An old tree

Old tree

I have been thinking a lot about trees lately. In our backyard we have a massive old oak, probably 60 to 70 years old. It dominates our yard with a wide canopy casting shade, towering over all of the other trees in the vicinity. I have one of those tree faces on the trunk, eyes, nose and a mouth that seems a fitting caricature for this old soul.

But this tree has come to the end of its life, at least a life spent living in existence with humans and man-made objects like fences, decks and tool sheds. If she was in a forest living among other trees away from houses and cars maybe she would have a decade or two more. Maybe that is where she started life, as a small sapling in the woods before my neighborhood was built but that is not where she has spent the majority of her life.

I have hired a company to cut her down in the next few weeks and it will be very expensive. There is no way to get a boom truck in so the tree will have to be cut down and hauled off piece by piece, branch by branch, log by log. I have been told it will take all day to take her down which why it is so expensive. I hope it will be done safely but I bet she will put up a fight. Something that old never goes down without a fight.

My first thought was to simply remove three or four of the very large branches and save the rest but the tree person stated I was just prolonging the inevitable, that the tree would eventually become unstable and a danger to people and property. I don’t need that. My neighbors don’t need that. So I made the hard decision to have her removed.

We have lived in our house for twenty years and that tree has been a constant presences for our family. It marked the arrival of Spring with fresh green leaves and a place for the birds to nest. It provided shade for my kids on hot Summer days and leaves in the Fall for them to jump in. And when it snowed in the Winter, a stark, bare contrast against a white background. I tell myself that it is just a tree. A living organism that doesn’t think or feel but it is still a part of our family, an anchor with deep roots that has experienced many changes, seasons and weather for decades. A monument that has stood in time as kids grew, dogs died, and new puppies grew into old dogs. But sadly, the end is here as all endings come.

In his book Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh notes that “An oak tree is an oak tree. That is all it has to do. If an oak tree is less than an oak tree, then we are all in trouble.” For the last twenty years our oak tree has been just that, an oak tree but when it is gone in a few weeks the dynamics of my small piece of the world will change dramatically. The morning sun, now filtered, will shine brightly in my bedroom window. The grass, which is currently very thin under the canopy of the tree, will grow thick and green in the coming years. But the biggest change for me will be the hole left in my yard from its disappearance. Not a physical hole but a spiritual hole. A huge, empty space that can’t and won’t be filled or reclaimed in its current majestic form in my lifetime. There is nothing I can do to fill that space and any attempt on my part would be at best feeble so I won’t try.

As I am writing this I look out my window and see the massive trunk and the shade being cast by this gentle giant. I know I will have less leaves and acorns to deal with this Fall. That is a good thing but I would trade those inconveniences if I could keep this old oak in my yard for a few more years. But I can’t and I won’t because at the end of the day it is just a tree, a beautiful and stately tree, but still just a tree.

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” – Joyce Meyer

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Bit by bit

“In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.” – Yakov Smirnoff

It was not a coincidence that over the last week special counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers and yesterday a Russian woman, Mariia Butina, who tried to broker a secret meeting between Trump and Russian president, Vladimir Putin through the National Rifle Association, religious organizations and the National Prayer Breakfast. No these two Russian revelations were planned by Mueller to coincide with Trumps job performance review with Putin. I guess Mueller wanted to make sure that Trump and his boss had something to talk about.

For those of us who are cheering Robert Mueller on from the sidelines the man we really should be supporting and thanking is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man Mueller ultimately reports to. Everyday Rosenstein is under assault from Trump and his Republican lackeys in Congress. Right now there is a plan being concocted to impeach Rosenstein and still another asking the DOJ Inspector General to investigate him for basically being mean to members of Congress. Other than Mueller no man knows more about what is happening in the Trump investigation than Rosenstein and no one has done more to keep the investigation moving forward and on track while absorbing Republican bullets and arrows for it.

If Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), two leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus asking for the IG investigation of Rosenstein, are you representatives I would immediately question their patriotism and I would also check to see how much Russian tainted NRA money they have received. I believe when this investigation is over there will be a number of co-conspirators implicated with Trump and in my opinion both Meadows and Jordan have some skin in the game based on their willingness to deflect and distract on behalf of Trump.

The White House released Trump’s schedule this morning. Apparently today was supposed to be a day of recovery, relaxation and television for the Supreme Leader but now it appears that he will be having an emergency meeting with what I can only assume are his “friendly” members of Congress like Meadows and Jordan. Several press outlets have noted that this meeting wasn’t on his weekly schedule released prior to his Putin love feast but given the amount of backlash he has received for his performance this isn’t a big surprise. I am sure the big orange baby needs to vent and needs some stroking, “Who’s a good boy?”

My guess has been that Mueller will attempt to wrap this investigation up by the end of September. The reason being that he doesn’t want to interfere with the November elections. With the latest indictments we have seen references of American individuals and organizations involvement with the Russians. These are just teasers. Mueller knows who these individuals are and I suspect these people know it is them as well. If it feels like things are beginning to heat up, they are and Trump and his minions know they are as well.

“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!” – another delusional Trump tweet 7-17-18

Great article from Vox: Trump and Putin: what we know is damning

 

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One more letter to my Senators

Note: Feel free to use any or all of this letter to send to your representative(s)

So, are you asking yourself this question yet, what does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump? And if you aren’t asking yourself this question after the Helsinki love fest my only question to you is why aren’t you? Trump has spent the last year and a half bashing our closest and most loyal allies. People and countries that have come to our defense no matter what the cost to themselves or their countries. Nations that have spent money and shed blood on our behalf. And rather than thanking them for their support and their loyalty Trump condemns them, ridicules them and embarrasses them while heaping praise with the enthusiasm of schoolboy in love with a violent and dangerous dictator.

We don’t need Russia. Trump claims that because they are a “nuclear power” that somehow that puts them on an equal footing with us while diminishing the important role of our NATO allies. Here is the thing Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom all see Vladimir Putin for who and what he is “a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent” as Senator John McCain described him.

So, what do you think? Did you watch “your” Presidents performance? Does it seem like Putin has a lot of something on The Donald? What could it be? Leave Mueller, Rosenstein, the DOJ and the FBI alone and let them find out. Trump is guilty of something. Nobody protest as much as he does that isn’t guilty of something. Despite his persistent and daily claim, it has nothing to do with “President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt headed by Strzok!” that ship sailed a long time ago. It sailed when the special counsels office charged five Americans, one Dutch and 26 Russian nationals, along with three Russian businesses.

What we saw today was a man being played. A man paying a debt. A man who is somehow compromised. Did you see it? I did. All of America saw it. The entire world saw it. The evidence is simply too great to be ignored, to be deflected and to be defended by a party of loyalist. So, are you asking yourself this question yet, what does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump? Are you?

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Can they read?

Demonstrators-protest-against-the-visit-of-US-President-Donald-Trump-in-central-London

Another crowd bigger than his inauguration- Trump protest in London

“The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.” – Rudy Giuliani tweet 7-13-18

It’s almost as if Trump’s minions have their Twitter accounts set on auto-pilot. Another indictment, tweet the President is innocent. Another indictment, tweet no Russian collusion. Another indictment, tweet witch hunt.

But here is the thing, though the indictment didn’t name any specific Americans nor did it indicate any known collusion was taking place it did specify that an American Congressional candidate sought hacked documents about his or her opponent and that someone close (my guess Roger Stone) to the Trump campaign was in contact with the Russians who hacked and released emails from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Call it what you want but collusion sounds like a pretty good description to me.

Maybe I don’t understand what collusion is. Here is the definition; secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others. Yea, that’s what I thought it meant. I wonder what Trump and Rudy think it means? Trump has indicated in the past that whatever advantage he gained from the release of the emails was just smart campaigning on his part. He assures us that he had nothing to do with encouraging the Russians despite his request. Remember? “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

According to The New York Times the 11-count indictment includes “charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state election boards and other government agencies.” I can promise you this, The New York Times read it, all of it. I guess Rudy and the other Trump muppets just read the cover page, didn’t see Trump or their names on it and clicked send on their smart phones.

I realize that for many of us we are ready for special counsel Robert Mueller to drive a stake into the heart of Count Bat-shit Crazyula and I am confident that he will. Hell after watching the performance of the Republicans yesterday scrambling to flip the story-line my sense is they know the shit is going to hit the fan soon too. But there is a method to Mueller’s “madness” just like his releasing this indictment before the orange wonder meets with Putin. Gauging Trumps reaction to such a release and how he handles it with Putin will be very telling about what he knows and I can promise you Mueller is taking notes.

There is a reason I hate jigsaw puzzles and think they are a waste of time. Finding each piece that fits which leads you to another piece and gives you a little bit more knowledge about the picture you are attempting to create drives me crazy. Apparently though Robert Mueller must love them. He is building a case piece by piece. Against who? At this point only a small group of people know. And as Rudy guesses at the answer and Trump tweets “Witch Hunt” on a daily basis, Mueller quietly puts another piece of the puzzle together. My guess, the picture is getting clearer.

“WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.” – Trump on October 12, 2016 in Ocala, FL

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Trump is right!

Yup, Trump is right this is a “witch hunt” and it is the Republicans, not Robert Mueller, that are conducting the search for a witch. Yesterday it was former FBI Director James Comey, today it is FBI Agent Peter Strzok, tomorrow it will be United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s turn again. So yes, Trump is right there is a “witch hunt” going on and just in case any of you have forgotten here are the number of times Trump has reminded us with Tweets;

  1. May 2017: 3 times
  2. June 2017: 5 times
  3. July 2017: 6 times
  4. Oct 2017: 1 time
  5. Dec 2017: 2 times
  6. Jan 2018: 1 time
  7. Feb 2018: 3 times
  8. March 2018: 2 times
  9. April 2018: 9 times
  10. May 2018: 20 times
  11. June 2018: 26 times
  12. July 2018: 6 times

Just like these today; “Ex-FBI LAYER Lisa Page today defied a House of Representatives issued Subpoena to testify before Congress! Wow, but is anybody really surprised! Together with her lover, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, she worked on the Rigged Witch Hunt, perhaps the most tainted and corrupt case EVER!” and “How can the Rigged Witch Hunt proceed when it was started, influenced and worked on, for an extended period of time, by former FBI Agent/Lover Peter Strzok? Read his hate filled and totally biased Emails and the answer is clear!”

I don’t know what the end game for the Republicans is other than to help Trump destroy what WE THE PEOPLE have built over the last 242 years. The evidence is very clear to me, House Republicans in the Judiciary and Oversight Committee meeting today are doing their best to tarnish Robert Mueller’s investigation by discrediting the FBI and the Justice Department. Why? I honestly can’t answer that question.

It would seem, at least to me, that all of our representatives would want to find out if one, the Russians interfered with our elections and two, if Donald Trump is the puppet of Vladimir Putin. The only thing I can assume at this point is this, the Republicans are scared to death of finding out the answer to both of these questions.

All the Republicans were doing today during the Committee meeting, particularly Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy was getting their highlight reel put together for Sean Hannity’s program tonight. Yes, this is a “witch hunt” and I look forward to the day when Robert Mueller drives a stake into the heart of the witch or witches he uncovers.

“You never engaged in any impeachment texts throughout your entire Hillary investigation?” – Trey Gowdy 7-12-18 (let the reason come to you slowly, slowly, wait for it Deplorables, wait for it……..that’s right, she was NEVER President. Damn that hurt.)

 

 

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We don’t need Alaska

Alaska

In 1867, United States Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million. Next week Trump will be meeting with his idol, his mentor, his BFF, the man who bankrolled his election, the dictator, the killer who has the dirt on Trump and the tapes to prove it, Vladimir Putin and they will be meeting with just translators, no staff. No one with an official capacity will be in the room with them. Just The Donald, The Puppet Master and two low-level translators.

Here is what I think Donald The Art of the Deal” Trump is willing to do for the man he owes so much of his recent success to, give Alaska back to the Russians. That’s right, remember that you heard it here first. Donald J. Trump will give Alaska back to Russia next week. Shit it is the least he can do for the BILLIONS of loans and MILLIONS of condo sales Putin has arranged for Trump International. Think of it as the down payment Trump pays to keep us from having to watch the Pee Tape on 60 Minutes. I don’t know about you but that is one cinematic debut I could go the rest of my life without seeing.

Sure Alaska voted for Trump. Hell he won 51% of the state. But they only have 3 electoral votes. He still would have won without them. And besides, who lives there? Are there any white people up there other than Sarah Palin? And do they even have a golf course? It’s so close to Canada and Trump hates Canada, well no, Trump hates Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s hair but he thinks Trudeau’s wife is hot. A little old for him, but he would still move “on her like a bitch”. Anyway, all you Alaskans start brushing up on your Russian (let me hear you say Трамп сосетbecause that is what “your” President is going to do next week. I mean come on, it’s just snow, moose, mosquitoes and shit. It’s not like its Hawaii or anything.  

“I discovered, for the first time but not the last, that politicians don’t care too much what things cost. It’s not their money.”  – Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal

 

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Burning down the house

Constitution_burning-1

“Hold tight, Wait till the party’s over, Hold tight, We’re in for nasty weather, There has got to be a way, Burning down the house” – Talking Heads

So Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, believes that a President should not be subject to civil litigation or criminal investigation while in office. Isn’t that a convenient stanch for Trump? It is also being reported that retiring Justice Kennedy was negotiating with the Trump team for months about his replacement. Once he received assurances that it would be his former law clerk, Kavanaugh, Kennedy agreed to retire.

In other news, Trump issued pardons this morning for two American terrorist and arsonists Dwight and Steven Hammond. Yes, I categorize these two men as terrorist. And who do these pardons appeal too? I will let the righteous reverend Franklin Graham answer that question; “Thank you @POTUS for carrying out justice and pardoning Oregon ranchers Dwight & Steven Hammond. Many ranchers in the West have suffered under the heavy hand of the federal government. These men are great patriots. Thank you for doing what was right.”

Also this morning Trump proclaimed that a “New Poll says Trump, at over 90%, is the most popular Republican in history of the Party. Wow!” What he was referring to is a Gallup presidential approval tracker which indicted that nine-tenths of Republicans approve of him. Now where he got “the most popular Republican in history of the Party” part is anyone’s guess. Well, not really, he made that part up because that is the kind of shit he does. Trump feels the need to embellish, offer alternative facts, because in his mind he is the king. He figures Franklin Graham and his Deplorable base are thinking it why not just say it? Trump certainly believes he is the greatest of all time and he wants to make sure you and I know it too.

I know it feels like the world is crumbling down around us. I get it. Granting pardons to terrorist and picking a judge that is more than willing to turn a blind eye away from the crimes Trump and his family have committed certainly feels and smells bad. But I have concluded that what America is doing right now is making an adjustment, a realignment if you will.

President Obama brought this country back from the brink of financial ruin. In order to do that he had to step on some toes, some powerful white men toes. Toes like Donald J. Trumps and these white men didn’t much like having a “negro” in charge.

Trump and his kind like to remind us that white men built this great country. White men like Washington, Jefferson, Ford, Edison, Reagan and now Trump (I know, don’t laugh). Yes, great white minds built America on the backs of black men and women and that is the way it is done. That is the way it has always be done and that is the way, in their racist minds, we need to get back too. People of color, poor people work. Rich white people think, make decisions, lead and play golf.

President Obama, for all the great things he did for this country, probably went a little to far left of center, over the line of moderation. And Hillary Clinton? She represented one thing and one thing only to conservatives, a dive into the deep end of liberalism without a pair of Swimmies. It’s one thing for factory worker Joe Deplorable to swallow his pride and vote for a, gasp, black democrat but there was no way in hell he was going to vote for a woman who was basically a socialist and Bill Clinton’s wife when he could vote for an old, rich, fat, white guy that likes to grab, well you know what he likes to grab. Joe Deplorable likes to grab that too if someone will hold his beer for him.

I know it seems bad. I know it feels like Trump is burning down the house but here is the thing, this great country has survived worse, much worse than King Trump. He can make all the proclamations he wants about being “the most popular Republican in history of the Party” but it’s just a tweet. Hell you can open a Twitter account too and proclaim anything you want, anyone can. The truth is this, Trump will be a pimple on the ass of American history. Will his stench linger on for a few years? Sure. When you step in dog shit your shoe stinks for a little while even after you have hosed it off. But the true King Trump legacy will be how this republic failed you and I, “We the People” in establishing “Justice”, insuring “domestic Tranquility” and promoting “the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves.” That will be Trumps failed legacy.

 

 

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