Tag Archives: politics

A Subtle Shift…?

Seems all I can do is politics nowadays.

I’ve noticed that the common opinion has shifted from a “this race will tighten down the line” to “this might be a Democratic blowout election.”

While by now it should be clear to those who come ’round these parts that I have no love for Trump, looking at his last couple of weeks as neutrally as one can, it has been nothing short of a series of disasters.

It all seemed to begin with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

The loss of the beloved liberal icon in the Supreme Court brought out the absolute worst/hypocritical in the Republican party (Merrick Garland, anyone?) and culminated with the infamous Rose Garden gathering to introduce Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court… which resulted in what appears to be a super-spreader event. In the end, we have many top officials within the government -Trump included- catching this virus, though given the evasiveness of the Trump administration, one wonders if Trump himself might have been infected already when that meeting occurred.

Mind you, I have no desire to see anyone ill.

Having said that, Trump and many of those people who were there, flouting a sense of invincibility, getting COVID-19 seems almost poetic justice or karma.

How do you keep downplaying/minimizing something that has, to date, claimed 211,000 lives?

The Vice Presidential debate, held last night, appears to have done little to move the general narrative. According to subsequent polls, Pence “lost” the debate. Even if the debate was a “tie”, the Trump campaign needed a sterling performance to try to break things toward them and this debate did not do that.

This morning, it was announced the next Presidential debate, set for October 15th, would be conducted virtually and Trump, calling into shows, stated he would not participate in any such debate.

Huh.

In late September of 2016, there were only some 10,000 votes cast in advance versus 1.3 million in late September of 2020.

Today, not quite two weeks later and according to CNN, more than 5.4 million ballots have been cast.

Obviously there is a tremendous amount of interest in voting this year versus 2016 and in the coming days other states, such as Texas, will start early voting above and beyond mail in ballots.

Here’s the thing, though: We still have close to four weeks to go and any number of things can happen still.

I’ve already voted by mail and, out of an abundance of caution, delivered the ballot directly to the election office.

I’ve made my voice heard.

I hope everyone else out there does so, too.

The Next Week…

Last week was a heck of a week, eh?

The first Presidential debate followed by the revelation that President Trump and his wife -and several other Republican Senators and Presidential Staff- testing positive for COVID-19.

Over on TV, Saturday Night Live had a pretty funny take on the debate, and what happened later…

Funny -and simultaneously sad- stuff.

The concluding bits, with “Biden” pausing “Trump” and noting how nice it was not to hear “Trump’s” ramblings…

Beautiful stuff.

Rough Night In Tulsa…

I really, really try not to get too political in these postings but it’s really tough lately.

“President” Trump, who, if you’ve come ’round these parts now and again, isn’t exactly on my list of favorite politicians. (Quick aside: Is it just me or have the Republican presidents been going from bad to incredibly terrible from Nixon on? I mean, even those who love the admittedly very charismatic Ronald Reagan have to admit his administration had plenty of problems, especially in the second term, and what he opened up lingers to this day…)

The other day he had the first of his rallies, intended to kick start his re-election and…

…the whole thing was a gigantic failure.

Kevin Liptak and Kaitlin Collins over at CNN write about…

Sick and empty seats: How Trump’s triumphant return to campaign trail went from bad to worse

If you haven’t been paying attention to the news, the last few weeks (years, it seems!) have been full of protest following the death of George Floyd, the rise of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, and it seems the Trump White House has no idea how to deal with it. Worse, they used the protest time to stage a very ill advised photo-op at a church which backfired spectacularly on them…

Nothing wrong with Trump's Bible-toting photo-op | Letter ...

Then, “President” Trump seemed to dig his grave even deeper with conspiracy theories regarding the police pushing -and subsequently lying- about Martin Gugino’s fall…

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There were more things that happened (I don’t even want to get into the botched firing of Geoffrey Berman or the release of John Bolton’s scathing book), but suffice to say the Trump re-election is, at this moment, on very shaky grounds.

In fact, in recent days (and we must bear in mind the election isn’t until November, so much can change) the odds of re-election have dropped pretty significantly, and I suspect “President” Trump, shrewd enough to realize this was the case, decided in the middle of this pandemic that it was time to start holding his rallies.

His first one was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a state which overwhelmingly voted for him over Hillary Clinton in the previous election, as “safe” a state as one could find for Republicans and, by extension, Trump himself.

To Trump’s re-election campaign, things were looking really positive. There were a lot of requests for tickets and he was expecting the venue he was in, capable of fitting some 19,000 people, would be full to capacity and he would then go outside and give a speech to the overflow.

Only, things didn’t quite work out that way…

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Yikes! Want more?

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Even official images, which had the sparse attendees crowded around Trump, revealed the emptiness…

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Check out the upper part of this photograph

Estimates were that only some 6200 people showed up for the event, less than half of the stadium’s capacity.

Even worse, reports came out that the Trump campaign tweeted during the event (one imagines, quite desperately) that there was still plenty of space available and for anyone interested in coming to please come on in!

Only, they didn’t.

The event was such a bust that the very few people by the outside platform were told to go into the convention center and the various staffers started dismantling that outside platform even as the main event was still going on.

“President” Trump was reportedly furious about the event and the lack of people who showed up and, in this case, I can totally understand.

This has to be concerning. A sitting President -even one as loathsome as I feel he is- should be able to get a decent turnout at any event and especially one that takes place in a voting stronghold for him.

The fact that so few people showed up has to be worrisome. If even his supporters aren’t that encouraged/motivated to come in to see him, how encouraged/motivated will they be to vote for him?

Again: The election is still a very long way away.

However, going by this alone, it seems his support is sagging.

Perhaps very badly.

The System Has Failed…

It’s been a whirlwind of a series of days, hasn’t it?

The Covid-19 situation is clearly still on everyone’s mind but the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police, every heartbreaking and disgusting moment of it caught on camera, has opened a wound that, along with the pandemic we’re facing, has caused an eruption in anger and protests.

Over the weekend and around these parts, we had a couple of cars -one a police car- set on fire and some looting. Nothing as big as what happened in other parts of the country but worrisome nonetheless.

Because, sadly, one sometimes focuses on the destruction rather than the causes of it.

It is perfectly fine to be horrified by what those four police officers did to George Floyd. It is perfectly fine to believe that not all police officers are as barbaric as those four. It is perfectly fine to want a top to bottom revision and changes to the police forces, to demand they be held more accountable so that what happened to George Floyd, and any other people (of color or otherwise) never experience anything like this again.

They shouldn’t have in the first place.

Further, its perfectly fine to protest for these changes.

Perfectly fine.

Do it in large masses. Be loud. Make yourselves heard.

But please, don’t destroy property. Don’t loot.

I know reports indicate some of the looters may well have been provocateurs. People who don’t care about the protests and are simply taking advantage of the situation to instigate anarchy and/or steal whatever they can get their hands on.

I know they represent a small part of the protesters as I hope those who murdered George Floyd represent only a small part of the Police Force.

What makes me happy is reading reports on protesters who turn in looters and/or stop them. Also, it makes me happy to see Police Officers talking to protesters, expressing sympathy and, in some cases, joining in with them. It makes me happy to see protesters giving police water. It makes me happy seeing some officers kneeling to show a solidarity with protesters.

This is what will bring us together.

Kindness.

Empathy.

We can do this together.

The system failed, but it can be repaired.

Unfortunately, what makes me incredibly unhappy -surprise, surprise- is our “President” and his reaction. Yesterday, in particular, was -stop me if you’ve heard this before- yet another new low for him.

As reported by Stephen Collinson and presented on CNN.com…

Trump responds to protests with a strongman act

What exactly did “President” Trump do? As Mr. Collinson put it:

Trump on Monday turned security forces on peaceful protesters in front of the White House, as tear gas and rubber bullets flewbefore declaring himself the “law and order” President. Then, in one of the most bizarre moments in modern presidential history, he strode across the park to stand in front of an iconic church holding a Bible aloft in a striking photo op.

Oh my.

Our “President” essentially cleared out -with heavy handed methods- those protesting in front of the White House just so he could go in front of a closed up church, hold a bible in his hand, and take photos of himself with it.

I mean, how do you go about describing what’s wrong with that? How does one even start? Trump, a man who has about as much religious conviction as your average jar of mayonnaise, tries to show himself off as a strong man on the one hand and a religious person on the other… of which he just proved he’s neither.

The Bishop of the Church he allowed himself to be photographed in front of, by the way, was aghast at his stunt…

I’ll let Mr. Collison continue:

It was a moment of vanity and bravado — orchestrated for the cameras and transparently political — as Trump struggles to cope with protests sweeping the country after the killing of  George Floyd and tries to cover up his botched leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

At this point, one shouldn’t be surprised by the lows “President” Trump will go to. It seems like each day, each hour, each minute he finds a new way to go lower than before.

What is wrong with this man?

What on earth could he possibly be thinking?

Incredible.

Simply incredible.

So… Joe Biden…?

Politics… BEWARE…!

A few days back Bernie Sanders did incredibly well in the primaries, specifically scoring a decisive win in Nevada and looking for all to see like he’s got a near lock on the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

With the so-called “Super Tuesday” on its way -and which happened yesterday- I wrote the following on February 24th (you can read the whole thing here):

There are those who are ready to pronounce Sanders the official Democratic candidate for the Presidency and, based on how he’s doing so far, this isn’t a terribly out there position to take.

Welp, looks like good ‘ol Joe Biden proved, following Super Tuesday yesterday, that he’s far from done and over.

In fact, one could say that Super Tuesday was essentially Joe Biden’s coming out party and at this point he has the larger number of delegates, though to be fair we still don’t know the ultimate results of California.

Regardless, Joe Biden did extremely well. Was it a result of several other more “moderate” candidates dropping out? Was it the result of people fearful of Sanders’ campaign?

Hell if I know.

The pundits have been flummoxed, it seems, since Trump’s run and eventual win to figure out the mood of the country and who will eventually be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.

Regardless of who it is, I suspect there is a damn good chance whoever it is will win against Trump.

Why?

Because 1) He barely won to begin with and 2) unlike 2016, the Democratic base is not just energized to kick him out, they seem to be super-energized.

That’s not to say the Republican base and those who want more of Trump won’t show up, either.

It’s just that if the margins stay roughly as they were, which seems possible given Trump hasn’t done much to expand his base, we’re going to get roughly the same amount of Republican votes and perhaps a more enthusiastic Democratic vote, which could (that being the key word) work against him.

As with so many things, we’ll see.

After all, it seemed like just yesterday Bernie Sanders was a lock to be the Democratic Presidential Nominee…

Oh, wait.

It was just yesterday.

Regardless, I believe we now have a two person field: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

We’ve still got several states to go.

Who will come out on top?

What a way to begin a year…

As I’ve said before, I try to be an optimistic guy. Realistic, but optimistic.

2019 was, to put it mildly, a very unpleasant year, though it was more of a function of world events. It seemed the nations of the world were engaged in some kind of major dumbing down.

Stepping away from the trees and looking at the forest, it occurs to me this may be in large part a result of what is coming rather quickly: A major generational shift.

The “boomers”, those born after World War II and up to roughly 1965, are getting older. They represent a very large group and they benefited from a unique set of circumstances, both good and bad, which allowed them to for the most part flourish.

However, they are getting older now and those born from 1966 on are beginning to assert their power. Some of the very younger generations, including the so-called millenials, have vastly different ideas as to what governments could and should do. They are concerned with wages and fairness, with climate change and pollution, while it seems the boomers could care less about any of those things.

Generational shifts are a historical trend, though and there is no stopping the passage of time.

Today’s elderly politicians have only so much more time left to their days in office and power before the new waves come in and inevitably make their marks on the halls of power and the general direction of humanity, even if it may be limited to their own locality.

I suppose what I’m saying is that I remain an optimist.

I don’t like much of what’s going on in Washington nowadays but it feels to me -and I freely admit I could be proven very wrong- that the outrageous actions we’re seeing today are the result of a generation’s death rattle.

It ain’t pretty and, frankly, its more than a little exasperating, but in time it will be over and others will step up to the proverbial plate.

Will the pendulum shift and things important to the younger generations finally come to the fore and be addressed?

I certainly hope so.

Let’s work toward that end, why don’t we?

So hard to talk about anything…

…other than politics nowadays. And I’m so loathe to do so on a consistent basis. I have my beliefs just as others have theirs and we may agree about a great many things and disagree about a great many others but that doesn’t make us mortal enemies.

Well, it shouldn’t. At least not here in the U.S. of A.

Yet it feels like its devolving into just that. You’re on your side and I’m on mine and you can go insane watching/listening/reading about whatever happened today.

Yesterday, of course, and on Halloween itself, a resolution was passed by the House of Representatives concerning Impeaching President Donald Trump.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House, has been very cautious in her movement toward impeachment, taking things step by (sometimes painfully drawn out) step but it would seem we’re on the verge of getting televised hearings with witnesses detailing, finally to the public, the inappropriate actions taken by Trump which merit his Impeachment.

Those who don’t know, the House of Representatives can Impeach the President but it then has to go to the Senate, which has a very slim Republican majority, to actually -and formally – throw him out of office. As of this date, it appears doubtful the necessary 2/3rd majority is there to formally Impeach the President but we’ve got a long way to go yet and, unlike the House of Representatives, there are several Republican Senators -perhaps even a majority- who likely would vote for Impeachment if their vote were taken in secret.

Right of the bat, one thinks: Is this therefore necessary? With elections coming next year, do we really need to go through all this?

I say: Absolutely.

Trump is, in my eyes anyway, a deeply flawed human being who very purposely flaunts the laws for personal gain. For him, that’s what it is all about: Personal gain. I suspect he could care less about anyone other than himself. I suspect he could care less about the institutions which have guided the country all these years. He could care less about his supporters, who I also suspect he views as suckers and/or idiots… but useful ones at that.

As we near the end of the year, I have to admit I’m tired of hearing about all this. I’m tired of the way this man and his particular brand of insanity seems to take up all the oxygen of all news all the time.

I fervently look forward to the day we no longer have to hear/read about any particularly egregious act or lie or just plain stupidity he was involved in.

But that’s just me.

Politics… Beware…!

What a week it’s been, no?

After so many months of the Mueller investigation which, once released, was kneecapped by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr -who issues a self-serving memorandum that while incredibly dishonest about what Mueller uncovered admittedly helped push the Trump narrative positively- this whole Ukraine phone call seems to have really hit its target.

I suppose that’s the way things go.

I mean, when you get a professional investigator of high repute in Mueller to investigate a matter as serious as the Russian interference in the 2016 election yet he proves too deferential to stonewalling witnesses -including the President, who refused to be interviewed and instead only provided written (lawyered up) answers to question- it seems in retrospect one can not be surprised the report fizzled to some degree in Joe Average Citizen’s mind.

Too complicated. Too much information. Not enough of a snappy, quick answer to the question.

Joe Average Citizen can be forgiven in thinking Trump’s gotten away with it, whatever “it” was, because the report was too damn long and who in their right mind is going to read -much less make sense of- all that stuff…?

And then, out of nowhere, clarity.

Thanks to someone within the Trump White House, a whistleblower’s concern, plus an oblivious White House releasing transcripts of what turns out to be a pretty damn incriminating phone call (in what world did these people think releasing that transcript would somehow prove Trump did nothing wrong?!), we suddenly have that clarity.

First, the whistleblower’s complaint was that Trump was holding up Congressional approved monies to be sent to Ukraine to help them defend against Russian provocations so that they would help him find “dirt” on Joe Biden and his son, whom they think did some underhanded stuff there.

The accusation was shocking but Trump’s team of Einsteins felt that they had the perfect proof he did no such thing and released their summation of the phone call between Trump and the Ukranian President Zelenskyy. The following part of the transcript and Trump’s statements to President Zelenskyy clearly shows us what the whistleblower feared Trump was up to:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they s_say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your weal thy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There- are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation ..

Understand, THIS IS WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE ITSELF RELEASED TO PROVE TRUMP DID NOTHING WRONG…! (You can read the full transcripts here, if you’re so inclined).

We’re not talking about some Democratic operative’s leak or some underhanded theft of private property skewed to make “President” Trump look bad, we’re talking the actual material they themselves chose to release.

“I would like you to do us a favor” Trump states, while he is holding back aid to Ukraine. The favor involves getting help from the Ukraine which Trump can use against Joe Biden in next year’s Presidential Elections.

Suddenly, the wrongdoing is incredibly obvious and -better yet for Joe Average Citizen- easy to see.

So easy to see, and so easy to show, that over the weekend those who tried to defend Trump found themselves having a very hard time doing so. I won’t go over all of them, but suffice to say this White House, which has been (I hate to admit it) pretty good at hitting back against outrageous actions they’ve been involved in, were suddenly having a great deal of trouble putting this particular fire out.

Now we have a full blown Impeachment inquiry in the House. I suspect things will go fairly quickly. Hell, they don’t have to do much but show the White House’s own transcripts as exhibit “A” of why Trump needs to be impeached.

How will the Senate subsequently react? The Senate has a Republican majority and a Majority Leader who is loathe to do anything against this administration.

But when faced with what is clearly -to anyone with a set of eyes- a deeply illegal action, how will the other Republicans vote?

I suppose like so many other things, time will tell.

Too damn funny… July 4th, 2019 Edition

Last year there was this very funny (IMHO!) bit of news, now sadly forgotten, where right-wing “pundit” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stated liberals were going to use the 2018 Independence Day to launch a takeover/Civil War against the good ol’ conservatives. Much hilarity ensued as people wrote hilarious twitter comments about the so-called “second Civil War” (you can read about this here).

In what seems to be becoming an annual tradition …well, if twice in two years portends such things… there was something new which appeared this year which provoked some pretty funny comments.

I refer to Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech wherein he said the following…

Yep, you heard it right. When talking about the Revolutionary War, Donald Trump said:

Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do.

Oh boy.

I’ve made my feeling known before regarding Donald Trump: I have absolutely no love at all for him. Whether he stole the election with the help of Putin or not, in his time in office he has proved to be uniquely unqualified to be president. Further, he seems borderline illiterate and certainly uneducated. And that’s ignoring his obvious racism, sexism, and any other number of vindictive you want to give him.

Seeing this clip, he seems almost out of it. As if he’s under some kind of medication and having difficulties seeing/reading the teleprompter. Perhaps its because his reading skills aren’t great or perhaps the rain made it difficult for him to read the damn thing.

Regardless, I suspect he was adding in words here and there and the airport line, one would think, had to be an ad lib, right?

I mean, no one could have been stupid enough to write out that speech and actually put that line in there?!

Because if that line was in the actual written speech, then one can’t help but assume whoever put it there did so in the hopes he would read the line without thinking and make an ass out of himself as he’s done here.

And, continuing on that thought and continuing in the assumption that line was in the written speech, one has to wonder how much his own staff hates Mr. Trump and is willing to make him look absolutely ridiculous in a high profile speech!

Well, it didn’t take long for several smart asses to react to Mr. Trump’s latest verbal faux pas. Over on Huffington Post, Mary Papenfuss offers an article which examines how…

Trump Dive-Bombed in Tweets After Claiming Army Seized Revolutionary War Airports

There are some very funny tweets mentioned in the article above and I urge you to check them out. One of my favorites was this one by Jack W. Bower:

My Dearest Rose,

I’m afraid I must be the bearer of bad news. My flight has already been delayed a fortnight, and I fear it will be longer. The army has shut down the airport and the airplane will not be invented for 6 score and 7 years from now.#RevolutionaryWarAirportStories

Will it ever end…?!

POLITICS!

BEWARE!!!

Today, the Mueller Report will be sorta/kinda released.

From the look of things, William Barr, the recently installed Attorney General, is trying to put his thumb on the scales, first releasing a very positive summary of the Mueller Report, which he subsequently said wasn’t a summary, to today releasing a redacted version of the same but not before coming before the cameras (in approximately 30 minutes) and, many suspect, trying to put a positive spin on the findings before, hours later, actually releasing the same.

Huh?

Here’s the thing: I’m getting vibes of the whole “drip… drip… drip” of the release of information that will stretch out way beyond today.

In other words: If you’re releasing only some of the stuff, do you really expect people to be happy with that? Do you expect all questions to stop at that point?

This much I’m certain: It won’t end today.