As people have been early voting, and election day draws near, I am always concerned about voters safety and the knuckleheads who do everything they can to try and stop certain types of people from exercising their rights! My hope is that voters are armed with knowledge to protect themselves and ensure that their vote is counted.
Know the basic rules in your state. I know things in about the rules in my native New York, but the rules for each state are a little different. Things to watch for:
I would advise any voter to stay as far away from the haters and nut jobs out there. If you see anyone trying to stop someone from voting…
This is as vital an election year as it gets. We must be sure that nothing — absolutely NOTHING stops us from reaching the polls and voting!!!
It's the 28th day of September 2018. One day after emotional, riveting testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh — Today we will see if Jeff Flake wants to do this the right way or not. His vote on the Committee could put a stop to the nomination or allow it to proceed to the full Senate for a vote to confirm.
There are very few Senators who will really decide this. By my estimation — there are 8 Senators out of 100 who will bare the brunt of this vote in the short term. On the long term, the ramifications of the way a Senator votes will have long lasting consequences — for the nation and the Senator.
Susan Collins, (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV),
The 4 take-aways from yesterday for me:
1) Dr. Ford was credible, genuine and I believe her 100%
2) Judge Kavanaugh showed his outrage, smugness and disdain — qualities not suited for any Judgeship, let alone the SCOTUS.
3) There was an EYEBALL WITNESS to what happened that day, who can either corroborate or refute Dr. Ford's account of what happened. That witness was also a co-conspirator in the attack. Regardless of politics, I am not sure how anyone can conclude that he should not be brought before the Committee IMMEDIATELY! A lawyers statement is not an interview. There is no ability to cross examine a written statement.
4) There is clear, unambiguous precedent that when there are claims like this made — even late int he process, and for whatever reason — the FBI is brought forth to investigate the claims independent of politics. Much like police all across this nation they do not draw conclusions. Judge Kavanaugh and republicans are correct about that. But they provide the decision-makers — like District Attorney's, and Senators the ability to review the results of their investigations and then determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a case against the accused or not.
That is the FOUNDATION of the legal justice system.
What ever the results in this morning committee vote,
The end of summer brought about the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The Progressive nightmare scenario is on the precipice of reality — a hard 5-4 conservative court — one seemingly willing, ready and able to roll back decades of reform. Most think "Roe" is gone — but I would argue it is far more then Roe v. Wade. In the midst of what seemed like a 51-49 party line vote to confirm, a few temporary stays have occurred.
First, Judge Kavanaugh's responses to basic questions turned to verbal cow cookies! The man had a hard time clarifying his positions on just about everything including whether Roe was settled law, or if a sitting President would be required to comply with a subpoena or if he discussed the Mueller Investigation . As badly as Kavanaugh fumbled about during his hearings, worse was yet to come.
Enter Christine Blasey Ford.
Dr. Blasey Ford has accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her some 35 years ago while they were both teens at a Maryland house party. Comparisons to Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991 have been made on the news programs for over a week and will continue for the next several weeks until Judge Kavanaugh either gets confirmed or not!
Prior to the assault allegations, there was already plenty to dislike about Mr. Kavanaugh. As I consumed more and more information about this case, and learned more about the allegations levied against Mr. Kavanaugh, I found myself struggling to keep an open mind about the case. It is very easy for me to believe Dr. Blasey Ford.
First, what sane person — that should read any male, female or any other gender — who has, by all accounts a quality, fulfilling life, would want to inject themselves into the cold civil war that is America with accusations of sexual abuse? Because I have a hard time believing someone would volunteer for death threats, harassment, humiliation and abuse of all kinds, it is easy for me to believe her.
Second — full disclosure — I want to believe her because I am not a fan of Judge Kavanaugh and in theory this could convince at least 2 of the Republicans needed to torpedo the confirmation.
My "voodoo" — that is my political instinct — tells me that Republicans will largely ignore everything Dr. Blasey Ford has to say. I would be genuinely surprised should there be at least two Republicans in the Senate that will vote no on Kavanaugh. Many are thinking Collins and Murkowski are the two most likely no votes. They are pro-choice Republicans and have said many times they would not threaten Roe. The problem with that, is they are both Republicans. Outside of a few, rare instances, their loyalty is party first, people second. There are a host of issues that a hard conservative court would rule on over the next 20-30 years, and the pressure on these two to suppress their position on Roe to push a wider agenda is heavy.
Civil rights in the form of Affirmative Action and the Voting Rights Act will be torn to pieces. Republicans have made no secret of challenge to both of these issues. In the case of the latter, the section 4(b) of the voting rights act was already ruled unconstitutional — creating all kinds of voter suppression. Republicans in Alabama gerrymandered the congressional map. In Arizona, voters who registered to vote are now being asked to prove their citizenship or their registration will be discarded at the state level. North Carolina used the ruling to create a voter ID law. Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin also used the ruling to advance measures to challenge voting rights.
Countless other issues could face the new court. LGBT rights in the form of marriage equality, healthcare and service to the nation in the military could all be facing renewed challenges, and likely to be overturned. Any hope for creating single-payer healthcare, firearms controls, women's rights, the environment, financial reforms and more — would all be a fantasy that would be hard to fathom in never never land let alone the 2030s and beyond!
Lost in the politics of the moment is that Christine Blasey Ford is a real person. Judge Kavanaugh is too. Both of these people deserve to be heard on this issue. Under proper rules of the Senate, this hearing would be scheduled to include not only Dr. Blasey Ford, but Mr. Kavanaugh, and other witnesses of the incident in question. There would be an added investigation by the FBI which would take perhaps as much as a week. All of this in an effort to discover the truth about a life-altering incident.
Truth is a nasty word today. We have come to see lying as common as breathing from Donald Trump and his demonic minions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and his evil enablers in the House and Senate. "Advise and Consent" is in the fire barrel along with the US Constitution. Republicans are pouring gasoline into the can and are about to strike the match.
What is more stunning to me is the way people are treating the situation. The sexual act here is one of assault. It is a crime. A woman has come forward to say that she did not consent to being touched in a sexual manner by a man. As a result Republican men in droves are questioning Dr. Blasey Ford's validity.
"Why didn't she go to the police 35 years ago?" is a common retort.
"What proof does she have?" is another refrain.
"Why didn't she tell someone, anyone back then — parents? friends?"
It is terrifying to me how many people lack empathy. I'm a white dude and I can empathize with Christine Blasey Ford. How easy is it for a 15 year old girl to come forward and describe in great detail how a boy touched her in a sexual manner? How confident would your 15 year old daughter be in 2018 let alone 1982 in coming forward now to police — particularly when the President of the United States can grab anyone by the pussy he damn well pleases according to him... I mean if the President can do that, who's going to believe your daughter?
Then there are the other questions.
What was she wearing?
Was she drinking? Taking drugs?
Was she flirting with him?
If Republicans want to make the argument "guns don't kill people, people kill people," then I am going to make the argument that clothes, alcohol, drugs and flirtation do not rape women, men rape women!
Boys will be boys is also being uttered by Kavanaugh (Trump and Roy Moore) apologists — which really got me thinking.
A few weeks ago, a story broke of hundreds upon hundreds of sexual assault cases against priests throughout Pennsylvania. This is not a new problem for the Catholic Church. Yet it continues.
No one is saying that the victims who have come forward — many of them now middle-aged men — are liars. Their stories of being sexually abused are believed. I am not hearing anything from anyone anywhere about what the boys were wearing just prior to being assaulted. I have not heard about anyone asking the men if they were drinking or taking drugs, or if they were flirting with their abusers. I certainly have not heard a single remark about "boys being boys" as an identifier for the priests who committed the "alleged" abuse on these young boys.
What's the difference? Why are these victims to believed, but Ms. Blasey Ford is a liar?
What about Leigh Corfman? She was allegedly abused by adult Roy Moore when she was 14 years old. That is pedophilia by any standard. But nearly half of the people in Alabama believed she was a liar.
How about Summer Zervos, Jessica Leeds, Rachel Crooks, Mindy McGillivrey and Natasha Stoynoff? They all reported sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of Donald Trump. Were they all lying too?
I think the reason the men who have come forward today are not being challenged by the same Republicans that challenge these women is because they are men, and their perpetrators were other men. While it might not be conscious, it seems pretty believable (and obvious) that faint-of-heart Republicans who consider homosexuality disgusting and a sin easily justify that no man would "want" to have another man touch him — however, I suspect in a lot of ways, their thinking is that a woman has to be asking for it! Don't believe me? Listen to the questions and comments I listed above again!
Neither Viagra nor Cialis nor any other "disfunction" drug can help Donald Trump. There is a lot we can say after 20+ months of Trump playing President, and the candidate before him. Criminal. Russian Operative. Sexist. Misogynist. Racist. White Supremacist. Antisemite. Piece of shit! That last one is blunt, but it happens to be true. I think even most Trump voters would agree to most of these identifiers. What I have not heard is how much of an impotent "wannabe" he is.
The Op-Ed in The New York Times is just the latest in a string of insider commentary that proves what most of the world knows without doubt; The Donald Trump facade that has been crafted for 70 years has crumbled revealing the amoral "wannabe" thug who has always wanted to be part of a global leadership that has always seen past his disguise to what is real. The Op-Ed itself, or the recent scripts by Omarosa Manigault Newman, Michael Wolff and Bob Woodward, hardly break new ground about Trump. What these writings do prove is just how impotent Trump really is, as a businessman, as a person and certainly as President.
If we look at his business alone, we are seeing it loaded with questionable finances — most of which is likely to be revealed in the coming months. And it won't be the Special Council, Robert Mueller, though I suspect Mr. Mueller's first order of business was to obtain Trump's tax filings. I believe it will be either the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York or the New York State Attorney General's Office that really digs into the Trump financials — business as well as foundation. There have been very loud whispers of money laundering of Russian Oligarchs for decades to go along with the screams of countless fraud cases for which Trump has already faced lawsuits.
If we look at his commentary about any key issues prior to his official political engagement, it is rife with factually wrong data that is at times laced with not-so-subtle racism. His position on the "Central Park 5" immediately comes to mind as does the "Birther" movement — both of which represent deeply racist positions. In both instances he peddled in hate and racism disguised as some kind of bastardized patriotic justice. He was not just misinformed or ignorant to facts. He was dead wrong!
As he entered into politics, he has proven to be either oblivious to facts or content to use Nazi Joseph Goebbels' playbook to suit his dictatorial needs; "Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes truth." This is most clearly the case with each tweet that contains "witch hunt." When he says he has the best polling — even better than Lincoln. There were no polls in the day of Lincoln. Recently he commented that 6 new steel mills were being built. Nope. Not even one! Senator Kamila Harris is a supporter of MS13. Yes — that is a serious tweet.
Despite all of the posturing tweets, the self-aggrandizement and the desperate need for his leg humpers to keep showering him with praise, Trump has proven to be a wannabe in just about every aspect of life.
Some would argue that he made millions anyway, and that shows how brilliant he is. I agree that he has made some cash on his name, and through frauds like Trump University and alleged money laundering schemes. But the businesses — such as the Atlantic City Casinos all went under. Successful entrepreneurs don't file for bankruptcy protection 6 times.
Others might say he made it all the way to the Presidency — so how can he be a wannabe? Just opinion on my part but I do not believe Trump wanted to be President of the United States. He saw running as a way to stroke his ego, start a new, more sinister version of the Alt-Right and make millions of dollars in the process. He has already done so through the Trump Hotel in Washington DC (potentially violating the emoluments clause in the process) not to mention his own campaign spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to his own business for rent.
It is clear that as the sitting President, he has been completely impotent. The so-called "successes" he has were largely delivered by Republicans in Congress. This why they are the bigger problem. They actually presented Trump with the steep tax cuts he signed into law. He had a victory with Neil Gorsuch being seated on the Supreme Court, but that was likely a name presented to him by the likes of Mike Pence as Trump would not have a clue as to who the "players" are in the judiciary.
He is "playing" President which he thought was more "dictator" then a legislative leader or partner with Congress. He has no idea how the United States functions — even after nearly 2 years. This is why the Op-Ed from the New York Times clearly states that there are "two presidencies." The actions by "the adults" inside the administration render Trump fully impotent — and as much as there is cause for some relief that the damage is potentially being limited, the truth is that this course of action is unsustainable.
If things were not frightening enough in America, things are about to get a great deal more harrowing. As the legal walls continue to close in on Trump, his children and those that are around him, he will seek distractions that could very well cost lives. Stopping Donald Trump means what it always has meant — showing up on election day on November 6, 2018 and voting for the Democrat in every race with discipline!
This was a more somber Labor Day weekend than most. The death of Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, captured the attention of a nation that has clearly lost its way. A nation starving for any reason to come together and stop fighting each other so much and with such vitriol. Just about every political power broker, operative and junkie was dialed into the services held in Arizona, and then in Washington DC, with one obvious and clear exception. The feelings of the past weekend have inspired many to be better people — even in disagreement. There were eulogies given by two past Presidents — George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. A Republican and a Democrat. Joe Biden gave a heartfelt eulogy at the service in Arizona. The people Senator McCain selected to offer eulogies is telling about what he wanted his final message to Americans to be. Was anyone listening?
THE BASE IS ALL-IN
It has been said for a while now that in order to build any political traction and momentum on the national level, one must cater to the base of his/her party. In the case of Republicans, that has been true for quite some time. I felt the Republican base was "lost" to any common sense when they elevated Sarah Palin over John McCain during the 2008 campaign. McCain was trying to run a professional, responsible operation and was swimming up stream against a formidable and popular Democratic nominee in Barack Obama. It did not help McCain that the economy was beginning to come apart prior to the great crash that occurred in late summer of that year. When he tapped Sarah Palin to be his running mate, and the campaign team had completely failed to properly vet her, the wheels of his campaign bus came undone.
Palin had no grasp of how the United States worked — on a day-to-day base level, or at a Constitutional level. She had no understanding of the issues nor could she formulate a knowledge-based discussion on those issues. She could hardly even "fake it." As a result, she went for Mr. Obama's race and family history as a way to stoke racism among a base of supporters within a Republican party that has increasingly accepted old "Dixiecrats" and egged on an us-against-them approach to the national discord.
John McCain was horrified by what he was seeing — within his party, and his own running mate. Had John McCain selected Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or Former Homeland Security Director, Tom Ridge or even former Senator Joe Lieberman — he may have been elected President in 2008. The "real" John McCain could not have been more clearly revealed when he had to sit one of his own supporters down at a rally to explain that despite believing in different solutions to America's woes, Barack Obama was a good man, and a good American. It was a great moment! I was proud of him and thankful when he did that — and not just because I was a strong Obama supporter!
Unfortunately the Base of the Republican Party was not hearing John McCain. After 2008 saw the election of Barack Obama, the base of the party did everything they could to call President Obama the N-Word without actually using it. The birther movement was steeped in racism — and it was headed in larger part by Donald Trump. This gave further fuel to the rise of the Alt-Right in the shape of the Tea Party wing of the Republican party. The same Republican base seemed to giggle along with Donald Trump when he called Senator McCain loser and not a hero. I fear that the Republican base is deaf to the words of respect and dignity of Senator McCain. I doubt they understood the words of those who spoke on his behalf so beautifully this weekend.
THE DEMOCRATS' ROLE IN A VICIOUS AMERICA
I find it ironic that so many Democrats and liberals are the ones hearing and feeling John McCain's words in this past week. This was the man Democrats were thrilled to defeat in 2008. Democrats have also been quick to jump into the political fray to fight back against Republicans — but time, and time again, Democrats show a much higher capacity to find a way to show respect, kindness and decency — even for a vanquished political opponent.
Throughout the Bush/Cheney era, I spent countless hours as a political operative fighting against their policies. To this day, I feel as though we are still fighting wars started by President Bush that we cannot get out from under. As much as I have long felt that he was a massive issue, he was a pro America/pro American People President — even if we disagreed on the policies. Even John McCain — who endured a blistering personal attack at the hands of George W. Bush, I believe would agree that "Bush 43" had the American interest at heart in his decisions, even if his decisions backfired or failed.
In the past few years, Democrats and Progressives have been far more vitriolic then at any time I have seen them in the past — yet they still seem to bend with more ease then Republicans. Democrats have been more willing to compromise — sometimes to the detriment of the nation — and Democrats have proven to be less likely to toe the party line the way Republicans have done. During the first Presidency of this century, Republicans were fairly lock step with the base, with the talking heads on radio and themselves. Instances of crossing the aisle were few and far between. Democrats — especially in the Senate were more likely to bend and compromise (some would almost say "cave") — particularly when it came to foreign policy.
A stark change began to emerge after President Obama's election. So-called moderates were voted out in primary after primary. The tribalism we see flourishing today began in earnest as the Alt-Right Tea Party gained a foothold within the Republican caucus. The response over the past 2 years has emerged now from the Democratic side. Established center-left Democrats are being replaced with more progressive leaning candidates. The middle is rapidly disintegrating. The response to the Trump era has been filled with a lot of fight from the left — something we have not seen before.
A SUSTAINABLE PEACE?
The tribalism that has gripped America for the better part of this century really emerged more violently in the past 3 years. As poorly as things were perceived to be during the Bush and Obama years, we could not imagine it could be worse — yet here we are. Senator McCain saw the nation he had given a lifetime in service, tear itself apart. The finger of blame could be pointed at both sides. A debate could ensue as to who started it — as if we were all back in the 5th grade.
The truth is it doesn't matter who started it. What matters is that we end it. That is what is right and just for this nation. That is what John McCain wanted. A return to normal order in the U.S. Senate. To a time when then Senator Joe Biden could sit in the Senate Chamber with Senator McCain, and listen to their colleagues, and discuss ideas of how to move forward — together.
I have long believed that the United States has been embroiled in a "Cold Civil War" that began during the Clinton years and has just gotten hotter and hotter. Perhaps at no other time has the the scorching blaze been hotter then when Heather Heyer was murdered in Charlottesville, VA a year ago — with the pain of her death still terribly vibrant, a sitting US President disgustingly revealed to all the world exactly who and what he is — lifting members of the Klan, White Supremacists and Nazis with moral equivalence.
The beginning of the end of this Cold Civil War can come should the American People heed the advice of John McCain and return normalcy to the republic. It is ironic that in order to find that peace, enabling and cowardly Republicans have to be voted out of office. And should that happen, and Democrats are able to win control of either the US House or Senate — or both chambers — it will be imperative that they too hear what Senator McCain's lasting message was just before his passing. A return to normalcy.
This means returning the rules of the Senate to their normal state. Something a Senate Majority Leader Schumer must do as his first act. If Mr. Schumer is fortunate enough to become Majority Leader, and he chooses to peddle in the kind of petty, vindictive behavior of his predecessor Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, the war will continue, and the nation will continue to suffer. The same can be said of the House of Representatives. Should Democrats win control, the new Speaker — perhaps Nancy Pelosi, perhaps not — should bring proper and normal order to the House. That means eliminating the Hastert Rule and giving Members the ability to consider all legislation.
That is when a sustainable peace will come. That is the real message of John McCain. In a word — compromise.
Some say progressive, some say liberal others say just say Democrat. Many have other names for me, but we won't repeat them here. I am a long time political junkie and former operative from New York. The writings here are my thoughts and opinions on the days' events and the world we live in — and what it should be.