Nel's New Day

July 17, 2018

President Obama: The ‘Politics of Fear and Resentment’

Filed under: Progressives — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
Tags: , ,

Former President Barack Obama spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday to honor the late Nelson Mandela on his 100th birthday. President Obama began with the youth of Madiba (Nelson Mandela) and the changes during his lifetime from colonial rule and the rampant racism among groups with little chance of advancing because gender and ethnic background determined a person’s future. Following are excerpts from his speech. You can read the transcript or watch it.

“More and more peoples, having witnessed the horrors of totalitarianism, the repeated mass slaughters of the 20th century, began to embrace a new vision for humanity, a new idea, one based not only on the principle of national self-determination, but also on the principles of democracy and rule of law and civil rights and the inherent dignity of every single individual. In those nations with market-based economies, suddenly union movements developed; and health and safety and commercial regulations were instituted; and access to public education was expanded; and social welfare systems emerged, all with the aim of constraining the excesses of capitalism and enhancing its ability to provide opportunity not just to some but to all people. And the result was unmatched economic growth and a growth of the middle class.

“And in my own country, the moral force of the civil rights movement not only overthrew Jim Crow laws but it opened up the floodgates for women and historically marginalized groups to reimagine themselves, to find their own voices, to make their own claims to full citizenship…. And during the last decades of the 20th century, the progressive, democratic vision that Nelson Mandela represented in many ways set the terms of international political debate. And from Europe to Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, dictatorships began to give way to democracies…. And with these geopolitical changes came sweeping economic changes. The introduction of market-based principles, in which previously closed economies along with the forces of global integration powered by new technologies, suddenly unleashed entrepreneurial talents to those that once had been relegated to the periphery of the world economy, who hadn’t counted….

“The international order has fallen short of its promise. In fact, it is in part because of the failures of governments and powerful elites to squarely address the shortcomings and contradictions of this international order that we now see much of the world threatening to return to an older, a more dangerous, a more brutal way of doing business. …The previous structures of privilege and power and injustice and exploitation never completely went away…. Racial discrimination still exists in both the United States and South Africa…. The accumulated disadvantages of years of institutionalized oppression have created yawning disparities in income, and in wealth, and in education, and in health, in personal safety, in access to credit….

“And while globalization and technology have opened up new opportunities, have driven remarkable economic growth in previously struggling parts of the world, globalization has also upended the agricultural and manufacturing sectors in many countries. It’s also greatly reduced the demand for certain workers, has helped weaken unions and labor’s bargaining power. It’s made it easier for capital to avoid tax laws and the regulations of nation-states — can just move billions, trillions of dollars with a tap of a computer key.

“And the result of all these trends has been an explosion in economic inequality. It’s meant that a few dozen individuals control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity. …the only difference is it created even greater opportunities for corruption on an epic scale. And for once solidly middle-class families in advanced economies like the United States, these trends have meant greater economic insecurity, especially for those who don’t have specialized skills, people who were in manufacturing, people working in factories, people working on farms.

“In every country just about, the disproportionate economic clout of those at the top has provided these individuals with wildly disproportionate influence on their countries’ political life and on its media; on what policies are pursued and whose interests end up being ignored. …Many titans of industry and finance are increasingly detached from any single locale or nation-state, and they live lives more and more insulated from the struggles of ordinary people in their countries of origin…. From their board rooms or retreats, global decision-makers don’t get a chance to see sometimes the pain in the faces of laid-off workers. Their kids don’t suffer when cuts in public education and health care result as a consequence of a reduced tax base because of tax avoidance.

“Within the United States, within the European Union, challenges to globalization first came from the left but then came more forcefully from the right, as you started seeing populist movements — which, by the way, are often cynically funded by right-wing billionaires intent on reducing government constraints on their business interests — these movements tapped the unease that was felt by many people who lived outside of the urban cores; fears that economic security was slipping away, that their social status and privileges were eroding, that their cultural identities were being threatened by outsiders, somebody that didn’t look like them or sound like them or pray as they did….

“Perhaps more than anything else, the devastating impact of the 2008 financial crisis, in which the reckless behavior of financial elites resulted in years of hardship for ordinary people all around the world, made all the previous assurances of experts ring hollow — all those assurances that somehow financial regulators knew what they were doing, that somebody was minding the store, that global economic integration was an unadulterated good….

“A politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear, and that kind of politics is now on the move…. Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained — the form of it — but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning. In the West, you’ve got far-right parties that oftentimes are based not just on platforms of protectionism and closed borders, but also on barely hidden racial nationalism…. Who needs free speech as long as the economy is going good? The free press is under attack. Censorship and state control of media is on the rise. Social media — once seen as a mechanism to promote knowledge and understanding and solidarity — has proved to be just as effective promoting hatred and paranoia and propaganda and conspiracy theories….

“Authoritarian governments have been shown time and time again to breed corruption, because they’re not accountable…. Countries which rely on rabid nationalism and xenophobia and doctrines of tribal, racial or religious superiority as their main organizing principle, the thing that holds people together — eventually those countries find themselves consumed by civil war or external war.

“History also shows the power of fear. History shows the lasting hold of greed and the desire to dominate others in the minds of men…. History shows how easily people can be convinced to turn on those who look different, or worship God in a different way…. And history shows that societies which tolerate vast differences in wealth feed resentments and reduce solidarity and actually grow more slowly….

“Democracy depends on strong institutions and it’s about minority rights and checks and balances, and freedom of speech and freedom of expression and a free press, and the right to protest and petition the government, and an independent judiciary, and everybody having to follow the law…. The efficiency that’s offered by an autocrat … leads invariably to more consolidation of wealth at the top and power at the top, and it makes it easier to conceal corruption and abuse. For all its imperfections, real democracy best upholds the idea that government exists to serve the individual and not the other way around.

“[For democracy] to work, we have to actually believe in an objective reality…. You have to believe in facts.… I can’t find common ground if somebody says climate change is just not happening, when almost all of the world’s scientists tell us it is…. Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up…. We see it in state-sponsored propaganda; …we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more…. We see it in the promotion of anti-intellectualism and the rejection of science from leaders who find critical thinking and data somehow politically inconvenient. And, as with the denial of rights, the denial of facts runs counter to democracy, it could be its undoing….

“It is tempting to give in to cynicism: to believe that recent shifts in global politics are too powerful to push back; that the pendulum has swung permanently…. Things may go backwards for a while, but ultimately, right makes might, not the other way around…. So, young people, who are in the audience, who are listening, my message to you is simple, keep believing, keep marching, keep building, keep raising your voice.”

[Note: President Obama did not mention the man inaugurated as president of the United States in 2017.]

June 12, 2018

A Tale of Two Summits

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 10:06 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

It was the best of summits. It was the worst of summits. At least in the behavior exhibited by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Just four days ago, DDT went to meet with five European leaders and the Japanese prime minister at the G-7 summit. He was determined to insult them and succeeded. He arrived late on Friday, refused to wear casual clothing, disrupted speeches at the breakfast on Saturday by arriving half way through them, and left five hours early for his meeting in Singapore so that he could arrive over 30 hours early.

The leaders tolerated DDT’s threats that they would suffer severe penalties if they didn’t reduce their trade deficits. He told each country what it “owed” the U.S. on trade and defense. DDT spent one meeting rambling about Germany cheating the U.S. with its car sales and then moved to his grandfather being German and DDT loved Europe. At a long press conference, he said that the U.S., which owes $6.29 trillion to other nations is no longer “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.” His only vaguely positive comment to the leaders was that earlier U.S. leaders were to blame for the trade imbalance.

Once DDT escaped the meeting, he used Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a scapegoat when he turned on the G-7 and changed his mind about signing the joint communique. He refused to sign an agreement that agreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism and called “Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak.” For the first time in 45 years, the group failed to have a unanonymous agreement on a statement of broad goals and principles.

DDT’s White House staff went out on Sunday shows to brutally attack Trudeau. The day after economic adviser Larry Kudlow had to deliver DDT’s message that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow was hospitalized with a heart attack. DDT wanted media attention for his rants to prove his strength to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, but much of the response from the world was negative.

This photo, posted on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s team as “a spontaneous meeting between two working sessions,” shows an expression that he has never used on Vladimir Putin. European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt imagined Merkel was saying, “Just tell us what Vladimir has on you. Maybe we can help.” In embarrassment, DDT lied and said that he released the photo. Trudeau also gave DDT a photo of his grandfather’s “hotel” in Canada, a gold rush brothel “known for good food, booze and ready women.” DDT’s grandfather moved to Canada after he was expelled froBavaria for avoiding the draft.

DDT’s demand that Russia be put back with the group for the earlier G-8 was largely ignored. He claimed, “We didn’t do votes or anything, but it has been discussed.” DDT blamed President Obama for Russia annexing Crimea but said nothing about Russia meddling in U.S. elections or an investigation regarding Russia. According to French news, the six leaders agreed without DDT that Russia wasn’t welcome without the nation’s making changes and that Europeans were united in defending trade rules and the Paris climate change agreement. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Europe must defend its interests and strengthen alliances with countries such as Japan and Canada.

A Reuters photographer shot a photograph of French President Emmanuel Macron’s thumbprint on DDT’s hand after a handshake.

DDT directed much of his anger toward Canada’s 270 percent tariff on dairy, egg, and poultry products. Canada’s regulation on dairy production in the nation keeps prices high enough for farmers. U.S.  over-production brings the prices down and drives farmers into debt and bankruptcy so DDT wants to dump the surplus in Canada which would drive down their prices. Yet the U.S. controls prices on such items as tobacco and sugar.

To break the dairy tariff from Canada, DDT put tariffs on aluminum and steel, hurting U.S. consumers. Tariffs have two purposes: restrict imports and make money for the government. In his “Make America First” speeches, DDT has told other countries that they protect themselves. When Trudeau follows DDT’s advice, he is subjected to vicious insults from DDT’s “diplomats.” DDT’s tax cuts for huget companies and the rich created so much economic damage to the U.S. budget that he is desperate to cover these losses.

A photo-op of the G-7 v. G-1 leaders shows the tension. To DDT, loyalty toward him is all. To the rest of the world, loyalty from allies has meant nothing. DDT’s ghost writer for The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, states that DDT’s behavior toward allies will only grow worse, based on his past experiences with the man in charge of U.S. foreign affairs.

Before DDT went to the meeting with Kim Jong-Un, he explained when he knew he could trust Kim. “Within the first minute, I’ll know. Just my touch, my feel—that’s what I do,” DDT’s response to a question about when he will recognize whether Kim can be trusted. The Trump and Kim Celebrity Show took off in the U.S. during prime time on Monday, planned like everything else for its spectacle. The spectacle didn’t disappoint: DDT looked and sounded like a middle school students with his first crush on another boy. [The photo by Kevin Lim looks like time out at camp.] Kim, the person who DDT “honored,” has run a ruthless regime by executing at least 300 officials and family members in three purges, brutally imprisoning people accused of “disloyalty,” miring North Korea in economic ruin and poverty, and consistently threatening the U.S. and the world with nuclear disaster. Justin Trudeau, who deserves a “special place in hell” according to DDT’s minion, politely leads a nation that has always supported U.S. national security.

DDT and Kim have strong similarities: both have nuclear weapons and alternate between flattery and hateful comments for the other. Both are thin-skinned alpha males with the philosophy that “I alone can fix it.” Both are pathological liars with explosive tempers who are determined to appear dominant, especially with a focus on the military. Intelligence agencies’ profile of Kim sounds much like that of DDT—”Gluttonous, prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates … an in-attendant student [who] demanded slavish loyalty.” Also “prone to violence,” “didn’t do well in school,” “distracted a lot,” and makes vague and grand declarations. Kim and DDT have three major differences: age, ethnicity, and smarts. DDT may understand Kim better than he does Trudeau because he is so much like Kim. As DDT said after their meeting, he and Kim will have a “terrific relationship.”

Abby Huntsman recognized the similarities when she called the summit a “meeting between two dictators”—“this is history”—but then apologized for what pundits are calling a “gaffe.” One tweet called her statement “probably the most honest thing ever said in the program’s history.”

What did DDT get from the U.S./North Korea agreement? Kim will talk to DDT, shutter a missile engine testing site that is probably of no use, and return of the remains of U.S. service members lost in North Korea over 60 years ago. DDT said he discussed “real estate and beachside hotel opportunities,” and his approval ratings will probably go up.

What did North Korea get? North Korea declared the meeting a win for them, stating that DDT will lift sanctions against North Korea as well as stopping war exercises. Kim may keep his nuclear arms and ballistic missiles while DDT damages U.S. relations with South Korea by stopping war exercises and pulling 32,000 military members from the country without consulting his own military leaders or telling South Korea officials. DDT shows no concern about the huge violations of human right in North Korea and said, “Kim loves his people.” Kim can continue develop of these weapons. Most important for Kim, he is now recognized in the world as an equal of the president of the United States. This fact-checker points out the fallacies of DDT’s statements after the summit and North Korea’s betrayals after deals in 1994 and 2005.

Two necessary pieces of this denuclearization process was timelines and veritication DDT’s definition: timetable – “period of time”; verify: “ develop a certain trust.” Asked if he doesn’t get what North Korea promised, DDT said, “I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

The empty language in the document, affirming the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration signed by North Korea and South Korea in April, lacked goals and process. It was intended to play for time. Now DDT needs to do nothing before the 2018 midterm elections and very little before 2020. He has already said that denuclearization with North Korea takes a long time, but there are no discussions of inspections to show that weapons not be produced as in the Iran deal. DDT complained about the bad Iran deal, but President Obama didn’t shake Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s hand, calling it a great honor and then saying they had a “terrific relationship” with no results except giving away leverage and getting nothing in return.

At one time, the United States felt like a democracy that moved toward granting human rights. Voter suppression, Russian meddling, white nationalism influence, and exchange of friendship with democratic allies to autocratic regimes has moved the United States toward an oligarchy where the president uses the nation as his personal financial piggy bank. It is a new look at U.S. foreign policy.

 

May 30, 2018

Democracy on Memorial Day

Filed under: Politics — trp2011 @ 10:41 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today is the real Memorial Day and the final blog post in a series of vanishing democracy in the United States. News from the last few weeks:

When the cost of healthcare premiums skyrocket next year, people need to thank Republicans and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President Kris Haltmeyer said that the rise will come from the GOP failure to shore up the market after a bill collapsed during Republican arguments about abortion restrictions. In last week’s briefing, Haltmeyer said, “With the repeal of the individual mandate and the failure of Congress to enact stabilization legislation, we are expecting premiums to go up substantially.”  He put the average increases in the “low teens” with costs in some areas of up to 70 or 80 percent.

The NRA found the “good guy with the gun” vital to their propaganda, but the organization blocked all guns at their convention earlier this month. People in the United States were safer for a few days while almost 90,000 gun fanatics gathered in one place without their weapons. The group made Oliver North its new leader. He can be remembered as an important figure in illegally selling weapons to Iranians for the release of U.S. prisoners before using the money to illegally finance a war in Central America. His convictions of multiple felonies were later overturned on appeal. It’s the new conservative world. In a recent appearance on Fox, he claimed that all Iranians are liars.

North joins the “convict caucus,” politicians who came out of prison to take important positions or run for office. (Technically, he was only convicted but never behind bars.) Other members are two candidates for U.S. Senate and one for the House in GOP primaries. Don Blankenship, imprisoned for violating workplace safety in the deaths of 29 coal miners, already lost his run for the senator from Kentucky but plans to run as an independent for the Constitution Party, despite the “sore loser” law preventing his candidacy. The other two primaries are August 28 when former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio runs in Arizona for the Senate, and June 26 when Michael Grimm runs for a representative from New York.

Grimm claimed to be a close friend of DDT, but DDT endorsed his opponent. One reason for the endorsement was Dan Donovan’s vote for the tax cut, but Donovan really voted against the bill. Grimm is running on his record of admittedly hiring undocumented workers, hiding $900,000 from tax authorities, and making false statements under oath. After Grimm’s aide filed fraudulent candidate petitions in Donovan’s name, he may be headed back to the hoosegow.

The former Boy Scouts decided to recruit girls in an effort to increase its members, but the Mormon church pulled all its members world-wide, instantly reducing the 2.3 million membership by 20 percent. All boys who were part of the 30,500 congregations automatically became part of the Boy Scouts.

DDT’s swamp deepens. Busy with foreign affairs, he has not made many appointments lately, but this one is a doozy. Ronald W. Mortensen, a strong anti-immigration activist, is DDT’s pick to lead the State Department agency overseeing refugee and immigration issues. Normally GOP Senators would automatically confirm him, but his writings have attacked senators, including Marco Rubio (FL) and John McCain (AZ). Mortensen has worked for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, and said that DACA gives amnesty to “criminal illegal aliens.” As assistant secretary of State for the bureau of population, refugees and migration, Mortensen’s mission would be to “provide protection, ease suffering, and resolve the plight of persecuted and uprooted people around the world,” according to its mission statement.

After assigning immigration judges quotas for their employment, AG Jeff Sessions ordered all immigration judges to not temporarily remove cases from their dockets without issuing decisions. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said that this practice will create problems, and Trina Realmutto, attorney with American Immigration Council, called the decision “bad law, bad policy.”

As if DDT’s appointments aren’t bad enough, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is adding to the sewer by appointing Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to the Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FRC as a hate group. The commission’s job is to review violations of religious freedom and make policy recommendations to Congress, Secretary of State, and president. Perkins is best known for his virulent hatred of LGBTQ people.

Gordon Hartogensis, Mitch McConnell’s brother-in-law, is DDT’s pick for the Department of Labor’s pension agency, responsible for paying back dissolved pensions after companies cannot meet their obligations. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is already the Transportation Secretary. Hartogensis has no public service experience or understanding of his job’s responsibilities of protecting pensions for 1.5 million people with a deficit of $76 billion.

Andrew Smith, a former lawyer for payday lenders, has been confirmed as the director of the FTC’s consumer protection unit that acts as watchdog over private companies.

Richard Grenell, the new ambassador to Germany, lived up to concerns that he will offend Germans. An hour after his arrival, he issued the order that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” DDT had said that he wanted all countries to join him in sanctions against Iran, but Germany, along with four other countries, don’t plan to back out of the denuclearization agreement. Just as many people predicted, Germans found Grenell to be offensive. He matches the inappropriate selection of Pete Hoekstra, ambassador to the Netherlands, who lied about having said that the country has “no-go” areas where Muslims set cars and politicians on fire. Hoekstra then denied claiming “fake news” after he discovered the video footage of his statements. Since Grenell’s statement, he’s been fairly low-key although he told Fox that he didn’t want to be a “typical diplomat,” that he would “dig” into policy.

A few commencement speeches this year focused on the loss of democracy in the United States. Michael Bloomberg talked at Rice University of the threat from “our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party and in pursuit of power.” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) spoke to graduates of the Harvard Law School “about our democratic norms and how hard-won and vulnerable they are” with the lessons to be learned about today’s administration. At the University of Maryland, Al Gore encouraged his audience “to reclaim the integrity of American democracy.” Economist Alice Rivlin agreed, telling people at Indiana University, “Only you can fix American democracy.”

No address got as much attention as the one that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered to graduates at Virginia Military Institute about the end of American democracy if Americans don’t take action. His warnings didn’t mention DDT by name, but the intent was obvious:

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth—even on what may seem the most trivial of matters—we go wobbly on America.

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector—and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector—then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.

“But a warning to you as you leave this place—a place where the person sitting on either side of you shares that understanding. You will now enter a world where, sadly, that is not always the case. And your commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be tested.”

According to Tillerson, truth is the “central tenet of a free society.”

Tillerson was complicit in an administration that displayed the opposite of the ideas he presented after he participated in a huge cover-up of climate change when he was CEO of a huge company in the fuel industry. We can only hope that he benefits from 20/20 hindsight and can help others understand how destructive the current administration and their followers are to the values of the U.S. people say they prize. And we hope that the youth of the United States will want to bring back a form of democracy to the nation and attend to the U.S. Constitution.

May 27, 2018

U.S. Minorities Fight for Constitutional Rights

The calamitous and chaotic foreign affairs creating a debacle during the past week have pushed disastrous decisions of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) into the background. One of the worst is DDT’s new “gag rule” that prevents federal funds from any institution that mentions abortion. https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/trump-pushing-domestic-gag-rule-stop-some-doctors-discussing-abortion-nyt?src=newsletter1092354  Until now, the “gag rule” by the federal government has been for only foreign women, but DDT plans to withdraw any federal family planning funds if healthcare workers indicates abortion as an alternative to pregnancy. The man making this decision is so ignorant about health that he doesn’t know the difference between HIV and HPV, even after Microsoft founder Bill Gates explained it to him—twice. (HIV is the virus that causes the disease known as AIDS, and HPV is the human papillomavirus causing genital warts and cancer.)

As DDT plans to put high tariffs on car imports, he forgets that some of these are “Made in the USA.” Foreign automobile companies employ people in Southern “right-to-work” states because car manufacturing is cheaper there than in their own countries. As usual, the battle is between hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro and his opponents, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett. DDT is on his customary pattern of intimidating people and distracting the media from his personal problems.

Minimum wages in Mexico are part of the NAFTA negotiations. Imported cars to the U.S. are tariff-free if 62.5 percent of the content comes from North America, but DDT wants to make that 75 percent and then require 40 percent of a car to be made by works earning at least $16 per hour. The question is whether U.S. workers would get $16 hourly wage too, especially because 21 states use the federal $7.25 minimum wage.

DDT is making Europe the leader in international carbon monitoring by canceling the NASA greenhouse gas monitoring program. Supporting 65 projects, the program costs $10 a year—about three of DDT’s weekends in Mar-a-Lago.

The DOJ has removed language about press freedom and racial gerrymandering from its manual of policy priorities. The first changes in over two decades removed the section called “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” which included “the right of the people in a constitutional democracy to have access to information about the conduct of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts, consistent with the individual rights of the accused.” Employees are now required to report “any contact with a member of the media about a DOJ matter.” This section was also removed:

“The Voting Section defends from unjustified attack redistricting plans designed to provide minority voters fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choice and endeavors to achieve racially fair results where courts find…that redistricting plans constitute unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”

Fox has put the press for sale. Donald Trump Jr.’s new girlfriend is Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle who sells Jr.’s daddy, the man in the Oval Office.

DDT is investigating the possibility of using a Korean War-era law to support coal and nuclear industries. The Defense Production Act of 1950 allows a president to nationalize private industry to guarantee resources during wars or after disasters and classifies energy as a “strategic and critical material.” Taxpayers will pay the bill. In his bid for re-election, blue-dog Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is asking that the statute be invoked for the “security of our nation.” If he is successful in creating a manufactured crisis, pro-coal politicians can make customers pay for profits and shareholder values of failing coal companies and owners of nuclear fleets. (I think it’s called a “bailout.”)

Israeli lawmakers have given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the authority to declare war with only the defense minister’s approval. DDT is surely paying attention with the possibility that he will get the same authority.

Transgender prisoners are more accessible to sexual abuse, assault, death and all forms of discrimination after DDT ordered the Bureau of Prisons to assign housing by “biological sex.” Guidance on medical care and hormone therapy now includes the word “necessary.” New DDT/VP Mike Pence orders conflict with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, signed into law by George W. Bush.

The NFL has ruled that football players cannot kneel on the field although they can stay in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In addition to the First Amendment violations of this ruling, several states “have laws that bar private employers from retaliating against employees because of their political activity,” according to law professor Eugene Volokh. In 1934, a German football team was banned from playing because it wouldn’t give the Nazi salute. In 2017, 19 state legislatures considered bills to make protesting illegal; three of the states passed these into law.

DDT’s signature on a resolution repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s auto-lending guidance revokes protection for minority customers from predatory practices. For the first time, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to pass a resolution revoking a federal agency’s informal guidance. The resolution also prevents any protection in the future. Minority customers frequently suffer from higher dealer markups than white customers with similar credit profiles.

White House staff must use cell phones with security features, but DDT refuses any cellphone that cannot easily be hacked. DDT criticizes Hillary Clinton’s private email service, but at least six of his officials follow her practice. GOP House members continue to investigate Hillary Clinton’s secure email server.

DDT insisted that dumping chemicals into clean water will keep “clean, clean water … the cleanest,” but a report proved him wrong, leaving  big companies and the Defense Department liable to huge clean-up costs and reevaluation of water system safety. EPA Scott Pruitt announced the results of the report after three months of concealing the problem of water contaminants, but reporters were banned from attendance. One reporter was shoved out the door, but the information still got into the media.

Most of southeast Wisconsin has been exempted from any federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution as a favor to Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign centering on his new Foxconn Technology Group factory. Pruitt overruled his agency to stop requirements making improvements in Foxconn’s electronics plant just north of the Illinois border. Pruitt also added to Chicago’s unhealthy pollution problems by reducing the list of counties with dirty air in Illinois and Indiana. Walker blames Chicago for the bad air in Wisconsin.

Water is a concern for DDT appointee Brenda Burman, head of the Bureau of Reclamation that manages the water in the western U.S. The lack of runoff from the Rocky Mountains into the Colorado River, just 42 percent of normal, continues a 19-year dry spell that ranks as the driest on record for the Southwest, part of a drought that also covers the United States. The Colorado River provides drinking water for 40 million people and waters millions of acres of farmland. Arizona may get a 20-percent cut in water allotment by 2020. Burman didn’t say “climate change,” but she’s worried.

CBS News’ Lesley Stahl said DDT told her why he attacked the press:

“You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

In DDT’s continuing “LieGate” to discredit organizations—pollsters, law enforcement officials, courts, Congressional Budget Office, etc.—he ranted about the New York Times reporting that “’a senior White House official,’ who doesn’t exist” said that a meeting with Kim Jong-Un on June 12 was impossible because of “lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” On Thursday, that official, ordered to be called a “senior White House official,” briefed dozens of reporters in person and on a conference call about DDT’s cancellation of the meeting. DDT’s false accusation led reporters to circulate videos of Matt Pottinger delivering the message that DDT denies. The man who DDT said “doesn’t exist” overseas Asian affairs in the U.S. National Security Council.

Rudy Giuliani, DDT’s lawyer, has admitted that DDT’s “spygate” is a con to keep him from being impeached. On last Sunday’s CNN State of the Union, he said that it’s for “public opinion” and to “defend the president” by making people “question the legitimacy of [the Mueller investigation].”

After DDT’s wife spent five days in the hospital for a procedure that usually requires just an overnight stay, he welcomed his wife home by misspelling her name as “Melanie.” At least he didn’t make that mistake on Mother’s Day. DDT praised his late immigrant mother as “incredible” but made no mention of his current immigrant wife and mother of his youngest son. Even DDT’s son Donald Trump Jr. complimented his wife, who he is divorcing. We’ll see what Melania says about Barron’s father.

Three mobile billboards with art by Michael D’Antuono circled the Capitol earlier in May. Tourists interviewed for a media documenting the artist’s caravan agreed with his message, that people need to worry more about protecting democracy and less about covering up DDT’s offenses. Respondents may have been thinking about DDT’s removal of the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, voting rights, price equality, reproductive rights, clean water–or any water while DDT lies incessantly about his dishonest behavior.

February 6, 2018

Stay Involved – Make the U.S. a ‘Beacon’ for All

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:56 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Every day I read the news—the hopeful pieces and the disgusting hatred that people spew out against anyone who threatens the male white power of the United States. With the increasing loss of democracy in the nation, more and more people say they can no longer follow the news because it is so upsetting. At the same time, inequality of classes—economic, racial, gender, etc.–rapidly grows.

Within the past week, I have heard two statements that make me want to crawl into a hole and avoid any media. Last week, GOP political strategist said that Donald Trump could kill a baby at a rally and it would not take away from his popularity. The worst thing about what Wilson said is that he is right—nothing seems to take away from the support of Trump’s base. His horrific behavior has been so normalized that he can do anything he wants to destroy people and the country. His base only wants to keep the United States for only white people and women in subservience.

The second statement came from Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly today when he talked about the people who were brought into the United States by adults when they were children. He accused those afraid to identify themselves to the government as undocumented of being “too lazy to get off their asses” to sign up for DACA. (Never mind hat Kelly’s boss, Donald Trump, spends less than ten hours a week on his job as president and occupies this time bragging about himself while goading his base into destroying the constitution.)

I remember when the young people were offered the opportunity to register their undocumented status in exchange for getting work permits and going to school. There were long discussions of what would happen if an administration would reject this status and deport them because they had been open enough to identify themselves. Now their fears have come to pass. Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE, said that anyone in the country illegally would be targeted for deportation even if they had not committed a crime.

Last fall, Donald Trump took away the last vestige of safety for DACA recipients so that he could use them as hostages for the wall he wants between Mexico and the United States. Trump promised on his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but their president made clear that they would not give Trump that money. Immediately after his inauguration, Trump begged Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, not to tell press that Mexico won’t pay for wall. Today, Trump said he would “love a [government] shutdown” in order to get his wall in exchange for letting the DACA recipients stay in the country. As Trump has consistently proved, his promises are worth nothing.

DACA recipients have been losing their right to be in the United States since he ended his program last September, the deadline is March 5 for everyone. When Trump campaigned, he said he wanted to deport the “bad hombres,” and he obsessively talks about the El Salvadoran gang MS-13 as a demonstration of dangers from immigration. Yet ICE daily picks up and deports immigrants who contribute to the betterment of the United States and have caused no problems in their decades of living in the United States. At the same time, ICE makes immigrants afraid to go to the police in opposition to gang violence because the immigrants will be deported instead of the gang members.

The numbers of people in poverty and without health insurance grew the last year, and homelessness increased for the first time since 2010. Hate crime hit a five-year high during Donald Trump’s campaign, and the number of hate crimes rose for the second straight year in 2017. Trump’s policies are bad for the United States.

Michael Gerson, former speech writer for George W. Bush, blames the Republicans’ weakness for our disappearing democracy:

“With the blessing of Republican leaders, the lickspittle wing of the GOP is now firmly in charge…. The nearly uniform cowardice among elected Republicans is staggering. One is left wishing that Obamacare covered spine transplants. The Republican-led Congress is now an adjunct of the White House. The White House is now an adjunct of Trump’s chaotic will….

“Trump has made a practice of forcing people around him to lower their standards and abandon their ideals before turning against them when their usefulness ends. His servants are sucked dry of integrity and dignity, then thrown away like the rind of a squeezed orange. Who does Trump’s bidding and has his or her reputation enhanced? A generation of Republicans will end up writing memoirs of apology and regret….

“For Republicans, what seemed like a temporary political compromise is becoming an indelible moral stain…. By defending Trump’s transgressions, by justifying his abuses, Republicans are creating an atmosphere in which corruption and cowardice thrive….”

For the past 25+ years, I have picked up our pet dogs’ excrement. Lack of contamination is vital in preventing infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and polio. Without paying attention to sanitation, people get sick. In the same way, people have to pay attention to the excrement pouring out of the Donald Trump administration—the lack of care for all human beings that it daily exhibits.

Much as I would like to avoid the sick statements made by people like John Kelly and Donald Trump and their followers, I’ll keep trying to expose the excrements. On just this one day, however, I need to vent my frustrations as Donald Trump uses his power to make ugly a place formerly described as a shining light, “a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for people everywhere.”

Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes, members of the conservative Brookings Institute, have called for a total boycott of the Republican party because the GOP support of Donald Trump is “a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.” (People who want to save the United States should read the entire article.) As a progressive, I believe that the nation needs a diversity of ideas created by more than one party. I also agree with the authors of this article when they write:

“The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers [is to] vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former)….

“Republicans, even moderate ones, are reluctant to cross party lines. Party, today, is identity. But in the through-the-looking-glass era of Donald Trump, the best thing Republicans can do for their party is vote against it.

“We understand, too, the many imperfections of the Democratic Party. Its left is extreme, its center is confused, and it has its share of bad apples. But the Democratic Party is not a threat to our democratic order. That is why we are rising above our independent predilections and behaving like dumb-ass partisans. It’s why we hope many smart people will do the same.”

If my blog goes dark for a few days, it is because of events beyond my control. For those of you who follow Nels New Day, thank you. I will be back.

November 19, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-Three – Democracy Threatened

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), his minions, and the GOP daily threaten democracy in the United States.The most egregious action from the past week—and certainly one of the least known—may be the trial against over 150 of the 217 protesters arrested during the January 2017 presidential inauguration. They each face 60 years in prison for breaking less than ten windows. (Rapists have received a sentence of six months in jail, and the minimum prison sentence is four years.)

Law enforcement “kettled”—scooped up—protesters, journalists, and legal observers without demanding that they disperse. Police extensively used pepper spray, concussion grenades, and stingers, even on already detained individuals, and kept people outdoors “for excessive periods of time” without access to food, water or bathrooms. Photojournalist Shay Horse said he was told to drop his pants and had his testicles “yanked on” before the officer “stuck his finger up each of our anuses and wiggled it around.” The rally in Charlottesville (VA), where white supremacists discharged firearms, produced no blanket felonies and conspiracies to riot although the white supremacists brutally beat a black man and killed a woman by driving a car into a crowd of counter protesters.

Jury selection began on November 15 for the first six protesters, and arguments start tomorrow. Judge Lynn Leibovitz in D.C. Superior Court said that guilty verdicts require proof that the person helped organize or incite the mayhem. For proof of conspiracy, DOJ uses typical protesting clothing, chanting, and other types of organization for all marches and protests. Two photojournalists are still charged with no knowledge of why they were not released with another seven journalists.

DOJ is also using taxpayer money to protect DDT in at least four lawsuits against his private businesses in DOJ’s defense of DDT’s unconstitutional decision not to divest himself from hundreds of companies that profit from foreign governments and officials.

Russia keeps haunting Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee suspected that Jared Kushner is withholding emails from Donald Trump Jr.’s correspondence with WikiLeaks and asks Kushner for additional information. Missing documents include one document about a “Russian backdoor overture” and communications that a Russian-born businessman had sent the DDT campaign.
  • Special investigator Robert Mueller is further investigating Michael Flynn’s $15 million kidnapping plot with the help of Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who had been accused of money laundering.
  • White House Communications Director Hope Hicks will meet with Mueller’s investigators.
  • Stephen Miller, White House aide who drafted the memo urging the firing of former FBI director James Comey, has been identified as the “senior policy adviser” who George Papadopoulos referenced in coordinating a meeting between DDT and Vladimir Putin during DDT’s campaign. Documents show a possibility of obstruction of justice on Miller’s part. Miller wrote speeches for Jeff Sessions, who lied under oath to Congress about his Russian contacts during the campaign, and still works for the White House.
  • Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer’s data company that helped elect DDT, is in greater trouble after increased revelations about Russian connections. In early June 2016, the company contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; the first DDT campaign payment was dated July 29, 2016. The campaign paid almost $9 million to the firm. Timeline of known contacts as of a week ago.
  • For almost a year, Donald Trump Jr. exchanged tweets with Wikileaks and complied with some of their requests to disseminate Russian-created propaganda against Hillary Clinton.
  • DDT is paying $2.83 million to the former head of KGB counter-intelligence to provide security for the U.S. embassy in Moscow. A loyalist to Vladimir Putin, Viktor Budanov was once the former KGB officer’s boss. Budenov has worked with Kim Philby, a British defector to the USSR, and taught Bulgarian agents how to kill dissidents. 
  • DDT also praised Vladimir Putin, called past leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies as “political hacks,” and denied any Russian involvement in his election. Backlash, including angry words from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), led DDT to change his words, saying that he believed Putin meant what he said but also believed in the current intelligence agencies. DDT’s statements indicate that he may try to remove sanctions from Russia.
  • More problems for DDT come from his Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, earning him at least $13.9 million in the past three years, that is used for money laundering by international organized crime, including money from Russian gangsters and Colombian drug cartels.  Although DDT may not have attempted to promote criminal activity, he has done nothing to prevent it.

DDT’s trip to Asia was extremely successful—for him. China gave him preliminary approval for 38 trademarks including hotels, spas, escort and concierge services, massage parlors, personal security services, and insurance. These applications were pending since six months before DDT was elected. With no objection, the trademarks will be formally registered in 90 days.

The National Women’s Law Center and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement are suing DDT for violating federal law in blocking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule requiring employers to report pay data broken down by sex and race.

DDT’s latest blow against the people he promised to protect is his FCC’s chair Ajit Pai’s decision to downgrade the Lifeline program allowing low-income people to get broadband internet access and other telecommunication access for a reduced cost. The FCC’s next step is to prevent telecom providers not operating their own network infrastructure from offering Lifeline-subsidized plans. Over 70 percent of wireless Lifeline customers lose not only their preferred plan but also any carrier. Pai’s former employer, AT&T, has already discriminated against low-income communities by failing to upgrade infrastructure. Big losers are the program’s enrollees in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico struggling back from devastating disasters, impoverished Native American people living on reservations, veterans who use Lifeline to find jobs and health care, and low-income elderly who need access to technological communications as well as children who no longer have access to the internet for their schoolwork.

DDT is making more money for Wall Street with his “wall.” Stock Value for Sterling, the one publicly-held company of the six chosen to build prototypes, has seen its stock increase by 65 percent in less than three months since it was chosen to develop the prototype. DDT has promised to shut down the government if he doesn’t get funding for his wall.

Breaking a tradition of almost two decades, DDT will not greet the eight U.S. Nobel laureates this year before they travel to Sweden in December to receive their prizes: chemist Joachim Frank; physicists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne; geneticists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young; and economist Richard Thaler.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson blocked the federal government’s attempt to withhold law-enforcement money from Philadelphia over its so-called “sanctuary city” status. In the first decision since cities sued DOJ’s attempts to pull funding, Baylson, a Reagan appointee, ruled that the city complied with federal law banning municipalities from restricting contact with ICE.

The DOJ has ruled that DDT’s tweets are “official statements of the president.” Here’s a sampling from the past week:

  • After a mass shooting killing five people in California, DDT tweeted about “God [being] with the people” but got the wrong place, referencing Sutherland Springs (TX), a tragedy of nine days earlier.
  • DDT made vicious statements about Al Franken’s sexual harassment of Leeann Tweedom but stayed silent about those of Roy Moore. (According to White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, DDT believes the allegations against Moore because he’s not campaigning for him.)
  • DDT may reverse his reversal of removing the ban on importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia after serious backlash. Even Fox News host Laura Ingraham objected to the trophies.
  • Angry because the father of one of three basketball players freed from jail in China for stealing sunglasses wasn’t grateful to him, DDT wrote, “I should have left him in jail.” DT continued the tweet war today.
  • Insulted for being called “old”—but not for being called a “lunatic,” DDT called Kim Jong-Un “short and fat.”

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – NOVEMBER 13: Protesters burn an image of US President Donald Trump fashioned on a swastika as they march the streets of Manila during the start of the ASEAN meetings between heads of state on November 13, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos protested in Manila as U.S. President Donald Trump’s attended the ASEAN meetings in the Philippines, a stop included in his 12-day Asia trip. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)

During the past week, protesters in Manila burned a DDT effigy while he attended the ASEAN conference in the Philippines and bonded with murderous Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over their mutual dislike for President Obama.  DDT also plans to close the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington, D.C. because they aren’t allowed to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. This action followed his promise to broker peace between Palestine and Israel by declaring his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of peace. Kushner’s family has made millions by supporting Israeli illegal building on Palestinian land.

The Fact Checker has now catalogued 1,628 false or misleading claims made by Trump since he took office: That’s an average of 5.5 a day. The number per day is accelerating: during the past 35 days, his average is up to a daily nine lies, headed for “peak liar” status of at least 1,999 the first anniversary of his inauguration.

September 19, 2017

Follow Website on Russian Collusion

Filed under: Russia — trp2011 @ 9:43 PM
Tags: , , ,

Whenever news about the involvement of Russia in the presidential election comes up, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) diverts the news elsewhere by some outrageous statement. Rob Reiner, film director and political activist, and David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter and senior editor at the Atlantic, are leading a group to collect news about Russian interference in one place on a new website, investigaterussia.org. The website, launched today to disseminate information about Russia’s involvement in U.S. politics, is from The Committee to Investigate Russia. Members on the committee include James Clapper, a former Director of National Intelligence; Charlie Sykes, a conservative commentator; Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

In the past, attacks on U.S. democracy from foreign countries have brought the people of the United States together to fight these invasions, Reiner said. Russia’s offensive, however, has only separated people because Russian propaganda has been so pervasive that conservatives believe it. A strong focus of the Russia offensive now is to help undermine the credibility of our nation’s media. News about the results of U.S. intelligence agencies delving into Russia’s attempts to sway people with their lies is even more vital because social media continues to disseminate the false propaganda coming from Russia. The goal of the Committee to Investigate Russia is to put widespread data from hundreds to sources in one location.

Although none of the committee members support DDT, they come from different political parties. Reiner said:

“This isn’t about politics, which is why this project is backed by both conservatives and liberals and people with such deep national security expertise. It’s about a foreign invasion. It’s important that every American, regardless of party, can stay informed about and understand this critical threat. This is about ensuring the Russians cannot wage war on us without Americans knowing about it and making sure our elected leaders do something about it.”

David Frum said:

“Russia is not the Soviet Union. They have to leverage America’s weaknesses against America, including, above all, our intense partisan and other divisions. We are Trump skeptics of the willingness to believe things because they make you feel good in the moment.”

On-going investigations from Congress and a special investigation group led by Robert Mueller have revealed evidence of Russian interference that threatens democracy. The purpose of this group is to educate people with updates, investigations, past news, history, timelines, and people related to the danger from Russia.

Reiner explained the reason for communicating the danger that Russia presents:

“The answer is Republicans and Democrats coming together and saying this cannot stand. Make no mistake about it: if there was an atom bomb dropped on us, we would pay attention. What has happened is conceivably way worse than that. Because it’s not just disrupting the election. Cyber warfare has disrupted electrical grids, nuclear power plants and as of now, they’ve hacked into our nuclear plants and electric grids over 50 times this year.”

The right-wing press such as Breitbart has tried to persuade people that the news about Russia’s meddling is “fake,” but Jon Huntsman, DDT’s nominee for ambassador to Russia, testified in his confirmation hearing:

“There is no question — underline no question — that the Russia government interfered with the U.S. election last year and Moscow continues to meddle in processes of our friends and allies.”

 

 

The website for the Committee to Investigate Russia describes itself as follows:

The Russian Active Measures campaign aimed at the United States has been exposed. Using hacking, Twitter armies, and fake news, the Kremlin engaged in an aggressive effort to subvert the American democratic process. Now, only months into his term of office, the President and his staff are facing multiple investigations in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and by a Special Counsel for the Department of Justice.

The Committee to Investigate Russia is a nonprofit, non-partisan resource provided to help Americans recognize and understand the gravity of Russia’s continuing attacks on our democracy. All relevant information is aggregated in one place to provide context and allow users to see the full picture of what Russia has done and will continue to do unless we start paying closer attention.

For generations, people have fought to protect democracy. Now it is our turn.

DDT has consistently refused to block Russia’s interference in U.S. domestic affairs. People who want to protect democracy in the United States should sign up for this website. Investigaterussia.org

September 15, 2017

Timothy Snyder, ‘On Tyranny’

“Can’t we just move on already? We get it.” That was in the letter to the editor of our small local newspaper. This sentiment, similar to others that try to defend the practices of Donald Trump, concluded by stating that the “inflammatory, inciting” letters are “not helpful in bringing America or Americans together, or even for the future of America.” In short, the letter’s author wants people to not voice concerns that they have about the current situation in the United States.

Tonight, a television host talked with Timothy Snyder, historian who has most recently written a 128-page book called On Tyranny. A reviewer called the book “a sort of operating manual for navigating the new authoritarianism that was first born as a set of social media memes after the recent presidential election in the United States.”

The last few months have seen a growing concern about the preservation of democracy. The posts in this blog refers to the man inaugurated as president last January as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). This is not merely a snide appellation: Trump came into the office with the belief that he has unlimited power, and he keeps pushing this belief on the people:

  • He is opposed to the courts and threatened to break up the 9th Circuit after it ruled against his executive orders.
  • He wants to rig the Senate so that he can push through his agenda and succeeded when its majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voided the filibuster to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
  • He called congressional rules “archaic” because “you’re forced to make a deal” and demanded that they be abandoned. All rules that thwart his desires are “bad for the country.”
  • He continually tries to intimidate the press and wants the federal government to control it.
  • He violates constitutional law, both for personal needs and any policies he wants put into effect.
  • He praises other authoritarian leaders for their positions and actions.
  • He surrounds himself with people who believe as he does. Soon after his inauguration, DDT’s adviser, Stephen Miller declared “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

From a review by Daniel W. Drezner:

“Unlike public intellectuals who casually toss around the word “fascist” to describe a disappointing restaurant salad, Snyder knows this subject cold. He is a Yale University historian who has written at length on fascism, Communism and the Holocaust. That gives “On Tyranny” a particular urgency. It is littered with vignettes of how Germans in the 1930s aided and abetted Hitler’s rise to power. It is impossible to read aphorisms like “post-truth is pre-fascism” and not feel a small chill about the current state of the Republic. Snyder warns, “Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or Communism in the 20th century.” He offers political advice ranging from straightforward (“Defend institutions”) to insightful (“Be calm when the unthinkable arrives”). For such a small book, Snyder invests On Tyranny with considerable heft….

“As I was pondering whether On Tyranny exaggerates, Trump tweeted that the press is the enemy of the American people. That sounds awfully pre-fascist to me. So approach this short book the same way you would a medical pamphlet warning about an infectious disease. Read it carefully and be on the lookout for symptoms.”

Timothy Snyder’s article published after the presidential election:

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

  1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
  2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
  3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
  4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
  5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.
  6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the Internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
  7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
  8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
  9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
  10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
  11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
  12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
  13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
  14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.
  15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the Internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
  16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
  17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
  18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)
  19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
  20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

[I will not “move on” as long as a dictator is in charge of the nation and democracy is at risk.]

August 30, 2017

‘Trump’s Terrible 10’

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 3:15 PM
Tags: , ,

Republic Report has started a weekly countdown on the “10 most disgraceful figures” in the administration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The criteria revolve around money corrupting democracy—in DDT’s case, “how money and greed, mixed with disrespect for constitutional values, know-nothing ignorance, serious bigotry, and an endless capacity for lying, can really, really corrupt democracy.” Since the beginning of the project, DDT has won—but  you never know! The first few have just appeared this week.

  1. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. Last week’s ranking: —

While Zinke’s Navy veteran daughter was boldly attacking Trump as “a disgrace” (!) for the military transgender ban, the Secretary was busy proposing to the White House that several national monuments be dramatically shrunk and opened for mining and drilling.

  1. John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff. Last week’s ranking: —

Yes, he likely accepted the job out of patriotism. And yes, he ridded the White House of roaches Gorka, Bannon, And The Mooch. And maybe he’s made the West Wing paper flow more crisp. But since General Kelly became White House chief of staff a month ago, his boss Trump has made his racist Charlottesville remarks, given his unhinged Phoenix speech, issued his lawless Arpaio pardon during a Category 4 hurricane, advanced his bigoted armed forces transgender ban, and attacked multiple GOP Senators. Kelly reportedly is not even trying to restrain Trump. But Trump is the problem.

  1. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary. Last week’s ranking: —

At her first press briefing in a while, Sarah Sanders shrugged about Trump’s false, incendiary General Pershing mass killing story, then dismissed as “a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn’t dignify a response from this podium” the relatively measured statement to a reporter by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.” The same Corker statement then did dignify an attack tweet from President Trump.

  1. Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council. Last week’s ranking: 2

Following Trump’s praise, as Cohn stood by his side, of participants in the Charlottesville white supremacy Nazi Klan march as “very fine people,” Cohn was so principled and brave he reportedly drafted a resignation letter. There was, it seems, no need to send it.

  1. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. Last week’s ranking: 9

As part of her efforts to give taxpayer dollars to for-profit colleges no matter how badly they lie and hurt people, DeVos’s Education Department gave the predatory for-profit Charlotte School of Law, banned from federal aid by the Obama Administration, a chance for reinstatement after the school hired as its lobbyist the Podesta Group’s Lauren Maddox, who had advised DeVos during her confirmation hearing. The State of North Carolina finally shut down the school. Forced by law to offer a path to federal loan cancellation for students whose financial futures had been ruined by the school’s predatory practices, DeVos’s Department offered the least generous approach possible.

  1. Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last week’s ranking: 7

In the midst of its active efforts to encourage corporations to destroy the environment and the climate, Pruitt’s EPA announced it will stop sponsoring an awards program honoring voluntary efforts by businesses to reduce global warming. An EPA spokesman said, “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we don’t plan to fund an awards ceremony on climate change.” It isn’t a surprise, because Pruitt is a disgraceful climate denier in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industries.

  1. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: 6

Those adoring gazes at Trump, those pained dismissals as “nonsense” of undisputed facts about Trump. Disgraceful.  Also, won’t you please be our president?

2 & 3. Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President, and Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. Last week’s ranking: 4 & 5

Jews related to Donald Trump, and still working in the White House for Donald Trump. Donald Trump, you’ll recall, praised participants in the Charlottesville white supremacy Nazi Klan march as “very fine people.” It also remains the case that the pair are unqualified for their jobs, that the federal anti-nepotism law should bar their employment, and that their refusals to divest from their businesses raise serious ethics concerns.

  1. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: duh

In one of the most disgraceful acts of the most disgraceful presidency in U.S. history, Trump pardoned ex-Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a federal court order to stop violating the Constitution by racially profiling Latinos and detaining them based solely on suspicion regarding their immigration status. Trump issued the pardon prior to Arpaio’s sentencing, without a formal Justice Department review, and without Arpaio expressing any regret whatsoever for his conduct. The pardon came late on a Friday afternoon, in the midst of a massive deadly hurricane attacking the Gulf Coast, with a tweet and a White House statement that did not forgive Arpaio’s racist abuses of power but rather celebrated them.

Worse, the pardon, which Trump shamelessly teased at his disgraceful, unhinged, falsehood-filled, self-pitying campaign speech Tuesday in Phoenix, threatens an era of unbounded impunity, with pardons for Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, various Trumps, cronies, Russian mobsters, and himself. It sends a message to targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe that they may not need to cooperate after all, because a president with no shame and no limits may be ready to pardon them.

 

Trump also whined and complained about Congress not already providing a billion and half dollars from taxpayers for his border The Wall™, despite the fact that (1) he promised endlessly in the campaign that Mexico would pay for The Wall™; and (2) The Wall™ is the dumbest idea ever, with or without the solar panels.

And Trump moved ahead with his disgraceful bigoted military transgender ban, which blatantly discriminates against patriotic Americans while weakening our national security.

Trump is again number one — the most disgraceful figure in the Trump administration. Trump is not merely a disgrace; he’s a total and complete disgrace.

January 28, 2017

Women’s March Affects Entire World, All Ages

I couldn’t stop laughing! A poll shows that Republican males believe that their lives are harder than those of women. Men make more money for the same work, have a far less chance of rape, don’t have their reproductive rights attacked, and do far more housework than men while holding a full-time job, but white men are the “low people on the totem pole” and “everybody else is above the white man,” according to an 81-year-old retired police captain. He complained that “everything in general is in favor of a woman. No matter what happens in life, it seems like the man’s always at fault.”

In this survey taken after the election, only 41 percent of GOP men think now is a good time to be a man. Although one-third of women feel unsafe because of their gender, only 20 percent of men understand that women feel this way. Thirty percent of women frequently feel sexually objectified, but again only 20 percent of men think that women feel this way. Benevolent sexism–the “negative consequences of attitudes that idealize women as pure, moral, pedestal-worthy objects of men’s adoration, protection and provision”–is rampant among men. With their bias of gender roles, 69 percent of men think that women should be protected, and 47 percent believe that women are more ethical and moral. At least 43 percent of parents reported that the election made them teach their children about sexual assault and consent, something President Donald Trump (PDT) was evidently not taught.

One week ago, millions of people throughout the world marched for women’s rights, and some conservative males weren’t happy.

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel: “So a group of unhappy liberal women marched in Washington DC. We shouldn’t be surprised; almost all liberal women are unhappy. Perhaps there’s a correlation. But I do have a question: if they can afford all those piercings, tattoos, body paintings, signs, and plane tickets, then why do they want us to pay for their birth control?”

Indiana state Sen. Jack Sandlin: “In one day Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner: A retweeting of LA talk show host Larry Elder mocking a photo of three women with signs protesting PDT’s comments about his personal sexual assault was capped by Kintner’s statement, “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”

Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt: About his support to make abortion completely illegal, “Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.”

Michael Flynn Jr., son of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to women: “What MORE do you want? Free mani/pedis?”

Atlantic County (NJ) GOP Freeholder John Carman: “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”

PDT: “Why didn’t these people vote?”

march-small-compare-2

inaug-small-compare

 

 

 

 

 

According to the New York Times, the women’s January 21, 2017 march on Washington, D.C. had 470,000 people (above left), three times the 160,000 who attended PDT’s inauguration the day before (above right).

inauguration-comparison

Crowd scientists were comfortable with the number for the inauguration, but thought that the number of people attending women’s march could be much larger because it was more sprawling and fluid—maybe as many as one million. They explained that PDT might have assumed that his crowd was larger because he could see only the front third of the crowd. Scientists monitored seven life feeds all day from a variety of perspectives. President Obama’s 2009 inauguration audience (above left) will continue to be the largest history. (Below: women’s march in Washington, D.C.)

Texas-based Southwest Airlines illuminated some of their cabins with a glowing support of the Women’s March. Pink is the “unofficial” color worn and used in support of Planned Parenthood.

 

antarctica-protestThe protest went as far as Antarctica. (right)

march-childEven a four-year-old girl participated.

 

 

 

 

The women’s march was arguably the largest in U.S. history; numbers keep rising up to 5 million—over one percent of the country’s population—which doesn’t count many of the protesters from the hundreds of small cities and towns in every state across the nation.

map-march

In Stanley, Idaho (population of 63), almost half the town—30 people—protested. I’m proud to say that my small town of 10,000 had at least 1,600 people turning out for its “Stronger Together March.”

march-city-hall

And of course, Portland (OR) did us proud. (Photo below by Ann Hubbard)

march-crowd

leaviing-melanie-behindJust as PDT leaves his wife behind, he plans to ignore the women in the United States.

 

Despite claims made by conservatives that women are fat and ugly and shallow, that they don’t need financial help, that white men are at the bottom of humanity, “this is what democracy looks like!” Keep in mind that women make up over half the population in the United States. We think, care, work, and vote.

march-washington-dc

Next Page »

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: