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President Trump once again proved he’s not the right guy for the job, this time by humiliating himself with his blatantly racist comments. We want more people from Norway? Presumably so he can date their daughters after Melania wilts. But aside from that, the racism is pretty clear. No good people can possibly come from Haiti or Africa or anywhere there are brown people, so why let any of them in?

I’ll be honest. Trump has been around public life for years and has dealt with people of all stripes during his long career. As much as I detest him, his demagoguery and race baiting, I always saw it more as politically opportunistic with a racist base than how he personally feels about various classes of people. I guess I was wrong, which doesn’t really break my heart to discover. I see it for what it is. He really doesn’t like dark people all that much.

Shocker.

Conservatives, while wrapped in the flag, never seem miss an opportunity to bash the ‘mainstream media’ or MSM as it’s referred to by some. They call it biased, and lately just claim it’s ‘fake news’, a term that is used to describe pretty much anything said by the Trump administration and their merry band of propagandists, but is nevertheless used by the aforementioned to discredit legitimate journalism.

But I love the mainstream media because I understand what the country would be like without them. Like them or not, they are the closest thing we have to a ‘check and balance’ on government power at all levels, and without them we might as well just give up on the country altogether because we’ll never again poses the tools necessary to vet our information.

You can hate the MSM, but whether you like them or not, we can all agree that the mainstream media is accountable. Large media organizations like ABC, NBC, CBS are accountable to voters and viewers alike. They are accountable to politicians who claim foul when misinformation is sometimes accidentally disseminated. And they are accountable to advertisers who sometimes pull ads over objectionable content and would certainly pull ads if the content was deemed to be willfully dishonest.

Consider the alternative to MSM. No mainstream media means a complete lack of any kind of third party accountability. It means hollow and unaccountable standards for (and I use the term loosely) ‘journalists’ like Project Veritas hack and convict James O’Keefe who thinks lying to advance his belief system is fair game. We already have this problem with right wing rags pushing conspiracy theories to gullible conservatives who love the red meat subject matter but lack the critical thinking skills to correctly filter the noise from the actual news. No, former president Obama is not a Kenyan Muslim who hates America.

Without the MSM, how would people be able to determine what news to believe? Accountability is critical for our democracy and we should honor and protect it as such. Once the mainstream media is gone, what does that leave you with? Hyper partisan hack news organizations like Breitbart and Fox that act as de facto state media for the administration, and a virtual Wild West of so-called and deceptively named (and again, I use the term loosely) ‘news’ outlets with a wide spectrum of dubious journalistic standards that includes everything from innuendo to outright lies.

Attacks on the mainstream media weaken the only verifiable sources of independent news that exist on earth. Without them, the only official news we would get to hear would be from our government and subject to their willful deception and propaganda. Who wants that? During Obama we could trust most of what the government said. Under Trump, we can’t trust anything. So it’s no surprise they consider the media the enemy. They actually ARE the enemy of the Trump administration, and for good reason. They are the only bulwark between Trump’s constant blather or twitter lies and the actual truth of what happens in the world.

So when you hear someone disrespecting the MSM, correct them. Remind them that without the mainstream news, they would be at the mercy of the government to disseminate any news they saw fit without any checks or independent verification. We should protect the MSM with our very lives, even before we protect our own government. For a government without this kind of check is on it’s way to becoming a dictatorship sooner or later. The MSM is the ultimate check on power and without them every bit of information becomes suspect.

With Harvey Weinstein’s career, social, and private life in shambles as a result of accusations coming from nearly 60 women (at the time of this writing), many people are wondering if recent events aren’t some kind of watershed moment for… well to tell you the truth, I’m not really sure what. A reckoning? Surely. The overall treatment of women in the work place and social life? Probably not, if we’re being honest. Once all the bad news dies down, some men will inevitably go back to being predatory and new ones will take their place from year to year.

But the reckoning – that moment where suddenly women feel empowered to speak out about their experiences – that may be coming for more people, and for those who have transgressed it’s going to be brutal. The question is, how long will the reckoning go on, and who’s fates will be sealed?

So far, names like Bush, Afleck, and Halerpin are making headlines along with a slew of others, but for some reason the damn has yet to break on Donald Trump. Trump, for his part, who’s name is back in the news this week along side the other accused has issued another declaration of innocence as he continues to weather the storm.

In today’s world, it takes a special set of circumstances for a celebrity to fall. Bill Cosby’s ignominious pursuits spanned decades according to accusers in spite of his outrageous conduct. It wasn’t until one special day where something about the conditions in the cosmos were just right that the public started paying attention to the news. And the same has been true for many other famous people, Weinstein among them where bad behavior in epic proportion goes unpunished over and again.

Well, ladies, if you’re reading this, let me give you some advice. The conditions to bring Trump’s conduct to light have never been better. The rich and powerful are currently vulnerable in a way heretofore unseen and any new accusers are going to get their moment. But if Donald is allowed to ride out this current wave of misconduct allegations, then you might as well just give up because there will never be another time this ripe for these stories to have an impact. And if Trump survives, he’ll be that much harder to touch in the future as any new allegations will begin to sound like the boy who cried wolf to his supporters.

This is why anyone who’s ever been the victim of Trump sexual misconduct should step up, and do so quickly. It’s going to take a lot of weight to move the mountain and there won’t be another chance like this again, ever.

With President Trump’s executive order today allowing the creation of cheaper, less regulated insurance plan Donald Trump officially has sabotaged the nation’s healthcare system know as Obamacare. His order will take plan payers out of larger pools and put them into cheaper ones which will have the effect of driving up premiums for the people who are already sick or at higher risk of being sick, effectively hurting the vulnerable.

As more and more young healthy people choose these skimpier plans, this will have the effect of ruining the healthcare markets that had already achieved an equilibrium in the marketplace. Instead of costs coming down for, with the markets losing insured they will increase for many, many people who are the least likely to be able to pay higher prices and the whole system could collapse.

But we must make no mistake in assigning blame. This was sabotage by our leader of a marketplace that has run for years. There was no need to do take this action, and hurt these people. This was a political act designed to hurt a system that has helped millions of Americans obtain insurance and receive necessary treatment.

If and when Trump makes the system collapse, he’s the owner. He’s the guy who started signing orders and messing with the status quo. He’s the man who ruined the lives of those who will suffer under the harsh premium increases that will surely follow this action.

Trump alone will have blood on his hands.

On Sunday Mike Pence traveled to an NFL game where he knew there would be a protest by some of the players. (Seriously, didn’t we all know that?)  Then he left in mock disgust. He said he won’t tolerate disrespect of the flag.

But isn’t Mike Pence the VP to Donald Trump? The guy who

  • Dodged the draft refusing to fight for the same flag with 5 medical deferments
  • Insulted war veteran John McCain for being captured
  • Insulted a gold-star family who’s son gave his life in service to the country
  • Talked about sexually assaulting women with impunity due to his celebrity

I guess Mike Pence has slippery morals when it comes to his boss.

But let’s look at really what’s going on here. Pence believes that his voters are so incredibly stupid they won’t notice the hypocrisy. He’s right. But worse, he’s put that on display in what is probably the most obvious a political stunt so far this century. That is to say, who didn’t know that there would be a protest at Sunday’s game?

And the worst part of it all is that his voters will be outraged, not by his callous manipulation of their emotions, but by the protesters who really just want to bring attention to lingering racial injustice. Pence might as well just give minorities the finger. It’s more direct and less shady that his political games. Besides, his boss does it all the time.

And with some run of the mill Trump inflammatory demagoguery, suddenly the entire sports word is divided among itself. Blacks protesting police brutality and inequality. Trump supporters (who are more nationalistic than thoughtful) protesting the protesters.

Suddenly it’s fan against sport. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Thanks, Prez.

While all this is going on, Puerto Rico is still without power. The island is in ruins, but Trump is tweeting about football. Is Houston still a thing? I certainly wouldn’t know from our Commander in Chief.

To make matters worse, Trump then called for a boycott of the NFL. This hurts the players, sure, but it hurts everyone else more. It hurts the fans, the vendors and their employees, the advertisers and their businesses, the sport and all the franchises. Basically it hurts everyone. Everyone but Trump who probably doesn’t care much for football anyway since it doesn’t involve golf.

If he had just kept his yap shut, none of this would be happening. I’m not sure how much more of Trump’s “leadership” we can handle. He’s about as toxic as cyanide these days and getting worse, not better.

Right now it’s football he’s screwing up, but remember North Korea has an atomic bomb… Kind of scary in a literal way these days. Let’s just say I hope he handles Kim better than he has the NFL.

I wonder if Putin is paying Trump to turn us against each other? That’s certainly what today’s revelation about Russian Facebook advertising buys during the election seemed to indicate. If I were Putin, I’d probably cut Trump a check even if he wasn’t on the payroll and tell him to keep up the good work. Trump probably wouldn’t get the joke – but he’d certainly cash the check.

I think it’s pretty clear to most impartial observers that the pardoning of Joe Arpaio was a cheap political stunt. Considering Joe wasn’t likely to go to jail, and was only convicted of a misdemeanor, it would be hardly worthy of presidential attention – unless the president stood to gain from the act. In this case, the president was kind enough to confirm it to us, as he mentioned that the Hurricane Harvey coverage would give him a larger soapbox from which to announce his action. (Thanks for letting us know, Don.)

But now that the dirty deed is done, it’s time to consider the ramifications of this ill-conceived act.

First and foremost, the pardon is something of a paper tiger. The only thing Trump can pardon Arpaio for is federal transgressions, not for breaking state law. So his pardon really only applies to the federal contempt conviction and not much else. And in Trump’s impatience to take advantage of the hurricane’s news cycle, he issued his pardon well before the case was even fully adjudicated because the appeal is still in process. This leaves the pardon in something of a gray area, legally speaking as Arpaio is seeking to have the conviction vacated completely and pardons historically imply the recipient has admitted guilt since the recipient is supposed to have demonstrated remorse.

And there’s more. Pardons aren’t typically issued for political purposes, as was this one, and so the natural consequence is that is raises constitutional questions that must now be answered by the courts. This is because the president can’t ignore the constitution while issuing a pardon. For instance, were the president to accept a cash payment in return for a pardon, he would probably be liable to some kind of prosecution for bribery.

All this will inevitably lead to months of uncertainty as the various legal wheels begin to turn and issues land before judges for rulings. Ultimately there could be one or more supreme court decisions that grant or limit presidential power with respect to issuing pardons. Either way, only one thing is absolute: the president doesn’t really have unlimited power to issue pardons after all, regardless of what Trump may currently think and say.

And that brings us to the final and most important point of all, and what may one day be judged as one of Trump’s biggest miscalculations. With all the legal challenges to this pardon, other individuals close to the president will begin to take notice and question whether or not Trump can really provide the legal cover he may have promised them if they broke the law at his request or for his benefit. So Trump has, in effect, squandered his power to suggest to others that he’s got their backs, which is a big deal when there’s a powerful independent council looking into your administration’s actions. Ultimately, he may have wasted his golden signature on a silly misdemeanor conviction for a racist, asshole sheriff.

People who might have been content to lie for Donald will and should be much more careful to consider whether or not it’s worth the risk, as they know other pardons he may issue will be looked at that much more carefully. If nothing else, this political stunt will place doubt in the minds of those around Trump who might now think that his pardon is not necessarily the get-out-of-jail-free card they imagined it would be. In the end, it was just another way for Trump to win short-term political adoration from his breathless followers but at the expense of any long term objectives he might have and the people who idiotically break the law expecting him to cover for them.