Bannon’s out; yes, Trump’s still a racist

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“And I-ee-iiiii, will always love you-hoo-hoo-hooo, whoah…love YOUUUUU!”

If there was any doubt about Trump’s position on the issue of race, I think Trump removed any doubt in last Tuesday’s painful press conference in which Trump defiantly proclaimed that there were “fine people on both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville, putting neo-Nazis and the KKK on the same moral level as counter-protesters. Of course, only one of those sides decided to ram his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing a woman and injuring more than a dozen others. Though some apologists claim that Trump was not sincerely defending the white extremists but was rather being his own contrarian self, even this says a lot about his judgement. If it wasn’t clear before, it’s glaringly so now: Donald Trump is a racist. And if you still, after all this, support him then you probably are, too.

The fact that the alt-right blob of mucus known as Steve Bannon was booted out of the position as Trump’s Chief Strategist on Friday changes nothing. It’s so obviously an attempt to distance Trump from the alt-right, but I think the damage is done. The fact that Bannon was ever allowed to set foot in the White House is shameful. The fact that Trump had anything to do with someone like Bannon says a lot about Trump. I doubt any of that has changed.

So, Bannon’s out, and that’s a good thing, but what now? The Trump news cycle is so fast that I’m getting kind of sick of all these “White House shake-up” headlines. I don’t know if I (or the nation) can take another three-and-a-half years of this. This presidency has been such an insane whirlwind that it’s very difficult to get a sense of where it’s going.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that we haven’t talked about Russia much lately. What a trade-off. Trump got us to stop talking about Russia for a while in exchange for showing himself as a racist asshole. Only makes sense to Trump.

If you’re still a Trump supporter after Charlottesville, it’s time to admit you’re a racist

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A woman was killed yesterday in Charlottesville, VA, when protests turned violent and a driver plowed his car into anti-fascist protestors. More than 19 were injured. The vehicular attack was reminiscent of recent similar terrorist attacks in France and the UK. Donald Trump was quick to tweet his condemnation of these attacks, but this time his response was slow and ambiguous. He said this:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides…

On many sides? So, let’s see…which side was it that plowed a car into a group of people protesting white supremacists? Ah yes, it was the white supremacist side. It seems to me that should be the side to condemn. So why can’t Trump condemn the neo-Nazis, the KKK and alt-right groups that caused the death of a young woman? Additionally, Trump’s callousness is remarkable. This is what he tweeted regarding her death:

Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!
4:25 PM – 12 Aug 2017

“So sad!” Could he sound less sincere?

This, to me, is a no-brainer that Trump should explicitly condemn those white nationalist groups. Politically, it makes no sense not to condemn them to the utmost, but more importantly it is a strong indicator of Trump’s moral void. It should be obvious, but explicitly condemning groups that promote hate against fellow human beings is not only for bleeding-heart liberals. In fact, this isn’t even a left/right, liberal/conservative issue. This is about right versus wrong and what is decent and good versus repugnant. There are plenty of staunch conservatives who have criticized Trump’s mealy-mouthed condemnation, but there are plenty more who whisper their complaints to confidantes but are reluctant to publicly denounce Trump with conviction.

We are unlikely to change Trump’s point of view, but I think it’s time for you, especially if you are a conservative and a supporter of Trump, to think about what you really stand for. If you are a conservative do you really agree with Trump’s worldview? If you support Trump, are you okay with Trump not explicitly condemning white nationalism, the KKK and neo-Nazis. Are you comfortable with Trump’s tacit approval of groups that advocate lynching blacks, murdering Jews and eradicating gays?

It’s okay to be progressive and liberal. It’s okay to be conservative. It’s okay to be secular or religious. You can be all these things and still not be an apologist for white nationalism like Trump is. So if you are still a supporter of Trump, you should take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: am I a racist? If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t be supporting Trump. After Charlottesville, Trump himself drew a line when he placed moral equivalence between hate-mongers and those who were protesting against them. Trump has no policy stances or redeeming characterstics that can cancel out the fact that he tacitly approves white extremism. If you are still a Trump supporter then I think it’s pretty hard to make the claim that you are not a racist.

Trump as president is scarier than North Korea with nuclear weapons

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Let’s face it: they’re both nuts.

Now that North Korea is believed to have in their possession strategic nuclear ordnance, Trump and North Korea have been engaging in a war of words. North Korea having nuclear weapons is a scary concept, but to me Donald Trump as president is a hell of a lot scarier.

Of course, we don’t want North Korea to have nuclear capability, but even if they do they are still not on equal footing with the United States and they know that. Kim Jong Un might be a fat, megalomaniacal sadist, but he isn’t stupid. He knows what will happen if they launch a nuclear attack: North Korea will be no more. That will be the end of them. North Korea doesn’t want this to happen. A nuclear North Korea is a danger but the power in that mostly lies in the leverage it gives them. North Korea must realize that they have nothing to gain in actually launching a nuclear attack, but somewhat more to gain in threatening to do so. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about it, but I don’t think a nuclear attack by North Korea will happen unprovoked. This current rhetoric by Pyongyang is straight from their playbook. They’ve been doing it for years.

But the problem is Donald Trump doesn’t realize this. Donald Trump has already proven himself embarrassingly ignorant of the North Korea problem. Furthermore, he doesn’t listen to staffers and advisors who are familiar with the issues. It is rather incredible that Trump improvised his “fire and fury” response:

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States…They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen … he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.

Here is Trump trying to sound like a tough guy, when this is the exact opposite of what he should be doing. For one, he’s playing Kim Jong Un’s game; by responding to a threat with a threat he legitimizes North Korea. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, what Trump basically said was, if you threaten us we will respond with “fire and fury,” which I have to take to mean as some sort of attack. So, if they merely threaten us again (which they have time and time again before), Trump is going to launch an attack? If this happens it’s a guarantee that North Korea will respond in kind and maybe worse.

What I fear is that Trump is escalating this issue unnecessarily. Trump doesn’t know shit about shit, yet he has all the power of our nuclear arsenal in his tiny little hands. If there is a war between the US and North Korea, nuclear or not, I have no doubt that we will win, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. The Korean peninsula would be devastated. South Korea would bear the brunt of the damage, unlike the distant mainland US, and North Korea would be an unrecoverable mess. The human cost would enormous. This isn’t like launching a Tomahawk attack on Syria. This is world-changing.

Kim Jong Un is a dick, for sure, but he’s a dick who would like to have a nice, long life of being a dick and I don’t see him doing anything to jeopardize that. North Korea is doing what they do: talking big, making threats and stubbornly trying to keep their dying nation rolling. Nothing new. Trump, with his own stupid rhetoric, is liable to make this war of words something much, much worse.

White House Mystery Man gets McMastered

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Ezra Cohen-Watnick (???)

I’ve been too busy to keep track of all the crap that comes out of the White House (speaking of which, Trump is now on his 17-day “working” vacay at his golf resort in Bedminster, NJ. Out of all the places he could have gone, he chooses New Jersey), but one thing that has caught my attention is that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has finally managed to fire Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

If you will recall, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, before his termination, was Senior Director for Intelligence Programs for the National Security Council. It was alleged that he had shown Representative Devin Nunes classified material regarding incidental intelligence collected on Trump’s campaign by US intelligence agencies, leading to Nunes’s recusal from the Russia inquiry. Cohen-Watnick is somewhat of a mysterious figure. He landed a senior director position on the council despite his young age (born May 18, 1986) and lack of extensive intelligence experience (Cohen-Watnick was a junior employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency). He has no social media presence, which is flat-out weird these days, to say the least. Only one (possible) photo of him has been unearthed. And he seems to have some powerful people at his back.

McMaster tried to fire him earlier this year, but Trump overruled him. One has to wonder why this guy was so important to Trump. This is someone I am keeping my eye on, but there is already very little information about him out there. I have to think that is by design. With his firing, I have the feeling that while this keeps him out of the NSC it also provides him other, lower profile opportunities to carry out whatever agenda he and his handlers are working toward.

One interesting point of note is that in November 2016 he married a Rebecca Miller, who worked for Ketchum Inc., where she did public relations work for the Russian government(!). All roads lead to the Kremlin, it seems.

If anyone out there knows anything about Mr. Cohen-Watnick, or had any personal experience with him (school, work, etc.) I’d love to hear about it. Better yet, tell a journalist.

Here are some links, in no order, about Ezra Cohen-Watnick, as much for my own reference as for yours:

The Mystery of Ezra Cohen-Watnick

We’ve found a bunch of personal details about Trump’s White House ghost Ezra Cohen-Watnick

NSC’s Senior Intelligence Director Ezra Cohen-Watnick Fired

Report: CIA’s Liaison To The NSC Fired After Clash With Controversial Aide

Trump steps in to keep 30-year-old NSC aide

Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report

Trump Removed Bannon from the NSC —What About His Protégé?

Jason Chaffetz and Ezra Cohen-Watnick– What is up with these two jackasses?

Wikipedia entry

Trump thinks the White House is a dump.

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Next on Trump’s agenda.

Oh, so many things to write about. Should I write about how White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus got kicked to the curb? Or how Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly swooped in to take his place? Or maybe I should write about how big mouth White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci got his ass kicked out of his job by now-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after only ten days on the job? (Oh, but they were a wonderful ten days, weren’t they?)

Maybe I should make mention of the fact that our “president” actively attempted to deceive the public about the reason for his Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian national?

Those are fun stories, but today I think I’ll simply make note of how remarkably unimpressed Donald Trump is with American historical institutions. While former president Barack Obama had this to-day of the presidential residence:

The inside of the White House doesn’t have the luminous quality that you might expect from TV or film; it seems well kept but worn, a big old house that one imagines might be a bit drafty on cold winter nights. Still, as I stood in the foyer and let my eyes wander down the corridors, it was impossible to forget the history that had been made there—John and Bobby Kennedy huddling over the Cuban missile crisis; FDR making last-minute changes to a radio address; Lincoln alone, pacing the halls and shouldering the weight of a nation.

Donald Trump said, “That White House is a real dump.”

Sad.

Trump fails to repeal Obamacare; Americans who aren’t dead inside celebrate

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McCain gives the repeal a big thumbs down.

I expressed in an earlier post some disappointment at John McCain voting to continue the debate to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If he had disappointed me at that time, he has more than made up for it today. In the early hours of Friday, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, along with two other Republicans (Rep. Susan Collins of Maine and Rep. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. ABC News reports McCain’s statement following the vote:

In a statement released following the vote, McCain said, “From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals.”

McCain added, “While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens.”

McCain offered a plan going forward, saying, “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

I applaud the courage of John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to vote for what is right and what makes sense rather than be a slave to partisan politics. This is America at its best.

Trump said in a tweet that he would let Obamacare “implode”:

3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!
–@realDonaldTrump

But the Affordable Care Act is now Trump’s responsibility. If it “implodes” it will be because of him. It’s his duty to ensure it succeeds.

Good. So now we can move on. Or can we?

Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it’s beneath Trump to actively try to sabotage or neglect the ACA. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does it’ll probably be as successful as any of Trump’s other endeavors. That is to say, not very.

Donald Trump is nuckin’ futs.

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“They’re coming to take me away, hee heee!”

Let’s go over the past week:

Does this seem normal to you? This seems to me beyond what most people would consider sensible, reasonable behavior. I always figured Trump to be a spoiled, narcissistic, moronic asshole, but it’s time I seriously consider the possibility that Donald Trump is fuckin’ nuts.

This notion has been posited before. As we get deeper into the his presidency Trump’s mental instability is becoming more and more apparent. And I think this also plays into the Trump-Russia scenario; a man with mental hang-ups like Trump is easier to exploit.

Even if the Russia thing turns out to be a dead-end (yeah, right) I think at least we will be exposed further to Trump’s mental incapacity. Trump is beyond merely politically inexperienced. He’s beyond mere incompetence. I think he has a severe mental problem. He may have been able to get by with it in the business and entertainment world, but as the leader of the free world? Does anybody of any political stripe think Trump’s behavior makes sense?