Tuesday, January 31, 2017

President Steve Bannon Is Calling the Shots


Remember the Dr. Evil/Cheney puppet master of Duhmbya Bush?  Well, we have another one delivered to us by the Republicans, and this one is even worse. Steve Bannon, whose goal is to "destroy the state" and "bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment" is pulling Trump's strings to deliver us into the hell he has designed for our nation and the world.

In Case It Wasn't Clear Yet, Steve Bannon Is the President

By Jack Moore

(Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Donald Trump is just a puppet who doesn't care about anything.

If Donald Trump has shown anything during his first eleven days in office, it's that he's a coward with no ideas of his own, who is more than happy to be a puppet for the true president of the United States: Steve Bannon. Sure, Trump acts like he's in charge, but that's because he's too dumb to realize that Bannon is so obviously pulling the strings that he's become a joke. A real, impressive winner (not a Fake! Sad! Loser! like Trump) would recognize he's being manipulated by a power-hungry jackass who is actively trying to destroy the founding principles of this nation. And what's truly crazy is that that statement isn't even slightly hyperbolic.

Steve Bannon is making far-reaching and unprecedented decisions in this White House and is undermining the basic checks and balances that you learned about in junior-high civics class. For example, he was the architect of Donald Trump's horrific "Don't call it a Muslim ban even though I call it a Muslim ban" Muslim ban, and when the Department of Homeland Security's lawyers concluded that the ban should not include people who hold green cards, Steve Bannon apparently personally overruled them.

And, as if that weren't enough, in an unprecedented move, Steve Bannon has been appointed to the National Security Council even as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence were demoted. And lest you think this isn't a big deal, take The New York Times's word for it:

...who sits at the National Security Council table when the administration debates issues of war and peace can make a real difference in decisions. In giving Mr. Bannon an official role in national security policy making, Mr. Trump has not simply broken with tradition but has embraced the risk of politicizing national security, or giving the impression of doing so.

So now, a man who is a political animal and an amoral opportunist, who years ago said that his goal is to "destroy the state" and "bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment," is now going to be an even bigger voice in shaping U.S. foreign policy. And lest you think he's changed his mind since then, here's what he said YESTERDAY to The Washington Post about attorney general nominee and noted racist Jeff Sessions.

"Throughout the campaign, Sessions has been the fiercest, most dedicated, and most loyal promoter in Congress of Trump's agenda, and has played a critical role as the clearinghouse for policy and philosophy to undergird the implementation of that agenda. What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself."

He's casually throwing around phrases like "new political order" as if they aren't terrifying when paired with him running roughshod over the rights of...well, everyone who isn't a rich, white, straight male. And if you still think Trump is actually in control, here's what Bannon said of his so-called boss last year:

"[Donald Trump is a] blunt instrument for us," he told me earlier this summer. "I don't know whether he really gets it or not."

So there you have it. A man who wants to "destroy the state" and who basically bragged that he was manipulating Trump to his own ends has already, in only eleven days, risen to an unprecedented level of influence for someone in his position. He's already overruled entire departments of government and unseated qualified security experts on the NSC. So we should get some slimy photos of Steve Bannon ready for those junior-high civics classrooms. After all, they usually have photos of the presidents on their walls.


Trump's son-in-law losing in power struggle with Bannon

Jared Kushner is 'f*cking furious' about reduced role and has lost 7 lbs since Inauguration Day: report

By Travis Gettys

President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reportedly losing a power struggle inside a White House dominated by right-wing extremists.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, are orthodox Jews who observe the Shabbat, and Vanity Fair reported that some of the president's most clumsy blunders have come while the couple had stopped working or using technology from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

"To me, that's not a coincidence," a source close to Kushner told the magazine.

Kushner is seen as a calming influence on his father-in-law, but his weekly sabbatical has left the president to his own devices for a full day on the weekends.

That, so far, has proven disastrous.

The day after his inauguration, while his daughter and son-in-law were out of pocket, Trump personally called the Park Service to pester officials about the size of his inauguration crowd.

Trump then went to CIA headquarters, where he gave a self-aggrandizing speech complaining about media coverage of him and his inauguration crowds.

The president next ordered his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to harangue reporters and boast the inauguration was the largest such audience in history.

A source noticed Kushner wasn't around on Trump's disastrous first full day in office, and he wasn't there Friday when Trump signed an executive order, just minutes before sundown, banning refugees from certain majority-Muslim nations.

Kushner wasn't around Saturday, as protests erupted at airports across the U.S. and families were separated and detained as confused immigration officials attempted to sort out Trump's executive order.

That's not to say that Kushner and his wife aren't capable of stumbling into their own mistakes — such as sharing a glamorous photo of themselves as the protests raged.

Kushner has been seen as the "secure line" so far, a source told Vanity Fair, in a White House dominated by ex-Breitbart chief Steve Bannon and political operative Stephen Miller.

But Kushner's influence may be waning already, the magazine reported.

He spent hours last week trying to set up a meeting between his father-in-law and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss Trump's proposed border wall — but that all fell apart after Trump tweeted the face-off should be canceled if Mexico was unwilling to pay for the wall.

"Kushner was fucking furious," the source told Vanity Fair.

The source said Kushner had lost seven pounds and grown pale since Inauguration Day, and his relationship with his father-in-law appears to have changed.

Kushner hasn't commented on last week's White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which neglected to mention Jews and anti-Semitism — but the issue is clearly important to his family.

A 1982 interview with his late grandmother, Rae Kushner, circulated widely over the weekend, after Trump's immigration ban, that strongly criticized the U.S. for not accepting Jewish refugees during the Nazi era.

"For the Jews, the doors were closed," his grandmother said, 35 years ago. "We never understood that. Even President Roosevelt kept the doors closed. Why? The boat, St. Louis, was turned back. What was the world afraid of? I don't understand."


Excellent article for truth lovers: Waterboarding Washington

Waterboarding Washington
by Bob Burnett | January 31, 2017

President Trump feels waterboarding works.

If you knew what he knew, wouldn't you? He heard Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham say torture works with his own ears. He said it on Twitter, which means it must be true. Defense secretary James Mattis said he'd do better with a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, but hey, if the president feels something, it can't be wrong. "I happen to feel," Trump said yet again last week, "that it does work."

The problem with torture is that people will say anything to make it stop. If you're afraid you're going to die, you don't care what's true, you just care about surviving. There is abundant evidence of this behavior in Washington, where the fear of political death also makes people say anything.

Consider Team Trump. Only electoral torture — the threat of losing power — can account for the readiness of the White House and the Republican Congress to say anything, to act as though the infotainment freak show posing as our government were perfectly normal, to pretend that having a megalomaniac in charge of our nuclear arsenal isn't the kind of emergency the 25th amendment anticipates.

At one end of Pennsylvania Ave., Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer give no hint onstage that they know full well backstage that the man they serve is a total disaster no longer waiting to happen. A million phantom inaugural attendees; three million imaginary illegal voters; the theft of health insurance from more than 20 million people; an animus toward Mexico that will steal billions from working Americans; a Muslim ban that reads right off ISIS's script — what fresh hell will their boss serve up for them to defend next? A de facto abortion ban? Looser libel laws to make the media, as Steve Bannon barked, "keep its mouth shut"? A sweetheart deal with Putin on sanctions?

At the other end of the avenue, the game faces that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan wear hides their daily humiliation of humoring a tempestuous toddler; conceals their fear that their party is one golden shower away from disgrace and oblivion; masks their terror that their country is one dirty bomb away from martial law. The last best hope of the Republican leadership is an impeachment they couldn't be blamed for invoking, and a Pence presidency that would do the Tea Party proud.

Trump's behavior checks all the symptoms on the malignant narcissism tick list: sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia, hypomania, grandiosity, lack of impulse control, lack of empathy, you name it. His disorder is hiding in plain sight. Here's a clip from his interview last week with ABC's David Muir:

"That [CIA] speech was a home run.... I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.... That speech was a total home run. They loved it... People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately.... [T]urn on Fox and see how it was covered. And see how people respond to that speech. That speech was a good speech. And you and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did. The people of the CIA loved the speech...."

It goes on.

This is scary. This is not how a president talks. It's not even how a normal person talks. But it explains how Trump's courtiers talk. Like the denizens of Wonderland, they fear the Red Queen, who "had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!'" The Red Queen, Trump's doppelganger, is the mother of all narcissists, the waterboarder-in-chief. So, to save themselves from political execution, Trump's enablers, like the playing cards who paint the white roses red, confect "alternative facts." Like Humpty Dumpty, who makes words mean what he chooses, Bannon calls a free press that speaks truth to power "the opposition party." It's not. That's their job.

In his first news conference as president, Trump said that even though waterboarding "does work," he'll defer to his defense secretary's opposition. "He will override. I'm giving him that power." Here's some wishful thinking: If Mattis can get Trump to observe the Geneva Convention on torture, maybe he can get him to observe the Paris Agreement on climate change, too.

Or even — I can dream, can't I? — to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trumpism, Facism and the Lessons of History

The following link was just sent to me by a friend. The article is something I believe you, at a minimum, will find interesting.  Warning: It may give you a nightmare if you read it in the evening.  At the very least, it should keep us all aware, alert and ready to act against the would-be dictator who has duped millions of naive Americans to vote him into the White House. With the terrible memories of Germany and Italy in WWII still alive in the minds of our senior citizens, we MUST NOT ever let that happen again in our own country. Call your representatives daily! Put on your marching shoes and protest, protest, PROTEST!         http://activehistory.ca/2017/01/trumpism-fascism-and-the-lessons-of-history

Friday, January 27, 2017

Even far right wingers like Bernard Goldberg are crying out, "WHY DOES HE LIE?"

I tuned in to Fox's Bill O'Reilly last night to see how he and his guests were handling the first days of White House Trumpism. He had Bernard Goldberg as a guest and seemed surprised at Goldberg's nervous apprehension about Trump. Goldberg assessed David Muir's interview of Trump, criticizing Muir's questions.  He said he would like to ask Trump 4 of his own questions -- they all began with WHY?  Why are you lying all the time about Everything?  Why are you starting an investigation into voter fraud and lying about 3-5 million illegals voting, when you have already won the Presidency? Why do you care about the crowd numbers at your inauguration and why are you lying about them? Why aren't you concentrating instead on policies as you go forward in your Presidency with a Republican house and senate?  

O'Reilly waved Goldberg's concerns away with a flourish of his hand, bragging about knowing Trump for many years and saying Trump wouldn't answer those kinds of questions, as he isn't introspective and would just answer with all the things he usually says, going off the subject in defense of himself.  O'Reilly is right about that.  But, as a fellow sociopath and sexual predator with his friend Donald, O'Reilly is still trying to defend Trump. Goldberg has realized his own status as a journalist (such as it is) is at stake and can no longer pretend the sociopath in the White House is acting sanely.

The audio tape made during the Republican meeting behind closed doors yesterday revealed that many Republicans understand they have an uncontrollable loose cannon in the White House and are aghast at Trump's determination to repeal Obamacare without anything to replace it.  Never mind that they've had 6 years to come up with their own plan and haven't. Oh, wait...that's right, their plan was Obamacare (Romneycare), which they insisted on-- before Obama finally acquiesced to it. But we know they had taken a vow to obstruct anything and everything Obama might favor.  They couldn't allow themselves to be in agreement with Obama on anything.  Once he surprised them and agreed to their plan, they immediately disavowed it.  He passed it anyway.  And now they have to replace it and keep all the good stuff in it intact because most people like having the protection of this health coverage. Oops.

Keep that popcorn bowl filled. Much more to come in the days ahead.... and read the following for more entertainment about the GOP's inability to handle their tiger-by-the-tail:

Trump's Deep Character Flaws Will Define His Presidency; Media Should Focus Attention There

by Eric Boehlert | January 27, 2017 

Donald Trump continues to make history.

We know of no other president in American history who has started out his tenure by unfurling two preposterous bookend lies, the way Trump did during his first days in office.

He lied fantastically about the size of his inauguration crowd. And then, taking a sledgehammer to the premise of free and fair elections, he lied fantastically about millions of Americans having voted illegally on Election Day, supposedly costing him the popular vote victory.

Pressed for details, White House press secretary Sean Spicer could point to no real evidence to back up Trump's whimsically dangerous insistence about ballot box fraud. Spicer also sputtered trying to justify the unjustifiable claim about historic viewership for the Republican's swearing-in.

Both of those bold prevarications ignited media firestorms, and for good reason, as increasingly baffled journalists try to decode Trump's daily crusade to gaslight them about simple facts and events. More and more, journalists are straining to make sense of Trump's erratic ways; trying to figure out what his political motivation is for spreading such easily debunked falsehoods.

Trump is "addicted to controversy," and suffers "acute sensitivity to criticism," reasoned The Washington Post. He just can't "shake his erratic campaign habits," Politico suggested, while The New York Times pointed to Trump's "anxiety" as a reason he needs to tell tall White House tales.

Two key points: Trump has shown himself to be a relentless liar since he launched his political career in 2015. Anyone who thought he would discontinue that habit as president just hasn't been paying attention.

Second, if journalists want to understand Trump's unbalanced Oval Office behavior they need to focus on his character and his extremely troubling flaws. (They're not merely "campaign habits," as Politico called them.) Those character flaws will ultimately define his presidency because they've always fueled his erratic actions and weird fixations.

Yes, Trump's a dishonest conspiracy theorist. But he's also much more than that. He's a remorseless liar and a grievously insecure man who seems to feed off spite and revenge.

And by the way, that description mirrors the one Tony Schwartz has given about the Republican billionaire. And Schwartz knows Trump well, having served as Trump's ghostwriter on his 1987 breakthrough memoir, The Art of the Deal. (Trump is a "sociopath," and "lying is second nature to him," says Schwartz.)

It's true that some in the press have begun to do a better job at clearly labeling Trump's lies for what they are. What's been largely missing, though, is the why: Why does the president of United States act in such an erratic and dangerous way? What's been missing post-election are regular and detailed examinations of Trump's character as an explanation for his unprecedented actions.

Understanding and recognizing the character blemishes at the center of Trump's personality isn't superfluous, armchair analysis. It's the key to gaining a crucial window into who the president is, as well as into the country's precarious future.

Instead, journalists keep searching for rational "explanations" to Trump's presidential behavior, trying to make sense of his pattern of telling obvious lies. (Remember when we were told not to take Trump's outlandish claims "literally"?) But pathological liars like Trump don't discriminate between lying about big things and lying about small things or between obvious lies and subtle ones. (See here and here for 600-plus documented falsehoods he's told.)

Also, the press simply isn't used to this level of naked dishonesty coming from the Oval Office. (Trump's inauguration crowd totaled 1.5 million??) And journalists haven't yet properly adjusted. They're still accustomed to dissecting political lies in the context of, "What's the motivation behind the lie?" And, "What's the political advantage of telling that lie?" But that linear approach doesn't always apply to Trump. There's no indication he plots out the falsehoods or even cares if he gets caught. Lying is who he is. He cannot not tell lies.

In other words, it's not a political strategy, it's a character defect. Especially for someone like Trump who appears to have no deep ideological moorings.

This isn't the typical territory most political journalists tread when covering Beltway politics. But it now needs to be. Journalists need to familiarize themselves with what it means to have someone in the White House who is "obsessed with his popularity"; what it means to have a serial liar occupying the Oval Office. They need to understand how people like that think, how they function, and why they lash out.

More analysis like this would be helpful, from MTV's Jamil Smith (emphasis added):

But the defects of his personality have become almost instantaneously institutionalized within the White House. Whatever his mental and emotional hangups are, they're now our problem, too. His fragility makes us all weaker, and his petulant outbursts can now shift world events. Sadly, it's clear from the first few days of the Trump administration that the trustworthiness of his office is not the president's foremost priority. His feelings are.

We need more reporting in the vein of the Associated Press' recent examination of the extraordinary insecurity that seems to be driving the early days of the Trump presidency. And the Times' Maggie Haberman's recent reporting that shed light on the intersection between Trump's impulsive personality and his early, erratic actions in the White House.

It may seem unusual for journalists to dissect the president's character flaws in search of clues regarding his political agenda. But it's just another instance where the media need to rip up the old Beltway rule book and find a new way forward.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This article gave me a better understanding of Trump voters and their beliefs

It also proved to me that we Democrats had the absolutely wrong candidate at the top of our ticket. As the interviewer observed in the last paragraph of the article: The Hochschild interviewees voted for Trump because they believed he understood their deep story and because they couldn't stand Hillary Clinton, who represented the "big government" that most of them despise. If there is one hopeful note in "Strangers in their own land," it's that several of these voters had positive feelings about Bernie Sanders ― his "the system is broken" message resonated with them.

Understanding Trump Voters

by Bob Burnett | January 25, 2017

In the days after the November 8th disaster, Berkeley liberals shook their heads and muttered, "We must talk to Trump voters; we've got to understand them." But we faced a common problem, we didn't know anyone that voted for Trump. Fortunately, UC Berkeley Sociology professor Arlie Hochshild, did our work for us. In "Strangers in Their Own Land" Hochschild details her five-year study of Louisiana Tea Party voters typical of those that carried Trump to power.

Hochschild had lengthy talks with a broad spectrum of voters in lived in some of the most polluted areas of Louisiana; for example, residents who lost their homes to a vast sinkhole created by a misguided effort to store pollutants in an underground salt dome. It's clear from her book that Hochschild didn't talk down to her interviewees; she reached out with empathy and made every effort to understand their perspectives.

What emerges in "Strangers in Their Own Land" are a series of surprises. Understandings that are so startling that I've read the book more than once and I recommend that you purchase it and see for yourself.

1. Tea Party voters share a common narrative: Hochschild details the "deep story," a shared narrative of her interviewees: "You are standing in a long line leading up a hill, as in a pilgrimage. You are situated in the middle of this line, along with others who are also white, older, Christian, and predominantly male... Just over the brow of the hill is the American Dream, the goal of everyone waiting in line. Most in the back of the line are people of color... Look! You see people cutting in line ahead of you! You're following the rules. They aren't. As they cut in, it feels like you are being moved back... Who are they? Women, immigrants, refugees, public sector workers ― where will it end?"

The Tea Party folks believe that, before Obama, they had been playing the game by the rules and then the rules shifted unfairly.

2. They feel they have been shamed. Hochschild observed, "First, [her interviewees] felt the deep story was true. Second, they felt that liberals were saying it was not true, and they themselves were not feeling the right feelings."

Hochschild explained, "the far right felt that the deep story was their real story and that there was a false PC over-up of that story... So it was with joyous belief that many heard a Donald Trump who seemed to be wildly, omnipotently, magically free of all PC constraint." Liberals had shamed Tea Party voters; Donald Trump made them feel okay about themselves.

3. Tea Party voters blame government. The interviewees in "Strangers in their own land" blame government for their lack of success. Government has permitted "slackers" to "cut in line." In Appendix C, Hochschild lists and responds to the Tea Party voters most common erroneous beliefs. Most appear to be fed by Fox News ― the common news source. For example, "A lot of people ―maybe 40 percent ― work for the federal government;" the reality is it is less than 17 percent.

4. Their hope for salvation is big business. Hochschild observed, "Underlying all these other bases of honor ― in work, region, state, family life, and church ― was pride in the self of the deep story... What seemed like a problem to liberals ― the fact that conservatives identify "up," with the 1 percent ― was actually a source of pride to the Tea Party people I got to know."

The interviewees fervently believe that big business, not big government will provide the solutions to their problems, whether they are meaningful employment, healthcare, or environmental pollution. It's one of the reasons that most of them supported Trump for President.

5. To a surprising extent, these Tea Party voters minimize pollution. The prevalent attitude among "Strangers in their own land" is: "Pollution is the sacrifice we make for capitalism."

Hochschild observed, "I had imagined, before I came, that the more polluted the place in which people live, the more alarmed they would be by that pollution and the more in favor of cleaning it up. Instead I found Louisiana to be highly polluted, and the people I talked with to be generally opposed to any more environmental regulation and, indeed, regulations in general." (In Appendix B, the author explores this paradox and comes to the conclusion that "Republican individuals tend to brush aside the environment as an issue, and to suffer the consequences by living with higher rates of pollution.")

Conclusion: It's certainly the case that the Tea Party voters interviewed by Arlie Hochschild are living in a different reality than that experienced by Berkeley liberals. Nonetheless, it's impossible to ignore their bravery in the face of extremely difficult circumstances. The system isn't working for them, but they haven't given up.

It's also impossible to ignore the racism and sexism in their deep story.

The Hochschild interviewees voted for Trump because they believed he understood their deep story and because they couldn't stand Hillary Clinton, who represented the "big government" that most of them despise. If there is one hopeful note in "Strangers in their own land," it's that several of these voters had positive feelings about Bernie Sanders ― his "the system is broken" message resonated with them.


GOP conservative columnist: Maybe Trump Isn't Lying

A thoughtful essay by a right wing columnist in today's Washington Post.  Definitely something to be considered.  Maybe Trump Isn't Lying


Monday, January 23, 2017

Press briefing today: Laugh of the day (with tears in our eyes)

Trump and his "team" seem to have no idea how insane they sound to the world of intelligent discerning people.  Their misleading gibberish is aimed at their poorly educated supporters, who, having been trained up by Fox/Faux Noise, are unable to discriminate between truth and lies--and continue in denial, even when truth is proven to them through videos of Trump and his minions blatantly lying in Trumpspeak.  In order to sustain the pretense of sanity in what they are saying, Trump's White House team take their own cadre' of supporters along with them wherever they go, so they can be sure of getting applause and cheers when Trumpzilla opens his mouth for the lies to pour out.

Spicer: "Sometimes we disagree with the facts"  (!!!!!!!!!!)

Press secretary says his intention is 'never to lie' (!!!!!!!!!!!)  He lost all credibility with the press, even before his official "first day"


A REAL reporter tells it like it is

We may have forgotten what real reporting is like in the upside-down world craziness that Republicans have brought us with Cheney/Bush and now Trump, and the mainstream media's lapdog approach to them. Here's a reminder of what real reporting should be, in a posting by Dan Rather:

These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times. And extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

When you have a spokesperson for the president of the United States wrap up a lie in the Orwellian phrase "alternative facts"…

When you have a press secretary in his first appearance before the White House reporters threaten, bully, lie, and then walk out of the briefing room without the cajones to answer a single question…

When you have a President stand before the stars of the fallen CIA agents and boast about the size of his crowds (lies) and how great his authoritarian inaugural speech was….

These are not normal times.

The press has never seen anything like this before. The public has never seen anything like this before. And the political leaders of both parties have never seen anything like this before.

What can we do? We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation. "A lie, is a lie, is a lie!" And if someone won't say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar's malignant reach into our society.

There is one group of people who can do a lot - very quickly. And that is Republicans in Congress. Without their support, Donald Trump's presidency will falter. So here is what I think everyone in the press must do. If you are interviewing a Paul Ryan, a Mitch McConnell, or any other GOP elected official, the first question must be "what will you do to combat the lying from the White House?" If they dodge and weave, keep with the follow ups. And if they refuse to give a satisfactory answer, end the interview.

Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.


Trump and His Clash with Reality -- Pay no attention to what he says - just look into his heart

There are many truths in the article below, not that most of Trump's supporters will care or believe what their own eyes and ears tell them about the narcissist liar they voted for. So easily fooled and so accomplished in denial, they would rather cling to the promises that flow like an endless (golden) stream from Trump's mouth but are never fulfilled by his actions. His supporters are just like the wife in the Groucho Marx skit:  when she caught him kissing another woman, he told her she was wrong and unabashedly asked, "Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?"

Just imagine what these same people would have said if Democrats had told them to "pay no attention to what comes out of Obama's mouth, but just look into his heart instead."  Like screaming banshees, the deafening din of their hue and cry would never have stopped!  And think about what they would have said if Trump had lost and they were told Russia interfered in the election.  Well, we all know the hellish demanding shouts and threats that would have gone up in that right-wing tribe, who lied through 8 long years about Obama (with Trump leading the pack about Birther lies) and sent derisive racist e-mails about the Obamas consistently throughout those years. With a hypocrisy that knows no bounds, they have different rules for their own candidates.  

What if Obama had not shown his tax returns as a candidate--and refused to reveal them as President?  What if he refused to give up his business interests and stood to profit from all of them throughout his terms as President. We would NEVER have heard the end of it, and hearings would have begun immediately against him, with cries of "Lock Him Up!" But this is Donald J. Trump, the biggest con man ever to enter the White House, and the rules are different for him, don't ya' know?  I would call Republicans weasels for their outrageous hypocrisy, but it would be an insult to weasels.

For truth, read the following from Bill Moyers. Trump supporters can just skip it, as factual truth doesn't matter to them.  As Kellyanne Conway told us today, they prefer "alternate facts."

At Trump Inauguration, His Hollow Rhetoric Collides with Reality

by Bill Moyers | January 22, 2017 -

— from Moyers & Company

By Michael Winship and Bill Moyers

Throughout the campaign and the transition period leading up to the Inauguration, whenever Donald Trump was caught lying or tweeting something outrageous we were told by his acolytes that we should ignore his words and instead pay attention to his deeds. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's Queen of Bull, who has moved from campaign manager to White House counselor, actually has argued that what he says should not be taken literally, even telling CNN's Chris Cuomo, "You always want to go with what's come out of his mouth rather than look at what's in his heart."

Well, we're journalists, not cardiologists but okay, by that standard, President Trump's inaugural address was of a piece, much of it appealing to his core constituency — white workers and the middle class angry that they've been left out of the good times, as indeed they have been. But the speech was hollow rhetoric when compared to all the things Trump and his fledgling administration actually have done in just the last few weeks and hours.

"Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another," Trump declared. "But we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people… The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs."

Fine, we'll do as Kellyanne Conway recommends. Rather than heed the rhetoric we'll look at his deeds and try to plumb the depths of his tiny heart. Truth is, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with many of the very elitists responsible for the plight of those everyday people he promised never to forget. The establishment he decried in his speech is front and center; six Goldman Sachs alumni alone already are in his administration, including Treasury Secretary-designate Steve Mnuchin, the man who parked a hundred million dollars in an offshore account and forgot to tell the Senate about it (we're not making this up).

Trump bragged Thursday night about the collective high IQ of his Cabinet but the real number that's troubling, as the website Quartz noted last month, is that the first 17 people he named to the Cabinet or Cabinet-ranking posts "have well over $9.5 billion in combined wealth… This collection of wealth is greater than that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined."

Let that sink in. Those first 17 people plucked by Trump to help him govern have more wealth "than over one-third of the 126 million households total in the US. Affluence of this magnitude in a US presidential Cabinet is unprecedented."

How about billionaire Wilbur Ross firing an undocumented household staff member to avoid being embarrassed when Trump picked Ross as secretary of commerce? Could it be he suddenly developed an interest in immigration policy?

Or Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants, his profits built on cutting corners and paying workers the lowest wages possible. Unless he has suddenly developed the common touch, it's not likely he'll be a robust advocate for blue- and white-collar workers.

Or Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos, whose confirmation hearings this past week revealed she knows almost nothing about public education — which, by the way, she doesn't believe in — but whose lack of credentials pale in importance beside the more than $20 million she and her family have given to Republican candidates at the federal level, including many of the senators who will vote for her confirmation.

And how about Trump himself — stopping his inaugural parade to get out of his limousine in front of his DC hotel, of course — but so far failing to keep his promise last week that by Jan. 20 he would transfer complete control of his businesses? According to Pro Publica's Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw, none of the required documents have been filed.

No time for that, apparently, but plenty of time during his first hours in office to eliminate a climate change page on the White House website and replace it with attacks on the "burdensome" regulation of the energy industry — exactly what the global warming giants of fossil fuel sought to achieve with their campaign contributions. The new president already has forgotten those ordinary people out there experiencing the erratic weather brought on by climate change, many of them watching the waters rise around their homes and small businesses. Perhaps Trump plans to build them an ark.

Speaking of everyday people: If you're one of the homeowners struggling to make ends meet, some of the people Trump pledged in his inaugural address to defend, consider this as well: One of his first executive orders Friday suspended his predecessor's plan to decrease insurance premiums on Federal Housing Administration mortgages, a move Obama intended to help stabilize the housing market. Congratulations — if you're one of those mortgage holders, you've been Trumped!

"A punch in the gut to middle-class buyers" — that's how it was described by Sarah Edelman, director of housing policy at the Center for American Progress. "…With mortgage interest rates already on the rise, reversing the FHA's move to cut insurance premiums in fact puts the dream of homeownership farther out of reach for millions of hardworking Americans."

Contrast that cheapskate move with the money being spent on Trump's big inaugural weekend. Nicholas Fandos at The New York Times reported last week that, "All told, the group planning the inaugural festivities says it has raised more than $100 million, which would be nearly double the record for an inauguration, with much of it coming in six- and seven-figure checks from America's corporate suites." That includes a million bucks from Boeing and half a million from Chevron. A small price to pay for the kind of influence and thinly veiled bribery that are sure to characterize the Trump years.

"We will make America wealthy again," Trump bellowed in his speech — he just didn't say that the wealth won't be shared. Fact is, "the forgotten men and women of our country" whom Trump addressed in the speech don't have a chance against the army of influence peddlers with whom the new president already has surrounded himself.

For example, it was announced on Thursday that 13 — yes, 13 — lawyers from the high-powered law firm of Jones Day will be moving to top positions in the administration, seven of them at the White House alone. It's s "a ton of top jobs" for one Washington firm, as David Lat of the website Above the Law put it: "This is very good news for Jones Day and the lawyers remaining at the firm. It's great for the firm's prestige, and it also means that JD lawyers will be eagerly sought after by clients with issues pending before their former colleagues." (italics added).

This must be what they mean by "draining the swamp" — they just divert it over to the White House.

A pall of contradiction hung over the whole ceremony Friday — between the rhetoric aimed at those millions of working people and middle-class Americans to whom Trump said he was talking and the fabulous wealth concentrated in his personal and official circles. Not once did he mention the words democracy, or equality, or even the Constitution. And while the clergy who offered prayers frequently invoked the names of God and Jesus, no one disturbed the official piety by reminding the privileged and powerful gathered around the new president that Jesus told his followers, "… I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me."

Or had said to a certain rich young man: "You lack one thing. Sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Or had admonished his followers: "When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind."

It wasn't that kind of affair, of course. Instead, a few hours after the swearing-in, President Trump, in another of his first official acts, signed an executive order moving forward the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which could ultimately remove 18 to 32 million people from health insurance. Many of them presumably voted for Trump. Not a few may now need a miracle to survive.

By the way, according to Darren Samuelsohn at Politico, the end of the ACA would personally save our billionaire president "at least $6.7 million" in Medicare taxes.

Let us pray. After we march.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

"They'll pull the trigger" Republican tells Robert Reich

Not hard to believe, but a strange, kind of scary, way for the GOP guy to put it...

'They'll pull the trigger': Robert Reich explains how the GOP is playing Trump until they can dump him


Writing on Facebook, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich relayed a conversation with a former GOP member of Congress who claims current members of the House are playing along with President Donald Trump for now but will dump him at the first possible moment.

According to Reich, he recently had breakfast with a Republican friend who claimed he held his fire over his misgivings about Trump during the election, saying, "You kidding? I was surrounded by Trump voters. I'd have been shot."

That was when the conversation took an interesting turn when Reich asked his friend what the GOP will do now that Trump is president.

"They'll play along for a while," the unidentified friend said. "They'll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he's such a fool he'll want to take credit for everything."

Asked what happens then, the Reich's friend laughed and said, 'They like [Vice President] Pence."

"Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind," he explained. "So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will …"

"They impeach him?" Reich asked.

"You bet. They pull the trigger," was the reply.

You can read the whole exchange here.


Here are some great posters seen at the protest marches


Clever, creative and packing a punch, these posters were made by the Wonderful Women marchers, aimed straight at the shameful, disgusting P---y GRABBER in the White House.  The sooner he and his alternate-universe cabinet depart from the Washington scene, the better for us, the world and our planet!  It's up to us to make this happen! Call daily to your Congressional representatives to keep Trump's and his minions' feet to the fire. Switchboard number at the Capitol is: (202) 224-3121. Give them your zip code number and they will connect you with your representatives.

I especially like the first and last posters (click on the link above to see the rest)  Here is the first one to start you off:


Friday, January 20, 2017

Letter to a Trump Voter on Inauguration Day

This thoughtful letter addresses the hopes that Trump voters may be holding for a Trump presidency...and why they will be disappointed. No doubt about that.

Inauguration Day: Letter to a Trump Voter
by Richard Eskow | January 20, 2017

We don't know each other. But today, on the occasion of Donald Trump's inauguration, there were some things I wanted to say to you as one American to another. (I'm willing to listen, too.)

Let's get this out of the way first: I think Donald Trump is dangerously unstable, morally objectionable, and has tendencies that represent a threat to our democracy. You may be starting to feel the same way, like this Trump voter, but chances are you still feel pretty good about him.

I'll be honest about something else, too: It's hard for me to accept the idea that so many of my fellow Americans voted for somebody who bragged about sexual assault, especially when so many women came forward to say that he assaulted them. It's hard for me to accept that so many of you voted for somebody who made fun of a disabled person, who threatened to ban people because of their religion, and who maligned immigrants — or the children of immigrants — just because of their background.

But here we are. Like the saying goes, we're in the same boat now.

Who are you?

We don't know each other. It's possible that you come from the relatively small percentage of Latinos and African Americans who voted for Trump, but chances are you're white.

You may be wealthy. If so, we don't have much to discuss. Your vote can't be excused by fear, or deprivation, or desperation. But if you're a lower-income person, especially in a rural area or small town, your fear is understandable.

If you're from the industrial Midwest, political scientist Josh Pacewicz believes that your vote helped put Trump over the top. He wrote:

"Donald Trump won the 2016 election largely because he carried Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, doing especially well in small cities and towns."

Pacewicz also said:

"Until this election, this group of voters had not followed other regions' rural, uneducated whites in moving Republican. In overwhelmingly white Iowa, for example, Barack Obama swept the industrial corridor in 2008, winning 53 of the state's 99 counties and some factory towns by almost 2 to 1."

I come from a Rust Belt city myself. The manufacturing jobs that made it prosperous when I was a kid are long gone. The house where I spent my early childhood is boarded up and collapsing. Whole sections of the city look bombed out and abandoned.

Neither party has come up with a good plan for my hometown. To be honest, neither party seemed very interested in trying.

You could be thinking, "Maybe Trump will do something about that."

He's going to let you down.

It gives me no joy to say this, but no, he won't. You've been conned. Trump hasn't come up with a single concrete proposal to create jobs. His Carrier factory deal in Indiana is likely to give away billions of dollars in corporate tax breaks in return for less than 1,000 jobs. The government could have used to billions to create a lot more than 1,000 jobs.

If you've been watching the Senate confirmation hearings for Trump's appointees, your positive feelings may have started to fade. They should. His nominees are politically extreme, most are clueless, and at least one of them should be criminally investigated.

There were many different reasons why people might have voted for a populist candidate, even one I dislike as much as Trump - especially when the experts were telling us that Hillary Clinton had an 85 percent or even a 99 percent chance of winning. You might have thought, why not use this vote to tell the elites exactly what I think of them?

And now you're probably still thinking, "Why not give him a chance?"

Here's why: I'm pretty sure you didn't vote for a government that's run by Goldman Sachs and other Wall Streeters, people who care more about their own wealth and self-interest than they do about your well-being. (Some of them are already reaping the profits). But that's what we're getting.

By deregulating Wall Street and hiring the bankers who looted the economy, Trump could very well be setting the stage for another financial crisis. We already know that banks will be able to shaft customers like you and me out of billions of dollars more, once Trump and his team have gutted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You won't hear about any of this on Fox News, the most popular news outlet among Trump voters, because they're lying to you. You deserve the truth, so you might want to change the channel.

If you're a woman, you may have been one of the female Trump voters who said "you get through the bad and you focus on the good," or the woman who wrote, "my vote for Trump was not a vote against Planned Parenthood," or the woman who hoped that Trump's daughter's prominent role in the campaign meant he wasn't as sexist as he seemed.

But his policies are going to hurt women in many ways, leaving them with less control over their bodies and less ability to provide for themselves and their families. Don't take my word for it. Tragically, you'll find out soon enough.

I don't assume that I understand you.

I don't agree with the people who want to judge or dismiss you without knowing you. Anyone who's ever fallen on hard times knows that people will do unexpected things, and will sometimes take big risks, trying to provide for their families.

I don't assume you're racist, either. To be sure, a lot of you are. A surprisingly large percentage of several candidate's voters, including Clinton's, expressed racist sentiments to pollsters last year. But Trump voters were far more likely to express those racist opinions.

Still, racism doesn't explain the shifts Pacewicz described among Midwestern voters. They weren't too racist to vote for an African-American candidate, after all, so how does racism explain their abandonment of Hillary Clinton?

I am particularly offended by commentary like this, from blogger Markos Moulitsas, who contemptuously dismissed coal miners because they voted for Trump and now stand to lose health coverage. "Be happy," he wrote of the miners, many of whom suffer from the horror of black lung disease. "They're getting exactly what they voted for."

That's indefensible and brutal, but please understand: people like that don't speak for the great majority of us. You may hear harsh things from other Americans too — voters, not commentators or activists — but then, a lot of people are hurting right now.

Moulitsas' commentary has already been ably dissected by Adam Johnson, Sarah Jones, and Dan O'Sullivan. I will only add that people who dislike large groups of voters - especially when those voters are people we should be fighting for, like coal miners - are temperamentally unsuited for either politics or activism.

Dr. King's lesson.

They should learn from the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose legacy we celebrated just last week. Dr. King said:

"Black and white, we will all be harmed unless something grand and imaginative is done. The unemployed, poverty-stricken white man must be made to realize that he is in the very same boat with the Negro. Together, they could exert massive pressure on the government to get jobs for all. Together they could form a grand alliance. Together, they could merge all people for the good of all."

Dr. King knew that everyone who struggles under an unjust economic system - and that's millions of us nowadays - could benefit from that kind of alliance. And he knew that the politics of identity were inseparable from the politics of economic justice.

What do we do now?

You should know that even harder times are coming. Trump's administration is planning deep government cuts that will hurt millions of Americans. You may be excited about his victory now, but you're facing some big disappointments in the coming months and years.

Trust me, I'm speaking from experience. Barack Obama was a far better president than Trump will be, but he was not nearly as good as he might have been. Whether we backed him in the primaries or not, many of us felt our own disappointment when Obama began appointing Bill Clinton's Wall Street allies to serve in his administration.

But at least Obama got us out of a ditch, while Trump's headed toward another one. I'll be honest about something else, too: Some of us will be fighting the new president from the get-go.

Here's the kicker: I think there's a chance you'll join us eventually.

You see, Dr. King understood economic pain. He said:

"... (T)he rapid rise in long-term unemployment is a portrait of human loss, the outline of human beings cast out of productive, wage-earning lives into an existence of hopelessness and deprivation."

If we create a movement that addresses that kind of pain, you'll have something better to believe in. And if politicians run on that agenda, it's likely to bring out a lot of the voters who stayed home this time around.

We've spent a lot of years in this country, on both the sides of the aisle, waiting for someone to come along who'll save us. Maybe now it's time to realize we need to do the work ourselves, by organizing that "grand alliance" Dr. King spoke about all those years ago.

Please think about that in the months and years to come.

Here's one thing we can already agree on: With this inauguration, our nation and our world are about to change forever. Good luck to you, and to all of us. We're going to need it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trump is taking a chance by touching the Bible

...especially Abraham Lincoln's Bible.

Comedian Lewis Black's version:



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mysterious "Planet Nine" may be a captured "rogue"

Interesting to follow up on, as more information becomes available:



Monday, January 16, 2017

Robert Reich: Trump's Plan to Neuter Our Democracy by evicting the White House Press Corps

Trump's Plan to Neuter the White House Press Corps, and Neuter Our Democracy

by Robert Reich | January 16, 2017 

— from Robert Reich's Blog

Tyrants don't allow open questioning, and they hate the free press. They want total control.

That's why, according to three senior officials on the transition team, the incoming Trump administration is considering evicting the White House press corps from the press room inside the White House and moving them – and news conferences – to a conference center or to the Old Executive Office Building.

This may sound like a small logistic matter. It's not. The White House "press room" contains work stations and broadcast booths, and the briefing area for presidential news conferences. Reporters have had workspace at the White House since Teddy Roosevelt was president, in 1901.

But we're in a new era, the reign of King Trump.

Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, acknowledges "there has been some discussion about how" to move the press out of the White House. Spicer says it's because the new administration would like a larger room to allow more members of the press to attend press conferences.

Rubbish. It's because a larger room would allow the administration to fill seats with "alt-right" fringe journalists, rightwing social media, Trump supporters and paid staffers. They'd be there to ask the questions Trump wants to answer, and to jeer at reporters who ask critical questions and applaud Trump's answers.

The move would allow Trump to play the crowd.

That's exactly what happened at Trump's so-called "news conference" on January 11 – the first he's held in six months.

It wasn't really a press conference at all, and shouldn't have been characterized as one. It was a fake news conference that took place in a large auditorium.

In the audience were paid staffers who jeered and snickered when reporters asked critical questions, and cheered every time Trump delivered one of his campaign zingers. It could easily have been one of his rallies.

In this carnival atmosphere it was easy for Trump to refuse to answer questions from reporters who have run stories he doesn't like, and from news outlets that have criticized him.

He slammed CNN for dispensing "fake news," called Buzzfeed "a pile of garbage," and sarcastically called the BBC "another beauty." The audience loved it.

Just as he did in his rallies, Trump continued calling the press "dishonest" – part of his ongoing effort to discredit the press and to reduce public confidence in it.

And he repeatedly lied. But the media in attendance weren't allowed to follow up or to question him on his lies.

For example, Trump wrongly stated that "the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. … And they tried to hack the Republican National Committee, and they were unable to break through."

Baloney. FBI Director James B. Comey said there was evidence that Republican National Committee computers were also targeted. The critical difference, according to Comey, was that none of the information obtained from the RNC was leaked. Also, according to Comey, the Russians "got far deeper and wider into the [DNC] than the RNC," adding that "similar techniques were used in both cases."

Trump further asserted at his fake news conference that "I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we've stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia."

Wrong again. Trump repeatedly sought deals in Russia. In a 2008 speech, Donald Trump Jr. said "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," and "we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

Trump's statements at his fake news conference were, and are, big lies. They influence public understanding and opinion about two critically important issues: Did the Russians help Trump win the election, and, if so, why might they have done so?

At the very least, they should have been followed up with questions from the White House press corps. That would have happened at a real news conference in the White House press room, holding 45 correspondents from major media outlets who are assigned full-time to report on the president.

Which is the danger of evicting the press from the White House and putting press conferences into a large auditorium: Trump won't be called on his lies, and the White House press corps will lose the leverage they have by being together in one rather small room.

And that's precisely why Trump wants to evict the press from the White House.

A senior official admitted the move was a reaction to hostile press coverage. The view at the highest reaches of the incoming administration is that the press is the enemy. "They are the opposition party," said the senior official. "I want 'em out of the building. We are taking back the press room."

The incoming Trump administration is intent on neutering the White House press corps. If it happens it will be another step toward neutering our democracy.