Does a President Have Unlimited Power?

Trump is claiming that the President of the United States has unlimited powers. He has been steadily exercising Presidential power without accepting any checks on his power. He is hugging more and more power to himself much in the way he hugs the American flag.

Trump has become increasingly authoritarian since the Democrats became the majority power in the House and he lost the backing of an undivided (totally partisan) Congress. If he cannot have an inert Congress, loyal to him (Him) and willing to offer little or no obstruction, not even the token attempts to rein Trump in if he seems likely to take us into existential danger, then he will act like Congress does not exist. Because, to his mind, Congress has no power over the President or how could the President perform the duty of the President to be the unchallenged boss (Don) of America.

The Constitution only applies to all those other people in the government, who are actually unnecessary because all the nation really needs is a President. This is even more obvious as this 45 th President is a stable genius who is doing the greatest job ever of running the country. If Trump states it, it has to be true.

I don’t believe we knew the full extent of Trump’s mental delusions until he got ensconced in the Oval. Now he has us stymied about how to rid ourselves of him and save a democracy/republic which this man obviously has no respect for. Our democracy cannot work as long as Trump is President but he has mesmerized almost half of America. We are in deep trouble.

We must keep democracy alive in our hearts and, if we don’t win the 2020 election, we must prepare ourselves to live in a world that is crumbling around us even as the leader thinks the nation is thriving. We must steal our hearts to human rights violations and humanitarian violations that we cannot immediately redress. We can take no solace from science as the environmental conditions on our planet turn more and more hostile, because our President is a fatalist in this regard. We must live two lives, an external life and an internal life. And it looks like we must prepare ourselves for war against Iran and what will that like? How will the nations of the world align? Will America start the next World War?

This is getting scarier by the minute as we put our faith in the system, common sense, an election and our Constitution to set things back to some kind of normalcy. One woman, Nancy Pelosi, is carrying an enormous burden, pitting herself against a President who is drunk on power. At least that’s how it looks some days. We the people are doing little except to help maintain the notion that everything is normal, nothing to see here until we get through the next election.

Judge for Yourself

Here is a condensed version of Article I and Article II of the US Constitution. Do you think our founding document gives a President of the United States unlimited power?

A Condensed Version of the US Constitution with more Contemporary Language. (by Nancy Brisson)

Article 1 of the US Constitution

Section 1:

Establishes Congress which is granted all Legislative powers and says that Congress will be made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Section 2:

Members of the House of Representatives are chosen every 2 years.

Members must be at least 25 years of age, a US citizen for 7 years and a resident of the state s/he will represent when elected.

Describes how taxes and representatives will be portioned out among the states, but this part was revised because it was racist.

Says that states will replace members if their seat becomes vacant between elections.

Gives House of Representatives the right to choose their Speaker and Officers.

Gives House of Representatives the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3

Senate will be composed of 2 senators from each state, chosen in a state election.

Senators serve for 6 years.

Each senator has one vote.

These six year terms were staggered in the very first Congress so that 1/3 of the Senate must run for election every 2 years and then stay for 6 years until it is their turn to run again.

Vacancies during recesses are refilled temporarily by the appropriate state until the next meeting of the Legislature when they are filled permanently.

Senators must be at least 30 years old, a citizen for nine years, and live in the state s/he will represent.

The Vice President of the US will be the President of the Senate, but only votes when there is a tie.

The Senate will chose their other officers and also a President pro tempore to serve when the Vice President has other duties or must take over for the President.

The Senate has the power to try impeachments. When the President is tried the Chief Justice presides. Conviction requires a 2/3 vote of all the members.

The Senate can remove someone from office and disqualify them from holding office in the future, but the party, once removed, convicted can then be subject to normal Indictment, Trial and Punishment.

Section 4

State Legislatures decide the time, place, and manner of holding elections, but the Congress has oversight except in the matter of the places where elections are held.

Congress will assemble at least once a year on 1stMonday of December unless a different day is specified by a subsequent law.

Section 5

Each House of Congress regulates elections and qualifications of its own members.

A majority constitutes a quorum to do business, but a smaller number can meet from day to day and can decide how to persuade absent members to attend.

Each House can decide the rules for how it does business and punish members for disorderly behavior and can expel a member with a 2/3 vote.

Each House will keep a journal with a record of yeas and nays when members wish this info to be recorded, and will publish all parts of the journal from time to time unless secrecy is needed.

Congress will not adjourn for more than 3 days when it is sitting or move proceedings to a new location.

Section 6

Senators and Representatives will be paid.

They will be privileged from arrest while Congress is in session or while traveling to and from Congress except for Treason, Felony, and Breach of Peace.

Members of Congress cannot be held liable for a speech made in Congress even when Congress is not in session.

You cannot be in Congress and hold any other office in the government at the same time.

Section 7

The House of Representatives makes all bills for raising revenue but the Senate can amend or vote on amendments.

Bills passed in Congress must go to the President who can either sign it or return it. (veto power) But if the bill is reconsidered and passes in both Houses of Congress by 2/3 vote it can become a law despite the President’s veto. If the President doesn’t return a bill to Congress in ten days it becomes a law, unless Congress adjourns to prevent the return in which case it does not become a law.

Each law that is passed by both Houses must be sent to the President except for the matter of adjournment.

Section 8

Powers of Congress:

To ask for taxes, collect taxes, charge shipping fees, pay debts.

Provide for the Common defense and general welfare of the US.

Any fees, etc. must be the same throughout the states.

Can borrow money on credit of the US.

Regulate commerce with other nations, among the states, and with the Indian Tribes.

Establish rules to become a naturalized citizen.

Make uniform laws of bankruptcy throughout the states.

Coin money and regulate value of US money and foreign money.

Decide the standards of weights and measures.

Decide punishment for counterfeiting securities and money.

Establish post office and post roads.

Promote the progress of Science and the Arts through trademarks and patents.

To form courts under the Supreme Court.

To define rules about piracy and conduct on the high seas and offenses against the laws of nations.

To declare War and make appropriate rules about captures.

To raise and support Armies – no appropriation of money for longer than 2 years at a time.

To provide and maintain a Navy.

Makes rules for government and regulation of land and naval forces.

To provide for calling forth the militia (to execute laws, suppress insurrections, impel invasions).

Gives broader control over the Militia, organizing, arming and disciplining.

Have power over land ceded to government for forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, etc.

To make laws that accomplish these goals and all other goals mentioned in the Constitution.

Section 9

Specifies a fee for states that import or migrate people before 1808. (slave states?)

Writ of habeas corpus (the right to go before a judge) cannot be denied except when in a rebellion or invasion when public safety may require it.

You cannot pass a law that is retroactive and that denies the right to appear before a judge.

You cannot tax by head count without a census.

You cannot pass a law that charges for interstate trade.

The same thing applies to ports. The government may not show preference for the port of one state over another. States cannot charge other states port fees.

Congress cannot draw any money unless it is budgeted by law and records must be published from time to time.

Congress cannot grant titles of nobility.

No person holding any office can accept any present, Emolument, Office, or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign state (Emoluments clause) unless Congress consents.

Section 10

States cannot make treaties or alliances or do any of the things that Congress cannot do.

States can charge duties for executing inspection laws, but the money shall be for the use of the US Treasury and Congress has the right to review and control these state laws.

States cannot keep troops, or ships of war or enter into any agreement with another state or foreign power or engage in War unless under immediate threat of invasion.

Article II

Section 1

Executive Power is given to the President of the United States of America.

He has a term of 4 years.

Also a Vice president will serve for the same term.

Describes the election process including the Electoral College, although not by that name.

Congress determines the dates for elections, with the same election day throughout the states.

President must be a natural born citizen.

Must be at least thirty-five years of age.

Must have resided fourteen years within the United States.

Describes order of succession should we lose the President – VP would become President.

(Congress has subsequently decided a more extended order of succession).

President will be paid but may not accept any other emoluments even from the states.

Oath of Affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Section 2

Designates President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy and Militias of states when called into service.

May require principal officer in any Executive position to submit a job description.

Has the power to grant pardons and reprieves, except in cases of impeachment.

Has the power to make treaties with approval of 2/3 of Senators.

Appoints, with advice and consent of the Senate, Ambassadors, public ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and any other officers who appoints are not otherwise provided for.

Congress may by law give the power over appointment of inferior officers to the President alone, or to the courts or to the heads of departments.

The President can fill all vacancies that happen during the recess of the Senate by granting commission, but they expire at the end of the Senate’s next session.

Section 3

Provides for the State of the Union address.

President can recommend measure s/he considers expedient or necessary to Congress.

President can on extraordinary occasions convene both houses, or either of them and if they cannot agree about adjournment s/he can adjourn Congress until a time he designates as proper.

President can receive ambassadors and other public ministers.

S/he shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

S/he shall commission all Officers of the United States.

Section 4

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Photo Credits: From a Google Image Search – NPR, Lawfare, www.senate.gov, GovTrack, business insider.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone – Book

The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone – Book

The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone follows Kate Moore and her husband Dexter from a stay in Luxembourg in his first novel The Expats, where things started out calmly and went pretty badly off the rails. Kate works for the US government in intelligence but, of course, it’s a secret. Dexter got lured into a scheme to hack a fortune in dirty money and his law-abiding wife finds out. She finds a way to keep Dexter out of prison but at the end of Chris Pavone’s first book, The Expats, the Moore’s marriage is a bit stormy – a very quiet storm because they are barely speaking.

After Luxembourg they travel around Europe for a while with their two children and then they settle in Paris minus the other expat couple they befriended in Luxembourg, a couple Kate hopes is out of their lives forever. Kate’s two children are now school age and she wishes she could enjoy being a full time mom, but life with the agency is just too exciting. What else would she do all day while her children are in school? And now she has been given her own little agency office to run in Paris.

Dexter works at home. He has decided to become a day trader. But it turns out that everyone, except Kate who is busy with her motherhood guilt, has revenge on their minds, and it all leads to one spectacularly messy day in Paris. If this day didn’t involve the deaths of two single fathers, a terrorist attack that immerses Paris in chaos, and threatens to nuke the Louvre it would most resemble one of those French hotel comedy/murder mysteries where everyone is sneaking in and out of everyone else’s room, sometimes with hanky-panky on their minds, and luggage is getting mixed up while people wander around in extravagant outfits and identities get confused. Perhaps to update the genre a bit this is a sort of thriller version of that Barbara Streisand movie “What’s Up Doc?”. Sadly the actual events in Paris seem a bit inappropriate to what is basically a romp, but such are the paradoxes here in the 21 st century and after all it is a thriller/romp.

The author’s chapters focus in turn on the characters, each telling his/her part of the story in small glimpses. You know that the facts will eventually give you the whole picture. You start to see or think you see through this plot – the author has left too many clues, the affair is too easy to unravel, but don’t become overconfident. There are plenty of surprises.

The Paris Diversion is not at all like a true thriller, but it is a true diversion that uses realities that have become far too normal to us. Throughout this whole crazy day the adults are having, the Moore children are safe in a good French school behind a high wall and at the end of the day will suspect nothing. How bad can things get in the space of someone’s slightly elongated school day? You won’t believe it.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search. – Parnassus Musing

This Republican Decade: Snatching Victory from Jaws of Defeat

How have the Republicans – who took us into a war in Iraq under false pretenses, and basically caused the Great Recession – been able to grab so much power in the intervening decade? How did they snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? It isn’t all about backlash to global change. It also may be about a Party that seized a moment and a movement.

It seems as if the Republicans have been obstructing government forever but by the numbers the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress until 2011 (until the election in 2010 actually), then they still had control of the Senate until 2013 when Republicans took control of both houses until 2019.

Of course, we remember that Mitch McConnell swore to obstruct Obama in every way. People like to blame Obama for the Republican’s obstruction saying that he passed the ACA in secrecy in the middle of the night without any Republican votes and that the rest of the obstruction was just payback. But clearly this obstruction was the result of a nexus of Conservative activity by a number of different actors and we know this because every Conservative used the same reasoning right down to the same words. There were no original answers to media questions. Every Conservative had the same talking points reiterated to the same script and it was freaky, bizarre, and in the end, a sign of behind the scenes organizing on a grand scale.

So we ask again, how have the Republicans, who basically caused the Great Recession, been able to grab so much power in the intervening decade? They have done it by being willing to trash norms long accepted as informal protocols and even by boldly forcing Democrats to change rules like the filibuster threshold to try to get anything done. Although Dems technically had the numbers they did not have the 60 votes needed.

It seemed that everything Dems did backfired. When Harry Reid lowered the threshold for the filibuster to a simple majority it set up the future parade of approvals of Conservative judges that are the current daily agenda (and the only agenda) in the Republican-controlled Senate. (It is not like Dems didn’t foresee this possibility but they took the risk anyway for immediate gains.) The Hastert rule took hold in the House where no business hit the floor unless it could pass with all Republican votes.

I contend that Republicans got radicalized by the Tea Party and Talk Radio and Fox News. This is not exactly news. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh had a rabid audience for their constant propaganda demonizing Obama and the Democrats. Beck and Bill O’Reilly wrote popular books that reinterpreted history from a fairly extreme Conservative viewpoint. It was all a giant mash-up of Koch Brothers pushing Capitalism and fossil fuels, Confederate flags waving on the back of gas-guzzling trucks all over America, the patriotism of arming yourself because the communist, socialists, gangs, immigrants are coming for you. Add in a Fundamentalist interpretation of the Constitution (refight the Federalist papers), Evangelical expectations of the Rapture and a full-throated Biblical approval of rich folks and the Conservative Way. Then there was a pledge made to a Libertarian group (against their duty to the Constitution) to never raise taxes, and a celebration of the audacity of Republicans in Congress who showed their party “purity” by obstructing Dems in ever newer and more creative ways (with good-old-boy grins on their faces).

Today the highs of those giddy days have disappeared and there is just the mean tough slog of a government deadlocked by a Republican Party that no longer has any impetus to be at all bipartisan. They will have their way. The Republicans got to this place, and they also got us to this President Trump who tramples all our norms with impunity.

Dems seem much too polite to dig us out of this hole, but they do have policy on their side and they want to save our Republic. The modern Republican Party has no members in Congress who seem motivated to save the Republic as it was before the Tea Party/Conservative extravaganza. Conservative extremists are so far winning the tug of war to pull the whole nation to the right. But that frightening torch-lit white supremacist show of power in Charlottesville has put a much more serious light on where Conservatives might be planning to take America.

Progressives may have the energy to pull the nation back towards the left, even if they don’t make it as far left as they would like. If the Dems don’t win, where will four more years of “to the right, to the right” leave us. Perhaps in a dictatorship huddling together in the few places without extreme weather.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search  – WKAR

Conservatives and the Social Safety Net

Conservatives and the Social Safety Net

Conservatives adamantly oppose government programs because they say they believe that everything can be done better by the private sector, by capitalists, than can be achieved through any government program. (Well think about it for a minute, which works better, the public option in the ACA or the private prisons for criminals and immigrants?) Further, these Conservatives argue, large public programs that help people who are disabled, who are unemployed, who are poor, who are children, who are sick, and who are old are socialist programs and Americans are not socialists.

Our forefathers were farmers and entrepreneurs, in other words, capitalists, but they did not mandate any particular economic system for our young nation, and since socialism and communism both came out of Europe in the 1900’s, they probably didn’t even imagine that such an economic idea might exist one day. In the 30’s there was a pretty prominent movement of socialists in America, especially when the stock market crashed and the nation was slogging through a Great Depression. Many of our social safety net programs originate from those days of bread lines.

In the 1950’s communism had a moment of philosophical consideration by some Americans but was brutally stomped out by McCarthyism. Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R) (WI) mowed down anyone who had ever even whispered to a communist, or at least he tried. People were black-listed and lost their jobs often for no reason except McCarthy’s say-so. Communism certainly did not fare well in the USSR and proved to be as corruptible as any government/economy. Interest in communism waned in America. Conservatives insist that capitalism is the only economic model that matches with democracy. Here’s a quote from The American Conservative offered up on June, 6, 2019, “Socialism will Always Destroy Democracy”. (Although it seems to me that Conservatism is doing a pretty good job of that these days.)

By definition (Merriam Webster) “Socialism definition is – any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

Strictly speaking none of the benefit programs produce anything or distribute any goods. They involve budget items that describe how we the people wish to spend our money. In a time, like now, of great income inequality, where we the people are a bit short of money because recent laws have favored the wealthy, and have allowed them to own an inordinate proportion of our nation’s wealth, these same wealthy Americans are telling us that they do not want to spend their money on a safety net. They also let us know that they have not left us enough money and that we cannot afford to spend our money that way either.

But the story they always tell us, about the mismatch between democracy and social programs that they label as socialism is not borne out in the real world. Canada is a thriving democracy with a very sound social safety net. There are many such nations around the world.

Conservatives still tell us these messages constantly. Capitalism rules. We don’t have enough money to offer benefits.

Of course, Conservatives go beyond this. They tell us that using our money to lift up the less fortunate, or any of us in a moment of misfortune is harmful to us and to society as a whole. It destroys initiative (hard to prove) and poor, sick, old, disabled people or people being discriminated against would rise higher, fight harder without “free” money. However, getting rid of the social safety net might also be a good way to bring back plagues, which were common before there were humanitarian programs.

Conservatives convince people who need to benefit from these programs that illegal (undocumented) immigrants are collecting the benefits that citizens’ taxes have paid for, and there does seem to be some truth to that, but numbers are not huge and cutting off benefits to “the undeserving” seems to mean cutting off benefits to everyone.  Conservatives convince people of the unfairness of it all, they label it socialism and people end up voting against their own best interests.

Conservatives want to stay in the Industrial Age although the factories they long for have fled or switched to robotics. They want to stick to fossil fuels. It is all about money and profits. To do this against all evidence that industry has moved on to nations with cheaper labor and lots of laborers, and that burning fossil fuels is destroying a planet we don’t know how to escape from, means that holding on to power is essential. Without power the Conservative dream topples and the gravy train travels on more than just one track. I doubt we’ll see our money come back to us anytime soon.

Conservatives may be able to hold on to the 50’s or whatever was their favorite age, but for the rest of us we feel the end of the Industrial Age in our everyday lives, we are not all prepared to participate in the Tech Age, and that leaves a lot of us in a sort of economic limbo that can be quite scary. This is no time to take away the social safety net. And this is certainly no time to take it away because of a label. The social safety net is about people and it functions well in many democracies. At the very least Conservatives need to come up with something better than the same old arguments.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – The Atlantic

Not Impeaching Right Away – A Gamble with Enormous Consequences

Not Impeaching Right Away – A Gamble with Enormous Consequences

The call for impeachment gets louder each day. As the President orders staff and former staff members called to testify before House committees to blow off any such requests up to and including subpoenas, more and more Democrats urge either outright impeachment or the beginning of an impeachment inquiry.

Impeachment is a Congressional duty when America has a President who cannot seem to uphold our Constitution or respect the human rights which are the basis of our democracy. It gets old to repeat the specifics of Trump’s transgressions over and over but there are still Americans who just don’t see them. If you get your “news” from Fox you are told that the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump. If you get your news from almost any other source then you have either read the report yourself or you have heard summaries from people who have read it. The Mueller report does not exonerate Trump, especially of obstruction of justice.

The evidence also suggests that Russians, with probable connections to Putin, did help Trump get elected. Although Trump managed to keep his distance from the Russians there were hundreds of contacts between his campaign staff and Russians. Several of Trump’s campaign staffers have been indicted, convicted, and are serving jail sentences with more still under indictment. Since Trump has an authoritarian leadership style it is difficult to believe that he did not call the shots or at least have final approval over all that went down. Most of his cronies seem willing to take the bullet for him.

He also seems to have decided that the emoluments clause is not settled law, I guess, even though every other President has abided by this prohibition against accepting money or gifts from foreign governments which Trump continues to allow through his ownership of the nearby DC hotel where many foreign petitioners stay.

Timothy Egan sums Trump’s transgressions up this way, writing in The New York Times, and it is worth reading the whole article,

“After the inauguration debacle, Trump moved on to bigger targets — the judiciary, the military, the press, and the professional class of bureaucrats who have made the United States a model for competence and incorruptibility in the Civil Service.

With William Barr, Trump now has an attorney general who doesn’t care how much lasting damage he does to truth, justice and the American way. His mandate as the nation’s top prosecutor is to carry out Trump’s private vendettas.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/07/opinion/trump-july-4.html

Although the evidence tells us that Trump richly deserves to be impeached I can see a possible advantage to starting an inquiry but waiting until after the election to impeach. However as Nancy Pelosi reminds us “impeachment does not necessarily mean removal”. So it is possible we could impeach and also win the election. But it’s a gamble. The order of operations could be very important here.

Trump is a terrible President, but he is also backed by an entire Party full of equally incomprehensible cronies who back his moves and seem sanguine about the damage to our constitutional government, perhaps because they are convinced that Trump is trashing the very same parts of the Constitution they want to trash.

If we could win the 2020 Presidential election and win enough seats in the Senate we could get rid of Trump, Pence, Mitch McConnell and the Freedom Caucus in one fell swoop. That would be a celebration. But if we impeached Trump and won the 2020 election, now that would be winning!

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Truthout

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – Book

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Sometimes fiction based on a true story is a difficult beast for an author to tangle with. It can be a struggle to make the elements of fiction (plot, setting, characters) hold the spark that turns a story into literature. The Tattooist of Auschwitzbasically retells a true story told to the author Heather Morris by the man who we know as Lale Sokolov. The author, as a beginner tells the story well, but, for me the story lacks the depth and poignancy that might have come from the pen of someone more experienced in ways to use prose to embellish and flesh out the facts. However, perhaps the unadorned story is more useful for historical purposes.

This novel deals with the prisoners in the concentration camps who did jobs that put them in closer touch with German officers, tasks that carried perks like more food, better quarters, access to favors as long as the prisoner groveled properly when required. Although these prisoners often had no choice about taking on these “lighter” duties, they were seen by other prisoners as collaborators and their few rewards understandably were resented.

Lale, our tattooist was a young man on his way up. He worked in a department store until all the Jews were fired. He was and is a great admirer of women, although he doesn’t seem overbearing about it. He seems to possess some personal charm. When told to report to the train for transport he puts on a suit and tie. His mother makes him pack some books, which won’t matter because he will never see any of his personal items ever again. Not long after he arrives in the concentration camp he becomes assistant to the current tattooist and soon takes the lead tattooist’s place. In the camps people often just disappear, never for a good reason. Lale, as the tattooist, gets extra food and a room of his own. He does not have to labor with a shovel from sun up to sun down. He makes sure to pass some of his extra food along to his old bunkmates.

Once he sees Gita in the nearby women’s camp he falls in love and she returns his affection. Gita works in an office keeping records and lives in a barracks with girls who have named the building where they work Canada because that sounds like a safe place. They sort through and categorize the possessions the Germans take from prisoners. Lale eventually finds a way to take some of the jewelry slipped to him by Gita’s friends and exchange it for food, mainly sausages and chocolate, which he shares to supplement the starvation fare in the camp. The love that grows between Lale and Gita fuels their will to survive.

Every day he steadily tattooes numbers on the arms of more prisoners at Auschwitz and Birkenau, a flood of dispossessed people doomed by one man’s madness. Lale describes the building of the furnaces and the human ashes that drift down over all and have to be ignored for reasons of sanity and survival. But emotional content is missing and it just seems a bit superficial given the horrific circumstances and the daily dread – more news report than work of fiction. Maybe the way Lale survives is exactly is how some people survive by convincing themselves that they are able to use those who have imprisoned them. When so many were shot on the spot for the slightest infraction Lale’s good fortunes seem unlikely. The story could be true but it could be what one man told himself to get by.

The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris does bring up the often examined issue of whether people like Lale were collaborators or just survivors. If it is true, this represents a rare alternative view inside the concentration camps. I don’t recall reading another book about collaborators within the camps, although there are many books about collaborators in occupied territories and much speculation about what makes someone a collaborator and even about degrees of collaboration. Although I am not enamored of the art of the book it raises interesting issues and takes us back to that question of what we would have been capable of in similar circumstances. So many brave survivors came out of the camps that I’m not sure Lale’s story seems similarly heroic, but perhaps it should.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – American Jewish University

The Left’s New Conservative Friends

A number of Conservative thinkers have joined the lefties on MSNBC because they agree that Trump in the White House is an appalling atrocity. Left and right meet in a sort of stunned middle to try to inform voters about why Donald J. Trump is a danger to our democracy/republic.

We treat these erudite icons of Conservative opinion with respect. We give George Will, David Frum, David Brooks, Rick Wilson, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, and even Bill Kristol places on our panels of pundits and we listen to what they have to say. Perhaps we even suppose that they have been “woke”.

They appear with gray countenances and grizzled faces full of worry and pain. They look so tired and world weary. It is not that Republicans no longer embrace Conservative views, but most are busy pandering to Trump so these learned men seem stodgy, and because they cannot deal with Trump they are sidelined for the moment. Of course most Conservatives are not at all interested in economic equality and neither are these venerable men and women of the right. But Donald has no patience with the ivy league set, and could not moderate his behavior even if he wanted to be in the club. After all he was the best student at the best college in America and it wasn’t Harvard or Princeton.

All this being shunted aside has given Conservatives plenty of time for writing. Rick Wilson recently published Everything Trump Touches Dies. George Will just presented the world with The Conservative Sensibility. David Brooks’ book The Second Mountain just arrived on book shelves. David Frum wrote Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the America Republic, and World War Trump, 2019. Jennifer Rubin writes a column called Right Turn in the Washington Post, Bill Kristol still writes in The New York Times, Max Boot wrote The Road Not Taken in 2018, and Joe Scarborough fell in love with a Democrat and now speaks against the Trump administration on Morning Joe.

Those of us on the left who admire the new friends we have found for their intelligent commentary on the Trump administration should not imagine that these folks will stick around when (if) Trump is gone. Read their books. They still speak those Conservative talking points we all know so well, covered in philosophical rhetoric that makes their political ideas more opaque. When they speak about too much individualism and link that with the Democrats they are saying several things at once. Individualism is bad or its good depending on the point they wish to make.

If they are arguing that social benefits are bad for us because they squelch any struggle for survival that might produce extraordinary new inventions, businesses, organizations, they are actually making a horrified outcry against what they consider to be socialism and another way our (capitalist) republic could die. As I have said before, I am not opposed to capitalism, but I am opposed to unregulated capitalism. I also believe that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that our economy is rigged in favor of those who already have money. These thinkers do not agree. They think our economy is working exactly as it should.

In addition to worrying about individuality, Conservative thinkers also bemoan the loss of a sense of community. They seem to express this as a lack of spirituality (church, religion) and therefore of morals. I doubt that these folks would think the rise of Bible classes in American schools is unconstitutional. They see this as a positive thing, although it is aimed to make people less tolerant of people who practice other religions. Conservatives want America to be a Christian nation which might be alright if it wasn’t so 9th century. Since it pits Christians against Muslims and even Jewish people it could end in a religious war.

Another thing these thinkers have in common is a desire to ditch technology like computers and cell phones, etc. Clearly technology complicates both domestic and foreign affairs. People tend to live in their machines, in their bubbles. There are few ways that we know of to extend moral rules to activities like hacking. We can make the rules but they are too easily broken and the outcomes are often positive for the hackers. I doubt if we can run the reel of culture backwards. Computers may bring us a brave new world or they may be so ruined that they must be discarded. We’ll see.

Republicans see governing as a top-down process. So do some wealthy Democrats. But Democrats who must make their way up in a very lop-sided economy tend to see governing as a bottom-up operation. Normally Republicans who are not wealthy would have more in common with the Democrats in the same situation but these Republicans have been co-opted by the propagandists in right wing media. Conservatives are unlikely to ever understand or accept the new Dems.

So just don’t be surprised when our new Conservative friends wander back to the right wing fold when things get a bit less extreme. They are after all moderates on the right, they have not become part of the left. We appreciate their advice, their pronouncements about the evils of Trump; but as for the rest we must always remember that in their heart of hearts they still hold Conservative ideas and will help Republicans implement them when this fever breaks (if it ever does). With apologies to Jennifer Rubin, if these Ivy League educated entitled white male elites would spend a year pretending to be poor they might write a different book. I would definitely buy that book.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – gallup.com

June 2019 Book List

June 2019 Book List

Summer months often see publishers offering readers plenty of treasures, perhaps to attract readers who have more time to read in the summer. Lots of good books on this June Book List. I tend to try to be reasonable about the number of books I add asterisks to, because I cannot possibly read everything. Books with asterisks are not my recommendations for everyone. They are my picks for me. Sometimes I wish I could be cloned and one version of me could happily spend all her time reading while the other version of me could do laundry, clean bathrooms, mop floors, cook meals, do dishes, and socialize. Alas another part of me hopes we never learn how to clone ourselves and accepts that I have to read when I can. I share my reviews on goodreads.com. (as Nancy Brisson) I also have a book blog https://nbrissonsbookblog.com

Please stop by.

Amazon

Literature and Fiction

The Stationery Shop: A Novel by Marjan Kamali

The Travelers: A Novel by Regina Porter

Patsy: A Novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Kane

The History of Living Forever: A Novel by Jake Wolff

On Earth We Were Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong

Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner *

The Porpoise: A Novel by Mark Haddon

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert *

Mystery and Thriller

Joe Country (Slough House) by Mick Herron

The Sentence is Death: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch

Keep You Close: A Novel by Karen Cleveland

Murder in Bel-Air (An Aimeé Leduc Investigation) by Cara Black

One Night at the Lake: A Novel by Sarah Galley

The Darwin Affair: A Novel by Tim Mason

This Storm: A Novel by James Ellroy

Rogue Strike (A Jake Keller Thriller) by David Ricciardi

The Summer We Lost Her by Tish Cohen

Biographies and Memoirs

Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier by Mark Kram Jr.

We Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson by Bruce Conforth, Gayle Dean Wardlow

The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un by Anna Fifield

And Then It Fell Apart by Moby

Naturally Tan: A Memoir by Tan France

The Beautiful No: Tales of Trials, Transcendence and Transformation by Sheri Salata

Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West by John Faliaferro

My Parents: A Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You by Aleksandar Hermon

On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff, Lydia Yuknavitch

Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line by Ryan Leigh Dostie

Nonfiction

Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love by Naomi Wolf

The Ice at the End of the World: A Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner

William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ‘n’ Roll by Casey Rae

Eyes in the Eye: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and Now it Will Watch Us All by Arthur Holland Michel

Underland: A Deep Journey by Robert Macfarlane

The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell’s 1984 by Dorian Lynskey

Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan

More Fun in the New World, The Unmaking and Legacy of La Punk by John Doe, Tom DeSavia

VC: An American History by Tom Nicholes (Venture Capital)

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghose Ship, a Killer and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Fall, or Dodge in Hell: A Novel by Neal Stephenson *

War (House War) by Michelle West

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry *

Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone *

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

The Lesson: A Novel by Cadwell Turnbull *

Magic for Liars: A Novel by Sarah Galley

The Outside by Ada Hoffmann

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

The New York Times Book Review

May 3

Fiction

The Flight Portfolio: A Novel by Julie Orringer

Henry, Himself by Stewart O’Nan

Oksena Behave by Maria Zuznetsova

Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick

The Spectators by Jennifer duBois

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

Homeland by Fernando Aramburu

Nonfiction

Firefighting by Ben S. Bernanki, Timothy F. Geithner and Henry M. Paulson Jr.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs

So Much Longing in So Little Space: The Art of Edvard Munch by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent by Paul Mendes-Flohr (Bio)

The Lost Gutenberg by Margaret Davis

Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe by Sheri Berman *

Crime

The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone *

Black Mountain by Laird Barron

The Unquiet Heart by Kaite Welsh

The Woman in the Blue Cloak by Deon Meyer

May 10

Nonfiction

Our Man (Bio of Richard Holbrooke) by George Packer *

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb *

Leap of Faith by Michael J. Mazarr (Why Iraq War)

Fall and Rise by Mitchell Zuckoff (9/11) *

Beeline by Shalini Shankar

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez by Aaron Bobrow-Strain

The Second Mountain by David Brooks *

The Shortlist

Blueprint by Nicholas Christakis

Humanimal by Adam Rutherford

Genesis by E.O. Wilson

Fiction

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Revolutionaries by Joshua Furst (60’s)

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The Binding by Bridget Collins

May 17

Nonfiction

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

Who Brooklyn was Queer by Hugh Ryan

The Body Papers by Grace Taluson

Mother is a Verb by Sarah Knott

Sea People by Christina Thompson (Polynesia)

Endeavor by Peter Moore (Polynesia)

The Golden Age by Ian Kershaw

The Heartland by Kristine L. Hoganson

Nanaville by Anna Quindlen (True Short Stories)

Fiction

Not by Bryan Washington (Short stories)

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad *

Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum

The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza (from Argentina)

May 24

Nonfiction

The British are Coming by Rick Atkinson *

Sissy by Jacob Tobia

Real Queer America by Samantha Allen

The Player’s Ball by David Kushner

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

The Impeachers by Brenda Wineapple

Upheaval by Jared Diamond

The Last Job by Dan Bilefsky

Ghosts of Gold Mountain by Gordon H. Chang

Fiction

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif *

Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg

The Farm by Joanne Ramos *

Shortlist (new French fiction)

The Cook by Maylis de Kerangal

Waiting for Bojangles by Olivier Bourdeaut

Hold Fast Your Crown by Yannick Haenel

May 31

Fiction

The Poison Bed by Elizabeth Fremantle

Dream Sequence by Adam Fould

Prince of Monkeys by Nnamdi Ehirim

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura by Christine Wunnicke

Westside by W. M. Akers

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Throw Me to the Wolves by Patrick McGuinness

Dawson’s Fall by Roxana Robinson

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

Thomas and Beal in the Midi by Christopher Tilghman

The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin

Nonfiction

Mr. Know-it-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder by John Waters

How to Become a Federal Criminal by Mike Chase (reviewer says ‘very funny’)

How to Build a Boat by Jonathan Gornall

Boom by Michael Shnayerson

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones

K by Tyler Kepner

Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen by Brian Raftery

The Regency Years by Robert Morrison *

Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (‘the Winklevii)

Hotbox by Matt and Ted Lee

Cult of Dead Cow by Joseph Menn (hacking)

Funny Man by Patrick McGilligan (Mel Brooks)

Land of the Ozarks by Bill Geist

The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara

Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light by Peter Schjodahl

The Drama of Celebrity by Sharon Marcus

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books by Edward Wilson-Lee

Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century by Lorene Cary *

How to Forget by Kate Mulgrew *

Broadway, Balanchine and Beyond by Bettijane Sills

Dancing with Merce Cunningham by Marianne Preger-Simon

Out of the Shadows by Walt Odets

Underland by Robert Macfarlane

Publisher’s Weekly

May 3

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (F) (YA)

The Assassin of Verona by Benet Brandreth (F)

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang (Science Fiction) (Short stories) *

The Law of the Skies by Gregoire Courtois, trans. from French by Rhonda Mullens (F)

The Archive of Alternate Endings: A Novel by Lindsey Drager (F)

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna (F) *

The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler (NF)

Calm Seas and Prosperous Voyage by Bette Howland (Short Stories)

China Dream by Ma Jian, trans. from Chinese by Flora Drew (F)

The Flight Portfolio: A Novel by Julie Orringer (F)

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and The End of the American Century by George Packer (NF) *

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Paler (NF)

May 10

The British are Coming: The War for America: Lexington to Princeton Volume One of the Revolution Trilogy by Rick Atkinson *

The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver (F)

Dream Sequence by Adam Foulds (F)

A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism by Adam Gopnik (NF) *

Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir by Jason Greene (Memoir)

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif (F) *

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (F)

Dream Within a Dream by Patricia MacLachlan (YA)

The Satapur Moonstone: A Mystery of 1920’s India by Sujata Massey (F)

The Obsoletes by Simeon Mills (F)

Lanny by Max Porter (F)

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (NF)

Message from the Shadows by Antonio Tabucchi, trans. from Italian by Anne Milano (Short Stories)

May 17

Gather the Fortunes by Bryan Camp (Fantasy)

Riots I Have Known by Ryan Chapman (F)

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (F)

Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers (Short Stories)

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson (Thriller)

Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen (F)

Necessary People by Anna Pitonisk (F)

The Organs of Sense by Adam Ehrlich Sachs (F)

The Vinyl Frontier: The Story of the Voyager Golden Record by Jonathan Scott (NF)

Einstein’s War: How Relativity Triumphed Amid the Vicious Nationalism of World War I by Matthew Stanley (NF)

The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug by Steffanie A Strathdee, Thomas Patterson (NF)

May 24

Supernavigators: The Astounding New Science of How Animals Find Their Way by David Barrie (NF)

Time is the Thing a Body Moves Through: An Essay by T. Fleischmann (Essay)

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz (Mystery)

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne (Romance) *

Dark Site by Patrick Lee (F)

Austentatious: The Evolving World of Jane Austen Fans by Holly Luetkenhaus and Zoe Weinstein (NF)

May 31

A History of the Bible: The Story of the World’s Most Influential Book by John Barton (NF)

Exposed by Jean-Phillippe Blondel (F) *

This Storm by James Ellroy (F)

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (F) *

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (on Pride and Prejudice) (F)

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane (NF)

Out of the Shadows: Reimaging Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odets (Memoir)

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin (F)

Aug. 9 – Fog by Kathryn Scanlan (F) *

Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and his Restless Drive to Save the West by John Taliaferro (NF)

Love They Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor’s Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji with Alan Eisenstock (NF)

In West Mills by De ‘Shawn Charles Winslow (F)

 

 

 

 

 

Our Tone Deaf President and the Tornadoes

Climate Change Rollbacks Announced During Violent Tornado Season

President Trump has announced that he will roll back the remaining Obama climate change protections even as Americans face despair as their shelter, their life’s investment, turns into a pile of sticks in what may be the worst storm season ever for the middle of America. This President once again proves that he is tone deaf to the needs of American citizens and denying signals the earth is sending us about what the future will be like if we don’t at least try to lower COlevels. The President hates rules even those dictated by the universe. He knows better. His business degree gave him deep knowledge about science. Not. He loves most dictators. You would think he would admire a universe that is so powerful. But he likes money more.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/us/politics/trump-climate-science.html

A series of tornadoes has been devastating the midsection of America. Twelve straight days of tornadoes in and near Kansas City, MO has to have left residents in a state of constant dread that they will be in the bullseye next.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/us/tornadoes-usa.html

An Accuweather article sums us these intense weather systems, which seem more serious than even a normally busy tornado season. Every day the pictures in the news show what were once houses that sheltered real people or malls where people shopped reduced to wooden sticks and roof sections. In many cases rubble is all the storm leaves behind.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/storm-ravaged-central-us-braces-for-more-tornadoes-flooding-into-tuesday/70008368

Photo Credit: From Google Image Searches; Kansas and Oklahoma – ABC News, WSJ, WSJ, CBS 42, orig.jacksonsun.com, watcher’s news, Accuweather, CT Post

Trump Cheats

LEON NEAL

Trump Cheats

Running against Trump is not a fate I would wish for anyone. I wish the candidate who wins the Democratic primary  did not have to run against this nasty piece-of-enigma. Trump cheats. Trump’s behavior is not limited by rules. He sneers at rules. Rules are for chumps. And he has been able to get away with breaking the rules for so long that he believes he is invincible. I am worried that his unfounded confidence makes it almost impossible to discover his “kryptonite”.

He has the Senate in his corner. Cynical Republicans in Congress have wholeheartedly embraced this criminal bottom feeder hiding in the oval office because he makes them think that he (and therefore they) will keep mysteriously winning. For now the winning is all too real. But the winning is real because Trump cheats. The Republican Party has also been doing a lot of cheating. If there are no moral rules, no philosophical stops, no conscience, and no guilt you can use any tactics against your opponents. If your opponents are determined to uphold some principles (as in this case the Democrats are)  then the probability of beating them goes way up because Trump and the Republicans can just use lots of no-holds-barred politics and violate the Constitution they have pledged to uphold, and there you have it.

How Does Trump Cheat?

How does Trump cheat you may well ask. Trump began cheating even while campaigning and we watched him do it but we could never prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Being negative about an opponent is considered quite acceptable in an election although voters are always moaning about how they hate negative ads. Finding your opponents past impurities and exaggerating them is AOK.

But I believe there is a difference between airing someone’s past political inconsistencies and totally demonizing someone. The kinds of conspiracy theories that turn a fairly normal Secretary of State and grandmother into someone who finds children for child predators and eats babies, stories which circulated about Hillary, goes beyond the pale. Why people like to believe these products of someone’s overactive imagination is tough to understand until you realize how many times these stories are repeated and called to the attention of people who also happen to be voters. But someone believed it so well that he took a long gun to a DC pizza parlor to bust up the trafficking operation that was supposedly going on in the basement of the establishment.

The numbers in the elections were not on Trump’s side when he began campaigning. Hillary had the electoral college threshold within reach; every poll said so. However several events occurred in the final months of the campaign. Videos started to appear on social media that claimed that Hillary was sick and even dying. Trump began this attack on Hillary’s health, although he had no actual medical data to back up his remarks. And of course, Hillary actually did have a fairly serious case of pneumonia. Campaigning is hard work. She let herself get run down, but she was certainly not dying.

I don’t remember when another candidate in an election has “owned” a whole television news channel dedicated day and night to putting a single political party into office by playing on the grievances of some American voters. Fox “News” may have backed the Republican Party but it soon became the channel of Trump.

The time line is important-notice proximity to the election:

Someone at the FBI found Hillary emails on Andrew Weiner’s laptop and that refreshed the ire about Hillary’s use of a private server. Her assistant, Huma Abedin, a Muslim, it was suggested, may have leaked classified materials to her estranged husband’s laptop with sinister intent (something, something terrorists). (Huma Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, MI).

  • On July 5, 2016, former FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau would recommend that charges not be filed in the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email system while heading the State Department.
  • On Sept. 26, 2016, the FBI executed a search warrant on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s iPhone, iPad and laptop computer, and discovered 141,000 emails on the laptop that were potentially relevant to the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton. Longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin was married to Weiner at the time. (Abedin’s lawyer said early this year the couple was privately finalizing their divorce.) Weiner was being separately investigated for “sexting” with an underage teenage girl.
  • A month later, on Oct. 28, 2016, Comey told lawmakers in a letter that the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” and that investigators would “review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information.”
  • On Nov. 6, 2016, Comey told Congress in a follow-up memo that the FBI had “reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State” and that officials “have not changed our conclusions.”
  • The election took place Nov. 8, 2016.

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/08/clintons-emails-weiners-laptop-and-a-falsehood/

It is highly unlikely that Trump initiated this FBI timeline but he certainly used it to full advantage with plenty of innuendo and “rigged” election speech. But clearly the timing of this FBI announcement was very suspicious. However it is also highly unlikely that Comey was in cahoots with Trump, although I suppose someone may have tipped the FBI off about the emails on Weiner’s computer, and we have had no reporting about who that might have been.

The Access Hollywood tapes were aired on October 7, 2016 and things looked bad for Trump for a while. But Trump’s friend Roger Stone seems to have signaled for the Wikileaks dumps to begin an hour later. Why did Trump command such loyalty from so many influential, but shady men? Why did some Americans want a man like Trump to be President? Why did the American people want a president whose elections tactics seemed so underhanded? Again a 24/7 news outlet, which was able to spin everything in favor of a man who turned an election into a mafia movie, had an enormous effect as it ginned up the angers that talk radio hosts had spent a decade implanting in American brains.

Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post • January 29, 2019 10:31 am
Updated: January 29, 2019 10:31 am

“The revelation in The Washington Post of a tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women landed just after 4 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2016.

Less than an hour later, WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy organization founded by Julian Assange, began releasing hacked emails from the account of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.”

https://bangordailynews.com/2019/01/29/national-politics/roger-stone-wanted-wikileaks-dump-to-distract-from-access-hollywood-tape-mueller-witness-says/

Many things happened to help Trump win the 2016 election that he had no control over. But he certainly responded to negative information very quickly using distraction to great advantage. There is still all the Russia interference in the election that followed Trump’s tacit statement of permission for Russia to jump into the mix.

“Russian officials began to target email addresses associated with Hillary Clinton’s personal and campaign offices “on or around” the same day Donald Trump called on Russia to find emails that were missing from her personal server, according to a new indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said in a July 27, 2016 news conference…

After the July, 2016 news conference, critics slammed Trump for apparently encouraging foreign actors to steal information from his opponent. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity and a matter of politics to being a national security issue,” the Clinton campaign said in a statement after Trump’s remarks…

Mueller’s indictment details a sophisticated, large-scale hacking effort by 12 Russian officers to interfere with the 2016 elections by stealing documents from private servers and staging their release through fake online personas, such as Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

In all, the Russian officials and their co-conspirators targeted more than 300 people associated with the Clinton campaign and other Democratic Party organizations starting in March 2016, the indictment says.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said no Americans knew they were communicating with Russians in this indictment and he had no evidence that the outcome of the election was affected.”

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-asked-russia-to-find-clintons-emails-on-or-around-the-same-day-russians-targeted-her-accounts

Rob Rosenstein had no evidence that the election was not affected either.

I have never heard a candidate who wished to be the President of America ask Russia to help them do anything or learned that so many, or indeed any contacts, took place between a campaign and Russians. Here is another tactic that seems absolutely beyond the pale, except this particular man knows how to get others to cheat for him so it is almost impossible to pin anything underhanded on him. We know he cheats, we can see him doing it, but we cannot prove it.

How Barr turned the Mueller Report into a Fiasco

When a special investigator was finally appointed, it took Mueller almost 2 years to conduct an investigation. Throughout those 2 years we heard Trump address Mueller constantly, using a bullhorn to make sure everyone could hear him say that he is not guilty, which made us suspect all the more that he is very guilty. Trump managed to put an attorney general in place just before the investigation ended who believes, according to a document he produced, in the absolute power of the President.

With the acceptance of William Barr to be the AG we the people were screwed. We suspect Barr called a halt to the investigation; we know he commandeered the official report and handed out a less-than-adequate summary of the contents of the report. Although he later gave people (voters) access to a heavily redacted version of the report he did this only after the fake verdict had already had time to set in. The majority leader in the Senate who does whatever Trump asks and nothing more has declared the case closed.

Trump has defied the House of Representatives and the Constitution by refusing to cooperate in any way with House investigations. He has ignored subpoenas; has told all his peeps to ignore subpoenas. And there we are, where we stand right now with our cheater-in-chief and an election looming. I do not believe there is one Democratic candidate willing to cheat the way Trump has, with no respect for the rule of law or even the rules of political warfare. Trump cheats bigly.

How do Republicans cheat?

How do the Republicans cheat? The Republicans cheat by messing with votes, Democratic Party votes. Statistics show exactly who votes for Democrats so it is an easy matter to target them with a flurry of annoying tactics, each of which must be discovered and defused. These attacks on voters are so numerous and enacted at such local levels that it is difficult to overturn each and every one before a given election day. Our elections, which I used to feel were very well run, protected by the (now toothless) Voters Rights Act which were mostly fair and free, are beginning to seem like beleaguered mine fields of purged voter rolls, gerrymandered districts, polling places that keep getting cut and cuts in the number of voting days, Russian hackers, and any other thing some Republican comes up with. It is always Republicans trying to suppress Democratic votes. There is no evidence that Democrats have tried to suppress Republican votes and that is because Dems have not been doing that. Republicans have been cheating for decades.

Holding an election in such a chaotic landscape fills me with dread that we are doomed to four more years of Donald Trump because he and his people are willing to cheat to win and the Democrats are not. And cheaters seem to be winning these days. It doesn’t seem like it should be like that. You would think voters would not vote for cheaters. Will this election have any oversight?

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search; CNN.com