The image is the Spasskaya Gate at the Kremlin. The question is whether there is a political scandal in the United States regarding intervention in the 2016 elections by the Russians.
What the Russians almost certainly did is to hack the Democratic National Committee’s email servers, download information, and then release it to the public for the purpose of embarrassing the Clinton Campaign. If you want to investigate that question, I suggest the book, “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election” by Malcolm Nance.
What is less clear at the present is to what degree, if any, the Trump campaign was involved. The fact that Trump Campaign apparatchik, now US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions had contacts with the Russian Ambassador (considered by some to be Russia’s top spy in the US) and then lied about it to Congress seems troublesome. It is also troublesome that the FBI, whom Sessions oversees, has been less than forthcoming to the Congressional committee that is going to investigate the Russian hacking.
I cannot help but see emerging parallels with the Watergate scandal, where government officials lied, and Nixon tried to sabotage the investigation of the Watergate burglary, which was also an attempt to use illegal means to gain information useful in an election campaign. Donald Trump spreads fake news about the question, but has not quite passed over into obstruction. [This article was originally written before Trump fired FBI director James Comey strengthening the parallel to Nixon who fired the Watergate special prosecutor.]
We are at a very early stage in the process of getting to the bottom of the story, and not quite to the point of asking the question: “what did the President know, and when did he know it?”
So Donald Trump had a press conference yesterday, something unlike any other presidential press conference in memory. In it, Trump described his administration as a “fine-tuned machine.”
My first reaction to this insane remark was that perhaps the machine was a clown car.
In just a short time, Trump’s national security advisor was forced to resign, his spokesperson has been cited for ethical violations. Trump’s number 2 pick for national security advisor won’t take the job. His nomination for labor secretary withdrew after it became clear that he couldn’t even be confirmed by a Republican Senate. Add to that his Immigration Ban ineptly rolled out, and then blocked by the courts.
Trump has picked fights with the President of Mexico, China, the intelligence community and the Press. He has undermined NATO. Is there anything the Trump administration has done well besides dividing the country and sparking protests? Somebody will have to tell me what that is.
He tweets that his low poll numbers are “fake news.” And why did he have to mention Hillary Clinton a dozen times in a presidential news conference, or the (incorrect) number of electoral votes he got? The election is over already! The Trump administration is more like a bad TV reality show, one headed for cancellation before the end of the first season.
For more on Trump’s decaying mental state, see this article from NPR: “With ‘Fake News,” Trump Moves from Alternative Facts to Alternative Language.”
In October 2009, early in the Obama presidency, the right-wing publication WorldNetDaily published an article entitled, “Is it Time to Whisper the Word ‘Impeachment’?”
The article quotes President Gerald Ford from his Senate days saying that an impeachable offense was: “whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” The article goes on to conclude:
“In other words, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ does not refer to a criminal act. Our Founding Fathers fully intended to allow for the removal of the president for actions which include: gross incompetence, negligence and distasteful behavior.”
If indeed that were truly the standard for impeachment, then I would say that Trump is clearly on the path to impeachment, even though it might have to wait until the next Congress. But that is not the definition. As much as “gross incompetence, negligence and distasteful behavior” characterizes President Trump so far, we have yet to see a level of gross illegality that would literally force Congress to act. Some suggest that a Republican Congress would never impeach a Republican president, but one needs but look at the incredibly low approval ratings Congress has to see that they cannot afford to act in a partisan way when faced with a hypothetical smoking gun in the hands of Donald Trump amidst a pile of bodies in Central Park.
So it is not time to whisper the word “impeachment” – not until it is earned.
I continue to be amazed at the level of cluelessness displayed by Trump supporters. You’d think I would become used to it, but the stupid ratchets up.
This comes from a Public Policy Polling report on February 10. The poll measured how much folks approve of Donald Trump after 3 weeks in office. The Trump Executive Order on Immigration, banning travel from 7 majority Muslim countries was not supported by a majority (45% support, 49% oppose) but the incredible thing is that among those Trump supporters who support the ban, by a wide margin (51/23) said that the Bowling Green massacre shows why Trump’s immigration policy is needed. Here’s the question:
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘The Bowling Green massacre shows why we need Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration?’
There was no Bowling Green massacre! It’s something that Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway made up. She claims that she misspoke, but the Washington Post found that she had spoke of the imaginary massacre two times before. Here’s one statement she made to Cosmo:
[Obama] did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.”
What happened in Bowling Green was that two people residing there, who came to the US from Iraq attempted to send weapons and money to al Qaeda (not ISIS) for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers were arrested, and sent to jail. They did not travel back to Iraq for training, and there was no attack on US soil. Read the FBI report.
Sensible people can make very bad decisions when they have bad information, but sensible people investigate their facts when making important decisions, like who will be president of the United States.
Propaganda doesn’t come naturally to me. By nature, I want to be fair, perhaps to a fault. Someone I once worked for advised me: “never negotiate against yourself.”
I would very much like for the hashtag #MostDivisivePresidentEver to go viral in reference to Donald Trump. I came up with it myself, but it had appeared earlier on Twitter in reference to Barack Obama. I think the Obama usage was grossly unfair, and “most divisive ever” is just one more smear directed at Obama b\y those who hate him, and will degrade themselves by how lo\w they will go to lie and defame him. I have a point of view, but lying is out of bounds to promote it.
One might argue that Donald Trump is the most divisive president ever when judged over the first three weeks in office. Usually a president gets a “honeymoon,” but Donald Trump skipped that by appointing incompetents and cronies to key positions, and appointing people to head agencies that previously worked to destroy them gets people upset.
And of course the clincher, the travel ban. The ban was an abortion from the start because it was poorly drafted, and ineptly implemented. The text wasn’t released initially, and there was no guidance for those who were called to implement it. It caused confusion and dislocation across the world, and hurt innocent people. It may well be unconstitutional, but the courts will decide that.
Trump is going to have to continue in the same mode, however, to earn the #MostDivisivePresidentEver hashtag. He’s got strong competition from Abraham Lincoln (Civil War) and Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam).
How the birthers enabled a fascist dictatorship in America
Birthers didn’t start out to destroy American freedom and to turn it into an oppressive dictatorship. Because birtherism embraced a fantasy view of American history, one in which “liberty and justice for all” meant liberty and justice for only conservative white Christian native-born Americans.
True liberty scared the pants off birthers who cast about for a leader would save them from the ever-increasing majority of people who didn’t fit their demographic. Donald Trump was that leader, a man was willing to say anything the birthers wanted to hear, and double-down on it when he was criticized for its lack of truthfulness, wisdom, and even common decency.
The fractured Congress, which had long ago forgot how to govern, capitulated quickly to President Trump’s abrogation of treaties, cancellation of basic Constitutional rights for many (such as the internment camp for Muslims). Trump’s brown shirts bloodied any opposition from real American Patriots.
Birthers are some of the biggest whiners on the Internet. You will never see a birther taking responsibility for their own failures.
Case in point, the recent site failures at Birther Report. Even though this site is hosted by Google, they think that Obots are attacking it and that’s why a significant number of attempts to reach the site fail. Some think it’s a Google censorship project. Really, they just made a mistake with their DNS setting. Here’s the publisher of Birther Report whining about his site not working:
They’ll blame anything but their own incompetence.
And talking about whining, Birthers think that the mainstream media is censoring them. The media ignores them because their information doesn’t check out. Their claims fall apart under scrutiny. The basic premise is also a lie; birthers get lots of press coverage, just not favorable coverage. The birther movement succeeded in adding the word “birther” to the lexicon, but it connotes nut job conspiracy theorist. Ouch!
The worst may be a commenter named ramboike at Birther Report who whined about being called a whiner. 😳
Birthers may display the American flag, and they may say they are defending the Constitution of the United States, but this is a bald-faced lie. Birthers are a group of racists, xenophobes, right-wing bigots, conspiracy theorists, demagogues and weak-minded suckers. They wouldn’t know the Constitution if someone stuck it up their nose. They hate the free and egalitarian principles that America was founded on, inventing their own mean-spirited fantasy history of our great country’s beginnings.
What birthers desperately long for is a fascist state where only people like them can live.