They Love Me in India

Image result for India flag

Just for grins and giggles, I looked over my blog’s stats for July. As expected, most of my views, fully half, came from the United States, my country, ’tis of thee. However, the country where another 28% of my blog’s views last month originated was India. INDIA!

Huh? I did not expect that.

I wanted to see if this was an anomaly, so I checked my stats for August, which, admittedly, is only four days old. What I found was that, so far, 53% of my views came from my home country, but 26% were, again, from India.

Seriously?

I figured that, outside of the US, most of my views would be from other English speaking countries like the UK, Australia, or Canada. But no. In July, only 7.6% were from the UK, 4.4% from Australia, and less than 1% from Canada.

What the hell, Canada? I have more views from Russia than from Canada. (Shh. Don’t tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller.)

It’s pretty much the same so far in August, with 10.9% from the UK, 4.2% from Australia and, again, less than 1% from Canada. Seriously Canada?

If someone from India is reading this post, please help me understand why I have so many readers from India. I’ve never ever been to India and going there is not high on my personal bucket list. So why?

What about all of you? From which countries are you posts getting the most views? Take a look at your WordPress stats. You might be surprised.

 

“We Will Bury You”

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When I was but a wee lad there was a huge cloud hanging over our country and it was scary. The “cloud” was this big, bad, bear on the other side of the globe called the Soviet Union.

People were freaking out. They were building fallout shelters in their backyards in preparation for the coming nuclear holocaust. In school we were doing weekly “duck and cover” air raid drills, as if crawling under a school desk with our hands covering our heads would protect us from an atomic bomb blast.

I distinctly remember two incidents that really scared me. One was when, in November 1956, the premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, uttered the words heard round the world, “We will bury you.”

When I asked my parents what that meant, they said that Russia wanted to destroy the United States and our democracy. Scary stuff, huh?

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But then, in October of 1960, I saw something really frightening on the news. At a meeting of the United Nations in New York, that same Nikita Khrushchev was banging one of his shoes on the table in protest of something one of the other delegates said. Here was the same foreign leader who had threatened to bury my country acting like a mad man at a meeting of the United Nations. Yikes.

I’m not even going to talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis that had the world at the brink of war just two years later. Nope, I’m not going to mention it.

But the good news is that a few decades later the Cold War had ended, the Soviet Union no longer existed, and global peace enveloped the world. Ha! Just kidding.

But relations between the United States and the Russian Federation were, if not cordial, at least stable. No more worries about being buried or about nuclear war.

Until Donald J. Trump became President of the United States, that is. Now I feel a little like that wee lad who was worried about the future of our country and our civilization. Between Trump, Kim Jung Un, and Vladimir Putin, three contemporary mad men — and world leaders — on a scale that Khrushchev could never quite achieve, we may all soon end up being buried.


This post was written in response to today’s one-word daily prompt: bury.

Malcolm in the Meddle

meddle

When I woke up this morning and saw today’s one-word prompt, “meddle,” I thought of two things. One was serious and the other was nonsensical.

Serious: Russia meddled in our election

Without a doubt, Russia did meddle in our presidential election last year. And I — along with many others — believe that Russia’s meddling affected the outcome, resulting in the election of the most incompetent person to ever assume the role of POTUS.

I also believe that the Russians, flush from their success last year, continue to meddle in our democratic processes. If we don’t — or can’t or won’t — do anything about that meddling, our democracy will never be the same.

Nonsensical: Malcolm in the Meddle

I know that the actual name of the 2000 – 2006 TV show was “Malcom in the Middle,” not “Malcolm in the Meddle.” But as I read the prompt shortly after waking, “Malcolm in the Meddle” was the first thing that popped into my head. Which is a strange thing to have occurred to me since I never watched that show. Never ever. Not even once.

The mind works in mysterious ways.

SoCS — Admit It, Donald

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Dear Donald J. Trump,

Admit it, Donald. You’re totally unqualified to be President of the United States. As Hillary Clinton correctly assessed, you don’t have the temperament the position requires. You have never before held an elected position and you have no idea what it takes to be successful in government. Even your ardent GOP defenders like Paul Ryan and Chris Christie admit that you are “new to this job” and don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to how our government works.

Admit it, Donald. You have surrounded yourself with inexperienced, clueless sycophants who aren’t doing you any good because they only share with you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. And your shameless surrogates toe your line even when you undermine them by contradicting the lies they’ve told the media on your behalf.

Admit it, Donald. You are an insecure, thin-skinned, unhinged, megalomaniacal, egotistical narcissist. All you care about is yourself, your family, and your fortune. Based upon what you want to do with heath care, tax reform, and the environment, you clearly don’t give two shits about most Americans, even those you duped into voting for you. You are a con man and a fraud.

Admit it, Donald. You are a pathological liar and wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit you on your ample ass. You are a hypocrite who plays golf almost every weekend after criticizing Obama for playing golf a lot less frequently than you when he was president. You were the driving force behind the totally bogus birther movement.

Admit it, Donald. You blame everyone and anyone but yourself for your frequent missteps. You deny that Russia interfered in our election despite overwhelming evidence that they did. You are critical of many well-respected, highly-regarded world leaders while expressing admiration for Vladimir Putin and other autocratics.

Admit it, Donald. You tried to convince then-FBI Director James Comey to let the FBI investigation of Mike Flynn go, and when he wouldn’t, you fired Comey. You also asked the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers to try to intervene in the FBI’s investigation. You are guilty of obstruction of justice and high crimes and misdemeanors.

Admit it, Donald. You never expected to win the election. You never really wanted the job, which you since have characterized as being harder than you thought it would be. You said you miss your “old life.”

Admit it, Donald. You have diminished and devalued the presidency and it’s time for you to resign and return to your old life before you bring the whole country down in a constitutional crisis. You know that’s the right thing to do.

But then again, Donald, when was the last time you did the right thing?


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and the topic for this week’s SoCS is “admit.”

 

Trump-Colored Glasses

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According to one brainwashed — or brain dead — Trumpster on Facebook, there are ten key “learnings” from James Comey’s testimony at Thursday’s open senate hearing. In this post I’m going to show his top ten items, each one followed by the reality of what we actually learned.

  1. Trump was never under investigation.
    Reality: Comey told Trump that he wasn’t personally under investigation at the time. But that doesn’t mean he is not currently the subject of recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into any potential criminal wrongdoings by Trump and members of his campaign and/or administration.
  2. Trump did not obstruct justice.
    Reality: While Comey refused to render his own legal opinion as to whether Trump obstructed justice by his actions, most constitutional scholars and lawyers believe there is clear and ample evidence of obstruction.
  3. Trump did not collude with Russia.
    Reality: Comey definitively said that there was Russian interference with the election and that there is substantial evidence that there were numerous meetings and calls between member of the Trump campaign and transition team and Russian officials, many of which contacts went unreported. The focus of Mueller’s investigation is to determine if there was, in fact, collusion.
  4. Russia did not alter the election outcome.
    Reality: Comey said that he is certain that Russia was behind the hacking, the Wikileaks, and the fake news. And while he can’t (or won’t) say that these definitively changed the election outcome, he did say that all of that hacking, leaking, and fake news was intended to help Trump and hurt Clinton.
  5. Comey leaked his own memo.
    Reality: Yes, he did, but only after Trump tweeted about there being tapes of his meeting with Comey. Comey wanted to get the information out to the press because he was concerned that Trump would lie about what the two of them discussed.
  6. Loretta Lynch pressured Comey to cover for Hillary Clinton.
    Reality: Lynch apparently asked Comey to describe what the FBI was doing with respect to Clinton’s email server as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.” I agree, that looks suspect.
  7. There was ample evidence to put Hillary in jail but Comey chose not to pursue it.
    Reality: No, there was not “ample evidence” to put Clinton in jail. That’s total bullshit. There’s now more evidence to put Trump in jail than there ever was to “lock her up.”
  8. CNN and other fake news outlets have been lying / making things up this entire time.
    Reality: Seriously? But Fox News, Breitbart, and InfoWars have been reporting truth, justice, and the American way the whole time? Right!
  9. The Democratic Party no longer has the ability to scream “RUSSIA” every time Trump tries to do something.
    Reality: Yes, the Democratic party — and every patriotic American who cares more about our country and our democracy than about the GOP and that narcissistic egomaniac in the White House — has the right to scream “Russia,” which Comey said is still involved in cyber espionage against our country.
  10. The Russia story is dead – any democrat who continue to push it will look foolish and insane to the American people.
    Reality: No, it’s not dead and all Republicans who continue to deny it are the ones who look foolish and insane to the majority of the American people (more of whom voted for Clinton than for Trump).

It’s disconcerting how many Trumpsters are looking at the world through Trump-colored glasses. But the one individual with the biggest set of Trump-colored glasses is Donald J. Trump. He tweeted today that, as a result of Comey’s testimony yesterday, Trump feels “totally and completely vindicated.”

Reality: Not even close, Donald.

 

Can American Democracy Survive Donald Trump?

Pett Cartoon
© 5/11/17, Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, you know. No siree, Bob! I’ve been around long enough to have experienced Vietnam and Watergate and how terribly divided this country was at that time. But I’ve never seen anything quite like what is happening now to the sanctity of American democracy under President Donald J. Trump. It’s taken its toll on me. I’m tired, very tired.

It’s not because I’m old, though, or because I’ve been having trouble falling and staying asleep at night. No, the reason I am tired is because something devastating has been happening in and to the country I love. And it’s draining me.

Fake News and Alternative Facts

For months before the election in November, we had been inundated with fake news, alternative facts, lies, racism, and misogyny. Since the election things have only gotten worse, given all of Trump’s conflicts of interest, blatant nepotism, and unprecedented incompetence at the highest levels of the government.

Our new president is purging (or buying off?) his perceived enemies and anyone he believes might do him harm, FBI Director James Comey’s firing is the latest example. Donald Trump is successfully … so far, anyway … turning our country into an authoritarian dictatorship.

Bill Sanders Cartoon
© 5/16/17 Bill Sanders, Sanders Cartoon Commentary

And what I find truly remarkable and upsetting is that the spineless, gutless, “party over country” Republicans in Congress are just sitting back and letting it happen. They know that Trump is an unhinged, delusional narcissist who is also a pathological liar. But he’s their unhinged, delusional, narcissistic, liar who will sign whatever bills they put in front of him.

Trump is engaging in a war against the legitimate media. He is spreading outright lies, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in an effort to divert and distract attention from the many self-inflicted wounds he’s created as a result of his more outrageous tweets and his asinine behaviors.

Treason or Stupidity?

He has yet to admit that Russia interfered with the election and seems to be giving Putin and the Russians cover. And while he’s saying “America First,” his actions appear to be putting Russia first. He even shared highly classified information with Russian operatives in the Oval Office. Is he intentionally committing treason or is he just incredibly stupid? Or Both?

Respected scholars of history have expressed concerns about how Trump seems to be leading our country down a path followed by despotic 20th century and contemporary leaders.

He has sung the praises of Vladimir Putin (“a strong leader”) and Kim Jong-un (“a smart cookie”). He congratulated Turkish leader Erdogan on winning a referendum that expanded and consolidated his authoritarian powers. He praised the autocratic Egyptian leader el-Sisi as well as Filipino strongman Duterte, a man who likens himself to Hitler.

At the same time, Trump has denigrated and challenged the judicial branch of our own government and seems to have co-opted congressional Republicans, who hold the majority in both houses.

So back to my original question. Can American democracy survive Donald Trump? The short answer is yes, but it will take four types of people to make sure it does.

First, courageous employees within the executive and legislative branches of government who recognize the damage to our national security and our way of life that Trump is causing must be willing to risk their careers and leak documents to the legitimate press so that the unhinged actions of Donald Trump will see the light of day.

Second, brave journalists and reporters must do their jobs and continue to research, publish, and report on what is going on at the White House and in Congress.

Third, concerned citizens need to continue to reach out to their senators and representatives and hold them accountable for their actions. And if these elected officials in Congress don’t have the backbone to put country over party and to do what’s right and best for their constituents by standing up to Trump, they need to know that they will be voted out of office.

Finally, GOP members of Congress and Trump loyalists must stop turning deaf ears and blind eyes to Trump’s faults and follies. They need to honestly and objectively see him and the danger he posed to our country. They also need to stop getting all their news from Fox News.

If these groups of people do the right thing, democracy in America has a chance. If not, well, it was good while it lasted.