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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

I must confess that watching the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testimonies left me feeling hopeless. I don’t know if I’ve felt this depressed since election night and inauguration. What we saw was such a horrific display of partisanship from Republicans, such naked thirst for power, such terrifying absence of decency, that I don’t know if we can ever truly recover from where we are now. And, frankly, the weak performance of Democrats against Kavanaugh revealed that we don’t have strong leadership. Yes, there may be flashes of it here and there, but in the second half of the day Democrats surrendered all control to Republicans. Lindsey Graham goes on a full frontal attack on Democrats and their only response was Cory Booker calling Graham his friend. Every Republican attacked Diane Feinstein. And Democrats remained silent. Democrats kept hammering on about the FBI investigation: important yes, but the point was made already and repeatedly, and anyone who mentioned it after Dick Durbin drew blood by getting Kavanaugh to fall speechless on the subject was wasting time. They let so many things fall through the cracks because they harped on that single issue. They also kept quoting Kavanaugh’s former roommate who said he saw Kavanaugh get very drunk many times: yes, we heard it and Kavanaugh dismissed that story pretty easily. Yet they kept returning to it Kavanaugh swatted them away just as easily each time. It was a waste of time.

Democrats should have pursued Rachel Mitchell’s questions about the July 1st party on Kavanaugh’s calendar – which perfectly matches Dr. Ford’s description of the party where she was assaulted, including the guest list and the timeframe where she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. The Republican prosecutor seemed to accidentally stumble on the actual date of the party where Ford was attacked! She had Kavanaugh read the first and last names of all his friends who were going to attend this party. The names match everyone Ford names, including the man Kavanaugh’s friends tried to pin the assault on (but who denied any involvement in a letter to the judiciary committee.) The date of the party – July 1st – also matches Ford’s story that she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. But because she wasn’t sure when the party was, knowing when Judge worked in the store would help. Well, Mike Judge wrote in his book that worked in that grocery store in August of that year. It matches perfectly the time-frame Ford laid out. A party Kavanaugh attended, the guest list of friends that matches Ford’s list of those present, and the 6 weeks before seeing the eye-witness in a store. Rachel Mitchell – intentionally or not (probably not) – laid this out for Democrats. Democrats did nothing with this information. As soon as Mitchell asked these questions about the July 1st party, Grassley called for a recess. They returned and Graham went for the Democrats’ jugular. Mitchell was not heard from again. Every Republican after that went for the same jugular. And Democrats did nothing. They didn’t fight back, they did not pursue the line of questioning that quite literally may reveal the date – on Kavanaugh’s own calendar – of the party where Ford was assaulted.  The hearings ended as a disaster for Democrats.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was astonishing. With strength and courage she arrived to tell the truth. And she did. What was striking about her answers is that she didn’t try to be right. She knew there were gaps in her story, she willingly acknowledged the limitations of memory. Contrast this with every Kavanaugh testimony: in his desire to be right and perfect, Kavanaugh lies. He lies easily and repeatedly. Republicans don’t care that Kavanaugh has committed perjury numerous times already. But we know that he has. And we know that Dr. Ford has not. This extraordinary woman has upended her entire life – the persecution of Dr. Ford will continue forever – because she wanted to do what is right. She faced the lions and went in. She did it for all of us. She said that her greatest fear is that she would do all this, put her family and herself through hell and it would not matter. She is probably right, that Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court. But her testimony matters. It matters to countless women and men who have been abused and who have been too afraid to speak up. People who have blamed themselves for the attacks. Christine Blasey Ford showed us that sometimes we must do what is right, even when we know it may not make the difference we seek in the moment. Dr. Ford and her courage do not exist in a vacuum. She has already changed the lives of countless victims of sexual abuse. May she take some comfort in that. And may we all hope to have that kind of courage.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hump

Posted on: August 23, 2018

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Wednesdays are known as hump-days. Those dreadful days we suffer through between the terrible Mondays and much-anticipated Fridays. Something about the past few days has felt like a hump of the Dump presidency. We’ve been making our way to the top of the mountain – is it downhill from here? Of course, it is impossible to really tell. I certainly can’t predict anything; I have been wrong before. But with Manafort’s 8 guilty verdicts (or 10 mistrial verdicts, as Faux News and The Federalist like to point out) and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas – and, more importantly, saying that the candidate for office told him to commit crimes, thus making Trump an unindicted co-conspirator – something feels different today. It’s not the actions of McConnell and Ryan. They are both trying to say as little as possible. Ryan’s office released a statement that they’re aware of Cohen’s plea, but need to see more information (LOL). So that hasn’t changed. Though the NY Times articles on how people in Ohio diners feel about these developments is still a few days away, I think we can safely assume they don’t care about any of it and Trump’s base remains very much intact. Orrin Hatch just told Jake Tapper that “I think [Trump] has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then.” So Republicans in Congress won’t change their tune.

But something changed in how Democrats in Congress speak about Dump. Many have come out very strongly, directly and explicitly accusing Trump and his administration of being a “criminal enterprise.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted very direct attacks on Republicans in general and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of language from her or most other Democrats. “The gross #CultureOfCorruption runs deep among Republicans in Washington,” – Pelosi tweeted. And then: “Michael Cohen. Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort. Chris Collins. Duncan Hunter. Vern Buchanan. Scott Pruitt and the Trump Administration. The Republican Party looks like a criminal enterprise.” This kind of directness has always been Republicans’ ammo and Democrats have largely tried being polite. We know how that’s worked out for us. It seems that Pelosi – and others – have finally smelled blood in the water and, thankfully, are not letting good blood go to waste.

Several people have now explicitly called Trump an illegitimate President. Democratic Senators have also now come out and said they will not even consider Kavenaugh for SCOTUS because Trump is an unindicted criminal and should not be allowed to appoint a SCOTUS judge. This is also different. Kamala Harris: “President Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator to a federal crime to influence an election for the office he now holds. He should not be allowed to name a Supreme Court Justice without resolving this accusation first.”

So something is different. Do you feel it? Or am I being too optimistic?

This is an open thread.

Taxes

Russia Investigation

Country over Party

Six words, that’s it.  If we’re lucky, by 2018 we won’t even need a noun or a verb to finish the thoughts.

Come for the chaos, stay for conflagration.  This is the Dolt 45 fine-tuned machine.

Yesterday’s performance was a guided tour of Dolt 45’s brain. In 77 minutes, he demonstrated what I have so inadequately tried to explain.  He is the San Andreas of emotional fragility.  He’s not going to change.  You saw what stress does.  Behavior patterns become more pronounced.trump-presser

Dolt 45 is not crazy.  He’s a 70-year old man who has never worked an honest day’s work in his life who likes to watch television and tweet.  He believes he’s infallible because he doesn’t know what the word means.

Setting up warring factions in the White House ensures he is the eye in a hurricane of chaos.  It provides him the self-esteem he so desperately craves and the charade of power sustaining his veneer of legitimacy.

Let me try to explain.  Think about the best, mind-blowing, earth-moving sex you ever had.  That is what yesterday’s press conference was for the citrus pustule.  As he said, “I’m having a good time doing it.”

Here’s what I know from studying leadership.  Any organization centered on charismatic leadership (personality-centric) rests upon clay feet.  It is like the Platte River – a mile wide and three inches deep.  It evaporates in the least bit of heat.whats-wrong-with-trump

Crises are not planned via e-invites.  They are coming.  Whether it is a natural disaster, a Horizon oil spill, an incident in the Strait of Hormuz, or a terrorist attack, the time is ticking down.  It won’t just be a failure; it will be a Category 5, Frontline documentary fiasco.  Failure is simply the non-presence of success, but a fiasco is where anarchy apportions anguish and adversity.

This weekend troubles me.  It has been almost 84-years to the day since the Reichstag Fire.  It was a planned provocative act of arson to set emotions ablaze.  This weekend event in Florida has a certain suspicious air about it.  Nothing would change the media’s attention faster than paid insurrectionists rioting at an event where Dolt 45 is whisked away by Secret Service.  Just sayin’.gop-support-for-trump

Currently among Republicans, SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the U.S.) is at a more robust approval rating than either Bush or Reagan was at a comparable time.  The symbiosis is complete.  Congratulations Dr. Frankenstein, it’s a boy.

And this brings me to the Country over Party part of TRICOP.  Never before has the reverse concept been so clear to me.  I’m guilty of mindlessly accusing Republicans of prostituting themselves as Party over Country and Power over Country, but when a future drapery salesman from South Carolina is your party’s lone moral compass, the GOP ain’t exactly writing new chapters for Profiles in Courage.

Here’s the takeaway:  The Republican Party will allow this orange stooge to do immeasurable harm to the country in order to eviscerate FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.

There is an ugly, angry, maniacal lust at work to deprive twenty million poor people of health insurance in order to allow the One-Percenters an obscene tax break.  I lack the intellectual capacity to understand that.  It isn’t just the repeal of the A.C.A.  It is also a rollback of Medicaid that happens to be the primary financing mechanism for the country’s nursing home/end of life care.

The gobsmacking piece of all of this:  To finance the lipstick for the piglet they are going to pass off as a “replacement,” they are proposing taxing some portion of employer furnished health insurance.

Here are a few highlights from the first 25 days:what-coal-mining-does-to-streams

The first Republican counteroffensive against the War on Coal was signed into law this past week.  Coal mines will now be free to pollute some 6,000 miles of once protected waterways in the country.

For those poor, over-regulated, underappreciated oil companies, they will no longer have to report their payments to foreign governments.  Anti-corruption is so déclassé.

If you are keeping score, this weekend we will be spending $1,240,000 a day to protect Trump Tower with no one home, another $3.0 Million for another Mar-a-Lago golf outing, and about $200,000 for Uday and Qusay Trump to open their Dubai golf course.

Finally, if you are a policy wonk like me, we can be alarmed that Dolt 45 swatted away 50-years of U.S. policy supporting a two-state Middle East solution as easily as he would a Citrus Whitefly.  And if you were worried about that pesky dust-up over a “One China” policy, it seems to have ironed itself out quite coincidentally with the granting of Chinese Trump trademarks.

For those 70,000 under-educated white guys in the upper Midwest:  Is America great enough yet?

What’s on your mind today?  Spasibo.  Never too early to learn some Russian.

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The statutes History and Grief overlooking the transition of power...

The statutes History and Grief overlooking the transition of power…

That’s how many seconds we have survived under the Trump/Putin Administration.  Thinking of it like that gives the illusion of something longer than just a week, but that’s all it has been. There are 207 more weeks to go in this first four-year installment of, “Government by basic cable.”

While the Women’s March gave me hope, I have fallen into a pall.  I’ll save the reason for the end of this post.

Last August I wrote about the Yam’s psychological composition.  It’s time to revisit those for a starting point to today’s discussion.  I went into much more detail back in August, but I wanted to mention the high points.

Der Trumpenfuhrer exhibits the traits of an Executive Sales consultant.  You won’t find these people under every rock you turn over, but they aren’t an endangered species.  Predominant are his traits of Significance, Competition, and Command.

how-the-public-graded-the-candidateThe Significance means he receives every ounce of his self-esteem from the way other people see him.  In short, he is an empty vessel of perpetual need.  Emotional fragility is his default position.  No amount of positive feedback will quench his constant thirst to be told he is a person of value.

Competition explains his fixation on the inaugural crowd and the popular vote.  As I said back in August, it isn’t so much about winning as it is about everyone else losing.  There’s a darkness and mean-spiritedness prevalent in this characteristic.  It’s about wishing ill to befall everyone standing in the way of conquest.  Numbers are measurements and everything is about measurement.

Then you have the third leg of the stool – Command.  People who have Command must be in charge.  They are essentially rhetorical bulldozers without a reverse gear.  Emotions and feelings are merely weaknesses giving those with Command something at which to aim.  Command is the trait that erases the Yam’s shame and embarrassment genes.

I mention these characteristics again for a simple reason.  The clamorous Yam is not going to change.  The only change is this:  When he is tired or under pressure, these proclivities will be stronger.  These are his default settings.  We will see more of this behavior, not less.

These characteristics have not been lost on those around the Yamster.  The devious ones are attempting to harness these characteristics as best they can.  The others are leaking like incontinent sieves.ansel-adams-fight-our-own-government

In my humble opinion, the true evil behind the madness is hiding in plain sight – Bannon.  It takes a certain kind of discerning evil to play to Trump’s character by publicly humiliating Mitt Romney.  It takes a keen hand to play to the base by parading Al Gore through the Trump lobby and then appointing his antithesis to head the EPA the very next day.

Bannon’s fingerprints are all over this first week like overwhelming the press by chewing paper and crapping Executive Orders.  Such are the actions of a two-bit dictator.  The number of full democracies in the world was reduced by one this year – from 20 to 19.  The one falling to the “flawed democracy” category was the U.S.

This is merely the tip of the great orange turdberg into which we are sailing.  Pence and Ryan have conspired to erase the New Deal and surrender human rights within our foreign policy.  Eighty years of progressive policy will die in some Ayn Randian polemic mirroring the dystopian carnage the Yam barked about in his inaugural address.

From transferring the corporate tax burden to the middle class, from starting a trade war to inadvertently conferring superpower status on China, from increasing infant mortality to accelerating climate change, the future is indeed dark.  To summarily cede the largest trading bloc to China will haunt us for generations.

This is what I know.  The harm will be quickly legislatively engineered.  The effects will metastasize at a slower pace.  Pence, Ryan, and Bannon will fray the social safety net and the damage will not be undone for generations.  In these hyper-partisan times, re-engineering Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid is incomprehensible.same-crap-different-century

This clown show is currently booked for 4 years.  The fools lured into Cabinet posts won’t have comparable longevity.  They will be expected to fall on their swords like a Jonestown dance team to protect the dear Supine Leader’s emotional fragility.

If these people have their way, corporate profits will win over regulation.  To speed up making the world a more dangerous place, the House has passed legislation allowing regulations to be rolled back without the protections of normal rule-making.  We will soon be living in the “regulation-free jungle” where food, water, air, voting rights, and any number of basic human needs are a roll of the dice.

All of this is sad, but my despondence is deeper.  For me it is this simple:  I have always believed in the goodness of my fellow citizens — their better angels.  We are embarking on an era where such optimism is misplaced.

Trump is ushering in an era where the vindictive nature of the Tea Party/Trumpists will reign supreme.  It isn’t about a wall or health care – it is about causing pain.  Whether the enemies are Mexicans or people of color or the libruls or gays or immigrants, someone has to hurt in the goofy belief it will be a balm for generational economic transition.no-moderates-we-are-republicans

A $50 Billion great wall will never satiate people who fought to deny water to Katrina victims. Who fight funding for health care to children and the elderly.  Trump and his pack of jackals bragged about harnessing the anger of the electorate, I never believed our national morality would be the first victim.

If our collective goal in the American experiment was building the Utopian “shining city on the hill,” by surrendering our institutions to this callous cabal we have forsaken that dream, embraced the malevolence, and forever altered the course of our shared history.  This moralistic void chills the soul – hopefully our better angels will reawaken.  Last weekend’s march was a great start.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

 

DEBATE CARICATURE PICTURE

Bad image-too male centric (sorry)

Put this in the “things I didn’t know” category but there is a debate between the Democratic candidates tonight.  Here are the particulars on it:

 

Saturday, November 14, 2015
CBS News Democratic Debate
9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)
Live Stream: CBSNews.com/Live
Aired On: CBS
Location: Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa
Sponsors: CBS News, KCCI, the Des Moines Register
Moderator: John Dickerson
Candidates: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley
If anyone wishes to comment on it, here’s your space for it!  I may be watching football or sleeping…haven’t made up my mind yet.  😆
 

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