Friday, February 24, 2017

Bernie Sanders on the Rowdy Republican Town Meeting Confrontations

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders — US Senator for Vermont


"If you don't have the guts to face your constituents, you shouldn't be in the United States Congress. If you need police at the town hall meetings, that's fine, have police at the meetings, have security at the meetings. But don't use that as an excuse to run away from your constituents after you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, doing away with protections for pre-existing conditions. If you're going to do all those things, answer the questions your constituents have."




The Washington Post: Making America great again apparently includes Cold War-era nuclear dominance

Just one more indication President Donald Trump is dangerous. Moreover his actions are in violation of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty, as well as the New START agreement.

Robert Reich is correct. The number of nuclear weapons is inconsequential when any nuclear-armed country can obliterate another “with a small fraction of their current arsenals.”

Robert Reich writes:

Today Trump declared that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity,” and placed some of the blame for this on the 2010 New START agreement, signed by President Barack Obama and aimed at further reducing the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. Trump said it was “another bad deal that the country made.”

“If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” he added.

Hello? The United States has an arsenal of about 6,800 nuclear weapons to Russia’s 7,000. That 200 nuke difference is of no consequence. Being “at the top of the pack” is meaningless when either can obliterate the other (and, along the way, make the planet uninhabitable) with a small fraction of their current arsenals. (The next most heavily equipped nation is France, with 300).

But Trump doesn’t care about the facts. He cares only about being “on top of the pack,” even if that means abandoning an agreement to reduce both Russia’s and America’s stockpiles. It’s Trump’s approach in general. Making America “great” means making us bigger and better than anyone else.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trump’s Immigration Order Enables DHS To Increase Immigration Deportation, Increases Number Of Immigration And Border Patrol Agents

Under President Trump’s new immigration order issued Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security is given the authority to detain and deport and undocumented person even if they don’t have a criminal record. It also significantly increases the number of immigration enforcement agents.

Here is Robert Reich's
take on the situation:

The 14th Amendment of the Constitution bars government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

The hell with it, says Trump.

The Department of Homeland Security has just empowered immigration authorities to:

1. Automatically deport anyone who can’t prove they’ve been in the country for more than two years. Proof doesn't require a court hearing.

2. Jail suspected criminal immigrants, without a court hearing.

3. Deport parents and other adults who are accused of helping children enter the U.S. illegally. An accusation will do.

4. Jail people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Just being a suspect is enough to land you in the clinker. No court hearing is required.

5. Deputize local law enforcers to help federal authorities do all this. (What happens to "sanctuary" cities and states?)

So how will immigration authorities target people? The color of their skin? Their accents? Their names?

Is this America?





HS Says Immigration Authorities Can Deport Pretty Much Any Undocumented Person

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Every Day Is a Good Day Because Of Big Government Regulations


Published  by the DailyKos sometime in 2004, published again in 2012, offers a day’s look at what all of us take for granted.

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day.

He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country.

He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home.

His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Conservatives have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

big-government liberals, A Day in the Life of Joe Republican, Government Regulations



Because Of Donald Trump, I'm Not Proud of My Country

The man who occupies the White House is a deplorable human being. He is a contradiction to all the values I hold dear, and the values I always thought were Americas’ values.

Today, because of Donald Trump, I'm not proud of my country. I cannot be proud of my country “where the government, in my name, is doing” things like President Trump.

Simon Anholt, before the Trumpian era, asked the question in a Ted Talk in Berlin 2014 "Is that what a good country would do? And if the answer is no, be very suspicious. Ask yourself, is that the behavior of my country? Do I want to come from a country where the government, in my name, is doing things like that. Or do I, on the other hand, prefer walking around the world with my head held high thinking, 'Yeah, I'm proud to come from a good country?' And everybody will welcome you."

Anholt,  an independent policy advisor  to  Heads of State and Government to help them engage more productively and imaginatively with the rest of the world, in his talk made several salient points that are worth considering:

1. Humanity is capable of achieving extraordinary progress if it really acts together and it really tries hard.

2. Globalization has taken us by surprise and we've been slow to respond to it. In a nutshell, that's the challenge that we all face today at this interesting point in history. We've somehow got to get our act together and we've got to figure out how to globalize the solutions better.

3. Countries depend enormously on their reputations in order to survive and prosper in the world.

4. The kinds of countries we prefer are good countries. We primarily admire countries that are good, countries that seem to contribute something to the world in which we live, countries that actually make the world safer or better or richer or fairer. This is a discovery of significant importance.

5. Governments need to do good in order to do well. If you want sell more products, if you want to get more investment, if you want to become more competitive, then you need to start behaving because that's why people will respect you and do business with you; and therefore, the more you collaborate, the more competitive you become.

6. No country on earth per capita, per dollar of GDP, contributes more to the world that we live in than Ireland.

7. In the depths of a very severe economic recession, there's a really important lesson there that if you could remember your international obligations once you are trying to re-build your own economy that's really something.

8. Kenya is in the top 30 and that demonstrates one very, very important thing: this is not about money, this is about attitude, this is about culture, this is about a government and a people that care about the rest of world and have the imagination and the courage to think outwards instead thinking selfishly.

Here is the full transcript of Anholt’s Ted Talk: Which country does the most good for the world?

Here is the full video:


Sunday, February 19, 2017

‘Sweden? Terror Attack? What Has Trump Been Smoking?’


President Donald Trump doesn’t know how to tell the truth. No one should ever believe anything he says. If something reports a story that is contrary to what he says, it’s fake news. Those who believe Trump will allow him to do whatever he wants.

He said at a rally in Florida, “You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden.

"Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers [referring to refugees]. They're having problems like they never thought possible."

The Swedish embassy in Washington has asked the U.S. State Department for an explanation, according to Reuters, the New York Times, and other major news sources.

“In an essay in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the journalist Martin Gelin speculated that ‘Trump might have gotten his news from the countless right-wing media in the United States that have long been reporting that Sweden is heading for total collapse.’

“He added, ‘Among Trump supporters, there are common myths that Sweden is in a state of chaos after taking in refugees from the Middle East. These are incorrect, made up and gravely misleading news items like this have spread to right-wing sites like Breitbart, Human Events, Drudge Report and Fox News, as well as the popular conservative radio programs that reach millions of listeners every day.”

Here is Robert Reich’s post:

“During his rally last night in Florida, Trump tried to justify his policy of no more Syrian refugees by ticking off a list of places that have been hit by terrorists: ‘You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.’

“More lies.

1. “Nothing has happened in Sweden. Not Friday, Friday night, or Saturday. The Swedish daily Aftonbladet compiled a list of noteworthy things that happened on Friday; they included a drunken-driving arrest and ‘some technical problems’ during 87-year-old crooner Owe Thörnqvist’s rehearsal prior to the Melodifestivalen song competition.

“It seems that Trump, in the grand tradition of the ‘Bowling Green Massacre,’ invented a terrorist attack allegedly committed by immigrants. ‘Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?’ tweeted Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister.

2. “Nearly all of the men involved in terrorist assaults in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, in Brussels on March 22 last year, and in Nice, France, on July 14, were citizens of France or Belgium. They weren’t Syrian refugees.

“Trump’s big lies aren’t innocent, and they aren’t without consequence. Americans who believe Trump will allow him to do whatever he wants.”

Senator Bernie Sanders: “If everything said about Trump, a pathological liar, is ‘fake news,’ then who will give us ‘the truth?’”





President Donald Trump Is A Dictator, He Has Known No Other Way



Republican Senator John McCain responded to President Donald Trump’s tweet that the press is the “enemy of the American People” on NBC’s “Meet the Press.

President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press echo the language of dictators, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said,” warning the nation to heed lessons of history.

“I hate the press. I hate you especially. "But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It's vital. If you want to preserve – I'm very serious now – if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time . . . McCain told Chuck Todd

“They get started by suppressing free press. In other words, a consolidation of power when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

McCain may be being careful with his language, but nevertheless he’s wrong. Trump is trying to be a dictator. That’s what it is to be a Chief Executive Officers (CEO) or Corporate President, centralizing control through autocratic authority. Trump has known no other way. They rule by controlling oversight within a strict hierarchical structure. There is no democracy in the workplace. CEOs do control press releases and do control what subordinates can or cannot say to the media. He knows he cannot do it through a directive, but he can intimidate the press and those who do not support him.

From the New York Times:

“. . .  the muzzling starts, not with a boot on your neck, but with the fear of one that runs so deep that you muzzle yourself.

“Maybe it’s the story you decide against doing because it’s liable to provoke a press-bullying president to put the power of his office behind his attempt to destroy your reputation by falsely calling your journalism “fake.”

“Maybe it’s the line you hold back from your script or your article because it could trigger a federal leak investigation into you and your sources (so, yeah, jail).

“Or, maybe it’s the commentary you spike because you’re a publicly supported news channel and you worry it will cost your station its federal financing.

“In that last case, your fear would be existential — a matter of your very survival — and your motivation to self-censor could prove overwhelming.

House Representative Lamar Smith, Republican from Texas described what he believes was the unfair way the media was covering Trump. Lamar suggested it’s “better to get your news from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.” In other words, the truth will only come from the President Trump.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Robert Reich: Trump Is Deeply Dangerous To Everything America Holds Dear

From Robert Reich on John McCain’s’ speech Don’t Count America Out

“Republican Senator John McCain traveled across the Atlantic yesterday to deliver to Europe (at the Munich Security Conference) a calculated, point-by-point repudiation of Trump's worldview and brand of nationalism. McCain didn't mention Trump's name once, but he didn't have to.”

Here are the highlights:

1. “In recent years, this question [of the survival of the Western world] would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism; not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.”

2. The founders of the Munich conference “would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism.”

3. “They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see towards immigrants and refugees and minority groups -- especially Muslims.”

4. “They would be alarmed by the growing inability -- and even unwillingness -- to separate truth from lies.”

5. "They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent."

6. “But what would alarm them most, I think, is a sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West, that they see it as a bad deal that we may be better off without, and that while Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it's unclear whether we have the will.”

7. “I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that that is the message you will hear from all of the American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That's not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That's not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. And that is certainly not the message you will hear tomorrow from our bipartisan congressional delegation.

8. “I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries [i.e., Putin]. I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West, and I believe we must always, always stand up for it. For if we do not, who will?”

Translated: Trump is deeply dangerous to everything America holds dear. I haven't yet decided whether I'm going to try to dump him. But if he keeps going in the direction he's going, I'll have no choice.

John McCain: ‘In the four decades I have attended the Munich Security Conference, I cannot recall a year where its purpose was more necessary or more important.”




Don’t Count America Out

Sen. John McCain Addresses 
The Munich Security Conference (2/17/2017)





The Trend to Centralized Control by an Autocratic Authority in the Era of Trump


Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on this revealing story: “If everything said about Trump, a pathological liar, is ‘fake news,’ then who will give us ‘the truth?’ In a Jan. 24 speech on the floor of the House, Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas, gave us the answer. He described what he believed was the unfair way the national media was covering President Trump. And he ended with an admonition for his constituents: ‘Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.’ There it is. If you want the truth, ignore everything except what the President is saying. This is what totalitarianism is all about.”

This how the story, “Trump Era, Censorship May Start in the Newsroom,” begins:

“. . .  the muzzling starts, not with a boot on your neck, but with the fear of one that runs so deep that you muzzle yourself.

“Maybe it’s the story you decide against doing because it’s liable to provoke a press-bullying president to put the power of his office behind his attempt to destroy your reputation by falsely calling your journalism “fake.”

“Maybe it’s the line you hold back from your script or your article because it could trigger a federal leak investigation into you and your sources (so, yeah, jail).

“Or, maybe it’s the commentary you spike because you’re a publicly supported news channel and you worry it will cost your station its federal financing.

“In that last case, your fear would be existential — a matter of your very survival — and your motivation to self-censor could prove overwhelming.

“We no longer have to imagine it. We got a real-life example last week in San Antonio, where a PBS station sat atop the slippery slope toward censorship and then promptly started down it.”

“This is how the muzzling starts: not with a boot on your neck, but with the fear of one that runs so deep that you muzzle yourself.

“Maybe it’s the story you decide against doing because it’s liable to provoke a press-bullying president to put the power of his office behind his attempt to destroy your reputation by falsely calling your journalism “fake.”

“Maybe it’s the line you hold back from your script or your article because it could trigger a federal leak investigation into you and your sources (so, yeah, jail).

“Or, maybe it’s the commentary you spike because you’re a publicly supported news channel and you worry it will cost your station its federal financing.

“In that last case, your fear would be existential — a matter of your very survival — and your motivation to self-censor could prove overwhelming.

“We no longer have to imagine it. We got a real-life example last week in San Antonio, where a PBS station sat atop the slippery slope toward censorship and then promptly started down it.

“It’s a single television station in a single state in a very big country. And the right thing ultimately happened. But only after a very wrong thing happened.”

The editorial misfire bears retelling because it showed the most likely way that the new administration’s attempts to shut down the free press could succeed, just as it shows how those attempts can be stopped.

Continue reading the rest of the story:

Representative Luis Gutierrez: Speaker Ryan is not an emperor and does not control who I meet with

On Thursday, Democrat Representative Luis Gutierrez and eight Democratic representatives were barred from a meeting with the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

If anyone has any misconceptions about our country heading towards authoritarian government, it should be clear by now that we are.