From M.A.D. to G.O.D.

An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible.

The National Intelligence Council—something I would bet most people have never heard of—is one of those rarest of governmental entities. Avoiding the taint of political bent of any sort—probably because it is so obscure—it functions as a center for long-term strategic analysis. Every four years, it produces a report projecting various potential scenarios for the future.

Their reports are, sadly, read by few people; a consequence of our ADHD-addled society lacking any ability to read and digest anything more than a grammar-deficient, emoji-laden posting about nonsense.

While the report cautions the dangers of trying to “predict” the future (something only Long Island Mediums and their ilk can do with any certainty), the council’s analysis has produced some startlingly accurate scenarios.

One of which we are now experiencing with COVID-19.

In the 2012 report, the council compiled a list of “black swans”—game-changing events that could impact the world. One of those scenarios was this.

“Severe Pandemic No one can predict which pathogen will be the next to start spreading to humans, or when or where such a development will occur. An easily transmissible novel respiratory pathogen that kills or incapacitates more than one percent of its victims is among the most disruptive events possible. Such an outbreak could result in millions of people suffering and dying in every corner of the world in less than six months.” Global Trends 2030 Pg. XI   https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf (emphasis mine)

Why does this matter? Because this report, and information analysis by the Obama administration, led to the creation of a government entity to plan and prepare for just such a scenario.

They created a plan for subsequent administrations to build on (and rely on) in a pandemic. (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6819268/Pandemic-Playbook.pdf)

What they didn’t expect was their administration would be followed by one who was hellbent on reinventing the wheel and dismissing anything that came before them. (As a side note, they will have the new design for the wheel right after they finish building the wall.)

All of this leads up to the main point here, the critical nature of the upcoming election. We have an administration characterized by anti-science bias, fundamental disdain for critical analysis, inability to grasp complex geopolitical matters, and driven by pettiness and ego.

And this is what we might face in the years to come.

(From the latest version of the Council’s report)

“Uncertainty about the United States, an inward-looking West, and erosion of norms for conflict prevention and human rights will encourage China and Russia to check US influence. In doing so, their “gray zone” aggression and diverse forms of disruption will stay below the threshold of hot war but bring profound risks of miscalculation. Overconfidence that material strength can manage escalation will increase the risks of interstate conflict to levels not seen since the Cold War. Even if hot war is avoided, the current pattern of “international cooperation where we can get it”—such as on climate change—masks significant differences in values and interests among states and does little to curb assertions of dominance within regions. These trends are leading to a spheres of influence world.”

One of the most frightening realities is the stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world and the potential for proliferation of such technology to unstable theocracies and apocalyptic embracing non-state actors. Absent a rational and intelligence-driven administration, our ability to mitigate such risks is crippled.

There are almost 14000 nuclear warheads dispersed among the eight or nine known nuclear nations. The US and Russia hold ninety-one percent. While terrifying, this is a dramatic decrease from the mid-20th century peak of almost seventy thousand. These decreases resulted from negotiation strategies—a policy abandoned by this administration and replaced by belligerence, nationalism, and increased leaning toward isolationism.

Since the days the Soviet Union became the second nuclear power and the replacement of the first atomic weapons with the even more powerful thermonuclear ones—a weapon that is detonated by an atomic explosion—we have avoided nuclear war through a policy of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction.

We prevented all-out war by guaranteeing everybody loses. MADness indeed, but effective.

Now, the proliferation of such technology—a characteristic of technology is the newest inventions become easier to produce and distribute over time—threatens this delicate Faustian deal with the thermonuclear devil.

If the latest report is even partially accurate, the US and the world face one of the most complex and volatile moments in human history. We always held the keys to own destruction; war, forced starvation, tribalism. Each had the potential to wipe out humans.

But those things took time.

What we’ve done is reduced the time necessary to bring about our own obliteration down to the mere opening of a briefcase, the turning of a few keys, and a short countdown to Armageddon.  Who do you want to sit in the position to work to prevent such a future?

On our current track, we are moving from M.A.D to G.O.D. Mutually Assured Destruction to Guaranteeing Our Destruction.

______________________________________________________________________________

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A Presidential Dilemma: Rationalizing Irrational Behavior

Our illustrious President, in his continuing quest for a magic wand to end the devastation from SARS-CoV-2, made a shocking statement. When someone who makes shocking statements as a matter of habit says something to rouse great consternation across an entire spectrum of political beliefs it is quite an accomplishment.

Mr. Trump announced he was taking Hydroxychloroquine in combination with other drugs as a preventative treatment for SARS-CoV-2. He claimed—without actual evidence, but that goes without saying—that thousands of front-line medical personnel were doing the same. Somehow that statement rang hollow.

Mr. Trump is the king of sui generis hyperbole and prevarication. But I needed to do more research to see if I could uncover some justification for this course of action by the President. A risk-averse President can do much damage to our country, risk comes with the job. But a President who would ignore risks in pursuit of a political gain is infinitely more dangerous.

To further educate myself on the risks and benefits associated with this drug, I sought medical experts. I asked three respected physicians, with decades of experience, when it is appropriate to prescribe such a treatment regimen.

Their response did not quell my concern for this matter of grave consequence to the country. I asked these doctors in separate emails, none were aware I was asking other physicians. Their responses were strikingly similar.

The bottom line:

There remains little evidence to support the use of Hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 (emphasis mine).

The only real prophylaxis (preventative use) of Hydroxychloroquine is for malaria.

It is used for the treatment and maintenance of Lupus and refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not really prophylaxis.

There are lots of side effects of this drug:

Cardiac Arrhythmias
Visual changes, visual field defects/retinopathy (irreversible)
Liver dysfunction
Blood dyscrasia & anemia
Muscular weakness; Neuromuscular dysfunction / Seizures
Alopecia
Weight Loss
Severe hypoglycemia
Renal impairment.

Here’s my personal favorite. One of the side effects of Hydroxychloroquine is potential changes in emotional lability.

Emotional lability means a person may have sudden and exaggerated changes in mood, with poorly controlled powerful emotions that may include anger, dysphoria, sadness, or euphoria. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Other psychiatric or nervous system side effects include nervousness, irritability, nightmares, psychosis, and suicidal behavior.

Look them up for yourself https://www.drugs.com/hydroxychloroquine.html

And here’s a link to a site being touted as a definitive answer that the drug is effective. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16115318. The drug shows promise, but that is a long way from widespread safe acceptance as a valid medical treatment. From this study comes the following language in regards to treatment of SARS-CoV-2,

“No effective prophylactic or post-exposure therapy is currently available.” 

Using a bit of logical deduction, a dash of the Socratic method, and tricks I learned to interpret my daughter’s facial expressions before she learned to speak—some were more obvious than others— I can deduce three possible circumstances prompting Mr. Trump’s pronouncement.

  1. He is lying about taking the drug—history may support this conclusion—and is doing this out of some warped sense of “reassuring” the country that a miracle is just around the corner.
  2. He is taking the drug because he has tested positive for the virus and, out a similar warped sense of reassuring the country, has chosen to keep this a secret. Perhaps he fears a corollary conclusion that if he can’t protect himself from the virus, what chance do we mere mortals stand?
  3. He is taking the drug and does not have the virus. This is the most troubling. He is risking serious side-effects based on, at best, isolated anecdotal reports of the drug’s effectiveness or, at worst, he is delusional, which the drug may compound.

Perhaps the cabinet and VP might want to familiarize themselves with the 25th Amendment again just in case.  Doubt me? Review the side-effects of taking the drug.  One should stand out.

Alopecia: Male pattern baldness. It causes the hair to fall out in patches.  If the President is taking the drug without a valid medical need, he must have skipped over that side-effect. Maybe it was in the Presidential Daily Briefing he enjoys NOT reading.

I mean, there is no one on the planet more fixated on his hair than POTUS. If that mop of hair started to fall out in clumps it could foul the engines on Air Force One. If it were in his power he would silence the wind whenever he emerges from the White House to attend his Nuremberg-style rallies.

If we see a new Cabinet position—someone standing right behind Mr. Trump with a fishing net to catch the clumps falling out—we will have our answer. The last thing this country needs at the moment, to borrow a line from Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, is a President afflicted with “serious mental diseases suffering endemic plagues of delusion and obsession.”

It’s not magic we need or wishful thinking. It’s deliberate, managed, and thoughtful dedication to finding a medically sound solution coupled with a considered approach to reopening the country.

Somehow a President promoting the use of a drug contrary to all medically acceptable standards does not lend itself to improving the confidence in his administration.

A drug-addled Mr. Trump is the stuff of nightmares.

(P.S. maybe we should let the President see this study out of Canada. https://thesource.com/2020/05/18/new-canadian-study-says-marijuana-may-prevent-the-coronavirus/)

______________________________________________________________________________

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American Svengali

“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”
Trump looked down and shook his head while this question was asked.
“I think it’s a very nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers, and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism and the same with NBC, and Concast, I don’t call it Comcast (the parent company of NBC News) for whom you work. You need to get back to good reporting.”
“Let’s see if it works.”
On chloroquine, Trump said: “We ordered them. We have millions of units ordered.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984, however, told the same briefing there was no evidence the anti-malarial drug worked, and its safety risks are unknown.
Trump predicted: “People may be surprised.” * (source multiple outlets)

Mr. President, that is an understatement. I dare say it will shock the entire country.

John Barrymore as Svengali , A still from the 1931 eponymous movie

Mr. Trump is allergic to facts and prefers a sycophantic propaganda-driven media to fawn over, and accept without question, his every word, pronouncement, and declaration no matter how absurd or contradicted by facts. This President cannot handle basic questions that anyone in his position, under these circumstances, would know a reporter will ask.

This man is not responsible for this “Chinese” flu. Still, his ineptness and resistance to early decisive action—considering his well-known disdain for intelligence briefings (which alerted him to the potential crisis with Covid-19 as early as January)—is barely mitigated by VP Pence and Dr. Fauci. History may show the actions of this President failed to prevent increases in hospitalizations, deaths, and the unprecedented collapse of the American economy. (Story link)

In those same intelligence briefings, some Senators—both Democrat and Republican—were smart enough to see the looming financial crisis yet acted in a manner devoid of any sense of honor or decency.

They worried more about their personal well-being than the rest of the country. It will be interesting to see the names of others, privy to the same briefings, who took similar actions.

Regardless of who they are, anyone who used their positions of trust to insulate themselves from the coming financial collapse should resign immediately.

Now there are many rational Trump supports who make cogent and articulate arguments to support the President. Different perspectives, and differences of opinions, are what drive this country to greater achievements.

The very nature of the national emergency may have forced Mr. Trump into taking action. Still, his supporters are correct in arguing he is doing something. If he learned to let someone else have the spotlight, VP Pence and Dr. Fauci, it would mitigate much of the criticism directed at him.

He just cannot help thrusting himself into the spotlight–everything is “beautiful”–even if his statements are devoid of facts, or are outright falsehoods. Yet that has been his pattern since he entered the political forum.

His supporters’ parroted argument that they knew what they were getting—a crude, inarticulate, bull-in-a-china-shop personality—and wanted this politically inexperienced outsider to drain the swamp, falls short under scrutiny. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

If they were seeking such a candidate, they could have done better than this accident of circumstances. The swamp is getting deeper and murkier, it is not draining and the snakes are now poisonous.

Here’s a prediction. However this all plays out, Mr. Trump will resort to his usual course of behavior. He’ll blame all the negative consequences on VP Pence and Dr. Fauci and kick them to the curb. You heard it here first.

For those in the administration and Congress who went along with this Svengali-like personality, when the judgment of history comes on how you followed Trump lemming-like over the cliff, you can invoke the Svengali defense.

In court, a Svengali defense is a legal tactic that purports the defendant to be a pawn in the scheme of a greater and more influential criminal mastermind.

Convincing people he is a “mastermind” might be a stretch. You may have to work at that.

Or, you can say you were just following orders…

*Author’s Note: There is much discussion and disagreement over using Social Media for political discussions. I see the forum as the perfect opportunity to reach a wider audience than might be available to newspaper opinion pieces (which I also write) or other traditional forums.

I have people who read, and comment, on my pieces from all over the world. It opens a line of communication and exchange ideas well worth pursuing.

I also see Social Media as the perfect environment for choice. You can read what I write, respond, agree, disagree, or ignore it completely. The reader has full control.

Polls show a range of opinions on the use of social media for political discussions.

Some of that may be generational where younger generations use social media like my generation used the telephone and my parents generation used cards and letters.

Some of it may be most people are more concerned with being entertained on Social Media by goat videos, sophomoric memes, or jokes than as a source of information.

But what is undeniable is Social Media can have a positive impact when used with proper caution. While using single source reference sites such as Google or Wikipedia may offer some fact checking, accepting the content on Social Media as reliable on its face is dangerous.

But it does offer a platform to stimulate the consideration of multiple points of view. I don’t write these things because I believe I can persuade anyone to change their minds. I write these things so that everyone who reads it will know there are differences of opinions out there.

People often fall into the trap of confirmation bias. If they read something the agree with, they accept it at face value. If it is something they disagree with, they ignore it. By reading different points of view with the intent of understanding–not accepting but recognizing–different perspectives, it opens a door to further understanding.

If I write something that later proves wrong or inaccurate, I try to correct the error. I can admit mistakes. Yet I still see the social media platform as beneficial for the discussion of all topics.

The tone of the discussions is also problematic. Keyboards instill unwarranted courage in some. In a face-to-face discussion, no one tolerates name calling. Most participants would be reluctant to engage in such crass public displays. The anonymity of the online presence acts as an invisibility cloak, masking identity.

My posts all go on my blog, in my name, linked to a variety of Social Media sites and shared by those who follow my blog. I enjoy a polite if intense discussion on differences. I try to be polite and if I cross the line, I apologize, but I still see the platform as beneficial. It gives voice to people who may not otherwise have it.

To make a comparison to when I was growing up. I watched 3 channels, 6, 10, and 12. Then Channel 38 and 56 came along. Once again, I liked them for their entertainment value.

I didn’t watch PBS Channel 36, I wanted entertainment, not enlightenment. I wanted the Three Stooges, not a history lesson. If I wanted to be informed, I watched the news.

Yet, over time I did begin to watch more serious shows. The TV, once just a source of entertainment, became a widespread source of communicating information and bring the wide world into out living room.

Social media, just barely into it’s second decade, is a changing phenomenon.

I think many would prefer Facebook and Twitter and the plethora of others to be just another form of entertainment. As those accustomed to using Social Media almost from birth take over positions of responsibility and political office, that may change as it adapts to their particular preferences.

For myself, I will continue to post and welcome agreement and disagreement from anyone who wishes to take part. I do hope the discussions can be civil, I try to resist–not always with success–resorting to sarcasm, but sometimes I cannot help myself and for that I apologize. But we should still use the platform to express our ideas.

For it is in our differences we find solutions. Perhaps Social Media may be the platform where we once again embrace compromise.

Here are some links to polls addressing the situation.

The Great Corona Plague of 2020

(Imagine if you will a classroom of the future. Eager students sit in awe of the old-style digital images of 2020. The mass hysteria outside a place once known as a Walmart illustrates the insanity of that era.

A young girl, confused by what she has seen, comes home to her grandfather to ask him to help her understand. This is the legacy of a generation begging for an explanation.)

“Grandpa, were you alive during the Great Corona Plague of 2020?”

“Yes, sweetheart, I was. Why?”

“We’re studying it in school, and I have a few questions.”

“Okay, ask away.”

“Well, there was one thing I didn’t understand. I know it was important to take care of yourself, and I know it was important to avoid crowds.  I understand it made sense to limit travel to Europe and ask people not to travel in the country. And washing your hands is common sense.”

“My sweet Baboo, everyone understood that. Most of us knew it with nobody telling us. What is it you don’t understand?”

“Well, Grandpa, what was up with the run on toilet paper? I mean of all the stupid nonsensical things to do. The teacher had the entire class roiling on the floor, laughing. Toilet paper? Why Toilet paper?”

“Honey, in 2016 this country elected a buffoon as President. And no one can explain that or anything that happened for those long, dark, toilet-paper shortage ravaged four years he was President. Wait until you study that if you want a laugh.

“But we regained our senses.  

“We put people who knew what they were doing in place of the dysfunctional cabal. We developed a vaccine for Corona, reopened the office that plans for such things that the buffoon President closed during those disastrous years, and rebuilt our strategic toilet paper reserve.”

“Oh, Grandpa, you’re just as funny as the teacher. There is no such thing as the Strategic Toilet Paper Reserve.”

“Yes, there is dear. We converted all the Making America Great Again signs. We’ve got enough paper to keep our rear-ends clean for centuries. We store it in the building that would have been the Trump Presidential Library. As you will learn, there was no need for such a place.”

MAGA   Making America Go Again.

Ode to a Cracked Pot

Donald, Donald, orange bright
In the forests of the night
What immoral hand or eye,
Could frame they fearful symmetry?

In what distant deep or skies
Burnt the ire of thine eyes?
On what lies dare thee conspire
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could place the evil in thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat
What dread hair & and what damaged feet?

What the hammer? What the chain,
In what madness churns thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare create thy pompous ass?

When the Senate gave up their spears
And abandoned honor in their tears
Did the devil smile his work to see?
Did he rejoice in making thee?

Donald, Donald burning bright,
In our country you haunt the night
What immoral hand or eye
Dare inflict us with your symmetry?

Author’s note: Apologies to William Blake and John Keats for borrowing their magnificent words and to Dan Walsh who, if he reads this, will forever regret introducing me to their work.

An Economic Change of Course

Well, there you have it. Donald J. Trump, in three short years, has performed a miracle with the State of the Economy.

His economic policies have sent the economy soaring, the stock market to new records, and righted the imbalance in trade agreements.

He took what was a country on the brink of disaster, one brought on by the policies of the previous administration, and saved the day.

But, like the line from my favorite movie, he would also warn you to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” He doesn’t want you to look beyond the spectacle of his performance.

The issue is not whether the gains he claims are true—some are and he polished some to make them sound good—but whether his policies are responsible.

And therein lies the problem.

As anyone with a basic understanding of economics would know, the American economy is like a giant ship in the ocean.  Sometimes it is running at full speed with a following ocean and sometimes it is battered by storms.

No matter the speed at which it travels, turning this ship requires planning. One cannot just stop and head in a different direction. The economy can react and adjust course, but this all takes time. And there are other ships on this ocean—China, Europe, Southeast Asia—requiring course adjustments and communication.

Mr. Trump’s policies—the course corrections he has ordered—are just now turning the ship on its new course. Here is one example. His corporate tax cuts—which poured billions of dollars back into the profit margins of corporations—drove the stock market up, not the new course he set.

Where this course will take us is the issue. Mr. Trump is betting companies will pour their profits into new growth. Sounds hauntingly similar to another course correction set by a different President, Reagan’s “trickle-down” economics. The trickle never happened and the economy foundered on a rocky shoal.

Mr. Trump inherited an economy showing consistent growth in both employment and GDP. Instead of touting his “business” acumen and claiming to build on this, his megalomaniac ego demands he claim all the credit. Mr. Trump may be the captain of this ship, but if he doesn’t instill confidence and loyalty in the crew—even those who might disagree with him—the ship will founder.

This election will be decided by those who could not vote for Hillary, taking a risk on an untested entity, and by those who take the time to understand that the complexities of our nation require more than grandiose claims.

I fear we may steam at full speed toward another rocky shoal demanding it gets out of our way since this Captain cannot be wrong.

If you do nothing else significant this year, VOTE. Voting is the single most patriotic act within everyone’s power. Indeed it is a right paid for by great sacrifice worthy of being exercised.

Every vote matters!

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the real numbers. https://apnews.com/3750c39f92c817a6790098be323142df

An Enemy of the People

A recent piece I wrote called The Price of War (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2020/01/13/the-price-of-war/) drew some interesting comments and criticisms; the responses were markedly disparate.

The majority agreed with the sentiment of the article but had serious doubts we will ever eliminate war as human condition.

Many of the concerns were sincere yet tainted by resignation to something I believe within our power to change.

There was a significant number who focused on one or two negative comments directed at the President. In a nutshell, I find him ill-suited for dealing with complex geopolitics issues. His usual act is saber rattling the power of our military. Creative and nuanced solutions elude him. He plays to some of his supporters like a character on WWF, not the President occupying the Oval Office. Latching on to these criticisms, they tagged me as a progressive leftist liberal.

Leftist I am not, but I am guilty of the other charge. No one has yet explained the negative value of being progressive or liberal. It seems the founding fathers of this country were very progressive and liberal about their continued allegiance to the King. British loyalists considered them terrorists and an enemy of the crown.

However, some went full bore, wishing me an unhappy, painful, and imminent demise. I am an enemy of the people. In light of such threatening behavior, I must poke the dragon once more.

I will dispense with the history aspect I so painstakingly wrote, play the role of “advocatus diaboli,” and argue for a more aggressive response to the perceived threats to this country. Since we will never, in the eyes of many, eliminate war, let us prosecute it with vigor and resolve.

Do unto others before they do unto you.

Perhaps my new found militancy will improve my reputation and earn me an upgrade me to plain liberal or, god willing, a conservative.

But I must set the stage with a small bit of history. Growing up a child of the sixties, I knew the godless Russians and the Chinese hated us. They wanted to either kill us or enslave us all. I knew this despite having never actually met a “Chinamen” or a “Ruskie.”

Yet all the adults seemed to know and accept this as fact, which is why many supported spending much of their tax money on building nuclear weapons. Enough to kill every human six or seven times over.

Of course, what they might have thought was to kill all of “those” people twelve or fourteen times over and keep us god-fearing Americans alive to repopulate the world.

Better dead than red, I always say.

What I don’t understand is, if the Russians and Chinese hated us, and for a time we had the advantage in nuclear weapons, why didn’t we strike then and be done with it?

As Madeline Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, once said, “Why have all these nuclear weapons if we can’t use them?”

Perhaps she has a point.

Instead, we waited and hoped the Russians and Chinese would see the fallacy in Mutually Assured Destruction.

They have so far. But the world has changed. Can we afford to take the same chance?

Now it is the Muslims who hate us. And we do not want them to get nuclear weapons, so maybe we should not risk it again. Give the command. Turn the launch keys. Send them to their god, It might be a smarter choice.

One more historical point. Allah, the God of Islam, is the same Abrahamic God of Judeo-Christian tradition but why get hung up on a technicality. As a good Christian Crusader once said, “Kill them all, God will recognize his own.”

Iran is the devil of the moment. The country that hates us the most. It was North Korea for a while, but they’ve dropped into second place. They have a better chance of nuking themselves before they get us. Iran is the “Raison du moment” we are playing chicken with armed conflict. But I do not understand something.

Pakistan has nukes. They harbored Osama bin Laden, the hall of infamy star of Islamic terrorism. They are supposed to be our ally and we could not tell them we were coming to kill Osama. Why haven’t we nuked them?

Saudi Arabia supplied nineteen of the hijackers. If we were keeping score, the Saudis are responsible for more American deaths than that Iranian General we spread all over the tarmac. Once again, an ally in name only. Why haven’t we nuked them?

Since Mr. Trump and his BFF, Mr. Putin, control thousands of nukes, and seem to be engaged in a mutual admiration society, perhaps a return to the alliance we shared in defeating the Nazis is in order with our target the new enemy, Iran.

Oh, wait, Russia backs Iran. Perhaps there’s a reason for Mr. Trump’s confusion with allies and friends like these. There’s that pesky geopolitics again.

I would suggest we approach China, considering our new trade deal, but they may be too busy enjoying their 6.1% economic growth. Why can’t we have that? Maybe we can learn something from them on that front.

Let’s just keep this simple.

Here is my plan.

  1. Recall all American military personnel to the US. Notify all Americans living abroad now might be a good time to visit the homeland. Advise them to sell all their furniture or find a solid storage facility.
  2. End all foreign aid to everybody except other nations based on a Christian tradition
  3. Hold a referendum on exempting the Israelis from this requirement. They are not Christian but, in all likelihood, Jesus was Jewish so that bodes well in their favor.
  4. Ask each nation to support what we do. Make a list of all who agree, add to the target list all who refuse.
  5. Start the countdown.

It makes about as much sense as our current covfefe foreign policy.

Circus Trumpus Maximus

“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Article II § 4 of the Constitution 

With the opening salvos fired in the House Impeachment hearing, the sad process of impeaching a President begins. And it would do us all well to remember this is not something to celebrate regardless of one’s political position. The removal of a President through the impeachment process is the most terrible thing that can happen to this nation short of war.

We are a long way from seeing this happen. We should be more concerned at this point that the law is followed and politics left aside then what the ultimate result may be. For if we allow the taint of politics to infiltrate the process—the very foundation upon which these allegations are based—the results will not matter, except to tear this country apart.

The House can only craft an Article of Impeachment. It remains for the Senate to try the President—under the watchful eye and judicial guidance of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—and determine if the matter rises to the level of removing the President from office.

Therein lies the hope of the nation, in the non-partisan hands of the Chief Justice. For if we cannot have faith in the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, we are lost as a nation.

The talking-head, twitter-feed, partisan rhetoric means nothing, has no value, and distracts from the most significant power granted under our constitution. All it does is drive the wedge between us deeper into the soul of the nation.

We would do well to listen to the words of a fictional, yet profoundly wise, character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle;

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Sherlock Holmes (A Scandal in Bohemia) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1891

There are witnesses yet to testify and evidence to be presented. Mr. Trump is entitled to a vigorous defense and the American people are entitled to an equally vigorous presentation of the evidence.

Yet it will come down to the integrity, sense of duty, and character of the members of the Senate.

And therein lies the concern.

The partisan divide has never been more acrimonious, at least in public. If such behavior wins elections then the American people have no one to blame but themselves for continuing to elect such candidates, including Donald Trump.

Perhaps the only way, sad as this will sound, to allow Senators to follow their conscience in voting based on the evidence and testimony in an Impeachment Trial is to mimic the process of other courts and make the vote a secret ballot. Thus, we could remove the pallor of political concerns and allow for a vote based on the evidence.

This would require a rule change. Yet Mitch McConnell has never been shy about changing rules to make his job easier, damn the effect on the country. This might be a way for him to recapture some sense of honor in his long decent into a nothing but a Trump sycophant. And he could do it without letting anyone know he and some of his fellow Republicans do have the best interests of the nation at heart.

Do I think it will happen? Probably not, but there is always hope.

But if the vote is 51-49 against impeachment, we will have all the evidence we need of the character of our Senators and the content of their souls on both sides of the aisle, and a glimpse at the dismal future of this nation.

The President is an Innocent Man

Several points of order. As of this date.

  1. President Trump has not been found guilty of any criminal act
  2. There is no evidence before a court of competent jurisdiction to indicate President Trump committed any criminal acts
  3. Until such time the above conditions change, President Trump is innocent.
  4. The same circumstances, and presumptions of innocence, apply to those who President Trump’s supporters take aim at with their chants of “Lock her up” (although not to some members of the chorus.)

With that said, one can form an opinion on the veracity of the first witness in these impeachment hearings with common-sense rationality.

We can look at the character, background, and integrity of both sides of this issue in forming our opinion as to the validity of the testimony. We can take the approach we expect from a juror who may sit in judgment on this case with a common sense look at the witnesses.

Like Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is almost always correct. Is this a vast, deep state conspiracy of liars trying to remove the President or is it honorable and moral Americans trying to do what is right for the country?

Ambassador William Taylor President Donald Trump
West Point Graduate (top 1%) Bone spurs
Captain, US Army Airborne Ranger 5 draft deferments
Viet Nam Veteran Numerous business bankruptcies
Recipient of the Bronze Star and Air medal (for actions in Combat) Said he would release his taxes after the “audit” was completed, now fights the release of his taxes
Long and distinguished government career in positions all over the world under several different administrations Seven Eight campaign or administration officials convicted of criminal acts
   
   

Isn’t it strange how hearsay (without a fundamental understanding of the well-established exceptions to its use) is suddenly an anathema to the President’s supporters?

For the entire Circus Maximus that is the Trump juggernaut, hearsay, innuendo, and twisting truth to fit the agenda has been a virtue. We are supposed to accept everything he, or his supporters, allege absent any independent corroboration.

I, and most Americans, choose to set a higher standard. Ambassador Taylor is the first witness. When it is all said and done, then it will be time to judge. Yet, it is readily evident the foundation for a solid case is being poured upon which the scaffold for this Presidency may soon stand, if the evidence supports it.

Mr. Trump is an innocent man. His culpability in criminal acts has not been established…yet. How long that situation lasts remains to be seen.

Trump’s Transgressions Against America

I was asked recently to list any crimes or criminal activity one might level at Mr. Trump and his administration. I took a bit of time to consider the response and decided this was a better forum.

While the full extent of any crimes is yet to be uncovered, I think there is more than enough concern, when taken as a whole, that there is something fundamentally unsound in this administration and the President.

Now those who support the President will be quick to point to the economy as a worthy justification for supporting the President’s policies and behavior. But, as most understand, the economy is much more complicated than can be influenced by one man no matter how powerful the office.

With that said here are some highlights of things we know have happened, that the president had direct involvement, and for which most would consider criminal. No doubt there will be much more to follow.

  1. Soliciting a Foreign Government to Interfere in an Election (2016 Campaign/Russia  2019/Ukraine)
  2. Used intermediaries to circumvent campaign finance laws. (NRA PAC/Russian money)
  3. Trump Administration or Campaign officials indicted/convicted 7

If Mr. Trump were the head of an Organized Crime Family (some might argue, with merit, that he is) he’d be facing charges under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Statute and the CCE (Continuing Criminal Enterprise) Statute.

Mr. Trump does bear responsibility for those under his direct authority. The fact that in just the two years he’s been in office there has been enormous turnover in the administration and seven convictions is troubling. Can we deduce anything from this?

A look at past history of administrations might be illuminating.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some interesting graphics.

Source:

 https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/1/11/1619079/-Comparing-Presidential-Administrations-by-Arrests-and-Convictions-A-Warning-for-Trump-Appointees

History alone tells us the Republicans seem to have a consistent history of not only violating the law on a continuing basis but no propensity to offer candidates with higher moral standard.

If the law matters, than on that basis alone the Democrats are a better choice. In Mr. Trump’s case, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about unfair investigations and hearings are just that, sound and fury signifying nothing.

Once the full story comes out, and it will, with all the evidence, testimony, and full disclosure the truth of the corrupt nature of this administration will be clear. Whether he can “trump” Mr. Nixon’s record is unclear but he is certainly in the running for a close second as the most corrupt administration in history.

And, as Mr. Trump is wont to say “his staggering and unmatched brillance” is in charge of it all.