The Mueller Report

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Before Twitter makes me run away screaming, tearing my hair out, and before listening to a zillion podcasts with a million takes on the “Mueller report”, I have a few of my own takes that may be relevant to the average non-political, what has happened to our country, how can I make it better person.
First, as of this writing, no one has seen or read the “Mueller Report”; at least not those people on cable news and the internet who are talking about it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation – there is some debate as to whether or not it came to an end organically or if it was rushed to finish from orders from the Department of Justice – but the crux of the facts are that Mr. Mueller submitted his report to the Attorney General.

At that point, over the weekend, the Attorney General (Bill Barr) sent a four page letter to Congress, of his, let me repeat and emphasize – HIS perception of the lengthy report. Four pages isn’t nearly enough to do a substantial summation of the two year investigation.

That is literally all we know.

As far as the public is concerned, Attorney General Barr is the only one to have read the report, aside from Mueller himself.

A reminder from Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and DNC chair: “I confess to being disgusted with the American media in general. Just heard again in NPR that “the Mueller report cleared President Trump”. No one in the American media has read the Mueller Report.”

What we do know: 

1. The Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

This is a good thing.

However, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t break protocols, share classified information, or set up their Administration to make things better for Russia (China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia as well), and the sanctions. We’ve already indicted thirteen Russian nationals for election interference as well as connected one Russian national to espionage, money laundering through the NRA, and have had Trump campaign officials and Administration officials plead guilty and are in jail currently or will soon be serving their jail sentence.

2. The President was NOT exonerated on the obstruction of justice charges.

How do we know this? Mr. Barr stated it in his four page letter to Congress.

3. This Administration is continuing to undermine the rule of law and prey on our most vulnerable citizens, most recently the disabled athletes of the Special Olympics and trans active duty military service members.

4. It is unusual and without precedent that a Special Counsel looking into presidential wrongdoing would send his report to and suggest that the Attorney General (appointed by the President in question) look into whether criminal charges should be filed, charged and brought to trial.

For one thing, the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy of not indicting a sitting President. Their intention has been that any legal ramifications for the President be adjudicated through Congress’ role of oversight and impeachment (if warranted).

For another thing, looking back at our two most known special counsel investigations – Watergate and Whitewater – in both of those instances, the Special Counsel sent their findings back to Congress to make their determination. It should be expected that Robert Mueller, by all accounts the straightest of strait-laced and examine each page by-the-book former Marine, former FBI director, special counsel would have sent his findings to Congress to determine the next steps; not to the handpicked Attorney General who has already expressed his opinion on Presidential liability in this specific case prior to being tapped as AG.

5. My feelings are that we need to remember that when the Trump Admin people and their surrogates (including essentially state-run Fox News) say there are no indictments we need to remind them that there were over thirty and the Department of Justice, which the special counsel is a part of, doesn’t, according to its tradition, indict a sitting president. There are also at least sixteen other related investigations ongoing into the Trump Organization and Administration’s fraud and malfeasance.

Please also remember that Mueller’s job wasn’t to find anyone “guilty“; it was fact finding. As stated by his attorney general, the President was NOT exonerated; not by a long shot.

6. Additionally, we don’t need a special counsel to tell us what we’ve witnessed over the last two plus years: this administration failing our most needy, promising to protect health care and pre-existing conditions and now taking that away, promising not to touch social security and medicare and now reducing the budget to unsustainable margins, raising the taxes of the middle class to give billionaires and corporations tax cuts that they do not put back into the economy as promised, starting a trade war with China and sending our farmers into bankruptcy, the disturbing policy of separating families at the border and putting kids in cages, sexual abuse in detention of children, deaths by negligence of children in detention, tracking minor girls’ menstrual cycles but refusing pre-natal and post-miscarriage health care, and detaining American citizens without due process, and a host of other promises broken.

7. We need to continue to speak out where we see bigotry and hatred, especially when it comes so easily from the GOP.

8. We also need to remind everyone, in particular that the press is not the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of authoritarians who like to do their work in the dark. Journalists shine a light on the corruption, although with this administration, a lot of it has been done in the light.

9. We also need to address the culpability and complicitity of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell who has singlehandedly allowed this undemocratic takeover of the Senate and the judicial branch, holding the American people hostage.

I will leave you with this tweet from former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who I agree with one hundred percent:

“Again, I am relieved that our president did not conspire with Putin during the 2016 presidential election. Think about what a mess we’d be in as a country if he did. At the same time, Trump et al did a lot of things with Russians in 2016 that maybe weren’t illegal but were wrong.” (3/26/19)

Are we a Nation of States What’s the State of Our Nation?[*]

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i wrote a piece, a second part to last week’s Now What? about Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony and the fall out. It was supposed to post Wednesday morning. I had intended to re-read it, tweak it a bit, and then post, and I did finally do that last night. However, the last two days since the original first draft have been a minefield of emotion and anger. Rage. Continue reading

33/52 – Jimmy Kimmel

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To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel. He’s funny and he tells intelligent jokes. He’s good at political humor, and satire. He can also be biting. I think it was a chance watching of one of his early works on Comedy Central: The Man Show. It was…not my cup of tea to put it mildly.

However, last week and the weeks previous back to when he talked about the birth of his baby son, Billy had me catching up with his monologue, at least on YouTube.

People, politicians mostly, got upset with him for moving out of his lane, comedy, forgetting that before he was a comedian he was a person. And as any parent knows, or should know, once you have kids, your parenthood comes first.

He spoke what was on his mind, made his priorities known, and most people agreed with him.

Then, they came for him.

The hypocrites.

And he did not crawl away, hurt, insulted, fearful of what his ratings might turn to, but he came back stronger, and he came back stronger because he had the truth on his side.

He spoke the truth.

He let his heart sit on his sleeve, and talked about what his family was going through, and reminded the hypocritical politicians that his isn’t the only family going through this scary time. They’re not even the only family with health insurance, but there are many more who don’t have adequate health insurance or any health insurance at all.

In fact, if you follow the news, you’ll have read, between the President’s golf game and berating the hard-working Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Congress ignored a key deadline and failed to reauthorize the CHIP, the children’s health care plan that has helped millions of children. Today, they wake up with no health insurance. What are they supposed to do?

No, Jimmy Kimmel isn’t an expert on health care, but he is an expert on what health insurance and health care provides for his family; for his children, andhe has every right in the world to speak about it, and if that shames Congress, well, they should be ashamed.

Here are some links to the CHP information in addition to more information about Jimmy Kimmel.

Jimmy Kimmel is just a person, just as we all are. There is something we can all do, but first we have to stand up.

Jimmy Kimmel
Official YouTube Channel
The Anger of Jimmy Kimmel (from The Atlantic)

The Washington Post article on the failure of Congress to reauthorize CHIP

Domestic Violence Should Not Be Politics as Usual

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​Sunday will be the sixth anniversary of my friend’s death. She was murdered by her ex while simply living her own life, washing a tea kettle out when he came up behind her and ended her life. For all of us who are touched by domestic violence and abuse, we ask if there was something we could have done, something we should have been aware of. I participated in my own share of victim blaming until I saw the larger picture of having your finances and only home tied up with someone who is threatening. 

I think we all like to believe the best of people, and if we’re wrong, we just pick up and walk away. Everyone has friends they can rely on, but how true is that really? Can a mom, the mom who seems to have all the problems, is never on time, offering flimsy excuses with the two kids, both in diapers – can she crash on your sofa or spare room indefinitely? Are you friends with her domestic partner? Who will you believe?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it takes on a variety of forms. Some, though not many, don’t realize they’re abusive; it’s the way they were raised, and they think it’s “normal” to slap your wife and kids or grab her or slam doors and drink a little too much. Others seem like the perfect couple, family, etc, and no one knows what’s going on inside someone else’s home?

For B, my friend, when she had nowhere to live, she arranged to live in her house. Her house, that she paid for, contributed to the down payment of, was responsible on the deed for, but also on the property where her ex lived. I thought that was crazy. However, what else could she do?

He threatened her, but people say things they don’t mean all the time.

Why didn’t she call the police? Well, she did, several times. In fact, the police paid a visit to their house the night before she was murdered. They didn’t believe there was a problem; not a real one. Don’t set him off, though.

I didn’t understand.

Now, in Congress, in the House of Representatives yesterday, a bill was passed that will now go on to the Senate to be voted on. If it passes the Senate, I have no doubt that President Trump will sign it. He signs whatever he’s told to.

This new bill, that might become a law, which by the way also exempts members of Congress from its new rules and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as affecting private insurance and employer insurance along with Medicaid and Medicare, defines pre-existing conditions in horrific ways and will affect someone you know.

They say that pre-exisiting conditions will be covered, but that depends on the state you’re in, and legal access to health care doesn’t mean that everyone will have it or be able to afford it.

For example, four of the pre-existing conditions mentioned specifically are: domestic violence, sexual assault, c-section, and post-partum depression. What do these four things have in common? In addition to being completely and arbitrarily unpredictable and randomly occuring, they also only happen to women. The first two – domestic violence and sexual assault – are perpetuated by men onto women, but as is the case in many instances, women pay the brunt of the violence against them.

This is one of the most blatant and disgusting and obvious moments of victim-blaming.

They’re looking at getting rid of well visits and preventative care, maternity leave, and pre-natal care as well.

I’m appalled.

In today’s Congress, had my friend survived her gunshot to the head she would be blamed for it as a victim of domestic violence. It would be considered a pre-existing condition and not covered under the Republican’s repeal and regress health care plan.

They’ve had eight years to come up with something, and they’ve failed. However, they continue to punish women for their failure.

Do not let this Republican controlled Congress and White House continue to abuse women and their families.

If you or someone you know are in danger or in a domestic abuse relationship or situation, contact the The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They can help you and find resources for you wherever you are.

If you or someone you know are an LGBT+ youth and in an abusive situation, contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. They can put you in touch with someone who can help you.

You are not alone.

9/11 First Responders

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Maybe instead of 4 separate moments of silence, Congress can stop being silent and renew the 9/11 First Responders Health Law and make it so first responders who went where no one else would and paid the price, some the ultimate price, don’t have to beg for their health care ever when we didn’t ask them once for their help and sacrifice.

It’s disgusting that this is even an issue.