Saturday, February 27, 2021

Caption Saturday.

Give me a caption for this picture. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The "huge con".

 If you want some insight on what has been happening to the GOP (or, as they are known now, the QOP) under Donald trump, check out this article from Mother Jones featuring a former GOP operative. 

"When Donald Trump decided to back-burner the coronavirus crisis and reboot his reelection campaign with superspreader events in June, he headed to an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to present his case for four more years. In front of an audience of maskless fans standing side by side, Trump performed his usual routine. He threw out buzzwords (“law and order,” “left-wing radicals”). He boasted. (“I have done a phenomenal job” responding to the pandemic.) He denigrated his opponent as “Sleepy Joe.” He obsessed over personal grievances and slights, devoting much time to slamming news outlets that had recently shown video of him walking gingerly down a ramp after delivering a commencement address at West Point. What was mostly missing from Trump’s speech: ideas.

Although he referred to his tax cuts for the wealthy, his appointment of conservative judges, and his “beautiful” wall on the US-Mexico border, Trump had little to say about economic policy, national security, health care, education, housing, the environment, and other subjects. Moreover, he offered no agenda for a second term other than vague promises of making everything swell. Days later, during a friendly Fox News “town hall,” Sean Hannity asked Trump to spell out his plans for a second term. He replied by rambling on about his inauguration and attacking John Bolton.

All this was nothing new for Trump, who approaches the presidency more as performance artist than policymaker. But in the Oklahoma crowd were many unmasked Republican senators and House members, who clapped along and looked delighted to be props for The Trump Show. Once upon a time, Republican legislators and party leaders claimed they cared deeply about certain foundational issues—the deficit, family values, free trade, hawkish foreign policy. Now they were cheering a twice-divorced adulterer who had run up the federal debt, sloppily imposed tariffs, and embraced the anti-American autocrats leading Russia and North Korea—a man devoid of serious thought and guiding policy principles, a self-fixated candidate who presented no intellectual framework for his presidency. Had the GOP become the party of no ideas?

This seemed a premise worth exploring, so I thought I would check in with veteran Republicans who once were attracted to the party for its conservative ideals but who have become Trump critics. First on my list was Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid. I should note that I feel a bit awkward when I talk with Stevens. Plenty of people have asserted that my exposé of the “47 percent” tape in 2012—remember Romney denigrating nearly half of Americans as freeloaders who want the government to take care of them?—played a part in his defeat. But Stevens has always been gracious when we have crossed paths. And this time was no exception. It turned out Stevens had much to say on the current state of his party. Actually, enough for an entire book.

Asked if the Republican Party in the Trump years has become an outfit free of governing ideas, Stevens went even further: “It was all a lie.” He noted that this was word-for-word the title of his forthcoming book, It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. The modern GOP, he said, never truly cared about the ideas it claimed to care about.

This was a stunning indictment coming from a longtime political consul­tant who had toiled on five Republican presidential campaigns and numerous Senate and gubernatorial races. “The Republican Party has been a cartel,” Stevens said excitedly. “And no one asks a cartel, ‘What’s your ideological purpose?’ You don’t ask OPEC, ‘What’s your ideology?’ You don’t ask a drug gang, ‘What’s your program?’ The Republicans exist for the pursuit of power for no purpose.”

He huffed that the Republican Party had not merely drifted away from its core positions, as sometimes occurs with political parties: “Fair trade, balanced budgets, character, family values, standing up to foreign adversaries like Russia—we’re all against that now. You have to ask, ‘Does someone abandon deeply held beliefs in three or four years?’ No. It means you didn’t ever hold them.” He added: “I feel like a guy who was working for Bernie Madoff.”

Stevens, an erudite fellow who is also a novelist and a travel writer, has become an emblematic ex-Republican. He once believed in GOP ideals and ideas. Now he saw it all as a huge con. His new book is a confession and cri de coeur. The first line is blunt: “I have no one to blame but myself.” In these pages, Stevens self-flagellates, calling himself a “fool” for his decades of believing—and lying to himself—that the Republican Party was based on “a core set of values.” Acknowledging his role, Stevens writes, “So yes, blame me. Blame me when you look around and see a dysfunctional political system and a Republican Party that has gone insane.” The book offers one overarching prescription for the GOP: “Burn it to the ground and start over.”

In our conversation, Stevens exploded with loathing for the party he once faithfully (and lucratively) served. He rejected the common view that Trump had hijacked the GOP. No, he explained, the triumph of know-nothing Trumpism marked the culmination of an internal conflict that had existed for decades between the party’s “dark side” and its professed ideals. Even William F. Buckley Jr., often hailed as a grand public intellectual and the founding father of the modern conservative movement, was “a stone-cold racist” in the 1950s, Stevens pointed out. (Buckley at that time considered white people more “advanced” and more fit to govern.)

“A lot of us in the party liked to believe the dark side was a recessive gene, but it’s a dominant theme,” Stevens, a seventh-­generation Mississippian who was named for Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart, told me. “And it’s all about race. The Republican Party is a white party and there still are more white people than non-white people.” So that is whom the party aims at—even if this will eventually be a losing proposition as the nation’s demographics continue to shift. Ronald Reagan achieved a landslide victory in 1980 by bagging 56 percent of white voters; 28 years later, John McCain lost with 55 percent of white voters. Perhaps the party’s fixation on white voters can work one more time with Trump in 2020. “But we’re talking about the Confederacy—literally,” Stevens said.

And Nazi Germany. On his own, with no prompting, Stevens went straight to the Defcon-1 analogy: “I tell my GOP friends, ‘It’s crazy to say it’s 1934 in Germany…when it’s clearly 1936.’” He insisted that the 1930s are important for understanding the current moment. “When there was rising anti-Semitism, isolationism, and pro-Nazi sentiment, why did the US not become fascist?” Stevens asked. “Because of FDR. Leaders matter, and the GOP has now completely abdicated its role.” Instead, the party has yielded completely to demagoguery and race-baiting to exploit the racism and resentments of certain white voters. Throughout his decades as a Republican, Stevens considered this racist element a bug in the system. He now realizes it has been a feature.

In 2012, Romney enthusiastically sought and accepted Trump’s endorsement, though Trump had been championing the racist birther conspiracy theory. But for Stevens, the decisive moment when the party embraced its ugly heritage came in December 2015, when Trump, then the leading Republican presidential candidate, called for a ban on Muslim travelers to the United States. As Stevens now sees it, Reince Priebus, then the chair of the Republican National Committee, should have declared that the GOP did not support such bigotry and staked out a moral position. Perhaps Trump would still have marched on to victory, but such a move might have distanced the party from a racist candidate. Instead, the party kept mum and eventually folded to Trump. (Romney would go on to be the only GOP senator to vote to remove Trump from office at the end of his impeachment trial.)

Stevens now argues that Trump’s rise was not a fluke that the party can sidestep or survive. “This is the complete moral collapse of a governing party of a major superpower,” he remarked. He wonders how he could have been blind to the GOP’s racism and turpitude for so long. “It is hard to see this when you’re in the middle of it,” he said. “The only analogy I can find is the collapse of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the difference between reality and what is believed became so disjointed. I should’ve seen this. I did see this, but I wanted to believe the crazies were a minority.”

Stevens conceded that had Trump not come along, he still might not have been fully aware of the structural immorality of the GOP: The Republican Party was “a comfortable place for a lot of us. If Trump had lost, I’d probably still be working for a Republican candidate. But Trump made it impossible to deny what the party is. I just don’t get why these Republican senators don’t stand up to him. What’s the worst thing? You’ll be an ex-senator? They are the Trump Generation. It’s how they will be remembered. Like the segregationists of old.”

It was hard to slow Stevens down as he spoke. He had so much to confess. He forecast a bleak future for the party. Citing the demise of the Repub­lican Party in California (where more voters are now registering “no party preference” than Republican), he observed that the GOP was becoming a “regional/Sun Belt party.” And he shared his fear that young political operatives working for the party have drawn the lesson that a candidate must emulate Trump to win—that what most matters is not policy ideas but the ability to attack and exploit fears, divisions, tribalism, and resentments. “Elizabeth Warren can articulate a coherent theory of government,” Stevens said. “There is no coherent theory of government for Republicans right now. Usually a coherent theory versus an incoherent theory carries the day.”

“It’s really incredible how this had happened,” Stevens told me, as I realized I had received far more material from him than anticipated. “This is the last book in the world I wanted to write. It is tough to come to terms with this, and incredibly depressing. If we say we believe in personal responsibility, you have to take personal responsibility and start with yourself. We created this. It didn’t just happen.” Stevens was not pleased or satisfied with his epiphany: Ideas are not the currency for today’s GOP and never truly were. And Trump alone could not be blamed for that. “Republicans only exist to elect Republicans,” Stevens remarked with sadness. “They are down to one idea: How can we win?”[Source]

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Caption Sunday.


Give me a caption for this picture in six words or less. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Let them eat icicles.

It's interesting to listen to the reaction from the public at large and the media to the death of Rush Limbaugh. Really interesting. I mean I know that we shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but we shouldn't be hypocrites, either. 

Personally, I am not going to say much about the death of the racist xenophobic blowhard who became a darling to conservatives all over this country. But I am reminded of an old Jamaican proverb: Gawd nah sleep. Which translated means: God is never sleeping. 

Anyway, it's been snowing again here in Philly. Mother Nature must be making up for these past few winters when things were relatively mild. (Memo to self: Invest in a very nice snow-blower for next year.)  I am going to count my blessing, though, I mean I could be living in Texas. You have to feel for those poor people down there. (Yes, even the Cowboys fans.) People have been without power in freezing temperatures in the Lone Star state, and the images coming out of there have been frightening. The word Dystopian comes to mind. 

What's scary is that the republican politicians who have been running that state for years are solely to blame for the suffering of their citizens. They have privatized their power grids and put cronies in positions of power and influence on matters having to do with energy in that state.  Then, incredibly, the the governor of that state went on FOX VIEWS and lied about the cause of the winter crisis. He literally blamed the problem on "the green new deal" and windmills.   In case you haven't been paying attention, there is no "the green new deal" as yet, and windmills work just fine in some very cold countries, including Canada and Sweden. 

But as despicable as the actions of the Texas governor was, it pales in comparison to what a former republican governor had to say about the suffering of the citizens of his state. 

 “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” 

Oh, and let's not forget Ted Cruz, a man who decided that this was a good time to take a vacation to sunny Cancun, Mexico, while the people he is supposed to be serving suffer under horrific weather conditions and misery.    

What is wrong with these heartless people? And what is wrong with the people in Texas who vote these people into office?  

I will close this blog post with the words of one particular mayor in Texas who has now resigned. 

“No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!

Only the strong will survive and the weak will perish. Folks, God has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this."

That, my friends, is the right-wing governing philosophy in a nutshell. 


Monday, February 15, 2021

? Of The Day.

 Has Donald trump permanently destroyed the republican party?  

Friday, February 12, 2021

A legacy "forever stained".


The moon will be blue tonight, because I am going to post an editorial from the Wall Street Journal as my blog post.

"Whether a former President ought to be subject to an impeachment trial is a matter of constitutional debate. Whether it’s prudent, if acquittal appears likely, is a related question. But wherever you come down on those issues, the House impeachment managers this week are laying out a visceral case that the Capitol riot of Jan. 6 was a disgrace for which President Trump bears responsibility.

Long before November, Mr. Trump was saying that the only way he could lose the election was if it were rigged. On the night of the vote, he tweeted, “they are trying to STEAL the election.” In his speech that night, he called it “a fraud on the American public,” and said, “frankly we did win.” Is it a surprise that some of his fans took his words to heart?

Instead of bowing to dozens of court defeats, Mr. Trump escalated. He falsely claimed that Vice President Mike Pence, if only he had the courage, could reject electoral votes and stop Democrats from hijacking democracy. He called his supporters to attend a rally on Jan. 6, when Congress would do the counting. “Be there, will be wild!” Mr. Trump tweeted. His speech that day was timed to coincide with the action in the Capitol, and then he directed the crowd down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Mr. Trump’s defenders point out that he also told the audience to make their voices heard “peacefully.” And contra Rep. Eric Swalwell, who argued the incitement to attack the Capitol was “premeditated,” it’s difficult to think Mr. Trump ever envisioned what followed: that instead of merely making a boisterous display, the crowd would riot, assault the police, invade the building, send lawmakers fleeing with gas masks, trash legislative offices, and leave in its wake a dead Capitol officer.

But talk about playing with fire. Mr. Trump told an apocalyptic fable in which American democracy might end on Jan. 6, and some people who believed him acted like it. Once the riot began, Mr. Trump took hours to say anything, a delay his defenders have not satisfactorily explained. Even then he equivocated. Imagine, Rep. Joe Neguse said, if Mr. Trump “had simply gone onto TV, just logged on to Twitter and said ‘Stop the Attack,’ if he had done so with even half as much force as he said ‘Stop the Steal.’”......

....he won’t live down his disgraceful conduct.

'Now his legacy will be forever stained by this violence, and by his betrayal of his supporters in refusing to tell them the truth. Whatever the result of the impeachment trial, Republicans should remember the betrayal if Mr. Trump decides to run again in 2024.'”

This is not Mother Jones, or even The Huffington Post. This is the Wall Street Journal. And if they can see what a horrific thing trump did in his failure of leadership, why can't 50 republican senators in Washington? 

It's a rhetorical question. Of course we know why they can't do it. It's because they lack political courage and a moral compass. They care about one thing: Holding on to power, no matter what the cost.

I hope it was worth it. Something tells me it won't be. I mean when you lose the Wall Street Journal.... 

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Trial number two.


Donald trump's impeachment trial in the senate started today, and while I wasn't able to watch it live, I was able to watch later thanks to all the reruns on the nightly news shows. 

While watching Bruce Castor, the only person I could think of was Bill Cosby. He must have been sitting in his prison cell and cursing his luck because Bruce Castor chose not to personally prosecute him back in the day. If he did, Bill Cosby would be a free man. To say Castor embarrassed the Pennsylvania legal fraternity today would be an understatement. His performance wasn't even worthy of a  first year law student in a moot court class let alone a seasoned prosecutor arguing on behalf of a former president of the United States in an impeachment trial. Mr. trump himself was pissed about the quality of representation that was on display for him. But this is what happens when you lie and lie and lie. You can't get good help, because there is just so much that lawyers will put up with from their client.     

Castor's side-kick, David Schoen, was not much he better.  At one point in his meandering presentation he actually seemed to argue that the Constitution was unconstitutional. I say he seemed to argue because I had such a hard time following what he was trying to say. Had this been a trial in an actual courtroom I would have asked for a directed verdict and I am pretty sure that it would have been granted. Trump's team of lawyers were so bad, that one republican Senator, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, actually changed his mind and voted that the impeachment could go forward even though trump was out of office. Do you know how bad you have to be to flip one of these sycophantic trump loving republican politicians to vote against trump? 

Sadly, this is all for show, because incredibly 43 republican senators voted today that the trial should not even go on. They did this in spite of the fact that most legal scholars (including most conservative ones) agree that a president can absolutely be impeached after he leaves office. These republicans are so afraid of trump that they are terrified that they might piss him off. Cowards like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz won't risk their political future in the republican party by raising the ire of their petty and vindictive leader.    

"We heard arguments from both sides on the constitutionality of having a Senate trial of a president who has since left office. A sufficient amount of evidence of constitutionality exists for the Senate to proceed with the trial. This vote is not a prejudgement of the final vote to convict," Cassidy's statement read." 

Bring back Rudy.

Saturday, February 06, 2021




I need a caption for this lovely picture. 

Example: Hi Mom, I'm going to jail.  

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Black Klansman?


I have some thoughts about the Mark Robinson situation in North Carolina.

To get you up to date, Mr. Robinson called an emergency press conference to condemn a cartoon in a local paper that characterized him as a member of the Klan. And just so you know, Mark Robinson is a black man. 

“On the second day of Black History Month, the first Black lieutenant governor of North Carolina has been portrayed as [racist],......that you would portray a Black man, just because he’s in the GOP, as a Klansman ... the hypocrisy is mind-numbing, folks.” 

Ok, portraying Mr. Robinson as a Klansman might be a bridge too far, but let's consider the issue at hand and why Mr. Robinson was characterized as a Klansman in the cartoon. 

Mark Robinson and the rest of the republicans on the State Board of Education do not want teachers to speak about systemic racism in the United States. To them, there is no such thing as systemic racism. Mr. Robinson personally does not believe that there is such a thing as systemic racism in America. And, he believes that to teach it, would only make children skeptical about the greatness of "the greatest country in the world". 

Ok, so maybe not a Klansman, but certainly a house Negro. These types of Negroes always seem to rise in the republican party. Some call it self-hate, I call it doing what they can to get along and enrich themselves. I don't believe for a minute that they believe half of the stuff that they say. It's a hustle, plain and simple. They know that if they separate themselves from other Negroes, they will get a pat on the head and the "You are different from those other Negroes", speech. 

"And if I ran a statewide publication like WRAL, I would not post something like that. It’s all about where you stand at the moment when you speak,” the Republican officeholder said.

Robinson said during Tuesday's presser he does not believe systemic racism exists. " [Source]

Sure Mark. I mean if it existed, you would never have become Lieutenant Governor of the great state of North Carolina, right?  If only other Negroes could take a page out of your book. *Eye- roll*