Day 991 – Rising Tide of GOP Lies

In yesterday’s impeachment news, a new report from Bloomberg alleged that Trump asked Rex Tillerson to pressure the DOJ to end a criminal probe of an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was Rudy Giuliani’s client.  Tillerson refused, but if true the request might have been a violation of the law, and was certainly another impeachable abuse of power.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/trump-urged-top-aide-to-help-giuliani-client-facing-doj-charges

In the wake of Trump’s disgraceful betrayal or our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria, Turkey began bombing Kurdish areas, including many civilian locations.  A US Special Forces soldier in Syria told Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin that, “Turkey is not doing what it agreed to.  It’s horrible.” He claimed the Turks were committing atrocities and confessed, “I am ashamed for the first time in my career.” Even Republicans in Congress are horrified but Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds continues. Ethnic cleansing has begun and observers are saying Trump’s disgraceful withdrawal sets the stage for genocide.

Also, a soon-to-be-published book by Monique El-Faizy and Barry Levine reveals 43 new allegations of alleged inappropriate behavior by Donald Trump including 26 instances of unwanted sexual contact.  The book is titled, “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator.”  With all the other Trump scandals and outrages, advance excerpts detailing these molestation reports have barely registered.  

Despite the scandals and outrages, Republican operatives continue to direct attacks at Rep Antonio Delgado for the sin of endorsing an impeachment inquiry.  The NRCC re-tweeted a post by Delgado yesterday and urged Republicans to ask Delgado why he is “focusing on impeachment in Washington instead of the opioid crisis.” But the post they re-tweeted was an announcement by Delgado of his upcoming opioid forum in Glasco (happening today).  The NRCC is either stupid or not paying attention–or both.  But that won’t stop them from smearing.

The CLF (a GOP PAC) also tweeted at Delgado yesterday, accusing him of failing to find common ground with his constituents at an event.  BUT they didn’t disclose that the event was a gun club gathering where Delgado took questions from a crowd of NRA gun lovers.  It takes courage and a strong spine to walk into an already hostile crowd and defend your views.  John Faso was too big a coward to face criticism.  But Delgado has been tireless and relentless in visiting every county and listening to a broad swath of voters.  We’ve always expected conservative groups from outside our district to hurl in lies and misinformation as we approach 2020, but they seem to be ramping up their efforts now.

A different political group sent a flyer in the mail this week attacking HR-3, also known as the Lower Drug Costs Bill, which aims to use negotiation to lower drug prices.  The attackers used the same old corporatist propaganda we’ve heard before: lower drug prices will kill R&D, destroy jobs, and hurt the economy.  “Implementation of this plan will have catastrophic consequences on a market-based system that has made the US a leader in innovation…(and) would provide little relief to patients at the pharmacy counter.” No surprise, the group sending the flyer was the “Pharmaceutical Industry Labor Management Association.”  They want people who need medications to go bankrupt so the grotesquely wealthy pharma execs and owners won’t be forced to layoff workers (rather than dip into profits).  Here’s a question.  If the cost reductions for sick patients “provide little relief” how can the consequences for Big Pharma be so dire??  Here’s another. Why has the “market-based system” done such a poor job of delivering medicine at the affordable prices seen by European countries?  As usual, Big Pharma is eager to spend money on propaganda and lies to protect their yachts.

Republicans fight dirty. They cheat, they lie, they spread misinformation and distortion, and our district will be a battleground for their dishonesty.  They have no other choice because their policies are so vile and unpopular.  Cheating is the only chance they have of hanging onto power.  We have to call them out on it.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Day 990 – Republicans Are Scared

Trump’s desperation level keeps rising as reflected in the public communications of his administration and allies, especially as each day brings a new impeachment setback for Trump. Recent disclosures include:

  • The whistleblower wrote a contemporaneous memo describing a White House official who said the Ukraine call was “crazy,” “frightening,” and “completely lacking in substance related to national security.”
  • A second whistleblower has surfaced, one with first-hand experience of the Ukraine call.
  • Text messages between Trump appointees suggested that Trump was using US aid as leverage in exchange for Biden dirt.

These and other developments have the administration running scared.  Trump decided at the last minute to forbid EU Ambassador Sondland from testifying to the House despite a subpoena–clearly concerned at what the ambassador might divulge. Sondland was at the center of text messages that implicated Trump in the Ukraine extortion.

Trump’s lawyers sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi yesterday declaring that they would not cooperate in any way with the Impeachment Inquiry, claiming that it was unconstitutional and lacked due process.  The letter was roundly shredded by former Federal prosecutors as the most poorly written and unprofessional letter of its type they had ever seen and failed to make any remotely cogent legal arguments.  It was also pointed out that the president screaming about due process was the same man who paid for a newspaper ad calling for the execution of five black teenagers for a crime they were later totally exonerated for.

Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the Impeachment Inquiry is, itself, an impeachable act. Refusal to comply with duly authorized House subpoenas constitutes an act of obstruction, and such charges will likely be added to the impeachment articles in due time.  Many democrats are now calling on the House to start imposing fines and even jail time for anyone refusing to appear under subpoena.  For reference, Susan McDougal served 18 months in prison for ignoring a subpoena to testify in the Clinton Whitewater case.

Trump wants to be above the law–all criminals do.  And if the question ever gets to the Supreme Court, all bets are off.  It’s likely that they would uphold the law as it’s been interpreted in past impeachment situations, but we’ve learned that the current SCOTUS is unpredictable, especially when it comes to doing favors for Emperor Trump.  IF the court ever hands down a ridiculous decision that spits in the eye of our Constitution or founders–like deciding that a sitting president can’t even be investigated, as Trump now asserts–we should be prepared to march to the courthouse steps in DC and make our last stand, as such a decision will truly be the start fascism.

In our own state, Republican Rep Lee Zeldin from Long Island tweeted a video of himself yesterday screaming “why aren’t we working to pass bills that will help Americans” instead of wasting time on a crooked impeachment hearing?  Zeldin apparently hasn’t noticed the 250 bills passed by the House (Democrats) that are sitting in Senate limbo under do-nothing Moscow Mitch.  Zeldin also referenced “an enraged activist base trying to take down a sitting President,” as if widespread corruption and conduct unbecoming a president shouldn’t make citizens enraged.  Oh, but it was okay for Republicans to be outraged over Benghazi and investigate it a zillion times. We will surely see more of this desperate and hypocritical drivel in the days ahead.

The furor of Zeldin and other Trump apologists is typical behavior when sleazebags are backed into a corner after running out of flip-flops.  First, they said Trump didn’t ask Ukraine to investigate Biden.  Then they saw the transcript.  Then they said there was no quid pro quo.  But quid pro quo isn’t necessary to betray the oath of office, and besides, it looks like there was quid pro quo.  Then they said it was bad but not impeachable.  But public opinion kept moving against them.  Now they are saying that the Democrats aren’t allowed to impeach because it is a coup.  Or because it’s bad for the country.  In other words, they are terrified and grasping at straws.  Trump betrayed us in plain sight and the Republicans can’t erase that fact.

We have to keep supporting the investigations and keep shouting back at stooges like Zeldin.  When a president betrays the country and the oath of office we are supposed to be outraged!  That’s what patriotism looks like.  And right now, Republicans are what cowardice looks like.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Day 989 – Trump Betrays The Kurds

Yesterday was a horrible day for the United States. Trump decided to withdraw troops from northern Syria, betraying our allies the Kurds. His decision was apparently made with no consultation from our military but instead at the urging of Turkish strong-man Erdogan, who Trump spoke to by phone.  Erdogan and the Turks hate the Kurds, and Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds will allow the much stronger Turkish army to bomb and massacre the Kurds with impunity. It’s a humanitarian and genocidal disaster in the making.  All because Erdogan somehow sold Trump on it.  An intelligence official with knowledge of the call said Trump was “out-negotiated” and got “rolled” by Turkey and “has no spine.”

The Kurdish betrayal exposes a simple fact about Trump.  He’s too weak to stand up for the United States and our allies.  Instead, he grovels when dictators and authoritarians like Erdogan come calling. And they run circles around him.

Trump tried to cover his ass in a series of tweets, and would up saying this (with my emphasis):

…if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey…

Trump’s delusion of grandeur is fitting for a dictator or a king, but reeks here, especially combined with the near certain slaughter of a close ally because Trump betrayed them.

This decision will be a catastrophe for the Kurds.  And it will poison our ability to recruit allies in the future.  And it will damage our standing with current allies.  And it plays into Putin’s constant refrain on the international stage about the United States–that we can’t be trusted.  If there is any chance of this policy being reversed, it has to come from public outrage and protest.  Please raise your voices if possible.

It was also announced yesterday that Trump is pulling us out of the Open Skies Treaty, which authorizes the USA and our European allies to monitor Russian military deployments, including watching troop movements in Ukraine.  It will destabilize the transatlantic alliance and, again, reinforce Putin’s claim that we are not a reliable partner and can’t be trusted.  The treaty withdrawal is another huge gift to Putin.

A disaster unfolding here at home is the economic disaster from Trump’s ridiculous and wrong-headed tariffs.  Back in May Goldman Sachs reported that the cost of Trump’s tariffs fell entirely on American businesses and households.  And every month we hear an increasingly loud scream from farmers about the damage the tariffs have done to their businesses.  We have to elevate this issue to the center of our activism as we head into 2020.  Even if Trump removes the tariffs tomorrow, the damage has already been done.  Thousands of soy bean farmers have declared bankruptcy and lost their family’s heritage.  Life savings lost.  Homes lost.  It’s a disgrace with real consequences to our fellow farmers, some of whom live in our district.

Here’s an informative video from an August broadcast of The Beat on MSNBC featuring a distraught and angry farmer whose livelihood has been hammered by Trump’s tariffs:

https://www.msnbc.com/the-beat-with-ari/watch/farmers-rips-trump-trade-we-ve-lost-everything-since-he-took-over-67894853840

It’s depressing and dispiriting to be a progressive activist at this political moment.  But we have to continue to resist Trump and work to “vote his ass out of office.”

Day 991 – Keep It Simple

It’s simple.  Either you believe it’s acceptable for the president to ask a foreign power to attack a political rival or you believe it’s a betrayal of the essence of our democracy.  If it’s acceptable, then you can’t possibly care about the constitution and the issues that propelled the founding of our nation.  If it’s not acceptable, then you can’t possibly deny the necessity for impeachment.

But Biden!

But Hillary!

But her emails!

But Rick Perry!

But but but.

Blah blah blah.

None of this noise matters.  What does matter is also simple.  Trump betrayed his oath and our nation on live TV.  The Republican party stumbled and fumbled around over the weekend trying to concoct a defense of Trump’s horrible week, but they failed miserably.  Every Republican knows that Trump committed several reprehensible and impeachable acts, any of which would have sent the Republicans into a frenzy of impeachment demands were Obama still the president.  Yet they still refuse to go against him in public even though many of them hate Trump and bad-mouth him behind closed doors.  They’ve sold their principles and their souls for judges and tax breaks for the wealthy, and they don’t want to jeopardize their power.  

It’s clear by his actions, words and responses that Trump lacks basic human empathy.  He cannot be shamed into changing course.  But there are still Republican politicians in Congress who have a sense of shame, and whose constituencies back home are not thoroughly heartless and craven.  These are the people the Democrats and the resistance cannot leave alone.  We have to continue to hammer home that fact that Trump is crooked, he’s unAmerican and he doesn’t belong in the Oval Office.  We have to let these politicians know that we will not forgive and we will not forget.  Do any of them care about their legacies?  Do they understand how they will be seen by history?  It’s bad enough that they coddle and protect a corrupt, criminal president. But it’s horrible that (at least) four years will have passed with no progress–in fact backsliding–on climate change.  A climate scientist this weekend was fearing that there may be enough carbon and methane already in the atmosphere to ensure an spiraling and self-reinforcing heating trend that NO AMOUNT of human interdiction (using any known human technology) can reverse.  These are the stakes, and we can’t let the Republicans off the hook.  We have to treat impeachment like a marathon of recrimination, not a sprint.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

Day 988 – Trump’s Open Criminality

Yesterday was another insane day in national politics.  Here are the main things you need to know:

1) On the White House lawn, in front of cameras, Trump acknowledged that he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

2) On camera, Trump also asked China to investigate the Bidens, which a former Federal prosecutor said was likely a criminal act.

3) Trump officials in August wrote and presented a statement to the Ukrainian President for him to sign and release as his own acknowledging an inquiry into the Bidens.  He never released it.

4) Nervous Trump officials texted each other about the propriety of helping Trump use the power of the state to force Ukraine to attack the Bidens.

5) Those same texts suggest that American assistance to Ukraine was conditioned on investigating the Bidens–there WAS a quid pro quo.

6) On a June call with China’s Xi, Trump said he would stay quiet on Hong Kong as the trade talks with China progressed.  In other words, he would trash our commitment to democracy and human rights for a (bogus) trade win.

Many in the media were shocked and outraged at Trump’s brazen corruption and betrayal of our nation’s norms, ideals and laws. But Trump has been using a familiar playbook. When accused of wrongdoing, admit the offense and repeat it in front of cameras to pretend that anything done out in the open can’t possibly be wrong or illegal. Trump and the Republicans have gone from “Trump never coerced Ukraine” to “coercing Ukraine to help Trump win an election is fine.”

There may be no law Trump could break that would ever prompt shameless Republican politicians to denounce him, but he has clearly violated his oath of office and subverted the law and the constitution for his personal benefit.  Democrats must proceed asap to impeach Trump and send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.  They must also hold to account all members of Trump’s administration who conspired with him to obstruct Congress and break laws.

A rally is being held in Kingston today at Noon to protest Trump’s assault on our elections.  “Guard The Vote” is being sponsored by Indivisible Ulster and is taking place at 516 Broadway.

I’ve decided to scale back my blog posts from 7 to 5 days a week, taking weekends off to rest and recharge my batteries.  I’ll post again on Monday.  Have a good weekend.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

 

Day 987 – Republicans Hurt Farmers

As predicted, Trump’s anger and desperation continued to elevate yesterday.  He started the day with a long and rambling tweet-storm including a number of attacks on House Judiciary Chairman Adam Schiff, and described the impeachment inquiry in all-caps as BULLSHIT.  Later at a news conference Trump was dogged by questions about the Ukraine and the Bidens and lost his cool, dragging out his usual boogeymen targets like the Fake News and Crooked Journalists, adding that Adam Schiff “couldn’t carry Pompeo’s blank strap,” meaning jock strap.  It was yet another undignified low point in Trump’s soiling of the presidency.

Against this scandalous backdrop, Republican groups have recently upped their social media profile in our Congressional District, attacking Rep Antonio Delgado on Twitter.  Their attacks have been predicable, accusing Delgado of echoing Speaker Pelosi’s talking points, working with socialists, and working on the “witch hunt” impeachment to the exclusion of anything else.  The NRCC even invited “angry” farmers to go to a Delgado event and urge him to work on local issues despite the fact that Delgado wrote and passed the Family Farm Relief Act and the Young Farmer Success Act. 

If Trumpublican PACs and Committees are going to attack Rep Delgado on farming issues they are going to lose.  Just yesterday Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue warned farmers in Wisconsin that the family farm may be doomed, mostly because the Trump regime and Republicans won’t do anything to help.  In other words, “the big get bigger” and the rest of you can go hang.  Here’s reporting from CBS news:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/agriculture-secretary-sonny-perdue-says-family-farms-might-not-survive/

Trump has nearly destroyed America’s soybean farmers with his incompetent and disastrous tariffs, and his party has done little to stop him.  For the GOP to pretend to care about farmers is almost laughable. They pay a lot of lip service to farmers but their destructive actions paint the opposite picture.  They are willing to allow farmers to go bankrupt to achieve other goals.  When GOP groups from outside our area lob in lame tweets attacking Delgado, especially on ag policy, they are always challenged by various local activists, and they are rarely defended by local Republicans.  But once the GOP primary concludes in 2020 and a challenger to Rep Delgado is chosen the playing field will change dramatically and we need to be prepared for the fray with facts.  Rep Delgado has been a tireless advocate for the farmers in our district and we can’t let GOP lies obscure this important fact.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Day 986 – A Cornered President

Trump continued to rage on Twitter yesterday, calling the House’s impeachment inquiry a “coup” and asking why Chairman Adam Schiff hasn’t been brought up on charges for being “dishonest.”  If dishonesty while in office were illegal, pathological liar Trump would have been indicted on Day 1 of his presidency.  And if impeachment qualifies as a coup, then so does the Electoral College, which allowed a sleazy huckster like Trump to “win” the presidency with three-million fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous and profoundly unAmerican.  Even some Republican lawmakers have criticized him for it of late, even while they continue to stand with him.  But Trump’s desperation is noticeable.  He will clearly stoop to any level to get re-elected, and this simple fact is horrifying, especially when those around him support and enable his corruption.

Trump’s words have already been cited by mass murderers as inspiring.  And now hate groups like the Oath Keepers (who supported John Faso) are echoing the same post that Trump re-tweeted suggesting that if he’s impeached it could mean civil war.  It was reported yesterday that Trump, in private, wondered if the border wall could have spikes or a moat with snakes and alligators or be electrified.  Television cable pundits wondered why he didn’t just want to make the concrete wall, but they missed the point.  The wall has always been a symbol of cruelty and sadism towards non-whites.  Snakes and electrocution signal to Trump’s supporters that he remains committed to the cruelty and hatred they demand. Trump, after all, is a symptom of a large fraction of Americans who have been taught for several decades by Fox and Limbaugh and Beck to blame all of their problems and anxieties and insecurities on others, especially non-whites and liberals.  Republicans have become the party of resentment.

An excellent article was published in Foreign Policy by Roberto Stefan Foa and Jonathan Wilmot about the resentment that’s fueling nationalism in many western countries.  They say:

Changes in the global economy have spatially sorted voters into progressive urbanites with a large stake in a new technological future, globalization, and liberal values, and the left-behind who see their own identity and economic prospects threatened as never before. Rural areas and small towns may have always been more culturally conservative, but this divide, combined with the resentment generated by economic and wealth inequality, has triggered the most prominent recent political explosions across the West.

Link to entire article:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/18/the-west-has-a-resentment-epidemic-populism/

Much of the anxiety felt by rural Trump voters was tied to cultural changes that had little to do with economics.  After all, many Trump voters were upper-middle class or higher.  Changes like the acceptance of LGTBQ people, the rising profile of minorities, the success of women in the workplace, and the ascent of technology, were highlighted and demonized by Fox and hate radio, deepening a sense of anxiety and resentment among people outside urban centers.  Until we fully face and acknowledge this fact, it will be impossible for our divided nation to heal.  But I remain convinced that the majority of citizens in our nation are good-willed and don’t want violence or chaos.  It’s always a smaller number of bad apples that spoil the whole bunch.  But it’s also distressingly true that Trump’s cult includes a lot of bad apples.  

More impeachment revelations will come to light soon and Trump will feel increasingly cornered.  As he lashes out, so will some of his followers, so we have to be wary during this particularly dark and perilous process.  If Trump had his way he would make himself a dictator, and that’s a truly depressing reality to confront for anyone who cares about this country.  We have to continue to resist his corrupt reign and keep working to “vote his ass out office.”