Monday, December 10, 2018

The Bottomless Pinocchio

The Washington Post has invented a new category, the Bottomless Pinocchio. To earn one, a politician must make a statement earning at least 3 or 4 Pinocchios for inaccuracy, and repeat it at least 20 times. This indicates the politician is intentionally engaging in a disinformation campaign, trying to change perception of the truth by repeating a lie so frequently as to hope it replaces the actual facts in people's minds. There is only one politician who qualifies, 45 of course, who immediately upon the creation of the "award" has 14 Bottomless Pinocchio statements to his credit.

In other news, I am pleased to share I heard an interview on NPR this morning with a man who was a federal prosecutor under Bush 43 and a DEA prosecutor under Obama. His take on Mueller's most recent filings is that the case against 45 is "damning" and that what we have seen so far is still just "the tip of the iceberg." He said the threads are becoming stronger over time as Mueller reveals each play, and that they all seem to lead back to Russia. After talking to Flynn 19 times, for instance, and recommending nearly complete lack of additional punishment, he believes that much, much more incriminating corroboration is to be forthcoming. It warmed my day. I'm hopeful. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Swing States Swing Back to Democrats

First, the Great Lakes big three:

PA: Dems flipped the governorship, gained 4 House seats, and won the Senate contest!
MI: Dems flipped the governorship, gained two House seats, and won the Senate contest!
WI: Dems flipped the governorship, gained no House seats, and won the Senate contest!

The biggest swing state:

FL: Reps appear to have kept the governorship by .41%, Dems gained 3 House seats, Reps appear to have flipped the Senate contest by .15 of a percent.

The second biggest swing state:

OH: Reps kept the governorship, the heavily gerrymandered House seats remained unchanged, Dems won the Senate contest.

Smaller swing states:

NH: Reps kept the governorship, Dems kept both House seats, no Senate race.
NV: Reps kept the governorship, House stayed the same, Dems flipped a Senate seat.
IO: Reps kept the governorship, Dems flipped 2 House seats, no Senate contest.
MN: Dems won governor, gained 2 House seats, lost 2 House seats, and won both Senate contests.

Other notable developments: Senate

Dems flipped a Senate seat in Arizona.
Reps defeated incumbent Senate Dems in the Red states of Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota.

Other notable developments, House pickups by states not mentioned above:

VA +3 , GA 1, ME 1, NJ 4!, IL 2, KS 1, TX 2, NY 3, OK 1!, CO 1, NM 1, UT 1?, CA 4-6!, WA 1.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Important Races We're Supporting this Year

As the political races enter their final advocacy stage and get ready to transition to get out the vote efforts, Joan and I sat down to figure who we would support with some financial help. The first criterion we were looking for were close races the Democrat could win, and the second was the impact of a Democratic victory in the race. Our budget was $600. Here’s what we decided to do.

Nathan Fletcher for San Diego County Supervisor. Fletcher would break the current unanimous 5-0 Republican stranglehold on the Board of Supervisors.

Matt Brower for Superior Court Judge. Brower is a responsible and ethical jurist in the Marine Corps with a deliberative judicial temperament, while incumbent Gary Kreep has been admonished by the judicial board for inflammatory and racist comments on the bench, in addition to being a prominent advocate of the “birther” smear against former President Obama.   

Andrew Gillum for Governor of Florida. The black Mayor of Tallahassee leads narrowly in most polls. A Democratic governor in Florida would help Democratic chances to win the biggest swing state in the 2020 presidential election. A black governor in a southern state would also be a watershed development, especially since his opponent has a history of palling around with Neo-confederates and opened his campaign with racist dog whistle appeals.

Stacey Abrams for Governor of Georgia. A respected legislative leader in the Georgia state house, Abrams would be the first black woman governor in American history. Take the “watershed” comment about Gillum and multiply it times five! Polls show her running only about one point behind.

Bill Nelson for re-election as Senator from Florida. He’s running neck and neck with right wing rich guy Gov. Rick Scott, someone we really don’t want in the Senate. If Democrats don’t hold on to this seat they can dismiss their already long shot hopes of flipping the Senate. Again, as the biggest swing state, it’s important to have as many Dems in positions of power as possible.

Jacky Rosen for Senator from Nevada. This is probably the best chance to take one of the few endangered Republican Senate seats this year (Arizona and Tennessee are the others). The contest is seen as a tossup that could go either way.

Harley Rouda in California 48. Rouda seems to have a small lead against “Putin’s favorite congressman,” GOP incumbent Dana Rohrbacher, who is unsurprisingly one of Trump’s biggest fans. Rohrbacher is odious and has to go.

Katie Porter in California 45. This close race with Porter apparently slightly ahead would unseat another Republican, Mimi Walters, and deal a major blow to the GOP in its one-time California stronghold of Orange County.

Elissa Slotkin in Michigan 8. Slotkin has a compelling biography and resume and by winning would unseat another incumbent Rep as the Democrats try to take a majority in the House. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

White House "Resistance" Needs to Step Up

Two new revelations have come out this week about the Trump presidency. Venerable journalist Bob Woodward is publishing a book based on multiple interviews with administration principals called "Fear: Trump in the White House," and yesterday the New York Times ran an anonymous editorial written by a high-ranking administration official. Both reinforce the perception of an amoral and mentally unstable leader in charge of the world's most powerful nation.

The Times op-ed describes a network of administration insiders who like some of Trump's policies, such as deregulation, tax cuts for business and the wealthy, and an expanded military, yet who have formed a "resistance" to protect the country. These insiders are appalled at such things as Trump's lack of principles, affinity for enemy dictators, hostility to civil liberties such as freedom of the press, going off the rails at important meetings to neglect important business and turn proceedings into extended personal tirades, and penchant for issuing dangerous and reckless orders. The author relates that this internal "resistance" has "vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office."

Even more remarkable, the writer discusses how administration officials even considered invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump. The 25th sets out a procedure for removing a president from office in case the person is or becomes unfit for office and incapable of carrying out the responsibilities it entails, whether from physical, or more germane to this presidency, mental reasons. They decided not to because, "no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis."

The author portrays these administration insiders as heroes, saving the country from the excesses of an imbalanced and dangerous president, but that is not an accurate assessment. They are instead enablers, complicit in the danger and insanity. It is good they recognize the 45th president for the unfit menace he is. It is also good when they step in and get in the way of his crazier impulses. But real heroes would take the next step: knowing that a madman is in office who has the power to cause lasting national and even international havoc, up to and including the power to initiate global nuclear war, they would act to use the constitutional tools at their disposal to remove this menace from any position of authority in the government of the United States. Knowing what they know, anything less is only cowardice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Manafort and Cohen Guilty: Does Trump Go Down Now?

Yesterday's news produced two bombshells. First, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of eight counts of tax evasion, tax fraud and bank fraud. Minutes later, former Trump attorney and "fixer" (number one henchman responsible for making embarrassing things disappear) Michael Cohen pled guilty to eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance fraud. Most important to the case against Trump in Cohen's plea was his disclosure that the campaign finance fraud was knowingly committed "at the direction of a candidate for federal office," in other words, Trump.

Personally, I feel there's plenty of evidence that proves Trump committed obstruction of justice numerous times, enough to justify impeachment and conviction. And as with yesterday, more shoes keep dropping all the time. But what happens from here depends on how the final Mueller report is written. If the report names Trump as a co-conspirator in obstruction with clear and simple evidence then he will be impeached and will go down. If it doesn't then he won't. 

Does Cohen have more recordings showing Trump conspiring with him to commit illegalities? Is there another witness to corroborate that Trump directed the illegal campaign hush money payments Cohen pled to? Does Mueller give the weight I do to Trump's lying cover stories about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian agents, and does he have witnesses willing to testify to Trump's knowing fabrication of these lies? Does Trump's admission to NBC anchor Lester Holt on national TV that he fired James Comey because of "the Russia thing" signify the intent to quash an investigation getting too close to home to Mueller as it does to me? If the answers are yes then this venial mobster is on his way out. If the report is less damning then he may be able to ride this out and continue to thrive on the chaos for another couple of years. Remember, it's got to be decisive enough that at least 16 GOP senators are willing to vote to convict a president of their own party who is still popular with the party's base.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Trump Attempts to Stifle Criticism

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Might Trump Be a Russian Controlled Asset?

Some are starting to wonder whether President Donald Trump might possibly be a controlled asset of the Russian Federation. Is that a preposterous supposition? Well, think about it. What would a Russian agent as president do? Here are some of the things Russian President Putin would want his stooge to accomplish: Sow dissension in NATO, start a trade war with the EU and China but not Russia, give assurances that aggression against certain allies might not engender a US response, attempt to discredit the reputations of the agencies that defend America from Russian espionage such as the FBI and State Department, refuse to recognize or order countermeasures against Russian threats to our social cohesion and our election system, praise authoritarian rulers everywhere in general and Russia's dictator in particular while finding fault with every freely elected leader, however friendly to America, insinuating that China's "president for life" constitution would be a good idea for the U.S.Yes, those are the kinds of things a Russian spy would do if one were ever to become president of the United States. I don't know whether Mr. Trump is a compromised tool of the Russian government. What I do know is that he is definitely acting like one.