Tag Archives: Trump

Movies For Donald

I never would have believed America would vote in another knucklehead like the man the late, great, Molly Ivans referred to as “Shrub” Bush, but it happened.   And what’s the Donald up to now?   Well, now he’s bitching about how difficult it is to be president and how he longs for his old uber-wealthy lifestyle, where all he had to do was give orders and admire himself in a gilt-edged mirror in his gilt-edged apartment high above Manhattan.   Watching all those inferior little people who weren’t born into wealth scurry about far below his mighty tower.  It was so gratifying and being president is so  hard.   Poor Donald.  He has golden hair, a mighty golden belly and so many other wonderful qualities that nobody really appreciates.  His mommy told him so.

Watching Donald J. Trump go through on the job training is hell, but hey, if we send him a copy of “Blade Runner,” do you think he’ll watch it? I mean, he’s such a self-absorbed bonehead with so much catching up to do and he doesn’t read so maybe movies are the way to go? Maybe it could be a movement? Movies for Donald?

Do it today.   Send Donald a movie with some instructional value on DVD.  Make sure it’s entertaining enough to get him to watch.  If it’s an actual documentary, you’ll probably have to disguise it to look like an entertainment flick due to his apparent aversion to acquiring any actual perspective on reality.   The classic “Grapes Of Wrath” for example, might be disguised to look like a sci-fi flick about genetic engineering gone wrong, as hordes of carnivorous grapes go on the attack in Seattle.

We need to get him watching as many thought provoking films as possible or we’ll be stuck with what more than one prominent psychoanalyst has described as a full-blown case of malignant narcissism for a full four years as it appears the Republicans will never develop sufficient cojones to impeach this guy.

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” might be a good place to start, or maybe  “Born On The Fourth Of July.”

Please help us Obe Wan Kenobi.  You may be our only hope.

 

Is Trump Taking Us To A Point Of No Return?

A bogus attack on an abandoned airfield in Syria, apparently mostly for publicity.   Dropping the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan, again, apparently mostly for publicity,  and now this most recent acting out, calling all 100 U.S. Senators to the White House for what appears to have been another publicity stunt, forcing the country to spend money to set up a secure briefing room big enough to hold all those people at the White House when that same secure briefing area already existed for no additional expense on Capitol Hill.   All Trump had to do was send his three or four people over to the Hill, rather than busing 100 senators to the White House.  Is there a method to this madness?  Maybe.  Maybe he wants to make it appear as though he is doing all he can to keep the Congress informed as he ramps up the country for war with North Korea.

So far, none of it, not the bombing  of the abandoned airfield in Syria, or the giant “Mother” of all bombs in Afghanistan or even losing an aircraft carrier battle group as he increases the potential for war with North Korea, has been enough to erase the investigations into his administration’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russians.

This is nuts.  U.S. intelligence has informed us that the Russians and Turks have infiltrated Trump’s inner-circle.  It’s the elephant in the middle of the room while one of Trumps’s top advisors, Steve Bannon, openly brags about the effort underway to “deconstruct” our government as hundreds of positions remain unfilled due to personnel not having been nominated by the White House.

We have been warned that we can either fill all those unfilled diplomatic positions to help avoid war, or we will be forced to spend even more money going to war.   Generally speaking, military leaders are not heavily backgrounded in diplomacy.  They are backgrounded in going to war.  At the same time it is important to remember that the nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State,  Rex Tillerson, has no professional diplomatic experience.   He is an oil company executive.

Mr. Trump says he is going to listen to his generals.   It might be assumed then, that the former CEO of ExxonMobil and a military man nicknamed “Mad Dog” are taking the point for U.S. diplomacy?

How much of this are we supposed to be able to stand?    Why is Congress acting like all this negligent and possibly deranged behavior is okay?  Where will Trump be busing them off to next?  A big lockup somewhere?   Where is the FBI?   Where are the patriots who care more for the country than their party affiliations?

Why, when the Trump Administration orders the United States Senate to get on a couple of buses for an unnecessarily costly and perhaps meaningless visit to the White House (other than giving Donald another opportunity to get all puffed up), did they do it?  Kudos to Bernie Sanders for not going.   Have our senators taken leave of their senses?

Oh wait.   The Republicans are in the majority, so if the Democrats refused to get on the bus, then the Republicans could call the Democrats uncooperative, blaming them for everything and anything that might go wrong with whatever the Donald does or does not plan on doing in the future.   It would be the Democrats fault, even if it wasn’t.   It will be their fault for not getting on the bus. That’s the way it is, when party loyalty trumps loyalty to one’s country.   There’s also the nasty fact that some of the Republicans feel a need to follow Trump’s orders or risk being targeted in their home districts in the next election.

Expect our collective sanity to be stretched to the max over the next few months or maybe even weeks as thinking Americans continue losing sleep.  As for me, I am abandoning the pundits and switching over to old movies as a diversion from being forced to focus on when and where Donald J. Trump will start our next big war in an obvious effort to make his personality issues and connectivity with the Russians go away.

It no longer matters whether Donald J. Trump is doing what he is doing intentionally or whether he is simply oblivious.   The Congress must take steps to put the ship of state back on a course that improves rather than threatens our security before Trump takes us to a point of no return.

This is not a business deal, this  is geopolitics and possibly war.  This is not putting America first.

This is insane.

 

What The Democrats Giveth The Republicans Rippeth Away

Watching the March for Science in DC today and hearing disparaging words about the lack of mental prowess exhibited by the current occupant of the White House, it occurred to me that President Jimmy Carter, a former submarine officer with an advanced knowledge of nuclear power, had solar panels installed on the people’s house back in 1979.   Those same solar panels were then ripped out by Ronald Reagan in 1981 as solar power advocates were undoubtedly outspent by lobbyists from the oil and gas industry.  I thought about this and was deeply saddened.  You should be too.  It contains an essential truth about our broken government. But it doesn’t end there.

Twenty-nine years later, Barack Obama,  who taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, had solar panels reinstalled.   And now, rocketing ahead to 2017,  we find ourselves saddled with Donald Trump, a man who advocates a return to coal, as science deniers have taken control of the government while the icecaps melt and the planet grows warmer.

How long do you think it will be before the Science hating, climate change denying Trumpsters tear out the solar panels yet again?  This is after all, what these people do, making it necessary to hold a march to show our support not for civil rights or women’s rights or gay rights or human rights, but because the very question of the essential value of scientific endeavor, the right to seek out the pure light of knowledge is being threatened.

Anybody out there see the movie “Angels And Demons?”   Leonardo? Remember?  Anybody?

The Republicans are at it again.   Even now, Mr. Trump is probably up on the roof, wondering what those funny-looking black panels are. Oh wait.  It’s Saturday, so he’ll be on his regular weekend golf holiday in Florida, so it will probably be a few more weeks before the Luddites decide to tear out the solar panels once again to make a statement about their support for the fossil fuel industry .

With only limited time to spend on the presidency,  DJT has to be given time to continue gearing down, pulling us all backward with the angry, greed-born regression of the far-right.   (So long as it doesn’t irritate the Russians.)

While The Media Focuses On Bill O’Reilly…

One of the smartest comics out there, Lewis Black, was on the Colbert show last night talking about something which, I suspect, has been hitting a great many of us since November – getting up in the morning, turning on the tv and being so shell-shocked by the Trump Administration’s newest buffoonery that it takes until noon to recover.

It looks like most of the Trumpsters don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing. Most of the time.   Makes you want to bang your head against the wall while yelling, “dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Most recently, our alleged Secretary of State and long-time business associate of Vladimir Putin and friend to Russia, Rex Tillerson, attacked the agreement on nuclear development with Iran, making it sound like the Trumpsers might want to tear it up and start over.   It was a “get tough” on Iran speech.  This morning, a day later, he’s walking it back, saying Iran is in compliance with the agreement.  Whoops.

A little more than a week ago, the Trumpsters lost an entire aircraft carrier strike group as Donald was down in Mara Lago eating chocolate cake when he should have been in the situation room back in DC.

That’s what the President of the United States is supposed to do after issuing threats to a nuclear-armed nation like North Korea with an erratic, unstable and murderous leader.   He is supposed to get his ass down into the situation room and makes plans.   Think ahead about things like….duh….”so where is the strike group right now?”   If Trump didn’t want the job then he shouldn’t have asked for it.

The Presidency of the United States does not afford enough spare time for weekend golf holidays and personal business promotions. Apart from that and making matters even more unacceptable, apparently nobody thought about calling the Pentagon for an update on the strike group’s location and heading, so the idiot Trump announced to the world that the carrier, along with several other war ships (“very powerful!”) were headed north to Korea when they were actually going south.   Dumb, dumb, dumb,dumb,dumb…

Lewis Black is right.  Almost every day it’s some new idiotic revelation.  Except for yesterday’s announcement that ExxonMobil is asking for a waiver on sanctions the U.S. put in place against Russia so that Exxon can move forward with a joint oil development venture they have with the Russian Government estimated to be worth as much as a half-trillion dollars.   Nothing idiotic about that.  Why do you think Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon was given his current job at the State Department?   The man came from out of nowhere with no previous political experience.

How and why was this business big-wig with ties to Putin and the Russians chosen to be Secretary of State by a presidential transition team just dripping with ties to Putin and the Russians? *

Not sure how we’re supposed to be able to put up with this for four years.  A bogus missile strike in Syria and the “mother of all bombs” dropped on a possibly meaningless ISIS position in Afghanistan – all of it apparently designed to divert our attention away from Trump’s connections to the Russians?  God, help us.

All you guys who voted for Trump because you thought nothing could be worse than another Clinton Administration – you own this mess.   You were wrong.   Big time.   Remember that when you go to the polls in 2018.  You screwed up to the point of putting the country in jeopardy with a possibly delusional president who thinks he’s a king and who may, just may, start a shooting war to cover his Administration’s past collaboration with the Russians and his current mistakes.   And the Republican Party, with its silence, is backing his every move.

The Trump Administration represents a real threat to the Republic and the world.  Meantime our media is leading the news with stories about Bill O’Reilly losing his job at FOX.

 

*H/T to Rachel Maddow

 

Putin, Trump, And The Death Of American Credibility

There was no English word for “disinformation” until sometime in the 1980’s, when it was derived from a Russian term meaning misinformation “intentionally disseminated in order to deceive.”  It can include, “forgery, subversion and media manipulation,”  and would be needed only if efforts to kill the truth at its source through the co-option of government officials and (or) persons in the media, had failed.  Arnaud De Borchgrave and Robert Moss  wrote a wonderful novel about the media manipulation thing back in 1980.   The book’s title is “The Spike,” and it’s worth a read.

In plain English, disinformation can take many forms but basically it involves hiding facts behind a giant smokescreen, so high, wide and thick that no one can possibly see through it.  The common term for it here in  America is BS, although this would be BS taken to a level rarely seen in everyday life.

By one account, the Russians have been using disinformation as a weapon since the 1920’s.  Under the former Soviet Union and its secret police/intelligence arm, the KGB, disinformation was developed into an art form possibly not seen since the days of master manipulator Angelo Machiavelli, which may or may not be something to be proud of, depending upon your predilection for the “art” of deception.

Any way you cut it, the KGB was said to be very good at it.  Based upon current affairs, they still are, keeping in mind that those who ran the KGB, like Vlaidmir Putin, and certain other billionaire crime bosses, are now running all of Russia.  That’s not to say their techniques have changed.   Take for example, Donald Trump’s recent “attack” on an airbase in Syria.  Talk surrounding the attack could be true, or some of it could be disinformation.

We were first told, repeatedly, by Mr. Trump himself,  that  he would never telegraph his intentions to an enemy,   Then, in what was only his second big military decision, what did he do?   He called Syria’s ally Russia, and told them of his intentions to bomb an airfield in Syria, ensuring the Syrians would be told about the attack, giving both the Russians and the Syrians ample time to get their people and equipment out of harm’s way.

According to the release from the Pentagon, “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.”

Trump, totally telegraphed his intentions to the enemy.   He phoned it in.  Still, this has nothing to do with what may have been disinformation.   That came later, and not from Trump, but from one of his sons, with backup from Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Pundits (and a couple of “surrogates” who will support Trump regardless of his words or actions and who should not be given access to credible news programs) had already been sending out rumblings that the airfield attack was ample evidence against any collusion between Trump and the Russians.   Later, Trump’s son Eric, would parrot this same line, possibly being unintentionally dragged into a broadening ripple effect of disinformation.  What the Russians would call “a useful idiot.”

Then, even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian hierarchy,  Russian President Vladimir Putin belched forth what may have been another enormous cloud of truth-hiding smoke, making the pronouncement that what the Americans were saying about the missile attack on Syria, was comparable to earlier American lies about WMD’s in Iraq.

Accuse the accuser.  One of the oldest tricks in the book.  But this was carrying the weight of coming from the President of Russia. Whoa.  Now that’s sure to confuse the issue.  If you can even remember what it was.

It’s similar to having an American president who doesn’t understand he is no longer campaigning and that his words now have a far more serious meaning to the world, except that Putin understands what he’s doing and Trump hasn’t a clue, even while he’s being heralded by his supporters for building greater credibility in the eyes of the world by launching what was essentially a phony attack against Syria.  Credibility?  Incredible.

Even if the bogus attack on an all but abandoned airfield wasn’t enough to prove that Trump hasn’t been colluding with the Russians, the angry  Response from Mr. Putin would have to convince those few remaining doubters that no collaboration between Putin and the Trump political machine could be possible.

How’s that for disinformational smoke?   Or maybe not?  Can’t prove it’s there, so maybe it isn’t.  Or maybe it is?  Confused yet?

It’s entirely possible that Trump telegraphed his intentions on the attack to avoid hitting Russian targets and starting World War III.  It’s also entirely possible that Eric Trump is right,  that his father’s decision to hit the abandoned airfield was to send a message to the Syrians that they must stop using chemical weapons, and further, that Mr. Putin’s pronouncement against Trump and the United States comparing the attack to lies about WMD’s in Iraq, was made solely to bump up Putin’s standing in the Russian press.

Why are apparently official announcements about our government coming from the mouths of the President’s children?   Then again, maybe everybody’s telling the truth.  Or perhaps not.  Perhaps it’s really about money, power and disinformation.  Or perhaps Donald J. Trump is simply and hopelessly incompetent.

The thing about dealing with the Russians and their disinformation and Donald Trump, who is currently without credibility is that we really don’t know what to believe.   Especially with former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow, where there are sure to be discussions about dropping U.S. sanctions against Russia, opening up all those Exxon owned oil fields for development.

Even if Trump’s actions were heartfelt as his children claim, and the attack on the airfield was a genuine effort to deter the Syrians from using chemical weapons, and Eric Trump’s words were authentic and Putin is genuinely angry at Donald Trump, even if all this is what’s really happening,  how can we tell from behind this giant cloud of smoke?   Do you believe anything Putin says?   How about Trump?

The FBI needs to kick its investigation into high gear while the public can still remember what they are investigating and why.   One good war could make it all go away.

 

 

 

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good War?

The words of George W. Bush keep coming back, our forty-third president saying, “I’m a war president,  I make decisions here in the oval office…in foreign policy matters with war on my mind.”   

And then he took us into Iraq, shoring up his presidency for two full terms.  His approval rating which at one point stood at 90% eventually tanked at 25% shortly before leaving office.  It took us a long time to get there but eventually most of America decided that George W., wasn’t so hot after all.

And now comes Donald J. Trump, who, after six years of civilian slaughter in Syria from barrel bombs and chemical warfare suddenly realizes babies are being killed and announces, “The world’s a mess, and we’re gonna fix it.”  

How is it possible that Donald Trump, who has admitted he gets his news from television, has missed hundreds of reports over a half-dozen years about the carnage waged by Bashar al-Assad against the people of Syria?   Has he suddenly forgotten his tweets, advising former President Obama to “stay the hell out of Syria?”   Of course not.  It isn’t possible.  Therefore, Trump’s affectation caused by recently seeing “babies” being killed in Syria, is an act.   He knew the word “babies” would resonate, so he used it repeatedly.  There is no other explanation.  It’s nothing but a con, the same thing he did when he sent his “investigators” to Hawaii to check out Mr. Obama’s birth certificate or he saw “thousands” cheering when the twin towers came down in New York.   It’s the same old Donald,  except this time he wants us to believe he was emotionally torn after seeing babies being attacked in Syria.

Then, after notifying the Russian military, presumably giving them time to  get their people out of the way,  he launched fifty nine cruise missiles, not on a primary, top of the line airfield in Syria, but an older less important airfield, allegedly used to launch the gas attack on Syrian citizens just days earlier.

There’s no question about the need to stop the violence in the Middle East and North Africa, a fight between warlords and religious factions that’s been going on for more than a thousand years.   The real question is whether it’s realistic to believe the United States, or any other country,  can get it done militarily.

The Obama Administration, had apparently pretty much decided that the only permanent solution would have to be diplomatic, an idea that was not addressed by the hawkish Senator John McCain on one of this morning’s talk shows, as he appeared nearly giddy with joy over the missile strike in Syria – which will accomplish what?  What does Donald Trump do now?

With no easy answers a couple of things are apparent.   One is that George W. Bush’s Administration was buoyed by Bush declaring himself to be America’s “wartime president.”   The other is that “Russiagate” will probably be less of a problem for Donald Trump following the missile attack on Syria.   Like Bush, Trump’s numbers will undoubtedly get a positive bump now that he’s taken military action.

With media reaction that the attack he ordered was “swift” and “decisive,”  on the one hand to “smart” and proportional,” on the other, one wonders how Mr. Trump, who feeds off of approval like a child craving candy, will react.

We went into Afghanistan and Iraq with Vietnam-era warriors warning us against taking on any military engagement without an exit strategy.    We were promised that we wouldn’t get stuck in a military quagmire,  but that’s exactly what happened.  The promises of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are now all but forgotten and to this day there appears to be no end-game in sight, only violence begetting more violence with the ever-present danger of the world’s largest military-industrial complex gobbling up taxpayer dollars as it defines our goals to be anything but diplomatic.

Diplomacy,  after all, is so messy, shot through with setbacks and difficult to understand.   Warfare, on the other hand, is easy to understand.  These people are killing babies.  How can anybody argue against stopping that?  And besides, who doesn’t love a good war?

 

Trump’s Approval Drops To 35% – Who Are These People?

Trumpty Dumpty has scheduled a a rare news conference to take place at one eastern.  I am very much concerned that he will be announcing what he and his minions see as the biggest diversion of all, something that will make Russiagate go away forever, possibly involving the war in Syria with Russian complications or war with North Korea with Chinese complications.

Keith Olbermann, and any number of others, have argued that DJT may be certifiably nuts. I’m afraid that may be the case.   He is liable to say anything.  God knows what he might say next.

What if he takes us to war with North Korea (again),  China stays out and we win?  He would be a hero, right?  Americans love a winner, right?   That might seal the deal for a full two terms of Trump.  Like George W. Bush, Trump’s Administration will have been saved by taking the country to war.

Thing is, North Korea is not Iraq and China might not stay out, which opens the door on international chaos, something far worse than if we were able to contain the conflict to the Korean Peninsula.

You have to wonder about the various elements that lead to success. Oh sure, people do just get lucky, like those who win the lottery.   But beyond luck, you have to wonder how so many people who appear to be lacking in smarts are able to acquire vast wealth and power?   Even those who are born into it, like Trump, have to hang onto it somehow.

A former colleague once told me it’s because they are too stupid to realize the odds are monumentally stacked against them, so they blast head-on into high risk situations with no concern for losing.   Or they are just fooling around, thinking there’s no way they can possibly win, and then when they do they get all puffed up with their success.

Could that be Trump?   Too stupid to understand the potential consequences of his actions, and now we are forced to go along for the ride in this road trip to hell?    A new Quinnipiac Poll shows his approval rating falling to just 35%.   Who are these people?

The news conference is at one o’clock.   The world will be watching.   I wonder if he understands what that means?   Or if he thinks that should he screw it up, he’ll be able to fix it with a tweet?

##########

Add:   It was just announced that Steve Bannon has been booted off the National Security Council, and that the Nat’l Intelligence Director and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will once again be “regular attendees.”   Move in the right direction!  Could it be that with the North Koreans test firing missiles into the sea and Syria gassing its own people, that somebody got in Donald’s face and gave him a hefty dose of reality?   Is it possible the adults are making a comeback in DC?   Probably not.

It’s more probable, based upon past experience, that the Donald is mostly focused on blowing as much smoke as possible to divert our attention away from the fact that so much of his former inner circle was in regular contact with the Russians.   His latest target in a long string of meaningless diversions is President Obama’s National Security Adviser,  Susan Rice.   Mr. Trump has just suggested that she may have broken a law.  Gee, no kidding?   And maybe she didn’t?   But in the meantime we are once again diverted from the investigation into the Russian connection while this president continues to prove himself and by association The United States of America, all of us,  to be without credibility as the FBI continues its investigation into whether the Administration of Donald J. Trump, or Mr. Trump himself, has broken the law.   That’s the real question.   Not something that may or may not have taken place during past administrations.

Okay, the news conference is underway.   Here’s your Trumpian quote for the day, “The world is a mess, and we’re gonna fix it.”  This, from a man who couldn’t live up to his oft-repeated promise to immediately “repeal and replace” Obamacare.   And now he’s gonna fix the world.  Oh my.  He appears to actually believe it.  Somebody call a therapist.

 

Trump Considers Resignation – Protection Against Internet Spies – Pence Prays While Waiting In The Wings Avoiding Women

And so we arrive at April of 2017, apparently marking  the end of our privacy on the Internet.    Or so we’ve been led to believe.  Well, another significant chunk of it has been eaten away anyway as the Republicans have passed a bill rolling back the regulation stopping internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon, from selling information about what we do online.   But not really.   Not just yet, anyway.

The PBS Newshour reports that the regulation stopping ISP’s  from selling your browsing history wasn’t scheduled to take effect, “until December of 2017…..So the bill passed on Tuesday simply blocks those rules from taking effect.”   Wired reporter, Kent Finley, told the Newshour, ““Mostly it means that internet service providers now have the go-ahead to sell data,” Finley explained. “It was already technically legal, but if any companies were holding off on doing it while they waited to see if the laws went into effect or not, they don’t have to wait anymore.”  

Thank you, Donald.

It’s another really smart move, like letting coal companies dump sludge into the creek that flows into the river that ends up coming out of your kitchen faucet.   With Trump, it’s one bad idea right after another, from letting his rich-kids daughter and son-in-law move in as two of his top advisers, to giving Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort access to the highest levels of government while he digs his own political grave because he can’t resist the urge to send out tweet after tweet digging the hole deeper and deeper.   Dumb, dumb, dumb,dumb……..

Somebody hoisted the flag of common sense the other day when they remarked that it could be that “these guys just aren’t very smart.”   How smart do you have to be when your father hands you a fortune for startup money and then hands you another when he dies?

While we wait for the inevitable implosion,  there is something we can do to protect ourselves from our ISP’s spying on our every move (which they might be doing right now, although they say they aren’t).

I can’t speak to how well it works, but the Opera browser, has something called a “virtual private network” built into its functionality and it’s free.   You need only to activate it after downloading and installing the browser.   My only complaint about Opera, is that there is no home button, but that’s easily resolved by going to the home page you want and then dragging and dropping it into the bookmarks bar at the top of the page.   I’m using it and it’s reassuring to see the little blue VPN box at the front of the address bar, indicating that I have at least done something to try and avoid letting someone sell my browsing history to God know who.  There are also any number of companies offering to give you access to their virtual private networks for a fee.  I use the AVIRA Antivirus, which offers their VPN  for $6.50 a month on an annual plan.   They also have a free version which allows only a limited amount of data.

Let me take a brief time out to once again thank Donald Trump, for all he has done and continues to do for all of us out here on Main Street, while, according to Donald Trump, Jr., the family can rest easy with its history of “money pouring in from Russia.”  

Ivanka and Jared just released a financial disclosure form that shows their net worth to be around $700-million.

If the progressives have it right, we may not have to suffer through the missteps, lies and mental meanderings of Mr. Donald for an entire first term.   “Occupy Democrats” are reporting out that generally reliable sources say (I know, I know…..it may be just wishful thinking) that Trumpty Dumpty is considering several options, and that resignation is among them.  Oh sweet dreams.  Please, let it be true.  But then what?

Then we’ll be left with that Vampire Albino guy, Mike Pence, who can’t start his day without first going to Mass and refuses to eat dinner alone with any woman other than his wife, because he apparently can’t handle the temptations of sex.  Really?   Just for dinner?

I don’t care for extremists at either end of the spectrum, but what is it with these Republicans with regard to sex and religion?   Why do so many of them appear to be stuck in emotional and intellectual purgatory?  Good luck with your new VPN.

 

(I know today is April Fools Day, but all of the above is, to the best of my knowledge, true.  Really.)

The Current Russian Threat Could Make Watergate Look Like A Cakewalk

FBI Director James Comey has announced that the Bureau has an ongoing counterintelligence investigation underway to determine whether there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian Government in the run-up to the election. This is stunning.   It implies that the FBI was provided with cause to believe that an investigation might yield results.   From there, it isn’t a giant leap to thinking that this same investigation might include not only past members of Donald Trump’s campaign staff who are now long gone, like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, but possibly current members of Trump’s inner-circle and maybe even Trump, himself.

If they follow the investigation wherever it leads, then might it not lead into the oval office?  Is it a stretch to think that a sitting president and his current inner-circle might be under suspicion for espionage with the Russian Government?  If so, isn’t that the headline and shouldn’t a special prosecutor be appointed immediately?

It isn’t as though Donald Trump has no history with the Russians.  In 2004, DJT bought a piece of property in Florida for $41 million.   Four years later he sold that same property to Russian oligarch,  Dmitry  Rybolovlev for $95 million.  Not a bad profit.  It was, at the time, called “the most expensive U.S. residential property sale ever.”  Maybe Trump just got lucky and cut a really good deal?

In 2008, according to USA Today, Donald Trump Jr. stated, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,……We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Also interesting, is reporting about former Trump campaign official Carter Page, and a three-day trip he took to Russia in July of 2016 and the now famous dossier provided to U.S. intelligence officials by former MI6 officer, Christopher Steele.  One such claim, reported out by the Business Insider states,  “A dossier with unverified claims about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia contained allegations that Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state oil company (Rosneft), offered former Trump ally Carter Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. The dossier says the offer was made in July, when Page was in Moscow.”

Despite an obvious and long history of having contact with the Russians, Donald Trump has repeatedly denied having any contact at all.   “I have nothing to do with Russia”, he said at a White House press conference, adding, “To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

That’s a lie.  Trump’s ties to Russia go back at least 30 years.   The fact that it’s a lie is corroborated by Donald Trump Jr’s statement in 2008 about all the “money pouring in” from Russia.

If there’s even a possibility that the Russians are colluding with those at the highest levels of our government then is it wise to wait an indefinite period of time for the FBI to finish its investigation?   Why has Donald Trump continued his refusal to produce his tax records?   What is he hiding and why hasn’t either the Senate or the House sent him a subpoena for those very same records?  Shouldn’t a special prosecutor be appointed now?

In a country that’s afraid of calling out liars for what they are, a country that will use the terms “misleading, misinformed, less than factual or falsehood, almost anything imaginable before saying someone, especially a president is a liar, are we also backing away from the terrible realization that a growing body of information indicates  that a sitting president is (or was) colluding with an adversarial government?

Mr. Trump has insulted our long time allies in Britain and Germany and now, most recently, it has been announced that Secretary of State and former Exxonmobile CEO, Rex Tillerson, will snub a meeting of NATO and instead pay a visit to Russia.    While still with Exxonmobile, Tillerson cut a $500 billion deal with the Russians which, according to the New York Times,  has been “ground to a halt” by U.S. sanctions.   Rather than Tillerson attending the NATO summit, which would follow protocol, Donald Trump will be going to the meeting, presumably so that Tillerson is free to meet with the Russians, even though Trump has humiliated NATO, calling the organization “….obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago.”   Later, during a meeting with Angela Merkel, he flip-flopped and expressed support for the NATO Treaty, a mutual defense pact between 28 member nations in North America and Europe.  It has been in place since 1949.   It is widely accepted that the Russians would love to see NATO go away.

It’s also possible, considering how politically ham-handed these people sometimes are, that the Administration decided to totally snub NATO, and simply forget about the summit.    Later, once feedback began coming in and they realized the enormity of their mistake, they probably decided that Trump himself would attend the meeting leaving Tillerson free to meet with the Russians.

With the Trump Administration, it always seems to come back to what’s best for the Russians.

This is embarrassing.  Ivanka Trump moving into the west wing and being given a top security clearance only makes matters worse.  Our new royal family with King Donald and Princess Ivanka in charge, neither putting their vast business interests in blind trusts,  neither with any substantive political or diplomatic experience.

Instead of continuing to give Donald Trump break after break while he destroys our national credibility, turning the country into an international embarrassment,  it may be time to revert to that old catch-phrase from the 60’s and demand that everybody once again, needs to start “telling it like it is,” so that we the people can stop living each day with the terrible feeling that our country is under threat from executives at the highest levels of government who may have been co-opted by the Russians and could be guilty of collusion.

Even if there is no collusion, when does conflict of interest cross over into unacceptable or even criminal activity?  Is there a line and has it been crossed?  What are the limits for any given president using the highest office in the land for personal profit?   Doesn’t the emoluments clause come into play?

Our representatives in the House and Senate need to ask themselves whether it is sane for Donald J. Trump to continue on as president until a thorough investigation of his connections to the Russians has been concluded, and then take appropriate action to ensure our security.    They need to set party differences aside.  They need to put the country first and do their jobs so that the rest of us will once again be able to sleep at night.

(updated 3-22-17)

What Makes Trump Run?

I never imagined I would be more comfortable with Arnold in the White House, but at this point, I would.   I know it can’t happen, but for the majority, what Mr. Schwarzenegger suggested during his verbal battle with Donald Trump about switching places – that Americans would again be able to “sleep peacefully” with Schwarzenegger in the White House – is, I think,  absolutely true.

Consider the government by tweet of Donald J. Trump.   He sees crowds of people who are not there. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he asks attendees to pray for the ratings of a tv show to go up. He calls upon Russia to hack the campaign of a political opponent. He suggests the United States, with its democratic tradition, is no better than the Russian dictatorship of Vladimir Putin. Both before and after the campaign so many of his advisers and associates met with or spoke to the Russians, that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of who they are without a daily scorecard.     Attacking helpless immigrants, he breaks up families while using racism and sexism to divide an already divided country.

For no good reason, other than he has something nefarious to hide, he continues to refuse to release his tax records.  The loss of a Navy Seal he says, during an operation which probably should not have taken place, but which he approved, was not his responsibility.  No, he says, Obama and the military are to blame even though he is now Commander in Chief.  And finally, presenting no evidence at all (and that evidence is surely available to him if it in fact exists) he claims his home was wiretapped by former president Obama.

How much more do you need?

European nations are talking about reinstating a visa system for American citizens, needlessly making travel more difficult for us.  Worried about Trump and the Russians, Sweden, is reinstating its military draft.  Mr. Trump appears determined to do all that he can to separate us from our friends and allies while moving us closer to the devious dictatorship of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Donald J. Trump is screwing up the world, and he’s just getting started.   The fact that our electoral process backed by a ratings-hungry broadcast media allowed and even assisted this man in coming to power, and that our government now hesitates to open a full and independent investigation into Russian meddling in the election and their possible ongoing influence,  is both frightening and embarrassing.

Experts in the fields of psychiatry and psychology have expressed their concern for his personal well being and yet, many on the right continue to put party ahead of country, refusing to admit the obvious –  that when dozens of healthcare professionals, some, nationally prominent,  are willing to set the “Goldwater Rule” aside and expressing their concerns for Mr. Trump’s possible personality issues, then we need to pay attention.

It is no longer enough to follow common thinking on why Donald Trump does what he does, that it is done to simply deflect attention. There is also the possibility that sometimes this newly inaugurated president simply cannot control himself, that he responds rapidly in the heat of the moment, with a driving and possibly blind need for revenge, potentially putting us all at risk.

Think It Can’t Happen Here? It Already Is.

Remember those old black and white movies from the 40’s and 50’s showing Nazi agents moving through trains in wartime Europe, demanding that passengers “show us your papers?”   I could never imagine anything so terribly authoritarian, so horribly fascist, happening here in the U.S., but now it is.   Border Patrol agents targeted travelers arriving on a flight from San Francisco to JFK Airport in New York, doing exactly the same thing.   “Show us your papers!”

Let’s do that again, just in case you missed something.   Border Patrol agents were demanding to see people’s identification as they got off a domestic, I repeat, a domestic flight.

Seriously?   In America?

At the same time, the man who many suspect is now running the country, white nationalist and Breitbarter, Steve Bannon, tipped his fascist hand at the CPAC meeting in Maryland when he opined that one of the Administration’s “big picture” areas is “continued deconstruction of the administrative state.”   

So Mr. Bannon, is arguing for the “deconstruction” (destruction) of the American Government and its agencies?    Really?    He is arguing for an all out assault on the United States Government?  Can he even do that without being arrested?

He also referred to the press as “the opposition party.”   The Administration took that stand a step further today, when they barred the New York Times, CNN, Buzzfeed,  the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, the BBC and Politico, from attending a press briefing, while Donald Trump argued for some kind of regulation (that would be a law), which would be clearly illegal under the First Amendment, barring the press from using unnamed sources.

What next?  Der Trumpenfuhrer’s subjects raising their hands and shouting “zeig heil?”   It’s going that way you know.   Millions of uninformed Americans still seem to think Donald Trump is a great guy.   Apparently, they’ll believe anything he says.  Anything.   Beyond that, Trump is trying to hedge his bets, just in case a few true believers fall through the cracks.

They started by shutting down (shutting out) the press, except for those one-sided outlets that print the one side that the Trump/Bannon gang favors.   Then they recommend a law that would make it illegal for reporters to quote unnamed sources.  Then they send out agents to walk the aisles of jetliners demanding to see our “papers.”

This is not American.   This is insane.   This has got to stop.

The White House Press Association must be allowed to decide which members of the press corps attend official press briefings,  and those Republicans in Congress who still wish to be considered responsible (honorable) Americans need to support impeachment proceedings, beginning immediately

Don’t think that what happened in Europe in the 30’s can’t happen here, because it already is.

What these guys are doing is so outrageous, so beyond belief, that millions are in denial.   People simply cannot believe what’s really happening, some possibly thinking that eventually the Trump/Bannon gang will turn a corner, becoming more reasonable.   Except that they won’t.   Power corrupts, and these guys are hungry for it.  The more they take, the more they’ll want, until the Constitution has been shredded and liberty becomes nothing more than a fading memory of something we once had, like a good public education, decent, affordable healthcare,  due process and government of, for and by the people.

And we have yet to see this bully’s tax returns or to know the whole story regarding his true relationship to Putin and the Russian oligarchs, while the jackbooted click of Nazi agents moving through the trains in those old movies continues to echo through the years. The fear of facing reality is apparently shutting down much of the opposition, because this just can’t be happening.   Not here in America.  It just can’t.

 

Time To Decide Who We Are

Can’t sleep,  not after that bizarre exhibition of public talk therapy at the White House.   This is truly terrifying in that there appears to be a method to the madness.   A grand plan to technique the American people out of their democracy.

Tyrants, seeking to conquer any people, will almost always first try and silence the press.  If they can shut down or otherwise control the public’s sources of information they can more easily control the public.   Control what people think, and you control the people.   This is nothing new.   Read up on how the use of propaganda and outright lies helped to bring about the death of the Weimar Republic.

This is precisely what #45 appears to be trying to do.    Using deflection, he accuses the media of lying to the public, while in truth, he is the liar in chief.   Seeking to deflect what appears to be a real threat to the Republic, the degree to which the Kremlin, or those with a fascist agenda have the ability to influence this current administration and the politics of the nation, #45 insists that leaks to the press are the real issue and that the press is evil for doing its job and reporting the facts.

That’s a lie.   The ties of this administration to Russian leadership and the degree to which Russian leadership is influencing this current administration are the real issues.

#45 is also attempting to limit the ability of the nation’s intelligence agencies to do their job of gathering intelligence.  He has announced the appointment of one of his billionaire friends to head a commission of some sort to investigate whether the country really needs its intelligence apparatus as it currently stands, or whether the U.S. might not be better off with something else.  Something less, presumably.  Something that would be more easily controlled by the executive branch.   Possibly some form of intelligence gathering that would be less curious with regard to Russian influence peddling.

Many of us are troubled, fearing both for our safety and the security of American democracy.   The denial of Republicans who control the House and Senate, and their near treasonous position of support for this current President, only make matters worse as they hide in the shadows, refusing to admit that if #45 can thoroughly discredit the press and reign in the intelligence community, effectively shutting down the nation’s illuminati, he will be that much closer to his apparent goal of establishing fascist control of America, with democracy buried beneath a pile of lies, half-truths and doubletalk.

We can only hope that the intelligence community and  the Fourth Estate will have the steel to push back against this madness,   and that hopefully,  John McCain and Lindsey Graham aren’t the only Republicans left with the courage to put the long-term good of the nation ahead of the temporary political needs of their party.

This President must show us his tax records.  He must commit to putting all his businesses in a blind trust.  This Congress must open a joint investigation into Russian influence peddling, the influence it had on the election and continues to have on the White House.  This needs to be done within a matter of weeks, not months or years, while we wait for Republicans in the House and Senate to act more like patriots than party wonks.   They need to act now to save both their party and possibly the nation.

We cannot go on acting as though this is somehow going to work itself out and everything will eventually be all right.

Following a life in Journalism, I can’t believe I’m sitting here at four in the morning writing this.   With each day we’re farther down the rabbit hole.   God willing, we’ll be able to fight our way through the layers of lies and half-truths, and make it back to the surface.

Support the press.   Support those in the House and Senate with the courage to push back.   Support America.   It’s time to decide who we are.

Ladies And Gentlemen, Place Your Bets

Talking with Fareed Zakaria this morning on CNN,  Katrina vanden Heuvel of “The Nation” said it’s her belief that Donald Trump is “disruptive and not transformational.”    She also noted that we have to wait and see what he is able to accomplish.

Of course.  However, at this point in time it appears his failure to deal with reality about the meager number of those in attendance for his inauguration will be eclipsed only by his inability to keep the promises he made to his base going forward.    From there, it’s a question of how much his base will put up with before they join the millions upon millions of women (and others) who already oppose his Presidency.

Will the Republican dominated Congress sit there doing nothing, even while threatened with losing their majority in 2018 as Trump continues to be Trump, denying reality to both the press and the world?  Or will Donald J. Trump come around?   Will the leopard change its spots, becoming someone he is not, letting others with more experience in government and geopolitics guide his actions? Doubtful.   He’s already an old dog,  his experience rests with business not politics, and that’s just not his style.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Evan Halper compares Mr. Trump going to Washington, to Mr. Schwarzenegger going to Sacramento in 2003, where he was going to beat the “girly-men”  in the state legislature into submission.   For those of us who lived through Arnold as Governor of California, this is deja vu all over again.  The girly-men in Sacramento turned out to be a political brick wall.

According to Halper, “He experienced how swiftly a populist crowd-pleaser could go from harnessing rage to watching it ricochet in the wrong direction. Adoring crowds who reveled in his pledges to restore integrity and common sense to government turned on him when bureaucratic bloat failed to shrink.” -LAT’s

Bookies are setting their odds, one giving even-money that Trump won’t get through his first term without resigning or being impeached.   Others, are less optimistic.  An Irish bookie is giving four to one odds that Donald Trump will be impeached before the end of his first term.

It’s going to be interesting.   At the very least, it will be fascinating to watch while the press tries dealing with a president who denies reality.   At the most, it could be costly and very dangerous.

Donald J. Trump – Master Of Misdirection

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Even before he’s been sworn in, Donald Trump’s use of misdirection is getting to be exhausting.

A key to making a magic trick work,  misdirection causes an audience to  focus on something irrelevant as a distraction from what’s really going on, like making a big deal out of Melania Trump staying in Manhattan, or Donald’s many and various Twitter snits and outrageous statements, all of which have distracted his followers, the media, and consequently the American public from more important issues like his physical condition, his ongoing failure to produce adequate tax records or his connection to the Russian Oligarchy.

Without those tax records we have no idea what we’re getting.   We have no idea who Mr. Trump might be indebted to, who he might be in league with internationally.  Who might be able to pull his strings once he becomes President.   We have no idea how deep his connection to Putin and the Russians goes.

How can we concentrate on anything of substance when the media continues obsessing over tweets, and the potential impact they might have on the upcoming administration?   Will a tweet fire up the nuclear arms race all over again?    More than likely, it will just go away like so many tweets before it while we wait for the next outrageous statement from the President elect,  as he continues playing the media and the country like a street performer with a shell  game, and all of it with four years of magical misdirection still to come.

One wonders how long it will be before the magic wears out and the glitter wears off.    Once it does, Mr. Trump will likely have nothing left in his political grab-bag but fear,  and a possible campaign to shut down the media with the intent of setting Americans one against the other based upon race, age, religion or sexual preference.   And that, dear friends, could be real trouble.