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?

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?

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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.

Traitor-in-Chief

E27597BA-C4F5-4865-B328-7E22790569EFI just watched the President of the United States of America perform a blatant act of treason for the whole world to witness. I am sitting here and typing this with tears in my eyes and feeling as if I just received a gut punch.

Please tell me that this is a nightmare or an episode of the “Twilight Zone.” This can’t possibly be real. This must be flash fiction.

Trump Supporters Versus Reason


I did not write this post. A friend of mine emailed it to me. He didn’t write it either, but he thought it might resonate with me. It did, so I thought I’d share it.

It’s an open letter to Trump supporters signed by someone named “Craig T.” I have no idea who that is. But here is what he wrote:

Hey Trump supporters! Let’s get real for a minute.

You think I take pleasure in watching the Trump Presidency crumble in slow motion right before our eyes.

I don’t take any pleasure in it.

You think I’m giddy about the prospect of Trump, Trump Jr., Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, and the whole Trump Cartel facing criminal indictment.

I’m not giddy. 

I’m extremely disappointed in you.

This is a stain on America. An indictment of ALL of us.

You see, I tried to warn you that your Pavlovian hatred of Hillary and your utter disgust at the very idea of a black man sitting in the Oval Office for eight years was detrimental to all of us.

But you kept lying about emails and birth certificates until you convinced yourself that the lies were true.

And then when a dirtbag charlatan con artist stood before you, every word spewing from his mouth a demonstrable lie, you overlooked it.

You embraced the lies because he promised you that he would hurt the people that you hate.

And the only thing that really got hurt was the reputation of the nation that I love.

Your intense, paralyzing hatred has impaired your judgement and endangered the nation. Yet you still defend him.

Can’t you see what you’ve become? Can’t you see what you’ve done?

You’re demanding an end to an investigation that you claim is fake. If it’s fake, then it seems like you’d want it to continue to clear him of all charges. 

The only reason why you could possibly want it to end, is because you’re afraid of what it will reveal.

You tried to screw liberals and in the process, you screwed the entire nation. You’re like a political suicide bomber, detonating your device in the public square, not caring that you will kill yourself too.

But hey, as long as you hurt the people you hate, right?

Do you realize how insane your philosophy is? Do you understand how utterly detached from humanity you must be to do what you’re doing?

Think about it. Seriously! Think about this. You have taken the word of a former KGB agent and dictator of Russia over the words of your own intelligence agencies, the very people who have taken an oath to defend you against people like Putin.

Can’t you see how utterly treasonous that is?

What has the conservative machine done to you over the last 30 years that overnight, your enemies have become your allies and your allies, your enemies?

We warned you long before now that Trump was going down. And it appears that your hatred is going to lead you to go down with him, taking America’s reputation in the world with you.

But hey, at least you hurt a lot of people that you hate in the process, right?

The Aftermath

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Muttering under his breath, Charley shook his head as he and Jeff surveyed the damage. “Two more bodies about 20 yards down that closed sidewalk,” he told Jeff, pointing to their left.

“Them’s the sixth and seventh so far today,” Jeff said, updating the tally on the page on his clipboard.

“We gotta check these buildings next, just in case there are more in the rubble.” Charley said, looking toward the concrete shells where housing units once stood. “Look out for snipers.”

A year had passed since the generals declared martial law after the military takeover of the federal government. The President, his family, and most members of his administration had been jailed for treason against the state. The insurrection by the President’s loyalists began almost immediately. Riots and mayhem around the country ensued.

The generals cracked down hard in an effort to restore order. There were thousands of fatalities in the fighting and countless arrests.

Most of the rebellion had been quelled, but bands of Trumpanistas, as they called themselves, continued to roam the cities and cause havoc. The generals assured the public that things were under control and peace would soon be restored.

But Charley and Jeff knew better.

(200 words, exactly.)


Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Photo credit: J. Hardy Carroll.