Impeachment, coup, or “other”

Putting Donald Trump in the White House is like giving a monkey a machine gun. It’s amusing to watch, but only from a safe distance. And there is no “safe distance” from the reach of the US President.

Let’s face it – this isn’t going to last.

A Trump administration cannot continue for four full years without the US becoming an entirely different country, probably with a new name, flag, anthem and borders. Forget about policy. Forget about the ACA, abortion, immigration, or taxes. Our dilemma has nothing to do with policy objectives or legislation. This is a crisis of competence. Incompetence on this scale is utterly unprecedented and lethally dangerous.

Presidenting is hard. By itself, the White House is a billion-dollar organization with a full-time staff of more than 3,000 people. White House leadership is expected to guide a trillion-dollar bureaucracy with millions of employees while operating an enormous PR operation, functioning as the nominal leader of one of our major political parties, commanding the military, formulating foreign policy, and managing the executive branch’s interactions with Congress and the Judiciary.

With so many subordinates involved in such a maddening array of issues, it takes more than high morals for a White House staffer to avoid breaking the law. Getting through a few years of successful White House service demands integrity, care, intelligence, and attention to detail. The slightest screw-up invites a partisan witchhunt. Errors don’t just get you fired, they can lead to prison.

Obama ran the first two-term administration in our modern history without any indictments. It’s an achievement testifying not just to the integrity of his staff, but to their sophistication and intelligence.

So much for all that.

A group of people who struggle to operate fancy light-switches will be lucky to escape a White House tenure alive, much less un-indicted. Complexity and partisan scrutiny combine to make this an extremely dangerous place for an idiot to earn a living.

Our new President is just such an idiot. Despite all the commotion, Trump has done very little in his first month. Of almost 700 executive branch positions he needs to fill, he has nominated fewer than 50. He has issued no clear positions on any matters of substance. Just as in the campaign, his statements on policy issues have been a series of incoherent, drunk-uncle ramblings; half-sentences that veer immediately toward more pressing matters like his crowd-sizes, his businesses, and his TV ratings.

His only major action of consequence has been a hastily assembled executive order on immigration that devolved into a train wreck. It was almost immediately shut down by the courts in a humiliating defeat. His national security advisor, who was under FBI investigation before he was even appointed, has already been chased from his job. In the increasingly tight race to the first Trump staffer assigned an inmate number, Micheal Flynn has taken a tentative early lead.

Did I mention the Russians?

Americans find themselves contestants in a great and terrible race. If we cannot accomplish an impeachment within a perilously brief time window, odds of a coup begin to rise to a realistic threshold. Unfortunately, impeachment may not be the end of this mess. It is unclear the extent to which the Vice President has been compromised by his dealings with this White House. Even if he turns out to be clean he remains burdened with a Palin-class intellect, hardly the figure the country will need in the aftermath of Trump’s removal. Whatever the fate of his boss, Pence is likely to trail shortly behind him.

Failing an impeachment or coup, we face an unquantifiable third possibility. The longer this lasts, the greater our likelihood of experiencing some “other,” a devil’s banquet of potential black swan events, each of which is individually unthinkable and unpredictable, with an aggregate probability steadily ticking upward toward an eventual certainty.

It is clear which outcome the Russians would most like to see. Their greatest dream would be an American administration interrupted by civil unrest or a coup. They have a fairly obvious plan to provoke that outcome, a plan they seem to have already launched.

They need to spark a low-level (containable) confrontation with the US military, the American institution most maniacally hostile to their interests. With a White House compromised by their meddling and a deeply anti-Russian military, the Russians could create enormous internal frictions with a few simple, humiliating incidents.

Perhaps they could engineer a small-casualty clash in Syria. The suspicious death of a US special forces solider or intelligence agent in Ukraine. A semi-accidental incident at sea. Something that would create pressure among US generals for a military response that the administration would refuse. At the same time, it would need to be something not quite serious enough to break through the American partisan logjam or prompt a popular outcry.

Their strategy is already on display. Russians have positioned a surveillance ship off the Delaware coast and breached treaty obligations with forward missile deployments. Their aircraft have been harassing US ships. With the US administration in chaos, there has not been any public reprimand or new orders on the matter to military leadership.

If a US administration so obviously compromised by a foreign power refuses to support its military in the field, how will the military respond? How will Republicans in Congress respond? Moscow is placing some bets.

If Congress fails to act on this administration’s incompetence and the generals have the patience to forbear, what are the other possibilities? Will another bizarre and arbitrary executive order spark an armed standoff between rival federal institutions. Will he initiate a conflict with or a state/local law enforcement agency over immigration policy? Will the President fumble his way into a war? What happens when the Justice Department launches a campaign to suppress Black Lives Matter? What happens when federal authorities demand that Trump abandon the lease on his Washington DC hotel and he refuses? What other normally manageable incident will spiral out of control under our corrupt, incompetent leadership?

At a symposium in Maryland this week the head of the US Special Operations Command made an ominous offhand statement. I’ll leave you with his comments:

“Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday. Asked about his comments later, General Thomas said in a brief interview, “As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”

A general’s “concern,” carries certain implications. We are living in interesting times.

212 Comments

  1. The GOP won’t go after Trump now that the anti-liberals run the shop. Red Congress will try to shortcut and run available effort to beach anti-Trump investigations, preferably where nobody can find it.

    They’ve come too far to stop. They’re so close to being able to call a constitutional convention, change the rules, and become an unassailable ruling minority party under a ‘constitutional’ 1-party system. AFter all, to them, liberals aren’t fit to run the country. They’re enemies, devil worshippers, communists, and lazy poor people who just want a free ride and dead babies.

    They can’t win on good ideas, they’ve not had any since Reagan. They can’t balance a budget, but they can crash an economy. They can’t create or protect middle class jobs, but they can make billionaire shareholders even richer. They can’t enrich American lives, so they create enemies like ‘immigrants’ and ‘liberals’ to circle the wagons and command loyalty. They have few, if any, ethical grounds they are not willing to put aside for party benefit, despite wrapping themselves in the Constitution and the Bible when dressing for the public.

    They can win few fair elections (mostly limited to rural ‘family tradition’ regions), so they have placed consistent and concerted effort to suppress the Democrat vote, whether it’s limiting the number of polling places, availability hours, or making ‘the masses’ jump through price-tagged administrative hoops. High turnout has always meant GOP disadvantage.. so they’re fixing the problem.

    Democrats didn’t help themselves, either. That they couldn’t field Bernie (who most Democrats I know agree could have beaten Trump hands-down), highlights the passivity and idle corruption of aging leadership within the party. They continue to be highly passive and coarsely organized, which is somewhat normal. Normal Democrats are independently minded ecological/employee oriented altruists and social identities who think they’re on the short end of the societal stick.

    Dem’s are easily motivated by ‘mob’ mentalities into large protests, but will quickly lose energy if given the time vent and ‘normalize’, as noted by the now neigh-routine school and police shootings which you hardly hear about anymore. What’s happening now, I am afraid, is wasted energy that would have been better spent closer to a consequential election. We still have a year for Trump and his party to ‘normalize’, then figure out how they can, once more, ‘depress’ the Democrats into staying home again.

    1. It’s important to have two strong counter-forces in the government. Liberals often champion important social movements, but the problem with ‘movements’ is that they don’t come equipped with brakes. There’s a point, somewhere, where ‘all is fair’, and there needs to be a counterpoint to ensure that things don’t go off the rail. Progressives often provide much-needed adaptability safeties to emerging technologies and how it affects people, but you need a counter-weight to ensure it’s done responsibly and within means.

      This is why we need two functioning, negotiating parties, because the ‘right mix’ is always in the middle.

      1. I have always supported a two-party (or more) political system to act as a checks and balance. It is naive to believe we have such a situation today. One could argue that one party is functioning quite well, but, is it, really?

        We have all heard about how profligate Dems are, but history tells a different story. Do Dems support government’s role in providing a safety net for its people? Most assuredly. But a perusal of economic historical records quickly supports the FACT that for all the “talk” from conservatives about economic controls, it is the Dem Party who actually governs in a more fiscally responsible manner.

        Deficits are only important when Democrats hold the reins to government. We will have to re-visit this issue at the end of this potus’ term – if he makes it that far.

        There is another more important part of life that conservatives don’t value as much as progressives – equality. Conservatives have contributed to making American government function responsibly, but, that was then, this is now.

    2. ” Normal Democrats are independently minded ecological/employee oriented altruists and social identities who think they’re on the short end of the societal stick.”

      What, pray tell, is a “normal” Democrat? I can assure you that the Democrats I know do not feel they are on the short end of the societal stick – whatever is meant by that statement.

      As for the disorganization of the Dem Party, we agree there. It hasn’t always been so but it is presently. These “protests” you dismiss as short term venting have a life all their own. Do you have any idea the level of organization at the grassroots level that is occuring? Yes, we will have an opportunity to measure the sustainability of this burgeoning, passionate group of people who are doing exactly what they should to protect Democracy. It’s called elections.

      For the record, in my many years of political involvement, I have NEVER seen so many people become engaged who have not ever been involved in political activism.

      Stay tuned, Chris L. If you are right and I am wrong, I’ll buy a scarf for your dog.

      1. Normal, moderate, not tinfoil-hat fringe, and likely unable to wholly articulate something political unprompted. Most people are not politically charged unless something threatens them (or someone suggests they should be threatened).

        Progressives don’t wholesale ostracize their moderates like conservatives. There isn’t a pseudo-religious litmus/purity test. “Normal” conservatives are either handed a sign saying ‘RINO’, or hand write it themselves as ‘political orphans’, like my parents (and a number of others, as I understand it).

        As for the ‘activist’ efforts, you’re seeing a surge of emotional response to something genuinely attempting to threaten and trigger massive amounts of cognitive dissonance all at the same time. CD is a good thing, it’s actually why I’m on this blog, because it’s a response to trying to bend your way of thinking to someone elses’. However, there’s a massive engineering effort to alter the psychological reality of an entire country, and that is what is riling moderates and centrists. For now.

        The Trump administration is doing great with wearing out activists. Nobody can maintain rage at a sustained rate without some kind of disorder. People get tired, then they start to adapt to the new environment and slide into apathy. It’s why Democrats have fared so poorly in midterm elections. They did that whole ‘activism’ thing for the presidential race, but can’t and aren’t really willing to coordinate the off-year work.

        You may see people running around with pink hats, issuing primal screams of outrage, and openly questioning “How can they get away with doing X”. I see people who didn’t turn out to vote, the passive, apathetic and disgusted 9 million people who didn’t even show up. They’re not in the hats, not screaming, aside the hypocrites who knew what the stakes were. There were no winners in 2016, because a majority of America turned its back and shirked the one job they had: to vote.

        So the screamers will scream, the hatters will hat, many may even manage to stay angry and threatened. The rest will go home, say ‘they did their thing for the country and nothing happened’, and return to apathy. I know this, because this was the first time I, an apathetic ‘centrist’, have voted in 20 years. Only I took seriously what is the intellectual and ethical collapse of the GOP and the threat to the country that replaced it.

        I can hope I’m wrong ’till I’m blue in the face, but if people don’t take this seriously, I’ll hate it when I’m right.

      2. You are entitled to your opinion, but you don’t speak for “normal” (or possibly “abnormal” liberals). We will see what happens with this movement. The same thing was said of the Tea Party. How did that turn out?

        Unlike yourself, I cannot predict what people “will” do but I can tell you what I “am” seeing, and it is potent. I don’t know what your views are on the GOP agenda and the actions taken by this administration, but if you find them as repugnant as I do, try getting involved in the resistance instead of lamenting how disorganized the movement is. This 73 year old woman will be at my first ever public protest this Saturday, and I am proud of it. If nothing else is achieved, when the elections come and the outcome is good or bad, I can at least say that I have given everything I have to trying to make a difference.
        Will you be able to say the same or will you still be in full dissing mode. I’ve been involved actively in political activism for over 50 years. Here’s what I have learned: you want to make a difference? Work for it. Make it happen. If you lose round one, train harder for round two.

        If ever there was a time in my lifetime where it was most important to get involved, it is now. Each of us has to decide how we express our selves. There are extremes to every party. If you don’t see what is happening now as an extreme, you have my pity. At its absolute worst, liberals have never deliberately designed so many rules and changes to hurt so many people. The Dem Party leadership sucks but the membership doesn’t. We are organizing precisely because we have no leadership. You know what that’s called? In this environment, it’s called “patriotism”.

      3. I wish the parties could agree to disagree and still have a sensible conversation like we can here. We seem to have stepped past the age of civility, and I would say the Internet has had a hand in that, allowing a lot of people to have an anonymous and unfiltered environment to be provocative and obstinate.

        Activism is good, but historically, it never gained any ground without victims or massive popular support. We’re seeing scattered cases of victims right now from the ‘muslim ban’ which is good for effect, but we’re talking a hardened and entrenched partisan divide so deep we couldn’t fill it with dead school children in the gun debate.

        I can hope for the best, but it’s sensible to prepare for the worst, because reality always lands somewhere in-between. However, my worst case scenario is a full right-wing coup of the system, federalizing their authority to govern, starting with going nuclear on the filibuster, and then rewriting voting regulation and going back to neuter the ethics watchdog.

        The hiring freeze already means ‘unfavored’ federal agencies can’t replace attrition. They don’t need to be defunded when the executive branch can simply annihilate an agency’s manpower and veterancy. Throw enough administrative bureaucracy on someone, and they’ll leave.

      4. This is the south rising again. Only instead of revolting, they’ve taken control of the system and are dismantling it in violation of ethics, democracy, and objective reality.

        This showcases a lot of flaws in the American experiment:
        Constitutional Republic backed by a democratic process, minority rule as a majority is far more commonplace than initially intended.

        The two party system has generated a twin-monopoly on political power, successfully using the rules to prevent the presence of a third party that could hold greater power in deciding legislation against obstructionist efforts.

        A democracy founded on a principle of free speech can’t compete with a widespread corruption of objective reality.

        The two existing parties have so much developed infrastructure and money that they are virtually immortal and incapable of being dissolved. If either the right or left becomes the party of horrible, terrible, unethical, and unconstitutional agendas and have a voting base fed and bred on factless realities which benefit them, there is no removing them from political power.

  2. So, returning to core principles.

    My sister’s sister-in-law received a letter from the military base she lives on that certain education and health services, especially for children on base, are being cut due the federal hiring freeze enacted by DJT. Already staffing has declined from attrition. One month in and relatively moderate “Well let’s see how this goes” people are getting their first taste of how it’s going.

    The only consistent messaging from the GOP I’ve heard is that regardless of what they do or how they do it, they have to at the very least symbolically ‘repeal Obamacare.’ That’s the only thing they know they have to do, and since they’ll never enact anything left of the ACA, there is no way they aren’t going to hurt and piss off at least some meaningful group of people.

    45’s hiring of his own administration is moving at a glacial pace, both because of his incompetence and because of Democratic obstruction. In fact so far he’s at net negative administration due to resignations forced and otherwise. There’s just simply not enough people to operate the bureaucracies, and the heads of those bureaucracies are being hired specifically to undermine them anyway.

    45’s presidency is probably the single costliest tuition the citizens of the United States will pay to learn 400-level civics in real time. Individuals are daily going to find more and more things they basically took for granted suddenly just not being available.

    If we’re going to pass this class rather than dropping out and being saddled only with the debt, we HAVE to use the opportunity to communicate the value of the services being cut and keep reminding people that there are better ways.

    ‘Our’ job furthermore, that is to say groups of people like us who are resisting, Democrats, the media, and NGOs, is to carefully and consistently place the blame for these failures of leadership on the Republicans and 45. And we do so while not letting the Republicans escape with “Well 45 was never really a Republican in the first place.”

    45 won’t be ousted by any group other than a very pissed off, very active American people.

    1. I don’t believe Senate Republicans will sit idly by while the Democrats use the GOP’s Obama playbook.

      They’ll go nuclear, one way or another. Senate Republicans are spineless sellouts, but they’re not dumb. They need to pass legislation to carve themselves an indelible electoral advantage or risk going under once the Democrats right their ship and onboard nearly the entire Millennial generation from the sidelines.

  3. Don’t know if this has been posted before. Shep Smith on Fox roasting Trump for lieing. I read Fox has been inundated with people calling, complaining about this segment!

    But no matter what people like us say, Trump will still appoint people who are obviously bad for the country. and Trump will have incredible impact on the country, the environment and our society.

    On another note, I read today 17% of the people believe what they hear Alex Jones say on Infowars. What the hell does that say about our country and the people in it? And Trump loves Alex Jones!

  4. Whatever happens, the world outside America is being affected. Things are being set in motion whose consequences will transcend simply the ouster of a DJT or ending GOP dominance. Lobelog is an excellent foreign policy blog for those who are interested in looking beyond the shores of America. It’s useful to place what’s happening within our country in a larger perspective.

    http://lobelog.com/israel-palestine-the-deal-maker-deals-himself-out/#more-38087

    1. I love this small comment within the text by Dr. Allen: “His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”

      Yes, he’s a terribly spoiled, mean, narcissistic, selfish, revengeful person, but that does not make him insane, just disgusting and dangerous.

  5. This goes deeper than Trump. This goes down to the bone. The far-right conservative mouthpieces have been gaslighting their audiences for twenty-something years and turned it into an alternate reality of their own design with people living in it, and now you have more than a quarter of America no longer living in America, but some fringe-fantasy hyper-partisan world where the only facts that exist are ones that reinforce the feelings and opinions given to them by these self-serving propaganda outfits.

    Whatever Trump is or does, it doesn’t fix the monster the far-right have created to serve their own needs. The left can’t fix that, they’re quintessentially disorganized, mostly consisting of altruists around backbones of environmental and civil-liberty activists. The middle won’t fix it, they’ve become the definition of apathy, the good men and women that do nothing.

    Whatever is needed to ‘fix’ this self-inflicted cancer, it needs to be done by Conservatives with the backbone to do something about it. So far, only one has that backbone: McCain. He won’t be able to do it alone.

    1. The House and Senate Republicans are scared of this monster. The Tea Party isn’t the head, it’s the hand that reached out to strangle the government, to prevent discussion, to stop negotiation and bipartisanship. Congressional Republicans like McConnell think this movement helps them, when it exists solely to destroy the two party system and turn it into a one party system.

      Trump isn’t the head either, he’s the tongue, wagging and lolling about. He’s Alt-Right Leader-in-Chief 1.0. You have better, smoother, smarter versions like Steve Miller lined up behind him with the same goal: Overthrow the two party rule by neutralizing Democrat authority and the free press’s capacity to rally resistance.

      Who’s leading this maddening coup? Conservative think-tanks and alt-right media. The two hardest things to cull in a democracy advocating individual rights and free speech. The fringe, tinfoil-hat neo-confederates were never marginalized: They somehow became the underwriters of “conservative” doctrine instead.

      These aren’t conservatives. This isn’t the traditional Republican coalition. These aren’t fiscal conservatives. They aren’t constitutionalists (although like most Republicans, like to wrap themselves in it). These aren’t pro-business Republicans. These aren’t next-door conservatives you can sit down and have a normal conversation with over a beer and chili-fries. The monster the alt-right has created can only be parsed in totality as a population of indoctrinated “anti-democrats”.

      Trump is one of them, but he’s not a leader. He’s a figurehead and another mouthpiece. Trump isn’t the only one gaslighting the rest of America, he’s emboldened his supporters to validate his lies. This is a civil war being fought with lies and repetition. It’s already started, and those who can best fight it are being passive, evasive, or condoning it.

    2. I agree with most of what you’ve said, but I am witnessing a grassroots emergence unlike any I have ever seen with the exception of the Vietnam era. And, while many Democrats believe protection of the environment is critically important, and do believe in the inherent right of all people for equality and fairness, I don’t think many are ready to chain themselves to tires. I agree that the party apparatus is disorganized – that is fact, but I am hopeful that a new party will emerge from this roiling mass of energized people who are everywhere protesting this administration and Republican agenda.

      As to your second post, I am in complete agreement about the goal of the anti-democrat. I have been watching the Freedom Caucus since they created their block. I still maintain that the fight is joined but agree it is fragmented. The best hope for its success rests in the strength of numbers who turn out to vote. I think we have a shot at this but with gerrymandering and voter suppression, it’s not going to be easy.

      Beautifully written, cogent expression, Chris. Glad to have you commenting here.

      1. May I add that the Civil Rights era was another time of great social upheaval. We need that passion and purity of purpose to focus the energy of the resistance movement that is ongoing. This is not a game. We are in a fight to preserve our democracy. I wonder how many people see the depth of the crisis or are simply viewing this superficially as a “trump” problem. As you note, it is far more serious.

  6. Here is an interesting economic talk on why Trump happened and credit’s role in economic crises. Failure to understand credit’s role in the economy is why mainstream economists failed to see the Great Recession coming. (Lecture by Prof. Steve Keen at the University of the Americas Puebla Mexico, Feb. 17, 2017.) Some math, but if you ignore the equations the lecture still makes sense.

    1. I apologize for bringing up economics all the time, but if you don’t understand how the world works, someone who does understand how the world works–or someone who can convince you that they do–will take advantage of you. That’s a virtual certainty. And if you don’t understand how the economy works, you don’t understand an important part of how the world works. Finally, if you don’t understand how money and credit work, you don’t understand economics.

      1. I’ll be the first to admit my lack of understanding about how the economy functions, but I have a great respect for its power. I respect your professional and personal efforts to share your knowledge and experience, Creigh. In looking back through history, the great upheavals were always moored by economic duress. What seems to be different today, is the presence of social media. It has stripped the purity of economic protest and allowed those with political agendas to propagandize economic pain. The combination of the very real personal problems experienced by those whose livelihood and lives are impacted by changes in our workplace have been ignored. Education and training are/were obvious broad solutions along with the B.I. Chris has touted, but neither has happened.

        For what it’s worth, I believe that the wealth divide (as opposed to income divide) is a huge factor not only in the realities of the exigencies of life, but in the psychological strain people have been suppressing for far too long. This was a force in potus’ election along with many others, but unlike the other factors – “hated Hillary, inept Democratic campaign management, social intransigence, and so forth” – the economic impact was present from waking to sleeping. It doesn’t explain the choices that those in more secure circumstances made, but bigotry and hate are also powerful forces. Denial of the force of economic duress as a major contributor to the outcome of this election perpetuate the problems.

  7. So remember I said a while back, half of us are below average? What does that mean to society? At what point on the bell curve do we give up? Where on the curve do we say, below this line the population cannot discern between a honest argument and flicked feces?

      1. Profile photo of EJ EJ

        The problem with the fairness doctrine is that sometimes things are true. When things are true, any alternative viewpoint to them is (by definition) false.

        A good example of this is climate change. This should not be a debate: there is no value to hearing someone deny climate change. Insisting that climate change deniers are given equal time to make their case, is unhelpful and confusing.

      2. So, yeah, I remember the fairness doctrine. I even remember a drive to work listening to an editorial on the radio; sounded right to me.

        But the next day, I heard a rebuttal to that editorial on the same station, same time. And I realized the issue was not exactly as the first presenter had made out. That strikes me as a good thing.

        However, I can’t see how a fairness doctrine would work today, given all the ways people get ‘news’.

        As it was, it only applied to TV and radio broadcasters. It had as much to do with spectrum management as anything else. Usable analog bandwidth seemed finite. If there were a limited number of broadcasting stations, the people they served had a right to more than one viewpoint.

        Today, we don’t how to make insure disseminators of ‘news’ are factual.

        The traditional bright line between ‘news’ and ‘editorial’ had faded for some broadcasters and disappeared for others (yes, I mean the f network), although newspapers are among those who try to keep the two separate.

        It will be the worst kind of irony if two much ‘news’ causes the collapse of the democracy the country has struggled to maintain and enhance.

    1. I have always felt that the mark of a great person and a great nation is how well they treat others, especially those who have less. That is not the direction our Republican majority is going nor potus. It’s very sad but it is also unacceptable, so I resist with whatever I can offer to the fight.

  8. I asked in a post if there was any news/article that was tracking the number of civil servants and others who were resigning rather than serve in a T administration. This report offers tantalizing insight to the purge that is going on within the admin ranks. Potus has clearly threatened retaliation, but, the real question is, is anyone going to want to work for him? And, if they do, under what constraints?

    http://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/another-blow-donald-trump-white-house-ten-members-advisory-council-resign/1568/

    1. I wonder if this is the time for some brave and moral civil servants to stay the course instead of ceding more ground to our new President and his staff, to help protect what belongs to all of us, just as I feel it’s best to remain in the US instead of running away to Canada or elsewhere.

      “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

      1. To fight, to stand one’s ground, to be the tiny honest grain left, even if it means being the lone holdout.

        Of course I don’t think one should compromise one’s values and stay just for the paycheck. That would defeat the whole purpose of my argument.

  9. David Brooks this morning:
    “I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/opinion/what-a-failed-trump-administration-looks-like.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

      1. i agree with the strategy of ignoring potus, but your statistical breakdown (liberals 40%) doesn’t account for 30% who are moderates who I believe are appalled with this man. This group can swing L or R, but I think it’s reasonable to believe many are dismayed by the extreme agenda being rolled out. Of course, I could be dead wrong, and that’s a danger. If I’m not, how can we find common ground to resist the disaster before us? Yesterday’s press conference had to concern conservatives even as the alt-right conservatives or the alt-intelligent conservatives exulted. This event (because that’s what it was) was egotistical exorcism with his cronies lined up in a bulwark front row. Was the world not appalled when potus curtly told the Jewish speaker to sit down? He denigrated the press to their faces and clearly loved every minute of it. He doesn’t care what they think, what they write. To Aaron’s point – why sit there at all? Better yet, why not just get up out of their seats and walk out. Abandon this man-child in his vainglorious pontificating. I think the world would have applauded them for doing so.

        What’s next? Whine? Purge one’s horror by commenting on blog sites with like-minded people? Hope he will have a heart attack? Hope he will commit something treasonous and get caught doing so and is impeached? Get. Real. Then, get involved at the grassroots level. Reach out to your neighbors, talk to your family, organize with those who share your concerns. As Fifty noted, find common ground and build on it. The extreme Trump supporter is a lost cause as are those who are stuck in their “Hillary Hate” defense mode, They had their moment of revenge when they chose this man, but even they must be ashamed of this person and know they need to do something to help. To sit by doing nothing is dangerous.

      2. Media, it seems, is feeling much better about the job they are doing. Viewership is up as are profits. This trend is broad within the industry for all forms of media….print, digital and network. I am encouraged by that but I still want them to walk out of events when they are being lectured and insulted. I think I will make it my mission to post my thoughts in this regard to all media websites. It can’t hurt (-;

        http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-cnn-morale-jeff-zucker-235116

      3. “The president’s supporters don’t care if he’s mean to journalists. So ignore his insults and focus on his lies.”

        Advice from a UK journalist. Pretty obvious conclusion. So, why not try it? Because it’s never been done? Because potus as a position is one the media “must” cover? Maybe media should consider breaking the mold just as potus has. After all, what’s good for the gander….

        “I should say that I am aware of the irony of using a column in the media to implore the media to stop focusing so much on the media.”

        Indeed.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/17/donald-trump-media-troll-president-supporters-journalists-lies?

      4. Mary and everyone else, here’s a good explanation of what I mean:

        https://twitter.com/AltStateDpt/status/832379127625871361

        There is no ‘ignore his insults and focus on his lies’, because when you egg him on about his lies, all he’ll do is insult. The media circus that Trump runs well (and always reportedly ‘against his advisor’s wishes’, which I’m starting to think may not be the case) is meant solely to energize Trump’s base to counter popular resistance in volume and shrillness.

        Every camera placed on that man’s face in that context is a signal amplification.

        Reuters already delivered the solution: http://www.reuters.com/article/rpb-adlertrump-idUSKBN15F276

        Starve the beast of his camera idolatry, report on ‘The White House’ and ‘The Administration’, use alternative sources, leave him his Breitbart and other wingnut reporters and let the activists starve those media outlets of advertising.

        But the quote unquote ‘mainstream’ media has to stop sending reporters to ask 45 questions and put cameras on his face.

    1. Profile photo of DS DS

      A solid piece of commentary, but I think the key quote is this:

      “The likelihood is this: We’re going to have an administration that has morally and politically collapsed, without actually going away.”

      Chris’s theory of institutional collapse notwithstanding, people keep imagining that this administration is going to end early, yet consistently fail to provide a realistic mechanism. Republican fortunes are now roped entirely too closely to Trump’s for impeachment to be a realistic option, the 25th amendment is a pipe dream, and you would ultimately need military backing for a coup (I’ve pointed out the reasons this won’t happen elsewhere).

      The sad truth is we’re in this for the long haul, like it or not. The only thing to do at this point is focus on winning legislative races while figuring out how to pick up the pieces after the next presidential election.

      1. I agree, DS. That focus means that each one of us has to get up off our asses and help. I don’t care if you have never been involved in politics before. NOW is the time to start. Don’t keep waiting for someone else to do it for you. It will take all of us.

      2. New E.O. in the works. “Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a Congressional hearing last week that the administration was considering asking visitors from some countries to turn over those codes as part of an attempt to screen out potential terrorists.
        “If they come in, we want to say, what websites do they visit, and give us your passwords. So, we can see what they do on the internet,” Kelly said.

        http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/02/trump-chinese-visitors-social-media-check-235146

  10. I love the “Alien” movie franchise, well at least the first two. I watched the press conference yesterday, then absorbed the reactions of the “conservative base”.
    If the rest of the planet (OK, that part of the planet not under the control of their own autocrats and madmen) actually witnessed the approval of this madman by so much of the american public, they would come to the same conclusion I have:

    If 46.7% of the people on LV-426, or 25%, or 20%, were infected with alien babies, the only solution would be to “take off and nuke the site from orbit, it is the only way to be sure.”

  11. I’ve been meaning to comment on this since I first read this post. “. It’s an achievement testifying not just to the integrity of his staff, but to their sophistication and intelligence.”

    It is also a tribute to Pres. Obama. He had shortcomings as potus, but his integrity is unimpeachable….

    1. In defense and recognition of the tough situation President Obama inherited, it appears that potus 45 is feeling sorry for himself. “Mr. Trump engaged in an extended attack on the news media and insisted that his new administration was not a chaotic operation but a “fine-tuned machine.” Any challenges, he said, were not his fault. “To be honest, I inherited a mess,” he said.”

      In addition to all his other short-comings, potus is a cry-baby.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/us/politics/trump-news-conference.html?emc=edit_th_20170217&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=41048410

  12. So, returning to that concept of paying attention to what 45 actually does versus what he says, an addendum:

    I still encourage people to ignore his Twitter feed, White House correspondence, rallies, etc. Today’s news conference was a great example why.

    Over the duration, my Facebook feed was alive with point-for-point exclamations of disgust, horror, outrage, AND —

    — among the conservatives —

    — rah rah rah exclamations of glee and excitement that ‘Donny’s back at it!’ ‘schooling the press!’ ‘and showing those leftists whose boss!’

    The press should have never gotten involved in that shitshow. It worked exactly the way 45’s campaign did: allowed him to turn the message of the week into an issue of being bullied by the press and ‘actually getting a lot done, tremendous work’ rather than losing two of his top guys and DC call lines being flooded with requests for investigations. He ends the week on his turf.

    Now of course any left-of-howling-fantods person could say “See, here’s this line and that line and another line that FINALLY PROVES THAT HE’S COMPLETELY INSANE” but what he did was energized his base. Again. And his base is what makes the GOP leaders’ last minute decisions. It isn’t until his base starts turning against him, or them, that that dynamic will ever change.

    So in addition to not paying attention to what he says, remember to write your subscribed media outlets and tell them to stop rolling camera on his orange skin as well.

    Good night, and good luck.

    1. I understand what you’re saying, but he is still the POTUS, revolting as it is. I’m not saying it’s impossible, what with Trump’s selective questioning from friendly sources like Breitbart, but it’s probably still going to be a while longer before serious media outlets can start boycotting the president. This isn’t going to happen overnight.

    2. “— rah rah rah exclamations of glee and excitement that ‘Donny’s back at it!’ ‘schooling the press!’ ‘and showing those leftists whose boss!’”

      The MAGA-cultists really would cheer him if he did murder someone on 5th Avenue. They are going to have to feel some real pain, lose their health insurance, jobs don’t come back, before they even consider questioning their god, and even then many of them would be making excuses.

      1. Well, get ready on the health care issue.

        Note that the ACA replacement outline offered by Ryan and Price to prep GOP MoC for their recess meetings with constituents is pretty bare bones. That’s for a couple of reasons: (1) they don’t have detail yet, or, (2) they don’t want to disclose the detail to give opposition groups info. Those Americans who fall into Medicaid categories? Get ready. Taxpayers in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid? Get ready. And remember, this potus said “he was not going to touch your Medicare or Medicaid”…but what he didn’t say is that he would STOP Congress from doing so.

        “the talking points they provided did not say how the legislation would be paid for, essentially laying out the benefits without the more controversial costs.

        “…It also included no estimates of the number of people who would gain or lose insurance under the plan, nor did it include comparisons with the Affordable Care Act, which has extended coverage to 20 million people….

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/us/politics/affordable-care-act-
        congress.html

        And for more specificity:
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/upshot/republican-health-proposal-would-redirect-money-from-poor-to-rich.html

    3. Aaron, I am sorry to concur with you regarding T’s base. The press conference yesterday did accomplish its function of energizing the base and camouflaging the loss of two nominees and being on the verge of a major scandal. Nevertheless, the base continues to support him and cheer him on. The rally this weekend is designed to further that messaging and to re-energize T. I doubt that any opposition will be allowed anywhere near the venue. The base continues to feel that he is the best president certainly since Reagan and most likely since WWII.

      The R’s will not change their tune until the base starts to turn. Then and only then will there be any hope of Congress doing something. As Mary says when he starts gutting SS, Medicare, and other programs then they might notice. But most will just say that is what the Country needs and suffer.

      1. Right.

        A part of me lowkey wants the Freedom Caucus to force the ACA to be repealed and the insurance market to collapse within the next couple months so that the pain hits faster. The problem with that ‘careful what you wish for’ is that the speedier chaos ensues, the easier it is for those in power to take command of the chaos and wipe out all the other ‘chaotic elements’ e.g. minority powers.

        So, wishing ironic vengeance is not a good tactic. We still have to just take things as they come, one by one.

    1. 2013 GOP be all

      “Have you heard of BENGHAZI? BENGHAZI? BENGHAZI! Have you heard of it? Benghazi? Want to investigate Benghazi? Benghazi! We need to investigate Benghazi! Have you heard of Benghazi?”

      2017 GOP be all

      “Russia? Russia? What is Russia? I’ve never heard of Russia, have you ever heard of Russia? No, he hasn’t heard of Russia either. No rush here. Hahaha! Get it! It’s a pun! ‘No Russia here’ hahaha! Why are you people so fucking angry at me? Are you paid to be angry at me or something? I seriously can’t imagine why you’re so angry at me.”

      1. Heard on news tonight that the ICE immigration raids may be looking at a far broader scope than anyone imagined. The members of the Hispanic caucus who were able to participate in the meeting with ICE said they are considering a full sweep of all undocumented people in America. All. I’ll be listening for more on this because that is staggering news.

      2. Potus’ E.O. authorized a 10K manpower expansion of ICE, plus gave them authority that exceeded that of the Obama administration. In a meeting yesterday conducted by ICE in D.C., members of the Dem caucus who were allowed to attend (their numbers were much fewer than those who requested the right to attend), stated that from what they heard, the intent is to go after ALL undocumented immigrants in the U.S. ALL.

        Where is the $$ to hire 10K new ICE officers going to come from? Where is the $$ going to come from to detain and deport the numbers they are touting?

        That intent is verified here: “Trump has said that such individuals are not his priority, that he wants to focus on removing “bad dudes.” Nevertheless, his sweeping executive order would seemingly allow for anyone to be detained for removal proceedings, even if they have only been suspected of committing a crime, including misdemeanors, or of being a threat….”I think it covers just about every illegal alien in the country,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a legal expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, which has been strongly influential on Trump’s policy.”

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/donald-trump-immigration-detention-deportations-enforcement/

      3. EJ: “Does ICE even have the manpower for such an immense operation? If not, who’s going to do it for them? The Army?”

        Word on the street is that the Administration is thinking of using the National Guard:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-admin-considers-using-100000-national-guard-troops-for-immigration-raids/

        Early and quick criticism has caused backpedalling at least on the communication channels:

        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-nationalguard-idUSKBN15W1OT

      4. Word is that potus asked for a plan that would deliver the greatest impact. This idea was on the list. It leaked, whether by accident or purpose.

        Consider the type of minds that would suggest the use of a domestic NG reserve that shares the same communities with the people they would be forcefully removing. Consider that this is yet another tactic to divide our country. To pit one against the other. Consider how sick people have to be to even put this on paper, much less consider it. Consider what this says about the lengths this administration will go to and you will better understand the twisted thinking of Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and others. Potus is simply the mouthpiece of a very sick, very mean group of people operating in the shadows of the executive office.

  13. Comparing Donald Trump to a monkey? Give me a break. Don’t go bananas on me, Chris. What if I would have compared the previous POTUS to a monkey?

    For all his faults, Trump is neither stupid or crazy despite charges by people like amateur psychologist Al Franken.

    Dr. Keith Ablow wrote an opinion on why these charges make absolutely no sense.

    “Donald Trump is stone cold sane.

    When a man acquires billions of dollars through complex real estate transactions, invests in many countries, goes on to phenomenal success in television and turns his name into a worldwide brand, it is very unlikely that he is mentally unstable.

    When the same man obviously enjoys the love and respect of his children and his wife, who seem to rely on him for support and guidance, it is extraordinarily unlikely that he is mentally unstable.

    When the same man walks into the political arena and deftly defeats 16 Republican opponents and then the Democratic heir-apparent to a two-term president’s administration, the odds of that man being mentally unstable become vanishingly thin.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/15/relax-trump-is-stone-cold-sane.html

      1. Texan, ha, now you’re the one going bananas! I referred to your avatar as a monkey. Not you. If your avatar isn’t a monkey, I’m as blind as a bat. (Which by the way, my eye doctor tells me I am without my contacts or glasses.) Just don’t call me an old bat. 🙂

        I’m quite proud that my husband’s DNA shows that he has Sub-Saharan West African roots – Probably an African ancestor in the 1700s. My husband, my daughter and I are celebrating Black history month in honor of their ancestor who in all probability came to this country as a slave.

      2. I knew that you where talking about my avatar, and you knew what Chris was talking about. So spare us the righteous indignation, besides Obama never acted like the crazed one occupying the peoples house now. There would be no reason to compare him to “a monkey a machine gun”.

    1. “When a man acquires billions of dollars through complex real estate transactions, invests in many countries, goes on to phenomenal success in television and turns his name into a worldwide brand, it is very unlikely that he is mentally unstable.”

      Yes he has…. by cheating contractors and multiple bankruptcies cheating people.

    2. “Comparing Donald Trump to a monkey? Give me a break. Don’t go bananas on me, Chris. What if I would have compared the previous POTUS to a monkey?”

      Give us a freaking break objv. You have been told multiple times on this blog that there is a real difference between making such references with a Black person as opposed to a White person. Stop playing stupid and stop insulting the intelligence of everyone here.

      Trump’s massive character flaws are obvious to everyone who doesn’t have their heads shoved up their asses. Someone like him can indeed be wealthy and even be elected if they are 1) born weathly, 2) are never adequately punished when they lie, cheat, steal, and discriminate, 3) people suck up to them, 4) people sell out for a scrap of power/second hand fame 5) people lie to themselves. He is a bad person, and far too many people have enabled him. He is in over his head, but too many unprincipled people see short term advantage and are gambling on using him while they can.

    3. You do not even have to search history to find leaders who scare the heck out of you who look insane. Current events will do . Hopefully Trump is sane but his competency is suspected. As is his loyalty, is he a Russian stooge? And his integrity as the long history of his bankruptcies, stiffing contractors, workers and investors is well documented. From what we are seeing his intelligence organizations are reluctant to release information to him as it might put fellow workers lives at risk. And neither congress or the military know who is in charge or what the plan is. I agree with Chris this President is dangerously incompetent. And I think most likely compromise with a hostile foreign power. Those who voted Trump will regret that vote soon enough. Hopefully the damage he has done and will do will soon be contain and damage control can begin.

    4. A personality disorder is not a mental illness. It’s a thinking disorder, not a disease.

      Using the term “monkey” in the context of a black person has historically been used as a racial slur, where the same can’t be said about using it against a white person.

      Even people with severe personality disorders can have loving family members, and that says more about the quality of the family members than about the disordered person.

      I see no proof that Trump has ever made “billions of dollars,” nor has he offered any. In fact he has strenuously avoided providing such proof.

      A disordered person can have a strong talent for something, like marketing, bullshitting, or playing the didgeridoo.

      And yeah, this argument is probably hopeless.

    5. >] “When a man acquires billions of dollars through complex real estate transactions, invests in many countries, goes on to phenomenal success in television and turns his name into a worldwide brand, it is very unlikely that he is mentally unstable.

      Setting aside the issue of Trump’s personal wealth (an issue which the man could easily resolve by releasing his tax returns, which he won’t do because it would be damning beyond all measure), you beg the question, objv, why? Why does having sizable business success (depending on how you see ‘success’ in this case) preclude one from being mentally unstable? You never address this. All you did was assert that he’s done x, y and z, therefore it’s very unlikely that he’s mentally unstable. That’s an argumentative fallacy.

      >] When the same man obviously enjoys the love and respect of his children and his wife, who seem to rely on him for support and guidance, it is extraordinarily unlikely that he is mentally unstable.

      There you go again. You’re leapfrogging from a series of assertions and following it up with an unsubstantiated conclusion. By your logic, I could assert that 1 + 1 = ARGLE BARGLE!

      What reason is there to say that a mentally unstable individual couldn’t have the love and respect of his children? There isn’t one. What you seem to be inferring is that “mentally unstable” likens him to insanity that demands we put him in a straight jacket and have him sent off to a psych ward post haste. That’s not true at all and an incredibly dangerous simplification of a complex situation.

      >] When the same man walks into the political arena and deftly defeats 16 Republican opponents and then the Democratic heir-apparent to a two-term president’s administration, the odds of that man being mentally unstable become vanishingly thin.”

      …Sigh. Once again, why is this the case? With all respect, objv, stop throwing out baseless assertions that start making reasoned arguments. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

    6. Profile photo of EJ EJ

      “Sane” is an interesting term to discuss when it comes to elected leaders.

      Tony Blair was an alcoholic, which is recognised as a mental illness. He wasn’t a disastrous leader, and he made many decisions which were sensible. Under a medical definition, however, he was not sane.

      Nicholas Sarkozy had ADHD. Winston Churchill had depression. John Curtin had bipolar disorder. None of them were uncontroversial, but none of them were disastrous leaders despite being insane.

      On the other hand, Silvio Berlusconi was absolutely sane, as far as anyone can tell, and was disastrous. He was a corrupt rapey asshole and (probably) a mafia member, but that’s not in DSM V.

      Whether or not Trump is insane may not be a relevant concept. What matters is that he’s bad at the job.

      1. EJ, I would suggest that potus is also immoral. He derives pleasure from hurting people. He lies. He demeans. All people possess these tendencies, but few people make them a constant part of their daily function. At least someone who is “insane” may be able to be helped. DJT cannot. He can only be stopped.

        538 had a notable observation in their TrumpWatch post: ” How can we pay attention to the news of the day without losing track of everything else that is happening? How can we distinguish between fact and rumor, especially given the White House’s apparent willingness to mislead? And how can we keep the developments in perspective when even comparatively normal developments are labeled “unprecedented” by Trump’s critics?”

    7. So based on your comments you voted for a person that purposely behaves in the manner in which he does. You were fine with his admission of sexually assaulting women and blaming immigrants and Muslims for the problems in our society. You weighted these comments against Hillary calling racists deplorable and you decide her comments were more offensive to you.

      This is the stone cold sane person you supported, one that is now seeking to use the national guard to round illegal immigrants up.

      Congratulations for helping destroy our nation

  14. Finally a reporter with some balls.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/why-should-americans-trust-you-presser-goes-off-the-rails-when-nbc-reporter-confronts-trump/

    “You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan,” Alexander began, reading off a list of several recent previous presidents who had larger margins than Trump.

    “Why should Americans trust you,” Alexander asked.

    Report Advertisement
    The president insisted he was talking about Republican presidents before saying he was “given” that information.

    “I don’t know,” Trump added.

    “Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake when you’re providing information that’s fake?” Alexander pressed.

    “I don’t know,” Trump repeated. “I was given that information.”

    1. So if we are on the verge of, or the start of, some we-don’t-know-exactly-how-just-yet ouster of an elected president:

      –Is the elected VP tarnished by the same sins as the elected president?

      For example, Russian connections and an attempt to influence the election?

      –If it’s a military coup of sorts, who’s the military person who would be in change? During Watergate, Alexander Haig famously said, “I am in control here.”

      Wasn’t he simultaneously a four-star general and secretary of state?

      Are there other high-ranking military officers currently serving in civilian positions? The constitution doesn’t address it, but could someone like that make a claim to the presidency? For some period of time? Till an election (should there be a constitutional means for that)? Till the next election four years from now?

      Personally, I think Pence is as dangerous as Trump, just differently so, regarding the health and welfare of women.

      1. Pence is reprehensible precisely because of his fixation and promotion of homophobia and control of women’s rights.

        The next in line following Pence is Ryan, Speaker of House. That’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.

      2. Review the 25th Amendment. Section 2 provides that in the event of a vacancy, in the office of the Vice President, e.g. the Vice President becoming the President, the” President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.” That clause has been implemented twice. The first time was when Agnew resigned as Nixon’s Vice President. Ford then became Vice President. The second time was when Ford became President upon Nixon’s resignation. That is the reason Ford is the only President who was not elected. Ford selected Rockefeller as Vice President.

        The Speaker of the House is second in line of succession, only if the offices of both President and Vice President are vacant at the same time. That line of succession is not in the Constitution but is Federal Law.

      3. As much as I’d love the guy to get impeached, or very ill, or bored and quit, I am not counting on any of that. I’m working in my community to help grow a grassroots effort that will ultimately inspire a massive GOTV effort in 2018. That’s done by getting people interested and helping them learn how to engage so they are invested in the political process. This is happening all over the country. Frankly, I think we have more opportunity to achieve success doing this than getting rid of potus. If that is to happen, it will be inspired and conducted by people way above my pay grade and I will cheer for them. In the meantime, I intend to be a thorn in the side of my MoC, my state, and my conservative neighbors.

  15. It is very difficult to imagine something like a coup in our political system. It has never happened before and we have constitutional constraints in place which should make such an event impossible. Nevertheless, we find ourselves living through the early stages of just such an event.

    Our intelligence services have broken off cooperation with the political authorities who, according to our constitutional order, are supposed to be the check on their power. Beyond just a lack of cooperation, those institutions are now actively, though so far peacefully, undermining that political authority.

    If this were just a political disagreement it might go no further than what we’ve seen, but it isn’t. For the intelligence services and many in the military, this is an existential conflict. They see a US President who has been compromised by a hostile foreign intelligence service and is now working against them at a personal level. At stake here is not just political plans, or even careers. Many people will see their safety at risk (see the list of dead Russian intelligence officers since the election). Under those circumstances they aren’t going to stop to protect some abstract political norms, a set of norms which they recognize have already been shredded. They are off the leash now, already. The only force that can rein them in would be the internal security services (too weak) or the military.

    The military is not friendly to Trump and like the intelligence services, they see this situation unclouded by partisan political interests. If the intelligence services are reasonably careful, the military will stay on the sidelines. The CIA has been toppling governments for decades. They know how to do this. Unlike the White House or the Republicans in Congress, their agents and leadership are smart, educated and calculating. The harder Trump presses on them, the closer we get to someone getting hurt. Once that happens the military will be forced to pick a side.

    If the military has, in the meantime, been pressed into military action in the mideast on what they see as the “wrong side,” harassed and provoked by the Russians while Trump blocks them from either retaliating or taking safer positions, disrespected in Washington political circles, and generally treated like errand boys for a psychotic dictator, will they leap to the support of their President out of constitutional concerns? Really?

    Add into this mix a failed attempt at impeachment, in which the evidence against this President finally comes out in a formal way, but the morons in the Republican caucus refuse to support a constitutional remedy. If the executive branch has failed the constitution, the legislative branch has failed the constitution, and the judiciary is being disregarded by the other two branches and the internal police authorities, will the army sit on its hands?

    All of these scenarios are extreme, yet none of them is entirely unlikely. Parts of this picture are already our reality. This is not a partisan political conflict. This is a question of survival. That President has to go as soon as possible and it needs to happen through an impeachment process or a straight-up resignation.

    1. Profile photo of DS DS

      I hear what you’re saying, Chris, but I still think it’s important to understand that the Military is not quite the unified polity you’re making it out to be. The enlisted, the ones who would be the actual boots on the ground, are a Trump friendly demographic. The senior officers are steeped in a tradition of civilian control that has been firmly in place since MacArthur. Many are not what you might call scholars, but all have graduate degrees, and they understand the extreme consequences.

      You may have a point regarding the existential nature of this conflict for the intelligence services, but it certainly is not for the military. If anything, they’re likely to get all the toys they’ve been told they can’t have for the past several years; they’re like kids in a candy store. They might also get new punching bags in the form of North Korea and China. Russia is our traditional enemy, but they’re exchangeable.

    2. This active intelligence community involvement with national politics presented forcefully through Comey’s injection into the election process. One day we will know for certain what pressures were applied to him by the NY FBI division and what role Rudy Giuliani played in the process. Whatever it was, it worked, didn’t it?

      Potus loved leaks during the campaign when it was helping his race, but now that it is to his disadvantage, he’s going to “clean house”. There is open acknowledgement that the intelligence community is withholding security info that they feel could be compromised by a president and his inner circle. This man who potus is considering to review (and possibly be Flynn’s replacement?) the America’s intelligence operation is yet another businessman (drain the swamp???) with no experience in the area over which he would be given great control.

      Our government institutions are already on shaky ground. We don’t have to worry so much about attacks from without as we do those from within. And the GOP is saying and doing NOTHING.

    3. After thinking about this overnight, I am not so sure that a resignation is the proper method of Trump leaving office. Though it would be less traumatic, the Trump supporters would conclude that the elites have pushed their hero out of power, i.e. they would feel that the elites have successfully executed a coup. They would be more disaffected than ever. The disaffection of that group is precisely the issue that enabled Trump to win the election. At this time, I am leaning towards favoring an impeachment, where the evidence would be public. Even a 25th Amendment solution would enable the sordid corruption that is almost certainly there to be made public. If the corruption were made public a resignation would possibly be acceptable, but as I wrote last night, making the information public would likely not happen in a resignation. Rather it would be covered up so Trump would go peacefully without destroying his name and companies.

      Maybe, I need to be more cautious, i.e. be careful about what I wish for, but I consider Trump to be extraordinarily dangerous. I think that the American system could contain Pence without a lot of difficulty. He would at least respect the Constitution and the US political system. But then there is the problem of a failed impeachment. The constitutional bars to conviction are very high, to quote the US Constitution, “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Treason is defined by the US Code as giving aid and comfort to enemies. We have no declared enemies at the moment. Bribery is fairly straight forward, but what are “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”? Furthermore, a two thirds vote in the Senate is required for conviction. Both of the two attempts at removing the President failed to clear this bar. Essentially, they were political acts and were tripped up by the term “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

      As is obvious, I see pros and cons. I do know that Trump is on course to be the worst President the US has ever had and is extraordinarily dangerous. As I mentioned yesterday, my opinion is that he is seriously mentally ill and is losing what little touch he ever had with reality. He seems to be growing more isolated daily. He could easily blunder into a global conflict, lead us into a major depression or create a major constitutional or existential crisis. So I hear what Chris has written regarding Trump being removed from office by a constitutional method and tend to concur.

    4. I use to think Jefferson’s idea was more correct. Now I realized Hamilton was the correct founding father after all. There should be some way you have to prove competency before you exercise the right to vote. To anyone with a smidgen of education and intelligence Trump’s incompetence was very obvious.

    5. I meant Thomas Jefferson not Jefferson Davis. But I guess Davis could be considered a founding father of the Confederacy. If my memory of history is correct Jefferson was for the common man participating in governance. Hamilton thought that you should have some evidence that you were competent and had skin in the game.

      1. Yes, the citizenship test requirement. To vote and other similar, one must pass the same test we require of immigrants. Rather Heinlienian (Robert) though and one can imagine it becoming abused just as voter id requirements have begun to be. As much as birthright has been an egalitarian form of determining citizenship, it does have its drawbacks.

        But competency tests in general, I just can’t think of an objectively safe way to go there.

      2. I am old enough to have known people (adults) who were functionally illiterate yet they were good people whose common sense and strong sense of right and wrong are exactly who I trust to cast responsible votes. Formal education doesn’t always result in good judgement as is patently obvious with this last election.

      1. That’s OK. I didn’t take it that way. (Davis) My question was how far your idea, (in theoretical terms very astute, but in practical terms impossible, and perhaps overtly discriminatory), which could really only take the form of a literacy test, would get? How many ‘disenfranchised’ people would this generate? And the ‘skin in the game’ notion was last implemented as a poll tax.

        All this is not to say that the goal is extremely positive, the unintended consequences would be insurmountable.

      2. I can understand the sentiment behind your statement, but the literacy test was tried and we know how it turned out. But everyone can make a mistake/ not think something through, and I respect those who can admit to error (a big reason why I don’t respect you-know-who). Like Mary said, you’re a solid contributor here.

      3. That is the rub how to determine competency? But we do require some testing to become a citizen. It is obvious from conversations with my family and friends that voted Trump they did not or could not imagine the consequences of their choice.

    6. It’s not just the intelligence community. In the run up to Friday’s confirmation hearing for Pruitt to head the EPA, 800 former employees of that division have signed a petition against Pruitt’s approval.

      I would be curious to know how the resignations in this presidential transition compare to prior transitions between parties. I do not recall hearing as much angst from staffers ever before.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nearly-800-former-epa-staffers-sign-letter-opposing-scott-pruitt_us_58a5cecfe4b037d17d258aae

  16. The more I watch and hear, every day, I realize that there will not be a military coup. But there will most certainly be a coup as the repubs do the algebra and decide the benefits of the useful idiot are outweighed by his liabilities. So once he has started to implement all the regressive policies they want, they will pull the plug and let their real choice, pence, take over.

    The house and senate will turn fast, real fast, when the guys in the shadows, finally decide that that enough time has passed. June, July, August, likely August, will be when they will vote to oust him, as some shocking piece of intel is revealed.

    Then, pence will be told whether the ground forces that by then have occupied Iraq (after driving ISIS from Syria) will then give up control of the Iraq oilfields. Do the people that really run the repubs, and by definition the country, want to continue the war crime of stealing another country’s resources.

    What is of more immediate interest to me is if the powers-that-be will allow the child-king to start a purge of the intel establishment as he starts his jihad against the leakers.

    1. Trump holds FL rally…………Meanwhile, Russia has a destroyer sitting within spitting range of the NATO boundaries off the coast of DE….I guess potus’ direct line to Putin has dispelled any concerns……

      All of these things aside, the fact that his supporters are embracing his actions is even more concerning. The TX Monthly has an article today about the launching of a college campaign by a nationalist group who are placing flyers throughout the campuses. Here’s a link about this story. It’s obvious that they are targeting our young adults in their push to make America white again. (All in TX should sign up for daily updates, TexasMonthly.com, as it offers excellent coverage of what’s happening here.)

      Hate is trickling down and as I noted above, they are not even being subtle about it anymore. They feel empowered by potus’ and by the lack of any effort by the majority party to thwart their efforts. Talk to your high school and college kids. Just like black parents have to have “the talk” with their young boys and girls about law enforcement encounters, white parents need to prepare their children about the dangers represented by white nationalism.

      And, this is making America “great” again?

      http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/white-supremacist-group-aims-recruit-college-campuses/?

  17. Today, Republicans and Democrats came together in the Kansas House to do right by their constituents, passing a bill to reverse many of the budget busting tax cuts that Gov. Brownback pushed through. The margin was not close, 83-39, just a single vote shy of a two-thirds majority and one necessary in the face of an almost certain veto by Brownback.

    The Kansas Senate is set to debate its own set of tax proposals later this week.

    Well done to all those members of good faith, Democrats and Republicans alike, working in earnest to solve a serious problem for their state. You should be proud.

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2017/feb/15/house-advances-bill-reversing-many-brownbacks-tax-/

  18. No one has mentioned the scheduled Trump address to a joint session of Congress on February 28. That address traditionally serves as a SOU for the newly inaugurated president. As bad as his Inaugural Address was and as bad as the first month has been, I dread that address.

  19. There won’t be a coup. Nor will there occur any radical change. This president’s ineffectiveness, as Chris noted is, well, notable. Asinine attempts to bring daydreams into the light of day run straight into the realty of the courts and the Constitution. (A document criticized for its inflexibility often by the Left, but whose inflexibility we so require now!)

    In months – certainly not a full term or two – he will step on something he can’t scrape off his shoe. Also as Chris said, threading the legal needle is not easy, is fraught with pitfalls, and this president is no ‘legal eagle’, nor is he a man prone to listen to advice from those who might be.

    His inevitable impeachment will be an historical event, but not one of biblical proportions. If the Left manages that as ineptly as their last campaign, without addressing the issues that allowed this clown to be elected in the first place, I will be far less sanguine regarding that potential future.

    1. The reason that Trump won was middle class angst of the movement of the nation’s income and wealth to the top 1%. Republican policy has help that drift. So how do the Democrats convince uneducated people, primary white middle age working people to stop voting against their interest when the BS sounds so good.

      1. I think people will have to see for themselves that what they have been led to believe, isn’t how things are going to be. And, that this is no accident. In other words, what they experience under potus and the GOP is going to have to be much worse than what they thought Obama delivered. Personally, my best lessons were always those I inflicted upon myself.

      2. Regarding the severity of the problems, your comment is totally true Mary. My admittedly casual reading of history has led me to conclude that one of the reasons FDR was so successful is that by the time he took office in March of 1933, the situation in the US was so bad plus having a super-majority in Congress enabled him to get a lot of programs through in a short time. Plus in some respects the US was truly on the brink of revolution and/or complete meltdown. Whereas, in 2009 when Obama took office the nation was just entering an economic tailspin. The tailspin accordingly was easier to reverse. Since people have short memories, they of course blame Obama for not being able to restore boom times immediately. That is also part of the reason the big majority in Congress was lost in 2010 and in the Senate much sooner, with Kennedy’s death. And then the Congress was able to essentially block further reforms.

        This time around we could well have a total catastrophe and the people will finally see that they have been fed BS for a long time by FAUX News and the GOP.

      3. I just don’t know anymore. Given what I see happening in Congress – both rolling out a crippling agenda and repealing regulations helter skelter with no logical reason (IRA deductions? guns for severely mentally ill? ) The GOP is going to ignore everything potus does until they finish gutting our democratic institutions and wipe every fingerprint of Obama’s off the face of the earth. It’s obscene and it is crushing, which is exactly what they intend. So, who’s left to hold potus in check?

      4. I concur that the increasing inequity in the US is at the bottom of the working and middle class angst. I prefer to classify both as the working class, since both rely largely on earned income as opposed to return on capital. Resolving that issue will be the key to restoring prosperity for the 99%. It will require considerable reform of both the our economic systems and likely the electoral systems. As I mentioned above the GOP was able to block significant reforms beginning with Kennedy’s death. Even though getting the ACA and Dodd-Frank through has helped, they are not enough. Moch more thorough systemic reforms are required.

      5. Friends – The notion that this nation elected a billionaire president in reaction to wealth inequality is quite simply delusional. It is an extension of the zeitgeist of the Left that got us in this mess in the first place.

      6. I’m with the economics blamers here. A person I know of as a teenager growing up (in a white community) mentioned to his father that he didn’t see much racism. His father’s reply: “Wait till times get hard. You’ll see plenty.”

        50% of the people in this country hold zero wealth. These people see no way out. They didn’t vote for “a billionaire,” they voted for a bomb-thrower.

        I had thought that Trump’s economic ideas, if managed well, could actually help the “earned income class” (thanks for that formulation, Tmerritt!). That would require running a bigger deficit. Deficits don’t worry me, and they shouldn’t worry you, but they probably worry Trump, and certainly worry his advisors and the meatheads in Congress who don’t understand how money gets created. So Trump’s supporters can’t hope for much relief from his economic team or the Republicans. The Democrats, on the other hand, could put forward a plausible program, but that would mean catering to the working class, not their donor class.

      7. I’m also with the “economics blamers”

        The issue is that people can now see that they are going to be worse off than their parents
        And that “pisses them off”
        The parents can see that their children are not going to be as well off as they are
        And that “pisses them off”

        For two or three generations we could see things improving – then in the 70’s the link between productivity and wages was broken

        It took a long time for people to notice – but now they are well aware that “something has gone wrong”

        The “New Deal” in the USA was required to prevent a bloody revolution
        The equivalent in the UK (post war) was for the same reason – especially as the “workers” were then battle trained soldiers

        We are due for another “New Deal” – or else a bloody revolution

      8. I think you are correct but I also believe it is more complicated than the actual wealth divide. It’s a feeling of futility about hopes for the future, old age, health care access, being ignored, feeling threatened….This was a perfect storm of feelings, events, personalities, intrusion. Unfortunately, it didn’t give us a perfect potus.

        Here’s something to think about going foward. As the GOP rushes about to kill unions and gut quality regulations, what have we learned? All of us, not just Democrats.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/gop-base-poverty-snap-social-security/516861/?utm_source=nl-politics-daily-021617

      9. Following all your comments – I concur that there are a number of factors involved. A poorer future outlook, loss of jobs to globalization and automation, futility, etc. Nevertheless, a lot of those factors derive from the transfer of incomes and wealth to the top 1% and even higher, the top 0.1% and 0.01%. I recently saw an article in Politico Magazine regarding Pepin County, WI. I downloaded it and made a few comments. A link is:

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/486h9sbg1p6n24n/Election%202016%2C%20Pepin6%20County%2C%20WI_Politico%20Magazine%2C%20Jan-Feb%202017.pdf?dl=0

        As I read the article and thought about it, I have thought back to my youth. In the town of about 4,000 in Central WA. It was and is a farming community. At that time there were potato packing plants, other processing plants and a diatomaceous earth processing plant in the community. Much of the time my Dad worked in those plants to supplement the farm income. When it came to farm labor, much of it was accomplished by farm boys with supplemental seasonal labor.

        Two years ago I went back to the community. The processing plants are gone, the diatomaceous earth plant is gone. The only industry in the community now are server farms for Microsoft, Google and some others. People working in those facilities are not local people, except for low level janitorial jobs, etc. Rather the key positions are filled by highly trained people from the urban areas and much of the software development is done remotely and downloaded.

        When it comes to farm labor, it is normally done by Hispanics. Not by local farm boys. In many cases farm operation is being turned over to Hispanic immigrants. In some case the owners are selling to trusted Hispanic foremen, etc. In other cases, Agribusiness has taken over.

        The situation in Pepin County, is typical in that the youth leave to go to college and frequently never return. So there is a dearth of people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, except for immigrants. There are mature people in their 50, 60’s and 70’s, who have lived there all their lives, but few vigorous young white families. And that is where the white nationalism becomes very apparent.

        So with declining incomes, lack of medical care, perception of futility, etc. the stage has been set for the populist backlash that Trump was able to ride to the presidency. In Western WA, counties that have been Democratic for years voted for Trump. These counties have relied on fishing, timber and timber processing as their economic base. Those industries have been shrinking for years largely due to automation. They pay a high property tax rate for schools, although the actual taxes are much lower than in Pugetopolis due to lower property valuations. There’s not much highway construction in their areas, since there is not much of a need. They see the prosperity of Pugetopolis and have developed a considerable resentment, feeling that Pugetopolis drives the politics in the state. To a certain extent that is true, but our needs are considerable as well. They feel they do not get much of a bang for their tax dollar, though considerable taxation is actually transferred from the metropolitan areas to the rural areas.

        The GOP’s policies would actually make life more difficult in those areas, but the majority of the voters went for Trump. WHY is the $64K question. I certainly do not know the answers. I do believe that reforming our economic system to eliminate “rent seeking” by monopolists, eliminate the financialization of American business, giving the “earned income” classes a fair shake will help a great deal.

    2. It is a bit humbling how this shitstorm has given pause to many on the Left and having them reconsider Republicans’ (those of genuine good faith, to be clear) arguments of executive restraint, federalism and the like. Nothing quite like a crisis and a mutual enemy for otherwise strange bedfellows, so they say.

      >] In months – certainly not a full term or two – he will step on something he can’t scrape off his shoe. Also as Chris said, threading the legal needle is not easy, is fraught with pitfalls, and this president is no ‘legal eagle’, nor is he a man prone to listen to advice from those who might be.

      After my serving of humble pie in ’16, I’m a bit more cautious when it comes to words like “inevitable”, so it’s worth seeing exactly what impeachment proceedings, particularly in this Congress, would require. You’ll have to be right and it really will have to be something just that bad for someone like Paul Ryan to bring up impeachment in the House, otherwise a discharge petition will have to be filed among Democrats and Republicans to force it to the floor.

      Regardless, the Trumpistas will never abandon their man, no matter what he’s done and they’ll go absolutely apeshit if and when impeachment starts proceeding in earnest. Are enough House Republicans willing to fall on their own proverbial sword to impeach a president? Place your bets.

      And then, just assuming that that happens for the moment, we move to conviction in the Senate, which also requires a two-thirds majority, which means, if we’re talking about this Congress, we need 14 Republicans to meet the bare minimum. Who are those 14?

      1. Ryan – We don’t yet know exactly what form the turd will take. There are those with which no one is willing to associate. Remember that Clinton came perilously close to being removed from office for his misdemeanors. This guy will make those look worthy of little more than a time out.

        I had my fill of humble pie as well.

      2. Profile photo of DS DS

        Those 14 don’t exist, and neither does the necessary majority in the House. Too many Republicans have roped their political fortunes to Trump for impeachment to be on the table. I think it was David Frum who pointed out that the one thing Republicans will do about Trump scandals is their best to ignore them. So, short of a Trump/Putin sex tape, this dervish will whirl on for the next four years, at which point the sheer ineffectualness of the administration leads to its political defeat. Probably not by much, though…

      3. Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking. 18 Republicans would be needed, not 14. Gah.

        Regardless, this is where I’m placing my bets for right now. I just don’t see Republicans moving to impeach Trump, no matter what he does. The only way the House moves on that is if, somehow, Democrats edged out a majority in ’18. Barring that, forget it.

      4. A sex tape of any sort would do nothing. You cannot shame that which is shameless. The GOP sellouts and MAGA-cultists already know that Trump is unapologetically profane and were either willing to overlook it or even approved of it. There’s going to have to be something too treasonous to sweep under the rug without consequences.

        Of course, Mother Nature may solve the primary problem. The man is 70, obese, eats poorly, doesn’t exercise, and just took on the most stressful job on the planet. Add to that millions and millions of people who loathe him and are willing to troll and satirize and ridicule him without mercy, and his skin is microscopically thin. I’d give a heart attack or stroke better odds than impeachment right now.

      5. Look guys – I’m not talking about some social gaff like farting at a state dinner, or pinching Angela Merkel’s ass. I’m talking about an actual crime. That would not be ignored. He’s easily arrogant enough to think he could get away with it, or dumb enough to do it inadvertantly. The latter is easier than you think.

      6. The noise around Flynn’s “resignation” is apparently getting too loud. How does the GOP respond to this? A la potus: hold hearings to find out why the leaks are happening….IOW, control the problem, keep the investigations in house, under GOP control, and weed out anyone who is contributing to a negative image.The “darling” of the Republican Party to the rescue. The same man who stated that the large numbers (thousands) who showed up at his Town Hall had been paid to attend and bused in. The same man who has stated that he would continue his investigation of Clinton.

        There is a nest of snakes running things in Washington and sooner or later, they are going to start biting one another.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2017/02/16/chaffetz-requests-investigation-on-leaks.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

        As I said, they’re not even trying to hide their arrogant efforts to implement the T agenda. With Scalia gone, is there any doubt that Thomas will be looking elsewhere for his guidance?

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/16/leaked-emails-show-justice-clarence-thomas-s-wife-pushing-travel-ban.html?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

      7. Profile photo of DS DS

        Before this goes any further off the rails, I’d like to clarify that my admittedly vulgar phrasing was meant to be a metaphor for collusion and treason. For Trump to be impeached, there would have to be irrefutable proof that he sold American interests for personal gain. Whether such proof is even possible in the minds of many Republicans (possibly even most Republicans) at this point is arguable.

        Fly has a solid point about Trump’s health; it’s really the only way I see this administration ending early. Of course, a Trump heart attack means a Pence presidency. I’m not convinced that would be altogether more desirable.

      8. Fifty – You forget that Clinton had an opposition Congress. Trump faces no such animal. You still need someone willing to actually investigate a crime and push an impeachment. As long as Trump gives the GOP exactly what they want in way of signing their legislation they will not impeach. Gerrymandering protects the GOP and the Dems are in too much of a state of chaos to win control of jack.

        I see Trump quitting or having a heart attack before any scenario of impeachment comes up. If the GOP is not willing to investigate any claims of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign then I see little else that would spike their interests.

      9. 50, I 100% agree that it will be a major crime and he is arrogant enough to think he can get away with it. OTOH it’s hard to completely blame him for thinking that way. If you look at his track record, and all the times he has lied and cheated and ripped people off and bullied them and discriminated, you will see a long line of enablers. These people made excuses, looked the other way, gave him minor slaps on the wrist (and let him dodge admitting responsibility), cheered for him, gave him TV contracts, and/or voted for him. All while knowing exactly what he was. A thin-skinned narcissistic and petty bully who never has sacrificed anything for anyone. Karma may finally catch up to him, but not without collateral damage.

        DS, I’m no fan of Pence, but the fact that he can behave like an adult and that he’s probably not so subject to manipulation by the likes of Bannon and Miller would make he an improvement.

      10. Last night on MSNBC, a political commentator made the following suggestion and I think it’s on the money.

        What do you do to get the attention of someone who is obsessed with being the center of attention?

        Ignore them.

        She (Anna Maria?) said that potus wasn’t calling on any of the major, responsible news organizations in the press briefings, wouldn’t grant them interviews, so return the favor. They are having to get all their info from leaks and indpendent investigation, so why show up? Starve the monster. But, would this then allow Team T to do even more nefarious deeds? HOW?

        I think she has a point. When people insult your intelligence, are offensive and duplicitous, why dignify this behavior? As difficult as it is to let inane comments and actions go without response, sometimes not responding sends a clearer message of disapproval than trying to rebut someone who is incapable and undeserving of your time.

        If that sounds hard, so be it. I’m tired of this man controlling everything.

      11. Profile photo of DS DS

        Fly,

        My concern is that Pence is probably actually capable of a degree of leadership within the Republican Party. The primary obstacle to the implementation of their agenda at this point seems to be Donald Trump. Remove that, and I’m afraid you still have most of the crazy, now in a shinier, more united package.

      12. Exactly. The power behind the throne. I have stated my concerns about the agenda of the GOP majority ad nauseum. Trump is a dangerous, irritating, incompetent, narcissistic distraction to the work that is happening behind the scenes. As DS stated, these two “balls” definitely need to be in the air at the same time. Regarding what might come after a potus removal? We will have little control over that outcome except as noise.

    3. There’s plenty to criticize Dems for in regards to the ’16 election, but let’s keep the focus on where the power and thus responsibility rests. Republicans have been derelict in checking the abuses to our democratic norms. From allowing nominees to proceed to hearings who had not submitted the information required, to allowing incompetent persons to be named wihtout pushback.

      Republicans are 100% complicit in what is happening to our country.

      1. Profile photo of DS DS

        I think there are two separate issues in this regard that bear discussion. The first is, who is responsible for losing the election. To that, I would answer that the fundamentals indicated that this election would be close, and a combination of Democratic missteps and poorly timed events swung it to Republicans.

        The second, and I think more interesting question, is who is responsible for Trump? After the election, I created a Twitter account and followed a number of conservatives whose commentary I found interesting during the election. It’s been disappointing to me to see quite a number of them take the tack that liberals, Democrats, and the media created Trump. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but at the end of the day, your party, your rhetoric, your voters. Long term, the Republican Party is screwed until they own this.

      2. And, my point is, it doesn’t matter “whose” fault it “was”, it’s what we do going forward. Dem leadership is inept, but grassroots activity is through the roof. That is important with regard to applying pressure on the majority party and posing a threatening force but the GOP are the ones that have the votes, the authority, and the responsibility to take steps to keep this president in line. There is little Dems in Congress can effectively do but I do think they are working hard. I’m ignoring the DNC.

      3. Profile photo of DS DS

        I agree that the proper assignment of blame isn’t really important for it’s own sake, but if you want less inept leadership, a proper accounting of what went wrong is necessary.

      4. And my response to that is this: WE DON”T HAVE TIME to do this right now. It won’t change anything now that will help us deal with the crisis that is in front of us. History will sort out the causes but from my perspective, our entire focus needs to be on dealing with the onslaught of problems before us.

      5. Of course. Clearly, history informs, but current history, demands. Keep all the balls in the air you like, someone has got to manage the crisis. Absent DNC leadership, given the limited power of Congressional Dems, where else is the checks and balance going to happen?

      6. Mime – I suggest Democrats own their failure, reconsider what is important to voters, rather than what is important to the ideologues in the party, and in the light of this, begin to plan a strategy to re-enter the Realpolitik. We need balance, and we don’t currently have it. The past only matters if you intend not to repeat it.

      7. I suggest Democrats own their failure, reconsider what is important to voters, rather than what is important to the ideologues in the party, and in the light of this, begin to plan a strategy to re-enter the Realpolitik. We need balance, and we don’t currently have it. The past only matters if you intend not to repeat it.

        The loss to this man is not enough “ownership” of failure for you? Let’s talk for a bit about what you feel is missing on the left, and for that matter, what constitutes a Dem ideologue. What would a “balanced” agenda look like? These are serious questions, because I’m investing too much effort to do this wrong. It’s not that I don’t think one doesn’t learn from mistakes/past, but at some point, you have to move on….taking the lessons you can see and building a new, better platform.

  20. As I’m sure you all have mentioned many times, the Russian goal was not to elect trump, but rather to create fear and antipathy to Clinton (or any intelligent leader) to the point that she was unable to govern and that we were torn asunder internally. Imagine their glea that they’ve made that happen so quickly and decisively through the election of trump and any reaction to the trumpettes of impeachment.

    I do wonder if the Russians are as stupid as republicans in thinking that with trump, they have a tiger by the tail. He’s a bit of a wild card to any well thought-out plan.

  21. Rep Mike Kelly to host tele town hall.

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) announced today that he will host a toll-free telephone town hall meeting later this month for constituents of the Third District to ask questions and receive answers regarding current events and issues of general concern.

    WHAT: A free tele-town hall hosted by Rep. Kelly to discuss general issues

    WHO: Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03), Residents of Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District

    WHEN: Monday, February 27, 2017

    TIME: 7:15 – 8:15 PM

    CALL-IN INFORMATION: To participate, dial 877-228-2184 and enter event ID 19013 at the time of the event.

      1. Actually, I’m more positive about Poe based upon a meeting between members of my Indivisible group and him at his office. I also am happy he is actively supporting the VAWA (violence against women act) and filed his own bill to address crimes/problems in this area. I don’t have a historical perspective on him but this speaks well for him. He is one of the few MoC that has been open to meetings with constituents.

        http://poe.house.gov/2017/2/poe-and-cohen-introduce-extending-justice-for-sex-crime-victims-act-of-2017

  22. Profile photo of DS DS

    Barring truly extraordinary events, you’re not going to see a coup from the military. I’m generally not a fan of most officers over the rank of Captain, but ultimately the men in charge are well educated professionals who take their oaths quite seriously. There are, of course, the Flynn’s of the world, but they are the exception. With respect to the enlisted, well, they’re mostly white, high school educated, and from rural southern backgrounds. I’ll let you do the math on that…

    If you want the more cynical take on it, Trump will placate the upper ranks by funding their multi-billion dollar resume builders…

  23. We won’t have to wait long. CNN is reporting that the Pentagon is working on a deadline to provide Potus with a plan to destroy ISIL. One of the options being considered is puttingcombat troops on the ground in Syria…Nothing has been finalized, but the very fact that this is one option being considered supports your point that military engagement will not be our “last” option.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/pentagon-considering-recommending-combat-troops-in-syria/index.html

    1. I read that today and thought here we go again. During the campaign, I was concerned that if T was elected we would have line combat forces on the ground in the Middle East within 6 months to a year. I was wrong, it might be within a few weeks. A combat deployment might start small, but could quickly escalate. Another significant war in the Middle East is the last thing the US needs at this time. It would be just what Putin wants, in that he would take that as a free rein to do as he wishes in Eastern and Central Europe. China could also take it as an opportunity in Asia.

  24. Excellent thoughts as usual. One thing I do see being left out of a lot of conversations is what do the MAGAs do once their dear leader is out of the picture. Currently a huge swath of the population no longer believes in facts and has no trust in the institutions that are in charge of disseminating those facts. What do they do if the removal of Trump is not handled delicately?

    They are heavily armed and don’t feel they have a whole lot to lose. I’be been in Breitbart comments sections and it’s not encouraging. Do we get them taking over a post office, or are we looking at large scale civil unrest and terrorism?

    1. I never read Breitbart nor their comments but I can envision the scenario you describe, got99%. Thinking off the top of my head, I suspect that our intelligence apparatus would coordinate with our military structure if armed resistance materialized….Of course, lives would be lost and democracy in turmoil. I have been unimpressed by the absolute void of responsible action by the GOP as regards potus, his actions, his minions, etc, that one cannot imagine them leading the way unless it gave them cover. Given the taunting by Russia, N. Korea, ISIL retaliation, upheaval in the middle east due to potus nonchalant attitude about a one-state solution, events could take on a life of their own. Interesting question.

    2. “One thing I do see being left out of a lot of conversations is what do the MAGAs do once their dear leader is out of the picture.”

      That’s been discussed on David Brin’s blog. I suspect most of them are more talk than action, but a few of them would become the next wave of wannabe Tim McVeighs. Sadly even a small percentage of traitorous bastards can do a lot of damage.

      We’ve got to plan for the worst, but still take the civil, legal way out of this mess if it presents itself. It’s the least bad option.

      Chris, are you counting a 25th Amendment solution in with impeachment?

      1. The 25th Amendment solution would be very cumbersome and getting a 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress would be very difficult if not impossible. Whether impeachment or the 25th Amendment solution would be quicker, I have no idea. Nevertheless, I am seriously beginning to believe that Trump is seriously mentally ill and is incapable of being president. As such, the 25th Amendment solution would be appropriate.

        The least traumatic method of getting him out of office would be resignation. For that to happen the feckless congressional leadership would have to convinced that the 2018 backlash would be so severe that GOP control of Congress would be lost and then basically tell Trump that he must resign or he would be removed either by impeachment or through the 25th Amendment. Basically, that is what happened when Nixon resigned in 2014. The Congressional leadership sent a bipartisan group to tell Nixon that he had to resign or be impeached and convicted. Nixon resisted but gave in rather quickly. But then the committees and the chairs still had a lot of power. Now all the power is concentrated in the hands of the GOP leadership in both houses. Whether, either Ryan or McConnell would have the courage to take that strong a position remains to be seen. I consider it doubtful. A GOP coup in both houses might be required.

        With that in mind, I would like to congratulate all of you Orphans in Red States that are putting so much pressure on their members of Congress. From what I read that is being significantly felt by the GOP members. That could be a significant element in removing T from office.

      2. FWIW, here’s my take on potus vacating the WH. I think the GOP (with the cooperation of the intelligence community, is compiling a dossier. We know there is an investigation going on, and we know where there is this much smoke, along with potus greed, ego and desire for financial gain, that odds are everything that is needed to “convince” potus to exit will be at the ready at the right time. I simply don’t think the GOP wants an impeached Repub potus on their resume….but they won’t hesitate to throw him over the cliff if he either gets in their way or has served his usefulness. Remember, except for Sessions, does he have anyone in Congress who doesn’t despise him? Frankly, I’m not worried about how, just when. Then you still have to worry about who will be left holding the keys to the gold…and that would be the GOP….I don’t know that that’s much of an improvement.

      3. Mary, you are very likely correct regarding getting T out of office. That is the way politics typically works particularly in DC. The GOP could quietly put together a dossier and then approach T with an offer he will not refuse. That is you can leave office due to health issues, etc and keep the Trump name intact or be dragged through impeachment and conviction or using the 25th Amendment process and have the Trump name and the Trump Companies ruined. Another possibility is T staying on as a figurehead and let Pence run the show. I’m not sure that would work however with all the backbiting, rumors, and politics that normally goes on in DC.

        Regardless, the present situation cannot continue.

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