Tag Archives: Crappy

Soldiers are Suckers

Originally posted on September 3, 2020

I recently read an article in The Atlantic entitled Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’. It recounts a 2018 trip to an European cemetery to pay respects to those who lost their lives in WWI. He cancelled the trip. He blamed the rain, and how the helicopter couldn’t fly, and the secret service couldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Apparently he was worried that his hair might become disheveled. Plus he wondered “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In other comments he has denigrated all soldiers as suckers, thus the title.

Is Trump really so callous to not appreciate the sacrifices that so many Americans have been willing to make? The Atlantic article goes on to postulate that Trump values nothing if it doesn’t yield some benefit for him personally. He simply doesn’t understand that many of us are willing to contribute something to the common good.

This is consistent with Trump’s treatment of John McCain and Humayun Khan. It is deplorable in anyone, but especially so in a president.

John Lewis

Originally posted on August 4, 2020

John Lewis was a widely respected congressman and civil rights leader who died a couple of weeks ago, on July 17, 2020. Respected enough that 3 former presidents from both parties gave speeches at his funeral. Trump was not among them. In fact, Trump only reluctantly noted Lewis’s death at all. One might attribute this lack of respect from Trump to their almost polar opposite political philosophies.

Who am I kidding? Trump – political philosophy? Please. More likely Trump was upset that he suffered some personal slight by Lewis. Personal slights seem to be the best way to get a reaction from Trump, and in this case that turned out to be so. In an interview with Axios Trump was asked about it, and the Washington Post summarizes his response.

“I don’t know. I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration.”

So that’s it? Lewis didn’t come to Trump’s inauguration, and apparently Trump is still holding onto that grudge. He mentioned the inauguration twice and the State of the Union also, so it’s something that’s been on Trump’s mind. Are any of us surprised?

Scare Tactics

Originally posted on July 29, 2020

As Trump’s polling numbers continue to look worse and worse, he has responded the only way he knows how to – by appealing to well-to-do white fears about their neighborhoods being invaded by the “others”, crime going up and property values going down.

As background, several days ago Trump replaced the Obama-era AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) rule that was instituted in 2015. That rule essentially used federal funding to encourage affordable housing that didn’t discriminate against minorities. He had earlier gutted enforcement of it and has been making a campaign issue out of it for some time.

Even by Trump’s standards this type of tweet is pretty vile. It openly stokes fears that end up making vast parts of the U. S. ungovernable. Not that Trump cares about any of that, he just wants to get reelected. Given that (a) he’s a racist and (b) he is so self-centered that he thinks everyone is just like him, he must have convinced himself that stoking racial fear will help his campaign. I can only hope he is terribly wrong about that.

Who’s Pendley?

Originally posted on July 17, 2020

William Perry Pendley is not a household name. He currently heads the BLM – the federal Bureau of Land Management. That bureau is responsible for the management of some 247 million acres of publicly-owned land, almost all of it in the western states.

Pendley’s history at the BLM is contentious, and not just because of any policies, although those are contentious enough. Normally the director of the BLM is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, in Trump’s chaotic administration finding competent and non-controversial candidates who would work for Trump is apparently fairly difficult So lots of positions are filled with “acting” administrators and the faces seem to change rather quickly.

The Department of the Interior (where the BLM resides) seems to have had significant problems finding able administrators. In what is to me a remarkable document, the Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt (who was also an acting Secretary until shortly before he issued the remarkable document, replacing Ryan Zinke a few months earlier, whew!) named seven (7!) positions that normally needed Senate confirmation that remained unfilled. He went ahead and didn’t really actually name people to those positions; rather he delegated their responsibilities. Pendley was “c” in the below list. So he was never even nominated, let alone confirmed. Here’s the gist of the remarkable document:

The purpose of this Order is to temporarily redelegate authority for the following vacant non-career Presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed positions for which there is no Principal Deputy that would automatically become acting by operation of law:

  • a. Deputy Secretary
  • b. Solicitor
  • c. Director, Bureau of Land Management
  • d. Special Trustee for American Indians
  • e. Director, National Park Service
  • f. Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
  • g. Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

OK, so he isn’t entirely legit. What about his policies? One can have legitimate disagreements about the use and scale of federally-owned lands. Pendley advocates selling federal lands to various private interests, a position that doesn’t sit well with most Americans; at least most Americans who don’t stand to profit from those sales. Aside from that general policy, he has some views that are remarkably consistent with Trump’s – that is, racist and bigoted.

So why is he in the news now? Well, Trump just nominated him for the director’s job. Finally. Nobody can say why, especially so close to the election. What this nomination really does is put a number of western Senators in a real bind. If they support him they piss off all their constituents who don’t want to potentially lose access to a large part of their state. If they don’t they piss off the Trump true believers. Politico calls this an “unforced error” and it seems that Trump is making more and more of them these days.

Campaign Letter

Originally posted on July 13, 2020

A friend received a letter from the Trump campaign asking for (what else?) a donation. It runs 4 pages and here’s a pdf of it in its entirety. Almost needless to say, it is full of insults, alarms and lies. Below I’ll pick out a few of the passages from just the first page (doing all 4 pages would be torture) that reveal just what sort of person Trump is.

  • “My Fellow Patriot”. Most politicians start their solicitations with something like “Dear Friend”, but not Trump. Right away he implies that people who don’t support him are by definition not patriots.
  • “stop the Liberal Democrats from using the Chinese virus pandemic to turn our nation into a failed Big Government Socialist country like Venezuela”. First, he pushes the racial button with the Chinese virus meme. Then he accuses the Democrats of wanting to force Socialism on the U.S. I’m not aware of any leading Democrats who want to force Socialism on us. Not even Bernie wanted that, unless you re-define “Socialism” to include lots of stuff that most Americans want – like a better health care system. Venezuela is certainly a basket case, but it seems that corruption and authoritarianism are the main culprits, not socialism.
  • “Sleepy Joe Biden”. Trump can’t resist insulting, can he?
  • Pelosi is “ultra partisan”? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! This portrayal is undercut by Trump’s subsequent mention of the bi-partisan CARES act.
  • James Clyburn’s “restructure” quote. It appears to be accurate, but out of context. He was talking about it now being the House’s turn to weigh in on the CARES act that the Senate had just passed. And the House did so, increasing the size of the package from $1T to $2T.
  • “Radical Liberals”? I guess that includes anyone to the left of his fairly extreme right, which includes a majority of us.
  • Then Trump lists 4 Democratic proposals that he regards as evil, as follows:
  • Hiking the tax rate. Yep, especially on higher income people. I’m guessing this is pretty popular with those of us who want to fund a functioning government without going into massive debt like Trump has done. No wonder he went bankrupt, what, six times?
  • New Green Deal. I think most of us know we have to do something about global warming, that it is not a hoax. I do have a lot of problems with exactly what we should be doing. For my thoughts on wind power look at windfarmrealities.org.
  • Medicare for all. Some Democrats are for this, others not so much. Regardless, most all of us want a better, more efficient health system.
  • Border wall. He claims the Democrats “forced my hand to declare a national emergency” to build his wall. This is nonsense. Almost nobody thought his wall was a good idea – but Trump had promised it.

The next 3 pages are filled with similar themes. I imagine it might be attractive to someone who lives in the Fox bubble. For the rest of us, it shows what sort of person we’re dealing with, and what sort of government he has been leading, and would continue to lead.

Trump’s Plans?

Originally posted on July 6, 2020

Most politicians at least try to give us an idea of what policies, at least in a general sense, they will favor if elected. A common question asked of anybody running for office is: “Why do you want to be (re)elected?” Recently Trump has been asked that twice by friendly interviewers, like Sean Hannity (Fox) and Eric Bolling (Sinclair). His answer to Hannity was first:

One of the things that will be really great — the word experience is still good, I always say talent is more important than experience, I’ve always said that — but the word experience is a very important word, a very important meaning.

“I never did this before, never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington maybe 17 times and all of a sudden I’m the president of the United States, you know the story, riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say this is great but I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York, and now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like an idiot like Bolton, you don’t have to drop bombs on everybody.”

Even reading those 140 words as generously possible there’s no answer contained in them – other than Trump congratulating himself, or something. A few days later Bolling gave him another chance. This time Trump gave a longer answer:

“Well, I didn’t hear anybody was upset with it, but I will tell you it’s very simple: We’re going to make America great again. We’ve rebuilt the military, we have a ways to go. We’ve done things for the vets like nobody’s ever seen. We can do even more — we did choice, as you know, we did accountability. What we’ve done nobody’s been able to do. But we have more to do.

“Economic development, jobs, trade deals — the trade deals I’ve made are incredible. We made the great deal with China. Of course, as I said, the ink wasn’t dried before we got hit with the China plague. But we made the deal. In fact, today is really the first day, the first official day, the USMCA — that’s Mexico and Canada. This was NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever made, one of the worst trade deals. We suffered with that deal for many, many years, and nobody could terminate it. I terminated it — gave you a new deal. I made a new deal with South Korea. We have many great trade deals. Our country will be so strong.

“At the end of our first term, it’s going to be great, it would have been phenomenal. We got hit with the plague. At the end of the second term, it’s going to be at a level that nobody will have ever seen a country. We’re doing it, whether it’s trade, whether it’s military — all made in the USA, so important. Made in the USA. … We’ve got to bring back our manufacturing and I brought it back very big, but we have to make our own pharmaceutical products, our own drugs, prescription drugs.

“We have to make our own things — we’re doing it now with steel, we’re doing it now with a lot of different products. I’ve done that. But we can do it with a lot more. We want to build our own ships. We don’t want to send out to other countries to build ships. So we have a lot of things we can do. We’ve done a lot but we have a lot of things we can do.”

In those 367 words, again being as generous as possible, is there any even pretense to an answer to the question? So why does Trump want so badly to be re-elected? Two answers come to mind. (1) He just wants to WIN, regardless of what he’s winning at. (2) He’s afraid of losing the presidential immunity he now enjoys. Certainly there’s not even a hint about actual governance.

Phone Calls

Originally posted on July 5, 2020

CNN had an interesting article written by Carl Bernstein. Of course, coming from CNN (dubbed the Communist Network News by Trump fans) it will no doubt dismissed as fake news. For the rest of us it offers yet one more window into Trump’s dysfunction – to the point where it “posed a danger to the national security of the United States.”

Bernstein claims to have interviewed a number of top Trump deputies, both “retired” and current. Some of them he identifies, others he doesn’t, for obvious reasons. We can only hope that some of those wishing to remain anonymous get the courage to come out publicly at some point before the election.

The focus of the article is the hundreds of phone calls Trump has had with foreign leaders, and how unprepared and self-centered he continues to be even after 3 years. Of course the transcriptions and even the summaries of these calls generally remain top secret. Again, we can only hope that at some point they’ll be made public. I’d love to see first-hand evidence of just how bad they are.

Bernstein’s first paragraph: “In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations”.

Happy Fourth

Originally posted on July 4, 2020

Trump just can’t help himself – he has to keep getting his adulation fix. This time he went to Mount Rushmore to deliver a speech that was labeled as a formal presidential event, presumably non-political and directed at the nation as a whole. He must think he really is in the same league with Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson. Just look at this staged picture from Reuters.

Needless to say, it was anything but non-political. According to the Washington Post, he used the speech to “exploit social divisions“. The New York Times said he “Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message.” In it he again accused the “left-wing” of fomenting violence, attempting to rewrite (his view of) history by removing monuments. And Trump asserted that “children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe the men and women who built it were not heroes but villains.” Really?

Apparently he is convinced that any history that doesn’t glorify white males just has to be fake.

Right Next Door

Originally posted on June 24, 2020

Right Next Door is the screen name of a commenter at the Washington Post web site. He/she posted a nice summary of Trump, pretty far down in the comments. Here it is.

Donald J. Trump:
The “billionaire” who hides his tax returns.
The “genius” who hides his college grades.
The “businessman” who bankrupted 3 casinos and lost over $1B in 10 years.
The “playboy” who pays for sex.
The “Christian” who doesn’t go to church.
The “philanthropist” who defrauds charity.
The “patriot” who dodged the draft.
The “innocent man” who refuses to testify.
The “president*” who takes no responsibility.
The “tough, strong” man who wears make-up and hair spray.
The ‘deal maker” who has yet to close a deal.

Trump Talk Translated:
“Many People have told me” = Voices inside my head
“A lot of people don’t know” = I just learned
“Believe me” = I just lied
“In Fact” = I’m about to lie
“He’s a great guy” = I will deny ever knowing this person after they begin to tell the truth about me
“MAGA” = Making my pockets fatter off the American tax payers
“Nobody knew” = Everyone knew except me
“Huge” = moderate to below average in size
“Loser” = someone who makes me feel inferior due to their talent or accomplishments
“Policy Briefing” = Watching Fox News
“Liar” = Someone who tells the truth about me
“Fake News” = Real news
”That’s a nasty question!” = I can’t think of a new lie fast enough to respond

Rebel Bases?

Originally posted on June 11, 2020

The U.S. has 10 army bases that are named for Confederate generals (and one colonel), all of them in former Confederate states. This naming occurred during WWI and WWII and was based on the idea that the bases should be named after “local” military leaders.

Due to the recent turmoil surrounding the Floyd killing the Pentagon started thinking about renaming those bases. They are, after all, named for erstwhile enemies of the U.S. Trump, I guess in deference to his large Southern following, has rejected any movement for renaming.

The response to the renaming idea has been all over the place. In the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee, a bill including such language was passed by a voice vote. Republican Senator Cornyn, from Texas, is resistant.

The New York Times had a nice article explaining some of the background and history of the bases and other Confederate memorials.

It does seem strange that a draft-dodger like Cadet Bone Spurs is so enamored of the military. I guess its easy to be all for fighting wars if you’re sure you and your kids won’t be doing the fighting.