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: Every American’s Vote Counts . . . Hopefully Edition


Over the past three days, I received probably 40 or 50 emails urging me not to forget to vote. Others, like the Sierra Club and the odd statewide political organizations, go so far as to “text” me their exhortations of not to forget to visit my polling place. When I reply that I voted two weeks ago, they text back and ask me to contact all my friends and urge them not to forget to vote. As if . . .

It is probably not an understatement to say this is one of the most important elections of most of our lifetimes. This doesn’t mean that people will not stop posting in “hair on fire/the sky is falling” texts and posts that the End Times looms large come Wednesday if the vote doesn’t go our way. Of course, “our way” depends on what part of the political arena you find yourself in these dark days of Trump’s presidency. Leo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt made this video to express their concern, which are basically that of the Democratic Party. There thoughts and expression of concern are welcome and should give everyone something to think about as Tuesday looms large in all of our lives.

The Evangelicals view the midterm elections as damn near the approach of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse if you listen to their over-the-top assessments of what will happen if the vote goes south leaving them knee deep in liberal bullshit. Matt Shea, an über conservative Washington state legislator,  has been caught floating the idea of a biblical war if opponents win the day and snatch control out of Trump’s tiny hands. His thoughts verge on the bizarre,

” . . . Shea has gone on the offensive, posting a video last week in which he charged that his critics are using a “Maoist insurgency model” and “political warfare” to discredit him and others like him “that love the Constitution, that love America, that love God and Jesus Christ, as somehow being racist hatemongers.” He said he expected “more of these attacks to ramp up as the counter-state realizes it’s beginning to lose this upcoming election.” Right Wing Watch

Calls for a biblical war are not uncommon in these times of barking dogs and faux wanna’ be Christian politicians cloaked in the word of God. Take Dutch Sheets, a self-proclaimed prophet of God who holds “pray ins” to help bolster the nefarious goals and proclamations of the Orange One. Sheets has a proclivity of outlandish statements about the church and the people who make up its followers. Here is a summation of his egotistical view of just who Christians are in America today,

Sheets is a dominionist who has long taught that the church—the ekklesia—is meant to be a governing body legislating God’s will on earth. He teaches that God doesn’t need “namby-pamby” Christians but warriors who are willing to seize the country for God. A major theme of this week’s prayer session was that America has a national destiny to promote Christianity—and that Christians need to wage spiritual and political war against the forces of darkness that have corrupted the nation’s soul:

“It requires the heart of a warrior. It requires an understanding of ekklesia—that we are more than the body of Christ. We’re more than the family. We’re more than the bride. We’re His government. We’re His army. We’re His soldiers. We’re His ambassadors.”   Right Wing Watch

Separation of Church and State aside, these wackos have the ear of the president of the United States whose amoral lifestyle begs the question how can “men of God” stand by and support such a clear example of a tainted reprobate.

A more honest, yet unlikely, proponent of the classic dog whistle – Democrats Bad-Trump Good = Democrats Evil God-Haters is that classic example of modern day folk wisdom Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame (yeah, I know. Try not to laugh). Why anyone  would give this guy a second thought as to his insight on anything is beyond me, but that does not stop him. Here is his view on the election and those awful Democrats,

“This particular election, this cycle, this is the most important one I’ve seen since I’ve been on the earth,” Robertson said. “Say what you will about Mr. Donald J. Trump, but I have no argument or no negative things to say about his policies. I think he’s been a wonderful president, so far.”

“I just think we ought to look at both groups,” Robertson recommended, citing a passage from the book of Romans. “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gives them over to a reprobate mind. They’re full of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They’re God-haters, slanders, gossips. They’re insolent, arrogant, boastful, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Right Wing Watch

It is worth the time to listen to the entire short video to see Robertson in is prophet of God imitation, long beard and self-righteous demeanor to see just how morally bankrupt he comes across attacking the opposition. Suffice it to say, Evangelicals have an ulterior motive beyond winning the House and Senate this time around.

Of course, what the rest of America thinks about the election tomorrow pales in comparison when put up against the president’s view of the results to come. Trump seems to have lost his mind over the immigration issue, or at least what few political skills he may have. His lunatic ravings about the invasion of the caravan people, threats to illegally send up to 15,000 troops to the border to shoot at will if rocks are thrown, the idiotic threat to end birthright citizenship, and the release of a Willie Horton style campaign ad suggesting immigrants are cop killers are nightmarish obstacles of moderate Republicans seeking reelection in tight Congressional races.

Yet, he can not shut up. As in all things Trump, the election in his mind is about . . . wait for it . . . him. It is not about holding on to the House, or possibly losing the Senate, but about his stature and accomplishments. This is a funny thing. He could tout as Paul Ryan begged him to do of a pretty good job report recently, low unemployment, his  tax cut for the rich, two Supreme Court appointments,  or any number of things that would not cause problems for the Party, and those actually running for office in very tight races. It is about denying responsibility for his actions, lies, and malfeasance since he has been in office.

I for one will be glad when Tuesday has come and gone. Mueller waits in the wings, and possibly, a new Democratic majority in the House and even in the Senate if the Gods don’t listen to the Evangelicals. Regardless, Trump will stop the god awful endless rallies (hopefully) and get back to simply lying about everything that crosses his mind. The big “hope” is if the Democrats can take back at least the House, they will get serious about looking into Trump’s financial ties, the Russian probe, and the stunning lack of transparency that permeates the White House, and all who reside therein. But then again, I thought Hillary had it in the bag two years ago.