Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 12, 01 Year Trumpland: Betrayal

Yesterday citizen and leaders of our Nation were belittled by the man who was elected to the office of president. Sincere, heart felt emotion on the part of Chuck Schumer was mocked by Lil' Donald. Here's Mr Schumer's statement.

When women are coached to go to court, lawyers always tell them not to cry as it is perceived as weakness. Typically, men are praised for showing heart felt emotion. But now we have a bully in office who likes the to turn politics into a circus. 

It is a betrayal of our president to personally insult and publicly castigate a representative of the people. Someone needs to send Lil' Donald to civics class and teach him that the president is the most humble of all servants of the people. 

To make this immigration issue worse, last night Lil' Donald in a fit of pique fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates. There are two issues at work here. First, as her boss, when she refused to enforce the immigrant ban, Lil' Donald was within his rights to fire her. I applaud her act of consciousness, and here is part of her statement:
My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible foe ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful. 
I am cheered and comforted by this statement of a woman who was in one of the highest offices of the nations stood up for what she believed to be right.

The White House Statement on Sally Yates says:
The acting Attorney General. Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Justice Office of Legal Counsel. Ms Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individual travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.
Chuck Schumer called this a Monday massacre. I think that languaging is a bit extreme, but I agree with him that she is "a person of great integrity. A person of the law..." The order may be illegal and perhaps unconstitutional. Yates replacement was sworn in at 9:00 last night. Today they vote on Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

The word betrayal is the kind of word an autocrat uses. It is okay to differ in opinion. It is right the president to exercise his authority and let her go. It is not okay to use the word betrayal. The implication is that we are building a government on dangerous ground. Taken in context of other instances of punishing those who disagree means the president has used a frightening word. If someone acts as a conscientious objector the president calls it betrayal.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 11, Year 01, Trumpland: Fairy Tales

Have you seen the google doodle today? Take a look at our past.

We have a history of interment camps. We interred Japanese American born citizens. Check out the link for the story. Google has recalled employees. Microsoft and Facebook have issued warnings of how these immigration policies will affect technical and professional staff. It hurts our country. Our future jobs are built of technical professions. 

The Lil' Donald administration is pushing back, saying this is not a Muslim Ban. Breitbart is having a field day talking about how wrong the liberal press are. According to Lil' Donald: 
“My policy,” Trump wrote, “is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”
It is not. Here's an awesome article that explains the difference. (Update: WP released an article just now that has the Obama admin pushing back. Obama would never deny entry based on religion.)  Lil' Donald got the headlines he wanted. He kept a campaign promise. His voters didn't follow the whole story, they just celebrate that initial announcement of fulfilling promises. Understand, Lil' Donald's administration has discretion over immigration. If another Pearl Harbor happens, he has to be able to move quickly to stop immigration. And he has the power to determine who can come and go in America. But folks were grilled this weekend at security points about what do they think of Trump. Many citizens would have trouble with that question. 

Our soldiers on the ground have lost credibility with the people with whom they have to work. I keep waiting for the fall out to show in the news. Worse, Lil' Donald ordered a strike on terrorists that resulted in the death of more than 30 people, 10 of whom were women and children. Some were American born. We lost a soldier attempting to retrieve intelligence. Sean Spicer hailed this a victory today, despite the American soldier loss. He forgets that our soldiers' jobs have become incredibly dangerous. To our shame, our neighbors in Canada have offered to take the people we turn away at airports. 

BTW. Fox news says 48% of Americans supported the immigration ban. Fox news published this poll on January 29, 2017. If you read the actual poll, 47% did not. If you allow for error, the poll was divided evenly. Therefore, I object to the "scholarship" employed in this poll. However, I even misrepresent this. It took some digging, but I have the original poll. The poll was released January 29, however, it refers to "president elect Trump", so it's older than that. It also states that the poll is "Not exactly a hearty endorsement of two highly controversial stances President-elect Donald Trump has taken." This poll was take before the f***ing election! However, this is not how the Trump administration spins the story. Indeed, let me quote part of poll here: 
"Not exactly a hearty endorsement of two highly controversial stances President-elect Donald Trump has taken: A split decision on scrapping Obamacare but no ambivalence on climate change. 'Preserve the planet, Mr. Trump,' is the stern advice of voters," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. Illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. with a path to citizenship, 59 percent of American voters say, while 9 percent say immigrants should be allowed to stay with no path to citizenship and 25 percent say illegal immigrants should be required to leave. Supporting the path to citizenship option are Democrats, 80 percent; independent voters, 62 percent; Republicans, 38 percent; women, 66 percent, and men, 51 percent. Voters in every age group support this option, with support at 59 or 60 percent. By a narrow 48 - 42 percent, American voters support "suspending immigration from terror prone regions, even if it means turning away refugees." By a broader 53 - 41 percent, voters support requiring immigrants from Muslim countries to register with the federal government. "The Trump 'send them back to where they came from' rallying cry may have stirred the crowds and tipped the vote his way, but Americans are not inclined to simply show immigrants the door," Malloy said. (emphasis mine)
People have less rights as immigrants, or with green cards or visas. Nevertheless, Lil' Donald spoke openly about banning people of the Muslim faith. Mayor Giuliani admits that just tweaked things to get this ban and languaging it so it does not specify but implies Muslims. And Lil' Donald also spoke publicly of preferencing Christians. We do not have a state sponsored religion. Yet.

Sean Spicer says 109 were detained and he doesn't see that as a problem. Where's the date of how many were actually simply turned away? We've got people in foreign countries that can't get to their dogs or jobs. 

For the record, Democrats are not being obstructionist as Sean Spicer insisted today in the daily press conference. Democrats are right to express concern regarding the Breitbart agenda professed by many of Lil' Donald's cabinet nominees. In fact, I find it the height of hypocrisy after what Mitchy-boy did when President Obama was in office. 

To Mr Spicer: the narrative is always determined by the person in power. And you, Mr Spicer, are an excellent story teller. 

Yes, we need to protest. Write your Senator. Call your Senator. Fight. Donate to civil rights organizations and the ACLU. Because tomorrow Lil' Donald appoints a Supreme Court Justice. He will then control two branches of our government. That lays the path to deport illegal immigrants. To deport green card and visa holders. To ethically cleanse America of anyone not born here. To overturn Roe v Wade. To destroy civil rights. To rid the country of gay marriage. Or gays through conversation therapy, which doesn't work, but is supported by the VP. Indeed, they will be rolling back protections for gay rights this week. Understand, folks, immigration is simply a test case. While we protest immigration policy, the Lil' Donald administration is three steps ahead in their Breitbart agenda. 

Here's the languaging of Sean Spicer: "He's going to stop every threat, and every threat before it can happen." We have been protected. This is meant to take attention off of other things and furthers the Brietbart theme of America first--in nationalistic, Nazi kind of way. "Others" however this administration defines it, are dangerous and must be protected against. That is an incredibly dangerous door to have opened. 

Can't keep up with the executive orders? Here's a list.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 10, Year 01: Priebus

What the fuck alternative universe have I woken to? Doublespeak takes on whole new meaning. I want out.
PS... The press has a bad name. Please support your press. The big names like CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Washington Post, NY Times, etc. They are flawed and imperfect. But they can be held accountable and will issue retractions when they are wrong. The alt-news can't say the same and are pushing a dangerous agenda. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 09, 01 Year, Trumpland: Scholarly Requirements

Disclaimer: I am not going to tell you my scholarship on this blog is perfect. I spend a lot of time looking things up and giving sources; however, this is a blog, not a college paper or academic journal and I treat it as such. I'm here to share information and voice an opinion. On to the point.

Yes, I have committed the sin of education. A lot of it. Have a Bachelors in English. Went to SIU-Carbondale for a master's but dropped out before defending my master's thesis (finished the classes). I have an Education Specialist Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I know scholarship. It has been my life. I have written more papers than I want to remember. I've taught Freshmen English classes, grilling them on using responsible sources.

Annoyed by Sean Spicer's decision to preference questionable news sources, I did a little research this morning. Here's what I found on the University of Wisconsin - Greenbay:
The Following MAY be Acceptable References:

  • Reputable News Media (Time, Newsweek, New York Times)
  • Serious Popular Magazines (New Yorker, National Geographic)
  • Government Publications
  • Internet versions of these sources
  • News media are acceptable only if the story is so fast-moving or so recent that there are no scholarly publications on the subject, or if you are researching a news story that has not yet been reported in other forms. Bottom line: use the media only if there is no other source.

Serious popular magazines occasionally have articles by authorities, interviews (even Playboy can be an acceptable source at times; President Jimmy Carter got into political hot water over an interview there), or summaries of current topics of interest. Acceptability depends on how reputable the authors are and how thoroughly the publication checks its facts.

Government publications are acceptable if they are research or technical publications, but generally not if they are popular brochures or pamphlets.

Serious popular magazines occasionally have articles by authorities, interviews (even Playboy can be an acceptable source at times; President Jimmy Carter got into political hot water over an interview there), or summaries of current topics of interest. Acceptability depends on how reputable the authors are and how thoroughly the publication checks its facts.

Government publications are acceptable if they are research or technical publications, but generally not if they are popular brochures or pamphlets.
1984 by George Orwell warns of doublespeak, the loss of "science" as a word or concept, and Big Brother's lies and control. We are seeing it play out daily. KellyAnne Conway offered us "alternative facts". Little Donald lies that massive voter fraud cost him the popular vote. He claims that Philadelphia's murder rate is "terribly increasing." It is not. Trump even demanded that the park service "find proof for his claims about inauguration crowds."

Steve Bannon has made it clear that the media should "shut up" and that they are "the opposition party". Folks, he wants to control what you learn and who you trust. He doesn't want you to read reliable press. He wants you to get your information from Britbart, Alex Jones, and the right wing conservative Christian press. Worse, fact based research on government web pages have disappeared, reappeared, or not. Be aware that it's highly likely those pages will quietly disappear again. Or gags will again appear. This is the substance of totalitarian governments.

The free press is the last protector of freedom. They are the whistle blowers and the ones that hold government accountable. We rely on professional news services to provide us with facts. When Sean Spicer insists Little Donald got a standing ovation at the CIA but they packed the first three rows with staffers, and calls on Christian news magazines rather than AP, Reuters, CBS, NBC, or CBS, we have a problem we have a crisis of information and must protect the press.

Day 09, Year 01, Trumpland: Terrorism and Immigration

Yesterday was the Holocaust Day of Remembrance. We of America bear a heavy weight of guilt for our own shameful behavior toward the Jewish political refuges that came to us to save their lives, and we turned them away. People like Anne Frank and the folks aboard the St Louis were turned away from our shores in their direst need, to die in consecrations camps.

A woman lights a candle during an International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Jan. 27. (Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
Little Donald (look up Lawrence O'Donnell The Last Word from last night; this will be appearing in my blog quite frequently) released a statement, obviously written by someone who knows how to write these statements and can use words with two syllables (Little Donald typical speaks in monosyllabic words). Courtesy of the WP, here's the statement in full:
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
Did you notice that the word Jew appears nowhere in the above statement? Jewish leaders are outraged that Little Donald chose to announce his new ban on the Holocaust Day of Remembrance:
"The fact that President Trump's order appears designed to specifically limit the entry of Muslims evokes horrible memories" of Jews turned away during World War II, the progressive Jewish organization J Street said in a statement ahead of the executive action taking affect. "Most ultimately perished in the Holocaust. That episode remains a blot on the conscience of the United States. It is a terrible irony that today, the same day on which this order is to be signed, is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day."
Americans turned their backs on those seeking refuge, sending them to their deaths in the camps. We turned away a ship of 900 people and we turned away 20,000 children. This, because we feared the possibility of Nazi spies, following the capture Herbert Karl Friedrich Bahr, a 28 year-old German who was tried and convicted of spying for the Gestapo. Let's note our vetting process broke him down during routine interviewing within a few days after arrival.

According to the Smithsonian, In 1944, the Treasury Department released a damning report initialed by lawyer Randolph Paul. It read :“I am convinced on the basis of the information which is available to me that certain officials in our State Department, which is charged with carrying out this policy, have been guilty not only of gross procrastination and willful failure to act, but even of willful attempts to prevent action from being taken to rescue Jews from Hitler.”

World War II sparked the highest number of immigrants in history, yet 6 million Jews perished. Now 400,000 immigrants (according to MSNBC), have been displaced from Syria. Churches, synagogues, families have sponsored immigrants for years to bring them here, and now it has been stopped by the stroke of a pen.

Our modern refuge policy is a result of our failings during WWII when we let people die. So it the ultimately ironic statement to say Little Donald signed an executive order today banning visa and immigrant holders from Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran for 90 days. Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely. NONE OF THESE COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN LINKED TO TERRORIST ATTACKS THAT HAVE KILLED AMERICANS. Moreover, the ban does not cover Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Azerbaijan which coincidentally have Trump business ties.

This is from Fortune:
While Muslim-majority countries such as Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and others are not included on the list, the omission of Turkey and Egypt may be argued as being seen at odds with Trump's definition. Both Turkey and Egypt endured high-profile terror attacks in 2016.The President has positions in two companies that may be related to business in Egypt, and has previously praised the country's autocratic leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In Turkey, Trump has a licensing deal to use his name on two luxury towers in Istanbul.
These are the business ties we can trace. How many more affect foreign policy that are buried in the layers of Legalese that hides behind The Donald's tax returns? Wake up. Little Donald is using our country to further his economic agenda and the GOP is merrily supporting this lunacy for their own interests.

A year ago candidate Mike Pence called Trump's stance on banning Muslims “offensive and unconstitutional.” Then Little Donald picked him as a running mate. General Mattis said it could “great damage” to world order. Now he's Secretary of Defense. Both sold out their principals to stand behind Trump, literally, as he signed the order.

BTW, I know the order does not specify Islam. Go look at the news. It was obviously aided and abetted by lawyers who suggested countries as opposed to religion for discrimination. It's a transparent and obvious ploy. Indeed, the Washington Post states:
None of those seven countries make up more than a few percentage points of the global Muslim population, according to a 2009 Pew study, although together they contain the majority of world's Shiite Muslim minority.
Malcom Nance (author of The Plot to Hack America; if you haven't read it, do so, NOW) said on MSNBC AM Joy this morning:
"I can't make sense of any of this. This is just playing into the hands of ISIS. I said before, this is going to be the salvation of ISIS. Now let me put a personal touch on this. Because of all those countries that you put there [above map] that Trump has commercial ties to, who have sent terrorists to the United States at some point, we haven't banned terrorists from Brazil, ISIS has dozens of members from Brazil. Or Trinidad. Or the Bahamas who have more terrorist members than any of those other countries. 
"This morning I was notified that an Iraqi interpreter that worked for six years for special operations forces....had his visa cancelled this morning as he was about to fly to the United States with his wife and baby daughter. This is ridiculous.You are punishing people who have nothing to do with terrorism and you are now arming the terrorists with all the propaganda that they need to show that the United States is a country of racists and doesn't care about Muslims. We are going to have attacks based on this."
Folks, we created the problems in Iraq and invaded them. Now we ban them?  Look at the message we sending to the world. If we were to do this right, we would address the countries that produce terrorists. From the security point of view, we are simply discriminating against Muslims. This used to be opposed by Republicans. Moreover, we have a constitution that prohibits banning people based on religion. This is a hallmark of a totalitarian government. Worse, we are, in Malcolm Nance's words:
"We are creating a base of support for Terrorists that didn't exist last night. When we do that....we push intelligent, educated, clever people into believing that the United States does not stand for the morals of that building right behind me...Independence Hall...When we break those values, a nation of immigrants, then what we do is we create terrorists that don't exist. I can't imagine how many people are going to come into ISIS or Al-Qaeda in the next year."
Furthermore, Trump intends to give Christians preference when he lifts immigrants bans. We are going down a slippery slope to Sate Sponsored religion and an end to separation of church and state. One day we could roll call on Sunday morning in church, stoning of gays, and jail for adulterers. It is their goal to legislate morality. Indeed, they believe it is God's mandate. Trump is the tool. Pence is the leader. Please go look at Pence's background. He's a Dominionist with power and an agenda.

I digressed. Back to my topic.

Visa holders are being turned away at airports. It's estimated that 500,000 legal US residents are being blocked from reentry. Understand, they are blocking people who already have visas or green cards. Many of these people work for us providing security, translation, and other services. If we are going to block people, make the people from the countries that we have documented terror attacks. Little Donald is running the White House as his own personal pleasure, furthering his business interests, increasing his financial gains, and making a mockery of this country.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 8, Year 1 Trumpland: Legislating Morality

I left my computer at work by accident and am writing on my Kindle so no research. I am hearing a woman saying planned parenthood will offer abortion on the spot. That planned parenthood does not offer prenatal care. That they have quotas of abortions they have to fill. That they "say" this isn't true but really is.

She lied.

I went to bed on a normal Monday in November and woke in an alternative universe. Mr Pence got in front of the March for Life today and addressed them: "It's a good day. And it's the best day I've ever seen for the March of Life in more ways than one. I'm deeply humbled to be the first Vice President of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend. Because of all of  you, and many thousand stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again."

Wake up America. Regan and Bush called in support. That is not the same as what we have here. KellyAnne Conway also addressed the crowds. Trump is on record saying therrr has to be punishment for the woman who have abortions.

This is more the abortion rights. Here's how it goes. First we get rid of gay rights because we are such a danger to straight marriages.  Appoint a conservative justice and use gay right to demonstrate the ability to overturn a Supreme Court decision. Then we can overturn Roe v Wade. And that means that we are on the slippery slope of legislating morality, which of course is the intent, isn't it Mr Pence?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 7, Year 01, Trumpland: It is all about Appearance

On January 20, the Washington Post wrote an article talking about The Donald's obsession with appearance. He likes to brag: "I see my generals," he said. "These are central casting. If I’m doing a movie, I’d pick you general, General Mattis.”

It's not just his generals. Have you noticed the amazing changes in Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon? These pictures capture their appearances last summer. Lank, frizzy hair for Kellyanne and Steve's very casual appearance.

Now suddenly we have neat, trimmed hair and professional dress. Guess that pay raise was good.

The Press Secretary Sean Spicer took a heck of a lot of heat Sunday: "A source told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan that Trump isn’t happy with how Spicer wears his suits. “Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?” Trump reportedly asked a senior aide. When Spicer reemerged the next day, he was dressed in a dark suit.

But Spicer isn't the only one. Trump believes fashion is power and respect. He expects his people to dress the part. If it were a matter of being professional and dressing to match the role of professionals, I'd be the first to cheer. But it is ridiculous if we dismiss this demand for professional appearance as anything but what it really is: Another symptom of small handed, enormous ego driven demand for things and people to make The Donald look good. His daughter, his wife, all the the women who surround him much be beautiful or he talks about them as if they are objects or worse. Photos much be framed, as the picture hanging in his hall today that he bragged on for the size of his inaugural crowd: "We had a massive crowd of people. We had a crowd...I looked over that sea of people and I said to myself wow." And on, and on. "This crowd was massive. Look how far back they go." Of course it did. It was a specially framed side frame, so you couldn't see the empty mall."

Trump is an ego manic that only gets the adulation he believes he deserves from 45% of the population. When he doesn't get what he wants, Trump is a volatile, dangerous man. Most of us are in grave danger.

And note that this danger played out already on the international stage today. Note that this article comes from Middle Eastern paper Aljazeera. I chose it because it nicely summarizes the situation tonight, but also to make the point that the USA looks like idiotic to our enemies, not to mention what friends we still have left, tonight. Donald demanded that the President agree to pay for the wall (Reported on by Chris Matthews on MSNBC tonight). The Donald didn't even attempt to use his charm to persuade, he simply made the demand. Donald said: "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."

Mexico's President responded:
"I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us," President Pena Nieto said in a brief televised message on Wednesday.
"Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall," he said, referring to Trump's vow to make his southern neighbour pay for the barrier.

Day 7, Year 01, Trumpland: Allies and Enemies

We have gravely offended our nearest neighbor. Mexico declares they will not pay for the wall. Mr Trump has funding to begin, but not complete the project. He continued last night to state on public TV that Mexico will pay for the wall. The Mexican President is so offended he cancelled his scheduled visit.

But let us be clear, foreign policy by Twitter, in which Trump speaks in front of millions world wide, was conducted:
"The U.S. has a $60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...," Trump tweeted. "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
First, it is foolish for The Donald to conduct foreign policy so publicly. He gives other rulers no options to negotiate or discuss. He makes demands. Of course Mexico backed away from the table. And if we have a trade deficit with Mexico, we obviously need them more than they need us. Did you know that 42.4% of Parliament are women in Mexico compared to 19.4 in America? Our GPD is 15th in the world and their's is 18. Their unemployment rate is comparable if not lower. Yes, they have more crime, but they also have more adult literacy. They also offer universal healthcare. So picking a fight with Mexico is plain stupid.

Followed, of course, with the disaster concerning Sanctuary Cities. California doesn't need, us Donald. They pay their way and ours too. Take Federal Funding and disown them. California, and many of these other cities, would be fine. But the reduced taxes would make it hard for Washington to line their pockets.

Mr Trump believes his bully tactics are going to work but Mexico is pushing back:
Trump's goading of Mexico "is going to be extremely dangerous to U.S.-Mexico relations," Alden said. "Mexico is a proud sovereign country, to have the president of the United States bully Mexico into submission is not going to go over well."
So Mr Trump spits in Mexico and Europe's eye, but cozies up to Russia. Aren't people seeing this??? Apparently not. I listened to conservative talk radio. Yes, they completely back every move he makes, and call the left leaning folks leftist-communists. Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 6, Year 01, Trumpland: Borderwalls, Immigrants and Sanctuary

Greenpeace protesters unfold a banner reading "Resist" from atop a construction crane behind the White House on Jan. 25, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images
$8-14 billion dollars to build a boarder wall (Axious says 3x that amount). That's $6 million dollars a mile, according to estimate on MSNBC this morning. So now The Donald calls for immediate construction of a boarder wall. Ends the policy of catch and release at the border. Requires other countries to take back their criminals. Cracks down on sanctuary cities. Empowers ICE officers to target those who are a threat to public safety. Hires 5,000 border officers. Triples ICE officers. We aren't feeding the poor. Getting rid of student loan debt. Fixing roads. We're building a wall and spending millions to guard it. Psst. Mexico's not paying. The President of Mexico announced it today. And they are thinking of cancelling the visit next week because of the announcement of beginning the building of the war. We just pissed off our nearest neighbor.

But let's begin this discussion by dispelling a myth. We didn't have wide open borders. As a matter of fact, we have measures that runs the length of the border of Mexico. According to Wicki:
The barrier is not one continuous structure, but a grouping of relatively short physical walls, secured in between with a "virtual fence" which includes a system of sensors and cameras monitored by the United States Border Patrol. As of January 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that it had more than 580 miles (930 km) of barriers in place.
Second, Obama was not lenient. In fact, he deported more people than any other president.

Today, a header from Vox reads: Read leaked drafts of 4 White House executive orders on Muslim ban, end to DREAMer program, and more; Apparent Trump administration drafts suggest a harsh crackdown on immigrants. This article details the Muslim Ban, DREAMer program and DACA, Immigration and Limiting Social Services. Folks, do you see the trend here?

This morning it was announced on MSNBC that all immigration will stop for four months, despite the two year process immigrants undergo when they apply to enter the USA. Now immigration officers are going to have an expanded definition of "criminal" making it easier to deport people.

Please understand, many people are fleeing dangerous situations that that threaten their lives and their families. And those jobs people are so worried about? A lot of them are held by migrant farm workers. Have you heard about the crops rotting in the fields of Europe who have no one to pick their strawberries and beans? It's already happening here as well:
Carlos Castaneda watched one-quarter of his Napa cabbages rot in three California fields this spring as 37 immigrant laborers scheduled to arrive March 13 under a farm worker visa program were delayed by bureaucratic paperwork. He said he wants changes to an immigration system that causes his crops to rot unharvested. But he has little hope that will happen in this political climate.
My point here is not that I understand all the issues. My point is our loss of compassion for human beings. Dreamers who came out of the shadow to do the right thing, for example. I have clients in my office born in this nation whose parents are going to be deported. What happens to them?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 6, Year 01, Trumpland: Media

I didn't make it but a few minutes past midnight when I was so furious that I had to start today's conversation. I was scrolling through my twitter feed, thinking it was time to go to bed when I saw this:

If you didn't already know, this is Laura Ingraham. 

Laura Ingraham is a Fox News contributor who owns LifeZette (think National Enquirer). She has put together a conspiracy theory that asserts the Clintons "have been involved in the murders of several political operatives."
Trump unfortunately won. What is to be gained by this kind of conspiracy theory being published now? It only took three minutes to find out. The AP had a twitter posted with this heading: "Pro-Trump site gets 1st question at White House briefing".
Guess who got the first question? Yep. The rag LifeZette. Ingraham was passed over for the position of press secretary although Donald actually was reported to have preferred a woman. Bet we aren't done seeing her name and the name of her conspiracy rag.

This folks, is what alt-right news looks like. If the President of the United States can traffic in lies, then the press they lean on certainly can as well.

Day 5, Year 01, Trumpland: Voter Fraud

We have a president who lives by appearances. He is a narcissist who has to look good and insists that his cabinet looks good, too. That's part of the reason Sean Spicer, the press secretary, got so in much trouble Sunday. He was a little disheveled late on a Sunday afternoon, unpacking his office. Probably had removed his suit coat and tie, was trying to organize his papers, books and decorations. In comes Donald, in a fit of pique, because he didn't like the numbers being bantered about. He cannot tolerate being number 2. After an hour or more of arguing with his team, and demanding that Spicer read the press the riot act, like bad kindergartners, Spicer got in trouble again for not being crisp in appearance and evil enough in demeanor.

Donald is angry his approval ratings are so low. He's angry that only 200,000 came to his election on a cold, rainy day. (Although he claims it didn't rain on him....even though some ass said it was blessing of God, I think the heavens wept for the shame we brought on this nation.) And he's especially angry he lost the popular vote. So in Trumpland, 3-5 million votes were fraudulent.

Hillary won 62% of the vote in California. The top election officials, The National Association of Secretaries of State" state they are not aware of any documented cases of voter fraud" (MSNBC). California states unequivocally that their system in accurate. Donald doesn't believe them. Donald thinks we have people living in this country illegally and they are voting. However, studies show that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent.

Go read a few biographies about Donald. He likes to play with numbers. He does not understand scientific proof. He doesn't honor statistically proven facts. He believes he's worth billions, and claims it. He believes his value goes up in the day, he claims it, although nothing statistically changed. However, claiming voter fraud lays the groundwork for Trumpian domination.

Donald has Jeff Sessions, who has a history of voter suppression, as do several other cabinet members. If America and Congress are drawn into "rampant, systemic voter fraud" he can control the vote. He's taken a page from Mr Putin and his planning his reelection.

This is from The Hill:
But Sanders said he thinks Trump is trying to lay the groundwork for Republican governors to pass tougher voting laws. 
"What I fear about that statement, and what is something we should all worry about ... [is that] he is sending a message to every Republican governor in this country to go forward with voter suppression," he said. 
Sanders called voter suppression the "great political and Democratic crisis" that faces the country. 
"My belief is we have got to do everything to kind of make sure that everybody in this country who is legally able to is able to vote," he added. 
Sanders's comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sidestepped weighing in on Trump's comments Tuesday.
Another day I will discuss the scumbag named Mitchy Boy. Today, know that he is worse than bottom feeder. Back to topic. Note that Spicer denies investigating voter fraud. We all know that will never happen as there isn't any and Trump needs voter fraud to get voter suppression.. They need to make claims that fit their narrative, not disprove it.

In another story, word escaping the insides of Trumpland is shutting down. We won't know what is going on until it is too late. Here's what came out of the EPA today. According to Yahoo News:
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch.

Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump's inauguration Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.
Donald has shut down all contracts through the EPA. Obviously so he can start handing out the spoils to his new oligarchy.  The Hill says, " EPA contracts with outside vendors for a wide array of services, from engineering and research science to janitorial supplies.

Scott Pruitt of OK has been approved as head of the EPA. Understand, as attorney general Mr Pruitt wrote to the EPA to complain they were too intrusive in trying to regulate fracking and the waste water injection that was causing damage to the environment. He got rid of their state environmental protection agency. There is a line item in the budget for it; it's budget has been $0 for years. Meet your new cabinet pick for the EPA. The EPA budget is $6 Billion a year. They monitor air quality. Clean up industrial sites. Stopped.

On the same day Donald signed the above legislation, the EPA has been "frozen" in it's tracks (Rachel Maddow at MSBNC tonight). An EPA employee tipped someone off in Congress on Capitol Hill who leaked the info to the press. EPA employees cannot talk about anything. No press releases. No social media. No blog messages. Trump team will review webinars and speaking engagements. No new content placed on any website. List serves will be reviewed.

This gag order also applies to Dept of Transportation, Dept of Interior, National Institutes of Health, Health and Human Services, even the USDA. They cannot even provide info to congressional office. The USDA cannot even discuss research or findings. Gag order. It only took an hour for climate change tweets to disappear off the twitter for the Badlands National Parks. Bet someone lost their job.

Alt facts of the day debunked: The number of Federal employees decreased, not increase.

Day 4, Year 1, Trumpland: Destruction of Lands and Treaties

(I was ill yesterday. Since I hadn't made a post for this date, I've added it here.)

We of the US have broken faith with our Indian Citizens many times. Here's one example.

On April 29, 1868 we agreed to establish The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation which was originally a part of the Great Sioux Reservation. Originally, that land included the sacred Black Hills, and the "life giving" Missouri River. The Sioux Nation continued to retain off-reservation hunting rights to a much larger area, south to the Republican and Platte Rivers, and east to the Big Horn Mountains.

According to the Sioux Nation website:
Under article 12, no cession of land would be valid unless approved by three-fourths of the adult males. Nevertheless, the Congress unilaterally passed the Act of February 28, 1877 (19 stat. 254), removing the Sacred Black Hills from the Great Sioux Reservation. The United States never obtained the consent of three-fourths of the Sioux, as required in article 12 of the 1868 Treaty. The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that "A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found in our history."
United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371, 388 (1980). The Standing Rock Agency was established at Fort Yates in 1873. The Executive Order of March 16, 1875 extended the Reservation's northern boundary to the Cannon Ball River. In the act of March 2, 1889, however, Congress further reduced the Great Sioux Reservation, dividing it into six separate reservations, including the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. (25 stat. 889). 
We have left the people of Standing Rock pretty much alone since 1980 until we decided to route the Dakota Pipeline from the Dakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. Originally that pipeline was slated to run through Bismark, North Dakota until is was determined by a bunch of white men in suits that it posed a threat to white water sources, white residential areas, and white roads, white wetlands and white water crossings. Bismark is 91.5% white. The oil has brought jobs, increased wealth and fancy houses to the people of Bismark.

Now we've all reached the same conclusion, right? That it's not okay to pollute white people's waters and land, but the people of the Sioux don't matter? The pipeline was granted an exemption from environmental review. The pipeline would run not on Tribal land, but 10 miles from it, which is nowhere near enough distance to protect Tribal land from a spill. Finally, this happened:
Citing potential effects on the Native tribes, most notably the Standing Rock Sioux, in March and April 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Interior (DOI), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a formal Environmental Impact Assessment and issue an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
This is Donald Trump having signed the orders to resume the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Pipeline as quickly as possible:

There's a new heading in the news today about of 50,000 gallons of oil spilling from a western Canadian province of Saskatchewan pipeline on Aboriginal lands Friday. But Rachel Maddow on (1/24/17) pointed out this is the second spill in this location as the first happened the day of Trump's nomination last summer (7/21/16). 50,000 gallons escaped, despite the fact the pipeline was neither old nor apparently damage. It spilled 200 miles downriver. Animals died and thousands of people lost their water source.

Our pipelines are touted as a measure to put thousands to work. It is the beginning of reducing regulations that protect air, water and people. It is short sighted. We've seen the damage and we have three record breaking years of heat. There are alternative energies. Matter of fact, we have more oil than we need now, before these pipelines. It is ridiculous to mortgage our children's future for our own selfish purposes. Rephrase. For the glory of one Kleptocrat.

Alt facts of the day debunked: The Donald has a financial investment in the Energy Transfer Partners which includes Dakota Pipeline and in TransCanada. The stock went up on the TransCanada when the word of the executive orders were made public. Can we say corruption.

Also, while building the pipeline might bring a thousand jobs, the total permanent jobs is 35.

And the number of Federal employees decreased, not increase.

Day 3, Year 01, Trumpland: Alt Facts

"Totally without merit," says Donald Trump.

WTF. He's being sued over the constitutional violation of the emoluments clause. But in Trumpland, facts are "overly dramatic, Chuck."

"Alternative facts are not facts, they are falsehoods." The new word, friends, is alt facts.

Let's talk. Today this came out in the New York Times.

Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim

We just had a president without any kind of scandal. Now we have this. But, he says, it's without merit.

KellyAnn says the tax returns that would demonstrate his financial ties issue was litigated during the election and the voters simply don't care. Not true. Was disputed and they refused to provide his tax returns. And every voter I know, cares. Even the ones who voted for him.

Abortion saves lives. Ironic, but planned parenthood makes alternatives and resources available that prevent abortions. When women choose to have an abortion, it is done safely. Has America forgotten about desperate coat hooks? The cost to women's lives will triple when Planned Parenthood again have their hands tied. Today, a very quiet foreshadowing of the death of women's choice appeared. H.R. 586 currently has no publicly available text, but the title says it all: "To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization."

Worse, at the CIA this weekend, amid his self aggrandizing speech, Trump announced we should have kept Iraq's oil.What?! After the president made this statement, Iraqi security officials working with Americans on the ground blowing up ISIS fighters were interviewed (this is from tonight's Rachel Maddow). But the president said we might be there to get our hands on their oil. They said exactly what is expect. "He cannot do it. I would fight the Americans if they come for the oil. He would have to launch a new military front. It would be a new World War."

He just put the kiss of death on cooperation among allies. He has put our troops at risk. Oh, Exxon Rex Tillerson just became Secretary of State. Suspicion of America abounds. Maybe we are trying to steal the resources of other countries. It is now a new US policy. Our people's lives were put at risk today.

BTW. He also packed the first three rows with staff that cheer. CIA people know what those stars mean, and have respect for the room and the solemnity of their duty. Wish the president did.

Folks, we are going to lose free press. Today Sean Spicer took questions at the White House Briefing Room. This is from a Fox Article entitled "Spicer, the New Sheriff, Shakes up the White House Press Room. How Refreshing." Here's part of it:

At his first White House briefing, Trump press secretary Sean Spicer drew nervous tweets from the liberal media for calling on sources outside their comfort zone. He didn’t start with the usual alphabet: AP, ABC, CBS, NBC. He started with the New York Post, whose representative asked him when Trump would start building that wall he promised on the southern border.

CNN media reporter Brian Stelter was wowed: “He's literally AND symbolically going over the heads of the reporters from the biggest newspapers and TV networks.”

Let me point out that Rupert Murdoch owns Fox. And owns the NY Post who got the first question today. It's like the National Inquirer, if you didn't know. Mind, Murdoch is unhappy with current regulations which prevent cross ownership which protects us from being the victim of State Owned Media like Russia. And the Christian weekly magazine called Christian Broadcasting Network got the second question. Rupert Murdoch talks to Mr Trump a reported five times a week. They buddies up after the early stages of the campaign when Murdoch realized Trump could rescind the regulations that prevent him from buying the remaining news sources he doesn't already own.

We now live in a world of alternative facts dictated by fanatic about appearance and wealth. BTW, Trump continues to blame voter fraud for loosing the popular vote today. I'm sure that won't be a problem by the next election as states continue to make ID laws more difficult.

Did I mention election day was retroactively declared the National Day of Patriotic Devotion? Trumpland is the new dystopia.

Day 2, Year 01, Trumpland: The Women's March

Housekeeping Note: Pardon the dates....I began comments on Trump on another blog, then realized that if I want to go public on Facebook it needs it's own space divorced from my personal life. So I've caught up, copied over and the first four dates will be for today.

On a hopeful note, the bleakness of the inauguration gave way to women in pink hats.

Compliments of The Guardian
I have eyes...if you are reading this, so do you. Guess which is the inauguration?

The Donald just can't stand it.

Come on America, let's keep letting our voices ring out!

I suspect this March was only the beginning. And while it is not without criticism, it was powerful and telling. We all have to come together and stand against tyranny. Otherwise, they will use our differences to destroy us by simply letting us destroy each other.

Day 1, Year 01, Trumpland: The inauguration of the Donald

Welcome to the New World Order, otherwise known as Trumpland. It's a bleak landscape when presidents grab women by their pussy, bullying is approved, and the White House provides alt-facts.

As a GLBTQ person, I took note when Obama took office. And I married my partner last spring when the political became personal. I followed this election cycle avidly, and with increasing horror. I voted for Hillary, and I am still with her philosophy.

This is my blog and my rules. Comments will be moderated. I am not here for discussion. This is where I record my thoughts, and share them if you choose to read them. I am a therapist by trade, and I am not here to moderate, explain or fix. I get paid for that. This is my personal life, my personal views, and my personal time. 

Welcome to the Dystopian Future that begins now.

The Donald was so eager to assume his place in history he forgot his wife. She followed him up the steps and Obamas welcomed her. Very telling for where women are on the Trumpland agenda.

So lets briefly talk about the inaugural address. The New York Times have an annotated copy that bears witness to the day. Donald, throughout the campaign, separated himself from the political elite. Despite the ostentatious wealth, gold faucets, and bragging about his possessions, Donald has created himself as the myth of Everyman the Populist President. His following fails to see that he is creating a Kleptocracy. And now we arrive in a Dystopic world where he paints a bleak landscape. (Never mind that crime is the lowest in decades and unemployment is around 4%.) Corporate profits are souring at the cost to the worker. But Donald has assembled a team that doesn't support minimum wage, worker rights, or healthcare.

Pay attention folks. When a president declares the facts, hands out chairs as rewards, and public castigates what should be private, we are in trouble. And when the military is built to the scale he promises, and the president readily pisses off world leaders, we are headed to war. Which guarantees his position of power. Welcome to the Kleptocracy.

BTW: Did anyone notice their were no signing translators? Statement about the handicapped?