The Barr Has Been Lowered

This past Sunday afternoon Attorney General William Barr released his summary “interpretation” of the Mueller report. Containing just a handful of sentence fragments from the actual Mueller report, the summary was even more lacking in detail and more focused on providing an extremely narrow and slanted view of Mueller’s conclusions than I had predicted in my column from this past Sunday morning (See: Mueller Plays His Dominoes). Until we see the actual report submitted by Robert Mueller, and we learn how and why the Special Counsel’s probe ended, we know very little about what Mueller actually discovered, or might have failed to discover if it turns out his investigation was terminated prematurely. Barr’s letter summarizing the Mueller report appears every bit as reliable as one of Trump’s self-written notes from his doctor. Continue Reading >>

Mueller Plays His Dominoes

What happened aboard Air Force One in the early morning hours of October 8, 2018? What was said and what deal was brokered between President Donald Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that day? If we knew the answer to that question, the things that are happening now might make much more sense. Will the public release of the Mueller Report answer that question?

With the Mueller Report being delivered to the Department of Justice this past Friday, it marks “the end of the beginning” of investigation and public insight into understanding Russia’s efforts to interfere with America’s election process and the criminal and unethical acts of Donald Trump and those close to him. Continue Reading >>

When Fascists Rant About Socialism — and the Quest for Compassionate Capitalism

Grand Lake Theatre, Oakland, California. Photo via Tom Steyer Twitter feed.

My Facebook feed has lately been filled with postings about the dangers of socialism, particularly from acquaintances based in Texas. With the House of Representatives flipping to a Democratic majority and some of the more liberal and progressive members of the House promoting socially progressive programs, it is clear that much of the rhetoric surrounding the 2020 elections will center on spreading disinformation designed to create fear-mongering about threats posed by socialism.

True socialism is bad, in the sense that we know with certainty that it disincentivizes the kind of innovation, economic growth and prosperity achieved in capitalistic economies. The question is… is socialism currently a real threat to our way of life in America? Or is the fear of socialism a canard that is being used as a way of diverting attention from a fascist and nationalistic agenda intended to destroy essential elements of our democracy? Continue Reading >>

Please Don’t Make Me Keep Beating The Children

Marchers in London protesting the visit of Donald Trump, July 2018, via “The Other 98%” on Facebook.

I don’t want to keep beating the children, but you are making me do it. I don’t want to refuse to give you the money you need to buy groceries and pay the rent. It’s a humanitarian crises, all because you won’t do what I tell you to do.

I know we once took an oath that all our decisions would require mutual agreement. I intend to live by that oath. That’s why I’ll keep beating the children until we both agree that you will do exactly what I tell you to do. Continue Reading >>

As America Burns: Marco Rubio and The Death Throes of the Trump Administration

Washington has started to burn.

How much damage Trump will do to America, and to the world at large, as his presidency goes up in flames is an open issue, but as I’ve written in the past (See: Really Bad Things Are Going To Happen Now), this is going to be very, very bad, and quite possibly a very lengthy process as well.

Many disasters have impacted Trump and America this week. The utter fraud that was the Trump Foundation is being shut down. Trump is being investigated for the serious financial improprieties of the Trump inauguration committee. A Federal judge took former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn sternly to task for his betrayal of America. Trump attorney Michael Cohen has implicated Trump in multiple felonies designed to defraud America. Russian spy Maria Butina entered into a cooperation agreement with the US government. Paul Ryan spent the week living in an alternative reality while patting himself on the back for what a tremendous job he’d done the past two years helping Trump destroy America (See: The Self-Delusion of Paul Ryan). The stock market is in a free fall, with the NASDAQ today closing in its first bear market since the Great Recession, a drop of 21.9% from its peak on August 29, 2018. The Executive Branch is drowning in staff vacancies at the highest levels. But let’s just focus on some of what has happened over just the past couple of days: Continue Reading >>

The Dangers of Normalization and the Failures of the American Press

The American press often gives us bullshit. Not false news… just lacking the depth, backbone and perspective necessary to provide competent coverage. And in the process, they allow the President to normalize bad behavior.

Surrounded by the absurd and the macabre, we have permitted ourselves to seemingly accept the surreal as normal. America has crossed over into the Twilight Zone. Our politicians are broken. Our mainstream news media is broken. And our moral compass is broken. We’ve allowed Donald Trump, and the cult following him, to normalize terrible things in horrible ways and with dreadful consequences.

Over the past week, as the President has been further implicated by his own Department of Justice in serious felonies related to attempts to defraud and deceive the American people during his 2016 presidential campaign, we’ve watched respected political pundits and journalists on major TV networks and newspapers speculate on when such conduct will finally warrant consideration of impeachment. Continue Reading >>

Really Bad Things Are Going To Happen Now

The Domino Principle’s forecast for the next two years in American politics.

Trump Presidency Time RemainingCountdown
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If you think the past two years have been a nightmare, then you’d best buckle up tight, because we ain’t seen nothing yet compared to what is coming during the next two years. While there will surely be many unanticipated and horrifically shocking surprises, based on what we already know we can project with a fair degree of certainty how many aspects of political life in America will play out as the dominoes fall. And it isn’t even remotely pretty.

We stand by the graphic we published prior to the election last week… and the verdict is now in. We WILL get the government that WE deserve. At least for the next two years, America will have a government that will continue to march strongly down the path to demagogic authoritarianism (see CNN: Midterm fury fuels Trump’s assault on constitutional norms). And that trek is backed by nearly half of the American public voting to embrace a degree of dishonesty, moral deplorableness and self-destructiveness never before seen at such scale in our lifetimes.

Even in a state like California, often seen as the heart of American liberalism, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is currently facing 60 federal charges, ran a massively racist campaign that tried to label his opponent as a terrorist. He got re-elected to the House by a nearly 10-point margin. Californian Devin Nunes, who has spent the past two years doing everything possible to use his position in Congress to obstruct investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with our elections (and with the Trump campaign’s related collusion with Russia), was easily re-elected. It was a real bright spot see Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican member of the House who has consistently shown more loyalty to Russia than to America, narrowly lose his re-election bid, but that was the exception rather than the rule (see The Atlantic: Putin’s Favorite Congressman Has Lost His Reelection).

As Gabriel Schoenfeld noted last week (See USA Today: Election results did not repudiate Trump. They show he has normalized immorality.):

“the fact of the matter is that in three short years the face of America has profoundly changed. A significant fraction of the society has been lured into moral degradation by the siren song of a demagogue.”

And as Andrew Sullivan wrote  (see Intelligencer: America’s Fever Is Still Rising):

“We learned that the American public as a whole has reacted to the first two years of an unfit, delusional, mendacious, malevolent, incompetent authoritarian as president … with relative equanimity.”

“So where does this point us? To nowhere good, I’m afraid. The trouble with a normal election cycle in 2018 is that we do not have a normal president in 2018. We have a deranged, fabulist bully. For a presidency like Trump’s to generate less opposition after two years than Clinton’s or Obama’s is a rather chilling sign of how far down the rabbit hole we have already gone. To greet what is an emergency for liberal democracy as a business-as-usual political cycle, is de facto a big win for the whole idea of strongman rule. And on the key issues of a free press and the rule of law, the strongman is winning.” Continue Reading >>

Don’t Dream It’s Over

August 21, 2018 was a good day for America. One that America really needed.

There is a long way to go, but the events of August 21 provided at least a measure of hope that the rule of law will prevail and democracy will survive.

Never forget that the President is a career criminal who has committed both crimes against America and crimes against Humanity.

Never forget that the President has historically, and continues to effectively, run an organized crime operation whose objective is to loot America while defrauding the American people.

Never forget that Donald John Trump became President by colluding with a hostile foreign adversary and by committing felonies to cover up his bad behavior.

And finally, never forget that those who continue to support him have made a decision to betray America too, and that their admiration of such a man is a reflection upon their character as well.

🎶Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win🎶

Read. Share. #Resist. Persist.

I’m Not Buying It

Rather than confront those in our community who are gaslighted, sometimes it is more productive to just walk away and save our voice for more important battles. Photo of author by Georgette Pierson.

With each snip of the hair stylist’s scissors, I yearn for the weight of the world to be lifted from my shoulders, but instead the burden just seems to get heavier and heavier, until finally I seem to have no choice left other than to shrug. By the time my haircut is done, I am forced to conclude that the gal who has been cutting my hair every two months or so for the past two-and-a-half years will no longer be getting my business. And that there are lessons to be learned from this experience that can help all of us take positive action to fight the darkness that pervades America today.

My hair stylist is a nice lady, probably in her early 70s, and I believe that she moved to America from Germany many years ago and became a US citizen. Her salon, which she owns, is quite convenient to me… within walking distance from my house. And I think that she does a pretty good job of cutting my hair.

From our past conversations, it has long been clear that her knowledge and awareness of political happenings in America is, like so many of our fellow citizens, extremely shallow and superficial. She is, for example, aware someone named Mueller is investigating Trump, and that Trump calls it a WITCH HUNT, but her insight into what all that involves, and what the issues are, does not go too much deeper than that.

Her opinions and lack of awareness seems to stem more from voluntary ignorance than from personal deplorableness. Kind of like what one would expect of a nice lady in her 70s who spends at best a few minutes a day watching “state television” via FOX News.

She knows I write about politics, and she knows I’m critical of Trump. So I was a bit surprised last week when, while she was cutting my hair, and without my bringing up politics at all, she blurts out “I really like Trump” in a manner far more definitive and self-assured than I have ever heard her express in the past.

To put this in context, it is important to remember that this is a woman who grew up in the shadow of the horror that Hitler unleashed on the German people and the world at large. And that in the two months since she had previously cut my hair, Trump has decried the American free press as “the enemy of the state,” he has torn children from their asylum seeking parents and put them into cages and cells with no intention of ever reuniting them, and he has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Vladamir Putin in a press conference of utterly treasonous nature.

So, instead of getting angry or trying to argue with her or expressing wonder about exactly what universe she is living in… I decide to turn the situation into a learning moment for myself, and I ask her “Why?” without giving her any overt negative reaction.

And she tells me there are two reasons.

Reason #1:

He speaks what is on his mind, and really tells you what he is thinking, in an unvarnished way that is so much better and more refreshing than what the usual “politicians” do.

As she says this, I think silently to myself:

Yes, being candid and genuine can be refreshing and admirable in a politician, when they operate from a core base of honesty and integrity. Look, for example, at Congressman Adam Schiff. But Trump embraces neither honesty nor integrity. His statements seem to fall primarily into two basic categories… 1) expressions of his true nature, which show him to be a vile, racist, misogynistic, malignant narcissist whose priorities revolve strictly around enriching himself and his family; and 2) lies and more lies, aimed at conning and gaslighting the ignorant and unintelligent. These are not traits that any sane reasonable person would admire. Continue Reading >>

Now That The Whole World Knows He’s Putin’s Bitch, What’s Next?

Donald Trump and Vladamir Putin in Helsinki, July 16, 2018. Via www.kremlin.ru and used under license.

In a disaster entirely of his own making, the President of the United States stood alongside Vladamir Putin at a press conference in Helsinki, Finland on July 16, 2018 and confirmed to the entire world what so many of us already knew: Donald John Trump has betrayed his duty to America, and acts as though he is beholden to and under undue influence of Putin in ways that constitute an extraordinary betrayal of his oath of office.

And that’s just what we know from Trump’s public statement with Putin. Because Trump has been silent on the matter, we still have virtually no specifics about what Trump discussed and promised to Putin in their private meeting. There are reports coming out of Russia that agreements were in fact reached, and given that Trump won’t say anything about them, it seems likely that they could very well constitute an even vastly greater betrayal of American interests. See: US offers no details as Russia claims Trump and Putin reached military agreements.

In addition to Trump’s apparent universal adulation of murderous dictators in general, Putin’s specific leverage and influence over Trump seems to also stem from a variety of financial, sexual, and criminal factors. My previous column: The Man in the High Castle: Trump has committed high treason provides elaboration on each of these issues. A new column in The New Yorker this week,
A Theory of Trump Kompromat also provides further insight.

I’ve received considerable correspondence since Trump’s spectacle in Helsinki, all centered on three key questions:

  1. How can anyone still support him?;
  2. Given how apparent it is that Trump’s loyalties are to Russia, why won’t Congress do anything about it… RIGHT NOW?; and
  3. What can each of us do about it… RIGHT NOW?

Why People Still Support Him

The entire spectacle of Trump’s capitulation to Putin in Helsinki made it essentially impossible for anyone to claim to be pro-Trump and to love America and the values for which it has historically stood, and not seem, in the very best possible light, a complete and utter fool, and in the very worst possible light, a traitor to America as well. As John Pavlovitz’s noted in Don’t Say You Love This President and America. One of Those Things Isn’t True:

“when you refuse to name it all as treasonous, when you choose to remain silent, when you pretend you don’t see it—you declare who you are. We see it. The world sees it.””

So one must face some grim realities to explain Trump’s continued support:

  • There really are Americans who truly want America to move away from democracy towards authoritarianism, particularly if an authoritarian leader pretends to support their political and social agenda and remove it from possible change via democratic processes.
  • There are Americans who support Trump because they profit greatly from his policies and agenda, and some of them are extremely wealthy… and their wealth can and does buy political influence.
  • There are Americans who truly want to see the subjugation of America to Russia.
  • There are Americans who simply don’t have the intelligence to understand the issues involved (remember, half the population has an IQ of under 100) — they are easily persuaded by the gaslighting distortions and distractions of Trump and his enablers, and/or they blindly support anyone who identifies as Republican because it is their cultural heritage to do so. The Dunning–Kruger effect is real.
  • There is also a considerable segment of Americans who are attached to Trump in such a cultish fashion that they essentially see him as being anointed by a higher power to lead us… these people don’t care if he is a traitor… they will follow him anywhere.
  • And there is a segment of Americans who will refuse to back away from Trump because it would mean admitting that they were wrong about something that they were once passionate about, so they will just keep digging in no matter what he does.

If you want to learn more, my column from a year ago, The 10 Reasons People Still Support Donald Trump still holds up pretty well.

So in total, the evidence is that these factors combined explain the behavior of about 30% of the American electorate. We are forced to conclude that even if Trump should publicly come out and claim that he wants to make the United States a republic in the Russian Federation, a sizable portion of his supporters would applaud him for having another brilliant idea, while repeating the gaslighting distortions he manufactures to justify it. That’s the America we live in, and only by recognizing this scary reality can we find a constructive path to move forward.

Why Congress Won’t Do Anything RIGHT NOW

After the Helsinki summit, Former CIA Director John O. Brennan noted:

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While Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Select Intelligence Committee, stated:

After his summit with Putin, Republicans can no longer ignore the fact that, whether he is or not, Trump acts like he’s compromised.

Why else would he side with Putin, a former KGB officer, over his own intelligence agencies, bash Europe and favor the Kremlin over NATO allies? pic.twitter.com/7WTJ7e4hb6 Continue Reading >>

Strategies for taking command of our lives through seeing "deep repercussions" in world events and realizing how chain reactions can produce future outcomes.