Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts on 1/6/2021

 

Alternative Punishment

Much is being said about the pros and cons of invoking the 25th Amendment, a second impeachment and prosecution under federal sedition acts to demonstrate once and for all, no individual, especially the president of the United States, is above the law.  Among the arguments against these courses are action, especially ones that would result in Donald Trump’s imprisonment, is concern that they will further divide an already bisected nation.

However, there are two alternatives which have received little or no attention.  Forget the Constitutional solutions which are cumbersome and require more than simple majority votes.  Instead, prosecute, indict and try Trump for all the statutory crimes he has committed related to his behavior both as president and as crime boss of the Trump Organization.  These could include sedition, bribery, campaign violations, tax evasion, bank fraud, securities fraud and mail fraud.  If convicted, the presiding judge in each case should sentence Trump to all appropriate fines and jail terms.  Then and only then should President Biden, in the name of national unity, not pardon, but commute all prison sentences leaving the fines in place and preventing Trump, as a convicted felon, from voting until all court costs, fines and restitution are paid.  (NOTE:  There would be a certain level of schadenfreude to watch Trump, now that he claims to be a Florida resident, have to comply with the law passed by the Florida legislature and signed by Governor DeSantis which undercut the will of the voters to restore voting rights to felons who had served their sentences.)

The second alternative would relieve American taxpayers of ever having to further underwrite the grifter-in-chief after leaving office.  It is based on provisions of the military code which deny any member of the armed forces, subject to a dishonorable discharge, access to any veteran benefits.   The same should be true for the commander-in-chief.  Therefore, Trump could be stripped of all the benefits under the Former President Act of 1958.  This would include:

  • Annual pension of $219,000/year.
  • Transition expenses for seven months.
  • Private staff and office funding up to $150,000 per year for the first 30 months and $96,000 thereafter
  • Medical treatment at military hospitals.
  • Secret service protection for 10 years.

Since these benefits are provided by law, an exception in this case would only require an act of Congress by a majority vote in each house signed by President Biden.

Presidential Medal of Shame

I have never been a fan of Bill Belichick.  Just two weeks ago, I reveled in the fact the New England Patriots failed to make the NFL playoffs this year.  But my past feelings about coach Belichick are no match for the admiration and respect I now have for him following his decision not to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the nation’s traitor-in-chief.  I hope President Biden, at some future date, bestows this honor on him, not for his accomplishments on the gridiron, but for his action this week off the field.

Statue of Freedom - WikipediaI wish I could say the same for Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam who attended a private ceremony last Thursday to accept their medals.  LAST THURSDAY!!  Less than 24 hours after Trump fomented an attack on the U.S. Capitol.  If either have the audacity to display their award in their homes or offices, I encourage every American who visits those locations to simply say, “Oh, is that the Medal of Freedom you received from Donald Trump the day after he launched an armed attack against a building on top of which stands the STATUE OF FREEDOM.  How ironic!”  If Player and Sorenstam had any appreciation for the country in which they have both had the opportunity to practice their craft and profit from it, they would return the medals IMMEDIATELY.  For those medals are no longer a badge of honor, but the equivalent of a “Scarlet C” for complicity.

Welcome Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski official photo.jpgOn Saturday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski joined the ranks of those who called for Trump’s immediate removal from office.  Although elected as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican nomination to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller in 2016, Murkowski remained a member of the Republican party.  However, that may change if, as she said, the party continues to be beholden to Trump.

Now, I do not expect Murkowski to register as a Democrat, but she should be welcomed to join the party caucus as have independents Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  In fact, any Senator who no longer wishes to be associated with the party of lies, conspiracy theories and insurrection would like the same offer, they should be welcome.

Now I know what some of you are going to say.  This will be a slap in the face of progressive members of the caucus.  But imagine this scenario: a Democratic caucus that consists of 60 or more members ranging in ideology from center right to far left.  That has always been the coalition which has been responsible for evolutionary advances in civil rights, sound economic policy and rational foreign engagement.  It is a coalition that is close enough in constitutional principle yet broad enough in ideology to become the best hope for compromise and accommodation of a wide range of thoughtful, fact-based solutions to the problems we, as a nation, now face.

If there is room in the party for pro-life Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, there is room in the caucus for Murkowski, Pat Toomey, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and any other Republican turned independent.  And, if it would help, maybe it is time to drop the label Democratic Party.  After this week, it might as well be called the Constitutional Party with the American Eagle as its mascot.  Let the others call themselves whatever they want.  But make no mistake, from January 6th onward they will be known as the Sedition Party with Donald Trump as their mascot.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

 

Synchronicity Runs Deep Revisited

 

NOTE:  The idea for this blog materialized yesterday following three news stories which came together in a perfect brainstorm–announcement of a forthcoming book about Donald T****’s last days in the White House, the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder outside his Central Park residence and the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to reject an application for injunctive action to stop certification of Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, Washington Post chief White House correspondent Robert Costa and investigative reporting icon Bob Woodward announced they would team up to write a chronicle of Donald T****’s final days in the Oval Office.  This will be Woodward’s second such effort following publication of The Final Days, documenting the end of the Nixon era, co-authored with former Post colleague Carl Bernstein.

Woodward and Bernstein: Watergate echoes loud in Donald Trump era | Watergate | The GuardianHighlights from Woodstein’s (the moniker given to the two then rookie journalists by Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee) collaboration included Nixon’s conversation with portraits of previous presidents and his asking then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the night before his formal resignation, to get down on his knees and join the soon to be ex-president in prayer for the nation.  In memory of John Lennon, on the anniversary of his death, I thought it would be an apt tribute to “Imagine” what one of the juicier tidbits might be in this forthcoming narrative of how another delusional commander-in-chief coped with his pending exile from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Imagine the following excerpt from the Costa/Woodward book.

Truth Wars
Episode Four/A Final Hope

The news had not been good.  But no one should have been surprised.  If you are going to pick a metaphor, select one that matches your desired outcome.  If you want to destroy an enemy, do not compare your means of doing so to the Empire’s “Death Star,” as did T**** campaign manager Brad Parscale.  He obviously slept through the last ten minutes of every Star Wars film in which the rebel forces destroyed this ultimate weapon over and over again.  Or refer to the emergence of a less-than-crack legal team as “unleashing the kraken,” another fatality in the annals of cinema.

But hope survived.  T**** had assembled a rag-tag trio of Supreme Court appointees akin to Luke, Han and Leia–otherwise known as Neil, Brett and Amy–who he believed would secure a victory in the face of insurmountable odds.  As one by one battleground states certified Biden wins, T**** became more despondent and reached out to the only person in the White House who had long-past tested positive for the coronavirus or was not currently quarantined–Third Lady Melania.

As T**** entered the outer office to Melania’s private quarters, he noticed an open newspaper on her aide’s desk.  And there it was, a giant headline, “Supreme Court Delivers.”  “I knew it,” T**** shouted.  The master plan had succeeded.  Once again, everyone had underestimated him.

The jubilant president burst through the door to FLOTUS’ office to deliver the good news.  “Stop packing,” he cried.  “We won.  We won.  The Supreme Court delivered for me.”

Melania could only laugh.  She then explained, “Dahnold, ‘Supreme Court’ is the contractor I hired to install the playing surface in the new tennis pavilion.  And as promised, they delivered the surfacing materials, at no charge.  I thought you would appreciate that.  This is just an advertisement, silly boy! “

“Haven’t you been watching the news?” she continued.  “The Court just unanimously rejected Mike Kelly’s application for injunctive relief to stop Governor Wolf from certifying the Pennsylvania results.”  She handed him a copy of the court order.

Supreme Court rejects Pennsylvania Republicans' attempt to block election results - CNNPolitics

“That’s it?” T**** asked.  To which Melania replied, “In more ways than one.  But, on the bright side, Jill Biden will be the one who has to work HER ass off on all this Christmas stuff for the next four years.”

The couple is distracted by a bell ringing three times in the background.

Confused, T**** inquires, “Melania, what’s that?”

“In the old country, my teachers always said, ‘Every time a bell rings, a Supreme Court justice grows a spine.’  Happy holidays, dear.”

“Damn it, Melania.  I told you never ever say that.  For the last time, it’s ‘Merry Christmas, MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Even when it’s not.’  I may need those evangelicals again in 2024.”

ENDNOTE:  Of course, this is fiction.  But, based on the last four years, it is probably not nearly as crazy as what will actually take place.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

 

Random Thoughts 16 Days Out

 

As I start this post, the Deprogramming101 countdown clock is at 16 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes and 47 seconds until election day.  But who’s counting.  EVERYONE!  And, if you are obsessed with what is at stake on the ballot November 3rd, your head explodes with every new headline and poll, each worthy of a deeper examination.  However, this morning I thought I would share some random thoughts, some sane, some less so.

The Ginsberg Effect

Democrats hoped Ruth Bader Ginsberg had enough life left in her to survive until January 3, 2021, the date on which they expected a majority of Democratic senators to be seated in the “world’s most deliberative body,” a moniker which hardly seems still appropriate.  But Ginsberg is not the only person who was in the race against time.

This week I learned a revered member of our community and a Biden supporter had passed away after a long illness.  I am embarrassed to admit my first reaction, “Did she get a chance to vote before she left us?”  Then I learned she died five weeks ago, before mail-in ballots were distributed.  I am sure Marco Rubio, the People of Praise and Father Edward Meeks will chalk this up to divine intervention.  And they wonder why 26 percent of Americans do not believe in God.

Biden’s Cuban-American Problem

The Trump campaign believes Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County will once again deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes for the Republican candidate as they did in 2016.  To make that happen, they have targeted this voting bloc with television and social media advertising reminding this faction they left Cuba to get away from socialism.  So, why would they vote for Joe Biden, who, with help from Bernie Sanders and AOC, will make America just like Cuba.  Unfortunately, the tactic seems to be working, especially among older Cuban-American voters.

Yet, that is not Joe Biden’s problem.  The more salient issue is the inability of his campaign or the DNC to reframe the issue.  This is not rocket science.  These people did not leave Cuba because of socialism.  If Cubans were wealthy and lived freely in an open society they would still be there.  They left because Fidel Castro was corrupt, jailed his political opponents and put ideology above the welfare of the people.  Where are the Biden ads which remind Cuban-American voters:

Since the Mariel Boatlift, which brought many of you or your ancestors to America, you have enjoyed the rewards of living in a democracy.  During the intervening 40 years, the United States has been governed by Democrats and Republicans, but they all had one thing in common.  They believed in the rule of law, the right for opponents of the government to have a voice and the nation’s leaders should be chosen by ALL the people.

For the first time since many of you arrived on American soil, that legacy is in danger.  Donald Trump wants you to believe he can only lose if the election is rigged.  He wants Attorney General Bill Barr to jail his political opponents.  He does not distinguish between the government and his personal business interests.  He prefers catering to Russia more than supporting the spread of democracy globally.  Sound familiar?  Isn’t that the real reason you came to America, to get away from autocrats?

Sometimes You’re Right

Hall of Fame Pitcher Dizzy Dean once said, “It’s not bragging if you can do it.”  So, I am going to give myself a pat on the back.  In Wednesday’s post “Heed the POLITICAL Scientists,” one of the OLD rules of politics which I believe still apply to the NEW politics of the Trump era was, “Manufactured October Surprises Seldom Work.”  I bet Rudy Giulliani and the New York Post wish they had been a subscriber to Deprogramming101.

Facebook, Twitter block The Post from postingLess than 24 hours later the Post published an article titled, “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.”  Within hours of its dissemination, Twitter announced the conspiracy theory had so many holes in it they blocked on-line links to the article.  And now the FBI is investigating whether Giulliani had been targeted by Russian intelligence to be the bagman in LaptopGate.

As I watched this farce unfold, I was reminded of something former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) wrote in an article “How to Impeach Oneself” for The Hill.

Third, the president would bring in people to do damage control and have those supposed experts actually deliver more damage. This, of course, has been the outcome of the recent addition of Rudy Giuliani to the president’s personal legal team.

And Sometimes You’re Wrong

Some of you long-time readers might remember a February 15, 2017 post titled, “The Old Switcheroo,” in which I castigated NBC for courting the Trump resistance after “aiding and abetting the normalization of Donald Trump” during the 2016 election.  Evidence included Trump’s hosting “Saturday Night Live,” an appearance on the NBC/Golf Channel’s show “Feherty,” and Jimmy Fallon’s milquetoast interview in which he played with whatever that is on top of Trump’s head.

So, when NBC offered the crybaby-in-chief an hour of air-time opposite Joe Biden’s town hall on ABC, my first reaction was, “Here we go again.” In protest, I cancelled my subscription to Peacock, NBC’s new premium streaming service.  Catering to Trump was so unpopular among MSNBC on-air talent, they made a point of reminding viewers NBC News and MSNBC were separate legal entities under different management.

One voice in the wilderness was Joe Scarborough.  And the day after Trump’s latest on-air implosion, it was evident why Morning Joe was right.  He reminded us how quickly Trump’s approval ratings dropped during his White House “COVID briefings.”  In other words, the more people see Trump, the more likely they are to ask themselves, “Do I really want four more years of this?”  Even the overnight viewer ratings bear this out.  More people wanted to see what Biden had to say than watch Trump.

Sometimes I’m wrong, and that is not a bad thing.

The POLLar Express

If you are nervous about the outcome of this election, your blood pressure probably rises and falls based on the daily polling results.  Understanding where the race stands on any given day is further muddied by the numerous polling firms, the time frame in which the sample is queried and the differing methodologies.

One of my mentors in voting behavior, Richard Scammon, who designed the first exit poll, NBC’s Voter Profile Analysis, always reminded us, “Single polls tell you where voters are.  What you want to know is where they are heading.”  Unfortunately, most polls select a different voter sample each time they take the electorate’s temperature.  There is one major exception.  The USC Dornsife “Daybreak Poll” which repeatedly asks the same sample of approximately 5,500 likely voters their preference over two weeks, a 14th of the sample each day.  Their daily update is the average for that 14 day window.

Here’s what this kind of longitudinal tracking tells us.

  • On September 29, 2020, the day before the presidential debate, Biden already held a sizable lead 51.75-42.25 percent.
  • On October 1, 2020, the day after the debate, the lead increased to 52.48-42.14 percent.  Keep in mind, this is based on having re-checked only1/14 of the total sample.
  • As all of the sample were re-queried by the 14th day following the debate, the lead stretched to 53.72-41.58 percent.  However, a portion of the sample had now been affected by news of Trump’s contracting the coronavirus and hospitalization.
  • Since Trump’s return to the White House and campaign trail, the margin has hardly moved.  For October 16, 2020, the spread was 53.52-41.73 percent.

What does all this mean?  There has been some, but very little erosion, in Trump support, maybe .75 percent.  But late deciders, as predicted, are becoming more comfortable with Biden, increasing his support by almost two percent.

Of course, 16 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes and 1 second are an eternity in politics.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

 

Build That Wall

 

Katie Waldman and Stephen Miller Wed at Trump Hotel - The New York ...If sometimes you wish you were a fly on the wall at Kellyanne and George Conway’s home, think what it must have been like earlier today at the Steven Miller household.  Fortunately, for us, Deprogramming101 has intercepted an email between Miller and his wife Katie.

FROM:  kmiller@vp.gov
TO:  smiller@whitehouse.gov
SUBJ:  Priorities
SENT: Friday, May 8, 2020, 2:05 PM

In case you hadn’t heard, your boss just told the nation I had tested positive for the coronavirus.  I guess that makes him a HIPAAcrit.  Fortunately, I am currently asymptomatic and should be okay.  However, the White House physician has asked that I isolate for at least 14 days though I’m considering extending my quarantine for at least a month.  And that includes from you.

I asked Rosita to put fresh linens, towels, your copy of 1984 and several back issues of The Daily Stormer in the guest quarters.  I understand it’s very comfortable.  At least that’s what Alex Jones told me during his last visit.

I know how excited you’ve been, using the pandemic to accelerate your anti-immigration agenda, but I wish you and that stable genius had spent a bit more time trying to figure out how to keep the virus from migrating from the West Wing to the Eisenhower Office Building.  Perhaps you can re-allocate some funding from the border wall to erect a 20 foot high barrier between our offices.

See you in June.  Don’t do anything illegal while I’m gone.  Like burning all the copies of the administration’s coronavirus guidelines.  You know, like I did with the student newspaper at the University of Florida when they endorsed my opponent for the student council.

Sleep tight.  Love,  Your All-American White Tigress

NOTE TO DONALD TRUMP:  This parody contains actual examples of sarcasm.

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP

 

 

Use Your Vein

 

Donald Trump, during his appearance at a Honeywell facility in Arizona, told reporters,  “You know I made the virus mutate.  In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I call it Corona Extra.”

Meanwhile, Trump campaign director Brad Parscale announced they would not be using the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” this fall because it might remind voters they haven’t received their unemployment checks, $1,200 stimulus payments or access to testing.  Among tunes considered as the theme for the 2020 campaign is the following (with apologies to Carly Simon).

You walked up to the podium
Like you had something worth talkin’ about
Your hair strategically across your scalp
Your UV tan, you did flout
You had one eye on the monitor
And watched yourself pontificate
And all the Trumpsters dreamed that you’d be their home boy
You’d be their home boy, and tell them
Use your vein
Fill it with Chlorox or booze
Use your vein,
Believe me, what could you lose?
Won’t you?
Won’t you?

POSTSCRIPT

During the Arizona presser, Trump was asked what Cinco de Mayo celebrates.  Trump answered, “Hmmm.  Heinz, Hellmann’s, Kraft, Duke’s and Miracle Whip.  Is that five mayos?”

For what it’s worth.
Dr. ESP