Watergate for Dummies

constitution

Rational people watching what’s happening in the Divided States of America are rightly worried. Really worried.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein, the one-time Washington Post reporter who made his bones breaking stories on the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, calls Trump’s appointment of Matt Whitaker as head of the Mueller investigation a Presidential coup.

George Conway, husband of Trump propagandist Kellyanne Conway and a Conservative Washington lawyer with solid Republican credentials, felt compelled to write a New York Times op-ed saying Whitaker’s appointment is unconstitutional.

Even before the Whitaker appointment, retired U.S. Airways pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who demonstrated his coolness in crisis by landing a plane with 155 passengers aboard on the Hudson River, says he has never been more worried about the future of his country.

Former CIA director John Brennan, who called Trump’s slavish performance in Helsinki treasonous, warns the nation of a looming constitutional crisis.

Michael Hayden, a much-decorated four star General and former Director of both the National Security Agency and the CIA, cautions the country about the fragility of the veneer of civilization.

Brennan and Hayden, in particular, are serious men and American patriots of the highest order who have spent their lives in the service of their country.

As has Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, the rich kid who volunteered to go to Vietnam, where he was wounded in action, and later gave up a lucrative private law practice to prosecute bad guys for a comparable pittance.

On the other side of the ledger lives the evil presence of Donald Trump, a venal conman who dodged the draft in pursuit of money, proudly avoids paying taxes, cheated students at his bogus ‘university’ and on his three wives, bullies all who oppose him, praises murderous thugs like Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte and proclaims at his frightening mob rallies that he “loves” Kim Jong Un, the unhinged psychopath who starves his people, killed his half-brother and sent an American student home in a fatal coma for pilfering a poster.

When I first began writing about Donald Trump, I did so for amusement. He seemed the perfect comic foil with his ferret-top hair, orange-tinted perma-tan and ridiculous bombast. This is a man who phoned New York media outlets pretending to be his own publicist, confiding in a laughably concealed voice that he, Donald Trump, was being pursued by all the women in New York City.

I viewed him, as so many others did, as someone to be mocked, an orange clown with bad hair and a limited vocabulary.

I’m not laughing anymore.

Trump is a malevolent, malicious, criminal. A paranoid narcissist who views the world through the narrow focus of how it affects him. He has no ideology, no beliefs outside what benefits his shallow existence. No spirituality, zero empathy. No boundaries when it comes to his own survival, even if it means appealing to the worst element in America with fearmongering and lies. Even if it means violence and death. Even if it means bringing the country down with him.

Trump is cult leader Jim Jones without the mind addling drugs. He exudes unctuousness and demands total devotion from his mesmerized and often slow-witted followers. His hypocrisy is breathtaking, his lack of shame an indication of serious mental pathology. He once agreed with shock jock Howard Stern that his daughter Ivanka was “a piece of ass.” He values loyalty, on a one-way street.

Take his treatment of Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Senator who supported him from the beginning, the first serious sitting politician to join the Trump camp. Sessions gave up his safe Senate seat for his dream job of Attorney General, in his mind a fitting reward for his loyal service.

It should be said I have no sympathy for Sessions, who stood by Trump through his rancorous campaign of bigotry and lies. If he didn’t get the measure of the man during those months of daily contact he probably wasn’t qualified for the job of highest law enforcement officer in the land. But that is beside the point when looking at Trump’s view of loyalty.

Sessions, a proud conservative extremist who was nominated for a judgeship in 1986 but not confirmed because of controversial comments on race, proved to be more of a law and order man than Trump expected. Sessions took the advice of ethics people at the Department of Justice and recused himself from the Russia investigation because of his involvement in the campaign.

As Attorney General, Sessions implemented the extreme agenda Trump needed to appeal to his frightened mouth-breathing base. But this wasn’t enough for Dear Leader, who wanted a Roy Cohen-like pit bull who would use every dirty trick available to thwart the investigation that threatened his Presidency.

When Sessions couldn’t deliver, Trump began a campaign of public humiliation to get his resignation, so he could put in place a stooge. He called him weak and questioned his manhood. Sessions stood his ground, using the bad optics of his dismissal before the midterms to keep his job.

Within hours of the polls closing, Trump made his move, ordering Chief of Staff John Kelly to do his dirty work. Sessions asked for a few days to clear up his desk. The once-respected Marine General said no.

Trump got his stooge in Matt Whitaker, the wannabe politician who auditioned for the job on CNN by laying out a scenario in which an acting AG could shut down the Mueller investigation by starving it of funds. No matter that he hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate, has a questionable past working for a Florida company that cost consumers $26 million before being shut down as a scam and is otherwise unqualified for the job.

To get to his stooge, Trump had to pass over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Senate-confirmed Republican he picked for the job, who was next in line under the normal succession.

One wonders what it will take for the Republican Congress to wake up to the danger Trump represents. What level of debasement will he sink to before the rational people of the “self-proclaimed greatest country on earth” rise up.

Hitler was a monster disguised as a ranting clown with a bad mustache and worse hair. Kim Jong Un is an overfed fiend masquerading as a messiah in fat-concealing custom suits and cropped clown hair. Donald Trump is a diabolical brute, a schemer without conscience who cloaks his malice in grade school insults delivered from a pursed-lipped, oily orange clown face shaded under a swooping aircraft carrier comb-over of indeterminate colour.

The Shining City Goes Dark

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The abomination that is the Donald Trump presidency can no longer be thought of as an aberration. The Conman-in-Chief represents the values of a significant portion of the country’s electorate. He is symptomatic of what the nation has become.

The U.S. midterms were viewed by many observers as a referendum on human decency. Nothing short of a total rejection of the Bloviating Orange Blowhard’s corruption, lying and fearmongering would qualify as redemption for a country that likes to bill itself as a “shining city on the hill.” The world now knows that the hilltop has gone dark. The blue wave upon which rode the hopes of humanity’s better nature washed ashore not as a tsunami but instead as a spent swell that failed to muster a whitecap in the political swamp.

Both sides will claim victory. Democrats will tout the oversight significance of taking over the House and Republicans will bray about expanding control in the Senate and through it the nation’s courts.

Winning without honor is America’s thing in the New Millennium.

American voters saw fit to re-elect two candidates running under felony indictments. They gave the blatant racist Steve King a seat in Congress to legitimatize his abhorrent world view. Trump toady Ted Cruz was rewarded for embracing the man who denigrated his father and insulted his wife. It’s a long way from the inspiration of the Alamo to modern day Texas.

In Florida, voters handed the keys to the Governor’s mansion to another Trump toady who campaigned with racial dog whistles and misused his infant son in a sickening sycophantic ad. The good people of Georgia empowered the guy who spent years rigging the vote as the state’s partisan Secretary of State and then refused to recuse himself from overseeing the voting process in which he was a candidate. It wouldn’t pass muster with democracy watchdogs in a third-rate country.

Voters handed the Conman-in-Chief what he interprets as a get out of jail card. And they did so with eyes wide open, knowing he was an unindicted co-conspirator with his former personal lawyer for flaunting campaign finance laws. They knew he was a pathological liar, a tax evader, a draft dodger, a philanderer, a fear-mongerer, a bully, a danger to their precious democracy and a petty person of low moral character.

It didn’t take the Malignant Mango Megalomaniac long to act out. With the results of the mid-terms still undecided in some races, the Conman-in-Chief moved to protect himself from the Mueller investigation by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointing someone who has publicly discussed ways to muzzle the Special Prosecutor. He threatened a Democratic Congress with counter investigations if they dare subpoena his taxes.

Donald Trump, the silver spoon daddy’s boy who has never suffered the consequences of a life spent grifting in pursuit of material gain, is scared spitless at the prospect of his many financial wrongdoings being exposed. He is a desperate and dangerous narcissist capable of anything to save his orange skin.

With a constitutional crisis looming and unknown depredations waiting to reveal themselves as Trump’s legal troubles mount on multiple fronts, it is now crystal clear that Americans have the government they so justly deserve.

Enablers have blood on their hands

 

Last week started with the President of the United States covering up the murder of a journalist and U.S. resident by a Middle East money lender who is Crown Prince Jared Kushner’s BFF, progressed through a nationwide bomb scare that threatened the lives of two past Presidents, among other high-profile Trump critics, and ended with mass murder in a place of worship in Mr. Rogers upscale Pittsburgh neighborhood.

The worried world watches and waits, wondering if Trump’s heavily armed deplorables will easily surrender their moment in the spotlight or if the Dear Leader and his plethora of bootlickers will inspire bloody insurrection from the mentally unhinged fringe element if the election doesn’t go their way. .

The self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” is a boiling cauldron of hatred ready to bubble over into post-election violence that could engulf the country and impact the entire globe.

White House leakers say the Mango Megalomaniac, his feverish brain sweating the investigations a Democratic win will bring, is working on a scheme to discredit a negative GOP result with conspiracy theories and court challenges.

Few objective observers expect anything less from this malignant narcissist? But what about the supporting cast of sanctimonious sycophants, religious wingnuts and faux patriots who masquerade their cowardice in the folds of the flag.

Presumably unencumbered by mental illness, regular CNN Trump enablers like Rick Santorum, Steve Cortes, Alice Stewart and Scott Jennings, among many others, twist themselves into human pretzels denying the obvious unfitness of their choice for the highest office in the land. They cluck about entertainer Trump versus presidential Trump, separating the toxicity of his venom and evil clown antics emanating from the Oval Office as if he were a toddler going through the terrible twos.

They justify their advocacy by citing supposed successes, most notably the seating of two ultra conservative judges to the Supreme Court. The plain politically incorrect truth is that a monkey could put his finger on the list provided by the Federalist Society and get his picks through a Senate top-loaded with tree-swingers.

The much-vaunted tax reduction for the rich, the only significant legislation passed by a Congress and Executive Branch dominated by Republicans, is so unpopular GOP candidates aren’t talking about it in the run up to the midterms, instead preferring to vilify a caravan of poor people a thousand miles and weeks of walking away from America.

Family values stalwart and Republican operative Stewart, a crucifix prominent on her throat most nights, admits to being dismayed by the pussy grabbing tape, porn star and Playboy bunny payoffs, philandering and sexual assault accusations but rationalizes voting for Trump because he appointed Supreme Court judges who might overturn a woman’s right to control her own body.

Cortes, the Hispanic Chicago businessman and slavish Trump defender, overlooks Dear Leader’s divisive rhetoric and attacks upon his heritage by pointing out good job numbers bolstered by people of colour forced to work multiple jobs for subsistence wages.

Failed Presidential candidate Santorum, ever focused on future opportunities, smiles slyly to himself while mildly disavowing the most egregious Trump behavior, careful not to alienate the deplorable base key to his political ambition.

Jennings, the ‘aw shucks’ moderate, assuages his conscience and puts on a good guy face for his kids by disagreeing with the most offensive Trump methodology while supporting the man endangering the democracy they will inherit.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Leader Paul Ryan and their respective gangs of mouth-breathers, climate change deniers, religious ravers and NRA lap dogs have chosen to be on the wrong side of history for political expediency, implications for the future of the country be damned.

Evangelical scions like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham, intent on their mission to preserve the power and riches bestowed upon them by their earthly fathers, will presumably answer for their self-serving actions when they meet their Maker. Meanwhile, their followers will have some explaining to do at the Final Judgement for eschewing the biblical values they exalt in favour of an agenda carried out by a demented orange emissary of the dark underworld.

The Murdoch family and the right wing mercenaries at Fox News betray the viewers who support their privileged lifestyle by spewing venomous conspiracy theories and pumping out fake news 24/7 while Dear Leader demeans real journalists.

Oblivious to the havoc he reeks, Donald Trump stumps the country spewing poisonous rancor against all who oppose him, ingraining his invectives in the sick minds of violent fringe players like accused bomber Cesar Sayoc, seen chanting CNN sucks at Trump’s frightening mob rallies, and Robert Bowers, who adopted Trumpian tropes by calling immigrants “invaders” and lamenting that Jews are “infesting” America before carrying out his murderous rampage.

Historians may recognize the Dear Leader’s mental illness as a mitigating factor for the damage he has done. Not so for the ‘sane’ people he relies upon for support.

All Trump enablers are culpable in the carnage endangering their democracy. All of them have blood on their hands.

 

 

 

Own up America, many of you are deplorable

Until my mid-teens I bought everything America was selling. I swallowed brand USA with the naivete and fervor of a Trump University sucker.

I watched the westerns with chisel-jawed heroes like Randolph Scott and John Wayne fighting bad guys and blood-thirsty Indians. I idolized actor Audie Murphy who overcame his thespian shortcomings because audiences knew the decorated World War II veteran had the real life chops to play heroes.

Back before the Me Too Movement, I laughed  as Bob Hope delivered scantily clad show girls and double entendres to American service men protecting the world from communists in lonely far away outposts.

I worshiped Davie Crockett, Daniel Boone, Colonel Travis, Kit Carson. Resourceful men of integrity and true grit.

I looked up to your Presidents. I particularly liked Kennedy, the good Catholic family man whose philandering went unreported, when he faced down the tyrant Khrushchev. In my youthful mind U.S. Presidents represented a country with principles, a country that stood up to tyranny, no matter the cost, to keep us all safe.

The truth is, I wanted to be an American, not a polite Canadian with second rate celebrities, earnest heroes and boring politicians.

Then I grew up. Or at least expanded intellectually.

The illusion of America the Great, did not shatter immediately, smashed upon a sharp rock of reality. It peeled away, layer by layer, as historical truths gleaned from a lifetime of reading and travel began to sink in.

In this era of alternate facts and truth isn’t truth, here are a few myth shattering irrefutable facts easily verified on Google:

  • The Constitution Americans so revere was formulated by bigoted white men who viewed the concept of liberty through the toilet paper tube view of race. The liberty they envisioned did not include black people who slaved on their plantations, yellow people who died at back breaking labour for meager pay or red people whose lands were usurped in a cultural genocide that would eventually be given the highfalutin name of Manifest Destiny.
  • The United States is not a true democracy in which the majority rules. Money is the determining factor in getting elected. Lots of money. Even then the Presidential candidate who gets the most votes doesn’t always win, as evidenced by two of the last three Presidents. The Electoral College system was created to appease slave states. It is so complicated and antiquated most Americans could not tell you how it works, or why. The Senate is a smoke and mirrors democratic institution: in choosing a Supreme Court Justice who will determine the country’s direction for decades, a representative from Wyoming who might represent a couple hundred thousand voters carries the exact same weight as a Senator from California who represents 20 million constituents.
  • The U.S. is not a country in which no man is above the law. As if he were a Medieval monarch, the President retains the absolute power to pardon anyone of any crime, be it friend, family member or accomplice. It is an open question among constitutional scholars whether a President can pardon himself. Enough said.
  • The United States is not the land of the free. In America, incarcerating its own people is big business. The U.S. imprisons more of its citizens than any country in the world. It’s not even close.
  • The Supreme Court is not an impartial body above politics. This is a claim stunning in its brazenness, given the disgraceful nominating process the world just witnessed. Justices are appointed by the politicians in charge on the basis of their ideology. Period.
  • The U.S. is not the greatest country in the world, a place where all the rest of us want to live. It is a country that spends more on its military than the next five countries combined while its infrastructure crumbles and Americans die because they can’t afford health care. Once great cities like Detroit have been reduced to Third World dereliction. Chicago is a war zone. No one wants to move to Flint and drink toxic water or go to Puerto Rico to sit in the dark. It is a scary country whose heavily armed citizens are killing each other in nightclubs and movie theatres, restaurants and parks, churches and schools in record shattering numbers. The majority of the non-desperate world citizens prefer to live in stable countries and many no longer want to visit the States.
  • The U.S. has never been the shining city on the hill, a beacon of integrity for all the world to see. It is a country that has always put its own interests first regardless of morality. It has pillaged the world’s resources, never putting a dollar into a Third World country without the expectation of getting two out. The feigned indignation expressed by Lindsay Graham at the Saudis for killing a journalist, the same red-faced sputterings he unleashed at the “non-political” Kavanaugh hearings, would make for great satire if the subject matter wasn’t so horrifying. As Graham well knows, the U.S. has a long sordid history of propping up murderous tyrants, from Anastasia Somoza in Nicaragua to the Shah of Iran, from Saddam Hussein to Manual Noriega in Panama, until the latter’s blatant drug dealing became too public. America threw in with corrupt Vietnamese generals while dropping bombs, napalm and Agent Orange on people fighting for the right to determine their own country’s fate. All in the name of  their own national interests. Meanwhile Graham’s new BFF is cozying up to the current generation of tyrants, professing love for the North Korean thug who had his half-brother killed in a Singapore airport and returned the broken body of a barely alive U.S. student who pilfered a poster. The hypocritical Graham will no doubt eventually fall in line with U.S. leaders who are blatantly providing a cover story for a repressive tyrant who murdered a U.S.-based journalist then cut up his body.
  • Perhaps the greatest myth of all is inherent in the country’s name. The United States of America is anything but united. The plain-spoken, politically incorrect fact that nobody on network or cable television wants to say out loud is that the U.S. comprises a society in which a significant portion of its populace has deplorable values. There can be no other explanation for Donald Trump, who is a symptom not the cause of the country’s spiritual sickness. Hillary had it right. Trump supporters are deplorable. They laugh uproariously when their Dear Leader mocks a disabled person or sexual assault victim. They chant “Lock her up!” when he chastises a political opponent and then nod reverently when he tells them accused sexual predators are innocent until proven guilty. Trump supporters are the “very fine people” who marched with tiki torches and killed a woman in Charlottesville. They profess their love of Jesus and family values while supporting a man who cheats on his wife with porn stars, lies pathologically and admits to grabbing women by their private parts, a guy who bullies the weak but barely stops short of oral sex for strongmen like Putin. They cluck when he takes babies and young children from their mother’s arms but take secret comfort in the fact desperate foreigners will soon have to climb over a 30-foot wall to get into the country. They give fealty to a man who drapes himself in the flag but avoided military service when his country called. They say America First but support a tax cheat who always put himself before his country. Deplorable is as deplorable does.

A question of malignancy

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One of the most frequently asked question among viewers of Trumpland, the greatest reality show in the history of television, is what motivates the people who defend its star.

It makes sense that sleazebags like Sean Hannity are in it for the money, as are the paid sycophants who debase themselves daily. But why do career politicians, successful business people and even military generals, all of whom already have money and status, sacrifice their reputations and legacies for a malignant, mentally unhinged, mango megalomaniac?

I have no answer except that Donald Trump is the most compelling television villain of all time. And that includes fictional soap operas like Dynasty and Dallas. J.R. couldn’t shine Trump’s loafers when it comes to duplicity and far-reaching malevolence. Forget about bankrupting rival tycoons and debauching socialites, Trump has the stature and capacity to corrupt and degrade on a global level. Not to mention his uncanny ability to metastasize his malignancy to any seemingly respectable person who enters his orbit.

Even given his ‘genius’ for entangling others in his web of nastiness, he couldn’t carry the 24/7 show himself. His backup cast is to die for.

Trump flaunts his Barbie trophy-wife on his arm like an over-the-top diamond-encrusted designer watch; his favored daughter is a callow, conspicuous consumer of her own tacky Made-in-China fashions; his shallow sons, emasculated and greasy, do their father’s dirty dealing on command; his falsetto-voiced, skinny-suited son-in-law, who absorbed the art of murky financial dealings on the knee of his felonious father, exudes the precise amount of limp-wristed ineptitude to make him seem truly sinister.

And that’s just the immediate family, all of whom might be indicted in future episodes, except perhaps for Melania, who cannot be prosecuted for taking up the oldest profession in the Biblical books.

Trumpland viewers are treated to a congo line of cowardly Republicans who dance to his frenetically crazy tune as if they are monkeys performing for a mad orange organ grinder.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the devout Catholic who weekly demonstrates a miracle to his fellow Church congregants by walking upright to his pew without a spine, has attached himself to a thrice-married philanderer and admitted sexual predator with the devotion of a prepubescent altar boy to the Virgin Mary. Great role model for the teens in the parish Catholic Youth Organization, Paul.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the turtle-like political schemer and ultimate swamp creature, emerges from his jowls intermittently to croak positively about a President he loathes, before retreating into the folds of skin in silent acquiescence as his Republican lawmakers trash patriotic Americans serving in the FBI and intelligence communities.

General Michael Flynn gave up a life of fancy dinners with dicey foreign leaders and all-expense paid travel abroad to throw his three-star respectability into Trump’s collection basket of half-baked buns. He began his association with the Evil Orange Clown by transmogrifying his military bearing into mouth-frothing shouts of ‘Lock Her UP’ and will likely end the relationship behind bars whimpering ‘Let Me Out’.

Sean Spicer, who before meeting Trump had carved out a respectable career as a slightly bent spoke in the GOP propaganda wheel, threw his future job prospects to the winds of political expediency by publicly blowing his boss with the “yours is bigger than his” pronouncement at his first official press conference.

Reince Priebus, the weak-kneed lifelong Republican hack, emerged from the shadowy obscurity of dim GOP backrooms to fizzle out under the relentless glare of the Trump sun, his big boy political pants sagging above the crack of his ass as he shuffled off to search out a book agent.

Steve Bannon, the messy Machiavellian menace behind Trump’s rise to Conman-in-Chief, rose from the White Nationalist bully pulpit that is Breitbart News to a White House desk within slobbering distance of the Oval Office. He put in 18-hour days pulling his political puppet’s strings with a mix of feigned fealty and obsequiousness only to find himself back at Breitbart when he ran afoul of the kids, and is now scanning the job classifieds with Reince, Sean and Michael. Job hunting tips for Sloppy Steve—get a haircut, wash your face, shave and camouflage that overflowing belly with an untucked shirt.

Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions, the Evil Elf of Alabama, swallowed his southern pride and took shelter under the nearest toadstool as the boss heaped insult and humiliation upon him for the Russia recusal. He held his low ground to do the important work of harassing ‘bad people’ who smoke pot but eventually forfeited his elfin manhood in entirety by acceding to the boss’s demand to go after the Clintons and find dirt on the director of the FBI. Where does an evil elf go when the kingdom collapses?

Anthony Scaramucci, media pundit, businessman, financier, opportunist and human pinky ring, sold his profitable company to serve a man whose venality he came to idolize only after he won the Presidency. The Mooch swaggered into the media spotlight and unashamedly put his lips to the boss’s ample ass at his first press conference with flattery that went so far beyond the pale that even casual observers were left blushing. It was all for naught as the Mooch found himself muttering profanely at the unemployment agency even before officially undertaking his new White House job.

Secretary of Health Tom Price, the good doctor of the stock market swindle, graduated from allegations of insider trading while serving in the Senate to fraudulent use of government airplanes for personal business during a brief stay in the Cabinet. His political career crash-landed when the boss uttered the words that gave him a woody watching The Apprentice—”You’re fired.”

Sweet talking southern belle Sarah Huckabee Sanders perfected the art of man-flattering and lying with straight-faced innocence, but likely won’t be up for the part of Scarlet in any remake of Gone with the Wind. She doesn’t seem like Rhett Butler’s type.

The one person in Trumpland who may have a future after impeachment is Stephen Miller, the dead-eyed Trump defender whose occasional emergence from his White House lair to do Sunday talk shows, scares the bejesus out of Liberals and even centrist Republicans. Miller might not have much of a future in drafting bills or writing speeches, but he’ll never be out of work as long as Hollywood is making movies with evil Nazi characters.