Saturday, December 18, 2021

Time for a Blog Break

I'm stepping away from the computer until Monday, Dec. 20th.

I need a couple of days of downtime. This world is getting through to me.

The reemergence of another COVID strain has been too much. I feel like we're in an endless loop of disasters.

Historic tornedos, cold temperatures, flooding, and a dysfunctional Congress has blurred the holidays into a time of just surviving.

Enough.

I invite you to check out my past posts (on the righthand side of the page). 

I'm also offering fiction instead of opinion at my blog The Creative Chronicles of Dave Stancliff 

Hopefully, by Monday I'll be ready to go back to expressing opinions without harshing my high. 

See ya then.

Friday, December 17, 2021

NY Trump Grand Jury Questions Forbes Over Interview With Trump

A new front has opened in the investigation to get justice for former president Trump's crimes.

(Photo of Cyrus Vance walking out of federal building.)

The Manhattan Grand Jury subpoenaed Forbes editor Randall Lane to testify about an article the publication ran in 2015. In the piece Trump threw out fantastic valuations of his properties and brand.

Prosecutors are interested in what Trump told Forbes about the value of his holdings. His bold lies about his net worth at the time raised reporter's eyebrows.

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Related: Forbes' Editor Tells Grand Jury About Trump's Obsession With His Rich List Placing

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With Cyrus Vance retiring at the end of the month observers are saying he wants to wrap up the case. He's centering in on Trump's intent to defraud investors and banks.

Vance wants to get clarity on who inflated Trump's net worth.

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Trump Fraud Inquiry's Focus: Did He Mislead His Own Accountants?

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It appears Trump is in more trouble than we thought. There's a good chance he'll be charged with fraud on several fronts.

In the weeks ahead the biggest story of 2020 may break as Vance wraps up the loose ends.

America may get an early Christmas present if Trump is indicted.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

As The Coup Spreads: House Freedom Caucus Plans to Infect State Legislatures

They're coming.

And they're crazy.

The House Freedom Caucus is coming to a state or city near you soon.

Its membership is devoted to Trump and overthrowing our republic.

The House hate group was launched in 2015 because some of the craziest Republican members didn't think the party was conservative enough. You won't find their definition of conservative in any dictionary, however.

Simply put, the new conservative's rhetoric and tactics has been cemented in the last five years under Trump's direction.

Currently Mark Meadows - Trump's former chief of staff and one of the original assholes to form the caucus, is busy helping the group to expand into state legislatures.

Meadow's efforts come amid his battle with Congress over his active role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a D.C.-based nonprofit founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose leaders include Meadows and attorney Cleta Mitchell — who aided Trump's failed legal efforts to overturn the election — is funding the group's expansion to Georgia, where seven Republican state lawmakers announced their launch on Tuesday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This effort in Georgia is just the tip of the iceberg. 

CPI announced in a press release that it will launch the "State Freedom Caucus Network" across the country and provide each state freedom caucus "with the tools and resources they need to mirror the success of the House Freedom caucus."

It's just another scary chapter of "As the coup spreads" in America's ongoing battle to preserve freedom.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Biden Released JFK Assassination Files In The Name of Transparency: Whose Going To Believe That?

I grew up believing in a conspiracy.

When I was thirteen John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 

Conspiracy theories have thrived since then.

Who was behind the assassination?

Was the Mafia involved?

Was there more than one shooter?

Why was Jack Ruby murdered on live TV?

Who was the umbrella man?

These are but a sampling of questions that went unanswered back then... and now.

Over the decades presidents have released portions of the JFK files that have not answered any of those questions.

The Biden administration released almost 1,500 documents today. There're still an estimated 10,000 documents being held back.

Longtime JFK researchers (truthers?) say the release likely does not include a smoking gun that would substantively change the public understanding of the circumstances surrounding Kennedy's death.

Some historians argue that one simply doesn't exist. So why play the reveal game and dole out documents now?

Lawmakers and transparency advocates say it's all about restoring faith in the functioning of government. 

Public polling through the decades has shown that a majority of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission's official finding that Kennedy was killed by a single man, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.

The fact is the government has taken far too long to get these records out and most people won't believe what does come out.

Congress is in a prolonged struggle for transparency in what happened during the Jan. 6 coup attempt.

In this day and age of rampant conspiracies revealing portions of a Congressional inquiry over 60 years ago isn't going to convince people that the government is open and transparent today.

For the record, I'm not a conspiracist, but I still don't believe we'll ever hear the rest of the story about JFK's assassination.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Sad Demise of America's Hometown Newspapers Has Had Devastating Effects On Our Society

I cut my journalistic teeth with small hometown newspapers. 

Watching the last of our nation's hometown newspapers fade into the past has been difficult for me.

I was the editor of a slew of local weekly newspapers over two decades. 

From being the editor (early 1980s) of The Desert Trail  in 29 Palms, California, to being a publisher of a group of weekly newspapers in northern California, I lived in small tightly knit communities.

Part of my job was becoming part of the community and getting involved in organizations like Rotary, Historical Societies and local government. 

One thing that was universal during those decades was people loved their local newspaper and it was a central part of the community. Readers trusted their paper.

Those days are rapidly coming to an end. Groups of newspapers have gobbled up most of the beloved hometown publications. The internet has also contributed to the decline of local journalism.

Readers who once couldn't wait to read about their neighbors and local news, now turn to social media platforms that polarizes neighbors.

Rural communities are losing their peaceful identities and morphing into hotspots for extremists.

It's difficult watching those 100-year-old plus newspapers recede into history. I realize now what an honor it was working for those small hometown newspapers.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Insurrection Update: National Guard Was Ready To 'Protect Pro Trump People'

Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows is defying a subpoena to appear before the Jan. 6 Select Committee, but the documents he did release are proving to be damning.

In particular, there was an email sent Jan. 5th by Meadows saying the National Guard would be present to "protect pro Trump people" in the lead up to the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Another Jan 5th email had a 38-page PowerPoint briefing titled "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for Jan. 6" to be provided "on the hill." 

Another damning email (Nov. 7, 2020) emerged discussing the appointment of alternate states of electors as part of a "direct and collateral attack" against the election results.

The new documents come as Meadow's role is under renewed scrutiny following his decision to cease cooperating with the committee last week.

The Jan. 6 Committee is meeting today to formally advance criminal contempt proceedings against him. A full House vote is expected tomorrow.

Meanwhile the committee is still pouring over the rest of the documents Meadows has turned over including text messages exchanged between Meadows and an organizer of the rally on the Ellipse who needed direction from him.

Apparently, Trump was upset with what Meadows sent the committee causing him to stop cooperating with the investigation to prove his undying loyalty to his master.

That loyalty is not only going to ruin him politically, he's also probably going to get jail time for believing in a failed demagogue.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Tornedos in Kentucky: One Couple's Story

Kentucky was hit with an historic number of tornedos Friday according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

At least 30 tornedos were reported in six states, but Kentucky seems to have been hit the hardest.

My wife's brother Bill, and his wife Val, live in Dawson Springs in Kentucky, just northeast of the city of Mayfield where the destruction was devastating.

Gov. Beshear reported that at least 70 people have been killed and he expects it to exceed 100 before the day is out.

Bill and Val's home was obliterated by a tornedo that rolled through Dawson Springs. Fortunately, Val's son lives nearby, and they were able to shelter there.

Bill is a Vietnam veteran and Green Beret who did two tours of combat. He's 75 years-old and in very poor health. And he's scheduled for a three-way heart bypass surgery Monday.

The question is, will his surgery get postponed by an influx of casualties in the hospital where he's scheduled to go?

I'm thankful they have a place to shelter right now. There're hundreds (if not thousands) of other families who may not be so lucky tonight, where more bad weather is predicted.

"This is the most devasting tornado in our state's history... the level of devastation is unlike anything I've ever seen," Gov. Beshear told the press.

Untold challenges face Bill and Val, along with thousands of other Kentuckians, in the days ahead.

Related: Family members search for unaccounted loved ones in Kentucky

Friday, December 10, 2021

Follow The Money: Understanding Cults and Politicians in America

It's never been easier to con people.

It's never been easier to fleece one's own followers thanks to bad actors supporting extremist social media platforms and right-wing TV. Like our former president.

It's difficult to recall a time in our history when the general public was so gullible, they followed every lie fed to them by a wannabe king.

Our republic was formed in opposition to royalty ruling the land and stifling individual freedoms. Yet here we are a sociopath with autocratic intentions has divided the country and is currently openly working on rigging the 2022 and 2024 elections.

The once and future king Trump is pulling the grift of his life making money on clueless supporters who readily fundraise for him like it's honor.

The con is so enormous our democracy is under siege and Trump is getting richer and more powerful by the day.

Bottom line, follow the money. If Trump is accused of something his minions send him millions to defend himself. Regardless of the charges.

One of the things cults, like the Party of Trump, have in common is fleecing their own followers, often demanding they turn over everything of value to the cause

It's commonly said that money is the root of all evil. Sacrificing others to get richer has always been the Trump credo. He just gets crazier with every passing day, but real Republicans don't have the spine to stand up to him.

It's conspiracy USA every day as a third of our population is under Trump's spell.

Ideologies have given away to mass hysteria and fear fed by Trump's desire to regain power - and to hold it as long as he can.

Money is paving the way towards a future hell. And the damn thing is, there's nothing we can do about it.  

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Talking Treason in Real Time: Emboldened Trumpies Broadcast New Insurrection Goal

          It's no secret. If, it ever was one.

The Party of Trump is giving public notice that they plan to win the 2024 election by WHATEVER MEANS IT TAKES.

Another insurrection? Sure, why not? Most of the big players have not yet had to answer for the first attempt to overthrow our democracy.

All you have to do is listen to Bannon's podcasts to get updates on what they plan to do. Bannon was openly discussing a fascist insurrection with Matt Gaetz yesterday. 

The two didn't go to prison for their first attempt, so they don't expect to be punished for the next. The two treasonous trolls were bragging about having 4,000 "shock troops" (sound familiar? See Nazi Brownshirts) on a recent podcast.

"The shock troops will be hitting the beaches with landing teams," Bannon gloated. Their fever dream broadcast discussed locking up the DOJ and the FBI after handing Trump a victory. 

The very logistics of doing something like that - you'd be talking thousands of employees - is impossible. But it sure makes for good "tough talk" on Bannon's War Room program that's known for spewing toxic rhetoric. 

Gaetz gleefully chimed in and said, "And we're going to go after this administrative state and we're going to start at the DOJ and the FBI. That's the job I want. You know, send me over to the Judiciary Committee and their sphincters will tighten because they have been doing a lot of corrupt things over there."

How can a sitting member of Congress get away with talking about overthrowing the government so openly?

For starters, Republicans are afraid of Trump, and if he wants to disband the current government, they'll follow along like sheared sheep.

It's now up to AG Garland to hold these traitors accountable with criminal charges after the Select Committee on Jan. 6, makes its recommendations. 

For the sake of democracy, we must count on justice being served, and never seeing another coup attempt again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Who's The Biggest Threat To Democracy? Putin or Trump?

America is at a crucial turning point in history. We are defending democracy from attacks within, and abroad.

Future historians will look at this moment when a former president inspired a coup attempt because he couldn't accept reality. They'll read about Trump's ongoing campaign to steal the next presidential election.

Coupled with this challenge within, historians will examine how Biden dealt with Putin who threatened to destabilize Europe and invade the Ukraine.

Russia's assault against all democracies - especially against the United States - will fill volumes for future scholars.

In the here and now, Trump is the greater threat to our nation. Putin isn't the one brain-washing millions to believe the Big Lie

That's Trump's tactic. He's currently subverting future elections by inserting his minions into positions of power in states in order to suppress voters.

It's Trump supporters who are actively undermining COVID vaccination efforts and safety measures against the deadly virus that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives.

Despite recently released reports that show Trump dangerously downplayed the coronavirus when it first appeared. He hasn't answered for those unnecessary deaths that his hubris caused.

Even after inciting an assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Trump is still not behind bars. He abuses the court systems and ignores laws that he believes don't apply to him. 

Historians will record these times as the first attempt of an authoritarian populist to seize the government and make it a fascist state.

We won't know if Trump succeeds in his mission until some day in the future when we discover if we're still a republic.

Meanwhile, we must count on justice being served and Trump getting criminally indicted for his crimes before his presidency, and afterward.

Monday, December 6, 2021

A Look At Trump's Latest Grift

True to form, Trump has not stopped conning people, especially his own base. 

His latest venture is currently under federal scrutiny.

Federal investigators announced today that the shell company that is facilitating Trump's return to Wall Street, is under investigation.

Trump's latest con is a new media venture that would "stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech." In other words, it'll be fact-free.

The new entity, chaired by Trump, agreed to go public through a merger with Digital World, a Special Purpose Acquistion Company, or SPAC.

Wall Street's self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is looking into trading prior to the deal's final announcement according to Digital World.

The proposed deal immediately drew scrutiny.

The New York Times reported in late October, that Trump began discussing a merger with Digital World long before the blank-check company went public and before such talks were disclosed to investors.

Then Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the SEC to investigate whether any laws were broken by Digital World because the company reportedly told shareholders that it had not held substantive talks with a target company.

Here's the deal; SPACS are not supposed to have merger targets planned before they raise money from the public.

The announcement reverberated in the stock market and shares fell 5 percent today.

This whole deal is a continuation of the corruption that the former president brings into any dealmaking.

He'll cheat until caught. When exposed, Trump manages to slither away and let his minions take the fall. So far, this tactic has worked, as Trump prepares to pollute Wall Street with his infamous brand.

The big question; will Trump ever pay for his crimes? I have to admit, I don't think he will. And that's what's wrong in America today.

Are You Extremely Proud to be an American? Then You're in the Minority

Just 36% of Americans   recently told Gallup pollsters they were extremely proud to be an American.  That's the lowest percentage   sinc...