Sunday, January 14, 2018





You came to this country without invitation.  We did not ask you to come.  We did not want you to stay.  It was against our wishes that you invaded our lands and invited more of your kind to come until a trickle became a creek and a creek became a river that swallowed a continent. 

Whatever good will greeted you in the beginning you have worn it out.  We did not need the fruits of your labor.  This great and fertile land served its people well before you arrived and it will do so long after you’ve departed.  We have heard more than enough of your self-proclaimed contributions to our society and little concerning the harm you have done.   Before your arrival crime was a fraction of what it is today.  Murder, drug use and thievery have increased a hundred fold since your people decided to make your homes here. 

Since you came to this land without consent and remained here without authorization we must consider you outlaws.  The law is the law.  You either abide by the law or you defy it.  If you came to this country without the authorization and consent of its citizens, by the laws of man, nature and God, you committed a crime.  You are therefore criminals.  Your children and your children’s children are the products of a criminal act.  To sanctify them in perpetuity is to reward criminality and to sanction lawlessness. 

The color of your skin is of no concern.  Your values are of no interest.  Since your seminal act was one of defiance and criminality, we may presume that your values are deficient and that you passed some measure of your deficiencies onto your offspring.  Since you left the country of your birth and heritage – a nation that by all rights deserved your loyalty – we may presume that your patriotism is as thin as a sheath of plastic.  It is malleable and bends to the will of whoever currently holds power over you. 

You came to our land and refused to honor our ways.  You built your own communities separate from our own.  You built towns and cities with walls to protect you from us when in fact it we required protection from you.  You cut down our forests, stole our resources, poisoned our water, destroyed our homes and told us we must learn and honor your ways, your words and your laws.  You ordered us to leave our homes and forced us to live on lands that no one wanted.  But when your precious metals and black rocks and burning liquids were discovered there, you forced us onto new lands that no one wanted. 

You called this the law because it was written on paper and you forced us to comply.  When we fought back you showed us how powerful your weapons of destruction were.  You showed us at Sand Creek, the Washita River, the Greasy Grassy and dozens of other sites made sacred by the blood of the fallen. 

We recognize your laws for what they are and what they are not.  They do not honor justice or fairness or right against wrong.  They are the laws of greed and power.  You take what you want and destroy what you will.  You go to war without reason in lands far away.  You want to bend people everywhere to your will as you have tried to bend us but we will bend no further. 

We have tried to teach you to live with the land but your hearts are closed.  We have tried to show you where your recklessness leads but you close your eyes.  We can close our eyes no longer.  You are destroying the land the Great Spirit entrusted to us.  It is time for the great experiment to end. 

We have allowed you to live among us for hundreds of years and we have come to the conclusion that you will not change.  You will continue to take more than you need.  You will continue to destroy the land.  You will continue to poison the air and water.  You will preserve nothing for future generations. 

So we have come to this conclusion:  You must go.  You must return to where you came from.  Maybe they will welcome you.  Maybe they will not.  But you are no long wanted here.  We ask you to take your money, your machines and your weapons and go. 

We are not uncaring.  We know that all of your people are not the same.  There are those who argue that some of you should be allowed to stay.  But the elders say:  If we let only a few remain, soon there will be many and they will reclaim the land.  The cycle that leads only to destruction will begin again. 

This we cannot allow.  So go.  We wish you well. 

Mitakuye Oyasin. 



Saturday, January 06, 2018






One of the worst things about politics in the age of Trump is the loss of objectivity.  We cannot have a constructive dialogue about economics, foreign policy, history or democracy without slipping by raw instinct into tribal politics. 

If you stand with the president you necessarily believe that climate change – aka global warming – is a hoax.  You believe that God stands unconditionally with Israel and therefore America must do so as well.  You believe that a wall must be erected to protect us all from swarms of lowlife Mexicans and terrorist Muslims.  You believe that military commanders and billionaires in general are superior beings whose dictates should be followed without question.  You believe that police officers are under siege and have no need of citizen review or procedural reform.  You believe that white privilege is an appropriate response to decades of affirmative action. 

Trumpeters have proclaimed the right loudly and boldly to declare their own facts, their own truths and to create their own realities.  Their opinions are convictions that cannot be challenged.  They have no use for science or history or knowledge or expertise.  The most fundamental laws are subject to arbitrary denial.  Those who would stand for facts or scientific theory are declared elitists and discarded outright. 

Those who stand against the president and everything he holds to be true and right believe the president is bat shit crazy with the knowledge base, intellectual standing and emotional balance of a kindergartner and no amount of rational discussion will convince us otherwise. 

It is hard to reconcile the uneasy fact that outside the state of California a majority of voters preferred Trump to she who will not be named for president of the United States of America.  For god’s sake, how pissed off and alienated do you have to be to rise up from your cozy couch, drive on down to your local precinct and cast a vote to elevate an obvious racist, misogynist, blatantly dishonest con man to the highest office in the land?  Granted most of us don’t have go anywhere to cast a vote these days but we do have to fill out a ballot and send it in.  It does require an affirmative action.  It does require a conscious choice. 

Do we deserve what we get or is there in fact some rational lesson to be learned from this deeply embarrassing choice in leaders?  Is it a joke that most of us don’t quite get and can’t quite reconcile with the universe of reason? 
In moments of lucidity I do recognize the genius of Donald Trump.  He pulled off the penultimate con of the century and he did it by breaking every damned rule in the political handbook.  He took disasters that would have destroyed any other candidate and tossed them over his shoulder like dust in the wind. 

You can grab ‘em by the pussy and they let you do it; because you’re a star they let you do it! 

Forget about it.  It’s just locker room talk.  Boys being boys.  Men being men.  Freaking morons being morons. 

Not even the Donald expected to win.  Faced with the prospect of bankruptcy, a crumbling financial empire, loss of credit and a mounting debt, he parlayed a reality television show into a successful campaign for the White House. 

The man wanted a loyal following of fifty million pissed off Americans.  That’s it.  He wanted to rebuild his financial base and cancel some Russian debt along the way.  Winning was the last thing he had in mind. 

What do you have to do?  Shoot someone on Fifth Avenue? 

Well, Donald, maybe that would have turned the trick.  Maybe not.  That’s how pissed off the American people were and likely still are.  That’s how sick and tired people were of the Bill and Hillary Clinton show.  That’s how weary Republicans were of Lying Ted and Little Marco and Low Energy Jeb and politics as usual.  Sixty million people would have voted for a can opener. 

Now the president and his chaotic White House is under siege and any other president would be hunkered down in the basement working on his exit strategy.  Not this president.  He continues to tweet daily in defense of an alternative reality where it is not only legal and acceptable to conspire with a foreign adversary to defraud a presidential election; it is in fact strategic, bold and wise beyond knowing.  One man’s treason is another man’s vision. 

Don’t think for a moment he can’t win this thing.  He is winning.  This is a man who admitted up front to obstruction of justice.  He openly stated that he fired the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stop the Russia investigation in its tracks.  He conspired with his son and others to issue a false and misleading statement concerning the infamous Trump Tower meeting with campaign representatives and Russian operatives. 

The party in control of both houses of congress should have issued articles of impeachment on the spot.  When the GOP balked, Trump grabbed them by the balls.  When you’re a president they let you do it!  It was shockingly easy to transform the party that obstructed legislation under Obama to the party that willfully participates in a conspiracy with the chief executive to obstruct justice.  Every weasel conspirator from House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes to Senator Lindsey Graham should be indicted as traitors. 

We are only beginning to see the audacity of this congress.  They will demand an investigation into the investigation.  They will hold endless hearings on the betrayal of Christopher Steele – the author-investigator behind the Dirty Dossier – and the politicization of the FBI.  They will tie it into the Clinton Foundation, Hillary’s emails and the great Benghazi cover-up. 

If Trump gets his way the truth will be so obscured you won’t be able recognize it as it slams you over the head with the force of Thor’s hammer.  It will fall to historians to rectify the harm, to sort through the obfuscation and misinformation and locate the stone cold truth:  Vladimir Putin orchestrated the election of an American president and got away with it. 

So which is it?  Is Donald Trump the moron that so many – friend and foe alike – say he is or is he the greatest con man the world has ever known?  Is it possible that both could be true? 

At a time when global warming threatens hundreds if not thousands of species including our own and nations are collecting weapons of mass destruction with renewed vigor, we don’t really have time for political bullshit yet here we are.  Once again we are confronted with a critical election and we don’t know if Russia will be a major player.  So far we’ve done less than nothing to stop them. 

If we don’t elect a Democratic majority to both houses of congress, there is very little chance that we can stop Trump.  Even if we do, there is the troubling matter of Mike Pence. 

We keep fighting the same fight – Democrat against Republican – knowing that it probably doesn’t even matter in the end.  After all, asking the Democrats to save us is like asking a convention of anarchists to help you put out the fire. 



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: On The Eve of Destruction



By Jack Random

You tell me over and over and over again, my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

The Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

If you’re living anywhere along the Gulf Coast, you must be tired of hearing that this is the storm of the century.  If you’re living in the city of Houston, you might recall Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 or Hurricane Rita on the heels of Katrina in 2005.  Rita was the “most intense tropical storm ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico.”  It took one hundred and twenty lives and cost an estimated twelve billion in damage.  Of course that pales in comparison to Katrina, which took well over a thousand lives and cost over one hundred billion. [1]

I refuse to reenter the debate on whether you can blame global climate change for any specific climate catastrophe.  If you’re in the path of the storm or know someone who is, the game is over.  You can no longer deny the overwhelming truth without inviting a diagnosis of schizophrenia. 

It is bitterly ironic that those who reside in the victim zone are most likely to deny the realities of global warming.  Of course, the rich and powerful from Florida to Corpus Christi will always escape the danger posed by hurricanes, tropical storms and floods.  Their homes are built on higher grounds and they can afford to evacuate at a moment’s notice.  The poor and working class find housing where they can – inevitably in flood zones – and simply cannot afford to get out of harm’s way. 

Katrina was an opportunity for the moneyed class to reconstitute their city, to rid themselves of tens of thousands of poor black folk with their substandard housing, and bring in gentrification.  A lot of money was made on the backs of the poor who lost their homes and their places in the city of jazz. 

What will happen in Houston? 

Hurricane Katrina uncovered a slew of dirty little secrets.  The most damning was this:  The Army Corps of Engineers knew the levees would fail – if not from Katrina, then some other storm.  The work of shoring up the levees was neglected and substandard.  Katrina was a catastrophe waiting to happen.   The people in the lower ninth ward and other low-lying areas slammed by a twenty-foot wall of water would lose their lives, their homes and their roots.  The insurance companies would not cover even those who bought substandard policies.  The government would offer little assistance – pennies on the dollar – for a lifetime of hard work and accomplishment. 

As the residents of the New Jersey shore would learn years later after Hurricane Sandy, government talks a good game while the cameras are still rolling but the money comes up short when it’s time to rebuild the lives of working people. 

Of the hundreds of thousands who fled New Orleans, as many as half that number never made it home.  They were poor people and the city that gave them life and raised them from generation to generation could no longer afford them.  They were replaced with people who had more to offer – in terms of money and resources.  The color of New Orleans lightened.  Significantly more black people than white people were permanently displaced. 

Ironically, the city that inherited more of Katrina’s diaspora was Houston, Texas, where they became trapped in a deadly cycle of poverty and tragedy.  A disproportionate number of the displaced from Katrina and Rita ended up in FEMA apartments in the high-crime neighborhoods of Houston’s southwest sector.  They suffered the Memorial Day floods in 2015 and the Tax Day floods in 2016.  Now this. [2,3]

In New Orleans, decades of industrialization and lack of planning destroyed the wetlands that protected the city.  In Houston, the dirty little secret that will come to light as this disaster unfolds in slow motion on the news station of your choice, is that the development on the prairies and wetlands surrounding the city have hastened the city’s demise.  Those wetlands and prairies used to soak up water – water that now flows through the city streets. 

Much has been and will be said about the failure to call for a mass evacuation.  The truth is:  The state of Texas, the city of Houston and indeed the entire nation is not prepared for mass evacuations.  We don’t have the transportation infrastructure.  It would require a massive influx of expenditures with elevated mass transit from every major coastal city to inland evacuation centers stocked with warehouses of food, water, medicines, fuel, generators and shelters.  We are in fact not even willing to invest in our roads, tunnels, bridges and the dams that now stand between the current disaster in Houston and a tragedy of truly biblical proportions.  Those dams were built in the 1940’s. 

Our president has proposed cutting the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency by $600 million.  So much for emergency preparedness.  It won’t happen again.  Right.  It can’t happen again.  Right.  It’s fake news.  It’s a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.  Right.  Unless you’re in the path of the storm. 

Our president would rather invest more blood and treasure into the bottomless pit of war in Afghanistan than rebuild our own nation or prepare for the inevitable disasters to come. 

Whatever happened to America first?   

We don’t need a wall on the southern border.  We need flood walls on the Gulf of Mexico.  We don’t need money for endless wars across the globe.  We need money to mitigate the harm from global climate change. 


1. Wikipedia:  Blake, Eric S; Landsea, Christopher W; Gibney, Ethan J.  National Hurricane Center (August 2011).  The Deadliest, Costliest and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010 (And Other Frequently Requested Hurricane Facts). 

2. “10 Years Later, There’s So Much We Don’t Know About Where Katrina Survivors Ended Up” by Laura Bliss.  Citylab, August 25, 2015. 

3. “Houston Wasn’t Built for a Flood Like This” by Henry Grabar.  Slate, August 27, 2017. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CLUELESS DEMOCRATS: Rotten Apples & Rusty Nails



Why the Democrats are Clueless

On June 20th in the 6th Congressional District runoff election, Democrat Jon Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel by an approximate four percentage points – 51.9 to 48.1.  Ossoff set records by raising an estimated $24 million – six times his Republican opponent.  It was the fourth special election since the inauguration of Donald Trump and the Democrats have lost all of them. 

In the Ossoff campaign the Democrat was ahead by five points as late as June 11th, suggesting that the more attention the election received and the more money the Democrats poured in the more the electorate turned to the Republican [1].  

For the fourth consecutive election in the age of Trump the Democrats tried to proclaim moral victory but few could keep a straight face.  Losing is losing and when it costs $24 million to accomplish it, it is clear the Democratic message is the problem.  

What is that message?  In the case of Ossoff it seemed to be:  We can be conservative without the Trump insanity.  Ossoff stood for lower taxes, deregulation, second amendment sanctity, free trade and devotion to Israel.  Even more telling is where Ossoff dared not tread:  He stood neutral on single payer healthcare (Medicare for All), social security and Medicaid.  He refused to criticize the escalating wars in the Middle East.  He could not even bring himself to advocate a living wage.  [2] 

There is literally nothing today’s Republican Party or Donald Trump could find objectionable about Jon Ossoff except the capital D by his name.  

This is what the Democrats had in mind.  They want us to believe that Donald Trump and the mean party is so morally repugnant that all they have to do is show up.  They have crunched the numbers and come to the conclusion that they can continue taking obscene amounts of Wall Street money and still pose as advocates of the working class.  They don’t need to revise policies; they need only repackage the message.  

This is the kind of delusional thinking that allowed Hillary Clinton to believe she could run out the clock while Donald Trump barnstormed Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin with a promise of good old middle class industrial wage jobs for all.  He was lying but it didn’t matter.  At least he cared enough to show up and say what they wanted to hear:  Bring back the good old days!  Kick some terrorist ass!  Make America great again!  

Democrats seem to believe that they lost the presidential election because of Russian hacking, James Comey and rightwing media.  They are only partially correct.  They made it possible to lose by having nothing to offer the working people of this nation.  After Bernie Sanders all but browbeat Clinton into taking a stand in favor of Fair Trade, she never mentioned it again on the campaign trail.  She never challenged Trump on trade policy though it was clear he had no clue.  They allowed Trump to charade as a labor candidate despite an extensive background in abusing labor as a businessman.  Did Clinton think we wouldn’t notice?  

The old Democratic line isn’t working any more.  They seem to be waiting for demographics to shift enough that they can win with a central platform:  At least we’re not racist!  If they keep this up they’ll lose minority votes as well.  No one likes an empty basket.  Put something, anything in there and stand up for it.  

Let me make this clear.  I am a registered Democrat because I wanted my vote for Bernie Sanders to count in the California primary.  I am not a Democrat by philosophy or conviction.  I despise the two-party system that has reduced political discourse to an all-time low.  I despise a system that made the Tea Party and a Trump presidency possible by offering a choice between a rotten apple and a rusty nail.  I despise a system where the only viable parties require their candidates to take a pledge of loyalty to international corporations, Wall Street and the same industrialists who sold us out for greater profits overseas.  

We need a party that believes in something.  We need a party that stands for something.  We need a party that does not suspend principle because the candidate is running in Georgia, Kansas, Carolina or Georgia.  

All working class people can agree:  We need jobs that pay the bills and we need representatives at all levels of government who can deliver them. 

If any candidate wants my support it begins with trade policy and the rights of labor.  It begins with Fair Trade – a policy that conditions preferred trade status on mutual protection of a worker’s right to a living wage, decent working conditions, the right to form and join a union and minimal standards of health and retirement benefits.  It begins with protecting the rights of labor in our own country and that means striking down anti-union laws that block unions from the workplace and proclaim the right of individuals to refuse paying union fees though they benefit from union representation. 

The GOP is the party of the wealthy, the party of tax cuts, and the party that stands against environmental protection, financial regulation, social security and Medicare.  It is the party of indifference to discrimination in all its forms and the party of endless military misadventures.  We need a party that strikes a contrast and holds to it like a toddler to his mother’s hand.  

A candidate that wants my support must stand up for alternative energy sources – solar, wind and water – and pledge to expand them at the expense of fossil fuels.  We need to support research knowing that it will ultimately save money, resources and lives.  

We need a party that remembers what happens when we allow Wall Street financiers and industrialists to operate without oversight and regulation.  We cannot afford a repeat of the financial meltdown we experienced at the end of the George W. Bush administration and we are heading for an encore at record speed.  We need representatives who will call out office holders who claim that the meltdown was caused by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae or any other government entity.  It was caused by corporate greed and a license to do as they pleased.  If you allow Wall Street to create cash out of toxic waste, they will do so.  It is their nature to discard the public interest every time if it improves the bottom line.  

We need a party that is pledged to protect and defend Social Security and universal Medicare.  No more half measures.  When we compromised with Obamacare we compromised with a fundamental right to healthcare.  The net result is that we will soon have a healthcare system that is even crueler and more negligent than it was before Obamacare.  Even if the current healthcare proposal fails, our government is plotting actions and inactions that will ensure the system collapses.  What will we do then?  

We need a party that upholds equal pay for equal work, that is sensitive to the needs of minority communities, and that fights against discrimination wherever it occurs.  We need a party that addresses mass incarceration and the disproportionate incrimination of racial minorities.  We need a party that defends a woman’s right to reproductive care, including abortion, and opposes reckless military interventions.  We need a party that ends the perpetual increase in military expenditures and uses that money to improve the lives of our people.  

There are many other issues that could be addressed but these I consider fundamental.  If the Democrats wish to become that party so be it.  If not, we desperately need a new party – one that addresses the needs of the people and one that will not back down to a billionaire pretender. 

A party that gives us Jon Ossoff and channels $24 million dollars to his pandering campaign is not a party that deserves anyone’s support. 



Nothing I can add will improve your argument. You hit the (rusty) nail on the head. The Democratic party is over. It’s decline began the day Bill Clinton won the presidency as a “centrist” when he was in fact a Republican calling himself a Democrat. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Social Democrat and the mainstream call him a Socialist. Even he is conceding ground. He is in fact a Roosevelt Democrat - which is what a Democrat was between at least the late 1920s and 1992. In that period we saw an expansion of the middle class (especially after WW2), an increase in wages for almost everyone and much less income disparity than we now have. The shocks of the oil embargo in the 1970s opened the door for a new type of conservative, which is essentially a libertarianism skewed to the rich and pandering to bigotry masquerading as evangelical religion (it is in fact neither genuinely evangelical nor religious).

For now, yessir, losing is losing. 

Love and peace,

1.  “Georgia 6th District Run-off Election – Handel vs. Ossoff.”  Real Clear Politics, June 20, 2017. 

2.  “Democrats in the Dead Zone” by Jeffrey St. Clair.  Counterpunch, June 23, 2017. 



Monday, May 22, 2017





In the 1976 movie All The President’s Men, a chronicle of two Washington Post reporters unraveling the scandal that would take down Richard Nixon, the mysterious Deep Throat kept advising the young reporters:  Follow the money. 

The linguistics professor turned political analyst Noam Chomsky advised his readers that if they really wanted to know what was going on in government, they should read the Wall Street Journal – not the editorial page which is bald faced, rightwing propaganda but the factual reportage, the numbers, the trail of money. 

The day following the revelation that Donald Trump attempted to stop the FBI investigation into the wrongdoings of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the Dow Jones industrial average fell over 300 points – down 372.82 at the closing bell.  It was the largest drop since Trump was elected.  While it does not necessarily signal the end of the Trump rally it does say the smart money is now betting against this president.  The market loves Trump.  The market had already banked anticipated dividends from tax cuts, deregulation and exploitation of the environment.  Now everything is on hold.  A wounded president collects no favors.  A paralyzed president has no leverage.  A toxic president has no friends. 

Is this the beginning of the end?  The smart money says it is – maybe.  You always want to hedge your bets. 

A brief recap of recent events:  FBI Director James Comey is abruptly relieved of duty.  The White House issues an obvious cover story involving Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails and pins the blame on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Rosenstein refuses to serve as the fall guy and the president promptly and publicly admits he fired Comey for his handling of the Russia Gate investigation.  Trump hosts the Russian ambassador and foreign minister to the Oval Office where, according to a Washington Post report, he reveals classified information.  Democrats demand a special prosecutor and Republicans are unusually mum. 

Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee says the White House is in a “downward spiral.”  It seems the president is going under and everyone knows what happens when you try to help a drowning man. 

The New York Times reports a February 14 memo authored by James Comey the day after he met with the president behind closed doors and without a witness:  It says the president asked him to lay off Flynn in the wake of the National Security Advisor’s resignation. 

We can conclude at this point that the president is either guilty of obstruction of justice or is stupid as hell or both.  How any reasonable person could arrive at any other conclusion is impossible to imagine. 

It is apparent that Rod Rosenstein came to that conclusion along with everyone else that lives in a world where reason still applies.  Without delay he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over the Russia Gate investigation as special counsel, i.e., special prosecutor.  The appointment provides sufficient latitude, independence and resources to virtually assure an unbiased investigation. 

Rosenstein took no chances.  He informed the president and his staff only after the appointment was signed, sealed and delivered.  It’s a done deal. 

There is no joy in the West Wing tonight. 

Vladimir Putin tried to lift the president’s spirits by offering to release his transcript of Trump’s meeting with the two Sergei’s: Lavrov and Kislyak.  Fascinating.  It seems someone in that room recorded the conversation and it was not an American.  Putin joked that his foreign minister had failed to share his secrets with him or Russian intelligence. 

The walls are closing in.  At this point there is no one who wishes to be engaged in a conversation with the president for fear that his or her words might be recorded.  No one wishes to cooperate with the president for fear that he or she might be swept into the lair.  What do you say when the president asks you for a pledge of loyalty? 

Who dares tell the president that firing the FBI Director for conducting an investigation into his misdeeds is not only inappropriate and morally reprehensible but also illegal? 

Who tells the president that when he asked Comey to lay off Flynn he committed obstruction of justice? 

Trump thought he was the king.  He thought he was the emperor.  He thought he could do and say anything he wanted and they’d let him do it. 

Along comes a bureaucrat, a simple civil servant, with just enough nerve to inform the president who thought he was an emperor that he has no clothes. 

This is the beginning of the end. 

Unfortunately, justice moves like a tortoise through quicksand: slow and slower. 

In the Nixon-Watergate case:  Archibald Cox is named Special Prosecutor to investigate Watergate in May 1973.  In October Nixon fires Cox, triggering the resignations now known as the Saturday Night Massacre.  In November Leon Jaworski is appointed as the new special prosecutor.  In March 1974 Nixon is named as an unindicted co-conspirator with seven of his aides.  In April Jaworski surprises the president by issuing a subpoena for sixty-four White House tapes.  Nixon releases edited transcripts of the tapes to the House Judiciary Committee.  Congress demands the unedited tapes.  Nixon refuses.  In May the House Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings.  In July Nixon loses his appeal to the Supreme Court and is ordered to hand over the tapes.  On August 9, after the release of the infamous “smoking gun” tape, Nixon resigns. 

It took fifteen months from the naming of a Special Prosecutor to Nixon’s resignation.  That is probably the best we can hope for in the Trump Gate case. 

There is a lot of harm that can be done in fifteen months.  How many more productive and law abiding immigrants will be deported in the next fifteen months?  How many more missiles will be dropped in foreign lands?  How many wars will be initiated or prolonged?  How many rivers will be poisoned?  How much carbon dioxide will be injected into our atmosphere?  Fifteen months takes us to the midterm elections. 

There are major differences between Watergate and Trump Gate.  Despite inexplicable actions – firing the special prosecutor and recording conversations in the Oval Office – Nixon was a highly skilled politician with a deep understanding of how Washington works.  Trump is not. 

Trump fired Comey not knowing or understanding the impact it would have on the press, the public and members of congress.  Nixon would not have made that mistake.  Trump admitted that he fired Comey out of concern for the Russia investigation and compounded the error by meeting with agents of the Russian government in the Oval Office.  Nixon would not have made those mistakes.  Trump apparently revealed state secrets in that meeting.  Nixon definitely would not have made that mistake. 

Nixon acted out of desperation when he fired Cox.  The vultures were circling and the existence of the tapes was public knowledge.  Trump had no apparent need to panic. 

The hope now is that Trump continues to act on impulse and against his own interests.  If he alienates his core support and members of his own party abandon ship, the process could be accelerated.  We are hoping for arrogance and ignorance at a level we never expected to witness in an American president.  It could happen. 

In any case we must continue the resistance.  Each of us in our own ways – protesting in the streets, civil disobedience, letters to the editor, emails to our representatives, phone calls to senators – must make it hard for our president and his still loyal minions to do anything at all. 



Tuesday, May 09, 2017





On the ninety-ninth day, the president announced that nuclear war on the Korean peninsula was possible.  On the one-hundredth day Trump held a victory rally in Pennsylvania while protestors took to the streets throughout America and much of the world to protest the president’s policies regarding climate change.  On the one hundred and first day the president defended his invitation of Philippines president and butcher Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. 

It is fitting that the last days of Trump’s first one hundred highlighted the greatest dangers of his presidency: nuclear war, climate change and his egregious disregard for human rights.  The first two can fairly be characterized as risking the end of the human race as we know it.  The third is a direct threat to the democratic form of government for democracy cannot exist without deep respect for human rights.  What will tomorrow bring? 

Trump is right about one thing:  One hundred days is an arbitrary distinction.  It is a small but significant sample.  But like the January barometer for the stock market, it has some measurable value in predicting the future. 

After one hundred and one days of a Trump White House, we can draw a number of conclusions: 

1.  Donald Trump wanted to win the White House but he did not want to run the government.  Recall that strange report during the campaign that he offered policy, domestic and foreign, to governor John Kasich of Ohio if only Kasich would endorse him and become his running mate.  It seemed too bizarre to be true back then.  It does not seem so now.  The president has turned virtually all policy matters over to his son-in-law Jared Kushner – a man whose inexperience equals that of the president. 

If Trump wanted and expected to become president, why didn’t he spend a moment in preparation?  It is clear he knows very little about the complex issues that awaited his arrival in Washington.  He was going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over a long weekend.  He was going to repeal and replace Obamacare in the blink of an eye – who knew healthcare was so complicated?  He was going to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.  It would be so easy.  Not today, boss.  He was going to pull out of NAFTA and CAFTA on day one.  Now, he appoints commissions to study the problem. 

He’s in over his head and he knows it.  Unfortunately his ego will not allow him to sit on his hands and do nothing.  He must act and there lies the danger. 

2.  Donald Trump has no philosophy, no ideology and no grounding principles of government to guide him.  He believes his unpredictable quality serves him well.  Maybe it did in real estate transactions but as commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful military, it can result in unnecessary wars that never end.  If all goes perfectly wrong, it can result in nuclear holocaust. 

3.  The Trump administration was divided from the beginning.  In the beginning the dark knight Steve Bannon was clearly in charge.  He had his buddies and allies, including the Russian connection – National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – and they had his back.  But when the protestors, the media and the opposition turned up the heat the Russian connection peeled away and Jared Kushner became the president’s closest adviser.  Is there unity in the White House now?  Definitely not.  Bannon is still kicking around the halls.  He will not go quietly.  Maybe he holds a few trump cards of his own. 

4.  Russia Gate may well die a natural death.  Oh, there was collusion.  Trump’s team met with Putin’s people on numerous occasions.  They shared information.  Trump’s people knew in advance what WikiLeaks would dump in the days and weeks ahead.  They coordinated their campaigns. 

Unfortunately, we do not know if Donald Trump was in the circle.  He had no need to know.  His advisors gave him his schedule and told him what to say.  Yes, Donald had his spontaneous moments but the broad strokes of his campaign were given to him.  Bannon was the man who made Trump president.  Not Kushner.  Not Ivanka.  Not Kellyanne.  Bannon. 

Tillerson could go down.  Bannon and Sessions should as well.  But Trump will probably escape relatively unscathed.  Should he have known?  Yes.  Did he know?  Maybe not. 

5.  The Trump administration is guilty of gross incompetence.  In real estate, you can always walk away from a bad deal.  In government, there is only one congress and only a handful of legislative opportunities.  In politics, you don’t roll out a major legislative initiative like healthcare unless you have a good idea you’ll win.  You can say Speaker of the House Paul Ryan sabotaged Trump.  You can say it was the Freedom Caucus.  Whatever.  Trump stumbled out the gate and got trumped.  Even as the new and improved healthcare bill squeaks by the House, the Senate is poised to strike it down.  The celebration, reminiscent of George W. Bush’s Mission Accomplished, was premature. 

In Washington, failure begets failure.  Trump doesn’t get it.  Kushner doesn’t get.  At the moment, Bannon doesn’t care.  This mess belongs to the president. 

6.  Donald loves adulation and the only love he gets now is when he drops a bomb.  Nobody loves Donald for releasing toxic chemicals into the air and water.  Nobody loves him for judicial appointees.  Nobody loves him for executive orders that never seem to matter.  But everybody loves him when he drops a bomb.  Will they still love him if he escalates the ongoing wars?  That is an open question.  Americans are tired of war.  Trump promised to stay out of war.  Can he get away with raising the flag and pounding the drums of war?  I don’t think so.  Not this time.  This time it will be as it was for LBJ who dropped out of the presidential race rather than face the antiwar movement.  Trump may hate us – the protestors, the dissidents, the resistance – but he doesn’t want to be the most despised president since Richard Nixon. 

7.  The president will keep his campaign promises on climate change and Supreme Court appointments.  The issues are interrelated and together they represent the greatest damage this White House can do short of nuclear war. 

Trump loves coal and believes that all environmental concerns are secondary to economic interests.  Left to his own and his Republican allies, they will wait for the rising tide of global warming to swallow Miami before they will yield an inch.  They don’t believe in science.  They don’t believe in renewable energy.  They don’t believe that pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has any significant effect.  They don’t believe that releasing toxic chemicals into the water supply will kill and maim humans and animals alike.  At least they pretend they don’t believe. 

They sit in their golden towers, protected from the suffering masses, and go about the business of amassing fortunes.  They will erect monuments to greed and allow the natural wonders of the world to crumble.  They will fracture the earth for natural gas and drill for oil in Monument Valley.  They will build a bridge over Grand Canyon and let the Colorado River run dry.  They will dig up ancient burial grounds and deface sacred lands with hotels, oil pipelines and residential development.  They will destroy the planet and build a rocket to the moon so that they and only they can escape the fallout. 


The great hope was and is that Trump could be successfully impeached in less than a year.  That almost certainly will not happen.   As long as the Republicans control both houses of congress they will protect the president from Russia Gate.  It is obvious.  They don’t like Trump.  Many of them don’t believe in his policies.  But he delivered the White House to Republican hands and they will go to great lengths to protect him from disgrace. 

But do not believe the resistance doesn’t matter.  It matters more than ever.  The only thing that holds the president and his party back is the resistance. 

Even as the prospects of impeachment grow dimmer with every day the investigations in the House and Senate stall and fail to deliver, the cry for impeachment in the streets must be heard.  The politicians may forget; the people cannot. 

This president, knowingly or not, was elected by the corrupt influence of an adversarial foreign power and a meddling FBI director whose true motives are not yet known.  If we are not able to take this president down then we must cripple him.  We must make it impossible for him to conduct business as usual.  Politically, we must push forward to the midterm elections.  Without control of the House or the Senate it will be difficult to mitigate the harm.  With control of the House or the Senate, we would control the agenda. 

An investigation of the president’s conflict of interests would compel him to release his tax returns.  The investigation of his connections to Russia and Putin’s determined effort to elect Trump would gain momentum.  The heat would bear down on every inhabitant of this White House like the oppressive humidity of a Louisiana summer.  They would hide in their rooms or retire to spend more time with their children.  Their every action would be under a microscope.  The pressure would paralyze. 

They will act impulsively.  Trump will fire anyone who even looked at a Russian spy novel.  Even Ivanka and Kushner will step down in the hope they can save their business empire. 

And the chips will begin to fall. 

This is the hope: that the resistance born in the first 101 days of Trump will remain strong and grow into a movement that gives birth to a new kind of government, the kind of government that many have promised but few have delivered – a government that not only responds to the people but engages and protects the people’s interests. 

As anyone who has read the late great Howard Zinn knows, the struggle never ends.  As Neil Young said, rust never sleeps.  The people must remain alert, informed and ready to take action.  The people must stand in constant, unified resistance to the forces that will always seek to exploit them and the natural resources that support us all. 

The Trumps succeeded in exploiting our democracy because the institutions that control and dominate our political system have failed in a fundamental way.  The people know by raw instinct that no one in government – from the local council to the state house to the halls of congress and the oval office – represents their interests. 

People are not human beings with needs and desire.  They are digits in a database.  They can be manipulated for political gain. 

Well, it didn’t work this last time around and I suppose that’s the good news.  The Clinton machine crashed and burned and failed to defeat a crude political neophyte – a con man and pretender who worked his magic tricks on a public ready to believe. 

Perhaps the most astounding development of all is that those who formed Trump’s base, who worked for him, voted for him and contributed despite the candidate’s pledge to finance his own campaign, remain loyal to this day. 

It would be a mistake to dismiss these people outright.  If they are watching at all they have seen Trump without his mask.  They know he is inept.  They know he changes his positions like a laborer changes shirts.  They know he is not a man of his word.  They stick with him because they have seen no evidence that anyone else has changed. 

Politicians of both parties continue to play their games.  Senators weeping like small children over the demise of the filibuster.  Threats and counter-threats over a self-imposed deadline for funding the government.  Calculated responses to launching missiles and dropping bombs in faraway lands. 

It’s all theater and the people see through it. 

What do we do about all this?  We do what we’ve always done.  We keep working for change – each in his and her own way.  We push our elected leaders for actions and answers.  We vote for people who break the mold.  We contribute what we can when we see the potential for real change. 

We can take heart from the recent presidential election in France.  While Marine Le Pen gets most of the publicity, perhaps the more important lesson is that the two parties – Socialist and Republican – that have controlled French politics for half a century lost their grip on the reins of power. 

Can it happen here?  Why not?  Of course it is easier to upset the established order in a parliamentary system like France.  Of course it might have been easier before the Supreme Court opened the doors to unlimited corporate financing of elections.  But it is still possible.  The candidacy of Bernie Sanders demonstrated the potential of small individual contributions in a presidential election.  That it has carried over to some degree in congressional elections under the reign of Trump is encouraging. 

Congress continues to suffer some the lowest approval marks in history.  Trump’s approval continues to hover at 40% -- another historically low mark.  When government is this unpopular in a democracy, the people are begging for change.  The people are so fed up with our officials that in the last election many who voted for Trump were willing to listen and consider the Bernie Sanders alternative.  This is not a philosophical divide. 

The issues that Trump and Sanders had in common were their antiwar stands, trade policy and rebuilding the infrastructure.  Those issues should define the next generation of candidates.  That Trump cannot deliver does not mean that the issues will vanish.  His ultimate failure on healthcare – both with congress and with the people – suggests the people want Medicare for all.  That is another issue that can win elections. 

Trump and Sanders stood for basic, comprehensive systemic change.  No one currently in power gets it – or if they do, they are unable to advocate a position that does not attract corporate contributions.  If the politicians we have cannot deliver we must find new politicians.  We need independents to take their rightful place in the body politic. 

It can happen.  We have to believe it can.  The first goal is to win the Senate in the midterm election.  If we win the Senate, there is a chance we can win the House – even with gerrymandered districts.  If we win the Senate, we can stop Trump’s regressive appointments to the Supreme Court.  We can force him to moderation.  If we win the House, we can enact electoral reforms, prohibit gerrymandering and push the ball forward on Medicare for all, infrastructure spending and fair trade. 

If we take the House or the Senate we can weigh this president down with serious investigations armed with subpoena powers.  There are a whole lot of people in the Trump White House – including Trump – who are praying that doesn’t happen.  The resistance must make it so. 

The fact that Trump has no philosophy is an opportunity.  He would be open to a Clinton pivot.  Just as Clinton became a champion of conservative causes – trade policy, welfare reform and deregulation of Wall Street – so Trump could become a champion of progressive causes. 

Trump doesn’t care who loves him.  He just wants to be loved.  He wants to be led.  He wants someone to take hold of the reins and tell him what to do. 

Let’s take that role and run with it.