Sold Downriver

Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Bob Corker, Tim Scott, John Kasich, Newt Gingrich … what do these men have in common?  Two things:  they are all republicans and they have all spoken out against Trump’s behaviour in yesterday’s meeting/summit with Vladimir Putin.  Surprised?  So was I, but it is a testament to just how abominable Trump’s actions/words actually were.  Perhaps more surprising yet is that even his state-news network, Fox News, disagreed with his handling of this meeting:

“There is a growing consensus across the land tonight … that the president threw the United States under the bus.” — Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts.

“No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.” – Abby Huntsman, Fox News Channel host and daughter of Trump’s ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman

Some republicans in and out of Congress who routinely lick his boots were appalled:

“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia.” – Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

“One of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” – Senator John McCain

“This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.” – Senator Ben Sasse

“I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.” – Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.” – Senator Jeff Flake

“It’s depressing, really unlike anything we’ve seen in my lifetime. A president of the United States saying, ‘You know, I kind of believe a former KGB agent over our intelligence community.’ This is a sad day.” – Ohio Governor, John Kasich

“When he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies who work for him, I was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency that he gave between them and what Putin was saying. The president’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover and I was disappointed in that.” – Senator Bob Corker

“It’s certainly not helpful for the President to express doubt about the conclusions of his own team. He has assembled a first-rate intelligence team handled by Dan Coats and I would hope that he would take their analysis over the predictable denials of President Putin.” – Senator Susan Collins

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.” – Representative Liz Cheney

“The President’s summit in Helsinki today should have been an attempt at confronting Russian aggression, hacking, and election interference. Russia is not a friend or ally. As Americans, we stand up for our interests and values abroad; but I fear today was a step backwards.” – Senator Tim Scott

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.” – Former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich

“I’ve seen the Russian intelligence manipulate many people many people in my career, and I never would have thought the US President would be one of them.” – Representative and former CIA officer, Will Hurd

“The American people deserve the truth, & to disregard the legitimacy of our intelligence officials is a disservice to the men & women who serve this country. It’s time to wake up & face reality. #Putin is not our friend; he’s an enemy to our freedom.” – Representative Adam Kinzinger

Needless to say, democrats were outraged, but that was to be expected.  I am only slightly encouraged by the above comments, all by republican sycophants, for the proof will be in the pudding.  Are they disturbed enough to act, or are they only paying lip service to an enraged public?  And speaking of the public, what about Trump’s ignoble followers?  Are they angered at all, or are they still cheering?  Do they even understand the ramifications of his actions, his words?   Do they understand that We the People have been sold downriver?

TREASON!

I just love starting Monday in a haze of white-hot fury.  The Washington Post headline reads:

Putin Again Denies Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election; Trump Calls Probe a ‘Disaster for Our Country’

It comes as no surprise that Putin denies interference … nobody with half a brain thought he would admit it, but no matter, for there is more than ample hard fact-based evidence that he did.  But for Trump to call the investigation a “disaster for our country”???  NO … NO NO NO NO NO!  The investigation is essential and the only thing that gives us hope we might get rid of the real disaster: Trump himself!  I am in a white hot fury over his asininity!

Putin:  … Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs.

Trump:  There was no collusion. I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign.bullshitNow what, exactly, do these two donkeys expect us to do at this point?  Do they expect that we will all say, “Oh, well, that solves it then.  Let’s stop the Mueller investigation and all other investigations and let Trump get on with his plan for mass destruction of the U.S.”

Somebody needs to take that ugly red tie and wrap it around his neck a few more times and pull tightly!

Trump:  Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed, as of about four hours ago.

Why, Donnie?  What changed?  Did you offer him the keys to the Capitol and the White House?  Did you promise to change the name of the country to the United States of Russia?  And what did he offer you?  A lifetime sitting in the Oval Office with no need for another election ever? 

Frankly, if this isn’t a wake-up call to both Congress and Trump’s supporters, then we know that they have all been lobotomized.

Trump:  I think the probe has been a disaster for our country. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.

Well-respected former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, had this to say:

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

I repeat that question:  Where are you???  Some republicans in Congress absolutely must wake up and step up to the plate, for now there can be no doubt … not a shred of doubt … that Donald Trump is Putin’s asset.  There can be no doubt that deals have been made for our country to blindly support Russia’s agenda, whatever that agenda may be.  I can only wonder, with Trump’s past Russian connections, how many years this plan has been in the making?

Trump:  Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct! This is why there is such hatred and dissension in our country — but at some point, it will heal!

The “hatred and dissension” in our country did not begin with Trump, but he has escalated it by a thousand percent, and continues to do so every time his fingers hit the keys on his twittering machine.  Donald Trump cannot heal the rift … the gulf … in this country, for he is the cause of it.  And no, folks, the media is NOT the enemy of the people … Donald Trump is the enemy of the people!  His state-media, Fox News is the enemy of the people, for they spread his lies and further widen the great divide.

I make no apologies, as I normally would, for this rant, for it is time We The People – all the people, including those who have been wearing blinders and earplugs for nearly 18 months now – wake up and see what is right under our very noses!  Donald Trump has no love for this country nor for its people.  He loves two things:  money and power.  And Vladimir Putin is promising him both.  Russia is not our friend and the free press is not our enemy.  There can no longer be any illusion that Trump can be reined in and eventually become the president of the people.  His goals are not ours.  The only solution, if we wish to continue as a relatively free nation, is to get Donald Trump out of the White House as quickly as possible.

Friend or Foe???

Friend: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Foe: an enemy or opponent.syp-v-spy


Shouldn’t be too hard to tell the difference, should it?  Sure, sometimes we think somebody is a friend, only to learn later that they weren’t at all, but most of us are pretty fair judges of character and we don’t often make serious mistakes in choosing our friends.  Donald Trump is the exception to that rule.  But then, Donald  Trump is the exception to most every rule in the book, so why are we surprised?

On Saturday, Trump was interviewed by CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland.  The full interview will be broadcast on Monday, but a few snippets have been released. Asked who he thinks is the biggest foe the U.S. has right now, he replied …

“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.”

President of the European Union Donald Tusk had a good comeback: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

I imagine Trump considers Canada and Mexico among the other foes. Lest you fall into the trap of believing a single word this man says, allow me to clarify.  The European Union and the countries that comprise it are our allies – our friends.  The UK is also our friend and ally. North Korea, China and Russia are not.  They are foes.  They are our antagonists.  They do not seek an alliance where both sides stand to gain.  Russia, in particular, has a goal, an endgame in mind whereby Russia dominates a large portion of the globe, and because of the ignorance of Donald Trump, Russia – specifically Vladimir Putin – views the United States as a pawn in their game.

Typically, a president has many advisors, each an expert in his or her field, and the smart president will listen to those advisors, process the information they are given, then make what seems the best decision at the moment.  By ‘best decision’, I mean that which will keep the world safest, and benefit the citizens of the U.S.  That style of leadership went out the window the day Trump took office and because of it, the world becomes a little less safe every day.

In the past week, Trump has been rude & crude – his trademark – to the Queen of England, to Prime Minister Theresa May, and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel – all are leaders of nations that are our friends, our allies.  On the flip side of that, he has praised DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, saying, “He’s very smart, great personality, he’s funny and tough, good negotiator.”

And, of course, he is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow, just three days after indictments were handed down for 12 of Putin’s henchmen who are accused of having acted as agents to sway the 2016 election in favour of Trump.  Many things are concerning about his meeting with Putin, not the least of which is his insistence that the meeting take place without advisors, staff, note-takers or other witnesses.  This is highly unorthodox and should not be allowed.  Presidential conversations are a matter of record – documented.  Period. One might speculate that Trump has an agenda for the meeting that is not in the best interest of the U.S.  Yep … one might just speculate that …

Trump is very angry over the indictments of the 12 Russians on Friday … angry, but not at Putin, not at Russia … no, he is angry with his own people, angry with Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein.  He says he may ask Putin about the data theft conducted by the 12, but will absolutely not ask for their extradition to the U.S.  Ask yourself “WHY?”

Trump claims the data theft was solely the fault of the Democratic National Committee (DNC):

“I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked.”

Oh yes, I forgot … the democrats are also a foe.  And it was all Obama’s fault for letting it happen.  Barack Obama is also a foe.

The world should be concerned about the Trump-Putin meeting without credible witnesses or documenters.  Trump says he has low expectations for the meeting, but that nothing bad will come of it.  Sorry, folks, this man’s ‘word’ has about as much value as the rotten milk in my refrigerator.  He cannot even tell the difference between a friend and a foe, and in truth, the U.S. may not have many friends left after the past week.  Think about it.

Protest ahead of Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki

Protesters in Helsinki, Finland, ahead of Putin-Trump ‘summit’

‘We Are The World’ …. “🌎 We Always have Been, We Always will Be 🌎 …. “!!

It has been yet one more week that has bombarded our sensibilities with hate, with ugliness, with things that we didn’t think could happen, couldn’t possibly even imagine two years ago. The ‘man’ in the Oval Office was allowed out of the Oval Office to travel abroad, where he left a trail of offal, for lack of a better word. Today, I think we all need a break from it, and our very dear friend Dr. Horty Rex has provided a most wonderful and apt respite that I would like to share with you all this afternoon. Thank you, Horty, for this beautiful song to remind us, to give us hope for the future, and for implied permission to share.

It Is What It Is

~~July 13, 2018~~ 

TURBULENT TIMES

~We Always have Been, We Always will Be~

I find myself so pulled by the negativity and awful events taking place in our world nowadays. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that I can’t really breathe.

I can’t fathom or wrap my head around the level of inhumanity, greed, vileness, evil, violence, crime, injustice and so much more that inhabits this world.

Music helps me.

Here’s an example.

HortyRex©

RedLineBYael Silver (Tony-winning producer Once On This Island), Robin Carus and Van Dean (Broadway Records, President) today released “We Are The World,” a music video featuring an all-star roster of theater artists and calling for healing and unity in the world today.

“More than ever, people need to know that their voices make a difference and their voices together are incredibly powerful,” said producer Yael Silver.

“We Are The World spoke to…

View original post 171 more words

The “president” is a Son-of-a-Bitch

Let’s start with a simple question:  If you are invited to visit a friend, and your own house is in a shambles, dirty because you haven’t cleaned it in months, are you likely to harshly criticize your friend’s housekeeping skills when her house if nearly immaculate?  And to do so publicly, announcing to the neighborhood at large?  I think not.  Why? Because you are sensible, kind and truthful.

Who does Donald Trump think he is?  He was, though only by the minority and not the majority, elected to be the president of the United States.  He was not elected Prime Minister of the UK.  He was not elected President of NATO.  He was only elected to be the president (no caps) of what is fast becoming the most despised nation on the face of the earth.

I won’t even bother addressing just now his abhorrent performance – yes, that is what all his public appearances are, performances – at NATO on Wednesday and early Thursday, but will skip right on to his epic failure in the UK yesterday afternoon.

Donald Trump decided to give an interview to one media outlet in the UK, The Sun. First off, guess who owns The Sun?  None other than Rupert Murdoch, the very same Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, among others.  It is considered Britain’s most right-wing newspaper, or actually more of a tabloid.

The SunThe interview had been done on Wednesday in Brussels, and was strategically scheduled to be published during Trump’s first evening in London.  There can be no doubt … no doubt at all that it was an attempt to add insult to injury as Ms. May is struggling to maintain her position in light of the opposition to the soft Brexit deal she announced earlier this week.  Trump also praised May’s antagonist, Boris Johnson, and alluded to him as a future Prime Minister, further indicating his attempt to influence the fate of Ms. May’s government.

A few of his most obnoxious remarks from the interview (and of course I could not resist adding my own commentary):

“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”  (And why should she listen to the words of a dishonest ‘man’?)

“The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.” (He didn’t even know what Brexit was in early 2016!)

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal.”  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste)

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”  (You’re finally getting the message — they don’t want you, Bozo!)

On London Mayor Sadiq Khan: “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism. I think he has done a bad job on crime, if you look, all of the horrible things going on there, with all of the crime that is being brought in.”  (Not your place to judge, Donnie boy — you don’t even understand your own job, so don’t try to tell someone else how to do theirs)

“I have a lot of respect for Boris [Johnson]. He obviously likes me and says very good things about me. I was very saddened to see he was leaving government, and I hope he goes back in at some point. I think he is a great representative for your country. I am just saying I think he would be a great prime minister. I think he’s got what it takes.” (Just proves that Johnson is a lousy judge of character)

Last month, Trump very rudely and using false pretenses offended Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the disastrous G7 summit where Trump should have been put outside with the canines, based on his behaviour.  And this month, he has gone beyond simply insulting the Prime Minister of the UK, but has attempted to undermine the job she is working hard to do.

Trump-May.jpg

What the heck is Melania wearing — the curtains???

Although I did not vote for Trump and have never supported him in any way, I still feel I owe all my UK friends a humble apology.  Please forgive us, our nation, for being too stupid to see what an ignominious jackass our so-called president is and allowing him to remain in office.  I’m sorry.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who I actually defended recently, saying that she didn’t deserve the public embarrassment she was subjected to when she was asked to leave a restaurant, went above and beyond her usual dog-and-pony show lies:

“The President likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with the Sun she ‘is a very good person’ and he ‘never said anything bad about her.’”

Bullpoop.

His behaviour and his interview with The Sun were abominable.  Extremely unprofessional, un-presidential, crass, rude and whatever other adjective you can think of to insert.  Make no mistake — this is a serious diplomatic blunder for the U.S., and one that will likely have long-reaching ramifications for both the U.S. and the UK.  I do not see how it can possibly fail to erode the relations between our two nations.  Donald Trump has absolutely no right to interfere in the negotiations between the UK and EU regarding Brexit.  It is not his fight.

It is worth noting that Trump is not capable of taking care of his own house, is doing a terrible job at home, and yet here he is trying to tell all of NATO what they must do, and now trying to tell the Prime Minister of the UK how she should do her job!  As I said in the beginning, the United States is well on the way to becoming the most despised nation on the earth.  All because of one ‘man’.  Well no, wait, actually the blame must be shared by 62,985,115 others.  The 62,984,828 who voted for him, and the 287 republicans in Congress (51 in the Senate and 236 in the House of Representatives) who have been slavishly licking his boots every day since 20 January 2017.  Thank you all for making our nation the worst it has been since 1865.  Each and every one of you deserve what’s coming your way.  Sadly, the other 265,134,207 of us in the U.S. do not deserve the abomination you have unleashed on us, and the rest of the world does not either!

Trade War Without Ammo

Donald Trump has started a full-blown trade war with his tariffs on both allies and others. He claims that “a trade war is easy to win”, but nothing could be further from the truth, and frankly Trump’s simplistic view is tiresome and dangerous. I have a good grasp of what the short-term effects of this trade war are likely to have here in the U.S., but beyond that, my understanding of macro-economics is sketchy. Fellow blogger Erik Hare, on the other hand, is an economist and therefore understands far better than I what is likely to happen on the global scene. Please take a few minutes to read Erik’s assessment of the current situation. Thank you, Erik, for your keen insight and for allowing me to share this post.

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

The trade war is definitely on, no matter how Wall Street wants to deny it. Serious investors have downplayed recent events as part of a grand strategy, a negotiating tool that will all work out in the end. The reality, that there isn’t really a good strategy in place here but simply petty tactics, has not sunk in yet, at least in America. But the rest of the world knows better.

For the purposes of this discussion, the European Union will be diminished to Germany. After all, this is the economic engine that powers the continent right now, and Merkel’s leadership is critical. Where is Germany going? The long and short of it, the strategic and the tactical, is to the east. This response is proof enough that there is no US strategy which makes any sense.

View original post 614 more words

Define “Generous” Please …

My jaw literally (well, okay, figuratively) dropped to the floor this morning when I saw this headline:

HHS Secretary: Separating Immigrant Families Is ‘One of the Great Acts of American Generosity’

Say what???

The separation of children from their parents at the southern border can be defined by only two words:  a fiasco, and chaos.  ‘Generosity’ is definitely the antithesis of what this nation has done to those families seeking a safe haven.  A federal judge ordered all children under the age of five to be reunited with their parents by July 10th  — yesterday.  However, some 84 of the 101 or 102 children under five remain separated from their families in detention centers, aka concentration camps.  How is this ‘generous’?

“We have nothing to hide about how we operate these facilities.” That was Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night, referring to what he calls the juvenile and “tender age” facilities in which many of the separated children are currently being detained. It seems strange to me that if they have nothing to hide, they have barred media outlets and public figures from filming or visiting. And then he went on to say …

“It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids.” 

I call FOUL!!!  There is no generosity involved in taking a young child, a toddler, from its mother’s arms and putting it in an abandoned Wal-Mart store, surrounded by wire and strange faces!  And why is he referring to them as ‘unaccompanied’?  A two-year-old child does not just wander across the border on his own.  These children were accompanied by their parents!!!  Three thousand – 3,000 – children were accompanied by their parents, then taken away to detention centers, scared, alone, and not knowing why they are no longer with their parents.  And Mr. Azar calls this ‘generous’?  Perhaps his definition of the word is different than mine.  Or perhaps he is in the wrong job, for his agency is titled “Health and Human Services”, and there is nothing … not one thing … humanitarian about what is happening to these children!

HHS and ICE have so royally mucked up this entire fiasco that they deserve to be placed in these detention centers themselves.  First, they have lost track of some 20% of the parents who were either released in the U.S. or deported back to their homelands – without their children.  Second, they are claiming that 27 of the children under 5 will not be reunited because the parents have ‘criminal records’, yet we are not told what crimes they are accused of.  Perhaps nothing more than a speeding ticket or jaywalking in some cases.  We don’t know … we just don’t know.  And frankly, I no longer trust our government to provide us with actual facts, for thus far we have been spoon-fed the b.s. that they want us to believe and I do not buy a single word of it.

The delay in reuniting the children, we are told, is because HHS is conducting DNA testing on children and parents in order to ensure the right kids go to the right families.  I see this more as a delaying tactic than a genuine concern for the children’s safety and welfare.  Part of the reason for the DNA requirement, according to officials, is that the documents proving parentage were initially taken from the parents at the border, and those documents have since been lost!  They cannot keep up with the parents, they cannot keep up with the paperwork … what next?  And now we are told that at least four of the mothers have been told they must pay the cost for the DNA testing before getting their children back!  These mothers do not have $700 – $800 in their pockets!

There are many people in this administration who must bear the guilt of this fiasco, but at the end of the day, it all falls squarely in the lap of Donald Trump.  Separating these children from their parents was a political move, making the children pawns in Trump’s game.  The process was hastily thrown together with little or no thought to record-keeping and eventual reunification.  These children and their parents are human beings, yet they have been treated as … objects, for lack of a better word.  And now, to add insult to injury, Alex Azar has the unmitigated gall to call what we are doing ‘generous’?  I don’t think so, Alex … no sir, I do not see generosity anywhere in this equation.

On Promises …

What is a promise and how important is it?  I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise.  Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise.  A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word.  To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me.  I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.

With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just.  If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it.  It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy.  It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.

On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions.  He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border.  He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims.  He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral.  He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry.  Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.

One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’.  I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there.  Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office.  The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people.  For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance.  It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals.  Why?  Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base.  Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us.  Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician!  ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!

Let’s talk taxes, shall we?

Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats.  The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%.  Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”?  Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes.  Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside.  Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents.  Nope, not even on the docket.  Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts!  Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell.  But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services?  Sorry, sucker!  But hey!  Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? evil laughBriefly, a few of his other “promises”.  He promised to …

  • Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics.  He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S.  Think Scott Pruitt.  Jared Kushner.  Ivanka Trump. Trump himself.  And the list goes on … and on …
  • Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
  • Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised.  Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.

For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post  .  Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.

In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep.  The rest were threats.  The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy.  The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded.  The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).

Promises should be kept.  Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats.  Trust is earned.  Loyalty is earned.  Need I say more?

Playing With Children’s Lives

When Donald Trump directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to separate children from their asylum-seeking parents at the southern border, we were horrified by the inhumanity of such an order, and more horrified still by the manner in which the order was carried out.  Today, that horror reaches an all new level.

Last month Trump signed an executive order to stop separating families at the border, in response to the bipartisan hue and cry over the practice.  However, no plans were made to re-unite the families who had already been torn apart, the children in hastily-constructed and poorly-managed detention centers.  It took a court order from U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw to force the government to begin reuniting children with their parents.  Judge Sabraw ruled that all children under 5 be reunited with their parents by July 10th, next Tuesday, and all other children by July 26th.  As I noted in my post on Friday, the Justice Department planned to request an extension in time.  Their claim was that they were doing DNA matching to make certain they reunited the right children with the right parents, and were also conducting criminal background checks on all the parents, as well as any others that will be living in the home.  My antennae went up when I heard this, thinking that in all likelihood the record-keeping of the hasty separations had been so poor that they didn’t know where all the children were.  I was mostly right.

Turns out, it’s the parents they have lost track of, although I will not be surprised when, at some point, it is discovered that there are some children whose whereabouts are unknown.  When Judge Sabraw asked for a status update on Friday, he was told that 19 of the parents with children under 5 had been released from ICE custody into the U.S. and their whereabouts are currently unknown.  Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said …

“For those folks, in some cases, for example, if we’re not aware of where the parent is, I can’t commit to saying that reunification will occur before the deadline. … We’re still determining what the situation is there and whether those are situations where reunifications may not be able to occur within the timeframe.”

But it gets even better, for 19 parents with children under 5 being held by ICE have actually been deported, and the Justice Department asked Judge Sabraw for ‘clarity’ regarding whether he expected those parents to also be reunited with their children.  They had to ask??? The judge affirmed that they were indeed part of the order.

Judge Sabraw said he would agree to delay the deadline for reunifying the youngest children if the government could provide a master list of all children and the status of their parents. Sabraw ordered the administration to share a list of 101 children with the American Civil Liberties Union by Saturday afternoon. “What I’m expecting is a lot of work over the weekend,” he said during the meeting

The judge scheduled a status conference for 10 a.m. Pacific time on Monday. A government lawyer said she could not attend a status conference over the weekend because she had out-of-town dog-sitting responsibilities.  Excuse me, ma’am, but I think the lives of 3,000 children may be of a higher priority than your dog-sitting duties???

I have to wonder what the Justice Department thought to do with those children whose parents were already deported, since they seemed uncertain when they asked the judge for clarification?  But then, I found the answer … they intended to remand them into the foster care system!

On Friday, six state governors sent a letter addressed to Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  The letter begins …

Dear Secretary Azar and Secretary Nielsen:

As governors representing states where separated migrant children are being detained, we write to express our growing concern with this Administration’s ability to reunify families in accordance with the federal court injunction issued on June 26, 2018. Given recent reports suggesting this process is being carried out chaotically and inconsistently, and in light of your agencies’ latest admission that hundreds more separated migrant children are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) than were previously accounted for, we remain deeply concerned that wholly inadequate resources and procedures are in place to ensure children and parents are reunified safely and securely within the court-ordered deadlines.

The letter goes on to say that the responsibility for the children’s welfare and reunification with their parents lies solely in the hands of the addresses, and asks a series of questions related to what is or isn’t being done to ensure the children are reunited without delay.  The letter is signed by Governor Jay Inslee, Washington; Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York; Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut; Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey; Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Governor Kate Brown, Oregon.

The letter was primarily in response to information that HHS considered any placement of a child to amount to a reunification — even if the sponsor wasn’t the parent from whom the child was separated, including a foster care setting.

Meanwhile, rumours abound that some of the children who have been returned have been in less than stellar condition, dirty and lice infested.  And in one case, it is said that a sexual predator is an employee of the facility and has frequent contact with the children.  I do not know how much is true and how much is rumour, so I make no comment on these, other than to say that nothing will surprise me at this point.  The federal government has been an extremely poor steward over the lives of 3,000 children, as well as their families.  We should be ashamed.