Archive for Democrats

Blazing Saddles in Alabama

Bart, the black sheriff in the bigoted town shows up to ask, “Hey, where are the white women at?” He spoke of the fictional Rock Ridge but that’s the question for elections, nationwide, including Alabama.

In nearly all times and locals, women make up the majority of voters (more of them and they vote at a higher rate than men). They determine the results.

For yesterday’s voting, many speculated whether Alabama women could vote for a credibly accused predator of young and underage girls Roy Moore. The answer seems to be, unfortunately, that many of the white women could and did. (Chart from WaPo article. Fair use claimed here.)

Granted, they voted at much higher rates for credibly accused predator of women  and girls Donald Trump. Yet it remains surprising and alarming that any women could vote for Moore, regardless of their point on the political spectrum.

There’s much bluster and portent among lefties about how this bodes well for ’18 and ’20 elections. A deeply red state chose its first Dem Senator in 27 years. Let’s reserve judgment. Let’s first consider that Moore is a morally bankrupt, totally dishonest and dishonorable pol who has been unable to obey the federal and state constitution and perform his duties in any position. How likely is it that red states will arrogantly run such terrible candidates for Dems to beat?

We’d like to think white women in the main would join progressives in this MeToo time. They have the power and could easily use it for good of the nation, their states and women in particular.

 

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Pile on the Shame

[Quick note of apology. I haven’t been commenting. The rest of the world has. So there.]

Al Franken…MeToo…sex monsters (almost entirely men in power). Just maybe a major flip has occurred. We’ll agree on that when self-identified conservatives/Republicans and then Europeans get with the program.

Meanwhile, I’ll note that I was one of the many who feared bandwagon joiners would muddle the vast good with false accusations. Instead, I find the bad so far comes in the form of schadenfreude. For some abused or harassed women, Dems and lefties taking the blame for their crassness and crimes, and then the GOP supporting the likes of the despicable Donald Trump and Roy Moore types is not enough. They want to inflict maximum damage and disgrace.

How much is too much?

I found myself in dolor about of my recurring raps about convicted criminals. I’ve long held and written about serving your time and clearing the blackboard. Those who want to perpetually punish convicts by not letting the vote and keeping them from getting jobs are just awful people who seem to lack an understanding of humanitarian and religious values.

Regardless, this came to mind again when one of Sen. Al Franken’s maybe victims, Stephanie Kemplin, made the talk-show circuit saying his apology and pending loss of Senate seat (and likely permanently ruined career, political and otherwise) were nowhere near enough to satisfy her.

She holds convincingly that she remembers his cupping one of her breasts (through multiple layers) at a photo-op. She is particularly irritated that he claims not to recall that and thus has not abjectly apologized.

In the unlikely case that Franken is not guilty of this exact charge. we cam pretty much be sure he has been a real ass around women and mildly sexually transgressed repeatedly. So we can then turn to ask whether is loss of face, loss of positions, and much dimmed future is adequate punishment. At least one accuser holds that it is not.

Walks of shame

I am bad on TV and watch little. However, I did not pass on any Game of Thrones episodes. The current news and opinion brings me back to Queen Cersei Lannister’s parade of shame, during which she walked naked through the capital as citizens chanted, “Shame!” and “Guilty!” while pelting her with spit, feces and garbage.

Clearly in her case and time and place, too much was not enough.

That I dread for the MeToo movement. We have plenty to atone for as a society and male gender. Not knowing when to modulate or stop won’t advance the movement.

I thought back to decades ago and one of the sermons I preached at the Arlington Street Church. It was on resilience. I spoke of the different reactions we have to the sundry misfortunes that are thrust or fall upon us. How in my volunteering at veterans hospitals in high school I’d met WWI vets still shell shocked (now PTST) and others missing limbs still incapacitated from wars long years later. Other vets made it their duties and hallmarks to forge on to careers, marriages, parenting and more in the same circumstances.

After the sermon, a couple of women and one man who never really recovered from sex crimes said how much they were insulted and how they felt disrespected. Many others told similar tales of their own survivals that those of relatives and friends. One elderly woman I had been in a UU sexuality course with pulled me aside with the definitive comment. I knew she had been raped and had to heal from the traumas; she said it was important to discuss how we deal with such; she said it was important to tell the personal story, but “don’t make a career out of it.”

Amen.

 

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Elephants Across the Chasm

Like so many instant, distant blatherers, I have had little to add to the discourse lately. Now I note that this morning’s defeat of the most recent Affordable Care Act repeal was a parting cloud that shines a sliver of light.

The cruel and crazy GOP efforts since January had an underlying theme. Both houses of Congress joined with POTUS Trump in spitting screams. “We can do this ourselves. We don’t need any Democrats. We won’t even talk to Democrats. FU!”

Sadly enough, that was almost true. It was also even more toxic sputum. Amusingly enough, Congressional Democrats remain as they have been willing to work with their vile GOP counterparts. There is still one party that cares about little d democracy, process, civility, as well as the commonweal.

There were a few Republican mumbles about maybe doing something with Democrats if all came to naught. This morning some more of them have sighed and admitted it may be time to recognize the existence (and by implication the power) of Dems.

Truth be told

Most Dems were not and are not happy with the A.C.A. and consider it only a solid first step down the path. Quite a few lefties, including this one, want single-payer, the universal health care that works so well in the rest of the industrialized world. We have to live with inefficient, overpriced health policies that keep our levels of health low and our life expectancy under that of the rest of the gang.

Even as GOP types in President Obama’s second term swore they would never let Dems improve the A.C.A. or pass anything meaningful at all, Democrats continued to plead with them to work toward finishing the health legislation.

Since Truman days, the Dems’ best gambit with Republicans has been to let the latter take partial or even full credit. That’s not the way GOP legislators have acted for decades.

Yet in this moment, I suspect this will lubricate the process again. The GOP can save a bit of face by crafting A.C.A. improvements, then proclaiming nothing would have happened without them. Forget that mirror is equally true; just give the little guys their out.

I still want to see a single-payer system, a real overhaul of our bloated and parasitic health care system. The A.C.A. was a start, but only that.

The shift will be from arrogant and obnoxious to merely condescending. That can work. The Dems never slammed and bolted the door.

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Inevitable GOP Grudge

About that cliché of elephants never forgetting, U.S. Republicans truly do not, ever. It happened with Nixon and we are still bearing the aftereffects. It’s about to happen again with Trump.

When Pres. Richard Nixon slithered out of the White House in disgrace, that was a not-to-be-forgotten humiliation, for the party more than for Tricky Dick.  That POTUS hopped about between amoral, immoral and criminal. He snuck away before the Senate could impeach him, and then his VP-becoming-President Gerald Ford pardoned him, so he never faced criminal trials and certainty of prison.

Years later, Nixon was re-imaged as a statesman. In fairness, as terrible as he was domestically and as much as he disdained democracy, our laws and the Constitution, he had foreign-policy credentials — much stronger than any Democratic President since FDR.

In those ways of escaping impeachment, get-out-of-jail-free cards, and rehabilitation, he fared much better than he deserved. Nonetheless, the GOP has never forgotten his disgraced exit.

I have no doubt that is why they so eagerly pursued Bill Clinton’s impeachment, constantly threatened Barack Obama with various legal actions, and did beyond their best to smear and bring bogus charges against Hillary Clinton. They don’t, can’t, won’t forget.

So here we are coming around the flee or take-it bend with Donald Trump. As has been the norm with post-WWII GOP Presidents, his appointees and staff are resigning or facing various charges. That won’t stop.

As it all closes in on this young presidency for an old man/boy, at some point he is likely to realize he’s cooked and facing either absconding or impeachment. I have predicted here that he is most likely to play his usual drama queen, quitting while saying the mean old media and Congress won’t let him do wonderful things and save the nation.

While it is possible he might stick it out and take impeachment, I don’t think that would give him the deniability he so often uses.

When he is forced from office one way or another, the GOP also will not forget. Already, they bait-and-switch with Dem miscreants. Of course Bill Clinton accepted fellatio in the White House, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a pathetic sexter, and a handful of other Dems have run afoul of laws or social norms. They can’t or won’t consider the huge number of their party who are proven crooks, adulterers and worse. It’s key to pretend here.

The point is when Trump stomps away, that will be the real beginning of the newest GOP feud and grudge fest. They will live and act primarily to pay back Dems for anything that happened with their guys, regardless of how many Republicans joined in calling out and punishing Trump and his minions.

Personal responsibility is not a Republican hallmark.

Of course, for the nation, the big pity is that we have much to accomplish to fix problems and to advance us economically, socially and politically. When Republican office holders are as stupid, malicious and counterproductive as they were with Obama, much less gets done.

Still, let’s get on with it. Dump Trump, and accept that the GOP will play at revenge instead of cleaning their own house. As a group, they just don’t have a culture of advancing the nation.

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Drive Out Demons — Impeachment Aftermath

Impeachment against Donald Trump, incidental POTUS, are increasingly likely to begin. As I recently predicted, he would certainly resign before any Senate trial.

He has a lifetime of quitting and doing the mommy’s boy it’s-not-fair act. He’s 70 and not likely to mature. He also is both too ignorant to know history and too stupid to grasp the law.

Familiar Feud

As much as  I shall be pleased to see him forced out, I do not want to hear his whinging. More important, I dread the inevitable decades of Republican spite and attempts to even the score.

Following Richard Nixon’s slithering retreat from the top office, GOP lawmakers obsessed with getting a Dem POTUS out of office. The more rational and mature response would have been to accept that he was dishonorable, dishonest, and disdainful of democracy and the rule of law. The party could have accepted that they operated in a poisonous environment and cleaned house.

Alas, that would have meant admitting current Dem moral superiority. That was a low bar though. Democratic politicians had their own share of corruption…a difference of degree and not kind. Nixon was simply base, even for a pol.

Every Dem Prez that followed and ever Dem nominee for the office had the hounds of political hell nipping at them, trying to drag them down. When they finally impeached Bill Clinton for lying about receiving fellatio, that should have settled them down.

Another round

But noooooo. They didn’t remove him from office or drive him out, as with Nixon. In their heart of hearts, voters largely know that Republicans are less honest and honorable, even among this group.

It seemed plain to many that the slander and lies about Hillary Clinton was more of the same feud. Maybe if they could get her jailed for imagined crimes, they would calm. As with her hubby, one would think that her defeat in the last election would have quieted the dogs. Again, noooo.

Here we are with Trump, as corrupt as anyone not already charged, tried and jailed.

Trump has broken too many laws and has one of the most corrupt administrations ever in the history of the office. His reckless bluster and his I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I taunts will not outweigh his sins.

He will go and many of those around him are likely to face various charges as well. Arrogance does not wash clean.

When Trump goes, the big feud will continue and intensify. I cannot see a large number of Republicans suddenly taking responsibility. The hunt to drag under Dem Presidents and candidates for the office will surely be nastier than ever and continue to dominate our political discourse.

Inevitable but boring…

 

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Donny Fell Down and Broke His Crown

The tumbling, accelerating fall of Donald Trump has become inevitable. We are left pondering the timing and specifics.

I am wont to make the bold strokes, even if that leaves me prey later to the captious who would quibble on details. Let them.

You read it here and can blame me later (I don’t scrub my blogs and podcasts) if I get it wrong. Incidental President Donald J. Trump will resign.

The preponderance of the small has become the preponderance of the great. Russian election hacking, business debt and maybe even scandal videos rise and stink. The influence peddling and profiteering off the POTUS slot by him, his family and businesses are only getting worse, more obvious and undeniable. The incessant, impulsive and arrogant violation of the Constitution and laws has left a wide trail.

Forget the firing James Comey thing. That only highlights Trump’s dual handicaps of stupidity and ignorance. We, in fact even GOP supporters, could not longer look away from the Russian corruption and illegality matters as a result.

Trump’s tired ploy of screaming, “Fake news!” has run its course. As past and certainly future witnesses testify under oath, and in contrast to the various Trump types honestly, there will be no ore hiding.

Trump will quit, claiming that the mean old bugbears of:

  • The Constitution
  • Separation of Powers
  • Congressional Duty to Budget and Oversight

would not let him do what was right and necessary for the nation. (The ousted dictator’s lament.)

He’s also made his Pee Wee Herman I’m-rubber-you’re-glue shtick incredible. He got unbelievable mileage during the campaign with  (crooked Hillary, lyin’ Ted, little Marco, low-energy Jeb, and goofy Elizabeth Warren. He fantasized himself rubber, but the reality of being crooked and corrupt increasingly and inexorably stuck to him. He is thoroughly corrupt and crooked. Bye bye.

He’s 70, in terrible shape and may not live that much longer. Yet he is sure to go into his encrusted mausoleum with his last words being how he was sinless and wronged.

B.S.

 

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Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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Double Donkey for Dems

Amid the drama-queen level hand wringing of the Democratic Party, insiders got it together long enough to elect a new DNC chair. The final choice came down to what would be impossible in the GOP, a Muslim (U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of MN) and a Latino (Tom Perez, Obama’s Sec. of Labor).

The latter won and immediately, successfully called for the former to be his deputy. That’s not going to placate most progressives. They’ll see Perez as old-school, establishment DNC. They have unfortunately swallowed and now regurgitate the memes about the last election as proving Dems’ abject failures instead of what it really was, a confluence of external and internal factors.  Yet, if that addlepated guilt trip leads of political inspiration, so much the better for the party and nation.

The history is that the GOP laid a groundwork over maybe 8 years to take control of the states’ officials and the last census. Brilliant.

Dems foolishly assume a few things. One is that people will vote their self-interest. Two is that they will pay enough attention to know that for nearly a century, Republican administrations have meant worsening economies, high unemployment, unfair income distribution, soaring national debt, and war. Voters do neither.

As a disclaimer, I’m in the progressive camp and wanted Sanders. I would have preferred Ellison. Yet which of the two became the new chair is not that important. Either would do much the same, although I think Perez is a better orator and will inspire more action. He’ll get more to a better destination, because he activates them and not because his map is better.

Let’s allow the donkeys to pretend that the analysis of their election failure is accurate. That should also inspire action. I predict that as the public sees and experiences the gross, manifold failures of the current administration, the GOP sows and the Dems reap.

 

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Conan v. Thumper, a Resist Lesson

Nearly a decade tutorial should be enough. D.C. Republicans channeled Conan the Barbarian, while in their turn, Dems played the well-socialized Thumper.

Here’s the obvious call — Congressional GOP’ers have far overplayed their hand. The Dems have played like UUs, respecting others. Democrats need to be ready to follow the Republican lead, tromping as well as smiling and caressing.

We heard the calumnies of Barack Obama as he campaigned for the POTUS spot and then held it. The incredible hypocrisy of yelling, “Unfair!,” while claiming Dems are trying to delegitimatize Trump’s Presidency goes beyond risible.

Too nasty v. too nice

Let us frame GOP obstructionism and deceit in cinematic terms. Recall Conan’s answer to his general to what is best in life, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” This is precisely what the Republican Congress has been doing, continuing into the new administration. It’s scorched earth, regardless of how much it hurts the nation and its citizens.

In contrast, Dems have continued to play by the rules. They seem to be a bunch of UUs, They live out the Seven Principles and continue to hope and even expect Republicans will do likewise. After all, this is how Boomers were raised. In light of lessons from the WWII generation, religion, movies, TV and books, we learned about good and bad behavior, playing fair and civility. Dems are much more like Thumper from Bambi, whose catch-phrase was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It’s one-sided respect and fairness.

The GOP is likely to keep control of Congress through 2018. There’s a shot at 2020 or 2022 to flip Congress. The Dems are working hard at the state level, and the current administration’s certain failures to meet promises and goals will catch up. When those who stupidly believe that the media is dishonest and corrupt, not the GOP in D.C. have to accept reality once again, the current destructive bums will go.

That will not be another time for Dems to forgive and forget. Republicans have shown themselves too long in too many ways to be without fairness, graciousness or honor.

While I can’t believe Dems will ever behave as disgracefully as Republicans have, Resist cannot end with a Congress rife with Thumpers.

Dems don’t even need to threaten them with saying, “You’re only getting what you gave us.” There will surely be lamentations of their lawmakers. Yet, that will just be background music. Meanwhile resurgent Dems need to take charge thoroughly. Let the bad guys beg for compromise, which they never gave nor accepted. Then the Dems can consider it.

No more Thumpers.

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Bluster and brinkmanship

I had plenty of doubts as Hillary Clinton headed toward the POTUS nomination this year.  Most trepidation was due to her policy swagger, particularly on matters military. She’s a boomer, but seems to think like her parents’ generation — the U.S. of A. is the great power and all other nations better damned well know that.

I could see the new, maybe improved President Clinton sending our forces thither and yon. She had the odour of yet another Democratic warmonger. Think John Kennedy.

I was sure and remain so that Bernie Sanders did not have that Captain Kirk impulsiveness and insecurity.

What we’re ending up with is a Republican version of my fear. This Trump character has neither governing nor military experience, neither a strong knowledge base nor a high intelligence. He has the swagger of the insecure, dreadfully insecure. That’s more commonly known as BS.

During his campaign, he said countries that wanted nuclear weapons should have them. The concept of keeping a lid on the Mass Destruction Club evades him. Moreover, he has no sense of maintaining detente with the nuclear power China, angering them by ignoring the One-China policy. Worst of all…so far…he openly called for a renewed arms race.

His stated position so far has been that the U.S. needs to keep a numerical advantage in nuclear weapons and we’ll be kings of the hill. We tried that unsuccessfully for decades. It may have made the related Presidents feel like real big, tough men, but it was an economic and military disaster. It drained our economy, diverting resources from real needs, made our national anxiety levels soar, and forced us into positions that took nearly 20 years to ease away from.

Kennedy and his follow-on Lyndon Johnson were decidedly, to use the crude image, dick-on-the-table types. Mine is bigger than yours was the concept. In fact, Johnson was fond of waving his johnson about, as he once did in an informal presser when asked why we were Vietnam, Whipping it out, he said, “This is why.” 

We decidedly do not need more of that puerile, insecure bluster. Unfortunately, Trump’s announced cabinet and advisers don’t seem any brighter or more mature than he.

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