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he massacres are trump’s fault, and everybody knows it


No, he didn’t pull the trigger. He just gave permission to the guy who did.

Look: For decades it’s been the lie of NRA-obsessed republicans that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” Because no gun ever pulled its own trigger, republicans thought they could fool people into being against gun-control laws.

And you know what? The argument worked, despite its patent absurdity. That’s why we have so few national laws limiting gun and ammunition use, which in turn is why we have so many mass murders. The NRA and its republican bootlickers hornswaggled the American people, particularly the lower-educated gun freaks who vote republican.

A similar argument was made by Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg Trials. Senior military commanders and top members of Hitler’s government claimed they couldn’t possibly be held responsible for the Deaths because they never personally killed anyone. The Generals didn’t personally load Jews into the gas chambers. The top political leaders didn’t personally strip the bodies of gold teeth and jewelry and then stuff them into the ovens. So how could they be accused or convicted of mass murder?

Of course, that’s not how the Tribunal’s judges saw things. They did convict the Generals and politicians of crimes against humanity and other war crimes, and they did hang dozens of them. A handful escaped the hangman’s noose by committing suicide, but otherwise, History has recorded that the Third Reich received its just desserts on the gallows.

So much for the republican argument! trump and virtually all of the rest of the republican cult actually seem to think they’re getting away with this stuff. They think that all they have to do is call for better mental health treatment (whatever the hell that means), and people won’t blame them for the massacres. They have the chutzpah (or self-delusion) to believe that they can peddle this crap to a public that’s credulous enough to buy it.

Well, maybe they can to the 30% who are so stupid they still think trump had the biggest inaugural crowd in history. As for the rest of us, fugeddaboutit. That’s the lesson of Nuremberg. In order to be guilty, you don’t just have to be the maniac that pulled the trigger. You’re equally guilty if you incited the violence, if you aided and abetted it through your words and deeds, if you gave dog whistles to the murderers and wink-wink-nod-nod “apologies” you didn’t really mean, and if you support propaganda outlets, like fox “news,” that peddle race hatred 24/7. If you do these things, you’re guilty. And you deserve the same penalty as those who pulled the triggers.

America is going to have Nuremberg-style trials for republicans. I imagine they’ll be held in Washington, D.C., perhaps in the U.S. Supreme Court building. A list of those who will be indicted and tried begins, obviously, with Donald J. Trump, but it will include his senior political allies: Stephen Miller, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Kellyanne Conway, Michael Pence, Clarence Thomas and dozens of others. It also will include trump’s military leadership: Joseph Dunford and Patrick Shanahan, for starters. And lest we forget that at Nuremberg the Justices also convicted Hitler’s chief propagandists, so too will the Washington trials charge Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson and the rest of the white nationalists in the media with inciting and being accessories to mass murder. They, too, along with their cohorts, will face the choice of being executed or facing long imprisonment, or of committing suicide.

Sound harsh? Yes. Harsh times call for harsh words. But we are in harsh times, brought on by decades of a republican party stoking hatred, resentment and violence, and now led by the worst president ever, an unstable narcissist and pathological liar interested only in sexual gratification, power and money. The tea party—incorrigible deplorables—started this. We Democrats will settle it, starting right now.

The massacres are trump’s fault, and everybody knows it!


Amy Klobuchar, the Democratic Senator from Minnesota who’s running for president, was asked on Saturday if she blames Trump for the El Paso Massacre. She responded no, she blames his rhetoric, not him.

What the hell does that mean? It’s like saying you don’t blame Hitler for the Holocaust, but you blame Mein Kampf.

You can’t separate the speaker from the speech!!!

These mass murders are on trump. He inspires the killers. He gives them the dog whistles their psychotic ears long to hear. He won’t denounce white nationalism because he IS a white nationalist.

Republicans have really painted themselves into a corner. They’ve based their entire political appeal on neo-nazis, white thugs and losers who hate people of color. Now they’ve opened a Pandora’s Box of murder, violence and mayhem. The pressure is on Republicans—rightfully—to do something, anything: condemn white nationalism. Pass stricter gun control laws, such as universal background checks. Increase FBI and Homeland Security funding to go after the young white males who are committing this domestic terrorism.

But Republicans can’t do it. They’d have to go after their own base. If they did, that base would turn against them. Rush Limbaugh—another racist—would scream bloody murder if trump even suggested support for tighter gun restrictions. Hannity would blow his mind if trump called white nationalists (like Hannity) “evil” and vowed to stop them. The failing N.R.A. would rise up in righteous indignation. So it’s not going to happen.

Instead, trump will tweet meaningless platitudes about hearts and minds. He’ll claim to be against all murders. And he’ll continue to insist that the real threat to our safety is brown-skinned rapists and murderers flooding across the southern border.

Lies. But the ignorant trailer trash who constitute his base will believe anything he says. In between burping their Pabst Blue Ribbon and laundering their white sheets for the next Klan rally, they’ll reassure each other that trump is a good ole boy, on their side, a fighter who wants to keep America white and Christian. They’ll see right through Trump’s winking-and-nodding which lets them off the hook. And more of them will burst into another Wal-Mart someplace and mow down a few dozen more innocent people.

We’ve all been waiting for the tipping point for close to three years. There have been many false reports that, finally, trump has gone too far.  Could this be the true tipping point? I waited all day Sunday for any senior Republicans to come out against trump’s hate mongering. Don’t mince words—just come out and say it, because everybody knows it’s true: these mass murders are on trump.

But I waited in vain. Sunday was the day Republicans should have spoken up. They didn’t. To the extent they said anything at all, it was along the lines of the absurdity of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who said the problem is—not the epidemic of guns, not white nationalism, not trump stirring up hatred and inspiring mass murderers—but mental health! On Breitbart, they didn’t even report on El Paso, beyond citing an early report before they quashed the news. No update. No criticism. No mourning. Instead, more crap about AOC, about The Squad, about Hillary. Breitbart’s neo-nazi editors scoured the Internet to find a single instance of a Latino who murdered someone. Twenty dead in El Paso, nine slaughtered in Dayton, and not a word of condemnation from the racists at Breitbart, just more stoking up fear about brown-skinned people.

Trump, under tremendous pressure, took to the airwaves this morning. But what did he say? What could he say? He knows he’s guilty. He knows he can’t talk his way out of this. Crocodile tears! This loathsome creature was like some insect, caught in the light, while a foot is about the come down on it. “We vow to act,” the liar-in-chief said; but he offered nothing except “thoughts and prayers.” As for his fellow Republicans, they were crawling all around the media, expressing outrage—but not condemning white nationalism or calling for even a modicum of new gun control laws. There was only one thing trump could have said that would have contained the slightest hint of authenticity: “I apologize for my incendiary language, which I recognize is fueling white nationalism and these atrocious massacres.” But of course, he can’t say that—because he doesn’t even feel it. He remains under the thrall of the failing N.R.A. Hearing him talk about “love” and invoking “God” was nauseating.

Well, that’s trump. That’s trumpland. That’s trump voters. The sooner America is rid of this contagion, the better.

It’s Trump’s character, stupid


He looked terrible, didn’t he? I mean Mueller. Not tanned and relaxed the way a retired guy ought to be, but tired, dragged out and mentally confused. Yesterday was not a good day for Robert Mueller.

Since I never thought the Special Counsel would be the White Knight who would save America by indicting Donald Trump, I wasn’t disappointed by Mueller’s non-performance. My take is that we’re going to have to leave it to History for a final judgment on why Mueller went so light on Trump and his cohorts, and why Mueller dodged 200 questions with refusals to answer, refusals that bordered on absurdity.

(By the way, having watched lots and lots of Congressional hearings in my day, I think that if any other witness had been so hostile, he would have been slapped with a Contempt of Congress citation.)

Republicans “won” the hearings in the sense that no new information came out. Mueller certainly didn’t say what many people wanted him to: “I would have indicted Trump if the Department of Justice guidelines had permitted me to.” So Trump took his little “victory lap.”

But Democrats are far from out. We still have the major conclusions: Mueller did NOT exonerate Trump. There WAS massive Russian interference in the election on Trump’s behalf. Trump DID try to obstruct justice on multiple occasions. What Democrats have to do now, of course, is to keep these issues alive before an American public that may be growing weary of this whole thing. They also have to keep the media interested, beyond the usual outlets of what Trump calls “fake news”: the New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.

And House Democrats still have multiple hearings to conduct, although that’s going to be hard given Trump’s refusal to allow his stooges to respond to subpoenas and their penchant to lie when they do submit to questions. But I’d be lying if I claimed that any of the House hearings will result in anything substantial. I’ll be happy if they do, but I’m not holding my breath.

So where do we go from here? The overwhelming fact—which none of us can lose sight of—is that we must defeat Trump next year. We simply have to. I will urge every voter I know to not lose heart because the Mueller thing seems to have fizzled out. We still have something big going for us, and that is that a majority of Americans loathe Donald Trump and think that his personality is disgusting. You remember James Carville’s sign in Clinton election headquarters back in 1992? “It’s the economy stupid”? Well, in 2020 “It’s Trump’s character, stupid.” I’ve said it all along: Democrats should NOT focus merely on issues, as some candidates allege. They have to remind voters over and over and over again: “This is a reprehensible human being. A sexual predator, a pathological liar, a racist and a bigot. You wouldn’t leave your teenaged daughter alone with him for five minutes, and you know it!”

That argument won’t work with the knuckleheads who constitute Trump’s base. I don’t care about them; they’re a lost cause. They’ve sold their souls to the devil. They can go to hell.

But the Character issue will work with suburban moms, who care about decency and civility, and it may even persuade a handful of evangelicals, even though the majority of them have proven, by their devotion to Trump, that they love him more than they love Jesus Christ, and are willing to piss on Christ’s teachings. (Actually, the next time you meet a “Christian” who professes to support Trump, laugh in their face, remind them of their utter hypocrisy, and walk away.)

As for the issues themselves: climate change is not a winner for Democrats. Sorry. Neither is legalizing marijuana (sorry, Kamala). Protecting abortion is. Other winners for Democrats are raising taxes on billionaires. Democrats are going to have to handle LGBTQ rights carefully. I would not make a huge issue out of it. We’ve come a long way in the last ten years, but our victories are tenuous; a wrong move, or a series of wrong moves, could turn large chunks of the public against us. Immigration is also tricky. Democrats are going to have to come up with an answer to Trump’s accusation that we’re in favor of open borders. Democrat’s aren’t, of course; but if you can’t come up with an immediate answer to the following question, you can see Democrats’ problem:

What is the Democratic solution for stemming the flood of immigrants at the southern border?

This question should not require a long-winded answer. The public can’t deal with long-winded answers. The answer should be contained in a single sentence—and it needs to be persuasive.

Democrats also need to have a persuasive answer to Rust Belt workers, whom progress is leaving behind. Everybody—Republicans and Democrats—knows that the coal mines, steel mills and manufacturing plants aren’t coming back. They’re gone forever. Democrats sometimes tell the truth about this, and they go down to defeat. Democrats sometimes hem and haw about it. Trump lies about it, and wins.

But in the end, “It’s Trump’s character, stupid.” That’s how we’ll beat the bastard.

Dems risk the election if they bash cops


Did you hear about that incident over the weekend where a Tempe, Arizona Starbucks barista asked five cops to leave the store because a customer said he or she “did not feel safe” in their presence?

A hashtag, #DumpStarbucks, immediately started trending on Twitter. I must admit to being stunned and offended by this story. By all accounts, the cops were doing nothing except peacefully enjoying their coffee. We know almost nothing about the customer who didn’t feel “safe,” but we can infer quite a lot about him or her.

My city, Oakland, is filled with similar people. They hate cops. Some call for completely defunding the Oakland Police Department. They put up flyers cursing cops and occasionally you see graffiti advocating violence against the police. In fact, in casual conversations, you hear anti-cop sentiment on a daily basis in Oakland.

I myself, when I see a cop on the beat, always thank them for their service. They seem startled, at first, but after a second they hear my sincerity—they realize I’m not being sarcastic—and they see my smile, and they thank me. It’s a small moment, but a precious one, for both of us. They know that not everyone in Oakland despises them, and I feel better for giving them a little gratitude.

I can’t put myself in the head of someone who would “not feel safe” in a coffee shop just because some cops are there. I’d feel safer! What is wrong with that person? I hope he or she is identified and asked by the media to explain such a bizarre attitude. Probably they’d say something about cops being oppressors, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, etc. Granted these can be issues: cops are only human, and all humans can be assholes, even—especially—the current President of the United States.

But let’s also remember that the majority of cops are fine, upstanding, decent and law-abiding Americans, who put their lives on the line every time they wear the uniform. And for what? To serve and protect US. The Starbucks customer who complained ought to be more fearful of getting assaulted by a criminal, not by a cop. And who’s the first person she would call if she were assaulted? The cops!

If Trump wins re-election, God forbid, it’s going to be because of accumulated instances like this, which turn into national memes that can supersede larger issues, like climate change or war. The vast, overwhelming majority of Americans on both sides of the political aisle respect the police. We do not want to see them vilified or ridiculed or hurt. I consider myself a lifelong liberal, but this growing barrage of resentment against cops is really turning me off to the extremists in my own Democratic Party who engage in this anti-cop rhetoric.

I loathe the rightwing radicals in the Republican Party who voted for Trump and continue to support him. I consider them clear and present dangers to our way of life. I think many, maybe most, of them are crazy. But if you’re a Democrat, you have to acknowledge that we have our crazies, too. They’re not quite as obnoxious or numerous as the rightwing crazies, but they’re pretty bad. And cop-bashing is one way to identify them.

Some police reformers would argue that there’s no room for a single bad cop, but the truth is, there are always going to be some. The Oakland Police Department is engaged in a long, serious struggle to weed out bad cops, and to engage in extensive training, including de-escalation techniques, community policing, sensitivity classes and the like. What more do the anti-cop types want? That Starbucks customer who “did not feel safe,” what does she want? She probably doesn’t know, herself, beyond some shopworn platitudes.

I’ll be voting Democratic next year, but every time I hear things like that Starbucks customer hating on cops, I understand a little more about why so many Obama voters switched their allegiance to Trump. And I’m not entirely unsympathetic to them.

Pelosi: Impeach Trump or step aside!


I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that Nancy Pelosi’s constituents in San Francisco need to begin a petition drive to recall her from office.

Madame Speaker has shown that she’s utterly out of touch with the prevailing sentiment in the Democratic Party, of which she is the nation’s leading, most powerful representative.

A recent CNN poll showed that 76% of Democrats nationally support impeachment. I certainly do. The evidence of Trump’s unfitness for office has been overwhelming for years. “High crimes and misdemeanors” constitute whatever the Congress says they are; Trump has been committing these crimes even before he was elected, through Russian connivance, and he continues to commit horrible crimes to this day.

So towering is Pelosi’s reputation for political shrewdness that one of the big questions transfixing Washington these days is whether she is playing chess in a higher dimension. Maybe she feels that by withholding her sanction of impeachment, she’s giving Democrats (and some wavering Republicans) cover. No one will be able to say that the Democratic Party is on an obsessive, unreasonable race to dethrone Trump, because Pelosi can always say she’s against it. Rather than appear to be a runaway train, the drive for impeachment can mount up energy, until there comes a time when there is a reasonable expectation that the Senate will vote to convict.

This, at any rate, is a theory; but not a convincing one. If impeachment is not undertaken quickly, there’s an equally reasonable chance that that public will grow bored, and that Trump’s argument that “it’s all over” will win the day. That America can’t afford another 1-1/2 years of a Trump presidency, much less a second term of it, is obvious to all Democrats.

Even if conviction in the Senate is impossible at this time, impeachment hearings in the House would at least keep the issue alive; testimony and other evidence will forcibly bring home to the voters Trump’s crimes; and hearings also would serve to remind voters that Trump is a pig. That may not be an impeachable offense, but impeachment is as political a process as it is a legal one, and it’s perfectly permissible to remind Americans—who are a kind of jury of public opinion—that they know Trump is a dreadful, disgusting human being. Republicans in the Senate know that, too; if impeachment hearings in the House can persuade enough constituents in the various districts to call their Senators and demand impeachment, there just might be enough votes to convict (67 are needed, meaning that 15 or 16 Republican Senators would have to side with Democrats).

But again, even if a Senate conviction is impossible, it’s still imperative to begin impeachment hearings now. Is that exactly what Trump wants? It may be that he thinks impeachment would redound to his benefit; the conventional wisdom is that impeachment badly hurt Republicans when they went after Bill Clinton, and that impeachment would badly hurt Democrats if they go after Trump.

This is a false argument. When Clinton was impeached, his approval rating stood exceptionally high among all Americans. After his impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999, Clinton’s rating reached its highest point at 73% approval.

This was because (a) the public had always liked and admired Clinton, (b) they felt that a sordid sex scandal was not enough reason to depose a sitting president, (c) Republicans were clearly and obviously proceeding along violently partisan lines, and (d) the reptilian independent counsel for the Republicans, Ken Starr, turned off vast numbers of people. Trump’s approval rating by contrast is underwater; it currently stands at 45%, with 55% of Americans disapproving of him.

There thus is no basis for comparison between the Clinton impeachment and a possible Trump impeachment. Trump has no residue of affection to protect him, except among the far-right fanatics who constitute his base. And even they admit he’s a pig; the evangelical preacher Franklin Graham in an interview conceded “He is not President Perfect” and added, “We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this nation and he is not.”

Trump’s immorality is not enough, of course, to dissuade Graham from supporting him, because Graham—and most evangelicals—have decided to lay down with the Devil, in exchange for getting anti-abortion judges appointed to the courts. We can write off evangelicals, then; they’ll never change their hypocritical ways, nor do we want them in the Democratic Party. But we don’t need them; we need a small percentage of people who voted for Trump—say, 5%—to have those water cooler and kitchen table conversations and realize that, Hey, this guy is really an abysmal piece of shit; we were wrong to vote for him in 2016, and we can begin to make amends for that by voting for the Democrat in 2020.

Nobody has a crystal ball, of course. You don’t know, I don’t know how this thing will shake out. But sometimes, you have to act, and act now, in order to take a stand on a vital issue. (When your house is on fire, you don’t call a meeting to decide what to do.) And the stand Democrats must take now is to demand the immediate commencement of impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives. For this reason, I determine that Nancy Pelosi is dead wrong. Unless she reverses her position very quickly, she needs to be turned out of office.

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