American nation? Hardly. Taken collectively, they could never defeat even a small fraction of the mightiest military that the world has ever known. Nor do they have nuclear weaponry that can take out American cities and devastate  our economy. They have to be classified as a low-priority risk to the US.

Immigration is seen by some to pose a threat to our very way of life. But, as a nation of immigrants, those who are here have always been suspicious of the next group who are different. Just as there were fears of the papist Irish, the ignorant Slavs from Eastern Europe, and the orientals, now there are fears of Hispanics, Africans, and especially Moslems. Unchecked and completely unimpeded immigration would be a risk to the US. But we haven’t had that since 1924, and nobody is advocating such a thing. What we have had over the past 90 years is a slow but steady influx of new, dynamic, risk taking people who come to America because they believe this is the land of opportunity and freedom. And this level of immigration has been a good thing, revitalizing, renewing and continuing to diversify America in ways that are true to our core principles. This doesn’t mean that there are no casualties from immigration – of course there are. We need to address those issues and fix them. But controlled immigration is not a threat to the existence of the US – in fact it adds much more to the success of this country than it costs. As long as we keep doing basically what we’ve been doing since 1924, immigration is a low-priority (or maybe non-existent) risk to the US.

North Korea clearly does propose a real risk to the US. Given that is has nuclear weapons, ICBMs, and a stridently belligerent leader, a level of risk cannot be denied. But what is the level of risk? Can they destroy enough of America to bring about the collapse of our government or destruction of our economy? This answer is probably no for now, but possibly changes to yes in a few short years. So this is a risk. And although the past six Presidents have seen it as such, it has continued to grow from a small risk to a much greater risk. The Trump administration clearly recognizes the risk, but as of yet they do not seem to have developed a strategy to mitigate or avoid it. North Korea is a risk and should be a top concern.

But there are other risks to the future of America that the Trump Administration is ignoring. The biggest long term risks to the US are elimination of our free institutions, and climate change.

The government of a democratic nation by definition represents the will of the people. But what if outside forces can bend the will of the people without their knowledge, or worse yet, subvert the will of the people by manipulating elections. If that is the case, then the “democratic” nation is merely a puppet state of another nation. There is no question that, in 2016, Russia attempted to bend the will of the people through propaganda and subvert the will of the people by altering votes. And they succeeded. So now we have an administration, and numerous members of Congress who have been elected on the basis of Russian manipulation. And not surprisingly, they have no interest in investigating this issue or dosing anything from preventing it from happening again. This is a true threat to the independence of the United States. As Russia gets better and smarter at hacking and manipulating the electorate, Republicans do nothing, hoping that once again the Russians will back them. And when the President and his allies cast doubts upon the independent reporting of a free press, they are further playing into the hands of the Russians. These actions pose the greatest short-term threat to the independence of America.

Luckily, the foundational institutions of our democracy, the FBI, CIA, Justice system, and elections system, have great internal integrity due to the patriotism of their apolitical employees. But they are all under attack by Trump and his allies (knowingly or unknowingly) on behalf of the Russians. All Americans who believe in the independence of this nation must do their part to take back our democracy. At a minimum, they must vote – against those who want to destroy our independent free press, our independent judicial system, and our independent elections. They must vote against all Russian-backed candidates – which today means they must vote against Republicans. And all who can must do more to spread the word.

If we can overcome the short-term risk of Russian manipulation, then we must confront the long term risk to America, and to the planet from climate change. Climate change is real and we are feeling its initial impacts already. But much more is to come. Changes in weather patterns will lead to widespread droughts which will lead to widespread famine. Sea level rise will lead to coastal inundation which will cause massive displacement of people worldwide. These impacts will be exacerbated by overpopulation and destruction of the natural environment. While these impacts will be fall the hardest on those nations that have the least resources, there will be no escaping them in the US. It is imperative that our government focus all possible energy on developing long term strategies to both minimize the severity of climate change and to mitigate its impacts. This is the biggest threat to the future of America. We need to act as if we care.