Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Lock him up.


Now that Mr. trump is almost a private citizen again, it's time to seriously consider investigating him for federal crimes committed while he was in office. 

 I, for one,  don't want to hear about how it will divide the country and all the rest of it. The country is already divided, and there is nothing that will change that. trump supporters are beyond saving, so if they want to be pissed off about their "dear leader" being investigated and prosecuted, then so be it.

I am not alone on this island. A former Mueller prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, agrees with me. 

"The former deputy to Mueller during his investigation said he didn't come to the viewpoint to pursue a probe into the soon-to-be former president "lightly" but added that "Trump's criminal exposure is clear."

Weissmann cited the evidence collected during Mueller's investigation to determine whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and whether Trump interfered with the probe. He said the team "amassed ample evidence to support a charge that Mr. Trump obstructed justice."

"What precedent is set if obstructing such an investigation is allowed to go unpunished and undeterred?" he wrote.

He also pointed out that both the Manhattan district attorney and the New York attorney general are investigating Trump on claims of tax and bank fraud, adding these probes could unveil new information leading to federal charges against Trump.

"Sweeping under the rug Mr. Trump's federal obstruction would be worse still," Weissmann said. "The precedent set for not deterring a president's obstruction of a special counsel investigation would be too costly: It would make any future special counsel investigation toothless and set the presidency de facto above the law."

"In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law," he added."

Mr. trump has always thought that he was above the law, and his four year crime spree in Washington is proof of it. The only reason that he didn't go down like so many of his cronies is because he had the power of the office that he held behind him. Thankfully, that is no longer the case, so it's time that he faced the music. 

Right before I wrote this post, Mr. trump pardoned another member of his crime family, Michael Flynn. Of course we know that he had no choice, because Mr. Flynn knows where all the bodies are buried, and where all the incriminating documents are stored. Michael Flynn always had that look of a man who had supreme confidence that he would not be spending any significant amount of time in jail, because he always knew that Mr. trump would not let him. Mr. trump's justice department even took the extreme and unheard of step of trying to get a do over on charging Flynn, even after he pled guilty to the charges that were being brought against him. 

And speaking of the Justice Department, the man Mr. trump put in charge of it acted like his personal attorney, and not the Attorney General of the United States of America. History will not be kind to William Barr, a man who committed one despicable act after another right until the very end.  Another good thing about getting rid of Donald trump is knowing that he won't be far behind. 

"Former judge John Gleeson, the court-appointed "amicus," ripped into the Justice Department in a recent filing, arguing its move to drop the charges against Flynn was part of a political effort to benefit President Donald Trump's personal ally.

"In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty -- twice, before two different judges -- and whose guilt is obvious," Gleeson said. "There is clear evidence that this motion reflects a corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system."'

In the United States former presidents who commit crimes while in office should also be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

   



 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Mr. trump is almost gone, but there will be more like him.


The republican party, led by Donald trump, have hijacked our democracy, at least for the time being. Can you imagine actively trying to disenfranchise millions of African American voters because they didn't vote the way you wanted them to? That's exactly what has been happening over the past couple of weeks. Us black folks have to deal with voter suppression before and after we vote.

Fortunately the courts have been seeing through this lame attempt by Mr. trump and his minions to change the out come of the election, and he has been taking one loss after another in the court of law. Apparently all those Judges that he appointed to do his bidding did not work out for him quite like he wanted them to. Here is the thing with the courts: unlike when you are on FOX News or conservative talk radio, you actually have to bring real proof and evidence of what you are alleging to prove your point. Mr. trump's lawyers have yet to do that. And, sadly for Mr. trump and his followers, Joe Biden's lead is actually widening as these ridiculous lawsuits play themselves out. 

Meanwhile, Donald trump isn't even pretending to be president anymore. Instead, he golfs all day and tweets about how the evil media and 79 million Americans stole the election from him. He fails to realize, of course, that his mishandling of a pandemic that has cost over 250,000 Americans their lives might have something to do with it.  

Anyway, now might be a good time to consider why we elected Donald trump in the first place, and consider where we are as Americans when it comes to electing those who lead us.

The following article from Zeynep Tufekci, writing in the The Atlantic, is a good place to start.

"Now that Joe Biden has won the presidency, we can expect debates over whether Donald Trump was an aberration (“not who we are!”) or another instantiation of America’s pathologies and sins. One can reasonably make a case for his deep-rootedness in American traditions, while also noticing the anomalies: the early-morning tweeting, the fondness for mixing personal and government business, the obsession with ratings befitting a reality-TV star—the one job he was good at.

From an international perspective, though, Trump is just one more example of the many populists on the right who have risen to power around the world: Narendra Modi in India, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, my home country. These people win elections but subvert democratic norms: by criminalizing dissent, suppressing or demonizing the media, harassing the opposition, and deploying extra-legal mechanisms whenever possible (Putin’s opponents have a penchant for meeting tragic accidents). Orbán proudly uses the phrase illiberal democracy to describe the populism practiced by these men; Trump has many similarities to them, both rhetorically and policy-wise.

He campaigned like they did, too, railing against the particular form of globalization that dominates this era and brings benefit to many, but disproportionately to the wealthy, leaving behind large numbers of people, especially in wealthier countries. He relied on the traditional herrenvolk idea of ethnonationalist populism: supporting a kind of welfare state, but only for the “right” people rather than the undeserving others (the immigrants, the minorities) who allegedly usurp those benefits. He channeled and fueled the widespread mistrust of many centrist-liberal democratic institutions (the press, most notably) —just like the other populists. And so on.

But there’s one key difference between Trump and everyone else on that list. The others are all talented politicians who win elections again and again.

In contrast, Trump is a reality-TV star who stumbled his way into an ongoing realignment in American politics, aided by a series of events peculiar to 2016 that were fortunate for him: The Democrats chose a polarizing nominee who didn’t have the requisite political touch that can come from surviving tough elections; social media was, by that point, deeply entrenched in the country’s politics, but its corrosive effects were largely unchecked; multiple players—such as then–FBI Director James Comey—took consequential actions fueled by their misplaced confidence in Hillary Clinton’s win; and Trump’s rivals in the Republican primaries underestimated him. He drew a royal flush.

It’s not that he is completely without talent. His rallies effectively let him bond with his base, and test out various messages with the crowd that he would then amplify everywhere. He has an intuitive understanding of the power of attention, and he played the traditional media like a fiddle—they benefited from his antics, which they boosted. He also clearly sensed the political moment in 2016, and managed to navigate his way into the presidency, though that probably had more to do with instinct than with deep planning.

Luck aside, though, Trump is not good at his job. He doesn’t even seem to like it much. He is too undisciplined and thin-skinned to be effective at politics over a sustained period, which involves winning repeated elections. He seems to have been as surprised as anyone else that he won in 2016. While he hates the loser branding that will follow him now, he’s probably fine with the outcome—especially since he can blame it on fantastical conspiracies involving theft or ballot-stuffing or the courts—as long as he can figure out how to escape the criminal trials that are certainly coming his way. (A self-pardon? A negotiated pardon? He will try something.)......

......Make no mistake: The attempt to harness Trumpism—without Trump, but with calculated, refined, and smarter political talent—is coming. And it won’t be easy to make the next Trumpist a one-term president. He will not be so clumsy or vulnerable. He will get into office less by luck than by skill. Perhaps it will be Senator Josh Hawley, who is writing a book against Big Tech because he knows that will be the next chapter in the culture wars, with social-media companies joining “fake news” as the enemy. Perhaps it will be Senator Tom Cotton, running as a law-and-order leader with a populist bent. Maybe it will be another media figure: Tucker Carlson or Joe Rogan, both men with talent and followings. Perhaps it will be another Sarah Palin—she was a prototype—with the charisma and appeal but without the baggage and the need for a presidential candidate to pluck her out of the blue. Perhaps someone like the QAnon-supporting Representative-elect Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who first beat the traditional Republican representative in the primary and then ran her race with guns blazing, mask off, and won against the Democratic candidate, a retired professor who avoided campaigning in person. Indeed, a self-made charismatic person coming out of nowhere probably has a better chance than many establishment figures in the party. [More here]

Good article, but the author is wrong with one of his assertions. It's not populism, but racism that drove trump to power. And it's racism that will bring others who are more talented politicians (see politicians who are better at hiding their racism) to the forefront. 

Mr. trump is gone for now, but others who think like him saw his playbook, and they know that they just have to tweak it a little bit to get the right result in the future 

 





Wednesday, November 18, 2020

? Of the Day.



 Do you think that the incoming president, Joe Biden, should encourage his administration to pursue criminal charges against Donald trump for his actions while he was in office? 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Still no concession, but lots of golfing and tweeting.

 


It has now been 12 days since he lost the election, and the lunatic in the White House still refuses to concede. It is now becoming more than just a running joke and an embarrassment for him, it is starting to become a very serious national security issue as well. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging out of control, the current administration is refusing to participate in a smooth transition of power to Joe Biden and his team. This is something that would make fighting the pandemic so much easier. But we have known from day one that Mr. trump and his minions do not care about fighting this pandemic.  

We are sadly now learning that he has not attended a COVID-19 task force meeting in over five months. And how could he? He has been spending his days since getting his ass handed to him, golfing, tweeting lies and far-fetched conspiracy theories, and basically making a fool of himself on twitter by admitting defeat and then denying it.  

At some point the people around him who supposedly care about him are going to have to have a serious intervention with him and demand that he steps down and accept defeat. All the shouting in the world from the right-wing echo chamber won't change the results of the 2020 election: 77 million people voted for Joe Biden and 72 million people voted for him. Joe Biden got 306 electoral votes and he got 232. That's it. I can't say this enough: It's over for him! 

John Yoo, Mr. Torture himself, and a prominent conservative lawyer, sees a very dim future for Mr. trump when it comes to these elections.

"He has the right to mount legal challenges, but we should be clear that these are Hail Mary passes we might think of in American football," Yoo, a former legal advisor to the George W. Bush administration, told CNBC's Capital Connection on Thursday.....

 ...None of these cases really look like they have a very high probability of winning," Yoo said. "On the other hand, I think that Trump has every right to and demand that all the states be sure about the votes, so that we all have confidence in the election. But I'll say, looking at past cases, these are very hard cases to prove and generally they don't result in changes in the votes totals on the order by which President Trump lost to Joe Biden." 

Yoo is not typically a Trump critic: a renowned constitutional law scholar and currently a law professor at Berkeley, he is known as a strong advocate of executive power and has previously advised the Trump administration on how to bypass Congress to enact its own policies. 

Yoo has authored works including the Torture Memos, which in the early 2000s gave legal justification for former President George W. Bush's use of torture on detainees following the 9/11 attacks. Members of Bush's own Justice Department later repudiated Yoo's arguments. His "unitary executive" theory argued that presidents have the authority to assert their power over independent government agencies. 

But there is no argument that enables the president to sidestep the Constitution once his term has ended as decided by the states' electoral votes, Yoo said. 

He then offered an answer to the question many have been asking: What if Trump refuses to ever concede?

"He may never concede; he doesn't have to concede," Yoo said. "The thing about the American Constitution is that it doesn't actually require the sitting president to do anything one way or the other. On January 20th, Donald Trump's term ends and Joe Biden's, I believe, will begin." 

According to the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, the candidate with the most electoral votes becomes president at 12:00 p.m. on January 20. The current president's term is therefore over on that day, just before noon."

If only Four Seasons Landscaping had a moving company. 


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Stop the madness.


The trump presidency is almost over, as over 75 million Americans decided that they have had enough of his madness. 

Of course, Mr. trump, in typical trump fashion, refuses to do the gracious thing and exit stage left. In his heart he knows that there was no voter fraud that caused him to lose the election, but his ego and his gullible followers will not let him accept defeat. 

He is playing a dangerous game with American democracy and American lives, but he doesn't care, because, as always, it's all about him.  

Mahfuz Anam writing in the Daily Star sums up what is happening right now.

'"Election is free and fair if I win it and rigged if I lose"'. I wrote this sentence many times during our period of contested elections under the caretaker government system. I never imagined that I would have to write this about a US election. After having raised the bogey of possible massive election fraud during a re-election campaign, President Trump is now refusing to accept its result. He is opting for litigation to ascertain "legal" votes, implying that there were "illegal" ones, without any shred of evidence so far. Even the Republican controlled states have stood by the accuracy of the election process.

Trump is doing what he does best—disrupt. He did it all through his tenure and he is doing so as he departs, not, of course, if he can help it. But it is a dangerous game he is playing. If he really follows through with his threat of not "conceding" the election, he will cause serious problems in smooth transfer of power and push American politics towards uncharted waters, not to mention making his country subject of ridicule all over the world.

So much of democracy depends on following norms, precedence, procedures, decency and a willingness to play by the rules. Democracy is as much a system as it is a mindset, a collection of values fundamentally rooted on the respect for the "public will" and conceding to it when voted out. If a major actor of this process—in this case Trump—refuses to play by the rules and norms then the whole edifice of democracy risks being seriously dented. Trump's refusal to accept the electoral verdict will create all sorts of problems for a smooth transfer of power, a cornerstone of democracy. After all, politics is about gaining power and democracy is about its smooth and peaceful transfer reflective of people's choice. The more sober section of the Republican Party leadership must rise to the occasion and see that the choice of the majority is honoured.

A seriously vulnerable point of the US presidential election is the practice of "conceding" the election when one is defeated. Since its founding days in every election the defeated candidates had "conceded" to the winner. Normally presidents complete two terms and the election, held at the end of the second term, has two new contestants, neither of whom are in power. However, if the defeated candidate is the incumbent, as is in this instance (Trump being one of four one-term presidents) then the case is radically different. The sitting president, who is in power, has to "concede" to allow the process of transition to the new leadership to take place in a smooth manner.

So, what happens if Trump does not concede as he has announced he would not? Courts will come into the picture and their verdicts will set the course. We do not know how long it will pan out but we can be sure that it will make the relations between the winning and defeated parties—between the democrats and the republicans—bitter. The "time to lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other" appeal by Biden may fall on deaf ears making the "healing" difficult if not well-nigh impossible, definitely in the short run. People expect Biden to remain patient and he, perhaps, will. But much will depend on how elaborate, protracted and time consuming the legal process ends up being. Thankfully there is a time limit till January 20, 2021 when the new president is set to take oath. It is hoped by then some solution will emerge and power will be transferred without fracturing the time" [Source] 

Oh yes, "hope". We are now in a position in America where we can only "hope" that this madman leaves the people's house willingly, and without some sort of major Constitutional crisis, or worse, violence in the streets. 

Some of you thought making this man president was funny four years ago. Well, I hate to break it to you, it ain't so funny anymore. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

It's over! Bad things did happen in Philadelphia for Donald trump.




Time to move on Mr. trump. You lost. Get over it. 

You will forever be remembered as a one term impeached president, who got his ass kicked by a man you called the "worst presidential candidate in history.

Philadelphians were proud to be responsible for putting Joe Biden over the top, and you calling this great city a place where "bad things happen" did not help your cause. Yes, it is a place where "bad things happen", if your name happens to be Donald trump.

The country will now hear how they should reach out to the MAGA folks and try to heal and come together. Joe Biden himself seemed to be saying that in his victory speech. It just never ceases to amaze me that MAGA is never asked to reach out to the other side; it's always the other way around. 

The next few days should be interesting, since trump and his people are threatening court action because of all the alleged "voter fraud" against him. 

Let me say now for the record that there is ZERO chance that Mr. trump will win this challenge, and he needs to stop this charade now before he embarrasses himself and his family even more. 

On a personal note, I am proud of knowing that a half-Jamaican is the Vice President elect of these United States. 

Congrats to Kamala Harris for breaking new ground and being a trail blazer in every sense of the word. 

Saturday, November 07, 2020

The fat lady is about to sing.

 


I remember watching a disappointing playoff exit by my battered and beaten Philadelphia Eagles last year to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. It was painful to watch, and I wish more than anything that I could have just waived a magic wand and declare my Eagles the victors. Sadly, I could not. The scoreboard wasn't going to change, and the National Football League was not going to change their rules. 

 I suspect that the MAGA folks are feeling like I did after watching my birds go down right now. Their leader was on television declaring victory last week, as he wanted to wave a magic wand and just declare it to be so. That will not happen, because the votes don't lie, and the truth of the matter is that there is really no path for him to get to 270 votes and become the president of the United States. And, sadly for him, like the National Football League, America just cannot change the rules to appease Donald trump and his MAGA cult members. 

I am going to hold off declaring Joe Biden as the next president of the United State, because the election is technically not over. But the fat lady is warming up, and the opera is about to come to an end. 

If you are one of those black folks living in cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and here in Philly where I currently reside; this must be particularly sweet for you to know that it's your vote that will cause Mr. trump to be a one-term president. (They're partying in the streets.) He trashed these cities and urban areas for four years, and now they will have the pleasure of seeing him booted from office thanks to their hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Republican voter suppression efforts just did not work. 

Now all eyes is on Donald trump and what he will do when the inevitable happens. Will he lock himself in the White House surrounded by Big Macs and big screen televisions? Will he do the decent and honorable thing and publicly concede to defeat? We will see. History suggests that he will not.

So far trump has been defiant, and has told lie after lie about the process and how the votes have been counted. He has been playing a dangerous game of stoking his base into a frenzy of defiance that could ultimately cost people their lives. (One man in Atlanta has been in hiding after false accusations have been floating around right-wing social media about him trashing a ballot.) Of course we know that Mr. trump doesn't care about any of this. All he cares about is power and not being labeled a loser. 

Unfortunately for him, he will soon lose power, and a loser is exactly what he will be. 

 


Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Season of hate.


If you think that Mr. trump and his supporter's political season of hate and division couldn't get any worse, think again.

Yesterday, in what had to have brought flashbacks of the fifties and sixties, peaceful protestors on their way to vote were pepper-sprayed and arrested by police in North Carolina. Some of them were children. Also, yesterday, a caravan of marauding trump cultists attacked a Joe Biden campaign bus on a highway in Texas, causing them to cancel a planned campaign event and having to call 911. 

And here in the suburbs of Philadelphia (this I know first-hand from close friends) trump supporters have been vandalizing the homes of those who dare to put a Joe Biden yard- sign in their yards. They are terrified and scared. Some of them have children. This is the new normal in America's neighborhoods thanks to 45. 

If you have been watching Mr. trump's hate and whine campaign tour this fall, none of this surprises you. This is all the result of an indoctrination of conspiratorial nonsense and a kind of rabid us against them cult full of insecure uninformed people. It is all that Mr. trump has left, since his policies have been a disaster for America, and the families of 230,000 dead Americans have been forced to live with the results of his incompetence. 

I honestly don't know what will  happen on Tuesday. I suspect that Biden might be leading at the end of the night, but by such a narrow margin that Mr. trump will be crying foul and we will be in for a long three months, which won't end until his Supreme Court declares him the winner. 

Whatever happens, look for trump to be,....well trump.

The following article is from Salon.com:

"With poll numbers staying put and the odds of a Joe Biden win in Tuesday's election looking good — possibly by a decisive margin — there's mounting dread about how Donald Trump will behave after a defeat. After all, Trump is a sociopathic narcissist with the emotional control of a — well, I won't insult toddlers with the comparison — and he lives in mortal terror of being viewed as a loser. He's already made clear that he will refuses to concede, no matter what, and he's grasping desperately for any way to get legal ballots thrown out so he can steal the election. 

No wonder people are afraid Trump will go completely apes**t if his efforts to steal this fail and he actually loses. As Salon's Matthew Rozsa recently explained in a popular piece, psychologists worry that the narcissistic injury to Trump will result in him lashing out "in his vindictive rage to punish an America which he may believe has consigned him to 'loser' status."

On Friday, Ron Suskind of the New York Times published an article based on interviews with "some two dozen officials and aides, several of whom are still serving in the Trump administration," who worried that "the president could use the power of the government" to lash out at enemies, try to steal the election or otherwise wreak havoc on the nation. 

'Trump could do real damage to the country, his successor or presidential traditions," Garrett Graff wrote Wednesday at Politico, adding that "there's reason to wonder if a Trump transition might actually be the start of the wildest chapter of an already controversial presidency."'

Of course we should be worried that Trump, a vindictive man whose only true pleasures come from sadism, will abuse his power to punish Americans if he loses.

But let's be honest: He's also going to do that if he wins.

Heads or tails, Trump will be angry at Americans for not worshipping him in the way he believes is his due, and the next two and a half months are going to be hell. Moreover, win or lose, Trump supporters will continue to believe they are victims of the "liberal elite" and the "deep state," and will keep on being resentful, angry and aggrieved, stocking up on guns and screeching on social media about how poorly they believe they're being treated. 

But at least if Biden wins the election, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. 

We know that Trump and his supporters will act this way because that's how they've acted for the past four years. After all, it was less than a day after Trump's inauguration that the grievance politics and play-acting began. Trump insisted — and pressured his supporters and press secretary into insisting — that his inauguration was way, way bigger than Barack Obama's, and that all the photos showing otherwise were somehow "fake news." He obsessed for months about how the election had been "rigged" against him — even though he won! — because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. 

Ever since then, the running theme of Trump's presidency is that he's a nonstop victim of shadowy liberal forces trying to take him down. Robert Mueller, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, the media (especially female journalists), the "Democrat governors" and on and on: Trump's conflicts are always about a conspiracy against him. They are never, ever his own fault for corruption, criminality, incompetence or just flat-out being the worst. 

Trump even views the coronavirus, which is, you know, a virus with no real agency, as a plot to destroy him, as if all those people decided to get sick and die just to make him look bad. 

Meanwhile, if there was one word to describe Trump's supporters — who, let's remember, were on the winning side in 2016 — it would be "bitter." Turn on Fox News any random night, and it's a full blown whine-fest about how alleged "elites" are trying to control them and ruin their lives. The fact that their party controls most state governments, the White House, the Senate and the federal courts never factors in. The narrative is one of perpetual victimhood. " [More]

I have never seen a group of people play the victim card like these trump cultists. Of course it's to be expected, because, as the article above outlined, they are led by an insecure and unstable man who plays the victim game like Roger Federer plays tennis. 

Hang on field hands, the next few days are going to be wild.