Separating Families? #ImpeachTrump

Stonekettle Station on Facebook

After the entire country got up in his face, Trump minutes ago signed an Executive Order to end the family separation policy that he created and that he himself spent the last month claiming only CONGRESS could end.

Of course, it’s full of weasel words which will allow ICE to continue to separate families. I’d expect nothing less. But, that said, here is yet again another one of his bald-faced lies. He blamed Obama. He blamed Clinton. He blamed Congress. He tried to extort money for his idiotic wall by using children as hostages. He claimed there was nothing he could do. And yet, turns out, he COULD do something after all. He could have done it months ago. And he knew it all along.

No one who’s read this damned and damnable executive order, has read it and isn’t a stormtrumper, seems to think that anything will change tomorrow. Frankly, I don’t see how anything can change tomorrow, which means that the outrage and lawsuits have to continue until we #ImpeachTrump, because the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) doesn’t know what the truth is. If there is one thing we can say for certain about the OHM, it is that he does not have a personalized conception of  the truth beyond whatever the words coming out of his mouth at that very moment are. Some people would call that stupid, some people would call that moronic. I simply refer to it as Real Estate Developer’s syndrome, something that everyone of them I’ve ever met seems to have in common.

For days I’ve been reading and posting news stories about the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. This policy is the most inhumane and unAmerican thing that the OHM has done to date, but I don’t think he’s done with the outrageous behavior on the subject of immigration yet. Not by half, even. He can’t stop. This is exactly what he campaigned on. This is why people voted for him. This is what his base wants him to do, punish immigrants to whatever level it takes in order to make the immigrants leave. To make asylum seekers go elsewhere. This is what his cabinet officers and advisors who have spoken on this subject have been saying for weeks now, that punishment is the goal and self-deportation is the desired outcome.


NPR POLITICS PODCAST, Trump Signs Order To End Family Separations June 20, 2018

So he can’t be done and this practice will continue in some form, possibly in exactly the same way it has been going on for months. Going on in our name. Rachel Maddow broke down on national television Tuesday night just reading about the tender age shelters, the Trump administration’s euphemism for places where they put babies they’ve torn from their parent’s grasp, or tricked them into surrendering voluntarily. So we’ve gotten to a place where talking heads, people trained in the art of maintaining calm in the face of anything the news throws at you, talking heads breaking down in tears at the news that babies have internment camps that they are being sent to. Babies. In internment camps. Let that idea sink in for a few.

The defenders of these policies have a few valid points. The first one is that the parents in question are breaking a law, it is a misdemeanor to cross into the United States except at border crossings. A misdemeanor that would not even get you arrested were it not involving the convoluted subject of immigration in the United States. This law has almost never been subject to prosecution until now, but the OHM is correct that he can have these people prosecuted, and does want these people prosecuted. That is the job of the executive branch of the federal government, 100% his policy in spite of every protestation he has made to the contrary.

The second point is that there are many American children who go to sleep each night in worse conditions than these children in internment camps on the Southern border. This is also demonstrably true. I myself had days when three hots and a cot were more an aspiration than a reality when I was a child. However, the fact that many children face worse treatment and housing conditions in the US is not a justification for treating the children of asylum seekers as badly as we treat our own citizens; rather, it is an observation of just how far the poor in the US need to be elevated in order for them to meet the standards set by governing bodies all around the world for treatment of refugees, let alone what the citizens of the wealthiest nation on the face of this planet should be able to expect from being among the chozen few who get to live here.

There should be a backlash by Americans over the treatment of children who had the misfortune to be born outside the US in a time of global unrest. People who are no different than we would be if we were forced out of our homes and made to seek charity from the tender mercies of the more fortunate. Let us hope that the people we are faced with, should such a misfortune befall any of us, are more forgiving than we have been. We need to send a clear signal to the rest of the world, and we need to do it now. #ImpeachTrump. Do it now. Do it before more horrors are committed in our names.


The OHM’s administration failed to meet family reunification deadlines set by the courts today. So the torment of children and their parents at the hands of the US government continues. These are our dollars at work here. This is our government. If you voted for Trump, you voted for this to happen. Understand the horror you have created here. Child abduction is not a political issue. Abducting children and imprisoning their parents for crimes they were given no alternative but to commit can’t be a political issue because there’s nobody out there aside from slavers that think that stealing children is a good idea. I will go so far as to say that I don’t even think immigration should be a political issue.

You live here, you work here, you pay taxes here? Welcome, citizen. I don’t know what other requirements for citizenship there should be aside from saying I want to be a citizen and proving your upstanding status (again, live, work, pay taxes) I’m singularly uninterested in there being an underclass that can be subjected to lower wages and fewer rights so that I can get my tomatoes a few dollars cheaper. I’ll pay more for produce. Institute a guest worker program with a path to citizenship, screen everybody and then let them get to work. It certainly isn’t rocket science to make the immigration system function, we just have to admit that we need the workers and that we want to do right by them.

Asylum seekers are being stripped of rights under the current regime. It was bad enough when Obama allowed ICE to house children in detention centers when they were coming over the border unaccompanied (and with parents) back in 2014 seeking asylum. But at least those kids got asylum hearings and were dealt with in a legal fashion. This travesty has to end, and it isn’t just Trump to blame. Every Republican in congress could have stood up and fixed this problem back in 2010 and every year since. They haven’t. They haven’t even tried, aside from Rubio, who backpedaled from his own bill so fast you’d swear someone else had written it. Shame on them, is all I have to say. Shame on them and everyone who voted for them.


Like the article on Puerto Rico, this article and the other open-ended #ImpeachTrump articles will be updated as I run across more substantial stories that alter or strengthen their core arguments. The hashtag that should be trending if you think this is the election issue to motivate voters? How about #TrumpInternment2018? That has a nice double-entendre to it.


Beto O’Rourke Facebook Live video outside ICE processing center in El Paso, July 21, 2018


In testimony given in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, it was revealed that the kinds of trauma we are witnessing in the children seperated and now reunited with their parents, was detailed to the Trump administration officials who wanted to carry out these policies, before they put the policies into force,

“There’s no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child.” – Commander Jonathan White, PBS Newshour July 31, 2018

This is 100% on Trump. Nobody else. His administration, his policies, his fault. Not to mention the hundreds of other children not reunited, that the US will now be sued over because of Trump’s ham-handed policies that violated international and US law. Grounds for impeachment, yet again.



LatinoUSA, The Port of Entry, JUL 31, 2018

At the Nogales pedestrian port of entry in Arizona, some families with small children waited for up to two weeks before a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer allowed them to come through and ask for asylum, according to the Kino Border Initiative, a binational organization that gives aid to migrants along the border.

On a recent visit to Nogales, four families were waiting. Two had spent the night on the makeshift camp at the port of entry. All of them waited for at least two days to be seen by a CBP officer. And on that day, agents processed only two families.

This inaction is what is forcing asylum seekers to cross the border illegally.


On The Media, Journalism To The Rescue, August 2, 2018

This summer, in a project designed by ProPublica, 10 news organizations are sharing information to flesh out the hidden details of families separated by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy. Bob speaks with Selymar Colón, digital managing editor at Univision News, one of the organizations involved in the collaboration, about how the consortium has investigated and reported on some of the 200 tips it has received —and about the four families that were reunited after their stories were published.

Perhaps this was what the Trump administration was thinking they would rely on when they tried to fob off the chore of reuniting these poor people with their children. As usual, when it comes to the OHM’s lack of thought on a subject, they mistook this effort for the efforts of the ACLU. Perhaps if he read things instead of relying on visualizations, he would look less ignorant to the outside observer.



LatinoUSA, Torn Apart 1: Sign Here, AUG 14, 2018

After U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy in April, the U.S. government faced a national outcry. This new policy meant all adults crossing the border illegally would be criminally prosecuted. A consequence of that shift has meant that thousands of immigrant children have been torn apart from their parents.

Since then, and under a judge’s mandate, the federal government has been scrambling to reunify families. In part one of a two-part episode, Latino USA breaks down the aftermath of the family separation crisis and explores what happens to the hundreds of kids who still aren’t reunited with their families because their parents have been deported.


LatinoUSA, Torn Apart 2: The Moral Dilemma of Juan Sanchez, AUG 17, 2018

Juan Sanchez first gained national notoriety back in June of 2018 when Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley flew to Texas to try and tour a shelter that he believed was housing children who had been separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy. Senator Merkley was denied access to the shelter and was even questioned by police who were called by the shelter’s staffers.

There seem to be two opposing narratives when it comes to Juan Sanchez. So host Maria Hinojosa and producer Antonia Cereijido travel to Austin, Texas, to see which one was the correct one.


Twitter

Some five hundred and sixty children are still separated from their parents, including twenty-four who are five years old or younger, and the parents of more than three hundred and sixty of them have already been deported. Between seven hundred and eight hundred other children were reunited with their parents in detention, where their situation is especially confounding. About half of the reunited parents have final orders of deportation—in many instances, because they’d been pressured to sign papers waiving their rights to pursue their immigration cases. As a result, families face a choice: either a parent and child can agree to be deported together, or the child can stay in this country alone while her own case is decided. Last Thursday night, Sabraw issued an order temporarily blocking the deportation of reunited parents so that they could have more time to weigh their legal options with immigration lawyers. As Dara Lind wrote, at Vox, “The question right now is when they will actually be deported, not whether they will be.” – The New Yorker, Will Anyone in the Trump Administration Ever Be Held Accountable for the Zero-Tolerance Policy? By Jonathan Blitzer, August 22, 2018

To date (as the article details) no one in the administration has been held to account for their administration’s policy of kidnapping the children of asylum seekers with the intent to profit off of keeping these children in the US illegally. Someone must answer for the Trump administrations crimes, and we know where the buck stops in this country. #ImpeachTrump

Peter Strzok, Counter-Intelligence Hero

Obama made me WORK for it. 

Trump? 

Pandemonium. The capital of Hell in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Pandemonium. Every damned day. Every single goddamned day. It’s a fire in a munitions factory. It’s a train wreck. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum. The Titanic has plowed into an iceberg at flank speed and the band is madly belting out “It’s a Small World After All” as the ship goes down. It’s a fucking circus of flying monkeys and murder clowns and burning tents full of screaming people trying to find the exit being trampled by trumpeting elephants with projectile diarrhea. 

Every. Single. Day. 

Stonekettle

I’ve got this one, Jim.

Apparently today was the day for the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) to vent his rage at Peter Strzok. It’s not that I would notice this, I don’t follow the OHM on Twitter. I see no need to follow him since the entire rest of the Twitterverse follows him and if he says anything of merit, I’m sure I’ll see it eventually.

Sadly, almost nothing he says on Twitter bears reading much less commenting on, but I’m still exposed to it repeatedly by outraged people all over the Twitterverse and beyond. Exposed to his tweets by people who want to open the eyes of the average American to the depths of depravity represented by the early-morning emissions of the OHM.

I’m pretty sure Average Americans have either gotten it by this point or they never will get it. However, when Trump picks on Peter Strzok for the umpteenth time over the course of months, only days after he’s been unjustly fired, I think it bears pointing out a few facts on the subject of this previously invisible man.

Peter Strzok is a counter-intelligence hero. I know that most people older than 30 think that the phrase counter-intelligence hero is an oxymoron, but he legitimately is a counter-intelligence hero. I really only need one salient fact to prove this point; and that fact is, he knows what a scumbag money-laundering businessman the OHM was and wasn’t afraid to voice this even before he was running for president.

Oh, you think I need more than that? Luckily I have more than that.

Rachel Maddow Show, GOP stunt to smear counter-intel expert Strzok ripe for backfire, Jul.11.2018

The above is a twenty-minute segment in which Rachel Maddow details exactly what Peter Strzok did on the job. His work was instrumental in exposing the real-life spies that the show The Americans was based on. The FBI code named this the Illegals Program, and investigating it resulted in the exposing and indictment of ten different spies who had taken up residence in the US using false identification.

He was chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section and number two in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. He led the team of investigators in the Clinton classified email probe and led the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election. He was involved in the controversial anti-Trump “Steele dossier” used, in part, to obtain multiple secret wiretaps. He was the one who interviewed Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI only to later learn that agents reportedly didn’t think he’d lied. And Strzok was the “top” FBI agent appointed to work on the team of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion.

The Hill, What Did Peter Strzok Do?

His position, his history in successfully exposing Russian interference previously while working in the FBI lead naturally to his being appointed to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, investigations that have resulted in thirty-five successful indictments and guilty pleas at this point in the investigation. Who wants to bet that Paul Manafort won’t be the thirty-sixth? He did his goddamn job and he did his goddamn job to the best of his ability. He knew that the OHM was dirty because he recognized behavior patterns he had seen in others that he had investigated previously, and he had faith that the American people would never advance such a shallow, deceitful, conman to the office of the president.

Clearly his faith was misplaced. But that is a different story, one that I tell other places on this blog in gory fucking detail. So I don’t need to tell that story here. This article is about Peter Strzok, that flawed human being who had the misfortune to be assigned to the job of investigating the very same conman who would be given power over him. That invisible man, that hero of counter-intelligence, was fired a few days ago because the OHM wanted him fired. Because of the things that he said about the OHM and because of his position within the FBI that would have allowed him to continue investigating the OHM’s russian financial backers.

Let me put it this way. Had the FBI acted on information they had against the OHM in a timely fashion, we wouldn’t need to #ImpeachTrump now. They knew the OHM was dirty, that was clear when he settled the fraud case against him for his dealings with Trump University. This is just one more thing James Comey is guilty of, not stopping the OHM from attaining an office he was incapable of executing. James Comey was more interested in making sure that Hillary Clinton entered office a wounded president than he was in preventing a known conman from attaining office instead of her. In that light, Peter Strzok is one of the good guys. Of course the OHM hates him.

“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Mr. Strzok said, continuing: “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.” He concluded: “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”

The Times, F.B.I. Agent Defends Actions

Threatening First Amendment Rights? #ImpeachTrump

I mean, what exactly does somebody like Trump pray for?

I want to hear him lead a prayer for the people he called our enemies.

I want to know how that goes. If he’s going to offer up “thoughts and prayers,” well let’s have the details then. C’mon. – Stonekettle Station on Facebook

Jim’s quote concerning the Capital Gazette mass shooting is typical for the everyday crisis we deal with in Trump’s America. The recitation of the conservative mantra of thoughts and prayers after tragedies rang hollow even before the current level of disdain for lawful behavior was exhibited by the most corrupt and compromised leader in US history. To hear those words come out of his mouth is to need to dig your own ears out with an icepick. It offends the senses. It is so obvious a lie, this fakir pretending that he prays for anything, this narcissist, this solipsist? There is nothing greater in his mind than he is, how could he possibly pray to anyone or anything?

The Hill

Funny thing though. Funny thing. Just last night, at yet another political rally, President Trump was telling us, yet again, how the Press — the PRESS — is the enemy of America. – Stonekettle Station on Facebook

I can’t put too fine a point on this one. When the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) trotted out the phrase enemy of the people and applied it to the United States free press, the world’s free press, inspiring acts of hatred across the world in response including the deaths of five people in Washington DC, that was the moment when the very notion that the OHM could be allowed to leave office unmolested ceased to have any weight. No one who utters that phrase from a position of authority can be trusted unsupervised from that point forward. His time as a free man has come to an end. It is merely a matter of time now before he will be in shackles and facing the judgement of the American people for his assorted crimes. Unlike Hillary Clinton, the OHM has committed crimes, and it didn’t take four years of fruitless investigation to prove this.


On The Media Enemy of the People August 3, 2018

At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters attacked CNN reporter Jim Acosta, prompting the president to double down on his anti-press “Enemy of the People” rhetoric. A look at how and why the president incites his base — and where it all might lead. And, as the regulatory battle surrounding 3D gun blueprints rages on, we dive into the worldview of Cody Wilson, the man who started the controversy. Plus, why we’re still living in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s killing, six years later.

Fivethirtyeight Politics Podcast: Should The Press Respond To Trump’s Attacks? AUG. 6, 2018, AT 5:19 PM

President Trump’s attacks on the press have reached a new level in recent weeks. On Sunday, he called the press, “very dangerous & sick” and wrote that the media can “cause War.” The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team talks about what the goal of the president’s rhetoric is and how the press should respond.

Are there limits on speech under the first amendment? Yes. Yes there are. You won’t hear about those real limits from the OHM or from any conservative pundit in the US today. None of the news organizations, not even FOX, have breached those limits. Football players peacefully protesting by taking a knee have not breached those limits. Yelling fire in a burning theater doesn’t breach those limits. What are those limits, then? Threatening violence. Inciting a riot. Falsifying data in pursuit of personal gain. In other words, what the OHM does nearly every time he rage tweets.

If *I* threatened violence like Trump does on social media, Twitter and Facebook would suspend my accounts, no matter what the provocation was. Hell, both platforms have suspended me for far, far less.

It’s not just that Twitter continues to protect this lunatic, the REALLY insane part: NO ONE IN THE ADMINISTRATION NOR IN CONGRESS has so far addressed this madness.

No republican. No democrat.

Congress has abdicated its duty to America.

We reached a point where it’s not enough to throw Trump out of office, CONGRESS needs to be replaced in its entirety. If you sons of bitches don’t show up this time and remove these faithless cowards from office, if you don’t start electing better people, then you are complicit in the destruction of the Republic.  – Stonekettle Station on Facebook

As I said previously elsewhere “Imagine the difference we would see in the world around us if authorities had arrested Donald Trump the first time he incited a riot?” Because he has done that. He’s done it more than once, and no one has ever suggested he be prosecuted. His social media accounts should be banned for violating clearly stated boundaries on those media systems. Do not just suspend his accounts, ban them. He should be kicked out of every decent establishment in society along with anyone who sides with him publicly. The cost will be higher now than it would have been back in the campaign days. Higher on all sides, unfortunately. But he has to go. We cannot allow him to go unpunished. Allowing him to walk away without exacting a price on his behavior from him will send the wrong message and leave us unprotected from the next demagogue to come along thinking they will use the system for their own ends. This has to be stopped here, and it should have been stopped before he took the oath of office because we knew he was dirty even then.


August 2nd, 2018 at 3:00 AM Putin Enemy #1 (with Bill Browder) Stay Tuned with Preet

#TrumpEnemyofthePeople not the free press. Not the protestors. Not the liberals. The OHM is the enemy of the people, and it is about time we recognized this fact and demanded he be removed from office. Before he does something the system will not recover from.

This was originally part of another article that I have now broken into three parts and embroidered on all three. 

SCOTUS appointment? #ImpeachTrump

My friends, this is a dark hour. Intolerance, cruelty, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and environmental destruction have been let loose across the land.

So what are we – the majority — to do?

First and most importantly, do not give up. That’s what they want us to do. Then they’d have no opposition at all.

Second, in the short term, if you are represented by a Republican senator, do whatever you can to get him or her to reject Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, or, at the least, postpone consideration until after the midterm elections. Urge others to join with you. 202-224-3121

Third, make a ruckus. Demonstrate. Engage in non-violent civil disobedience. Fight lies with truth. Join the resistance. Participate in www.indivisible.org and https://swingleft.org/

Fourth, vote this November 6 for people who will stand up to all this outrage. Mobilize and organize others to do so. Contact friends and relations in “red” states, and urge them to do the same.

Fifth, help lay the groundwork for the 2020 presidential election, so that even if Trump survives Mueller and impeachment he will not be reelected.

Finally, know that this fight will be long and hard. It will require our patience, our courage, and our resolve. The stakes could not be higher.

Robert Reich on Facebook

#ImpeachTrump needs to be a rallying cry among all resistors. First and foremost we must achieve a successful impeachment of Trump, a destruction of his administration, a refutation of the mandate that the GOP currently operates under. Vote Democratic, a blue wave will send this message loud and clear.

If your state has not had a primary yet, vote in the primary so that your candidates are the people you want to vote for. Make a point to attend precinct meetings. State conventions. Let the Democratic establishment know that we want a total revocation of the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) and his agenda as well as his entire administration. We will not be the pawns of any other nation on Earth, and we have no use at all for the Russian stooge that the OHM is known to be. It is time to send a clear message. We are not Trump’s America. We will write a different future than the one he has in mind for us.

I have a few thoughts for the sitting Senators. Senators who will have to decide the fate of the OHM’s Supreme Court nominee. Follow the McConnell rule or be marked as hypocrites and traitors. This is the bed that you representatives of the Republican party have made for yourselves. You will now lay in that bed, willingly or unwillingly, I really don’t care, although I hope you find it comfortable because you are liable to be in it for a very, very long time.


“Should we be confirming a justice that’s going to be coming from a person, frankly, that there’s a conflict of interest there, that this judge could end up having to preside over cases relevant to this criminal investigation? … I say no,” Booker said Thursday evening on MSNBC.

RealClear Politics,  Booker: Supreme Court Confirmation Should Be “Delayed Until Mueller Investigation Is Concluded”

We have to stop the people who would railroad through a second Supreme Court nomination. This is the part that I can’t seem to get across to people, and I can’t do it by myself. This has to be done en masse. We the people have to bring Washington DC to a standstill until something is done about the OHM, and we have to start doing that now.


Another notification from Countable. When I hear news from Countable first I’m frequently forced to go looking for sources. This time I heard the same facts from other sources on the same day. Cross checking no longer necessary then.

Should Republicans delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until all the documents are in? Are you interested in seeing details about Kavanaugh’s time with the George W. Bush administration?– Countable 

The answer to this question is apparent on the surface. Any move to approve Kavanaugh before a full accounting is available to the people of the United States will be and should be counted as a betrayal of the people of the United States by their representatives in congress. How could it be deemed anything else considering the history of Supreme Court nominees and this President, this Congress?

I will be voting accordingly, if this happens. working to see you impeached right along with your president if you move to install the traitors appointee before you are unseated in November. You have now been informed, Senators.

Facebook comments and letters to my Texas Senators. Not that they did much good.

Minimal Standards for President?

@treasonstickers

There is an argument to be made that, if the government is corrupt and, if the people think that an outsider is how to fix it, then forcing the candidates to conform to the status quo would be detrimental to getting the corruption righted. I won’t make that argument. I won’t make it because, frankly, I think it’s asinine that we let just anyone run for an office that clearly requires basic contact with reality, and that the current occupant of that high office fails at that basic test, contact with reality.

The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) should be impeached and removed from office. more to the point, he should never have been allowed to run for that office in the first place. I’ve pointed this fact out since he first threw his hat in the ring, and discounted his chances of winning right up to the time when he co-opted the Republican convention. It was then that I started writing Authoritarianism vs. Humanism -Or- The Orange Hate-Monkey vs. A Village and I remain baffled as to how he got the convention to nominate him, and how he got the Electoral College to back him, except for one lone Texan who committed political suicide in refusing to vote for him.

There should be minimum standards set, and I thought that there was no way that a fakir like the OHM could get elected to the nation’s highest office. Those were my minimum standards, and three million votes should have underscored those standards. Without the complicity of the EC, those standards would have been met. Now that we have the worst possible government we could get, I’m beginning to think that more safeguards are necessary. I’m just not sure what those standards or safeguards should be.

First posted here.

Proud Snowflakes on Facebook

Personal Harm? #ImpeachTrump

Tell me: how your life has changed, for better or for worse, since Donald Trump became president. How has Trump’s administration affected you personally as opposed to society in general? Be specific and try to avoid hyperbole.

Stonekettle Station

Ah, the tell me where it hurts gambit.

Show me on this doll where the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) hurt you.

I’d like to take just a minute to explain how unnecessary this kind of detailing of the impacts of bad leadership truly is before I get into just how my life has changed for the worse since the OHM took office. The president is frequently given both credit and blame for things that are completely divorced from the actions that he takes, and yet the effects of a president’s actions or inaction can be felt by everyone in the world today, not just the residents of the United States of America. But the credit and/or blame as well as the actions have little to do with the outcomes themselves unless the authorizing legislation was crafted by the White House itself, and the President himself has a hand in making sure that the program in question is executed properly.

A case in point is the FEMA debacle of Katrina during the Bush II years, a failure of preparedness that Barack Obama avoided for his entire eight years in office having learned from W’s mistakes. Only to have the OHM return to the bad old days of political appointments to FEMA and the resulting catastrophe in Puerto Rico that continues to the time of this writing. W can be credited for learning from his mistake with hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, with the OHM steadfastly refusing to admit the reality of the massive death toll exacted on Puerto Rico because of his FEMA’s bungling of relief efforts and his general disdain for all brown-skinned people. These are examples of outcomes that can be laid directly at the feet of the occupant of the White House because FEMA management or lack of management is directly linked to White House control.

The OHM is quick to take credit for low unemployment numbers and continued economic growth, while carefully avoiding the subject of his predecessor’s actions and how those actions set up the rosy outcomes that he takes credit for now. Never is the fact that unemployment numbers are completely made up statistics that have almost no bearing on whether or not the average American can find work at any given time discussed. Never is the fact that growth statements are similarly jiggered admitted to, either. And it is the subject of the job numbers that brings me to how the OHM has made my life worse, directly. The Wife can’t find a job in this terrible job climate, and no amount of hype about how good the economy is on Wall Street will change this very simple fact. The Wife can’t maintain her health insurance because the OHM and his supporters in the Justice department and congress have derailed efforts to see universal healthcare coverage extended to all Americans. And without a job she has extremely limited ability to pay for her own healthcare. My wife is no different than millions of other Americans similarly affected by conservative rejection of universal health coverage here in the US. The most vivid display of the error in believing that life is a zero sum game.

His crackdown on migrant workers entering the US has caused shortages in manpower throughout the food production industry, resulting in higher prices and scattered availability for some produce and meats in some areas. I can’t say for sure if the price spikes I’m seeing at the grocery checkout are the direct result of the OHM’s actions on immigration, but I dare anyone to try to explain how hand-picked vegetables can get picked without migrant labor to do the job. Migrant labor that is under the greatest pressure I’ve ever seen applied to the poor people who do the majority of that work.

Similarly, his grifting our trading partners, shaking them down for bribes before allowing them to do business in America, has a broad negative impact not only on the well-being of today’s Americans, but also damages the potentials for the next generation of Americans. How will an isolated America fare in the future? We’d better start trying to figure this out now, because it will take a generation or more to pass before our trading partners will be persuaded that we won’t turn on them again as the OHM has. His tariffs on steel and aluminum will be exacting a price on American pocket books long after we’ve removed the OHM from office.

His pandering to dictators like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping leave me with little doubt that he will be ass-kissing Kim Jong-un if that meeting ever actually happens. His debasing of America destroys the reputations of all Americans, making us all look like weak-willed individuals unwilling to stand up to international bullies like Putin. Since his family personally profits from these arrangements with dictators, he has no inclination to think of the greater good that might be achieved. If Kim Jong-un agrees to let him build a Trump tower in Pyongyang, I have no doubt that the OHM will find a way to let him keep his nuclear arsenal. He might even give him plans for American weapons in exchange for a sweetheart deal. Who’s to say what level of betrayal is beneath him if there is personal profit involved? I can’t imagine that he would balk at selling Ivanka into sex slavery if there was a buck to be made from it.

Insanity Personified

There was a time in history when I was a devoted Dilbert follower. The Wife had just gotten a job at a local computer manufacturer, trapped in a cube farm, and Dilbert documented the problems of corporate workers trapped in cube farms everywhere. Working in an architecture firm that employed more than a few draftsman was itself much like corporate cube-farm dwelling, so I could identify with the comic about as well as she did.

Time moved on and we moved on, but Dilbert remained pretty much the same. Until it wasn’t the same. It was a gradual change, I had noticed that Dogbert seemed to speak with the author’s voice from early on in the comic’s run. This in itself wasn’t a problem but, the character of Dogbert seemed to do it pretty frequently; and what Dogbert said was generally despicable, not the kinds of things that one is comfortable agreeing with whether they are true observations or not. But the real change to the comic occurred about the time that Scott Adams decided to update the look of the comic and took away Dilbert’s signature white shirt and tie. He started taking a lot of time off allowing guest artists to draw for him, and the humor of these artists definitely wasn’t the kind of humor I was willing to laugh at. So I gradually stopped reading the comic, finally ending my subscription about the time that he applauded the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s (OHM) emergence on the presidential field. I really had no intention of polluting my mental sphere with someone so delusional as to think that Donald Trump needed to be anywhere near power.

Then the OHM won the presidency on a technicality. Three million more votes for Hillary Clinton couldn’t be legitimized as meaning that more Americans wanted her as president than wanted the OHM as president. The electoral college so painstakingly negotiated into the U.S. Constitution more than 200 years ago utterly failed to do the job intended, as I took pains to write about in The Electoral College Explained. Failed to respect the will of the majority of the American people for the second time in twenty years and advanced a demonstrably unfit man to lead the government of the United States. In November of 2016 Scott Adams penned this blog post,

You can still expect Trump to ignore any facts that don’t matter, such as the exact number of non-citizens that voted for Clinton. In that case he was making the press think past the sale (that non-citizens voted) and forcing them to spend time talking about the exact number until our brains uncritically accept his central premise that lots of non-citizens voted for Clinton. That is pure persuasion. He won’t change the methods that work. Watch and learn.

In which he crystallizes the sentiment I expressed above. It doesn’t matter to Scott Adams that three million more people wanted Hillary Clinton as president because taking those discarded voices into account makes him wrong on the issue of the OHM, and he’s staked his reputation and persona on the OHM and his clever strategery that we average humans just can’t see. I wrote a reply at the time essentially accusing him of Kowtowing to power because he doesn’t want to end up in Gitmo, a reply that he promptly deleted, and I forgot all about it and him.

I forgot all about it and him until Sam Harris interviewed him for Waking up. Sam Harris titled that conversation Triggered, and I certainly was as well. I couldn’t finish listening to it, it bothered me so much. It was at that point that I started writing this article, resigning myself to having to listen to and then parse every single nutty-assed thing that Scott Adams said. About the time I was mentally ready to take on that task, Josh Zepps interviewed him for We The People Live! I’ve been following Josh’s work since discovering him hosting Point of Inquiry for the Center for Inquiry. Both Sam and Josh are interesting interviewers to listen to, and one of the reasons this is true is because they approach a conversation with their shields down. The downside of this approach is that they are frequently real-life examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect, in that they attempt to apply critical thinking on the fly in a discussion that they by definition know less about than the person they are talking to. Because of this they are sometimes lead down the proverbial garden path by their guests, and it takes a bit of critical thinking on the part of the listener to parse out just how the hosts have been fooled.

So now I’m on the hook for two interviews. Two interviews to parse and dissect and spend precious hours listening to carefully and doing the legwork to illustrate just how nuts Scott Adams is on display as being. That’s when the procrastination set in. July turned to August and then September. Now it’s November and I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of time dissecting the thoughts of someone I quit caring about several years ago, and dismissed as irrelevant last year at about this time.

Lucky for me, I don’t have to spend that time after all. When I deleted the two podcasts from my queue and resolved to delete this post unfinished, I took a few minutes to look around and see if anyone else had noticed the insanity on display that I had noticed, and I stumbled across this article over on The Atlantic. The Atlantic is a publication that I only discovered recently, sad to say. It is sad because their authorship is top notch and their research generally in-depth and unimpeachable. The author of the article hits the nail on the head when he dismisses the defense of the OHM thusly,

If Adams truly is the most formidable defender of the Trump presidency, then the best defense of the president is grounded in corrosive moral nihilism.

 He has a lot more to say about the Waking Up interview, but I’ll just point you to the article and leave it at that. I have family I have to reason with on this subject, plenty of real people to practice on without having to dissect the thinking of a total stranger. Procrastination does pay off on occasion and this is one of those occasions.

#10 Impeachment

Twitter

If you think #MAGA means anything other than Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, you are the person these tweets were written for.

Who brought up Hillary? That Was Last Year.

Baltimore Post Examiner McCain’s Thumbs down.

They will take this embarrassment out on America. These are the people who can’t let abortion go. These are the people who can’t let their goddamned religion go. These are the people who can’t let Benghazi go. These are the people who remember every slight and every offense and they cannot let their overwhelming desire for revenge go. It’s nearly two hundred years, they still can’t let the Civil War go. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T LET EITHER BARACK OBAMA OR HILLARY CLINTON GO — hell, 20 years later and they are STILL determined to get even with BILL Clinton. They will learn NOTHING from this, in fact they’ll become even more secretive, intolerant, scheming, and revengeful.

Stonekettle Station

Every single argument I have with Trump supporters (even with relatives) ends up with the question,

but what about Hillary?

I keep wanting to ask in response, who brought up Hillary? I didn’t bring her up. I wasn’t even thinking of her. I couldn’t care less about her now than I did ten years ago (Go look. Harsh, yes I know) I only voted for her because she was who the Democrats picked, the presumed Democratic nominee that was so certain to win that I resigned myself to voting for her two years ago when I wrote Hillary for President? I resigned myself to voting for her because I knew the Republicans would pick a lunatic. Wonder of wonders, one of my predictions came true and they did pick a lunatic from a group of ten lunatics (and Kasich) and now that lunatic is president.

They’ll make this about Hillary too. Hillary and Barack Obama at the same time, if they can. It was Hillarycare that started them all down this long, deep slope into madness. I can easily see how this is all linked to Hillary Clinton somewhere in their minds.

Saying I only voted for her because she was the nominee is selling my support for her a bit short. After she won the nomination. After the Orange Hate-Monkey co-opted the Republican convention and Republican party and made it his own personal propaganda vehicle. After all of that, I decided I did really like Hillary Clinton after all. I mean, at least she wasn’t a lunatic. Wasn’t a fraud. Wasn’t engaged in demonstrably criminal activities that have simply never been prosecuted. I mean, the haters (now Stormtrumpers) tried to prosecute her (#Benghazi) but there simply wasn’t anything that they could get a conviction on. This is more than could be said for the Orange Hate-Monkey, as we are now discovering. So yeah. Knowing real estate developers the way I do, and seeing the cluster fuck that a Trump presidency was going to be, I wholeheartedly embraced Hillary Clinton in 2016. But that was 2016.

Republicans are so caught up in the past, with all these grievances that they just can’t abide, that they can’t even begin to think about what comes next. Which is how we find ourselves here in this mess today, them still talking about what happened in 1998, and the rest of us outraged about what is going on around us right here and now.

The Orange Hate-Monkey’s race baiting. The Orange Hate-Monkey’s misogyny. His probable coordination with Russia during the election. His continued money laundering for the Russian mob. The Orange Hate-Monkey’s uncontested control of 2/3’s of the federal government, with the last third one simple SCOTUS nomination away.

How about we, the sane 3/4’s of the United States, start talking about what comes next for a change? Let’s start now so we know where we’re going in 2018. Screw the Republicans. They’ll still be nominating lunatics twenty years from now. #SignedByTrump

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Her explanation for the Gap is simple enough. “There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,” she says. “As someone Exhibit A on that — since it has been a long time that I’ve been in that position — I get that.”

Understanding Hillary – Ezra Klein – July 11, 2016
09/12/2017 – What Hillary Clinton really thinks – The Ezra Klein Show

Consider, for a moment, two people. One, as a young woman at the beginning of a promising legal career, went door to door searching for ways to guarantee an education to the countless disabled and disadvantaged children who had fallen through the cracks. The other, as a young millionaire, exacted revenge on his recently deceased brother’s family by cutting off the medical insurance desperately needed by his nephew’s newborn son, who at eighteen months of age was suffering from violent seizures brought on by a rare neurological disorder.

Huffingtonpost – Larry Womack – Stop Pretending
They’re with her. Are you? | Hillary Clinton

Requiring Personal Loyalty? #ImpeachTrump

For Trump, loyalty to him is more important than loyalty to America.
1. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year term. After Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.
2. Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage relationship with him that he did with Comey. Bharara’s office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender. When Bharara didn’t play along, Trump fired him.
3. Although most of his Cabinet still don’t have top deputies in place, the White House has installed senior aides to monitor their loyalty. As Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, explained to the Washington Post, “they’re functioning as the White House’s voice and ears in these departments.”
4. Last Monday, the White House invited reporters in to watch what was billed as a meeting of Trump’s Cabinet. After Trump spoke, he asked each of the Cabinet members around the table to briefly comment. Their statements were what you might expect from toadies surrounding a two-bit dictator.
5. His top advisers are his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
6. To run his legal defense and be his spokesman on the investigation into collusion with Russian operatives, Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz – who’s been Trump’s personal legal fixer for almost two decades – representing him in his failed libel lawsuit against a journalist, the Trump University fraud case that ended in January with a $25 million settlement from Trump, and candidate Trump’s response to allegations of sexual assault by multiple women last year. Bypassing the White House Counsel, Kasowitz has instructed White House aides to discuss the investigation as little as possible, and advised them about whether they should hire private lawyers.
When loyalty trumps integrity, we no longer have a government of laws. We have a government by and for Trump.

What do you think? Robert Reich on Facebook

Which is why #ImpeachTrump will be a thing, if not for any other reason. He will have to be impeached because he cannot do the job the presidency requires. He cannot because he doesn’t understand what a president is and so cannot fathom the responsibility of the office. He’s not alone in this. There are many other Tea Party Republicans who don’t understand the responsibility of their offices. Anyone who thinks they are in office to execute the things they believe is not representing anyone other than themselves. This is the problem with conservatism in general, Republicanism and to some extent neo-liberalism and the Democratic party of the Clinton era.

All of these groups were made of individuals that were put into positions of power because they were sure of the things they believed and could present their certainty as a selling point. That is not the way that a representative democracy works in principle. A representative democracy is made up of a power-wielding citizenry that delegates portions of its authority and power to trusted individuals who will act in their collective interest. The federal and state legislatures should feel they are as beholden to the homeless in the cities they represent as they are to the people who fund their campaigns. The truth of their corruption by campaign finance bribery is evident in the way they treat the least of us in our midst.

It is a troubling time in America, with dark possibilities ahead of us.

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