Who Are We?

This is my Closing Thought for the day…….

“These are times that try men’s souls”…..the opening statement from Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis” (a title that rings true today as it did in Paine’s day)…….

I read a brilliant op-ed by fired asst AG Sally Yates……it asks an important question….one that needs thought and an answer…..who are we as a country?

Over the course of our nation’s history, we have faced inflection points — times when we had to decide who we are as a country and what we stand for. Now is such a time. Beyond policy disagreements and partisan gamesmanship, there is something much more fundamental hanging in the balance. Will we remain faithful to our country’s core values?

Our founding documents set forth the values that make us who we are, or at least who we aspire to be. I say aspire to be because we haven’t always lived up to our founding ideals — even at the time of our founding. When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were being enslaved by their fellow Americans.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/12/19/what-kind-country-we-speak-out-core-american-values-sally-q-yates-column/951828001/

The American people need to think abou6t this question and search their ‘soul’ for an answer.

May her op-ed save the republic as Paine’s pamphlet saved the revolution.

Coup From The Top?

All the dangerous rhetoric by the babbling Right is getting dangerous.  The hatchet job that Trump, some mindless Congresspeople and the Right wing news is doing on the very foundation of this republic is just screaming pathetic.

Seven months ago there was an article on the Alternet site about the chances of Trump trying a coup……

American democracy is in crisis. The election of Donald Trump feels like a state of emergency made normal.

Trump has threatened violence against his political enemies. He has made clear he does not believe in the norms and traditions of American democracy — unless they serve his interests. Trump and his advisers consider a free press to be enemies of his regime. Trump repeatedly lies and has a profoundly estranged relationship with empirical reality. He uses obvious and naked racism, nativism and bigotry to mobilize his voters and to disparage entire groups of people such as Latinos and Muslims

https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/leading-historian-believes-its-pretty-much-inevitable-trump-will-try-stage-coup

I found the article interesting and included in a post that I was writing…..but the author did not foresee the whole picture…..the real story is so much more fascinating…….

Tensions between the White House and Robert Mueller’s investigative team appear to be on the rise, so much so that reporters asked President Trump on Sunday night whether he’s considering firing the special counsel. “No, I’m not,” he said, per CNN. But Trump added that his legal team is “very upset” with how Mueller obtained thousands of emails from the Trump transition team—the president’s lawyers think it was unlawful, but Mueller says it was all above-board. Either way, Trump says the emails will show nothing damning because there was “no collusion whatsoever” with Russia. Details and developments:

  • Cooperation wanes: The New York Times has a front-page look at the situation, observing that the “image of cooperation has begun to fracture” between Trump’s lawyers and Mueller as the inquiry digs ever deeper into Trump’s circle. The story notes that GOP Sen. John Cornyn over the weekend became the latest prominent Republican to suggest that Mueller’s team might be biased, thanks to now-public text messages.
  • Allegations of a ‘coup’: Fox News host Jesse Watters drew attention over the weekend by suggesting that those texts may be “proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy (Trump’s) presidency,” adding, “Now, if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America,” per Mediaite. Guest Kellyanne Conway, appearing with a chyron of “A Coup in America?” declared that “the fix was in against Donald Trump from the beginning.”
  • Charged language: The Washington Post looks at how Fox News hosts and guests have been leading the charge against Mueller with similar language. Another common theme is to compare his tactics to those of the KGB. The story also notes that GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said on the House floor that “we are at risk of a coup d’etat in this country.”
  • It might be working: At Axios, Mike Allen suggests that the “rising conservative drumbeat” against Mueller is gaining more and more converts. As one source close to the White House puts it, “You’re starting to win over mainstream conservatives to the backlash over overreach.”
  • ‘Feedback loop’: An analysis at CNN by media writer Brian Stelter sees a “vicious circle” at play. “The TV hosts encourage Trump, then Trump supplies sound bites for their shows, and then the hosts are even more emboldened.”
  • Risky Mueller move? Mueller’s office has defended how it obtained the Trump transition emails from the General Services Administration, but Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley argues in the Hill that it was “legally unprecedented and strategically reckless.” Turley warns that the move could come back to haunt Mueller in any later trial, if the investigation is found to have relied on contaminated evidence. (In the Times story cited earlier, legal experts disagree with the assertion that Mueller, who has wide leeway to obtain documents, did anything improper.)
  • Feeling confident: Trump is privately telling people that he expects to be exonerated relatively soon, reports CNN. The story, based on interviews with three dozen mostly anonymous sources, says Trump predicts he will have a letter from Mueller in a matter of weeks clearing him of any collusion. One person warned of a Trump “meltdown” if that doesn’t happen, which could lead to him firing Mueller.
  • Holder warning: Former Attorney General Eric Holder warned over the weekend that the president would be crossing an “ABSOLUTE RED LINE” by firing the special counsel. He called for mass protests if that happens, per the Hill.

Comparing the FBI to the KGB is ridiculous and insulting and Trump minions are playing a dangerous game……this all sounds like the groundwork being laid for martial law by Trump lackeys.

On The Streets Of Chicago

Best Christmas gift ever!

Surely everyone knows about the rash of crime and shootings in Chicago…..the Right wing media, Trump TV, FOX News has been pounding Obama over this when he was in office and now is pounding the mayor over the rising numbers…..something has got to be done to stop this trend.

Of course the loud mouth in the White House had to put his 2 cents worth in whenever he is talking to law enforcement officers…..”what the Hell is going on in Chicago”?….was his most recent comment…..

But what to do?

A county official has come up with an idea that should send Trump supporters into a stroke…..they will be babbling like a drunken sailor…..this is just too good to pass up….

From an article written in Anti Media……

As 2017 comes to a close, the city of Chicago has racked up over 3,400 shootings and over 650 homicides this year, and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin is seeking to implement a highly controversial policy to deal with the problem.

Boykin shared his plans to reach out to the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, to seek help with “horrific levels of shootings” in the city of Chicago. If the organization were to step in, it would mark the first time a U.N. peacekeeping mission was implemented on American soil.

While on his way to New York to meet with Fernandez-Taranco, Boykin said:

“I’m hoping to appeal to the U.N. to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence, and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peacekeeping efforts, because I think it’s so critical for us to make sure that these neighborhoods are safe.”

Boykin went on to say that Chicago’s leaders have failed to protect these neighborhoods from themselves

“There is a quiet genocide taking place in too many of our communities. Eighty percent of those who are being killed by gun violence are African American, and often killed at the hands of another African American. So we must protect these population groups, and that’s what the United Nations does. They’re a peacekeeping force. They know all about keeping the peace, and so we’re hopeful that they’ll hear our appeal.”

Boykin then elaborated on what he hopes the U.N. might accomplish in the city:

“They’ve been able to help in places like Africa and abroad, where they’ve sent troops in and sent forces in to help protect minority and vulnerable populations, and so quite frankly I think the same can be said for here in Chicago. I’m talking about physical security. I’m also talking about maybe suggestions for what we can do in Chicago to help protect our minority populations. We’re being, again, decimated by the violence that we see here in Chicago. I mean this is really a genocide, and we have to do something to stop it.”

(theantimedia.org)

I cannot wait for this to make it to the bobble heads on the right….like I said too good to pass up…..can you imagine what they will  say if blue helmets start patrolling Chicago streets?

It’s All About National Security

The misadventures of Fearless Fosdick.

The much taunted national security speech by our Fearless leader was a typical Trump speech….started off as a campaign speech lots of back slapping by the person speaking.  Your typical Trump greatest hits….good economy, trashing opponents and protection from immigrants.  For about 10 minutes he rattled off the litany of campaign hits…..the usual BS of Trumpisms.

Donald Trump declared a new national security strategy on Monday, echoing the message of his 2016 campaign as he declared, “America is in the game and America is going to win.”
In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Trump faulted previous US leaders for failing to look out for the nation’s citizens, the AP reports. He promised to seek openings to cooperate with rivals but added that “we will stand up for ourselves and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before.” Trump’s strategy envisions nations in constant competition, brushes aside Obama-era warnings on climate change, and affirms that the United States will unilaterally defend its sovereignty, even if that means risking existing agreements with other countries that have been a crucial part of US foreign policy since the Cold War.

The strategy could sharply alter US international relationships if fully implemented. It focuses on four main themes: protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, demonstrating peace through strength, and advancing American influence in an ever-competitive world. Trump called anew for construction of a border wall with Mexico and pledged to end “chain migration” of immigrants’ relatives and close “loopholes that undermine enforcement” of immigration restrictions. He also said that China and Russia “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”

The speech reads better than Fearless Fosdicks delivery…….

White House released the new National Security Strategy

If this was an outline of our national security plan then I would say it is thin at best.

Trump portrayed the open-ended warfare as “competition,” suggesting that rogue nations were trying to pose a challenge to American prosperity through military engagement, and that America has to “earn” its prosperity through enhancing its power.

On the subject of “protecting the homeland,” Trump played heavily on the idea of building a border wall and increasing funding for border patrols. He also talked of defeating radical Islam on social media, though that too has been something administrations have been failing to do virtually from the establishment of social media.

Ultimately much of Trump’s economic strategy also appeared to be his military strategy, promising massive increases to the size of the military, creating “millions of jobs.” He also set out the idea of the military engaging further in “cyber,” as well as the further militarization of space, and protecting against unspecified electromagnetic attacks.

Despite so much emphasis being placed on “America first” within the document, the strategy itself appears extremely intervention-centric, resting on the assumption that American prosperity is inexorably linked to military superiority, and not just superiority by numbers, but the kind that the US has to prove constantly through warfare.

(antiwar.com)

There are others that see more, or maybe I should say less, than I did in this speech/printed plan…..

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/what-least-credible-document-us-strategic-history-reveals

Only newsworthy thing about the speech was the way her drank water from a glass…..

All in all a great campaign speech but as far as a national security plan……. it sucks!

On The Road To Authoritarianism

There is a trend going on here in the US that is not something to be proud of…..I know we are according to the slogan “Making America Great Again”…..but the only thing that we are doing to our country is making it more authoritarian….

What does it feel like when a liberal democratic country turns the corner into authoritarianism?

America is changing. It isn’t always obvious and flagrant — like Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announcing that some opposition parties will not be allowed to take part in the country’s 2018 elections, or the Polish government changing the way the courts oversee the nation’s laws in order to advance the agenda of those currently in power. And neither are these changes necessarily all things that have happened only since President Trump’s election last year. Even if the authoritarian drift accelerated with Trump’s rise, it didn’t begin with him. He is its expression. We need to do everything we can to ensure he doesn’t end up being its culmination.

Doing that requires keeping our eyes open for and taking note of longer-term trends and signs of authoritarian drift that are sometimes difficult to detect.

http://theweek.com/articles/742632/americas-dawning-authoritarianism

What started off as a positive thing….the generals in the Trump cabinet would keep Trump on an even keel…..that has yet to materialize….if anything they are traveling the authoritarian road…..

An article yesterday at NBC focusing on Trump and “his” generals got me to thinking on this subject again.  Its author, Suzanne Garment, suggests that Trump likes generals as obedient alpha males.  They lend him credibility without directly threatening his delicate ego.  And there’s truth in this.

But I want to focus on other reasons for Trump’s preference for generals in high positions.  A year ago, I wrote an article for TomDispatch.com on “All the President’s Generals.”  That article focused mainly on the potential impact of these generals on America’s foreign policy and domestic culture.  As I wrote last December:

https://www.laprogressive.com/trump-authoritarianism/

It is not looking good for the country…..the American people need to stay informed and stay alert……we have a country to lose.