The Week’s News In ‘Toons … 🙄

Sometimes, the news is best conveyed in pictures.  Actually, for those who support Trump, a picture is likely the only way they will get it.


On Friday, a federal appeals court resurrected the first lawsuit President Donald Trump faced over claims that his business dealings violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars federal officials receiving payments from foreign governments.  It’s funny that Trump claims he isn’t benefiting from the presidency, that it is in fact costing him money, but there are a multitude of examples of him, his family, and his business enjoying financial gain that he would not have otherwise had.  For instance, Mike Pence, and military crews staying at his place over in Scotland.  His entire family traveling with him, on our tax dollar.  Foreign dignitaries staying at Trump hotels.  And of course, his unworkable plan to host next year’s G7 at one of his Florida resorts (ain’t gonna happen) …

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Of course, the big news of the week was the firing … or resignation … of National Security Advisor, John Bolton.  Trump says he fired him, Bolton says he resigned … either way, he is out and nobody’s quite sure who Trump will choose for his fourth NSA.  

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Those last two lead me to the other big “news” of the last couple of weeks, that which has come to be known as ‘Sharpiegate’.  Y’know … for someone who doesn’t like to be mocked or made fun of, he sure does do some really, really stupid, mock-worthy things!  He invites it …

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Just so you know that we in the U.S. aren’t the only ones having fun with the cringe-worthy news, our friends over in the UK have their share of troubles lately with Boris Johnson and Brexit.  I don’t usually say too much about Brexit, because I have friends on both sides of the issue, and really, it’s not my place to weigh in.  But, Boris Johnson, whom I have often referred to as Trump’s brother, is another matter … he is mock-worthy no matter what side of the Brexit issue you come down on …

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And then, there was Trump’s threat to ban e-cigarettes.  I weighed in on that yesterday, so I needn’t say more, but the issue for many of us is that he is obsessed with banning vaping, saying it is killing our people (six have died), while he steadfastly refuses to even consider sensible gun legislation, when on average 100 people die each day of gun-related incidents.  There is a disconnect here, and I think it’s in his brain!

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Well, folks, I think that’s about as much humour as we can take this morning, don’t you?  I’m feeling rather ill, myself.  Have a great rest of the weekend!  One for the road …

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More CHAOS In The Oval Office

Thirty-three months Donald Trump has spent tweeting from the potty in the Oval Office, and in that time, he has broken more norms than all the presidents of the 20th and 21st centuries combined!  I am not even addressing his hate-filled spew, his denigration of all who oppose him, but simply the things he has done that will cause this nation troubles for decades to come.

On Monday, it was announced that National Security Advisor John Bolton is no longer an employee of the U.S. government.  It’s debatable whether he resigned, or Trump fired him, and it really matters very little, for the end result is the same either way.  What this means, though, is that now Trump is seeking to hire a new National Security Advisor – it will be his fourth in less than three years.

flynnThe first, of course, was Mike Flynn who took up his position on the day of Trump’s inauguration, 20 January 2017, and lasted exactly 24 days, resigning after information surfaced that he had misled the FBI about the nature and content of his communications with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

McMasterThe second was General Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster, who took office on 20 February 2017, just one week after Flynn’s resignation, and he lasted an entire 413 days, until 09 April 2018!  McMaster either resigned or was fired by Trump and his imminent departure announced by Twitter 18 days before his departure date.  The issue between McMaster and Trump was McMaster’s disagreement about foreign policy decisions, particularly those involving Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

bolton-near-tearsAnd then, on April 9th last year, came John Bolton, the one who has had itchy fingers to bomb Iran for decades.  Bolton lasted 499 days, until Monday when he either tendered his resignation, or Trump tendered his bootheel.  Bolton was a war hawk who, given a choice would prefer settling differences by war rather than diplomacy.  He had long advocated for regime change in Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea.  He supported the Iraq war, supported withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and was a staunch critic of President Obama.

So, what happened between Bolton and Trump?  Trouble has apparently been brewing for a while over the same things Trump and McMaster fell out over – policy differences over Iran, North Korea, and recently Afghanistan.  But, it is said that the straw that broke the camel’s back was Trump’s plan to host the leaders of the Taliban at Camp David just days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Trump ultimately canceled the visit anyway, though likely not for the reason he claimed, but he was said to be furious with Bolton for disagreeing with him in the first place.

KuppermanSo, what comes next.  Trump says he will announce his new choice next week, but meanwhile, the position will be filled by the Deputy National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman.  Kupperman came on board 11 January 2018 and is said to be a war hawk very similar to Bolton.  His tenure is likely to be short-lived.

Who, then, might Trump select to fill the slot this time?  Speculation runs rampant, and for once, Trump seems to be keeping his mouth shut!  Some names that are being floated are …

  • Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff
  • Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and a former acting national security adviser
  • Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chairman currently advising the vice president on national security
  • Robert Blair, an adviser to acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney
  • Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s hostage envoy who called Mr. Trump the greatest hostage negotiator in American history Seriously??? 
  • Stephen E. Biegun, United States’ special representative for North Korea
  • Brian H. Hook, special representative for Iran and a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Douglas Macgregor, retired Army colonel who has written several books on reorganizing the military; is also a frequent guest on one of Trump’s favorite Fox programs, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
  • Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany who stirred much ire when he first arrived

One foreign policy analyst said that no matter who he hires, the position is no longer as important, for it has been diluted and in essence is likely to be just another ‘yes-man’ to Trump, lending legitimacy to whatever crazy schemes Trump comes up with.

It has been Trump’s tradition since taking office to replace outgoing staff with ones who are even worse for the sake of the nation than their predecessor.  If he continues along that path, then my money is on Douglas Macgregor, if for no other reason than he really hasn’t much relevant experience, but mainly because of his ties to Tucker Carlson and Fox ‘News’.

Trump has more ‘acting’ directors in his cabinet than any president before him, nearly three years into his term.  The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Federal Emergency Management Agency are but a few of the departments who have no nominated and confirmed leader.  And, of course there is acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who also currently serves as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Except for Mulvaney’s position, all the others require Senate confirmation, which is likely why there are no nominees yet.

Acting officials can serve for no more than 210 days, or 7 months.  Trump claims he prefers to have ‘acting’ directors because …

“It’s easier to make moves when they’re acting. I like ‘acting’ because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility.”

In other words, it makes it easier for him to do whatever he damn well pleases.  There will be many words associated with Trump and his administration in the history books – most are not nice words.  One word that must be the keyword of Trump’s nightmarish administration is “chaos”.  We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Did Anybody Notice … ?

In this morning’s post, Jeff from On the Fence Voters made the very salient point that we need to focus less on Trump’s rhetoric, and more on what he is actually doing.  I fully agree, and as an example, one thing that nobody seems to be talking about is the fact that today ends the INF treaty that was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which led to the removal of more than 2,600 U.S. and Soviet nuclear and conventional ballistic missiles — specifically, ground-based weapons systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,417 miles). That proximate distance, and the fact that they could hit their targets within 10 minutes, made such missiles the source of constant fears of miscalculation during the Cold War era.

The landmark agreement, backed by a verification process and inspections on both sides, effectively eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. It lifted the veil of permanent nuclear threat that hung over Europe. It also launched a lengthy subsequent process under which both Washington and Moscow reduced their nuclear arsenals.

In February, Trump announced that the U.S. would be exiting the INF Treaty in six months, citing long-standing U.S. complaints that Russia was violating the treaty’s terms with the development of a new land-based, nuclear-capable cruise missile. The Russians first denied the existence of the missile but now claim its range is under 500 kilometers (310 miles).INF-treaty-range.png“Now that the treaty is over, we will see the development and deployment of new weapons,” said Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer. The United States also is believed to be developing at least three new types of medium-range missiles — all of them intended to carry conventional warheads.

Jan Techau of the German Marshall Fund warned that the collapse of the INF Treaty is “the most visible proof” of the shifting geopolitical winds …

“Washington calculated that in order to regain strategic parity with China in this field, it was worth sacrificing European stability.”

National Security Advisor John Bolton recently indicated that he also wants to end the Obama-era New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which expires in 2021. Another historic agreement, it limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the United States and Russia. Similar to their grievances with the INF agreement, Bolton and his ilk argue that New START is insufficient for the present moment and complain that it did not include short-range or tactical nuclear weapons — no matter that the treaty was not intended to address those sorts of capabilities.

This seems to be the mentality of Trump and Co these days:  If something isn’t good enough or strong enough, rather than work toward making it better, just trash it.  This is exactly what Trump attempted to do with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  There were problems, it needed tweaking, but rather than iron out the problems, rather than work toward improving it, building on the foundation, Trump tried to ditch the whole thing.  This amounts to what is called “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”.

Here’s what some of the experts are saying …

“There is a very real risk that the whole security architecture around nuclear non-proliferation that was built up during the decades of superpower confrontation may collapse, through neglect, miscalculation and ill-founded threat analysis.” –  former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

“This is serious. The INF treaty has been a cornerstone in arms control for decades, and now we see the demise of the treaty.” – Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

“When something like the INF goes down the drain almost like nothing, it shows you the degree to which people have forgotten the power of these weapons. One day it’ll be too late.” – George Shultz, the U.S. Secretary of State who was instrumental in negotiating the 1987 INF Treaty

The entire world would be safer without nuclear weapons.  Period.  Were it in my power, I would see them all destroyed … every last one.  Today, the world became a little less safe … well no, actually a lot less safe, for far too many of those nuclear weapons are in control of power hungry madmen.  It would seem we are in a race to see whether mankind will destroy itself by destroying the environment, or by blowing up the world with nukes.  As George Shultz said, “One day it’ll be too late”.

The Question Is … WHY?

It’s a sad state of affairs that I will believe literally anybody over Trump.  The latest?  Trump claimed on Thursday that the U.S. military downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.  Why would he lie about that?  But, I think he did lie, for Iran denies that it happened, and has even released video they say proves that it was a lie.  If this had happened three years ago, under President Obama, I would never have questioned it, but whatever Trump says, I find there is usually at least a partial lie.

Why would Iran lie?  Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran, and Iran would almost certainly be hopping mad and making threats if we had shot down one of their little boys’ toys.  (Needless to say, I have little respect for the use of drones). But I question the reason behind Trump’s lie, for undoubtedly there is an underlying, likely malicious reason.  You may recall that Iran did shoot down one of our drones last month.  Trump claimed it was in international airspace, but it turned out it was, in fact, in Iranian airspace and was spying on Iran.

Iranian leadership have frequently mocked Trump, and we all know that is the one thing that he cannot stand.  Back in May 2018, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said Trump “does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” and added that he “only understands the language of force.”  All of which is true, but surely got under Trump’s thin skin.

Ever since, there has been a back-and-forth poking by both parties, and Trump has at times seemed determined to plunge the U.S. into a war with Iran that nobody … nobody in this nation wants.  For the most part, Trump is filled with bluster and a sense that he is the all-important player in this game-that-is-not-a-game, while Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, taunts back, but seems to be finding humour in it all.

So, why is Trump trying so hard to provoke Iran, and why did he lie about shooting down the drone?  I don’t know the answers but have a few thoughts on the topic.

First, at the beginning of his term, Trump unconscionably withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement with no reason, for even our own intelligence community agreed that Iran was upholding their end of the deal.  But … it was a deal that had been signed by President Obama, and that was the only reason Trump was so insistent on withdrawing.  He demanded that our European allies also withdraw, and when they didn’t, when they worked collectively to try to salvage the deal even without the help of the U.S., Trump made threats, as he is wont to do.  When our allies didn’t give in to his threats, but largely ignored him and continued trying to preserve the deal for the sake of world peace, he got even angrier and imposed sanctions on Iran.

Last month, then, two oil tankers, one of Japanese registry, the other Norwegian, were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.  Trump & Co. claimed to have video footage showing that Iran was behind the attacks, but the footage was fuzzy and really showed nothing of value.  Plus, the crew of one of the tankers stated emphatically that it was not Iran.  More lies on the part of Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo.  Iran denied culpability and said that Trump was spreading disinformation and warmongering.

Then they shot down our spy drone that was in their airspace, and now Trump claims, sans evidence, to have shot down their drone.  WHY???

A few possibilities come to mind …

First, the red herring theory.  Trump is coming under a great deal of fire from the public lately … not his base, of course, but the majority of us … for a number of things:

  • Conditions at the detention camps where children are being held in captivity, separated from their parents, denied such essentials as medical care, soap, toothbrushes, beds, blankets
  • His outrageously expensive and pointless, not to mention tasteless and insulting parade and “celebration” on July 4th that nearly bankrupted the city of Washington, D.C., and cost the taxpayers a bundle that we couldn’t afford
  • His heinous racist denigration of four members of Congress, all U.S. citizens, whom he told to get out of the country and go back where they came from

No doubt, Trump is eager to stop the bleeding that is a result of all these things (and more).  So … what better way than a red herring … something to distract attention from his domestic screw-ups … than an international “incident”?  Wouldn’t be the first time.

And second … there is a proven theory that when a nation is so divided that it is literally eating itself from within, as the U.S. is doing today, an external threat will bring the two sides together, if only temporarily, to fight the external threat.  If that is the thinking … and it would have come from either Pompeo or Bolton, for Trump hasn’t the intelligence to think of it on his own … then he has two choices:  North Korea or Iran.  Since he still seems to hold tight to the idea that his snow job on Kim Jong-un worked and that they now love each other, despite the fact that his summit failed to produce any tangible results, that leaves Iran.  National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both had itchy fingers for a long time … decades, in fact … to bomb Iran, to affect a regime change.  They are a well-matched pair of warmongers.

And a third possibility is financial.  War is profitable for arms manufacturers, and some of Trump’s best buddies manufacture arms.  Why do you think he’s trying so hard to sell arms to Saudi Arabia?  He has proposed often enough that we need to build up our supply of arms, but the proposal is not, overall, met with cheers of approval, for we have the largest national debt in our history, and more tanks just doesn’t seem as important to most of us as healthcare and feeding the poor.  But, if we enter a war …

Again, I don’t know what is behind Trump’s taunts, mockery and lies, but these are just the result of my sleepless nights spent thinking, spent pondering on the “why” of it all, and I think there is some thread of logic to these thoughts.  And now, I return you to your Sunday evening activities.

Storm Clouds & Shrouds

Late yesterday came the announcement that Trump is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to the attack on two Japanese oil tankers last week. Trump claims Iran is responsible for the attack, Pompeo and Bolton concur, but then, they have both been itching to bomb Iran for decades. The U.S. is acting prematurely, and if one listens, one can hear the war drums beating. How do our allies view these events? How do the people in the UK and EU see this situation? Our friend David in Wales wrote a post expressing his thoughts and concerns that I would like to share with you today. If any of my other readers outside the U.S. would like to write a guest post expressing your own views of this potentially dangerous situation, please let me know … I would love to share your opinions. Thank you, David, for this timely post and for your generous permission to re-blog.

The BUTHIDARS

It has bothered me for some time now that Donald Trump would not agree to continue the agreement the other powers had in place with Iran. It kept Iran well away from developing nuclear material. Things seemed to be going nicely according to everyone except the American end, in particular John Bolton, who was responsible for troops going into Iraq under the guise of there being WMD which did not exist, during George Bush Jnr’s time. While I’m no fan of the Imams who practise Sharia law against the  people of their country instead of the Iranians deciding for themselves the type of Government they’d prefer, and they may well decide on a Religious Government, it’s none of my business.

photo from the New Yorker. John Bolton.

What is my business however is whether or not either Bolton or Trump or both together have fabricated evidence that Iran is responsible…

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Send In The Adults … PLEASE!!!

PLEASE, people, let us put some adults in charge of this sinking ship!!!  In a nutshell, if you combine all the statements about Syria and condense them into a single statement, it reads something like this:

We are going to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria by the end of last year, but it may not happen for several years.

Scratching your head over that one, aren’t you?  See, what happens here is that Donald Trump gets up one morning all in a fizz and while he’s sitting on the potty wondering what to tweet next, an idea comes to him.  So, without consulting any of the two people on his staff who have brains, he tweets that he will be pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria.  Then, as an afterthought, he tweets that this will happen by the end of December.Bolton-Mattis-Pompeo.jpgImagine the look of utter incredulity on the faces of James Mattis, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo on seeing that tweet as they sit at their breakfast tables!  We know Mattis’ take on it, for it gave him the reason he had probably been looking for to tender his resignation and get off the Trumptanic before it meets the iceberg.  Bolton likely turned red in the face and nearly had apoplexy, moustaches twitching while his eyebrows went up and down.  And Pompeo probably just popped yet another donut into his mouth.bolton-near-tearsApparently, despite his bluster and his reputation as a warmonger, even Bolton has a problem with Trump’s decision, bred of ignorance, but he could hardly ignore his boss man, so he found a compromise this week … pull out the equipment and leave the troops!  Brilliant … that way he can honestly say we are in the process of pulling out, yet not risk the lives of all Kurds and other innocent people in the area by leaving them unassisted with the threat of Turks attacking.moving equipment-Syria.jpgOnly thing is … without equipment, without jeeps, tanks and the like … of what use are the soldiers?  And how safe are they?  Oh this was such a well-thought-out, brilliant move!  CHAOS!  ICEBERG AHEAD!!!titanic-2Interestingly, despite some equipment being moved out of Syria, the Department of Defense says that the number of U.S. troops in Syria may “increase slightly”.  Trump, apparently after talking to Bolton, changed his ’30-day’ time frame to four months, but even that seems highly unachievable … and undesirable from a foreign policy point of view.  I doubt that Bolton has had the nerve yet to tell him that he may increase the number of troops and that they may yet be there for years.

There are valid reasons for the U.S. to remain in Syria.  One, daesh (aka ISIS) has not, as Trump said it had, been eradicated and if U.S. forces leave the area, are likely to regroup and increase their numbers.  Two, Turkish President Erdoğan has already said that it is his intent to murder every Kurd in Syria, and without the protection of the U.S. troops, that is almost a certainty.

Trump is almost certain to have to eat some crow on this one … could that be part of the reason he’s digging his heels on the border wall?  His ego cannot seem to take two major defeats in such a short time frame, and his buddy Sean Hannity will definitely not be pleased with him if he caves on the border wall.

Let’s talk about that border wall for a minute.  I found it heartbreaking yesterday to read that some of the federal workers who have been without pay for nearly a month now are selling household goods on Ebay to try to scrape together enough to pay the rent and keep the electricity on … it is winter, y’know.

Limo.jpgMeanwhile, Trump rides around in his ostentatious $1.5 million limo (we paid for that, too), takes Air Force One to Texas for a wasted trip that accomplished nothing at a cost of $200,000 per hour!  And he obviously has not so much as missed a meal.  He claims democrats are to blame for his ignominious shutdown for not being willing to negotiate, but in truth it is he who is not willing to negotiate.  He has set a number he wants immediately for his wall at $5.7 billion, and that is the only outcome he will accept.  He isn’t willing to settle for a portion of that amount … it’s all or nothing at all.  So really, there is only one person to blame, and that person is definitely not a democrat! He will bankrupt this nation within the next six months at the current rate he is spending our money.

The victims of the chaos that reigns in this administration are each and every one of us.  It only begins with those 800,000+ workers who are in danger of losing their homes, cars and even lives, but in the near future the pain will trickle down to us all.  This is the most irresponsible presidency in the history of this nation, bar none.  It’s time we put some adults in charge, for we damn sure don’t have any today!

New White House H.R. Director …

melania-2Allow me to introduce the new White House Director of Human Resources … Melania Trump!  Yes, folks, Melania is now in charge, it would appear of decisions regarding employees of this administration.

mira ricardelMira Ricardel is a deputy national security advisor who has served in a number of positions during her career.  Earlier in the Trump administration, she served as a Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director in the Office of Presidential Personnel, and then Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration. Earlier in her career, she served as a foreign policy advisor to U.S. Senator Bob Dole and held higher-level positions in the U.S. Department of Defense during the Presidency of George W. Bush. On April 23, 2018, new U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton named her as his incoming deputy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Melania wants her fired.  But why???

Who knows?  It is said that when Melania wasted spent taxpayer money to travel to the African continent last month, the two women quarreled – some say over the seating arrangement on the plane, while others have differing explanations.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Melania, without evidence, believes that Ms. Ricardel was behind some of the negative stories about her.  Oh yes … silly me … I forgot that Melania is “the most bullied person in the world” or some such nonsense.

She also reportedly clashes with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis over “staffing decisions and policy differences”.  WHOA … wait just a minute there … Melania isn’t the policy-maker here!  We The People did not elect Melania!  Well, in truth, we didn’t elect her husband, either, but at least his name was on the ballot … I did not see Melania’s anywhere, did you?  But to the point … why would she even be putting her two-cents worth in on policy issues???  She’s a former nude model and as far as I know does not hold a degree in political science or foreign policy!  But then … neither does her husband. Oh, my head!!!

So … yesterday, Melania’s ‘office’ (why does she need an ‘office’ when she doesn’t do a damn thing?) released the following statement …

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

I dislike John Bolton … immensely, in fact.  But, if there are issues with Ms. Ricardel, they are Bolton’s to work out, to decide on a course of action, not Donald Trump’s and most assuredly not Melania’s.  Has anybody in this administration ever heard the term “chain of command”?  And firing a member of the National Security Council because the prez’ wife didn’t like the seating arrangements on an airplane???  What the heck kind of Banana Republic has this nation turned into???

It was hard enough trying to keep up with one blathering, ignorant, narcissistic fool in the White House, but now we have at least two to worry about?  Where is ‘due process’?  Where is ‘chain of command’?  Where is … where is democracy?  Where is the idea that we elect people with the expectation that they will act in the best interest of the nation and its people?  Instead, we have a whiny bitch married to an incompetent president and between them they are calling all the shots.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Spin …

Yesterday it was widely reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not particularly excited to have received an invitation to visit the White House.  Top Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, speaking on behalf of Putin, said …

“After the summit, you know what kind of atmosphere there is around its outcome. I think it would be wise to let the dust settle and then we can discuss all these questions in a business-like way. But not now.”

I was pleased by this, mainly because I am deeply disturbed by the relationship between Trump and Putin and Trump’s seeming adoration of our chief antagonist, Russia.  But also, I must admit to a bit of childish glee when I considered how Trump would take the news that his new buddy is likely going to reject his invitation.  I was waiting to hear how Trump would respond to this news.  And I didn’t have long to wait.  I should have seen it coming, should have known he wouldn’t allow the public to see his hurt feelings over being rejected.  Instead, he spun it as only Trump can do:

White House Says Trump Won’t Meet Putin Until Next Year

President Donald Trump will not host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington until 2019, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday, because it is Trump’s preference not to do so until “the Russia witch hunt is over.” – Politico, 07/25/2018 02:42 PM EDT

Who could have seen that one coming, eh?  More alternative facts.  More lies.  Trump cannot ever be wrong, cannot abide rejection, will not tolerate dissent or criticism.  But We the People know the truth.  Donnie only showed us, once again, what an arrogant fool he is.

The Fox is Guarding the Hen House …

Back in the days when I frequently made hiring decisions, my usual venue to search for employees was the local newspaper.  In the last few years of my career, I more often used CareerBuilder or Monster.com.  On a few occasions, when hiring for a higher-level position, I used headhunters.  But never in my most desperate moments would I have dreamed of using Fox News as an employment agency!

bill-shineToday came the announcement that Trump has hired Bill Shine, formerly of Fox News, to be the new communications director, a position previously held by Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Michael Dubke.  The position has been empty since Hicks left in March after testifying to the House Intelligence Committee that she had lied for Trump.

Shine comes with his own built-in set of controversies, as he was forced to leave Fox News in disgrace in May 2017.  Shine was accused of covering up for a number of sexual harassment cases within the network.  He had been known as Roger Ailes “fixer”, similar to the role Michael Cohen played for Trump.  Ailes was forced out amid a wave of sexual assault allegations that Shine, apparently, tried to cover up, but that later came back to bite him.  Hmmmm … it seems that he will fit right in with the immorality that exists in the White House, doesn’t it?

But this is not the first time Trump has sought to hire Fox News castoffs!

  • john-boltonNational Security Advisor, John Bolton, has been a Fox commentator/contributor for the past ten years.  When hired on by Trump, he indicated that he still considers himself a Fox contributor.

  • Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Heather Nauert, was an anchor on Fox and Friends since 2007, and was hired into the State Department in April 2017, promoted to her current position in March 2018.


  • White House Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, was a Fox News contributor until her hiring in September 2017; however, she continues to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tony Sayegh, has been with Fox since 2009, and despite his duties in his new position, he still finds time to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • K.T. McFarland was hired by Trump shortly after the inauguration in January 2017, to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor under Michael Flynn.  McFarland was a Fox contributor since around 2010.  However, after Flynn’s resignation, she was asked to step down.


  • larry-kudlowAlthough this one comes from CNBC instead of Fox, it is worth noting that Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was hired in March 2018 to replace Gary Cohn who decided he had enough of Trump’s ways.  Kudlow had his own program, The Kudlow Report, until he left to take the position Trump offered.

Given the number of these people who continue to be ‘Fox-friendly’, I have to suggest that we do, indeed, have a state-run media in the U.S., and its name is Fox News.

Bill Shine is known to be a close confidant of Trump’s best buddie Sean Hannity, and I see, with his hiring, even stronger ties between Fox and the White House.  Donald Trump’s main ‘claim to fame’ is his old television ‘reality’ show, The Apprentice.  Trump is an entertainer, a provocateur, and he is running our government like just another freak show.  Frankly, if she weren’t suing him, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to put Stormy Daniels in the position of Director of the Office of Cabinet Affairs!  A fitting position, don’t you think?stormy-danielsWe needed a president who thought with his head, one who understood the workings of government, foreign relations, and environmental concerns, to name a few.  We needed a president who had morals, values. We needed a president who represented the best interests of the people … all the people.  We needed an intelligent, compassionate president. Instead, we got Trump and his band of entertainers.  The White House has been turned into the entertainment capital of the nation.  Eat your heart out, Hollywood!

No Way To Treat Our Friends …

grenellRichard Grenell is yet another slap in the face by Trump to our European allies, particularly Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Before I delve into his most recent faux pas, let me tell you a bit about Mr. Grenell.

First, he was nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Germany by Donald Trump in October 2017, although he was not confirmed by the Senate until late April 2018.  Why, you may ask?  Because the democrats in the Senate had concerns over his fitness for the position.  Turns out, they were right to be concerned, but I will get to that in just a moment.

Grenell once served as an aide to John Bolton, the recently named national security advisor and a known warmonger famous for his desire to bomb both Iran and North Korea.  Grenell is also a contributor to Fox News.  As a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, Grenell worked on sanctions and restrictions against Iran in response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Grenell has been an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal … you know … the one that Trump reneged on last month.

But all of that aside, the democrats had another good reason for concern where Grenell was concerned:  he is a xenophobe … an outspoken critic of women, especially those who hold power in government.  As a commentator on Fox, he has mocked Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and others.  During his confirmation hearings, he was asked about his seeming aversion to women in politics.  He pulled a Roseanne Barr and said …

“There are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous.”

Sorry, but not good enough.  Remember, if you will, that he was nominated to be the Ambassador to Germany … the most populous nation in the EU, and also a nation who just happens to have a female chancellor.  To add insult to injury, Trump has more than once criticized Chancellor Merkel and has made clear his disdain for her.  Ultimately Grenell was confirmed by the Senate, sworn in and traveled to Germany to begin his new job.

Now, let’s clarify for just a brief second what, exactly, the job of an ambassador is.

“All ambassadors officially represent the U.S. government on behalf of the president in treaty negotiations, immigration discussions, foreign aid projects and humanitarian aid programs. Ambassadors supervise and lead all foreign service employees in the country where they work. As the chief executive of the U.S. embassy, an ambassador also monitors the activities of all U.S. personnel who work for any federal agency in their jurisdiction. The ambassador and his/her staff also aid Americans traveling in the country and provide security for U.S. citizens during emergencies and natural disasters.”

The starting salary for U.S. ambassadors, by the way, is $126,148, and the maximum is $189,600.

Richard Grenell arrived in Germany to take up his post on May 8th, just under a month ago, and already he has stirred ire and contention on both sides of the pond.  So far, he has criticized Germany’s NATO spending, calling it ‘woeful’, and criticized Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policy.  But the worst was his interview a few days ago with … of all things … Breitbart!  And here is what he said that has stirred the political pot …

“There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on.  I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

WittigTo put it into context, consider if Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, when he first came to the U.S. in 2014, had said that Barack Obama’s policies were failures and that he was looking forward to helping more republicans win congressional races.

Ambassadors are intended and expected to be completely neutral in the domestic politics of the countries in which they serve.  Period.  We do not send ambassadors to other nations to choose sides and campaign for candidates or policies.  They are there to represent the U.S.

Grenell didn’t stop there, though.  Grenell named immigration, tax cuts, and cutting red tape as major conservative issues to focus on as part of a winning strategy. He then went on to say he’s a “big fan” of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has sharply criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. Last year, Kurz’s party also formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, which was founded by Nazis.

It almost feels as if Trump has planted a ticking time bomb in Germany.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday that Grenell would have to “explain what he meant” during his first official visit on Thursday. One German politician, Lars Klingbeil, tweeted to Grenell …

I know you are still quite new at your post, but it is not part of the job description of an ambassador to interfere in the politics of his guest country, Mr @RichardGrenell #thankyou — 6:00 AM – Jun 4, 2018

Another, Omid Nouripour, said Grenell’s comments “give the impression that the new US ambassador still hasn’t adjusted to his new role. At least the Russians make an effort not to be seen to be meddling in other countries’ affair. [sic]

trump-merkelTrump has already created an atmosphere of distrust among our allies by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, pulling out of the TPP, reneging on our commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, criticizing our allies, and just last week placing unwarranted tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU.  He has insulted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion.  And now the ambassador he sends to Germany has offended at least half the nation.  I have to ask … is total mass destruction of planet earth his intent?  He loves to take credit for things, especially big things.  Does he figure to start WWIII and then take credit for having had the biggest button?