Daily Gnuz

ROGUE NATION
That is what our country has become.
We are now outside the environmental mainstream that understands and agrees on the science that shows the earth warming due to human intervention that has accelerated since the Industrial Age.

The nations that remain in the Paris Climate Accord should consider imposing a damage control fee. It is estimated that this decision, if not reversed, will add .03 degrees to the environment by the turn of the next century.
An appropriate penalty IMHO, would be a 10% surcharge on all products made in this country that are shipped to any abiding nation.
Those monies would be put to use in mitigation efforts against the damages that will be caused by increased erosion, rising sea levels and the human misery caused by the temperature increase.

In other GNUZ;
The Trump administration’s key lackey posits a dubious claim
Trump economic adviser Cohn says coal can be competitive again: CNBC h/t Raw Story
Wait till those coal miners finally get it. Their industry is dead, the JOBS AREN’T COMING BACK

Trump is probably looking at this as an opportunity to have Barron lead the re-negotiation of the Paris Climate Accord, but…
World leaders warn Trump: ‘Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated’ Sorry Barron, you’ll have to wait till you get out of high school to have your turn at Nepotism kick in.
Assuming, of course, your daddy is still the prezidunce. h/t The Hill

And, finally,
This explains a lot
Trump Got Advice From Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle Before Withdrawing From Paris Accord h/t C&L
The Low Information Prezidunce.

RUCerious @ TPZoo

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The Watering Hole, Monday, February 6th, 2017: Don’t Forget RUSSIA

Two recent articles to remind us that at least Senator Ron Wyden has our back when it comes to investigating Vlad the Imputin’s Russians having hacked our election for trump.

First, an excerpt from David Corn’s article at Mother Jones:

Since Trump has moved into the White House, there has been less public chatter in political and media quarters about the Russian hacking that, according to the US intelligence community, was mounted by Putin’s spies as part of an extensive clandestine operation to undermine the US presidential campaign in order to benefit Trump. The same goes for allegations that Trump or his associates interacted with Russian officials or intermediaries during the campaign. After the election, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said “there were contacts” between Trump’s team and Russian officials, and various news reports have noted that the FBI has examined connections between Trump associates and Putin-allied Russians—without offering much detail about these FBI inquiries. Yet in the first, chaos-filled weeks of the Trump presidency, the story of Russian meddling in the election—after blowing up with the disclosure that President Barack Obama and Trump were briefed about private intelligence memos alleging Russia had run a yearslong secret program to cultivate Trump and gather compromising intelligence on him—has seemed to move off the center stage.

Second, a diary by Mark Sumner at Daily Kos adds commentary to the above Mother Jones story:

“Now that the intelligence committees are supposedly on the case—and with the FBI not discussing whatever inquiries it may be holding on this front—the controversy (or scandal!) has been nudged to the back burner. This often happens in Washington: a secret investigation is launched, the story goes dark.”

“Helping cast those shadows is a press that seems to have instant amnesia about anything Russia related, to the extent that Russian forces attacking towns in Ukraine just one day after Trump and Putin had their contents unknown chat, wasn’t enough to push aside Trump’s latest tweets on television ratings. The connections between Putin and Trump, Manafort, Flynn, Page, and others in the regime seldom merits a mention.”

We HAVE to keep this investigation front and center, and demand that our Congresscritters and Senators not only support the search for the truth, but inform we, the people, of that truth, no matter the cost. This is OUR country, OUR democracy, and OUR freedom at stake. We cannot let this issue fade into the background, despite all of the distracting crap continuously popping up in the foreground. There are many fights to fight in this travesty of a presidency, but said presidency’s legitimacy is the biggest fight that we all face.

This is our Open Thread–say whatever you want.

Randy Rainbow weighs in on Alternative Facts

This is how I’d like to see the White House Press Corps respond to this administration’s bullshit artists.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 23rd, 2017: Freedom of the Press

We’ve all ripped both network and cable news organizations for their role in aiding and abetting this abomination of a Presidential election. But since the Orange Shitgibbon has won, and he and his spokesgoblins are taking more active steps to label any accurate and unflattering reporting of their words and activities as “fake news” by the “dishonest press”, this should be considered a very serious attack on the First Amendment right of Freedom of the Press. After having previously, in a fit of pique, revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials during the campaign, now the new Trump administration has shut down access to and from CNN.

According to a MediaMatters article:

President Donald Trump and his team continued their unprecedented attempts to delegitimize and blacklist CNN by refusing to have a representative appear on CNN’s Sunday political talk show, State of the Union, while booking appearances on the other major political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co.
At the top of the January 22 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper said that his show “asked the Trump White House for a member of the new administration to join us this morning, but they declined.”

 

During Trump’s first press conference as president-elect on January 11, Trump refused to take a question from CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, calling his network “fake news” and “terrible.” Following the event, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted to threatening to remove Acosta from the press conference and later demanded an apology. Trump ally and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to the incident by asserting that Trump should use the altercation to “shrink and isolate” CNN and eventually “close down the elite press.” Acosta and his colleagues from across the media condemned Trump’s treatment of CNN.

 

The Trump team’s refusal to appear on CNN came one day after it declined to air the live feed of Spicer’s first press conference after the inauguration, where Spicer blatantly lied about the size of inauguration crowds. According to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, “CNN’s refusal to take the live feed suggests executives there are reluctant to put false statements on air, and, what’s more, do not think the new White House press representative is entirely credible.” From the January 21 report:

 

“CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst,” said Danna Young, an associate professor at the University of Delaware who studies politics and the media. “Democracy works best when journalists have access to the executive branch, of course. But that holds true if and only if that access leads to verifiable, accurate information. The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

 

To be certain, news outlets routinely make decisions about whether to air press events live, usually based on projections about news value. But this press conference, held just a day after the President’s inauguration, would have been a hot prospect for a cable-news outlet, and could have sparked hours of debate and follow-up on CNN’s schedule. In an unusual and aggressive maneuver, CNN aired its regular weekday lineup this Saturday, underscoring heavy interest in breaking news of a series of massive protests by women across the nation in response to Trump’s presidency as well as the new President’s first few days in office.

While I am still outraged by the fact that CNN had hired Corey Lewandowski fresh from the Trump team campaign, and paid the lying POS good money to NOT say anything bad about Trump, maybe, just maybe, CNN can redeem itself by employing real investigative journalism. There’s a lot to dig into in all aspects of Trump’s life/taxes/business practices/Russian connections/conflicts of interest, and a 24-hour news network is what’s needed to get to the bottom of Trump’s “alternate facts” swamp.

What do you say, CNN? Do the right thing, or cave to a tyrant?

This is our Open Thread–comments welcome.

The Watering Hole; Friday, January 20th, 2017: “A Date Which Will Live In Infamy.”

I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate
president. I think the Russians participated
in helping this man get elected . . .”
(Rep. John Lewis, D-GA; 1-13-2017)

Rep. John Lewis was, of course, spot-on correct when he made that statement to Chuck Todd on MSNBC a week ago (seems like a year at least; why is that?) a mere seven days before the inauguration. Lewis also said he would not be in attendance for the event, a position that infuriated Trump even as it raised the spirits of others. The only quibble I have with Lewis’s statement is a simple one: to my mind, Trump’s “presidency” is not rendered illegitimate solely because of Russian interference in the election.

“Legitimate” is defined as conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., [and] based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning.”

I cannot, even in my most generous mood, see how ANY of that definition can be applied to that which is about to happen to the highest elective office in this country. In my seventy-four-plus years on this planet, presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton, Dubsy Bush, and Obama have occupied the head chair in the Oval Office. Two of them — FDR and Obama — have been among the greatest Presidents the country has ever had, and while Ike, JFK, and Carter stood tall as they grandly overshadowed the marginal and/or less than marginal others, the dude that will ascend to that chair somewhere around noon EST today stands out as that pinhole of dimmest light which may well prove to be the herald of our nation’s darkest hour. How did that happen? As William Wordsworth put it a couple of hundred years ago,

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Where is it now indeed. We have, just  now, “elected” as “president,” a man who is clearly the LEAST qualified for that office in at least the last 85 years, and likely the most unqualified person ever in the country’s 240 year history. As of today, we have a president who . . .

  1. Is a certifiable Narcissistic Egomaniac,
  2. a bigot,
  3. a misogynist,
  4. a xenophobe,
  5. and a chronic liar.
  6. He has zero political experience, also offers no clue that he’s ever read even a word of the Constitution (or that he even COULD read a word of the Constitution).
  7. Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, and “won” the election solely via the obsolete but Constitutionally-defined Electoral College. His popular vote defeat was the largest in history, and yet he claims to have won the election in a landslide.
  8. He attributed Clinton’s 3 million winning vote margin to massive voter fraud.
  9. He has spoken out loud that NATO is obsolete and that he has no interest in the Eurpoean Union. Small wonder that Europe is probably about as worried as we are in re Trump’s “election” to the most powerful governing position in the world.
  10. Trump is a climate change denier and has indicated that he’ll work to nullify the Paris Agreement, also to increase coal and other fossil fuel production in the US.
  11. A major contingent of the Republican Party (including Trump, I presume) believes that all Federal Public Lands should be turned over to the states so they can be made useful; Trump has offered no indication that he will support protection of National Forests, National Parks, Monuments, Refuges, Wilderness, or any other category of Public Land.
  12. Trump has often spoken of his admiration for Putin, and has either denied or minimized the fact that Russian cyber-hackers worked diligently to influence the US election in 2016 with the goal of swinging enough voters to elect Trump — apparently because Putin thinks he can manipulate Trump, something he couldn’t manage with Obama and knew wouldn’t happen with Hillary Clinton.
  13. Intelligence has revealed that Putin may indeed have the means at hand to essentially force Trump to do what Putin asks, via alleged hotel camera videos of Trump interacting with Russian Prostitutes; Trump, of course, denies everything.
  14. Since Trump’s election, White Supremacists/Nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups have dramatically increased their anti-Jewish/Black/Latino/Muslim activities; hate crimes have increased nation wide.
  15. Trump has said he will halt all Muslim immigration, and will also . . .
  16. Move to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants from Latin America and, presumably, anywhere else.
  17. He has even included DACA people, i.e. young folks who were brought into this country by undocumented parents when they were children, even infants, and who have grown up as Americans.
  18. Trump has refused to divest his business interests, and is very likely to be violating the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution at the very moment his swearing-in is complete.
  19. He has also refused to open his finances and financial arrangements, including via his tax returns, for examination (does he have strong financial ties to Russia? He doesn’t want anyone to know, apparently, so a best guess would be YES he does).
  20. He is threatening every American-owned company that has products manufactured overseas or outside of the US in this hemisphere that there will be a heavy tariff imposed on their products unless they manufacture them in the US and not overseas. That will apply, apparently, to every company other than his own various facilities in China, Turkey, Mexico, and various other places.
  21. When Trump’s proposed tax cuts and budgeting proposals are merged, the calculations result in a ten trillion dollar add-on to the National Debt; “conservatism” defined.
  22. He has vowed to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. Right. Look for 20-30 million folks with no health care at all if Trump and fellow wingnuts get their way.

Can anyone make the argument that Trump is, indeed, a “Legitimate” president? Does he/will he ever conform to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc., based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning? Clearly no. I do, therefore and hereby, declare Donald J. Trump to be this nation’s first totally ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT! whose sole purpose remains his own self-glorification, no matter the cost to others — including the nation as a whole, even the entire of the planet. He, Donald J. Trump, is, in his mind, ALL THAT MATTERS! PERIOD! — all of which brings to the forefront, once again, FDR’s description of “December 7th, 1941: A date which will live in infamy,” now become “January 20th, 2017: A Date which . . . etc.”

In closing, I’m inserting a poem I wrote and posted here last summer after the Republican Convention, after Trump’s nomination. It’s a sonnet, an acrostic quatorzain, intended to define the essence of Trump the nominee, his persona. To bring it up to date I only had to change two words: in the title, ‘Persona’ to ‘Presidency,’ and in the body, ‘nominee’ to ‘President.’ It appears to have worked. 🙂

Donald J Trump and His Egomaniacal Presidency
(via an Acrostic Fourteener Quatorzain)

Democracy allows a boundless breadth of mindless thought.
One brief glance today unmasks a President who deems to
Never claim to own the vicious speech he hopes will be bought
And sold as memes. Whilst he himself wears masks of learn’ed view,
Lengthy rhetoric from speaker thus afflicted reveals
Dismal platitudes, each expressed as if nonsensical
Judgment of those who are more sane, of those whose thought appeals
To wisdom, not to ignorance of issues topical.
Racial bigots find curious relief in hate and fear
Until they are themselves dismissed by soft and passioned dreams.
Misogyny as well appeals to minds that aim to smear
Perspectives based on common goals of life — with bogus schemes.
Deliv’rance of this nation’s soul and heart is thus on hold
Till egomania’s greed and sloth are disappeared — or sold.

One has to wonder, I suppose, if the theses and conclusions implied in the sonnet will still be valid after, say, a full four-year term of a Trump presidency. My best guess is HELL YES they’ll still be valid! That’s assuming, of course, that the country can survive four years with a Narcissistic, Egomaniacal, Bigoted, Misogynistic, Xenophobic and Illegitimate nutcase at its helm. I, for one, have my doubts, but time will surely tell; it always does.

Footnote: Here are a couple of links that provide a few revealing details from both sides of the Trump-Putin topic:

Paul Krugman: With All Due Disrespect

Vladimir Putin defends Donald Trump, says critics trying to “undermine the legitimacy” of the president-elect

******

A darting fear — a pomp — a tear —
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
(Emily Dickinson)

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OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Jan. 5&6, 2017; “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie . . .”

“Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.”
(Honore de Balzac)

******

The bifurcation of the United States is now complete. The AFM (American Fascist Movement, aka the GOP, the Far Right) has, finally, taken over the ‘defining’ substance of the country via its majority control of the House, Senate, White House, and presumably quite soon, the Supreme Court, all alongside the political control of some 32 states. When, on January 20th, the new Precedent (sorry, couldn’t help it) named Donald J. Trump is inaugurated and officially becomes POTUS, the final demise of America will begin in earnest. The goals of the AFM-GOP are fairly straight forward; they intend to address a number of cash and power redistribution projects. Here’s their shortlist:

  1. Repeal Obamacare;
  2. Cut Social Security;
  3. Privatize Medicare;
  4. Drastically reduce Medicaid;
  5. Repeal Roe v. Wade;
  6. Defund Planned Parenthood;
  7. Disallow female Reproductive Rights;
  8. Deport undocumented immigrants;
  9. Overturn Obama’s immigration Executive Orders, including DACA;
  10. Build a border wall;
  11. Dismantle the EPA;
  12. Halt all Carbon-reducing efforts;
  13. Increase coal, oil, and natural gas production;
  14. Pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement;
  15. Open all Public Lands to fossil fuel/mining exploration and production;
  16. Potentially work to hand over all Federal Lands to the respective States;
  17. Tax reform: reduce  rates for corporate and top individual brackets, screw all the common folk;
  18. Abolish Net Neutrality (so cable companies can finally make a buck or two);
  19. Increase “defense” spending;
  20. Restart the nuclear arms race;
  21. Stop worrying about budget deficits;
  22. Blame the entire of the National Debt on Democrats, Obama mostly;
  23. Find places to start new wars;
  24. Universalize voter suppression and “ihre papiere, bitte” laws;
  25. Dismantle Public Education, pay for privatization with tax dollars;
  26. Rid colleges and universities of all those commie professors;
  27. Diminish NATO and the EU;
  28. Explore national merger with Russia.*

*(Not sure if number 28 is on any docket outside the Trump admin., but felt it worth a mention).

In short, (thanks to voter suppression, along with our clearly obsolete Electoral College) it’s a minority of voters that has enabled “All Of The Above.” Stated another way, the death of what once was a nation “of the people” is on the verge of total revision, with the fresh goal of a Feudal-style Fascist Oligarchy lying in wait just over the next horizon. The process should not take all that long to complete, now that the Extreme Right has essentially garnered full control of the government.

The presumed overall consequence — the bottom line — is a simple one: IF the AFM-GOP succeeds in the imposition of its Fascist agenda, the odds are very good that any return to Rooseveltian-style government where the PEOPLE come first, not the money-power enclave, will be gone for at least a generation or two, possibly forever. Remember: when government devolves into Fascism, the sole purpose of the blended money-power government is to disable and destroy each and every program designed to support and enable The People’s pursuit of a comfortable and productive life, and hand it off, instead, to the bums in their imaginary gleaming castles on the hill (sotospeak).

The process will begin on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, immediately following the swearing in of this nation’s 45th POTUS, Donald J. Trump.

potus

Resistance must begin immediately. I, for one, will not attend, watch, or even acknowledge this particular inauguration. I will, instead, spend my time exploring and supporting alternatives, aka virtually any potentially viable project that has even the slightest chance of ridding the nation of its Fascist element, aka the Republican Party . . . and all its works and all its ways. Apparently I’m not alone in this ‘dream,’ at least according to the following link’s stated goal:

Does impeachment begin now? The case for building the end of Trump’s presidency before it even starts

Hoping intelligent people across the land will consider and act appropriately upon all viable options, and in the process never forget the ancient but still accurate admonition of Plato:

The punishment for those who are too intelligent to engage in
politics is that they shall be governed by idiots.

Touche.

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OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 29/30, 2016; “Make America Great Hate Again”

Since November 8, 2016 and the “unpresidented” (s)election of Donald J. Trump as “precedent” of the United States, the probable consequences are rapidly clarifying, as evidenced in the following (tiny) handful of links:

‘We can march through town carrying high-powered rifles’: Neo-Nazi plans march against Montana Jews

Hate Groups Promise Revolt If Trump Abandons White Supremacy

Tracking the explosion of hate in Trump’s America

It appears that even though Trump’s inauguration is still 3 weeks away, he has already succeeded in enhancing amongst his followers the (irrational but traditional) Fascistic dreams of Power and Hate. And sadly, those same irrationalities are currently spreading through Europe — Brexit in England, Far Right Nationalism emerging in Poland, Hungary, France, Austria, Germany — altogether reminiscent of the Fascist tyrannies of just a few generations ago.

As England’s Prince Charles recently stated,

I’ve seen the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930’s.

“I was born in 1948 just after World War II in which my parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later we are seeing such evil persecution is beyond belief. We owe it to the people who have suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

And today, as we set ourselves up “to repeat the horrors of the past,” we watch as anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, anti-Islam, and white Nationalism (neo-Nazism) rapidly reassert themselves both at home and abroad, thanks in no small part to the American election of November 8, 2016. It’s worth noting that said election was, curiously, influenced by Russian cyber interference — likely motivated by Putin’s desire to see the world abandon freedom and democracy and select, instead, Fascism as its ruling authority. And who better than Trump — a politically inept egomaniacal narcissist — to help that movement along?

Russian analyst Nina Khrushcheva (great grand-daughter of Nikita Khruschev) recently noted that Trump is playing “right into Putin’s hands.” She further stated,

“I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying ‘Look at those fools, look at their their democracy. How could America lecture us on any development, institutions, human rights, democracy, rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He’s such a fool. He’s such a bully. That’s what America deserves and we’re going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it, and now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange on potential nuclear armament and whatnot.”

In short, with the election of Donald J. Trump, the United States has ceded any global advantage it might ever have had to the re-emergent right wing fervor aka Fascism. We fought and defeated it in the past, but now have finally succumbed, thanks to the devolution of the Republican Party from one of democratic principle to its embrace of neo-fascism, and to the election of a narcissistic egomaniac — Donald J. Trump — who knows virtually nothing of anything other than his own ego (and how to grab women by the p***y, of course).

In short, we are on the edge of a major dilemma. Our current situation brings to mind an essay written more than three years ago, one that was first posted on October 17, 2013, well before anyone had even the vaguest notion that Donald Trump would ever become a candidate for the presidency, much less win an Electoral College “victory.” But he did, and in so doing has magnified immensely the quandary America came face-to-face with, in 2012: the American Fascist Movement, aka the (Republican) Tea Party.

So here, in celebration of 2016’s final passing is, courtesy of said essay, both a three-year rear-view-mirror look back, coupled with what is now virtually guaranteed to be a look forward as well; reprinted in full.

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