bureaucracybusters

Posts Tagged ‘ARNOLD SCHWARTZENEGGER’

FOUR MAPS TO INFAMY: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Medical, Politics, Social commentary, Uncategorized on July 29, 2021 at 12:05 am

Whites comprised the overwhelming majority of the audiences at Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign rallies. Not all were racists, but many of those who were advertised it on T-shirts: “MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN.”

And the vast majority of the white votes Trump got were in the South.

The 2008 election of Barack Obama as the first black President had shocked whites. His 2012 re-election had deprived them of the hope that 2008 had been an accident.

Then came 2016—and the possibility that a black President might actually be followed by a woman: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

And for macho, largely uneducated, anti-black Southern males, the idea of a woman dictating to men was simply too much to bear.

Thus, the third map of infamy: Southerners’ election of Donald Trump.

When Trump declared his candidacy:

  • The country was essentially at peace.
  • Thanks to government loans from President Obama, American capitalism had been saved from its own excesses during the George W. Bush administration.
  • Employment was up. CEOs were doing extremely well.
  • Unlike the administration of Ronald Reagan, there had been no corruption scandals during the Obama Presidency.
  • Nor had there been any large-scale terrorist attacks on American soil—like 9/11 under President George W. Bush.

Above all, the news was filled with reputable reports—later confirmed—that Trump’s campaign was backed by Russian oligarchs linked to Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB and now President of Russia.

In short: Southerners—who had long portrayed themselves as America’s most dedicated patriots—flocked to the banner of a man who publicly called on “Russia” to interfere in an American Presidential election. 

Red States voted for Donald Trump – 2016

BobWyatt07, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Now for the South’s fourth map of infamy.

Donald Trump’s four-year Presidency produced a legacy of unprecedented racism, criminality, abuse of power and treason. 

But the crime for which he will be longest-remembered—and which finally brought him down—was his unwillingness to protect Americans from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 catastrophe slammed into the United States in January, 2020. It was the inevitable result of a natural disaster colliding with an evil and incompetent administration.

Trump’s “cures” for COVID-19 included denial, lies, Republican subservience, chaos, extortion, propaganda as news, quackery as medicine, demands to “re-open the country,” Ignoring the danger and—finally—resignation (“Learn to live with the virus”). 

Early on, Trump made the virus a referendum on himself. If you supported him, you didn’t wear a mask when you ventured out in public. This despite the fact that, throughout 2020, there was no vaccine available and hospitals were rapidly overwhelmed by debilitated and dying casualties of the virus.

“I think, once Donald Trump and other Republicans made it a manhood issue, or a freedom issue, or whatever kind of issue they made it, it’s hard to walk back that culture war signal,” said conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks on the PBS Newshour on July 23.

Washington Post Columnist Jonathan Capehart echoed him: “I think, if we had had a president of the United States who took this seriously when this first came on the scene, if we had a Republican party that took this seriously enough to warn everyone, their constituents saying, wash your hands, then put on a mask, then go get the vaccine, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

PBS NewsHour | Brooks and Capehart on voting and gun violence legislation | Season 2021 | PBS

Jonathan Capehart

But neither Trump nor the Republican party urged Americans to “wash your hands, put on a mask, then go get the vaccine.” 

By March, 2021, three vaccines—by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—became available. A total of 90.4 million doses of these vaccines had been given. And 30.7 million Americans had been fully vaccinated against the virus. 

But after a triumphant beginning, the pace of vaccinations slowed, then halted. By late July, 2021, only 49.6% of Americans had been fully vaccinated.

Covid-19 Vaccination Map of USA.png

COVID-19 vaccination map – July 21, 2021

George Karabassis, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Many of those who had gotten one shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines refused to get the necessary second one. These must be given almost a month apart.

(The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot.)

What had happened?

“The people I know personally who are not getting the vaccine, for them, it was like, ‘They rushed this thing,'” theorized David Brooks. “‘Who knows what’s going to happen to all these people who get the shots in 10 years or 20 years?’ So, why should I take the risk?’

“And that’s not completely crazy, but it’s not—it’s based on some sense of general distrust for the establishment, including the medical establishment. And that establishment—that distrust is the core of this thing.”

Shields and Brooks on Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis and the debate | PBS NewsHour

David Brooks

And leading the way to this catastrophe of self-destruction were the states of the South and Midwest: Mississippi (47.1%,), Alabama (50.5%), Arkansas (53.2%), and Tennessee (52.9%) with the lowest rates of residents who have gotten at least one shot.

By late July, three states—Florida, Texas and Missouri—with lower vaccination rates accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide.

And colliding head-on with the refusals of millions to get vaccinated is the newer—and deadlier—Delta variant of COVID-19.

Just as the South unleashed the Civil War on America, it has now ignited a new wave of COVID-19 on America.

FOUR MAPS TO INFAMY: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on July 28, 2021 at 12:14 am

Throughout its history the South has been a hotbed of treason, racism and ignorance.

Today, it proudly continues holding fast to these traditions—even as it places the entire country in danger of contagion and dictatorship.

From 1860 to 1865, the South—Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia—produced the greatest case of mass treason in America’s history.

It was called the Confederate States of America—and produced the South’s first map of infamy.

Map of U.S. showing two kinds of Union states, two phases of secession and territories

Union (blue) and Confederate (red) states: 1860 – 1865

Júlio Reis, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

According to The Destructive War, by Charles Royster, it wasn’t the cause of “states’ rights” that led 13 Southern states to withdraw from the Union in 1860-61. It was their demand for “respect,” which, in reality, translates into “e-g-o.”

“The respect Southerners demanded did not consist simply of the states’ sovereignty or of the equal rights of Northern and Southern citizens, including slaveholders’ right to take their chattels into Northern territory.

“It entailed, too, respect for their assertion of the moral superiority of slaveholding society over free society,” writes Royster.

It was not enough for Southerners to claim equal standing with Northerners; Northerners must acknowledge it. But this was something that the North was less and less willing to do. 

Finally, its citizens dared to elect Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Lincoln and his new Republican party damned slavery—and slaveholders—as morally evil, obsolete and ultimately doomed. And they were determined to prevent slavery from spreading any further throughout the country. 

Southerners found all of this intolerable.

Lincoln—during his First Inaugural Address—bluntly said that he did not intend to “directly or indirectly…interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

An iconic photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.

Abraham Lincoln

But that was not enough for Southerners. 

Only 10% of Southerners owned slaves. The other 90% of the population “had no dog in this fight,” as Southerners liked to say.

Yet they so admired and aspired to be like their “gentleman betters” that they threw in their lot with them.

On April 12, 1861—just over a month since Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4—Southern batteries opened fire on Union Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

This ignited the American Civil War, costing the lives of 750,000.Americans—at a time when the population of the United States stood at 31,443,321.

Four years later, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.

Huge sections of the South had been laid waste by Union troops and more than 258,000 Southerners had been killed.

And slavery, the mainstay of Southern plantation life, had been ended forever.

The South had paid a high price for its investment in treason.

Infamy’s second map dates from 1964 to 2016.

In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, ending more than a century of blatant discrimination against blacks.

The South—which before the Civil War had been solidly Democratic—suddenly went solidly Republican.

To understand this mammoth shift, it’s vital to realize: In Lincoln’s time, the Republicans were the party of progressives

The party was founded on an anti-slavery platform. Its members were thus reviled as “Black Republicans.” And until the 1960s, the South was solidly Democratic

Democrats were the ones defending the status quo—slavery—and opposing the rights of freed blacks in the South of Reconstruction and long afterward.

When, in the early 1960s, Democrats championed the rights of blacks, Southerners bolted for the Republican party—which held to the same values that slavery/discrimination-supporting Democrats once did.  

After signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, President Lyndon B. Johnson told an aide: “We have just lost the South for a generation.”   

Johnson was wrong: A generation lasts 20 to 30 years. It’s been 56 years since the signing of the Act, and the South is still solidly within the Republican camp.

1968 United States presidential election - Wikipedia

 1968 election (Southern states in red)

TheSouth’s third map of infamy culminates with the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. 

Repeatedly, when asked why they supported Trump, his followers said: “He says what I’ve been thinking!” 

And what Trump appealed to, above all else, was hatred.  

From June 15, 2015, when he launched his Presidential campaign, until October 24, 2016, Trump fired almost 4,000 angry, insulting tweets at 281 people and institutions that had somehow offended him. 

Donald Trump

The New York Times needed two full pages of its print edition to showcase them. 

Among his targets:

  • Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton
  • President Barack Obama
  • Actress Meryl Streep
  • Singer Neil Young
  • Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Comedian John Oliver
  • News organizations
  • The State of New Jersey
  • Beauty pageant contestants

Others he clearly delighted in insulting during the campaign included:

  • Women
  • Blacks
  • Hispanics
  • Asians
  • Muslims
  • The disabled
  • Prisoners-of-war

Whites comprised the overwhelming majority of the audiences at Trump rallies. Not all were racists, but many of those who were advertised it on T-shirts: “MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN.”

And the vast majority of the white votes Trump got were in the South.

HE WHO LIVES BY THE TWEET, DIES BY IT: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 19, 2017 at 12:05 am

When the Senate Watergate Committee learned that President Richard M. Nixon had installed a secret taping system in the White House, they immediately subpoenaed all of his tapes.

So did Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Nixon fired Cox in the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” on October 20, 1973.  But Cox was succeeded by another Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski–who also pursued the tapes.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court–which ruled, 8-0, that Nixon must give up the tapes.

One of the tapes revealed that Nixon had ordered the FBI to abandon its investigation of the Watergate break-in. When news leaked of this, Nixon resigned to avoid the disgrace of impeachment in the House and certain conviction in the Senate.

Image result for images of Richard M. Nixon

Richard M. Nixon

Now it appears that history is about to repeat itself–in the case of President Donald J. Trump.

And it has been touched off by his repeated use of Twitter as both a Presidential candidate and President.

When it was launched on July 16, 2006, Twitter was intended to be, according to Wikipedia, “an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, ‘tweets,’ restricted to 140 characters.”

It was never intended as a weapon of slander and intimidation. Yet, as both a Presidential candidate and President, Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack hundreds of real and imagined enemies in politics, journalism, TV and films.

Even before taking office as President, Trump was haunted by charges that members of his 2016 Presidential campaign colluded with Russian Intelligence agents to secure his election. 

Trump has furiously and repeatedly denied this.

Yet, on May 11, no fewer than six top American intelligence officials testified before Congress that Russia acted to influence last year’s election.

These officials were:

  • Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence;
  • Michael Pompeo, CIA director;
  • Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency;
  • Lieutenant-General Vincent Stewart (USMC), director of the Defense Intelligence Agency;
  • Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and
  • Andrew McCabe, acting FBI director, installed after Trump fired the agency’s appointed director, James Comey.

Comey had been spearheading the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s “Russian connection.” In early May, 2017, he had asked the Justice Department to provide increased resources for the FBI’s investigation.

Image result for images of fbi building

FBI Headquarters

During a private White House dinner in January, Trump asked Comey to pledge his personal loyalty to him. Comey refused to do so.  

On May 9, Trump fired him.

Instead of doing so quietly and with dignity, Trump dispatched his longtime personal bodyguard, Keith Schiller, to FBI headquarters with the message: “You’re fired.” Comey was in the FBI’s Los Angeles field office speaking with agents when he learned of his dismissal in a TV news broadcast.

Not content with humiliating and dismissing Comey, Trump then threatened him in a May 12 tweet: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Having implied that he had secretly taped his conversation with Comey, Trump found himself besieged with the question: “Did you install a White House taping system similar to the one installed by President Richard Nixon?”

Trump has refused to answer–and so have his spokesmen and women.

Ironically, his latest use of a weaponized Twitter account may have doomed his Presidency. His threat to Comey has boxed him in with a series of dead-end scenarios.

Dead-end #1: If Trump taped the conversation without Comey’s consent, he broke the law.  (This has been explored in Part One of this series.)

Dead-end #2: If Trump admits he taped Comey, he provides Democrats–and even some Republicans–with reason to subpoena all existing White House tapes.

The House and Senate have competing investigative committees probing “the Russian connection.” And no doubt they will soon issue subpoenas for any secret tapes Trump may have made.

And so will newly-appointed Special Counsel Robert Meuller, III, who served for 12 years as FBI director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the appointment on May 17, citing “the unique circumstances [of] the public interest.” 

(Attorney General Jeff Sessions has supposedly recused himself from involvement in the Russian investigation–because he lied to Congress about his past contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during 2016.)

If he refuses to release them, Trump will touch off another Watergate-style conflict between the White House and Congress.

Dead-end #3: If he claims that he didn’t tape Comey, many people will believe he’s lying.

Dead-end #4: If he claims that he didn’t tape Comey, many people will believe he is a punk–for trying to intimidate the former FBI director with a baseless threat.

Dead-end #5: It’s impossible to prove a negative. So if Trump doesn’t have secret tapes to turn over, it will be impossible for him to prove he isn’t stonewalling in defiance of the law.

Dead-end #6: Trump’s brutal and unwarranted firing of James Comey on May 9 has infuriated the FBI’s 35,664 employees, of which 13,778 are Special Agents.

By earning the hatred of the most powerful investigative agency in the Federal Government, Trump has all-but-guaranteed his removal from office.

What began for the Bureau as a professional investigation into Russian sabotage has become a personal vendetta.

HE WHO LIVES BY THE TWEET, DIES BY IT: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 18, 2017 at 12:15 am

Donald Trump’s tweet-first-and-never-mind-the-consequences approach to life has been thoroughly documented.

From June 15, 2015, when he launched his Presidential campaign, until October 24, 2016, he fired nearly 4,000 angry, insulting tweets at 281 people and institutions. The New York Times needed two full pages of its print edition to showcase them.

Donald Trump

Among these targets were:

  • His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton
  • His fellow Republican Presidential candidates
  • Actress Meryl Streep
  • News organizations
  • President Barack Obama
  • Comedian John Oliver
  • Obamacare
  • Singer Neil Young
  • The state of New Jersey
  • Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And during his first two weeks as President, Trump attacked 22 people, places and things on his @realDonaldTrump account.

Then, on March 4, 2017, in a series of unhinged tweets, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of tapping his Trump Tower phones prior to the election:

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

Thus, without offering a shred of evidence to back it up, Trump accused his predecessor of committing an impeachable offense.

President Barack Obama

On May 9, Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey.

Reports soon surfaced that his reason for doing so was that Comey had refused to pledge his personal loyalty to Trump.

Trump had made this “request” during a private dinner at the White House in January.

After refusing to make that pledge, Comey told Trump that he would always be honest with him.

But that didn’t satisfy Trump’s demand that the head of the FBI act as his personal secret police chief.

James Comey official portrait.jpg

James B. Comey

Just 72 hours after firing Comey, Trump issued a threat to him via Twitter:

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

This last tweet may have proved fatal to the man who has weaponized Twitter.

Trump’s implication that he taped his conversation with Comey immediately led White House reporters to ask if he, in fact, taped conversations in the Executive Mansion.

Trump’s response: No comment.

At a White House press conference, Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, was asked three times: Was tape recording occurring in the White House?

Spicer replied: “I’ve talked to the President. The President had nothing further to add on that.”

Asked on Right-wing Fox News–the only major network Trump willingly appears on–if he taped the Comey conversation, the President said: “That I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest. And I hope he will be. And I’m sure he will be – I hope.”

By implying on Twitter that he had illegally taped his conversation with Comey–and then refusing to say if this was true–Trump has boxed himself into a no-win situation.

Dead-end #1: If he taped the conversation without Comey’s consent, Trump broke the law.

According to a 2003 Congressional report, “Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping”:

“It is a federal crime to wiretap or to use a machine to capture the communications of others without court approval, unless one of the parties has given their prior consent.

“It is likewise a federal crime to use or disclose any information acquired by illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping. Violations can result in imprisonment for not more than 5 years; fines up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for organizations); in civil liability for damages, attorneys fees and possibly punitive damages; in disciplinary action against any attorneys involved; and in suppression of any derivative evidence.”

Dead-end #2: If Trump admits he taped Comey, he provides Democrats–and even some Republicans–with reason to subpoena all existing White House tapes.

In the summer of 1973, the Senate was investigating the bugging of Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel during the 1972 Presidential campaign.

In June, 1973, John W. Dean III testified before the Senate Watergate Committee. He had served as White House Counsel for Nixon from 1970 to 1973. And now he outlined a litany of crimes ordered by President Richard Nixon.

The White House adamantly denied these charges by attacking Dean as a malcontent. (He had been fired by Nixon in April.)

So–who was telling the truth: Dean or Nixon?  It was a classic case of He said/he said.

Then–unexpectedly–a way appeared to answer the question: “Who is telling the truth?”

Alexander Butterfield, who had served as the Deputy Assistant to Nixon from 1969 to 1973, was called as a witness before the Committee.

In a private meeting with Senate investigators, he unintentionally blurted out that Nixon had installed a secret taping system to record all conversations between him and Oval Office visitors.

Suddenly, the Watergate investigation took an entirely new direction–one that would prove fatal to Nixon’s Presidency.

%d bloggers like this: