Archive | February, 2019

149. Waiting is Futile, Impeach Now

23 Feb

What triggered this blog was a re-examination of a past allegedly-corrupt prosecution by Sec. of Labor Alex Acosta, just reported yesterday. In 2008, Acosta was a Florida prosecutor in the case of Jeff Epstein, a billionaire and friend of Trump. Epstein was accused of sex trafficking and other offenses. The problem for Prosecutor Acosta was that he negotiated a very light sentence for many serious crimes, and kept the process unlawfully secret. No meaningful reason was given for the very light sentence.

So, here we have yet another corrupt person in the Trump gov. We must begin impeachment proceeding in the House, right now. Every day our President is in power we risk more damage to our country. Here are the factors to consider.

There is already plenty of evidence for high crimes. The constitution does not define “crimes,” so it is anything that congress decides. In previous Blogs, I have listed all of the criminal acts that this President has committed. His staff and cabinet consist of criminal, corrupt, and unprincipled persons. The definitions of “crimes” in the USA gov and states varies and so there is flexibility.

Waiting for the Special Council Mueller Report is pointless because it may not be made available to Congress (let alone the public) without serious alterations. Eventually, the original text will probably be leaked, but we cannot wait for this. As I understand it, the report will provide facts, but not recommendations for prosecution  or impeachment. It is possible that the report will not add much to the great deal of info already known, and may lead to more unproductive discussion and delay.

Maybe this is most important. Some argue that impeachment is futile because the Republican Senate will never convict. There are two points here: (1) impeachment even without conviction, will tell the world that the President does not really represent the USA and (2) there is a good chance that when a Republican Senator can actually vote to convict and be rid of this dangerous influence, he/she might feel freed to act!  It’s like selling something, if you have cash available right now, you can tempt the buyer. Once Trump is impeached, convicted, and out of office, he can no longer be a danger to them. Senators will be afraid right up to the time when with a simple word, they can be rid of him forever. The time of the conviction vote will be seen as a new dawn.

  Any Senator might be tempted to vote impeachment conviction

Some might not want Trump to resign because Mike Pence would take over. My conclusion is that no one could be as bad as Trump. Also, Pence would not be a crowd pleaser like Trump, and he represents the establishment. So he would not have the same power or appeal to the “base.”

Here is another thought.  The President might resign if he could in some way be assured that he will never be prosecuted for past crimes. He does not really seem to be comfortable in office, with all the bad press and investigations. He might just be hanging on to avoid the many post-presidency prosecutions that have been threatened.

 

 

148. MSNBC: The “Shining Network on Air”

22 Feb

We have all heard about the “shining city on a hill,” which represents a noble goal. I see MSNBC as that kind of beacon of hope — sensibility in the bizarre and dangerous world of Trump.

I watch MSNBC almost every day, usually for several hours. I also read the internet NY Times, WashPost, other newspapers, tweets, TED, Daily Kos, and many other types of info, for enjoyment, curiosity, and to prepare my blogs and tweets. I sometimes watch good programs on CNN and see Fox at times to view the negatives.  But, the MSNBC commentators often are really enjoyable to listen to and many feel like genuine friends. In the spirit of rewarding people that do great work, I want to present my evaluations. I have listed the highly functioning MSNBC people and after much thought decided not to list and criticize those that disappoint me.

Outstanding and enjoyable are L. O’Donnell, Brian Williams, Kasie Hunt, and Katy Tur. Williams often avoids expressing controversial opinions, but his little side remarks and humor are fun. O’Donnell and Tur do their job very intelligently. Kasie Hunt does her job well, is a joy to watch, and brings real humanity to the programs she runs.

Quite competent are: Andrea Mitchell, Joy Reid, Mika Brzezinski, and Chris Hayes. Steve Kornacki presents statistics well and does a good job in other roles.

Michael Steele is notable in this list for being a Republican. He speaks well and makes good Repub arguments. Often he agrees with the Democrat positions. If all Repubs were like Steele, we would be living in a much better world.

Rachel Maddow often provides very valuable and exclusive info. I would listen to her more if her presentations were less dramatic and less “wordy.” Most of her hours could be condensed down to 15-min and would be more interesting for me.

Joe Scarborough is notable for his blatant honesty, which I really like. But sometimes, he does drift off topic a little. I often watch “Morning Joe” in the early hours.

Chris Mathews often has valuable info from real experiences. But he would do better by forgetting the “hardball” crap and listen more. Probably because he is older, he tends to drift off topic a little.

Chuck Todd does the current “Meet the Press.” He has a tough job and sometimes misses opportunities for better questioning.  He often appears uncertain and drops his voice level. He does a good job, but could improve. “Meet the Press” always seems a bit bland, as if someone ordered them to be neutral.

I want to emphasize one more point. Looking at all the experts, commentators, and anchors that have appeared on MSNBC, a small number stand out for their unrestrained honesty and bravery. These are: Lawrence O’Donnell, Joe Scarborough, Steve Schmidt, Robert Reich, and Bill Maher (and probably a few others that did not come to mind).

The above I consider the best and most interesting commentators.  A few not mentioned are competent, and a few other regulars are either less interesting, less effective, or awkward at times. Not mentioned are the many experts in different areas that make great contributions when called upon. This blog is about MSNBC, but in all fairness, CNN should be mentioned for its contributions, and I do like Fareed Zakaria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

147. Attention to Climate is Urgent

19 Feb

The vast majority of nations in the world understand the urgency of climate solutions. We already have worse hurricanes, new flooding, forest fires, glaciers and polar caps melting, sea levels rising, etc. The city of Venice, Italy is already sinking and flooding due to climate factors. Major USA coastal cities and most of Florida will soon be at risk.

Our President refuses to recognize this vital problem because it does not suit his billionaire friends, like the Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Making proper changes would cost them a few billion out of their 100 or so billion in assets. Helping his extremely rich friends (and donors) is more important than saving millions of lives and in other ways protecting the USA and many others in the world.

Two very authoritative reports have definitely concluded that the average global temperature is increasing, and the increase is caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. (The Koch family has been in the oil business for decades.) One report is by a United Nations Special Scientific Panel released October 8, 2018. This report indicated that the climate is changing faster than originally anticipated. The other report is the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” (Nov. 23, 2018) by US Global Change Research program. This report is from Trumps gov and he only very reluctantly released it. The official report summary says: “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”   Trillions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake. Contrary to his claim of “draining the swamp,” his cabinet is full of climate deniers and promoters of CO2 pollution.

The Trump position on climate-change has vacillated like many of his other concerns. In 2009 his family was a major part of a business coalition that asserted “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” Later, when running for President he labeled the issue as a “hoax” and then later, not a hoax. He said “he does not believe it.” At one time he said that the climate will change back again. When Amy Klobuchar spoke in a freezing snow storm, he inferred that this disproves global warming. Trump does not understand that local weather is not relevant to global average temperature increases. Trumps Secretary of State Tillerson urged him not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. That apparently led to his being fired.

Recent scientific research has indicated that we have about 10 years to make major changes in climate factors, such as burning fuels that send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We must spend some money on converting to battery operated cars and converting to cleaner power plants. Our gov must support research and incentives in these areas.  We must also support promising research on methods for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Time is running out and all possible solutions must be supported.  Please see my previous blogs for more discussions on climate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

146. Slowing Trump’s Runaway Train

17 Feb

For about three years, the runaway Trump train, filled with Repubs,  raced down its tracks and seemed unstoppable. Trump felt like a king. He could get away with anything, and his sycophant crew totally backed him up.  But now, with the Democrats taking over the House of Reps., the train is slowing and starting to come under control.

A subsequent event was another defeat. The Trump wall was blocked and a gov shut-down was prevented. A woman was mostly responsible for this result. In a way, Trump has always waged war on women and now what could be called his second major defeat, was by a 78-year-old remarkable woman, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This mild-mannered, polite, soft-spoken woman demonstrated the kind of power that we need to  guide our country. The threat of a second gov shut-down is over, Repubs are now, more than ever, getting off the Trump train. Senate leader Mitch McConnell now feels able to act more independently.

We now have a powerful Democrat party that is beginning true (unbiased) investigations. Trump lost his only way of defeating the Dem. House, which was the threat of a gov shut-down. Many people suffered from the long shut-down, but more would have suffered from an unchecked Trump. Primarily Nancy Pelosi made the extremely difficult decision to sacrifice the few, to save the many. Every US President makes almost impossible life-and-death choices. Soldiers are killed in our wars, shifting economics can cause deaths from starvation, healthcare policies will result in patient deaths, even taxation rules can elevate some and destroy others. Nancy P. stopping Trump truly saved lives.

Now, the Dems are better organized and have a wonderful choice to make: who will they select to beat Trump in the next election? Most of the candidates are well-qualified and would do a good job, a few, would do a great job. I stated some preferences in previous  blogs, but I am still gathering info and my mind is still open. When you have a difficult choice to make, it is really nice to have several really great alternatives.

So much more could be said but this (unlikely) story of the USA gov. But I want to close this blog with a thought. I can’t help thinking that Trump could have made a few different choices and could have gone down in history as a hero. He just did not have the intellect to see the best path, and was influenced by conservative radicals like Rush Limbaugh.  Briefly, he could have stopped the name calling and whimsical decisions. He could have continued vital international agreements like the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and genuine support of NATO. He could have built a coalition of allies to deal more effectively with China’s unfair trade policies. He could have consulted with true experts instead of his wealthy (and greedy) friends. He could have left alone regulations designed to protect the citizens.  All of these factors  would have been possible for any well-educated normal person, but not for him. The limited skills of a real estate developer are not applicable to the profound complexities of POTUS.


Added note: I am increasingly concerned about the gov neglect of climate-change solutions, and we are running out of time. Please talk about and contact our leaders re this vital topic. I have discussed and explained climate factors in many previous blogs.

145. How to Evaluate Democrat Candidates

13 Feb

With so many Democrats running for the presidency, it is important to develop a good system, which leads to your actual vote.

I want to start by saying that the details of specific proposals should not be a major factor in your choice. We must look at more general statements of goals and ignore the details because after the election, the hard work of developing detailed plans will begin. After the election all the specific plans will be over-ridden by various research findings, hearings, and committee work. (Please see my blog no. 133 for more info.)

Here are the factors that I think are most relevant, starting with most important.

First, the candidate should have a long history of promoting Democrat values, such as supporting the non-rich, fighting climate change, higher taxes for the very rich, support for allies and NATO, sincere concern for election integrity, and willing to govern with maximum possible transparency.

Second, the candidate must be physically healthy and strong. An ideal age is 50 to 65 to ensure these qualities, which should last for eight years. There could be an exception for people that are a little older than 65, but are in great health.

Third, the candidate should have traits that people like and will generate votes. A long history of winning elections should be considered. Any significant negative could play a role, but we must be careful to accurately judge the effects of a negative factor.

Fourth, although a Dem. President will have really good consultants and staff, to do a really great job the chosen President must be highly intelligent, adaptive, open to various opinions, and respectful of traditional gov workers.

I think that any candidate that scores highly on all four factors would do a great job for our country. I could mention one more often discussed idea, which is to select a person that is most likely to beat Trump, regardless of other factors. Well, there is some merit to this. Imagine how we will feel, if we chose a fantastic candidate, and then Trump wins another term !!  Unfortunately, we can only speculate about how to deal with this concern.

 

 

144. In the World of Trump, Strong Denials are Definitive

10 Feb

Of all the bizarre things that Trump has said, the concept of strong denials seems most  ridiculous and pathetic. Imagine what our laws would be like if his principle was applied.

Trump says these people are innocent because of strong denials:

MBS, Saudi Arabia, “Strongly” denies ordering assassination of Wash.Post reporter.
Vladimir Putin,”Extremely strong” denial of interfering with our election.
Roy Moore, Alabama Senate candidate: “Totally denies” child molestation.
Rob Porter, Trump aide, “Strong” denial of domestic abuse.
Trump himself strongly denies all claims by 22 women of his sexual misconduct.

Some Republicans may be considering legislation in which a “strong denial” will erase all charges against an alleged criminal. Trump has supported this, but says it’s really only for his friends. As for Democrats, Repubs say that a strong denial is considered the same as a confession of guilt.  (This paragraph is somewhat speculative.)

Trump says to his friends, for any type of charge, you should strongly deny everything. Never admit to anything. Deny, Deny, Deny.

(For a good further discussion of this topic, see Paul Walderman of Washington Post, Oct.15, 2018.)

While still laughing, I have to include the just published N.Y. Post story with headline: “Bezos Exposes Pecker”  (David Pecker, of course, runs the National Enquirer; Bezos owns Amazon.)

 

143. Trump: Why Investigate Me?

8 Feb

Trump and his staff have been extensively investigated by government agencies.
He asks why Democrat leaders are not under similar investigation? First of all, Dems. like Hillary C. HAVE suffered numerous (phony) Republican investigations. But the main point is that Trump and staff have done many suspicious things, while the Democrats have not. In my previous blogs (no.136 and others) I have detailed many questionable activities. Here is a brief (partial) list of acts that have raised suspicions.

There is unusual secrecy with respect to the public and he even keeps secrets from his closest staff. Meetings with leaders of Russia, North Korea and other countries have been totally secret. Trump does not understand that he was elected President of a Democracy and not elected to be King. He is supposed to serve the people and the people must be able to monitor (with a few limits) his actions.

Trump has not released any recent tax returns. Every president before him has done this.

Trump has favored Russia and Putin in many ways. He has discouraged Russian sanctions and delayed implementing some. Trump has stated many times how he wants to develop a close relationship with Russia — even though Russians kill reporters and attack foreign countries, like Ukraine.

He rejects information from our intelligence agencies and often favors Putin’s version of events.

Numerous Trump associates have had excessive interactions with Russians. Some have been indicted, some pleaded guilty, and some were convicted.

On TV, Trump asked Russians to reveal info on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump has attacked NATO and our strongest allies. This is exactly what Putin has wanted, which is to weaken his adversaries.

Trump has often rejected the idea that Putin interfered with our elections, even though all of our intelligence agencies agree on this and assert that helping Trump was the aim. Putin himself, said that he favored Trump.

There is some evidence that Russians have provided financial benefits to Trump and his family. For example, reporters have found that condos were sold at a price much higher than market.

Trump has failed to fully separate himself (divest) from his many businesses.

In many situations Trump has defended actions of foreign countries, ignoring negative info from our intelligence agencies.

Last but not least, Trump has told thousands of lies in recent years. That in itself is highly suspicious. Even worse are the many lies by him and staff about meetings with Russians. Meetings might be OK, but frequent lying about them is very suspicious.