Thursday Reads: tRump Against The World

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Good Morning!!

This post is illustrated with cute pics of cats and dogs from petinsurance.review, because I’m dealing with a very bad cold this morning; I’d like to just crawl back under the covers and zone out. On top of that, my patience with our rude and crude new “president” is quickly running out. This clueless man is destroying our reputation as a nation, alienating our oldest and closest allies around the world, and antagonizing our most dangerous opponents–except, of course, for Russia.

Yesterday tRump had nothing to say about Russia attacking Ukraine, but he had no problem with threatening to send U.S. troops into Mexico; sending Michael Flynn out to put Iran “on notice,” whatever that means; and “blasting” and insulting the prime minister of Australia, one of our closest and most loyal allies.

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I guess there’s now some disagreement on the Mexico threat. Here’s what the Associated Press reported yesterday: Trump to Mexico: Take care of ‘bad hombres’ or US might.

The phone call between the leaders was intended to patch things up between the new president and his ally. The two have had a series of public spats over Trump’s determination to have Mexico pay for the planned border wall, something Mexico steadfastly refuses to agree to.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt given to AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

A person with access to the official transcript of the phone call provided only that portion of the conversation to The Associated Press. The person gave it on condition of anonymity because the administration did not make the details of the call public.

The Mexican website Aristegui Noticias on Tuesday published a similar account of the phone call, based on the reporting of journalist Dolia Estevez. The report described Trump as humiliating Pena Nieto in a confrontational conversation.

Mexico’s foreign relations department said the report was “based on absolute falsehoods.”

Americans may recognize Trump’s signature bombast in the comments, but the remarks may carry more weight in Mexico.

It certainly does sound like tRump, though, doesn’t it? Maybe the Mexico government is going to give us the benefit of the doubt for awhile, but I doubt if this will help public opinion south of the border.

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During yesterday’s White House press briefing, Michael Flynn issued a vague threat to Iran. CNN: White House national security adviser: Iran is ‘on notice.’

President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn condemned Wednesday Iran’s recent ballistic missile test launch, calling it a “provocative” breach of a UN Security Council resolution.

Flynn called the launch the latest in a series of provocative moves by Iran that have included backing Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have attacked US allies.
“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn said from the White House briefing room.
Flynn did not say whether the US would take action beyond a verbal warning, and three senior administration officials, speaking on background, said Wednesday that they are still in the early stages of determining what action the US should take in response.
“We are considering a whole range of options. We’re in a deliberative process,” one of the officials said.

Iran may also be giving us the benefit of the doubt for now. NBC News reports: Iran Brushes Off Trump’s ‘Empty Threats’ Over Missile Tests.

A top aide to Iran’s supreme leader blamed the “inexperienced” Trump administration for apparent U.S. threats and vowed his country would continue testing ballistic missiles.

Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on foreign affairs, said that Iran had not breached a nuclear deal reached with six major powers in 2015 or a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord. The White House has accused Tehran of acting “in defiance” of a separate U.N. Security Council resolution on ballistic missiles, as opposed to the nuclear agreement.

“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” Velayati said. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power … America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”

He added: “Iran will continue to test its capabilities in ballistic missiles and Iran will not ask any country for permission in defending itself.”

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The Washington Post reports on the call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: No ‘G’day, mate’: On call with Australian prime minister, Trump badgers and brags.

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”

Trump was upset about an agreement between the Obama administration and Turnbull to swap some refugees being held in the two countries.

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia — countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australia has supported the U.S. in wars dating back to Vietnam and is one of the five trusted nations with whom we share intelligence. Why the hell can’t tRump stop his pathological bragging about winning the election? His behavior is an embarrassment to our country.

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Bloomberg Politics’ David Tweet addresses tRump’s disgraceful Twitter obsession: Trump Twitter Bursts Throw Decades-Old Alliances Into Disarray.

For the first time in decades, America’s oldest allies are questioning where Washington’s heart is.

This week, President Donald Trump and his deputies hit out at some of America’s closest friends, blasting a “dumb” refugee resettlement deal with Australia and accusing Japan and Germany of manipulating their currencies. Ties with Mexico have deteriorated to the point its government had to deny reports that Trump told President Enrique Pena Nieto he might send U.S. troops across the southern border.

The dilemma for officials globally is figuring out if Trump’s blunt style is simply a tactic to keep them off balance or the start of a move to tear up the rule book that has guided relations with the U.S. since World War II. In the mean time, allies have little choice but to prepare for the worst.

The latest attacks came against Australia and Japan, even with Trump’s new Pentagon chief in the region to offer assurances about the U.S.’s commitment to security ties.

“For those of us like Australia, Japan or Korea, who have been dependent on that continuity, we have got to start thinking about a situation where the U.S. is much more self interested, and more more capricious on what it might do,” said Nick Bisley, a professor of international relations at La Trobe University in Melbourne. “Countries in the region have got to sit down and say those old arrangements can’t last forever.”

tRump’s behavior is disgusting and dangerous.

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Meanwhile, federal employees are struggling to deal with tRump and are pushing back in unprecedented ways.

The Washington Post: Resistance from within: Federal workers push back against Trump.

Less than two weeks into Trump’s administration, federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new president’s initiatives. Some federal employees have set up social media accounts to anonymously leak word of changes that Trump appointees are trying to make.

And a few government workers are pushing back more openly, incurring the wrath of a White House that, as press secretary Sean Spicer said this week about dissenters at the State Department, sends a clear message that they “should either get with the program, or they can go.”

At a church in Columbia Heights last weekend, dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration. And 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend, where experts will offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.

At the Justice Department, an employee in the division that administers grants to nonprofits fighting domestic violence and researching sex crimes said the office has been planning to slow its work and to file complaints with the inspector general’s office if asked to shift grants away from their mission.

“You’re going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage,” said the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Through leaks to news organizations and internal complaints, he said, “people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable.”

The resistance is so early, so widespread and so deeply felt that it has officials worrying about paralysis and overt refusals by workers to do their jobs.

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And check out this quote from the article:

Asked whether federal workers are dissenting in ways that go beyond previous party changes in the White House, Tom Malinow­ski, who was President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said, sarcastically: “Is it unusual? . . . There’s nothing unusual about the entire national security bureaucracy of the United States feeling like their commander in chief is a threat to U.S. national security. That happens all the time. It’s totally usual. Nothing to worry about.”

According to Politico, some federal employees have begun using encryption to “thwart Trump.”

Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda.

Whether inside the Environmental Protection Agency, within the Foreign Service, on the edges of the Labor Department or beyond, employees are using new technology as well as more old-fashioned approaches — such as private face-to-face meetings — to organize letters, talk strategy, or contact media outlets and other groups to express their dissent.

The goal is to get their message across while not violating any rules covering workplace communications, which can be monitored by the government and could potentially get them fired.

At the EPA, a small group of career employees — numbering less than a dozen so far — are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump’s political appointees undermine their agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told POLITICO.

Fearing for their jobs, the employees began communicating incognito using the app Signal shortly after Trump’s inauguration. Signal, like WhatsApp and other mobile phone software, encrypts all communications, making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to them.

We are truly in uncharted territory. Unpresidented!

What stories are you following today?


71 Comments on “Thursday Reads: tRump Against The World”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    From this morning’s national prayer breakfast:

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    • NW Luna says:

      Once again, showing us the depth of his pettiness.

      • joanelle says:

        I can’t believe this country put such a nitwit in the Oval Office!

        • purplefinn says:

          I can’t believe Americans settle for the 2nd place finisher. (Kind of shows the lie behind all those “we’re number one” chanters.) Clearly the Electoral College doesn’t work – it didn’t save us from trump. The previous presidential election loser started an unnecessary war.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    AP Analysis: Trump’s clash with Australia strains alliance

    For decades, Australia and the U.S. have enjoyed the coziest of relationships, collaborating on everything from military and intelligence to diplomacy and trade. Yet an irritable tweet President Donald Trump fired off about Australia and a dramatic report of an angry phone call between the nations’ leaders proves that the new U.S. commander in chief has changed the playing field for even America’s staunchest allies.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was left scrambling to defend his country’s allegiance to the U.S. after The Washington Post published a report on Thursday detailing a tense exchange that allegedly took place during the Australian leader’s first telephone call with Trump since he became president. During the call, the Post reported, Trump ranted about an agreement struck with the Obama administration that would allow a group of mostly Muslim refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the United States. The newspaper said Trump dubbed it “the worst deal ever” and accused Turnbull of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers” — a reference to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, U.S. citizens born in Kyrgyzstan who set off explosives at the 2013 Boston marathon.

    Though Turnbull declined to confirm the report, he also didn’t deny it, apart from rejecting one detail — that Trump had hung up on him. The prime minister insisted his country’s relationship with the U.S. remained strong, and that the refugee deal with the U.S. was still on.

    Yet shortly after, Trump took to Twitter to slam the agreement, tweeting: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

    • dakinikat says:

      Australia is like a fanboy of our country. Why would you want to piss off our best allies? They’re like the Japanese. They follow us into battle every time.

    • Enheduanna says:

      My Trumpanzee brother lived in Australia for 25 years or so and just moved back here (with his Australian wife) about 5 years ago. It is my theory that he grew into a Breitbart-Infowars ahole down under; he’s also a huge misogynist. Misogyny is a huge issue down there. My sister-in-law is completely and totally dominated by my brother. It’s sickening.

      My first visit to Australia was as a travel agent (they used to send us places back in the day). Our group guide confided in me about how hard it was for women in careers there.

      I hope it has changed since then, but I think it is a fairly conservative country and there may be plenty of Trumpanzee-types down there as well (think Mel Gibson).

      • quixote says:

        I was born there, and I’ve been back for visits as an adult. Yes, there are massive blobs of racism to be found. The sexism is somewhat reduced from the Bad Old Days, but still bad enough that sensible people warn others against the YAMs. Young Australian Males.

        That’s what’s so ironic about Agent Orange dumping on the Aussie PM. Turnbull is a bit more presentable than Abbott was, but basically you could say he’s on the Trumpanzee spectrum. And that’s the guy he dumps on? ??! He can’t even talk to his own kind for a few minutes?

        But, really, that’s pretty much how bullies always are, isn’t it?

        • palhart says:

          (I’m too old for this retro-insanity.) In this week’s “The New Yorker”, there are stories about two DeploraBall’s V.I.P. guests. Gavin McInnes, a 46 year old, has formed the Proud Boys, “a ‘pro-Western fraternal organization’ for men who ‘refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.'”

          • quixote says:

            You wonder why, if they’re so proud of creating it (all by themselves, right??), they’re so desperate to turn the clock back to 1820?

        • Fannie says:

          I’m still shaking my head. Good Lord.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid

    U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.

    As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.

    The Pentagon directed queries about the officials’ characterization of the raid to U.S. Central Command, which pointed only to its statement on Wednesday.

    Looks like tRump fucked up badly with his first military action.

    • dakinikat says:

      Where’s the Benghazi panel when you really have an issue?

    • Fannie says:

      He screwed up because he refused to be in on the daily intelligence briefings………..things change from one day to the next, and he skipped out on them, and this is the result of his lack of concern.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    BB…..Love the Dog/Cat pics. They are precious. And thanks for the great post

    I don’t know about everyone else, but what I think tRump is doing right now is a form of
    SHOCK and AWE! Blinding us with so much bullshit that we’re in a constant state of reaction to the point where we can’t focus on any issue for too long. I think the Nazi’s called it a Blitzkrieg. The man is certifiable and there has to be some mechanism by which we can remove him from office. Every day that passes I become more concerned that our downward spiral can only be stopped by some sort of massive civil revolt. Our lawmakers better act quickly or this is going to get ugly fast. It’s in their court now, I hope they see the same signs I see and act to remove this man before we end up in revolution.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Agree – the media has already left the Russia connections story behind. I’m sure it will surface again, though.

      There is no way tRump will get a second term and hopefully the damage can be contained and maybe some of it reversed. And if we can get a Dem in the WH I hope s/he kicks every last tRumpster to the moon, day one, 1st hour.

      What is so dispiriting to me is how many of my countrymen have no regard for the rule of law. That silly acronym we always use – IOKIYAR – makes me angry now. GOPers are not going to stand up to him – just use him as best they can and laugh at us when we point out the criminality.

      • Fannie says:

        Rachel Maddow did an excellent take on Russia connections tonight. Got to give her two thumbs up. I bet Trump is going to tweet about her.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I would say that the metaphorical Reichstag is metaphorically burning, I would not put it past them to do something far far worse…

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    Trump makes a fool of himself at this morning prayer breakfast then promises to end the Johnson Amendment.

    “The Johnson Amendment refers to a change in the U.S. tax code made in 1954 which prohibited certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing and opposing political candidates.”

    In other words, tRump’s going to tear down the separation of church and state. If he’s successful in this threat, Church pulpits will become Super Pacs for political candidates. FUCK THIS!!!!

    • Fannie says:

      He has no idea about the history of which he speaks.

    • Earlynerd says:

      Unfortunately, for the women targets of the Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches, it’s been pretty much broken since the 1980’s. The courts simply refused to enforce the law. I can provide cites and history if needed, but I think most people realize that these churches have been allowed to get away with openly interfering in legislation and elections and with openly supporting and opposing political candidates.

      This would just make official what’s been going on for decades, and extent the legal targets to groups other than women.

  6. RonStill4Hills says:

    I support the resistance. I encourage the Dems in congress to filibuster everything. Use every parliamentary maneuver within their power to obstruct everything the Il Douche tries to do.

    Still, considering the glorious administration that just slipped through our fingers, I am talking about the SCOTUS, the State Department, the DOJ, the whole shebang that the HRC presidemcy promised, what they are doing now just seems like impotent flailing after the battle is over.

    Essentially they are setting latrine fires in the POW camp. Where was everyone when we had a chance to beat back these barbarians?

    • NW Luna says:

      Where was everyone when we had a chance to beat back these barbarians?

      Admiring Trump’s exciting tantrums, and reprinting innuendos about emails. Because fanning the non-existent flames about emails was so much more exciting than writing about a dangerous toddler who toadied up to Russia and would start fights with our allies.

    • Fannie says:

      It’s working, two republican senators said no to Betsy Devos.

  7. bostonboomer says:

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  8. bostonboomer says:

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  9. bostonboomer says:

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  10. RonStill4Hills says:

    OMG, Fox is reporting that Sarah Silverman is calling on the military to overthrow The Circus Peanut.

    She really is a national treasure.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’ve been praying for some really good assassins first aimed at Steve Bannon and then they have carte blanc as far as I’m concerned after that

    • NW Luna says:

      The military may realize now they’re just hours away from being sent on suicide missions over Twitter insults.

      • Chris says:

        I understand the military, at least the active duty members, were staunchly behind trump on election day. Very interested to know if that is still true. Having a compliant military behind trump makes me very nervous.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    The man is an imbecile! Straight up nuts!

    They are setting the tone for military action. Like kids playing “soldiers” they are playing with fire because they can. They have been itching for the chance right along and that “friendship” with Putin is pushing forward the dialogue to achieve just that.

    The results will be disaster for everybody. The idea is to “cleanse”. We are facing another genocide only this time it is another targeted group.

    Only the GOP can put the brakes on this psychopath and that is not about to happen. As long as he takes orders from Pence and Co. more of this unchecked behavior will occur.

    The ultimate danger is his stupidity. He knows nothing. He does’t think. He believes “saber rattling” is a strength. Talking “tough” is a strength. Bragging is a strength. Useless man.

    How all this plays out in the next few months will determine whether or not we are still a democracy. We are this close to total destruction of a Constitution we hold dear.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Again, WTF?

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. dakinikat says:

    BB: Dr Daughter called this morning. She told me in her second year of med school when they were learning about personality disorders and then went over the symptoms of NPD her professor said the best example of some one that displayed all the symptoms was Donald Trump and that was like 2006-2007!!

  15. dakinikat says:

  16. dakinikat says:

  17. dakinikat says:

    It may seem small in the saga of President Trump’s first two weeks, but according to The Washington Post, there’s a good chance he’ll appoint an actual war criminal to be the second-ranking US diplomat.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/an-actual-american-war-criminal-may-become-our-second-ranking-diplomat/

  18. Enheduanna says:

    NYT has interviewed that crazy doctor Bornstein:

    tRump is taking Propecia – which can cause: “inability to orgasm, painful erections, chronic depression, insomnia, brain fog, and suicidal thoughts — can last long after patients stop taking the pill.” That last if from HuffPo.

    He also has rosacea. I guess that’s why the orange makeup/spray tan, which probably aggravates it.

  19. ANonOMouse says:

    tRump speaks at Thursday Morning National Prayer Breakfast

  20. dakinikat says:

    • Fannie says:

      Here we go! About the guy who got her pregnant……….got male birth control Arkansas.

    • NW Luna says:

      Another article on this cruel law from the women-haters in Arkansas.

      A new Arkansas law bans one of the safest and most common abortion procedures and allows family members to block an abortion by suing the abortion provider.

      Arkansas Act 45, signed by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson last Thursday, bans dilation and evacuation abortions, the most common abortion procedure during the second trimester of pregnancy. Rushed from filing to law in less than two months, the legislation effectively blocks abortions after 14 weeks by making the safest procedure a felony. The earliest current abortion bans block the procedure after 20 weeks.

      With no exception for rape or incest, and a clause that allows a woman’s spouse or parent to sue an abortion provider, the law potentially allows the fetus’s father to sue even in cases of spousal rape or incest, abortion rights activists say. The law could go into effect as early as spring.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/02/new-law-lets-dads-veto-abortions.html

  21. dakinikat says:

  22. dakinikat says:

    BB: remember me asking you if White House mommy might be having a slight psychotic break from reality??

  23. NW Luna says:

    I think heartbreak had a lot to do with this:

    Ruline Steininger, Clinton supporter, dies at 103

    On a cold February night last year, 102-year-old Ruline Steininger caucused for Hillary Clinton in Iowa, determined to witness history and help elect the country’s first female president.
    “I’ve got a big job ahead of me … I’ve got to live,” she said at the time. “After that, OK, I can die if I want to, but I’m going to live until she’s elected.”

    Steininger died Tuesday night, three months after her dream was dashed. She was 103. Her daughter, Karen Steininger, confirmed Ruline’s death to CNN on Thursday.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/02/politics/ruline-steininger-hillary-clinton/index.html

  24. NW Luna says:

    🙂

  25. Earlynerd says:

    BB, love those pictures! What a real-time antidote to the depressing but necessary news you’ve posted alongside – that one of the kitten and the puppy, especially, had me smiling again in spite of myself.

  26. NW Luna says:

    • Earlynerd says:

      Maybe that’s why Dad’s in the background, stroking chin, thinking “H’mmm, something’s not quite right with this”

  27. NW Luna says: