What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 31, 2017

Trumped Up Fear


The World's Gone Mad.

From the NYTimes:
President Trump fired his acting attorney general on Monday night, removing her as the nation’s top law enforcement officer after she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.
In firing her, the Trump White House issued a statement that said that she betrayed the Justice Department by refusing to enforce the order.  The statement also said (or at least implied) that in doing so, she's made it easier for terrorists to kill us all.

Too bad her oath reads like this:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Her job was to support and defend the Constitution, not the fevered (and illegal) orders of a small-handed pussy grabber.

It took the Nixon Administration years to get this insane.  It's taken Donald Trump less than two weeks.

Let's all take a deep breath and listen to David Tennant:


Transcript:
It's all gonna be okay.  Trust me. I'm a doctor.

But it's up to us to make it ok - it's time to be positively rebellious and rebellious positive.

As long as we stand up for what we believe in,  don't give into anger or violence, look out for the little guy, keep an eye on the big guys, refuse to keep our mouths shut and just generally try not to be dicks, every little thing is gonna be alright.
For fuck's sake, let's hope so.

Agreed!

PA Rep. Dom Costa Tweets He's Not a Cosigner of HB14 to Punish Sanctuary Campuses

A post was shared over a hundred times on Facebook -- including by me -- alerting people to contact PA Rep. Dom Costa (D-21) and tell him to not cosponsor HB14 (Sanctuary Campuses). That bill seeks to punish any Pennsylvania institution of higher education which protects undocumented students by suspending payment of state-appropriated funds.

Currently, Costa's name is on the bill as a cosponsor -- the only Democrat listed:



Costa tweeted the following shortly after midnight:

UPDATE: We should probably keep an eye open for future typos bearing Costa's name seeing as how, less than a year ago, he cosponsored a bill (HB1894) to help put an end to the "alien invasion" in Pennsylvania. You know, just in case he -- or any other elected official in a blue district -- doesn't get the message that Democrats are in no mood to let something like this slide anymore.

January 30, 2017

Donald Trump Doesn't Know From Geneva. Again

From The Hill:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and reminded him in a phone call on Saturday of the policy of the Geneva Convention regarding refugees, according to reports.

“The Geneva refugee convention requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds. All signatory states are obligated to do. The German government explained this policy in their call yesterday,” the chancellor’s spokesman, Steffen Seiberg, said in a statement.

The United States is party to the Geneva Convention, which consists of several treaties within international law that pertain to the treatment of civilians and prisoners of war during armed conflict.
Here are some of the things a refugee is guaranteed by the convention.  See if any have conflicted with what Trump did this weekend:
Article 3
Non-discrimination

The Contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin.
Article 16
Access to Courts

A refugee shall have free access to the courts of law on the territory of all Contracting States.
Article 33
Prohibition of Expulsion or Return ("Refoulement")

No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
These things had to be explained to Donald Trump by the leader of another country.

He's on the wrong side of the Geneva Conventions when it comes to torture and now he's on the wrong side of the Geneva Conventions when it comes to refugees.

This is what happens when you elect a leader with absolutely no experience.

Resist.

January 29, 2017

I Give The Floor To An Immigrant Father Of A War Hero (Who Was Also An Immigrant)

In an email to Slate's Dahlia Lithwick regarding this weekend's protests against Trump's immigration Executive Order regarding, Khizr Khan wrote:
It is every American's patriotic duty to protest against violations of our values of freedom of religion, equal dignity and equal protection of law.  Trump is sowing seeds of further division based on religion, which reminds us to what took place in Germany during and before second world war and my brothers and sisters of Jewish faith suffered holocaust atrocities just because of their faith. We will not let Trump violate our constitution and its values, we will protest, seek justice in the courts, ask congress to pass legislation to declare Trump executive orders void.
I'll just leave it at that for today.

January 28, 2017

See? This Is Why Trump Needed To Divest And Place His Business In A Blind Trust.

From that hotbed of lib'rul agitprop, Bloomberg News:
President Trump has signed an executive order that bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East from entering the United States for 90 days, according to the White House. His proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals. Properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers operating in Turkey. [Link and emphasis in original]
That's right.  From another Bloomberg piece:
The admission of refugees would be suspended for 120 days. Citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya would be banned from entering the U.S. for 90 days, while the government determines what information it needs from other countries to safely admit visitors. The order doesn’t list the countries but points to laws that cover those seven, which were provided by the White House.
The piece also says that the ban of those fleeing Syria would be extended "indefinitely."

Like this possible terrorist:


His name is Omran Daqneesh and he's from Aleppo, Syria (so of course he's already suspect).  He's covered with dust because he and his family were living in a district unlucky enough to be targeted by the Syrian regime for an airstrike aimed at the rebels in the area.

If he wanted to leave Syria to come to the relative safety of America (give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free), he's now denied that opportunity because Donald Trump thinks he might be a terrorist.

Omran was five when he got dust-bloodied.

But back to the original point of this blog post - while this is true:
President Trump's freeze on immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries cites the potential threat of terrorism. But here's the twist — it doesn't include any countries from which radicalized Muslims have actually killed Americans in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
This is also true:
In contrast, here are the countries of origin of radicalized Muslims who carried out deadly attacks in the U.S., beginning on Sept. 11, 2001: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Russia and Pakistan.
Has Donald Trump let slide his fervent immigration concerns about countries where he just happens to make lotsa money and instead targeted countries where he doesn't make any?  I suppose it's all a coincidence, right?

These questions are going arise whenever Trump makes a foreign policy decision that overlaps his business holdings.

This is why Trump should have respected the emoluments clause and now as a result he's violating the Constitution.

Resist.

January 27, 2017

All Politics Is Local (Trump Vs Peduto On Deportation)

From The Trib, we read:
President Trump directed federal workers Wednesday to start building a border wall and begin punishing so-called sanctuary cities and is considering dramatically limiting the flow of people from other countries, including a ban on Syrian refugees, in a flurry of steps that could fundamentally reshape how the United States deals with immigration, security and the war on terrorism.

Trump signed two executive orders designed to begin building the wall, add lockups for detaining immigrants who cross the border illegally, enhance enforcement power for border agents and strip federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
It's that last part that's at issue here and this is the Executive Order. Section 2 of the order reads:
It is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law;
And then Section 8 reads:
Federal-State Agreements. It is the policy of the executive branch to empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.
And then in Section 9, we read:
In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.
This is not going down well with some of our nation's mayors:
In the past 24 hours, President Trump has signaled sweeping federal intervention in the way local and state officials carry out policing, treat immigrants and run elections, setting off a wave of defiance and apprehension from leaders of some of America’s largest cities.

In an executive order signed Wednesday, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to find ways to defund cities and jurisdictions out of step with his immigration priorities. That action — which could cost sanctuary cities including Washington, New York and Los Angeles millions of dollars — is the latest in a series of moves where Trump has appeared willing to step on state-level or municipal prerogatives.

In the scuffle, U.S. mayors have emerged as key players in the resistance to Trump’s agenda.
One of them is Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh. He released a statement that reads, in part:
The residents of Pittsburgh stand tonight with cities all across our nation. Pittsburgh was built by immigrants, who came to our city to find work in our steel mills and who forged a better life for their families. Like my grandparents, they came to America for opportunity, and they built America. We stand on their shoulders, and we owe it to them to preserve opportunities for current and future generations. Just as our past was built by immigrants, so too will be our future.

Let's be clear: the President's executive order will not make us safer. It will not advance the principles upon which our nation and our cities were founded. It will further divide us as a city and as a nation. Pittsburgh joins tonight with other cities across the country and we stand ready to fight this unprecedented and this unconstitutional act. We will resist, with all powers at our disposal, any attempt to commandeer our local law enforcement officers into a national deportation army.
We've dealt with this before.   That's the blog post where I quoted Antonin Scalia who wrote:
The Federal Government's power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service--and at no cost to itself--the police officers of the 50 States.
And here I thought the GOP was in favor of a limited government, of states' rights and so on.
But hey, you know who else thinks Trump's order is unconstitutional?  Someone I've tussled with in the past, George Mason University legal scholar Ilya Somin
Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities – jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The order has serious constitutional problems. Unless interpreted very narrowly, it is both unconstitutional and a very dangerous precedent.
And so on.

Anyway, kudos to Bill Peduto for being on the right side of history on this.

Kudos, sir.

January 26, 2017

Trump's Politically Correct Science At EPA

From the Associated Press:
The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a "temporary hold" before it can be released.

The communications director for President Donald Trump's transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency's website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth's climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Ericksen clarified his earlier statements he made to The Associated Press, which reported that the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. He said he was speaking about existing scientific information on the EPA website that is under review by members of the Trump administration's transition team.
Ericksen, by the way, is a climate science denier.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported:
Two years ago, State Sen. Cyrus Habib (now lieutenant governor) introduced an amendment saying that climate change is real and caused by humans. It was gutted and replaced with a weaker one from Ericksen saying humans "may" contribute to climate change.
Yea, I guess that's one of those "alternative facts" we keep hearing about.

Back to the Trump science.  It looks like if the pussy-grabber's political appointees don't like what they see, the science doesn't get released to the public.  It looks like if it doesn't pass political muster, it goes down the memory hole.

If it's incorrect politically, it won't exist, officially. 

You see where I'm going with this right?  Look at the title of the blog post.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey tweeted:
True.

No word yet on how the other Pennsylvania Senator (a climate science denier), Pat Toomey sees Donald Trump's scientific politically correctness.

Alternative facts aren't facts.  They're falsehoods.

January 25, 2017

The War On Reality - Trump Edition (con't II)

Even some Republicans are calling Trump out on his lie.

Senator Lindsey Graham:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday called on President Trump to stop claiming voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the 2016 election.

Graham implored Trump to admit that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in his election and that those who voted did so legally.

“So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it,” Graham said.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:
House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated Tuesday that he’s seen “no evidence” of rampant voter fraud during the 2016 election.

The Wisconsin Republican’s remarks came one day after President Donald Trump told Ryan and other congressional leaders during a private White House meeting that he lost the popular vote only because 3 million to 5 million “illegals” voted.

“I’ve seen no evidence to that effect. I’ve made that very, very clear,” Ryan told reporters at the Capitol, reiterating his position on Trump’s claim of mass voter fraud.
In case you've forgotten, Paul Ryan's the Republican who called Trump a racist.  I wonder how Paul Ryan gets through these meetings.  Imagine having to bow and scrape to an orange man you've already labeled as a racist.  All for party unity. 

Back to Trump's lie.  Press Secretary Scott Spicer (remember, he's the guy who lied about the size of Trump's inaugural crowd size) reiterated Trump's lie with "supporting studies" that don't actually support what Trump said.

Meanwhile, how Trump deals with truth is just as frightening.  From Reuters:
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website, two agency employees told Reuters, the latest move by the newly minted leadership to erase ex-President Barack Obama's climate change initiatives.

The employees were notified by EPA officials on Tuesday that the administration had instructed EPA's communications team to remove the website's climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research, as well as detailed data on emissions. The page could go down as early as Wednesday, the sources said.
I wonder how long we'll be able to read the science from NOAA.  For example this fact ("fact" as in "a statement supported by empirical evidence") about 2016:
With the contribution of eight consecutive high monthly temperature records set from January to August, and the remainder of the months ranking among their five warmest, 2016 became the warmest year in NOAA's 137-year series. Remarkably, this is the third consecutive year a new global annual temperature record has been set.
Erasing the evidence won't change the reality - no matter how much you want to depend on "alternative facts."

Repeat after me: Alternative facts are not facts.  They're falsehoods.

We're not even a week into the Trump administration and they're bathing in falsehoods.

January 24, 2017

The War On Reality - Trump Edition (con't)

We're still in the first week of the Trump Administration, right?

So how's about this headline from the Washington Post?
Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote
Or this one from the New York Times?
Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote In Meeting With Lawmakers
We're one week in.  If this is the so-called "honeymoon period" then how much worse is it going to be?

This has got to be a concern the White House.  Take a look at this coverage in The Hill:
Later, he offered the remarks about the demoralizing coverage, arguing it is always negative and questioning why the media doesn't write positive stories on Trump, such as his “success in keeping American jobs.”

“I’ve never seen it like this. The default narrative is always negative, and it’s demoralizing,” Spicer said.

“When we’re right, say we’re right. When we’re wrong, say we’re wrong,” he continued. “But it’s not always wrong and negative.”
OK you're wrong, snowflake.

You were wrong about the crowd size at the inauguration and you're wrong about the illegal ballots.  Period.

You. Are. Wrong.

"Alternative facts" aren't facts.  They're falsehoods.  And Trump has been peddling them for years (climate change?  A hoax.  Obama birth certificate?  A fake).

Perhaps Keith Olbermann isn't too far from wrong here:


Resist.

January 23, 2017

The War On Reality - Trump Edition

In case you missed it, this happened this weekend:
Donald Trump began his first full week as US president firmly on the defensive, after millions of Americans took to the streets to protest against his election and the White House came under fire for brazenly lying to the public.

Rattled by the nation’s biggest political demonstrations since the Vietnam war, Trump and his aides spent an extraordinary first weekend in office falsely claiming that record numbers of people had attended his swearing-in on Friday.

Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first White House briefing to shout at journalists about what he incorrectly termed “deliberately false reporting” on Trump’s inauguration, declaring: “We’re going to hold the press accountable.”

“This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” said Spicer, in one of several statements contradicted by photographs and transit data. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday Spicer had merely been offering “alternative facts”, a phrase that was received with widespread astonishment.
That would be when Chuck Todd said that "Alternative facts are not facts.  They're falsehoods."

This weekend, after the Trump Administrations full frontal assault on evidence, the George Orwell's name was thrown around a bit.  Here's something of what he had to say about facts:
I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously coloured what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that ‘facts’ existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost everyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be that body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science’. There is only ‘German Science’, ‘Jewish Science’, etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not a frivolous statement.
He wrote this in 1943 so when he talks about "the last war" he's talking about WWI (1914-1918).

Now go look at what Scott Spicer said about the yuge crowd watching Trump's inauguration and then Kellyann Conway's defense of it.  This is Orwell level frightening.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows - George Orwell.

January 22, 2017

Donald Trump - The CIA Speech, The Iraqi Oil, And The War Crime

Holy crap there's so much to discuss about Donald Trump's first full day.

I could be discussing the emoluments clause of the Constitution and how Trump is in violation of it.  But hey, let me just ask a question: Where are the Constitutional fetishists these days?  You know the ones - they're well-armed, beer-bellied, and they spend their weekends in the woods ranting about the UN, the silent unmarked helicopters and the lib'ruls.  Now that there's a definite non-Kenyan, non-Socialist, in the Oval Office who actually is violating the Constitution, I have heard nary a peep from the guardian militias.  What gives?

I could be discussing the hundreds of thousands of Americans (and I was one of them - look here) who took to the streets in American cities (and the thousands of others who did the same in cities across the world) in support of Women's rights.  It was the first time in months I've felt anything approaching political optimism.  It was a great day.

But now, I want to discuss Trump's speech at CIA Headquarters yesterday.

Among the self-serving sentences, Trump replayed an old campaign theme:
The old expression: “To the victor belong the spoils.” You remember? You always used to say: “Keep the oil.” I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But, I will tell you: when we were in, we got out wrong.

And I always said: “In addition to that, keep the oil.”

Now I said it for economic reasons, but if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil we would probably wouldn’t have ISIS, because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil.

But, okay. Maybe we’ll have another chance.
I'm wondering how many in the room (setting aside whatever Trump-plants Trump may have planted there) knew how illegal this is.

By no means-a-liberal Charles Krauthammer said that plundering the oil is a war crime.

So is it?

Yes, take a look:
Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. [Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949].
Or look at this:
To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war [Article 23(g) of the 1907 Hague Regulations].
Krauthammer is right.  Plundering the oil is a war crime.  And there's Trump saying "maybe we'll have another chance."

This is different from simply lying about the size of the crowd at the inauguration.  Different from simply lying about his support of the Iraq war.  This is Donald Trump, Commander-In-Chief, advocating a war crime.

When will the Constitutional Absolutists in the Congress be bringing this up?

The day after the march

Terribly relevant once again:

January 21, 2017

First Press Conference by the Trump Administration

Epic Performance by Ashley Judd at Women's March

Pittsburgh Marches for Women

Hundreds of thousands of participants showed up at the Women's March on Washington today (still ongoing -- watch C-SPAN!) and tens of thousands showed up at women's marches in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh had not one, but two marches today for women (click here for more about that).

The sister march Women's March on Pittsburgh held downtown had a reported 25,000 attendees. Here are some photographs from 2pj's own David:



(Speakers included Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner)

(David with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto)

And, many hundreds showed up for the Our Feminism Must Be Intersectional Rally/March in East Liberty, a hollaback march to the one in D.C. Photographs are courtesy of Frances Sansig Rupp (pictured in last photo).






While none of these marches were specifically anti Trump, Fuck Trump.

And So Here It Is: The Beginning Of The Trump Administration

I suppose we need to begin with his Inaugural Address.

It's been fact-checked by Polifact, USAToday, Vanity Fair, and The Washington Post among others.

But I'm not here to fact-check.  I want to dig into some of the darker aspects of Trump's speech.

This one, for instance:
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
This has caught the eye of more than a few critics.

There was an "America First" political party a decade or so ago.  It was built by some Pat Buchanan supporters who left the Reform party in 2002.  It's the usual far-right stuff; No restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights, US out of the United Nations, English-only and so on.

But that's not what's at issue here.  What's at issue is the Antisemitism of the an earlier "America First" group - the America First Committee.

According to Professor David Gordon, now of CUNY, the decision of the AFC to give Charles Lindbergh a prominent role in the organization would destroy the reputation of the AFC.  This is what Lindbergh said in Des Moines 2 months before Pearl Harbor.  He was outlining three groups that were looking to force the USA into WWII; The British, The Roosevelt Administration, and (of course) The Jews.

It was felt that Roosevelt was pumping up war-hysteria in order to distract from the economic downturn in 1937.

In any event Lindbergh had this to say:
No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them.
And then:
Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.
Yes, he said that.  You'll note the separation of "us" and "them" when talking about "the Jewish race" and who's "them" and their un-American reasons for wanting the United States to enter the war.

I seriously doubt if Trump knew any of this (even though he's very smart and always has the best words) but still, this is the historical context of "America First" and if he knew anything, he'd have steered clear of the phrase.  And on the off-chance that he did know its anti-Semitic context (and, let's be honest, what's the chance of that??) and yet used it anyway, well that's a whole different story, isn't it?

So which is it?  Political ignorance or antisemitism?

Neither looks good on the little handed pussy grabber.

Then there's this:
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
Did you see it? What's "total allegiance"?  Who defines it?  And more importantly, who enforces it?  And how does it square with the following passages of his speech?
The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
A united America is unstoppable.  While honest debate is a must, it's only to be done in the pursuit of "solidarity" and within the framework of the idea that the bedrock of our politics is a God-pleasing "total allegiance" to America - Donald Trump's America.

It should be frightening to the rest of us.

Ein Volk...


The speech has some detractors on the right.  It was a speech that George Will (hardly a bleeding heart lib'rul) called "the most dreadful inaugural address in history."  Adding:
Oblivious to the moment and the setting, the always remarkable Trump proved that something dystopian can be strangely exhilarating: In what should have been a civic liturgy serving national unity and confidence, he vindicated his severest critics by serving up reheated campaign rhetoric about “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape” and an education system producing students “deprived of all knowledge.” Yes, all.

But cheer up, because the carnage will vanish if we “follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.” “Simple” is the right word.
That penultimate sentence should have free-market conservatives up-in-arms.  Whatever happened to letting the market decide?  How much of mainstream conservatism has Trump pissed on?

To that end, I have to point out that the editors of the National Review Online called the speech "unconservative."

How sad is it that the checks on his power depend not on the so-far unbullied remnants of the conservative movement (like George Will and the NRO editors), but on the power hungry GOP members of Congress who are looking to give Trump much of what he (though not America) wants.

Best of luck to us all.

Happy Women's March Day!




January 20, 2017

Trump's speech sounded better in the original German.

(h/t to Molly Ivins)

Songs for a rainy day

You Did It!


This message is not for Trump voters. This message is for all those -- but especially those on the left -- who didn't want Trump, but couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary in the general election. You didn't want her to be president and she isn't.

Congratulations! You did it!

You refused to vote for Clinton but were depending on others to do your 'dirty work' for you so that you could stay 'pure' (admit it, you thought she would win).

You are the height of hypocrisy and privilege.

Fuck you.

Question

For all those saying that it's time that we all come together now, have you been saying the same thing for the last 10 months while Senate Republicans have refused to do their job (constitutional duty) and even meet with Merrick Garland, President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court?

If not, then shut the fuck up!

Inauguration Day

I'm taking the day off.

Meanwhile, in my absence:
Resist.

January 19, 2017

Trump Inauguration Concert Recap

(Via US Weekly)


T-Minus 1 Day Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (The End)

Donald Trump will be sworn in tomorrow.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 (or so) years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

June 25, 2015

On June 17 2015, Dylan Roof,  a white, Christian, domestic terrorist (of the white supremacist variety) and owner (thanks to an errant background check by the FBI) of a Glock 41 walked into the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina.  An hour or so later he killed nine people who had welcomed him into their Bible study.

You may have heard the story.

A few days later, President Obama attended a memorial service in Charleston for the victims of the shooting.  At the end of his remarks, he said this:
Reverend [Clementa] Pinckney once said, “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history -- we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.” What is true in the South is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other. That my liberty depends on you being free, too. That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past -- how to break the cycle. A roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind -- but, more importantly, an open heart.

That’s what I’ve felt this week -- an open heart. That, more than any particular policy or analysis, is what’s called upon right now, I think -- what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that reservoir of goodness, beyond, and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.”

That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is possible. If we can tap that grace, everything can change. 
And then this happened:


And yet tomorrow, an ignorant, bigoted man left unendorsed by even the nation's most conservative newspapers (though endorsed by the KKK) will be taking the oath of office for the most powerful office in the land and become leader of the free world.

Welcome to Trump's America.

January 18, 2017

T-Minus 2 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (The Beginning)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a couple of days.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 (or so) years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

January 20, 2009.

In his first inaugural address President Barack Obama said this:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
Exactly four years later, in his second inaugural address, he said this:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

And for more than two hundred years, we have.
I shudder to think what the (at least) next four years will look like. 

Will we even recognize ourselves then?

As we contemplate the corrupt, bigoted, thin-skinned, incompetent, and dishonest man who'll be taking the oath of office this Friday, we should all be thinking about what we're losing as a nation.

We used to be able to claim that we were the good guys (whether that's true is a completely separate question).  We used to be able to claim that, politics aside, there's an inherent goodness in the American character - that we support the expansion of freedom and justice everywhere (again, whether that's true in practice is a separate question).  But with 60 million or so of our citizens either OK with or OK-enough with Trump's various indecencies to vote for him, we can no longer any of claim that.

Instead, there's a man who, the moment he takes the oath is violating the very Constitution he just swore to uphold.

And the only hope of any sort of oversight would have to come from a Congress dominated by Senators and Representatives voted in by the same MAGA-hatted who were OK with Trump's indecencies in the first place. 

Best of luck to us on that.

What will we look like in 4 years?  Will we recognize ourselves then?

January 17, 2017

Thank You, Rep. Mike Doyle!

(My Congressperson!)
(We're up to 50 not attending now with three from PA.)

T-Minus 3 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Race And America III)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a few days.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 (or so) years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

I want to revisit President Obama's speech on race given a few months before the 2008 election.

He said, in part:
But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who's been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
And:
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.
This was followed by more than a few years of Donald Trump's racist birtherism.

From which he "retreated" this past September but then proceeded to lie about it (twice) anyway.

Ponder what we're gaining and what we're losing.

January 16, 2017

T-Minus 4 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Race And America II)

Donald Trump will be sworn in later this week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 (or so) years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

August 28, 2013.

At the Ceremony Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, President Barack Obama said:
We rightly and best remember Dr. King’s soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.

But we would do well to recall that day itself also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on TV. Many had gone to segregated schools and sat at segregated lunch counters. They lived in towns where they couldn’t vote and cities where their votes didn’t matter. They were couples in love who couldn’t marry, soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they found denied to them at home. They had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire-hosed, and they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate.

And yet they chose a different path. In the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors. In the face of violence, they stood up and sat in, with the moral force of nonviolence. Willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws, their cells swelling with the sound of freedom songs. A lifetime of indignities had taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that God grants us. They had learned through hard experience what Frederick Douglass once taught -- that freedom is not given, it must be won, through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith.

That was the spirit they brought here that day. That was the spirit young people like John Lewis brought to that day. That was the spirit that they carried with them, like a torch, back to their cities and their neighborhoods. That steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to come -- through boycotts and voter registration drives and smaller marches far from the spotlight; through the loss of four little girls in Birmingham, and the carnage of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the agony of Dallas and California and Memphis. Through setbacks and heartbreaks and gnawing doubt, that flame of justice flickered; it never died.

And because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, a Civil Rights law was passed. Because they marched, a Voting Rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else’s laundry or shining somebody else’s shoes.  Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually, the White House changed.

Because they marched, America became more free and more fair...
I want you to note who Obama mentions in the fourth paragraph - that would be Representative John Lewis of the Georgia fifth congressional district.

You can watch his speech at that march in 1963 here (transcript can be found here).

A few days ago in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Lewis said this of Donald Trump:
CHUCK TODD: You have forged relationships with many presidents. Do you plan on trying to forge a relationship with Donald Trump?

REP. JOHN LEWIS: You know, I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.

CHUCK TODD: You do not consider him a legitimate president?

REP. JOHN LEWIS: No --

CHUCK TODD: Why is that?

REP. JOHN LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don't plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I've been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.
A few minutes later, Chuck Todd said:
A day after Congressman John Lewis told me he doesn't believe Trump is a legitimately elected president, Trump responded, tweeting "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime-infested, rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk, no action or results. Sad."
You'll note Lewis wasn't "falsely complaining" about anything. It's simply a fact that a Russian intelligence operation influenced the 2016 Presidential Election. The US Intelligence Community says so.  (So that's a lie.  And saying that  the Georgia 5th is "in horrible shape" is, in itself, a racist smear.)

In any event, for Representative Lewis (and a lot of other people as well) Russian interference with what should've been an open election is enough to call into question the legitimacy of the Trump presidency.  Forever

In any event, in the spirit of what President Obama said in 2013, what Representative John Lewis said a few days ago and what Donald Trump said a few hours later, I want to point out that:
President-elect Donald Trump canceled plans to spend Martin Luther King Day at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture — losing a chance for much-needed goodwill after his feud with a civil rights leader.

The incoming president, who spent this weekend waging a war of words with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), had planned to visit the national museum in Washington, D.C. on Martin Luther King Day.

But senior level transition sources told ABC News on Sunday the visit was called off due to unspecified “scheduling issues.”
"Scheduling issues" keeping Trump away from the museum on Martin Luther King Day.

I'll leave it to you, now, to ponder the America we've had for the last 8 years and the America we will have for the next 4.

January 15, 2017

T-Minus 5 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Race And America)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a under a week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 (or so) years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

A few months before the 2008 election, then-Senator Barack Obama felt it necessary to explain his relationship with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Seems that the good Reverend Wright preached a few things that caused all who heard them to be seized with trepidation and dread (or at least they acted like it).

Obama went beyond and used it as a frame to talk about race in America.  He said:
"We the people… in order to form a more perfect union…."

Two hundred and twenty-one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars, statesmen and patriots who had traveled across the ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed, but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution—a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part—through protests and struggles, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience, and always at great risk—to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this presidential campaign: to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together—unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction: towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.
We may not come from the same place but we all want to move in the same direction, right?

And yet, from the Washington Post we read:
The idea of a so-called Muslim registry or Muslim database has been back in the news in recent days after a pair of high-profile Donald Trump supporters rekindled it.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — formerly rumored to be a candidate for Trump's attorney general — talked to Reuters on Tuesday about the Trump administration implementing one. By Wednesday, Trump surrogate Carl Higbie cited Japanese American internment camps during World War II as “precedent” for doing such a thing.
But it can't happen here, can it?

Perhaps it can - now we should ponder what we're losing in a week.





January 14, 2017

T-Minus 6 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Facts, Evidence, Reason And Logic)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a under a week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

May 15, 2015.

In a Commencement Address at Rutgers, President Obama said:
Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science -- these are good things.  These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. That might seem obvious. That's why we honor Bill Moyers or Dr. Burnell.

We traditionally have valued those things. But if you were listening to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So, Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about. And yet, we've become confused about this.

Look, our nation’s Founders -- Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson -- they were born of the Enlightenment. They sought to escape superstition, and sectarianism, and tribalism, and know-nothingness. They believed in rational thought and experimentation, and the capacity of informed citizens to master our own fates. That is embedded in our constitutional design. That spirit informed our inventors and our explorers, the Edisons and the Wright Brothers, and the George Washington Carvers and the Grace Hoppers, and the Norman Borlaugs and the Steve Jobses. That's what built this country.
And:
But when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem.
And yet:
Even though ten years earlier, the science was clear:
This eighth and final report of the Immunization Safety Review Committee examines the hypothesis that vaccines, specifically the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines, are causally associated with autism. The committee reviewed the extant published and unpublished epidemiological studies regarding causality and studies of potential biologic mechanisms by which these immunizations might cause autism.

The committee concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. The committee also concludes that the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
And:
Except that there's no evidence to actually back it up.

And we already know about Trump's fact-free claims about the thousands of Arabs celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey and, of course, the Chinese origins of climate science.

Ignorance is not a virtue.

Ponder that as you ponder the next few years.

January 13, 2017

T-Minus 7 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Supreme Court II)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

May 10, 2010.

President Barack Obama nominated Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court.  In his remarks, he said this:
But while Elena had a brilliant career in academia, her passion for the law is anything but academic. She has often referred to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked, as her hero. I understand that he reciprocated by calling her “Shorty.” (Laughter.) Nonetheless, she credits him with reminding her that, as she put it, “behind law there are stories -- stories of people’s lives as shaped by the law, stories of people’s lives as might be changed by the law…”

That understanding of law, not as an intellectual exercise or words on a page, but as it affects the lives of ordinary people, has animated every step of Elena’s career -- including her service as Solicitor General today.
And:
I think that says a great deal not just about Elena’s tenacity, but about her commitment to serving the American people. I think it says a great deal about her commitment to protect our fundamental rights, because in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.
And at her confirmation on August 6, he said:
And it is yet another example of how our union has become more, not less, perfect over time -- more open, more fair, more free. That’s not just a matter of accident or chance. While those founding truths about liberty and equality may have been self-evident, they are not self-perpetuating. And it is the members of our highest court who do the vital and constant work of ensuring that they endure. And that's work that I am confident Elena will carry out with integrity, with humanity, and an abiding commitment to the ideal inscribed above our courthouse doors: equal justice under the law.
Meanwhile, in the transition:
President-elect Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he would place his vast business empire in a trust controlled by his two oldest sons and take other steps in an attempt to remove any suggestion of a conflict of interest with his decisions as president. But he said he would not sell his holdings.

Hours later, the government’s top ethics monitor said the plan was wholly inadequate and would leave the president vulnerable to “suspicions of corruption.”
Time to ponder yet again exactly what it is we're losing.

January 12, 2017

T-Minus 8 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (LGBT Recognition)

Donald Trump will be sworn in in a little over a week.  As we ponder that panic, let's look back at a few episodes from the past 8 years - all with the understanding that Trump would never/could never be able to accomplish any of it.

After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

November 16, 2016:

From the White House press office press release announcing the most recent Presidential Medal Of Freedom recipients:
Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003 with her trademarked humor, humility, and optimism. In 2003 Ellen lent her voice to a forgetful but unforgettable little fish named Dory in Finding Nemo. She reprised her role again in 2016 with the hugely successful Finding Dory. Ellen also hosted the Academy Awards twice, in 2007 and 2014. In 1997, after coming out herself, DeGeneres made TV history when her character on Ellen revealed she was a lesbian. In her work and in her life, she has been a passionate advocate for equality and fairness.
And at the ceremony he said:
Ellen DeGeneres has a way of making you laugh about something rather than at someone. Except when I danced on her show -- she laughed at me. (Laughter.) But that’s okay.

It's easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law -- just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was not just to the LGBT community, but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions, remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice.

What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that. People don’t do that very often. And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders. But it's like Ellen says: We all want a tortilla chip that can support the weight of guacamole. Which really makes no sense to me, but I thought would brighten the mood, because I was getting kind of choked up. (Laughter.) And she did pay a price -- we don’t remember this. I hadn’t remembered it. She did, for a pretty long stretch of time -- even in Hollywood.

And yet, today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together -- inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time.
And yet Governor Mike Pence, the little handed pussy grabber's choice for Vice President, has had something different to say on the matter. From Time:
In 2006, as head of the Republican Study Committee, a group of the 100 most-conservative House members, Pence rose in support of a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Citing a Harvard researcher, Pence said in his speech, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” Pence also called being gay a choice and said keeping gays from marrying was not discrimination, but an enforcement of “God’s idea.”
Well, isn't that special -  now it's time to ponder, yet again, all we'll be losing.

January 11, 2017

What'd I miss?


So according to the Trump press conference:

  • Trump: "I did not pee on those women, unnamed Russian teen sex workers."
  • He has no business dealings with Russia (despite what his son has publicly said in the past).
  • His bromance with Putin continues unabated.
  • He has almost no debt. (lolololol forever)
  • Some business attorney he hired who spoke today is somehow the best, most classy, bigly Constitutional expert on emoluments ever!
  • He's doing nothing that real ethics experts consider to be enough to wall himself off from his business (Uday & Qusay will manage them and never breath a word about it to Daddy).
  • CNN is "fake news."
  • He doubled down on crying that he's living in Nazi Germany because people are mean to him.
  • He's replacing Obamacare one hour after it is repealed...
  • And, because "Hillary, Hillary Hillary, DNC, DNC, DNC"
  • What'd I miss?

    T-Minus 9 days Until The Beginning Of The Trump Presidency (Obama's Farewell Speech)

    Donald Trump will be sworn in in about a week and a half.  As we ponder that panic, let's take a look at last night's Farewell Address.

    After the panic, we should ponder what we're losing.

    January 10, 2016.

    In case you missed it, here's the video:


    You can read the prepared text here.

    He used the speech to outline the state of our democracy and point to some of the threats to it.

    Economic inequality:
    But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.
    Racism:
    Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require. But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

    For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

    For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.
    Decline in the respect for reason:
    Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.
    [...]
    It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.
    Then he sums things up:
    That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.
    And offers a few solutions:
    But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.
    And then:
    In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

    We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others...
    And so on.  You get the point.

    I gotta wonder how much of that was directed at America in general and how much at the next administration specifically?

    I'll let you decide that for yourselves as we ponder what we'll be losing 10 or so days from now.