Never forget

My mother (1924 – 2007) remembered exactly where she was and what she was doing when FDR died.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when:

  • JFK was assassinated,
  • when the Space Shuttle exploded, and,
  • on 9/11/2001.

Remember where you were today — July 16, 2018 — when Donald Trump stood beside our nation’s number one enemy and denounced the United States.  

Remember where you were today when our nation ended.  Your grandchildren will ask you.

Trump was warned

“Don’t mess with the people who have the wiretaps, subpoena power, guns and handcuffs,” I warned him.  But he wouldn’t listen.  And now . . .

From May 2018

Spanish police have turned over to the FBI wiretaps of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a prominent Russian banker suspected of money laundering who met with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., during the 2016 US presidential election.

Torshin is closely associated with the National Rifle Association, and he and his longtime assistant attempted to use the organization’s annual convention in 2016 to set up a backdoor meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Neither Trump nor his campaign associates attended the convention, but Torshin and Trump Jr. did attend a separate NRA dinner that same night.

When José Grinda, a Spanish prosecutor who spearheads investigations into organized crime, was asked if he was concerned about Torshin’s interactions with Trump Jr. or other American political figures, Grinda replied: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”

Read more:

Trump has fucked over US intelligence and police agencies and now they are bringing the heat.

And now, today

A Russian national with ties to a top Russian official was charged in federal court in Washington Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, and was ordered held without bond.

Maria Butina, 29, was arrested Sunday in the District and made her first appearance in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson. Her attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll, told the judge that Butina’s residence was searched by the FBI in April, that she had testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session several months ago, and that “we have been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time.”

Butina did not speak during the brief hearing other than to state her name. A detention hearing and preliminary hearing were set for Wednesday.

The charges against Butina come days after the Justice Department unveiled an indictment against 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly conspiring to hack Democrats in 2016 and just hours after President Trump cast doubt on Russia’s involvement in an extraordinary joint news conference with President Putin.

Read more:

The world according to Trump

FBI: lying — CIA: lying — NSA: lying — Comey: lying —  McCabe: lying — Rosenstein: lying — Mueller: lying —  Clapper: lying — Hillary: lying — Obama: lying — Bush Jr: lying — Bush Sr: lying — Papadopoulos: lying — Media (except Fox): lying — Democrats: lying — Corker: lying — McCain: lying — Flake: lying — Puerto Rico: lying — Gold Star widow: lying — Stormy Daniels: lying — Puerto Ricans:  lying — Merkle:  Lying


Vladdie Putin: My best friend who would never lie to me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Donald Trump is a willing asset for Russia . . . he is working for Putin, not for us . . . and it’s all about money

Not photoshopped. A real billboard from Montenegro, 2016.

When I woke up on November 9, 2016, to news of the election results, my immediate reaction was not grief, but suspicion. I did not believe that the American people would have voted an idiot into an office that requires intelligence, tact, and a basic understanding of how a government as complicated as ours works. Deep in my secret heart lay the unspoken faith that the vote had been miscounted, or illegally altered, and that eventually, responsible political leaders would discover what had happened and correct it before January 20, 2017.

Clearly, that did not happen. But when I read Jonathan Chait’s article in the New York Magazine“What if Trump Has Been a Russian Asset Since 1987?” my response was “Of course.” A bit of a long read, it is, if nothing else, a record of the many ties between Trump, members of his family, his political team and Russia dating back to the 1980s. All in one place, Chait deftly outlines the how, the when, and perhaps a little of the why of Trump’s fondness for Russia, even when it was called the Soviet Union.

Tom Nichols, the conservative author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters, wrote a defense of some of Chait’s points for Politico, making clear that thirty years of contact between Trump and the Soviet Union/Russia cannot be written off as a string of coincidental meetings:  ​

I should note here that I do not write from any unique knowledge of the Trump case beyond what is available in the historical record. Rather, I am a specialist in Russian affairs with experience extending back to the Cold War, and neither Chait’s narrative nor his conclusions (with some exceptions) strike me as unreasonable.

These facts, from the depth of Trump’s financial dealings to the personal connections of some of his top advisers and campaign staff to the Putin regime, are (or should be) undeniable. It is impossible to see the total picture and reach the conclusion that there is an innocent explanation behind it all. There’s simply too much to explain away.

Another explanation for Trump’s behavior is that he appears to believe that he has a special relationship with Mr. Putin that is greater than that of a fan for a star. He doesn’t just admire Putin, he wants to be him.

If we accept the admiration that Trump has for Vladimir Putin, as well as the other political tyrants of North Korea and China, it is not a stretch to assume he is aiming for a similar method of governance, using the same blackmailing and bullying tools. He has repeatedly made clear his belief that a dictatorship is the most effective method of ruling a nation, and has expressed publicly that a lifetime appointment as a tyrant is a goal worth working towards.

In order for him to achieve that, he must first become accepted as a normal president. And unlikely as it may seem, our American press, protected by the Constitution, has rushed in to make sure that his behavior is normalized. Make no mistake, the media, intentionally or not, has succeeded, and he has been normalized and is treated as if he were just like any other American president, albeit less well-dressed and less literate.

After normalization, the road to a dictatorship is facilitated by collaborators, those individuals or institutions that assist him directly or through back channels. At this point, it is fair to look upon his enablers as collaborators.

The most obvious enablers are Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who are willing to do just about anything to provide tax cuts to billionaires and benefit cuts to everyone else. They, along with Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, have purposely refused to view any behavior by Trump, no matter how outrageous or how clearly in violation of the Constitution, as warranting an investigation or hearing.

Contributing more than any of the other collaborators, these members of the ruling political party have enacted laws, rules and regulations that are inimical to every value our nation holds dear. They have stolen and lost children of refugee seekers. They have raided our national treasury for the benefit of the top one percent. They have raped our land for the resources that enrich a fossil fuel industry that should have been required to diversify to healthier energy options. They have approved the appointment of ethically conflicted personnel to top cabinet positions with the clear intent of destroying those departments. They have approved, as federal judges, white men with little understanding of the law, much less the justice that they are supposed to exercise. They ignore or encourage child molesters, and the enablers of child molesters. And recently, a delegation of Republican legislators visited Russia only to reap well deserved ridicule and scorn from their Russian hosts–but no condemnation from their party leaders.

Collaboration can also be seen in the actions of corporate America, whether they defer to Trump’s demands to not raise prices in order to give him a public relations victory that is no victory for consumers or they pressure the State Department to bully other nations to oppose a World Health Organization program to encourage breast feeding of infants instead of purchasing and using formula that American collaborating corporations manufacture. As to be expected, considering the demands of their industry, private prisons are top tier collaborators.

Not far behind the corporate collaborators are the unions of the Border Patrol and ICE agents who supported Trump even before he was elected. These right wing unions are all about brutality and xenophobia, which is a strange attitude for organizations dedicated to the service of a country that has long prided itself as being a nation of immigrants. Collaborators are also those like the law enforcement officer present during a racist attack by a drunken man on a woman sporting a Puerto Rico T-shirt at a public park. Despite her request for help, the officer ignored the situation.

Collaborators include those Republican voters who chose John Fitzgerald, an anti-Semitic holocaust denier as their candidate for a US House seat, as well as those voters who cast a ballot for child molester Roy Moore in Alabama. And each attendee at a Trump rally.

And among the current crop of collaborators are all of those despicable white men and women at community pools who demand identification or proof of cleanliness from their neighbors of color. This is 2018. We no longer have segregated pools. Trump supporters and collaborators want to return us to the days when we did. Each time they echo Trump’s hateful racist calls, they encourage Trump to engage in more egregious behavior. These are almost the worst collaborators of all.

But the worst collaborators, by far, are those who do nothing. Those who express no opinion and think that refusing to take a stand will offer them some sort of protection. Those who do not vote to stop the takeover of the American democracy are the most productive collaborators of all. They are the ones, who in future histories, will take on the roles of the bewildered World War II Germans who had no idea that their government was conducting genocide on a massive scale.

It is up to us to call out collaborators each time we see or hear them. Like the civil protests that McConnell and Sanders have been receiving, we must continue to heed the call of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and push back against them. We have to call them out every time. I suggest we name them as collaborators in tyranny.

Although not rising to the level of collaboration, but still disturbing to me, is the focus of President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder. I get that partisan gerrymandering has led us to where we are today, and that we must change that practice. And in a normal political environment it would be an entirely appropriate effort. But today we are not in a normal political environment, and in carrying on as if we were, we further normalize Trump. In today’s climate, fighting against partisan gerrymandering does seem a little bit like arguing over how well maintained a lawn is while the house on the lawn is burning to the ground. To say nothing of the fact that their efforts will not bear fruit before this November.

Speaking of November, it has been reported that Trump is not concerned about the possibility of a blue wave on the sixth of November. No preparations are being made for a Democratic takeover of the House or the Senate. That is disturbing because it shows that Donald Trump is a lazy doofus, or that he is not and that he knows something we don’t.

Why Europe hates Trump

Simple.  He reminds them of someone.

A Belgian friend of mine explained to me why Europeans don’t like Trump.  This man is my age — born 1941 in Belgium, lived through WW II and spent his childhood and young adulthood watching his nation and the rest of Europe rebuild from the war.  He immigrated to the US years ago, is now a citizen, goes home once a year.

He told me the physical rebuilding was difficult, expensive and took a long time — rebuilding houses, factories, bridges, roads, ports, industry and the like.  However, he said the most difficult rebuilding was the political, emotional and spiritual rebuilding as the people of Europe asked themselves how such a thing a WW II could happen.  Specifically, they wondered if another Hitler would appear, plunging Europe and possibly the whole world into another war.

Then came the clincher:  “We Europeans look at Trump and we see Hitler.  He is building support by doing exactly what Hitler did.  We listen to his speeches, close our eyes, and we hear Hitler.”