Rachel Maddow Connects Dots Between President’s Travel Ban On Chad And Tragedy In Niger

When Trump seemed to completely ignore the deaths of the four Green Berets killed in Niger on 04 October, it seemed strange. He wasn’t ranting about the terrorists who had killed the soldiers, but instead was on the golf course. Not a tweet, not a news conference, just silence. Something was fishy … but what? Then reporters began asking why he had not contacted the families of the slain soldiers, and people began asking questions. We now have the answers. Friend Gronda has put together a post that clarifies what, exactly, happened and why, and I urge you … nay, I beg you … to read this. It will make your blood boil, but you need to know … the world needs to know … that the blood of those four soldiers is on Donald Trump’s hands. Many thanks, Gronda, for helping us to understand how the dots connect.

Gronda Morin

Rachel Maddow on her October 19. 2017, MSNBC TV show connected the dots regarding the October 4, 2017 tragedy in Niger where 4 Army green beret soldiers were ambushed and killed; how the president’s travel ban on Chad exposed these soldiers to harm; and then why the republican President Donald J. Trump avoided any discussion of what happened in Niger until confronted about this subject by a reporter at the 10/16/17 Rose Garden press conference.

It had been reported 7 days ago that Chad military forces had pulled out of Niger after the republican President Donald Trump instituted his travel ban which included the African country of Chad. It turns out that the Chad soldiers had been keeping the terrorist group, Boko Haram and Islamic extremists like ISIS at bay in Niger.

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Before the president added Chad to his travel ban, he had been warned against this move by…

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Two Former Presidents … Voices of Reason

When your ‘enemies’ say things about you, say that you are no good, a liar and a cheat, and call you names, you rather expect it and most of us simply laugh it off.  I have acquired many new monikers during the last 28 months, since that day in June 2015 when I fell off a stool laughing because Donald Trump actually had the gall to throw his hat into the ring of presidential contenders.  But those new names don’t phase me, for they are people who disagree with me and have declared me their enemy.  A few threats have set my teeth on edge, but those are few and far between.  But when your allies and friends start calling you names and saying things about you, then perhaps it is time to take a long, hard look at yourself and ask yourself some tough questions.

The GOP is not exactly a tight-knit, cohesive organization these days, and more and more we are hearing members of Congress and other party officials speak out against Donald Trump.  The latest in this series was former President George W. Bush who yesterday gave an unexpected and rather eloquent speech at a forum for the George W. Bush Institute in New York. If he had said no more than a handful of words, it would have spoken volumes, simply because he is a fellow republican and a former president.

Like Senator John McCain’s speech on Monday evening, Bush did not specifically mention Trump, but his meaning was obvious to all with half a mind.  I will not replicate the entire speech, but merely a few of the most relevant snippets.

  • And we know that when we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.

  • Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.

  • We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. (Think, “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Liddle” Bob Corker, “Crooked Hillary,” “Lock her up,” to name but a few)

  • We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.

  • Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy. And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats.

  • According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions — including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence — should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.

  • This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.

  • We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools. And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

The ones in bold are the ones I find the most relevant, especially the last two.  You can read the entire transcript if you wish.

And, though much lower keyed, President Obama also made some statements this week, while stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia:

  • What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries. Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!

  • You can’t take this election or any election for granted. I don’t know if you all noticed that.

For two former presidents to speak out against the policies, actions and behaviours of the sitting president is … unprecedented (pun intended – needed to lighten things up a bit).  That they are doing so speaks loudly that they are concerned for the fate of our democracy and the path that the nation is on.  I concur and I appreciate them using their large, yet elegant and respectful voices to make these points.

The Better Man …

It seems to me that it is highly unbecoming, unprofessional and undignified behaviour for a leader of a nation to threaten his political antagonists.  But then, ‘professional’ and ‘dignified’ are not words that I have ever heard or considered applied to Donald Trump.  Earlier, I posted John McCain’s speech upon acceptance of the Liberty Medal on Monday evening.  The day after McCain’s speech, Donald Trump had this to say:

“Yeah, well, I hear it. And people have to be careful because at some point I fight back. I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point, I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.”

This, my friends, is how the man sitting in the White House, the highest and most revered position in the United States government, speaks of a member of his own party, a man who is a war hero and who just received a very great honour from the National Constitution Center for his “courage and conviction”.  Courage and conviction … also words nobody would associate with Donald Trump.

McCain’s response to Trump’s threat was a simple, “I’ve faced far greater challenges than this.” Indeed he has.  McCain’s plane was shot down and he was held in a prisoner of war camp in Vietnam for five-and-a-half years.  Severely injured, tortured, beaten and denied medical care, McCain was offered repatriation and could have returned home sooner, but he refused as long as other POWs remained in the camp.  Definitely a greater challenge than Trump’s threat.  And now, McCain is battling terminal brain cancer, the same type that ultimately took the life of Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009.  Another challenge greater than any words Trump might utter.

Though McCain did not mention Donald Trump, he did not need to when he said …

 “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of Earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

He is saying what I have been saying for this entire year … that Trump and his ‘policies’ are destroying the reputation of this nation.  There is no rebuttal for this, for truer words have never been spoken.

Trump began his hostilities toward McCain shortly after beginning his presidential campaign in 2015, saying that in his opinion …

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Donald Trump evaded military service by receiving five draft deferments.

I have neither the time, space, nor inclination to list all the things that set these men apart from each other, but suffice it to say that, apart from the fact that both are republicans and both are elected officials, they are as different as night and day. For the man sitting in the Oval Office (when he isn’t on the golf course) to threaten a highly respected and respectable U.S. Senator because that Senator spoke the truth about the direction of this nation, is an abomination.

I would ask those who helped put Donald Trump into the office he holds today to look at these two men side-by-side, to compare their backgrounds, their political ideologies, their speech, their professionalism and how they treat others.  Just look at the differences, then go look in the mirror … look yourself in the eye and tell yourself who is the better man.

A Most Deserving Recipient — Senator John McCain

On Monday night, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Senator John McCain received the Liberty Medal, and I cannot think of a more deserving person for this honour.  The Liberty Medal is awarded annually by the National Constitution Center to men and women of courage and conviction who have strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people the world over. The Medal’s roster of recipients includes many of the men, women, and organizations that have shaped and guided the world through the past two decades, including Nelson Mandela, Sandra Day O’Connor, Kofi Annan, Shimon Peres, and Colin Powell. Last year’s medal was awarded, appropriately, to U.S. Representative John Lewis for his “courageous dedication to civil rights”.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden, Chairman of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, awarded the medal.  McCain and Biden go back a few decades or more, and the banter between the two was easy …

McCain: Thank you, Joe, my old, dear friend, for those mostly undeserved kind words. Vice President Biden and I have known each other for a lot of years now, more than forty, if you’re counting. We knew each other back when we were young and handsome and smarter than everyone else but were too modest to say so. Joe was already a senator, and I was the Navy’s liaison to the Senate. My duties included escorting senate delegations on overseas trips, and in that capacity, I supervised the disposition of the delegation’s luggage, which could require – now and again – when no one of lower rank was available for the job – that I carry someone worthy’s bag. Once or twice that worthy turned out to be the young senator from Delaware.  I’ve resented it ever since.

Biden: The son of a gun never carried my bags. He was supposed to carry my bags; he never carried my bags.

Biden-McCain

And then came McCain’s acceptance speech. I initially planned to provide only some excerpts, but as I read and re-read the speech, I found I could not choose, for the speech is exceptional … humble, meaningful, and important in its entirety. And so, my apologies for the length, but I think is well worth reading and pondering:

“Joe has heard me joke about that before. I hope he has heard, too, my profession of gratitude for his friendship these many years. It has meant a lot to me. We served in the Senate together for over twenty years, during some eventful times, as we passed from young men to the fossils who appear before you this evening.

We didn’t always agree on the issues. We often argued – sometimes passionately. But we believed in each other’s patriotism and the sincerity of each other’s convictions. We believed in the institution we were privileged to serve in. We believed in our mutual responsibility to help make the place work and to cooperate in finding solutions to our country’s problems. We believed in our country and in our country’s indispensability to international peace and stability and to the progress of humanity. And through it all, whether we argued or agreed, Joe was good company. Thank you, old friend, for your company and your service to America.

Thank you, too, to the National Constitution Center, and everyone associated with it for this award. Thank you for that video, and for the all too generous compliments paid to me this evening. I’m aware of the prestigious company the Liberty Medal places me in. I’m humbled by it, and I’ll try my best not to prove too unworthy of it.

Some years ago, I was present at an event where an earlier Liberty Medal recipient spoke about America’s values and the sacrifices made for them. It was 1991, and I was attending the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The World War II veteran, estimable patriot and good man, President George H.W. Bush, gave a moving speech at the USS Arizona memorial. I remember it very well. His voice was thick with emotion as he neared the end of his address. I imagine he was thinking not only of the brave Americans who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, but of the friends he had served with and lost in the Pacific where he had been the Navy’s youngest aviator.

‘Look at the water here, clear and quiet …’ he directed, ‘One day, in what now seems another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have, and it carried them to a better world.’

He could barely get out the last line, ‘May God bless them, and may God bless America, the most wondrous land on earth.’

The most wondrous land on earth, indeed. I’ve had the good fortune to spend sixty years in service to this wondrous land. It has not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited from a little less of my help. But I’ve tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I’ve been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America. And I am so very grateful.

What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor and anger of our politics, we are blessed.

We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream, the land with the storied past forgotten in the rush to the imagined future, the land that repairs and reinvents itself, the land where a person can escape the consequences of a self-centered youth and know the satisfaction of sacrificing for an ideal, the land where you can go from aimless rebellion to a noble cause, and from the bottom of your class to your party’s nomination for president.

We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and that we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941.

To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.

I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause – the cause of our security and the security of our friends, the cause of freedom and equal justice – all my adult life. I haven’t always served it well. I haven’t even always appreciated what I was serving. But among the few compensations of old age is the acuity of hindsight. I see now that I was part of something important that drew me along in its wake even when I was diverted by other interests. I was, knowingly or not, along for the ride as America made the future better than the past.

And I have enjoyed it, every single day of it, the good ones and the not so good ones. I’ve been inspired by the service of better patriots than me. I’ve seen Americans make sacrifices for our country and her causes and for people who were strangers to them but for our common humanity, sacrifices that were much harder than the service asked of me. And I’ve seen the good they have done, the lives they freed from tyranny and injustice, the hope they encouraged, the dreams they made achievable.

May God bless them. May God bless America, and give us the strength and wisdom, the generosity and compassion, to do our duty for this wondrous land, and for the world that counts on us. With all its suffering and dangers, the world still looks to the example and leadership of America to become, another, better place. What greater cause could anyone ever serve.

Thank you again for this honor. I’ll treasure it.”

One does not have to always agree with Senator McCain’s ideas to respect him as a patriot, a member of Congress, and most importantly, a human being.  I say a big “Thank You” to Senator John McCain.

*Donald Trump threatened to “fight back” against McCain for this speech.  I will have more on that later today.

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A Matter of Trust …

One of the political analysts I most respect for both his knowledge and unbiased viewpoints is Fareed Zakaria.  He hit the nail on the head this morning on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS (Global Public Square) when he said …

zakaria-2“The United States is now blasting an international agreement it is a sworn party to, without exiting the agreement. It is taking potshots at an international framework and yet staying within it — sort of. The result is a foreign policy that is not just unpredictable, but incoherent.

Trump has now signaled to countries like North Korea, never make a deal with America, because even if we sign, we might still upend the whole arrangement anyway. In his speech on Iran, Trump made the bizarre claim that other countries think in 100-year intervals. Even if this were true, which it isn’t, Trump’s actions suggest that his administration cannot even stay the course for a few years, let alone a hundred. Donald Trump’s national security team, the so-called grown-ups, have signed on to this contradictory policy toward Iran — which is a sad sign, perhaps, that they value their jobs more than their reputations.”

What he says is absolutely true.  Since taking office Trump has lied more often than not, and he has removed the U.S. from important agreements for no reason other than they were not his idea, but one of his predecessors. He has decided, even though the majority of the people he is supposed to represent disagree, that the U.S. no longer will participate in the Paris Accords to lower the impact of carbon emmissions on the environment.  He has made it clear that he will almost certainly pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unless Canada and Mexiso agree to give the U.S. the most favourable terms, at the expense of their own nations.  He has pulled out of UNESCO, and threatened to abandon the U.S. commitment to the United Nations entirely.  And now he is playing games with the Iran nuclear agreement for no reason other than that President Obama was the U.S.’ representative at the time we entered into the agreement.

It is bad enough that we here in the states know him to be a liar and untrustworthy.  But now every nation with whom we have international relations are scratching their heads and saying, in the language of social media, WTF???

It is one thing when he promises “great health care” and then not only provides us with nothing, but robs tens of millions of people of having any heathcare.  It is one thing when he promises tax cuts to the working people, but in reality his tax cuts will help only the wealthy.  All that is bad enough, but …

When he promises aid to Puerto Rico after a devastating storm, then drops the ball and attempts to make it look like their own fault, that sends a message that Trump will not keep his promises.  When he randomly, for no reason at all pulls out of a commitment, an obligation on the part of the U.S., that sends a message that the United States does not uphold its commitments.  And when he threatens to pull out of a mutual commitment to go to the aid of our allies, as they would us, in the event of a foreign attack, then the message is loud and clear.  The United States can no longer be counted on, the United States is no longer reliable or trustworthy.

From there, it is a hop, skip and a jump to … “the United States is no longer our ally.” In turn, if we were to be attacked by Russia, North Korea, or any other nation, we would have no right to expect assistance from the EU or any other allies, not even Canada or Mexico.  If Trump truly wants to isolate this nation, he is off to a fine start, but let the buyer beware … it is about the second stupidest thing he could do at this point.

And all for what reason?  Because he is a megalomaniac and his name is not on any of these agreements.  He had no part in them, worse yet, his antagonism toward President Obama is palpable and he is determined to attempt to erase President Obama’s name from the history books.  The reality is that, while Obama was a good, though not perfect, president, Trump is actually making Obama look even better than he was!

I suspect that if the Iran nuclear agreement were to be re-named the Trump-Iran nuclear agreement, he would sit down and shut up. He sees himself as more than any president can be … he sees himself as an emperor rather than a president.  The global effect of his decisions and rhetoric is far-reaching.  The U.S. is no longer the leader of the western world … only because of Trump.  Our allies are making their own plans for future events that do not include the U.S. … only because of Trump.  Where is the line in the sand?  Where is the breaking point where this country, its people and its elected officials finally stand up and say, “ENOUGH!!!”?  It better be soon, folks … it better be real soon.

Any more questions?

Last week was a busy one for Donald Trump. It was as if he was on a mission to cause as much damage both domestically and to our reputation abroad as he possibly could in as short a time frame as possible. Friend and fellow-blogger Keith has written a nice summary of some of the areas in which Trump has focused his destructive talents, and since I could not have said it better, I am sharing his words with you. Please take a minute to read this excellent post … and be sure to check out the comments, for there are some good thoughts there as well. Thank you, Keith!

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For over two years, I have been amazed at how a man, who is so consumed with himself and has given so little regard to the plight of others, can become the President of the United States. He convinced far too many people, whose voice has not been heard, that he was on their side. Unfortunately, they did not pay attention to his history which reveals he has only one cause – himself.

Yesterday, this man decided to kick poor people one more time, stripping subsidies under the ACA for deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance for those who qualify because of low wages. This man owns the imperfect, but working ACA. He has sabotaged it from the get go picking up the baton the GOP Congress gave him, so if the ACA fails as a result, it is on his and GOP leadership’s shoulders.

A few weeks ago, he rolled out…

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All Before Noon!!!

Little Donnie Dark apparently got up on the very wrong side of the bed this morning, for already as of this writing (it is now noon where I live) he has made three horrendous decisions.  Would somebody please tie this ‘man’s hands?

U.S. Withdraws From UNESCO, The U.N.’s Cultural Organization, Citing Anti-Israel Bias

The United States plans to withdraw from UNESCO, citing financial reasons, as well as what it said was an anti-Israel bias at the U.N.’s educational, cultural and science organization. –  October 12 at 10:40 AM

UNESCO was established after World War II to help promote global cooperation around the flow of ideas, culture and information. UNESCO’s mission includes programs to improve access to education, preserve cultural heritage, improve gender equality and promote scientific advances and freedom of expression.

This would not be the first time the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO.  We did so in 1984, under President Reagan when he felt there was pro-Soviet sentiment in the organization. Though most people will shrug their shoulders about this move, it is yet another sign that Trump places no value on international cooperation, human rights and global cohesion.  It is another step toward U.S. isolationism.


Trump Threatens To Abandon Puerto Rico Recovery Effort

Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Trump on Thursday sought to shame the territory for its own plight. He tweeted, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.” And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”

He also wrote: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” –  October 12 at 11:00 AM

Just last week, Pence visited Puerto Rico and promised that the U.S. would be with them “every step of the way”.  The people who live on the island of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.  How on earth can anybody with a conscience simply abandon them?  The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that includes provisions to avert a potential cash crisis in Puerto Rico prompted by Hurricane Maria. If it passes, will Trump even sign it? Would Trump similarly abandon the people of Texas and Florida who are also struggling to recover from hurricanes Harvey and Irma?


Foiled in Congress, Trump Signs Order to Undermine Obamacare

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that clears the way for potentially sweeping changes in health insurance, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

“With these actions,” Mr. Trump said Thursday, “we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market, and taking crucial steps toward saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.”

“This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for,” the president predicted, “and they’re going to be very happy. This will be great health care.”

But most of the changes will not come until federal agencies adopt regulations, after an opportunity for public comments — a process that could take months. – 

Apparently Trump thinks that if Congress won’t legislate his agenda, he can simply bypass them and write his own law.  Trump has decided that he will repeal ACA all by himself.  Fortunately, as stated in the last paragraph of the above excerpt, it is not that simple.

executive orderLook at the above picture … every single one of those people applauding Trump’s signing of the executive order to undermine the health of the citizens of our nation … every single one of them has excellent health insurance, a portion of which We The People pay for.  Think on that one for a minute.


These three decisions before noon today make me wonder what else he plans to destroy by the end of the day.  With the exception of his threats to Puerto Rico, the actions have been in the works for some time, and I realize that he did not just hop out of bed this morning and write executive orders.  But it sure seems like he is on a mission to first isolate our nation, and then destroy it from within.  If he cannot achieve ‘legislative wins’, then he will take matters into his own hands.  Excuse me, but this is not how a democracy works!

Need I Say More?

There is a difference between strength and bombast.  Bullying, tooting one’s own horn, threats – whether idle or real – are all part of bombast, not real strength.  Genuine strength includes understanding the situation, knowing when to act, when to wait, and when to keep one’s mouth shut.  Real strength in the world of governance requires knowledge, understanding, patience and intelligence. Events in the last 48 hours in the dark world of Trump include threats against one of the three biggest television networks in the nation, a challenge to take and compare IQ tests to the Secretary of State, threats to de-certify a fully functioning global agreement that is contributing to world peace, mocking and taunting a U.S. Senator, threats to pull out of a trade agreement with our closest neighbors/allies, and threats against the NFL.  If there are any who still support him, perhaps they see these moves as strength.  The rest of us see it for what it is:  bombast.

The following is an excerpt from a letter written by a student at State College in Pennsylvania on September 29, 2016, almost two months before Donald Trump was elected:

I urge those of you who are unsure of how you will vote in November to consider what it would mean to have a man who is a bully, and who supports bullies, have the keys to our nuclear weapons. That Donald Trump is a bully is undeniable. He yells at people he does not like, he threatens them, and he calls them names. These are behaviors that we all agree are totally unacceptable in our schools and workplaces. Why should they be acceptable in a Presidential candidate?

Significantly, Trump continues to express admiration and respect for other bullies. And scarily, these bullies are dictators such as Vladimir Putin and the fortunately deceased Saddam Hussein. Again, do we really want a man who admires brutal dictators in charge of our nuclear weapons? Does Trump have no idea of the difference between our American way of life and that espoused by the world’s worst dictators Does he not understand the role America plays as the leader in demonstrating what democracy truly means?

A bully as our Commander-in-Chief. A bully in charge of the world’s greatest military power. Do you really want to vote for that?  Hillary Clinton has demonstrated, in a number of important positions, that she understands the proper use of our power. We can make America stronger by voting for her.

Pamela Monk

The title of her letter? True Strength Is Not Bombast

One astute commenter, a student from Temple University, responded to Ms. Monk with an apt quote from Theodore Roosevelt …

 Theodore Roosevelt: “I neither respect nor admire the huge moneyed men to whom money is the be-all and end-all of existence; to whom the acquisition of untold millions is the supreme goal in life, and who are too often utterly indifferent as to how these millions are obtained.”

Need I say more?

DEMANDS???????????????

Some 800,000 young people are being held hostage.  They are but pawns in Donald Trump’s game of “Gotcha!”  I refer, of course to the Dreamers, the young people brought into this country, typically by their parents or other close relative, and provided certain legal protections against deportation, in order to get an education and contribute, ultimately to become citizens if they choose.

gotcha-2The bully in the White House has sent a long list of demands that Trump will require in exchange for any hope of a deal to protect the Dreamers.  Since when does the president of this nation make demands upon Congress??? This is the behaviour of an autocrat, not a president.  And to toy with the very lives of 800,000 human beings???  Unconscionable!!!

The most objectionable part of his demands?  The damned wall, of course.  The wall that will cost some $70 billion to build and then will serve NO purpose.  Additionally, he demands the hiring of 10,000 immigration agents, tougher laws for those seeking asylum and denial of federal grants to “sanctuary cities”. He is also demanding the use of the E-Verify program by companies to keep illegal immigrants from getting jobs, an end to people bringing their extended family into the United States, and a hardening of the border against thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America.

It must be obvious at this point, even to his most hard-core supporters, that Donald Trump hates people.  That he is against the human race as a whole, for if his demands were met, it would be a death sentence for far too many. While I agree that we must do everything in our power to protect the Dreamers, that it is unacceptable to send them to countries they likely do not remember, where they know no one and have no life, no home, no connections.  But, the demands of the MITWH cannot be given into.  CAN NOT!

The cornerstone of this nation was immigration.  At some point, almost every one of us have ancestors who immigrated here from elsewhere.  Trump’s own mother came to the U.S. from Scotland in 1929, and his paternal grandfather came from Germany in 1885.  Yet he would almost completely shut our borders to all immigrants!

Mr. Trump needs to read the U.S. Constitution, or if he is incapable, he needs to have somebody read it to him, for nowhere in that document does it give the president the right to demand anything from Congress.  Even the republicans in Congress must surely realize that they cannot bend to his demands. No surprise here, but the chief backers of Trump’s laundry list of demands are none other than white supremacist policy advisor Stephen Miller, and racist Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions.

In a letter to lawmakers, Mr. Trump said his demands would address “dangerous loopholes, outdated laws and easily exploited vulnerabilities” in the immigration system, asserting that they were “reforms that must be included” in any deal to address the Dreamers.

Remember last month, when hard-core republicans were aghast at the news that Trump had met with Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, both democrats, over issues of immigration and spending?  There were jokes galore about how Trump’s two new best friends were Schumer & Pelosi.  Not anymore!  Schumer and Pelosi issued a joint statement today:

“The administration can’t be serious about compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans. We told the President at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures alongside the DREAM Act, but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable. This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”

When Trump claimed he was willing to work with democrats, to reach across party lines, I did not applaud, for I knew there was something under the surface, but I wasn’t sure what. I do not trust him, never have and never will, so whatever he says, I either assume the opposite, else take it with a grain of salt.  In this case, I am still not sure what his purpose was.  He alienated some from his own party, and gained nothing.  Was the purpose to get us to lower our guard so that when he delivered today’s slap in the face, we would be unprepared and thus that much more horrified?  I have no idea.

I call on every single member of Congress, regardless of party affiliation, to send Mr. Trump’s demands back to him, marked with a big NODemands are not negotiating tools, they are the methods used by dictators, by bullies, by those who wield such power over others that they have the leverage to make demands, knowing that their victims have no recourse.  This is the United States of America, a democratic-republic, where we do not have a dictator, an autocrat.  We have a government that allows a certain amount of power to each of its three branches, but that power is not unlimited.  Would somebody please inform Trump that his last name is neither Duterte, Erdoğan, nor Putin?

Happy Thanksgiving … Joyeux Action de Grâce

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

I just realized, after a comment by friend Emily (Eschudel of Zombie Flamingoes) that today is Thanksgiving … in Canada!  Action de grâce!

Now, for those outside Canada, I thought I would look a bit into the history of Canada’s Thanksgiving.  We all know the lovely little story about the pilgrims and the natives and the first Thanksgiving in the U.S., which is basically a myth, but whatever.  So, I wondered if Canada has such a feel-good story too.  Well, turns out it’s confusing, but … let me tell you what I found, and then perhaps some of our Canadian friends will either correct me, or fill in the gaps.

According to Wikipedia …

“Thanksgiving is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

According to some historians, the first celebration of Thanksgiving in North America occurred during the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England, in search of the Northwest Passage.

Years later, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, from 1604, also held feasts of thanks. They even formed the Order of Good Cheer and held feasts with their First Nations neighbors, at which food was shared.

After the Seven Years’ War ended in 1763, with New France handed over to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year.

During and after the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada, such as the turkey, pumpkin, and squash.

The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

For many years before it was declared a national holiday in 1879, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November. From 1879 onward, Thanksgiving Day has been observed every year.”

But then, I found an article in The Star (Toronto) that I think is more likely to be authentic …

“In the case of Thanksgiving Day, the critical actors were a group of Protestant clergymen in what is now Ontario. In 1859, these men petitioned the Canadian colonial government to declare a mid-week day of thanksgiving in recognition of the harvest. The government agreed to the ministers’ request, and it would do so again four more times before 1866, and annually beginning in 1871.

Protestant leaders had dual motives in lobbying for an autumn holiday. First, they wanted to reassure Canadian Christians, whose faith had been shaken by the publication of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in 1859.

Second, they felt obligated to mould Canadian identity in light of the prospect — and after 1867, the reality — of Confederation. To clergymen, an abundant harvest provided proof of God’s hand in nature, and evidence that Canadians were a chosen people. As such, a holiday that celebrated the harvest would give them the opportunity to remind Canadians of both their material prosperity and their divine national destiny.

Initially, Canadian Thanksgiving was a solemn and pious occasion compared to its American namesake. All businesses closed for the day, and church services were the only activities of note. Ministers delivered sermons that blended nationalism with religious dogma. Against the backdrop of the American Civil War, they hailed the superiority of British political institutions and praised Canada (incorrectly) for having avoided the evils of slavery.

Overall, their Thanksgiving sermons celebrated Canada for being a white, British, Protestant country — a perspective that pointedly ignored the presence of French Canadians, Catholics, Indigenous people, and non-British immigrants.

In time, however, the Protestant conception of Thanksgiving Day, and the narrow definition of Canadian identity that it promoted, gave way to other influences. From the 1870s onwards, holiday church services lost ground to secular community events and commercial amusements.

Meanwhile, Canadians began adopting American Thanksgiving traditions, such as family gatherings, turkey dinners, and football games. Such activities enabled previously excluded groups to stake their own claims to Thanksgiving, and by extension, to Canadian citizenship.

By 1957, when the government permanently fixed the timing of Thanksgiving Day, the holiday’s domestic focus was firmly established. While many Canadians used the occasion to close their summer cottages for the season, others devoted the day to family get-togethers and turkey dinners.

Today, Canadian Thanksgiving shows few hints of its religious and nationalist beginnings.”

Interesting … things are rarely as they seem on first glance, and it is always fun to delve into the traditions and history of other nations.  At any rate, I wish all my Canadian friends & readers a very Happy Thanksgiving … Joyeux Action de grâce. You have one very obvious thing to be thankful for:  that you have Justin Trudeau instead of Donald Trump! I hope you were all able to celebrate with loved ones, much laughter and good food.

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