Faux News: Green Light, Baby. A Faux News Editorial.

I thought I was watching Saturday Night Live. Someone impersonating the famous Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, was making the hilarious argument before the U.S. Senate that the President of the United States could do literally anything he wanted as long as the president thought it was in the “public interest of the country.” Trump believes that it is in the “public interest of the country” for him to be reelected. Ergo, he can do anything he wants related to his reelection. No exceptions.

Pretty funny.

But wait! This was not SNL. This was really happening.

Pretty scary.

Of course, the Republicans took the bait and rejoiced that one of the most famous lawyers in the country–a revered Harvard law professor, no less– was taking their side that Trump should not be convicted and thrown out of office for withholding military aid to a foreign ally pending an investigation of Hunter and Joe Biden. It appears that McConnell has the votes to prevent anyone from testifying and that the Senate trial should be over by the end of the week. While there never was a question as to the verdict by the Senate, the closing legal arguments by the Trump legal team raised more than a few eyebrows.

So not so fast Republicans. You could, one day, rue the day….

But in the meantime, what do you think the Trump reelection machine will be doing? Certainly, calls to Russia and China are on the to-do list, perhaps to other adversaries as well. Why stop with social media interference? Why not go whole hog? Hey, there are lots of opportunities for tampering with the voting machines and repressing voter turnout; and if that is what it takes to achieve what Trump believes is in the “public interest of the country,” there is not anything that anyone can do to stop him. According to the Republican legal team, he can’t be impeached, and since no sitting president can be tried for a crime while he or she is in office, Trump is covered. Green light, baby, whatever it takes. “All for the public interest of the country.”

It does not take a constitutional scholar to realize where this could take us. What if Trump were to determine that it was in the “public interest” for him to remain in office indefinitely, for martial law to be imposed, for the news media to be shut down? What if he actually were to shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue?

The United States of America is not a totalitarian country. Not yet. We still have a free press. So far. Political adversaries are not locked up. Not now. And we used to be able to say that our voting process assured the will of the people, that America was the shining light of democracy.  We know now that this is not the case because of all the money that corrupts elections, gerrymandering, and interference by foreign adversaries. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by three million votes and yet won in the Electoral College. Many think that the popular vote margin will be even greater in 2020. Yet we may be stuck with him for another four years.

Make no mistake: Our democracy is at risk. We have set the record for the longest lasting democracy on the planet Earth. But it is not guaranteed. I recall the words in a James Taylor song, “nothing lasts forever.” Watch out, America. We are getting close to the line.

Editor, Faux News


Faux Breaking News: Democrats and Republicans Cut Deal on Witnesses in the Impeachment Trial

Our faithful reporter, disguised as an electrical repairman, was able to secretly record this conversation, which occurred today in the cloak room behind the Senate chamber.

McConnell: Ok here we are, let’s get down to business.

Schiff: Are you ready to deal?

McConnell: You get Bolton; we want Hunter Biden.

Schiff: Hunter Biden has been totally exonerated by everyone who has looked into it. He is irrelevant to the impeachment.

McConnell: No Hunter, no Bolton.

Schiff: Ok, you get Hunter. We want Lev Parnas.

McConnell:  Lev? The guy is a thug. You can’t be serious. All he will do is trash the president. He is a sleaze bag.

Schiff: No Lev, no deal.

McConnell: Ok, you get Lev. We want Joe.

Schiff: You have got to be kidding! Joe is running for president and has nothing to do with the impeachment of Trump.

McConnell: Oh yeah? When we get through with him he will not be able to be elected dog catcher. We will finish him off. But that is your problem, not ours. You want Bolton, you pay a price.

Schiff: Ok, Joe testifies. We want Stormy.

McConnell: Stormy Daniels? What does she have to do with this? She is a slut, and you know it. No one will believe her.  You are wasting your time.

Schiff: No Stormy. No Joe.

McConnell: Okay, you get Stormy. We want Hillary. We will nail that bitch on her emails.  Just you wait.

Schiff: The emails? Are you serious? That was in 2016 and was a nothing burger then. Can’t you put that behind you?

McConnell:  You want Stormy? We want Hillary. Your choice.

Schiff: Ok, you get Hillary. We want Putin.

McConnell: Surely you jest. Do you think for a minute that he will come here? You have totally lost your mind.

Schiff: No Putin, no deal.

McConnell: You can try, but you know he will have to get Trump’s approval first and that won’t happen.  But if you get to try,  you have got to deliver the whistle blower. No whistle blower, no Putin and no deal.

Schiff:  Ok, you get the whistle blower. Forget Putin. We will take Rudy instead, plus we want Mulvaney.

McConnell: Giuliani and Mulvaney? Upping the ante are you?

McConnell: You get them, but we get Obama.

Schiff: Obama is not even president.

McConnell: But he was, and what he did was far worse than anything Trump ever even thought about doing. We will impeach the sunofabitch.

Schiff: You can’t impeach someone who is no longer president.

McConnell:  We have lawyers who say you can. We’ll destroy his reputation.

Schiff: Well….

MsConnell: Deal?

Schiff: Okay, deal.

McConnell: Let the fun begin!

The announcement is expected to be made at noon on January 29 in the Rotunda.




Faux News: Trump Denies Knowing Anyone Named John Bolton

Trump tweeted today numerous times that he cannot recall knowing anyone by the name of John Bolton. “Just more fake news from the traitorous Democrats and the Fake News Media who are trying to overturn the will of the voters. They should all be locked up.” Later in the morning when boarding the presidential helicopter behind the White House, he shouted back at reporters,” I may have met him once or twice, but I meet a lot of people and I have photos made with a lot of people. Everyone wants me in their photos. So, yeah, I could have met him once or twice, but he is a nobody.”

When one reporter from NPR shouted, “For God’s sake, Mr. President, he was your National Security Advisor,” Trump screamed back, “I want you locked up for insubordination and treason.”

Later in the day when a spokesperson confirmed that while John Bolton had “in theory” been the National Security Advisor for the president, in reality Trump did not consult with him nor was he familiar with him. The spokesperson said that the president does not rely on any advisors or consultants and makes all the decisions himself based on the facts he has and “gut feel.” When asked by a reporter where the facts the president uses come from, the spokesperson said mainly Fox News and a handful of other reliable news sources like Breitbart.

Toward the end of the day, the White House announced that after reading a copy of the draft of Bolton’s unpublished book, White House lawyers determined that the entire work is classified and that it will be illegal to share any of the information in the book with anyone. The White House will vigorously pursue any violators of this ruling using the “full extent of the law.”

While Democrats expressed outrage, most Republican senators praised the ruling by the White House and stood behind Trump’s assertion that the president did not know Bolton. Many said that even though they were unaware of anyone by that name working in the White House,  any document produced by anyone named John Bolton should be classified. For this reason, they are standing by their position that there is absolutely no need for witnesses in the Impeachment Trial in the U.S. Senate and that the trial should be terminated immediately as a “waste of time, witch hunt, and attempted coup by the Democrats to overturn the results of the 2016 election.” The four senators considered on the fence regarding the need for witnesses in the Senate trial all said they were trying to confirm that someone by the name of John Bolton had actually worked in the White House and would make up their minds regarding witnesses “shortly.”

Faux News Returns: The Impeachment of Donald John Trump and the End of the World, An Interview With Steven Grieves

Steven Grieves is a fictional journalist and intellectual whose best selling book, “The End of the World As We Know It,” is a number one best seller.

Faux News: Thank you, Professor Grieves, for agreeing to the interview and congratulations on the new book.

Grieves: No problem.

FN: So my first question is what do you think of the Senate trial now that it has finished its second day.

G: You mean “The Big Show”?

FN: Yes, I guess some are calling it that.

G: Well, that is exactly what it is. All minds are made up on both sides except for maybe a handful of Republicans, but certainly not enough to reach a guilty verdict.

FN: The only question today is whether there are four Republican votes needed to allow witnesses. Besides, Trump could be voted out in 2020.  Maybe it really does not make that much difference anyway what the verdict is.

G: Yes, but I believe voting Trump out in 2020 is problematical. The Democratic candidate will likely win the popular vote, probably by a wide margin, but the Electoral College is another matter. Plus in the words of Trump, the 2020 election will be rigged, but not in the way he implied in 2016. Russia—and a host of other countries as well—now have the technology to interfere and influence the outcome of U.S. elections. Russia helped elect Trump due to its interference in the 2016 elections. He knows that even though he denies it, and he knows that they are about to do it again, but this time in spades. That is why he is so buddy-buddy with Putin. That is why he got involved in the Ukraine incident, which became the trigger for the impeachment. Besides wanting to cripple Biden, he wanted to distract attention from the Russian interference and put the blame on Ukraine for trying to help Hillary.

FN: I understand the role of social media and how that made a difference in the 2016 election, but do you think it is that significant?

G: Yes and another real threat, I believe, is the ability to change the votes after they are cast. Electronic voting machines are very vulnerable to tampering, Do not for a moment think that the Russians aren’t going to try it again in 2020. They only have to target key voting districts in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. They tried tampering before with mixed results. There is evidence that this time they will have more success.

FN: I thought we had fixed the voting booth problem.

G: It depends on the state and the voting precinct. In a lot of precincts the vulnerability issues have not been fixed. Some of those precincts are in critical states. You better believe the Russians know all that and are prepared to exploit it.

FN: Are you saying it is a done deal? That it does not make any difference whom the Democrats nominate, that it is in the bag for Trump?

G: Put it this way—I am very skeptical that the Democrats have a chance due to the bias in the Electoral College and to the use of technology and outside interference.  Trump’s hard-core base will be there for him and will vote for him no matter what. So he is starting with 40% before spending a penny.

FN: How does this relate to your dystopian idea of the end of the world as we know it?

G: Putting aside nukes and the possibility for an impetuous president like Trump pushing the nuclear button, the answer is climate change. Global warming. We know that we have limited time to deal with it. If drastic steps are not taken now, the planet will reach a tipping point that will set it on an irreparable course. When the Greenland ice caps melt, that means a 20-30 foot rise in oceans, and the relocation of hundreds of millions of people. Under Trump the U.S. will fight international climate change efforts rather than lead them. Greta is right. Every minute counts, and a minute lost now will not be made up later. We are on a trajectory to doomsday. That is why the 2020 election is pivotal.

The only hope we have to avert catastrophic outcomes is a massive mobilization effort even greater than all the combined efforts that went into fighting World War II. We should be fighting for our survival. Yet while we are  doing important things in wind, solar and tree preservation, electric cars and carbon reduction,  compared to what we should be doing, it is a drop in the bucket. I am sad to say that battling climate change does not even rank that high with many of the Democratic candidates, but the Republicans are climate change deniers. The fires in Australia are a harbinger. What comes next will be much worse.

FN: If for so many people the idea of another four years of Trump is a nightmare, why do you think  there are few, if any, Republicans in either the House or the Senate who will vote for impeachment or even stand up to Trump? Why do they all stand behind him regardless of what he does?

G: The short answer is fear and job security. But first let’s take a look at what is going on. There  are three groups of Republican elected officials in Congress. The first group denies that the Ukrainian drug deal even happened and that it is Trump’s word versus all the sworn witnesses. They believe Trump. The second group says that while there is not enough first hand witness accounts to make a decision, there is no need for any additional information or first hand witnesses, all of whom were prevented by Trump from testifying. In other words they say the House did not do its job and is not going to be exonerated by a skeptical Senate. The third group acknowledges that while some untoward actions may have happened, they do not come close to meeting the high bar for impeachment. Of course any objective observer would conclude that this is nonsense. What is really going on is that they believe that placating Trump’s hard-core base is the key to their reelection. To deviate from Trump worship would risk being “primarried out” by a farther right wing candidate. To all of this I say that the Republican Party has lost its moral compass and its soul. They will pay for this eventually—especially as the “Greta generation” matures to a voting age. But the question is that by then will it be too late.

FN:  Thank you, professor. Out time is up. We will see what happens, but I have to say that I am not as pessimistic as you are. We both can agree on one thing: 2020 will be an interesting year.

Faux News Breaking News: Internet Companies Announce New Policies To Fight On Line Abuse

Major internet providers tomorrow are expected to  announce a new policy that is intended to put an end to all email and online scams and Russian interference in U.S. elections. Starting on February 1, 2020 all passwords used on the internet must meet the following requirements:

  • The password must contain at least 20 characters but not more than 100.
  • One discreet password per account is allowed with no duplicates.
  • The password must contain at least two capital letters, eight small case letters, seven numbers, and three symbols.
  • No password will be allowed which contains any of the letters or numbers or symbols used in any previous password used by the user. If no such options exist, the user must apply for a waiver and pay a fine of $37.22
  • Whenever the number “9” appears, it must be followed by two additional numbers which added together equals the day of the month that the user was born. In the case of a single digit day, the preceding number should be the letter “O,” not a zero.
  • It should not be possible for any of the letters used to form an actual word in any language.
  • If the user’s middle name begins with a vowel, the numbers must add up to an even number. If it begins with a consonant, they must add up to an odd number.
  • All passwords must be changed monthly.

The consortium of email and internet providers emphasized that there will be no exceptions to this policy except as noted above. Kept under top secret, lock and key for months, the new policies will be announced formally at a news conference tomorrow. Some digital experts have stated they expect pushback from internet users but generally agree that these new policies when implemented will reduce internet abuse.

The Truth About Portland, ME

We visited our daughter’s family over the Christmas holidays in Portland ME where we were joined by our son’s family and the families of our niece and nephew along with a Pit Bull, a Golden Doodle, a neighbor’s Cairn Terrier, a large snake which fortunately slept all the time, and the coup de grace, a tiny, orange tabby kitten only a few weeks old. The arrival of Ringo, the kitty, would not have been such a big deal except that the very idea of the arrival of a tiny, strange animal, which could possibly be a cat, drove Betsy, the Pit Bull, and Gimli, the Golden Doodle, crazy; and there were several times when one or both of the two dogs came perilously close to snapping off the poor kitten’s head.

The week in Portland, however, gave me sufficient exposure to the coastal Maine culture so that I now consider myself an expert regarding this unique brand of Yankee.

Let me set the record straight. What you hear about Maine is not necessarily accurate.  Here is the truth about the coastal Maine Yankee: all the people do not wear LL Bean lumberjack shirts, LL Bean boots, LL Bean down jackets, LL Bean hats, and LL Bean hiking boots all the time. Just most of the time. Nor is everyone thin and disgustingly fit though most certainly look like they are. And it is not true that all men over 30 have bushy beards and hair down to their shoulders, but a lot sure do. It is also not true that you can’t go outside without seeing someone walking a dog, often two dogs, but most of the time you can. Nor is it true that you can visit any of the several dog friendly beeches without counting at least a hundred four-legged creatures, the vast majority Golden Retrievers and Black Labs, bounding and frolicking all over the place. But you can sure count a lot of them.

It is not true that all these Yankees drive all-wheel-drive SUVs all the time with kayaks and skis on top. There are not that many skis on the top during the summer. It is also not true that there are no people of color though you have to look hard to disprove that, and with recent immigration of Africans, that is changing.

 It is not true that the place is drop-dead beautiful with rocky beeches, majestic islands surrounding the town along with ancient lighthouses and sparkling blue waters everywhere with lobster boats heading home after a long day on the water with scores of gulls following behind and ferries scurrying people from the islands to the town and back. But that description comes pretty close. It is also probably not true that Portland has some of the best restaurants around and the most for any city its size, but it could be true. The restaurants we went to were all pretty good, one exceptional. All these Yankees do not own wood stoves or spend most of their waking hours chopping wood when they are off work. Just some do including Peter, my son-in-law.

So be careful when you hear people talking about how great Portland is; and if anyone tells you it is cheap and affordable, be doubly careful. When Embry and I departed from the airport we had an hour to kill before boarding our plane back to DC. At the airport diner we ordered two small bowls of lobster soup and one small bowl of coleslaw along with two beers. It took over 45 minutes for the order to arrive; and when it did, we had to gulp it down and then run to get to the gate on time.  Total tab excluding tip: $75.17. We made the mistake of agreeing to have lobster in the soup. We were told by the waitress that it actually was not soup but “bisque,” and if you  wanted lobster in it, you had to pay more. We don’t drink “bisque” where I come from. We drink soup. I wondered what a cup of clam chowder would taste like without clams or a crab soup without crabs. I will be more careful next time.

So now you know.  Portland is not necessarily all it is cut out to be, but for a misplaced Southerner living in DC most of my life, I will have to admit I understand why my daughter and son-in-law, who used to live only a few miles from us, headed north with their teenage kids in tow to get out of Dodge. They chose a pretty nice spot.