Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Attack in Denmark!

Following on the heels of last week’s terror attack in Sweden (revealed to the world by would-be U.S. President Trump), tonight ISIS seized the spotlight by staging a dramatic attack in Denmark.

Two gunmen, believed to be jihadists, opened fire at an indoor rally of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party.  According to reports from Flux News, hundreds of people were likely wounded by the heavily armed individuals, though there had been no immediate reports of fatalities.  Danish authorities denied allegations of a delayed response to the crisis, while the Chief of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service specifically denied having said “there’s no urgency, it’s only the Dansk Folkleparti”. Meanwhile, the White House confirmed that U.S. intelligence sources had tentatively identified one of the two men as the shadowy and infamous cleric Sheikh Yerbouti, long suspected to be deceased.  The other individual is thought to have been his long-time assistant, Eisel Eifel Kahn.  The pair eluded Danish authorities and escaped into the Copenhagen night.  However, a notebook recovered at the scene revealed the two had been planning to infiltrate the United States using Nutopian passports.  According to preliminary research, there is no indication that any citizens of Nutopia have ever been vetted prior to admission into the U.S.

President Trump noted that this exposes the U.S. to a clear and present danger.  Accordingly, he vowed that Nutopia will now be added to his revised travel ban. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

After the Apocalypse: Democrats Move Forward

In his excellent post-mortem on the 2016 presidential campaign (“Insane Clown President:  Dispatches from the 2016 Circus), not-beholden-to-anyone journalist Matt Taibbi hits the nail on the head in describing the peculiar appeal of Donald Trump.

“Candidate Trump told a story about a conspiracy of cultural and financial elites bent on finishing off a vanishing white middle-class nirvana, first by shipping jobs overseas, and then by waving hordes of crime-prone, bomb-tossing immigrants over the border.  These elites lived in both parties, Trump warned.  The Republicans were tools of job-exporting fat cats who only pretended to be tough on immigration and trade in order to win votes, when all they really cared about were profits.  The Democrats were tools of the same interests, who subsisted politically on the captured votes of hoodwinked minorities, preaching multiculturalism while practicing globalism.  Neither party saw the awesome potential of this story to upend our political system.

Taibbi later points to a Democratic leadership “increasingly indebted to banks and corporations, never imagining it could be the target of a class uprising.  They failed to understand how they could be seen as aristocrats--after all, as the party of FDR they received union endorsements and were pro civil rights!” 

The maneuvering within the Republican Party is hardly surprising.  After spending the better part of the general election campaign distancing themselves from the Donald, McConnell, Ryan and company are suddenly kissing Trump’s tuckus at every turn; while simultaneously convincing themselves they’re his equals in wielding power.  They’re seeking to impose a regressive, ultra-conservative agenda on a deeply divided country that recently rejected their vision (as well as Trump) by a margin of several million votes.
Democrats, meanwhile, are searching for a way out of the wilderness.  Rep. Keith Ellison, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and several lesser known candidates are battling to become the next chairman of the DNC.  Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid have all weighed in with their opinions/endorsements.  Whoever wins, the task will be daunting.  Political operative and author David Brock has called on the Democrats to become the party of “no”, maintaining that their “no” would differ from the past 8 years of Republican obstructionism because anything that Trump proposes is certain to be harmful to the majority of Americans-- thereby requiring determined opposition .  Elizabeth Warren has said much the same thing:  maintaining that Democrats need to “grow a backbone”.  One thing is certain, the last thing the Democrats can afford to do is turn to career politicians or corporate lawyers running milquetoast campaigns and looking to “play it safe”. Go along to get along only leads to more of the same.  Pretty soon we’ll all be playing footsie and become Facebook buddies with the likes of Steve Bannon.  We’ll be reduced to spirited conversation about sporting events, or the weather.

As Democrats in Maine look toward the gubernatorial contest in 2018, they’re faced with the fact that they lost not only once, but twice, to Paul LePage--an early (yet equally terrifying) prototype of what the country now faces in Donald Trump.  Opposing his agenda for the remainder of his term will be a moral imperative.  LePage has repeatedly demonstrated that he has neither the vision nor the temperament to govern the state.  He’ll leave behind a myriad of failed policies and a toxic political environment-- a product of his racist/sexist/ludicrous remarks, vicious personal attacks, and irrational outbursts.  His behavior has become legendary; embarrassing not only himself, but the state of Maine.  There will be a great deal of work needed to undo the damage, and to close the enormous gap now separating Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and Libertarians.

There are bound to be several so-called “establishment” Democrats who pursue the nomination.  The “old politics” so recently turned on its head would dictate that they’re “deserving” of the nomination, perhaps “entitled” to it.  No doubt these are honorable men and women who’ve served the state well, but the Democratic Party needs to change with the times--regardless of tradition.  There’s a need for fresh(er) faces, real world experience, and a boatload of empathy and understanding.  Contrary to his mantra in the state of the State address, LePage has done a great deal of harm--to cite one of many examples, Maine leads New England in child poverty and hunger.  We must work hard to reverse moral disgraces such as these, engage in constructive dialogue,  and provide positive leadership focused on economic growth and opportunity throughout the state.  The only choice before us is to get back up and be ready to fight at every turn, because as Paul Wellstone observed, "if we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

No Respect, and No Surrender

Well, the illegitimate Trump “presidency” is already unfolding in disastrous fashion, just as most of us assumed it would.
Apart from his “band of unqualified billionaires” (translation:  cabinet selections), he’s begun to issue a series of berserk Executive orders.  As a special treat to the oil barons he’s looking to proceed with the Keystone pipeline--regardless of the environmental consequences-- and the Dakota access pipeline--oblivious to desecration of tribal lands and burial locales.
As a nod to evangelicals and rabid-right Republicans that he hoodwinked on the issue, he reinstated President Reagan’s ill--informed global abortion gag rule.
Finally, of course, he’s looking to proceed with his deluded border wall.  Mexico will refuse to pay, as they should, for Trump’s folly.  On the heels of that, the would-be president is resurrecting his crackdown on immigrants and refugees in general, but Muslims in particular.  The racist tendencies of Trump and many (if not most) of his supporters are blossoming into full flower.
I’ve read several pieces in the past few days, suggesting that Trump is not of “sound mind”, and should immediately resign.  I agree.  His temperament will apparently not allow him to accept the fact that the significant majority of voters in the recent election did not choose him.  In fact, Hillary Clinton defeated him by close to three million votes in the popular vote count.  Add in the votes cast for Jill Stein and the Green Party, along with the votes cast for Gary Johnson and the Libertarians, and Trump falls even further from getting anywhere near the 50% mark.  His paranoid/narcissist personality is such that he has to claim there was widespread voter fraud--on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
In similar fashion, Trump chooses to ignore photographic evidence and accept that the crowds for his “inauguration” fell far short of President Obama’s in both 2008 and 2012.  Instead, he embarrassed himself and dishonored members of the CIA when he stood before the wall of stars at Langley and used that visit to laud himself for the number of instances Time magazine had chosen him for their cover, as well as for his imagined “inauguration” crowd size.  As former CIA Director Brennan and former Deputy Director Philip Mudd have subsequently reminded him--the stars on that wall honored actual people; it was not the time or place for Trump’s self-congratulatory nonsense.  Trump also rattled on about the standing ovation he received at the CIA--pretty easy to do when you never invite your captive audience to have a seat!
The Trump apologists, especially Sean Spicer and the inimitable Kellyanne Conway, are doing their best to spin “alternative facts” (i.e. lies), but the cracks in Donald’s demeanor are already showing.  Comey and Putin have bestowed us with damaged goods.  Take a rest, Mr. Trump, a lengthy and permanent rest down at Mar-a-Lago.  America has been great all along; we don’t need you charting a lesser course.

This administration certainly doesn’t deserve our respect, and God knows--we’ll NEVER surrender!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The REAL Black Friday: Trump Takes Office

     The real Black Friday is almost upon us; Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.  By a substantial margin, most of us voted for other candidates.  Hillary Clinton alone defeated Trump by close to three million votes.  The Electoral College handed down a different verdict.  So, we are told, we need to grin and bear it--come together in the best interest of the country.
     Well, this was not your “typical” election where political passions ran high, but in the end we unify behind the victor. 
     Donald Trump ran a scorched earth campaign based on vitriol and outright lies, “fake news”, and racial hatred.  He doesn’t deserve a “pass”, and he certainly doesn’t deserve the “honeymoon period” the Republicans never saw fit to deny President Obama (see Mitch McConnell’s infamous remarks following the 2008 election). 
     Trump employed fake news like no one before him... and he started long before the election with the assertion that President Obama was not a natural born citizen.  It was utter rubbish, which Trump undoubtedly knew, but he used it to gain a toehold in the fight for the GOP nomination. Trump’s subsequent ventures into fake news quickly proved the man is pathologically dishonest.  Here are just a few of his “greatest hits”:
Trump attacked Heidi Cruz’s looks, then denied it.
Trump claimed Rafael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination.  LIE.
Trump claimed Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.  LIE. 
Trump claimed Syrian refugees were entering the U.S. without vetting.  LIE.
Trump claimed 34 million undocumented immigrants are living in the U.S.  LIE. 
Trump claimed he couldn’t release his taxes due to an IRS audit.  LIE.
Trump claimed he never supported the invasion of Iraq.  LIE. 
Trump claimed that he never referred to women he didn't like as "fat pigs", "dogs", "slobs" or "disgusting animals".  LIE
Trump claimed he never said that the numerous women who accused him of sexual misconduct/assault were "too unattractive" to assault.  LIE.
     From his ties/allegiances to Vladimir Putin, to the insane lies he spouted about Hillary Clinton, and now John Lewis... he is a paranoid narcissist run amok.  Whether or not the dossier is factual almost doesn’t matter to me; he’s thrived on these sorts of stories so I hope he chokes on this one.
     This Friday he takes office, and as I write this over 50 Democratic Representatives are boycotting the inauguration.  I applaud their decision but almost wish they’d attended and then turned their backs on the stage when Trump is sworn in (his hand on the Lincoln bible is almost too much to bear).  It would be no less than he deserves.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Document #001 Trump Presidential Papers

From the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Golf Resort in Acapulco, Mexico... 2021

DJT:  As the greatest President in the history of America, I had many meetings with incredible
          leaders dealing with huge issues.  Sometimes they thought they could challenge me, but
          I've always been a rock star and I was too much for them.  I was amazing.  One of the
          most important exchanges during what I like to call "the Great Trump years" actually
          happened a few days before I became president.  I was trying to put the finishing
          touches on my tremendous cabinet, and this happened a few hours before I met with
          all those national security leaders who were engaged in a witch hunt against my good
          friend Vladimir.  (Of course everyone now knows that he handed me the election, but
          it's too late now suckers, you can't touch me!).
          Anyway, just as I always knew more about ISIS than the generals, I've always recognized
          key issues better than my aides or advisors.  I know monumental news when I see it and
          I responded... The following is from my two-part tweet when I received news about
          declining ratings for the reality show I created (by myself) and starred in (by myself).  They
          tried to manage without me.

DJT:   "Wow the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by
            comparison to the ratings machine:  DJT.  So much for being a movie star--and that was
            season 1 compared to season 14.  Now compare him to my season 1.  But who cares, he
            supported Kasich and Hillary."

            Arnold's reply was so weak:

AS:      "There's nothing more important than the people's work."

            Lame.  Then he tried again:

AS:       "I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll work for ALL the American people as
             aggressively as you worked for your ratings."

              Right.  That was never going to happen LOL!

              I realize this incident took place right before I assumed the office, but I knew this was
              an important moment in history, and that it needed to be documented,  After all, I
              always understood these moments better than anyone else...
              What ever became of Arnold?  Loser.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump-Free Zones, January 20th... and Beyond

     Many years ago, Richard Nixon proclaimed that he had the support of a “silent majority”.  Years later, Jerry Falwell and extreme right-wing allies in the Republican Party touted their so-called “moral majority”.  Well, my friends, the cold hard truth is that we are an actual majority.  Donald Trump received only 46.1 % of the popular vote.  That means that the majority of Americans (53.9%) voted for someone else.  In fact, if we remove the votes cast for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by almost three million votes.  Contrary to his rants and tweets, his victory in the Electoral College does not constitute a mandate, but rather a mishap; a national tragedy.  And, as evidence continues to come to light regarding Russian tampering on Trump’s behalf, along with the deliberate timing of James Comey’s letter, the very legitimacy of any Trump presidency is called into question.
     This leaves us with the question of how best to deal with January 20th... and beyond.  I would suggest that we initially celebrate the many “Trump-free zones” already in existence, and endeavor to create many more.  Certain locations automatically qualify as TFZs:  institutions of higher learning, and every public school across the country (along with any number of private schools), for example.  Anywhere where healing is practiced:  hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, birthing centers, rehabilitation facilities... all of these would automatically be “Trump-free zones”.  Then, of course, places of beauty, art, culture, etc... all of these would also be regarded as TFZs:  museums, theaters, concert venues, galleries, public gardens, parks, etc.  Finally, our churches, temples, and mosques--anywhere that welcomes faith and contemplation--these would also be TFZs. 
     Based on the popular vote, it’s certainly reasonable to conclude that most homes across our great country (and it never stopped being great), are Trump-free zones.  We must nourish the TFZ within each of us, and support it in others.  We are called to cultivate more and more Trump-free zones, thereby creating a brighter world based on justice and respect.  It may take time, but we have to believe that in the end love and decency will indeed trump hate.  If TFZs flourish throughout the land, the roots of racism and fascism will be choked--and those weeds will dry up, crumble, and the ashes will be blown into the darkest recesses of history.

     Beyond January 20th, it will be up to each of us to speak up and act out.  Talk to your friends and neighbors, use every facet of social media, and even go “old school” by writing letters to the editor of any newspaper or magazine you may read.  Because, one thing is for certain:  virtually every Trump proposal or policy will require determined and constant opposition.  We must take a page from the Republican playbook of 2008 wherein McConnell famously (infamously) stated that the primary Republican achievement had to be that of insuring that President Obama would be a one-term President (sorry Mitch, you failed).  Democrats should remember McConnell’s obstructionist tactics, minus one key component.  While McConnell, Ryan, Boehner, and Cantor (remember him?) could scarcely conceal the racism at the heart of their hatred for Obama, we’ll be battling Trump on the basis of truth, social justice, and a genuine concern for the future of our country.  That, my friends, is genuine patriotism.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

No Christmas from Trump

     If America checks her Christmas stocking early this year, she'll discover that Donald Trump has stuck her with nothing but coal.  No chance at achieving greatness again (not that America was ever anything less than great), no shining city on a hill, nothing huge, tremendous, incredible, or fantastic... just lumps of coal.  A quick review of some of Trump's selections for key government positions are enough to conjure a deep winter chill.
     Jeff Sessions as Attorney General... probably the biggest lump of all.  Throughout his distinguished career he's labeled the NAACP as an un-American, communist-inspired organization that forced civil rights down our throats.  Meanwhile, he saw fit to refer to a black Assistant U.S. Attorney as "boy", and a white civil rights lawyer as a "disgrace to his race".  He's fought against immigration reform and favors mass deportation--maintaining that immigrants "create culture problems".  He's opposed marriage equality (and would like to see it rolled back), he'd like to gut federal funding for food stamps, repeal Obamacare, and essentially eliminate the safety net.  He'd certainly give the Grinch a run for his money when it comes to tiny hearts.
     Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.  Who'd bring a fresher perspective to the table than another privileged white billionaire?  DeVos has no government experience and her sole focus has been on promoting school voucher programs (at taxpayers' expense) and charter schools.  Expect her to broaden the right-wing extremist war on public education.
     Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?  Wow... a week before the appointment an aide quoted Carson himself as saying he wasn't qualified for such a position.  Clearly, actual qualifications mean nothing.  Given Carson's propensity for off-the-wall comments and space-shot behavior during the primary campaign, it's safe to assume we're in for an interesting ride.  I wonder if Michele Bachmann was otherwise engaged?
     Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.  Again, why would you need qualifications (such as foreign policy experience)?  Haley will also have the opportunity to undermine environmental progress; and one look at her record would lead one to believe that's precisely what she'll do.  In 2013 she buried a report from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on the challenges climate change would bring to the state.  In 2015 during devastating rains and floods, Haley refused to make a connection between an increase in the number of extreme weather events and climate change.
     America should have realized right off the bat that there would be no genuine Christmas gifts from Trump when he named Steve Bannon his chief strategist.  A racist is about as far removed from Jesus Christ as war is from peace.
     Hunker down, America, and settle in for the long haul.  You'll get no merry Christmas from Trump!