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.

A Sort of Despotism

Our friend and fellow-blogger Hugh Curtler has provided a short excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, long considered one of the most influential and relevant books of the 19th century. This is a short piece, but even though it was published 182 years ago. Please take a moment to read it and think about it. Many thanks, dear Hugh, for such a timely piece and implied permission to re-blog!

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In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States for nine months ostensibly to examine our prison system, but in fact to examine the American political system. He later wrote Democracy In America, a most remarkable book that very few read any more (sad to say). In a chapter of that book titled “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear” he provided us with an analysis that is as timely today as it was when he wrote it, proving once again that the classics are always relevant:

“I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observer is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is a stranger to the fate of the…

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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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I Am A Failed Writer!

I thought I had, if not a talent for writing, at least moderate skill such that I was able to communicate with words and make my thoughts, my meaning, clear.  I have failed in that, and am thinking that if I am going to continue to write, I must take some classes, study harder, learn the tools of my trade better.  I am a failure … a complete and total failure … as a writer.

Let me ask you, dear friends and readers … have I not made myself clear about my feelings toward the MITWH, Donald Trump?  Have I somehow been too milquetoast in my daily diatribe (yes, I realize there is an oxymoron in there)? Do any of you think, based on my posts from the past two years, that I actually like, support or approve of Trump?  Where oh where have I failed?

Yes, yes … I am rambling and must get straight to the point.  The point, then, is that Donald Trump thinks I am a fan of his!  He has even begun emailing me!  I was tempted to delete my entire email box, burn its contents and close that account … an account that I have had for more than 25 years!  But, there were some special and important emails in there, so I could not do that.  Here is just one sample:

Friend,

No matter what the Fake News Media reports, we’re working to advance our agenda every day.

In the first 9 months alone, we’ve delivered on our promises and have proven we’re ready to fight for what we believe is right for the future of this great country.

We did it together in 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind we have the momentum to keep it going. But I need to know you’re committed to our movement, Friend.

This is your last chance to update your record before our end-of-quarter deadline, and I’m hoping you’ll do so by renewing your Sustaining Membership:

Please contribute $250, $100, $75, $50, $35, or $10 to renew your Sustaining Membership for the 2017 year.

We cannot allow the Fake News Media and obstructionist Democrats to flood the airwaves and mislead the American people, Friend, and they are our strongest opponent yet.

So please, be sure to renew your 2017 Sustaining Membership before the September 30 deadline.

Thank you,

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Donald J. Trump

P.S. – I’ve requested a list of every person who steps up and renews their 2017 Sustaining Membership before the September 30 deadline. I hope to see your name on the list.

See what I mean?  He called me ‘friend’.  How could I possibly have miscommunicated my scorn, my wrath, my utter disdain for him to the extent that he considers me a ‘friend’?  I am a failure!  And … how did I get on the “nice” list anyway?  I want to be on the “naughty” list!  And does anybody else detect an implied threat in that very last line?

But then, it got even worse!  Look what else he sent me …

trump-coin.jpgWhy on earth would anybody want a Donald Trump coin???  Why, oh why, would they think that I, of all people, would want to own such a monstrosity?  The only reason I can think of is that I have failed to use my words to clarify my position. And can you imagine if I took their advice and gave this as a holiday gift to my friends???  I would not only have no friends left, but would likely be run out of town on a rail!

train.jpgSigh.  I must sign up today for some classes on writing, to learn to express myself better.  Please, dear friends, help me out and let me know what is missing in my snark that has enabled Trump to consider me a “friend”.  I need all the help I can get!

Thoughts on “Value Voters”

Recently I have heard the term “value voters” bandied about.  I did not really think much about it until this past Saturday when Steve Bannon spoke harshly at a “Value Voters Summit”, and then I began to wonder … what, exactly, are value voters?  The short answer I found is …

“One who participates in elections and makes decisions based on issues such as religion, abortion, capital punishment and same-sex marriage.”

In other words, one who places their own personal morals above the good of the nation, the security of the world, and the important issues that should be the business of government. Banning same-sex marriage is, to the value voter, more important than protecting the environment, the air we breathe and the food we eat.  Banning abortion takes precedence over international security.  And prioritizing one religion over another ranks higher than human rights.

And the Values Voter Summit at which Bannon spoke on Saturday is …

“An annual political conference held in Washington, D.C. for American social conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States. The Values Voter Summit is hosted by the Family Research Council. There are numerous conservative organizations sponsoring or otherwise participating in the conference. In the most recent summit, 38 organizations and an audience of 2,000 people participated. The summit is usually held in September or October of each year.”

The all-star cast of previous summits have included right-wing commentators and conspiracy theorists Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter.  All three of these have received Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award … need I say more?

This year, Steve Bannon, Trump’s friend, ‘former’ chief strategist, and advisor, spoke at the summit and ‘declared war’ against the GOP at the ballot box in next year’s midterm elections.

“This is not my war. This is our war. And y’all didn’t start it. The establishment started it. But I will tell you one thing — you all are going to finish it.”

Bannon’s two main targets were Senators Bob Corker and Mitch McConnell.  Corker, you may remember, spoke out last week, saying that republican lawmakers were privately concerned about Trump’s ability to lead the country, and later tweeting, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift …”  Bannon said the incumbents in Congress must now “come to a stick [microphone] and condemn Senator Corker.”

Since leaving the White House in August, Bannon has returned to his post as chairman of Breitbart and made it his express mission to purge the Republican Party in the 2018 primary challenges to sitting members of Congress. His efforts are reportedly being backed by conservative hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer, a real piece of work in his own right.

White supremacist and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka also spoke at the summit …

“The left has no idea how much more damage we can do to them as private citizens, as people unfettered. 2018 will be the crucial year. This is the year. Steve has declared war on the RINO class as have I and we must tell them we have had enough.”

Not one to pass up an opportunity to be in the spotlight, Trump also spoke at the summit, the first sitting president ever to do so.

“We know that it’s the family and the church — not government officials — who know best how to create strong and loving communities. We don’t worship government, we worship God.” (Somebody shoot me now, please?)

Trump continued to toot his horn and condemn Congress for failing to rubber-stamp his own agenda, but nothing that we haven’t all heard before, so I won’t waste mine or your time repeating it ad nauseam.  What I would focus on, however, is the ideology of the ‘value voters’ who attended this conference.

This was a group, at least some of whom believe that God placed Donald Trump in the White House.  My snarky self simply cannot resist asking the question, do they believe, then, that Vladimir Putin is God? This is a group who place their own religious values far above truth and integrity in government, environmental protection, global security, human rights, justice, international relations, crime prevention, healthcare, the economy, or any of a number of other serious issues facing our nation today.  These are people, evangelical Christians, as they refer to themselves, who believe this nation should have a state religion:  Christianity.  They have no room in their hearts for those who are Muslim, Jewish, atheist or agnostic.  Many have no room in their hearts, even for those who are Hispanic or African-American.  I am not speaking of Christianity as a whole, but this relatively small group of ‘value voters’ who choose to push their religion upon us all, to the detriment and exclusion of all else.

Bannon, Gorka and Trump knew their audience, knew what would sell.  But they also spoke to a much larger audience:  We The People.  This writer found their message ridiculous, but also chilling, for if they have their way in November 2018, a large portion of Congress will be their hand-picked choices from the radical-right.  Soldiers for Bannon’s army in his self-declared “war” on the 64% of us who do not support Trump and his ideology – an ideology that is the opposite of “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  That is the government that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed “shall not perish from the earth.”  If Trump, Bannon and the value voters have their way, I fear it will perish after all.

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A Fairy Tale Even Grimmer Than Grimm’s

Once upon a time there was a president, a leader, and he tried to do the right thing for the people who had elected him.  Some of the people did not like him and made up stories about his religion, his birthplace, and anything else they could think of.  They said they hated him, and they rallied against everything he wanted to do to try to help the people.  But he was a kind and benevolent leader, well-reasoned and being possessed of an even temperament, and he did not respond to their taunts.  Eventually, as must happen at least every eight years, he was replaced by another, a man possessed of a sharp, untruthful tongue, a man who thought only of himself and cared not one whit for the people who had elected him.  When the first leader spoke to the people at an event called a ‘news conference’, he used the opportunity to present information about things that were important to the people, to the nation.  He informed, he sometimes joked briefly with the reporters, and he always tried to explain what he and his team were doing and why it was important.  But when ‘the other’ came along, he rarely spoke at these news conferences, but he held rallies to tell the people lies about how great he was. And when he did speak to the people, it was ugly-speak.  He spoke in an ugly language, criticized most everyone, threatened, bullied and spoke falsely about what a great job he was doing.  And the people, most of the people, cried and asked themselves, “What have we done?” And they did not live happily ever after …

The ’other’, of course, is none other than Donald Trump.  Last evening, he gave a press conference whereby he bashed Hillary Clinton for her election loss, criticized former President Obama, praised himself, and went to great lengths to assure every one of his “outstanding” relationship with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell was at Trump’s side, looking rather like a recalcitrant child or an obedient house pet. Trump’s speech was relatively short, a lot of tooting his own horn, but the more interesting parts came with the rather lengthier Q&A session afterward. Let us take a look at a few of the ‘highlights’ … as always, my snarky remarkys are in blue italics.


Trump: What Mitch will tell you is that maybe, with the exception of a few — and that is a very small few — I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate, and with the people in Congress.  (This came totally unsolicited, as a response to a completely unrelated question.)


Reporter: Why haven’t we heard anything from you so far about the Soldiers that were killed in Niger?  And what do you have to say about that?

Trump: I’ve written them personal letters. They’ve been sent, or they’re going out tonight, but they were written during the weekend. I will, at some point during the period of time, call the parents and the families — because I have done that, traditionally. I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. It’s the toughest — the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. It’s a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day — it’s a very, very tough day. For me, that’s by far the toughest. (Aye, pobrecito!!!) So, the traditional way — if you look at President Obama and other Presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So, generally, I would say that I like to call. I’m going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass. I’m going to be calling them. I have — as you know, since I’ve been President, I have. But in addition, I actually wrote letters individually to the soldiers we’re talking about, and they’re going to be going out either today or tomorrow. (Multiple points here.  1) The Green Berets killed in Niger were killed on October 4th, fully 12 days before this speech.  2) It is highly unlikely that Trump wrote any letters, but more likely that someone on his staff hastily wrote them, if they have even been written, once Trump came under criticism.  Trump spent the weekend at his golf course. 3) President Obama not only called the families of slain soldiers, but in some cases even visited them.)


Reporter: Mr. President, in 2012 you tweeted that “Obama’s complaints about Republicans stopping his agenda are BS,” in your words, “since he had full control for two years.”  You wrote, “He can never take responsibility.”  But today, you’ve said about some of the challenges right now in Congress and in Washington, “I’m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest. They’re not getting the job done.”  So what’s different then than now?  (Oooh … good one!)

Trump: Well, let me just explain what’s different. We have nominations pending right now, and we have 182 approved — if you look at this:  the number that he had approved was 65 percent and 70 percent, and we have 39 percent. They’re holding up every single nomination. (Did he answer the question and I missed it?)

Reporter: How about the agenda broadly?

Trump: Schumer and the group are holding up every single nomination. They are obstructing. They’re doing — I’m telling you, they’re not good politicians, but they’re very good at obstruction. (But I thought Schumer and Pelosi were his new, best friends?)


Reporter: If it would help you — if it would help Special Counsel Robert Mueller get to the end of the Russia investigation, would you –

Trump: Well, I’d like to see it end. Look, the whole Russian thing was an excuse –

Reporter: Would you –

Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me. The whole Russia thing was an excuse for the Democrats losing the election, and it turns out to be just one excuse. I mean, today Hillary blamed Nigel Farage. That one came out of nowhere. So that was just an excuse for the Democrats losing an election that, frankly, they have a big advantage in the Electoral College. They should always be able to win in the Electoral College, but they were unable to do it. So there has been absolutely no collusion. It’s been stated that they have no collusion. They ought to get to the end of it because I think the American public is sick of it. (No, Mr. Trump, the American public is not sick of it. The American public wants answers and it is clear to any who can see, hear and think, that you and your team have, in fact, colluded with Russia.)


Reporter: Mr. President, in the wake of an avalanche of allegations made against Harvey Weinstein, your campaign is being subpoenaed for any documents relating to sexual harassment allegations made against you. Do you have a response to that?

Trump: All I can say is it’s totally fake news. It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful what happens. But that’s happens in the world of politics. (There has, in fact, been a subpoena for those documents.)


Reporter: Do you maintain that the federal response [to Puerto Rico] has been outstanding?

Trump: Oh, I think — well, that’s according to the Clinton administration’s head of FEMA, it’s been outstanding. Puerto Rico is very tough because of the fact it’s an island. (REALLY???) But it’s also tough because, as you know, it was in very poor shape before the hurricanes ever hit. Their electrical grid was destroyed before the hurricanes got there. It was in very bad shape, was not working, was in bankruptcy, owed $9 billion. And then on top of that, the hurricane came. Now, you’re going to have to build a whole new electrical plant system. We’re not talking about generators. We moved — Puerto Rico now has more generators, I believe, than any place in the world. There are generators all over the place. The fact is, their electrical system was in horrible shape before and even worse shape after. So we are working right now — as you know, relief funds were just approved and are in the process of being approved by Congress. And that includes Texas, by the way. That includes Florida. And it also includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, et cetera. But it was in really bad shape before. We have done — I will say this, we have done – (No snarky remarky required here … he does it to himself)


Reporter: Mr. President, in an interview earlier today, Hillary Clinton said that she did not believe that players taking a knee in the NFL was about disrespecting the flag — at complete odds with the way that you have referred to this. You fired back in a tweet saying that you hope that she runs again in 2020. Why –

Trump: Oh, I hope Hillary runs. Is she going to run?  I hope. Hillary, please run again.

Reporter: So she’s at odds with you over whether or not this is disrespecting the flag. Is she right or is she wrong?

Trump: I think she’s wrong. Look, when they take a knee — there’s plenty of time to do knees and there’s plenty of time to do lots of other things. But when you take a knee – But when you take a knee — well, that’s why she lost the election. Honestly, it’s that thinking — that is the reason she lost the election. (Who knew?)


There is much more, but I have already far exceeded my self-imposed word limit.  And, I have run out of patience for tonight … there is only so much of this one can take.  You can read the full transcript or watch the full video (1 hour 17 minutes), if you are a masochist and really want to do so.

And thus ends this chapter in the fairy tale book, but we are a long way from the end of the book.  Let us hope that there is a Prince Charming to come rescue us … perhaps his name is Robert Mueller?

Bits ‘n Pieces of This ‘n That

mind-bounce.jpgMind bounce, as I call it, Grasshopper mind as our friend David calls it … whatever you call it, it is sometimes annoying, other times a good thing.  It is when your mind refuses to settle on any one topic for very long, bouncing from hither to yon, seeking to know something about everything.  I believe it is more prevalent in this, the era of Trump, for there are so many different things happening all at once that one cannot pick just one topic.  So, today I gave in to the mind bounce and instead of one single topic, I am doing a bit of this and a bit of that …


Donnie Junior …

Those who donate to the Trump campaign (yes, they are still soliciting donations, for I occasionally get an email asking for a contribution) will no doubt be happy to know where their contributions are going.  Mostly, it seems, they are being used to pay Donnie Trump Junior’s massive legal fees.  The Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports that the Trump campaign spent $267,924 on Junior’s legal fees from July through September.  The figure includes $237,924 for Junior’s personal attorney, Alan Futerfas. Another $30,000 went to Williams and Jensen, which helped Junior prepare for Congressional testimony.

And if you donated to the Republican National Committee (RNC), hoping that your contributions would help with various republican candidates’ campaigns, you have also helped Junior, for the RNC spent more than $200,000 on his legal fees, with most going to Alan Futerfas.

In total, more than a half million dollars have been spent on Junior’s legal fees for his utter ignorance when he attempted to collud with the Russians to bring Hillary Clinton down last year.  Two observations:  1) Junior isn’t too bright, but that seems to run in the family, 2) Alan Futerfas is racking up some big money from the Trumps.


More of the Harvey Weinstein show …

Once the sexual harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein became public, it was like an avalanche, with one, then another finally feeling free to speak up.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie were among the two most well-known.  Last week, it was announced that Weinstein had been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Some actors, such as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are scrambling to distance themselves from Weinstein and claiming to have had no prior knowledge of his exploits.

weinstein-allen

Woody Allen & Harvey Weinstein

On the other side, however, there is Woody Allen, the comedian who was accused, but never convicted of sexually abusing his step daughter. Allen referred to the Weinstein case as a ‘witch hunt’.  (Hmmmm … where have I heard that term before?)  Allen called “the whole Harvey Weinstein thing” a situation that is “very sad for everybody involved. Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

I initially said that I did not believe Weinstein would ever see the inside of a jail cell, but now I’m not so sure.  He just might, and personally I hope he does.


Up … Down … Either way, Trump wants credit

up-downWhen the stock market soared earlier this year, Trump claimed sole credit. The reasons for the surge, of course, are more complex and largely have less to do with Trump than he would have us believe.  But last week, Trump announced a new health care policy in which the federal government will halt its practice of paying insurance companies for subsidizing health care for low-income people, effectively shafting some 20 million people. Insurance stocks plummeted, and Trump claims proudly that this, too, signals his success.

“Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!”

Does this ‘man’ not understand anything? Does he think that only democrats own stock in insurance companies?  Or does he think that all the lower income people who were beneficiaries of the insurance subsidies are democrats?  And, given that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that his stroke of the pen will increase the federal deficit by $21 billion by 2020, does he not realize … oh, never mind … of course he does not …


A lack of respect …

In the 10 days since four Green Berets were ambushed and killed in Niger, President Donald Trump has used his Twitter account to attack a sports commentator, call for a curtailing of the free press, denigrate his political enemies, sell a book, draw attention to Vice President Mike Pence’s public protest at taxpayers’ expense, and congratulate himself for a job well done.

green beret.jpgYet he’s failed to say anything about the four U.S. service members killed in Western Africa: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson. About a dozen troops were ambushed on Oct. 4 while on a joint patrol with Nigerien troops; five Nigerien soldiers were also killed. This marks the deadliest-yet engagement for U.S. troops since Trump took office, and yet Trump himself has issued no tweets or personal statements about the matter, 10 days after the fact.


And yet another climate-change denier enters the White House …

Last Thursday, Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. White not only denies that man’s contribution to a changing climate is destroying our environment, but she actually claims to believe that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for humanity!!!

kathleen-white

She has described efforts to combat climate change as primarily an attack on the fossil fuel industry. Christy Goldfuss, who served as managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Barack Obama, said …

“Her views are so out of the mainstream, it’s almost as if she falls in kind of a flat earth category. Her number one task is to rip and throw out the environmental laws that this whole country has come to accept as standards and norms.”

Let us hope that the Senate will have enough sense not to confirm this nominee!

I envision the job ad for any position in the Trump administration as including a line that reads: “only liars and people with an IQ of less than 50 will be considered.”


Thus concludes the detritus from the bouncing mind of Filosofa for today!  Now, perhaps since I got all that out of my head, I can focus?  Have a great day, folks!spider

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.