Friday, June 30, 2017

Tired of Trump

I'm throwing him to the wolves:

"GOP’s message to Trump: Please stop" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  June 30, 2017

WASHINGTON —The message from President Trump was more graphic and more personal than the hundreds of tweets he has sent since becoming president, and unleashed criticism even from voices who don’t typically clash with the president.

The overwhelmingly negative response to the president’s language was striking, even at a time when politicians and perhaps the rest of the nation long ago became accustomed to the unconventional ways that Trump communicates. And the reaction bodes poorly for a president who is already struggling to rally his own party around his agenda. Instead of coming together, the elected officials Trump needs for help were sprinting away from him Thursday.

All “in the aftermath of the armed attack on Republican lawmakers baseball practice.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a testy briefing with reporters that was dominated by questions about the tweets, said, “He’s not going to sit back and be attacked by the liberal media, Hollywood elites. And when they hit him, he’s going to hit back.”

She has a certain point there, but is this the proper venue? He is the goddamn president of the United States.

Meanwhile, the wrecking ball of a foreign policy plows ahead while you are watching and listening to the smoke, sound, and fury.

Also defending Trump, via a spokesperson, was his wife, Melania, who recently moved to Washington, D.C., and has said she’ll take on combating cyberbullying as her pet cause.

Trump has tweeted 866 times since taking office, interspersing messages about policy details with comments that either he or his office has had to spend days or weeks defending. The notes vary from commentary on news articles, to typo-ridden missives in the middle of the night, to veiled threats.

Republicans and allies of Trump had often tried to ignore Trump’s penchant for tweeting, considering it an at times charming and at times lightly embarrassing consequence of electing a populist entertainer.

Trump’s brutal tweet moments later left Republicans aghast. It gave them flashbacks to the most vulgar moments of Trump’s 2016 campaign, when the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape caught him speaking about aggressively hitting on women and grabbing them by the genitals, and when he said of then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that she had “blood coming out of her wherever.’’

Murkowski says stop, Sasse says stop, and also fed up was Maine Senator Susan Collins and Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

Norman Eisen, a fellow of governance studies at Brookings, a D.C.-based think tank and a top ethics official in the Obama administration, said Republican lawmakers are going to need to do more than just denounce their president if they truly want him to change his behavior.

“Trump is like an out-of-control child,” Eisen said. “And the Republican Party is like the parents that everyone shakes their head at. The way you change behavior is you have consequences.”

Even his supporters on the 6 a.m. sports show I listen to when going to get my Globe said he is insane.

Republican lawmakers, he said, could start by boycotting photo-ops with the president to send him a message. Or, he added, an option would be to introduce legislation censoring the president.

The first one could backfire, the second one means nothing.

The mere presence of a bill with Republican support rebuking him would send a tough message to the White House.

Eisen noted that there’s very little Democrats can do to force a change. “It’s his party’s responsibility,” Eisen said. “They have the power.”


He was evidently offended by comments made by Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s program “Morning Joe,” who he “heard speaks badly of [him].” 

My question is, why waste time watching programs no one else does? Stop watching the goddamn TV, and don't swim in the shark tank if you are just an apprentice.


".... The present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a capricious and undisciplined man.  He does not read anything but balance sheets (perhaps those are briefed to him).  He watches 24/7 cable news incessantly and forms his understanding of the world from these citadels of superficiality and corporate agenda.  His advisers and counselors are family members, cronies and seemingly heroic and photogenic generals who seem to represent an adolescent self-image of what he might have been.


His latest blather sent to the world a few nights back through the long suffering press secretary Spicer was evidently based on nothing but the visible movement of trucks and other ground equipment around and on the Syrian air base that he last attacked with a hundred million dollars worth of TLAMs after his daughter cried over the jihadi propaganda film production from Khan Shaykhoun.

The after the fact support of DoD for DJT's wild Spicer delivered statement means nothing.  Mattis undoubtedly feels that his choice is either to support the CinC or leave.

IMO President Trump has too shallow and trivial a mind to be taken seriously on foreign policy and military affairs.  Hey, pilgrims, in the military we kill people and destroy things.  That is what we do.  The application of lethal violence in support of state policy is why we exist.  The necessary corollary to that principle is the expectation that state policy will be relatively sane.

Thus far, the foreign policy of the Trump Administration seems lacking in fact based logic and overwhelmingly based on the "hobby horses" of various splinter groups represented among his counselors.

If I were the Syrian government, I would request, nay, demand that international observer groups be stationed at ALL SAF airbases to ascertain exactly what ordnance is uploaded for combat operations.  Americans and Russians should be included in these groups.  The observers need not be briefed on targets but they would need to be able to verify ordnance loads.

Unless that happens we face the prospect of yet another false flag gas "attack."  It seems likely that Christian or other non-Sunni captives were used as props in the last one.  We should be careful not to enable future attacks of this nature by giving credence to the wild statements of the man in the White House unless they are backed by credible evidence. -- pl

I've taken his advice and depend on others to let me know what is going on with Trump.


"Trump travel ban goes into effect" by Gardiner Harris and Ron Nixon New York Times   June 30, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday moved aggressively to fulfill one of the president’s most contentious campaign promises, banning entry into the United States by refugees from around the world and prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Freed by the Supreme Court to partially revive President Trump’s travel ban, administration officials said the US border would be shut to those groups unless specific individuals can prove they have close family members living in the United States, or are coming to attend a university or accept a job offer.

Officials said those exceptions would be defined narrowly. In a lengthy cable sent to embassies and consulates around the world, officials said that extended family connections would not be sufficient to evade the president’s ban on entry. Parents, including in-laws, are considered “close family,” but grandparents are not, for instance. Stepsiblings and half-siblings will be allowed, but not nieces or nephews.

On Thursday night, Hawaii filed a court challenge to the limitations on the family relationships.

Critics immediately denounced the administration, accusing the White House of violating the Supreme Court’s directive to exempt anyone with a “bona fide” family connection to the United States. Civil rights groups vowed to challenge what they said was a renewed attempt by Trump to keep Muslims out of the country.

“It remains clear that President Trump’s purpose is to disparage and condemn Muslims,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, adding that the government’s new ban on entry “does not comport with the Supreme Court’s order, is arbitrary, and is not tied to any legitimate government purpose.”

One week after taking office, Trump shut down travel from seven mostly Muslim countries, including Iraq, and blocked entry by all refugees, saying that a “pause” was necessary to evaluate the vetting of visitors from places that the government deemed dangerous.

Critics assailed that first order as a veiled attempt to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to impose a “Muslim ban.” After courts blocked it, the president issued a modified order directed at six countries, not including Iraq. That order was blocked as well, with federal appeals courts ruling that it discriminated based on religion, in violation of the First Amendment, and exceeded the president’s statutory authority.

The decision Thursday by the administration to revive and aggressively enforce another version of the president’s travel ban is certain to keep the intense debate about America’s borders going into the Supreme Court’s fall term, when the justices are scheduled to decide the legal fate of Trump’s efforts to restrict entry by particular groups.

Officials said they were determined to “meet the intent of the presidential directive” within the boundaries set by the Supreme Court, which issued an interim opinion when it agreed to consider the issue in its next term.

Hours before the new guidelines went into effect Thursday evening, officials predicted little of the chaos that engulfed airports in January, when the president issued his original travel ban. This time, officials said, people already booked to travel to the United States would be allowed to enter. And they made it clear that legal permanent residents were not affected by the ban.

But the administration’s newest move could prompt another wave of litigation as advocates for those trying to enter the United States ask courts to halt enforcement of the ban. Already, lawyers in Washington have filed a lawsuit asking the court to allow the entry of refugees with no “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

Other lawyers representing people who have been blocked from visiting the United States described the government’s actions as mean-spirited.

“Allowing a US citizen to bring their Syrian mother-in-law but not their Syrian brother-in-law doesn’t make us any safer, and doesn’t even really make any sense,” said Gadeir Abbas, a staff lawyer on the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Trump has said that his travel ban does not directly target Muslims, although the six countries on the list that the president has deemed as dangerous — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — are majority Muslim.....


Those are my top two stories, and beyond the oil and gas is.....

"House votes to end some federal funds for ‘sanctuary’ cities" by Matthew Daly   June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Warning of threats to public safety and national security, the Republican-led House on Thursday approved two bills to crack down on illegal immigration, a key priority for President Trump.

One bill would strip federal dollars from self-proclaimed ‘‘sanctuary’’ cities that shield residents from federal immigration authorities, while a separate measure would stiffen punishments for people who reenter the United States illegally.

The sanctuary measure was approved 228-195, while the bill to punish deportees was approved 257-167.

Trump often railed against illegal immigration during his presidential campaign, and his support for tougher immigration policies is crucial to his voting base. Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with more than a dozen people whose family members were killed by people in the country illegally, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the families Thursday.

Democrats said the bills were feel-good measures intended to make lawmakers look tough on crime.

‘‘Enforcement is not selective, occasional or arbitrary, it’s the law,’’ Homeland Security Secretary spokesman David Lapan said.....

Well, actually..... sigh.



Immigration advocates brace for modified travel ban

Healey and nine other AGs demand data on immigration arrests

I wish she would worry more about her own state than the national agenda.

"Senate Republicans consider leaving tax on rich in health bill" by Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan New York Times  June 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Hoping to revive their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans said Thursday they were seriously considering proposals to keep one of the law’s taxes on high-income people while providing more money to combat the opioid epidemic and new incentives for people to establish tax-free savings accounts for medical expenses.

You will need to excuse me for a few moments; I need to find my eyeballs that are rolling around on the floor right now.

In addition, Republicans said, they are considering a proposal that would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive health plans if they also offered at least one plan that complies with consumer protection standards like those in the Affordable Care Act.

The open talk of leaving in place a tax on investment income was a big break from the House-passed health care bill and from the Senate’s initial approach. And it was championed by reliably conservative Republicans who acknowledged the tough choices that the health bill would force on lower-income Americans.

“It’s not equitable to have a situation where you’re increasing the burden on lower-income citizens and lessening the burden on wealthy citizens,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. “That’s not a proposition that is sustainable, and I think leadership knows that.”

Translation: they are worried about their popularity.

But the negotiations themselves are attracting controversy, and personal strains are showing. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, dressed down Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, this week over Medicaid cuts. Senate Republicans bristled after a super PAC tied to President Trump went after one of their own for opposing the bill, Dean Heller of Nevada. Adding to the insult, one of the top officials of that group, Nick Ayers, was named chief of staff of Vice President Mike Pence’s office on Thursday — after the blowup.

Democrats are also angry. For seven years, Republicans have denounced what they call corrupt deals made by Senate Democrats to buy votes for passage of former president Obama’s health care bill. The frantic wheeling and dealing among Republican senators on Thursday had more than a faint resemblance to the negotiations that led to adoption of the health care law in 2010.

“The slush fund is open,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, referring to about $200 billion that could be available for deals in the Senate repeal bill. “Applicants can queue up and have a good chance of being treated favorably if they are from the right political party.”

When does the mu$ic stop?

McConnell was briefing senators Thursday about possible changes in the repeal bill, hoping for broad agreement by the end of the week so he can submit it to the Congressional Budget Office for an official assessment. He scrapped plans for a vote on the bill this week after he met broad resistance from Republican senators across the ideological spectrum.

This week, for the first time, Republicans are talking publicly about keeping a tax on capital gains and other investment income, imposed by the Affordable Care Act on individuals with annual incomes exceeding $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.

McConnell’s bill would repeal that tax, like most other taxes in Obama’s health care law. Corker and Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, said party members were discussing the idea of keeping the investment tax. Conservative Senator Mike Lee of Utah took a swipe at “tax cuts for the affluent” in listing his concerns with the Senate bill, and moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said, “I do not see a justification for doing away with the 3.8 percent tax” on certain investment income. Collins said the investment tax differed from other taxes in the Affordable Care Act, like an excise tax on medical devices, because those taxes can increase costs for health care consumers. I distinguish between those tax increases that were part of Obamacare that increase premiums and the cost of health care versus those that don’t,” Collins said.

Senate Republicans also said they were considering adding billions of dollars to the repeal bill to help pay for the prevention and treatment of opioid abuse. This provision is meant to woo wavering Republicans from states hard hit by the opioid epidemic, including Portman and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.....

Nothing more than legalized bribery -- with taxpayer dollars!


So how is work on that defen$e bill?

Also see: 

"The Trump administration said Thursday it is taking steps to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as President Trump continues to push for US ‘‘energy dominance’’ in the global market. The Interior Department is rewriting a five-year drilling plan established by the Obama administration, with an eye toward opening areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans that now are off-limits to drilling. It’s one of six initiatives that the president unveiled Thursday in hopes of generating more energy exports and jobs. US oil production has boomed in recent years, and exports of oil and natural gas are surging, primarily because of improved drilling techniques such as fracking that have opened up production in previously out-of-reach areas. Trump has pledged to ramp up production further, withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement because of the limitations that it could have placed on the burning of fossil fuels."


Somehow, Trump still finds ways to shock us

He will soon find himself alone.

From Watergate to Russia-gate 

The Clinton hack brings a tear to your eye.

Mark Twain’s lessons for the Trump age 

Twain was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. 

If Trump goes that way.....

"In 1865, eight people, including Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln. (Four defendants, including Surratt, were executed; Mudd was sentenced to life in prison but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869.)"

She was probably innocent of the charges, and I'm not trying to be funny.

Did you know Frank Langella was running AIG now?


"Facing financial woes, Colonial Williamsburg to restructure" by Sarah Rankin Associated Press  June 29, 2017

RICHMOND — Colonial Williamsburg will outsource many of its commercial operations and lay off workers in response to declining attendance and long-running financial challenges, the living history museum’s top official announced Thursday.

The foundation that operates the eastern Virginia attraction is in final negotiations with four companies that will manage its golf operations, retail stores, much of its maintenance and facilities operations, and its commercial real estate, president and CEO Mitchell Reiss said.

‘‘For a variety of reasons — business decisions made in years past, less American history being taught in schools, changing times and tastes that cause us to attract half the visitors we did 30 years ago — the Foundation loses significant amounts of money every year,’’ he wrote in a letter shared publicly.

The foundation’s operating losses last year totaled $54 million, or $148,000 per day. It also borrowed heavily to improve its hospitality facilities and visitors center and ended 2016 with more than $300 million in debt, Reiss said.

Combined, those factors put pressure on the foundation’s endowment, with withdrawals reaching as high as 12 percent per year. At that rate, the approximately $684 million endowment could be exhausted in just eight years or perhaps sooner.

Reiss said in an interview that the foundation’s financial straits meant its mission of historic preservation ‘‘was at risk, quite frankly.’’

Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, with costumed interpreters who reenact 18th-century life amid more than 600 restored or reconstructed original buildings.

The city southeast of Richmond served as Virginia’s capital from 1699, when nearby Jamestown burned to the ground, until 1780. It fell into disrepair but was revived in the 1920s in a restoration project financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

All I can think of is all the Confederate monuments and symbols being removed as this early Colonial history of slave owners is exalted.

Reiss said 71 jobs from departments across the foundation will be eliminated by year’s end, and another 262 employees may choose to work for the contract companies, which agreed to hire and retain eligible employees for at least the next year. Colonial Williamsburg will have just under 2,100 employees when the process is finished, he said.

None of the costumed interpreters will be affected, he said.



"Indiana mother sentenced for killing children" AP  June 29, 2017

GOSHEN, Ind. — A judge has ordered an Indiana woman who admitted to fatally smothering her two children to undergo mental health treatment before going to prison under a 130-year sentence.

An Elkhart County judge ordered the sentence Thursday for 30-year-old Amber Pasztor of Fort Wayne in the deaths of 7-year-old Lilliana Hernandez and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor.

She pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two murder counts.

Pasztor abducted her children Sept. 26 from their custodial grandparents’ home, prompting an Amber Alert.

Their bodies were found the same day inside a car in Elkhart, about 70 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.

Pasztor is also charged in the September shooting death of a former neighbor, 66-year-old Frank Macomber.

Her children’s bodies were found inside his stolen car.


It's a terrible tragedy, but by contrast those lying war criminals that murder scores of children walk free amongst us.

"Ohio man gets up to life for killing pastor brother at church" AP  June 29, 2017

DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio man who fatally shot his pastor brother in a church office as Sunday services were ending last year has been sentenced to 31 years to life in prison.

The sentencing on Wednesday came after a jury this month found 69-year-old Daniel Schooler guilty of murder and felonious assault charges in the fatal shooting of the Rev. William Schooler at the pastor’s Dayton church in February 2016.

Daniel Schooler testified at trial that he went to the church to discuss a lawsuit about an inheritance. He said he shot his 70-year-old brother in self-defense after William Schooler reached toward him.

Relatives have said Daniel Schooler had a history of mental illness.

Prosecutors said Schooler went to the church to confront his brother because he was angry at him.

His attorney declined to comment Thursday.


Time to get out of the heartland:

"Governor Declares a State of Emergency for New York City Subways" New York Times News Service  June 29, 2017

NEW YORK — Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York declared a state of emergency for New York City’s subway system Thursday and said he would sign an executive order to accelerate efforts to improve service, including undertaking badly needed repairs and obtaining new cars and equipment.

Cuomo said that the dismal performance of the system was no longer acceptable, and that he had ordered Joseph J. Lhota, the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to provide a reorganization plan for the agency within 30 days.

Where is the mayor?

Lhota must also review the agency’s capital plan within 60 days, the governor added. Cuomo pledged to direct an addition $1 billion for capital improvements.

How is throwing $1 billion at the problem going to help now?

Cuomo’s comments came two days after a subway train derailed in northern Manhattan, injuring about three dozen people and raising concerns among commuters that the system had become not only unreliable, but also unsafe.

Wasn't human error like we are usually told?

I hope the passengers have health insurance.

The governor said the executive order would make it easier for the transit agency to focus on its most urgent needs.

“It will no longer be a tortured exercise to do business with the MTA,” Cuomo said at a meeting in Manhattan where entrepreneurs were gathered for a competition unveiled by the governor for ideas on how the fix the problems plaguing the subway.

“We need new ideas,” the governor said. “Delivered faster.”

Got any?


Sorry to cop out on you.

"Police in New York are looking for the daughter of Donal Logue, the Harvard-educated actor who plays Harvey Bullock on the Fox drama “Gotham.” According to the New York Daily News, Logue told police that his 16-year-old daughter Jade, who is transgender and identifies as female, didn’t come home after meeting with a friend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Monday....."

Maybe she joined the military?

"Curt Schilling says he’s thought about running for president" by Mark Shanahan Globe Staff  June 29, 2017

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling tells Esquire that he’s still seriously considering running against Senator Elizabeth Warren, and he’s hoping his ultra-conservative message catches on with the masses. He even admits he’s entertained the notion of running for the nation’s highest office.

There are already rumblings of racist.

“My thought was, I could run for [the] Senate next year and then I would run for president after Trump’s second term,” he says.

But Schilling has said a lot of stuff, and some of it has gotten him into trouble. While an analyst at ESPN, he tweeted a meme comparing extremist Muslims to Nazis, said Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere” for using a private e-mail server, and posted a meme assailing the transgender community for its opposition to a controversial North Carolina law mandating that people in public buildings use the bathroom that matches the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Schilling was eventually fired by ESPN.....


RelatedAlan Dershowitz has written a book about Trump’s legal problems

He took some plane rides with Epstein so his defense is no surprise.


‘Morning Joe’ hosts question Trump’s ‘emotional state’

Brzezinski, Scarborough fire back at Trump in Washington Post op-ed

Has he sent one of his goons over yet?

'Morning Joe' Hosts Respond To Trump's "Bleeding Face" Tweet

While Trump Kills 4,000 Civilians, the Fake-Left is Triggered Over a Tweet About a Facelift

He's sending the troops into Chicago, too.