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Tag: "trump"

Another Great Moment from Yesterday

[ 23 ] April 27, 2017 |

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Above: Drill, Baby, Drill!

In the midst of Trump’s word diarrhea yesterday around everything from NAFTA (I feel like I should write about this but of course Trump doesn’t even understand what NAFTA is) to the 9th Circuit, he dropped something that is genuinely pretty concerning, and that’s potentially getting rid of the recent national monuments in the West created not only by Obama but also by Clinton.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 gives the president of the United States the power to designate lands and waters for permanent protection. Almost every president since Teddy Roosevelt has used the Act to place extraordinary archaeological, historic and natural sites under protection and out of reach of commercial exploitation.

Many sites originally designated as national monuments were later upgraded by Congress to become national parks, including Bryce Canyon, Saguaro and Death Valley. In many cases in the past, the Antiquities Act allowed presidents to protect vital natural and cultural resources when congressional leaders, often compromised by their ties to special interests representing coal, oil, timber and mining industries, were reluctant or unwilling to act.

A new Executive Order signed by President Trump on April 26th, 2017 puts this important regulatory tool for conservation and historic preservation at risk. The clear intention of the Executive Order is to lay the groundwork for shrinking national monuments or rescinding their designation entirely, in order to open currently protected public lands for untrammeled growth in coal, oil and minerals extraction.

The Executive Order requires the Secretary of the Interior to review all presidential designations since 1996 of national monuments over 100,000 acres in size. However, in the short-term it appears particularly aimed at reversing designations or reducing the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments, which together comprise 3.23 million acres in Utah.

Remarkably, in its own press statement, the Department of the Interior (the federal agency responsible for managing and protecting our public lands) tips its hand and signals that it has no intention of undertaking a fair and independent review by describing Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears as the “bookends of modern Antiquities Act overreach”.

An attack on the Antiquities Act is an attack on all monuments and has huge implications for future presidents’ ability to protect important sites in the future.

Now, like all of Trump’s executive orders, which seems to be his preferred method of governing as he can sign something and then hold it up for the cameras, it’s really unclear what this means. It’s not clear if he has the authority to repeal or reduce national monuments unilaterally. But the Antiquities Act does allow the president to create national monuments unilaterally, so long as the land is federally owned. I am sure that there will lawsuits over a president’s ability to reduce monuments and I don’t know what will happen. But this is extremely alarming for those of us who care about western public lands.

Also, this is one of the issues that would have happened more or less the same way with any Republican. Bundyism is a central tenet of western Republicanism today. Trump might as well have named Cliven Bundy as Secretary of the Interior instead of Ryan Zinke, plus it would have saved me the indignity of having a former Oregon football player in the position.

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Donald Trump: Negotiating SuperGenius

[ 84 ] April 12, 2017 |

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Oh Donald, don’t intimidate Democrats with your brilliant dealmaking strategies!

President Trump suggested to the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that he would withhold from insurers Obamacare subsidy payments that are the target of a House GOP lawsuit in order to force Democrats into negotiations over repealing the Affordable Care Act, a move that could bring chaos to the individual health insurance market.

In the same interview Trump said he believed Democrats still “own” the Affordable Care Act, but acknowledged that the longer he was in office the more likely it was he would be blamed for problems with the law.

“That’s part of the reason that I may go the other way” on the insurance subsidies, Trump told the Journal. “The longer I’m behind this desk and you have Obamacare, the more I would own it.”

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are under increasing pressure to continue the subsidies, known as cost sharing reduction payments, at least through 2018 as insurers prepare to submit their plans for next year. The Department of Health and Human Services, as well as GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, have signaled that the payments will continue through the next stage of the legal case, which has been delayed until May.

Trump said he believed that withholding the payments for insurers would bring Democrats to the table on negotiations.

“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Mr. Trump said. “What I think should happen—and will happen—is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

Republican have been trying to pass Obamacare repeal through the complicated reconciliation process, which puts strict procedural rules on the legislation but avoids a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. The process allows Republicans to pass repeal without Democratic help but greatly constrains what they put in their ACA replacement.

“[Senate Minority Leader] Schumer should be calling me up and begging me to help him save Obamacare,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “He should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare, along with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi.”

Uh huh. Sure thing dude. I’m sure you would love Schumer and Pelosi to beg you. But they are going to tell you that you own it, no matter what happens. Trump and his band of deplorables could indeed do much to destroy the ACA and they may well do so. But if Democrats have even the slightest scrap of political sense (admittedly, this is sometimes an open question), they will let Trump take the political consequences of the whole thing rather than sit down with him and let him dictate the terms of surrender.

“[L]et him who aspires to such station, and is not one of the Medici, favour Liberty and the popular Power.”

[ 225 ] April 8, 2017 |
Photo: Alex Brandon, AP

Photo: Alex Brandon, AP

With only superficial changes, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld‘s new piece in Politico could have appeared—at one time or another—in a pro-government outlet in, say, Azerbaijan, North Korea, or Syria. Simply  substitute Jared Kushner’s name for that of Ilham Aliyev, Kim Jung-Un, Bashar al-Assad, or some other princeling—and we’re in business.

Honestly, the whole thing is such a dumpster fire that it’s hard to know where to begin.

By virtue of their close relationship with the president, Jared and Ivanka are able to speak truth to power without fear of suspect motives. This is a major advantage of family enterprises. The great merchant banking families were able to cover the globe, operating in distant seaports, with primitive communication and painfully slow transportation by dispatching family members as their emissaries in these far off lands. With shared values, deeper bonds of trust, greater respect for risk taking, and longer time frames, family dynastic wealth has been a huge force in the success of global enterprises. Today, companies like Ford, Wal-Mart, Mars Inc., and Campbell Soup still benefit from large family stakes and faith in the mission of the enterprise.

If I were setting out to defend the transformation of governance—in the world’s oldest extant democratic republic, no less—into a family business, I would probably not start out by genuflecting toward the Medici or invoking the same features of kinship-based trust networks that work well for organized criminal enterprises. But, then again, I’m not the Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management at the Yale School of Business.

What follows—after some noncommittal material about possible conflicts of interest and the fact that observant Jews don’t work on the Sabbath—is a long list of inexperienced people that held powerful positions in the White House. Sonnenfeld sprinkles in examples of insular and inbred administrations. The fact that many of these arrangements—the Nixon administration, the early Clinton years—proved deeply dysfunctional seems besides the point.

For Sonnenfeld Kushner is just like Kissinger—except for the record of scholarship and policy profile—or Harry Hopkins—except for a twenty-some year history in government and non-government service to the public welfare. Also, experienced hands in the Bush Administration brought us Iraq, Thus, nepotistic self-dealing at the highest levels of American government is totally fine. Because reasons. It’s particularly rich to read all of this forty-eight hours after we learned that Kushner met with Russian officials—and failed to disclose those meetings on the application for his security clearance. That’s enough, by the way, to get people stripped of their clearances and fired.

But, not to worry, because Sonnenfeld assures us, based—as best I can tell—on no evidence other than his conversations with Donald Trump, that Kushner is the bee’s knees.

Perhaps, too, it is time to stop the needless bomb-hurling at Kushner, a trustworthy, objective, smart, fresh voice working in the national interest, who unlike some of his colleagues in the White House, appears to work effectively and quietly with real facts and analysis rather than with public pronouncements, tweets, “alternative facts,” or threats.

As Daniel Drezner puts it:

I suppose that this might be amusing as a clickbait-y exercise in counter-intuitive punditry. Except that it’s actually rather frightening. No matter how smart, or capable,  Jared Kushner is…. well, it doesn’t actually matter. Indeed, I agree with Sonnenfeld that I’d rather have Kushner making policy than Bannon or Miller. So what? There are plenty of smart, capable, and even qualified people who could fill Kushner’s roles without eroding the foundations of our system of government. Essays like Sonnenfald’s normalize the destruction of norms that keep the United States from sliding into an outright kleptocracy, oligarchy, or banana republic.

Foreign Entanglements: Russia Edition

[ 21 ] April 1, 2017 |

I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting lately. Lots of travel and work. But I do have a shiny new episode of Foreign Entanglements—yes, I’ve joined the masthead there and thereby moved forward Rob’s plans for total LGM domination—in which I talk with Yuval Weber about Russia, Trump, and Syria. And yes, I can’t figure out how to embed the new video player.

Bonus: the roundtable that led me to ask Yuval to be my first guest on the channel.

…Update by Rob: Here we go!

A Number of Gas Grills in Thailand Have Exploded. Thus, We Have Decided to Ban the Importation of Canadian Grilling Utensils.

[ 47 ] March 21, 2017 |
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By Mail2arunjith CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36745460

If you haven’t heard yet, the Department of Homeland Security has ordered carriers to force customers to check a number of electronic devices on flights originating from a number of airports in majority-Muslim countries.

Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Officials called the directive an attempt to address gaps in foreign airport security, and said it was not based on any specific or credible threat of an imminent attack.

The Department of Homeland Security said the restricted items included laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, officials said in a briefing to reporters on Monday night that outlined the terms of the ban.

The official explanation for this policy, as a number of commentators have noted, makes little sense.

The policy seems poorly calibrated, None of the proposed causes of the destruction of Metrojet Flight 9268 would either have been stopped or necessity the ban. The Somalian incident may have been caused by a laptop bomb, but why this necessitates targeting the specific airports affected by the ban remains unclear. The Brussels attack involved suicide bombers and took place outside departure security checkpoints.

This lack of compelling logic observers to speculate about more nefarious motives. Is this an attempt to undermine competitors to US airlines?


Is it a ham-handed security effort by an administration of dubious policy competence?


Other possibilities include animus toward Muslims—or, more broadly, people who aren’t white. That is, an attempt to simply make life more difficult for students, business travelers, and others—and perhaps deter travel to the United States. This is consistent with reports of aggressive visa denials to people traveling to the United States.


This tracks with the arbitrariness of the Muslim travel ban. Indeed, these kinds of policies might be a means of forwarding the same goals—the equivalent of “self-deportation” as an approach to undocumented immigration. Another benefit of continuing to push policies with threadbare logic and justification? It forces GOP officials and conservative media to defend them. In doing so, it makes them  complicit in an increasing number of irrational administration actions.

And that’s the basic problem. Trump, his handlers, and their minions lie—and bullshit—with such reckless abandon that it’s simply impossible to trust them about anything. This is becoming a major national security threat, not simply because of the substance of these lies, but also the Executive Branch needs basic credibility with foreign leaders—and populations—in order to effectively in protect American interests.

Area Man, Come Undone by Trump’s Election, Accuses Democrats of Coming Undone by Trump’s Election. And by “Area Man,” I mean “Glenn Greenwald”

[ 271 ] March 9, 2017 |

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I’ve been a member of the Lawyers, Guns and Money team for some months now, and yet I believe that I’ve written only one post criticizing Glenn Greenwald. As I’m clearly not meeting my quota, I need to say a few word about this particular monstrosity that he offered up on Monday.

One of the most bizarre aspects of the all-consuming Russia frenzy is the Democrats’ fixation on changes to the RNC platform concerning U.S. arming of Ukraine. The controversy began in July when the Washington Post reported that “the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.”

Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he lambasted the RNC change in a July letter to the New York Times, castigating it as “dangerous thinking” that shows Trump is controlled, or at least manipulated, by the Kremlin. Democrats resurrected this line of attack this weekend when Trump advisers acknowledged that campaign officials were behind the platform change.

This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies.

I can’t wait until Greenwald writes a column explaining how hypocritical and bizarre it is that the same people who want legal marijuana have a problem with murderous drug cartels making a profit from selling it.

I’m not a Greenwald fan. Still,  I never realized he has so much contempt for the intelligence of his readers. I imagine—although I don’t know, and neither does Greenwald—that the majority of Democrats supported Obama’s caution in providing lethal aid to Ukraine. I also imagine that most Democrats are outraged because we don’t think presidential candidates should trade important national-security decisions for favorable electoral interference from foreign dictators. This really isn’t a tough one.

But wait, there’s more….

In short order, Greenwald quotes a Politico story quoting an un-named “disaffected” Obama appointment who draws a comparison between Obama’s Reset and Trump foreign policy. He writes:

In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

As luck would have it, I’m taking part in a panel on the Reset tomorrow in New York. This is hogwash. Obama never intended to pursue a ‘grand bargain’ at the expense of NATO and the liberal order. The Reset never envisioned a grand ideological war against Islam in which the US and Russia worked as close partners. Nor did the Obama Administration want to ‘turn’ Russia to pursue hostilities with China. I think the chances of the Trump Administration accomplishing either of these thing are slim, but they reflect a radically different geostrategic outlook and understanding of US-Russian relations.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not terribly hawkish on Russia. But I am capable of updating my priors in light of new information. This isn’t crass partisanship. It’s what human beings who care about facts and stuff do. Anyway, whatever the ultimate cause of their behavior, Moscow has found a mechanism—information warfare deployed in electoral politics—for undermining liberal democracy in the Euro-Atlantic zone. Democrats need to take that fact very seriously when considering Russia policy. What we can’t do is, per Greenwald, reduce the debate to a choice between ‘American warmongering hawks’ and ‘apologists for Russian imperialism.’ If you think my characterization is too strong, read this:

Put another way, establishment Democrats – with a largely political impetus but now as a matter of conviction – have completely abandoned Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia and have fully embraced the belligerent, hawkish mentality of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, the CIA and Evan McMullin. It should thus come as no surprise that a bill proposed by supreme warmonger Lindsey Graham to bar Trump from removing sanctions against Russia has more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican ones.

Do you feel that? That’s the feeling of whiplash. This bill prevents Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration as part of its response to, first, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and, second, Moscow’s interference in the US election. But wait, you say, didn’t Greenwald open by arguing that Democrats have gone insane because they don’t support Obama policies toward Russia? Why yes. Yes he did.

I can’t help thinking that we’re watching Greenwald’s own psychodrama play out at The Intercept. He knows that he did his part, no matter how small, to help elect Trump. He knows that he’s been carrying water—I assume unintentionally—for authoritarian regimes. And, indeed, it doesn’t take long to see the effects in action:

This is why it’s so notable that Democrats, in the name of “resistance,” have aligned with neocons, CIA operatives and former Bush officials: not because coalitions should be avoided with the ideologically impure, but because it reveals much about the political and policy mindset they’ve adopted in the name of stopping Trump. They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

The fact that Greenwald can’t be bothered to pay attention to what the vast majority of actual Democratic politicians are doing, or how they’re voting, when it comes to these issues is no excuse for stupid. The fact that Greenwald has clearly never been to a rally where liberals and left-wingers join together to protest Trump’s Islamophobic  policies, his assault on the environment, and his pro-corporate policies is no excuse for stupid. The fact that virtually all of these regulatory changes—or proposed policy changes—are things that Hillary Clinton would’ve prevented is no excuse for stupid. The fact that the Democratic party moved in a protectionist direction during this election, and that Greenwald is objectively wrong about the likely economic consequences of revoking existing trade deals, is no excuse for stupid. And hey, is it remotely possible that opposition to Trump might make a difference with respect to US policy toward Yemen? Maybe, maybe not. But it is certainly the case that, back in September, over half the Democratic members of the Senate supplied almost all of the votes against a large military aid package to Saudi Arabia.

Back to the ratcheting rhetorical fervor:

Instead, they’re attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). And the most ironic – and over-looked – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.

Say what you want about neoconservatives, but they recognized three things about Trump.

  • That he is completely unqualified to be President.
  • That he would undermine national security by doing stupid, and often racist, stuff.
  • That he poses an existential threat to not only the US, but the western democratic order.

This is pretty important stuff. And while Greenwald is busy positioning himself to the left of Noam Chomsky, I just want to point out that Trump does not, in fact, promise less militarism than the Clinton wing of the Democratic party. He just would like to pursue more war-crime-y and more crypto-fascist-y militarism.

In conclusion, we all make mistakes. I think Greenwald would be happier, and a good deal less ridiculous, if he just owned his.

Another Facet of This Well Conceived Budget

[ 46 ] March 8, 2017 |

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Trump has a great way to pay for the idiotic border wall: take millions away from airport security, gut the Coast Guard, and eviscerate FEMA.

The Trump administration, searching for money to build the president’s planned multibillion-dollar border wall and crack down on illegal immigration, is weighing significant cuts to the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration and other agencies focused on national security threats, according to a draft plan.

The proposal, drawn up by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), also would slash the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides disaster relief after hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. The Coast Guard’s $9.1 billion budget in 2017 would be cut 14 percent to about $7.8 billion, while the TSA and FEMA budgets would be reduced about 11 percent each to $4.5 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.

The cuts are proposed even as the planned budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all of them, grows 6.4 percent to $43.8 billion, according to the plan, which was obtained by The Washington Post. Some $2.9 billion of that would go to building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with $1.9 billion funding “immigration detention beds” and other Immigration and Customs Enforcement expenses and $285 million set aside to hire 500 more Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more ICE agents and support staffers.

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R.-Calif.), who supported Donald Trump’s run for president and oversees the House Transportation subcommittee on the Coast Guard and maritime transportation, questioned whether OMB officials are on the same page as President Trump, citing the sea service’s roles in stopping illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into the United States from South America.

“OMB has always treated the Coast Guard like a little piggy bank that they can go after whenever they need money for anything else,” Hunter said. “If the president is serious about getting after the cartels and getting after drug networks, this makes no sense.”

The Coast Guard cuts include deactivating Maritime Security Response Teams, which carry out counterterrorism patrols in ports and sensitive waterways, and canceling a contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries to build a ninth national security cutter, with a potential savings of $500 million.

Good thing no one can sail from Mexico to the United States. This plan is truly fool proof. Cocaine will disappear from the United States.

And then there’s this:

At FEMA, a corner of the federal government whose budgets were beefed up after the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, the proposed cuts would slash some programs whose effectiveness has long come under criticism. Research into bio-surveillance threats and other research and development work that gets tens of millions of dollars in federal funding a year would take a 28 percent hit, examples of programs the budget proposal describes as “having failed to show meaningful results.”

But the spending plan — which could cut $361 million from FEMA’s $3.5 billion budget — also eliminates or reduces the federal commitment to helping states and local governments prepare for natural disasters through training, salaries and benefits for staff, coordination and state-of the-art equipment. These grants help communities prepare for emergencies so that local and state governments can coordinate and respond quickly.

Heck of a job Trumpy! The next time a hurricane rips through New Orleans or Miami or an earthquake decimates California, the federal response will be awesome. Of course, in the latter case, Trump and his merry band of fascists will probably laugh at the dying liberals.

Sinking the Ship of State

[ 103 ] March 1, 2017 |

Der Untergang der Titanic

Julia Ioffe’s article on her interviews with career State Department employees manages to be heartbreaking, appalling, and frightening at the same time.

You should read the whole thing, but here are three choice excerpts.

First, the evisceration of the professional bureaucracy in favor of barely competent loyalists and family members:

A lot of this, the employee said, is because there is now a “much smaller decision circle.” And many State staffers are surprised to find themselves on the outside. “They really want to blow this place up,” said the mid-level State Department officer. “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows nothing.”

Second, the complete collapse of the Office of Policy Planning:

The Office of Policy Planning, created by George Kennan after World War II, is now filled not just with Ph.D.s, as it once was, but with fresh college graduates and a malpractice attorney from New Jersey whose sole foreign-policy credential seems to be that she was born in Hungary. Tillerson’s chief of staff is not his own, but is, according to the Washington Post, a Trump transition alum named Margaret Peterlin. “Tillerson is surrounded by a bunch of rather mysterious Trumpistas,” said the senior State official who recently left. “How the hell is he supposed to do his job when even his right hand is not his own person?” One State Department employee told me that Peterlin has instructed staff that all communications with Tillerson have to go through her, and even scolded someone for answering a question Tillerson asked directly, in a meeting.

Third, a quotation that sums up the human-capital side of Trump’s march to geopolitical suicide:

“This is probably what it felt like to be a British foreign service officer after World War II, when you realize, no, the sun actually does set on your empire,” said the mid-level officer. “America is over. And being part of that, when it’s happening for no reason, is traumatic.”

Don’t get sucked into debates about whether Trump’s failure to bite a bat in half at last night’s speech bodes well for the Republic. When you look past the shiny object, it’s all terrible.

Image.

A Preview of the United States, Circa 2021

[ 65 ] February 28, 2017 |

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I spend a good bit of time in New York and have driven by the exit for Donald Trump State Park in Westchester County many times. I’ve long been curious and disgusted by the sheer existence of this. Turns out it looks like the whole nation will look in about 4 years.

Also, for the love of any higher power you choose to worship, do not watch this speech tonight. It’s not only for sanity’s sake. It’s also a total waste of time. You can read these transcripts or read the summaries in about 1/100th of the time and know everything you need to know. Do yourself a favor.

Racist in Chief

[ 107 ] February 28, 2017 |

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Donald Trump is showing the leadership one would expect in the aftermath of the racist murder of Indian engineers in Kansas.

At some point, embarrassingly late begins to verge on something more disquieting.

President Donald Trump has silently planted himself in that space.

Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners.

People around the world were immediately and rightfully horrified.

But our president?

Mum. Not a word has been spoken, tweeted or prepped for Trump’s teleprompter.

Trump has offered no words of condolence for the grieving widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died from his gunshot wounds.

The president has expressed no sympathy for Kuchibhotla’s best friend, Alok Madasani, who continues to recover from bullet wounds and the trauma.

Trump usually loves to celebrate all-American heroes. But he’s passed on commending Ian Grillot, a bystander who leapt to take the gunman down before anyone else was harmed. Grillot was shot, too.

Surely the White House team could have cobbled together a statement of some sort, a response to at least address growing fears that the U.S. is unwelcoming of immigrants, or worse, that the foreign-born need to fear for their lives here. The deadly incident in Olathe has resonated across the country and even around the globe.

During such moments of crisis, people look to the president for strength and guidance.

They need to hear their moral outrage articulated, the condemnation of a possible hate crime and the affirmation that the U.S. values everyone’s contributions, whether you’re an immigrant or native-born. For Trump, this was a crucial opportunity to condemn such hateful acts and to forcefully declare that this is not who we are.

Others grasp that role. On Monday, Hillary Clinton tweeted a Kansas City Star story recounting the plea from Kuchibhotla’s widow for a U.S. response to hate crimes.

Clinton goaded Trump, writing: “With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part. He must step up & speak out.”

On the other hand, EMAILS!!!!!!

But hey, Trump is responding is his own way:

The White House has announced six guests who will sit with the first lady during President Trump’s first address to a joint Congress. They include Megan Crowley — a college sophomore who is the daughter of a health care entrepreneur, Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver — widows of California police officers killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015, Denisha Merriweather — a woman who was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s widow Maureen McCarthy Scalia, and Jamiel Shaw Sr. — a father whose son was shot by an undocumented immigrant in 2008.

Traditionally, the president and the first lady guests’ are personifications of policy initiatives that that administration wants to focus on from the president’s speech.

The right kind of murders are OK, I guess.

Who Knew?

[ 211 ] February 27, 2017 |

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The last person to understand a basic fact is of course our president.

President Donald Trump told a bipartisan group of governors at a White House reception Monday morning that GOP tax reform would have to wait for lawmakers to move on repealing Obamacare, cautioning that, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Trump said.

OK.

We Need Open Borders In Order to Cleanse This Nation of the Eating Habits of Old White Men

[ 193 ] February 27, 2017 |

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We’ve known this for awhile, but once again, Donald Trump eats his steaks well-done with ketchup.

“The President ordered a well-done steak. An aged New York strip. He ate it with catsup as he always does. The sides and appetizers on the table were shared. Three jumbo shrimp cocktails were delivered before the meal. At one point, the President looked at his watch and remarked ”They are filming ‘Saturday Night Live’ right now. Can’t wait to see what they are gonna do to me this week.“ It was hard to serve him because he is so funny and relaxed, it makes you laugh.”

Do we call this Putin-style steak?

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