Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

TRUMP'S PHONY PRAISE OF THE MILITARY

Don't believe Trump's bullshit praise of men and women who serve in the military. Trump showed his disrespect for members of the military who have put their lives on the line to serve their country back in June when he blocked the the VoteVets.org group on Twitter. For the small-minded president to attempt to silence a progressive veterans group to preserve his fragile ego shows once again his complete lack of principles and moral core.


Trump's policy-by-tweet banning transgender people from serving in the military, which surprised even the Pentagon, is one more example of his disdain. What are the tens of thousands of transgender members now faithfully serving to think? What will happen to them?


From Trump's speech on the way forward in Afghanistan.

Trump: The soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.

(Especially when the wound is inflicted by the president)

Trump: When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate.

(Except for transgender people)

Trump: Our actions, and in months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation. 

(Except for Capt. Humayan Khan and his family and wounded warriors in VoteVets)

Trump: We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls, and everlasting pride in each and every one of you. 

(Who do you mean "we", Mr President?)

I could go on and on about Trump's nothing speech, delivered in prime TV time, but I won't. I simply want to make my point about his lack of respect for those who serve or who have served in the military.

As far as I can tell, the purpose of the speech was to distract from the fallout from Trump's words about the "very fine people" in the neo-Nazi, white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Mueller's Russian investigation, and various other "challenges" that the president faces.

Monday, May 29, 2017

MAN-CHILD PRESIDENT TRUMP LEAVES DESTRUCTION IN HIS WAKE


In just a few days, our jackass president destroyed decades-old relationships with our former friends in Europe. The man-child who promised to make America great again rides in a cart, as other world leaders walk, even as he should be pulling a cart. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is now the de facto leader of the free world, made it plain that Europe can no longer trust the US for cooperation and support. If European intelligence agencies obtain information about a terrorist attack in this country, will they share with us? What if they fear compromising agents in the field? Who could blame them if they didn't?

Even Trump's generals, whom I quite mistakenly believed might be the semi-sane people in the chaotic Trump maladministration, defend White House connections with Putin's Russia. In a world turned upside down, our allies now seem to be Russia and other countries run by strong men, and we, the people, have no say as a supine GOP Congress allows Trump and his minions to turn the United States into a completely different country in four short months.

Republicans in Congress savor their return to power and the opportunity to throw people off health insurance to give tax cuts to the rich. Thus far, they've paid little to no attention to the results of Trump's destructive foreign policies (if you can call them that) and his disastrous travels around the world. When history tells the story of these times, the supine GOP Congress will be no less complicit than Trump and his minions in the tragic takeover of the country.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

IS TRUMP'S STATE DEPARTMENT IRRELEVANT?

One week after Trump's inauguration, his administration told four top level career State Department managers that their services were no longer needed.  While it's true most presidents appoint their own people to top posts, they usually retain experienced employees through the transition period.

Since Trump appointed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and Tillerson spent his entire career in the oil business and has no government or diplomatic experience, you'd think both men would want seasoned employees around for a while as he learns the ropes.  You'd be wrong.

Also, several reports indicate that Tillerson is excluded from Trump's inner circle.
More than a month after he became America’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson is like no other modern secretary of State: He’s largely invisible.
Trump's proposed budget includes a 37 per cent cut to the State Department budget.  Is the State Department and its secretary no longer relevant in TrumpAmerica?  Or will the department become a subsidiary of Trump, Inc., with Trump remaining as CEO, and Tillerson's position as...?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ABOUT THE RUSSIAN CONNECTIONS AND MICHAEL FLYNN

Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.

Flynn was interviewed by the FBI about his telephone conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., a sign his ties to Russia had caught the attention of law enforcement officials.
Though the WH had known about Flynn's discussions with the Russians since January 26, when they were informed by acting-AG Sally Yates and another official that he was vulnerable to blackmail, no one bothered to inform Pence.  Yet he was sent out to defend Flynn publicly in a TV interview and declare the conversations about sanctions had not happened.
Pence, who had vouched for Flynn in a televised interview, is said to have been angry and deeply frustrated.
How many ways to say out of the loop?  Team Trump humiliated Pence, and now he is angry.  Still, I expect he's not angry enough to resign his potted plant position in the Trump maladministration, because he is the gentleman-in-waiting should something go wrong.

According to the "retelling" from the White House, Flynn had done nothing illegal, but his downfall came because he lied to WH officials. Why was the erosion of trust in Flynn "slow and steady"?  Trump values loyalty above all.  It seems not to matter if his close advisers do not know what the hell they are doing or whether they tell the truth.  Why would truth matter when the boss lies repeatedly? Thus, loyalty trumps everything else, even if the result is chaos and certain staff members are thrown under the bus.

What about Kellyanne Conway?  What did she know, and when did she know it?  Conway is the most visible of Trump's loyal supporters defending him on TV.  Is she out of the loop, too?  A couple of hours before the information about Flynn's "resignation", she said the security adviser had Trump's "full confidence".

If you'd like to walk through the looking glass with Matt Lauer and his interview with Kellyanne Conway this morning, you may or may not find the answer to the question about whether she was out of the loop.

I confess that I was dizzy, rather than enlightened by the walk, but that's just me.

Here's the video of the interview. Conway's ability to remain upright through this long spin is amazing.

Monday, February 13, 2017

ABOUT THE RUSSIAN CONNECTIONS

What did Donald Trump know, and when did he know about Mike Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador?

What did Mike Pence know, and when did he know it?

When will the investigations of the Russian connections begin? Congress? Congress?

When will Mike Flynn be fired or step down? Will Flynn go quietly? Was he following orders? Whose orders?

That's not to mention Steve Bannon, a white supremacist, conspiracy theorist, and general menace who should be nowhere near the White House. Bannon also has Russian connections.
“Steve Bannon, who is the leader of alt-right remember, he runs the alt-right media arm, which is the white supremacist, neo-Nazi arm of the conservative movement,” [Malcolm] Nance said. “He is a believer in what is called Duginism. There’s a guy, Alexander Dugin … He is a Russian that is sort of the Rasputin of the anti-democratic movement in eastern Europe that hates the liberal elite.”

The analyst believes Bannon is setting the strategy for the White House. He told host Joy Reid that Bannon was ultimately attempting to push for Eurasianism, which would “align the United States and Russia together in a Christian war against Islam.”
Nance, who comments frequently on MSNBC, is "a retired United States Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer in naval cryptology and author, scholar and media commentator on international terrorism, intelligence, insurgency and torture." (Wikipedia)

And what about Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobile, now Secretary of State, and his previous lobbying against Russian oil sanctions, which he claims was not lobbying?
I have never lobbied against sanctions,” Tillerson said. “To my knowledge, Exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions.”

This seems hard to believe. Indeed, after the second line, Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the committee, interjected: "I think you called me at the time [Russia sanctions were being debated]," he said. The public record backs him up: There is abundant and clear evidence that Exxon did lobby on sanctions under Tillerson’s leadership.
....

“In your mind, calling a United States senator to express your belief that sanctions are not effective is not lobbying,”[Sen. Chris] Murphy said. “In my view, that is a distinction without a difference.”
If the Pandora's box of Russian connections between Trump's cabinet and staff is ever opened, much will be revealed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?

The New Yorker:
Fom 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior official overseeing a top-secret C.I.A. program that subjected dozens of suspected terrorists to savage interrogations, which included depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and forcing water down their throats. In 2002, Haspel was among the C.I.A. officers present at the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda suspect who was tortured so brutally that at one point he appeared to be dead.

On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced that Haspel would become the C.I.A.’s new deputy director.

It appears that the debate about torture in the President’s mind, if there ever was one, is over."
Jesus! If a country considers itself to be civilized, then torture is not to be tolerated. How did we get into the position once again in which we argue whether or not torture is the way to go? Yes, I know, Bannon/Trump.  Note: Waterboarding is torture.

Will Jefferson Beauregard Sessions stand up to the Bannon/Trump maladministration and say no to the use of torture if he is confirmed as Attorney General? My guess is he will not. He'll be another lackey like Alberto Gonzales who refused to oppose the Cheney/Bush maladministration's torture plan.

Thus far, only the courts have succeeded in putting the brakes on Trump's governance by chaos with executive orders such as the travel ban on people from several majority Muslim countries, and only temporarily.

The Justice Department appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court for a stay to Seattle Federal Judge James Robarts' ruling to halt the implementation of Trump's travel ban.
The Ninth Circuit scheduled the oral argument in the case for Tuesday at 3 p.m. Pacific time. It is to take place by telephone, and the court said it would be live-streamed on its website. Holding an oral argument by telephone in a major case is unusual.

The case will be heard by Judge William C. Canby Jr., appointed by President Jimmy Carter; Judge Michelle T. Friedland, appointed by President Barack Obama; and Judge Richard R. Clifton, appointed by President George W. Bush.
We can but hope that Judge Canby upholds the stay.  (Judge Canby is a real judge, along with Judge Robart, despite Trump's disparaging comment calling Robart a so-called judge.)  However Canby rules, the case will very likely end up with an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

GOVERNMENT BY UNCERTAINTY

The New Orleans Advocate front paged two stories about consequences in Louisiana of Trump's capricious executive orders, a state he won by a large margin.
When the gleaming new Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Canal Street opened its doors in November, officials boasted of an army of 2,500 doctors, nurses and support staff who would provide patients with cutting-edge medical care.
But a federal hiring freeze instituted in the first days of President Donald Trump’s administration has cast a shadow over plans to fill 1,000 of those positions over the next year.

While subsequent orders have loosened some restrictions on the VA — and on its newly opened hospitals in particular — questions persist about how the freeze will affect the wide range of services envisioned at the billion-dollar medical complex, more than 10 years in the making.
Trump promised to be a friend to veterans, and, as his policies play out, we see that's not true. It seems hiring of doctors and nurses will continue as planned, but support staff positions will be approved facility by facility.  Even if the hospitals hire more than enough doctors and nurses, no hospital can function without necessary support staff.

Did our incompetent president know this before he signed his executive order?  Who knows?  Act first; think later when unintended consequences follow.

Also, in today's edition of the Advocate is the article on uncertainty at the Port of New Orleans about consequences of Trump's promise to repeal NAFTA.
As far as global trade goes, "America First" may not necessarily mean "Louisiana First."
....

Reciting a familiar refrain, Trump last week called NAFTA "a catastrophe for our country." His argument is that bad trade deals have shifted American jobs overseas, hitting especially hard in the upper Midwest, where thousands of manufacturing jobs have vanished in recent decades.

But if the result of Trump’s policy turn is ultimately a decline in global trade, Louisiana could wind up as collateral damage in the effort to shore up U.S. employment.
Louisiana voted for Trump by 58 percent to 38 percent for Clinton, and this is the way he treats his friends.  Our representatives in Congress are all Republicans, except for Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA).  How quickly will our Congressmen (yes, all men) stand up to protect the Louisiana economy, which is already in dreadful shape because of the decline in oil and gas prices?  I'm not holding my breath.
Renegotiating NAFTA, the 1994 agreement with Mexico and Canada, might be felt in Louisiana as well. Overall, trade among the three countries has climbed from $293 billion in 1993 to almost $800 billion last year. Mexico and China — another target of Trump’s vitriol on the campaign stump — are Louisiana’s top trade partners.

Mexico accounted for nearly $5.9 billion worth of exports from Louisiana in 2015. A 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports — an idea floated by Trump's spokesman last month — could put a huge damper on that trade.
Mexico is now the enemy because President Peña Nieto stated he will not pay for Trump's wall on the southern border between the two countries.  Trump is determined to take revenge on leaders of countries he perceives to be his "enemies", even if consequences will be harmful to the citizens of the United States.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

TAKE SMALL SATISFACTIONS WHERE YOU FIND THEM

A White House adviser's commentary about a massacre in Kentucky that never happened has sparked seemingly endless snickering online, with jabs like "never remember" and "I survived the Bowling Green massacre."

Kellyanne Conway mentioned the fictional massacre in an MSNBC interview Thursday as the reason for a temporary travel ban for Iraqis in 2011, saying it also proved why the Trump administration's ban was necessary. It thrust this college town back into the national spotlight, nearly three years after a sinkhole that swallowed several classic Corvettes at a museum in Bowling Green garnered worldwide attention.
Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said he understands how a person can "misspeak", but what if the same person "misspeaks" over and over?  When do we stop understanding?  Conway "misspoke" again later the same interview when she said Trump's immigration ban of immigrants from several majority Muslim countries was similar to the plan President Obama put in place to slow the vetting of Iraqi refugees in 2011.  Two Iraqis were arrested and charged with trying to send weapons and money to Iraq and helping Al Queda attack Americans in Iraq.  The two were convicted and are now serving prison sentences.
For Bowling Green radio personality Jelisa Chatman, Conway's remarks were like a gift from heaven as an on-the-air subject.

"You wake up in the morning and you think, 'What am I going to talk about today?'" she said. "And God is like, 'Here you go. You need something to talk about, how about this?"
Heh heh.
At Home Cafe Marketplace, the most popular pizza Friday was "the Bowling Green Massacre" pie. The specialty pizza with blackened chicken, mac' and cheese and jalapenos was on pace to set a one-day sales record at the Bowling Green restaurant, said owner Josh Poling.
....
All proceeds from the specialty pizza's sales will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he said.
Bravo, Josh!  I give regularly to the SPLC, but I gave an extra and generous donation after the group quickly filed suit to temporarily halt Trump's travel ban from the seven countries.  The order barred entry even to US citizens with dual citizenship, permanent residents with green cards, and refugees who had already been rigorously vetted and cleared for entry into the US.

Many thanks to the many attorneys at airports around the country who volunteer their services to assist people who are detained and interrogated.
"It's funny and we can laugh at it," said Barry Kaufkins, who teaches at Western Kentucky. "But I think a lot of the laughter is so we don't cry. A lot of people are really worried about some of the rhetoric, not to mention the behavior, from this administration."
Indeed. We take our small satisfactions and humor where we find them to take a break from weeping and wailing over the damage the Trump maladministration has done at home and abroad in two short weeks.

Spokespersons for Trump say the several court orders from federal judges around the country to stop implementation of the executive order will be appealed.  I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me Trump's tweet could be...um...prejudicial to his appeals, but what do I know?
@realDonaldTrump  7 hours agoMoreThe opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DON'T COME, PLEASE

Queen Elizabeth is uncomfortable with Trump's state visit to England.
It is the British government that invites heads of state on the queen’s behalf, but it is the queen who acts as personal hostess. In most cases, that involves lavish pomp and ceremony and a stay of several days at the queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace.
I ask you, would you want Trump staying in your palace...er...house?  I would not want Trump to visit my humble abode.

Theresa May's invitation to Trump for a state visit to London was beyond stupid.  There are petitions against Trump with thousands of signatures, and there will be protests if he goes ahead with plans for the visit.  Trump will be a pariah in England and in many countries around the world.  My guess is Trump will not go.  He lusts for acclamation by crowds, but he fears protests.
President Donald Trump will not head to Milwaukee for a previously scheduled visit of a Harley-Davidson factory after the company decided it wasn’t comfortable hosting him amid planned protests, an administration official said Tuesday, January 31st.
....

Harley-Davidson issued a statement Tuesday night saying they “don’t have, nor did we have, a scheduled visit from the President this week at any of our facilities.”
Ha ha!  Who us?  Trump is not coming here.  H/T to Charles Pierce for the link,

Trump will not only be a pariah around the world, but he will be unwelcome in many places in the US, because protests will follow him wherever he goes, some large and some small.

I still miss Molly Ivins and long for her commentary on present day politics.  You can't make this stuff up.
“There are two kinds of humor,” she told People magazine. One was the kind “that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity,” she said. “The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That’s what I do.”
UPDATE: The number of signatures on the petition protesting Trump's visit is now over a million, and Parliament will take up the matter later this month.

UPDATE 2: We can but hope that if Trump's state visit to England takes place, he will not shake hands with the Queen as he did with Neil Gorsuch.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

OUR BRAVE SEN. JOHN NEELY KENNEDY

Dozens of demonstrators converged on New Orleans City Hall on Monday for a second day of demonstrations against President Donald Trump's far-reaching executive order halting the admission of new refugees from war-torn Syria and suspending immigration from several other Muslim-majority countries.

The rally, the second in two days, came as some local religious leaders, including Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, expressed outrage at the president's directive, condemning it as antithetical to humanitarian and American principles.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, called the order "immoral," while City Councilman Jason Williams described it as "unconstitutional."    

"President Trump's discriminatory travel ban will make our country less safe because it will further alienate us from Muslim allies in the fight against terrorism and extremism," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

"New Orleans will remain a welcoming city because we know that our diversity is a strength," he said. "We also know all too well what it feels like to seek shelter and refuge in a place that is not your home."
I'm proud of the people in New Orleans who are out there on the barricades, and I'm grateful to the Democratic political leaders and to Archbishop Aymond for speaking out against the despicable executive order.

And then our brave Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) weighs in:
Sen. John Kennedy said the United States has the "right to control its border," adding that it would be "stupid to let people who want to hurt us into our country."

"We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws," Kennedy said. "I support the following rule: If you want to come to America, you have to be rigorously vetted to make sure you are not a terrorist, regardless of your religion or country of origin."
Perhaps Kennedy does not know the US already has the most rigorous vetting process for refugees in the entire world.

Does the senator believe that translators and intelligence agents from countries in the Middle East who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to support the members of our military stationed in those countries are "people who want to hurt us"?  Does Kennedy approve of putting our troops the Middle East at greater risk, because people in those countries will no longer be willing to help our military fight ISIS?  Does he approve of putting our country at greater risk by providing ISIS with an excellent recruiting tool to say, "Look! The United States hates all Muslims."

Does Kennedy think citizens with dual citizenship in the US and another country should be barred from reentering the country if they travel outside our borders?  Does he think people who have green cards for permanent residence in the US should be barred?  Students from countries in the Middle East who went to their native countries for a visit?  So many questions, but no answers.

Ever since Trump signed the executive order, I've been calling Kennedy's office, along with the office of Sen. Bill Cassidy to express my opinion, but I can't get through.  Either the line is busy, or I receive a message that the voice mailbox is full.  I spoke to a person in Rep. Garrett Graves office, but I could not get answers to my specific questions, only a vague statement that he supports the order, because he wants to keep us safe, which, of course, the executive order does not do.

There's no point in writing my GOP members of Congress, because they use my letter as an excuse to respond with a spiel about the great things they are doing.  Invariably, their responses have nothing to do with the subject of my message.

I may not be able to reach my GOP senators, but it's good therapy for me to put the questions in writing, outside of myself.

Monday, January 30, 2017

TRUMP'S ABOMINABLE EXECUTIVE ORDER

Military veterans were dumbfounded and furious when it became clear over the weekend that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring the admission into the United States of people from seven majority-Muslim countries keeps out interpreters who’d risked their lives helping U.S. forces in Iraq.

“They better make a damn exception, because we are here because of them,” said Andrew Biggio, a former Marine sergeant who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our lives, our families, we have everything to thank for our interpreters. We owe them, we owe them, we owe them.”

Biggio, who voted for Trump, said he and other Marines he served with are waiting for a clarification from the White House. Many of them personally pushed for years to obtain visas for their interpreters and then raised funds to help them settle in.
Andrew Biggio, why are you surprised at the executive order? Good for you that you're speaking up now about what you know is wrong and cruel. My only surprise is that the Bannon/Trump administration is moving so swiftly with a number of executive orders that are signed without the normal vetting process.

It's understandable that a new president will want to change policies, but the ban on immigrants from seven countries with Muslim majorities, and the attempt by the administration to link Obama to the executive order is despicable.  Man up, and take responsibility for your own actions, Mr Bannon and President Trump.  Refugees coming to the US are already subject to the most rigorous vetting in the entire world.
Veterans said that honoring the implicit promise made to those who risked their lives to help the United States has nothing to do with politics, and that they can’t believe it would be up for debate.

“You will find military veterans unified in support of this; it’s not partisan,” said Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq. “This order demonstrates that we don’t have their backs. It’s totally un-American.”  
Who is vetting the Bannon/Trump administration's executive orders?  Apparently, no one who knows anything about the process is included.
Veteran officials who normally would have reviewed the order’s language to ensure smooth implementation and avoid potential litigation have been cut out of the typical process by the Trump administration — or simply overruled, current and former officials told FP [Foreign Policy].
As one of my friends asked, is the administration trying to incite ISIS to attack the United States? The executive order is probably unconstitutional, and it will not make the people in the country safer.  It will increase the danger of a terrorist attack, and, worst of all, US members of the military serving in the Middle East will be put at risk.  To ask troops to put their lives on the line, even as the presidential order puts their lives at greater risk is abominable.
President Donald Trump is getting blasted for reorganizing the National Security Council to oust the director of intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [James Mattis] from always attending the Principals Committee -- and installing one of his top political advisers on the key panel.
Trump's order makes his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, a regular member of the Principals Committee. The committee is a Cabinet-level group of agencies that deal with national security that was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.
Does anyone on Trump's team know what they're doing?  What's going on in the White House?  What is Vice-President Pence doing?  Standing like a potted plant to watch Trump sign executive orders?

Is Bannon/Trump in the middle of an attempted coup to govern by fiat, with no regard for the other two branches of government?  Where is the leadership from the GOP?  Democratic Senators are expected to introduce legislation as early as Monday that aims to overturn President Trump's executive orders on immigration.  Democrats will need cooperation from Republicans to pass a bill to put an end to the madness of the executive order through legislation.  And Trump will have to sign the legislation into law.  What are the chances for an override of a Trump veto?  Probably zero, but Democrats must go on record loudly and proudly in opposing the ban.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

DESPICABLE, CHAOTIC TRAGEDY - THANKS, TRUMP

From the New York Times - despicable, chaotic tragedy.  Iraqis who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to help the US are banned.  People from countries on the executive order list who have green cards are banned from reentering the US. This is our new president, only one week in office, and we are asked time after time to "give him a chance".  Not a chance of that for me.  Never in my wildest nightmares about a Trump presidency did I imagine such an ignorant, heartless dolt could do as much damage to our country and our international relationships in one week.
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
....

Mr. Trump’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen on Friday afternoon, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
....


Confusion turned to panic at airports around the world, as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States. In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight they had boarded.
Note: I have not previously used the picture of Trump at the head of the post, but it's time, or maybe way past time, as it so perfectly illustrates the message the president sends to the people of the country and to the world.  Of course, there is one exception, as even now the Trump maladministration is considering lifting sanctions on Russia, where his much beloved strong man and BFF, Vlad Putin, rules as despot.

UPDATE: From Talking Points Memo.
A federal judge in New York has issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the order Saturday evening after lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a court petition on behalf of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations who were detained at airports across the country as the ban took effect.

Cheers broke out in a crowd of demonstrators outside a Brooklyn courthouse as the decision, effective nationwide, was announced.
Thank you, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)! I will make a donation now. We need the organization desperately in these times.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

WHY ABRAHAM LINCOLN LAUGHED

Why Lincoln Laughed:
Basically a melancholy man, he was not humor's slave, and could therefore bend it to his own uses and make it a vehicle for thought rather than mere clownishness.

This was misunderstood at the time, and once in the dark days of the war, when Lincoln was reprimanded for his unseemly levity, he turned his gaunt face and tragic eyes toward his critic and replied, "I laugh because I must not cry; That's all - that's all."
Since the election and inauguration (which I did not watch) of Donald Trump, I'm slowly making my way out of despair to determination to resist. I can't do a lot, but I will do what I can. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun along the way, and we can count on Stephen Colbert and many others to make us laugh.

Monday, January 9, 2017

MERYL STREEP - MY HERO



It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It -- it kind of broke my heart when I saw it. And I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life. 

 And this instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. 
Meryl Streep is my hero, and not for the first time.  She said what needed to be said about President-elect Donald Trump in her speech at the Golden Globe Awards.  When Trump mocked reporter Serge Kovaleski's physical disability, he should have been shunned by everyone, including sane members of the GOP, and eliminated from the field of candidates.

When the tape of Trump boasting about assaulting women was released, his candidacy should have been finished, over, done, but that did not happen.

Trump invited his friend Putin to hack Hillary Clinton's email, and I don't recall a GOP outcry at the time.  The vast majority, if not all, Republican members of Congress endorsed Trump in the end. Putin followed through, hacked the Clinton campaign's email server, and interfered with the election.  Now, too little, too late, a few Republican leaders are "concerned".  That Trump is unfit to serve as president is obvious, but where were the sane Republicans who should have been speaking out forcefully against Trump for months and months?

Also, now that the election is over, Democrats are far too quiet about Trump's unfitness to suit me. The Democratic leadership, with some exceptions, seems overly focused on a smooth transition of power, but a smooth transition to what? Maybe the focus should be on the disastrous nightmare that will follow the smooth transition. WTF?

Friday, December 16, 2016

"BUCK UP, DEMOCRATS AND FIGHT LIKE REPUBLICANS"



Dahlia Lithwick of Slate and law Professor David S Cohen from Drexel University in The New York Times:
There's no shortage of legal theories that could challenge Mr. Trump'a anointment, but they come from outsiders rather than the Democratic Party. Impassioned citizens have been pleading with electors to vote against Mr. Trump; law professors have argued that winner-take-all laws for electoral votes are unconstitutional; small group of Hamilton Electors is attempting to free electors to vote their consciences; and a new theory has arisen that there is legal precedent for courts to give the election to Mrs. Clinton based on Russian interference, All of these efforts, along with grass-roots protests, boycotts and petitions, have been happening without the Democratic Party. The most we've seen is a response to the C.I.A revelations, but only with Republicans onboard to give Democrats bipartisan cover.
Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. Trump won by 1% in Pennsylvania, but he received all 20 electoral votes, which disenfranchises the people who voted for her in the state and in all the other winner-take-all states. Why not support the Hamilton electors in the Electoral College in doing the job as described in The Federalist Papers #68? Why have the Electoral College at all if it's never to be used for it's proper purpose?
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.
....

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.
Tumult, disorder, and mischief abound in Trump's leadership and in his team. Democrats generally fight fairer according to Marquess of Queensbury-like rules and traditions, and Republicans take off the gloves and fight unbound by tradition and unwritten rules, which makes the fight assymmetrical, leaving Democrats at a disadvantage. As witness, during the writers' joint appearance on Chris Hayes' All In, Lithwick notes the 300 days the nomination of Merrick Garland languished in the Senate with no forward movement. Sorry, I can't get the embed link for the video to work, but you can try this link and look for the title Should Democrats act more like Republicans?.

If electors choose not to vote for Trump and write in another name besides besides Clinton, and no candidate receives the required 270 votes, the decision would go to the House of Representative. Of course, the majority will vote for Trump, but then the responsibility for the Trump presidency and its consequences will rest entirely in the hands of Republicans.

My post is not about laying blame for what's past, but rather about what Democrats do now. The electoral vote is on Monday, November 19, so there's very little time. Is there a way to stop the Putin-Trump co-presidency of the world?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

WORDS THAT DON'T GO AWAY

From Digby at Hullabaloo:
Trump tweeted the following four years ago when he thought Obama was going to win the electoral college and Mitt Romney was going to win the popular vote. He's deleted them, but every Donald Trump tweet has been preserved.

Trump won the election in the Electoral College with with fewer votes than Clinton, but he is, without doubt, the winner of having made the most statements that may come back to bite him in the ass. Not that it will matter, because he will carry on as though he never said or tweeted the words.

Friday, November 11, 2016

ELECTION 2016

Top aides to Hillary Clinton believe the press and FBI Director James Comey contributed to her surprise election night loss, according to a Hill report out Thursday.

In a private conference call with supporters, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, communications director Jennifer Palmieri and other senior staffers struggled to explain how their well-oiled campaign machine ultimately failed.

Voter suppression, Comey, media bothsiderism, and the media banging away at Clinton emails, (State Dept. and Wikileaks), and, in comparison, ignoring Trump's many scandals all played a part, but honest self-examination would indicate that the DNC is a troglodyte and needs an overhaul starting at the top.

When African-Americans in Louisiana, who turned out in lower numbers than previous elections, were asked why, their response was that neither Clinton nor Kaine were a presence in the state, so they felt the two didn't care about Louisiana.

Local Democrats worked hard and did their best, but they received scant support from national Democratic organizations such as the DNC, the DSC, and the DCCC.  Even if blacks had voted in higher numbers, Trump would probably have won the electoral votes in the state, but that does not negate the fact that Democrats, win or lose, need an ongoing 50-state strategy, starting now.  A political party that wants to be a national party does not have the liberty to write off even deeply red states. To build a national party, Democrats must have a presence in every state, as Howard Dean told us over and over and tried to do when he was head of the DNC.  Alas, he was thrown out for a scream.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Correction: Howard Dean offered his resignation as Chairman of the DNC after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, because the president traditionally appoints the DNC chair, not because of the scream.  In 2004, Dean was a candidate for president.  The scream was an attempt to rally his supporters after his loss of the Iowa caucus that he had expected to win. Wide media coverage of the scream was followed by loss of support from party insiders, and John Kerry ultimately became the Democratic nominee.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

DEAD PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER PAY TAXES SAYS TRUMP


Yesterday, Donald Trump gave an economic policy speech in Detroit in his subdued persona, speaking from a teleprompter. He offered a replay of the old, failed GOP trickle down economics, which results in great benefits to corporations and the very rich, but, from past experience, we know that very little benefit trickles down to people who need it most.  In the greatest exercise of self control I've seen, Trump did not strike back at several protesters who were quickly removed from the venue, though if looks could kill....

Trump spoke to a group of corporate executives at the Detroit Economic Club, who probably approved of his message. If Trump's goal was in any way aimed at attracting the votes of ordinary people, living in an economy that is struggling to recover from bankruptcy in 2013, his promise to repeal the "death tax" stood out as particularly ironic. The estate tax affects only a very small number of people in the entire country.

Though I assume Trump was also speaking to the wider world, his supporters among working class white men could hardly have been moved by the promise, unless they greatly misunderstand how few people actually pay the "death tax".
The Tax Policy Center estimates that some 10,800 individuals dying in 2015 will leave estates large enough to require filing an estate tax return (estates with a gross value under $5.43 million need not file this return in 2015). After allowing for deductions and credits, 5,330 estates will owe tax. Nearly 85 percent of these taxable estates will come from the top 10 percent of income earners and over 40 percent will come from the top 1 percent alone.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DONALD TRUMP - CHAMPION OF SMALL BUSINESS

According to the Miami Herald, Trump National stiffs a small business by refusing payment for the full amount of the paint contract because it has “paid enough”.

In this instance, Donald Trump was penny wise and pound foolish.  Why not just pay the $34,863? Now he owes nearly 10 times the amount. Here's why: Trump has pulled the same stunt on other contractors, but not all small businesses have the funds to take him to court. In this instance the attorneys took the case with the agreement that they would not get paid if they lost.
Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto, presiding over a lawsuit related to unpaid bills brought by a local paint store against the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, ordered the billionaire politician’s company to pay the Doral-based mom-and-pop shop nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees.

All because, according to the lawsuit, Trump allegedly tried to stiff The Paint Spot on its last payment of $34,863 on a $200,000 contract for paint used in the renovation of the home of golf’s famed Blue Monster two years ago.
Note that the judge is Latino, but he is of Cuban descent, so perhaps Trump will not demand that he recuse himself from the case, as he did for Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is of Mexican descent.