#363 Connect Just Two Dots. Connecting Nine Not Necessary.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  An update coming later in December.

Entry Begins.  Ever been challenged to connect nine (9) dots in a square with four (4) lines without lifting your pencil? The solution requires one to put away conventional thinking and be a bit more open minded. (See solution at end of entry.)

This past week Republicans in the House of Representatives, and based on public comments apparently Republicans in the Senate as well, demonstrated being incapable of connecting not nine dots or connecting even two dots. I mean, how much intellectual capacity does it take to connect two dots?

While Republican members of the Judiciary Committee might have a different opinion in private, during the hearings about the impeachment, they clearly demonstrated an oath to uphold the behavior of King Trump and not an oath to uphold the US Constitution. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, and earlier Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, made lots of noise about process but offered no credible evidence disputing the charges justifying the impeachment of Trump. If some of the Republican members actually believed what they said during the hearings, then they are incapable of connecting even two dots.

No one, especially Republicans in Congress, should be surprised at Trump’s behavior. Trump has a long, public history of lying, cheating and illicit activities. There is also highly credible evidence of a multi-year, possibly decades-long financial association with Russia.

Why are Republican members of the House so afraid of supporting the truth? If the Republican members are afraid of a Trump tweet and/or possibly losing a primary because they upheld the Constitution, then these members do not belong in Congress.

In fact, based on the legal definition, these Republican members appear to have committed treason. By supporting Trump, instead of the Constitution, these Republican members have aided and abetted the enemy, Russia.

Here’s a question the House Republicans…in fact all of us…need to answer. I’ve asked a question before but it seems worth repeating. Assume everything about the Trump Administration is the same – Trump’s behavior, Executive Orders, tweets, crony cabinet members, insults to allies, support for Russia, a growing economy with an ever-growing deficit, and much more. The only change is that rather than being a Republican, Trump is a Democrat.

Republicans, would you still support Trump?

Democrats, would you still oppose Trump?

Let’s take Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. I’ll bet $1,000 to a stale donut the answer from the Republicans would be “No, I wouldn’t support Trump if he were a Democrat. Not on your life!”

If you are a Republican and you would still support Trump as a Democrat, then I suggest you find a new country to live in. Try going to Russia, or North Korea. Find yourself a country with a good strong man leader.

The US does not need people who are loyal to wannabe King Trump who breaks the law and ignores the Constitution. If you support Trump you are supporting the destruction of the very fabric that has held the US together and made it different from other countries. We welcome your ideas on how to make the US better. We don’t welcome your worship and loyalty to a known lawbreaker.

Supporting Trump is the same as supporting a thug and or a robber. In case you’re still having trouble connecting two dots, Trump and his family are stealing money from you and your children. Ever ask yourself, “If the economy is so good, why is the deficit continuing to grow so quickly?” Forget the Trump response, “Must be Obama’s fault.” No it’s Trump’s fault.

The reason the deficit is growing so quickly is simple – the effects of Trump and the spineless Republicans who supported the tax cut. A tax cut that was designed not to benefit the middle class or the poor but to benefit the rich. Trump is giving your money to the rich.

In periods of economic expansion the deficit should be declining, not increasing. You, my Republican friends, are getting screwed by Trump and Republicans in Congress, and for some reason you cannot connect the two dots between the economy and the deficit. It is not hard to understand what’s happening.

Let’s try one more. According to Trump, the FBI and the CIA are “scum.” Go ahead and cheer for your boy Donald as he makes this claim. Then ask yourself, “Why would Trump be saying that? What does he have against the FBI?”

He denigrates the integrity of law enforcement because he’s a crook. Trump has no interest in trying to tweak some of the procedural changes necessary at the FBI and CIA. Trump’s intent is to make you believe the FBI and the CIA are out to get him.  And you’re falling for the trap.

Another question. First, assume all the facts about Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign are the same, except that Russia supported Clinton, not Trump. Would the FBI still be scum?

Of course not! You’d scream and shout the FBI should be doing more to convict Clinton. You’d claim the FBI was too soft on crime!

So Republicans, you need to wake up and connect just two dots. Dot #1 is Trump as president. Dot #2 is corruption, lying and cheating and stealing.

If you want a president who lies, cheats and steals, then Trump is your guy. But be careful. Not supporting the impeachment of a president where there is overwhelming evidence of lying, cheating and stealing is setting the standard to allow future presidents to behave the same way with no repercussions.

So when your kids and/or grandkids ask why you supported Trump, please be honest and tell them the truth. “Kids and grandkids, I supported Trump because wanted do my part to help destroy democracy in the US. I wanted to make sure the wealthy got even more money and the middle class was destroyed. I wanted to make sure there was a huge Federal debt so my children and grandchildren could pay more money to the wealthy who held Treasury bonds.” I’m sure your kids and grandkids will be very proud of what you’ve done for them.

Solution to connecting nine dots with four lines

#362. Trying to Understand Trump Supporters

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  An update coming later in December.

In the previous entry I committed to try and understand why people continue to support Trump. What is particularly puzzling is support for Trump by people whose core values are polar opposite of Trump’s behavior. Why would one make such a decision?

Because a discussion about Trump can be so emotional, I thought it better to first have a couple of “experimental conversations.” Also, and maybe somewhat selfishly, I thought the experimental conversations should be with people who are really more acquaintances than close personal friends. Thus, if the experiment went bad, then the consequence of alienating each other would not be damage to a close personal relationship.

Two candidates for the experimental conversations immediately came to mind. #1 was someone from high school with whom I’ve had no contact since other than on Facebook. #2 was a second-generation immigrant with whom I had a working relationship a couple of years ago.

When considering the candidates, I understand somewhat why the one from high school might be a Trump supporter. Why the second-generation immigrant supports Trump makes no sense. Why would he ever support Trump? He’s Hispanic, grew up in south Texas near the border. Obviously, I’m missing something in his logic stream.

A key open issue with the research is the venue for the dialogue. Each venue has benefits and drawbacks. Facebook is easy to use but uncontrollable. The conversation between us could be interrupted by a myriad of friends of the participants or of mine.

Email might be okay to introduce the idea and present a few questions, but nuances and subtleties are nearly impossible in email. Plus, the time lag with back-and-forth emails would break the rhythm of the conversation. Texting would be faster but, as with email, nuance remains nearly impossible.

So the plan? Use old technology. The initial contact with the candidates will be email. The email will discuss the experiment and ask about participating. If yes, then set a time for a call to begin the conversation.

Given the sensitivity of the topic, one of the guidelines will likely be that the candidate can stop the interview at any time, but with the commitment that within a few days, we would try to talk again. If the second call goes south, okay. The experiment with that person fails. Not to be discouraged, lots of experiments fail. Also, like experiments one should make every effort to understand what went wrong, and not just point fingers at the other person.

After a couple of experiments the idea is to talk to more Trump supporters, trying to understand their perspective. “Why waste your time?” has been a frequent comment from people I’ve discussed the idea with. The conversation usually also includes, “Trump supporters will never change.”

The naysayers are probably right. But the curiosity in me is compelling. Maybe, just maybe, there’s an underlying issue creating support for Trump that can be addressed with a solution that is good for society at large and addressed without Trump’s usual bombastic and hurtful approach.

At the worst, the experiment should become good conversation at cocktail parties and family gatherings. Rather than yelling at one another, talking about the experiment might allow different camps to have civil discourse. You never know.

So, I’m off to pursue my naive experiment. I’m going to try and start this week. Probably won’t have any results for a couple of weeks, but I will post them in the blog.

If you have an idea about how to approach understanding why people with a polar opposite set of values than Trump still support Trump, please let me know. Or, if you have a question or two you’d like to have answered, please forward as well. Thanks. All for now.

#361. Trump Supporters. Teach Me How You Got There.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries for a few months were an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

Part of my daily ritual is a short trip to the coffee shop. Usually I listen to one of several podcast on the way over and back.

Today I finished a podcast on “The Best Way to Deal with Anger”, originally broadcast on “The People’s Pharmacy.” The People’s Pharmacy offers a wide variety of medical related topics.

While I don’t consider myself an angry person, I do have an incredibly difficult time understanding why anyone would support Trump. In addition, I find Trump supporters, when asked about an issue, are very defensive, often responding with a comment unrelated to the question. Further, the tone of the response seems to challenge my right to ask the question.

In several previous blog entries, I questioned whether Trump supporters had been brainwashed. Trump TV, aka Fox News, is anything but news. Yet many Trump supporters seem to make no effort to check other sources of information about a topic, or even apply the most basic test of logic to a conclusion presented on Fox. No matter the facts, or the logic, Trump supporters seem to be all in for the Donald.

So those of us in the middle politically and farther left have two choices. #1, continue to treat Trump supporters as brainwashed, or at best uninformed. Doing so will not change anyone’s mind and probably make non-Trump supporters even angrier. Choice #2 is sincerely try to listen and understand Trump supporters’ logic behind their decision.

Listening and trying to understand might not change any minds on either side of the fence, but it could save a friendship or avoid the family feud. Look at it this way. If you sincerely try to listen and understand the Trump supporter’s perspective, and the person continues to spout Fox News gibberish, then you can rightfully say, “Bless their little hearts.”

Have I tried to understand Trump supporters’ logic? Well, sort of. Recently, however, I posted on Facebook what I thought was a probing, but apolitical question. The short version, “If Trump were a Democrat, would you, as a Republican, still support Trump? As a Democrat, would you still oppose Trump?” The Facebook entry included a bit more explanation.

The response from a longtime friend, a Republican, seem to fit the pattern of response by Trump supporters – shoot the questioner and never answer the question. The Facebook post by the Trump supporter generated a couple of angry retorts from non-Trump supporters. In addition to the Facebook post by the Trump supporter, there were a couple of private messages, but still no answer to the original question.

So rather than getting into unpleasant and often heated conversations, should we try to carry on as if politics don’t exist? Well, no.

I may be naïve but I’m going to try and understand why people support Trump. Doubtless a number of friends and colleagues will ask, “Why waste your time? Trump supporters use no logic and, therefore, cannot be understood.”

The doubting Thomases might be right. And I might end up being even more frustrated than I am now. At the same time, I might learn something. If nothing else, I might learn how to discuss issues with Trump supporters, and that might save a friendship or two and/or allow the holiday dinner to proceed without a figurative food fight.

I’ll keep you posted on progress, good and/or bad. In the meantime, please take time to listen to The Best Way to Deal with Anger podcast in its entirety. Even if you don’t learn something, the guest is interesting.

#360. Yes, There Is Hope. Thank You Immigrants.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries for a few months were an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

Yes, there is hope. In this week of Thanksgiving, we should make sure to thank those who have immigrated to our country.

We just finished two weeks of testimony to the House Intelligence Committee addressing among other things whether President Trump used the threat of putting a hold on military aid to Ukraine in exchange for “do me a (personal) favor.” That favor being having the recently inaugurated president of Ukraine announce publicly that an inquiry had been initiated into possible corruption by Joe Biden and/or his son. No need to carry out the inquiry, just announce it so Trump could use in his reelection campaign.

Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, and whether or not you believe Trump should be impeached, you should be proud of the public servants who testified during this inquiry. All but one were career employees of the government, having served in various positions in both Republican and Democratic administrations. The one who wasn’t a career employee was an ambassador appointed by Trump.

Each person who testified faced severe potential repercussions for telling the truth. By the time of the public testimony, several witnesses had received credible death threats, and for what? Death threats for telling the truth.

To me what was even more impressive than the courage of those testifying, was three who testified – an ambassador, a decorated military officer and a PhD intelligence expert – were immigrants. All were born outside the United States. Two migrated with their family, one alone.

Aside from the jaw-dropping testimony about Trump’s illicit behavior, the most disheartening part of the hearings was how Republican members of the Intelligence Committee disavowed their oath to uphold the Constitution and kowtowed to Trump by making disparaging remarks about these dedicated public servants. The snide remarks often challenged the individual’s loyalty to the US despite many years of service to Republican and Democratic presidents and having been thoroughly vetted by the FBI.

Putting the Republican theatrics aside, all of us should be thankful we have a country that is so appealing to people who live outside the United States. An interesting exercise is to look around your everyday life and count the number of immigrants that you interact with.

For me, a quick count included: the manager of the Starbucks, from Iran; the shoe-repair store owner, from Korea; the tailor, from China; the house- painting crew from Central America; the doctor, from India. And the list goes on and on. Spend five minutes thinking about how many immigrants touch your everyday life. You might be shocked at the number.

While I’m still convinced a 5th US revolution – the Revenge Revolution – will occur sometime in the next few years, I’m hopeful about the future after the revolution. Much of that hope lies with the men and women in our government who are truly dedicated to do the right thing. People in Congress should use these people as a reference points when making decisions. Doing so would help reduce the likelihood of a revolution.

As we look ahead, unless the country really goes off the rails, America will continue to attract people from a host of countries worldwide. We should give thanks to those who have already immigrated and we should encourage others to join them.

#359. Post-Trump Poetic Justice. Barr Disbarred. Jordan Jailed.

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries for a few months were an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

In another stunning setback for the Trump Administration, two key supporters – William P. Barr, formerly Attorney General and Representative Jim Jordan, Republican, Ohio – were publicly rebuked. In an administrative ruling issued today, William Barr was formally disbarred in all fifty states and prohibited from advising on any legal matters for a minimum five (5) years.

Barr, recently convicted of a felony for accepting illegal payments from Russians while Trump’s Attorney General, claimed the charges were trumped up by Democrats who disagreed with his theory that while in office, the president has absolute power and therefore not subject to any laws. Throughout the hearings leading up to the House of Representatives impeachment of Trump, Barr insisted the proceedings were illegitimate.

According to former colleagues, Barr’s fatal flaw seemed to be an illusion that he, as Attorney General and chief law enforcement officer of the US, fell under the same umbrella he promoted for Trump – exempt from any oversight by Congress and above the law.

The indictment against Barr, which originated in the Eastern District of Maryland, did not begin formally until after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election and a new president inaugurated. While the FBI was aware of illicit payments by the Russians to Barr, the information was kept within a tight circle of agents for fear that any formal investigation would be sidetracked by Barr and/or then president Trump.

Once a new attorney general was approved by the Senate and sworn in, FBI agents came forward with information about the payments from the Russians. FBI agents also identified which foreign agents were funneling money to Barr’s offshore account. When questioned about the strategy of waiting for Trump to leave office, the agents felt vindicated since Trump issued blanket pardons to a number of campaign aides and staff members who had been convicted of various crimes and who were then serving prison sentences.

Much like events in the Mueller investigation and in the Trump impeachment proceedings, several of those indicted or ready-to-be-indicted decided to cooperate with prosecutors. The FBI agents indicated they also followed a tip from Trump’s former lawyer/fixer, Michael Cohen. What Cohen provided was the method Trump used to funnel money from the Russians.

While Cohen was unaware that Barr was on the take, the agents began to analyze transactions that followed the pattern outlined by Cohen. In addition to Barr, apparently several individuals close to Trump were identified as receiving payments from Russians. So far, only Barr has been indicted and prosecuted.

According to staff at the Department of Justice, the appointment of a new attorney general and prosecution of Barr has helped restore morale, especially among FBI agents. Although Barr was never as publicly critical of DOJ as president Trump, his actions of following Trump’s orders rather than following his oath to uphold the Constitution had seriously eroded morale within the Agency. When interviewed, FBI agents, in particular, were much more positive about the prospects under the new president.

At about the time of the announcement that Barr was disbarred, Representative Jordan was arrested and jailed. Jordan was charged with lying to FBI agents about knowledge of sexual abuse of athletes by another wrestling coach while Jordan coached at Ohio State University.

Despite public statements by a number of former athletes that Jordan was well aware of actions by his fellow coach, Jordan has repeatedly denied awareness of any improprieties.

The charges against Jordan were brought by the US Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio. Like the Barr case, FBI agents indicated waiting to bring charges until Trump left office because of concern that either charges would not be pursued or Trump would issue a pardon after any conviction. At the hearing Jordan was denied bail for fear of flight and will likely remain in jail until his trial is completed.

Based on a pattern established during previous indictments of Trump officials, additional indictments are likely to be forthcoming.

#358. Stupid Is as Stupid Does? Brainwashed? Foreign Agent?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries the past several months have been an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Starting with Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

I need to rant. As more and more evidence is presented about Trump bribing the Ukrainians, the more Republicans in Congress bury their heads in the sand, or maybe bury their heads some other place, and support Trump. I understand support for a political party.

I also understand there is an issue greater than allegiance to a political party, which apparently Republican members of the House and Senate have forgotten. Members of the House and Senate should stop and consider the oath each member took when sworn in was to uphold the Constitution. The oath was not to a political party or to the president.

Members of Congress should remember and appreciate how many US citizens have served their country in the military and other branches, and how many citizens have died trying to ensure that the US remained a democracy. Seems a bit ironic – and sad – that during the week leading to Veterans Day, many Republican members of the House and Senate openly and publicly abandoned the fundamental principles on which this country was founded. These members of Congress, intentionally or not, seemed to be on a path to destroy our democracy.

One has to ask, “Why are citizens not demanding members of Congress uphold the Constitution?”   At some point when someone keeps making the same false assumptions, or acting in the same irrational way, you have to ask yourself, “Does that person’s behavior qualify as ‘stupid is as stupid does’ or is something else going on?

Over the last roughly three years, I’ve tried to understand why people support Trump. For about half that time, I periodically had breakfast with someone who, based on background, was an unlikely Trump supporter. Nevertheless, this person was an ardent Trump fan.

When I’d ask about why he supported Trump, his response was never about the positives of Trump. His response was always about what was wrong with everyone else. The last conversation we had ended when I asked for the source of some outlandish claim he made about the Affordable Care Act.

His response to me was not the answer but another question. He asked, “Are you calling me a liar?” After repeating the question, he got up and left the breakfast. We’ve not met since then.

Such vitriol is not unusual among Trumpsters. Yesterday, during my periodic scan of Facebook, I ran across three such vitriolic comments – two from people I know and the other a friend of a friend. Two for sure and I think all three are college graduates, one possibly from a military academy.

One person claimed the “whistleblower” was really the cause of the impeachment inquiry. The author proceeded to trash the whistleblower but never mentioned that Trump’s behavior might have precipitated the investigation. The second person claimed Ukraine was strong-armed not by Trump and Giuliani but by the Clinton Foundation. Huh? FYI, the strong-arming occurred in 2019 and Clinton has not been in politics since 2016. Just connect two dots, please.

The third person, whom I do not know personally, claimed the Republican incumbent governor of Kentucky was behind by 30 points until Trump visited immediately preceding the election. Thump’s visit closed the gap to less than a point. The 30-point gap may be Trump’s claim but unsupported by any 3rd-party data.

As befuddling as these examples are, unfortunately, they seem rather typical. If I find a Trumpster who will listen and not try to talk over whatever I’m saying, I try to ask a simple question, “Assume everything about Trump as president is the same, would you support Trump if he were a Democrat?”

The response is usually, “Of course not!” Then my follow-up is, “Why are you supporting him as a Republican? Just because Trump claims to be a Republican, it is okay with you if he bribes foreign leaders for his personal gain? Is it okay if he launders money for the Russians? Is it okay if he supports US enemies at the expense of national security? Is it okay if he trashes and tries to ruin careers of people who have dedicated their lives to working for the benefit of citizens of this country? All that behavior is OK since he claims to be a Republican?” The reaction to the questions is a look similar to a deer-in-the-headlights.

My analysis: If you support someone with that kind of behavior, I can conclude only one of three things. #1, you are stupid. #2, you’ve been brainwashed. #3, you are a foreign agent. Most of the time, #2, brainwashed, seems appropriate. (For more about brainwashing, see Entries #302-304.)

A harsh conclusion? Maybe. But, if you’re a Trumpster, please offer me a rational explanation for supporting someone, if he were a Democrat, you’d be chanting, “Lock him up! Lock him up!” I’m waiting for your response.

#357: Evangelicals Claim House Trying to Impeach Tem

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries the past several months have been an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Starting with Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

A headline this past week in the Charlotte Observer read, “Evangelicals to Trump: They’re Trying to Impeach Us.”

I am completely baffled by this headline. Fair to assume that not all Christians agree with the headline.

According to the article, 25 faith leaders from around the United States recently attended an unpublicized meeting at the White House. Robert Jefferies, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, claimed a recent poll indicated 99% of evangelicals are opposed to impeachment.

Jeffries stated, “Many evangelicals like myself believe this impeachment inquiry is more than just political skirmish.  …to impeach Trump would be to impeach closely held values.”

Pardon me? Look, I’m no one’s even remote expert on Christianity. But, let’s just take a look at one of the widely publicized tenets of Christianity – the Ten Commandments. Could the Trump-supporting evangelicals please explain their support when Trump grossly and repeated violates such Commandments as “do not lie,” “do not steal,” “do not commit adultery,” and a number of others? While you’re explaining compliance with the Commandments, could you please explain how Trump, “Treats thy neighbor as thyself,” another bedrock tenet of Christianity?

One more issue: What about making the earth a better place? How does Trump’s denial of climate change and how do Trump’s Executive Orders that EPA reduce emissions standards for coal-fired plants, allowing arsenic, cadmium and a host of other carcinogens make the earth a better place? (For an interesting and insightful perspective on climate change, you might want to read an opinion piece by an evangelical who is also a climate scientist, 19 11 03 Climate Scientist and Belief in God.)  

If you can rationally explain his behavior violating the various tenets of Christianity, then I guess you can justify your support for him.

Religion aside, please explain to me how an inquiry into his behavior as president that clearly negatively affected the national security of all US citizens, should be considered an impeachment of closely held values of evangelicals? National security is not the sole purview of evangelicals.

Let’s turn the situation around. Pretend Trump is a Democrat. As a Democrat all of Trump’s behavior, tweets, policies, lies, indiscretions, insults to allies and compliments to known enemies, and other behaviors are the same.

But rather than a Democratic-led House there’s a Republican-led House of Representatives conducting an inquiry into Trump’s behavior (an inquiry is not a trial). The inquiry focuses on the use of the presidency for personal gain and efforts by Trump to obstruct the House of Representatives in exercising their Constitutional-power to investigate.

Would all the evangelicals who currently support Trump and think the impeachment inquiry is an affront to evangelicals’ closely held values, please stand if they would support Trump as a Democrat? Gee, I’m looking around but no one seems to be standing.

Of course no one is standing. Instead of standing and supporting Trump as a Democrat, the same group of so-called faith healers likely would be leading the chant against Trump, “Lock him up! Lock him up!”

So what we seems to have is a bunch of people whose behavior is extremely hypocritical. Trump’s behavior is the worst exhibited by an American president. Even worse however, is the behavior of faith leaders who claimed that an impeachment inquiry is an attack on their core beliefs. Seems to me did these faith healers have sold their soul to Trump, and it’s not apparent what they’re getting in return. Based on how Trump has treated parties in other deals, they’ll likely get nothing of value from Trump in return.

And the faith leaders wonder why an ever increasing percentage of younger people when asked about religious preference are declaring “none.” The type of self-centered behavior exhibited by the 25 self-proclaimed faith healers may not the only reason for the decline in religious preference but it is likely a notable contributing factor.

 

 

#356 Who Should Plead Insanity – Trump or Supporters?

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries the past several months have been an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Starting with Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

The preceding three entries described a trial and conviction of Donald Trump. Charges were fraud, tax evasion and several other felonies. One of the entries described how Trump’s counsel claimed that Trump was insane and therefore all charges should be dropped.

Although this blog is written about events to occur sometime after 2020, some current events eerily parallel the predictions. This past week, for example, Trump’s lawyers did not plead their client was insane, but Trump’s lawyers did present an argument in Federal court that can only be characterized as insane.

The case centered on whether Trump should be forced to release prior income tax returns to several parties that have rights to review – e.g., standing investigatory committees of Congress and the Attorney General of the State of New York.

In layman’s terms, Trump’s counsel argued the president was exempt from all laws, even murder. The exemption applied to any crime committed by Trump, even if committed before taking office.

Such an argument from Trump was not new. During the campaign, Trump claimed he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any votes from his base.

Even more insane than the argument of Trump’s counsel about criminal exemption for a president, was Trump’s claim that all the evidence supporting multiple findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election was fabricated, even the evidence gathered by Robert Mueller. According to Trump, the investigations were initiated in secret under the Obama Administration.

Why would the Obama Administration falsify such evidence and promulgate such lies? If you believe Trump, the entire effort was to ensure that Hillary Clinton would be elected. “Yes,” you say, “that’s the reason.” The Obama Administration cooked up the elaborate conspiracy to make sure Clinton got elected.

For all the Trump supporters who believe Trump’s claims – and now an equally bizarre and unsubstantiated claim by Attorney General Bill Barr of a conspiracy inside DOJ – ask yourself this simple question. “If the alleged conspiracy by the Obama Administration was to discredit Trump, and make sure Clinton got elected, then why did the Obama Administration wait until after the election to say anything publicly about Russia’s attempt to interfere with the election?” As yourself, “Why was the Mueller investigation about Russian interference started only after Trump was in office?”

How do actions taken after the election was over help Clinton get elected? “Uh, uh,” you mutter, “there still was an Obama-led conspiracy. Even though there’s no evidence, I know it happened.”

Trumpsters, please try and connect just two dots when it comes to Trump. You don’t have to try and connect three dots, just two. Start with the date of the general election (Dot A). Compare Dot A to the dates the investigations started (Dot B). Yes, the election was before any public announcement of Russian interference or an investigation.

If connecting two dots is too difficult, then try this. A few entries ago I suggested you think about the following, “Assume everything about Trump presidency were exactly the same – all the executive orders, policies, cabinet appointments, tweets, insults to domestic and foreign leaders, ballooning federal deficit, days playing golf at taxpayer expense, sucking up to Putin and Kim Jung-un, betraying the Kurds, etc. – everything’s the same except one thing. Instead of Trump being a Republican, Trump is a Democrat. If Trump were a Democrat, would you support Trump as strongly as you support him today?”

If more than 5 out of a 100 Trumpsters say “Yes, I’d support Trump as a Democrat,” then I’d be shocked. More likely no more than 5 out of 1,000 would support Trump as a Democrat. So, if you’re not one of those 5, why do you support someone so fervently that you would likely want impeached if he were a Democrat?

Why are you so opposed to an inquiry about impeachment? As a reminder, an inquiry is not a trial. An inquiry is more like a grand jury that hears testimony from various witnesses to determine if there should be an indictment and then a trial. To be fair to the possible defendant, the grand jury testimony is held in secret. Doing so avoids effectively convicting someone in public before a trial.

Wouldn’t you think some of the Republicans in Congress who are lawyers might remember about investigatory procedures from time as prosecutors or defense attorneys? Or, does being a Congressional Republican during the Trump presidency require checking one’s brain at the door?

When the Trump fiasco is finally resolved, and likely criminal charges are filed at both the Federal and state level, who should be the one pleading insanity:

  1. Trump for acting the way he’s always acted? Trump the self-centered, ego maniac who pronounced this past week that he was the entire presidential team and made all the decisions, thereby implying no one else in the cabinet or White House mattered.
  2. You, the Trump supporter?

Go find a mirror, look at yourself in the mirror and think hard about who’s really the one who’s insane.

 

#355. Orange or Stripes? Orange. Matches Your Hair. (Trump Trial 3 of 3)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries the past several months have been an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Starting with Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

­­­­­­­Trump Trial Continues.  Trial begins Entry #353.

Judge: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?

Jury Foreman: Yes, your honor.

Judge: And your verdict is unanimous?

Foreman: Yes, your honor.

Judge: Please read your verdict.

Foreman: The jury finds the defendant guilty of all charges.

Judge: To all jury members, on behalf of the people of the State of New York, thank you for your service. You are hereby excused. (Jury leaves.)

Judge: Will the defendant please rise? Mr. Trump, a group of your peers representing the people of the State of New York has found you guilty of fraud, tax evasion and several other charges. Before you are sentenced, do you have anything you wish to tell the Court?

Defense Counsel: Your honor, may I have a few words with my client, please?

Trump: No need to talk. You were the world’s worst lawyer. Really bad. I should have gotten off. In fact, I never should have been here in the first place. Where’s my Roy Cohen and Bill Barr?

Judge: Mr. Trump, ignoring your comments about counsel, whom you selected, do you have any comments you wish to make to the court prior to sentencing?

Trump: This whole trial was a witch hunt. I’ve been framed. The New York State Attorney General doesn’t like me. Nobody has done more for New York City and New York State then I have. No one. I am the best…

Judge (pounding his gavel): The defendant may be seated. May I remind the defendant that a jury of your peers found you guilty of all charges.

Judge continuing: Sentencing in cases such as this often is a few days after the verdict. However, due to the risk of flight by the defendant, the court has decided to issue sentencing now. Will the defendant please rise?

Trump stands.

Judge: The court understands this case is unprecedented in American history. No former president ever has been charged with, let alone convicted of a felony after leaving office. In considering sentencing, the court has attempted to balance the defendant’s previous position as president with the severity of the charges as well as consider the security normally afforded previous presidents. The court also appreciates the breadth and severity of the charges and how the defendant’s corruption has created angst within a large segment of the US population.

(Judge continuing.) Given these factors, the defendant is hereby sentenced to five (5) years confinement in New York state prison. This sentence will begin effective immediately.

Trump: Even though this trail was a screw job and never should have happened, it will go down as the greatest reality show ever. Audience was HUGE. Nobody’s ever had such media coverage as I have. No one.  And, by the way, judge, for my uniform do I get to wear stripes or orange?

Member of the Audience: I vote for orange! Matches your hair.

Judge: Order in the Court! Will the state troopers please escort the defendant to Rikers Island. This case is now concluded.

 

#354 Toto Exposes the Wannabe Oz — Trump (Trump Trial 2 of 3)

Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #332.  

Entries the past several months have been an intentional diversion from the craziness in Washington. Starting with Entry #352 put us back inside the Beltway.

­­­­­­­Background detailed in Entry #353. In response to indictments charging former President Trump with fraud, tax evasion, extortion and several other crimes, Trump’s counsel suggested entering a plea of insanity. Trump told counsel to let the court know as an alternative, he would relinquish his US citizenship and relocate to either Russia or North Korea if all charges were dropped.

The presiding judge rejected any plea deal and ordered the case to proceed. Trump’s counsel then demanded a jury trial, apparently thinking it could convince a juror to hold out and secure a hung jury. Counsel believed the jury-trial strategy would allow time for Trump and counsel to attempt to sway public option in his favor and possibly avoid a second trial.

Courtroom – beginning the jury trial. Opening statement by the prosecutor. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what I want you to think about during the trial is the following. I’m certain all of you have seen the movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Think back to the scene where Dorothy and Toto leave Munchkin Land and begin their trip to meet the great Oz.

One difference between the movie and this trial will be the names of the characters Dorothy meets along the way. The Scarecrow – recall who has no brain – is former vice president, Mike Pence. The Tin Man, who has no heart, is former Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. The Cowardly Lion is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

And Dorothy? Well, think of Dorothy as Nancy Pelosi. Toto represents one of those people buried in the government bureaucracy who steps forth and becomes a hero. The original whistleblower would be a good example. Think of the yellow brick road as Trump’s obsession with glitz and gold.

Skip ahead: by now Dorothy, aka Pelosi, and Toto have gone far enough toward Oz to have encountered all three of the characters. As they proceed farther, the group encounters a number of situations. With each event, Pelosi realizes that Pence is starting to think more, McConnell is developing a bit of a heart and Graham is showing some backbone.

When the group reaches the Land of Oz, they face what seems to be a formidable force protecting the fortress of the Great Oz. Think of the protection as say Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, former lawyer Rudy Giuliani or some members of the White House staff. However, when the defense is confronted by Dorothy and her group, the protection quickly crumbles and the group is able to enter the fortress.

When the group finds Oz, they begin to ask questions. Trump, I mean Oz, responds to these questions with such inane statements as ‘I am a stable genius’ and ‘In my great and unmatched wisdom.’ Along with the inane comments, Trump verbally and viciously attacks Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion.

The vicious personal attacks cause each of the players to pause. The pause is broken when Toto uses his paws and pulls back the curtain, exposing the Great Oz hiding behind it.

Now exposed, the self-proclaimed master ruler is no more. Toto has exposed for all to see all of the boasts, claims and lies. The era of the Wannabe Oz is over.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please keep these scenes in­­­ mind as we provide evidence supporting the grand-jury indictments of Mr. Trump for fraud, tax evasion, extortion and several other crimes. Thank you for your attention.”

The defense counsel objects to the opening argument and asks for an immediate dismissal of the case. The judge overrules and the trail begins. (Continued)