Author Archives: Stephen

Quote Of The Week

Published / by Stephen

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From Robert Reich

There is no exact definition of a constitutional crisis. Presumably it’s when the United States Constitution is in crisis. And it is in crisis now, today, because the president of the United States is abusing it to entrench his power.

As long as he can get away with it, as long as Republicans who control Congress won’t stand up to him, as long as Americans who oppose this have no capacity to stop him, even though they may be in the majority, this rogue president will do more and more damage to our system of government. And the constitutional crisis will worsen.

A malignant megalomaniac facing no countervailing power will continue to expand his terrain until he is stopped.

Trump’s True Colors & The Gutless Media

Published / by Stephen

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The past week had vividly demonstrated Trump’s True colors and constituents – White Nationalists and Putin. Trumps pattern of behavior was documented in an editorial in todays New Your Times.

My question is why, with the exception of the New York Times, is the news media not calling Trump out. They interview Trump at great length and never, never, question his behavior. Why are they afraid to call him out?

It’s become a pattern: President Trump says something outrageous. He later grudgingly retracts his statement, or members of his administration retract it on his behalf. And then he quickly undermines the retraction.
It happened with the attacks by white supremacists in Charlottesville and with other race-baiting issues. This week alone, the pattern has been visible multiple times, on Russia and NATO.
So what explains it? What could Trump possibly be accomplishing with this blatant dissembling?
Something important and devious, actually. He is sending two different messages, each intended for a different audience.
With the initial statement, he’s talking to his primary audience. Often, that audience is his political base, and Trump is signaling that he’s with them: He, too, is a white nationalist, or at the very least he’s sympathetic to them. He believes that dark-skinned people live in miserable countries, that Mexicans are rapists, that Muslims should be banned from America and that some white supremacists are “very fine people.”
Over the past week, for whatever reason, Trump’s primary audience has seemed to be Vladimir Putin. Trump repeatedly sent messages that Putin must have liked — that NATO is a mess, that Russia didn’t interfere in the election and that the Trump administration would consider handing over an American citizen to Putin’s government for questioning.

Another quote – from the Hive:

Good morning! It was yet another temple-scratching day in the Hive newsroom, dear reader, as the Russophilic leader of the free world continued to vacillate about what he did, or didn’t, mean in Helsinki with all the candor and credibility of a hostage reading a ransom note.

Trump’s No Deals

Published / by Stephen

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Again facts from Robert Reich: Donald Trump during a Republican debate: “I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals.”

Robert Reich in a July 8 , 2018 blog post: “Rubbish. So far, Trump has made no deals at all, and the ones he thinks he’s made have unraveled.” — The no deal list is impressive:

  • The Reality He has no deal with North Korea.
  • Trump has no trade deals, either. Instead, he’s launched simultaneous trade wars with Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Trump has no deal on Iran, either. No deal on Syria. No deal on the Qatar blockade. No deal on Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Trump has no deal on climate change. He simply pulled out of the Paris accords.
  • No deal with the Group of 7 leading economic powers. He merely refused to sign the communiqué his own team had agreed to
  • No deal with NATO countries on increasing their military spending.
  • He got no deal on replacing the Affordable Care Act, so Trump is quietly repealing it administratively. At least 5 million people will lose coverage.
  • No deal on gun control.
  • No deal on DACA or immigration.
  • The tax deal wasn’t really Trump’s – it was a deal between the Republican Senate and Republican House, with Trump bloviating from the sidelines.

One of the biggest cons from the biggest conman to occupy the Oval Office is that he’s a dealmaker.

He’s not. All he really knows is how to bully friends, stage photo ops with enemies, and claim victory.

7 Truths About Immigration

Published / by Stephen

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7 Truths With Supporting Evidence. From Robert Reich:

1. A record high of 75 percent of Americans now say immigration is a “good thing” for the country.

2. America needs more immigrants, not fewer, because our population is rapidly aging.

3. Historically, new immigrants have contributed more to society in taxes than they have taken from society in terms of public assistance.

4. Most immigrants don’t take jobs away from native-born Americans. To the contrary, their spending creates more jobs.

5. Trump’s claim that undocumented immigrants generate more crime is dead wrong. Both legal and undocumented immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.

6. Violent crime rates in America are actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to its level from the early 1960s.

7. Illegal border crossings have been declining since 2014 – long before Trump’s “crackdown.” There is no “surge” in illegal immigration.

True Meaning of Patriotism – Trump & The Republican Party

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The True Test of Patriotism. Robert Reich, Point by Point:

On this coming Fourth of July, it’s worth pondering the true meaning of American patriotism – as opposed to the malignant, distorted view of it propounded by Donald J. Trump.

The poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, and the songs of Woody Guthrie, expressed loving devotion to America while turning that love into a demand for justice.

“This land is your land, this land is my land” sang Guthrie. “Let America be America again,” pleaded Hughes:  “The land that never has been yet–/And yet must be – the land where everyone is free./The land that’s mine – the poor man’s, Indian’s Negro’s, ME –.”

Trump’s patriotism centers on symbolic displays of loyalty like standing for the national anthem and waving the American flag. But such displays haven’t been at the center of American patriotism, either. Historically, American patriotism has meant taking a fair share of the burdens of keeping the nation going.

  • This includes volunteering time and energy to improving the community and country. It has meant paying taxes in full rather than lobbying for lower taxes, seeking tax loopholes, or squirreling away money abroad.
  • It also means refraining from making political contributions that corrupt our politics, and blowing the whistle on abuses of power even at the risk of losing one’s job.
  • Real patriotism involves strengthening our democracy – defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not claiming without evidence that millions of voted fraudulently and pushing for laws that make it harder for blacks and Latinos to vote.
  • True patriots don’t inundate government with industry lobbyists, attack the freedom of the press, criticize judges who disagree with them, or fill the airwaves with lies. They don’t direct employers to fire employees who exercise their freedom of speech.
  • True patriots don’t court foreign dictators, and don’t excuse tyranny by denigrating America.
  • When asked whether Vladimir Putin is a killer, Trump responded “you think our country’s so innocent?” When asked about Turkish strongman Erdogan’s disdain for civil liberties, Trump said “when the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”
  • True patriots don’t fuel racist, religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist. To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the “we” in “we the people of the United States.”

Losing Our National Identity?

Trump is the first United States president to use the term “we” to refer only to his supporters. “My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history,” he tweeted recently. “As we get stronger, so does our country.”

A majority of today’s Americans do worry that the nation is losing its national identity. But that identity has never been centered on our support for a particular president or his policies.

Nor, more fundamentally, has our identity depended on the whiteness of our skin or the uniformity of our ethnicity. Our national identity has been our shared ideals.

If we are losing our national identity it is because we are losing those ideals:

  • a commitment to the rule of law,
  • to our democratic institutions, to truth,
  • to tolerance of our differences, to equal political rights and equal opportunity,
  • to participating in our civic life and making necessary sacrifices for these ideals we hold in common.

We must share these ideals if we are to have a functioning society. Without them, there is no America. Trump is doing everything he can to destroy these ideals. We must do everything we can to strengthen them.

This is the true test of our patriotism.

 

Quotes of The Week

Published / by Stephen

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Pruitt  is the symptom. Trump is the disease — Willie Brown

A racist, pervert and homophobe walk into a bar. The bartender asks “what would you like Mr Trump?” — Unknown Source

Advice For The News Media

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June 15, 2018 — Robert Reich has spot-on advice for the media: To the Press, after 18 Months of Trump.

I especially like item #5:

5. Focus on what he’s really doing, and put the day’s stories into this larger context. He’s (1) undermining democratic institutions, (2) using his office for personal gain, (3) sowing division and hate, (4) cozying up to dictators while antagonizing our democratic allies around the world, (5) violating the rule of law, and (6) enriching America’s wealthy while harming the middle class and the poor. He may also be (7) colluding with Putin.

 

A Dark Moment In Our History

Published / by Stephen

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A Quisling and His Enablers

What all this tells us is that the problem facing America runs much deeper than Trump’s personal awfulness. One of our two major parties appears to be hopelessly, irredeemably corrupt. And unless that party not only loses this year’s election but begins losing on a regular basis, America as we know it is finished.

It Keeps Happening – again and again and again

Published / by Stephen

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What more can be said. When are we going to hold congress and the NRA accountable. By tolerating congressional inaction and NRA action we are effectively committing murder.

How Congress Has Dithered as the Innocent Get Shot

When will we get gun reform?

An Uncivil Society

Big Pharma & US Drug Costs

Published / by Stephen

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Robert Reich, in a recent post, lays bare the facts behind high US drug costs and Trump’s anemic drug plan.

…when Americans buy drugs in the United States, they really buy a package of advertising, marketing, and political influence-peddling.