POSTNOTE, SATURDAY, JULY 27:  If you read nothing else this weekend, read this.  Then decide where you fit in, and take action.  I will be offline from today through next week.


I am deliberately writing and posting this before the first official words are uttered at the long awaited Mueller appearance in Congress today.

It has already been said that everything anyone needs to know about the Mueller inquiry is already in writing within the report; that Mr. Mueller has already said what he plans to say; that the Justice Department has ordered him to say nothing outside the words on the printed pages of the report.  And of course there is that Justice Department “policy”, apparently, that a sitting President cannot be indicted, written for some reason by somebody without thinking of the consequences of making it applicable to every situation, no matter how heinous.  ETC, ad infinitum.

That the Republican minority will do everything it can to make today appear like a useless exercise is obvious.

Possibly I’ll watch at least part of the real-time deliberations.  Today will be theater, albeit theater with a whole lot of substance.  The report speaks abundantly for itself.  I have a copy of the Mueller Report.  I can read.

I do support the premise of the hearing, of bringing Mr. Mueller to the table even if the hearing itself may be far more for show than for substance.  They already have the substance, in the Report….

My opinion: the current President is as close to a common criminal as we have ever had in the highest office in the land.  It is his hope – and that of his fervent supporters – that he will beat the rap by running out the clock and then be reelected under patently false pretenses in 2020.  Others can – and have already – gone to prison.  Not him.  Yet.

His supporters best be careful what they yearn for.

We are living in a time of false prosperity.  This strong economy is a sham and everyone knows it.  We are reliving the excesses of the post 9-11-01 era, when the advice was to “go shopping”, and the result was the closest call to economic disaster, in 2008, that we had had since the great Depression.

My most important (to me) mention of Trump in a blog was the one for December 17, 2017, the day of celebration for the huge tax cuts passed by a Republican Congress and signed immediately by Trump.  I saw disaster ahead.  The axe will fall…but not until after the next election.  Till then, the giveaways to the right people will be the order of the day.

No matter, apparently.  People like the illusion of free stuff.

Caveat emptor.  Let the buyer, beware.

POSTNOTE: The magic of word find notes that I’ve used Trump’s name in a post 71 times in the 1470 posts that comprise the ten years of this blog.  The first directly related to his coming presidency was one week before Trumps inauguration January 20, 2017.  (The first to mention him at all was March 18, 2010, a reference to “you’re fired”).

POSTNOTE 2, 9:50 a.m. Wednesday July 24:  Reference has frequently been made to the letter from 1000 prosecutors.  I believe this is that letter.

POSTNOTE 3, 8:15 p.m., July 24: I watched the morning session in its entirety and found it very interesting.  As I’ve said on previous occasions, for 27 years, my daily work was dealing with differences of opinion.  The work was with law and lawyers, and in an often political environment.  I’ll say only that I have an informed perspective.

POSTNOTE 4, 9:40 a.m. July 26: The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel letter on indicting a sitting president is here.

AFTER YESTERDAY, 9:30 a.m. Thursday:  It’s about 24 hours since yesterdays post, before the hearing.  As I note in POSTNOTE 3, I watched the morning session, I’m not a stranger to the kind of scenario witnessed yesterday.  (I have only one previous post about Mueller.  You can read it here.)

It has been and will continue to be mentioned that Mr. Mueller is old – turning 75 in a couple of weeks.  I’m 79.  So he’s “just a kid”.  On the other hand, you pick up some street smarts as you age, which our youth oriented “I want it now” society doesn’t particularly appreciate.

Previously, I said I feel both Mueller and Pelosi were handling things well.   I still maintain that.

Of course, the postmortems are infinite and predictable.  Pundits, analysts and all manner of experts opine about what they would have done differently – it’s probably still called “Monday morning quarterback”.  People who didn’t have to do anything but witness, have all sorts of certain opinions about what should have been done, and wasn’t, and that, in their opinion, cost the game.  Nobody knows….

I’m from the little leagues compared with Mueller, but for 27 years I did similar work, including being the guy in the bullseye (Mueller) in a room full of people with certain opinions, often in direct opposition to each other.  I was the one who was supposed to bring clarity, or some “message from Garcia” or something.  It is impossible.  As I write. I can envision some scenarios I actually experienced in person, as Mueller, in effect.  You do your best and you know you’ll be criticized regardless of what you do.  In the audience were people who knew for sure that I didn’t know what I was doing, but were even more clueless than they thought I was.  I wasn’t sure, myself, that my direction was correct.  But they wouldn’t sit in the same chair as I.  They had the right to criticize.

Ratchet that up thousands of times, and there sat Mueller in the hot seat, everything being analyzed.  He knew this, of course.  I think he also knew that he would have to do it, and he set the day up as much as possible with a meticulously prepared report and an insistence that he was not going to be fooled into going off in this or that direction.

I think the Democrats knew this too. But they also knew that the people actually had to see Mueller’s face and hear his words.

The Republicans did too, but their mission was singular: to do anything possible to destroy him as a witness to one of the awful chapters in American history.

Call it a game, or whatever, everybody knew the realities.

Now, it’s “we, the peoples” turn.  If we choose to turn this into an armchair analysis of “The Apprentice”, we’re cooked.  On the other hand, there is a “rule of law” which has more or less served our country well through our long history.  Trump justifiably has a considerable fear of the rule of law, since the law for him has never been very troubling.  Like rich people do, he has means to leverage “justice” to his ends.  He’ll never say it, but I think he’s justifiably terrified that his goose is near cooked (he used much more colorful language to describe this some time ago).

Those who revere those MAGA hats better keep them for the aftermath, if Trump continues his reign.  We’re digging ourselves a very deep hole, and we’ll need a lot of resolve to recover any semblance of our standing once the feel good days of wasteful tax cuts are replaced by the hard work of getting back on an even keel.  The end game is a few years out, perhaps, at least till after the 2020 election, but watch your wallet.  Sooner or later the piper is going to be paid for the tax cuts we didn’t need.

I’m just one of the little guys.  But mark my words.  We will regret continuing our trajectory down the slippery slope.

COMMENTS (more below in on-line section)

from Kathy: Exculpate, etc. defined.

Dick, responding to Hank (below), July 26:

Good morning, Hank.
A large part of me says “just let it go…don’t respond”.
On the 24th you filed the below comment on my blog post, which I approved, and appears with the blog.  Two other comments more or less referred to your comment.
MaryEllen (below) said  “And, Mr. Toring, the Clinton’s behavior will likewise catch up with them.”  Her comment also is in the blog.
And a third, from a friend of many years whose comment came as a separate e-mail and isn’t included in the blog, in relevant part: “I agree with Hank Toring.   Please explain the criminal things that Trump is guilty of.   What I have heard is the real criminals are Clintons / Obamas / Biden.   I know that the criminal activity they have committed; they are passing the blame to Trump to divert attention from themselves.”   
Both will be blind-copied on this e-mail and thus can respond directly to you if they wish.
Cutting to the chase: pretty obvious you and I possibly have polar opposite political opinions.  That doesn’t bother me  That doesn’t make you right, or me either.  It’s just opinions.  The troubling part is that our country has largely been divided in half, and it is not healthy to pretend that half of the country can pretend to be able to control the other half. There is a certain civil war mentality going on.
1. I strongly supported Obama and both Clintons (and others) and I’m very proud of that.   I took a formal position at the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.  I’ve attached the letter (at end of comment, below).  I have seen all manner of accusations against the Clinton’s, Obama et al over many years, and have made a practice of following up on the veracity of the complaint.  The usual source to fact check is here.   I have noticed that has joined the enemies list in some quarters – it expresses uncomfortable truths about internet lies; an alternative Christian source that I’ve known of for many years is here.  It is not as comprehensive and it supports the work Snopes does.  And of course there are any number of fact check sources available today.
Long and short, your list of accusations comes with not a single source of accusation that I can fact check.  The accusation is the conviction….  There are, probably, hundreds of these, perhaps thousands, of such allegations, passed along, person to person, accepted as truth when the vast majority I’ve ever seen come up as “false” or at best “mixed”.
Most recently in the nice town of Carrington ND, in the Catholic Church, the Sunday bulletin had a wonderful quotation from Abraham Lincoln.  It was a great quote, one that I would have used in my own writing.  But I checked it out, first.  There apparently was such a quotation, by someone I had never heard of, but it wasn’t Abraham Lincoln.  So it was false in its inference of source.  The words “Abraham Lincoln” gave it undeserved credibility.  I wrote the church about it.
Of course, as I mentioned to you, I do know quite a bit about Haiti, one of your assertions.  Ain’t quite all like it seems in the lie yard of the internet….
2. The “criminal things” of President Trump.  This is more about “innocent until proven guilty”, what we all learned about equal justice under the Law.  This was the intent of the Mueller Report, to establish a base of facts for such things as indictments, etc., leading to exoneration or conviction or whatever.  Anyone who follows such things at all sees what is going on – every effort is and will be made to block getting to the truth, allowing the clock to run out.  Would Trump be found innocent?  We’ll likely never know.  There’s a policy (not a law) that he can’t be indicted while President, as was made clear in the Mueller Report.
So, there’s the polarity: guilt by accusation versus innocent until proven guilty.  Judgement by opinion might feel good in the short run, but in the long run we all will suffer, most especially those who have placed their undying loyalty to the current president of the United States (my opinion).    There has been an ongoing and vicious and successful campaign of building fear and hatred of people like myself, “liberals”, and all of the other associated hate words.  It is as it is.
PS:  The 1998 Bill Clinton letter can be read here: Clinton Impeachment001



7 replies
  1. John Bernard
    John Bernard says:

    Watched for a few moments, and have read a significant portion of the actual report – this is an exercise in futility.
    People are simply making statements and not really asking questions; but then again I remember way way way way back in my first mock court appearance as a “expert witness” at UND – Prof kept hammering home the point to the aspiring lawyers that you never ask a question that you don’t already know the answer to; and you never ask a question that will benefit the opponent’s position .

  2. Hank Toring
    Hank Toring says:

    Common criminal he may be, but he is the best thing this country has seen since Reagan

    Obama and the Clintons are far more than a common criminal and all should BE IN jail!

    They and their entourage (Biden, et al) have raped this country morally as well as financially

    Where did the monies for Haiti Relief go-

    I have a very good friend who works in Haiti to help the people, especially the children

    He is at the forefront of the process there and tells us that the Clinton/whoever Millions raised NEVER got there!!

    Where did all the countless millions in the Clinton foundation come from? We all know-pay for play!!

    Where is the American uranium?

    What was the planeload of money for

    Obama spent 8 years apologizing for our country

    And now the dems want to kill babies after birth, let everyone in -so they can vote Democratic

    Socialism is the new thing and AOC plus three are going to ruin the Democratic Party—Horray!!

  3. norm hanson
    norm hanson says:

    I have no interest in watching the proceedings today as both sides will pontificate against the evils and deceptions of the other side and Mueller will correctly just respond that the answer is in the report. Donnie and his merry band of lawyers and Bobby Barr will successfully head off any serious actionable inquiries in his behavior until the 2020 election and any serious investigations by states until after he leaves office in 2025.

  4. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    I, too, am not watching the hearings today. Will catch the highlights on the replays. Instead, I spent the last hour writing to my two Senators, Hoeven and Cramer, and my lone Representative, Kelly Armstrong. Here’s what I told them, if you care to share it, Dick. – Larry

    Addressed to my Senators and Representative:

    How long will you remain silent while the POTUS you and too many in your party dearly love and want to re-elect continues to trash our representative democracy?

    If you don’t know he’s proven to be a self-serving, ego-maniacal racist bully, then you’re as ignorant as Mr. Trump shows himself to be. Your silence is that of the fabled lambs and you’re just as timid as those humble four-legged creatures. Mr. Trump is horribly unqualified to be the President of the United States and you know it – or should.

    Please read what’s happening to the immigrants and American born citizens of color, living in Fargo and elsewhere in our state, that Forum columnist Jim Shaw wrote about last week. Because of Mr. Trump’s toleration – and yours – of the despicable rally chant, “Send her back!”, the insults, racist slurs, and attacks have increased in North Dakota and across the country. But you shouldn’t need me to tell you that. You should know it and you very likely do, but refuse to do anything about it. Like what? Speak up! Condemn this behavior!

    Pay attention to something besides the President’s beloved propaganda machine, Fox News. If the Third Reich’s Joseph Goebbels were alive, this outrageous excuse for a “news” outlet would be number one on his “A list” of preferred media.

    Please be aware that not every North Dakotan is a politically blind Trump lover. There are thousands of us who actually think, read and discuss the President’s behavior and your silence. Would you advise your children and/or grandchildren to emulate Mr. Trump; to act and speak as he does? I can’t believe you would point to this raving lunatic as the way to win friends and influence thoughtful people.

    Don’t be afraid. Get out from hiding under your desk and stand-up for our precious democracy, a way of life Mr. Trump is doing his ignorant best to destroy. Do your job as my Senator (or Representative, depending on addressee).

    If you don’t think your silence will not be remembered come election time, you’re underestimating the North Dakota electorate. I’ve talked to many of my fellow citizens – on both sides, R and D – who are sick and tired of this President and your silence regarding his behavior and speech.

    Larry Gauper, Fargo

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      Larry, your comment came in about the time Kelly Armstrong had his time to question Mr. Mueller. I am a North Dakotan, even today, more than 50 years after I left, I remain with a very soft spot in my heart for my home state. Kelly Armstrong, who I know nothing about, was disgraceful. This was the point in this mornings hearing that the ugliness of politics collided most with the sanctity of process of the Law. Those who want theater, got it with Armstrong; the Law should be the key outcome of this hearing. We’ll see as time goes on how this all plays out. If it’s theater, we all lose.

      • Larry Gauper
        Larry Gauper says:

        Totally agree with you on Armstrong…and Cramer and Hoeven are not any better. They just have a little more experience at being lambs and kisser-uppers. Embarrassing to all of us who are still here and those, like you, who still want to take pride in North Dakota. His newsletters are full of b.s. and pablum. Like Cramer’s and Hoeven’s. In those seat occupiers, he has a couple of teachers for the role he’s attempting to fill. It’s like a guy at American Airlines told us in a seminar a long time ago: “Grab a clipboard, keep moving and, by all means, keep your mouth shut.” Armstrong opened his at the hearing, as you noted, and demonstrated how inept he is.

  5. MaryEllen Weller
    MaryEllen Weller says:

    I listened to several hours of this hearing live, on public radio, in a lakeside up-north cabin. It was very discouraging. The animosity, the antipathy, the show-boating by slick, sly-tongued politicos (on both sides) was just appalling. Is Donald Trump really worth this undeclared civil war? Can’t we just let our excellent system of justice work its way with him? Therein lies the genius of Mueller’s report. He knows he’s finished. Said so himself. I quote: I an so f….d.
    And, Mr. Toring, the Clinton’s behavior will likewise catch up with them.


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