Living Large in Carson City: Forget Everything You Know about Democracy Edition

Democracy Now

“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts.”

― Hunter S. ThompsonKingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

The above image is of Arthur Jones. Who is Arthur Jones you may ask? In the grand scheme of things no one and a lot. Born in 1948, he is a Baby Boomer. He served in Vietnam. He has been in politics most of his adult life but as unsuccessful “all so ran”. Today, Jones’ luck changed. He just won the won the Illinois Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District Tuesday. More importantly, there is this:

Five things to know about Arthur Jones:

  • He is a holocaust denier, calling it a “racket”
  • He’s never won an election, but is unchallenged in his district
  • Republicans are distancing themselves from him
  • On most issues, he has far-right views
  • He’s a Vietnam vet and an insurance salesman

In full-closure, Jones ran unopposed on the Republican ticket in a traditionally Democrat district which includes part of Chicago, hence the lack of a viable opponent. The Republicans knew there was no way of beating the sitting democrat, so why bother. In steps Jones and usurps the Republican mantle, which forced the Illinois Republicans to publicly distance themselves from his candidacy. In fact, there were many who stepped up to disavow the Jones candidacy.

Jones’ Nazi-sympathies were not a secret going into election day. His campaign website features a slideshow of pictures of him speaking at white nationalist events. He is a perennial candidate who has previously run for U.S. House, Chicago alderman, and mayor of Chicago, and even mayor of Milwaukee. Chicago media extensively covered the race. The Anti-Defamation League warned voters of his record. The chairman of Illinois Republican Party even disavowed him, saying “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.” Think Progress

So, everyone hates this guy and thinks he is a terrible candidate to run for Congress, regardless of one’s political affiliation. Case closed if politics operated in a vacuum. Funny how the electorate has a way of messing up otherwise tried and true acts of political acumen.

On Tuesday, despite his vocal Holocaust denial, his anti-Semitic rhetoric, and his white supremacist views, 20,339 Illinois Republicans, according to preliminary totals, cast their ballots for Arthur Jones . . . While the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House GOP, dismissed Jones last month as “a fringe candidate who has been doing this for over a decade with no real connection to the GOP,” his campaign platform mirrors President Trump’s agenda (emphasis added). Jones’ campaign website promises to “put America first” with border protections, the elimination of “Sanctuary Cities”, no “amnesty for illegal aliens,” gun rights, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Think Progress

With that tidbit of trivia, Jones leaves the world of shadows and gains a healthy dose of gravitas from his fellow 3rd District electorate. Think of the implications. An avowed Nazi, white supremacist, crackpot and Trump supporter garnered over 20,000 votes from Republicans. It’s not like they didn’t have another choice ideologically. Seven term Democratic Congressional Representative Daniel Lipinski from the 3rd District is a hardcore conservative who resembles a Republican without actually being one. He is virulently anti-choice, soft on LGBTQ legislation and a host of other far right stances, so he would appear to be a better choice than a Nazi. Not so, said 20,000 upright Illinois Republicans who voted for Jones.

Conventional wisdom would say, “Why worry?” Lipinski is expected to trash Jones in the general election, and Illinois politics will go back to business as usual. Yet, the implication of this ill-begotten political fiasco relates back to the optics it creates, and of course, the fact that 20,000 Republicans voted for an avowed Nazi and Holocaust denier.  I am not a Republican sympathizer in any manner, but Jones’ hateful ideology should rise above partisan political thinking and be replaced by a healthy dose of American patriotism and democratic solidarity. When people are so entrenched in their political stance that they are willing to sell democratic principles and American exceptionalism down the river to stand firm in their hate for the opposing party, America is in trouble.

Or is Thompson right? Are we “killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts”? Today, there are 20,000 reasons to think so.


Living Large in Carson City: All the News that Fit to Print . . . Not Edition

It is almost impossible to start with the first blog of the week without a mind-numbing paralysis hanging over my laptop keyboard, effectively rendering any semblance of objectivity moot and any sense rational thought impossible. Since Friday night, all hell has broken loose just like all the Friday nights since Trump took office. Here is a quick timeline of what has happened since 10 p.m. Friday evening.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires Andrew McCabe at 10 p.m. 24 hours before the distinguished FBI employee was slated to retire.
  • This event snowballed creating a flurry of tweets from Trump attacking both McCabe and his former boss, James Comey, and ultimately the third rail of personalities in this bizarre comedy of errors, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller III. The McCabe and Comey bashings are old hat; Mueller as a target, not such a good career move on Trump’s part.
  • McCabe’s firing prompted Trump attorney John Dowd (ostensibly speaking for the president) to call for Mueller’s investigation to end. This early morning story generated enough hysteria and outright fear in Trump world that Dowd was forced to call the reporter who was being interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joy to walk back the claim, and that Dowd was speaking only for himself, not the president. It’s the old “obstruction of Justice” specter that keeps rearing its ugly head in Trump world more and more these days.
  • At some point during the weekend, witnesses came forward to say that Sessions’ claim that he pushed back against George Papadopoulos and a proposed inquiry to set up a meeting with Russian officials. This event occurred originally at a National Security Meeting where Sessions, Papadopoulos and Trump plus most of the presidential cabinet were present. Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 14 that he opposed having Papadopoulos set up a meeting with the Russians. Sessions lied. He didn’t push back.

There are many more stories that could be listed. These are only the nationally promoted stories while a multitude of others went unnoticed. For instance, Trump and company stepped up to bat filing a law suit against Stormy Daniels to the tune of $20 million for breach of contract. Austin, TX suffered its fourth bombing, further confounding authorities and local police. Again with Sessions, he violated his pledge to recuse himself from the Russia probe by firing McCabe. The list goes on.

The upshot is that other stories with national consequences go unattended except on the back pages of newspapers and websites. This is a story that should be getting front page coverage.

This section shall not prevent any officer or agent of the United States Secret Service from providing armed protective services authorized under section 3056 or pursuant to a Presidential memorandum at any place where a general or special election is held. [emphasis added]
 – H.R. 2825, section 4012
he single sentence above, which amends current federal law, would give the president unprecedented authority to send armed Secret Service agents to any US polling place for any reason. The law allows the president to send armed Secret Service agents to every US polling place if he has enough agents.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t a floated proposition or pipe dream of a demented Banana Republic despot. This is a bill that passed the United States House of Representatives and moved over to the Senate. The implications are breath-taking, in that, a sitting president could send armed CIA personnel to voting sites to “monitor” possible voting irregularities.
As the article points out, an act of this sort would (and should) call into mind the illegal practices of Jim Crow laws that were meant to intimidate black voters in the American southern states. There is no reason for this move except for its propensity for misuse by both parties.
Fortunately, some nineteen state secretaries of state were watching:

The issue broke through to public attention on March 9, with a letter to the Senate’s party leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, from secretaries of state of both parties in 19 states, calling the Senate’s attention to “unprecedented and shocking language currently included in Section 4012 of HR 2825” that:

… allows Secret Service personnel unlimited access to polling places pursuant to the President’s direction. This is an alarming proposal which raises the possibility that armed federal agents will be patrolling neighborhood precincts and vote centers.

The bill basically expands and defines provisions that enable one of the most powerful departments in the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been a questionable department since its inception by the Bush administration after 911. Its over-arching, sweeping powers of surveillance in the name of protecting the “homeland” was always going to have the potential for abuse. When used as a political tool, a means of surveillance, or for unlawful acts that go unreported, DHS has proven to be a broken and flawed system in how America deals with domestic and foreign terrorism. Giving them the power to use CIA gunmen to oversee local and national elections is problematic on so many levels.
Why should this matter? Two reasons: first, avoiding politicization our electoral system is a 24/7 job. As America debates this topic, the Supreme Court is hearing a case on gerrymandering, which has vast implications about American’s ability to freely and fairly elect people to represent them in Washington.  Adding any new obstructionist laws or power to departments to further control or disrupt the electoral process is just stupid.
Second, stories like these should be seen as the bread and butter of our democracy. The Trump charade and dog and pony show is simply a ploy for conservative actors to remake our democracy in an unfair manner. Yet, as important as this story is to America, it will get only a fraction of the print space the story of a president and a porn star will get for days on end.
Moral: Pay attention to the details. The devil is in them.

Living Large in Carson City: Shut Your Pie Hole Lori. Get Your Facts Straight Edition

Lori Bakker: Liberals Want To Lock Christians ‘Away In Mental Illness Centers’

By Kyle Mantyla | March 2, 2018 10:33 am
 It’s amazing to me that Jim Bakker chose to clone his first wife, Tammy Faye, and come up with his present partner, Lori. Lori seems at least as unhinged as Tammy Faye, but without the panache. Regardless, she and Jim continue the fleecing of American Christians with skewed logic and fear mongering derived from their perusal of the Bible’s questionable wisdom and dubious historical provenance. Here Lori actually makes a true statement, but not for the reasons she thinks.
It is true in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (like today) that some women when their bodies went through postpartum depression after giving birth or during the change of life demonstrated irrational behavior and tremendous mood swings. So much so, their husbands, rather than deal with them with loving understanding, shipped them off to insane asylums for “the cure”, which was never going to happen. Lori Bakker would want her flock of sheep to  assume that liberals are going to do the same thing to Christians. However, their is a fallacy in Lori’s cognitive process. 
The fact of the matter was when women were shipped off to insane asylums it wasn’t because they were mentally incompetent. No, it was due to the patriarchal society in which they lived where women were thought of as possessions and were treated with little or no respect. The men took their lead from where? The Bible, of course, which requires women to be subservient to their men (masters) and not make waves or disrupt the status quo. Basically, when the “old girl” went a little daft, they shipped her off to the asylum and get on with their lives.
Several of America’s early women writers during that era took up this topic to shine a light on how basically inhumane it was. Kate Chopin is one of the best. Read the short story, The Story of an Hour, to see the human trap that women endured as they found themselves, often in loveless marriages, with no recourse except death or their husband’s death. Widowhood was often the best world that women could hope for to escape this viscous environment.
While Chopin is a great source, the go to authority on this topic is Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her creepy, short story masterpiece, The Yellow Wallpaper. Gilman suffered postpartum depression after giving birth to one of her children. Her husband eventually shipped her off to an asylum and one of the leading “authorities” dealing with this subject at the time. It didn’t go well. Gilman eventually escaped both the doctor, the asylum and her husband and went on to become one of the leading advocates for women’s rights and suffrage in the early 20th century. (Listen and read this short, fascinating account of Gilman’s life)
So, Lori wants it both ways. She wants to trash liberals while whipping up her naive constituency into believing that fake, historical “news” applies to them. She blatantly disregards the facts of the issue while inadvertently bashing women for a practice that the church she supports and the god she believes in are really the culprits.
Dumb can’t be fixed.

Living Large in Carson City: How Do We Tell if She’s Lying? If Her Mouth Is Open, She’s Lying Edition


Betsy DeVos on guns, school choice and why people don’t like her

The secretary of education has been one of the most criticized members of President Trump’s Cabinet, but DeVos says she’s “more misunderstood than anything”

Full Video

See Update at bottom

It’s almost too easy to rehash anything Betsy DeVos says in public. She is notoriously uninformed on important issues under her considerable influence as Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Education. Her confirmation hearing (which is discussed in this Leslie Stahl 60 Minutes interview) was a nightmare; one in which DeVos stated,

At her bruising confirmation hearing, she was grilled about her wealth and lack of experience. She’s been an advocate, not an educator.

Lesley Stahl: What happened there?

Betsy DeVos: I’ve not had a root canal, but I can imagine that a root canal might be more pleasant than that was.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine all plumbed the depth of DeVos’ lack of understanding on the topic of education in, at times, excruciating detail. DeVos, as stated above, has been an advocate, not an educator, for primarily one topic: funding charter schools by diverting funds from public schools into the private sector. It’s no wonder she has become the darling of the conservative right and wacko evangelicals who have for decades chomped at the bit in the hope of getting their hand on the huge budget of the federal education department to fund parochial, charter and private schools.

On the surface, one has to ask, “What could go wrong?”. Well, as it turns out, a lot. DeVos under Kaine’s pointed questioning would not take a stand on the most elementary of questions about protecting children and their right to a decent and equitable education. Public schools have been striving to do this for centuries. Throwing for profit school systems in the mix is an open invitation for graft, inequality and a whole host of other ills that would come up depending on the organization running the schools. Kiss separation of church and state goodbye. Americans have seen the horrors of for pay prisons and for pay colleges (Trump University comes to mind). These are the outcomes of what DeVos has spent her lifetime promoting.

The reason Betsy DeVos wanted to be secretary of education was so she could promote school choice, offering parents options other than traditional public schools – where 90 percent of kids go. She has proposed massive cuts in public education funding and wants to shift billions to alternative players like private, parochial and charter schools.

Betsy DeVos: We have invested billions and billions and billions of dollars from the federal level And we have seen zero results.

Lesley Stahl: But that really isn’t true. Test scores have gone up over the last 25 years. So why do you keep saying nothing’s been accomplished?

Betsy DeVos: Well actually, test scores vis-à-vis the rest of the world have not gone up. And we have continued to be middle of the pack at best. That’s just not acceptable.

On guns in schools, DeVos is characteristically evasive. While seemingly supporting arming some teachers, she is adamant that she couldn’t see her own first grade teacher locked and loaded and ready to take on the next mass shooter to enter a school. She did little more than kick the can down the road by laying the final choice to local and state governments. She also told Stahl that she has been tapped to head up a commission to look into what states are doing to address the issue of guns and schools, again, kicking the can down the road and not presenting a coherent game plan to combat the all too frequent events like what happened in Florida recently.

Finally, DeVos takes up the issue of federal overreach in the way the government has addressed educating American school children. Overreach to DeVos and her ilk means rolling back federal regulations (many from Obama’s terms) that do not sit well with her conservative, privileged view on how to educate young folk. Of course, it has been borne out over and over again that DeVos is clueless when it comes to how public education works in this country considering she nor her children ever attended a public school, borrowed money from the government to pay for higher education or any of the other messy machinations of a public-school education.

The over-arching impression that DeVos exudes is that of a slick con woman who is all good tidings and a smile for every issue she faces, whether it works or not. It’s like Con Woman 101, or more to the point, playing the part of the willful, concerned and caring plutocrat to the unwashed and unconnected public is in some way going to charm the masses into allowing her to have her way. It is a toss up at this point. Like the environment, the economy, the public lands issue or the fossil fuel debate, not everything will come to fruition no matter how Trump and his minions try to make it so. Unfortunately, on education, anything DeVos accomplishes hurts the children of America in a direct and serious manner. On this topic, above all others, the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Yet, education is the one topic that the Republicans know they must control. An educated electorate won’t put up with their bullshit.


Published on

21 Reasons People Hate, Hate, HATE Betsy DeVos

She is deeply unpopular, but not because she’s misunderstood. It’s actually the opposite of that. People know exactly who she is.

Read the entire story here. This is the list:

Why People Hate Betsy DeVos:

1) She didn’t earn her position as Education SecretaryShe bought it. And even then it took a tie breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence to shove her down our throats.

2) She wants to spend tax dollars to boost privatized schools in which she has a financial stake.

3) She doesn’t mind taking funding away from public schools to do it.

4) She wants to destroy the entire system of public schools which enroll 90% of America’s children.

5) She doesn’t really know what public schools are, having never attended one or having never sent her children or grandchildren to one.

6) She wants to arm teachers not because it will protect kids from school shooters, but because that boosts her family’s investment portfolio. (i.e. her brother’s mercenary army for hire, Blackwater)

7) She won’t make charter and voucher schools give the same services to special education kids as those provided by traditional public schools.

8) She’s getting rid of students’ civil rights protections while adding protections for nefarious student loan providers and fly-by-night on-line schools.

9) She’s rescinded rules that protected trans students.

10) She’s considering rescinding rules that protect minority students from being unfairly and disproportionately disciplined by schools.

11) She’s made it harder for victims of sexual assault and harassment to report abuse and easier for those accused to avoid prosecution.

12) She talks about state’s rights to determine their own education systems while using the power of the federal government to coerce them to doing things her way.

13) She wastes public tax dollars. She is the only Cabinet member protected by Federal Marshals, which costs us nearly $1 million a month. Whether this is necessary or not, as a billionaire she could save the taxpayers money by taking on this cost, herself.

14) She doesn’t care if the public doesn’t want her at their school or event. She goes anyway and then pretends to be angry that protestors showed up. She doesn’t seem to understand that as a public servant she should serve at our pleasure – not the other way around.

15) She uses tragedy as a photo-op – as she did when she visited the Parkland school to promote arming teachers. She didn’t meet significantly with students or staff. She didn’t listen to their concerns. She even bailed on her own press conference there when the queries weren’t to her liking.

16) She has no problem whitewashing black history as she did when she claimed historic black colleges were pioneers of school choice. In reality they had no choice. For many African Americans at the time, it was create black colleges or forgo post-secondary education at all.

17) She is ignorant (purposefully or not) of the results of her own policies. Her advocacy of school choice in her home state of Michigan has weakened that state’s public schools, not strengthened them.

18) She’s out of touch with average Americans. She’s the richest member of Trump’s cabinet and often travels in her on super luxury yacht.

19) She’s rich not because she earned it, but because she was born into it and married into even more wealth. Moreover, much of her wealth is due to her family’s Amway fortune – basically it’s founded on rooking average people out of their hard earned money with what’s essentially a pyramid scheme.

20) She’s arrogant. She smiles vacantly at topics that don’t deserve a smile – they deserve serious regard.

21) She is extremely biased and partisan. She is supposed to serve the public interest, but her radical Christian Fundamentalism and anti-LGBT activism make her untrustworthy to serve in that capacity. Statements such as “There is enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education… Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom,” do not help.

Okay. That’s all I can think of – though more may pop into mind as soon as I publish this. If I missed something please include it in the comments.

Hopefully this answers DeVos’ question about why she’s hated.


Living Large in Carson City: The Sky Really Is Falling . . . “Did I say that?” Edition

I was all set to write about the depth of corruption that has taken root in the White House beyond the obvious shenanigans of Trump senior by looking at an article in the L.A. Times regarding Ivanka’s tawdry actions as first daughter and as a senior political adviser to her father on topics well above her pay grade. Not to mention, her ties with the Russian mafia, money laundering and the general bilking of potential and current clients. The other topic came from a Washington Post opinion piece about Hope Hicks and her abrupt exit from her White House communications position.

The Times piece is summed up in the title of the article: Ivanka Trump: Born to legitimize corruption and make the shoddy look cute. Most Americans only see the aging debutante as a glamorous beauty that sweeps in and out of the news cycle flashing her pretty smile and flaunting her runway beauty that most American women never have a chance of attaining. Only now are her actions as a Trump, Inc. surrogate coming under scrutiny.  Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller over the past few weeks turned his focus on both her and her husband, Jared Kushner.  Kushner for his suspect dealings with countries who refused him loans to help bail out his family’s failing international real estate enterprises. Jared may have dealt in a reverse game of quid pro quo when the tiny Middle-Eastern country, Qatar, refused to support his request for a loan.

Ivanka’s woes (among others) come in the form of an FBI counterintelligence probe as highlighted in a CNN article looking into her dealings with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. The Trump’s don’t own the hotel but lease their name and provide some amenities like Ivanka’s trademarked spa like they often do. Dealings of this sort have caused the Trump organization problems in the past, especially for Ivanka (see the Times article above).

The Post’s View opinion column deals with the breakup between Trump and Hope Hicks in a rather unique manner. The gist of the article is,

THE CAPITAL last week was seized by the news that White House communications director Hope Hicks was leaving President Trump’s side, the latest senior aide to depart a tumultuous West Wing. But as a symbol of what is wrong in Mr. Trump’s Washington, Ms. Hicks’s activities just before her announcement were more potent.  (my emphasis)

America now knows that Hicks admitted telling “white lies” to the American public over the tenure of here service. These lies, presumably, were meant to aid the Trump narrative when the truth didn’t comport with reality or when the Trump family’s questionable actions became public.

Additionally, and more damning, she refused to answer any questions concerning what has transpired in the White House since Trump took office. Remember, recently, Steve Bannon notoriously refused to cooperate or answer some of the questions asked of him when he faced federal investigators including the House Intelligence Committee.  Hick’s refusal is more problematic in that she seemed to evoke some form of executive privilege, which does not in any way apply to her or her testimony. While the opinion piece makes a lot of great points, the one that is by far the most important is the precedent that its sets for future special investigations into criminal wrongs committed by this or future White Houses.

Those were the two topics of privilege that caught my eye in the less obscure headlines in the world of Washington politics. Then Sam Nunberg happened.

One time in the late 1970s at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, TX, I saw a performer make the biggest fool of himself than anyone in my life. That title held until yesterday.  The Kerrville show was continually held up due to heavy rain that made performing a suicidal endeavor at best. Finally, a gospel group came out and did a quick set and moved off stage. The next performer, who will remain unnamed, had had a lot of time on his hands backstage. After several unheeded intros by his band, the singer/song writer came out to scattered applause.

It was immediately evident that the performer had spent his down time backstage with a large bottle of alcohol. Not quite falling down drunk, but close, he began the first song but stopped the band and began to rag on the gospel group that preceded him in what became a drunken harangue. He wasn’t very nice to say the least. Finally, after what seemed an eternity (really only about five minutes), the venerable, late Rod Kennedy who promoted the festival back then came out and led the drunken singer backstage. Up until yesterday, no one in my experience ever came close to embarrassing themselves publicly like that performer.

Until yesterday.

Nunberg was like an out of control car brawling its way down Lombard Street in San Francisco.  I saw his performance (or rather heard his phone call) on Jake Tapper where he vehemently proclaimed he would not submit to a Robert Mueller subpoena to surrender emails Mueller wants for his Russian probe into Trump’s possible collusion.

Over the course of the conversation he pledged his loyalty to Steve Bannon and Roger Stone while taking potshots at others, Trump included, in a wide-ranging rant of just about everything to do with the Mueller investigation and Trump’s White House. It was just the thing that Americans love to see: Someone making a fool out of themselves for no good reason to their own detriment. He was that unhinged. At several points in the discussion, Trump’s culpability came up,

Nunberg said multiple times that he thinks Mueller, who is leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, “may” have information that President Trump did something illegal. The White House rejected that claim, saying Nunberg has no knowledge on the subject.

This morning America awoke to the headlines that Nunberg recanted and will probably work with Mueller despite his odd behavior yesterday.

Pity, he was on a roll.


Living Large in Carson City: Forget It Kids the NRA Needs the Sales Edition

The above video clip is from  the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence; the only LGBTQ site dedicated to sane gun control. Of course, the problem is how does Congress and Donald Trump define sane. This video makes a simple point, but one that is telling. The National Rifle Association (NRA) cares nothing about children. There focus is promoting gun sales no matter how much they posture and proclaim their dedication to responsible gun ownership. Responsible gun ownership coming out of the mouths of NRA spokesmen and women is oxymoronic at best and criminal at worst as they continue to fight tirelessly for guns that can only be defined as killing machines.

The NRA is beyond clueless on this topic. Had their leadership a scintilla of intelligence, they would be farsighted enough to understand that unless they get on board the popular bandwagon of sane gun control, they are going to be left behind. They should be tirelessly working for a consensus among all groups that would curb ownership of some types of assault weapons, expanded background checks and limiting access of mentally ill people to firearms across the board. These are not Second Amendment attacks, but simple sane measures to attempt to control individuals from carrying out mass shootings. No matter how many times Wayne LaPierre says that the government is coming to take away your guns, it isn’t true.

Now, surprisingly, yesterday, Trump went off his meds again and slipped into his own alternative reality, but in a more confusing manner than anyone at a Washington conference table thought was possible. Watch the Republican congressman field this question from Trump and the president’s response:

This is only one minute of a free-wheeling gun debate and news conference of a much longer circus spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. There is so much to unpack that it’s hard to decide where to start. Put aside the low hanging fruit like Trump’s claim that “they (the NRA) has less power over him” than the Congress members seated at the table. Throw out his claim that he said to NRA officials, “fellows we gotta’ do something” while simultaneously proclaiming the NRA is “well-meaning”.   Or the ironic statement, “When it comes to mental health issues, we have to do what is right.” As if his stream of consciousness rambling remarks are a standard for sane mental health thoughts.

No, throw all of those wild proclamations out and jump to the last part of his mental health comments where he says,

I like taking the guns early . . . to go to court would have taken a long time. You can do exactly what you are saying but take the guns first (and) go through due process second.

It just a guess, but it wouldn’t be surprising if there were a lot of NRA officials and members nationwide who had to change their underwear when Trump made those comments. Think about the implications. He is literally saying take people’s guns away without due process. Granted, he is referring to mentally ill people, but the NRA and Congress have long supported removing any restrictions on the mentally ill acquiring guns, and unfortunately, using them to kill innocent people.

The question has to be asked, “Who was Trump channeling?” The faces of the people around the table were a mix of incredulity, stark astonishment, disbelief, and for some, snickers and outright laughter. The entire scenario gives credence to the claim that Trump is somewhat unbalanced. He took the arguments of gun rights activists and went rogue on them along with Republicans and the NRA.

It is safe to say, among hard-line NRA members, the Congressmen and women whose votes are bought by the gun lobby, gun rights’ activists, and even most advocates of stricter gun laws, that taking peoples’ guns away without due process is an anathema. How did Trump end up there?

What next? Trump admits that Mexico won’t build the wall?