Shit Just Got Real

Well, if you thought the year 2020 couldn’t get any worse, you might have to reconsider that view with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday.

Clearly, the country — and the Supreme Court — has lost an icon with the passing of Justice Ginsburg, a champion for equal rights under the law.

In my view, Justice Ginsburg represents what is right about America, a noble yet imperfect exercise in representative democracy. Sadly, with her death, we’re about to witness everything that is wrong with this country: partisan bickering where the power brokers Inside the Beltway and elsewhere do what they can to advance their own agenda with the public be damned.

Well, don’t take my word for it. Here’s from an email that I received from Bernie Sanders over the weekend.

Rob –

First and foremost, the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss for our country. She was an extraordinary champion of equal rights and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.

That said, the right thing to do here is obvious, and that is to wait for whoever wins the presidential election to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.

Unfortunately, we’ve already heard from Mitch McConnell that he has decided to go against Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish — and his own words from 2016 — in order to bring a judge nominated by Trump to the floor of the United States Senate.

McConnell’s goal, maybe above all others, is to pack the courts with partisan ideologues who will protect corporations at the expense of workers, will suppress people’s right to vote, and will allow the wealthy to buy our elections. And make absolutely no mistake about it, if he gets his way in this Supreme Court fight, that will be the end of Roe v. Wade.

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Unfortunately, Congress like the public in general is now split into two camps: conservative and liberal, with neither being willing or able to compromise on important issues. And when you throw the evangelical christians into the mix you have a devil’s brew that leaves a sour taste in the mouths of those who actually believe in individual freedom. 

Still realistically, nothing is more important than appointing a Supreme Court justice who can shape how we live in this country for years to come. Since Congress is impotent, the sitting justices essentially determine how we go about living our lives.

So to say that with Justice Ginsburg’s passing “shit just got real” is a classic understatement.

From now until the election and most likely beyond the issue of how and when to seat her successor on the high court will be the most important issue facing members of Congress — and voters.

Supporters of both parties — Republicans and Democrats — are so f*********g hypocritical that listening to them trying to take the high moral ground is enough to send most of us running to grab a barf bag. I would like to hear from even one elected official who argues that we should be doing what is in the best interests of the country rather than merely advancing the interests of one political philosophy at the expense of another.

I imagine that as I write this every Republican Senator who is running for reelection is locked behind closed doors with their campaign pollsters trying to figure out which way the political wind is blowing.

So I guess we’ll see how this plays out.

From the standpoint of this citizen journalist, it’s hard to see how the Republicans can hold on to enough votes to force the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice  either before the election or in a lame duck session. But I’ll admit that Moscow Mitch McConnell probably knows more about this than I do.

Sigh.

The Ghosts Of Watergate

Well, this should be interesting. For those of you like me who are old enough to remember Watergate, you’ll recall that one of the key questions posed as a result of the reporting by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein was “what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Tricky Dick Nixon is long gone. But now it looks like Donnie Doofus is going to have to deal with the same question. And once again it is Woodward who is shining the spotlight on presidential misconduct and incompetence.

This time the story involves the pandemic that has already killed nearly 200,000 Americans. And it is likely that at least some of those lives could have been spared if the current POTUS had been honest with the American people and taken some early measures that would have benefited the public and not necessarily his reelection.

Here’s from The New York Times:

“This is deadly stuff,” President Trump said of the coronavirus in a Feb. 7 interview with the journalist Bob Woodward for his upcoming book, “Rage.” But it was a vastly different story than he was telling the public at the time. Mr. Trump would later admit to Mr. Woodward that publicly, he “wanted to always” play down the severity of the virus.

Mr. Woodward conducted 18 interviews with the president for the book, which goes on sale next week. Mr. Trump also granted Mr. Woodward access to top officials inside the White House, revealing the inner workings of the president and his administration.

Here are five takeaways.

Mr. Trump minimized the risks of the coronavirus to the American public early in the year.

Despite knowing that the virus was “deadly” and highly contagious, he often publicly said the opposite, insisting that the virus would go away quickly.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

And while he was saying publicly that children were “almost immune” to the virus, he told Mr. Woodward in March: “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too — plenty of young people.”

Oh, boy.

I guess I could buy Trump’s argument about all this that he was trying to reassure the public and not create a panic if it wasn’t for the fact that he really has displayed no leadership during this entire crisis. Oh, and he is a pathetic liar. That doesn’t inspire confidence either. I digress.

Anyway, I’m not a big fan of insider tell-all stories. Trump’s niece, Mary, doesn’t seem to me to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. And Michael Cohen is, well, Michael Cohen.

But Bob Woodward. He is one of the last credible journalists in this country. IMO. Although it is a legitimate question to ask why didn’t he reveal this information when he first heard it from POTUS rather than wait until he was ready to publish his book.

From USA Today:

The revelation President Donald Trump expressed serious concerns about the danger posed by the coronavirus outbreak, even as he downplayed the threat in public, drew outrage toward the White House and veteran journalist Bob Woodward for keeping the scoop quiet until the publication of his new book was imminent.

Woodward defended his decision not to share the revelation sooner in interviews with The Washington Post and The Associated Press after details from his upcoming book, “Rage,” were made public Wednesday. In audio clips from the 18 interviews Woodward conducted with Trump, the president says the coronavirus is highly contagious and “deadly stuff” while admitting he “wanted to always play it down” because he didn’t “want to create a panic.”

When asked why he didn’t share the discrepancies between Trump’s private fears about the virus and his public statements minimizing the danger, Woodward told AP he needed time to determine if Trump’s statements about COVID-19 were accurate.

Hmmm. That explanation by Woodward doesn’t really meet the smell test. Trump said what he said — and he said it on tape. That should be good enough.

But the bigger issue, I guess, is that Trump downplayed the severity of the virus and as a result the economy tanked and people died.

So, “what did he know, and when did he know it?”

And what would Nixon have done during Watergate, if he had access to Twitter?

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Well, we’ll have to wait for Trump to take to Twitter to set the record straight concerning what he told Woodward and what he told the American people.

Somewhere, Tricky Dick must be smiling.

Make Boats Great Again

It looks like the Trump campaign in Texas had some tough sailing yesterday. It appears that several boats that were participating in a pro-Trump rally took on water and sank in a lake close to Austin.

Here’s the story from USA Today:

AUSTIN, Texas – Multiple boats participating in a parade in support of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign sank Saturday on Lake Travis, located west of Austin, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Multiple small boats needed rescue after they began sinking due to choppy water conditions as the boats travled together on the lake, according to the office. No one was injured as a result of those incidents, according to Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials. The lake is known for being difficult to navigate at times, and large wakes could be seen during Saturday’s boat parade. Travis County Sheriff’s Office “responded to multiple calls involving boats in distress during the Trump parade on Lake Travis. Several boats did sink,” the office tweeted Saturday.

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Trump’s campaign has been taking on water for some time now. So maybe this boat parade fiasco in Texas is a preview of things to come.

And for Trump supporters, maybe it is time to head to higher (moral and ethical?) ground.

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The Year 2020: A Real Pain

For the thousands, hundreds, one or two of you who read these posts even semi-regularly, you probably have noticed that I have been absent for the past few weeks. Well, I managed to have a medical adventure in the midst of a global pandemic. I passed a kidney stone and that was a real pain, much like the year 2020 in total.

So what did I miss?

Well, millions remain unemployed. People are still contracting the virus and dying throughout the USA and the world. And while rejecting the advice of  health care experts and ignoring common sense, the “patriots” among us continue to refuse to wear a mask or social distance in public. Heck, these geniuses can’t even walk the right way in the clearly marked aisles of a grocery store. Like dude. Follow the damn arrow. I digress.

And the Republicans and Democrats both held their virtual conventions. I didn’t watch either. But the talking heads on MSNBC were giddy about the Dems. Not so much about the GOP.

And that to some extent troubles me. Most of us — myself included — tend to live in an information bubble these days. We only read and listen to so-called news outlets that confirm and reinforce our already existing view of the world.

That’s why the liberals these days flock to MSNBC and CNN. While conservatives take comfort listening to talk radio and watching Fox News.

And here’s the rub. I don’t sense that the liberal pundits have great enthusiasm for Biden. They clearly hate Trump. But if that takes us back to the “lessor of two evils” choice that many of us had in 2016, does that bode well for Democrats in November?

Michael Moore, the filmmaker and liberal advocate, views this as a problem. And I agree.

Here’s an article from the Daily Mail:

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has warned Democrats that they seem to be engaging in the same election-losing mistakes they did in 2016, after new polls show President Trump‘s popularity among swing state voters is on the rise. 

Back in 2016, Moore was one of a handful of political activists who had predicted that Trump would defeat Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton at the polls. 

And in a Facebook post Friday, Moore said it is starting to look like Trump could pull off another win, as he urged people to register to vote.

He then asked: ‘Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC to pull this off?’

Moore noted that the confidence was misplaced, as it seemed like the Democrats are heading down the path of making the same mistakes they made during Clinton’s campaign.

Oh, my.

If we want Trump out of the White House in January, then maybe we should approach this election as though Biden was the underdog and go about our business of registering and then voting as though he was way behind in the polls. Just because the folks on MSNBC are lined up solidly in support of Biden doesn’t change the reality that Trump supporters are fired up and ready to do whatever it takes to reelect the Doofus-in-Chief.

Are the Dems equally as enthusiastic? I don’t think so.

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I’ll admit that I’m not all that enthusiastic about Joe Biden. I’ll vote for him but I still believe Bernie was the better choice — and I don’t care how hard or long Trump shouted “socialist.”

Bernie’s supporters were enthusiastic — and if they sit this election out we are going to see four more years of Trump.

And that is a prospect that is more painful than any kidney stone.