With his cruel attack against Mika Brzezinski, Trump demonstrates that he can still go lower in his war against the American press

Yesterday, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough commented on the fact that President Trump has a fake, framed Time magazine cover of himself hanging in over half a dozen of his golf resorts. [Brzezinski, among other things, had said, “Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day and destroying the country.”] Well, apparently that didn’t sit so well with our President, who, as we know, doesn’t like to be laughed at. And, this morning, he lashed out with the following on Twitter.

While a number of people, including high ranking Republicans, have come out and chastised Trump for his behavior, which is clearly unbefitting the office of president, some have come to his defense, saying that he had every right to hit back, seeing as how he felt threatened by the 5’5″ television host some 250 miles away, in New York. Through her spokesperson, Melania Trump, who has told us in the past the she intends to use her position as First Lady to advocate against cyberbullying, said “when her husband gets attacked,” he’s within his right to “punch back 10 times harder.” And White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, after first saying that, “The President in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence,” which, by the way, we know for a fact isn’t true, added the following during a segment on Fox News.

“Look, I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn’t push back. There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him but to frankly everyone around him. People on that show have personally attacked me many times, this is a president who fights fire with fire. And certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites within the media or Hollywood or anywhere else.

Huckabee also pretty much said… and I find this even more incredible… that the President of the United States doesn’t need to be a role model to the nation’s youth, as they have Jesus Christ to look up to. [Can you imagine if any of this was happening during Obama’s administration, when, as you’ll recall, the right was attacking him for “demeaning the office” by wearing short sleeve shirts in the Oval Office?]

But, yeah, that’s where we’re are in America right now. Our President is viciously attacking the media, and he’s being defended by those like Huckabee, who claim that he has every right to stand up against the bullying of the anti-American liberal elites, lying press, etc.

And I hope it never comes to pass, but I can’t help but think that we’re building toward something even worse, what with Republican members of Congress hitting those reporters that they can’t hide from, and people on the right wearing shirts with slogans like “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” I mean, we’ve seen this before, in Nazi Germany, with the demonization of the “Lügenpresse,” or “lying press,” and one gets the sense that the same thing may be happening right now in America, as Trump attempts to suppress the truth of what’s actually going on, and both the language and actions of his supporters becomes more aggressive toward those journalists who are trying to get at the truth.

As for the language of the right becoming more violent, take for instance this recent quote by NRA head Wayne LaPierre… “Academic elites, political elites, and media elites,” he said. “These are America’s greatest domestic threats.” And, then, just yesterday, his organization put out the following call to (buy) arms.

I can’t believe we’ve allowed things to go this far. But this is the world we presently live in. This is the world we’re raising our children in… And we’ve got to stop it, whatever it takes. The future of not only our country, but humanity, hangs in the balance.

update: In a Washington Post op-ed this morning the hosts of Morning Joe suggest that Trump, prior to everything I noted above, had been threatening the release of a scandalous story about them in the National Enquirer if they didn’t tone down their criticism of him, pledge their loyalty, etc. And, now, the fight between them has moved to Twitter. [And, yes, I suspect this might be why, a month or so ago, the two hosts of the morning news program came out and publicly acknowledged their affair.]

update: And, guess what? The National Inquirer just posted this: “Joe & Mika: TV Couple’s Sleazy Cheating Scandal

update: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski discuss how Trump used the National Enquirer to blackmail them on MSNBC.

Posted in Free Speech, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Religious Extremism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

How shitty are you as a leader when the jobs you’re bragging about creating aren’t even on the surface of the earth, but in coal mines?

Maybe it’s just that my people come from coal country, but I have visceral reaction every time I hear either Trump or Pence bragging, as they both did again this afternoon, about their successful efforts to put more poor Americans to work below the surface of the earth… I get why the message resonates with the administration’s supporters, as they, no doubt, see coal mining it as a big “fuck you” to the liberal elite who believe in things like global climate change, but I can tell you for a fact, that, given the choice, the people in these small West Virginia coal towns would much rather earn a living wage up here, on the sunny side of the earth’s surface, with the rest of us. I would have thought that was obvious, but I guess it’s not, as Pence received a lot of applause today, when he once again bragged about opening more mines, like he’d just done something incredibly wonderful for the people of Appalachia. Granted, the people in these towns need decent paying jobs, but having to go deep beneath the surface of the earth every day, especially at a time when Republicans are attempting to roll back mining regulations and end black lung protections, probably isn’t the answer. Or at least it shouldn’t be. We should set our sights higher as a nation. Again, I don’t think I should have to be telling you this, but we shouldn’t be clapping for an administration that’s sending us in increasing numbers down into mine shafts to risk our lives in darkness. No, our applause should be reserved for announcements about new wind farms and solar fields, or new training programs in fields that align with what we, the American people, envision for our future. We deserve at least that much.

Posted in Environment, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bulb Records’ Pete Larson reemerges in Kenya with a renewed purpose… to help document and preserve the Nyatiti

My old friend and former bandmate, Pete Larson, moved to Kenya a few years back to oversee a number of public health related research projects. And, while there, he fell in love with the country’s culture and music. Now, like a good academic, he’s doing his best to document and preserve what he can, starting with the work of Oduor Nyagweno, one of Nairobi’s last Nyatiti players. Following, for those of you who would like to know what exactly a Nyatiti is, is the transcript of my most recent transcontinental discussion with Pete. He, in case you’re interested, was eating goat brain soup, and I was sipping on a kale-beet-carrot smoothie.

MARK: Hey, Pete.

PETE: Hey, Mark. How are you doing?

MARK: I’m good. Where are you?

PETE: I’m in Nairobi?

MARK: How are things in Nairobi?

PETE: Nairobi is like a summer day, every day.

MARK: And that’s a good thing?

PETE: Yeah, I think so.

MARK: Awesome… So I hear you have a new record coming out?

PETE: I do. It’s on Dagoretti Records, which is a new record label we just recently started here in Kenya.

MARK: So what’s the new record?

PETE: It’s by “Oduor Nyagweno and the Nyatiti Attack,” and it’s called “Teach Me, Teach Me.” Oduor Nyagweno, who I find myself referring to simply as “the old man,” is the guy I’m learning the Nyatiti from… My friend Daniel Onyango and I both take lessons from him on this instrument called a Nyatiti… Anyway, this recording that we’re releasing has six songs.

MARK: OK, so the record isn’t out yet, but you’re releasing six songs now, online or something, in advance of pressing the record?

PETE: Yeah, these six songs all came from the same session back in January. And we wanted to get them out now, while we’re working on the full length album… We’re trying to raise money right now to put a full length record out on vinyl, and we thought that, by making some of these tracks available, people might be inclined to contribute a few dollars…. It’s going to be a really great record. I’m really proud of it. We’ve put in a lot of work so far, but it deserves it… It deserves a real release.

MARK: Are the tracks we’re talking about traditional songs that people might know in Nairobi? Or are these things that the old man has written himself?

PETE: Well, these first six songs that we’ve just released, are mostly folk tunes. So, yeah, people would know them here in Kenya. So, for example, the first track is called “Dodo,” and it was popular way back in the 1970s, when it aired on television as part of an ad campaign directed at drinkers. The message was essentially, ‘Don’t get caught drinking.’ The song didn’t tell people not to drink, it just told them to not to get caught drinking. And kids would sing this song in the hood, like, you know, they would just sing it because it was all over the radio and all over the TV. And there are also a couple of other tunes that are folk tunes from various traditions throughout Kenya. So it’s tunes that Kenyans would know, yeah.

MARK: So how did you come to know this guy?

PETE: Well, I started playing the Nyatiti about a year ago. It’s kind of a lyre-like instrument. There’s all different versions of it throughout East Africa, but they’re all related, having come down from Greece, through Egypt, and down the Nile to the Lake Victoria region.

And, a couple of years ago, I saw Daniel Onyango, who’s now my friend, playing the Nyatiti live, and I went up to him afterward and asked him if he could give me lessons, and he introduced me to the old man. The old man is really just one of two elder Nyatiti players out there. He’s about 70. He’s doing pretty well, but he’s old. And I would go and sit with him once a week, twice a week, several times a week. Sometimes I’d go to his house, if his gout was flaring up. And sometime he’d come up to the Kenya National Theater and teach me songs. And it’s been a really great time. It sort of makes being in Kenya worth it.

MARK: So, how much money do you need to raise for the vinyl?

PETE: It’s not cheap, you know. We need about $3,000 or $4,000 to make it work. And I’m hoping we can at raise at least get half of that… It’s really incredible stuff. It’s great to hear him sing. He’s a great singer, a great player. And, culturally, it’s incredibly significant to have this out, because, when he goes, that’s it. It’s gone. You know, there’s no young people doing this kind of music in the way he does. And this type of music, this type of poetry, needs to be preserved, because it’s not being passed down anymore from old people to young people.

MARK: And what language, or dialect, are the songs sung in?

PETE: The finished record will have eight songs, all played by Nyagweno, and they’re all in Luo. We’ve gotten all the songs translated, though, so there will be a lyric sheet with translations, as well as explanations about the tunes that I wrote with my friend Rapasa here in Nairobi, who is also a Nyatiti player.

MARK: Are there any academics studying this stuff?

PETE: No. There’s like one guy at Kenyatta University who wrote his dissertation on the Nyatiti several years ago, but, no, no one is doing any work on this at all. I mean, in the world there’s only 20 people that play this instrument, and that includes me.

MARK: Oh, I’m sure it will catch on now that you’re involved.

PETE: Well, I doubt it. Nothing I do seems to catch on, but that’s okay.

MARK: So who’s the other old guy that plays? I’m just kind of curious as to whether there are any politics involved, for instance, if they’re from different groups… I think you and I talked about this before, about different ethnic factions. You know, is Nyatiti just played by one ethnic group, or there are multiple ethnic groups that play? And is this other old man perhaps from a different faction?

PETE: Well, yeah, there was some of that. You know, it used to be an instrument from a specific region of Kenya… the songs were sung in Luo traditionally. I mean, it’s not… I don’t want to say it’s “a Luo instrument,” because the Luo people are so widespread, and it’s really just from this one area. But, you know, that has changed a lot. And that’s one of the things we’re trying to address in the movie that we’re making along with the record, which I’ll get to in a minute. Here’s this instrument that started with these Luo guys, and it’s now being played by people like Dan Onyango, who are like Nairobi University educated, you know, Kikuyu-speaking, Swahili-speaking, English-speaking, young people. They don’t sing Luo like the old guys did. And a lot of these guys that are playing now don’t even speak Luo. I can think of two people in Nairobi that play the Nyatiti and speak Luo, the rest are like from other tribes, speaking other languages.

So it’s sort of like we’re preserving this old type of poetry, singing style, and not just the instrument. And, more importantly, at the same time, we’re seeing young people move on from this tribal nonsense, take things from one another’s tribes within their country, and do new things with them. And I think that’s super.

MARK: What kinds of things do Nyatiti players generally sing about? What, traditionally speaking, is the poetry of Nyatiti players about?

PETE: It’s a lot of things that are common to African music, like praise songs, or songs about how great the singer is, but the themes usually contain really vulgar elements. We have one track on the full length record that’s a tribute to Barack Obama that starts out with some story about a guy in the village couldn’t get an erection, so his wife went and complained to her mother that there wasn’t any action going on at home, the implication being that she’s now free game. Inexplicably, he moves on to talk about how Obama gives people iron roofs, and beats Hillary Clinton in the election, and what a great man he is. (It’s worth mentioning that Obama and Nyagweno are related through the same clan.) It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us, but that’s the style these guys sing in.

Another one lists all the women that the subject of the song has slept with, which is nearly all locals guys’ wives and daughters. Of course he names them all, because everyone knows all the dirty secrets of the village. And there’s all these double meanings and innuendo, like one song I worked on with the old man is ostensibly about playing the Nyatiti morning till night, but the word choice implies that the singer is having sex with all the women in the village constantly. “I’m playing this girl all day long,” where the girl is either the instrument or any number of real girls.

It’s usually hard to get parents to allow their kids to learn the Nyatiti because these songs are intended to be sung in drinking places, where people like to talk about those kinds of things. Above that, people out there just simply like crude stories about sex, just like people everywhere else. It’s a lot like hip hop in the States, but I still always find the divide between English and vernacular culture here to be completely fascinating. English is boring and stodgy while the vernacular languages are colorful, complex and fun.

MARK: OK, so the old man is Luo, right?

PETE: Yeah, the old man is Luo. Both of the old men are Luos. And they’re from opposite sides of a river out in Siaya, and there’s somewhat of a rivalry between the two. They don’t bash each other, but there is a rivalry there.

MARK: Like a Biggie, Tupac kind of thing?

PETE: You know, it really was. A long time ago, that’s the way it was. You know, Nyatiti used to be like… they had these competitions, kind of like rap battles, like you’d see in Eight Mile, where they would sit around a circle and they’d play, starting at seven at night, and go on to seven in the morning. And people would be drinking and having a good time, and these guys would take turns talking about how great they were and how much better they were than all the other guys. These were apparently serious rivalries. And the stakes were high, like, the better you play, the more likely you were to win the prize, which was something like a bicycle, or a cow, or something that was really expensive at the time.

So these guys were like, they were out to get each other. And I’m not going to repeat what what I’ve heard, but there are really salacious stories about them putting curses on one another to screw up their playing, among other things. There was all kinds of crazy stuff. But, for the most part, the rivalries were quite friendly. They were borrowing off one another to improve their technique and sound, just like hip hop guys do, which is the closest analogy.

MARK: So I’ve seen clips of the videos that you shot and most of them have been about the music. Are you also getting into the history of it? I mean, are you interviewing people about this past on camera for the video?

PETE: Yes. So we’re working on a documentary right now called “Nyatiti Stories.” And we’re interviewing, basically, whoever we can, who plays the Nyatiti, or is associated with it in some way. And we’ve interviewed both the old men and gotten them to sit down and tell us some stories. And part of that has been going into the culture around the instrument and the poetry associated with it, and it’s been incredibly fascinating. It’s not just about learning to play eight-string instruments, it’s also about the deeper traditions associated with it, which are not really that much different from what we would see in hip hop for example. I mean, it’s really not that much different in the end.

MARK: Is there like a Nyatiti festival somewhere where all these 20 people come together? Do people know of each other, these 20 people that play?

PETE: Oh, yeah. All these guys, ladies, they all know each other. But, no, they never get together. That’s the way it used to be, it’s like all these Nyatiti guys would get together and they’d play at these festivals and compete, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Nairobi, the music scene in Nairobi is like, tends to operate in a way where they don’t go out of their way to actively obstruct one another, but, at the same time, they also don’t come together very much. I don’t know whether that’s because it’s Nairobi, or it’s because it’s 2017, or it’s because, whatever, but, no, they don’t do that anymore. In many ways, it’s analogous to how the entire country works. It’s difficult to get people to want to pull together for a common goal.

MARK: And the Nyatiti, I assume, isn’t seen in bars because bar owners don’t think there’s a market for it….

PETE: Yeah, that’s it. I mean, this is going to sound terrible, but one thing that really is different about musicians in the states and here is that a lot of musicians in the states don’t necessarily need to do it for a living. Here, there’s money involved. They are eating off this, and they’re not really motivated to work with each other unless there is money involved. That’s just the way it is. Life is hard here. It’s not easy. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. And a lot of the people that play, never went to school or anything, so this is what they do. They don’t really have time to just play around, which is good and bad, I guess. I don’t know.

MARK: Ao what’s next for you? How much more work do you have to do on the documentary?

PETE: We pretty much finished shooting. We’ve shot about 50 hours worth of footage at this point. We’ve filmed shows, and interviews, and a number of other things. We’ve followed people around. So, right now, we’re just looking at editing and seeing where this is going to go. And, hopefully, we’re going to take it somewhere and people will see it. I’m writing a book too. It’s a companion piece that will go along with the movie. It’s not an academic book. It’s more a compilation of all the stuff we couldn’t fit into the documentary, plus the interviews. And then there will also be a CD compilation release that will come out of it too, of all these different people playing.

MARK: And have you guys been writing original music too? Like, you mentioned that the first six songs on this release, the online release, are all kind of folk songs. Are there other pieces, though, that you guys have written together with the old man?

PETE: You know, the old man has always written songs. He’s got hundreds of songs. It’s ridiculous how much he does. He writes songs, he doesn’t remember them. Sometimes he’s like, ‘I have this song,’ and he plays it for me, and the next week he doesn’t remember. Like, yeah, he is always writing tunes. And I used to play along with him, he just would play the riff and we would play along and I’d learn from that. It’s a great experience. But I’m working on music with my own band, Ndio Sasa, playing Nyatiti in that band, and also playing with Dave Sharp, who came out a few weeks ago and played with us here in Nairobi. It was a good time. So yeah, I mean, there’s a reason for all of this music to come out…

MARK: I didn’t know Dave went out there. Did you guys write together, or did he just come out to record you guys?

PETE: No, he came out with some jams. I was there, my friend Colin Crowley, our percussionists for Ndio Sasa, Kaboge Chagala and Tomo Tsukahara along with Boaz Jagingo from the band Kenge Kenge Sound System who have played in more than 100 countries worldwide. We had probably two of the greatest musicians, greatest young musicians in Kenya right now. Boaz plays this violin kind of instrument and sang. It was fantastic, it was a great time. Yeah.

MARK: Should we expect to see recordings of this stuff coming out?

PETE: Dave’s going to put that one out, you know. I’m hoping I can get a couple of tunes from the sessions for an EP. But, Dagoretti Records, we’ve got several things in the works. We’ve got the Nyagweno full length, I’m talking to another Nyatiti player here in Nairobi named Rapasa and I’m trying to get a full length release on him. Maybe an Obokano record, which is like a big version of the Nyatiti. I’ve got another record by a band in Japan called Sick Trees and there are two records by my band Ndio Sasa. So there’s lots of stuff coming out.

MARK: And after you’ve recorded all the Nyatiti stuff, and maybe branched out to document the Obokano, are there other traditional instruments that you might want to look at?

PETE: I play the Shamisen, which is a three-stringed instrument from Japan. I’ve also started picking up the Orutu, which is like a violin kind of instrument. It’s like a one-string kind of mountain violin thing.

MARK: Yeah, I’ve seen you playing one on Facebook.

PETE: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s like, you know, one string, you only get five notes out of it, but the sounds are cool. And I still play guitar. So I’m doing all kinds of stuff… But the Nyatiti is everything right now. I’m all about the Nyatiti.

MARK: I’m happy for you, Pete… Is there anything else you want people to know about the project?

PETE: So the record is available on Bandcamp right now. And it’s a free download, but we want to encourage people to pay some money for it if they can, whatever they want to pay, because we’re trying to raise capital to do a final release, and to get all of this other stuff going, and do more if we can. It’s on Bandcamp. So please go there.

We also have our YouTube page for Dagoretti Records which has numerous videos of Nyatiti music and Shamisen music, and music from all over Kenya. So please go there and check that out too.

MARK: Do you have a distribution network there for the records once they come out? Can you sell them in Kenya? Do people have record players there?

PETE: No. I mean, we may be able to sell a couple in Kenya, but, for the most part, it’ll be CDs in Kenya. It’s nearly impossible to sell records in Kenya, though. I mean, people don’t have a lot of money, and that’s why we made all of our releases free downloads with the option to pay for those who can. We wanted to make this accessible to people here if they wanted it, so they can get it for free. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to try and sell this kind of thing in Kenya.

MARK: Yeah, I understand… I’m just wondering if there are record stores in Kenya.

PETE: Oh, no, no, no. I mean, there is like one record store here in town. It’s really old school. They sell old Kool and the Gang 12”s and stuff like that, which is cool, but the vinyl, and even physical releases, are long gone here.

MARK: Cool. Well, it’s been nice talking to you.

PETE: Yeah, it’s great talking to you. Stay hungry.

MARK: One last thing… I thought you told me you’d never start a record company again. What happened?

PETE: It’s the only thing I know how to do… I went through a particularly bad spot in my life, and sort of instinctively defaulted back to something I know and can do. When shit goes bad, you really have to move where you feel comfortable. So, yeah, I said I’d never do it, but I did… and, truthfully, since there aren’t any expectations now, it’s much easier, and far more fun.

MARK: So, how is this different from the experience of starting Bulb Records?

PETE: In the past, I didn’t really know all that much about music. It’s better now that I have some clue about what music really is. It makes it much easier to tell people to listen to it… Interacting with this kind of music has vastly increased my knowledge and understanding of music in ways that I could never have imagined. When you look at things through a lens that you’ve never experienced before, you develop a better understanding for how things work (and how some things don’t). I’ve always been fascinated with what music can do to people, and coming as an outsider in this kind of music has given me a seriously new perspective on everything. So, yeah, it’s easier now that I’m giving this a lot more thought than I would have in the past, and, again, it’s just more fun.

[Above: Video of Oduor Nyagweno playing the Nyatiti.]

[To download “Teach Me, Teach Me” by Oduor Nyagweno and the Nyatiti Attack, just click here. And don’t forget to make a contribution if you’re able to do so.]

Posted in Art and Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The question is, can we kill the Senate health care bill before the Senate health care bill can kill us?

I’m not one to underestimate the political cunning Mitch McConnell, but it certainly looks like the Senate version of Trumpcare may be destined to go down in flames. [Which isn’t to say, of course, that we should stop fighting. If anything, it means that we should redouble our efforts.] Not only has it been slammed as “harmful” by both the AARP and the American Medical Association, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office came out today with its official assessment of the pending legislation, showing that, if passed, 22 million currently insured Americans would lose their coverage by 2026. And, for what? To further enrich America’s donor class. As former president Barack Obama said quite correctly a few days ago, this Senate legislation isn’t a health care bill at all, but “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.”

By all accounts, this current iteration of Trumpcare, if it passes the Senate, will put nearly $569 billion into the pockets of out most wealthy over the course of the next ten years as the taxes on America’s super-wealthy, which were passed as part of Obamacare, are repealed. As successful venture capitalist Ken Norton pointed out earlier today, this bill essentially trades human lives for tax cuts, which is why physicians groups like the AMA have come out against it, as it violates their “first do no harm” credo. But, as you might imagine, America’s most wealthy, don’t seen to care so much. In fact, the Koch brothers, two of our most wealthy American industrialists, have pledged to contribute between $300 and $400 million to Republicans that vote to pass the legislation despite what it will likely do to their constituents.

[Here’s an interesting fact: The Trumpcare tax breaks received by America’s richest 400 households equals the amount in insurance premiums tax credits of 800,000 people across 20 states. In other words, the money going back to these 400, assuming this passes, will keep 800,000 people from having health insurance.]

Trump, after celebrating the passage of Trumpcare in the House, as you may recall, was reported to have called the proposed bill “mean”, imploring Republican Senators to improve upon the legislation, ensuring that it had more “heart“. Well, today we saw the result of that effort on the part of Senate Republicans. They took a House bill that would have, according to the CBO, left 23 million Americans without insurance, and they somehow got it to the point where only 22 million Americans would lose their existing coverage. That, I suspect most of you would agree, isn’t really all that less mean. But, then again, that wasn’t really ever the point.

I won’t drag this out any further, as I know you can find better analysis elsewhere, but I wanted to at least note the fact that, if they’re not stopped, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans will rob an estimated 22 million Americans of the health care coverage they currently have, a a good number of those people will die unnecessarily. So, if you have a moment, please do whatever you can to keep this subject in front of your friends and family. The Republicans know that their only chance is to push this legislation over the goal line before the American people know what’s happening. And we can’t allow that to happen.

While I certainly get the sense that the momentum is moving against the Republicans right now, as even conservatives think tanks are beginning to come out in opposition to this horrific piece of legislation, I’m not ready to rule out the possibility that McConnell could pull off an upset. Yes, the AMA, the AARP, and a majority of Americans are against him, but he’s been able to pull things like this off in the past. So, just to be sure, find the numbers for your Senators, call them up, and demand that they do everything in their power to stop this bill from passing when McConnell attempts to jam it though later this week… We need to show them that we know what’s happening. We need to show them that, even though they’re shutting down the legitimate press, we’re still aware of what they’re trying to do, and that we’re not going to allow it to happen.

Senate Democrats, for what it’s worth, are doing their part. Right now, they’re steps of the Senate, hearing from children with pre-existing conditions. And tomorrow they intend to hold the floor in the Senate, demanding that hearings me scheduled to discuss this legislation in detail. But they can’t do it alone. We have to show them that we’ve got their backs, and that we’re willing to fight alongside them, just so long as they’re fighting for us.

Posted in Health, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Damn, son… Trump finally confirms Russian “meddling” in the election that put him in the White House, but has the unmitigated gall to suggest that it was all Obama’s fault

It’s taken one hell of a long time, but the complete narrative of how Trump came to power is finally starting to come into focus, thanks in large part due to the heroic work of Washington Post reporters, who, just yesterday, brought two more critical pieces of the puzzle to the table. First, they reported that the U.S. intelligence community had evidence prior to the election that Vladimir Putin himself had given the order for Russian operatives to initiate a cyber warfare campaign against the Clinton campaign, with the express purpose of putting Donald Trump in the White House. And, second, they shared a detailed account of how Republican Mitch McConnell, when confronted with this information prior to the election, worked to stop President Obama from making the American people aware. I’d suggest that you read the whole thing, but here, for those of you unwilling to follow the link, how the explosive report begins.

And there’s also video, which I’d highly recommend that you watch… I know some of you might think I’m exaggerating when I say this, but, when I watched it, I had the exact same feeling that I did when I saw the World Trade Center coming down on September 11, 2001. It felt like the floor had literally fallen away beneath me, throwing me into free fall… It’s one thing to experience all of this if real time, reading the individual articles as they come out, over several months time, but it’s another to see it all boiled down into a ten minute video that methodically lays it all out, showing you when Trump was briefed on what was happening, and how, even with this knowledge, he continued to refer to Russian interference as a “hoax.”

If you only watch one thing this weekend, watch this…

So, just to reiterate, our elected officials knew well in advance of the November election that Putin had called for an all out assault against Hillary Clinton in hopes of swaying the election in Trump’s favor, and Obama had suggested a bipartisan response, which the Republicans fought him on… Had Obama thought Trump might actually win, he might have pushed back harder, but, instead, he worked behind the scenes to punish Russia for their interference by way of sanctions, sharing very little with the public about what was happening, for fear that anything he said might be used by the Trump campaign as evidence that he was lying in order to aid the Clinton campaign.

And, judging from Trump’s Twitter feed today, it would appear that the increased scrutiny is beginning to get to him.

Whether intentional or not, the above tweet would seem to confirm that, yes, in the opinion of the President, the Russians did, in fact, meddle in the election. This, I believe, is the first time he’s admitted as much. And I think that’s significant… As for him putting it back on Obama, though, that’s just laughable. Obama, as the Washington Post makes clear, pushed for a bipartisan statement and he was stopped by the Republicans in Congress. And, furthermore, Trump, by this point in the campaign, was privy to the same intelligence briefings that Obama was, so if Obama knew that the Russians were meddling, so did Trump. The only difference was that, while Obama was pushing for sanctions against Russia, and trying to find a way to let the American people know, Trump was calling the stories of Russian interference a “hoax,” and suggesting that the hacking of the DNC could have been done by “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

According to recent polling, though, in spite of all this evidence, the American people really don’t seem to care about the investigation, wanting Congress to focus instead on things like jobs and health care… Here’s hoping that the Democrats don’t let up, though. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how it polls with voters. It’s imperative that we pursue this not because it wins elections, but because it’s the right thing to do for the future of not only our country, but humanity.

Make no mistake, folks. We are at war. And it’s not just the Russians that are going to be caught up in Mueller’s net. Trump’s impeachment is just the beginning… We’re living though something that goes incredibly deep, and makes Watergate seem like child’s play… And, mark my words, one day, assuming we survive this, there will be statues to both Comey and Mueller in Washington.

Lastly, just because it pisses me off so much, I wanted to share these two photos that have been floating though social media today.

In the top photo, Obama confronts Putin prior to the election, during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. “Accompanied only by interpreters,” the Washington Post reports today, “Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,’ according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama.” In the bottom photo, several months later, Donald Trump entertains Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak in the White House the day after firing FBI Director James Comey, the man heading the investigation into the Russian hacking of our election. This meeting was not intended to be public. The American press had been kept out. And we would not have known about it, had the Russians not released photos. And, it should be noted that Trump, when this photo was taken, not only knew for certain that the Russians had, to use his own term, “meddled” in the election, but he was also aggressively working to roll back the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration… Given what we’ve come to learn over these past several months, it’s impossible to look at these two photos and not believe that Trump will spend the remainder of his life in prison.

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