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There’s always a question in the White House

20180220 150153I am a proud member of the profession of journalism, or, as one resident of the White House more commonly refers to it, “the fake, fake disgusting news!”
The First Amendment to the Constitution, which reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is first for a reason.
As Thomas Jefferson so appropriately stated, if he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The press is not, as the current president would have you believe, the “enemy of the people;” the press is the people. It is the primary mechanism for the people to receive information; it is the tool to hold government officials accountable for their actions.
All this is to say, simply, that I take my role as a journalist quite seriously even if I find some of the people about whom I write quite comical, if not an absolute joke.

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President’s analyst is definitely missing

James Coburn in The Presidents AnalystI will readily admit that I am not a trained, certified psychiatrist. I haven’t even played one on TV, although I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express not to mention my car insurance is with GEICO.
However, when it comes to psychoanalyzing one Donald J. Trump, it’s not that difficult a task. The only question, really, is whether to use the term “psychoanalysis” or “analysis of a psycho.”
To quote Mitt Romney, something I never thought I would ever do, “Donald Trump is a fraud, a phony.”
That he is, but now for the psychoanalysis.

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The basic lessons need to be remembered

PCF90Despite the best efforts of Congressional Republicans to call for an investigation into the “Hillary Clinton Administration,” the reality is that there is no Hillary Clinton Administration.
Hillary Clinton was not elected president on November 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton, to the detriment of America and its ideals, lost the election and Donald J. Trump sits in the Oval Office of the White House. I am made eminently aware of this sad fact every time I attend the daily White House press briefings and, at times, witness Trump attempting to read from the teleprompters at a ridiculously embarrassing third-grade reading level.
His reading level, though, is the least important of all of the embarrassments he brings to the presidency. Our descent from the world stage and the loss of status as the leader of the free world along with the loss of respect by our allies is quite a bit higher on the embarrassment list.
So how do we fix this catastrophe? How do we learn, or rather re-learn, the lessons of the 2016 presidential election as we approach the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election?
Let's start with something we learned in the two elections of Barack Obama as president of the United States: “If all minorities band together and vote, they become the majority.”

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And remember - that was the week that was

images 1FBI Agent Peter Strzok. COURTESY PHOTO The week of July 9th or thereabouts was just another week in the Trump administration. The good news for the current president is that he finally drew a crowd of mammoth proportions, a crowd size far exceeding the crowd size of his inauguration. Regrettable for him, however, the crowd consisted of protesters as he descended on London and they converged to send him a message of their outrage.
The week consisted of the president portraying our NATO allies as “foes” just as he prepared for his summit with Vladimir Putin. At that meeting Trump, never learning from the past, repeated that disastrous phrase “both sides” when deciding to blame both Russia AND the United States for the current contentious relationship between the two countries. The President of the United States also used the shared podium with Vladimir Putin to portray Putin's denial of Russian meddling in our elections as “strong and powerful” even though in direct contradiction of the findings of Trump's own intelligence community. One can almost hear O.J. Simpson asking “What about me?”

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The danger to democracy is far deeper than the current problems of Trump

6a3395d1e814e981a706b4eac458fb45 political memes political cartoonsRemember when Trump spoke endlessly of “beautiful clean coal?” You probably thought it was because he is so committed to saving jobs in the coal industry. If his concern about jobs was legitimate, then why is he far less concerned about the many more jobs found in the renewable energy industry?
These jobs, the wave of the future, are jeopardized with his policies which make renewable energy much more costly.
Well maybe, just maybe, his interest in the coal industry is tied to an individual by the name of Corbin Robertson? Who is Corbin Robertson you ask? He happens to be a major Republican Party campaign donor who also just happens to own 21 billion tons of coal reserves.
Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, is a frequently-recited refrain by Trump during both his campaign and his presidency. This, despite the overwhelming proof of the existence of the effects of climate change as attested to by almost the entire scientific community.
Any chance that Trump’s ignorant denials of climate change has more to do with the influence of the fossil fuel industry lead by major campaign donors Charles and David Koch, a.k.a. The Koch Brothers? I think so.

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And now a word about ICE

180606 nr 2Back in 2003 the Department of Homeland Security was established by combining several agencies from other U.S. departments under one overarching umbrella. The thinking was that placing all of these disparate agencies under one department would somehow make such activities related to homeland security, such as intelligence gathering and enforcement of border security, more efficient and effective.
Whether simply placing agencies under the same federal department resulted in any significant improvement in information sharing or a more efficient operation is still a matter for debate. What is not a matter for debate is that one of the agencies created under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE, which stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is now under intense scrutiny due to how the agency is implementing White House policy as it relates to immigration via the southern border of the United States.

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Taking another close look at Hogan, the governor’s race and much more

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A few weeks ago, my column “Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?” published June 7, took a look at some key issues that will surely be debated during the Maryland gubernatorial campaign. To say it generated some controversy would be putting it mildly. Like most things in life, there is always more than one side to any issue. To say that the governor’s office, specifically his Director of Communications, Ms. Amelia Chasse, took exception to my portrayal of the governor’s record would be quite the understatement.

As an advocate of the “fairness doctrine,” the purpose of this column is to provide the governor’s office with an opportunity to share their view and provide the reader with a more balanced approach. For space considerations I will have to condense much of their input, but I will make every effort to capture the essence of their responses. I will also take the opportunity to offer my own response to their counterpoints. I’ll leave it to the reader to judge the merits of either side of the debate.

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Democracy finds itself in a shambles as Mad King Donald takes center stage

RTS1JGW31 1024x692Trumpian political tactics are not new to history; just new to an American presidency.
Back in the early 1940s, from 1941 and into 1945, the vice president of the United States was not Harry Truman. The vice president of the United States was a progressive by the name of Henry Wallace.
Wallace actually founded the Progressive Party. A strong supporter of New Deal liberalism, Wallace was considered by many Democrats to be too liberal to remain on the presidential ticket in the upcoming election and was denied re-nomination at the 1944 Democratic National Convention. He was replaced by Harry Truman to run as President Franklin Roosevelt’s running mate and who became president with the death of President Roosevelt in April of 1945.
Why is this relevant, you wonder? It is relevant now more than ever because of the rise of Donald J. Trump. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who warned us about the rise of threats such as Donald J. Trump. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who recognized that the rise of Adolph Hitler could occur any place if citizens are too lazy to care. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who shared way back in 1944 this prescient observation:
“American fascists claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

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Mueller questions

download 2As the suspense mounts regarding whether the leader of the free world will submit to questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the so-called “Russia investigation” and the existence of any “COLLUSION,” I thought it might be helpful to provide our president with some suggested answers to just a few of the 49 questions compiled by Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow. As reported in the New York Times a few weeks back, these 49 questions were crafted by Sekulow from discussions with the Mueller team.
The questions can be broken down into a few categories. These categories include questions related to the actions of and interaction with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, questions regarding conversations with former F.B.I. Director James Comey, questions pertaining to interaction with and decisions made by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and last, but certainly not least, questions dealing with any coordination by Trump or any members of his campaign (notice I did not use the word “COLLUSION”) with Rusha – I mean Russia).
So, here goes:

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Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?

download 3Larry Hogan is a Republican governor in a very blue state, Maryland, and is running for a second and final term with a favorability rating that has consistently hovered around 70 percent. That favorability rating is second among all governors. Only Republican Charlie Baker of another blue state, Massachusetts, has a higher favorability score.
Does any Democrat have a snowball's chance in hell to unseat this extremely popular incumbent governor? More specifically, does the Democrat who will be selected in the primary election on June 26 from a current field of nine candidates to challenge Governor Hogan in the general election in November have a fighting chance to unseat the incumbent?
The answer is a resounding yes, but only if the campaign focuses on the right issues; issues that will crack that favorability rating wide open and expose the reality of the past four years.

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