Friday Reads: The Trump Administration represents a Clear and Present Danger

Icicles in Minneapolis

Well, it’s another Friday Sky Dancers!

I would like to think we’re closer to neutering the crazy in Drumpfistan but we’re not. Each day it becomes radically clear that world order is being upended and that most third world nations have a better grasp on economic and foreign policy than our executive branch. Again, what fresh hell is this and how much longer can our country and the world tolerate this ignorant and rogue administration that lurches from the creation of one disaster to the next.

Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo–religious nutbag extraordinaire–announced that the US is withdrawing from a Cold War nuclear arms control treaty with Russia. Pompeo cited Russian violations which actually have been discussed by NATO and the UN for about 5 years. Why the hurry to leave the table now?

Pompeo first announced the U.S. intention to withdraw in December, giving Russia a 60-day window to come back into compliance, and that window runs out on Saturday. Withdrawal now requires an additional six-month window, according to the treaty’s terms. The agreement, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 310 and 3,100 miles.

While Pompeo spoke only of Russia, U.S. officials have been concerned about China’s growing military prowess as China is not a party to the Cold War pact. Officials worry that puts the U.S. at a military disadvantage, although a senior administration official denied Friday that the decision was made because of the actions of any other country besides Russia.

President Donald Trump issued a statement saying Russia had violated the INF Treaty with “impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad.”

The U.S. first accused Russia of violating the pact in 2014, but Russia first denied it possessed the weapon in violation and then later said that weapon didn’t violate the treaty’s terms.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday Russia regrets the U.S. decision and accused the U.S. of being “unwilling to hold any substantial talks.”

But the top U.S. diplomat for arms control had met with Russia repeatedly in the last two months, saying after each meeting that Russia continued to deny its deployment and the U.S. had no other choice.

I frankly wonder if these actions were taken because the President wanted some action that looked like he didn’t favor the Putin Regime over American interests. There appears to be no diplomatic path to resolution. It just seems one more act of chaos on the international stage.

US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson on Thursday held last-ditch talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Beijing ahead of the expiration on Saturday of a US 60-day deadline for Moscow to return to compliance with the treaty.

Thompson and Ryabkov said afterwards that the two countries had failed to bridge their differences. They met on the sidelines of a meeting of the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain – all nuclear powers.

European officials are concerned about the treaty’s possible collapse, fearful that Europe could again become an arena for nuclear-armed, intermediate-range missile buildups by the United States and Russia.

In an interview, Thompson said she expected Washington to stop complying with the treaty as soon as this weekend, a move she said would allow the US military to immediately begin developing its own longer-range missiles if it chose to do so, raising the prospect they could be deployed in Europe.

“We’ll be able to do that (suspend our treaty obligations) on 2 February”, she told Reuters in Beijing. “We’ll have an announcement made, follow all the steps that need to be taken on the treaty to suspend our obligations with the intent to withdraw.”

Once announced, the formal withdrawal process takes six months. Halting treaty compliance would untie the US military’s hands, Thompson said.

“We are then also able to conduct the R&D and work on the systems we haven’t been able to use because we’ve been in compliance with the treaty,” she said. “Come 2 February, this weekend, if DoD (the US Department of Defense) chooses to do that, they’ll be able to do that.”

Washington remained open to further talks with Moscow about the treaty, she added.

Ryabkov said Moscow would continue working toward an agreement but accused Washington of ignoring Russian complaints about US missiles and of adopting what he called a destructive position.

Trump appears to be throwing all of his cards into white evangelical insanity. This Washington Monthly article appeared yesterday and rumors are that we’re going to be treated to a SOTU focused on fetus fetishes via Politico. We’ve already been told by the Huckabeast that white jesus made Trump President. These people join Trump in being a menace to the world.

We’ve already been treated to grisly rape fantasies about women seeking US asylum on the border. What horrid and particularly heinous lies will we hear on Tuesday? From the Politico article:

President Donald Trump is telling conservative allies he wants to incorporate firm anti-abortion language into his State of the Union address Tuesday, and potentially include an anti-abortion figure among his list of invitees, according to four sources familiar with his plans

Trump sees an opening to energize his evangelical supporters and capture moderate voters who administration officials believe may be turned off by widespread coverage of New York’s newest abortion law, which allows for termination of some pregnancies after the 24-week mark for health reasons.

Partially frozen Naigara Falls

The country continues to be regaled to the fetus fantasy fetish porn about so-called “third term abortions”. There are either successful or unsuccessful deliveries at this point but don’t expect the disingenuous religious nutters to believe or spout medicine. The unsuccessful deliveries are from something that’s gone extremely wrong and no positive outcome is ever expected so viability is central to any medical intervention at this point in the gestation cycle by both law and ethics. Kathy Tran from Virginia has proposed a similar bill to the New York bill. From The Intelligencer:

Tran’s bill wasn’t as salacious as its detractors insist. It would have reduced the number of doctors required to sign off on a third-term abortion from three to one, and it would have allowed that physician to approve a late-term abortion for any medical reason, including harm to a woman’s mental health. This provision would have altered the state’s existing statute, which currently allows a team of three physicians to approve third-term abortions for women whose health would be “substantially and irredeemably” harmed by continuing their pregnancies. The bill would have also allowed second-term abortions to be performed outside licensed hospitals, in facilities like clinics. A House subcommittee rejected the bill, but if it had become law it would not have licensed Virginia physicians to perform abortions as a fetus enters the birth canal. Tran’s bill resembles New York’s Reproductive Health Act in that it expands access to later-term abortions, but partial-birth abortion, or “born-alive abortion,” as GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called it in a tweet, is already illegal. RHA didn’t legalize it, and neither would Tran’s bill.

In other news, Cory Booker announces his candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President.

From The Atlantic: “Cory Booker Launched His Presidential Campaign in the Most Cory Booker Way Possible”. He spent last night at his church. I’m still thinking on that one. I like deeply held beliefs guiding people’s individual choices in a sincere way and in private. It’s sort’ve like the difference between knowing you have a penis or vagina tucked away down there that influences your life and whipping either of them out for public display and commentary. I hate it when sanctimony gets on a public stage. But, we’ll see what he does.

The New Jersey senator announced his presidential campaign hours later on Friday morning, the first day of Black History Month, with a run of early-morning appearances on black and Spanish-language radio. His first big interview would be across the river in Manhattan for The View.

After a break for the Super Bowl, there will be more next week, then a swing to South Carolina and Iowa next weekend. His launch video, set to the snare drums of a high-school marching band, runs through his own family’s story of white lawyers helping his family break through a pattern of local housing discrimination in a way that changed the course of his life. It splices together clips of resistance marches and civil-rights marches, and talks about collective action and interwoven destiny, panning from shots of the homeless on a city street to a field growing corn.

Booker’s campaign will roll out big lists of staff hires and supporters in all the early-presidential-primary states, years of preparations unleashed for a show of force he and his aides think is going to pave the way for a traditional ground game, despite being built around a black man obsessed with the “conspiracy of love” who is not a traditional candidate at all. But before it began, he brought together a group of friends, supporters, and current and former aides for what the reverend described on Thursday night as an intimate prayer service. Booker’s Senate office in Washington is filled with religious books; last week he quoted the Torah in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He’s comfortable sitting for six hours in a church service, head bowed, nodding along. Even as other plans shifted, he knew he wanted this to be where he spent the night before everything became official.

Chicago

It’s one thing to use a belief system to extend civil rights to all individuals. It’s completely another to use it to deny others’ humanity. I’ll personally be watching Corey’s campaign carefully.

Meanwhile, the NYT did an Oval Office interview with our abysmal *President. They sent the usual suspects to interview him (Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker) which sent up warning flags to me. Here’s about how I would sum the entire thing.

You can, of course, read it for yourself. It’s full of the usual Trump whoppers so I really don’t see the point.

Anyway, it’s warming up a bit down here in New Orleans but I still keep hearing how frigid it is up there north of me. Stay Warm if you’re still deep in the Polar Vortex.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


56 Comments on “Friday Reads: The Trump Administration represents a Clear and Present Danger”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. Enheduanna says:

    Great post Dak! TGIF….it’s positively balmy in ATL thank goodness. The pictures of ice up north are both beautiful and scary!

    Dump must be getting really desperate to want to push the abortion hot button in his SOTU. I’ll be busy not watching it and waiting for Stacey Abrams.

    • dakinikat says:

      Same here. I have had it with listening to him on anything. He’s delusional and a perpetual liar. He’s not worth the strain of watching his tics and overall personal ickiness.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I think Stacy will do really well. She impressed me so much during the Kemp Swindle.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I’m so glad the Dems are supporting her. I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of her here in the state govt. and/or on the national stage.

  3. RonStill4Hills says:

    Booker presents a dlilemma for me. I’d like to get behind a single candidate. Warren, Gillebrand, Sanders, Bidenand Shultz are all damaged goods in my book, but Harris and Booker both have talent , charisma and decent resumes.

    Kamala is a woman and I suspect Booker is not telling the whole truth on his sexuality, cool history making on both counts then. A woman or a different kind of guy.

    Bottom line of the declared candidates those two seem most likely to have the chops to do the job.

    I forgot about O’Rourke. He is still a possibility. I just know next to nothing about him. I need to see more.

    I am leaning Kamala, but it is early.

    • dakinikat says:

      That’ sounds like about where I’m at … I also like Amy Klobucher. I’ve been watching Sherod Brown too. It’s just too early for me to commit.

      • RonStill4Hills says:

        Klobuchar and Brown have no marks against them as at as I am concerned. I look forward to hearing what they have to say.

        For some reason there is a significant amount of anti-Kamala sentiment among black progressives. People are very stupidly attacking her for her work as a prosecutor.

        I feel like Gaddafi, my people are killing me.

        • dakinikat says:

          I personally do not understand the questioning of Harris’ blackness. I understand that prosecutors are part of a criminal justice system that’s inherently institutionally racist but unsure about what specifically she’s done to enable it. Also, I’m assuming some of this has to do with what my friends call the brown grocery bag test around down here and that she’s racially mixed but was Obama questioned on that? I don’t remember that coming from the black community but again, I try to be woke but still realize I have my limitations. What do you see as the issue? Is Corey getting any of this flak?

          • NW Luna says:

            A number of black activists point out that a very good way to change the criminal justice system is for people like Kamala Harris to be working within it. Prosecutors are supposed to represent the people’s interests, and if we have more prosecutors who represent real America, and aren’t all white men, we should have more fairness.

            This is my impression from following people like @notcapnamerica @MrDane1982, and @Bravewriting among others. I may be misunderstanding what I’ve heard from others.

          • RonStill4Hills says:

            There was definitely some “his people didn’t come up through the slavery/Jim Crow” struggle but it did not last. His supporters weren’t having it and Michelle also gave him a lot of street cred.

            Usually blacks have decided that the one drop rule intended to stigmatize us, would be turned around and would mean black solidarity. In other words “too black for them is black enough for us.”

            In practice though, some ignorant infighting and and backbiting does exist. Dark skin/light skin issues come and go like the tide. It is silly. Kamala is Jamaican and Indian. So? Marcus Garvey and Mahatma Gandhi are not enough of a pedigree to understand the black struggle? WTF was Bernie’s pedigree. She is an AKA from Howard. To quote Penelope McGill “She’s bonafide!”

            And Obama faced no serious flak about prosecution or incarceration I. His second term. I think that Kamala is being scapegoated like Hillary was.

            Did anyone EVER even ask Biden about incarceration or crime statistics? I think that people throw straw man arguments at women when really this issue is gender. That includes intra-gender jealousy. White women let Hills down. Black women are creating headwinds for Kamala. I think there is some jealousy involved.

            WHY?!?! Have we not seen what damage the actual bad guys can do?

            We cannot afford any more stupid.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Kamala Harris’ father was from Jamaica. They brought Africans there as slaves too, you know.

        • NW Luna says:

          • OG says:

            I have always thought it bad that if a person rejects an offer of pleading guilty to a sentence of let’s say one year in prison and goes to trial, then if he is found guilty will be sentenced in some cases to ten years in prison. I have seen the happen. The person was penalized nine years because he wanted a trial. Guilty or innocent, to me that is bad and should not be allowed. He should get the sentence he was offered. Not be punished for insisting on his right to a trial.

      • Joanelle says:

        Too many people jumping in too soon. It appears they all are eager for exposure, what they are doing is confusing the public and creating an appearance of “ooo,ooo, me, me, pick me” instead of demonstrating thier abilities.

    • quixote says:

      If the Dems had any sense, they’d coalesce early and avoid wasting energy on umpteen choices, no matter how good they are. And in general, with the possible exception of the spiritual teacher in Los Angeles, the candidates look like a good and competent crowd.

      But that’s the problem. It is a crowd. We do NOT need a replay of the seventeen dwarfs but on the Dem side.

      And another important qualification is to have the ability to run against the Dump *or* Pence.

      Harris strikes me as the likeliest bet on all counts too.Has all the necessary competence, thinks lightning fast on her feet,and has that personal appeal and warmth that makes a campaign work.

      I think she’s the best choice too. The smart thing would be not to waste the next two years waffling about it, but what are the chances of that?

      • dakinikat says:

        My only thought on that is that we can laser like focus on attack Trump while the Trumpsters have to scatter shot a bunch of candidates and can’t possibly be effective with that many targets. Look at the damage they did to Hillary have so much time to take her down.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It is still early. I expect some of these candidates will fall by the wayside. I’m not comfortable with Sherrod Brown and his focus on the white working class or his support of tarriffs. So far I like Kamala best.

        • bostonboomer says:

          • NW Luna says:

            I agree on Brown, and am disappointed in him. How are fair wages, good schools, clean air and water, the ACA, Medicare, Social Security, and equality not relevant to working class people?

          • NW Luna says:

            OTOH:

          • OG says:

            And North Carolina.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I agree. He’s a good person. He just needs to fix the language he’s using.

          • RonStill4Hills says:

            I am not ready to dismiss him just yet but I hope he gets less clumsy. I am from Ohio originally and I think his record is solid. Plus he embarrassed the SHIT out of Limbaugh who claimed the Dems only supported him because he was a token black.

    • NW Luna says:

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I love her style because it suits her. It would look ridiculous on me, but it sets her apart. It’s a breath of fresh air to me.

    • NW Luna says:

      I’ll still never care for clothes you can’t run, kick and punch in, or comfortably change a flat tire in. Also, until it’s customary for men to wear tight skimpy clothes for everyday wear or formal situations it does seem odd to me. The author is definitely biased — she dismisses women wearing “shapeless trousers” but never thinks it’s boring that men do.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Putin will be disappointed at not receiving his briefings …

  7. NW Luna says:

    “Grande Ego” and “Venti Mistake” were some of the signs carried by protestors. Good for my home town!

    Howard Schultz offers few specifics Thursday as he tests hometown waters for White House bid

    With protesters outside, Howard Schultz pitched a hometown Seattle audience on his proposed “centrist independent” bid for the presidency, calling for the country to “come together” and move beyond partisan politics.
    …Thursday’s event at the Moore Theatre, an interview with Monica Guzman, co-founder of the local news site The Evergrey, felt more like a tense book promotion than a campaign event. Schultz made no policy proposals, instead discussing his background and his Starbucks career, offering hopeful aphorisms about the country’s ability to come together.
    …Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who is exploring a presidential run himself, compared Schultz’s candidacy to Washington’s current measles outbreak in a cable-news appearance on Thursday. “It is a potential fatal disease, if you will, infecting us with Donald Trump for another four years,” Inslee said. “We cannot have that. I just declared an emergency for measles in my state. This is an emergency as well. You shouldn’t run, Howard.”

    Outside the theater, about 60 people chanted “Pick a party” and implored Schultz not to run as an independent. “If he thinks his policies are so great, he should debate them in the primary system,” said Susan Landman, a retiree from Bainbridge Island.

  8. OG says:

    I may retire from voting. So far no one in either party would I be able to vote for. Maybe someone will come forward out of the woodwork.
    I would vote for Biden except for his age.

    • NW Luna says:

      Vote for whomever has a (D) behind the name. We’ve seen what the Republicans do. If you don’t really care for any of the candidates, vote for the one who’s less likely to get us into war and close down the government.

      • OG says:

        We went to war under Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and LBJ. B. Clinton numbed the Slavs in the Balkans and Russi is still angry about that. That, and Hillary and Obsma’s action in the Ukraine are the main reasons Putin hated Hillary so much and backed Trump.

        The two Bush boys started three wars but they were the exceptions.

        Somehow the d does not give me comfort about wars.

        And Trump has not gotten us in s war yet. But he still had s least two years to go.

        Hillary was a hawk and Trump campaigned on bringing all our troops home. Those facts switched a lot of votes in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

        I am in Atlanta. All the fans from Boston for the Super Bowl laughed at us all week because we were worried about twenty degree weather and a possible two inch snowfall. They can laugh all they want as long as they keep spending money. It has been a fun week. Have no idea who will win but everyone here likes Tom Brady.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          All loss of life is regrettable but Clinton did the right thing in the Balkans. Even though many people in the region hate them for it. He and Albright brought Milosevic to his knees without US casualties. War is hell, we hate it, but it is sometimes necessary.

          Putin Hates Hillary because she is an American patriotic and she is not afraid of him. Putin supports Trump because Trump IS afraid of him. Trump is a compromised toady who is the enemy of America just like Putin.

          Trump wants to send more troops to the southern border? What? He is a senile old racist playing green army men and trying to keep his racketeering and his pee-pee tape under wraps. Wake the fuck up.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          Also, Vladimir Putin wants to reconstitute the Soviet Empire starting with Ukraine. Rewriting borders and annexing neighbors through force SHOULD be opposed.

          Again Clinton and Obama absolutely did the right thing. Defensive Hawk and Aggressive Nationalist is not the same thing.

          America First was a racist Nazi appeasing sham the first time and this time it is a racist authoritarian embracing con game run by the embezzler in chief.

          Trump is enriching himself at home while turning a blind eye to fascists around the world.

          Wake up. Trump is weakening America as an agent for our enemies. Using anti-war language to cover his treason isn’t fooling anyone.

          • NW Luna says:

            What you said, Ron.

            FDR fought Nazis, and Japan attacked us first. Hillary was far less hawkish than the Rs, and she believed in and acted to try smart diplomacy first.

            “Defensive Hawk and Aggressive Nationalist is not the same thing.” Exactly.

          • NW Luna says:

            Plus you have Trump “if we have nukes why can’t we use them?” and wanting out of NATO and to back out of Cold War agreements. These are not the actions of someone who wants peace.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Hope everyone stays warm and safe! It’s 52 and raining here, supposed to drop to (only) freezing for a few days before back up to our usual 40s and drizzle.

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is the last day of it here. I was planning to go out today but the wind chill was still 9 degrees. Tomorrow, mid-30s and going up into the 50s soon.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Ralph Northam is going to have to resign unless he comes up with a much better explanation and apology for this. This is from 1984 when he was in his 20s in med school.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think he has to step down.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      OH MY FREAKING INVISIBLE FRIEND!!!!

      As bad as the photo was, as egregious an act of malpractice it was for his campaign and the party not to vet this, the worst part is that he did not come forward with this HIMSELF.

      I can respect “This may be political suicide but here is the ugly truth.” I am likely to say, “Keep talking…”

      But selfishly hoping not to be busted after the fact, shoe polish handed, is insulting on top on the racism.

      I am still a little mad that they ran Al Franken out of the Senate prematurely, IMO, but I think this mug has to go.

      Bring on the under study.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I agree. I can’t believe he thought no one would ever find this. It shows how bad the media is that they didn’t vet him better. And what about other people who are in that yearbook. They could have said something.

      • NW Luna says:

        WTH? There is no excuse. None. He must resign.

      • quixote says:

        I heard somewhere that this was dug up by Repubs after Northam supported the right of women to have late term abortions when medically necessary.

        If so, we really need to have a good long think about having our chains jerked taking things out of context.

        This was almost 40 years ago. It was a dumbass thing to do then, but when everybody around you is doing the same dumbass thing, you don’t have to be a monster to go with the flow.

        Consider how right now loads of people are perfectly fine with rape scenes in entertainment. It’s everywhere. It’s not considered what it is: using and affirming the suffering of an underclass as just a pastime.

        If 40 years from now, that mentality is seen for what it is, and somebody uncovers that you once watched Game of Thrones without protest, will it be fair to label you a misogynist tool for it? You were participating in a soulkilling system, and you probably weren’t too comfortable about those specific scenes, but you didn’t want to be a wet blanket and said nothing.

        Yes, it would be far far far better if Northam had always been a person who didn’t follow the mob. (I know nothing about him. If he’s still like that, well then he def goes into the deepest dungeon beneath the castle moat.) But if this really was a case of 40 year old dirt dug up by Repubs to get rid of another abortion rights politician, I think we need to start taking it a bit slower.

        • quixote says:

          (Just remembered where I saw that: Charlie Pierce, I think.)

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          If Northam had brought this forward himself, I would have heard him out. I can’t say with certainty what my ultimate feeling would have been but honesty would have earned him a point in his favor. I will still listen to his explanation but the deception is a mark against him. He did it 40 years ago, but he was hiding it last week. Not revealing this to his campaign is selfish and irresponsible. If the campaign knew and decided to sit on it that is unforgivable.

          I know this, if that were Hills in that photo Pompous Magnate would be directing DOJ to bring charges.

          Let have a single standard for once. Are white college boys ever accountable for anything? I am not attacking the post above or anyone posting here. I am making a general point.

          Coon man? I am just inclined to say, let’s have the Lt. Gov and wish Northam well while he rebuilds his life and reputation.

          The fact that the discovery of this photo is a Repug dirty trick is infuriating but the photo is not a fake.

      • Joanelle says:

        Me too, Ron

    • dakinikat says:

      This is shameful. He needs to resign. NOW.

    • dakinikat says:

      oh, sheesh …

  11. dakinikat says: