Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In Honor of My Father

Over the last couple of days I've thought a great deal about my father. Since it's hard to sum up a man's life, especially someone as complicated as dad, I thought the best thing would be to just make a list of bullet points and see where it took me. I hope I've done him justice.

  • Growing up, my father was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers' fan. His favorite Dodgers were Duke Snyder and Pee Wee Reese, though I suspect he probably held a special place in his heart for Johnny Podres, the pitcher who tossed a shutout over the hated Yankees in the 1955 World Series.
  • After the Dodgers left Brooklyn, my father would eventually become a Mets' fan, and it was only fitting that his son would follow suit. My father and I spent many an evening watching Tom Seaver and Rusty Staub together.
  • In fact, my father and I watched a good deal of sports on TV, from the Rangers to the Giants to the Knicks.  We celebrated the Rangers' upset over the Islanders in '79 and their Stanley Cup win in '94. When the Giants marched their way to championships in Super Bowls 21 and 25, I made two copies of the games: one for me and one for him.
  • My father was a World War II buff. His favorite movies were Patton and The Longest Day. On one of his birthdays I got him the entire series of Victory At Sea. I swear the man locked himself in the den and watched every episode. And when The World At War made its way to television, I taped it for him. He was like a kid with a new puppy.
  • Speaking of TV, some of my father's favorite shows were Hogans' Heroes, Get Smart and Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. He used to love the way Sgt Schultz would say "I know nothing." I think that's why he loved Laugh In so much. He got to see Arte Johnson dressed in a German uniform saying "Very interesting, but stupid."
  • Another show that my father would watch religiously was the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. His personal favorites were Foster Brooks (the bumbling drunk) and Don Rickles (Mr. Warmth as Martin jokingly referred to him). I suspect had he'd been aware, he would've mourned the passing of Rickles.
  • And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Lawrence Welk. Every Sunday evening, the family would sit down in front of the TV and watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, followed by old Mr. Bubbles himself.  I'm being polite when I say sit down. As kids, it was the closest thing we knew to forced labor.
  • When it came to music, my father worshiped the Big Band era. His favorite band leader was Glenn Miller, though the Dorsey Brothers were a close second. And he probably wouldn't want me saying this, but the man had every Lester Lanin record ever made. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But then he was a complicated man.
  • The old man absolutely loved to drive, and often the family would pile into the car and go off for hours. It didn't matter where, so long as my father was behind the wheel. Some of my fondest memories were when dad would take me with him in the car, just the two of us. When I was maybe 6 or 7, I remember one time when we were in Nantucket. I got to sit on his lap and steer the car for a while. I think he got more of a kick out of it than I did. I should point out that I took my cue from dad when it came to driving, a fact my wife has never let me live down.
  • My father was a good provider and often made sacrifices for us. Every Christmas, the tree was overflowing with toys. My sister and I wanted for nothing as kids. On one occasion, he got a hold of a ticket to a Rangers' playoff game against the St. Louis Blues. Only one of us could go, so he gave me the ticket. I saw Barry Beck score the series winning goal at the Garden. It was a moment I'll never forget. I only wish he'd been there to share it with me.
  • But my father and I didn't just share a love for the local sports teams. We were both avid model rail roading fans. My father bought me my first train set when I was five. He set it up on a board that he hand-painted himself. When we moved out to Long Island, he and I spent many a day and night in the basement with the Baltimore & Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroads for company. Dad was more into the houses and the scenery; I was more of a track guy: the more the merrier. At one point I had three power packs running three separate trains on four boards. It was like Jamaica station during rush hour.
  • My father was never one for expressing his feelings. On the one hand we knew, as kids, that he loved us, but he just couldn't bring himself to say it. In his later years, my father and I grew closer and, after he moved down to Florida, we would often call each other. We always ended every call by saying "I love you." On my last call to dad, I told him I loved him, and he replied in kind, though by that point I suspect he was just repeating what he heard. Still it meant the world to me to hear him say it one last time.
  • As he grew more and more ill, I made it a point to visit him several times. We would just watch his favorite shows on DVDs that I had brought with me. They made him laugh, and it made me feel good that I was bringing some joy into the remaining months of his life. We even managed to shoot a game of pool.
  • Oh, did I forget to tell you tell you, the old man was one helluva pool player. We used to call him Massapequa Fats in the day. When we were kids, I remember my father and my uncle Syd would play pool down in the basement and we weren't allowed to make a peep. It was like watching Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman in The Hustler, that's how good the two of them were. It was a thing to behold.
  • And now he's gone. I miss him terribly, but I know that his suffering is over and that God has him in his care. One day I will be reunited with him in Heaven and we will watch those wonderful TV shows again, catch a ballgame or two and maybe even finish that pool game we started but never quite finished. Who knows, I might even beat him this time.
  • Rest in peace, dad. I love you.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dems Need To Bury The Past and Embrace The Future

Andrew Sullivan has a piece in New York magazine that in my opinion is a must read for every Democrat in the country. It's titled, "Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton?" and it's the most brutally honest assessment I've seen not only about what happened in the 2016 election, but the current state of the Democratic Party.

Sullivan's main premise is that Clinton was a lousy campaigner who had no one else to blame but herself for her failures. One paragraph in particular is worth noting:
Clinton had the backing of the entire Democratic establishment, including the president (his biggest mistake in eight years by far), and was even married to the last, popular Democratic president. As in 2008, when she managed to lose to a neophyte whose middle name was Hussein, everything was stacked in her favor. In fact, the Clintons so intimidated other potential candidates and donors, she had the nomination all but wrapped up before she even started. And yet she was so bad a candidate, she still only managed to squeak through in the primaries against an elderly, stopped-clock socialist who wasn’t even in her party, and who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. She ran with a popular Democratic incumbent president in the White House in a growing economy. She had the extra allure of possibly breaking a glass ceiling that — with any other female candidate — would have been as inspiring as the election of the first black president. In the general election, she was running against a malevolent buffoon with no political experience, with a deeply divided party behind him, and whose negatives were stratospheric. She outspent him by almost two-to-one. Her convention was far more impressive than his. The demographics favored her. And yet she still managed to lose!
The only thing I might take issue with is the growing economy line. Yes, the economy was growing, but for approximately one third of the country that wasn't the case. A good look at the electoral map should tell you which third that was. Bernie Sanders - that elderly, stopped-clock socialist - sounded the alarm bell long before Adolf Shitler descended down that escalator in Trump Tower. But apart from that, Sullivan nails it.

He even blows up the popular vote argument that Clinton supporters keep invoking by comparing her loss to that of Al Gore, who also won the popular vote yet only lost the electoral college vote 271-266. "Any candidate who can win the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and still manage to lose the Electoral College by 304 to 227 is so profoundly incompetent, so miserably useless as a politician, she should be drummed out of the party under a welter of derision."

As the saying goes, the truth shall set you free, but first it'll piss the shit out of ya. Right now, a majority of Democrats seemed stuck in the "piss the shit out of ya" mode. To certain extent, I get it. Losing to Trump hurt, a lot. I'm guessing that in the months after the Titanic sank a lot of people in the shipping industry were bewildered too. The point is they got over it; they made improvements to their ships that made them safer and more reliable, and in time, consumer confidence was restored. I see no such epiphany occurring within the Democratic Party. Sadly, just the opposite. This insanity must stop, if not for the sake of the Party, than for the sake of the whole damn world.

Look, I voted for Bill Clinton twice. I voted for Hillary three times (twice for senator and once for president). I do not regret any of those votes, nor should anyone else who did likewise. Bill was a good, if personally flawed, president, and Hillary proved to be a competent and successful senator. I also think that, despite what her far-right detractors would have you believe, she was a damn good secretary of state, and history will back me up on that.

But her time, and that of her husband's, has come to an end. The Clintons have served their country with distinction, and, as is befitting any family with such accomplishments, they deserve our respect and our gratitude for their contributions. What they do not deserve - and what the Democratic Party can ill afford to give - is yet another bite at the apple. Not only isn't it fair to any potential future candidates who might wish to dip their toes into the water, the message it sends to the electorate is that the Democratic Party is tone deaf to the needs of millions of blue-collar workers. And that is the wrong message for a losing party to send. 

Even great athletes know when to retire, and in case they don't, their teams typically give them a hint by "retiring" them anyway. It's called a youth movement, but the more accurate term is purge. Older veterans are cut to make room for younger, future stars. Democrats need to do that with Hillary. She has twice run for president and lost. Trust me, the third time will not be the charm.

Every car owner knows there comes a point when their old clunker, no matter how familiar, simply costs too much to keep on the road. All the fond memories can't disguise the dings and the dents. Inevitably, they bite the bullet and get a new car.

The Democratic Party needs to get itself a new car, or at the very least take a few test drives.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trump Is Playing Chicken With the Wrong Psychopath

It’s one thing to bomb Syria. The only consequence, apart from spending $59 million to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles, is pissing off Putin. And if you’re a skeptic like me, you probably aren’t buying the “Russian / U.S. tensions are at their highest level in years” bullshit to begin with. If you’ve ever watched the Godfather II, you know this is just another Trump misdirection to get people off of the real story: the Russian collusion criminal investigation that the FBI and the Senate are conducting.

But North Korea is another thing altogether. Kim Jong-un is no Bashar al-Assad. He’s not just your typical, run of the mill psychopath; he’s a psychopath with nukes and a rather large conventional army less than 50 miles from the capital city of South Korea. Bombing him can be hazardous for the health of the entire globe. Forget what the Chinese might do, Kim Jong-un can, in a matter of minutes, reduce Seoul to rubble and kill perhaps a million people, not to mention take out the 11th largest economy in the world. And that’s just for starters.

This isn’t merely foolishness personified; it’s outright insanity. Playing chicken with someone like this is like playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun. There’s no way this ends well, not for us, not for South Korea, and not for the roughly four billion people who inhabit this planet. Someone has to convince Trump that this isn’t some Celebrity Apprentice episode. He’s not firing Gary Busey or Meat Loaf here; he’s considering launching a preemptive strike against a nuclear power. Even Dr. Strangelove would’ve walked away.

I have spent a considerable portion of the last year and half documenting the many flaws that Trump has: from his xenophobia to his shady financial dealings to his lack of intellectual curiosity. But the worst flaw by far that Trump possesses is his incredible thin skin. The things that tend to bounce off others as mere nuisances, stick to Trump like Velcro. He considers the smallest of slights as a personal attack and he never forgets or forgives anyone who crosses him. It’s bad enough that such a trait is anathema to a successful business career; as a world leader it is a disaster waiting to happen.

We have already seen examples of Trump’s ill-suited temperament when he dissed the President of Mexico and openly called NATO obsolete. His refusal to even shake hands with Angela Merkel in the Oval Office last month was the sort of thing even a child would know not to do. But as embarrassing as those episodes were, they pale in comparison to a confrontation with North Korea. You can shake and make up with rational people; you can’t with a mad man. And that is what Kim is: a mad man with a lot of fire power and the willingness to use it. You don’t provoke people like this. Just the opposite: you do everything possible to deescalate the situation before something happens that can’t be undone. I’m not suggesting appeasement, but throwing the first punch should never be the first option out of the gate.

A lot of years have come and gone since the Cuban – missile crisis pushed the word to the brink. We were days away from nuclear Armageddon. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and doomsday was averted. We could be 48 hours away from a repeat of that scenario. Only this time Kennedy and Khrushchev aren’t in charge. Frick and Frack are. One thinks he's God; the other knows it.

At the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union had one thing in common: they were smart enough to know that if either one of them attacked the other, both would be wiped out. That deterrence was called MAD (mutually assured destruction) and, ironically enough, it kept the lid on the nuclear arsenals of both super powers.

There is no such deterrence at work here. Not only are we dealing with a maniac who doesn't know that his provocations could lead to his own destruction, he probably welcomes it. Only an overly insecure and naive person would encourage him.

  • An earlier version of this posting said the U.S. fired 50 Tomahawk missiles at a cost of $59 million. It was actually 59 Tomahawk missiles at a cost of $59 million. I have made the correction.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blaming Bernie for 2016 Isn't Going To Defeat Trump in 2020

Look, no one was harder on Bernie Sanders and his supporters - Bots, I believe is what I called them - than I was. If I had a dollar for every swipe I took at them, my wife and I could've gone to very fancy restaurant in Manhattan and left a very generous tip. I mean a VERY generous tip! I won't rehash some of my comments here; suffice to say they weren't all that delicate and rubbed more than a few people the wrong way.

But you see, here's the thing. Bernie was right and I was wrong. I didn't see the tsunami that was coming; Bernie did and he tried to warn all of us. He knew what was going on in the Rust Belt states; how the Democratic Party was about as popular among blue-collar workers as a cockroach at a picnic. And while Hillary racked up huge margins in states that haven't been in danger of going red since some of you were in diapers, Trump eked out small but significant enough margins in most of the rest of the country.

The only analogy that comes to mind is the 1960 World Series. The Yankees routed the Pirates in three of the seven games, but Pittsburgh won the other four by a combined total of seven runs. In the end, the total number of runs the Yankees scored proved irrelevant; the only result that counted was the total number of wins.

Funny thing, politics isn't all that dissimilar. California may qualify as the world's sixth largest economy, but it is still only one of fifty states. And whether you win it by three million votes or, say, thirty thousand, it's the same result: you get to put that state in your win column and all the electoral votes that go with it.

Democrats, for the most part, still haven't gotten this memo. The reason I know this is because they keep trying to relitigate the November election. I keep hearing the same bullshit: "But, she got more votes." "We have to abolish the electoral college." "Comey threw the election." "Putin hated Hillary." "Trump won because of racism."

Let me, for the last fucking time, take on each of these asinine points one by one:

She got more votes. See above example.

We have to abandon the electoral college. Good luck with that. With this Congress? With two thirds of the state legislatures in the hands of the GOP? Right.

Comey threw the election. Clinton's poll numbers were heading south before his little October surprise. Face it, she never made her case to the American people that she was the better candidate. The truth hurts.

Putin hated Hillary. Know what? He hated Obama; he hated Bush; apparently now he hates Trump. Last time I checked he hates just about everyone and everything that goes against him and his world view, which I guess makes up about 90 percent of the planet.

Trump won because of racism. So how do you explain Obama's success - twice, mind you - in the same region of the country? Did all of the racists get bussed in just for that election? And did they only vote in the states Trump won? You mean there are no racists in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico and California? Really?

If you seriously think that racists don't live in Democratic strongholds, you've obviously never been to the neighborhood I grew up in. Or to South Boston. Or to Chicago. Or to Los Angeles. Or to your own fucking block. Face it: you went to school with them, as did I.  Hell, you probably work with a few of them. They're everywhere: north, south, east, west; in the cities, in the burbs, in the sticks. But so far as I, or anyone else for that matter, knows, they've never decided a presidential election. And thank God for that.

To paraphrase Louie De Palma, get me a bar rag for Christ's sake. I'm so fed up with this shit. Mussolini is living in the White House and all Hillary supporters seem to care about is trying to exact vengeance on Bernie or anyone else who just happens to agree with him. Oh my God!

Latest on the shit list is none other than Tom Perez, the recently anointed chairman of the good ship Titanic. So what was Perez's crime? Oh nothing much. He just decided to team up with Bernie in what is being called a Unity tour, but for many Hillary supporters is nothing more than a Rub It In Your Face tour.

You should hear them. "Bernie's not a Democrat." "What's he doing teaming up with the DNC Chair?" "How dare Perez share the stage with that Judas!"

Like I did above, let me tackle each one of these protestations:

Bernie's not a Democrat. Guess what, Trump isn't a Republican. What's your point? Ask most people and they'll tell you that party identity ain't what it used to be. In the Midwest, it don't mean shit. And that just happens to be where the 2016 election got decided.

What's he doing teaming up with the DNC Chair? Oh, I don't know. Maybe he just has a natural revulsion about seeing a xenophobic wanna-be dictator in the White House and would like to do whatever he can to expedite an exit for said dictator.

How dare Perez share the stage with that Judas. Last time I picked up my Bible, Judas was the guy who sold out Jesus for a few pieces of silver, not someone who tried to warn him about what the religious authorities were planning to do to him, which if you think about it, was pretty much what Bernie was trying to do for the Democratic Party. If you're going to impugn the integrity of someone at least have the decency to get the right historical context.

Democrats need to do a lot of soul searching and stop their infighting. Blaming Bernie for 2016 isn't going to defeat Trump in 2020. Indeed, it's a damn good way of ensuring his reelection. They should listen to him and adopt some, if not most, of what he's saying. The truth is that in the heartland of this country, Bernie is more respected than the Democratic Party. That's just a fact, a fact that Perez gets.

You don't have to like a fact to accept it. For instance, this Wednesday my New York Rangers will face off against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. They have not won the Stanley Cup since 1994. In fact, since 1940, they've only won it once. Do I believe they have a shot this year? The fan in me says yes; the realist says no way. We'll know soon enough which one is right.

Democrats may believe with all their heart that all they have to do is tweak a few things and the glory days will magically reappear. I know a lot of Ranger fans who feel the same way about their hockey team. In about two weeks the air will go out of the balloon for them yet again. That moment of truth for Dems will likely occur on November 3, 2020.

When that happens both groups can go out and cry in their bar rags while the Republic goes down the drain.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

No the Senate Didn't Die This Week. It's Been Dead for Quite Some Time

Okay, it's time for a reality check here. Yes, it's regrettable that the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees is now a thing of the past, and for that both parties much share in the blame. Mitch McConnell's refusal to allow Merrick Garland an up or down vote precipitated this fiasco, and Chuck Schumer's refusal to stand up to his base sealed the deal. But, contrary to what I've been hearing and reading, the Senate didn't die this week. Sadly, it's been dead for quite some time.

For the last eight years the Senate was where bills came to die. As Minority Leader, McConnell did everything possible to block Barack Obama's agenda, as well as many of his cabinet and judicial nominations. From 2009 through 2014, when Democrats controlled the chamber, the confirmation process for executive nominees averaged 127 days, more than twice that of Ronald Reagan's nominees. In Obama's first term alone Republicans filibustered 27 of his nominees. By comparison the total number of nominees that were filibustered during George Bush and Bill Clinton's first terms were 7 and 9 respectively.

When McConnell wouldn't stand down on his party's obstructionism, then Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to invoke the nuclear option for all appointments except the Supreme Court. This allowed Obama to fill dozens of openings on the lower courts, but it also set a dangerous precedent. When the GOP took the Senate in the 2014 midterms, the spigot was shut off permanently. The Senate came to a virtual standstill.

Now with a Republican in the White House, Democrats find themselves in the same position their counterparts were in. So when Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, they proceeded to filibuster him. While some are calling the move that McConnell made extraordinary, I think in some respects it was inevitable. Had Hillary and the Democrats prevailed last November, the likelihood is that Schumer would've done the same thing.

The sad truth is that the partisan bickering in Washington has made the Senate all but irrelevant. The only question remaining to be answered is whether McConnell will blow up the filibuster altogether. Even as we speak Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Chris Coons have gotten more than 60 senators to sign a letter to McConnell and Schumer urging them to keep the filibuster intact for legislation. We'll know soon enough if their efforts were successful when the House passes its tax "reform" bill, which will probably happen sometime in the Fall, assuming Republicans don't get sidetracked by yet another fruitless Obamacare repeal attempt. If I'm any judge, I'd say the filibuster is toast.

Let's face facts. There is no such thing as consensus governing anymore. Neither party has any incentive to negotiate with the other. Indeed, just the opposite. As we saw all too clearly, the decision to filibuster Gorsuch was motivated solely out of fear of what progressives would do to any Democrats that didn't comply. What we now have are two political parties that are more afraid of their bases than actually governing the country. For eight years McConnell had the Tea Party breathing down his neck; now it is Chuck Schumer who will face the wrath of the Left.

To tell you the truth, I'm kind of relieved that McConnell went nuclear. While I am certainly not looking forward to what the GOP has in store for the country, the fact that they will be able to pass almost any bill or nominee they choose should provide Democrats with all the incentive they need to retake the Senate in 2018. Hiding behind a 60-vote threshold as a way of holding the legislative branch hostage was childish to begin with. It was wrong when Republicans did it to Obama; it would've been equally wrong had Democrats gotten away with doing it to Trump.

Put succinctly, elections have consequences. Some more than others. Progressives would do well to remember that fact the next time they find themselves in a voting booth.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Progressives Are Drawing the Wrong Conclusions From the Tea Party Insurrection

There’s a prevailing sentiment among many progressives that Tea Party obstructionism was successful because it effectively blocked President Obama from enacting his agenda; also it resulted in Republicans winning two consecutive midterms and now a presidential election. One can certainly understand how tempting it might be to draw that conclusion. To tell you the truth, I often find myself doing the same.

The problem with that sentiment is that it only tells part of the story. Yes, Tea Party obstructionism did block Obama from passing much of his agenda, not to mention blocking, shamefully, the appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. But the way I see it, the rise of the Tea Party was mainly due to Democratic malpractice on a massive scale. Put succinctly, Democrats took their eye off the ball and provided this movement with the impetus needed to seize power. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the Tea Party merely filled the void the Democrats created.

But as a political movement, the Tea Party has virtually no accomplishments to show apart from winning elections. So thorough was its takeover of the GOP that the Party, despite its electoral success, is no longer mainstream. Worse, the Tea Party created deep fissures within the Party that have ostensibly crippled its ability to govern. Think about it: Republicans now control both Houses of Congress and the White House, yet Speaker Paul Ryan was unable to get a bill passed that would've repealed the Affordable Care Act. Astonishing. If that's what progressives view as a success, I'll pass.

Yet progressives, at least most of them, seem determined to adopt the Tea Party strategy, flaws and all, and force Democrats to tow the line. To coin a phrase from the movie Network, they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. And just like their Tea Party counterparts, they are exerting pressure on their Congressional leaders to stand up to Republicans and Donald Trump. Anyone not on board is being threatened with a primary challenge.

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch has become a litmus test for the Left. Anyone who has spent more than ten minutes covering politics knows that Gorsuch is going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, either by securing the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster or by a simple 51 vote majority. The former requires Democratic support; the latter requires Mitch McConnell to invoke the nuclear option and end the Senate filibuster. Progressives are demanding that Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats filibuster Gorsuch when he comes up for a vote on Thursday. Schumer knows full well the filibuster will fail, but he basically has no choice. If he doesn't comply he faces a rebellion among the rank and file, which might very well threaten his position as Minority Leader.

This is exactly what happened to John Boehner a couple of years ago. Basically he and the Republican leadership had lost control of the House conference. They were unable to rein in the more extreme members of the Party. The result was that we had a government shutdown and damn near defaulted on the debt.

This insistence on cutting off one's nose to spite one's face is exactly what's wrong with politics today. As much as I agree with progressives that this seat was stolen, the strategy that they are forcing Democrats to employ is not only foolish, it is potentially fatal to any prospects the Party may have to block future legislation and the next Supreme Court nominee, which you can bet the ranch will make Gorsuch look like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It is time for cooler heads to prevail here. Schumer must not lose control of his caucus the same way Boehner lost control of his conference. He must come to his senses and not submit to this lust for vengeance from his left. He cannot let the tail wag the dog. Say what you will about Harry Reid, he would never have allowed this type of grandstanding.

This is Chuck Schumer's first test as Senate Minority Leader. How he handles it will go a long way towards determining the fate of his party, and perhaps the whole country.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dems Should Tell Mike Flynn To Take A Hike

So the man who said that anybody seeking immunity has probably committed a crime is now asking for immunity to testify before Congress. Now that's what I call irony. Kudos to the Senate Intelligence Committee for rejecting the offer. It's obvious that Mike Flynn knows his goose is cooked. Why on Earth would he be asking for immunity unless he had something to hide? And why on Earth would Richard Burr or Mark Warner give him a get out of jail free card?

We are only in the first quarter of this political football game, kids. We still don't know enough about who did what and when, but this much we do know. This isn't some "witch hunt" as Donald Trump falsely tweeted. This is the most serious threat to the Republic since Watergate; and while it is way too premature to assume that Trump will be the next Richard Nixon, granting anyone immunity at this stage of the investigation, especially someone as close to this president as Flynn, would be the height of irresponsibility.

Consider the following:

1. We know that Russia hacked the servers of both the DNC and John Podesta in an attempt to directly influence the 2016 election;
2. They also were responsible for thousands of news trolls on fake social media sites that spread vicious lies about Hillary Clinton that were meant to depress Democratic turnout;
3. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, has close ties to Russian oligarchs and is a strong supporter of Vladimir Putin;
4. Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, has a financial connection to a Russian bank under economic sanctions;
5. Jeff Sessions, Trump's Attorney General, lied under oath about meeting with the Russian ambassador;
6. The Director of the FBI publicly admitted that the Bureau is conducting a criminal investigation into the Russian hacks and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia;
7. Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump lackey, seems more concerned about the people leaking information on the Administration than the actual information being leaked; and, oh yeah
8. The Flynn fiasco.

There would be only one reason, and one reason alone, to grant Flynn immunity: he has something on Trump. Barring that, the entire intelligence community should tell him to take a hike. Not only don't Democrats need his testimony, in a couple of months the FBI will likely have enough dirt on him to send him away for a very long time. And, with any luck at all, he'll have plenty of company. Seriously, this administration is so corrupt, it would be nothing short of miraculous if no one ended up doing prison time.

Let's get everyone's testimony, including Sally Yates, and follow the facts wherever they may lead. The truth will have its way eventually.