“The only thing necessary…

…for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

So… with a false and thoroughly premature public dismissal of the Mueller report, before anyone beyond the Trump-friendly Attorney General, a man who was selected, one has to believe, for his recorded disdain for the investigation, has even had the chance to read its content, Trump declares himself vindicated and imagines himself free to pursue his campaign to flesh out the foundations of his autocratic political stronghold. And why wouldn’t he? Nancy Pelosi made it clear she is not interested in impeachment and the Senate? Trump territory, no spine to be seen therein to take a stand for democracy and justice. What’s good for corporations is good for the Senate and Trump has shown a willingness to play for pay and to dismantle those troubling regulatory agencies in the Federal government that corporations would like to have neutered and unable to inhibit their predatory practices in pursuit of profit.

Trump is free to act as though resistance is quite as it seems… futile. In a New York Times report by Robert Pear, also published on March 25th, we read, “The Trump administration broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believed the entire law should be invalidated.” This sudden change in direction, a bold move by the Trump administration could entirely undermine and eventually destroy Obamacare, a move that is not only politically unsettling to his own party, but also threatens the stability of the insurance industry… to say nothing of the more than 100 million Americans who may lose their health insurance. But if Trump doesn’t want it? Consider it gone and to hell with the consequence.

In the Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey reported on the same day that, “… at an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 22, Trump asked top advisers for ways to limit federal support from going to Puerto Rico, believing it is taking money that should be going to the mainland, according to senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of the president’s private remarks.”  Trump has never been shy about expressing his disdain for the people of Puerto Rico, acting almost as if he is ignorant… or even contemptuous… of the fact that they are citizens of the United States and not foreigners in another poor and powerless “S***hole country” of the Third World as he has so scornfully described some African nations in the past.

Again in the Times, we read a report on Monday by Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, “President Trump and his Republican allies went on the offensive on Monday, vowing to pursue and even punish those responsible for the Russia investigation now that the special counsel has wrapped up without implicating him or his campaign in a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.  Mr. Trump, grim faced and simmering with anger, denounced adversaries who have pounded him for two years over Russian election interference, calling them ‘treasonous’ people who are guilty of ‘evil’ deeds and should be investigated themselves. ‘Those people will certainly be looked at,’ he said.”  These chilling remarks are worthy of any dictator… but certainly not worthy of an American president, nor of any other leader in any nation of the free world.

By taking an unprecedented step in recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and receiving Netanyahu as friend and ally, Trump not only bolstered the strong man of Israel’s shaky political underpinnings, but sent a message to another strong man in Russia, his old friend Putin, concerning Russia’s annexation of Crimea that America no longer stands up for oppressed nations around the world.  This sort of unsettling unorthodoxy is never surprising when it is preceded by the name of Trump… and that in itself should be an alarm bell, in that any single event prompted by such dangerous perspectives would normally be enough to rally protest and ensure censure, but as each day passes, marking the bold, uncontested crossing of yet another Rubicon by Julius Trump, our Congress does nothing and the Senate seems obsequious in its silent assent.

All the signs are there… dire threats to his critics and the press, unwillingness to even consider political consequences for himself or his party, the negation of our nation’s treaties and longstanding international alliances, and the embrace of dictators, murderous strong men, and similarly corrupt individuals within the private and public spheres of influence in America.  All that is required of his enablers is that they give him unquestioned loyalty… for which he is willing to provide an open hand and an unfettered, unimpeachable license to steal.

The question, America, is this… what are you going to do about it?

It comes to this…

We expected too much from the Mueller report. It had already done much to expose rampant corruption within the Trump Presidential campaign, leading to the conviction of many prominent members of his campaign leadership, but the job is far from done. Trump’s Attorney General demonstrated reluctance to do his job in yesterday’s letter to Congress. Subsequently, Congress will have to do its job of oversight. And it’s obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to the abuse of power and the unprecedented levels of misconduct that it will take years for Congress to unravel the full extent of corruption within the Trump administration. Even when and if they do, a GOP Senate will continue to protect him because he gives them and their sponsors in the corporate world everything they ever dreamed of, such as a weak Federal government, unable to protect Americans from corporate crime… and tax breaks designed to make the wealthy few even more obscenely rich than they ever dared to hope.

Ultimately, it will take an unprecedented reformation of Congress and the Senate, drastic change that only an informed electorate and a clean sweep of our government through election can effect in order to finally fix the mess that we are in. Maybe, even more than Trump, America itself needs a full investigation. The whole nation, top down, bottom up…

In a democratic republic such as ours, what is the institution of justice if not an expression of our collective and prevalent morality? In any democratically elected government where a candidate for the highest office can publicly… and with confidence… declare, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters…” then why are we surprised when he corrupts that office he attains through election? Why would we expect such a man to respect the office to which he is elected when he does not respect the normal constraints of morality… when he does not even respect the character of the people who elected him? More importantly, when a corrupt leader upholds those institutions that maintain systemic and visible corruption within our nation’s body politic, why would anyone believe the institutions that administer justice would actually work against him?

Richard Nixon was one of the most corrupt politicians our nation has ever produced, but he managed to rise to the highest office a man or woman can hold… and he did it in spite of what should have been obvious to even the most casual observer, that he pandered to the worst elements of American society. Any man who must publicly declare, “I am not a crook…” deserves close scrutiny at best. Instead, the American people gave him a pass until even his enablers could no longer sustain his power, not even for their own benefit as they had so often in the past. So it is now with Trump. What is it about America that permits men of such a corrupt and cynical nature to become so powerful and virtually immune to prosecution when their crimes are so blatant and visible as to make the concept of justice seem impotent against them, even worthy of contempt?

Maybe it’s a good time to step back and consider where our nation is going. We need to take a long and critical self-appraisal, a serious moral inventory in order to learn exactly who we are as a people, what we have become in relation to those ideals we say that we hold precious and dear. We need to figure out how we managed to screw things up so badly. Then we need to find a way to fix it. It’s quite possible that Trump is not the problem, but merely the symptom… and we’re not going to fix the problem until we finally admit… that we are it.

Is this really about free speech…

….or part of a plan to criminalize dissent and to foster a state-approved political perspective? It’s a reasonable question, since his signing ceremony linked to an executive order has given the dais in the White House to members of right wing organizations like Turning Point, USA, which pays college students to disrupt public meetings of organizations on the left like the Democratic Socialists of America and to spy upon and add professors with opinions they do not deem correct according to their skewed values to a national database which has led to intense public and private harassment of faculty members in colleges and universities across the nation.

In cloying terms during the ceremony, Trump introduced students, portraying them as victims of abuse for their politically conservative and religious views before giving them a national platform in the people’s White House. He then, in the manner of a third world strongman lacking only the iconically be-ribboned uniform affected by dictators, proceeded to threaten public universities with defunding.

Tomorrow, the headlines should read, “New Zealand bans military assault rifles, while in the US, Trump moves to criminalize dissent.” I personally believe our nation is on a very dark path. Please pay close attention. Incremental authoritarian trends are dangerous. Study the history of the Twentieth century and you will see how totalitarian states are born… not overnight, but by slow, inevitable, and unchallenged progression.

At the very least, please watch this unfortunate, purely partisan display and imagine where the rhetoric will take us…

Will democratic government perish…

….when the people lack the will or the wit with which to make intelligent decisions concerning representation and leadership? In an age of unprecedented bias in corporate-owned media, in which the underlying premises of accepted, proven facts can be utterly questioned and even altered in a constant drumbeat of propaganda, can the electorate be so fooled that they begin to believe every packaged lie that is given them?

The election of Trump and his subsequent and unbelievably bad behavior in office challenges the basic assumptions of our Constitution. What happens when… even after this behavior proves consistent and troubling… the public refuses to remove him from office in an election that may or may not be as reliably honest and secure from subversion as we have come to expect? After all, it appears that the constitutional remedies provided in the Articles of impeachment and the 25th amendment are not being seriously considered by the President’s cabinet or the leadersahip of the House and the Senate. What will happen if the “peaceful transfer of power” we have come to expect following our elections is finally challenged?

These are questions that seldom if ever came to mind before the Trump administration began to display an inherent and troubling disregard for both the moral constraints his predecessors respected and the mandates defined by our Constitution. The men who designed our government carefully structured its elements to ensure its lasting applicabilty, with every regard to providing constraints against the possibility of institutional corruption and the danger of autocracy, but they put down a rather large bet upon the idea of a democratic republic. That gamble hinged upon a participating and intellgent electorate.

In 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to William C. Jarvis, “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

I believe this is the priority in response to our present dilemma, but like good wine, an educated electorate able to respond to the dangerous and anti-intellectual trends of authoritarian populists takes time.

If we start today……………

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker –

The better question…

….is not “Who is running for President in 2020?” but rather, “Who is not running for President in 2020.” According to Ballotpedia, a total of 581 hopefuls have filed as a candidate for the White House job thus far:

  • 12 Greens
  • 20 Libertarians
  • 76 Republicans
  • 195 Democrats
  • 278 Others (Whatever that means… Independents, Whigs, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Elvis Impersonating Quakers, Antidisestablishmentarians, Billionnaire Boys Clubbers, Friends of Harry Potter… I don’t really know.)

Feeling left behind? If you feel like America needs your particular and extraordinary skills in the White House, you’ll need to get started right away as the field is growing exponentially and you’ll want some time to be able to stiff-arm, browbeat and otherwise hinder the competition and position your candidacy at the top from day one. Go right now to the Federal Election Commission website at:

https://www.fec.gov/

If you really want to run, you will need both a campaign manager and speech writer eventually, so you may want to consider hiring me, in which case, I would be willing to fill both positions… two for the price of one. My qualifications? As follows:

  • I’m not a lawyer and I firmly believe that what happens in Toledo, stays in Toledo… if you get my drift.
  • I do not now, nor have I ever knowingly spoken to, worked for, consulted with, or even smiled at any Russians.
  • My speechwriting is guaranteed to elevate your candidacy to the highest level possible… or to appeal to the lowest common denominator, electorate-wise, according to your particular audience on any given day or venue.
  • I have absolutely no idea how to run a campaign… and having never done it, I can sincerely state… without hesitation and with the utmost confidence… that in the course of my career, I have never lost a single election.

Not interested? You should be… I mean, everyone else is running, why not you? As the great Athenian philosopher and teacher, Plato once said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” And isn’t that more true in America since 2016, than at any other time and place in history?

Beto’s back…

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/13/report-democratic-star-beto-orourke-confirms-hes-running-for-president


Is anyone really surprised?
Another neo-liberal Democrat with a mixed bag of media love/hate relationships, the kind of politician who attracts some of that celebrity charisma by seeming to be eclectic and acting like a non-conformist while, in Congress, he was a card carrying member of the New Democrat Coalition, which is a group dedicated to corporate-friendly economics, kind of a Young Republican Boy Scout troop for young Democrats who embrace what they call “the Third Way” which is essentially Republican Lite.
Ted Cruz beat him in a run for the Senate and he wasn’t really doing much, so, hey… why not run for President? I mean, since 2016, the bar’s set pretty damned low anyway.