Living Large In Carson City: There Is No Honor Among Thieves Edition


“You put the small thief in prison, but the big thief lives in a palace.” 
― Graham Greene, Orient Express

In early May Jerry Falwell. Jr., son of the legendary televangelist Jerry Falwell, Sr., president of Liberty University, and over-the-top evangelical Trump supporter, tweeted the cockamamie idea that Trump should get a two year “do over”. This would be as payback for the time lost in his first term due to the “failed corrupt coup” of Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into wrong doings of the Trump election committee in the 2016 presidential race. Plagued by his own shady past due to the revelation by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, of the existence (possibly destroyed) of incriminating sex photos, Falwell’s credibility is somewhat sketchy at best these days. Of course, Trump loved the idea.

This was not the first time Trump pined for special treatment in his presidency. All of America remembers his off the cuff,  pseudo-joking remark about China’s leader,  Xi Jinping, when he heard the China strongman had been designated”president for life”,

 President Trump told donors on Saturday that China’s president, Xi Jinping, was now “president for life,” and added: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll want to give that a shot someday.” NYTimes

Trump’s reckless penchant to grab as much power for himself as possible can be seen  played out on a number of fronts as the 2020 campaign begins in earnest. His administration, under his guidance, has consistently tried to weaken Congress’s power for oversight over the past several months. By telling present and former employees that they shouldn’t appear and/or testify before Congressional committees, some in the face of federal subpoenas, he has set himself above an important branch of the government. The fight will resume in the third branch , the Judiciary, for the remainder of his last two years in office.

Americans, most notably Trump supporters, have to face the facts and come to grips with Trump’s current stumble toward dictatorship. The country has never seen a president with such a corrupt nature who gleefully thumbs his nose at the conventions of American Democracy and places all of the world in serious danger. His shameless performance this past weekend in Japan is a case in point. In remarks to reporters, he sided with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, who bashed Trump’s presidential rival candidate, Joe Biden. These are only symptoms of a much larger and darker threat to the American way of life. Here is a sample,

“Kim Jong-Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said. ABC News

Regardless of the veracity of the statement, true or not, cheap shots are beneath the office of the presidency as Biden made clear in his response to the attack. Yet, Trump acts as if there are no rules that apply to him in the way he conducts his presidency. When called out on audacious comments or actions, he simply lies and moves on to the next embarrassing blunder de jour.

So, America has to ask is Trump sliding toward dictatorship in slow motion, rather than through a violent coup. Some officials in government and in the news media believe the worst is inevitable if 2020 does not turn out to his liking and his supporters rise up to keep him in power. Americans have seen Trump’s idea of an ideal administration played out through the excesses of his dismal choices for important offices in government. How many partisan hacks have left under dubious circumstances over the past two years or have been indicted and convicted and are serving sentences in prison. Regardless, Trump seems to be operating as if he and his minions are above the law. In an article in The Atlantic, David Frum summed up Trump’s action with a quote from a colleague when he wrote,

As one shrewd observer told me on a recent visit, “The benefit of controlling a modern state is less the power to persecute the innocent, more the power to protect the guilty.” The Atlantic

Or as Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father, said to justify the scathing remarks of leaders worldwide who took exception to his erratic behavior,

I’m the object of criticism around the world, but I think that since I am being discussed, I am on the right track.

Turing again to the Japan fiasco, this headline came across the wire this morning, White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ During Trump Japan Visit: U.S. military officials worked to ensure President Trump wouldn’t see the warship that bears the name of the late senator, a frequent target of the president’s ire from the less than liberal Wall Street Journal. Trump denied any involvement in the story, but the WSJ points to copies of emails sent to Naval commanders before Trump’s inspection of the fleet moored at a port outside Tokyo. Even if Trump was completely out of the loop, the incident raises serious questions about the fragility of Trump’s ego if his administration took preemptive steps,

“. . . to avoid offending an unpredictable president known for holding a grudge, including a particularly bitter one against McCain.”  Wall Street Journal

Such drastic measures should only be used to placate a madman, or more appropriately, a dictator who cannot face criticism or any act that undermines their projected abject authority over their fiefdom. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Trump sees himself and his presidency as above the law and not subject to restraints that other presidents who came before him endured.

The thing that is truly incomprehensible to me is the Republican enablers that are willing to turn a blind eye to Trump’s disregard for the Constitution, rule of law, the sanctity of the office of the presidency, and a whole raft of other transgressions he commits on a daily basis. Is the hunger for power and the need to keep American white men in control so alluring that they are willing to dismantle the government and cede American exceptionalism on the world stage and American’s freedoms at home? To anyone paying attention, Trump’s administration is little more than a sham. One that exploits, not the Democrats, but the clueless followers that represent his basket of deplorables.

In WWII the Germans favored a military strategy called blitzkrieg. The term means a quick and surprising attack meant to gain immediate success. Americans have seen the political equivalent of this tactic throughout Trump’s presidency since day one. It began with the election outcome when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 300,000 votes and Trump’s claim it was it was due to voter fraud. Or who can forget Sean Spicer’s dubious parroting of his bosses assertion of the inauguration crowd size as,

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said.

Since those early heady days of this administration, it has been one thing after another. Remember Trump and his dark prince, Stephen Miller’s, first travel ban? Or his accusation that the press is the enemy of the people? Or Trump’s incessant campaign rallies which have become little more than blazing conflagrations that he gleefully pours gasoline on to gin up his followers ire? All of his attacks, both political and personal, are meant to keep his opponents’ attention scattered and unfocused, while behind the scenes, he has methodically dismantled our Constitution and historical way of life.

These are the acts of a madman or dictator, or both. One leader, a metaphorical political fellow traveler of Trump’s, Saddam Hussein, put it this way,

“Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended.”

Let freedom ring.

Living Large In Carson City: A Republican With Convictions Edition

Fearful guy.png

In a democracy, you believe it or not.

In a dictatorship, you believe it or else. Evan Esar

This weekend saw something occur that for the past two years has been out of this nation’s reality. No, women did not gain control over the right to choose. The nation’s farmers did not gain a voice in the tariff wars. Steve Mnuchin didn’t have a change of heart and released the president’s tax returns for the past six years. And no, Mitch McConnell didn’t resign his position as leader of the Senate in shame and ignominy. Besides being liberals fondest wet dream, none of those happened.

What did happen was Republican Representative Justin Amash, (R, MI 3rd district) dragged himself out of the swamp that Trump built and defied the Holy Orange One by stating unceremoniously that Trump lied, Attorney General Barr misrepresented the facts of the Mueller investigation, and that the president is guilty of obstruction of justice as laid out in the Mueller investigation. Amash pointedly states few Republicans bothered to read Mueller’s findings. First elected to Congress in 2011, up until this weekend, this darling of the Tea Party has more or less toed the party line voting 62% of the time with Trump supported issues. Yet, through his careful reading and interpretation of the redacted Mueller report, he came to this conclusion,

People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods: — Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 20, 2019

That is a pretty way of saying Barr, Trump, and the feckless GOP are lying or are just too lazy to read the full report, think for themselves, and come up with the obvious conclusion Amash came to almost immediately. Let that sink in. A staunch conservative read the Mueller report and came to the same conclusion as the Democratic Party regarding Mueller’s findings. There was no exoneration. There was no witch hunt. There were only facts and the condemning assumptions that came along with the report.

As America has come to expect, the unholy backlash against Amash has been overwhelming, constant, and not just a little crazy inspiring in the president. Of course, Trump’s reaction was expected. His response has been brutal, cowardly, and without merit. Americans have come to expect bellicosity and outrage as the go-to emotional Trump response. Amash stood up to the leader of his party and seriously put in question his own reelection in the 2013 primary. Indeed, a primary challenger stepped up immediately after Amash’s Tweet and has been given the thumbs up Trump and his minions.

No, Trump’s response has been nothing out of the ordinary. His modus operandi in any situation where someone stands up to his bullying has been to hit back . . . hard and to continue with a kamikaze like attack strategy not unlike America saw against Stormy Daniels, James Comey, Mueller, Michael Kohn, and a laundry list of cabinet members who had the temerity to speak truth to Trump’s false power. Amash obviously expected the president’s reaction and has doubled down in a series of Tweets clarifying his assertions made a few days ago.  From The Hill,

Amash argued it would be inaccurate to say “there were no underlying crimes” revealed by Mueller’s investigation, that obstruction of justice requires an underlying crime, that the president should be allowed to use any means to end a so-called frivolous investigation, and that the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” requires actual criminal charges.

While the unlikely hero of the day, Amash, and Trump participate in the hissy fit du jour, the Republican Party has sat back and thoughtfully contemplated the situation, weighing the veracity of both sides of the argument . . . not! In what has become an incomprehensible pattern, Republican Senators and Representatives alike have turned over on their backs, kicking their heels in the air and crying crocodile tears while they loudly call foul. These are supposedly intelligent, educated men and women, many of whom are lawyers themselves, but choose to turn their back on the rule of law and continue to support a man who has essentially tossed the Constitution out the window to suit his whims and fancies.

Here is just a sample,

In the 48 hours that followed Amash’s intervention, the five-term libertarian was rebuked by the president, dismissed by Republican colleagues and challenged from the right in his district.

Trump said he was “never a fan” of the congressman he called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy”.

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, accused him of “parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia”. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, questioned if he was truly a Republican. The Guardian

Quick to circle the wagons and condemn anyone who criticizes the president, Republicans have effectively abrogated their power and sullied their oath of office to placate a man who’s questionable morality and grasp on reality is questioned by  many Americans. A majority of Americans do not approve of the president’s tenure in office, yet this fact seems to escape the vast majority of Republicans. One former Republican and Trump critic, Jennifer Rubin, has harsh words for her former party and its members. She wrote shortly after the avalanche of criticism of Amash began. She wrote in a column for The Washington Post,

So we return to the question that vexes NeverTrumpers and Democrats: Why are Republicans such quivering sycophants, willing to lie and debase themselves in support of an unpopular president who is repudiating many of the principles they have spent their lives advancing? The Washington Post

In answer to her question, she comes up with three distinct “categories” of Republicans and for the reasons they justify their support for Trump. Rubin calls the first group the “cynics”. These are Republicans who know Trump is not up to the job but see an opportunity to get as many Republican “wins” as possible as in federal judgeships, lower taxes, and the opportunity to “bolster their resumes” by having been a part of the Trump presidency.

Her second category is really a pitiable group who fear that if they cross Trump they will lose their jobs either in government or in the public sphere in terms of “think tanks, right-wing media, donors, . . . No plum lobbying gigs, Fox contributorships for them” Rubin writes. They fear “ostracism would ruin them financially and personally”, so they swallow what little pride they have and make a deal with the devil to ensure on some level they retain their tarnished bona fides.

Finally, Rubin points to the a vast category that may be the worst of the lot, “cranks and haters”. This group includes the deplorables, white nationalists, the ultra conservatives and a vast majority of white people willing to push the limits of the Constitution to ensure they retain a rapidly shrinking place in an ever-increasingly diverse America. An America they believe seems to be leaving them behind in favor of brown and black people, non-Christians, people of different sexual orientations, and others who aren’t like them. You have to admire Rubin’s prescient insight into the party she supported for years, but in the end, had to admit little resembles the one she knew in the past. Her assessment of Amash is both admirable and spot on.

Beyond the optics and delight liberals take in seeing the president brought down a notch by one of his own, Amash as done something that Republicans and not a few Democrats are wont to do: Stand on principle and defend the Constitution which is under attack by this administration. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer have “rational” arguments against impeaching the president, arguing without Republican support impeachment would be dead in the water in the Senate.

This is hard to argue against, but when coupled with the all assault on Congress’s lawful task of oversight, that argument will eventually have to be overcome and impeachment follow unless things change. No American wants to see the country go through the impeachment process; it’s a nasty, soul-killing event that does the country no good. However, sometimes, bad apples have to be culled, or chance losing the entire crop. Amash’s stance, as brave and laudatory that it is, probably will not start a movement in the Republican Party to stand up to Trump. Yet, it is a chink in what was once a formidable cloak Trump surrounded himself in for the last two years. One has to wonder how far down the rabbit hole America slides before men and women of conscience say no more.

Living Large In Carson City: The Crazies Are In Control Of the Asylum Edition

Any serious shift towards more sustainable

societies has to include gender equality.   Helen Clark

The Trump clown car just took a hard right to the edge of the proverbial cliff and shows no signs of slowing down . . . again. As if the administration, and Republicans in general, didn’t have enough on their plates what with the Muller investigation, subverting the rule of law, subpoena scoff laws, a basic misunderstanding of how tariffs work, or even Donald, Jr.’s lying to Congress woes, now they are after women and LGBTQ people . . . again. Some days it appears conservatives are really just B actors auditioning for stand up comedy roles in a not funny and sad parody of a panned episode of The Office. Their efforts, as sincere as they might be, are hard to understand, and at times, just downright loopy.

Example 1: Let’s continue to take away a woman’s right to choose . . .  again.

If Americans haven’t been paying attention, and let’s face it, many Americans tuned out the demise of Western Civilization the day Trump took office, those pesky fly over, southern, evangelical wackos are at it again. The tune is as old as the Women’s Movement, “Abortion bad, ugh! Man say no.” Of course, this is just another verse of the old favorite, “98 Feminists on the Wall” sung to the tune of “98 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” but meaner and less enlightened. From Alabama to Ohio, Neanderthal state legislators are trying to undo 45 years of Roe vs Wade. Correction: not undo it, but rather, smash the hell out of it.

Early abortion bans, known as ‘heartbeat bills,’ are being proposed in at least ten states. So far, those in MissouriMississippiTennesseeGeorgia, and Kentucky have advanced the farthest in state legislatures.

The bills would outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat is present, which can be found within six weeks of the beginning of a pregnancy.

Despite the wave of new proposed legislation, every ‘heartbeat’ bill passed to date has been overturned in state or federal court.

In other states, those bills were never signed into law. NBCNews

It’s actually understandable that this would be happening now. If Donald Trump is anything, he understands tapping into the angst and anger of his solidly loyal base. It’s hard to imagine the Orange One caring about anything other than his own ego, but by backing his people on an issue like this one, no matter how unpopular they may be,  he knows he can depend upon them come 2020. But Americans might say, the article states that all of the passed bills have been overturned or never signed into law. True, but that isn’t what this is about in the end. This is one of those situations where evangelical Christians are throwing everything they can up against the wall and hoping something sticks.

This term turns my stomach, but they really are “playing the long game” here. Their goal and end destination in mind is the United States Supreme Court. The high court that Trump has appointed two sycophant cronies to in the persons of Neil Gosurch, and wait for it, “I like Beer” Brett Kavanaugh.  Gorsuch showed a flair for choosing the worst quote possible for his Columbia University yearbook when he quoted Henry Kissinger who once said, ” “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Kavanaugh isn’t worth quoting in this post, simply because, he may not have ever had an original thought in his head as demonstrated in his confirmation hearing.

Evangelical legislators understand the dynamic of the Supreme Court today and hope against hope that one of their “heartbeat bills” makes it on the docket in months or years to come. There again, however, there seems to be a bit of hope, in that, the court has ruled on Roe vs Wade many times and seems reluctant to go against precedent. Still, hope springs eternal in the tiny minds of these seriously misguided legislative hacks.

Example 2: Hell, they’re queer. They don’t deserve no stinkin’ rights.

This one is just downright batshit crazy. The players include run-of-the-mill wacko evangelicals, wacko evangelical United States Congressmen and women, and the American LGBTQ community. The bill was presented to Congress stating,

Introduced in House (03/13/2019) This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere”, one would think that ensuring a portion of American society has equal rights would not be an issue. Think again. On one chilling note, when the bill made it to debate, some of the amendments proposed were down right laughable. One is more than a little, well, confusing,

The distinction for the most condescending and superficial amendment goes to Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who proposed an amendment to change the Equality Act to to the “Forfeiting Women’s Rights Act” . . .

A total of 34 amendments were submitted Friday to the House Rules Committee, which will evaluate the measures during a committee session and determine which are eligible for a vote on the floor . . .

Republicans proposed 28 of those amendments, many of which are anti-trans in nature or seek to broaden the religious exemption in the bill to allow anti-LGBT discrimination. The Washington Blade

Some of the amendments were meant as clarification like exempting abortion from the mix, securing parental rights, and others that tried to water down the impact of the bill, but some were downright frightening,

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who has a long anti-LGBT record in Congress, proposed an amendment that would restore the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, making anti-LGBT discrimination possible under that law. Fourteen of Gohmert’s Republican colleagues co-sponsored the amendment. The Washington Blade

This is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s safe to say there is an overarching anti-LGBTQ tenor to the Republican amendments to the point of paranoia. Granted, this is a flash point issue, one that evokes strong opinions on both sides. Yet, in the 21st century, to read the hateful thoughts of  some of our elected officials who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States demonstrating their true beliefs on this topic does, and should give, every American pause. Just for the record, the Trump/Pence White House came out in opposition to the bill.

Example 3: Trump and Bob Barr are beyond redemption

A Raw Story headline says it best, Shocker: Trump and Barr refuse to defend ban on female genital mutilation. Yes, you read correctly, female genital mutilation, or FGM. One might ask why is this an issue in America? For the last 20 years, it hasn’t been because of a ban on the procedure. The ban, however, was recently struck down because of a loophole found in a court case discussed in the article. Now, normal thinking Americans who love their daughters and mothers would naturally assume that the ban would be looked at, the loophole closed, reinstated, and everything would be peachy. You would be wrong. Not in Trump and his lapdog Attorney General, Bob Barr’s, world.

The DOJ could have appealed the ruling, but Francisco told Feinstein there’s no legal basis to defend the 20-year-old ban, and therefore it’ll allow the law to disappear. It’s up to Congress, the Trump administration wrote, to amend the law or to pass a new one. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this tactic before. This is also how Trump dealt with DACA as well as his current strategy for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Kill it then use it as leverage. It wouldn’t shock me if we discovered Trump planned to use the FGM issue as a negotiation ploy, just like the ACA and DACA. We haven’t heard any rumors to that effect, but the precedent exists. The Raw Story

Negotiation ploy? Let’s be clear. Trump and Barr are willing to allow young girls to be physically restrained by their families, or worse, by complete strangers, to be held down, their most private parts removed in the most horrific manner, or as the article states, “. . . using everything from “knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades”, and this is not an issue our president finds worthy of supporting a ban on?

Before I began writing this post, I thought America was in crazy times. Now, it’s Mad Max and the Thunder Dome reality. Don’t be alarmed by the sound of a revving engine. It’s Trump’s clown car picking up speed.


Living Large In Carson City: Advise and Consent Works Only When Listened To Edition


“They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind” Hosea

This just in this morning,

“As we have repeatedly explained, the attorney general could not comply with your subpoena in its current form without violating the law, court rules and court orders, and without threatening the independence of the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial functions,” Boyd wrote. “Accordingly, this is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials.” The Hill

In terms of a Constitutional crisis, this is the equivalent of “the shit just hit the fan.” This past week and the upcoming one are going to be crucial to the survival of democracy as Americans know it. The president and his gang of insurrectionists just stepped on the “third rail” of what seems to be the subway to impeachment. Okay, it was expected that Trump would bar his people from testifying to the House Judiciary Committee, or even in the wildest of scenarios, blocking Robert Mueller himself from sitting before the committee. It was understandable that the Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, would not release Trump’s tax returns, no matter how many laws he would break. It was understandable that Trump would not allow Attorney General Bob Barr to testify again before Jerry Nadler’s Democratic packed committee, especially after his miserable lying performance last time he appeared. All of those infractions are par for the course for this corrupt, scheming band of jackals who seem hell bent on destroying America as we know it.

But to pull Executive Privilege out of his ample ass is really telling the American people, this is a man who has far more to lose than just a bitch fight over legal niceties. The sweep and depth of his declaration is breathtaking.   “Accordingly, this is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials.” In one egregiously egomaniacal act, the president put himself above the law and the American people. Quite literally, this act says that regardless of whether or not the 10 times Mueller pointed out instances where the president committed obstruction were true or not, Trump has said in no uncertain terms that he is immune to the truth, the rule of law, and the will of the majority of the  American people. Disregard the fact that 720 and counting federal prosecutors, both Republican and Democratic, have signed a letter affirming that according the scant findings presented by Barr of Mueller’s report they believe Trump committed obstruction of justice.

Americans hear a lot about the nation being in a Constitutional Crisis. It sounds bad, and it is. Here is a definition and some examples of what measures up to be a Constitutional Crisis.

In political science, a constitutional crisis is a problem or conflict in the function of a government that the political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve . . .

Specific examples include the South African Coloured vote constitutional crisis in the 1950s, the secession of the southern U.S. states in 1860 and 1861, the controversial dismissal of the Australian Federal government in 1975 and the 2007 Ukrainian crisis. Wikipedia

So, how is Trump’s move to claim of Executive Privilege “over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials” a Constitutional Crisis? This is where Article 1 of the Constitution steps into play. The Founding Fathers foresaw a president who through hook or crook was able to gain immense power, far beyond what the Framers intended. Article I gives the Congress power to check the president’s actions to conform with the intent of the document as set forth by the Founders. The Senate holds slightly more power than the House in that they confirm judges, cabinet members, and other important officials through advise and consent of the president’s nominations. The House, more or less, holds the purse strings of Congress and can deny the president certain rights and combat overreach that may occur with a corrupt, undemocratic president.

Oversight is wielded through Congressional committees like the House Judiciary Committee which just subpoenaed Attorney General Bob Barr for refusing to sit before the Committee for questions on topics related to the Bob Mueller report. By denying the Congress its ability to preform its oversight duties, and with little regard for the House’s subpoenas process, the administration created a situation where the Constitution cannot work as it was properly envisioned. This is only one example of how Trump and company are flaunting the rule of law in their attempt to cover up the Mueller report, the questionable granting of security clearances, and  refusing to turn over Trump’s financial records. The fact that the Republicans are complicit is not surprising. The Party as a whole has pushed for a stronger presidency ever since the Nixon debacle back in 1960s and 1970s.

So, where are now is the nation and federal government are literally at the mercy of the president and his minions. The situation is beyond normal and getting worse by the day. Of course, the Democrats  would like to ignore the entire mess on grounds of political expediency, but they do so by risking the sovereignty of the political process as envisioned by the Founders. The fly in the ointment is one that has rarely been experienced before this administration. The Attorney General, and the Department of Justice as a whole, while part of the Executive Branch, are supposed to be working for the American people . . . not the president’s whims and demands. Bob Barr became the most corrupt AG in the history of the nation when he took Trump’s side when reviewing the Mueller Report. His betrayal of his office makes him both a criminal and obstructionist when it opted to become Trump’s lapdog.

Yesterday, in a rare move that shows someone on the Committee has a pair of balls, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, did the unthinkable and subpoenaed Trump’s son, Donnie, Jr., for follow up questioning about remarks he made to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Moscow. He claimed he was only marginally involved with the project during the 2016 campaign. Michael Cohen, however, in his own Congressional testimony called out Donnie, Jr. (as well as Ivanka) testifying that both siblings were briefed regularly (at least 10 times) on the pace and development of the Moscow deal. Donnie, Jr. lied. Trump, understandably, was over-wrought with the news and no one knows how he will react if the committee goes through with calling the younger Trump in for further testimony.

But what the hey? It’s obvious that the president doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about the rule of law and is advising everyone who has been subpoenaed to ignored them and carry on as usual. This is where the Constitutional Crisis takes on greater meaning for the future of the country. In one fell swoop, Trump erased a good part of Article I of the Constitution and entered the land of monarchy. The only ones left in a position to counteract the president are the heads of the House committees that issued the subpoenas in the first place.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is head of the House Intelligence Committee and has come up with an old but still viable oversight power. If Trump continues to actively encourage members of his administration to ignore subpoenas, Schiff proposes a concrete method to do an end around of the president’s demands. Fine the hell out of them.

“I think it’s much more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person, not the office, until they comply,” he added. “You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply and that would probably get their attention.” EpochTimes 

While Schiff proposal makes sense, in the big picture, it will probably hold little power given Trump will simply tell people to ignore the fines. Eventually, someone will have to go to jail to make things “real” and the consequences too onerous to contemplate. A couple of nights in the slammer and an accumulated fine possibly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars should change some people’s minds. Yet, we’ve seen time and again over the past two years that Trump has no regard for the rule of law and will likely step even farther down the path of corruption. The only answer then, politically expedient or not, will be to impeach him. Let’s hope the Democrats have the backbone and wherewithal to pull it off.






Living Large In Carson City: Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave Edition

“Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.” Trump’s Basket of Deplorables chant

How can anyone forget Trump’s campaign slogan “Lock her up” in response to his charges that Hillary Clinton, despite no evidence, should be locked up for any number of sundry charges. It’s a theme he returns to daily. He either wants to lock people up or believes they are guilty of illegal acts against the nation, or more importantly, himself. Over the past few years, Trump has called for incarceration or claimed people were criminals  including President Obama, Attorney Generals under Obama, Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder, James Clapper, retired Air Force general and Director of National Intelligence, FBI Director and Assistant Director, Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe, former president Bill Clinton,  former White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta, mild mannered cable news talking head, Steve Rattner, flag burners, former FBI agent, Peter Strzok, former Secretary of State, John Kerry, and my personal favorite Snoop Dogg. And this is just a partial list.

Really, the only person in America Trump doesn’t want to put in the slammer is himself or his personal family. Everyone else seems to be fair game or at least suspect in the Orange One’s mind. So, it’s evident to anyone paying attention that our president is a real law and order kind of guy. It’s just that he defines law and order in a rather peculiar manner. Amid the constant parroting of “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction”, the House, under the control of the Democrats, started subpoenaing all manner of information from the White House from financial records to direct subpoenas to individuals in the Trump orbit. For instance, the House Oversight Committee led by Elijah Cummings would like to know how Ivanka and Jared and 25 others who failed their security background checks still received top secret clearances. Cummings said,

“The Committee respects the President’s authority to grant security clearances,” Cummings writes in the letter. “However, the White House must respect Congress’ co-equal and independent authority to investigate who has been given access to our nation’s secrets, how they obtained that access, the extent to which national security has been compromised, and whether Congress should amend current laws to improve national security and enhance transparency over these decisions.” Vox

Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is a ground zero of the subpoena drive controversy and has pledged to pursue any ignored or dismissed subpoena that interferes with the House’s oversight of the Executive Branch. His committee will interview Attorney General Bob Barr twice this week. Today, he was grilled by the committee but has balked at Thursday’s hearing if he has to be subjected to questions from committee staff members. Huh? A question is a question regardless of where it comes from in the hearing room. And it is not unprecedented for staff to question people brought before the committee. Remember when Republicans in the Senate refused to question Dr. Christine Ford over her allegations that “I LIKE BEER” Brett Kavanaugh had sexually molested her in high school? They brought in an unbiased lawyer (staff) to do the questioning for them. Nadler has vowed to subpoena Barr if he refuses to appear.

The real problem, of course, is Trump. The Financial Services Committee led by Maxine Waters issued subpoenas to Capital One and Deutsche Bank seeking to get access to Trump’s financial records. Trump, in turn, filed suit in court to keep the records out of the hands of Congress citing privacy matters. Today, in the first court hearing, the presiding judge threw the case out of the court and said Congress has the right to pursue oversight in these matters. Waters and Adam Schiff weren’t fooled,

In a joint statement, Chairwoman Maxine Waters of the Financial Services Committee and Chairman Adam Schiff of the intelligence committee said the suit was “only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible.” NPR

Now, Trump is actively campaigning to keep anyone on his staff or family members from appearing before any of the House committees and has instructed them to ignore any call from Congress to appear before the committees, even if subpoenaed. Congress is having none of it. Fines, censure, and even arrest are all on the table and committee chairs have finally grown a pair and vow to use any means necessary to carry out their sworn duties to the American people.

Of course, this begs the question, “What does Trump fear? What does he have to hide?” Well, obviously, a lot if his conduct after becoming president is any indication. Yet, Trump continues to thumb his nose at the country, law makers, Congress, the court system, and the rule of law. Joshua Holland wrote in The Nation magazine that,

Even the redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report is effectively an impeachment referral. His team found that eight of the 10 acts of apparent obstruction of justice they looked at satisfied the Justice Department’s three criteria for charging someone with a crime. The special counsel didn’t do so because he was bound by a Department of Justice legal opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted, and Mueller made it clear that it is properly the role of Congress, not the executive branch, to rein in a corrupt and lawless president. The Nation

This all boils down to business as usual in Trump world. The House leaders are reluctant to throw down the impeachment accusations and for good reasons. In some ways they are right. Without the will of the American people and the Senate willing to give impeachment a fair shot, the process would end in a stalemate with the shameless Republicans selling out what’s left of their puny, cancerous souls to protect their seats and not rile up the bogeyman Trump. Up until today, I agreed with them.

Now, I am wondering if it’s not time to hold these scoff laws responsible for their actions which are literally ripping apart the American Constitution to give sway to an incompetent man child who is dirty as just about any politician who has ever walked the face of the earth, well, America for sure. If things continue on the course they are on, impeachment might be just the ticket to wake up Americans who live in a fantasy world that everything is hunk dory. It’s not, and if it takes putting the Trump White House on trial, so be it. The upshot would be that more Americans would know the truth, because lets face it, Trump is a dirty motherfucker and has to be held responsible like everyone else in the country. The Republicans would also be  shown to be the corrupt disingenuous hacks that they are. It’s a given that the Republicans have lost their moral compass and can no longer be depended upon to do what’s ethical or right.

In the end Trump is signaling with his actions that there is a lot he wants kept under seal. The fate of his children, his fantasy lifestyle, and his freedom hangs in the sway. Would America be able to withstand the backlash? Who knows. The real question is can America continue on this path with a corrupt clown at the helm and survive. It’s getting close to the time we may have to find out.