WHEN WORDS FAIL – Marilyn Armstrong

I was reading a comment in the Washington Post that followed my own line of thought:


Yes, the politicians are to blame — but so are we. The two trends intersect.The Republican war on science succeeded by making people distrust our medical experts. Next, there are, apparently, many fewer Americans willing to endure even minimal discomfort for the good of us all! 


I understand that politicians — neither Republicans nor Democrats — started the pandemic. And Republicans didn’t “make people” distrust medical experts. We just have an extraordinary number of really stupid people in this country who will believe anything Trump or his menagerie tell them.

That Trump and his menagerie are all liars is true but they couldn’t do it without a lot of stupid, selfish people who choose to believe them. Want to believe them. Because these morons don’t like reality, don’t want to learn, never read books, and ONLY watch Fox News. The concept of research appalls them.They hate educated people and firmly believe their ignorance is as good as an expert’s knowledge.

These are the same selfish pigs who are helping make American the pestilential center of the world. No other country has managed to have behaved as poorly as the good old U.S,A. We are the sickest country in the world and have the kind of citizens living here who think making things worse is okay because it’s their constitutional right to not be inconvenienced by a plague.

I’ve read the constitution. Nowhere does it says that our government can’t inconvenience us. They inconvenience us all the time and to top it off, they are racist and anti semitic.

Today, as the number of COVID patients has risen to an all-time high, Trump’s people went to court to kill Obamacare, The ACA. So that 20 million more people will be unable to get medical care. In the middle of a pandemic. Who are these people? What is wrong with this country? How have the rest of us been so negligent as to allow these insensitive thugs to be in charge? How can we have allowed it to happen? I didn’t vote for this government. Neither did Garry or any of my friends but a lot of people did vote and many of them, without regrets. Some wish they hadn’t, but a lot are still worshipping this sleazebag as if he is some kind of bizarre, larded god.

And more than ten percent of the voters aren’t sure who they will vote for. Aren’t sure? What would make them sure? When we are excluded from the rest of the world because we still have the disease and everyone else got their acts together and got rid of it? When nobody takes this country seriously or trusts us?

I’m boggled. I don’t even have the words to say how bad I feel and how ashamed I am of this country. It really is humiliating to be an American these days. And that is an awful way to feel.

America’s Burning | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

AMERICA’S BURNING
By JUDY DYKSTRA-BROWN



America’s Burning

Count the faces. Take a tally
of the peaceful protest rally.
Their routine is most well-planned,
masks in place, placards in hand.

Enter police. Down on belly!!!
Enter newscasters for telly.
Teargas in the people’s park,
Truckloads arrive after dark.

Rioting and smashing glass.
Other dark deeds come to pass.
Using protest for excuse
to bring discord and spread abuse.

Violence becomes routine.
Authority a cruel machine.
A whole nation comes to grieve
the loss of what most folks believe.

An orange bigot, Bible raised,
pontificates, posturing, crazed.
A landmark of our country’s pride,
struck by a flash as freedom died.

Has our nation come to this?
This puffed-up, prideful bag of piss?
Shame on a country who listens to
a fool who’s rotten through and through.

Let sane men take the lead  and bring
some sanity to everything.
Equality and fairness reign
under a government more sane.

People stand up. Demand the best.
Do not give up. We cannot rest.
Seize back the country we have sold
to men who only care for gold.

Give succor to the halt and lame.
Do not play the money game
subsidizing rich man’s greed
instead of helping those in need.

Color is just an outer skin
and not a mark of shame or sin.
Use these sad times to make a start
to start to recognize the heart

that unites men from every nation,
every interest, every station.
Save our earth and save mankind.
Restore justice, and make her blind!!

Source: America’s Burning | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

THE MASQUE OF THE RED MAR-A-LAGO – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been thinking about this blog for about a week now. It was going to be a very clever (well in my mind at least) parody of Edgar Alan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

It was going to be about an imaginary land called “Merika”. That wasn’t its original name, but the Prince who ruled over it and his followers could never pronounce it quite right. So, they just changed it.

The Prince’s name was Prospero. He wasn’t actually a prince even though he thought he was a king. And his name wasn’t Prospero. He had changed his original name to Prosperous because he constantly told his subjects he was a great and wealthy businessman. He never could spell it correctly in his royal tweets, so, everybody just started calling him that.

Why? Because you could never say the Prince did anything wrong. Ever. Ever. Ever.

So, of course, as in the book, a great plague overtook the land. In just a few short weeks millions were infected and thousands were dying. So, what did the Prince do? He said it was a hoax. Everything was fine. If it was real, it would only affect people who didn’t like him. He called them “The Never Prosperos”.

He asked his minister of Health, a very wise old doctor who had dealt with many plagues in the past, what he should do. Then he did the exact opposite. As the plague got worse, he gathered all his rich friends and he retreated to his beautiful luxury vacation palace. It was called Mar-A-Lago. The problem was that it wasn’t really that beautiful or that luxurious.

In fact, it was sort of a dump. It had garish fake gold decorations everywhere. The Prince even had a gold toilet. But nobody ever said anything. No one could ever give the Prince bad news. Ever.

To prove how great everything was for him and his followers he threw a great masquerade party at the vacation palace. His wife decorated all the rooms in different colors. But only one color for each room. Just like she did in the main palace during the Christmas holidays.

They were really sort of creepy and weird. But nobody said anything because the Prince said they were great. The greatest rooms in the history of rooms. Ever.

Every hour on the hour a band would play “Hail to the Prince”.  Very loudly and very badly. This was because the palace band had all come down with the plague and were dead. The only band the Prince could find was a band called “Three Doors Down”. They had never played the song before, so they did what all bad bands do. If you can’t play it well,  play it loud.

When they did all the guests would cover their ears and grimace. For some reason, people don’t like Three Doors Down.  When the last guest arrived, the Prince had the doors to the Palace locked and sealed so nobody who had the plague could get in.

The only problem was the last guest wasn’t wearing a mask. He was wearing a red hat that said: “Make Merika Great Again.” He wore it because it was sold by the Prince’s company and the Prince wanted all his followers to wear one.

The original hats were made in China, where the plague originated and it was on all the red hats. So, the plague made it into the palace and no one, not even the Prince could escape it because he had sealed all the doors.

 The End


All and all, I thought it was pretty clever. Then reality said, “Too late, already done!”  Our actual wanna-be King had a real party down in Mar-A-Lago where he invited all his sycophant followers like Lindsey Graham and the Ambassador from Brazil and they all laughed at the Democrats’ response to the Covid 19 virus.

They hugged and shook hands and all told the King what a great job he was doing. The only problem was the Ambassador and a few other folks there already had the virus.

Graham has dropped off the planet because he is in self-quarantine. Matt Gaetz, a congressman whose head is so far up Trump’s ass he can see Sean Hannity wore a gas mask to a House vote on an emergency bill to help fight the virus.

He wanted to show what a joke the whole thing was. That was until he found out he was exposed to the virus a week earlier at the CPAC convention. He had to sit all alone on Air Force One on the trip home and now he is in self-quarantine.

You just can’t make this shit up.

We’re at the beginning of an unimaginable catastrophe and we’re being forced to listen to a bunch of ass clowns hold press briefings each day where all they do is tell us how the King is doing a great job and everything is just fine.  Except for Doctor Anthony Fauci, the only sane voice in the room. I’m stunned he hasn’t been fired yet.

This is as serious as a heart attack. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay home if possible. Don’t shake hands. Practice social distancing.

And for Christ’s sake STOP BUYING TOILET PAPER!! I know our government is full of shit. But that’s not going to help.

The End? 

WHY I SIGNED THE HISTORIANS’ STATEMENT ON THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP By SEAN MUNGER

SIGNING THE IMPEACHMENT STATEMENT – SEAN MUNGER

This week I was asked by a professional contact in the history community to add my name to this statement, called the Historians’ Statement on the Impeachment of President Trump. It was an easy call for me to do so. But, as has become evident over the last few days, this statement was much more than just another “online petition.” The historians who have signed this statement, now more than 2,000 of them, have had a measurable impact on the events that occurred in Washington, D.C. this week. Indeed, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi referenced the statement in her floor speech beginning debate on the impeachment of Trump. As you know, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him. We historians have joined numerous other professionals whose expertise is relevant to the impeachment process, such as Constitutional legal scholars and public prosecutors, in stating that impeachment is warranted under the standards of the Constitution.

Some of the historians I joined in signing include Ken Burns (documentary historian), Robert Caro (biographer of LBJ), Ron Chernow (author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that was the basis of the Broadway musical), John Fea (fellow history podcaster and author of the wonderful Way of Improvement Leads Home blog), Alan Taylor (Pulitzer Prize-winning historian), Matthew Dennis (my former academic advisor), and many, many more.

While the statement speaks for itself, I thought I would add a few words to explain why I signed it.

I marched in favor of women’s rights and solidarity on the day after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017. That action was political. My signing of the Historians’ Statement goes beyond politics.

Reason one: Trump’s actions are unquestionably impeachable.

The Constitution’s standard for impeachment is deliberately vague: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The fact that it’s vague doesn’t mean it’s always difficult to tell when the standard has been reached. The impeachment inquiry has proven beyond all doubt that Trump committed bribery by conditioning aid to the government of Ukraine on their investigation of the Biden family. That’s bribery. As for other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” it seems difficult to argue that this standard hasn’t been reached either. If we could go back in time to the stuffy room in Philadelphia where the Founders met in the summer of 1787 to create the Constitution and give them the example of Trump’s actions, it’s abundantly clear that they would agree, probably to a man, that this is the kind of behavior they had in mind when they wrote the impeachment clause. The evidence is uncontroverted. I say that both as a historian and as a lawyer.

Reason two: The Constitution and its processes must be protected.

America was created with the notion that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Flawed, yes; imperfect, yes; subject to change in interpretation by future generations who are entrusted with it, certainly. But some things about it are absolute. If the Constitution’s standard for a President’s removal from office is reached, not taking the Constitutionally-required action to set that process in motion does violence to the primacy of the Constitution and its principles. Letting Trump’s unconscionable behavior slide, giving it a pass, is itself an affront to the Constitution and everything it stands for.

The action of impeachment entails considerable political risk. While it’s true that I voted for the other lady (you know, the one who got more votes than Trump did), I’m certainly not happy with the idea that, if Trump were to be convicted, his successor would be Mike Pence, a man whose bedrock principle is that I, as a member of the LGBT community, do not deserve basic human and civil rights, and once in office he’ll likely mobilize the power of the government to strip me of those rights–because he’s done it before. But that’s a political calculation. The risk to the Constitution in turning a blind eye to Trump’s crimes transcends politics, and it should. That’s what the primacy of the Constitution means.

The men who met in this room in the summer of 1787 believed they were serving principles larger than themselves. I think we have to honor that commitment, however imperfect the Constitution was (and still is).

Reason three: Trump must be taught that his wrong actions have consequences.

Even if the Senate takes the cowardly way out and does not convict him, the impeachment of Trump has considerable value on its own. One of them is to teach him something he apparently hasn’t learned during his nearly two years in office: he can’t just do anything he wants, and his bad actions have consequences. Apparently, he has learned that lesson. There is a report out of the White House this week that Trump was surprised, astonished and furious that he was impeached, and that he’s gone through violent mood swings as a result. Indeed, an aide is quoted as saying, “He’s very angry. It’s made a deep impression.” Trump is a man impervious to facts (such as the proven scientific reality of human-caused climate change) and incapable of empathy (such as when he ordered children to be placed in concentration camps). But if impeachment can get through to him on such a deep level, and tell him that his actions will receive push-back, from the Constitution if from no other source, then the impeachment is worth it on that score alone.

Reason four: Historical precedent shows impeachment has the effect of reining in a wayward President’s actions.

If you look back at the two Presidents who have previously been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, you’ll see that, although neither was removed from office, impeachment had a profound effect on both of them: they took care to stop doing the actions that got them impeached in the first place. Andrew Johnson, in particular, was every bit as pugnacious and defiant about his impeachment as Trump is about his own. Yet, after the impeachment and Senate trial in May 1868, Johnson suddenly went quiet: he stopped trying to interfere with Congress’s power over Reconstruction and he took no significant action for the rest of his term.

Clinton, similarly, toned down his act in his last two years in office. And you can bet that, at long last, for once in his life, he stopped running around with young women and lying about it. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were/are deeply flawed men who did monstrous things. But impeachment did put brakes on their reckless behavior. Even as defiant and vengeful as Trump is, I seriously doubt he’ll ever call up a head of state and ask them to interfere in our elections again. There’s no telling what other more subtle effects it will have that can serve the public good.

Andrew Johnson was, like Trump, a racist man, a white supremacist, and deeply incompetent at his job as President of the United States. But, his impeachment in 1868 did have an effect on his behavior.

I don’t like to see our Constitutional system tested and tarnished by the actions of President Trump. Our government has many important things that it could be doing right now, like taking immediate and drastic action on climate change. But the Constitution must be protected, and sometimes its enemies are within the walls rather than without.

I stand by the Historians’ statement. I only hope it’s not too late for our republic to be saved from the damage being done to it by self-serving people like Donald J. Trump.

All images in this article were either taken by me or are in the public domain.

Please check out Sean’s blog at: https://seanmunger.com/

THE REST OF THE STORY – Garry Armstrong

The “LBJ IN VIETNAM” post triggered something I’d forgotten for maybe 45 years  — or more. You said: “There should be more to the story,” which was very gracious.  The story has been posted many times, leaving me wondering whether people are tired of hearing it. Quien sabe?

There IS more.  I realized this in my “thinking room” as I shaved. There is more but it doesn’t involve LBJ directly. It involves Tip O’Neil. This happened on the day we got a pic of Tip and me that’s been around the block myriad times.

This is how I recall it.

LBJ vietnam 1967

Tip and I were having liquid lunches at a bar we frequented near the Boston TV station where I worked and across the street from a funeral home run by the brother of a famous Boston mobster. That’s another story, as Lou Jacobi might’ve said.

Tip at Boston Statehouse

Tip and I were swapping tales between long slugs of lunch. I told him I had a LBJ story he’d love. Tip interrupted me, “Hold on, Garry. Betcha I know the story. LBJ, Vietnam and you”.  I stared at the venerable Speaker of the House and my fellow imbiber.  He just smiled as I stared.  I slowly nodded.

Tip began, savoring lunch and the story. “LJ told me about the night in Vietnam, the night he was pondering whether to run again in ’68. LJ told me he was very confused, torn at the decision he didn’t want to make”.

I nodded and Tip continued. “So LJ’s nipping at his bottle around the Vietnam campfire with you guys. He wasn’t pleased about the local civvies and the Washington coat-holders being there. He did like having the GIs, the Vietnamese, and our guys.”

Tip, who clearly was just warming up, a smile spreading over that big Irish “boy-o” face that intimated so many DC pols.

“Anyway, Garry, LJ told me about spinning stories, ragging on about the same bullshit I deal within the House and Senate.  It’s like dealing with hacks and amateurs, lemme tell ya, Garry. But you know this shit, Pal. I don’t hafta tell ya.”

I smiled and on he went. No stopping Tip now.

“Garry, Gar?  What the hell do the guys call you?  I heard some calling you “Ka-Ching” and “The Samoan”. What’s with that crap, Garry-O?”

“More stories, another time, Mr. Speaker,” I answered.

Tip commented, “Cut the Mr. Speaker, crap, here, Garr-ree”.

I smiled and saluted as he continued.

“So, where was I? Oh, yeah.  LJ is regaling you guys with the beans, that ‘Nam meat crap and his hooch. LJ sez he was really rolling, having his jollies and you were — maybe — the only guy listening to him. He sez cut loose with a couple of BIG farts — those beans will kill ya. LJ sez it felt so good to fart, but you were almost holdin’ your nose. He figured to have fun.  He remembered you as that polite, young colored reporter. No disrespect, Garry, that’s how LJ described you.”

“Did he call me SHORT”  I interrupted.

Tip guffawed. “No, he said you had nice hair with a silly part in the middle — old fashioned. Nothing about being short.  But, hey, kid — you’re not exactly a John Henning (a local, respected journalist, probably 6’5″ and a helluva good guy). No disrespect, Garry. Hey — Billy Bulger? (Senate President and brother of the noted mobster Whitey Bulger).

Billy’s a little guy but talks big.  Okay, where wuz I? Oh, yeah. LJ tells me about facing you up about your stinko look.  You apparently backed down and LJ loved it. You, I believe, got him with stuff about cowboy movies?”

I nodded, trying to remember.

Tip: “LJ sez he told you that cowboy campfires didn’t smell pretty. LJ liked that ol’ Gregory Peck “Gunfighter” sweatshirt you wore. You impressed him with your interview with Peck (I’d interviewed the star a few years earlier at my alma mater, Hofstra University. Peck gave me the sweatshirt).”

Tip continued, “Garry, you told LJ that Gregory Peck turned down “High Noon” because he’d just done “The Gunfighter” and didn’t want to do another western so quickly.”

I nodded and Tip went on. “LJ was really fascinated about that little piece of Hollywood info. He loved westerns and, boy, I got to tell ya, LJ was impressed with your knowledge of westerns, good and bad ones which he remembered from his days growing up in Texas. LJ was looking forward to seeing you again to talk about cowboy movies. Dammit, Garry, you had a fan in LJ”.

Garry with Tip O’Neill

I just sat there stunned as Tip O’Neill rambled on, his smile getting bigger and bigger. We stared at our now empty glasses. Tip sighed heavily, shoving my hand aside as he paid the tab.

He got up slowly, Tip patting me on the shoulder, “Garry, I love these chats. Better than the crap I gotta listen to most of the day”. We walked out into the sunlight, cursing its brightness after our time inside the darkened bar.

Tip looked down at me, “See ya, Pal. Have a good day. Don’t let the bastards get ya”.

Before parting company, Tip and I were photographed. I was showing him my new wristwatch. It looked like I was selling him some hot merchandise.

FUN WITH FAKE NEWS — TOM CURLEY

There’s a book out by the person who wrote an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times a few years ago.  He or she is still anonymous. In the book he/she states that after Boss Tweet fired James Comey the entire White House staff was considering quitting all at the same time.

Sadly, they chickened out.  Believe it or not, I was writing this blog at the same time this event took place. Weird.

Here it is with updates to the staff when it was possible to find out who is holding which position. In many cases, no one seemed to know if there is, was, or will be a staff member in that post. For that matter, no one is sure who is or is not in jail. It was and is titled “Fun With Fake News.” Fake news never gets old, even when it turns out it was true!


This story just in from AP, UPI, Reuters, CBS, NBC, ABC,
the Onion and other major news outlets.


Mass Resignations at White House.

In a stunning development today, the entire White House staff has resigned including all senior and junior aides, as well as the entire domestic and administrative staff. A letter was sent to the President and released to the press stating, “We the undersigned employees, aides and staff of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hereby resign, effective immediately. Our reasons, which are diverse, basically come down to, we just can’t take it anymore.”

Reporters immediately got statements from many staff members, who, in breaking from normal procedure, did not ask to be quoted anonymously. According to one staffer, “Who the hell cares? It’s not as if any of us work there anymore.”

The White House switchboard is closed. Reporters are trying to call but receive the following message: “You’ve reached the White House. Don’t bother to leave a message. We’re all out and we ain’t coming back.”

The resignations include most of the President’s cabinet. Former EPA Secretary Scott Pruit was quoted as saying, “If I can’t fly first class, I quit.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters, “I actually stopped doing anything months ago. I spend the day watching Judge Judy and reruns of Madame Secretary.”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was unable to be reached for comment. According to his spokesperson, “He’s gone back to his tree to make cookies”.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Secretary of Housing Dr. Ben Carson could also not be reached for comment. Mr. Perry can’t remember for which department he works or where his office is located while Dr. Carson continues to sleep.

Patrick Michael Shanahan, acting U.S. Secretary of Defense is staying on the job, mostly to: “Keep that fucking moron away from the nuclear codes.”

The one-time White House counsel Don McGahn was heard to say, “Hell, Perry Mason couldn’t have kept this clown out of jail. I’m so glad to be gone.”

The staff is reported to have done several things before they departed. According to one source, “We took the labels off the light switches. The guy who handles the nuclear football replaced it with a suitcase containing a Remco Radar Rocket Cannon. He’ll never know the difference.”

The housekeeping staff is reported to have short-sheeted Trump’s bed, put shaving cream on the earpiece of the phone in the Oval Office, and nailed all the furniture in the Lincoln bedroom to the ceiling.

The head White House Chef was quoted as saying, “I’ve had it. I give up. I mean, I’m a 4-Star Michelin chef for Christ’s sake! All I do is pour ketchup over burnt steaks! I once served him a gourmet hamburger that won a James Beard award. And do you know what he did? He threw it away and asked me to send out for McDonald’s! McDonald’s! Are you kidding me?? Fuck him! I’m out.”

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump could not be reached for comment. They’re skiing in Colorado. Neither Donald Jr. or Eric Trump were asked for comments. None of the press outlets were interested in anything they had to say.

The formal resignation letters were delivered to the President’s desk at 9 AM. By noon, all the West Wing offices were vacant. The only remaining hangers-on are Steve Miller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Hope Hicks. According to Hicks, “Somebody has to steam the President’s pants.”

Miller was reportedly seen behind the White House pulling the wings off small helpless insects. At 2 pm Sanders gave a press briefing to an empty White House press room.

According to a senior White House correspondent, “Quite frankly, everything that comes out of her mouth is bullshit. So why bother? We don’t care anymore.”

It has not been confirmed whether or not the President has read (or even seen) the actual letter. It was reported on Fox News during one of the President’s “Executive Time-outs.”  So far the President has only released a single tweet: “Failing fake news says my whole staff quit! FAKE NEWS! SAD! All Hillary’s fault. Lock her up! NO COLLUSION! No quid pro quo.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is enjoying his well-earned retirement.

This is an ongoing story. Updates will follow.

-0-


Hey, it could happen.  Hell, it almost did. Feel free to pass this along on all social media outlets.

Fake news. It’s not just for Russians anymore!

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I became a news junky around the time that Donald Trump began his campaign for President in 2015 because I felt he was an existential threat to our government and to our society. I didn’t know the half of it! My most catastrophic fantasies of a Trump-led America didn’t hold a candle to the reality we have been living in since his election.

Along with a big chunk of the population, I hung on every word that came out of the Mueller investigation. Mueller was going to be the savior of the Democrats, and other sane, moral people in the country and I shared the deflation and depression of this group when the Mueller Report failed to be the downfall of Trump, as we had hoped.

Trump’s poll numbers went down, but not by much and the slavish devotion of over 80% of Republicans remained intact. After two years of toxic revelations about Trump and his corrupt cronies, in addition to multiple indictments of those in his orbit, nothing seemed to change.

Miraculously, in September 2019, the smoking gun we had dreamed about from Mueller, materialized, out of the blue, thanks to a whistleblower. Trump had asked the President of Ukraine to dig up (or makeup) dirt on Trump’s potential Democratic rival, Joe Biden. The call was documented by transcripts released by the administration. Then Trump admitted it and added to it on national television. What more could you need? But the Republicans harped on the absence of a quid pro quo as the fatal flaw in the argument for impeachment.

In fact, the law is quite clear that no quid pro quo is necessary to violate the law. The mere ‘solicitation’ of ‘something of value’ by a President from a foreign government is enough. On top of that, grounds for impeachment don’t even need to include the commission of an actual crime. The interpretation of the phrase ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ has been clarified over the years to mean whatever the Congress decides it means. And abuse of power, as well as obstruction of justice (evident in the Ukrainian scandal) have been used before by Congresses against sitting presidents.

Never mind, as further evidence against Trump came to light, the quid pro quo appeared, clear as day. So we have the evidence necessary for impeachment, by even the most stringent standards.

Now let’s skip ahead to the end of the impeachment process. What are we wishing for? Realistically, the Democrats in the House will probably vote for impeachment. Victory for the good guys! Or is it? What happens then?

Let’s say the House votes to impeach before the end of 2019. It’s remotely possible but highly unlikely that the Republican Senate, led by Trump loyalist Mitch McConnell, will convict and remove Trump from office. So where are we after Trump has been ‘acquitted’ by the Senate?

Mitch McConnell

We have an unhinged, demented and vindictive President who feels he’s been ‘exonerated’ of all wrong doing. He is emboldened because he has survived the worst his enemies can dish out. And he has close to another year in office before the next election! What will he do in that ten-month period without impeachment hanging over his head? I hate to even think about it.

Moving on, let’s say we get our 2020 wish granted and Trump loses the election in 2020. Will he contest the election? And what happens if he does? In the best-case scenario, any election contest will be defeated. Trump is now a lame-duck president who is still in office until January 20, 2021, over two more months.

What will he do during THIS period of impotence and defeat? Who or what will he strike out against?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go ahead with impeachment or fight as hard as possible to vote Trump out of office in 2020. I’m just suggesting that we honestly try to wrap our heads around what the real-world consequences will be if we get what we wish for.

THE FIFTY PERCENTERS – Rich Paschall

Resistance, a short story by Rich Paschall

After Durward Tower narrowly won his election to the Presidency late in the century, he declared that he had a landslide victory. It was a mandate by the people to make big changes needed by the country. The wealthy leaders of the Congress and of big business helped to spread this myth. It was to their economic advantage to do so.

The many appointments to the courts gave Tower supreme control of the judiciary. Many were not actually qualified for their roles, but they would support any case for which Tower had an interest.

Both houses of the legislature also bowed to the whims and wishes of the so-called Leader. The minority party had little to say and much less money to say it. By the midterm elections, Durward Tower considered himself the Supreme Leader of the land.

All during his time in office, Tower continued to hold campaign style rallies. He loved the cheers of the people, and they seemed to love him and his policies. Many did not realize that his policies were against their best interests.

“We have great ideas for the country,” Tower told his rallies. “These are the best ideas that anyone has ever had in this office. That is because I am the smartest person ever to hold this office. Trust me on this, folks.”

And they did trust him. Many did, anyway. A few were quite skeptical. When Tower started pushing his extreme policies, their suspicions were confirmed.

The biggest change came in the tax code, which then led to changes in the voting laws. Tower had convinced the populace that anyone making less that 100,000 dollars was a drag on the economy and the country. These were the people that were taking the money of the social services and they must be made to pay. He decreed that they should pay a 50 per cent income tax for being such failures. Those making less than 11,000 were only asked to pay 10 per cent.  This was to show the people that Tower was a caring humanitarian. The Legislature approved of this. This new class of people were referred to as the 50 percenters.

Sometimes enough is not enough

Citizens making between 100,000 and one billion had a graduated tax as before. These were the 100 percenters, and Tower often congratulated them for their contributions to society and to his campaigns.

According to the fearless leader, those making a billion dollars or more must be rewarded for their enormous contributions to society. “Without these people,” Tower would say, “there would be no jobs. There would be no progress. There would be no country. Trust me folks, these people must be encouraged to do more and that can only be done with tax cuts.” Durward Tower felt that billionaires should only pay ten per cent. He told everyone that this was a lot of money and more than anyone else was paying.

It was therefore declared that the 50 percenters should only have a 50 percent vote. With each one having only half a vote, their power was greatly diminished. The one hundred percenters kept to one vote per person. The billionaire class quickly became know as the two hundred percenters, as each one got 2 votes in each election.

“You all know that the country must reward the billionaire class for their hard work. They deserve more votes. They contribute so much more than some of those pathetic losers in the 50 percenters.” Ironically, most of the people that cheered this at the rallies were themselves 50 percenters.

Billie Saunders and Robert Wright were among those that felt the majority were being mistreated by Tower and followers. They decided to form a resistance. Saunders held his own rallies to tell the people about the gross inequities. Wright took to social media to spread the word. He made videos and posted them to various platforms. When the resistance gained some momentum and the protests began to grow, Tower became angry.

isys6621.com

He had his Congress pass the Patriotic Actions law. Basically, it stated that anyone who spoke out against the 50 percenters law was to be considered a traitor to the country. Any traitor was to be imprisoned for a lengthy period. Tower once again took to the rallies to sell his new law.

“People who speak out against the laws of this country are traitors. We have great  ideas for this country. They are the greatest ideas any president has ever had. We can not have any disturbances in public from these bad people. There is only one way to deal with a traitor, and you all know what that is.”

At that the chants began from the audience. “Lock him up, lock him up, lock him up.” When the crowds would erupt with his favorite chants, Tower would take a step back from the podium and survey the crowd with great pleasure. Some thought the look on his face was rather smug, but his followers only saw a patriotic gaze.

In the weeks that followed Saunders was arrested and sent to a detention camp. Wright went underground and kept posting videos and opinion pieces. He formed a resistance of people who tried to hide their identities.

Wright told the Resistance, “We know Tower has tampered with the election. We must get the best computer minds to prove what he has done.”

Meanwhile, Tower kept up his campaign against the Resistance. He used his own social media presence to send out messages to his followers. In one message he treatened to shut down a newspaper that ran an opinion piece written by Wright.

“It’s all lies,” Tower wrote, “printed by that failing paper.”

Wright and the Resistance wondered how they ever got to the place in time where the majority voice did not matter, and one demagogue’s whims became the law of the land. They continued to send out messages about the inequality, calling for people to resist the Durward Tower.

 

THE RACIST BONE’S CONNECTED TO THE … HIP BONE? – BY TOM CURLEY

“I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”

“He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body!”

I’ve heard that phrase more times than I can remember over my life. It’s a defense that racist people say when they want to show that something they just said or did isn’t … well, racist as hell. It was most recently uttered by the Racist-In-Chief as he was defending himself from saying incredibly racist things.

Things you would normally only hear at a KKK rally. Certainly not from the White House.

But then again, these days the difference between a KKK rally and a Presidential press conference is getting harder and harder to differentiate.

So, this got me to thinking. What exactly is a racist bone? How are bones racist? If you’re racist, are all your bones racist? Are just some of them racist? If only some of your bones are racist, does it matter which ones are?

For instance, if say, your femur, the largest bone in your body is racist does that make you more racist than if say the stapes, the smallest bone in the body is racist.

“Hey, my only racist bone is the stapes! The tiny bone in my ear. I’m only a tiny bit racist!”

How can I be racist? I’m so tiny! Isn’t that like being a tiny bit pregnant?

And why is it limited to bones? Can other organs be racist?

“That man doesn’t have a racist muscle in his body!”

“He doesn’t have a racist spleen in his body!”

“Well, his stomach might be a tiny bit racist. Whenever he eats Mexican food it screams ‘Go back to where you came from!’ And then he throws up. Forced deportation!”

Basically, whenever someone says, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body, that may be true. Their bones may not be racist, but they definitely are.

Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like a racist but… the next thing to come of their mouth will be really racist.”

“Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like a bigot but… the next thing out of their mouth will be really bigoted.”

“Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like an anti-Semite but …” Well, you get the idea.

We’ve always known racism exists in this country. It’s sadly baked into our national DNA. We all have a racist Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, cousin, brother or sister. Every bar has a regular that sits at the end of the bar and spouts racist bullshit. Here’s the thing: we used to pretty much ignore them.

“Oh, it’s just Grandma. Don’t pay any attention to her.”

“Oh, it’s just Earl. He’s an asshole. Don’t pay any attention to him.”

In the 70’s the TV show All In The Family was groundbreaking. Archie Bunker was the racist relative we all had. He said all the racist things they all thought but never said, and said them on network TV.

That was the point. In the old days — about four years ago — you could be racist, but you weren’t supposed to say it out loud. In public. He did and everybody was supposed to be shocked and alarmed by it.

Those were the old days. Today, we live in a world where 60 million people voted for a racist who started his racist campaign by saying incredibly racist things about Latinos. They are murderers, rapists, gang members, liberals!!!And it’s gone downhill from there.

We now have rallies where thousands of racists get together to chant “Send her back” and they say it with glee. It’s now OK to be a racist. It’s OK to be a bigot.

Racism has always been around. It’s an infection that has festered under the skin of America since America began. But now the festering boil has come to the surface. And when a boil comes to the surface it eventually bursts and all the pus comes out.

The boil on America came out and somehow made it to the White House and the pus is coming out. And there’s so much more of it than anybody imagined possible.

But there’s not a racist bone in any of their bodies.

Except maybe the stapes. The tiny bone in your ear. If you don’t have that, how can you hear all the racist shit your fellow racists are saying?

“BEING THERE” – A MODERN DAY REVIEW – Garry Armstrong

Last night, Marilyn and I watched “Being There.” We hadn’t seen this comedy from 1979 in a long time, probably years. What a difference time has made!

I recall seeing “Being There” when it opened. I enjoyed the farcical Hal Ashby film about a mentally challenged man who somehow influences high and mighty power brokers including our Commander-In-Chief and his aides. It seemed like a Capra-esque flight of fantasy in 1979.  Couldn’t happen in real life. Our political leaders couldn’t be so naïve or vulnerable. We were caught up with Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan. Many laughed at the notion of an actor becoming President.

It wouldn’t happen, we smart folks reasoned with our historical savvy. No way a B-movie actor, revered for his roles as a beloved college football player and pal to a chimp named Bonzo — no way that guy could become the most powerful political figure in the world.  So we smugly thought.

Being There, 1979 poster

Peter Sellers is “Chance.” AKA Chauncey Gardner, a middle-aged gardener. The simple-minded assistant to a wealthy man who dies at the beginning of “Being There.” We don’t know much about Chance except he apparently has the mental capacity of a child. He is a brilliant gardener and likes to watch television. Chance is a sweet-tempered fellow whose world revolves around tending the garden — and watching television. He can’t read or write. He just gardens. And likes to watch …. television.

Chauncey Garden walking through Washington DC

Through a series of farcical plot twists, Chance becomes the house guest of an elderly, dying business tycoon and political king-maker (Melvyn Douglas) and his capricious wife (Shirley MacLaine).  The new benefactors mistake Chance’s observations about gardening as metaphors for Wall Street and fixing what ails our government.

The President (Jack Warden), a close friend of the tycoon, thinks Chance — now accepted as the mysterious Chauncey Gardner — is his benign Henry Kissinger. Chauncey’s garden recipes become talking points for the President’s economic directive.

Peter Sellers & Shirley MacLaine in Being There (1979)

There’s one hilarious scene in the middle of the film where the Black maid who raised Chauncey from infancy — and knows he has “rice pudding between his ears” — rails at her friends and points out that “all you need to become president is to be white.” That was a joke in 1979. Not so funny these days.

In 1979, the movie plot seemed outrageous and outlandish. In those days,  many of us didn’t believe Ronald Reagan could be taken seriously. None of us conceived of him as what we called “a president.” We would have deemed it impossible. I still do.

As “Being There” reaches its conclusion, Melvyn Douglas’ tycoon dies. At the cemetery, as he is laid to rest, the tycoon’s pals and the President’s aides quietly share anxiety about the country’s future. They don’t think the President is strong enough to lead the country out of its economic swamp. There’s a final quiet agreement that only one man can save the country, the man with the savvy garden metaphors, Chauncey Gardner.

Closing scene

The man who would be President is seen wandering through the woods and into a lake, staking his umbrella in the water, perhaps divining a miracle. The end credits roll with outtakes of Peter Sellers laughing his way through many retakes of plays on words.

Marilyn and I laughed as the credits rolled by. Then, we looked at each other. Quietly. Very quietly. Through some bizarre upside-down ill-starred event, during the heart of a perfect political storm, Chauncey Gardner became America’s president after all. Not benign — and definitely not a gardener, yet surely as stupid and illiterate.

A gardener would have been a better choice. At least he could have grown a few roses.

DAMN, I’M TIRED OF BEING RIGHT ALL THE TIME – BY TOM CURLEY

OK, this is becoming a series. I’ve been having a problem coming up with posts lately because every time I want to write a post about what’s going on in the news I realize I already wrote about it a year ago. Or two years ago. It happened again today.

Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” is coming out. It’s about the Trump White House.

It documents how the staff literally took documents off his desk so he wouldn’t sign them and do things like START WORLD WAR III!!!!

When they did, the prez forgot they had been on his desk at all. Basically, if they could distract him for five minutes, he’d forget what he was talking about or doing.  What does this have to do with me?

I wrote a JOKE BLOG about this over a year ago!!! Here it is.


M.A.D, MADMEN, AND THE FIVE MINUTE RULE
By Tom Curley

The talk this week is that our “So-called President” is insane has ramped up to 11 out of 10.

It’s all anyone in the news can talk about. The biggest worry, of course, is that this nut-job has access to the nuclear codes and could start a war in under five minutes. During the cold war, the US and Russia and China operated under the idea of M.A.D., aka “Mutually Assured Destruction.”

Nobody considered what would happen if an actual Madman was President.

Everybody says nobody can stop him. That’s not quite true.

During the Nixon administration, towards the end, with Nixon drinking a lot and freaking out over Watergate, the Chief of Staff quietly put out an order. If the President ordered a nuclear strike or for that matter, any military strike check with him or the Secretary of Defense first. It was illegal, but they did it anyway.

They were right.

Maybe the current Chief of Staff (right now, it’s John Kelly, but hell, that could change next week) might be doing the same thing. We don’t know.

But I have a couple of other ideas that might also work, a couple of options to get around the “I’m bored and in a bad mood. Let’s start a nuclear war” scenario.

Option One:

In order to start a nuclear war, he has to get the nuclear codes. They are in a briefcase called “The Nuclear Football”.  An aide, whose sole job is to carry “The Football” around, has to bring it to him.

Here’s how it would go.

SCROTUS: I’m in a bad mood! I want to start a nuclear war! Bring me the nuclear football.

AIDE: Here you go, sir.

SCROTUS: Hey, it’s locked!

AIDE: Yes sir. You have to unlock it.

SCROTUS: I do? What’s the combination?

AIDE: I don’t know sir. You were supposed to reset it when you took office. President Obama was supposed to tell you that when he left office.

SCROTUS: I knew it! This is Obama’s fault!

AIDE: Well I guess we can’t start a nuclear war today sir.

SCROTUS: No wait! Try 123!

AIDE: Nope, doesn’t work.

SCROTUS: 000?

AIDE: Nope.

SCROTUS: 111?

AIDE: Uhh …. Nope.

Now the reason that his can work is because of “The Five Minute Rule.” He only has an attention span of about five minutes. After that, he gets bored or forgets what he was talking about and moves on to something else. Usually watching Fox News.

Five minutes later.

SCROTUS: I’m bored. What were we talking about?

AIDE: We were talking about how much “Fox and Friends” loves you, sir.

SCROTUS: Yea! Let’s watch TV!

Or …

Option 2: 

When he wants to start a nuclear war, we bring him an actual football.

SCROTUS: I’m bored! Let’s start a nuclear war! I want to bomb Rosie O’Donnell! Bring me the nuclear football!

AIDE: Here you go, sir.

SCROTUS: What’s this?

AIDE: It’s “The Nuclear Football” sir.

SCROTUS: It is? It looks like a real football.

AIDE: It is a real football, sir. Just nuclear.

SCROTUS: How do I use it?

AIDE: You just go outside and shout out the name of the country or person you want to bomb and then you just throw that football as hard as you can.

SCROTUS: It’s that easy?

AIDE: Yup.

SCROTUS goes outside, yells “Fuck Rosie O’Donnell and throws the football. A secret service agent catches it and runs away shouting “Rosie O’Donnell sucks!” and returns the football to the Chief of Staff’s office and puts it in the bin with all the other footballs — and the actual combination to the real “football.”

By now, about five minutes has gone by and the aide turns on Fox News.

Crazy you say? I agree. But when you’re dealing with crazy, you have to think crazy.

 

CONTINUING OUR GRAND EXPERIMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Continue

Continue?

In many ways, the nightmare we are currently experiencing is a continuation of what went before. None of this came out of “nowhere.” We’ve had bad presidents and even some of our good presidents were not all that great. We have plundered the earth and made money the beginning and end of all things. Greed is God.

Notice how little time it took and the methodology. Simple, wasn’t it?

We worship money. We’ve been watching “Luke Cage” on Netflix and his comment that “The only thing that gets respect is money” is disgustingly true. You can be any color you want including pink with yellow polka-dots, but if you don’t control a few billion dollars, you aren’t going to get real respect.

Given our passion for money, why not elect a buffoon for whom greed and the power it gives him has been his all-consuming goal his entire life? We’ve been heading this way for a long time. We didn’t understand where this direction would take us.

The displacement of Germany’s liberal democratic government took ONLY ten years. Most of it happened in less than five.

Europe hit some kind of long-held target when it rounded up everyone they didn’t like and killed them. When World War II was finished, there were no foreigners or Jews or Romany left. They were dead. The perils of the world have changed the scenario, but the plundering of the earth to create the mess it’s in now didn’t start in the U.S.

The Rhone, the Rhine, and the Thames were flowing sewerage long before the U.S. even got its industrial revolution in gear.

In November 1923, a German army veteran and leader of an extremist party, Adolf Hitler, tried to take a page from Mussolini’s book. Hitler’s rise to power is one of the most significant events of our century. His success raised disturbing questions that we still debate today. How did Germany, which had a liberal democratic government in the 1920s, become a totalitarian dictatorship in the 1930s? Why did Hitler gain the enthusiastic support of many Germans? In less than a decade, he turned one of the most liberal nations in the world into the greatest killer of them all.

It doesn’t take a hundred years. It doesn’t even take a lifetime. In these hyper speedy days, with ultra-fast communications, it can take virtually no time. It took Germany a decade, but we’ve gotten there much faster.

Our rise to power wasn’t unilateral. We needed help and we got it by — you guessed it — immigration. We imported Europeans who knew how to build the mills and sluice the waste into our rivers. We couldn’t have done it without your help. Thanks, guys!

When you start to throw dirt around, make sure you let some stick to you. This world is one world. Nothing happens independently without collaboration. Despite that America has probably the worst goon and buffoon in office, Australia, Canada and many countries in Europe are not far behind. The hatred we spew is being spewed on every continent and in many languages.

The U.S. is not alone. If you think we are, you should look around. Read your own newspapers and think about your own government. All those things about which you are so proud and which took years to build can be stripped away so fast you won’t have time to say “what happened.” You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

Let us show set you an example. After all, you already dragged us into two world wars. Maybe it’s our turn to show you how evil a government can be. Continue indeed. Yes, let’s do that. Let us continue. It is amazing how little we seem to learn from history, isn’t it?

Are you going to continue too? You had Hitler and Mussolini. Are you getting ready for your next set of dictators? It took very little to overthrow Germany and a lot other countries helped Germany along. They didn’t think all that hatred was such a bad thing. They didn’t like Those People either.

Forgive me, dear overseas friends, but it’s time to look around at the whole picture. England pulled out of the European trade union before we got around to installing the orange moron in the White House. There were hate riots in Europe before we even got started on our 2016 election. Hatred didn’t start here.

It has always been with us. Always. Here, there, and everywhere.

If we get to start a world war, it’ll be our first.

But it won’t be your first. 

Also RDP #30 – FLUKE for RDP. Because this mess is no fluke. We walked right into this without believing it could happen. And here we are!

WE HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO CANADA – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve given up trying to make sense out of anything anymore. After over a year living in the waking nightmare that is our current government, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore.

Do I know what SCROTUS is going to do tomorrow? What he’s going to do in the next hour? Hell no. I gave up on trying to figure that out a long time ago. You can’t figure out what a crazy person is going to do. That’s what makes them crazy.

Our cheese-headed-so-called president has pissed off a lot of people. 60 to 75 percent of Americans. Pretty much all of Mexico. His new US Ambassador to Germany pissed them off so much his first day on the job they’re threatening to throw him out. For the last year, there’s been constant talk about rage fatigue. We can’t keep up this level of anger.

I’m not worried about that. No matter how mad you get at what he did today, I guarantee you he’ll come up with something tomorrow that will shoot your blood pressure right back up to 11.

But last week, the idiot-in-chief did something unbelievable. Even for him.

He pissed off Canada.

Think about that for a second. HE PISSED OFF CANADA!

I didn’t know that was possible! I mean, we’re talking about Canada! The country whose worst stereotype is that they’re all incredibly polite and they apologize for everything. Hell, they apologize for apologizing!

CANADIAN: Hey, sorry about that, eh?

AMERICAN: You didn’t do anything wrong. You don’t have to apologize.

CANADIAN: Oh, I see, sorry.

This moron goes to the G7 summit, called the G6 + 1 by all the other members. And insults everyone. He then threatens them with more tariffs if they don’t do everything he tells them to do.

His excuse for doing this to Canada, Europe, and Japan?  Our allies? An obscure rule in the trade agreement that says the President can impose tariffs on a country if it’s a “threat to our national security.”

Not surprisingly, everybody, especially Canada went “WTF!! We’re a threat to your national security?? We fought with you in two World Wars for Christ’s sake!”

What was his reply? “Well, didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the burning of the White House during the War of 1812. Which is when the British burned down the White House. When Canada wasn’t even a country!  Then, he leaves the summit early, in a huff. After he left, Justin Trudeau gave a press conference where he basically told the US president to go fuck himself.

He did it in the most polite way possible. He said, “I know we have a reputation for being polite, but we won’t be pushed around.”

He didn’t apologize for the statement! The media and the world were shocked. If we translate what he said into American it would be something like this. “WTF! You want to start a trade war with us!? FUCK YOU, you Goddamn moron! You think you can fuck with us? Oh, hell no! Oh, and sorry about the foul language.”

There’s a great picture that Angela Merkel released. It sums up the whole meeting. It looks like it should be a Rockwell painting.

You need to go to your room and think about what you did!

I’ve realized that we Americans have to stand up, take responsibility and do something about this. We have to apologize to Canada.  We need to start a movement. Use Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram. I don’t care.

Each of us needs to say “Canada. I’m sorry. We all know this guy’s a fucking moron. He’s embarrassing all of us. Our bad.”

If you don’t have a social media account, just send Canada an “I’m sorry” greeting card. You can find them in any drug store.

The majority of us didn’t vote for the asshole

And while we’re at it, we also need to apologize to France, England, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Who am I kidding? Except for China, Russia and now, North Korea, we have to apologize to everyone.

We are sorry, World.

We’re working on fixing this next November.

SKEWED LIBERTY (THIS COUNTRY FOR SALE) – Judy Dykstra-Brown

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 SKEWED – Judy Dykstra-Brown

Everything is tilted. Slightly unaligned.
The constitution set askew. Liberty maligned.
Some of the well-heeled citizens think that this is fine.
They cannot see that everything is slightly out of line.
All the pretty Philistines queue up at their tees
while their flunky lawyers determine what to seize.
Contracts with the Russians. Schemes to sell off national land.
Cronies helping cronies. Off-shore drilling by demand.

Rivers being sullied and oceans compromised
while insuring rights to bear arms are exercised.
Certain pious preachers line up behind the svelte,
proclaiming to the masses that they know what Jesus felt.
Indeed, the smallest sparrow  no longer matters much
so long as all the mighty increase their greedy clutch––
all the money-changers, corrupt to the core,
filling all their pockets with the money of the poor.

Surely it is clear that at ruling they’re inept,
and if he was watching, surely Jesus wept
as all the pearls of liberty were cast before the swine
with each self-serving libertine declaring  what is “mine.”
What is true no longer matters. What “they” say is now what now counts.
They say it’s holy scripture as they settle their accounts.
People, take off your blinders. Consider what is real.
One nation, under God, was not set up for them to steal!