In a 2007 episode of the television series, Monk, titled, “Monk and the Rapper.” Snoop Dogg played a character named “Murderuss” that was set up for the murder of his friend “Extra Large” by “Denny Hodges,” who planted a bomb under the limo Extra Large was driving. Monk solved the crime, but when he tried to rap the explanation of what happened. Snoop Dogg had to take his place and musically explain how Denny committed the murder.
Like Snoop Dogg, Donald Trump was set up… twice, by Robert Mueller, prior to submitting his written answers about the Trump campaign conspiring with Russians to win the election. The difference between Trump and Snoop Dogg is that Trump is most likely guilty.
First, Mueller waited for Trump to submit his written answers to the Special Counsel’s questions before revealing that he knew Paul Manafort was lying and leaking information back to Trump lawyers about what he was telling Mueller. Second, he charged Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen with lying to Congress. Specifically about the Trump Tower Moscow deal that was still being negotiated long after Trump was publicly saying he had no deals of any kind in Russia. These two moves exposed Trump as a liar and brought an intense focus on the Collusion that Trump keeps saying never happened.
Because Trump thinks he’s a genius (instead of a pathological liar), he fell for the okey-doke, answering Mueller’s questions based on what he believed to be true; that Manafort had played Mueller for a sucker and Cohen hadn’t exposed that aspect of their conspiracy with Russia. Both Trump and Fox News were babbling in trying to explain away Trump’s lies and why we should determine they don’t matter.
With Mueller’s new charge against Cohen, he signaled that anyone else that lied to Congress is subject to prosecution. Accompanying documentation implicated not only Donald Trump (Individual 1) but also other Trump family members (Donald Jr, Eric, and Ivanka) of having been involved in the Russia negotiations. All of them are believed to have testified before Congress, denying the timeline of the Russia negotiations. Mueller is sending a message to any Trump ally that has lied before Congress to either lawyer up, change their story or both. Man, they been set up!
The bigger the lie, the bigger the backlash when you get caught. Especially if you tell those lies to the American public on national television… repeatedly. If you are going to tell a lie involving the actions of other people, and they can prove you wrong. You are dependent on them keeping quiet and not blowing you out of the water. They, on the other hand, own you until such a time as the lie is exposed and their silence has no more value.
Trump has stated again and again both during the Presidential campaign and after becoming President that, “I have no dealing with Russia.” Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty today to having lied to Congress on several details involving the Trump Tower Moscow project, all of which Russia knew about and had the ability to expose at any time.
One particular lie involved an Email Cohen sent to Putin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, asking for help in getting a deal done. The lie was that the Email was sent to a general account and was never responded to. We learned today that the letter was followed up by a call from President Putin’s office and that efforts were ongoing to get the project off the ground. President Putin knew of the lies Trump was telling the American public. Trump had to know that he knew. Putin’s silence and Trump’s inexplicable subservience to Russia now have an explanation. Trump has been Putin’s puppet since at least then and we now know one reason why.
Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th District) is the incoming Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. He promised at least twice today that he will investigate not only the Trump Tower Moscow project but also Russian money laundering into the Trump Organization, which Devin Nunes and the Republicans have refused to investigate. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is bearing down on Trump allies Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi and their coordination with Wikileaks to release the Podesta emails hacked by Russia.
The conspiracy case is becoming public before our eyes although Fox News keeps saying there’s nothing to see here. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Before taking Air Force One to Argentina for a summit with world leaders. Trump gave a desperate impromptu press conference in which he called Michael Cohen “weak” and “a liar.” All the while trying to bluster through the fact that his own weak lies have been exposed.
Donald Trump may have no idea who Mudbone is? One of the favorite characters created by the late comedian Richard Pryor. Mudbone told funny and fascinating tales that were the highlight of a Richard Pryor show. In one tale, Mudbone brought his friend to the voodoo woman, Miss Rudolph, to cure his friend whose girlfriend put a mojo on him causing his feet to swell along with other ailments. Mudbone explained he, “didn’t have any money.” Miss Rudolph agreed to help if Mudbone brought her a goose or a turkey for Christmas.” Mudbone agreed, thinking to himself it was June and he had no plans to see Miss Rudolph again in life. Just then a huge tarantula ran across him and disappeared when he tried to crush it. Mudbone said, “Miss Rudolph, what happened to the tarantula?” She said, “None of your business but if you don’t bring me a turkey… You will see him again.” Chief Justice John Roberts just reminded Donald Trump, he will see him again.
After Donald Trump publicly criticized a Federal Judge that struck down his order to refuse to process asylum requests coming from the Southern border. Trump blasted him as “an Obama judge.” In a rare public statement. Roberts said, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
Never one to give anyone else the last word. Trump then tweeted, “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country.”
What Mudbone instantly grasped about the tarantula and Trump has yet to learn. Is that you don’t want some people (or tarantulas) on your bad side. In the foreseeable future, Roberts may have a say in deciding whether Trump can be forced to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury. He may have input on claims of Executive Privilege and its application. He may even preside over an Impeachment trial in the US Senate should we reach that point.
Unlike members of Congress who have buckled under, fearing the threat of Trump’s tweets and possible opposition. Roberts has no fear of Trump with his lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Whatever your opinion of Roberts, he has demonstrated concern for the legacy of the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general. He is not amused by this President who is no respecter of Judges or civility. There is little doubt that Trump could win the war or words, as Roberts will remove himself from the fray. Not wishing to be drawn further into a political battle. What Roberts knows that Trump hasn’t realized, is that Roberts, like the tarantula, may see him again.
The Detroit, MI Board of Education recently voted to consider name changes for several schools including one named after Dr. Ben Carson, the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Trump administration. Dr. Carson was once a hero in the community where he himself graduated in 1969. He achieved fame as a neurosurgeon and was portrayed by Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr in the movie, “Gifted Hands.”
Since his run for the Presidency as a Republican candidate and joining the Trump Cabinet. He has achieved a new type of notoriety. Not nearly as well received by many in the black community.
When word got out of the name change being considered, Project 21, the self-proclaimed, “leading voice of black conservatives” came to Ben Carson’s defense. They said the name change was a “purely political act which willfully ignores the accomplishments and charitable acts of the famous Detroit native who now serves as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.” The argument has some merit, there is much in Dr. Carson’s past that deserves recognition. Can his present actions erase his accomplishments of the past? I’m content to let the residents of Detroit whose children have to enter the building make that decision. Much like the residents of Trump-branded apartments and condos who have chosen to take down the Trump name.
Project 21 has injected their voice but are those black conservatives anything but a pawn of a white right-wing political group? From their Facebook page; “Project 21 is an initiative of The National Center for Public Policy Research to promote the views of African-Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility has not traditionally been echoed by the nation’s civil rights establishment.” But if you look at the National Center for Public Policy Research, you find few black members of their staff, all of those with roles specific to Project 21 save for one Horace Cooper who sits on their board.
I wrote this review on the Project 21 website on November 27, 2013:
“ I have serious questions about Project 21 and this site. You promote yourselves as the “leading voice for Black conservatives” yet the majority of posts are shared links from conservative blogs whose authors are definitely not Black Conservatives. I have the impression (please correct me if I’m wrong) that Project 21 was founded by a predominantly white right-wing group who still maintains a relationship if not control. I also want more than the constant negativity without balance and sometimes without truth in the commentary.
I can see the value in an organization and site where conservative ideas are expressed and those of like mind in the Black community can meet and share ideas. I’m not sure that I see that here. I also would like to hear what Project 21 thinks about the coordinated effort to suppress votes across the country in order to affect election results. If you deny it exists that will speak volumes if it’s acceptable because the goal outweighs the means that will say a lot also. If you find it offensive but don’t speak out I’d love to know why?”
To their credit, Project 21 left the review up for years and I would occasionally get a reply. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from dozens of the mostly white people who visit the site. Now and then, a black person would agree with my sentiments. What never happened was a black conservative articulating a response and engaging in conversation. While many of the articles on the site were indeed published by the black conservatives associated with the Project 21 Speakers Bureau (that you can only schedule by contacting the National Center for Public Policy Research). The site itself appears to be where white people go to both praise the black conservatives who agree with them or condemn black people in general. I stopped visiting the site and arguing because it was time I’d never get back but I would check in from time to time to make sure nothing has changed.
Here are a few current post’s from the site, defending Elvis Presley posthumously receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor from Donald Trump:
Cindy Winkleman Tired of some “black people” looking for racism in everything. Get over it and I bet your life will be much better.
Grant Redhawk I’m sorry if some of you don’t like this but black people have earned the “N” label. They need to shut up!
Rich Provost Wash Post is run by the most raciet bunch of idiots ever!
The names are real, the spelling was not changed to protect the guilty.
In full disclosure, years ago I had a rather pleasant exchange of comments with the Founder of the National Center for Public Policy Research, Amy Ridenour. The topic wasn’t the white control of Project 21 but she demonstrated the capacity to be nice. Being nice doesn’t make her a black conservative.
When you read the statements from “black conservative group Project 21.” Know that what you are getting is the right-wing views of an organization founded, owned, and operated by someone else operating under the facade of being black. Many times on their site I begged for a response from one of the black conservatives alleged to be present. Alas… I found none.
Voter suppression is illegal, but is it a crime? Voter intimidation is a crime; threatening, coercing, or attempting either is punishable by fine, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. Voting illegally could get you sent to jail, depending on your color and who you were voting for.
Terri Lynn Rote, a white woman, was given two-years probation and a $750 fine for trying to vote twice for Donald Trump in Iowa. Crystal Mason, a black woman, was sentenced to 5-years in prison for attempting to vote illegally. Ms. Mason says she didn’t know she was ineligible to vote after her name was removed from the Texas voting rolls after a felony conviction for which she’d served her time. While voting illegally is definitely a crime, the only penalty for suppressing votes seems to be a greater likelihood of winning an election.
In a go big or go home strategy, Republicans in recent years have done all they could to suppress votes on a major scale. The Republican National Committee (RNC) was just freed from a Consent Decree forbidding them from coordinating with State Governments and Secretary’s of State to enforce their, “Ballot Security” programs which involved not so subtle intimidation of minority voters in crucial precincts. When Mike Pence announced in early 2016 the Republican Party would be performing that type of coordination he had to quickly renounce his statement and pretend it wasn’t true. That was before the Consent Decree was allowed to expire. Now Pence, Trump, Republican-controlled state governments, and Republican Secretary’s of State in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, and elsewhere are free to suppress away. From time to time they may be restrained by judges from imposing their will, but nobody is going to jail.
We just watched Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp use myriad strategies to suppress minority votes in his successful bid to become that state’s Governor. Despite being ordered by judges to halt several efforts, nothing was done to restore the rights of the hundreds of thousands of voters he’d managed to remove from the rolls during his term as Secretary of State. His efforts paled when compared to the millions Governor Rick Scott was able to remove in Florida. In Kansas, Dodge City residents who are primarily Hispanic saw their only polling location moved out-of-town to a suburban location with no bus stop, making it harder once again for minorities to vote.
Republicans are suppressing votes out of necessity. The Party is dwindling as a percentage of the population and their ability to win elections depends more and more on their effectiveness in suppressing votes. Historically, Democrats have been perhaps more guilty of voter suppression and intimidation but this cycle belongs to the Republicans. They do it because it’s effective, and the penalty is not severe.
So, why isn’t voter suppression something that leads to prison and excruciating financial pain? I don’t recall even any attempts to impose the kinds of penalties to give people pause when coming up with the strategies that prevent people from voting. Can it be that Republican and Democrat legislators are complicit in this scheme which keeps an ever-growing minority population from exerting more control in elective government? I’m going to give that question a little more thought.
If there are no laws imposing the types of penalties to significantly reduce voter suppression. It must be because legislatures don’t want them to exist. Instead of playing whack-a-mole when new suppressive laws and policies pop up. Let’s make real laws against voter suppression and start sending people to prison when they do so. If Cynthia Mason can get 5-years for trying to exercise a right she didn’t know she’d lost. Someone taking away the rights of hundreds of thousands ought to get life in prison. Bet it would stop then!
In a recent press conference, Donald Trump demonstrated how every conversation with a racist goes when the subject comes up. He was asked by PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor about his own comments about being a “Nationalist” and she added, “ There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?” After fumbling for an answer, Trump repeatedly said, “That’s a racist question!”
Calling someone else a racist is the go-to statement when asked to discuss let alone defend statement when called upon to discuss uncomfortable topics involving race. In their mind, it absolves them of any responsibility to engage further because they have now called you the racist. They win… game over. Only the situation that prompted the original question hasn’t gone anywhere and true racism is alive and well. In this case, Trump is still a proud Nationalist and in his rambling defense, he again contrasted himself with “Globalists” which is a long-standing code word for Jews. A veritable trade industry has sprung up of Trump loyalists trying to explain what Trump “really means” when he uses racist language.
For purposes of this conversation, Trump is merely the example and not the topic. It’s your average, every day, sometimes anonymous Twitter or Facebook responder whose only escape from the topic of race is to turn around and call you a racist. These people believe that for them to be considered racist is the most heinous and insulting thing imaginable yet can’t grasp that the policies and statements they’re defending are actually racist, in effect if not intent. Bring up voter suppression and watch them spin out of control, especially when you mention the disparate racial impact of these laws intended to have exactly the effect they do. When forced to talk about the omnipresent accompanying laws in addition to Voter ID whose sole purpose is to make it harder to vote, especially minorities. The only out is to call you a racist, or to say, “you’re just playing the race card.”
The thing is, people that aren’t racist aren’t stymied when they are called one. They see thru it as a distraction and stay focused on the topic at hand. We see your feeble attempts to avoid the subject and inability to articulate a defense that makes the concept of racism go away without actually addressing race as an integral part of the discussion. Another example would be the defense of racial Gerrymandering and claiming despite an acknowledged racial impact, the intent was merely partisan therefore it’s okay.
Politicians, in particular, have long been saying, “America needs to have a discussion about race.” That discussion doesn’t end when one side tries to end it by saying, “You’re racist.” That’s probably the point where the real discussion is about to begin.
When you look strictly at the numbers, nobody got everything they wanted although overall, Democrats made big gains and took the House which will make life in the White House a living hell.
Democrats gained 40House seats, giving them not only a working majority but control of all the House Congressional committees. To quote now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “what goes around comes around.” All the witnesses the Republicans refused to call, subpoenas never sent and investigations never started when Republicans were in control will be kickstarted with a vengeance. Devin Nunes the outgoing House Intelligence Committee chair is soon to be the least consequential member of Congress once he hands his gavel over to Adam Schiff. You can expect Donald Trump, Jr, and Jared Kushner to receive subpoenas late in January if Robert Mueller hasn’t indicted them first and unnamed Democrats have already promised the House Ways & Means Committee will get Donald Trump’s tax returns which they will have the power to do. All funding Bills originate in the House so Trump can forget about getting that wall built unless they rush something through in the lame-duck period.
Republicans have something to crow about as well although less meaningful. When the counting is over they will have added a few seats to their thin majority in the Senate and will have a little more room to force through more Federal Judges and Supreme Court Justices should the opportunity arise. They offer Trump a bit more protection against Impeachment, depending on whether the Mueller Report is made public and what it reveals. The answer to whether Republicans will put Party above Country has been pretty well answered but even they have some standards.
Republicans also won some of the marquee Governor and Senate races although Scott Walker’s luck finally ran out in Wisconsin and Kris Korbach failed in Kansas although he’ll probably go to work in the White House, living to suppress votes another day. Democrat hopes were doused when Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, and Beto O’Rourke failed to claim victory although Abrams still has a thin chance of getting to a runoff. The subtitle of this piece. “racism is alive and well,” is not because America didn’t elect a black Governor in Florida or Georgia. It’s because America once again stared voter suppression in the face and looked away.
America stood and watched while Republicans did everything they could to keep minorities from voting and simply ignored it. Brian Kemp and his “exact match” program and his removing people from the voter rolls without their knowledge, literally running his election by not recusing himself as Georgia Secretary of State. Kris Korbach let the Dodge City, KS county clerk move the single polling location out of the majority Hispanic city into a suburban location with no bus access. A Judge frowned on the move but did nothing because it was “too close to the election.” In North Dakota, Republicans passed a law targeting Native Americans living on reservations, making thousands ineligible to vote. These special efforts were in addition to all the other efforts since the Supreme Court gutted the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Speaking of the Supreme Court, they approved the North Dakota plan to disenfranchise Native Americans, to be blunt, as a body they are just as racist as the lawmakers that proposed the laws. It is the history of the Supreme Court that has blunted and diminished every Civil or Voting Rights Act Congress has ever passed.
Much will transpire between now and the next Presidential election in 2020. One of the main things to watch is if the Supreme Court ever rules on partisan gerrymandering which they have managed not to take a stand on no matter how badly Democracy is upended. Of course, if they do rule, remember who they will likely side with. There are the ongoing Mueller investigation and Trump’s attempts to quash it. There will be a push for Impeachment in the House but a premature attempt will not likely succeed. The Senate is still controlled by Republicans who will need overwhelming proof. What we did see in the mid-term elections was a big swing towards Democrats with undeniable public concern for health care and maintaining provisions to cover pre-existing conditions. The blue wave wasn’t all that was hoped for and racist statements generally played well in Republican states and districts. Steve King (R-IA) was re-elected after making more racist statements. The President made a commercial too racist for Fox News to run. Racism… alive and well!