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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Addressing U.S. allies at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the audience: "I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump." After five seconds of total silence, Pence soldiered on. read more


Monday, February 11, 2019

This is well worth another listen. It stunned American journalists when it was first broadcast in July 2017 for its non-hyperbolic, straight-from-the-shoulder assessment. It still amazes me that it was rendered less than six months into Trump's presidency and yet concisely summarizes what thinking commentators now universally conclude. Daring and accurate at the time; still as accurate today.

Of the many reports on Uhlmann's piece, I chose the link to the Daily KOS report because the Daily KOS added no comment or characterization to it and because it included a verbatim transcript.

Uhlman's penultimate sentence: "Some will cheer the decline of America, but I think we'll miss it when it's gone." read more


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Intelligence officials briefing Trump daily are frustrated by Trump's ignorance and uninquisitiveness regarding world affairs and his indifference to the national security information they try to relate to him. read more


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Caught on closeup video: A teen wearing a red MAGA cap approached an elderly Native American demonstrator who was chanting and beating a hand-held drum. The teen stepped up uncomfortably close to the older man and, with a smirk on his face, proceeded to try to stare him down. He failed. read more


Saturday, January 12, 2019

On Saturday morning, Jan. 12, Trump tweeted: "Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof after I fired Lyin' James Comey, a total sleaze!" [Italics added.] read more


Comments

Well after the United States of America was created by the Founding Fathers, it was a slave state, certainly not a democracy. In the U.S., women couldn't vote in national elections until 99 years ago, and racial minorities weren't functionally guaranteed voting rights until 1965 -- with some currently Republican, formerly Democratic states still struggling to keep up racial barriers.

Because of the Electoral College, U.S. citizens aren't permitted to vote for U.S. presidents directly. The number of electoral votes each state gets is based on population -- not the number of its citizens, much less citizens of voting age -- with each state receiving two electoral votes above that, regardless of population. Consequently, again population-wise, just one Wyoming citizen-voter's vote has the electoral weight of the votes of 3.6 California citizen-voters.

Nobody knows how many citizens of voting age reside in each state, the U.S. Census Bureau can only estimate that as 25,002,812 +/- 40,384 for California and 434,584 +/- 2,884 for Wyoming. (See: www.census.gov) But even if those voting-age-citizen estimates are used instead of population, just one Wyoming citizen-voter's vote has the electoral weight of the votes of 3.1 California citizen-voters.

Consequently, as far as U.S. presidential elections go, they're hardly democratic, with a small "d." This all is just one strike against the quality of U.S. democracy.

The U.S. is now ranked 25th on The Economist's democracy index behind Canada (6th) and the U.K. (14th). Not surprising, considering. It is interesting that the top-three rated democracies -- Norway, Iceland and Sweden -- are among those providing their citizens with universal health care and free tertiary education.

The WHO (World Health Organization) ranks the Canada health care system 12th and the U.S. system 24th, and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) ranks Canadian 15-year-olds well above their United States counterparts in all three categories: math, reading and science.

While it is a fine goal, of course, I can't imagine a thinking person believing U.S. democracy currently deserves to be ranked near the top.

Congress authorizes sanctions against Russia, but Trump decides they're not necessary, so he doesn't put them into effect. The G-7 excludes Russia; Trump argues to let it back in. So, why is Trump consistently cow towing to Putin? What does Putin have on Trump? Certainly not just some soggy-bottomed Russian prostitutes.

How about this -- it's blindingly simple:

By 2015-2016, Trump and Russian oligarchs already are firm business buddies. The Russian government then conspires with Trump and his campaign for Russia to expend a whole lot of money on Electoral College research and on resources like Guccifer 2.0, Fancy Bear, Grizzly Steppe, Glavset, (who knows what all) with all sorts of Internet social-media schemes to try to get Trump elected president. Then, after Trump wins, Putin suggests -- most probably quite indirectly -- that he will not let the world know about that very conspiracy -- as long as he and Trump get along, of course.

So, for as long as all this is a secret, Putin has Trump wearing a collar and leash. And when it finally becomes known (which Putin himself can arrange at anytime), Putin doesn't mind -- it's a feather in his cap for having outsmarted the U.S. electoral system and the U.S. president: Putin looks like a genius, Trump looks like a chump.

Sure, it was a long shot that Trump could win the presidency without all this proposed Russian assistance, but if this Russian scheme worked -- What a payoff!

Prestige for Putin; treason for Trump. Russian oligarchy appears strong and in control. American democracy appears weak and falling apart. Putin can't lose.

Just an idea. Surely there can't be anything to it.

When Steinberg says it's virtually impossible for Trump to win re-election, and he and others talk about Trump's falling job approval polls with the electorate -- meaning the people's votes -- they are forgetting that the American people do not elect the president. The Electoral College does. And that is heavily stacked in favor of less-populated and rural states. One Wyoman's vote has about the same electoral weight as the votes of four Californians. That heavily favors red states. That was true in 2016 and it will be true in 2020. (See Ben Waddell's piece: "Donald Trump Is Still The Favorite To Win In 2020 -- Just Look At The Midterm Map" www.huffingtonpost.com)

So, I think Trump will not resign in 2019 -- or in 2020. I hope I'm wrong. And I hope he doesn't win re-election despite the Electoral College. If Trump doesn't win re-election, here's my fun, but unfunny, prediction as to what will happen before the president-elect is sworn in:

In the early weeks of January 2021, Trump will go to Mar-a-Lago to play golf. During the round, he will resign the presidency by letter (the Secret Service -- whom Trump will have ordered to stand down -- will later find it in his golf bag) and Trump will be spirited away by a private helicopter owned by an unspecified billionaire supporter to an unspecified airport where he will board a private jet owned by an unspecified billionaire supporter and be flown to an unspecified foreign country where he will reside in an unspecified villa owned by an unspecified billionaire supporter. Pence will become president for days or weeks, and he will pardon Trump and his family for any federal crimes they may have committed. Trump will never return to the United States because he would be arrested and prosecuted for state crimes. His family, all of whom will be out of the country on vacation at the time, will not return either for the same reason.

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