Pondering

In a normal world, in the event of a President resigning, becoming incapacitated, or being Impeached and removed from office, the order of succession is pretty clear. The Vice President would then step in to take control, and if he was unavailable then the Speaker of the House, and so on and so forth as called out in the table below:

(image courtesy Wikipedia)

All well and good. But the question I’ve been pondering lately is considering how deep Russian collusion may go in this administration, how far down the line of succession will we have to travel in order to get a Chief Executive who untouched by the scandal?

The VP has been conspicuously silent on the whole affair, but if this bit of reporting is to be believed, it’s for good reason. Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House apparently has his own ties to Russia. Orrin Hatch? I haven’t heard his name come up in anything regarding Vladimir Putin, so he may in fact not have the stench of this upon him, but who knows?

Obviously Hatch would not be my first choice for President, but after the dog and pony shit show of the last sixty days, I think I—and perhaps the vast majority of the rest of the country and the rest of the world—would breathe a collective sigh of relief at the prospect of actually having someone (regardless of his politics) who is at least a competent adult in the White House again.

If it is shown that the tentacles of Russian collusion reach further into our government than just the upper echelons of the Executive Branch, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. If it can be proven that 45 and his gang of thugs were illegitimately installed during the last election, what can be done about removing the entire lot? Does the country call for a new election, or is it somehow awarded to the person who actually won the popular vote?

We’re in uncharted waters here, folks.

We Tried To Warn You

But you were having none of it because we were “Libtards.”

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to be in Wall Street’s pocket. Trump wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and eliminate the Fiduciary Rule, letting Wall Street run rampant and return to its pre-2008 ways.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s emails. The Trump administration is running its own private email server.

You voted for Trump because you thought the Clinton Foundation was “pay for play.” Trump has refused to wall off his businesses from his administration, and personally profits from payments from foreign governments—in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and grounds in and of itself for Impeachment.

You voted for Trump because of Clinton’s role in Benghazi. Trump ordered the Yemen raid without adequate intel, and then slept during the actual raid and upon waking tweeted about “FAKE NEWS” while Americans died as a result of his carelessness and insouciance.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t care about “the little guy.” Trump’s Cabinet—in case you haven’t noticed—is full of billionaires, and he just took away your health insurance so he could give them a multi-million-dollar tax break.

You voted for Trump because he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it. American consumers will pay for the wall via import tariffs, if not outright tax increases.

You voted for Trump because Clinton was going to get us into a war. Trump has provoked our enemies, alienated our allies, and given ISIS a decade’s worth of recruiting material.

You voted for Trump because Clinton didn’t have the stamina to do the job. Trump hung up on the Australian Prime Minister during a 5 pm phone call because “it was the end of a long day and he was tired and fatigue was setting in.”

You voted for Trump because foreign leaders wouldn’t “respect” ClintonForeign leaders—both friendly and hostile—are now openly mocking Trump.

You voted for Trump because Clinton lies and he “tells it like it is.” Trump and his administration lie with a regularity and brazenness that can only be described as shocking.

Let’s be honest about what really happened.

The reality is that you voted for Trump because you got conned. Trump is a grifter and the American people were the mark. Now that you know the score, quit insisting that this con-man is on your side.

Sums Up What I’ve Been Feeling

From My New Plaid Pants:

This is Trump’s America now. Don’t you keep seeing that pop up in the worst places? (As if there’s a good place for such sentiment.) But whenever somebody burns down a mosque or assaults a gay couple what do they say? “This is Trump’s America now.” And knowing the types they probably add a “Bitch” on for good measure.

And the stinger is they’re right. We live in Trump’s America now, and it feels like garbage. I wake up every morning sick to my stomach. I’m touchy on everything—short-tempered, unable to focus, and constantly believing the worst about everybody.

It’s been hard, basically impossible, over the past several months not to let my worst instincts take hold. I know that’s what nightmares-turned-flesh like Steve Bannon are looking for—they want us hopeless and demoralized. But there’s only so many times you can remind yourself of that while simultaneously watching the world turn a blind eye to the bad people doing their bad things gleefully and seemingly repercussion-free before that hopelessness pervades and infects you no matter what you do.

Nightmare Scenario

I probably shouldn’t have watched one of my all-time favorite thrillers, The Hunt for Red October, before going to bed last night, but Alec Baldwin was undoubtedly at the height of his yumminess when the film came out in 1990 and I just simply couldn’t surf past. (Since Alec and I are the same age—something I hadn’t realized until I just double-checked the release date—I suppose I was at the height of my yumminess at the same time too. Sigh.)

Oh Alec…that chest hair [swoon]!

Sorry. I got distracted. Anyhow…

With our Executive branch of government currently in—to put it politely, total disarray—led by an imbecile who thinks he knows everything and refuses to listen to anyone or anything other than the voices in his own head, what’s to prevent the nightmare scenario postulated in the film (Russians parking a submarine off the eastern coast of the United States and nuking DC) from actually happening? Even if the military/CIA/FBI are aware of it and attempt to brief Cheetolini, who’s to say he won’t dismiss it as “fake news”—especially considering his tongue is so far up Putin’s ass they’re French kissing? Launch a nuke on DC and you’ve taken out the Federal Government, rendering any sort of immediate, coordinated response impossible. What would prevent Russian troops from then simply walking onto US soil and taking over à la Red Dawn?

I would hope that the government has a plan in place in the event of such a calamity, but who knows? This is the sort of shit that keeps me awake at 4 am.

Quote of the Day

For all who excused Mr. Trump’s rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn’t true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don’t agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?” ~ Dan Rather

“Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?’

From Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald:

Dear Mr. So-Called President:

So let me explain to you how this works.

You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.

And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.

But there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.

You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this. Reports from Politico and elsewhere describe you as shocked that judges and lawmakers can delay or even stop you from doing things. Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?

Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.

And you, of course, are none of those things. I know you fetishize strength. I know your pal Vladimir would never stand still for reporters and judges yapping at him.

I know, too, that you’re accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. Must be nice. Your name on the wall, the paychecks, the side of the building. You tell people to make something happen, and it does. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see how it would be hard to give that up.

But you did. You see, you’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses. And let me tell you something about those bosses. They’re unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That’s at the core of their identity.

Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.

Hell no.

A Question

Is 45 so utterly and completely delusional that he still thinks he has any real legitimacy left with Americans and the rest of the world when he has a Twittertantrum like this?

So he’s complaining about leaking classified fake news? And he fired Flynn anyway? Uh. Yeah, whatever.

Starting to feel the noose getting tighter there, Cheeto?

I’m not dancing in the streets—yet—but I am feeling a little more hopeful that this administration’s wanton hubris and pathological narcissism will be what spells it’s ultimate doom. When you start dissing your own intelligence agencies—who undoubtedly have more dirt on you than even your buddies in the Kremlin—and accuse them of being illegitimate—things are not going to end well for you.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, has hands on the floodgates as we speak, just waiting for the right moment to release the shitstorm of hurt that’s going to hit 45 and his Cabinet of Deplorables like a runaway locomotive.

We are in uncharted territory here, folks. How far into the administration does this Treason reach? As it stands now, I would go out on a limb and dare say any Republican who isn’t calling for hearings is guilty on some level.

There appear to be no Constitutional remedies in place for removing and replacing the entire Executive Branch, so fasten your seat belts. I have a feeling things are going to get very interesting very quickly…

This Is A Line And I Am Drawing It

Some people are saying that we should give Donald Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is “everyone’s president.” This is my response:

• I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years…
• I will not “work together” to build a wall.
• I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.
• I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, no matter how bad they might have been, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
• I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1%.
• I will not “work together” to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
• I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies.
• I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
• I will not “work together” to sell American lands to companies which then despoil those lands.
• I will not “work together” to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
• I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.
• I will not “work together” to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
• I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
• I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.
• I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
• I will not “work together” to allow torture and “black op” prison sites.
• I will not “work together” to “take their oil.”
• I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
• I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.
• I will not “work together” to support so-called “Right To Work” laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
• I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
• I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
• I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
• I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.
• I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.
• I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
• I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.
• I will not “work together” to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
• I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual “pre-existing condition.”
• I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.
• I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.
• I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
• I will not “work together” with Donald Trump or anyone who supports him, because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.

This is the line, and I am drawing it.

• I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
• I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN for what’s really so dangerous about Donald Trump, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world: That “winning,” “being great again,” “rich” or even “beautiful” is anything more than nothing… When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.
#RESIST

~Mike Harnisch