Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Big Answer

Today's post is the transcript of Robert Mueller's televised statement. He kindly answered the Big Question posed earlier, "To impeach, or not impeach?"

For those with short attention spans or reading comprehension issues, I emphasized key points and summarized the inevitable conclusion.

Two years ago, the Acting Attorney General asked me to serve as Special Counsel, and he created the Special Counsel's Office.

The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking today because our investigation is complete. The Attorney General has made the report on our investigation largely public. And we are formally closing the Special Counsel's Office. As well, I am resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life.

I'll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office's written work speak for itself.

Let me begin where the appointment order begins: and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election.

As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.

The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information, and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.

And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to interfere in the election.

These indictments contain allegations. And we are not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. That is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.

That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government's effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.

Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate.

The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.

And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the President.

The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work.

As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.

We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision.

It explains that under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view—that too is prohibited.

The Special Counsel's Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.

The Department's written opinion explaining the policy against charging a President makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report. And I will describe two of them:

First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.

And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.

And beyond Department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of an actual charge.

So that was the Justice Department policy and those were the principles under which we operated. From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination -- one way or the other -- about whether the President committed a crime. That is the office's final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.

We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the Attorney General—as required by Department regulations.

The Attorney General then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and the American people.

At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The Attorney General preferred to make the entire report public all at once. We appreciate that the Attorney General made the report largely public. I do not question the Attorney General's good faith in that decision.

I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself—no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.

There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.

The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

So beyond what I have said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress.

Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, and the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals, who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel's Office, were of the highest integrity.

I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.

That allegation deserves the attention of every American.

Thank you.

So, what is the "Big Answer"?

We find the answer in these key elements:

"This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity..."

The Trump campaign accepted and benefited from Russian interference.

"Insufficient evidence to charge" doesn't mean there was no evidence. This only shows obstruction of evidence was partially successful, preventing charges of conspiracy. Cooperation, aka collusion" was the "Trump campaign's response".

"That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation." And, "That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation."  And, "the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the President."

This means there WAS obstruction. 

The damning conclusion is here: "if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that."

Instead he said, "The Special Counsel's Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider."

The message to Congress is clearly stated, "The opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing."

For the benefit of those still confused, Mueller has just said, in effect, "Since I cannot legally charge him, Congress must hold Crooked Don accountable for colluding with Russian interference against his opponent, and engaging in multiple attempts to obstruct the investigation."

And there it is. 

The Big Answer to the Big Question, "To impeach or not impeach", is...

...Hell YES!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Big Question

To impeach or not impeach. That is the question. 

There are compelling arguments on both sides of the impeachment question.

My reason for opposing impeachment would be Pence would only pardon the crook. Better to vote him out and arrest him. Although something tells me Trump will get away with his crimes, just as Bush/Cheney got away with torture and war crimes.

Polls show a majority against impeachment, but what does that mean?

I would be interested in knowing what the breakdown would be in those opposing impeachment. How many are just Democrats afraid of the process backfiring, compared to Trump loyalists?

Why do people think impeaching Trump will make him more popular? 

Just because his toadies in the Senate love him, doesn't mean anybody else will join the cult. Either way, Trump will gloat about not being impeached, as much as he would crow about the senate's non-conviction.

I wonder if  there are really that many independents who would shrug and say, "Gee, Trump's fellow Republicans in the Senate voted not to convict. I'll have to side with them."

If that is the state of our democracy, we are doomed.

Who bears the greater shame? Authoritarians defending a criminal, or Democrats showing courage of their convictions, who dare to draw the line that has been so flagrantly crossed? Democrats can call on Republican senators to side with either the Constitution or Trump. They cannot stand for both.

The message would be bumper sticker simple. Constitution or Trump?

How will history reflect the Democrats' lack of conviction in the face of a rogue president, especially if he wins? Voters want to see Democrats stand on principle, and show resolve and purpose. This is their chance. 

I understand Pelosi's long game is all about political calculations. Maybe she's right and defeating him is more important than impeaching him. I say go for both. Impeachment is the moral high ground and the Constitutional course of action.

Democrats would be taking a stand for the Constitution and rule of law. They can fairly accuse the Republicans of undermining the Constitution in favor of an autocrat.

At least holding impeachment hearings sends the message that something is very wrong with the Trump Administration. Call them "pre-impeachment hearings" if need be. They will spell out Trunp's crimes and misdemeanors and abuses of power. Imagine the Democrats' message being, "Constitution or con? Choose wisely!"

Perhaps, despite appearances, its not just spineless waffling. Maybe it's Pelosi's plan to time the impeachment hearings closer to the election.

If not, what will the Democrats stand for, if not the Constitution and rule of law? There's no reason they can't promote health care, women's reproductive rights, environmental protections, regulation of commerce, etc. as well as following the Constitution's provision for impeachment.

My concern is if Trump is not impeached, then nobody, or only Democrats, will ever be impeached.  And that would end all illusions of a Constitutional Republic.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Amen, Amash!

Shortly after the criminal con man was elected president by a minority of American voters, I stated the only way to remove him is for enough Republicans to find their conscience. My impossible dream, so to speak.

The Democratic leadership have been waffling, over-calculating cowards and will accomplish nothing if left to themselves. Impeachment can only succeed with the help of a handful of decent-minded Republicans who respect the Constitution and rule of law. Will it become another tragic lost cause for justice? Probably, if left to the Party of Trump.

On May 1st I wrote: "The entire Republican Party is guilty of covering up for criminals, violating their oaths of office, and betraying our Constitution."

Our friend TB3 questioned the accuracy of my broad statement: “Surely not the entire Republican Party. Just the corrupt ones afraid of Trump airing their dirty laundry. It just seems to be a large number of them.” 

I responded, “TB3, Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit by including the entire Republican Party. Elected or appointed individuals who stand with Dems for impeachment, and charges of obstruction of justice, and charges of violating campaign finance laws can be excused. I would include any Republican who challenges his fitness for office and renounces support for his presidency and his administration. Shall we start a list when they appear?”

Until this weekend there were zero names of elected Republicans to begin that list.

At last we have one name for the list. 

We can thank Michigan Representative Justin Amash for being the first elected Republican to bravely take a stand for the truth and our Constitution.

The first metaphorical penguin has jumped from the ice and taken the plunge. Will he be devoured by a seal, or will more join him?

You see, he actually read the Mueller Report, unlike most Republicans, including Barr, it would seem. The cover-up has failed. There is now a crack in the dam. Surely more will follow. This is the time for Republican Senators to find their conscience. 

Will it happen? Not with the majority of the corrupt authoritarians; that is certain. As we continue dreaming the impossible dream, we would still need 17 of them to read the report and reach the obvious conclusion. Trump obstructed justice and his campaign colluded with Russians.

I won't hold my breath. Authoritarians have no conscience. But some are smart enough to see how history will judge their crooked leader, and their response to his reprehensible behavior, pathological dishonesty and documented crimes. There would be some bi-partisan agreement on impeachment and removal.

Perhaps more war-mongering and tariff madness will tip the scales. Wall-Mart prices are rising, and farmers are hurting, thanks to the dotard's delusions of trade prowess.

Amash tweeted the reasons why he decided Trump should be impeached:


Here are my principal conclusions:

1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.

In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.

Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.

Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.

Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.

Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles.

We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump.

Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release.

America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it. 


Amen, Amash!

We now have ONE elected Republican who understands the ONLY way to keep America great is to impeach the crooked, evil racist currently desecrating the Oval Office.

Of course, the treacherously dishonest and hypocritical theocrat Pence would pardon his criminal benefactor. We know this. But he can't pardon him for his insurance/bank fraud and money-laundering crimes being brought by the state of New York.

The Tangerine Tyrant is going down in disgrace, as he should. It's only a matter of time. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Collusion And Obstruction? Yes

“Total exoneration! No collusion!” The Trump Cult has been repeating these two lies about the Mueller Report.

The lies are being tolerated and even embraced by the ignorant masses, of course.

Unfortunately the ignorant masses are not only in the cult. Moderates are duped as well. And so are many liberals who have not actually read the Mueller Report.

Orwell nailed it with, “Ignorance is strength.”

Trump was NOT exonerated. It’s clearly spelled out by Mueller:

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. ... Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Of course Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump, because he obstructed justice:

18 U.S.C. § 1503 defines "obstruction of justice" as an act that "corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice."

Mueller presented the evidence here: (Pg. 158, Pt. II):

The President launched public attacks on the investigation and individuals involved in it who could possess evidence adverse to the President, while in private, the President engaged in a series of targeted efforts to control the investigation. For instance, the President attempted to remove the Special Counsel; he sought to have Attorney General Sessions unrecuse himself and limit the investigation; he sought to prevent public disclosure of information about the June 9, 2016 meeting between Russians and campaign officials; and he used public forums to attack potential witnesses who might offer adverse information and to praise witnesses who declined to cooperate with the government. Judgments about the nature of the President's motives during each phase would be informed by the totality of the evidence.

The president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.

The key elements of obstruction are clear. "The President's motives would be informed by the totality of evidence."

And that is a LOT of evidence.

Public attacks on the investigation and individuals...a series of targeted efforts to control the investigation... limit the investigation... attack potential witnesses... praise witnesses who declined to cooperate... efforts to influence the investigation...Judgments about the nature of the President's motives during each phase would be informed by the totality of the evidence.

He obstructed.

Now let's examine the “no collusion" lie.

We need to understand the definition of collusion and put it in context of the Mueller Report.

From Merriam-Webster:

Collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.

 As in, "Russia, if you're listening....", that's cooperation.

As in the secret Trump tower meeting cooperating with Russian agents, and as in Manifort giving polling data to Russian agents. THAT's collusion.

As in the words of the Mueller Report, "The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign...established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts..."

“The Campaign expected it would benefit”. THAT is cooperation, and collusion.

Vol 1 Pg 2:

“Collusion didn't apply to the investigation: In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[e]” was used in communications with the Acting Attorney General confirming certain aspects of the investigation’s scope and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.”

Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law.”

The Trump Tower meeting with Russian agents and other efforts to cooperate with Russian agents was collusion, but Mueller didn’t find sufficient evidence to convict for specific legal conditions of conspiracy with the Russian government.

There was collusion with oligarchs and people with connections to the Kremlin, as in a secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.

The truth is Mueller recounts numerous contacts between Trump’s people and Russians, and they LIED under oath about those contacts. Flynn, Papadopoulos, Gates, Manifort and Cohen are just five of the convicted criminals. None were convicted of conspiracy, but they most certainly colluded.

Mueller also noted the Trump campaign welcomed the Russian interference. They didn’t report it, as required by law. They cooperated with it. That is collusion.

VOl 1 Pg 1:

”...the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts...” 

Vol 1 Pg 5:

”The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations.”

Vol 1 Pg 6:

“Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton. Throughout that period of time and for several months thereafter, Papadopoulos worked with Mifsud and two Russian nationals to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government... On June 9, 2016, for example, a Russian lawyer met with senior Trump Campaign officials Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort to deliver what the email proposing the meeting had described as “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” The materials were offered to Trump Jr. as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” The written communications setting up the meeting showed that the Campaign anticipated receiving information from Russia that could assist candidate Trump’s electoral prospects...”

That’s a lot of “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose”, aka collusion.

Conclusion: He obstructed. They colluded. 


Update: The latest witness tampering and obstruction of justice is evidenced from Trump's personal attorney in a voicemail to Flynn's attorney, "It wouldn't surprise me if you've gone on to make a deal with ... the government. ... (I)f ... there's information that implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, ... so you know, .... we need some kind of heads up.”

Hey, Congress! We need some kind of heads up about now.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Con-servative "Humor"

Remember back when conservative humor used to be Hee Haw? Remember when Dennis Miller was sort of funny? Remember when the cutting sarcasm of Don Rickles represented the most mean-spirited humor?

Ah, the good old days.

The modern American Right Wing Authoritarian con-servative dwells in a world of negative emotions such as resentment, fear, anger, and hate toward the other side. Trump and his followers share a spiteful, angry, and derogatory brand of humor that resonates from their darkened souls.

The mechanism of a lot of classic humor is "funny because it is true", or because it reflects the beliefs or common understanding of the listeners.

ScientificAmerican examines this perspective in humor: “New research proves that the things we find funny often reveal somewhat hidden beliefs we hold.

Since so many beliefs on the Right have no basis in reality, their “humor” needs to reflect their false beliefs to be funny to them. “Funny” as in “owning the libs” or otherwise expressing said resentment, fear, anger and hate.

Here are two examples that illustrate that sharp contrast in humor.

The first bit is from Mrs. Betty Bowers, "America’s Best Christian": If I discriminate against or criticize you, it’s called “religious freedom”. If you return the favor it’s called “persecution”.

Funny ‘cause it’s true, isn’t it?

From the Right we have:

President Trump is making America so great that Obama is applying for citizenship.

That is not funny to most of us because it has no grain of truth to it. In fact it reeks of ignorance, hate, and bigotry.

However, on the far Right, it is hilarious because to them it “owns the libs” and reinforces Trump’s racist birtherism.

What a hoot! That’ll show the Muslim/Kenyan/Socialist Black Guy and his commie libs. LOL!

Speaking of immigrants, did you see the president grin in mirthful delight while his MAGAt rally mob guffawed when someone shouted, "Shoot 'em!"?

"Shoot 'em!" 

They are as hilarious as they are enlightened and compassionate.They see themselves as tough guys and can dish a lot out, but one thing they can't take is a joke. If one didn't know better, they would appear to be immature, thin-skinned, emotionally labile, tantrum-throwing snowflakes.

This is how the radical far Right finds humor in malevolence, and why they will always be mean-spirited, while being completely befuddled and angered by satire. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

"Trump Derangement Syndrome"

Authoritarian MAGAts have been passing a “Trump Derangement Syndrome” meme that they think teaches us libs a lesson. There’s even an element of truth to it, as in a half-truth.

I’m sure they get quite a rush of malevolent delight from their two-sentence meme lifted from a Psychology Today article on Trump Derangement Syndrome. There is no such diagnosis, of course. The author confirms,  “TDS is not a real, diagnosable or treatable mental disorder... There is no shared lay understanding of TDS, mainly because it is a folk category rather than a professional category.”

Despite the claim it is “all you need to know about Trump Derangement Syndrome”, the article is grossly un-scientific. It is filled with such vacuous “evidence” in the forms of “many have been questioning”, “more people are suggesting”, “Some have even suggested”, “much armchair speculation”, “Several commentators have run with this”, and “Many have argued”.

We can’t question those clear-eyed experts and their un-educated, biased opinions, can we?

And of course the authoritarian MAGAts never actually read the article, or obviously ignored the opening paragraph.

"Indeed, over 70,000 people self-identifying as "mental health professionals" have signed a petition declaring that "Trump is mentally ill and must be removed." In sociological terms, the ‘medical gaze’ has been hitherto focused on President Trump, and to a lesser extent his ardent supporters."

Look no further than a Trump rally to see him spew lies and delusions for his indoctrinated cult. Here him amp up anger, and agitate his enraged crowd to chant for imprisoning his political opponents, and to harass and assault journalists and protesters. Naturally this objective and observable case study isn’t the point of the article.

Then the pivot.

However, in recent months many have been questioning the direction of this ‘medical gaze.' In fact, more and more people are suggesting that this ‘medical gaze’ should be reversed and refocused on President Trump’s most embittered and partisan opponents. Some have even suggested that these opponents are experiencing a specific mental condition, which has been labeled ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome' (TDS).

The sources quoted are pro-Trump, right wing hacks “well-known writer” Bernard Goldberg and “political commentator” Justin Raimondo.

Shared amongst these (commentators) is a notion that the everyday activities of President Trump trigger some people into distorted opinions, extreme emotions and hysterical behaviors. 

(Note to Psychology Today: This is an example of what projection looks like.)

Two other non-clinical opinions are offered for “balance”.

Contrariwise, many others ridicule the notion that TDS is anything but a malicious slur term used to discredit and delegitimize criticism of President Trump. For example, CNN’s Chris Cillizza speaks for many when he states that "the truth is that TDS is just the preferred nomenclature of Trump defenders who view those who oppose him and his policies as nothing more than blind hatred." Likewise, Adam Gopnik writes that "our problem is not TDS, our problem is Deranged Trump Self-Delusion."

In other words, there are polarized opinions about the nature, reality and existence of TDS.

All right, then. Pop psychology and “bothsiderism”, with a clear slant to the right.

Obviously none of this is in the MAGAt meme. Here’s their “money shot” that they think will own the libs:

Many have argued that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by the policies, speech, behavior and tweets of President Trump, so much so that it has affected their cognitive, affective and behavioral functioning. Such people may need mental health support. 

While I’m not a psychiatrist, I do have decades of experience working in community mental health. And since I am also a political commentator, that should qualify me more than the article’s sources to arrive at a real world conclusion. Yes, Trump really does “trigger some people into distorted opinions, extreme emotions and hysterical behaviors.” 

But it sure ain’t the liberals.

This is the reality. As any Trump rally abundantly demonstrates, MAGAts are filled with indoctrinated fear, anger, hate and delusions. The Tangerine Tyrant feeds their paranoia. They see enemies in not only liberals, but everyone not in their cult. They berate the press as the “enemy of the people”. The most deranged have attacked and even killed without warning. In any world, white nationalist terrorists like the MAGA bomber are severely deranged.

As for Trump’s effect on those outside the cult, this is their reality.

It’s no surprise that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by Trump’s unending stream of ignorance, indecency, and lies.

It’s no surprise that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by the rampant dishonesty and corruption of the Party of Trump and his Administration

It’s no surprise that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by Trump siding with Putin and betraying our country in Helsinki.

It’s no surprise that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by Trump’s hateful racist rhetoric emboldening white nationalists to acts of murder and terrorism.

It’s no surprise that some people have been seriously disturbed and distressed by Trump’s cruel child abuse, ordering children to be stripped from their mothers arms and locking them in pens, until some even died.

These are natural and sane reactions to evil.

Trump has indeed left millions of people disturbed and distressed, but only his corrupt party of authoritarians and frothing MAGAts are truly deranged by their evil leader.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Religious Liberty Vs. Progressivism

Out of curiosity, I occasionally visit the American Conservative website. I even agree with some of their positions questioning Trump and Bolten’s war mongering against Iran and Venezuela.

One article prompted me to comment. It was called "Religious Liberty Vs. Building Progressivism". Obviously it is a false choice. Yes, the famous “wedding cake issue” was mentioned, along with the obligatory twist of dire communist implications in opposing bigotry.

You’ve heard it all before. The author had a question for progressives. Do you believe that there are any cases in which defending First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty should take precedence over the building of progressivism? If so, what are they? If not, how, exactly, does your view of religious liberty differ from that held by the totalitarian regime that threw people like Silvester Krcmery into prison?

In other words, “How are you libs not Commies??”

I had this to say: *


This isn’t meant to be personal, but I know it will be taken that way.

Crybaby Christians again. Always the victims.

Freedom of religion is a progressive value. Bigotry is not.

It's not just about wedding cake, kids. Jesus never said a word about selling or not selling wedding cakes to killers, thieves, or rapists, let alone gays.

Do they think at the Cana wedding, Jesus said, "Wine for everybody! Except for all you homos. None for you!"? 

Do they really believe they will go to hell for baking a cake for gays? I highly doubt it. But it sure as hell "justifies" their bigotry though. And we know damn well they’d love to sell a cake to the pussy grabber in the Oval Office.

It wasn't that long ago when white Christian-run hospitals turned away minorities. Progressivism opposed that. Shame on the godless ones!  

The terrible injustice and horrors that good, conservative, white Christians endure pale when compared to all the blacks, Jews, Unitarians, Muslims, Sikhs mistaken for Muslims, and doctors murdered in their places of worship.

Bigotry is not religion, but fundamentalist religion seems to make bigotry acceptable. These fundies are the enemies of progressivism, as well as democracy. Why should any progressive respect their bigotry?

Why should any conservative respect their bigotry?

Is it really shocking that Trump's anti-progressive, hypocritical evangelicals believe the Great Liar and racist birther was sent by Jesus to save America from brown people? Sadly, no. Bigotry becomes them.

Here's the nasty little secret. White Nationalists are all "good Christians". Just ask them.

Trump's "very fine people" marching with tiki torches are all "Christians". Those burning crosses were lit to "guide Jesus" for His return. Just ask any one of them. Go ahead.

The more intelligent and compassionate conservatives among us understand this. 

American Evangelical Christianity is becoming just another religion of hate. Trump is their new Messiah.

Here's to the big alt-right beam in their eyes. 


* After 53 comments, this one is still unposted. I guess someone took it personally. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Learning the "One Rule"

The woman who got over 2,860,000 more votes than the president presented an interesting hypothetical scenario to Rachel Maddow on how absurd our election laws have become:

“Imagine, Rachel, that you had one of the Democratic nominees for 2020 on your show and that person said, ‘You know, the only other adversary of ours, who’s anywhere near as good as the Russians, is China. So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don’t we ask China to back us...China, if you’re listening, why don’t you get Trump’s tax returns? I’m sure our media would richly reward you’...According to the Mueller Report that is not conspiracy because it’s done right out in the open.”

Sorry, Hil. This is only OK if you are a Republican. Don’t you know the "One Rule" by now?

As if that isn’t depressing enough...

It’s also OK if you are a Republican to advocate for torture, incarceration without charges, and start wars of aggression based on lies.

"First of all, I actually like Dick Cheney, for real. I get on with him. I think he's a decent man." - Joe Biden

Ol' Joe will pander to anyone. I'm sure he "actually likes" just about everybody. In his defense, the context was Cheney cordially welcoming him to the vice-presidency and Blair House. He went on to say he didn't agree with him, so there's that sliver of decency.

But still, come on...

And this:

Trump’s private counsel and US Attorney General Barr stated, "The president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course. The president could terminate the proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused."

IOKIYAR. The One Rule. 

It’s still morning, but for some reason I’d like a large pour of Scotch now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Sacrifice Of Souls

In today’s Senate hearing, it seemed somebody’s girdle was a bit too tight, and it wasn’t the woman asking the questions.

Enraged at the uppity woman’s tone in questioning Trump’s Attorney General and de-facto personal defense lawyer William Barr, Lindsey "Huckleberry” Graham clutched his pearls and jumped to Barr's defense saying, "Listen, you've slandered this man."

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii responded, "I do not think that I'm slandering anyone. Mr. Chairman, I am done. Thank you very much."

"You have slandered this man from top to bottom," Graham squealed. "So if you want more of this, you're not going to get it. If you want to ask him questions, you can."

So what outrageous lie and affront to decency snapped Lindsey's garter?

After Barr weaseled out of answering her questions, Senator Hirono mentioned the unspeakable truth:

"Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office... You lied to Congress... But now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign."

I'm with her. 

She sees through them, past their lies, and into the darkness they've embraced.

Indeed, authoritarian tyrants leave a long trail of "people who sacrificed their once decent reputation".

Former FBI Director James Comey has been there, and has seen into the moral abyss now defiling the White House. In his recent New York Times piece he explains "How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr".

It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

...From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.

...Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

...Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

History corroborates Comey, and shows how authoritarian leaders have long exploited passive followers. This is the same way "good Germans" became obedient Nazis. This is how the "Party of Values" drank the koolade to become the Party of Trump, and how "good Christians" praise a pathological liar and racist criminal "sent by Jesus".

Barr has lied to congress. He and the Big MAGAt are both criminals and should be impeached and convicted. The entire Republican Party is guilty of covering up for criminals, violating their oaths of office, and betraying our Constitution.

They are eating our nation’s soul.