Calling All Suckers

The great American showman P. T. Barnum reportedly once said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Gee, if Barnum was alive today, with that perspective he would surely be among the regular gasbags on MSNBC and other so-called cable news channels. I digress.

Anyway, I was thinking about this as I scrolled through my emails this morning. I gave a modest amount of money to Bernie Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. As a result, I now receive emails regularly from the Democratic National Committee and from every Democratic candidate running for positions ranging from President of the USA to dog catcher in Pittsburgh. (Full disclosure: I made up that bit about the dog catcher in Pittsburgh.)

Fortunately, I never gave any money to Republicans or to Trump. Otherwise, I imagine I would be getting bombarded these days by emails asking me to contribute to the lame duck President’s flagging attempt to mount a legal challenge to overturn the election.

Here’s from Yahoo News:

Despite losing the general election, President Donald Trump’s campaign is seeking donations from voters.

The Make America Great Again Committee donation page says that 75% of every contribution is routed to Trump’s newly established leadership PAC, Save America.

These funds could be used to finance the president’s life after he leaves office or even go toward a 2024 presidential bid.

“This money could easily — and legally — end up in his own pocket in the coming years,” the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause told CNN.

Wow. So donors could be contributing to a fund that could be used to “finance the president’s life after he leaves office or even go toward a 2024 presidential bid.”

Well no thanks. 

If Trump is truly a billionaire (which is doubtful given all his other lies) then it seems reasonable to me that he should dip into his own pockets to pay for anything and everything he wants.

But, hey, I’m not a Trump supporter. So what do I know?

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Trump: You’re Fired

Well, I’ve been mute on these pages since the election in early November. And I don’t really have a good excuse other than the events we are watching play out in this country seem to be pulled more from the pages of a fiction novel than from reality.

Even though I won’t get universal agreement on this, it’s a safe bet to say that Joe Biden will be our next President, whether the current Doofus-in-Chief ever concedes or not.

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Trump and millions of his supporters continue to press the case that the election was rigged, with the current occupant of the White House getting the short end of the stick. Unfortunately for this gaggle of armchair legal and constitutional experts, Trump’s crack legal team has not produced any evidence that supports their claim of fraud.

And let’s be honest. Trump’s legal team is an embarrassment. Even Trump apparently agrees with this assessment. Here’s from a report via CNBC:

President Donald Trump is worried his campaign’s legal team, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is composed of “fools that are making him look bad,” NBC News reported.
Giuliani and other campaign lawyers have so far failed to invalidate votes and reverse an apparent victory for President-elect Joe Biden.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday called Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment.

Admittedly, it’s not hard to make Trump look bad. But his legal gurus are doing everything they can to cement his legacy as the worst President in recent memory, if not in history.

Anyway, elections, as Obama told McCain as they battled over health care, have consequences. And the consequences of Trump’s refusal to concede and help the transition are very real. For instance: (1) the USA used to be viewed as the world’s greatest democracy; now our position in the world pecking order can’t be much above a Banana Republic; (2) the Biden and Harris team should be getting daily national security briefings; just because Trump apparently can’t read or understand them doesn’t mean that they aren’t important; and (3) there needs to be coordination between the two administrations that allows us to take immediate steps to get this pandemic under control.

Okay. I know that Trump and his Republican lackeys have poisoned the well of public opinion on this. Their supporters believe this pandemic is a hoax, despite more than a quarter million deaths and counting in the USA. And they have encouraged millions to view wearing a face covering and taking steps to social distance as being an attack on their personal liberties. 

 

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Like I said previously, this all reads like something from a bad fiction novel. And it’s hard to turn the page when crackpots like Rudy Giuliani continue to dominate the airwaves, spouting unfounded legal conspiracies and dripping with hair dye.

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It appears that Rudy would have been better off staying in the hotel room with Borat’s daughter. I digress.

In any event, it looks like we are starting to inch our way to some resolution of these national issues.

The General Services Administration is allowing the apparent winner of the election (that’s Joe Biden, in case you are still confused by all this) to get the resources he needs to begin the necessary transition.

And Rudy’s position in history has been pretty much assured.

In less than 20 years, he has gone from being America’s Mayor to being America’s Biggest Douchebag.

As Trump would say: Sad.

Trump Presidency Derailed

Well, the Trump Presidency jumped off the rails this morning with Biden gaining enough Electoral College votes to capture the White House. Good. This country clearly needs a competent President, not a reality TV personality.

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And I’ll admit that Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice among the gaggle of Democrats who sought the nomination. But Biden appears to be a decent person who will restore some honor to the most important position in the free world.

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Here’s an email I received from the President-elect this morning:

I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris.
In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.
With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.
It’s time for America to unite. And to heal.
We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.

So now I guess we will sit back and ponder the flurry of legal challenges that Trump and his Republican enablers will most likely initiate. Of course, like Rudy Giuliani I’m no legal expert. But based on what I have heard and read, there doesn’t appear to be anything that is going to overturn the results of the election.

That means that come January the USA will have the opportunity to return to some degree of normalcy.

And Trump, well…

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Election Polls: Wrong Again

Well, it looks as though Biden is slowing inching toward winning the election. If all the ballots are allowed to be counted, Biden should capture the White House (lawsuits pending) with a razor thin margin via the Electoral College.

And that margin of victory should come as a shock to most pollsters and pundits who had the former VP way ahead nationally and in most of the so-called battleground states.

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I’m not sure why the pollsters get this so wrong in most elections time after time.

I guess you could believe in the conspiracy theories that are now flooding social media. For instance, do you really believe that pollsters for the Washington Post will create a methodology — and word questions — that doesn’t favor liberal Democrats? By the way, The Washington Post and The New York Times (among many other print and broadcast media) used to be real newspapers. Now they are just part of the media gaggle that basically just repeats talking points from the Democratic National Committee. I digress.

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The other problem, apparently, is that Trump supporters and conservatives in general are reticent to provide information to pollsters. So since the talking gasbags on MSNBC and elsewhere cover elections as though they are horse races, the so-called “shy” Trump supporters never get into the race until the very end.

Here’s from an article in The Atlantic: “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy”:

Even with the results of the presidential contest still out, there’s a clear loser in this election: polling.

Surveys badly missed the results, predicting an easy win for former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic pickup in the Senate, and gains for the party in the House. Instead, the presidential election is still too close to call, Republicans seem poised to hold the Senate, and the Democratic edge in the House is likely to shrink.

This is a disaster for the polling industry and for media outlets and analysts that package and interpret the polls for public consumption, such as FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ Upshot, and The Economist’s election unit. They now face serious existential questions. But the greatest problem posed by the polling crisis is not in the presidential election, where the snapshots provided by polling are ultimately measured against an actual tally of votes: As the political cliché goes, the only poll that matters is on Election Day. The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.

Oh well.

I guess we have learned at least two things so far about this election.

One:

 

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And two: There are some 70 million voters in this country who believe that Trump deserves to be reelected.

That’s the most depressing statistic of all.

The Soul Of America

Joe Biden said this election was about the soul of America. If that were true, then it appears this morning (November 4) that America is struggling to find its soul.

I’ll admit that I was pretty confident that Biden would win, perhaps in a landslide. After all, I can read the polls just like any of the talking heads on MSNBC and elsewhere.

So this morning, the best we can hope for is that Biden will score a razor thin victory IF all of the mail in votes are allowed to be counted in several of the so-called battleground states. And IF that happens, we can be thankful that millions of Americans took the advice to vote early and vote by mail.

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Still, if this was a referendum on Trump, then it will be hard for the Dems to claim any kind of substantial victory. The Senate, most likely, will remain in the hands of the Republicans, making Moscow Mitch once again one of the most dangerous men in the country.

And the GOP is clearly still in bed with Trump.

I don’t know. I just don’t get it.

But regardless of the final result of the election, I do know this:

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A Day To Save America

Okay. Maybe I’m overstating the importance of this election day. But I do agree with Joe Biden that this election is about the soul of America.

Trump shocked most people in 2016 when he pulled off the election upset. I don’t believe he expected to win. Did you?

Today, as those who have not already voted head to the polls, what does it say about this country if we willingly reelect the Doofus-in-Chief?

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If the polls are correct, Trump will only be a bad memory come the end of January. But if the polls are wrong, well…

Let me share a message I received a week or so ago from Bernie Sanders, who I believe would have beaten Trump like a piñata. I digress.

Anyway, here is from Bernie: “No More Business As Usual”:

Rob –

We find ourselves in a moment in history in which we face unprecedented crises:

We are facing the worst pandemic in 100 years which has already claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Americans.

We are in the middle of a severe economic downturn which has left millions unemployed, while we now experience more wealth and income inequality than at any time since the 1920s.

We are facing the existential reality of climate change which, as we speak, is burning up the West and threatening the entire planet.

We continue to experience systemic racism, a broken criminal justice system and widespread police brutality against minority communities.

We are dealing with a grossly immoral immigration system which has divided families and leaves millions of undocumented immigrants terrified about the future.

And, in the midst of all that and more, we have a president who does not believe in the rule of law and is more concerned about his own wealth and power than the needs of the American people.

So we have eight days to do everything we can to evict Donald Trump from the White House and to elect Joe Biden. What all of us do in these next eight days, in this very close election, will be remembered throughout history.

But I must tell you that defeating Trump is not the end of our work. It is only the first, and very important, step forward to transforming our country and creating a government and economy that works for all, not the few. In other words, by defeating Trump and electing a Democratic Senate, we can stop being on the defensive every day and start moving forward with an agenda that speaks to the needs of the working people of our country.

But one thing is very clear to me. Even with a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, we will not successfully address the many crises that we face if we return to the same old, same old type of politics.

No More Business As Usual.

The day after Joe becomes president, we have got to begin mobilizing the American people around the Justice Agenda: economic justice, political justice, racial justice, social justice and environmental justice.

Now is not the time for thinking small. Now IS the time for millions of working families to come together, to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of the middle class, and to make certain our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security, and joy — and that once again makes the United States the moral leader in the world.

No more corporate elites and lobbyists calling the tunes.

Now is the time for the working families of this country to be heard, and for their agenda to be implemented.

So we have a lot to do over these next eight days, sisters and brothers. But then our work begins again — the work of bringing our people together and enacting an agenda that works for all Americans and not just the wealthy few.

Let us go forward together.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I most likely won’t live long enough to see Bernie’s views be accepted as mainstream in this country. But someday they will be and this country will be better as a result.

In the meantime, today is the day when we have the opportunity to at least get the “train back on the tracks,” as narrated by Martin Sheen, the former president on the popular TV series The West Wing.

By the way, after the election I wonder what the Trump supporters will do with all the Nazi flags?

A Dark Winter Ahead

I have to give Joe Biden credit for the headline on the post: A Dark Winter Ahead. That’s what he said during last week’s Presidential debate, when he was throwing shade on Trump’s rosy (and wrong) evaluation that the USA was rounding the corner and the pandemic would soon be just a bad memory.

Unfortunately, facts tend to overshadow the predictions that we hear from Dofus-in-Chief and his merry band of compliant bootlickers.

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Oh, boy.

It appears that the USA is now in the midst of a second or third wave of the virus with no end in sight. More than eight million Americans have contracted the virus, and it has killed more than 230,000 (along with Trump’s presidency, most likely). And amazingly enough, we’re recording more than 80,000 new cases a day now as we are heading into the holidays. Good luck to Grandma as she tries to fix Thanksgiving dinner following a stay in the intensive care unit. I digress.

Anyway, I admit that I never thought I would still be writing about this national fiasco as we approach winter with snow on the ground here in Colorado.

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And part of the problem is that Trump has provided no leadership or responsible decision-making in response to this national crisis. In fact, he has done the opposite and taken measures that have further divided the country while going against the advice of health care professionals.

In Trump World, you are a patriot if you refuse to wear a face mask, even though health experts believe that this simple act might be more effective in defeating the virus than a vaccine.

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So it goes.

Since Trump’s response has been so anemic and pathetic, clearly someone has to take the blame. And guess what. That person now appears to be the good doctor Fauci.

Here’s what Trump said last week at a campaign rally (super spreader event?) in Arizona, according to the Chicago Tribune:

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said of the government’s top infectious disease expert. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster.”

Well, gee. What should we make of that critique from POTUS?

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It’s going to be a long, dark winter.

A Fly Wins The Debate

You have to admit that last night’s “debate” between Pence and Harris wasn’t as big a shit show as the one last week with the two Presidential candidates. Well, that’s unless you buy into the conspiracy theory that the DNC somehow managed to unleash a fly that attached itself to Pence’s head, highlighting that the VP is pretty much just a pile of dung.

Hard to believe I actually wrote that. Oh well.

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Actually, I discount that conspiracy theory. I seriously doubt that the DNC is smart enough to do that . Or most anything else for that matter.

But I do have a theory for how the fly managed to gain the attention of a nation desperately wanting to get some info from these political gasbags.

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I’m not sure what constitutes a good debate. But I know that these days we are a long way from the classic confrontations of let’s say Lincoln and Douglas. The candidates really don’t even make an attempt to answer the questions they are asked. And to the extent that they are stringing a series of words together the result is mostly a barrage of lies and bullet points taken from their campaign websites.

Oh well. We elected a reality TV personality in 2016. And the so-called debates are really nothing more than reality TV shows: all sound and fury with no substance. Kind of like studio wrestling without the divas.

So it’s not hard to understand why a fly can emerge as the star of the broadcast. 

And now the second Presidential debate has been scheduled for October 15 in a format that has been described as a virtual townhall. Trump says this would be a waste of time and won’t attend. Presumably he would rather be face to face in a crowded venue where he can infect others with the virus. I digress.

Yet I have to believe that Biden is already preparing for the next debate.

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It Is What It Is

Well, it looks like POTUS was right about the pandemic when he said: “It is what it is.”

And the IS now is that Trump and Melania and some White House staffers have tested positive for the virus and have to self-isolate for 10 days or so. Good grief. I’m sure the last thing Melania wants to do is be in quarantine with the Doofus In Chief. Thoughts and prayers to her. I digress.

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Ah, I don’t really take any joy or satisfaction in Trump testing positive. And I hope he, the First Lady and the thousands of others in this country who will test positive today and in the days ahead all have a full and speedy recover.

But let’s be honest about this. Does it really surprise anyone that POTUS has tested positive? If he would have followed the advice of the medical experts months ago maybe thousands of Americans would still be alive and the rest of us could get back to worrying about the Major League Baseball playoffs instead of having to read and listen to the barrage of news about the Prez.

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Oh well.

I guess leadership and competence really do matter. I digress again.

Anyway, I echo the thoughts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who opined this morning that some good can come of this if people — read that as Trump supporters — now take the virus seriously and do what the medical experts have been telling us to do: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, avoid crowds and stay home when possible.

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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.