Bearing Witness to Trump Week 8

Week of March 12 – 18, 2017

Trump calls his new budget “America First”. Probably because he proposes over $50B more spending for the military. I think of it as “Americans Last” as spending in things that help us have been decreased if not slashed. The list of reductions is long and includes the EPA, Education, Agriculture, Labor, Health & Human Services, State Dept., Transportation, NIH,, Corps of Engineers, Housing and Urban Development, NOAA, Interior Dept., SBA, Justice, Clean Power, AmeriCorps, Public Broadcasting, Medical research, meals on wheels, planned parenthood…..

It seems that the country we have built the last 50 years has been taken over in a coup by extremists who wish to destroy it from the inside out, an act of terrorism, while distracting us with promises to protect us from the outside dangers. Just look at all the things Trump and his enablers have attacked, disparaged, or threatened in two months. They include our intelligence communities, the judiciary, consumer protection, health care, Medicaid for the poor, freedom of the press, federal employees, the IRS, federal courts, a clean environment, the UN, immigrants, Muslims, state department, public education, norms of the White House, various countries and their leaders from around the world, and most of all, the truth.

As if decimating the budget of the EPA by over 30% was not enough, Trump visits Detroit to roll back mileage CAFE requirements. All this in the same week that scientists report the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is at risk of loss from warmer and more acidic oceans caused by climate change due to the burning of carbon fuels.

It appears that Trump, like so many other Republicans, lied about the “new and improved” health care plan for all Americans. It will cost more, cover fewer people, and shift cost from the wealthy to the poor and middle classes. Oh, and of course, they put a huge tax decrease into the bill for the rich.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 7

Week of March 5 – 11, 2017

AG Sessions has asked 46 US attorneys to resign en masse or be fired. What type of a country allows the President, especially someone like Trump, to hire and fire at will the attorneys who are to enforce federal laws of the land? How despots and dictators, alive or dead, around the world must be dancing to see how un-exceptional America has truly become.

Trump is reported to be staying in Washington this weekend, the first in several weekends. With as much damage the man is doing to our government institutions, we may actually wish he spent more time in Florida playing golf and staying off Twitter.

The new Republican health care plan is best known as TrumpCareLess. I see nothing in it that makes it better for anyone. It does the opposite for most. Trump says it is going along just great, as his own party is torn apart by it.

What makes me the maddest and saddest is that this administration takes advantage of the exact people they claim to be taking care of. Mostly, they exploit ignorance of some and take others as uninformed suckers that they can say one thing, lie to, and then do often the opposite.

The list of countries where we have military operations or troops fighting just keeps growing. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and who knows where else. I fear that Trump will not let the recent North Korean challenge go without a Trumponian size reaction, as if they were personally attacking him his fragile ego.

Trump’s appointee for the head of the SEC, Jay Clayton, of course is another millionaire that comes from the industry he is supposed to regulate. Drain that swamp alright.

The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, double downs saying man-made climate change is still unproven science and subject to debate.  To ensure that he has hired a staff full of climate change deniers and skeptics. It may not matter who he hires after they slash the budget by an expected 25%. Pruitt kicks into high gear on dismantling Obama-era regulations to protect rivers, streams and wetlands.

The nation is reeling over another set of accusations without basis that Trump made over the weekend when he claimed that former President Obama was behind the wiretapping of Trump Tower.  Even Trump’s pick for FBI has asked the justice department to reject that false accusation. This type of behavior is used by authoritarian regimes, usually in their last days of life. We can only hope.

Immigration agents around the country are arresting and deporting anyone they basically want to and think is a risk, without due process or the protection afforded by the courts. Innocent bystanders are being swept up. A young woman publicly denouncing and protesting the deportations was picked up by ICE shortly after her protest. Not surprising, Canada continues to see more asylum seekers cross their borders to escape persecution from all places, the US.

A recent report disputed the administrations claim that most of the recent acts of ISIS-fueled terrorism came from immigrants from the 7 targeted Muslim countries. In fact, most of the terrorists were US citizens!

More damage is being done to the public lands owned by the people of the US. The GOP wants Trump to undo many of the national monument designations made by Obama.

I can now see why one of the first actions of the Trump administration was to restrict lobbying and the revolving door between government and lobbying. First, Trump demands total loyalty to himself now and forever, not to some future employer as a lobbyist might offer. Second, when business has taken over government from the public, those firms who use to lobby are now embedded into or run the government and its many agencies. So why do you need lobbyists from the outside when you are already on and own the inside?

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 6

Week of February 26 – March 4

Trump spends another weekend in Mar-a-Lago. The 4th of 6 weekends in office.

Trump claims the real crime was not that his aides were colluding with Russia, but that Obama had people wiretapped who were suspected of colluding with Russia.

Trump seems so shocked that there are hate crimes occurring in the nation at a greater rate. Such as the Missourian who shot two engineers from India telling them to go back to their country, which he thought was Iran. Can Trump not possibly see that his own unrelenting bullying, attacking, blaming, disparaging, lying, etc., especially about immigrants, has let the demons out of the box?

Cuts to the EPA budget are expected to be approach 25% and some 3,000 jobs, as are those of NOAA. The climate protection budget would be hit by a whopping 70%.

The new head of the Commerce Department, Wilbur Ross, who is now charged with protecting American jobs and workers, did exactly the opposite as an industry chief. He is another private equity billionaire on the cabinet that made his money the way that Trump supposedly now condemns.

The EPA is expected to reexamine vehicle emissions standards put into place by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, Australia and Africa report record heat and drought associated with global warming.

The lock down on the public’s right to know continues in the administration. The Agriculture Department’s USDA has removed animal welfare inspection reports from its website. Trump aides have been directed to investigate government employees who may not be loyal to the new administration and who he accuses are trying to sabotage him.

Trump’s next budget is said to dramatically increase military spending while making dramatic decreases in the state department and foreign humanitarian aid.

More lies from the administration, and more of them about Russia. AG Sessions lied to Congress when he said he never spoke to the Russians during 2016 or the campaign. Oh, can you imagine the indignation had this been a Democrat. The Russian ambassador met with others at the Republican National Convention. WTF was the Russian Ambassador even doing in Cleveland for the RNC?

The rollback of environmental protections continues. The EPA has dropped the requirement for reporting of methane emissions, a gas which contributes to global warming. We had the warmest February on record in St. Louis as in much of the Midwest. It was the first time in over a century that Chicago reported no snow in January and February.  Some might say how great this is! Go tell this to the polar bears, coral reefs, low lying nations, forests, and so much more of our ecosystems threatened by climate change.

Finally, President Trump delivers a speech to the Congress and American people that is, well, presidential. The problem is that it was so obvious not written by him, and it was so unlike the character and personality he has displayed over the past few years. How can anyone trust this is the real Trump. He is indeed best as a reality TV show performer.

Or maybe we can trust what we saw. He and his administration have now promised everything for everybody with no sacrifice. More military spending. More infrastructure. Repeal of Obamacare that provided healthcare for millions. Followed by better access to healthcare for all. Improved border security. Less crime. Destroying ISIS everywhere around the world. Fewer regulations. Better economy. More jobs. No crime infested cities. A new immigration policy. A better Supreme Court. Faster sexier new jet fighters. Tax reform with lower taxes for the middle class and lower taxes for corporations. No more anti-Semitism. Fighting Radical Islamic terrorism. Afforable child care. Improved civil rights. More respect for the military and police or anyone in authority of course. Less judicial oversight of the police. Paid family leave. A huge new shiny wall. A larger modernized nuclear arsenal. Deportation of criminals, rapists, and terrorists (as long as they are not white Christian nationalists). No background checks for guns for the mentally ill. An economy that grows more than 3% a year. An honest press. No more pesky rules or an effective EPA that keeps our air and water clean. A unified country! Competition for public schools also paid or by taxpayers. A world where everyone respects us, or else! What great big thinking from our great glorious new leader!

This after all is the Donald Trump we know. A real estate developer and master salesman who will say anything, sell anything, to get ahead. Is it any surprise that a personality like his is also one that plays so loose with the facts and frequently exaggerates, misrepresents, or downright lies?  And we know that when people like this get caught, a signature tell-tale sign is that they always have to blame and attack others. It’s a way of allowing them to think that they did not intentionally mislead or lie, but someone or something else got in the way of them delivering on what they had sold,. And someone else is always at fault and to blame, certainly not the salesperson who over-promised to close the deal.

What makes me the maddest is that of course he did not share the details of how anything would get done, nor say what he has already done that does not at all support the working poor or most of his base. Like filling the cabinet with billionaires and generals, working to get rid of Dodd Frank and the Consumer Protection Bureau, getting rid of health care security, environmental and climate security, labor security, immigrant security, financial markets security, judicial security, and more as reported in this blog over the last month. He basically assumes that most Americans don’t get daily news, or they don’t understand it, or they simply don’t care to hear the devil in the details or research the whole truth.

Today protections of the environment come under attack, after consumer protection of yesterday. The EPA rolls back regulations protecting the inland waters of the US.  This just a day after that the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, lied about using private email accounts for his Oklahoma government state business. Reading the emails, it is obvious why. They showed a friendly incestous relationship with the oil and gas industry while he was AG of Oklahoma.

Republicans block attempts to have the President release his tax returns. Oh, I forgot, this imperial president is above the norms and standards of his office. Those only apply to Democrats.

Canada reports an influx of border crossing by those seeking asylum. The kicker: they are immigrants from the United States who feel at risk and are being persecuted! Could this be the first time people have left the US seeking asylum?

Meanwhile, Trump finally admits that health care is complicated after all and may not be so simple to fix. What a surprise! Who could have known that?

The Republicans in Congress are now working on killing the Consumer Protection Bureau. Yes, more help for the working poor taken advantage of by the global elite.

Trump announces he wants to give the military an extra $54B this year. And take away the same amount from domestic programs. More help at home for Americans! Not.

Reports surface that some U.S. citizens are now being stopped and detained then asked what religion they are. Aren’t we exceptional and great! Not.

Trump announces that he hopes Obamacare just implodes this year and destroys itself. A program that has saved more lives than ever lost to terrorism. He sounds like a terrorist to me wanting to blow up our government as we know it.

A private club for the wealthy, Mar-a-Lago, has become the defacto Southern White House. Or with as much time as Trump spends there, maybe it is more accurate to say that he has reloated and privatized the White House by moving it to Florida where it is literally pay-to-play, the media is off limits, and records of who visits are not public information.

The new attorney general’s tough talk on crime has led the justice department to rescind Obama’s order to discontinue the use of private prisons. An increase in the federal prison population is expected under the Trump administration.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 5

Week of February 19 – 25, 2017

The White House apparently asked the Justice Department, more specifically the FBI, to dispute media reports about Russian influence.  Oh, how impeachable that would be if a President Obama or Clinton had done this.

Trump says the military will receive massive spending increases and that expanding our nuclear arsenal is a priority. Yes, Evangelicals who supported Trump, this must be the teachings of Jesus.

The administration shows its disrespect of the Constitution and hatred of the free media by barring select media from a press briefing. Can it be any more clear that between creating endless conflict and fear mongering, deporting immigrants without due justice, attacking the news media, claiming authority above the courts, demanding total authority to work for the administration, appealing to authoritarianism, installing family members as advisers, appointing the military to the highest civilian posts, attacking the courts, running the White House like it was just one of many of the King’s palaces, the constant lying and bullying, threatening to deconstruct government, blaming everyone for everything and so much more…..where this is all going? Can you imagine the loss of liberty that will occur in a state of emergency concocted by this administration?

Trump says the deportations of illegal immigrants will be a military operation. Later the same day his Homeland Security Director says it will not be a military operation. Who is lying this time?

Administration Strategist Steve Bannon declares his mission is in part to deconstruct the administrative state. Yes, folks, there we have it, their plan for us. An act of sedition if not treason that what we have really experienced is a coup where revolutionaries want to demolish the U.S. government as we know it. He also promotes a version of muscular nationalism, distrust of immigrants who are not like us, and hatred of the media. Hum, what horrific regime from history does this remind us of?

Mass deportations continue across America. Court hearings are no longer required as ICE has the authority to deport upon demand. Show me your papers. No papers? We make you go away from our sights. What tragedy of the past does this remind us of?

It seems President Trump played golf 6 of the first 31 days he was in office. I guess that means he lied about what he really thought of presidents playing golf when he constantly criticized Obama for his occasional game. Oh I forgot, Obama was not our real president because he was not born in America or an American citizen; more Trump propaganda from recent years.

Trump delivers a respectful message on antisemitism we can all agree on after a rise in hate crimes. Yet this was right after filing revised executive orders restricting travel from the Muslim world that many see as being anti-Muslim. And on this same day the administration announces the hiring of 10,000 border agents to help enforce new immediate deportation orders that many see as being anti-immigrant. Does he not see the irony and what is fueling an America afraid of anyone who is not of a white Christian class?

On President’s day, thousand of Americans around the country protest that “Trump is not my president”. Trump extends his holiday weekend at the Mar-a-Lago Resort as the first family continues to ask taxpayers to fund three different White Houses. Trump has spent 11 of his first 33 days in office at Mar-a-Lago. If the man did not want to honor his country and live and work in the White House, then dammit he should not have run for this office. Where are all the patriot conservatives? The travel ban we need is for Trump.

Over the weekend the President launched into his 2020 election with a campaign rally. Not to leave any lies behind, he warned his followers of all the terror crimes happening in countries like Sweden. Not. No such thing occurred. He made it up. That’s ok with his supporters; the truth and facts simply don’t matter.

It’s so clear this man thinks he is above the law or norms of his office. He refuses to release his tax returns. He says ethics laws don’t apply to the President. He surrounds himself with family members who enrich themselves privately in business while giving him advice. He says the executive branch is not limited by the judiciary. And the list goes on and on. And we are only into the second month of his presidency.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 4

Week of February 12-18, 2017

Trump hosts a live reality TV show in the form of a presidential press conference. He rants and raves for an hour, blaming everyone, then denies he is ranting and raving. He doubles down and blamed the media, intelligence community, and fake news stories for asserting the White House was in chaos.

He lied by saying it was running like a well tuned machine when all the evidence speaks otherwise. He lied when he said the travel ban went very smoothly. He lied by saying he inherited an economic mess from Obama.  He lied by claiming his victory was the biggest electoral win since Reagan. He lied when he blames the press for creating a tone of hatred and dishonesty, when that tenor came from his campaign. He lied when saying that Congressmen Cummings skipped out on a meeting with him.

He is probably lying about the Russians. Once again, he says what needs to be investigated concerning the Russians and Flynn is not the possible crime of Flynn’s conversations with the Russians as a citizen, nor the crime that Flynn lied to the FBI and V.P. Pence, but that there was a leak of classified information. That’s what should be prosecuted Trump claims.

The man is delusional, but only somewhat more than the those who still believe and trust him.

In another briefing Trump takes to the podium to blame the media, FBI, insiders, and Hillary for Flynn’s rapid fall. He suggests there was criminal activity in uncovering Flynn’s crime. No, we are not going to investigate the crimes committed by Flynn, but investigate what crimes may have been in leaking information that led to the discovering the crime. This playbook has been used ever so often by the Republican Presidents.

In the same news conference he rails against divisiveness in the country and says we will soon see alot of love. Right, from the man who has attacked or ridiculed nearly everyone.

This news conference was the third one in which Trump refused to take questions from the mainstream news media.

Good news that his appointee for Labor got yanked. Even Republicans were shocked to see someone so poorly qualified and obviously anti-labor in his personal and business life.

Trump spends a third weekend of golf and entertaining in Mar-a-Lago with a visit by the Japanese Prime Minister and North Korean missile crisis thrown in. Just to prove he can handle confidential national security issues while vacationing, he is seen working the phones and speaking his advisers all in a public setting over dinner, with guests tweeting in real time. Remind me which candidate complained the most about the few Obama vacations? At least Obama and his wife lived in and honored the White House, instead of using it as a workday corporate office.

Trump issues what must be the first of many to come “you’re fired” to General Flynn, who lied about discussing sanctions with the Russians as a private citizen right after Obama had enacted them. Lock him up, lock him up! When did the President know a crime had been committed? Lock him up, lock him up!

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 3

Week of February 5 – 11, 2017

Trump spends his second weekend of Presidency… Mar-a-Lago. Surprise.

Around the country, more raids and round-ups are occurring against the undocumented. Some who report for their annual immigration check-in are immediately apprehended, handcuffed, and sent out of the country without their families.

Trump continues his attack on the federal courts, claiming they will be responsible for an act of terrorism. More fear mongering to make us be afraid, very afraid. The administration claims they have unreviewable authority. Again, how all despots and autocrats get their footing, right after attacking the press, judiciary, and anyone who disagrees.

The lies continue to pour out every time a mouth is opened in this administration. It seems that the President’s National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, long before the inauguration was indeed engaged in private discussions with the Russians about current sanctions. That is certainly not patriotic, and maybe criminal under the Logan Act, and close to sedition. Lock him up, lock him up, the Republicans would be demanding if this had been a Democrat.

White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway promotes a Trump family business in a national interview. This behavior has become so normalized, no one is surprised or seems to care. If this would have been a Democrat they would be chanting “Lock her up, lock her up”.

On the list of new people Trump has threatened is a Texas State Senator who had stood up against asset forfeiture by the government before a conviction. Trump said he was going to destroy the lawmaker’s career. Trump goes after one of our most prized rights which is protection of personal property.

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee says he is disheartened and demoralized by the President’s attacks on the federal judiciary.

Finally, good news. A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that stopped Trump’s immigration ban. How furious he must be to be subject to the courts and constitution just like the rest of us.

Republicans Senators, following the character of their President, muzzle, censure and censor another Senator from speaking on the people’s floor about the history of the nominated Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  This the day after Trump suggests there might not be much difference between Russia and America in that we both kill people.

Trump takes to Twitter as POTUS to attack yet another business, Nordstroms, because they discontinued a product line of his daughter due to poor sales performance. The next day Trump rents out the oval office for Intel to make a televised commercial standing next to the commander in chief. Just imagine if a Democrat had done either one of these, oh the howling for an investigation if not impeachment for conflict of interest.  What hypocrites.

It seems the nominee for Secretary of Labor, whose policies are definitely not pro-labor, had previously employed an undocumented household worker for whom he did not pay employment taxes. Here you have an administration railing against illegal immigrants being led by captains of industry who have employed them. You can’t make this up.

The big infrastructure programs promised during the campaign appear to now be the big privatization program. We will encourage private investment in infrastructure by issuing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits? Not only will that shift the tax burden to personal income taxes, but of course the privatized projects will have tolls or equivalent which will also be paid for by us personally. Let me see, what country used an oligarchy to privatize the spoils of being in power? Could it have been….Russia. Yes, the same country that Trump seems to admire and whose leader is one of the few he refuses to attack.

Trump says the press is not covering acts of terrorism in the US. This is a lie. Then they change the story that the press is not covering terrorism adequately. Trump claims that the murder rate is the highest it has ever been. This is a lie. The Trump team continues to undermine and delegitimize the role of the press by claiming the press are the liars, not him. And of course the White House starts playing like they are the poor victims, not the perpetrators. This is what all bullies do when they are called out.

New cabinet members continue to be seated, despite heroic efforts of some Democrats with backbone to slow he process down. Today, a billionaire who fights against public education and has never attended a public school a day in her life, was appointed as Secretary of Education. Soon the EPA will have a new head that wants to muzzle if not dismantle this agency.

For those not paying attention, what we are experiencing is the take down and privatization of government. Some would call it a coup.

The Trump administration now says the immigration ban was due to national security, and we should be afraid, very afraid. They go on to say that it was also done to protect our civil rights and freedoms. Yes, that must be it. Attack our civil rights to protect them.

Now we start a list of all the countries which Trump has attacked, ridiculed, threatened, blamed, coerced, or taunted. The list includes China, Mexico, Germany, Iran, Australia, Yemen, Syria, North Korea, South Korea with more to come I am sure.

What makes me the saddest is those disaffected Americans who voted for Trump because the new global economy of unrestrained free market capitalism and trade had left them behind and their communities distressed. They were lied to and sold an empty bag as the country was de-industrialized. Now that the cost of that has sunk in, we don’t look at the root cause and ask how must we evolve capitalism and enforce public policies to balance the needs of our society. Instead, they are just being lied to again and sold another empty bag of promises from a con man; the king of capitalism and his cabinet of billionaires.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Bearing Witness to Trump Week 2

Week of January 29 – February 4, 2017

February 4

A NYT story reveals that autocrats all around the world have celebrated the election of Trump, making them feel more mainstream secure in their own behavior. Do we really risk the new administration becoming a plutocracy if not an autocracy? Let’s see: the cabinet if full of billionaires, those who oppose Trump are called enemies and attacked, the free press is attacked, those who disagree are told to leave, there is a love of the military, the judiciary is attacked, he inserts trusted family members into administration like no other president in modern history, he peddles fear and divisive language, and of course distortions and lies are prevalent.

At the recent national prayer breakfast the President speaks like a true patriot and Christian when he claims he will “totally destroy” laws which provide for the separation of church and state.

What is most sad to me is that the President exploits the uninformed and dupes this misinformed, those he professes to care about. He uses a populist rhetoric in public, but then works to dismantle those things which protect us all. During week 2 this included Dodd-Frank, the environment, healthcare, fiduciary protection for investors, guns for the mentally ill, and the list goes on.

White House spokesperson Conway lies once again using the Bowling Green Massacre as justification for restricting immigration. There was no such thing.

Trump’s son Eric Trump visited Uruguay to advance family business. It cost taxpayers $100K.

Here in the heartland of the heartland, Missouri, we have our new Governor and his Republican legislature “helping” the public with right to work legislation to break unions, reduced funding to education and Medicaid for the poor, and an attack on consumer protection laws. We have a budget crisis largely because the Republican dominated legislature in recent years has reduced business franchise taxes and business income taxes all while dolling out tax credits.

February 2, 2017

In psychology they say you can never get enough of what you profess to abhor and not want. If you see the world you profess to dislike and want to protect us from as threatening, dangerous, chaotic, competitive, and war-like where only winners win and dominate. AND you are in a position of power and projection, well guess what, you will manifest that world around you, even when it did not exist before. We are seeing that every day more and more with the attitudes and actions of the Trump Presidency. They are creating a mean-spirited U.S. and world full of conflict and danger. I have fallen victim to it myself.  It is only a matter of time and opportunity before it all boils over out of control of even the master deal maker.

Trump threatens his first “go nuclear” as President today aimed at the U.S. Senate where he does not like Democrats doing to Republicans what they did to Democrats. Perhaps he forgets that his current supreme court nomination was actually stolen from Obama by Republicans who many think practiced sedition by not performing their duty to consider Obama’s nomination of Garland.

There’s a popular argument that Trump is doing exactly what he said he would upon taking office. Well, yes and no. Examples: he is going to build a wall that Mexico is paying for. The first part appears right. He is going to ban all Muslims. Hum….

The nominee for the Secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, is another billionaire. His credentials for this job are as a Wall Street trader who owns an airline and hockey team. The combined net worth of Trump’s cabinet picks are estimated between $5 and $15B. Drain that swamp baby, drain baby, drain.

Someone tendered that the rest of the world should ban U.S. travelers from entering their country. After all, we are the most violent gun loving country in the first world that has obviously gone delusional and ungovernable as witnessed from afar.

In another loss for the public’s right to know, the Agriculture Department has removed from its website animal welfare inspection reports and enforcement records on breeders and testing facilities.

February 1

In announcing his pick for the Supreme Court, Trump shows what a carny he is by bringing an entourage with him to clap clap clap, just like in his first press conference, and just what other despots and dictators do around the world. Nominee Gorsuch looks rather qualified, downright intellectual elitist, but that is not the issue for Democrats. We have done just fine for almost a year without the 9th justice, while the Republicans refused to even give Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, who was just as qualified, a hearing. It was a constitutional crime that the Congress never considered Garland, and that nomination was stolen from a properly-elected President at the time. It is time for Democrats to show some backbone and honor their values, damn the next election. Under normal circumstances, sure give a sane President his nominee. But these are not normal times, the President is not acting like a sane person, and allowing the court to be moved further to the right during these times is a dangerous, reckless act. If the shoes were reversed, is there any doubt what the Republicans would do? Why would we appease the rise of an evil, divisive administration? The only good news is that Gorsuch appears to support the limitation in the powers of the federal government and for state’s rights. Good luck with that and Trump, who is not a true Republican because he acts like that he and his administration have the obligation and authority to do anything and everything to save and fix America from Washington, all said while railing against government elitists.

The assault on the environment has begun by the Republicans with a rollback of environmental regulations such as those allowing coal companies to dump waste into watersheds.  The House then rolled back anti-corruption regulations that required the extraction industries to publicly state the taxes, fees and other compensation (read kickbacks and bribes) they must pay foreign governments. Yes indeed, this is draining the swamp of corruption.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer lies to the press and people again when he claims that the President did not mean this was an immigration ban, when the President himself used the word ban this past week after promising a ban on Muslims during the campaign. Daily the administration pundits remind the press and people that Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do during the campaign.

January 31

Trump has fired the Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates. The gall and hypocrisy of his press secretary who said she betrayed the justice department. She honored the Justice Dept and the American people who she works for in her patriotic act of resistance to a likely illegal action.

Trying to recall all the people and groups that Trump or his administration attach dogs have insulted, maligned, bullied, threatened, disparaged, or belittled so far is not easy. The list is long and includes: immigrants,  Muslims, Women, protesters, Jews, Democrats, Disabled, Political Opponents, Ex-employees, State Dept. Diplomats, the environment, Chinese, Justice Department, ex Presidents, non-violent protesters, Germans, norms of the office, CNN, Federal judges, Justice Dept., CIA, sanctuary cities, senate rules, his replacement on the Apprentice, Nordstroms, and a Texas State Senator.

Some are questioning if Trump suffers from more than a personality disorder and is plain delusional. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghost writer for the “Art of the Deal” says that Trump convinces himself that what he says is true or ought to be true. So he does not think he is lying.

The man Trump has promoted to be an expert on voter fraud, and who originated the claim that over 3 million voted illegally, was himself registered to vote in three different states in the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, the Russians take the news of their election meddling so seriously they have arrested people they think leaked what they were doing to the British and US. But we are going to investigate voter fraud. You cannot make this up.

January 30, 2017

Trump claims, in another outright lie, that all is going well with the new immigration bans. Yes, protests are occurring all over the country, a court has ruled parts of it as illegal, the acting AG refuses to defend it, passengers are being yanked off of planes and put into handcuffs and detained without charge or representations, airports are chaotic, and members of his own party say it was not properly vetted. Press Secretary Spicer threatens State Dept. officials who dissent to either fall in line or leave. Another great display of American values. Things are just splendid in Trumplandia. Trump claims that this is not a ban on Muslims per se, despite during his campaign he said numerous times he would bring Muslim immigration to the US to a halt. More lies.

Another first for a President as Trump appoints a political strategist with absolutely no relevant credentials to have a seat on the National Security Council. Of all people, Steve Bannon, who disdains democratic processes and freedom of the press. Bannon is emerging as the Rasputin-type adviser was to Imperial Russian Czars. I can imagine why Trump wants someone so close to him on this council, he Chairman Trump, really has no interest in the details of his job and wants to outsource it to his COO.

In our neighboring Canada, worshippers at a Mosque are gunned down demonstrating the results of a war on Muslims. We don’t need to ban Muslims from America; most of our terrorists and mass shooters come from right here: California, or Texas, or Connecticut, or Colorado, or South Carolina.

Jihadist groups from around the world are celebrating Trump’s ban saying this proves the U.S. has declared war on Islam. Trump did indeed say during the campaign that he wanted to ban all Muslims from the U.S. and enforce a test to make sure they submitted to our values. Yes, these are great values to make sure they have.

Our new U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, gets off to a warm start by telling her fellow ambassadors that the U.S. is taking names who do not back us.

Meanwhile, American soldiers now get to die in a brand new country we can put on the war board, Yemen, as a consequence of Trump’s first military exercise that goes bad. Civilians were killed, including children. Our troops were ambushed with loss of secrecy, an aircraft was lost, and a Seal died with three others injured. The Trump administration lies again and said it was a great success. Can you imagine the howling that would be going on if this occurred under an Obama or Clinton watch. Remember Yemen!

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.


Bearing Witness to Trump Week 1

Week of January 21 – 28, 2017

What a week to bear witness from the heartland of America! Yet, just like during the election I am surprised that there is not more outrage from the Christian heartland of so many good people. Do most Americans think of our current political culture as just a crazy reality TV show that does not impact our lives in the real world or the standing of our country? Or do most of my fellow citizens remain so uninformed, misinformed, apathetic, overworked, worn out, over-medicated, or disenfranchised that we just see it all unfolding without concern?

Perhaps a look back at the Week 1 of the Trump Presidency through a current events quiz is in order.

  1. Which country’s leadership told their press corps they were dishonest human beings who are the opposition and that they should just shut up? (a) North Korea, (b) Russia, (c) Iran, or (d) United States
  2. Who has issued the most executive orders and actions of any new presidency during his first week? (a) Obama, (b) Obama, (c) Obama, or (d) Trump
  3. Which wealthy oil-producing country was not included in the new immigration ban even though their citizens have killed more Americans in terrorist acts than any other nation? (a) Iraq (b) Iran (c) Syria or (d) Saudi Arabia
  4. In beginning the repeal of the ACA, the Trump administration promised every citizen would have what as a replacement? (a) health care, (b) access to health care, (c) access to health care insurance, (d) access to health care savings accounts, or (e) a book on DIY healthcare.
  5. Did more people march in Washington the day after the inauguration than actually attended the inauguration? (a) yes, (b) no, (c) it depends on which alternative set of facts you use.
  6. What new battles or wars has Trump fueled this week? (a) a war with the press, (b) a trade war with Asia, (c) a border spat with Mexico, (d) a war on Medicaid, (e) a war on the facts, (f)  tension over new Israeli settlement camps in Palestine, (g) a war on public education, (h) on women’s reproductive rights, (i) on climate change research, (j) competition between NYC and DC on where the first family and presidential power will reside, or (k) all of the above.
  7. Which feared leader said torture works and may be justified? (a) el Baghadi of ISIS, (b) Putin of Russia (c) al-Assad of Syria (d) Hussain of Pakistan or (e) Trump of the US.
  8. What dystopian classic books are once again hot sellers? (a) Lord of the Flies, (b) Animal Farm, (c) The Mouse that Roared, (d) 1984 (e) It Can’t Happen Here (f) Brave New World or (g) all of the above.


Bearing Witness to Trump Day 7

January 28, 2017

Not to miss an opportunity to suppress lawful voting and peaceful assemblage as guaranteed by the Constitution, Republican legislators in several states have proposed harsher felonies for protesters who disrupt business as usual, such as blocking a street that is used for commerce. The protest against immigration bans this weekend by thousands at dozens of US airports must really make them panic. I am sure these are the same conservatives who wrap themselves around the flag and armed service members who fight and die abroad supposedly to protect our freedoms at home, including that to protest.

The Trump administration has put a hold on federal agencies such as the EPA from releasing new research, evidence, or news about climate change. Everything must now undergo review by political appointees. The nominated directors says this is necessary because it was Obama, not the Republicans, who politicized global warming science. Yea, right, another distortion of the truth as it was the Republicans who did this.

Whomever this administration blames and whatever they project on to their “enemies” as having said that or done this, is actually what they did, used as a ruse to divert accountability. Of course it was Trump who said he would like to all together abolish the EPA during the campaign.  The head of the Trump transition team said he expects big staff and budget cuts in the EPA, perhaps up to 50%.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.



Bearing Witness to Trump Day 6

January 26, 2017

Trump starts a twitter war of words with Mexico then insults and threatens their President, who promptly cancels his state visit to the US.  Hooray for diplomacy! Let’s see how many fights we can pick with everyone around the world. And true to Trump’s fragile ego, he said it was mutual agreement that the visit was cancelled. What a weasel. We have all known or had to work around scoundrels like Trump in our business and personal lives.

The administration floats a 20% tax on imports to pay for the border wall. Who do they think pays that tax? It’s us, the consumer. The Press Secretary lies again for the President by asserting Trump never said Mexico would pay for the wall.

Steve Bannon rails against the free press saying they should “keep their mouth shut.” Yes, this is a real patriot who believes in democracy and the constitution. Felony charges were filed against journalists covering the march on Washington.  News media from around the world report on the sharp deterioration of press freedom in the US. A MSNBC report reveals that Trump has appointed two political hacks and bloggers to run the venerable Voice of America, long respected around the world when it was governed by a balanced board, not a partisan CEO. We can see where this is going and that Trump will now have is very own global media channel of propaganda in addition to Fox News domestically.

More talk about restricting Syrian refugees from entering into the U.S. and further crackdown on immigrants. The last Republican President so totally broke the stability of the Middle East which created the fertile ground for ISIS and civil wars to breed. It’s a respectable conservative value that you take responsibility for cleaning up the mess you make, which shows that these are not real conservatives much less real Christians. They are charlatans.

More information comes out that federal agencies like the EPA are being muzzled. References to climate change are removed from federal government websites. Private organizations are busy backing up data that currently exists, fearing that it will also soon be  purged.

Can there be any doubt where this all is heading? A man with the deranged ego and temperament of Trump will find, create, manifest, or project the conflict and tragedy that he thinks will require someone like himself to save us all….all so he is redeemed, worshipped, and adored. It is all so predictable. George Orwell’s 1984 is once again a best seller.

The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.