Outrages of the Week (So Far)

On the plus side the media seems to have caught up to the menace of Steve Bannon in the White House.  It’s likely that he’s the man pulling the strings on almost all of Trump’s moves.  He’s certainly behind the racism and international chaos.  But no doubt he’s also the one who wedded Trump to Pence and the anti-gay Christianists.  (The only thing that’s purely trump is the anti-regulation, pro-corporate thing that conflicts with his fetish on trade that he doesn’t really understand.) It’s all a pretty toxic stew of 19th century regressive policies, and would you eat a stew from the 19th century?  Wouldn’t be prudent.

Just this morning at a prayer breakfast Trump asked people to pray for the ratings for the Celebrity Apprentice.  He also vowed to eliminate the Johnson Amendment which prohibits tax exempt religious organizations from advocating for or against political candidates.  It’s about separation of church and state, which they don’t believe in because it would be a big league advantage for right wing nut jobs to ignore, you know, like the Constitution.  Ends justify the means, don’t you know.

On the start of Black History Month he gave a little presentation to the handful of black people in the world who can stand being in the same room as him and made it about him (of course) but curiously he seemed to not know who Frederick Douglass was or that he’s been dead a very long time.

Obviously, Neil Gorsuch nominated to take the empty Garland seat on the Supreme Court.  Let’s be clear, it’s not a replacement for Scalia, he’s dead.  It’s a replacement for an empty seat which has been better for the American people than a seat occupied by a Scalia/Gorsuch.  It’s not enough to be qualified in 2017.  Gorsuch would have been better suited for 1917.  We cannot have a court that keeps going in the opposite direction of the American people.  The threat of the Court’s irrelevance is much greater than the changes in party politics that have politicized these nominations.  Also be clear that the politicization has been going on for 20 years – concurrently with the increasing insanity of the Republican Party.

By the way, in his tony prep school Gorsuch started a Fascism Forever club (we think this was a joke).  This guy is an absolute poster boy for today’s crazy right wing.  Unacceptable.

But the more alarming stories (if that’s possible) are the international ones:

An angry, unhinged telephone call with the Prime Minister of Australia.  He told Turnbull that he was “trying to send the next Boston bombers” to America.

A threat to the Mexican President to send troops into Mexico. Seems like Trump thinks America would be fine with just Russia and Israel on its side.

The US president “said he would not permit the drugs coming from Mexico to continue massacring our cities,” Estevez added. She said Trump went so far as to say, “I really didn’t want to go to Mexico last August,” referring to Trump’s visit to the Mexican capital last year.

Peña Nieto was accompanied on the call by people from his country’s foreign ministry, while Trump was joined by “the famous son-in-law,” likely meaning senior adviser Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steven Bannon. Kushner is reportedly close to Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, and they were seen as the likely go-betweens for the two governments.

Maybe Nieto gets flustered and orders more troops to the border to deal with narco trafficking.  But here’s a question for Trump: where do the narco traffickers get their weaponry from?  The U.S. Why Mexico’s Drug Cartels Love America’s Gun Laws.  Like with the murders in Chicago that Trump likes to rant about – he could actually help by attacking access to guns, but that help would be unthinkable for him.

And Trump’s first ordered military operation was a disaster in Yemen causing the deaths of a Navy Seal, women and children and the scuttling of a very expensive plane.  No doubt Bannon told Trump to give the order prematurely so they could get a success to tout. Funny how that so rarely works out.  If they studied Obama at all they’d know that preparation is the key to being able to give triumphant speeches and press conferences. While a lack thereof gets people killed.

The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed.

Mr. Trump’s new national security team, led by Mr. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a retired general with experience in counterterrorism raids, has said that it wants to speed the decision-making when it comes to such strikes, delegating more power to lower-level officials so that the military may respond more quickly.

Maybe they should rethink that.

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