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).

Who Won The Week? 10/20/19

10CC3057-4EEA-4C80-B8C1-700C0FC6C906It’s time for another Who Won the Week prompt. The idea behind Who Won the Week is for you to select who you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

My pick for this week is Tulsi Gabbard.

6D90784A-2497-459F-9202-27A806D9DF6ANever heard of her? She’s an American politician, serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. And she’s also a Democratic candidate vying to get the nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020.

Interestingly, most people, including many Americans, don’t know much about her. Or didn’t, anyway, until this week, when Hillary Clinton suggested that the Russians are currently “grooming” a Democrat running in the presidential primary to run as a third-party candidate and to champion their interests.

Hillary’s comment appears to be directed at Gabbard, who has been accused of being cozy with Russia in the past.

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Hillary said. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”

Clinton didn’t specifically name Gabbard, but there are only five women seeking the nomination — Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Marianne Williamson — and none of the other woman have been accused of being boosted by Russia.

Now everyone is talking about Tulsi Gabbard (including me), even though most Americans had never heard of her and she wasn’t generating much of a buzz. But, after Hillary‘s comments, people are googling her, reading up on her, and you can’t watch cable news over the past few days without hearing about her.

So thanks to Hillary Clinton, my pick for Who Won The Week this week is Tulsi Gabbard.

And now it’s your turn, folks. Who (or what) do you think won the week?

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.

Beyond the Pale

71DD18D9-DB9A-4C9F-956C-AD2BC0CF8CAAThe author of the above letter to the editor, which appeared in my local newspaper yesterday, was expressing his dismay at Donald Trump’s unconscionable attack on the late U.S. Senator John McCain. I don’t know if it was the letter writer or the editorial staff of the paper who chose to use the headline “Beyond the Pale” for the letter, but it got me wondering where that expression originated.

I’ve heard the expression “beyond the pale” used before. Multiple times, in fact. It’s used as an expression of outrage, or as a way of saying that something is unthinkable, as in, “What he did was beyond the pale.” And I’ve also heard that phrase used by many pundits over the past two years to describe the words and actions of Donald Trump.

I did a Google search to see what I could learn about the phrase’s origin. According to one site that specializes in the meanings and origins of phrases, “beyond the pale” means “unacceptable; outside agreed standards of decency.” Yup, that’s Donald Trump all right.
A3FD787B-7F1E-4A64-845A-2BC9211EF016But I digress. The word “pale” in the phrase is an old name for a pointed piece of wood driven into the ground, which, when strung together, forms a barrier made of such stakes. Its original use was as a defense, a safeguard, an enclosure, or a limit beyond which it was not permissible to go.

The phrase “beyond the pale” dates back to the 14th century, when the part of Ireland that was under English rule was delineated by a boundary made of such stakes or fences. It was known as the English Pale. To travel outside of that boundary, beyond the pale, was to leave behind all the rules and institutions of English society, which the English modestly considered synonymous with civilization itself.

The phrase took on a negative connotation in 18th century Russia. Catherine the Great created the Pale of Settlement in Russia in 1791. This was the name given to the western border region of the country, in which Jews were allowed to live. The motivation behind this was to restrict trade between Jews and native Russians. Some Jews were allowed to live, as a concession, “beyond the pale.”

Russia enacted May Laws of 1882, after widespread anti-Jewish riots, or pogroms, had broken out in the Russian Pale the previous year. The May Laws stripped Jews of their rural landholdings and restricted them from travel outside of the pale.

My post on Beyond the Pale wouldn’t be complete, however, if I didn’t mention the Ottawa based brewery, Beyond the Pale.3CAA75BE-3E91-4A70-8B11-5C1F99765A83And there’s also Beyond the Pale, a Toronto-based Canadian world/roots fusion band.D1E69710-3EFF-46EC-80F7-F473A6BE80B7Who knew?

Traitors in Our Midst

22f7c8bf-dbca-4228-bb02-b0ca1136eed4On a bill that would have formally rebuked the Trump administration before it moves ahead with plans to lift sanctions on companies linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Republicans in the U.S. Senate, under the leadership of Majority Leader and Trump flunky, Mitch McConnell, banded together to block the effort.

The bill that would have blocked the Treasury Department from easing sanctions on a trio of Russian companies needed 60 votes to advance to passage but fell three votes short in the Senate. As a result, the bipartisan attempt to condemn the Trump administration for relaxing Russia sanctions stalled.

There no longer remains any question that Trump is a traitor to his country, and the sycophant Republicans in Congress are equally complicit in this treason to the United States. Period. Full Stop.