Saturday, April 29, 2017

Anybody remember the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life"? We're Living it now

Excerpt: Paul Krugman, this morning, compares Trump to the horrifying 6-year-old of the "Twilight Zone" episode, "It's a Good Life." Explains Krugman: "It featured a small town terrorized by a [prepubescent Trump] who for some reason had monstrous superpowers, coupled with complete emotional immaturity. Everyone lived in constant fear, made worse by the need to pretend that everything was fine." Krugman makes this comparison in relation to Trump's domestic imponderables. Those, though, are not what fearfully pin me to this president's non-existent wall. No, that's accomplished by knowing that Trump is commander in chief — an emotionally immature buffoon with truly monstrous superpowers.


Friday, April 28, 2017

What Republican Reagonics "trickled-down' has done to our country--and to us

Unfortunately for all of us, far right wing Trump voters won't understand this and will continue to support Trump and other alt-right "leaders" whose greed and power lust are running us into the ground. 




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump's Tax plan: Screw the poor; Enrich the billionaires

By Karoli Kuns
During today's rollout of the Trump "tax reform" proposals, Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin explained with broad strokes how the middle class and poor would be screwed so billionaires and corporations can pay less in federal taxes.
Cohn, in a rare moment of honesty, admitted that the proposal will be universally hated by the right and the left but that Magic Trumpism would get tax reform through.
"We will be attacked from the left and we will be attacked from the right but one thing is certain: I would never, ever bet against this president. he will get this done for the American people," he declared.
Let's be clear here: This would not be FOR the American people. This would be FOR the American billionaires, who are currently running our country.
If you missed the briefing, I will summarize some of the highlights of what is not by any stretch of the imagination an actual tax reform bill, but is instead a one-page list of bullet points.
  1. Double the standard deductions for individuals. For 2016, the standard individual deduction was $6,300. This would double it to $12,000 per person
  2. Eliminate deductions for everything but charitable donations and mortgage interest. This has terrible implications for working families, who are currently eligible to deduct their property taxes, medical expenses over a certain percentage of income, certain employee-related expenses, and more.
    On the one hand, they want to gut the ACA and leave people with pre-existing conditions to their own devices, but they also want to kill the deduction for excess medical expenses. How generous of them!
  3. Some form of child care credit (IvankaCare) would also be included.
  4. Full repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and Estate Tax, which is a huge tax break for the wealthy.
Cohn also said they would preserve deductions for retirement (401k and IRA, presumably), but it is not mentioned in the one-pager they released and rumors have been rampant that one of their pay-fors would be the elimination of the 401k deduction. At this point, assume that's on the table, because retirement is one of the biggest areas of taxpayer savings right now.
On the corporate side, they're giddy about the idea of reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% overall, not only for standard corporations but also for pass-through corporations. Between the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, and this tax rate on pass-through entities, Trump would stand to pay almost nothing in taxes at all.
So yes, it's guaranteed that the left will hate it. And those Trump voters who thought he was such a populist will hate it too, because it does nothing significant for them, but they seem to be content with being lied to on a daily basis, so who knows if they'll attack it.
Cohn may have been the only one to say a true thing during that briefing. The rest of it can be summarized as "screw you, poor and middle class voters!" Twice, even. First through healthcare and then with "tax reform."
Oligarchy is real.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Borowitz:: Obama brutally attacks Trump with barrage of complete sentences (~.~)

LOVE it! (~.~)  I thought exactly the same thing when, after enduring almost 100 days in the Trump White House wilderness, we blessedly heard Obama speak once again with intelligence and coherence. 

Satire from the Borowitz Report


Obama's Barrage of Complete Sentences Seen as Brutal Attack on Trump


Monday, April 24, 2017

Trump and Obama: A Sharp Contrast

The contrast between Trump and Obama was made pointedly apparent today, with Obama's televised speech at Univ. of Chicago.  Although CNN and MSNBC carried the entire speech and Obama's followup conversation with young Democratic activists, Fox Noise showed only the first few minutes (to see if Obama would mention Trump--he didn't), then quickly switched away to cover Trump in the White House, spouting his daily nonsensibles.  Oh, what a difference.  Like going from a Ph.D. level to kindergarten...or nursery school.  It's frightening to consider what is now in our White House posturing as a leader, with Trump's recent incoherent AP interview giving even more indications of his mental/emotional/verbal feebleness and instability.


Robert Reich: Trump's First 100 Days

by Robert Reich | April 24, 2017 - 6:22am

— from Robert Reich's Blog

Trump's failure to accomplish little or any of his agenda during his first 100 days is striking. But we should not forget the vast harm he has done in this comparatively short time – especially his degradation of the presidency.

From early in the Republic, we have looked at the office of the president as a focal point for the nation's values. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and his Teddy's fifth cousin, Franklin, are studied by school children as both exemplars of what it means to be president and of the moral authority of the office. It is not merely what these men accomplished, but how they did it; not just their policies but their positive effects on the institutions of democratic governance.

True, many of our presidents have fallen short of those ideals. But our disappointments in them largely reflect the high expectations we have of those who hold that office.

But not until Trump has the moral authority of the office disappeared.

I'm old enough to recall when John F. Kennedy invited the world's great artists, writers, and philosophers to dine at the White House. The nation felt ennobled. Donald Trump invites Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent, who once called President Obama a "mongrel," and we feel sullied.

But it has not just been Trump's vulgarity.

There have also been Trump's lies – blatant, continuous, and unsubstantiated even after the lack of evidence has been pointed out repeatedly. They are not just any lies, but lies that deepen Americans' suspicion of one another and undermine our confidence in our system of government – such as his repeated contention that "three to five million" people voted illegally in the last election, or that Obama spied on him during the campaign.

Prior presidents have embellished the truth and on occasion have lied about a particular important thing, such as the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But before Trump we have never had a president who chronically lies, whose lies have become an integral part of his presidency even in the first 100 days.

We have also been confronted with Trump's vast family business, from which he continues to benefit even though the decisions he makes in office affect the what he earns, and the almost certain decisions by foreign governments to curry favor with him by bestowing benefits on his business. He shrugs off such conflicts – even refusing to release his tax returns, even inviting his daughter and son-in-law, each with their own businesses and conflicts of interest, to join him at the highest reaches of the White House.

Some presidents have profited from their presidencies after they leave office through large speaking fees and book contracts. But never before Trump have we had a president for whom conflicts of financial interest during his presidency are flagrant yet ignored.

The first 100 days has also been marked by Trump's divisiveness – turning Americans against each other, legitimizing hatefulness toward Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans and African-Americans, fueling violence between his supporters and his opponents.

We have had divisive elections before. But after them, other presidents have sought to heal the wounds. Even after the horrors of the Civil War, Lincoln famously asked us to come together without malice. Trump, by contrast, encourages warring camps – calling his opponents "enemies" and suggesting that they are plotting against his administration, and staging rallies to encourage and fuel his bedrock supporters.

We have also seen Trump's necessary cruelty – toward refugees, undocumented immigrants, and the poor among us. He has issued a budget that would deeply harm the least advantaged Americans, and supported a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would also hurt those most in need.
He has refused asylum to refugees at a time when the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and unleashed immigration enforcers on 11 million residents of the United States, many of whom have been productive members of their communities for years. He has even deported people who have been here since childhood and know know no other nation.

Other presidents have on occasion been cruel. But Trump's cruelty defies reason. It is utterly unnecessary.

There has also been Trump's affect on the rest of the world – legitimizing crude nationalism and hateful xenophobia. He has promoted France's Marine Le Pen and encouraged authoritarians such as Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan, while at the same time confusing our democratic allies and friends.

Finally, there is Donald Trump himself – who in the first 100 days as president has shown himself to be narcissistic, xenophobic, paranoid, vindictive, and thin-skinned; who takes credit for the work of others and blames others for his own failings; who lashes out at the press and journalists when they criticize him, and who demonizes judges who disagree with him.

We have before had presidents such as Richard Nixon whose personality defects harmed their presidencies and tainted the office of the president. But Donald Trump is in a different league altogether. He exhibits the opposite of every civic virtue ever encouraged in our school rooms, town halls, and churches.

The first 100 days is an artificial landmark for presidents. But it does offer an opportunity to pause and assess what they have done. Too often, though, we think in the narrow gauge of policies and legislation.

With Trump, it's important to think more broadly. Among the most significant legacies of his first 100 days is his degrading of the moral authority of the office of the president, and, thereby, of America.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Top psychiatrists at Yale conference warn: Trump has a "dangerous mental illness"

It's official: Top psychiatrists at Yale conference warn that Trump has a 'dangerous mental illness'

Raw Story
21 Apr 2017 at 11:58 ET                   

35 psychiatrists this week gathered at a conference at Yale to sound the alarm on what they believe is President Donald Trump's "dangerous mental illness."  (The only people who seem unable to recognize this are his continually duped supporters who get their "news" from Fox--and who identify with Trump and cheer for him because "he thinks and talks just like us!") With voters like this in our country, God help us!:-(

Per The Independent, the psychiatrists met at Yale's School of Medicine on Thursday to talk about Donald Trump's mental health, which they warned was frighteningly unstable.

"We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump's dangerous mental illness," said Dr. John Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and who has in the past warned Trump is a "psychiatric Frankenstein monster."

Gartner and other psychiatrists at the conference argued that Trump suffers from a particularly malignant case of pathological narcissism, which makes him a danger to the country and the world.

"Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose in his thinking; and he proved that to the country the first day he was president," Gartner explained. "If Donald Trump really believes he had the largest crowd size in history, that's delusional."

Dr. James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, said that Trump's erratic behavior has similarly disturbed him — despite the fact that he has lots of experience working with violent convicted criminals.

"I've worked with murderers and rapists, I can recognize dangerousness from a mile away," he said. "You don't have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is."

Typically, psychology professionals refrain from diagnosing public figures whom they haven't personally interviewed, but Dr. Bandy Lee, an assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told the conference that the dangers Trump's mental health present are simply too great to stay silent.

"As some prominent psychiatrists have noted, [Trump's mental health] is the elephant in the room," Lee explained. "I think the public is really starting to catch on and widely talk about this now."


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Perfect Advice Letter to Kim Jong Un -- I hope he heeds it

Dear Kim Jong Un: Watch out for Trump. He's even crazier than you.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Left: Evan Vucci; right: --/Left: Associated Press; right: Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
 Opinion writer April 18 at 4:23 PM 

The Hon. Kim Jong Un

The Great Successor

Sun of the 21st Century

Supreme Leader

Marshal of the Democratic People's

Republic of Korea

Ryongsong Residence

Pyongyang, North Korea

Dear Mr. Kim:

I write to congratulate you on the occasion of your late grandfather's 105th birthday. I heard about the difficulties you had with the missile this weekend, but be assured that the launch was cheered by thousands of Muslims in Jersey City.

Please forgive the impersonal nature of this correspondence, but a matter of this urgency cannot be left to the North Korean postal system. The world is the closest it has been to nuclear war in 55 years, and I wanted to caution you that the man with whom you are now eyeball to eyeball could be as mad as a March hare.

President Trump has been practicing the "madman theory," which your family has used well: If people think you are insane, they'll give you a wide berth. But Trump does such a convincing job portraying a madman that he might actually be a madman. It may surprise you to hear me say that, but here in America we can criticize our leader without fear that our coffee will be poisoned and we will keel over onto our 8jmkiuh9tr5f44444444444444444444444444444444u

Kidding! The point is we don't know if he's bluffing or if he's crazy. And neither do you. Surely it didn't escape your notice that he arranged his response to one of your recent missile tests while dining in public at his Florida country club. He was also at Mar-a-Lago, eating "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, when he approved the missile attack on Syria, which he mistakenly called Iraq.

Little Un, if you think this American president is stable like his predecessors, I refer you to his Twitter account. He has sent 13,321 tweets with exclamation points, 864 tweets with two exclamation points, 432 with three, 146 with four and 57 with five (the last one, in August: "#WheresHillary? Sleeping!!!!!"). Trump's single greatest exclamation in recent years — 15 points — was in 2014: "This cannot be the the [sic] Academy Awards #Oscars AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Now he's turning his punctuation on you. Until the past couple of years, the extent of his public commentary on your country was to say he wouldn't go. "Dennis Rodman was either drunk or on drugs (delusional) when he said I wanted to go to North Korea with him. Glad I fired him on Apprentice!" he tweeted in 2014.

But this time Trump is in a position to fire missiles, not the former Chicago Bulls forward. And he has been treating the crisis with the gravity we've come to expect from him. At the White House Easter Egg Roll, where he was joined by the Easter Bunny, Trump said North Korea "gotta behave" and, if not, "you'll see." There is still a chance that his advisers will talk him down. The most sensible one is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. His nickname: "Mad Dog."

Americans, though concerned about the nuclear standoff, have been paying more attention to an election in Georgia for one of 435 seats in Congress, and to a lawsuit filed by a white nationalist claiming Trump's language incited him to violence. And this gives me an idea.

Jong, if you really want to go after Trump, do it the American way: File a lawsuit. True, he has been sued hundreds of times, but yours would be special, because you could claim that his words and actions incited you to build and test missiles and weapons capable of unspeakable violence. You would be following in the footsteps of a revered American, Paula Jones, whose lawsuit against President Bill Clinton won a substantial payout and helped pave the way for his impeachment.

You would, I'm afraid, have to give up your nuclear arsenal to pursue this course, but Trump could afford to settle with you for significantly more than Clinton paid Jones. Also, I know from Seth Rogen and James Franco that you admire Katy Perry and margaritas. I can't promise, but it's possible that if you renounced your nuclear weapons and sued Trump instead, Perry might perform for you. And I would share my secret margarita recipe.

Please consider this peaceful alternative. Should you stay your current course, nobody knows what Trump might do. Not even Trump.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Vanity Fair article: The Inside Story of the Bannon-Kushner War


EXCERPT:, in full view of the country and the world, we are watching what happens when a president is elected on the basis of an incoherent and crowd-sourced agenda, one that pandered to white nationalists and stoked economic anxiety. When that same president is someone who has never managed a large bureaucracy and brings almost no close associates who have. And when some of the aides he haphazardly acquired a few months before taking office care more about their own ambitions than his own—whatever they are.

Now combine all that with the inevitable transition from a helter-skelter campaign metabolism to the grinding process of governance. What is happening inside the White House, according to a senior official who is close to the president, is a "reversion to the mean"—a correction of sorts. "When narrative gets bigger than the reality"—for an individual, for a campaign, for an administration—"there is nowhere to go but down." ...

 In every White House, there are competing loyalties and rivalries. That dynamic is normal. What is unusual about this presidency is that Trump himself is not a stable center of gravity and may be incapable of becoming one. He knows little, believes in little, and shows signs of regretting what has happened to him. Governing requires saying no to one's strongest supporters and yes to one's fiercest opponents. To have that presence of mind requires a clear and unified vision from the president. "Without an ideology or a worldview, all you have is a scramble for self-preservation and self-aggrandizement," a former West Wing aide told me.

And it is a scramble without boundaries. What has been seen in the West Wing is now playing out in every Cabinet department and government agency: the competing agendas of a jockeying staff are being transplanted to the upper reaches throughout the executive branch as now Bannon, now Kushner, now Priebus, now Pence push their acolytes and protégés into hundreds of senior positions. The White House mess may soon be everywhere.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Two Excellent 15-minute guided healing meditations -- Try them and see for yourself

A nice adjunct for physical healing...soothing for the mind and body.  We can all use a little soothing these days.  Plus, the woman has a beautiful voice, so pleasant to listen to...


Today we are going to take you to ancient Japan on a guided meditation calledThe Golden Waterfall. This relaxing practice has been used for centuries to channel in the light and refresh the energy passageways, clearing any blocks that are not serving your health and happiness.

During this meditation, many people feel the warmth of an actual golden light, that elevates them to their purest state. We hope you experience the soul nourishment of the golden waterfall too!

This is the second video of our free three-part energy healing series. If you missed the first video from Tuesday, you can access that one as well using the link below!

Click here to watch today's video teaching

If you enjoy the teaching above, we created a 61-video master class called
The Sacred Science Of Energy Healing and it is designed to help you bring these practices into your life quickly and easily.

It's on sale for 50% OFF the regular price until next Friday!

Click here for details

This groundbreaking program features 18 gifted healers who will help you with:

Pain, Fatigue, Stress & Anxiety, Insomnia, Weight Loss, Headaches, Mental Clarity, Fear, Guilt, Trust Issues, Trauma, Shame, Protection and Letting Go.

They blew us away while we were filming them and it's an honor to be bringing their powerful wisdom forward to you.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Founder, The Sacred Science

Nick Polizzi has spent his career producing and directing feature length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine.  

Nick's current role as founder of "The Sacred Science" stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Update for Trump Voters (not that they'll care)

Polls tell us that most Trump voters will stick by their hero, the Donald, come what may -- no matter how badly/poisonously his Presidency affects their own lives and the lives of their children. The following article makes excellent factual points that all but 3% of Trump voters will either ignore or ridicule. As Fox (Faux) News viewers, they don't care for truth and will fiercely defend their Bubble World positions against any and all facts presented to them.  The rest of us will recognize the obvious truth in this update:

Update for Trump Voters

by Robert Reich | April 11, 2017 

— from Robert Reich's Blog

1. He said he wouldn't bomb Syria. You bought it. Then he bombed Syria.

2. He said he'd build a wall along the border with Mexico. You bought it. Now his secretary of homeland security says "It's unlikely that we will build a wall."

3. He said he'd clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. Then he brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses.

4. He said he'd repeal Obamacare and replace it with something "wonderful." You bought it. Then he didn't.

5. He said he'd use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. Then he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.

6. He said he'd release his tax returns, eventually. You bought it. He hasn't, and says he never will.

7. He said he'd divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest. You bought it. He remains heavily involved in his businesses, makes money off of foreign dignitaries staying at his Washington hotel, gets China to give the Trump brand trademark and copyright rights, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.

8. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said. You bought it. Then he put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.

9. He said he'd surround himself with all the best and smartest people. You bought it. Then he put Betsy DeVos, opponent of public education, in charge of education; Jeff Sessions, opponent of the Voting Rights Act, in charge of voting rights; Ben Carson, opponent of the Fair Housing Act, in charge of fair housing; Scott Pruitt, climate change denier, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Russian quisling Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

10. He said he'd faithfully execute the law. You bought it. Then he said his predecessor, Barack Obama, spied on him, without any evidence of Obama ever doing so, in order to divert attention from the FBI's investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives to win the election.

11. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the generals did. You bought it. Then he green lighted a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though his generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained

12. He called Barack Obama "the vacationer-in-Chief" and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer's dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. You bought it. He has by now spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

13. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times "fake news" and said they were his enemy. You bought it. Now he gets his information from Fox News, Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.

More to come.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Bill Maher: conservatives who aren't conservatives deserve a new name

Another winner by Bill Maher.  You can't help thinking of Dick Cheney and Dick Nixon (and even Rick Perry...close enough) while watching this verbal essay by Maher. I think of Mitch McConnell as the biggest one of all).  I hope everyone is ready for a rerun of asbestos in our homes and buildings -- and a return to the OK list from Trump's non/EPA for a toxic poison that is known to damage children's brains:

Yet, as of now (but wait till they get more taste of Trump undermining their own lives as time goes on) only 3% of Trump voters regret their votes.....and they still keep cheering him on to degrade and toxify all of our lives.  Sigh.

Trump Administration: Disarray? Chaos? What would You call it?

Of the Trump administration, "disarray" would be a generous description

by P.M. Carpenter | April 10, 2017 

Reuters reports that at the command of the fearsome Reince Priebus, the White House chief of stuff such as office supplies, "Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner met [Friday] … in a bid to stop infighting that has distracted from President Donald Trump's message…. Priebus' message to Bannon and Kushner was to 'stop with the palace intrigue' and focus on the president's agenda."

That's two "messages" and one "agenda," a threefold thrust leading to one massive bewilderment: Just what in hell is Trump's political program; precisely what is it from which Bannon and Kushner are distracting?

Until last week, the neo-isolationists and hypernationalists could at least hang their helmets on "America First," an immensely ill-considered 1930s doctrine that could emanate only from an immensely ignorant presidential candidate. But — poof! — within a mere "three to four minutes," Trump as president reversed himself in a foreign military adventure — seemingly with as much intellectual effort as that required in ordering breakfast. That the president's mind bounces like Syrian rubble is only because he has no principled gravitas, no real foreign policy agenda, no coherent message.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, the party of which Trump is supposed to be the iron-fisted leader is squabbling and fracturing like the early 1850s Whigs. As the Washington Post puts it, "Congress limped into its spring break with little to demonstrate that much has changed from its previous dysfunctional gridlock — despite Republicans' control of both Capitol Hill and the White House."

Presidents FDR and LBJ and BHO had their congressional-majority honeymoons, from which they spawned great legislative deeds. DJT and his partisan majority? They've proceeded as would a poorly supervised daycare. They've left their repeatedly promised healthcare and tax reforms in utter shambles, and "an infrastructure package, often touted by President Trump, has been relegated to the back of the line."

The president's campaign-"touted" infrastructure program was always destined for legislative evanescence. As Krugman commented the other day, following a NYT chat with Trump: "Given what we heard in the interview — basically incoherent word salad mixed with random remarks about transportation in Queens — it's clear that the administration has no actual infrastructure plan, and probably never will." And if he did have such a plan? His own party, over which he wields no authority, would, accordingly, cut it to pieces.

And so we return to the mystifying White House chief-of-something-or-other, Reince Priebus. Just what in hell is the president's agenda?


Friday, April 07, 2017

Bannon Bounced -- from Moyers & Company

Keeping up with the Kardashians, er, Trumps:
Bannon Bounced
by Todd Gitlin | April 7, 2017

— from Moyers & Company

When the Commander-in-Chief isn't all attitude, he's all thumbs, so it's not exactly astonishing when he shuffles his lieutenants around like greased toys as reporters gawk.

On Wednesday, April 5, Trump removed Steve Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC) position known, in Washington-speak, as the "Principals Committee." The consensus among reporters, both loyalists and "enemies of the people," is that this means a demotion for Bannon, who passes for an intellectual in Trump's White House on the strength of his Manichaean media enterprises charged with a worldview that heralds global Judeo-Christian war against "jihadist Islamic fascism," aka "radical Islam." Meanwhile, longtime Trump buddy Roger Stone tells whackjob Alex Jones that Jared Kushner is responsible for issuing anti-Bannon leaks.

A demotion for Bannon this may well be, likely at the hands of national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, who evidently serves as the designated grown-up in the West Wing. It might also be that, from the start, Bannon was not long for the NSC. He might have been elevated to special guest status only long enough to baby-sit the lying, Russia-friendly beneficiary and Turkish lobbyist Michael Flynn during Flynn's 23-day stay in the White House. But who knows? Now that Bannon has been bounced, Flynn's extra-zealous son Michael Jr., renowned for crackpot conspiracy theories, was angry enough to tweet: "Is WH serious abt defeating our enemy?" Flynn Jr. is also irritated that Gen. McMaster, his father's replacement, won't speak the magic words "radical Islam," the incantation that the White House's true believers and their allies think that once spoken, will cause ISIS to be instantly plunged into a Judeo-Christian inferno.

Let us refresh our memories about the disorder that it is the new order. When it could not be ignored that Flynn Sr. had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about Russian contacts, Flynn's head was first to fall from the National Security Council. What else goes on in the smoke-filled rooms of the White House is not (yet) known, but unnamed White House figures now tell The Hill that a White House "policy shop," the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) — launched by Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief son-in-law Kushner, and headed by Bannon — actually "never even existed."

Of course, two months ago, Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president identified himself as a member of said Strategic Initiatives Group. Gorka, now an American citizen, may be looking for new employment soon, having been outed for coziness with far-right Hungarian groups. This week, a Forward reporter noted his 2007 support for the Hungarian Guard, "a violent racist and anti-Semitic paramilitary militia that was … later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for attempting to promote an 'essentially racist' legal order." That's not the half of it. Readers of Gorka's thin oeuvre know that, innocent of Arabic and with no Middle Eastern experience, he paraded as a "counterterrorism expert" while publishing the most banal drivel rendition of what everybody already knows about terrorists, presumably the topic of his expertise.

Not to worry, but fans of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who once wanted the Department of Energy disbanded and who, when appointed by El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago to run it thought the bureaucracy pertained to the oil trade, will be gratified to see that he has now been promoted to the National Security Council table, where Bannon was warming a chair for him. You will recall that Secretary Perry was surprised to discover that one of the department's missions is to "ensure the security of the US nuclear weapons stockpile." But his fans will likely be pleased that he's promoted to sit at the table when essential decisions about war and peace are made.

Trump operates with a third-grade vocabulary and not-quite sixth-grade grammar, so it may be surprising that his administration seems to have invented its own Beltway patois. "Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration," Bannon told the Wall Street Journal. "I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized. Gen. McMaster has returned the NSC to its proper function."

"De-operationalized" is being translated to mean "de-politicized," which is probably an opaque reference to the fact that, in its nonstop quest for bad guys to distract the press and the public from Trump's heap of Russia connections, Susan Rice is this week's designated villain in the White House.

With son-in-law Jared Kushner now designated as assistant to the president for government reorganization, Middle East stagnation and Mexico mediation, and Steve Bannon now removed from the inner circle of the National Security Council, Trump's St. Vitus Dance of the Deputies is likely not over. As Bloomberg News reported last week, "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh, a top aide to President Donald Trump, is leaving his administration to work for an outside group supporting the president's agenda." Was she Reince Priebus's ally, as reported, or Bannon's, or no one's?

Authoritarian rulers, actual or aspiring, are given to lurching around. They tend to think their instincts are golden — after all, their gut tells them that their instincts brought them to power. When they look in the mirror, they see the shining face of success. So when things go wrong — say, the regime's fake health care debacle — the chief finds a dog to kick, even if it's a dog that he himself chose by taking instructions from his peerless instinct. This is more dramatic, and thus infinitely more satisfying, than hiring competent managers to staff "the administrative state," much as such hires would please "the enemies of the people." As journalists frantically peer through the smoke to find out (for example) whether a Strategic Initiatives Group actually exists, or existed, the ruler plunges on, operating as much by whim as by system.

This is the terrible truth, the new normal that journalists haven't figured out how to address. The boss man is delusional. His vision is warped and he doesn't know it. When his own eyes lie to him, he cannot distinguish between a better and a worse course of action. Delusion keeps him on the brink of chaos. Thinking will not help, because sober appraisal is not in his arsenal, so he must jump up to play action hero. When the world proves recalcitrant, the action hero resorts to a shake-up. He exercises his muscles by shoving scapegoats out the door. So, for example, one dictator in particular fired his son-in-law, Count Ciano, after Ciano served eight years in the Cabinet. At that point, Mussolini had six months left in power. Count Ciano died by firing squad early in 1944. Uneasy lie the heads who believe in nothing but power.

About author Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. He is the author of sixteen books, including several on journalism and politics. His next book is a novel, The Opposition. Follow him on Twitter: @toddgitlin.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A poem to soothe the soul in these troubled days

My favorite poem of all time is one by Rumi, the Persian poet. Whenever I look at the world and consider the problems of our time, such as the current Trump movie that is going on and on and on, this is the poem that consoles me and speaks to my heart.  Just wanted to share it with you today:

Whoever Brought Me Here

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? 
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,

I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.  

--translation by Coleman Barks

Monday, April 03, 2017

Important articles from the L.A. Times: Our Dishonest President and Why Trump Lies

FINALLY!  Our 4th Estate journalists are stepping up to the plate and telling it exactly as it is!  The L.A. Times Editorial Board is doing a series on Trump -- it is a scathing analysis of this extremely dangerous president and is very important for all to read.  This man is a disaster to our country and needs to be removed from office ASAP before he dismantles our government, impoverishes us all and blunders the U.S. into a war.  The articles say truthfully that he is a gullible tool for liars as well as being the liar-in-chief himself.  AMEN to That!!!  Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are leading this idiot narcissist psychopath--and us--to the edge of a cliff where the ground is beginning to crumble beneath us.  HELP!!!!!!

Here are the first 2 articles in the series, with more to come tomorrow and Wednesday:


Sunday, April 02, 2017

How Long Can Trump's Incompetence and Madness Go On?

We're all asking ourselves this question -- Trump's time in the White House seems like an unending horrific nightmare, and he's only been there a little over 70 days.  OMG!  And now he will be meeting with the Chinese...God help us all.

And just what will this blockhead of a president be doing in his 11th week? God help us. He'll be meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Jordan's King Abdullah II, and … and … pop a Xanax … China's President Xi Jinping, who will, likewise, swallow Trump whole. The Chinese aren't as carefree and lighthearted as the Germans, whose leader, Angela Merkel, Trump has already met with. A "senior European diplomat" summarized that meeting thus: Trump "frequently and brutally [kept] changing the subject when not interested." Obvious to everyone present was that, as the NYT's Roger Cohen put it, not only Trump's temperament but his "preparedness was roughly that of a fourth grader."

How long can Trump's incompetence and madness go on?
by P.M. Carpenter | April 2, 2017 - 6:13am

A Washington Post article opens with an arresting chronological fact: "Trump entered his 11th week in office Friday." Only his 11th week, which seems like our 111th, in that he entered it in what the Post calls a "crisis mode." Indeed his first day in office thrust a kind of crisis on the nation, as his besotted "American carnage" inaugural address confirmed that the mantle of POTUS would in no way sober him up.

A mere 10 or 11 weeks, each suffused with chaos, confusion, incompetence, breathtaking failures and spectacular self-destruction. Customary it is that in a president's first 100 days, legislative victories roll out in a honeymoon whirlwind of mutual affection — especially if the president's party controls both houses of Congress. This president and this Congress, however, decided on the rather novel course of airing deep-seated antagonisms over a massive social program that both detested but neither had given any thought to — not a whit, throughout years of promising to crush and replace it.

That bust of a season opener was the president's legislative doing; he could have debuted with something less contentious and a trifle more decided. Instead he blundered ahead, arm in arm with a self-advertised wonk of no policy substance whatsoever.

When he wasn't signing extravagantly unconstitutional travel restrictions and religious bans, the president was unwittingly launching a war with his own political party — not with one faction but two, both conservatives and moderates; which is to suggest, again, his entire party. Meanwhile, the president was conducting yet another two-front war — one with the singularly responsible opposition party, and one with the barrels-of-ink media. Here was Operation Barbarossa in exponential deployment. And during his honeymoon, no less.

Enwrapping all this chaos and conflict has of course been the Trump-Russia Affair — a political train wreck so faultlessly vacuous in conception and execution, it makes one look fondly on the comparative intelligence of Watergate. Who knew that Machiavellian incompetence could be so immense, and strutting, and recidivist?

And just what will this blockhead of a president be doing in his 11th week? God help us. He'll be meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Jordan's King Abdullah II, and … and … pop a Xanax … China's President Xi Jinping, who will, likewise, swallow Trump whole. The Chinese aren't as carefree and lighthearted as the Germans, whose leader, Angela Merkel, Trump has already met with. A "senior European diplomat" summarized that meeting thus: Trump "frequently and brutally [kept] changing the subject when not interested." Obvious to everyone present was that, as the NYT's Roger Cohen put it, not only Trump's temperament but his "preparedness was roughly that of a fourth grader."

A mere 10 or 11 weeks — all of which seems like an endless eon. One ponders the chronological accumulation of this president's chaos and incompetence — try, just try to imagine their 111th week — and one wonders if such an accumulation is even possible. Can Trump's rank ineptitude and madness just go jaunting along — with impunity, with no earth shattering consequences? That political party Trump is at war with (his own) would be well advised to start asking that question and then planning a constitutional escape hatch — for itself, and all of us.