Spanning The Country 

Taking a quick look around the country today, we makes stops at the two newspapers of record, The New York Times & The Washington Post. Despite what you have heard from our fake President, these two papers have been getting it right for decades & more lately they have accurately hammered President Trump on his many many missteps. 

The biggest story today is North Korea boasting yet again about testing of nuclear weapons.  It has yet to be determined if these latest claims are accurate or more hubris from Kim Jong Un. One thing is certain, our lack of experience & real leadership in the White House & at the State Department. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been grossly overmatched during the last few months with the nuclear threat from North Korea. If tweet threats counted, the U.S. would be safe & sound, however they do not.  One thing is certain, no one in this current administration with the possible exception of Defense Secretary of State James Mattis seems to have any possible solutions that go beyond basic syllables.

In other news making headlines across the country was President Trump & FLOTUS doing another photo op in Texas with victims of Hurricane Harvey.  In typical Trump fashion there was plenty of sizzle & very little steak. Trump was caught on camera asking people about the boxed meals he was passing out, bragging about the sanitary gloves not fitting his hands & thanking everyone for coming out, as if they had a choice.

Trump Returns to Texas, With Words of Encouragement and Triumph

The Resistance Pledge!!

This is long but it is important.This is where I stand. I feel that our 45th President, his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love. Some people are saying that we should give Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is “everyone’s president.” I am willing to do all of that if/when his policies seem reasonable.


•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years…

•I will not “work together” to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.

•I will not “work together” to build a wall.

•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.

•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from other countries.

•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.

•I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.

•I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.

•I will not “work together” to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.

•I will not “work together” to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.

•I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.

•I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.

•I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.

•I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

•I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.

•I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.

•I will not “work together” to support so-called “Right To Work” laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.

•I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.

•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.

•I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.

•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.

•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.

•I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.

•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.

•I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a “pre-existing condition.”

•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.

•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.

I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversight at any level of government.

•I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.

•I will not support anyone that thinks its OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.

This is my line, and I am drawing it.

•I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.

•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN:

That “winning”, “being great again”, “rich” or even “beautiful” is nothing when others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

The Resistance Redux

Much like the Tea-Party did, The Resistance needs to do the same thing, on every level, local, state & federal. 

From Robert Reich, 

The resistance must extend to the states. Don’t let Trump’s antics in Washington divert your attention from what’s happening in state governments. 

Republicans now control both chambers in 32 states, including 17 with veto-proof majorities, and have 33 governorships. Those states cover 61 percent of the U.S. population. After the November elections, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Iowa are added to the list of states Republicans now totally rule. 

The result – now in full swing – is state legislation to (1) erode union powers, (2) undermine abortion rights, (3) loosen gun regulations, (4) expand school-choice programs, (5) slash taxes on the rich and spending on the poor, and (6) entrench Republican power through legislative redistricting.

Keep vigilant. Keep organizing and mobilizing. Don’t succumb to cynicism or burnout. Your activism is more important now than it’s been since the Vietnam War.

What do you think?

Blissful Ignorance 

I have always found the stunning and willfull ignorance conservative something so difficult to understand, and to even quantify. So when I stumbled across this post on a liberal site, I felt it was a must share. Stunning, but not surprising when you think about 2016 went. 

Willful Ignorance, or Stupid and Proud of it. American Idiots.

I don’t know why intelligent people believe it politically incorrect to call stupid people ignorant, or even idiotic. It is not an alternative fact, the truth is a majority of Americans are, actually, willfully ignorant of history, culture, and actively anti-intellectual. They appreciate all the benefits of technology and science but still embrace superstition and stubbornly cling to supernatural explanations for life, existence and refuse to accept evolution as evidence based science.

Below are some numbers culled from the last ten or so years.

In a 2008 survey about 20% of American adults know there are 100 Senators, about the same percentage know they have a term of six years.

In a 2014 Gallup survey, 59% of Americans believe in “divinely guided” evolution. The same survey showed about 40% believe in Creationism or Biblical Genesis. Only 8% believe in “evolution” without any heavenly assistance.

The same survey showed that among Americans with less than high school education, 57% of those believe ‘God’ created humans less than 10,000 years ago. Among high school graduates the percentage increased to to only 48%, but 27% of college graduates still held on to the ten thousand year old threshold. Among regular, weekly, church goers, 69% believe their god created the first humans 10,000 years ago.

Only one five Americans can identify or name more than one of the Ten Amendments.

A Gallup Poll in 2005 only 49% of Americans knew that the United States was the first nation to drop atomic bombs.

A 2007 USA Today survey found out that 55% of Americans believe the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation.

In 2013 in Public Policy Polling, 37% of Americans believe Climate Change is a hoax. Among Republicans 58%are convinced its a hoax, about 61% of Romney voters agreed.

Climate Change is a highly partisan issue, the 2013 PPP survey showed that only 11% of Democrats believe it was fake news, but 77% believed it was real. That was one of the greatest disparities between the two major parties.

14% in the PPP survey believe in Bigfoot, or roughly 43 million American adults think Sasquatch exists. Along with the 21% who believe a flying saucer crashed in Area 51 back in 1947 and not a weather balloon.

65% of American in that 2013 survey cannot name a single Supreme Court justice.

But a CBS poll in 2011, showed that 80% of Americans believe angels are real.

30% of Americans in 2013 couldn’t name the Vice President.

A Politico report in 2015, showed that one third of millenials, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 could not name either one of the United States Senators. Among Latinos the only one in six could identify a Senator among African Americans, according to the survey only one in ten could name a single Senator.

So, it goes. Americans are the most Christian nation on the planet, the most self righteous and the most ignorant, and proud of it.

Resistance Tips!

There are all sorts of things we can do to bring light and accountability to President Trump. The events of the last 72 hours have been a further example of how ill equipped he is to handle the job of President. It has been reported by both the The New York Times & The Washington Post that in an effort to have the executive order involving the travel ban expiated, it was rushed through and not properly vetted through the government legal offices. Imagine if President Obama had done something that careless or reckless, and something that affected literally thousands of people in a 48 hour time period. 

There are many things we all do to be a part of The Resistance. The following is from Robert Reich. Take a look & decide how you can help!

By now it should be clear that you must be more of a citizen activist than ever. Trump is out to destroy our democracy. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, on the right or the left, you’re needed. 

Many of you ask me what, specifically, you should do. 

One suggestion: Join with neighbors, friends, and family to form an Indivisible Resistance Group. Meet on a regular basis. Divide up the following tasks:

1. Get the facts. Keep track of the largest and most damaging of Trump’s and his administration’s lies and actions. You need to know the truth, and what’s happening. Check your facts. Circulate what you know to the group and to others. 

2. Organize. Have everyone to contact their members of congress in opposition to Trump policies. Here’s a worthwhile guide: Make calls continuously. Visit your senators’ and congressperson’s local offices on an ongoing basis. Organize petitions and deliver them. 

3. Reach out. If you’re in a “blue” district, connect up with a “purple” district that needs your help, resources, and encouragement. Here’s a useful guide for how: 

4. Connect up with other Indivisible Resistance groups in your congressional district or your county. Meet as a whole. Plan strategy. 

5. Don’t forget local and state politics. Keep track of the big issues coming before your city or state – on the environment, voting rights, providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, women’s reproductive rights. Encourage your local and state officials to stand up to Trump.

6. Demonstrate, make a ruckus. Connect up with other groups that are planning demonstrations. Get media attention. Have spokespeople who can talk with local media about why Trump’s actions and policies are dangerous. 

7. Contribute to groups that are on the front line of the resistance – the ACLU, Common Cause, and others. 

8. Do background reading on the rise of fascism. Some suggestions: Sinclair Lewis, “It Can’t Happen Here;” George Orwell “1984;” Philip Roth, “The Plot Against America;” Hannah Arendt, “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”

9. Share useful webpages, articles, guides. 

What else?

Republicans & Newspapers

There are lots of things Trump supporters don’t like about newspapers. One is they generally print facts, no matter what town or city you live in. The other thing they may not like is the collection of big words, but that’s just a snarky observation, with no facts to back it up. The third thing, and the one that is the scariest is their President has an adversarial relationship with the media & many of the larger newspapers, although he reads them everyday.  Trump has gone on record and twitter that be believes that institutions like the New York Times & The Washington Post are “fake news”.  It’s an idiotic tactic, except Trump is speaking to a large group of Americans that fell for real fake news & Russian propaganda last fall. Sadly, now we have millions of Americans that have followed Trump’s lead with the media & newspapers. The silver lining to this story is that 73 million Americans voted against Trump, and won’t be swayed by his whining of the media that covers him, accurately.  I believe what Gore Vidal famously said many many years ago, “half the country doesn’t read newspapers & the other half doesn’t vote, let’s hope they are the same half”.

One Week Down…

Well, one week down & 207 to go with President Trump. That is if fate doesn’t intervene, and Trump isn’t impeached first. It was a flurry of the typical tweet-storms, 10 executive orders & one terrifying interview with Sean Hannity. For those who had said that Trump would be less of crazy lunatic after he ascended the presidency, look almost as foolish as he does. Instead of focusing on what he called the “American Carnage” in his inauguration address, Trump focused on his mediocre ratings and turn out at his inauguration & chasing the unicorn that is voter fraud. Incidentally, one day after he tweeted about massive voter fraud, it was found that many in Trump’s inner circles were in violation of voter laws.  That list included his daughter Tiffany, son in law & advisor Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon & Steve Mnucin. 

From The Resistance report from Robert Reich, here is the flurry of Trump’s week. 

Week 1

* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.

* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after reweeting factual, side-by-side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.

* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 staffers and followers to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.

* On January 21, 2017, DT personally phoned National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds and ordered him to produce additional photographs of the previous day’s crowds on the Mall, in order to show that the media had lied in reporting attendance had been no better than average. 

* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”

* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.

* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.

* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.

* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.

* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.

* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.

* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he said depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day after the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.

* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts. EPA scientists were ordered to stop publishing their data unless cleared with DT transition personnel. 

* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.

* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.

* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”

* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.

* On January 24, 2017, DT’s director of strategy, Steven Bannon, said “the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country.”

* On January 25, 2017, DT signed an executive order to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border that would cost an estimated $20 billion to $35 billon, and insisted Mexico would pay for it.

*On January 25, 2017, DT tweeted “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting” with Mexican president President Peña Nieto.

* On January 25, 2017, Mexican president President Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting with DT.

* On January 25, 2017, DT said he thought torturing terrorism suspects was justified. “Do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works,” he told ABC News.

* On January 25, 2017, the entire senior level of management of the State Department — many of whom had served under previous Republican as well as Democratic administrations – resigned.

*On January 26, 2017, DT’s press secretary said DT will slap a 20 percent tariff on all imports from Mexico in order to finance the wall. 

*On January 26, 2017, DT’s vice president told congressional Republicans that the administration will initiate a “full evaluation of voting rolls in America, the overall integrity of our voting system in the wake of this past election.”

*On January 27, 2017, DT closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

* On January 27, 2017, DT established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations, ordering that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.

The Q Rating!

More bad news for President Donald Trump.  

Trump — obsessed about his ratings — isn’t doing well. A new Quinnipiac University poll out today put his approval rating among American voters at 36 percent overall, 33 percent among women, 35 percent among Independents. In Quinnipiac’s first poll of Barack Obama’s presidency, Obama was approved by almost 60 percent of American voters. 

Here We Go….

So it’s now here, it’s Black Friday for real , Donald Trump is now President Trump.    So now that he is here, what can we expect from Trump, other than more of the same?   The transition, by historical standards were awful. So far Trump has filled a total of 30 of the positions that need Senate confirmation, in case your wondering, 690 need confirmation.   Trump has the worst approval rating of anyone that’s ever taken office, that’s quite an achievement.  The best indicator of future behavior, is past behavior. If that indeed is the case, we are in for a bumpy ride. 

Here is a synopsis from Robert Reich on what we can expect. 
How will Trump govern? Here’s the verdict of three Trump biographers who have tracked him for more than two decades:

 “This is all about him completely dominating the news cycles—the use of Twitter to distract from any real questions, emphasis on loyalty, vituperation toward anyone he sees who is disloyal or doesn’t toe his line, and his emphasis on conflict, the notion of setting people against each other. Now it’s countries against each other. It’s news organizations against each other.”

“I’ve been asked lately about why he seems to have affection for a guy like Putin. And the thing that I’m afraid of most, based on what I’m seeing, is that he seems to want to be the same style of leader, where he intimidates people.”

“He has this deep fear that he is himself not a legitimate president, and I think that’s why he goes to such great lengths to delegitimize even the intelligence community, which is the president’s key resource in security, and he’s going to do this demeaning and delegitimizing behavior rather than accept what they have to tell him.”

“Trump measures himself by the number of norms that he can violate. The more he can get away with, the more he can thumb his nose at convention, the more powerful he feels.”

“He’s completely ill-informed and lacks the generosity of public spirit to think about what the right replacements should be for the same institutions that he’s railing against.”

“He’s the kid in the back of the class who is taunting the teacher, who is taking over, who has pushed the principal out of the principal’s office, and he’s appealing to that instinct that everyone has at some point in their lives to overthrow everything.”

“The two most powerful people in his White House, other than him, are going to be Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and they’re going to have the final say on everything. And whatever Gary Cohn or Rex Tillerson or General Mattis or Jeff Sessions or Steve Bannon has to say, it will all end up getting filtered through Javanka. Other than those two, he won’t listen to anyone in a meaningful way, and he never has listened to anyone outside of his core group and family at the Trump Organization for decades, and that’s not going to change.”

“News that contradicts his worldview gets flushed down the sort of emotional and intellectual dispose-all that I think he carries around with him from the second he gets out of bed to the minute he goes to sleep each night. He is the master of counter-reality programming, and it makes him uniquely insusceptible to advice and creative thinking.”

“If he perceives that there’s the tiniest threat to his authority, that there’s any ripple of disloyalty, as he would think of it—then he’s on it.”

“He’s not going to be that concerned with the actual competent administration of the government. It’s going to be what he seems to be gaining or losing in public esteem. So almost like a monarch. Like a modern monarch. The figurehead who rallies people and gets credit for things.”

“He stands for what he can get away with, and if he can’t get away with it, but he made a promise on a ceremonial basis, he’ll figure out a way to blame it on someone else that he can’t fulfill a policy promise.”

“He has no concern for how any of these things look because he’s always gotten away with it and you can only really be sure of anything he says when you have independent paperwork or witnesses to consult.”

“The only things that have kept him awake at night historically are money, sex, food, and revenge.”

What do you think?