I’ve seen this twice today … once in my inbox in an email from Ellen, and once on Twitter. It is moving and it is every bit as true today as it was when Mr. Douglass delivered the speech in Rochester, New York, on July 5, 1852.
What follows is a transcript of the 45-minute speech that Donald Trump gave yesterday evening at a very expensive ceremony at Mount Rushmore. It is long, some 3,671 words, but I hope you will take the time to at least read the highlighted portions. My commentary will follow later today, or more likely tomorrow. I have numbered the paragraphs for easy reference.
#1 – Well, thank you very much. Governor Noem, Secretary Bernhardt, we very much appreciate it. Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and a very special hello to South Dakota. As we begin this 4th of July weekend, the First Lady and I would wish each and every one of you a very, very happy Independence Day. Thank you.
#2 – Let us show our appreciation to the South Dakota Army and Air National Guard and the Air Force for inspiring us with that magnificent display of American air power, and of course our gratitude as always to the legendary and very talented Blue Angels. Thank you very much. Let us also send you our deepest thanks to our wonderful veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and the doctors, nurses, and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus. They are working hard. I want to thank them very, very much. We’re grateful as well to your state’s congressional delegation. Senator John Thune. John, thank you very much. Senator Mike Rounds. Thank you, Mike. And Dusty Johnson, Congressman. Hi, Dusty. Thank you. And all others with us tonight from Congress, thank you very much for coming. We appreciate it.
#3 – There could be no better place to celebrate America’s independence than beneath this magnificent, incredible majestic mountain and monument to the greatest Americans who have ever lived. Today we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. I am here as your president to proclaim before the country and before the world, this monument will never be desecrated, these heroes will never be defamed, their legacy will never ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.
#4 – We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations, July 4th, 1776. At those words, every American heart should swell with pride, every American family should cheer with delight, and every American patriot should be filled with joy because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world and it will soon be greater than ever before.
#5 – Our founders launched not only a revolution in government, but a revolution in the pursuit of justice, equality, liberty, and prosperity. No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America and no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation. It was all made possible by the courage of 56 patriots who gathered in Philadelphia 244 years ago and signed the Declaration of Independence. They enshrined a divine truth that changed the world forever when they said, “All men are created equal.” These immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom. Our founders boldly declared that we are all endowed with the same divine rights, given us by our Creator in Heaven, and that which God has given us, we will allow no one ever to take away ever.
#6 – 1776 represented the culmination of thousands of years of Western civilization and the triumph of not only spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason. And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure. Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they’re doing this, but some know what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive, but no, the American people are strong and proud and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.
#7 – One of their political weapons is cancel culture, driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.
#8 – This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly. We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children from this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life. In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. It’s not going to happen to us.
#9 – Make no mistake. This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress. To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.
– Memory of our national heritage.
#10 – True. That’s very true actually. That is why I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecutors offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
#11 – I am pleased to report that yesterday, federal agents arrested the suspected ringleader of the attack on the statue of the great Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C., and in addition, hundreds more have been arrested. Under the executive order I signed last week pertaining to the Veterans Memorial Preservation Memorial and Recognition Act and other laws, people who damage or deface federal statues or monuments will get a minimum of 10 years in prison and obviously that includes our beautiful Mount Rushmore.
#12 – Our people have a great memory. They will never forget the destruction of statues and monuments to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionists and many others. The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets and cities that are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies, all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition. This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defiled the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Today we will set history and history’s record straight.
#13 – Before these figures were immortalized in stone, they were American giants in full flesh and blood, gallant men, whose intrepid deeds unleashed the greatest leap of human advancement the world has ever known. Tonight I will tell you and most importantly the youth of our nation the true stories of these great, great men. From head to toe George Washington represented the strength, grace, and dignity of the American people. From a small volunteer force of citizen farmers, he created the Continental Army out of nothing and rallied them to stand against the most powerful military on earth. Through eight long years, through the brutal winter at Valley Forge, through setback after setback on the field of battle, he led those patriots to ultimate triumph. When the army had dwindled to a few thousand men at Christmas of 1776, when defeat seemed absolutely certain, he took what remained of his forces on a daring nighttime crossing of the Delaware River. They marched through nine miles of frigid darkness, many without boots on their feet, leaving a trail of blood in the snow. In the morning, they seized victory at Trenton after forcing the surrender of the most powerful empire on the planet at Yorktown, General Washington did not claim power but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen.
#14 – When called upon again, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected our first president. When he stepped down after two terms, his former adversary, King George called him the greatest man of the age. He remains first in our hearts to this day, for as long as Americans love this land, we will honor and cherish the father of our country, George Washington. He will never be removed, abolished, and most of all, he will never be forgotten. Thomas Jefferson, the great Thomas Jefferson, was 33 years old when he traveled north to Pennsylvania and brilliantly authored one of the greatest treasures of human history, the Declaration of Independence. He also drafted Virginia’s constitution and conceived and wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a model for our cherished First Amendment. After serving as the first Secretary of State, and then Vice President, he was elected to the presidency. He ordered American warriors to crush Barbary pirates. He doubled the size of our nation with the Louisiana Purchase and he sent the famous explorers Lewis and Clark into the west on a daring expedition to the Pacific Ocean. He was an architect, an inventor, a diplomat, a scholar, the founder of one of the world’s great universities and an ardent defender of liberty. Americans will forever admire the author of American freedom, Thomas Jefferson, and he too will never, ever be abandoned by us.
#15 – Abraham Lincoln, the savior of our union, was a self-taught country lawyer who grew up in a log cabin on the American frontier. The first Republican president, he rose to high office from obscurity based on a force and clarity of his anti-slavery convictions. Very, very strong convictions. He signed the law that built the Trans-Continental Railroad. He signed the Homestead Act given to some incredible scholars as simply defined ordinary citizens free land to settle anywhere in the American West, and he led the country through the darkest hours of American history, giving every ounce of strength that he had to ensure that government of the people, by the people and for the people did not perish from this earth. He served as commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces during our bloodiest war, the struggle that saved our union and extinguished the evil of slavery. Over 600,000 died in that war, more than 20, 000 were killed or wounded in a single day in Antietam. At Gettysburg 157 years ago, the Union bravely withstood an assault of nearly 15,000 men and threw back Pickett’s Charge. Lincoln won the Civil War. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He led the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery for all-time and ultimately his determination to preserve our nation and our union cost him his life. For as long as we live, Americans will uphold and revere the immortal memory of President Abraham Lincoln.
#16 – Theodore Roosevelt exemplified the unbridled confidence of our national culture and identity. He saw the towering grandeur of America’s mission in the world and he pursued it with – in the world and he pursued it with overwhelming energy and zeal. As a Lieutenant Colonel during the Spanish-American War, he led the famous Rough Riders to defeat the enemy at San Juan Hill. He cleaned up corruption as police commissioner of New York City, then served as the Governor of New York, Vice President, and at 42 years old, became the youngest ever President of the United States.
#17 – He sent our great new naval fleet around the globe to announce America’s arrival as a world power. He gave us many of our national parks, including the Grand Canyon. He oversaw the construction of the awe-inspiring Panama Canal and he is the only person ever awarded both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was American freedom personified in full. The American people will never relinquish the bold, beautiful and untamed spirit of Theodore Roosevelt.
#18 – No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart. Can’t happen. No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a better future. The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice, but in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of a repression, domination, and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
#19 – We will state the truth in full without apology. We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on earth. We are proud of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and we understand that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world. We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life. We recognize the solemn right and moral duty of every nation to secure its borders and we are building the wall. We remember that governments exist to protect the safety and happiness of their own people. A nation must care for its own citizens first. We must take care of America first. It’s time. We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion and creed. Every child of every color, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of God.
#20 – We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture. We embrace tolerance, not prejudice. We support the courageous men and women of law enforcement. We will never abolish our police or our great Second Amendment which gives us the right to keep and bear arms. We believe that our children should be taught to love their country, honor their history, and respect our great American flag. We stand tall, we stand proud, and we only kneel to Almighty God. This is who we are. This is what we believe and these are the values that will guide us as we strive to build an even better and greater future. Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is to end America.
#21 – In its place, they want power for themselves, but just as patriots did in centuries past, the American people will stand in their way and we will win and win quickly and with great dignity. We will never let them rip America’s heroes from our monuments or from our hearts. By tearing down Washington and Jefferson, these radicals would tear down the very heritage for which men gave their lives to win the Civil War, they would erase the memory that inspired those soldiers to go to their deaths, singing these words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, “As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.” They would tear down the principles that propelled the abolition of slavery and ultimately around the world ending an evil institution that had plagued humanity for thousands and thousands of years. Our opponents would tear apart the very documents that Martin Luther King used to express his dream and the ideas that were the foundation of the righteous movement for Civil Rights. They would tear down the beliefs, culture and identity, that have made America the most vibrant and tolerant society in the history of the earth. My fellow Americans, it is time to speak up loudly and strongly and powerfully and defend the integrity of our country.
#22 – It is time for our politicians to summon the bravery and determination of our American ancestors. It is time. It is time to plant our flag and to protect the greatest of this nation for citizens of every race in every city in every part of this glorious land. For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes. Here tonight before the eyes of our forefathers, Americans declare again, as we did 244 years ago, that we will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people. It will not happen.
#23 – We will proclaim the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and we will never surrender the spirit and the courage and the cause of July 4, 1776. Upon this ground, we will stand firm and unwavering. In the face of lies meant to divide us, demoralize us and diminish us, we will show that the story of America unites us and –
#24 – We will show that the story of America unites us, inspires us, includes us all, and makes everyone free. We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King when he said that the founders had signed a promissory note to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us, the founding ideals.
#25 – He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage. Above all, our children from every community must be taught that to be American is to inherit the spirit of the most adventurous and confident people ever to walk the face of the Earth. Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies, and even into the stars.
#26 – We are the country of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglas. We are the land of Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody. We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright brothers, the Tuskegee airmen, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse Owens, George Patton, General George Patton, the great Louis Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, and Muhammad Ali, and only America could have produced them all. No other place.
#27 – We are the culture that put up the Hoover Dam, laid down the highways, and sculpted the skyline of Manhattan. We are the people who dreamed the spectacular dream, it was called Las Vegas in the Nevada desert, who built up Miami from the Florida marsh, and who carved our heroes into the face of Mount Rushmore. Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American astronauts on the moon.
#28 – And one day very soon, we will plant our flag on Mars. We gave the world the poetry of Walt Whitman, the stories of Mark Twain, the songs of Irving Berlin, the voice of Ella Fitzgerald, the style of Frank Sinatra, the comedy of Bob Hope, the power of the Saturn V rocket, the toughness of the Ford F150, and the awesome might of the American aircraft carriers.
#29 – Americans must never lose sight of this miraculous story. We should never lose sight of it. Nobody has ever done it like we have done it. So today, under the authority vested in me as President of the United States, I am announcing the creation of a new monument to the giants of our past. I am signing an executive order to establish the National Guard of American heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.
#30 – From this night, and from this magnificent place, let us go forward united in our purpose and rededicated in our resolve. We will raise the next generation of American patriots. We will write the next thrilling chapter of the American adventure. And we will teach our children to know that they live in a land of legends, that nothing can stop them, and that no one can hold them down. They will know that, in America, you can do anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.
#31 – Uplifted by the titans of Mount Rushmore, we will find unity that no one expected. We will make strides that no one thought possible. This country will be everything that our citizens have hoped for for so many years, and that our enemies fear, because we will never forget that the American freedom exists for American greatness. And that’s what we have, American greatness. Centuries from now, our legacy will be the cities we built, the champions we forged, the good that we did, and the monuments we created to inspire us all. My fellow citizens, America’s destiny is in our sights. America’s heroes are embedded in our hearts. America’s future is in our hands. And ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come. This has been a great honor for the First Lady and myself to be with you. I love your state. I love this country. I’d like to wish everybody a very happy Fourth of July to all. God bless you. God bless your families. God bless our great military, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Donald Trump is a frustrated ‘man’. He thinks he should have won a Nobel Peace Prize, mainly because he is jealous that President Obama won one in 2009. Only four U.S. presidents have ever won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Trump is about as far away from one as anybody I can imagine.
And then, there is the fact that his ugly mug will never be carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, though he has long said he would like to see that happen. He has illusions of grandeur that are just that … illusions.
And, of course, there is the fact that his poll numbers are tanking and the only way he’s going to win in November is “by hook or by crook”. Even life-long republicans are stepping back from Trump. The New York Times recently interviewed some republicans in swing states who enthusiastically voted for Trump in 2016 but either aren’t sure if they will this November or else are sure they won’t vote for Trump again.
Take, for example, Judith Goines of Fayetteville, North Carolina …
“I think if he weren’t such an appalling human being, he would make a great president, because I think what this country needs is somebody who isn’t a politician. But obviously with the coronavirus and the social unrest we’re dealing with, that’s where you need a politician, somebody with a little bit more couth. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve voted for him.”
Or Robert Kaplan of Racine, Wisconsin …
“He said he was going to, quote unquote, drain the swamp, and all he’s done is splashed around and rolled around in it.”
It appears that about 14% of those who voted for Trump in 2016 are less certain this time around. 6% say they don’t support Trump but say there’s “some chance” of voting for him again. Some 2% claim not to support Trump, and don’t know if they will vote for him again. Then there is the 6% who say there is “not really any chance” of supporting Trump. The number of defectors is small, yes, and he still has a rabid base who will vote for him no matter what, but it is encouraging to see that some of those who voted for him last time are not so sure this time.
Many of those interviewed said they initially voted for him because he was a businessman, not a politician, and specifically because he was not Hillary Clinton. But they largely say they have soured on his handling of the presidency. Several mentioned his divisive style and his firing of officials who disagreed with him, and especially his response to the coronavirus and to the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The majority of them are not yet willing to commit to backing Joe Biden … that would be a stretch … but would likely just stay home on election day. Take John Crilly, of Reeders, Pennsylvania, who voted not so much for Trump as against Clinton …
“What changed my mind? 120,000 deaths. He refused to realize, ‘Oh my god, there’s a virus coming our way; shouldn’t we do something, guys?’ Covid was the turning point. It’s the thing that touches home with everybody.”
Crilly says he cannot bring himself to vote for Biden, largely because of his age, but will write-in a local candidate’s name. Then there’s Ariel Oakley of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who says she will vote for Joe Biden …
“With coronavirus, even just watching the press conferences, having him come out and say it’s all fake. I have family who have unfortunately passed away from it.”
Trump’s blatant racism in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by police has cost him votes, as well. Kelvin Pittman II of Jacksonville, Florida, is an African-American who voted for Trump in 2016, because “he was a great businessman.” Pittman himself owns a small business and thought Trump would be the best option. But now, in light of Trump’s response to Black Lives Matter protests and calling the movement a “symbol of hate” …
“It was kind of the last straw. It was like, this dude is just in it for himself. I thought he was supposed to be for the people.”
And others say it’s his personality that has turned them off. I find this one confusing because his personality showed through loud and clear throughout his campaign in 2015-2016 … could they not see then that he was a bully when he told campaign workers to “beat up” protestors, and called his opponent at least 100 different ugly names?
The aforementioned Robert Kaplan, who voted for Trump mainly because he wanted ACA (Obamacare) abolished, says he was disappointed from the start …
“He’s an embarrassment. He’s like a little kid with a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get things to go his way. He’s very punitive — if you disagree, he fires you. He disrespects very good people in Washington trying to do some good. And I think it’s very disrespectful of the office to be tweeting all the time.”
The article in the Times is worth the read and has a number of polling charts showing what people like the least about Trump. In all, I predict with 90% certainty that Trump will, once again, lose the popular vote. However, my bigger concern at this point is the bag of tricks the GOP is using and will use to attempt an electoral win, but that is a topic for another day. I’m just encouraged at the moment to see that some who voted for Trump last time have finally “seen the light”.
Just a few little tidbits of snark tonight …
Yesterday evening, I saw a tweet by Trump claiming how great the jobs numbers were, per the report issued yesterday morning by the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Sigh. Why is he so utterly ignorant that he cannot understand anything? Why do I keep having to explain the most basic concepts to he and his followers?
According to the report, issued a day early due to the fact that Friday is a federal holiday, 4.8 million jobs were added in June. Trump took that ball and ran with it, but wait! Those aren’t new jobs! Those were a percentage of the jobs that were lost in March, April and May! Those are simply a result of some businesses re-opening and calling back their staff, or hiring new employees to replace staff who cannot or will not return. 1.4 million jobs were lost in March, and 20.8 million in April, so that 4.8 million jobs added in June is but a drop in the bucket compared to what has been lost. Annnnnd … with businesses in many states, particularly restaurants and bars, the category where the most jobs were added, now closing again, some of those 4.8 million people are already out of work, once again.
And what credit Trump thinks he deserves is beyond me. What he does deserve credit for, however, is forcing the country to re-open too soon and thus we are now seeing the highest ever single-day new cases, with the last two days each topping 50,000, yesterday at 57,236 new cases. Place the onus where it belongs.
As I’m certain you’ve all heard by now, Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, has written a tell-all book about Trump and the Trump family, titled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. The book is due out at the end of this month … maybe … probably. It has already climbed to the top of the bestseller list, based on preorders.
Trump claims that his niece and the rest of the family were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prohibit her from publishing the book. Say what??? Who makes their own family sign an NDA? And … if a person has nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, why would he want to duct tape the mouths of his family? All valid questions, yes?
Three days ago, Judge Hal Greenwald of the New York State Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order pending a hearing scheduled for July 10th to decide whether Ms. Trump’s book violated the non-disclosure agreement she signed with other members of the Trump family in connection with a dispute over the estate of Fred Trump Sr., the president’s father. Then on Wednesday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Alan Scheinkman said Judge Greenwald had erred on Tuesday by issuing a broad restraining order that prohibited publisher Simon & Schuster from printing or distributing copies of the book.
“S&S is not a party to the settlement agreement and this Court perceives no basis for S&S to be specifically enjoined. Unlike Ms. Trump, S&S has not agreed to surrender or relinquish any of its First Amendment rights.”
Judge Scheinkman left in place, however, the order against Mary Trump and “any agent” of hers, leaving some uncertainty about whether Simon & Schuster is still covered by the order or would be risking contempt of court by moving forward with plans to release the book. Yesterday, Mary L. Trump asked the New York Supreme Court to lift the restraining order against her, saying in an affidavit that she was misled by the family into signing a confidentiality agreement in an inheritance case two decades ago. I imagine that with the holiday weekend, it will be next week before the next chapter of this saga is decided. Frankly, an NDA signed twenty years ago should be null and void by now, anyway. My best guess is that the book will be released on July 28th as scheduled, Trump will fume, fuss, and threaten everybody with every sort of lawsuit, and We the People will have our worst nightmares about the Trump clan confirmed.
Perhaps you remember Hurricane Dorian, the devastating Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, that became the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas, and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. Well, maybe you don’t remember, unless you lived in an affected area. But, I bet you remember Trump’s major gaffe and his redrawing of the map with a Sharpie, which quickly became known as ‘Sharpiegate’.
Trump claimed that Alabama was at risk … it wasn’t. When the National Weather Service (NWS) corrected him, he took a copy of the map showing the hurricane’s anticipated trajectory, and using a Sharpie marker, extended the cone of uncertainty to include Southern Alabama, much as a 5-year-old child would do.
Two days later, on September 6, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) published an unsigned statement which supported Trump’s initial claim that Alabama was a target of the storm and criticized the Birmingham NWS office for denying it. It was later revealed that NOAA had been ordered to issue such a statement by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Okay, so it’s just another sign of the utterly stupefying ignorance and corruption of the person in the Oval Office and his henchmen, and since it was almost a year ago, most of us have put it out of our mind. But now it’s back in the news again. There was an investigation into the meddling of the Commerce Department and Wilbur Ross into the affairs of the National Weather Service. The investigation is complete, and the final report is ready to be issued, except … Wilbur Ross has halted the release of the report.
The inspector general for the Commerce Department, Peggy Gustafson, sent a memo to Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday evening expressing “deep concern” that the department is infringing on the office’s independence by preventing the release of a final report on the investigation of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration statement about Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Not only that, but Ms. Gustafson posted the memo to the Office of the Inspector General’s website, a very rare public airing in a dispute between an agency inspector general and a Cabinet secretary. How much do you want to bet that Trump fires Ms. Gustafson within a week, as he has so many other inspectors general?
A redacted summary report was issued on June 26th, with promise of a full, unredacted report on Monday, June 29th. That didn’t happen, however. In short, the summary concluded that the Commerce Department ran a “flawed process” that did not sufficiently engage NOAA and went against the interests of the agency and the National Weather Service, which it oversees, not to mention the safety of the people.
All this because the megalomaniac in the Oval Office could not simply admit that he made a mistake. How much has this all cost We the Taxpayer? Two U.S. senators, one a democrat and one a republican, sent a letter to Secretary Ross Thursday, expressing bipartisan concern about the alleged obstruction.
“We expect you … to immediately rectify the issues outlined by the DOC OIG that are preventing the completion of the Evaluation of NOAA’s September 6, 2019, Statement About Hurricane Dorian Forecasts.”
Stay tuned, folks … we haven’t heard the end of this yet.
The First Amendment covers a lot of ground and has been interpreted and re-interpreted ever since its writing. In the news this week are three things pertaining to the 1st Amendment that worry me in one form or fashion.
Freedom of the Press …
I had heard the name ‘Samantha Bee’, but had no idea who or what she was, nor did I much care … until this morning. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Bee is …
“… a Canadian-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actress, and television host. Bee rose to fame as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she became the longest-serving regular correspondent.”
You guys probably already knew that, though, didn’t you? So why, you ask, did Ms. Bee buzz across my radar? On her show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, on Wednesday, she made some very astute statements about freedom of the press …
“Look, I know, it’s not exactly a revelation that the president is always trying to undermine the media, but that’s the problem: We’re all so used to it that we act like it’s normal. And the more that we ignore anti-press sentiment in America, the more it will spread. When Trump became president, he was crushed to find that the job comes with criticism and that the glowing PR he got from the business media isn’t typical of the political press. Since the media refused to love him back, Trump has chosen to do the mature thing and use his presidential power to destroy them. The scariest part about Trump’s war on the press is that he’s winning. No one’s been able to stop his attacks, so we just go about our lives while they run constantly in the background like white noise — which is, of course, Trump’s preferred color of noise. … When Trump undermines the free press, he’s not just attacking journalists’ rights to do their jobs, he’s attacking your right to know what’s going on in the world.”
She’s right. If not for the free press, we would know only what Trump wanted us to know. We would not know that Russia was paying the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers and that Trump knew about this yet failed to act. We would not have known that he attempted to blackmail the president of the Ukraine to ‘dig up dirt’ on his political rival, Joe Biden. We would not have known any of the acts that Trump has committed against the people of this nation. At all costs, we must … must support our free press! We cannot become complacent and accept the denigration of the press as ‘normal’, for it is anything but normal … at least in this country.
Freedom of Speech …
The 1st Amendment includes many freedoms, including the aforementioned freedom of the press. It also includes freedom of and from religion, and the one most-oft quoted, freedom of speech. Over the past two centuries, that ‘freedom of speech has been interpreted by the courts to mean a wide variety of things. Signs and symbols by hate groups such as white supremacists and neo-Nazis have been ruled acceptable because … freedom of speech. KKK rallies have been deemed allowable under freedom of speech. But, in my opinion, there simply must be limits.
This …… is highly offensive to all but the most ardent anti-Semitic white supremacists. A woman was shot four times in the back in Garfield County, Oklahoma, for trying to remove one of the flags.
Now, I can tell you for a fact that if anybody in my neighborhood were to sport such a flag, I would not only remove it, but would douse it with lighter fluid then set fire to it. The Nazi flag is a symbol of anti-Semitism, of hatred, around the globe.
The owner of the house and flags, one Alexander Feaster, was arrested and has been charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and shooting with intent to kill, and is due to appear in court later this month. A neighbor said that he had been flying the flags for around a year, and they had been snatched from his home a few times in the past. They added that he would occasionally dress up in black uniform with a red swastika armband – an outfit reminiscent of Nazi SS uniforms. No less than 15 guns were recovered from Feaster’s home upon his arrest. Who the hell needs that much firepower?
The district attorney says he is considering possible charges against the woman, who is expected to recover from her gunshot wounds. Why? Trespassing? Destruction of private property? In this case, I don’t see it … it was justified. However, I know at least two of my readers who will disagree with me, so it is only my opinion.
Freedom of/from Religion …
The 1st Amendment says this about the freedom of religion …
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
That’s all … just 16 words. However, lengthy tomes have been written in order to interpret how this clause should be applied. There are those who argue this is a Christian nation … it is not! It is a secular nation, the foundation of which calls for a distinct separation between church and state. This includes education.
A portion of our tax dollars is used to fund public schools. PUBLIC schools, not parochial or religious schools. If you want to send your children to a religious school, you do have that right … just not at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.
This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of Montana could not use a provision in its Constitution to exclude religious schools from its private school scholarship program. Although the ruling was narrow, applying only to the case before them, it is likely that religious groups in other states will be heartened by the decision and file their own cases against states. By the end of next year, we could easily see a broader ruling stating that any state that issues vouchers or similar programs to help with tuition at private schools must also include religious schools in the process.
In fact, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos suggested just that …
“I’m calling on all states to now seize the extraordinary opportunity to expand all education options at all schools to every single student in America.”
I’m betting that those who championed and cheered this decision will be horrified when some day a family uses their vouchers to send their child to an Islamic school, won’t they? Meanwhile, though, I am offended and angered by this decision. As a citizen, as a taxpayer, and as a non-religionist, I absolutely do NOT want my tax dollars supporting a religious school where children are taught every form of bigotry imaginable. It is a gross miscarriage of justice that people of differing religions and of no religion must pay to send another person’s child to a school that teaches only one religion and teaches that it is the one and only right religion and the rest of us are wrong in our beliefs or non-beliefs. This is, in part, why there is so much hatred in this country today.
You want to send your child to a religious school, fine, but not on my dime!
Has the GOP completely lost its bloomin’ mind??? I am typically happy to see a long-time incumbent of either party replaced by new blood. Mitch McConnell, for example, age 78, is the current best poster boy for why we need term limits. Before him, there was Democrat Harry Reid who spent thirty years in the Senate, retiring only in 2017 at the age of 77. So, typically I think it’s a good thing when a long-term member of Congress steps down or is replaced by the voters. There are, however, exceptions.
Scott Randall Tipton has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district since 2011, nearly a decade. Long enough, in my book. He has opposed LGBT rights, opposes abortion, opposes immigration, and in short has been outspokenly opposed to anything with President Obama’s name tied to it. Other than that, I know little about Mr. Tipton, but ten years in Congress is long enough. So, at first glance I was pleased when a younger woman won the Colorado Republican primary on Tuesday night. Until I learned a few things about that woman, that is.
Tipton lost to Lauren Boebert, a 33-year-old mother of four boys. Boebert is a Trumpian up one side and down the other.
“Colorado deserves a fighter who will stand up for freedom, who believes in America and who is willing to take on all the left-wing lunatics who are trying so hard to ruin our country. We are in a battle for the heart and soul of our country. I’m going to win this November because freedom is a great motivator.”
‘Left-wing lunatics’??? So that’s what I am, eh? Perhaps I can get a t-shirt made. But, bad as that little speech sounds, Boebert is even worse. She not only supports the 2nd Amendment, but is a staunch, outspoken gun-rights activist. She is also a businesswoman, owner of a restaurant called ‘Shooters Grill’ in Rifle, Colorado, where she encourages servers to openly carry firearms … while serving the public. What do you expect in a town called “Rifle”, eh? And in March, when Colorado’s governor ordered bars and restaurants to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Boebert apparently thought he didn’t mean her or her restaurant, and she refused to close. Even after receiving a ‘cease and desist’ order from the Garfield County Sheriff, she still refused to close her restaurant!
But wait … I still haven’t gotten to quite the worst of it. Boebert is a supporter of QAnon, the far right wing conspiracy theory group that has made up so many fantasies about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros that I’ve lost count. They claim that there is some great “deep state” conspiracy to topple Donald Trump and all of his supporters.
Ideologically, Ms. Boebert is to the right of far right. She claims that she would not have voted for the relief package that helped both individuals and small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic shutdown, and she has said that if she wins in November, she will align herself with the House Freedom Caucus, made up of conservative and Libertarian politicians in the House. Oh, and she plans to attend a ‘Bikers for Trump’ event near Mount Rushmore over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, where she will ride her motorcycle wearing her maga hat. Need I say more?Last year, when Beto O’Rourke was considering a run for the Democratic nomination for 2020, he once claimed that he would seize all the assault rifles in the nation. Personally, I think it’s a great idea, for nobody but fools and idiots have them, and they have proven themselves unfit to own any sort of gun, much less one that can mow down a crowd in under a minute. However, Ms. Boebert took umbrage, saying …
“I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not!”
Although Trump had previously endorsed Scott Tipton, he got fairly excited over Boebert’s primary win on Tuesday night, and tweeted his congratulations “on a really great win!” Oh, my aching head.
If, after all this, you’ve got the stomach for it, watch a bit of this interview with Ms. Boebert, especially the part where she speaks about Trump, which starts at about the 2:40 minute point.
The Democratic candidate, also a woman, is one Diane E. Mitsch Bush, and currently she holds about a 5.5% lead over Boebert. Come on, Coloradoans … pull your heads out of your asses and vote for Ms. Bush! I am going on record as saying that Lauren Boebert is a grade-A selfish, pistol-packing bitch who we absolutely do NOT need sitting on Capitol Hill making the decisions that affect our lives and the futures of our children and grandchildren. More than 58,000 people voted for this abomination of a person! Is there something toxic in the water in Colorado that has killed off people’s brain cells??? Are guns really so important that they are willing to send this sorry specimen of the human race to Washington, to give her the power of … life and death?
A drug called remdesivir is the first drug approved by licensing authorities in the US to treat the coronavirus, and has been shown to help people recover faster from the disease. Production of the drug, manufactured by pharmaceutical company Gilead, will take time, of course. It will take even longer for the people in the EU, UK, Brazil, Italy, and other countries to get the drug … at least three months. WHY? Because Donald Trump has greedily hogged every dose the company will make for July, and 90% of what they will manufacture in August and September, leaving virtually none for any other nation!
Alex Azar, head of the Department of Health and Human Services had this to say …
“… Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19. To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”
The “American people”??? What about the rest of the people in the world??? The people in the U.S. are no better, no more deserving than those in France, Ghana, or Brazil!!! What Trump has done is to doom people all around the globe in order to gain accolades from the people of this country to boost his own chances at re-election. Plain and simple … he doesn’t care about people – any people – but is only thinking of himself and his bid for re-election! And no doubt there are some in this country who will vote for him simply because of this.
The United States, though having just over 4% of the world’s population, has nearly 26% of the total cases worldwide and 25% of the deaths from coronavirus worldwide. That is largely a result of Trump’s bungling ever since the first cases of the virus hit the U.S. in January, his attempt to pretend that nothing was wrong, that the coronavirus was no more than the common cold, and that it would simply disappear overnight. It is also a result of the arrogance of the people of this nation who refused to take proper precautions, and who even now are so eager to return to “having fun” that they are putting us all at risk.
However, simply because Trump screwed up, and just because the people of this nation aren’t too bright sometimes, is no reason for us to scoop up every dose of a medication that can help people!!! We are no better … let me repeat that … WE ARE NO BETTER … than any person in any other country, and we are damn sure no more deserving of this drug than our friends in the UK or Germany!
Donald Trump has done a lot of truly horrible things in his 3+ year tenure, but this is by far the very worst thing he has done.
The drug, remdesivir, is under patent to Gilead, which means no other company can make it. Experts are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmaneuver all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US. This is all part of Trump’s “America First” ideology, but let me tell you … this is, whether some like it or not, a much larger world than “America”, and the people in this country are no more deserving than the people in any other country!
I can tell you that if by some chance I were to contract the coronavirus, I would refuse the drug remdesivir … I would tell the doctors to send my dose to the UK or Brazil. I would rather die honestly than know that I had taken a drug, and in so doing deprived someone else of their life.
I am more ashamed today of this nation than I ever have been before. I feel that each and every one of us owes a huge apology to the people in every other nation on the globe. I hang my head in shame for what this country has done, for the horrible way in which we have treated our friends and allies.
I have shared Eugene Robinson’s column before here, and today I do so once again as his words ring true … words that we need to hear and understand.
Trump’s only campaign promise is to make bigotry safe again
June 29, 2020 at 5:41 p.m. EDT
“White power!” shouted the elderly man, raising his fist as he drove his golf cart past a group of demonstrators advocating racial justice. On Sunday, President Trump offered an “amen.”
A white couple stood outside their St. Louis mansion aiming deadly firearms — the man wielding a semiautomatic rifle, the woman waving a handgun — at Black Lives Matter protesters who were peacefully marching past. On Monday, Trump joined that hallelujah chorus, too.
In both cases, Trump offered his encouragement to white tribal fear and anger in the form of retweets on his Twitter feed. There’s plenty of bad news the president might want to overshadow: the explosion in covid-19 cases in Sun Belt states he pushed to reopen prematurely, for example, or the reports that Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan. But why choose “white power” as the bright, shiny object he wants everyone to focus on? Why not some other, less incendiary bit of nonsense?
The logical conclusion is that, in his desperate campaign to win reelection, Trump has decided to position himself even more explicitly as the defender of whiteness and all its privileges. Certainly, in his ideologically flexible career, maintaining the primacy of whiteness is a rare constant.
The “white power” incident took place earlier this month at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community near Orlando. Some residents were participating in the nationwide protests over police violence toward African Americans, and many were chanting slogans against Trump. Others came past the demonstration in their golf carts, and some defended Trump, including the man who called forthrightly for white racial solidarity.
Trump retweeted a video of the incident, appending the comment, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages.” The tweet was deleted a couple of hours later, with the White House claiming that Trump hadn’t heard the “white power” rallying cry. That is likely a lie, since the shouted slogan comes right at the beginning of the two-minute video clip. You can’t miss it — unless you’re just retweeting things you haven’t bothered to watch. Which if you’re the most powerful person in the world, behaving carelessly on an enormous platform, is a whole other problem.
And if Trump didn’t mean to amplify the “white power” message, then why — one day later — would he retweet a video of the St. Louis incident? You don’t have to be a semiotician to understand the message of that video, which reinforces a message Trump has repeated over and over again: White people, when you see a diverse crowd of protesters coming down your street, be afraid. Go get your guns. Be ready to shoot.
With Trump’s hope of reelection fading, I fear this is the gambit he has chosen: using this moment to exacerbate racial animus — rather than lessen it, as any responsible leader would try to do — by heightening white fear and loathing of the nation’s growing diversity.
“Black lives matter” does not imply some sort of zero-sum game. The whole nation will benefit if we can curb the kind of police violence that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain and so many others. The whole nation will benefit if we finally acknowledge and then address systemic racism. What makes this moment of upheaval and protest different is that so many white Americans see how racism is a ball and chain that holds all of us back — and see what a braver, fairer, stronger nation we can be if we confront our original sin with honesty and determination.
Trump encourages whites to see any reckoning with race as a threat: They’re coming for you and your family. Don’t listen or try to understand; assert your supremacy. Prepare to fight for your lives.
As a political strategy, this can work only if Trump motivates enough older, white, non-college-educated voters in the Sun Belt and rural Midwest to see the coming election as a matter of us vs. them — while the Republican Party simultaneously uses various techniques of voter suppression to limit Democratic turnout. Polls suggest that all of this is unlikely to work, and that Trump may be dragging the GOP’s Senate majority down with him.
As presidential leadership, Trump’s “white power” strategy is tragically irresponsible. His narcissism leads him unerringly to adopt any course of action he sees as beneficial to himself, no matter what the potential impact on the nation might be.
Look at the nation today — beset by the covid-19 pandemic, battered by economic crisis, roiled by widespread protests. Trump makes no sustained effort to solve any of these problems. His focus is on a despicable effort to make white people angry and frightened enough to give him a second term. If he sincerely wants anything beyond his own glorification, it is to make America safe again for bigotry.
The Supreme Court was busy yesterday morning. They made one good decision and two horrible ones. Let’s start with the good …
On the upside, the Court struck down Louisiana’s restrictive anti-abortion law. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the Court’s liberal justices … not because he was against the law or pro women’s rights, but simply because four years ago, the Court struck down a similar law in Texas, thereby setting the precedent. I will never understand why men think they know anything about this topic, or why they think they have a right to tell us what we can or must do with our own bodies. Watch them scream and yell if you suggest that women should decide whether men can have a vasectomy, or those little blue pills they’re so fond of.
Anti-abortion groups went ballistic, saying it will give them more motivation than ever to turn out at the polls in November. Once again, folks, we have people in this country who are so narrow-minded that they will return a madman to the Oval Office for another four years, simply to deny women the same rights that men have to make our own decisions regarding our own bodies. And here I thought we were living in the 21st century.
At any rate, thumbs up to the five on the Court who voted right on this one.
In another ruling, the Court gave the federal government the right to carry out executions. Funny, isn’t it, that people like Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Alito and Thomas are so horrified at the thought of a woman having the right to control her own body, but they are ready, willing and perfectly happy to say it’s okay to murder federal prisoners … people who are actually already people.
Now, the biggest problem I have with the death penalty is that more than a few times, a prisoner on death row has been found to be innocent of the crime for which he is serving time. The state releases him, pays him a bit of restitution, and while his life has been shattered, he still has a chance to put it back together. If he had been executed … what??? Does the government say, “Oops … sorry ‘bout that!”? Executing a person is pretty darn final.
The second problem I have with the death penalty is that it is inhumane. Think of how many executions were botched a few years ago and people died after sometimes hours of intense pain. Hell, the guillotine was kinder! Proponents of the death penalty say execution by lethal injection is painless and humane, but we’ve seen that it isn’t. And by the way … the people who seem most gung-ho for executing criminals are Christians … what happened to that tenet that says it’s not up to humans to decide life and death?
And I’ve saved the best (worst) for last. The justices ruled that the president has unfettered discretion to fire the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). This should raise your hackles, if you remember the reason the CFPB was created back in 2010. It was in response to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 caused by reckless speculation, loose credit, and too much debt in asset markets, namely, the housing market. The purpose of the CFPB was to provide a single point of accountability for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. It was to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services and ensure that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 would not be repeated.
Until today’s Supreme Court ruling, the CFPB was an independent agency, not answerable to the president. In order to ensure the CFPB’s independence, the law creating the agency called for it to be headed by a single director, confirmed by the Senate, who would serve a five-year term and who could only be fired for malfeasance, inefficiency or neglect of duty. Today, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the conservative wing of the Court, saying that “the structure of the CFPB violates the separation of powers.”
The structure was so determined in order to ensure the independence and integrity of the agency. Think about all the people Donald Trump has fired since the Senate refused to convict him of the crimes he had committed back in February. He has fired most everyone who was tasked with overseeing his office, with ensuring that he acted properly and in the interest of the nation and its people. Now, he’s been given another he can fire … the Director of a very important regulatory agency. It is only a matter of time before Kathy Kraninger, the current Director, is given her walking papers, and someone totally unqualified for the agency position will be put in place to undermine the good work that has been done for the past ten years.
Way to go, John Roberts. Is there anything else you’d like to give Trump? Perhaps the authority to rewrite Article II of the U.S. Constitution to say that he can do anything he likes, as he told a group of young people he could do? Or, perhaps you’d like to simply declare that there will be no more elections in the U.S.?
Independence and integrity in our Supreme Court? I think not. The only good decision, in my book, was the abortion decision and it wasn’t done for the right reason, not because John Roberts believes that women have rights, but simply to maintain a precedent. Apart from that decision, the Court handed Trump presents wrapped in gift paper with pretty bows. Bah Humbug.
He knew, yet he said nothing, did nothing. He claims to ‘love’ veterans, yet he knew that his buddy Putin was paying to have U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered. He knew … and he didn’t care. And now, the republicans in Congress don’t care, either. Our friend TokyoSand has written a fine piece about this and included two hard-hitting ads. Please take a few moments to read … this should be the final straw for the likes of Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and the other 51 republicans in the Senate, but they have largely only shrugged their shoulders. Thank you, TS, for an excellent post.
We keep waiting to see when the Republican Senators might stand up for something. Some value they have that they won’t let Trump cross.
And after the horrifying news of this weekend, we find that we’re still waiting.
On Friday, news broke that Russian Intelligence was secretly offering bounties to militants who killed American and allied forces in Afghanistan. Quickly, other media outlets confirmed the story, including Fox News. Then, we learned that American intelligence had known about this for months, and anger spilled over at Trump as he had very clearly not done anything about it.
Of course, Trump claimed he, nor VP Pence, nor his Chief of Staff, had been briefed about it. Which former national security officials said strained credulity. Furthermore, even if they had not been told (which would…
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