C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Drive: Good Morning

As performed by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain (1952):

Saturday, February 25, 2017

This Week in Trumpocracy, 2/25/17

We are a month into the Trumpocracy, and make no mistake about it, my friends:  the celebrity-dictator Trump is just what he promised he would be, and it is the duty of every true liberty-loving patriot to resist the one-man rule that he wants to inflict upon our country, and resist that evil utterly, whether by great measures or small.  I am old and weary, tired of strife and effectively disabled, but I am doing what I can here by posting reports and news that may encourage some others to do more than I can.

We stand at one of the great turning points in American history, and who knows how we shall find our way out.  Perhaps the first and best thing we can all do is to see what is right before our eyes, speak the truth to our neighbors, and keep on speaking it.  Light a little candle in the darkness, if you can do no more, and keep it burning - we Americans will not go silent and unresisting into the night, will we?

1. Kudos to my trucklady friend June over at The Wounded Bird, who struck a blow for democracy way down in the bayous this week, and justly earned her 15 minutes of fame by breaking into a Senator's self-serving speech:

2.  CNN's Jake Tapper on the "un-American" White House, which barred the nation's leading news media from a press conference yesterday:

3. Why some former Obama voters voted for Trump; notice that these folks-next-door have no fangs and horns, but are sadly misguided:

4. At CPAC this week, Trump's ghastly eminence gris Steve Bannon admitted that the goal of this administration is to "destroy the administrative state" - which your Head Trucker would translate as "destroy democracy" - in other words, replacing our system of government with the Will of Trump alone - is this not a blueprint for dictatorship?  Yes it is.  Also high treason. Daily Kos reports:
Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.

“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”

The crippling or wholesale elimination of Federal agencies that ensure we receive such things as clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and the like, has been a goal of far-right “thinkers" for decades. Their rationale, propagated by corporate and industry-funded think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, has always been that that the existence of these “unelected" agencies represents a mortal threat to American “sovereignty and self-government." This is exactly the line Bannon was peddling at CPAC today. It is delusional, right-wing garbage.

5. A Republican state judge in Ohio wrote a blistering editorial for the Cincinnati paper, excerpt:
The leader of the band of Mad Hatters occupying the White House has already insulted allied world leaders, issued illegal and badly written orders, impugned a “so-called” judge appointed by his own party, and appointed the least-qualified cabinet ever. The first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson. Trump appointed a big-oil executive with close ties to Russia. The first treasury secretary was Alexander Hamilton. Trump appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec who got rich foreclosing on homeowners. The national security advisor lasted 24 days.

And all that’s just at the time I write this. Who knows what happens next. Each new day is a new nightmare. We are still trying to digest one breathtaking assault on America when another is signed, issued, or Tweeted. All this amid constant lies. Constant. Lies.

I am a lifelong Republican. I voted for every Republican presidential candidate from 1968 to 2004. But I have watched what once was a sane, center-right party go off the rails, first to the extreme right, then to wherever Trump is, which is in another universe.

It’s tough, but we must end this dangerous presidency. Trump must be impeached and removed with all haste. But only Congress can initiate the process. . . .

Basic American values – free speech, the rule of law, separation of powers, even common decency – are unknown in this White House. We now have a president who has no concept of separation of powers, or why we have three branches of government. If he knew anything about the Constitution, he would know the framers envisioned just the situation we have now – a would-be dictator. They provided checks and balances – such as an independent judiciary to protect us from presidential tyranny. . . .

All the above bothers me and should appall all Americans. We must admit we have elected a president who has immediately proved himself to be a grifter, a pathological liar, a mean-spirited bully and dangerous to American values. This not-ready-for-prime-time show is too dangerous to continue. America is at stake.

6. Dan Rather, one of the elder statesmen of journalism, sounded the emergency alarm on his Facebook page:
The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.

For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don't agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?

This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation.

7. Look into the crystal ball - is a military coup in our future? Patrick Granfield's Politico essay, "The Generals Guarding American Democracy," implies a hitherto unthinkable thought.

Bonus:  The New Yorker slyly captures the essence of the moment on its annual Eustace Tilley cover:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Refugees Welcome

Activists today unfurled a welcome banner on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, which was soon removed by park rangers.  Earlier in the day, the Department of Homeland Security had issued its new plan for rounding up and deporting illegal aliens found in this country.

Although the banner made a cheerful sight, today's deportation orders remind me of this cartoon from 1939 and the shameful story behind it: a cautionary tale for our time.

I also came across this poster, source not stated, which gives pause for thought:

More food for thought, if anyone is hungry:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today's Toon

While Trump is ramping up his deportation force . . .

By Andy Marlette, Pensacola News-Journal, pnj.com

. . . this is happening in Canada:

Sunday Drive: Whispering Hope

An exquisite performance of the beloved hymn by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae, recorded in 1949:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Enemy of the People

My usual Friday post will be delayed a bit while I inform my truckbuddies of this appaling item: this afternoon, Trump declared the mainstream news media "the enemy of the people."  Breathtaking effrontery!

Oh yeah? Well, I have a much better, much clearer idea of who the real enemy of the people is. Nobody who shoots his mouth off like this has any right to be sitting in the Oval Office.

It would seem that Republican Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe feels the same way as your Head Trucker:

My God have mercy, I have lived to see this day - a sitting president denouncing the free press, which the Founding Fathers held was essential to our Constitution and our liberties - a view which the Supreme Court has consistently upheld ever since. This cannot continue. This attitude has no place in our republic, and no one who thinks this way and spews such fascist garbage has any place in our government.  Such a one is a traitor to all that America stands for.

He must go, and all his fascist minions with him - the sooner, the better. Will anyone second this motion?

Bonus: Scholars might debate the meaning of the word fascist, but here is a living, breathing example direct from the White House last Sunday - Trump advisor Stephen Miller announcing to "all of planet Earth" that the powers of the President "will not be questioned." The panel at Morning Joe take him to task for that dictatorial attitude:

Less than a month in office, Trump has shown his true colors, and they are just what we feared they would be. What more proof is needed?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Destruction of Honesty

Photo from the Slate article on today's press conference, which it called "a stunning display of Trump’s ability to lie, exaggerate, obfuscate, and mislead the public while insisting that it was actually the media who were doing all of those things."

An excerpt from "The National Nightmare Has Just Begun" by Gabriel Schoenfeld, a Republican political advisor, writing for USA Today:
It is not too soon to tally the damage wreaked so far by our 45th president.

Donald Trump's rampage through key institutions is an obvious place to begin. The executive branch of our federal government has never run like clockwork, but in peace or wartime it has rarely been this chaotic. In effect if not by title, the White House now has three competing chiefs of staff, each with walk-in privileges to the Oval Office and each playing our ignorant and impressionable president as if he were a piano. The disarray has radiated outward to the agencies to the nation and even to the world. The botched formulation and execution of Trump’s travel ban, and the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn via surprise trapdoor, are of course Exhibits A and B.

The judicial branch has suffered a blow of a different sort, with the president blasting Judge James Robart, appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate unopposed, as a “so-called judge.” Dismissal by the president of the judiciary’s role as a check and balance on his own power could derail our democracy. In a tweet, he has already, and pre-emptively, assigned blame for the next terror attack to Robart and our entire court system. We have been duly warned: Should such an attack come, it will be a moment of maximum danger not only for our safety but also foor our freedom.

Then we have the Republican Party, which, following Trump’s siren song, is committing moral-intellectual suicide. Defenders of religious liberty have turned into proponents of a backdoor Muslim ban. The banner of free trade has been dropped for protectionism. Budgetary thrift has given way to profligacy. So many things the GOP stood for a mere two years ago — good character and ethical conduct, a clear-eyed view of Russia — have been replaced by their opposite. To the party’s leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, political principles are nothing. Political power is all. In their apologetics for the billionaire blockhead at America’s helm, never has hypocrisy been more perfectly distilled.

Our free press remains intact; indeed, it has been rising to the occasion as it has come under assault from a president who, even as he relentlessly castigates it, stays glued to its coverage, obsessing over every criticism and slight. But though the news media are performing their critical function, they are losing — along with our entire society — a more fundamental battle.

Here we come to damage of a different sort: The destruction of honesty, one of democracy’s most fundamental norms.

Trump and his team lie as naturally as leaves grow on trees. America is being polarized along a new axis of division. On one side are dupes, possibly numbering in the millions, who accept the president’s preposterous fabrications as gospel. On the other side are those appalled by the dawn of post-modern America in which truth is supplanted by “alternative facts,” the euphemism employed by Kellyanne Conway, the president’s most brazen flack, for the projectile falsehoods that spurt from her mouth. As every aspiring authoritarian leader grasps — and Trump is no exception — a world without truth is a world without rules, without justice and without the possibility of democratic deliberation.

And in today's press conference at the White House, Trump was caught red-handed dispensing "fake news" himself - kudos to NBC's Peter Alexander for calling him out:

Just for your information fellas, here are the electoral college results for all elections since 1932. The three number columns show, respectively, the total electoral votes, the winner's share, and the runner-up's share.

From Wikipedia.  Click to enlarge.

Update, 7:55 pm: Shep Smith of Fox News, which for many years has been the propaganda mill of the Republican Party, incensed at the way Trump tried deflect attention from his staff's undercover dealings with Russian intelligence by branding all reporters as purveyors of fake news, lashed out at Trump on camera after today's press conference: “No sir. We are not fools for asking the question and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lies, Damned Lies, and Kellyanne Conway

Defending Truth, Justice, and the American Way -
Kellyanne Conway in her fantasy outfit work uniform.

Or, how to be Minister of Propaganda in four easy lessons - see the Vox video below for directions.

The Flynn scandal is opening a big can of ugly worms, not the least of which is on-camera proof of the blatant dishonesty of Trump's head cheerleader.

(Though confidentially, fellas, your Head Trucker recognized decades ago that politicians of all stripes and all parties do exactly the same thing nearly every time they are on camera, and the public is used to it by now, sad to say. There must be a secret school for this stuff in Washington and in every state capital. Conway's greater sin is to make it so very, very obvious, used in a wicked cause.)

1. MSNBC's Morning Joe team calls Conway a flat-out liar this morning:

2. On NBC's Today show, Matt Lauer tells a haggard, somewhat disheveled Conway to her virtual face that she is making no sense:

3. Vox breaks it down for us:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Drive: If I Had a Hammer

As performed by Peter, Paul and Mary at their 25th anniversary concert in 1986:

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