Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump's "Jokes" Aren't Funny When They Are Our Lives

It might get a little lost in the midst of Donald Trump Tweeting in favor of the Reagan Era's "One Weird Tax Trick" Pony, Arthur Laffer, or letting out a giant lie about preceding Presidential Administrations relating to how a POTUS communicates his respects to Gold Star families, but a sick "joke" was relayed that reflects how Trump views the point of view of his Vice President, Mike Pence, regarding LGBT people. He is reported to have said:

"Don't ask that guy--he wants to hang them all!"


regarding Mike Pence. The funny/weird thing is, the Vice President that Donald Trump selected actually is pretty seriously anti-gay and has been for a long time. Trump should have been well-aware of that much, and if he had any objection, that could have happened during the campaign--and he could have picked somebody else. The funny/ha-ha part is, there is no part of this that is actually funny/ha-ha. Nope. Even if Trump thinks Pence's anti-LGBT bigotry is really caveman and so last century, because Trump has nonetheless completely bought in.

The evidence?

Well, there is that military trans-ban. He's weakened protections against gay workers.  And he's signaled he is okay about businesses discriminating against LGBT customers--even enshrining bigotry into our Constitution.  His judicial picks have been anti-gay.

At this rate--who the hell is Donald Trump to go picking on Mike Pence for being a virulent homophobe? It's like the pot calling the kettle a thing very much designed for also being a vessel for warming up comestibles.

And take the Values Voters appearance this past weekend.  What an abominable disgrace that was! The attendees at this Christian Conservative shindig are pretty well-described as representing "hate groups".

To think Trump used the Orlando shooting to pretend he would defend LGBT people against the real enemy (Muslims, because hey! a minority he also hates!) then didn't know LGBT people at all except to also be a hated minority.  So he used LGBT people, because he just thinks people exist to be used. (And by the way, Pence and other Religious Right folks are also being used, they just haven't entirely figured out how yet.)

But it's actual people's lives, isn't it? Our jobs, our health care, our marriages, our children. Ha ha. He doesn't care.

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Thoughts are with Mogadishu

The appalling truck bomb attack by al-Shabaab on the capital of Somalia has claimed the lives of over 270 people and injured hundreds more, making it the deadliest terror attack in Somalia, a country that had been ravaged by a quarter century of war. Among the victims were old and young, people with bright futures, people who were greatly loved. They were beloved children, admired community members, doting spouses, greatest friends. And after some carefully deliberated, planned, calculated moments of terror, they were gone, amidst the disarray and rubble.

It is part of the landscape of terror that we are stunned by the senselessness of so many deaths and so much pain, the injuries visited on completely innocent people and families and the brutal disruption of lives. It is, in a darker way, part of that landscape that people exist who do deliberate, plan, and calculate terrorist acts to maximize exactly this kind of extraordinary damage--who see it as a message, and a political tool. 

I can't see anything in this act but a hatred of humanity, and no aim that could be in the hearts of people capable of such monstrosity, but emptiness and continued brutality. My thoughts are with the people of Somalia, and the loved ones and mourners and sufferers with the victims of this tragedy, however far-flung.  Those who have such a viciousness towards life to have contributed to this can not prosper in in any way. Those who maintain faith in humanity reap their own reward.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Trump Fumbles Iran

Trump has been a special kind of stupid regarding Iran--the kind of stupid a person would be if that person were to treat Fox News as gospel, or believe tabloid journos over intelligence experts. I've tried to plumb where Trump's mindset is with regards to Iran. I can tell you where my thinking has been--I think the nuclear deal was great and had some reverberating effects diplomatically, and that Trump is stupid because he doesn't understand why "Trust but verify, then renegotiate in ten years or so multilaterally" was a better cure for any alleged Iranian nuclear pretentions than "Let them do whatever without any promises with respects to inspections, while also piling on sanctions that made a conflict inevitable." 

Trump's understanding of the US relationship with Iran is basically poor.  He somehow, ludicrously, believes that Iran came out better in the deal, and that releasing to Iran their own long-withheld funds is a kind of gift. He thinks confiscated Iranian assets are a gift to Iran. They are gifted with their own money. 

So stated like a multiply-bankrupt con artist. How outstanding. 

But what does a weakening of the Iran deal do for Trump's hand elsewhere--like North Korea?
Oh, it is weakened, because now foreign deal makers realize the US word is not worth as much as it used to be. Because a faithless man is in charge. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What a Long, Stupid Week It's Been!



There's President Donald Trump, signing an executive order to, despite his happy-talk about the circumstances, re-open the market to insurance companies to offer plans that are low-cost, but offer basically nothing of any utility whatsoever. He also decided the time was right for the federal government to stop paying subsidies to insurance companies to pay for plans to low-income people, even though those plans still, by law, need to be subsidized. His reasoning is that the insurance companies are benefitting from this incredible largesse from the government (as if no services were provided, such as managing payments for health care), but his rationale for health care deregulation is that health insurance companies were being squeezed by the vise placed on the market.

It's pretty incoherent, right? NV Gov. Sandoval makes a great point--Trump's ACA changes are sabotage and hurt everybody. What Trump is doing costs low income and working class families more because their premiums will go up, and even for people who get their plans through their employer, their contributions will surely go up. The insurance companies get less, but still and all, the government is still paying more.

But this is just Trump following through on his election promises to undo Obamacare. He didn't promise to make anything better, and he definitely isn't going to. But it's a promise fulfilled, right? And since Congress can't, won't, and don't know how? Hah! He is teaching the GOP leadership how it gets done--executive privilege. In your face, pretend Republican-leadership!

Now, you could counter that Trump is, in the photo-op he tried to make, almost walking out the door without signing. Problem? Nope. He wants that applause that he nearly exited to. He doesn't care how he gets it. But if he has to sign--also awesome. He doesn't realize that his name is now all over how Obamacare dies. This is Trumpcare now. Or "Trump Doesn't Care". Anyway--he doesn't. Surprise!

This is the week that Trump, in some kind of snit because he challenged Rex Tillerson to an IQ test and got dusted because Tillerson won't fight an unarmed man, got quoted as saying he "hates everyone" in the White House. That certainly sounds healthy.

We also were made aware this week that some of the national security "old hands" were trying out a plan in case Trump wanted to go for "the football"--that is to say, in case he wanted to start a nuclear war. Sure. Why wouldn't that be norm...no. We cannot call this normal.

Trump also this week threatened the licenses of news organizations who might have spilled a story that he wanted to increase the nuclear arsenal tenfold. Which I can totally see him doing. Both the 10X nukes thing and the outlawing news thing. Because he does not get the Constitution and of course the First Amendment thereof, and also he sort of thinks that the president with the most toys, wins.

Trump also antagonized a little more about North Korea, in part because he might think we have a functioning "Star Wars" type missile interception thingy. Not so much.

Trump also made a claim this week on Hannity's show that the rise in the stock market had shit-all to do with the national debt. Wow. That is dumb.

No wonder Steve Bannon says there's only a 30% chance of Trump completing this term in office. He is really bad at all of this. And I didn't even get into Iran--which is my next post for sure.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Monstrous

I don't know why this man goes on like this when people are without power, clean drinking water, starving, and dying of disease under tragic and desperate circumstances, but the word that comes to mind is "monstrous". He is a monster. This is hardly a human or humane reaction at all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Everywhere and Nobody Sees It

I don't really follow Hollywood stuff, other than watching movies based on comic books  or that have other genre appeal to me. I guess I knew/didn't know there were rumors about Harvey Weinstein because I read Defamer, but that kind of gossipy know/didn't know state isn't the same as thinking a person is a predator, because know/didn't know is the Schrodinger's Cat of pervert. I might not, based on this information, be alone with a person or would tell a friend not to be alone with that one in a "thing in your teeth" or "toilet paper on your shoe" kind of way, but I wouldn't necessarily say "This is a guy who needs to straight up be locked up".*  I'm not the world's biggest carceral state backer in the first place, but also, there's a benefit of the doubt we give men with that reputation, after all. That lady-killer shit.  That pimp player.  You just don't exactly know. Do they force themselves, or just have the kind of charm money definitely might/could buy? 

The Ronan Farrow investigation about Harvey Weinstein, on the other hand, is the confirmation of rumors that basically doesn't happen with situational abusers like this often enough. It's like what happened with Bill Cosby, where there were just too many stories--eventually, after a kind of floodgate opened. Or Roger Ailes. Or Donald Trump, if he didn't somehow get elected president. People who take advantage of others find their ways of doing it quietly and while isolating their targets. They create ways of not getting told on, including bullying and threats of retribution. And they have a great sense for who one can fuck with, and who one can't. They don't let their shit bubble up in front of "nice society". They victimize people who don't have power, and then I guess just hope their victims don't find themselves with the power to speak out, eventually.  

And it might help to understand that men can get sexually harassed too, and find themselves dealing with questioning themselves, how they could have responded, and why they didn't report. If someone like Terry Crews, who is physically impressive and someone you would feel so certain could handle himself in any kind of confrontation,  can speak to the powerlessness that situation can put someone in, it paints a picture of how this kind of abuse can be everywhere, and people just don't try to see it. It also shows how much privilege can be a factor.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Senator Lindsey Graham, Everybody!

Observing the above Tweets from Senator Lindsey Graham, one sort of wonders if this was a kind of hostage situation or something. Really? Wasn't Graham supposed to be a little bit of a "Never-Trumper" at one time?  And after getting his cell phone doxed early in the primaries, didn't he have a pretty good reason to be?

No matter. It sort of seems like Sen. Graham pretty willingly expressed admiration for Peerless Feeder's golf game. Too willingly.  Even a hack like myself, with a natural handicap to my swing once floridly described by Fuzzy Zoeller, has to note that my first thoughts were "Well, Trump practices often enough" and "I'm sure playing on your knees added a few strokes".

It is at moments like this that I will consider what Sen. Corker and Rep. Dent are saying about Trump.  Especially in light of articles like this:

But interviews with ten current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process where they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling – and many days are spent managing the president, just as Corker said.

“You either had to just convince him something better was his idea or ignore what he said to do and hoped he forgot about it the next day,” said Barbara Res, a former executive in the Trump Organization.


If the President really is this kind of individual that "needs" to be cajoled and controlled, then honestly, I have very little respect for people who try to butter him up and maintain an aura that "All is well". And I fear that is exactly what Graham is doing, here.

Trump is not here for antique cherished US Congressional notions of "dealing". He's an autocrat, and here to swipe the dignity of people who might catch him on the rugged side of a news cycle. And there's Lindsey Graham--with his dignity lodged like the chewy center of a Tootsie Pop, only so many sugary licks away, before "CRUNCH".

This is not, in retrospect, Graham's finest moment. But he has so many bad ones, after all.

California is Burning


(Via ABC7.)

Perhaps because of all the hurricane activity this season, the story of 2017 as one of the worst wildfire seasons has not really received as much coverage as it really should. And as you might expect to hear from me--this is climate change at work. Despite heavy rains in California and snows in the Rockies, a brutally hot summer dried out vegetation, making these fires more likely to start and more likely to spread.

There's the toll to human life--like the 10 souls dead in the wildfire spreading through the Napa and Sonoma region. And there's substantial damage to homes, businesses, crops and livestock.  Maybe I'm just peculiarly sentimental about America's wine barrel, but there's a lot of labor, sweat and tears put into those grapes.

Thankfully, FEMA is coming through with some aid for these fire-ravaged regions. But the potential for further devastation and loss of life from the unfolding fire events as they encroach on residential/farm areas can't be underestimated. My thoughts are with Californians and other fire-affected areas.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pence and Nonsense

So, VP Pence flew to Indianapolis to show up at a game he had no intention of staying at to make a BS point about "an event that disrespects our soldiers, etc.". I guess that went better than the last culture war-signifying event he "had" to leave.  But I think the grotesque thing about this was how very obvious his display actually was. He even had the press pool wait while he made his little show because he knew he wasn't going to be that long.

Every bit of it was kind of obvious. The Tweeting of a three year old picture like "Whheee, I love some sportsball!"  Being just shocked that the 49ers, who've had players kneeling since the beginning, were still participating in silent protest. And of course, not having enough time on his actual itinerary to stay for the whole game since he had things to do. Like fundraise for Dana Rohrabacher. I mean--I'm sure VP flights don't take as long as commercial flights, but even straight-through commercial:


And this was not a cheap stunt either--think about the taxpayer-funded flight and the Secret Service coverage and all that...

But of course, the real giveaway that this was just some culture war-signifying was that Donald Trump says it wasn't. He Tweeted:

Just marvelous. You can almost imagine wee Donnie playing hide'n'seek as a youngin', crowing from his hiding spot "You won't find me, because I have the best, biggest, most beautiful hiding space!" He thinks this is brilliant political work, and wants credit!

Of course it's a damn distraction from the mutiny over the Bounty towels, the questions arising from the Tillerson not-quite disavowal of calling Trump a "fucking moron", and who know what all else. The health care reform clusterfuck, the bad jobs numbers and crappy polls. Trump and Pence seem to think that if this display gains a news cycle, we will all forget the other stuff (North Korea? Iran?) and just hate on people taking a knee to protest...

Police brutality and racism. Not the flag, not veterans. Police brutality and racism. Screw Pence and Trump for this game. There are real issues out there that should occupy their time. But this trifling is where they prefer to linger. Lying about honest protesters to make up a BS concern of their own as a distraction. 

UPDATE: And apparently, Trump is still very proud of his stunt in the wee hours of the morning:

"Long planned." A stunt. Just remember who to thank/blame!