WTF?

83383F66-3798-4863-85B7-133FDBE0DFF0A Tennessee Republican state representative, Micah Van Huss, recently introduced a measure at the state’s capital that would recognize CNN and the Washington Post “as fake news,” and condemn the two outlets as being “part of the media wing of the Democratic Party.” Van Huss said these two media outlets are denigrating Tennessee’s citizens by implying that they are “weak-minded followers instead of people exercising their rights that our veterans paid for with their blood.”

“To describe the entire Republican Party as a cult led by President Trump is problematic. If journalists are going to refer to the party as a cult, and its supporters as cultists, they must define what “cult” means. Otherwise, they are assuming that a cult is some obvious phenomenon and everyone knows what the word means,” reads a portion of Van Huss’ resolution.

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Meanwhile, in Montana, Republican state representative Rodney Garcia, is claiming that the U.S. Constitution allows for socialists “to be tried, and if they’re found guilty, they can be jailed or shot.” Garcia said he believes that the Constitution’s treason clause in Article III allows for the jailing or killing of “enemies” of the U.S., which he believes to mean socialists.

Garcia’s statements were even a bit much for other Republican lawmakers in the state. “Your reckless and un-American remarks are beneath that of a public official and do not represent the values of the Republican Party, the Montana House of Representatives, or the people of our great state,” several state lawmakers wrote in a letter to Garcia.

“Your actions have irreparably undermined the body in which you serve and have irrevocably broken the trust of those you were elected to represent. We believe it is clear that you can no longer effectively discharge the duties of the office you hold; therefore, it is our request that you submit your resignation with immediate effect,” the letter continued.

But Garcia was unfazed. “They can ask me to step down, but, no, I don’t think so,” Garcia said. “I will only resign if God asks me to.” Then he added, “I’m going to run for the Senate and I’m going to win. People are going to have to eat their words.”

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I know that, in the age of Donald Trump, things are crazy in politics, but seriously, where do Republicans dig up some of the characters they run for state legislative offices? And what is wrong with the voters who vote these assholes in office in the first place?

Fake Views

6C6612CD-9627-4020-9606-38178B2499D4Despite the overwhelming evidence against Donald Trump, he still manages to garner the staunch support of most Republican voters. The number of Americans who continue to approve of Trump remains largely static, at about 40% overall. But in a CNN poll last week, only 10% of Republicans said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 89% of Republicans approved of the job he’s doing. What?

Republicans in Congress have been briefed by U.S. intelligence officials who informed the senators and their aides that Russia has engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election. This is not fake news. And yet these Republicans continue to cling to that false narrative in order to protect Trump and to deflect the charges that will likely lead to his impeachment. They are unabashedly promoting fake views to the American people.

Do these Republicans in Congress actually believe what they are saying in public? I can’t understand how, for the good of the nation, they continue to wage war on the truth and the facts. Are they hoping that, with the passage of time between now and the elections next November, the American public will either ignore or forget Trump’s abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and his attempts, for his own personal and political benefit, to extort the newly elected president of Ukraine?

Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the fool who is trying to chase after some oasis of truth in the middle of this barren political desert only to find that it’s merely a mirage.

I guess time will tell.


Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (staunch), Daily Addictions (number, chase), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wage), Ragtag Daily Prompt (passage), and Word of the Day Challenge (oasis).

Talk About Fake News

740DE7BB-1519-4B9C-91C6-0FB57F6B4A69Donald Trump tweeted a photo showing him allegedly putting a medal around the neck of the “hero dog” that participated in the raid that ended up in the death of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The reality, though, is that the photo didn’t really happen. Someone photoshopped a picture of the hero dog over an Associated Press photo of 2017 Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan.155D33C6-1612-480B-A824-C872149925DCIn fact, the hero dog has never been to the White House and is back on duty despite being injured by an electric cable during an explosion at the raid, according to U.S. Central Command.

And, by the way, this was not the first instance of photoshopping of official White House photos. Here’s one that photoshopped Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton out of a photograph, replacing him with Attorney General William Barr.6C1003F6-A4CD-4AE3-99CD-BD9EC58EA958Well, as Trump once said, “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Perks of the Job

4990BB1A-637F-4D17-A671-19E965FDB437“You mystify me,” she said to her boss, a perplexed look on her face. “You asked me to scout around to find the most luxurious accommodations possible for a cruise through the Northwest Passage from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Nome, Alaska. I was going round and round with all of cruise lines in search of the best deals.”

“Yes, I appreciate your efforts,” he said, “but sometimes plans change.”

“I understand that, sir,” she said. “The issue is that I made the reservations for the dates you gave me, but if you want to switch the dates in order to combine your vacation with a business meeting, you’ll have to pay a huge penalty for making the changes you want.”

“Sally,” he said. “it’s not your money and by tacking that business meeting onto the end of my vacation, I can have the government and the gullible taxpayers pay for my entire vacation cruise.”

“But, sir, that’s unethical,” she said. “It may also be illegal.”

Sally, Sally, Sally,” he said. “Don’t you know by now that being in the Trump administration means that I can do whatever I want. And if anybody levies accusations of unethical or illegal behavior, Trump will simply call it fake news. So stop bitching and get it done, dammit.”


Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (mystify), Word of the Day Challenge (scout), Nova’s Daily Random Word (luxurious), Ragtag Daily Prompt (passage), Daily Addictions (round), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (switch), and The Daily Spur (combine).

It’s Gotten Even Worse

On May 17, 2017, I published my second post after I started this blog. I titled it, “Can American Democracy Survive Donald Trump?” That post received a grand total of three views, one like, and zero comments.

As I was reflecting back on my two years as Fandango, and I read this post, I was amazed that not only has little has changed over the past two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, it has actually gotten even worse.

And so I present below my two-year old post, unchanged and unedited from the original. Some of it is a little dated, but the overall message is the same: America is fucked as long as Trump is president.

Can American Democracy Survive Donald Trump?

pett-cartoon.png

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, you know. No siree, Bob! I’ve been around long enough to have experienced Vietnam and Watergate and how terribly divided this country was at those times. But I’ve never seen anything quite like what is happening now to the sanctity of the American democracy under President Donald J. Trump. It’s taken its toll on me. I’m tired, very tired.

It’s not because I’m old, though, or because I’ve been having trouble falling and staying asleep at night. No, the reason I am tired is because something devastating has been happening in and to the country I love. And it’s draining me.

Fake News and Alternative Facts

For months before the election in November, we had been inundated with fake news, alternative facts, lies, racism, and misogyny. Since the election things have only gotten worse, given all of Trump’s conflicts of interest, blatant nepotism, and unprecedented incompetence at the highest levels of the government.

Our new president is purging (or buying off?) his perceived enemies and anyone he believes might do him harm, with FBI Director James Comey’s firing as the latest example. Donald Trump is successfully … so far, anyway … turning our country into an authoritarian dictatorship.

Bill Sanders Cartoon

And what I find truly remarkable and upsetting is that the spineless, gutless, “party over country” Republicans in Congress are just sitting back and letting it happen. They know that Trump is an unhinged, delusional narcissist who is also a pathological liar. But he’s their unhinged, delusional, narcissistic, liar who will sign whatever bills and appoint whatever judges they put in front of him.

Trump is engaging in a war against the legitimate media. He is spreading outright lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in an effort to divert and distract attention from the many self-inflicted wounds he’s created as a result of his more outrageous tweets and his asinine behaviors.

Treason or Stupidity?

He has yet to admit that Russia interfered with the election and seems to be giving Putin and the Russians cover. And while he’s saying “America First,” his actions appear to be putting Russia first. He even shared highly classified information with Russian operatives in the Oval Office. Is he intentionally committing treason or is he just incredibly stupid? Or Both?

Respected scholars of history have expressed concerns about how Trump seems to be leading our country down a path followed by despotic 20th century and contemporary leaders.

He has sung the praises of Vladimir Putin (“a strong leader”) and Kim Jong-un (“a smart cookie”). He congratulated Turkish leader Erdogan on winning a referendum that expanded and consolidated his authoritarian powers. He praised the autocratic Egyptian leader el-Sisi as well as Filipino strongman Duterte, a man who likens himself to Hitler.

At the same time, Trump has denigrated and challenged the judicial branch of our own government and seems to have co-opted congressional Republicans, who hold the majority in both houses.

So back to my original question. Can American democracy survive Donald Trump? The short answer is yes, but it will take four types of people to make sure it does.

First, courageous employees within the executive and legislative branches of government who recognize the damage to our national security and our way of life that Trump is causing must be willing to risk their careers and leak documents to the legitimate press so that the unhinged actions of Donald Trump will see the light of day.

Second, brave journalists and reporters must do their jobs and continue to research, publish, and report on what is going on at the White House and in Congress.

Third, concerned citizens need to continue to reach out to their senators and representatives and hold them accountable for their actions. And if these elected officials in Congress don’t have the backbone to put country over party and to do what’s right and best for their constituents by standing up to Trump, they need to know that they will be voted out of office.

Finally, GOP members of Congress and Trump loyalists must stop turning deaf ears and blind eyes to Trump’s faults and follies. They need to honestly and objectively see him and the danger he posed to our country. They also need to stop getting all their news from Fox News.

If these groups of people do the right thing, democracy in America has a chance. If not, well, it was good while it lasted.


Top political cartoon © 5/11/17, Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader. Second political cartoon © 5/16/17 Bill Sanders, Sanders Cartoon Commentary.