Trump Willing to Testify Under Oath?

The 9th of June 2017

John is a reporter from the White House press pool. They were covering a joint press conference with Romanian President Iohannis.

Sorry about the format of this. Best to read until you arrive at a bracketed number and then read what I have written below in the end-note area.

John: Did he (meaning Comey) ask for a pledge of loyalty from you?(1)
Trump: No he did not.(2)

John: So he said those things under oath.(3) Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?
Trump: (without hesitation) One hundred percent. (almost running over his own words and a few from John, he followed with) I didn’t say under oath.(4) I hardly know the man I’m not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn’t make sense.(5) No I didn’t say that, and I didn’t say the other. (while gesturing with his hand to signify one from the other, I guess)(6)

John: So, if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that, …
Trump: I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you, John.(7)

(1) John botched the question. No, John, James Comey did not ask the President to pledge his loyalty to James Comey of the FBI.
(2) Donald Trump answered correctly because James Comey did not ask for Trump’s loyalty.
(3) No, John. Since you botched the initial question, that is actually not true as James Comey did not ask Trump for his loyalty.
(4) Donald Trump just realized that he would not be willing to do any of this under oath so he now wants to make it clear that he would not be willing to do this under oath.
(5) All of that which follows Trump’s admission that he would not be willing to do this under oath, was to cover up this statement as Mr. Trump realized that him even saying what he just said is tantamount to an admission of guilt, so he threw in the last bit of brain salad to obfuscate. He probably lost his train of thought when he was answering “100%” because of John’s backwards question.
(6) Trump cleverly restates that we are at zero admissions as I, “didn’t say that, nor the other.”
(7) Which is absolutely nothing.

I know these are troubled times, and nervousness around people of power, especially people of power who can make career ending decisions for you, makes the job of journalism, especially at the White House level, a horrifically scary thing. The media, however, must do a better job when questioning those in power. Our futures depend on it. A mistake like this, and then all of the headlines about Trump’s willingness to testify under oath, please!

(for those who lack the time to view the entire video, the transcript above refers to questions that start at about 35 seconds)


The Fortune Teller

[This story was written as a response to the Reddit Writing Prompt comment: “[WP] A time traveller interviews major historical figures at three points in their lives: Their 16th birthday, the day after they made their most important decision, and the day before they die.”]

“Don’t forget to ask her.”

“I won’t grandmother.”

Bobby loved his grandmother very much, but was a bit puzzled by his grandmother’s strange request. He thought, “why would grandmother want me to ask the fortune teller specifically what is the most important decision I will ever make and what is the date when I will die.”

Bobby opened the door to the fortune teller’s studio. It was a dark place with all the tawdry Gypsy touches that one would envision in a fortune teller’s lair.

“Come on in, Bobby. Please have a seat. You don’t mind if I call you Bobby, do you?” Bobby thought that the fortune teller was quite deliberate in her tone so moved quickly over to the velvet chair that looked like something from a cheap romance novel.

“No Ma’am, you can call me Bobby.”

Bobby sat up forward in the comfortable chair eager for his first exchange ever with a fortune teller.

“Bobby, how would you like your fortune to be told? Is there a question you would like me to address for you?” She leaned somewhat into the table towards Bobby who was already sitting forward in his chair, mesmerized by this force of nature he saw before him.

Stella, is a formidable woman in her early sixties. She has been telling fortunes for thirty-three years and, before her, her mother had the same occupation for fifty-seven years. In fact, fortune telling goes back in her family for a multitude of generations.

“Sure,” he started, “I do have a line of thinking in mind. I would like to know,” he hesitated for a moment, and continued, “I would like to know what will be the most important decision I will ever make, and what will be the date of my death?” He felt a little weird asking that last part. Seemed a little creepy.

Bobby noticed that the fortune teller’s attitude towards him changed but for a second, and then back, “Sure, Bobby, let’s do look into those things.”

The fortune teller pulled her crystal ball towards herself a bit and invited Bobby to lean even further into the table with a simple gesture of her hand and wrist.

In a whisper the fortune teller continued, “Bobby look into this crystal ball with me and let us seek what you wish to know. I, I see you sitting at a desk. You seem to be in deep thought, a tumbler of–”

The fortune teller leans into the crystal ball even further.

“brandy. It is brandy. Bobby, do you see the brandy bottle on the credenza in the office? You are a handsome man, Bobby. Can you see him? The nameplate on the desk says ‘Robert Bartholomew.’ I guess you go by Robert now. Do you see the nameplate, Bobby?”

“Yes, I see the nameplate. But I cannot see myself. Why can I not see myself?” Even without the ability to see himself, Bobby was quite astonished that he could see the vision in the crystal ball at all. He always thought fortune telling was a joke played on gullible people.

“That is because you are you. Sorry I cannot fix that.” Was her simple reply as the fortune teller moved on with the telling.

“You seem very sad, Bobby–I mean Robert seems very sad. I see moistened eyes and they seem red as if he, you, had been crying.”

At this point, Bobby and the fortune teller were both mesmerized with the scene unfolding before them in the crystal. Robert backed his chair away from the desk and turned towards a large credenza. Grabbed a drawer knob. Oh! It’s not a drawer, but a cabinet. And the knob didn’t pull out as one would expect, but glided along some type of rail to reveal a safe.

Robert slowly twirled the dial on the safe, first to the right, then to the left, and then back to the right again. Robert grabbed the handle, pulled downward, but the safe would not succumb.

Robert let out a slightly audible, “Fuck!,” and, while reaching towards his glasses, knocked his brandy glass off his desk. This time he didn’t remark about his misfortune. Quickly he got a towel from his bathroom, dabbed up the brandy from the carpet for a moment, and said “fuck it, what am I doing.” He throw the towel into the chair across from his desk. Picked up the glass and poured another brandy. Took a quick, long drink. Put the tumbler on the other side of his glasses and grabbed his glasses from the desk on the glide path to his handsome face.

Robert sat back down at this desk, turned around and again set to twirling the safe dial, but this time preceded by a brisk set of long, left twirls, looked like three, proceeded by the usual right twirl with a more deliberate stopping at the arrival point of 10, then to the left to 34, and then back to the right, but this time to the number 17.

Robert cranked the lever and this time it opened successfully. He reached into the safe, moved a folder with a good centimeter of paper inside, when the crystal ball went blank.

We all saw what he had uncovered and was about to remove from the safe.

When Bobby looked up, the fortune teller was looking towards Bobby’s eyes.

Bobby said, “What does this mean?”

“Remember, you do not believe in all of this fortune telling stuff. Remember, it is a game fortune tellers play to swindle people out of their money.”


…on Bad Law

There are many instances in our American history when we have had problems with bad legislation being passed and the problems it creates for our society. Most of the time, on their face, bad laws would seem unconstitutional, but it seems like no one is willing to jump in there and say so, because for some reason, sometimes, bad laws are popular with the majority of people, but still remain bad laws that may be unconstitutional.

Take for instance, the war against marijuana. I’m not a scholar on the subject but I have read that the reason it was outlawed in the first place was because some business interest saw hemp as a better source of paper, which would compete against his interests in the “let’s cut down lots of trees to make paper” industry.

Once the law was put into place, those proponents for the law had already spent enormous amounts of money promoting the law so the low-information branch of the American public already had their points of view set for them.

Now, once the law was in place and it appeared that the American people were at least marginally for the law, it was nearly locked in and ready for a long run.

Other industries started researching the anti-marijuana laws and found that the law being in place had an actual benefit for their industries too. So, pretty soon their was marijuana screening done to the chattel at most of the corporate-owned megastores.

Looking at the present political situation in this country, it is apparent that the entrenched interests have still got most of the Washington DC crowd pretty frightened. At the State level, the situation is much different. Laws are being proposed in a lot of States by local governments and by citizen petition. This is a good thing and should be encouraged. Once local legislatures start moving the direction of repealing draconian marijuana laws at the State level, the federal government will be encouraged to move this direction as well, but it will take time.

Another case is with the health care industry in America. Who wrote laws allowing the sale of for-profit medical insurance? Actually, back in the day when an American life meant something to those in Washington DC, they did have regulations that forced those companies that wanted to sell medical insurance would be strictly regulated so that the American people would be protected from unscrupulous dealings.

Slowing, but much more rapidly of late, the Republican Party, the party of corporate America, has been stripping away laws that interfere with business. They see these laws as interference for a business’s ability to “do their own thang.” So, they replace these types of laws when they have the power to do so. Bush 43’s first six years, and quite a number of Republican administrations of the past forty years, had ample opportunity to wield enough power in Washington DC to repeal a lot of the laws that were put in place to protect the American people, but also restricted a business’s ability to “do their own thang.”

So, what we have now is a health care insurance industry that has more lobbyists and money than most industries and thus wields a lot of power in DC. Good luck getting “really” decent health care coverage for the foreseeable future.

* * * *
This is the danger of our American (so-called­, small ‘d’) “democratic” government creating “bad” law. Once a bad law is in place it is difficult to repeal.
Thus, a bad law will build an industry around it. If this is allowed to continue for decades (since laws are hard to repeal, it will be so), the industries surrounding this law will defend that law, even though they know that it is a bad law. Their greed will overshadow their desire to do the right thing.


Fictional Rove/Perry Exchange

It is a fact that Rick Perry use to be a Democrat. Yeah, it’s true! Also, if I recollect correctly, Karl Rove was the dude that talked him into switching parties.

This is a fictional account of their meeting:

As Karl walked to his car, he finally remembered why he wanted to talk with that guy Perry from the Democrat party. Frankly, he seemed more unscrupulous than himself, which Karl didn’t think was possible. Karl thought he would have a much brighter future as a Republican. Besides, he has a soft place in his heart for scoundrels.

(arrival at Perry’s congressional office)

Karl: Good to see you again, Congressman.

Rick: Karl, I don’t think we’ve ever met, but I do know who you are.

(Karl reads this comment by Rick as a sign that Rick holds Karl in pretty high esteem. Not a sure thing, but Karl is pretty pleased with the way the conversion is going. Karl sees himself as a highly intuitive guy and does, I would have to concur, have a gift!)

Karl: I’m sorry. I thought we had met. I do recollect seeing you do a speech at the Houston Rotary Club and, if you don’t mind me saying, I was quite impressed with you. Let me be frank, would you be interested in joining the Republican Party?

Rick: I beg your pardon. No, I believe I am happier right where I am. You have a lot of nerve, Karl. I think you had better go.

(Karl understands that Rick’s manly Texas honor would require him to resist, but it was all a feint)

Karl: I’m sorry, Congressman, if I offended you. The reason I even brought this possibility up with you was that I thought our political views were in line. Forgive me. I can see that I was mistaken.

Rick: Alright, alright, Karl. Please, sit down.

(Rick was pleased to have such an important man in his office, and did want to shoot the breeze with Karl. But, Karl already knew that.)

Rick: I’m sorry for flying off the handle like I did.

(Rick would have been wise to stop right there, but he continued.)

(unfortunate failure to at least slow down and pause, something similar to what that AK women does)
Rick: Rakes often fly off the handle
you know
I stepped on the tines of a rake and the damn thing knocked me silly. My makeup people had a hell of a time covering that red welt across my forehead up.

(Karl noted that the ice had been broken between himself and the congressman. Damn, that was so easy. Is this guy for real? No one could be that dumb, Karl thought. Karl slowly moved to a very comfortable looking leather chair where he might be able to talk candidly with the congressman, as that was his plan.

Knowing that the desk between himself and his mark would limit his ability to use his special “x-ray” vision (he chuckled to himself), he choose an office location where two chairs were aligned with the greatest effect.

Karl intentionally took the chair that he was sure the congressman favored just to see how he would react. As expected, congressman Perry’s shoulders slumped just for an instant and then sat in the adjacent chair. This is too easy, Karl thought.

Abruptly, Karl stood up!)

Karl: Congressman, I must excuse myself, I just remembered I have an important meeting with the Governor.

(Surprised, the congressman stood up)

Karl: Rick, it was great meeting you.

(brief pause as if to appear as if the next statement just crossed his mind without showing the congressman that this was his plan all along)

Karl: You know, a good politician, such as yourself, can become a wealthy man in Republican politics. Think about it.

(Karl, realized that he was wasting his time with this guy. He didn’t have to schmooze with this moron. All he had to do was make an appeal to his greed.)


Trump! You Are a Disgrace!

Nothing much to say about this that Baratunde Thurston has not already expressed so well.

America is better than this!


Clarence Thomas Writes Bold, Anti-American Decision

Well, well, here we go again. Another slap in the face to average Americans.

You see, we average Americans are not suppose to notice that:

A. Wall Street bankers, who totally screwed up our economy which, I might add,
it is still undecided whether it will even come back at all, are apparently not going to be prosecuted at all, at least it appears that they are getting away with it…


B. An innocent man, wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for 14 years, who was actually on death row for a murder he did not commit (and saw 7 men go to their deaths), was exonerated because the prosecutors did not share vital information to the defense so that the court could provide a “fair” trial for him, and he, even now, does not deserve justice for the willful crime the prosecutors’ office perpetrated.

This is how it is folks. The right-wing agenda of injustice for all is in full bloom. Wine and flowers for the mucky mucks, chicken soup and bread lines for you.

Please read this article to get a glimpse of what the right has in store for you. Don’t get in trouble unless you are rich, have rich relatives, or have lots of money.

Cruel but Not Unusual: Clarence Thomas writes one of the meanest Supreme Court decisions ever. by Dahlia Lithwick

In another article on the subject:

Scott Lemieux points out: “by all-but-immunizing (District Attorney) Connick for the conduct of his subordinates, the court has created a perfect Catch-22, since the courts already give prosecutors absolute immunity for their actions as prosecutors (though they may still be liable for their conduct as administrators or investigators). By immunizing their bosses as well, the court has guaranteed that nobody can be held responsible for even the most shocking civil rights violations.”



The Moral Hazard Created by America’s War Criminals

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, did an op-ed piece in the conservative Daily Telegraph where he warns our ex-President, George W. Bush, not to visit London in fear of being arrested. He went on to say that George W. Bush’s war crime admissions in his new book1, make the duty of the world community clear if Bush were to ever leave the United States since the United States appears to be abrogating its obligations to the world to investigate with a clear mandate to prosecute if there is evident that a war crime has been committed. The below is an excerpt from his op-ed, and a link to the actual story:

It is not yet clear whether George W Bush is planning to cross the Atlantic to flog us his memoirs, but if I were his PR people I would urge caution. As book tours go, this one would be an absolute corker. It is not just that every European capital would be brought to a standstill, as book-signings turned into anti-war riots. The real trouble — from the Bush point of view — is that he might never see Texas again.

If you would like to read this rather well written piece, the above excerpt is linked to that Daily Telegraph article of November 20, 2010. You might also want to read Andrew Sullivan’s very short piece entitled “The Mayor Of London On George W. Bush, War Criminal” in The Atlantic. I appreciate Mr. Sullivan’s attempt to bring conservative America back to sanity. I hope he is successful (and other moderate Republicans might want to join in) as his cause is worthy. Mr. Sullivan summed it up by stating:

It’s good to be reminded of real conservative values, which include abhorrence of torture and a dedication to the rule of law. By those standards, George W. Bush is not now a conservative, merely a thug, twisting the law to engage in something utterly alien to Anglo-American ideals. And a smug thug at that. Watching his interview on Hannity – yes, I managed to get through most of it – I was reminded of this man’s utter shallowness and moral unseriousness. Glib doesn’t begin to describe his solipsistic denial of his own barbarism.

Lastly, I will offer up a good legal option from Jonathan Turley, scholar of constitutional law, George Washington University, School of Law.

I would hope that every American knows how historically significant this is? America has never had a man who occupied the White House vilified as much as George W. Bush has been vilified. Nowhere in American history has any American President done anything that would raise the ire of world populations against this country as much as what George W. Bush did. Never!

Once upon a time, we use to try and convict war criminals in America. Those leaders of foreign nations that would dare cross a very well defined line in the sand regarding torture, or any other war crime, would not get any quarter in America. Indeed, after World War II, the war that made America the mighty power that it is today, we tried and convicted Japanese soldiers and military leaders2 for doing exactly what George W. Bush ordered our people to do to those legally, or illegally3, held by the United States in connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

I know that we have all heard this stuff before, and that most American conservatives have already left this blog figuring that it is just another screed by some leftist moonbat, but they would be wrong in assuming this to be the case. Simply put, my politics are not based on ideology, but on facts, figures and rational solutions to problems. Politics in and of itself is a very base game that some play to win elections. Policy does not come into play for these people, unfortunately. Those who play the game of “politics” simply for politics’ sake are driving this country right into the ground. Are you listening Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Jim DeMint?

As Americans, we are between a rock and a hard place. Do we forget many decades of history and the fact that most real Americans despise war crime and let George W. Bush and his political facilitators off the hook on this one? What would it say about us?

What does it say about us? Well, psychologically, it says that we are still grieving the loss of our innocence due to the attack on September 11, 2001. Anger and fear in the aftermath of such an attack is understandable. What is not understandable, after that despicable attack by al Qaeda, was how the Bush Administration could mislead the American people into the worst possible course of action that a country can embark upon. The Bush Administration made the error of warring with Afghanistan and not completing the mission and then getting out as quickly as we went in, and starting another war with Iraq who had no connection with the September 11, 2001 attack, giving a false set of arguments to bolster up the country for such a war. The world is still reeling from this international turn of events where the United States went from a trusted partner in the world community to one of the most reviled.

It is insane for us to think that there won’t be international consequences for our behavior on this matter. America might be suffering the long-term effects of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) going right up into the Oval Office, the House, the Senate, local and state governments. The paranoia is palpable in America these days and this condition is not at all a healthy state of being for a person, or a country.

There is also an element in this country that would see America’s future being brighter if we take a much more brutal stance to countries of the world that defy us. America has never operated this way internationally as those bright enough to grasp the situation would be able to cite many times in history where a country took this attitude and paid the ultimate price for their arrogance. Germany and Japan once thought themselves in the position to thuggishly dominate their neighbors, and we all understand what happened to them.

A country that has this attitude might start by simply mistreating a country in some way (unfair trade agreements, embargoes, sanctions, attacks on a nation’s sovereignty, a hashed up set of falsehoods), and then they would start a propaganda campaign against said country to build national support for harsh action against them. This game has historically been played over and over again. The results might initially work without too much in the way of international repercussions but, eventually, world reaction would be set against this country, or countries. Indeed, the picture that one could paint would not be a pleasant one.

So, what can America do to clean up this mess that may only get messier the longer we wait to act? Why is it that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama think that the lesser of two evils is to let the Bush Administration off the hook on the war crimes of which some of them are so clearly guilty?

What would happen if President Barack Obama were to instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to proceed on an investigation of the Bush Administration’s war crimes?

If such an announcement were to be made by the President, you could bet that Fox News would be spinning this into an all out attack on conservative America, which could lead to civil unrest, insurrection or, even as a worst-case scenario, civil war. Would the conservative American leadership play this all the way out guaranteeing that the worst-case scenario actually happens? I would think so. They would have to take the position that if they were to “Throw Bush et al. under the bus” the Republican Party as a winning political entity might very well lose favor and thus may never again work their way into the ruling class.

That being the case, and knowing how utterly political those in the conservative leadership are, one would have to come to the conclusion that they would indeed push it all the way even if it means the destruction of the American political system.

So, that seems like a very unsavory position to put the country in, and would be something that President Obama and his staff would have to take into account. But, what of the alternative–to allow the Bush Administration off the hook on this one?

Indeed, this alternative, the one that the Obama Administration has embarked upon, is certainly the better choice in the short term. A choice, however, fraught with its own set of perils, some of which we see happening today. His hope is that the world community will forgive America for what the Bush Administration has done and will understand that the other alternative–seeking war crimes against the Bush Administration–might lead to even worse global consequences.

1 Decision Points, a memoir of our forty-third president’s life.
2 Washing Post article dated November 4, 2007 by Evan Wallach, a judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, teaches the law of war as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School.
3 It has been reported that many of the prisoners held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, or any number of secret, or lesser known facilities, were not involved in any way, shape or form with the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.


Wow! My First Post, and I Have Only Been At This For Four Hours

Slight exaggeration, but I feel like I have been at this for a while. I will get better at this shortly.