Monday Reads: Oy.JUST.Oy.

taken by Lynda Woolard at the NOLA March for Women (scowling dakinikat in background)

Photo taken by Lynda Woolard at the NOLA March for Women (scowling dakinikat in background)

Things–unpleasant and dangerous–are beginning to happen that shows we’ve been taken over by the Alt Right and the horrifying historical meaning of “America First”.  It’s not just in the speeches any more.  Some of today’s executive orders are horrifying and signal to the world we’re a really hostile presence for every one.  It makes no difference if you’ve been our friends, allies, or enemies.  We’re an agent of chaos on a level heretofore unknown.

Frankly, I believe an economic crisis is on its way sooner than I thought possible. There are several actions that look distinctly like acts of war.  The winners for this move are China and Australia if you want to know where to invest your money.   Trump is ending free trade.  BTW, nutter Bernie is ecstatic.  I really don’t think they understand the concept of trade at all.

lynda-and-krewe-of-hillary-nola-womens-marchThis will not create US jobs.  If anything, it will take away the jobs of those who work for firms that export US goods.  As an economist, I cannot stress enough how devastating this will be to the US economy, our geopolitical and geoeconomic standing in the region, and our relations with other nations. Isolationism has never been–historically–a good thing.   Additionally, it will not save or re-create US jobs destroyed by technology. For example, it’s only a matter of years before there will be no need for long haul truck drivers. We’re already learning to be our own grocery checkers.

I  think the deplorables are going to really be hammered on all of this as well as the rest of working people.  What’s needed are unions to offset the self-dealing of Senior Management and excessive dividend programs.

President Donald Trump abruptly ended the decades-old U.S. tilt toward free trade by signing an executive order to withdraw from an Asia-Pacific accord that was never ratified and promising to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” Trump said on Monday after signing an order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 other nations. He didn’t sign any actions to direct a renegotiation of the Nafta accord with Mexico and Canada, yet he said on Sunday he would begin talks with the two leaders on modifying the pact.

“We’ve been talking about this a long time,” Trump said

nola-womans-marchMarching on Saturday with the 3 – 5 million others dampened my despair. I’m still extremely afraid of this insanity. But, it was so wonderful to know so many of us reject his delusions and aspire to create a more perfect union. We are a gumbo. We are a patchwork quilt. We are a jazz riff. We are so much more than Trump’s Narcissism can comprehend, respect, grasp, grok, appreciate, love … please enjoy my pictures of the NOLA March for Women and one other I got caught in by my friend Lynda Woolard who is–in turn–the red head in the photo shown second.  I’m scowling at the southern sun just to the right of the Vulva up top.

More on the executive orders he signed today which includes re-instating the Mexico City Policy and freezing federal hiring,  This is what putting America first is going to look like. Women, of course, were included in the slaughter. We will be hated more than we ever were before and we will likely hate ourselves.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,” Mr Trump said in his short, nationalistic speech on Inauguration Day. “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

The TPP withdrawal order was one of three actions taken by the President in his third full day in office. He also ordered a freeze in government hiring and re-imposed a ban on providing federal money to international groups that provide abortions.

Mr Trump has criticised international free trade deals for rewarding companies to outsource work and has attributed the loss of US manufacturing to foreign labour.

girls-at-nola-womens-marchThe man is insane and has no idea of what he speaks.  Seriously, we’re headed to Depression. It’s the 30s all over again.

This is one piece of news that is also likely to isolate us from people we need as friends in the region.  It’s like to embolden suicide bombers and terrorists. IMHO, it is an act of war.   He plans to announce the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

UPDATE: The White House has now confirmed it is in the early stages of talks regarding the embassy’s move

Channel 2 cited an anonymous source as saying a member of the Trump administration would announce the highly controversial move on the President’s first full working day in office.

I imagine the Radical Chistianist Terrorists are preparing for the rapture–yet again–as we speak.

Here are some other things you may want to read.16251622_10154398555833512_4892005447479481464_o

From The New Yorker and the pen of Robin Wright: TRUMP’S VAINGLORIOUS AFFRONT TO THE C.I.A.

From Rolling Stone: The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence; He’s trampled on the rights of women, LGBTQ folks and the poor. Then there’s the incompetence. Meet, quite possibly, the next president

From the WSJ: U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia,Counterintelligence agents have investigated communications by President Trump’s national security adviser, including phone calls to Russian ambassador in late December

From Politico: Hillary Clinton plots her next move; The Democrat has been studying election presentations, including reports on where she underperformed.

From Variety:  CNN Declines to Air White House Press Conference Live

From Reuters:  Ethics lawyers to sue Trump over foreign payments

A group including former White House ethics attorneys will file a lawsuit on Monday accusing President Donald Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit, brought by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, will allege that the Constitution’s emoluments clause forbids payments to Trump’s businesses. It will seek a court order forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, said Deepak Gupta, one of the lawyers working on the case.

Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, the group noted in a statement.

“When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman,”

https://twitter.com/jonaschartock/status/822972043109011457

16142631_10154398966483512_8779650311873018180_nI really just can’t do today. I can’t.


Sunday Pussy March Round-Up 

img_2966-1

 

Bet your ass!

 

img_2967

 

Innit enough!

So, the numbers are in per New York Times… 673 cities. 4.6 million people. *Zero* arrests!!!

There Are Women’s Marches Taking Place On Every Continent — Even Antarctica | The Huffington Post

Now that’s global solidarity.

Demonstrators rallied across the world on Saturday ― from Antarctica to Ann Arbor, Beirut to Buenos Aires, Cape Town to Canberra ― to show solidarity with the throngs of protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., on the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The Women’s March on Washington organization reported that there were more than 600 sister events planned, with support streaming in from all seven continents.

 

There is a video here from CBSNEWS that you should look at…

Historic Women’s March on Washington

JANUARY 22, 2017, 9:28 AM| The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children protested the agenda of the new administration, as did participants in hundreds of “sister marches” across the country and around the world, as far afield as Antarctica. Rita Braver reports on the largest inauguration protest in memory.

 

 

Pictures From Women’s Marches on Every Continent – The New York Times

nairobi.jpg

Nairobi

Philadelphia.jpg

Philadelphia

antarctica.jpg

Antarctica

ajijicmx.jpg

Mexico

fairbanks.jpg

Fairbanks

boise-tc.jpg

Boise

Go to the link to see pictures from all the other cities…

Here’s a few more links:

Millions Turn Out for Women’s Marches Worldwide | Advocate.com

Women’s march protesters leave their signs at Trump’s DC hotel | TheHill

Women’s March in Atlanta: Live updates

Police estimate: 60,000 in Atlanta for the social justice march to the Capitol

In Photos: Women’s Marches on All Seven Continents Demand ‘A Better Future’ | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Signs from women’s marches around the world – in pictures | US news | The Guardian

Bristol, UK

Women pose for photos on the National Mall in Washington DC.

Protest sign with Trump's face and Nope underneath

A young girl with a sign

 

Finally some images…

img_2974

img_2975

 

That is my kind of mama…

img_2980

 

img_2979

img_2978

 

16195717_10211543118916909_8829631341587599467_n

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This is an open thread.


Lazy Saturday Reads: Yes, I’m Bitter

Hillary

Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday was dark day for the USA. I didn’t see the inauguration ceremony, but I heard part of tRump’s speech on NPR while I was out in the car. To say I was repulsed by it would be an understatement. tRump painted a picture of America as a hellhole with no redeeming qualities except for the bigoted white people who managed to elect him with a minority of the popular vote. It was a stunning insult to the former presidents in the audience and to the majority of the American people.

Here’s a transcript of the brief, angry address annotated by Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. This is the part I heard before I switched off my car radio in disgust:

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

American carnage? I get the feeling that in a couple of weeks, tRump will be claiming credit for the growing economy that President Obama left him with. And then there was this:

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.

(APPLAUSE)

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.

The slogan “America First” has very ugly historical connotations, and tRump know it, because he has been called out on it repeatedly. Brian Bennett at the LA Times: ‘America First,’ a phrase with a loaded anti-Semitic and isolationist history.

america-first4

At the center of his foreign policy vision, Donald Trump has put “America First,” a phrase with an anti-Semitic and isolationist history going back to the years before the U.S. entry into World War II.

Trump started using the slogan in the later months of his campaign, and despite requests from the Anti-Defamation League that he drop it, he stuck with it.

 Friday, he embraced the words as a unifying theme for his inaugural address.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said on the Capitol steps. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First. America First.”

Here’s the historical context:

Those same words galvanized a mass populist movement against U.S. entry into the war in Europe, even as the German army rolled through France and Belgium in the spring of 1940.

A broad-based coalition of politicians and business leaders on the right and left came together as the America First Committee to oppose President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s support for France and Great Britain. The movement grew to more than 800,000 members.

While the America First Committee attracted a wide array of support, the movement was marred by anti-Semitic and pro-fascist rhetoric. Its highest profile spokesman, Charles Lindbergh, blamed American Jews for pushing the country into war.

“The British and the Jewish races,” he said at a rally in September 1941, “for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.”

The “greatest danger” Jews posed to the U.S. “lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government,” Lindbergh said.

This certainly was not a unifying message from our new and illegitimate POTUS.

Joe Conason at the National Memo: Trump’s Inaugural: A Hostile Transfer Of Power.

Everyone who wondered what Steve Bannon has been doing in Trump Tower now knows the answer: He was drafting the new president’s vengeful and cliché-laden inaugural address, which is certainly the least impressive speech of its kind in memory and likely one of the worst in history.

With its repeated harping on “America First” and the thieving perfidy of Washington, condemning both parties in government, this speech plainly reiterated the same messages formulated by the former Breitbart.com chairman during last year’s campaign. It sounded as if Trump were still on the stump, stirring up his fans, rather than seeking to unify the country and take on the profound responsibilities of the nation’s highest office.

0a5d7f032ccb0486d03adb79ff8ffd01
But who can blame Bannon and Trump for returning to their battle-tested themes? Gazing out over the National Mall toward the Washington Monument, where a crowd less than a fourth the size of Obama’s 2009 audience stood, and pondering their dismal approval ratings, they had to yearn for the wild enthusiasm of rallies past. What better way to revive the base than to conjure again that dark vision of an America brought low by crime, drugs, immigration, joblessness — and elitist conspiracies at the center of government?

Of course, there is a good reason why a new president — especially one who failed to win the popular vote in an extraordinarily rancorous election — should try to strike a generous and welcoming note on Inauguration Day. The task of governing that the chief executive faces is vast, complex, and daunting, as Trump is now learning, and demands at least a gesture toward national unity. An inaugural speech crafted to encourage such harmony is the mood music of our “peaceful transfer of power.” And by the time a president takes office, the country is usually weary of partisan bitching and expects the victor to display a measure of grace.

tRump isn’t capable of displaying grace. He only cares about himself and the “glorious victory” he imagines he has won. Even at the inaugural balls last night, tRump was still bragging about how he won the primaries and the general election in a “landslide.” Ironically, even winning the presidency and becoming the most powerful man on earth will never satisfy the black hole of inadequacy inside this pathetic, narcissistic man.

A couple more reviews:

Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post: Donald Trump’s inauguration was a Gothic nightmare.

 

George Will at The Washington Post: A most dreadful inaugural address.

David Sanger at The New York Times: With Echoes of the ’30s, Trump Resurrects a Hard-Line Vision of ‘America First.’

So today it’s the “women’s march,” and there are a lot more people participating in it than the sad crowd for the inauguration. Plus there are women’s rallies in all fifty states and many foreign countries. I guess I should be thrilled, but after learning that the organizers had decided to leave Hillary Clinton off the list of women on their “This is Why We March” announcement, I’m a bit unenthusiastic. I doubt if this will make much difference if the focus is on dismissing Hillary’s achievements and fantasizing that Bernie would have won. I’m also having difficulty with Michael Moore hogging the spotlight on a day that was supposed to be about women’s rights. Time Magazine:

When the Women’s March, which will take place on Saturday, released its official platform earlier this week,the group included a section dedicated to women who inspired organizers but didn’t mention Clinton’s name. The list included activists like Grace Lee Boggs, Gloria Steinem, Winona LaDuke, Malala Yousafzai and Edith Windsor. But Clinton, the first woman to be the a presidential nominee of a major political party, was missing. The omission is especially notable because the March borrows one of its slogans — “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights” — from Clinton’s famous 1995 speech on women’s rights in Beijing. Clinton has given no indication that she plans to attend the event.

america-first2

Sonya Clay, who lives in D.C. and supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 election, started a petition to get Clinton’s name added onto the list, which now has over 5,000 signatures. In addition to Clay’s petition, Wise Women for Hillary sent a letter to the March’s organizers asking that they change their mind. Others agreed, tweeting to March organizers under the hashtag #AddHerName. Some women now say they may stay home if Clinton’s name isn’t added.

“A Women’s March without Hillary Clinton — that just makes no sense,” Clay told Motto in a phone interview. “Hillary Clinton has inspired people to participate in this March. Her service has been inspiring to people. And just the way that she’s handled the loss. She’s inspired people to keep fighting and fight back.”

Since Clay’s petition went live, the Las Vegas and Los Angeles contingents of the Women’s March tweeted that they would honor Clinton. The March also put out a statement on its official Facebook page, saying it was proud to include Clinton’s phrase words from her Beijing speech — but didn’t clarify whether it would add Clinton’s name to the honoree list.

To compound the insult, the organizers are using Hillary’s famous quote “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights,” as well as referring to themselves as “nasty women.”

So . . . I applaud the women who are marching in DC and around the country and the world, but I’m still not so enthusiastic this will lead to any meaningful changes. Sorry about that.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and I hope you enjoy your weekend.

 


Defiance Friday

So, I’m writing this on Thursday night because I’m joining in the protest events here in New Orleans in the morning. It all starts with a mock jazz funeral for Lady Liberty.

The Next Right Thing
10:30 a.m., Congo Square
The Next Right Thing — a march of “satire and dissent” — meets at Congo Square in Armstrong Park at 9 a.m., assembles at 10:30 a.m., marches at 11 a.m. toward the Mississippi River Moonwalk and marches toward Frenchmen Street at 1 p.m. There, an “inaugural ball” will be held at clubs along Frenchmen Street. A children’s parade starts at 3 p.m. The event ends at Check Point Charlie at 6 p.m. The children’s parade encourages costumes, signs, decorated wagons and floats. Families can meet at Washington Square Park for a picnic before the children’s parade.

4e96a4c8b259bf7c3032d3feb25fdd9aThere are many major protests planned for the next few days as I sadly watch the best of our country fade into whatever Orwellian dystopia awaits. This week’s cabinet hearings have been a major dumpsterfire.  I can’t imagine something better to do with the next few days other than to protest or wash your hair and read a good book.  Just don’t watch the TV unless it’s to watch the Women’s March on Washington or one of the Sister Marches planned for Saturday.

Event: The Women’s March on Washington

Date and time: Saturday, Jan. 21. Rally begins at 10 a.m.; march begins at 1:15 pm

About: In what is billed to be the largest event countering the president-elect’s inauguration, the Women’s March is bringing together a spectrum of advocates representing diverse communities. More than 213,000 people have said on the event’s main Facebook page that they plan to attend. The rally will feature a star-studded lineup of celebrities, including Cher, Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Scarlett Johansson, Chelsea Handler, and many more.

Event: ‘Sister Marches‘ around the world

Date and time: Details are listed here

About: Organizers are boasting that as many as 1.3 million people plan to participate in “sister marches” around the world in solidarity with the headlining Women’s March on Washington. More than 600 different demonstrations are planned in every major city in the United States and as far away as Australia, South Africa, Japan, Argentina and throughout Europe.

imageNYC saw a major protest event on Thursday night with celebs the Hair Furor can only dream about.  It’s probably why he was grousing all evening and not looking very happy during his little–emphasis on LITTLE–gathering. Oh, look where Robert DeNiro was and wasn’t.

De Niro was the first celebrity speaker to take the stage at the rally, which included thousands of attendees stretching across at least five blocks. The actor read mean tweets about the president-elect, adding that he thinks Donald Trump is “a bad example of this country and this city.”

Baldwin appeared to speak and insert a few Trump impressions along the way, commenting on Trump and his cabinet picks. “These people are a disgrace, but there is hope,” said the actor. “Trump and Pence think you’re going to lay down. That’s one thing about New Yorkers: You don’t lay down.”

Sharpton hyped the crowd after Baldwin’s speech. “This is Donald Trump’s hometown, but the hometown folk do not behave like Donald Trump,” he said. “America is already great, and we will make it even greater!”

Moore had somber words for the event: “We’re at a very dangerous moment in history,” said the filmmaker. “As bad as you think it’s going to be, it’s going to be worse. The good news is there are more of us than there are of them.”

Sally Field, talking about the labor movement, told the crowd: “I am a proud union member and have been for 52 years.” On the union fight for minimum wage, she said, “If we all stick together like we are now — if we all fight for dignity … we will find paths to victory over the next four years. Please, dear God!”

Ruffalo offered a hopeful note: “Man, I needed this. Did you need this?” he said to big cheers from the rally. “We’re coming here tonight to protect something precious to us, and that’s each other.”

Cynthia Nixon offered a message to the LGBTQ community: “We are not going back … we are here, we are queer and we have no fear!” She added to the Muslims, Mexicans and “straight while males” in the audience: “The LGBT community has got your back.”

Kremlin Caligula is not very well liked in his home town. Even Boston’s ducklings are in on the protests wearing bright pink pussy hats!

a958e74e13fb583ab9b877767c41b946We have to protest.  They’re about to give our country away to their cronies.

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

Well, the Republicans are getting ready to have an easy signature for whatever they want in the Oval Office, the connections between the Trump campaign and Moscow get clearer and murkier simultaneously.  It certainly appears that we were sold out to a foreign hostile state.

The New York Times is reporting that American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications” that potentially show ties between longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and Russian officials.

The report confirming the ongoing investigation comes after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee, as well as reports that the FBI and five other intelligence agencies have been investigating whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump’s presidential run.

In July, reports surfaced that Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, made almost his entire fortune off of investments in Russia. Soon after, NBC News reported on alleged payments to Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from 2007-2012. Roger Stone, a racist, sexist conspiracy theorist — who has previously claimed that there’s “greater freedom of the press” and expression in Russia than in the U.S. — has now also been implicated as another one of Trump’s associates currently under investigation. Media Matters first exposed Stone in August 2016, after he claimed to be in contact with Julian Assange regarding an “October Surprise.” In early October, Stone reassured anxious Alex Jones listeners that the “motherload” was coming.

The report, which will appear in the January 20 edition of The New York Times, confirms that intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications and financial transactions” between Russian officials and Trump allies Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page. The report notes that the “continuing counterintelligence means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him.”

The White House is empty tonight.  The man about to get the nuclear codes is under active investigation by US Intelligence Agencies for ties with Russia.

And DC police have just lobbed tear gas at Protesters there.

Police in Washington, D.C. deployed tear gas as hundreds of protesters gathered outside a pro-Trump gala Thursday night. Local media reports that some attendees of the “DeploraBall” were hit by objects and clashed with anti-Trump protesters as they left the National Press Club. Some protesters, blocking the street, called gala attendees “racists” and “Nazis.” Other protesters set fires in trash cans and in the middle of the street. There was also a 15-foot-tall white elephant with a banner labeled “racism” on its side. Police arrested several people.

I don’t know how much more of this these old bones can take, frankly. But, I will be there with signs … regardless.

Does my sassiness upset you?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Me on the Mighty Mississippi for the mock Jazz funeral of Lady Liberty.  You can actually see me around 2:48 for a sec on the video at WDSU so I can prove that I actually walked!!

me-on-the-mississippi-river-for-the-right-thing-protests

Update with video:

Ladies of the NOLA Abortion Fund. 

So these photos were taken in Congo Square prior to the march.  Th photo of the with the blue umbrella is of downtown New Orleans on Canal Street.


Thursday Reads: A Baby-Man In Charge

 baby-man-1Good Morning!!

Just one more day before the authoritarian baby-man becomes the “leader” of our once-great nation. It’s obvious that he’s not qualified for the job and he has done very little to prepare himself to do it. He has surrounded himself with other wealthy men who in many cases have no experience in government service. Will we survive this catastrophe? We’ll have to wait and see.

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg yesterday: The Empty Trump Administration.

We’re two days away from having a new president. But we’re apparently a lot longer than that from having a Trump administration with even a minimally functional ability to govern.

Politico’s Michael Crowley has a nice piece explaining the missing National Security Council staffers, and the dangers that could cause if there’s an early crisis. Hundreds of briefing papers have been created by Obama’s NSC and sent to Team Trump, but the New York Times reports that no one knows if they’ve been reviewed.

Yet the NSC is ahead of the curve for this administration. Look at the big four departments. There’s no Trump appointee for any of the top State Department jobs below secretary nominee Rex Tillerson. No Trump appointee for any of the top Department of Defense jobs below retired general James Mattis. Treasury? Same story. Justice? It is one of two departments (along with, bizarrely, Commerce) where Trump has selected a deputy secretary. But no solicitor general, no one at civil rights, no one in the civil division, no one for the national security division.

And the same is true in department after department. Not to mention agencies without anyone at all nominated by the president-elect.

Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far.

The Atlantic’s Russell Berman had a good story two weeks ago about how far behind Trump was. Since then? If anything, it’s getting worse — he’s added only two of those 28 since Jan. 5. As Berman reported, the Partnership for Public Service suggested a president should have “100 Senate-confirmed appointees in place on or around Inauguration Day.” At this pace, he won’t have 100 nominees by the end of February, let alone having them confirmed and hard at work.

Please read the rest at Bloomberg View.

donald-trump-rancor-baby-revised-web-8-26-15

Politico: Distrust and empty desks could stunt Trump’s government.

Just days before he ascends to the presidency, there are lingering questions about whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team is fully prepared to take over the sprawling federal government, according to more than two dozen interviews with Trump and Obama administration officials, lobbyists, experts and others close to the process.

A deep distrust has taken hold between Trump’s transition officials and Obama’s political appointees at a number of federal agencies, slowing down the handover of agency responsibilities on everything from meat inspections to drug pricing. There’s confusion over policy on several major agenda items, as Trump gives conflicting signals and often disagrees with his Cabinet nominees. And a number of federal agencies are far from having the staff they need to run on Day One, people close to the transition say….

“They look like they are designed for chaos,” said Stephen Hess, an expert on transitions at the Brookings Institution. “It’s just, there is no other word for it, weird for those of us who have been involved in government for decades.”

Trump transition officials insist that they are prepared. They say they have written detailed action plans for every major agency, adding they’ve even been charting a path forward at more obscure subagencies and departments. They note that securing the confirmation of their nominees is the most important near-term task and that they will soon announce hundreds of hires.

Much more at the link.

Many of us are apprehensive about tRump having the sole power to order a nuclear strike. But what about the man tRump has chosen (perhaps unknowingly) to maintain and manage the U.S. nuclear arsenal?

forbes12-16-16-color

The New York Times: ‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood.

When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Two-thirds of the agency’s annual $30 billion budget is devoted to maintaining, refurbishing and keeping safe the nation’s nuclear stockpile; thwarting nuclear proliferation; cleaning up and rebuilding an aging constellation of nuclear production facilities; and overseeing national laboratories that are considered the crown jewels of government science.

“If you asked him on that first day he said yes, he would have said, ‘I want to be an advocate for energy,’” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who advised Mr. Perry’s 2016 presidential campaign and worked on the Trump transition’s Energy Department team in its early days. “If you asked him now, he’d say, ‘I’m serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.’ It’s been a learning curve.”

Unreal. And this is one of the departments presidential candidate Perry said he wanted to eliminate.

Mr. Perry, who once called for the elimination of the Energy Department, will begin the confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee. If approved by the Senate, he will take over from a secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, who was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics department and directed the linear accelerator at M.I.T.’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. Before Mr. Moniz, the job belonged to Steven Chu, a physicist who won a Nobel Prize.

For Mr. Moniz, the future of nuclear science has been a lifelong obsession; he spent his early years working at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Mr. Perry studied animal husbandry and led cheers at Texas A&M University.

Mr. Moniz had such deep experience with nuclear weapons that in 2015, President Obama made him a co-negotiator, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, of the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr. Perry would sit atop the men and women making the judgments about whether Iran is complying with that accord. In the basement of the Energy Department’s headquarters, the agency’s intelligence unit monitors compliance, working closely with the C.I.A., the National Security Agency and other intelligence bodies.

That is just plain frightening. According to Politico, Perry now “regrets” calling for the elimination of the Energy Department.

luckovich-right-hand

Journalists and biographers are still trying to figure out what’s going on in tRump’s psyche.

Politico: ‘He Has This Deep Fear That He Is Not a Legitimate President.’ I’d say that fear is very well-founded. The piece is a follow up to a previous one in which Politico talked to tRump’s biographers.

Now, after more than two months of Trump’s norm-shattering transition, we gathered Gwenda Blair, Michael D’Antonio and Tim O’Brien by conference call (Wayne Barrett, the dean of Trump reporters, could not participate because of illness) to assess whether Trump has continued to surprise them. Their collective wisdom? In a word, no.

From his pick of nominees for posts in his cabinet to his belligerent use of Twitter (our conversation was a day before he traded barbs with Congressman John Lewis) to his unwillingness to cut ties with his business to avoid conflicts of interest, they see the same person they’ve always seen—the consummate classroom troublemaker; a vain, insecure bully; and an anti-institutional schemer, as adept at “gaming the system” as he is unashamed. As they look ahead to his inauguration speech in two days, and to his administration beyond, they feel confident predicting that he will run the country much as he has run his company. For himself.

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

Read the rest at Politico.

One more interesting read from Thomas Edsall at The New York Times: What Does Vladimir Putin See in Donald Trump?

luckovich-puppets

At noon on Friday, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Millions of Americans will rejoice at the sight, and millions more will not. As a rule, foreign leaders don’t attend the inauguration of American presidents, but Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, will be there in spirit. To understand why and to understand what’s happening as Trump takes over the White House, we need to go back two weeks.

On Jan. 6, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency asserted with “high confidence” that “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election” formed part of a broader, worldwide agenda “to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order.”

According to the intelligence report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” Vladimir Putin

ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

The intelligence assessment raises the question: what made Trump an attractive vehicle through which to attempt to weaken the liberal democratic order. Why him?

The article is an excellent summary of reporting and opinions on Russia’s successful campaign to elect their own puppet to the U.S. presidency. Now we will have a baby-man in charge. It’s going to get very hairy folks.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and enjoy our country’s final day of sane, adult leadership.


Wednesday Hump Day Cartoons: Grizzlies and Hoes

Good luck y’all!

Yes, I’m sticking with it.


Image above from the Lady Parts Justice League Facebook page.

Before we get to the funnies, a few links to share.

On the title of this post, Grizzlies and Hoes:

Vladimir Putin Shades Trump ‘Dossier,’ Brags About Russian Hookers | TMZ.com

VLADIMIR PUTINWE HAVE THE WORLD’S BEST WHORES

Vladimir Putin scoffed at the now discredited dossier suggesting Donald Trump engaged in funny business in Russia … but it didn’t stop him from bragging about his country’s prostitutes.

Putin held a news conference in the Kremlin, throwing shade at the ex-British intelligence officer’s so-called report. Putin said Trump’s been surrounded by beauty pageant contestants for years, and … “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”

Bottom line? If you’re into that sorta thing … come to Russia!

Who needs SNL when the actual Putin is putting out his own comedic skits?

And lets remember, “hoes” are Putin’s go to device, when he needs to grab ’em by the pussy…so to speak: Prostitutes, hidden hotel cameras familiar Putin tools | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow tells viewers about a past example of prostitutes and hidden hotel cameras being used in a case of political hardball in Russia in which Vladimir Putin had a hand.

 

Then you have the Grizzly Bears…coming after your children!

Watch Betsy DeVos Say She’d Allow Guns In Schools “To Protect From Potential Grizzlies” | Mother Jones

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, longtime gun control proponent Sen. Chris Murphy asked Michigan billionaire and Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary Betsy DeVos outright whether guns had any place around schools.

“That’s best left to locales and states to decide,” DeVos responded. When pressed further by Murphy, who represented the district covering Newtown where the nation’s deadliest school shooting took place more than four years ago, DeVos looped back to a question asked earlier by Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming about an elementary school in his state. “I would imagine that there’s probably a gun at the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos noted.

If you think this is fake news…the video is at the link, you can watch it with your own two eyes.

 

Only a few more links and thoughts:

U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Decline, Hits Historic Low | Guttmacher Institute

Improvements in Contraceptive Use Are Likely Contributing to the Decline, But Punitive Abortion Restrictions May Also Be a Factor

Contraception and Fewer Unintended Pregnancies Likely Drove 2011–2014 Abortion Decline | Guttmacher Institute

Contraception and Fewer Unintended Pregnancies Likely Drove 2011–2014 Abortion Decline But the Changing Political Landscape Imperils Access to Essential Reproductive Health Care

There Is No Greater Joy Than Watching Women Force… | ClickHole

There Is No Greater Joy Than Watching Women Forced To Experience The Miracle Of Birth

Mike Pence

Vice President-elect of the United States

Oh…fuck you Mike Pence.

 

And then there is this shit: GOP Rep Chris von Keyserling Arrested for Sexual Assault | The Mary Sue

After Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape was leaked, one of the most prominent (and infuriating) responses was from all the people who brushed the whole thing off as just harmless words. These people refused to see Trump’s bragging of being able to do whatever he wanted to women because of his fame—that he could, as he so disgustingly put it, “grab ’em by the p—y”—as anything but talk, and those of us who dared to call the subject of that “talk” what it actually was (sexual assault) were criticized for not being able to take a joke, not letting boys be boys, and any number of other nonsensical excuses.

The problem many of us had with Trump’s words—you know, beside the fact that he was, yes, boasting about his penchant for violating women—was that when the now-President-elect brags about something like sexual assault, it is powerful, tacit permission for anyone and everyone else to do the same. And if you didn’t believe that was true before, well, here’s a disturbing new example of Trump culture, from another politician flaunting his presumed privilege.

Christopher von Keyserling, a “well-known” Republican representative in Greenwich, Connecticut was arrested last week, nearly a month after he basically recreated that boast of Trump’s, very literally.

Read about the grabfest at the link.

Now the cartoons.

 

This is an open thread…

 

 


Tuesday Reads: Civil Rights Legend vs. Shameless Racist Demagogue? No Contest.

John Lewis marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

John Lewis (right) marching from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders.

Good Morning!!

As we approach the dark day when tRump will take the oath of office, my feeling of living in an apocalyptic scifi novel grows ever stronger. How can this be happening?

This morning marks day 4 of tRump’s attacks on civil rights hero and member of Congress John Lewis; and over in Russia, Vladimir Putin went on state TV to defend his puppet from American criticism

Bloomberg: Putin Says Doesn’t Believe Trump Met Prostitutes in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t believe that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met with prostitutes in Russia, calling the accusations part of a campaign to undermine the election result.

Unsubstantiated allegations made against Trump are “obvious fabrications,” Putin told reporters in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “People who order fakes of the type now circulating against the U.S. president-elect, who concoct them and use them in a political battle, are worse than prostitutes because they don’t have any moral boundaries at all,” he said.

Putin said that Trump wasn’t a politician when he visited Moscow in the past and Russian officials weren’t aware that he held any political ambitions. It’s “complete nonsense” to believe that Russian security services “chase after every American billionaire,” he said.

The Kremlin has denied that it holds any compromising material on Trump after U.S. intelligence officials informed the president-elect about unsubstantiated reports that Russia had compiled potentially damaging personal information on him….

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”c

Well I guess that settle that then . . . not. Does Putin actually think he’s helping tRump or is he trying to undermine his chosen POTUS? Who knows? Can anyone recall a foreign dictator defending an U.S. president-elect before?

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, wo battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

20 May 1961, Montgomery, AL, two battered Freedom Riders, John Lewis (left) and James Zwerg (right) stand together after being attacked and beaten by pro-segregationists in Montgomery, Alabama. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Putin may be defending tRump, but he has already rejected the president-elect’s offer to remove sanctions on Russia in return for reductions in their nuclear arsenal.  Radio Free Europe reports:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the United Nations in New York on January 16 that Moscow was willing to talk to the United States about nuclear disarmament, but it was not going to discuss arms control as part of a deal to lift sanctions.

“Sanctions are not a subject for dialogue,” Ryabkov said. “We have never discussed any criteria for the listing of sanctions and are not doing it now. All these sanctions were introduced under contrived and illegitimate pretexts.”

Ryabkov said Russia was open to discussion on the subject of curbing nuclear arms, but stressed that Moscow would not make concessions on arms in exchange for the United States lifting sanctions.

“Without dialogue nothing will happen at all, but it would be too naive to think Moscow would change its [defense posture] for that or other reasons,” Ryabkov said.

Meanwhile back in the USA, tRump appears to be the least popular president-elect in history, according to two new polls.

CNN: CNN/ORC Poll: Confidence drops in Trump transition.

Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.

Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.

Trump’s wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job. About 53% say Trump’s statements and actions since Election Day have made them less confident in his ability to handle the presidency, and the public is split evenly on whether Trump will be a good or poor president (48% on each side).

The President-elect dismissed the poll findings on Twitter: “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.”

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

John Lewis, beaten during Selma to Montgomery march.

The Washington Post: Here’s just how brutal Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration poll numbers are, in context.

Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the most unpopular president in at least four decades, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Trump right now. A majority — 54 percent — have an unfavorable one.

And that probably undersells just how historically unpopular our new president is right now. The only reason we can’t go back further than four decades is because we simply don’t have the data; polls weren’t as plentiful back then.

The data we do have suggest most every non-Trump president experienced an outpouring of goodwill in the two months between their election and their swearing in. Trump just hasn’t gotten it.

The pre-inauguration favorable numbers for the six presidents to come before him, in fact, were all significantly higher than their share of the popular vote. For Obama, it was 26 points higher (79 percent favorable versus 53 percent of the vote). Every other recent president except Ronald Reagan was at least double-digits higher — as much as 28 points for Jimmy Carter. (Reagan’s was 7 points higher.)

The favorable rating for Trump, meanwhile, is actually six points below his vote share (46 percent).

More results from the poll at the WaPo link above.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

Another shot of John Lewis during the Selma to Montgomery march.

The New York Daily News reports that scalpers are losing money on Inauguration tickets.

Donald Trump will take office as one of the most unpopular President-elects in recent history — and even scalpers may feel the pain.

Some flippers, who acquired tickets to Trump’s inauguration with the intent of reselling them on the secondary market, are striking out in their efforts to peddle them and are now looking at some relatively “yuge” losses.

Yossi Rosenberg, 36, of upper Manhattan, told the Daily News he bought a pair of tickets to Friday’s Washington, D.C. event from a woman in Westchester County for $700, thinking he could flip them for at least twice as much.

“Nobody wants to buy them,” Rosenberg told The News. “It looks like I’m stuck with them, I might even have to go.”

As tRump would say, “Sad.”

It’s difficult to see how tRump’s attacks on John Lewis could be helping him. Petula Dvorak at The Washington Post: Where was Donald Trump when John Lewis was fighting for civil rights? Let’s compare.

We can start in 1960, when Trump was 14 and Lewis was 20. They both clearly showed their leadership potential early.

At New York Military Academy in Cornwall, N.Y., Donald Trump won a “neatness and order medal.”

That same year, John Lewis became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, defying laws that prohibited blacks and whites from sitting next to each other on public transportation.

Three years later in 1963, man-of-action Trump led his private school’s white-gloved drill team in the Columbus Day parade in New York. But he was also removed from that drill team command, classmates said, because he hazed younger students.

That same year, Lewis helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and spoke alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 1965, Trump got his second Vietnam draft deferment as a Fordham University student.

In 1965, on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday, Lewis helped lead 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. When the marchers stopped to pray, they were tear-gassed and beaten by troopers. Lewis’s skull was fractured.

In 1973, Trump’s actions got him sued by the Department of Justice. He was managing his dad’s properties and wouldn’t rent apartments to African Americans. The Trumps eventually settled the lawsuit without any admission of wrongdoing.

That same year, John Lewis was running the Voter Education Project, which pushed to register minority voters across the country.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

John Lewis, with bandaged head sits next to MLK during press briefing.

Trump owned the ’80s, right? His actions that decade?

In 1981, Trump bought a 14-story building facing New York City’s Central Park and began a campaign to drive out the rent-stabilized tenants so he could begin gutting and renovating the building. According to lawsuits, Trump cut heat and water to the remaining tenants.

In 1981, John Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council.

In 1987, Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” became a bestseller. Action? He didn’t even write it; talk about talk talk talk. And his ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, now regrets the picture he painted of Trump in that book.

In 1987, Lewis was elected to Congress.

The truth is that tRump likely had no idea who John Lewis was; and after someone told him he still didn’t feel any shame. Psychopaths don’t feel shame like normal people do.

At The National Memo, Froma Harrop has some good advice for the media: treat him like a toddler. Too bad they probably won’t listen.

Dog trainers have long advised owners against reacting to their pets’ attention-seeking antics — the barking, jumping and pushiness.

“Dog owners often inadvertently reinforce (reward) these behaviors by interacting with the dog,” writes veterinary behaviorist Lisa Radosta. “Any attention can be regarded as a reward, even yelling.”

Similar advice is doled to parents of whining, tantrum-throwing toddlers. Many in the media could use it, as well. All that sputtering over Donald Trump’s personal taunts and stupid tweets is exactly what the president-elect seeks. Turn away. Turn away.

If Trump won’t take questions from serious journalists at a news conference, it’s not a news conference. Reporters are merely playing “straight man” on a reality TV show — complete with paid hecklers and promotions for Trump properties. They don’t have to be there.

Their job is to cover what Trump does, which includes his appointments and ties to foreign adversaries. If Trump publicly insults U.S. or foreign leaders, that’s still news. If he insults newspeople, so what?

Unfortunately, most in the “thin skinned” media will probably be more upset by his attacks on them than by his policies.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Tuesday!