David Pecker, how did that work?

I think the crime of blackmail usually works.  And I have no doubt that for David Pecker and the National Enquirer it’s always worked, at least until last Thursday when Jeff Bezos struck back.  But I’m not sure they know what’s just happened.  Perhaps this quote from Emile Zola can provide clarity.

“When truth is buried underground it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out, it blows up everything with it.”

Emile Zola

I would only add that if the SDNY pulls this thread very carefully they may end up with the whole sweater in their lap.

When are you going to make them squeal, Joni?

Senator Joni Ernst

All we get from you and too many of our fellow Republicans is acquiescence to McConnell and Trump.  If you have no plans to actually do anything, you might as well hand your proxy to Mitch and come home.

My question for you today is about the Russian sanctions vote.  Now I am a lifelong Republican, but vehemently anti-Trump and anti-Russian.  I realize many in Congress will often abandon their principles to side with Trump.  I didn’t expect this from you.  I’m told this is all about appeasing Trump’s base which brings me to my question.

I live in a retirement community here in Grinnell and I know a lot of Republicans who have stuck with Trump.  A lot are patriotic veterans like you.  Yet I have never met one who sides with Russia. None claim Russia did not interfere with our 2016 elections, although some wish that conversation would just go away.  Your vote did nothing to curtail this conversation.  In fact your vote goes sideways with patriots of all colors and I suspect it will cost you support even among the Trump base.

Removing sanctions on Oleg Deripaska’s companies is not a trademark issue for Trump.  That’s why he tried to slip it through quietly on Christmas break.  That’s why he said nothing to defend this action.  To those of us out here in the real world, it only serves to enhance the impression that he’s beholden.

Sanctions or tariffs will always cause pain on both sides. Think of it as a school yard brawl. You take on the bully to change his behavior but only if you are willing to suffer a black eye. You know if you lose the fight your friends will move away and you will become (no other way to put it) “his bitch.”

That’s kind of where we are!

Now the sole purpose of sanctions is to change behavior, yet there is no sign that Russia’s interference or Deripaska’s role have changed.  The rational of the administration is that forcing Deripaska to sell some of his shares in these companies is a punishment. Yet your action just sent their value soaring while he and his cronies consolidate more power.  As far as I can see we not only got bullied but conned as well. We just told the Russians to “go for it again.”

I know it may seem like we’re a bunch of hicks out here, but we’re more informed than you may think.  So if there’s some “secret” benefit to this deal, it’s time you let us in on it.


PS. As posted at topsawyer.com. I will be happy to post your reply.

Congressional Duty to Impeach

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

What are we talking here, “treason” and “jaywalking?”  Or did our founding fathers have something different in mind?  Well, Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious.”  Does that remind us of anyone we know?  For most of us, we see these words and think that some kind of crime must be alleged before an impeachment trial can begin.  Sure, we call it a trial, but Congress is not a court of law.  It is a trial in the sense that there are facts and circumstances to be weighed, whether we are weighing criminality or obnoxiousness…. Continue reading


After reading my most recent article, How Our Voting Method Brings Out Our Worst, my son, Ian said, “Dad, they’re never going to change the voting method.”

He may be right, but if there was ever “a right time to do it” that time is now.  If there was ever a time when the public is ready for change that time is now.  In fact with the support of national organizations like FairVote, local governments across the country are trying out different voting methods in hopes of getting fairer elections. But local governments generally do not face the extreme polarization we see in national elections. National elections are what we need to fix and it’s already happening.

A Congressional House race in Maine was just resolved using a form of ranked choice voting called the “instant run-off” and the plurality winner didn’t win…

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Not since “No Child Left Behind” (declaring that every child should perform at or above the 40th percentile,) has Congress shown such incompetence in comprehending simple math.

This was quite apparent in Susan Collins’ 40 minute justification of her yes vote!  We all understand this cannot be decided either way with absolute certainty; but her conclusion that the “more likely than not” standard should apply, is deeply flawed.  This standard would apply if we were deciding which of two candidates should be elevated to the Supreme Court.  There are scores of equally qualified candidates; and finding one without such a sordid past, just can’t be that hard.  Basically Collins has said the probability that Kavanaugh has lied, is somewhere below the 50 percentile mark.  Now I don’t know if he lied about everything; but it’s pretty clear from both sworn and volume of volunteered testimony, he lied about some things.  And it can’t be that hard to find a candidate who at least pretends to be non-partisan! Continue reading

Senator Graham, You Know You’re in Trouble, When You Can No Longer Count on Me.

Linsey Graham says, What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?

Lindsey, what world do you live in?  We’re talking about turning him down for a job, something we’ve all survived and got on with our lives.  A hiring decision requires only a preponderance of the evidence that you have the best candidate, not guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. Besides you missed the point entirely; this isn’t about his reputation or her reputation, it’s about decisions, some of them life or death decisions affecting some three hundred million Americans for years to come. Continue reading

John McCain: May His Legacy Live On

Usually we think of eulogies as remembrances, goodbyes or of a passing, but all who spoke for McCain this past week spoke with inspiration and hope for the future, even a call for urgency as in this Hemingway quote from Obama’s eulogy;

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

I could find no better words to express my admiration to this man.  But I would like to propose a plan to turn his principles and ideals into productive action for future generations to come.  Continue reading

Senator Grassley, will you let Trump run the Russia investigation?

From my August 22, 2018 letter to Senator Grassley.

It’s been almost two years since I wrote you about Trump’s statement on the “Access Hollywood” tape.  As he was about to meet my niece Arianne Zucker he told Billy Bush, “When you’re a star they’ll let you do it.  You can do anything.”  I asked you, “Is it true; will you let him do anything?”  It’s time for you to give us an answer….

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