The New Rules

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To recap Donald Trump’s most recent assault on the Free Press, Jim Acosta from CNN had his press credentials from the White House revoked for asking questions Trump didn’t want to answer, and Trump flipped out on him.  Then the White House claimed Acosta assaulted an intern using a doctored video from InfoWars.  Obviously thinking that was ludicrously out of line, CNN brought it to the courts, where the courts told Trump that he had to give Acosta his press credentials back.  All’s well, right? Well I guess not.  Now Trump is implementing new rules for the sake of “politeness” and it sounds like no one is agreeing to them, because apparently they are kind of antithetical to the whole idea of a free press.  The rules, as outlined in an email by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have a number of limitations, including the limiting of followup questions, which will keep reporters from getting the clarity they often need in interpreting the backwards statements that Trump and his people put out.  But the fact that a precedent is now being set as to how reporters can approach asking questions and getting answers demonstrates a worrying habit of the Trump administration to quash anything that looks like dissent.  And what do you call that if not fascism?

Fearless Leader

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As we cross into the holiday season proper, Donald Trump’s refusal to visit deployed troops in combat zones sticks out more and more.  At the halfway mark of his term, he’s the only President in recent memory who not only hasn’t done it, but hasn’t visited them multiple times.  There has been a lot of speculation as to the reason why.  I mean, his excuse of being too busy doesn’t hold water when he spends nearly every weekend golfing, but there has been questions if it was meant to be some sort of political statement, maybe not wanting to lend validation to conflicts he doesn’t want our troops engaged in.  If Trump has made one thing clear, he doesn’t give two farts about helping the rest of the world.  But now new reports are suggesting something more base of his refusal to visit combat zones: fear.  Apparently he’s just not entirely sure he won’t be shot at in a hostile war zone…which…I mean duh.   Of course there is an element of risk.  But soldiers deal with that risk every day.  The idea that Trump can’t brave it with insane levels of security for an afternoon is a joke.  Though there is one thing I find myself wondering after reading some of the articles on this subject.  Who is Trump expecting to take shots at him?  I mean, it’s not SUPER crazy to worry about enemy combatants in Afghanistan, but the likelihood of him being brought terribly close to actual combat seems slim…so…is he maybe worried about friendly fire?  I mean…well his popularity isn’t great among the troops.  For I would think somewhat obvious reasons. But it’s not so much that I would think he would really have that concern.  But at the same time, I feel like friendlies would be the only folks with guns who might have a shot at him, so I have to wonder what Trump knows that we don’t in that regard.

Written Responses

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So, Donald Trump submitted written answers to questions in Robert Mueller’s investigation, and, as is predictable at this point, Trump is pretending that this action will, and indeed already has vindicated him, and further proves that the investigation is a witch hunt.  I mean, it’s not.  The revelations and indictments it has already turned up proves that.  But I have to admit, with Trump’s written answers, the whole situation is even more annoying, because the questions that were submitted to Trump were so watered down by this point, that it’s questionable whether they will yield any kind of desirable insight into the events we’re hoping to get cleared up.  But who knows?  Trump does have a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, regardless of how softball the questions.  At the same time, I’m curious to see how written responses actually WRITTEN by Donald Trump turn out.  I’m dying to see the man answer some questions that he can’t dance around.  What do those responses look like?  Here’s me keeping my fingers crossed that the document in question eventually goes public.

Placing Blame

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There was a point when I was scrolling through news stories the other day, where there were 3 stories in a row of Donald Trump blaming the Democrats for something.  Some of those claims made zero sense.  I’m pretty sure the Stock Market isn’t cowering because it’s concerned that the Democrats are going to pick on Trump.  That’s just not the reason that the bottom line drops 600 points.  But it really reflects the sensibilities that Trump is ingraining into himself.  We saw him do it with the media since the days of his campaign, to where it became a kneejerk reaction to blame the media for any problem facing his administration.  Now it’s the Democrats, the party of crime, who seek to aid the invasion of our country with immigrants and destroy the stock market.  Because that who the man is.  It’s the man he was 30 years ago when he was committing tax fraud with his dad, and it’s the man he’ll be when New York is refusing to give him property for his Presidential Museum (can you even imagine what that is going to look like?)

The Reasonable Side

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I’m kind of tired of being told how naïve and dangerous a moderate left ideology is compared to extreme right ideology.  If I vote anything other than Trump Republican, I’m often accused by holier than thou conservatives that I’m voting for crime and weakness.  There is this idea on the right that if I’m not for an expensive border wall and the elimination of birthright citizenship and asylum seeking, that I’m totally in favor of being invaded by another country.  That’s not to say that the left doesn’t have their own problem with imposing straw man arguments on Republicans.  No side is without their own respective bogeymen, but it’s the Republican Bogeymen that actually seem to be the ones running things on their side.  I just feel like I’m not necessarily the one that needs to take a step back and actually listening to what the people I’m voting for are actually saying.  Take Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).  He supports dismantling federal programs for education and interstate highways, and things unless those are removed, the Left will start a Civil War.  This isn’t me reading into vague comments or twisting context.  He actually said those things at a Lawyer’s convention.  You can watch the speech.  And yet I’m the one who’s unreasonable because I want background checks on guns and thinks we should help desperate people from other countries?

No More Heroes

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Donald Trump is rather legendary in his inability to accept any kind of criticism at this point.  That by itself isn’t surprising.  But his treatment of people who make the criticisms can be.  Sure, it’s hardly eye-raising when the media or political opposition get Trump’s playground insults (which is itself a sad state of affairs), but it can be shocking to hear him denigrate American heroes for their service.  It was shocking and sad when he made of John McCain for being a prisoner of war two years ago, and it’s still shameful when he attacks American troops who are responsible for some of the most significant wins in recent history.  Look at retired 4-star Admiral, and ex-Navy SEAL William McRaven, the man who led the raid that took out Osama Bin Laden.  When pointed to the comments McRaven made about Trump’s harmful rhetoric on the free-media, Trump called him a Clinton Voter who should have stopped Bin Laden sooner.  And that’s at the heart of the problem.  Good people who have done nothing wrong, don’t deserve to have their good deeds smeared because they disagree with Trump.

Thankful

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Well I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  It seems like Donald Trump was in especially good spirits…you know…when he wasn’t blasting the 9th Circuit Court for causing bedlam and being the most overturned and liberal judiciary (which is wrong for all sorts of reasons, both factual and contextual).   But my favorite part of his Thanksgiving day was his response to what he was thankful for.  It was brilliant.  Like, he throughout the fact that he was thankful for family, like he knew he kind of had to, then went nuts on how amazing he is, and how great he made things.  He talked about how strong he’s made the US, and how if you ask any world leader would say so (though presumably not any world leader he is currently at odds with, so maybe ask Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, and you’d have to disregard the sarcasm).  Listen, I’m a big proponent of self love and confidence is great, but holy hell, when you’re clearly more in love with yourself than you are your family, maybe it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate.  Just a thought.

How it Should Have Happened

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So, Trump smeared Retired, 4-Star Admiral William McRaven, the guy who lead SEAL Team 6 in taking out Osama Bin Laden, for being too slow in taking out the infamous terrorist.  This has, pretty naturally, led to a lot of repercussions.  Ripples in the pond.  There is a lot to unpack in this.  The general blowback has been predictably crazy, because Trump, the guy who is supposed to be “the President who is the best for the troops” keeps insulting them.  Beyond that, his general assertion of McRaven being in any way responsible for actually locating Bin Laden is totally wrong.  Also, Trump suggested, weirdly, that he would have had Bin Laden captured before 2001 if he were President, highlighting a passage in his book where he mentions Bin Laden as proof of his concern of the guy (the passage in question, actually asks the question if Bin Laden is actually a credible threat, or if he’s just a CIA false flag to distract people…so…yeah…that’s a thing).  The whole thing is just a big, distracting mess, folks.  Big.  And distracting.  The fact is that in a history where Trump’s racist revolution arrived a decade ahead of time, Bin Laden would likely be a much a different kind of talking point.

A Wildfire PSA

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If you pay any kind of attention, you might have noticed that Donald Trump doesn’t have a very clear understanding of some pretty basic concepts of how the world works.  It’s most obvious when he displays a basic lack of understanding of grocery shopping (No, you DON’T need a picture ID to purchase cereal).  But it becomes a danger to people when that lack of understanding bleeds over into things like how the environment works.  His recent comments about the wildfires in California, and his threats to cut federal funding as a result show his incompetence could really hurt people all the more.  I’m sorry, Don, but no, Finland doesn’t avoid wildfires because they keep their forests well raked. Your “instincts” for science are failing you kind of hard, dude.

Mental Decline

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It feels like every couple of weeks since the start of the Trump presidency, Trump will do or say something that will collectively make the nation go “what?”, and out will come a handful of think pieces wondering whether or not Donald Trump is suffering a mental ailment or mental decline.  Often times the pieces are written by people who have some kind of relevant expertise in psychology or psychiatry.  Then as soon as the articles start getting any kind of circulation, there will come the rebuttals.  But the rebuttals fascinate me, because they often spend little to no time arguing against the conclusion, and more against the merit of having the conversation and the ethics of the professionals who are making the arguments.  To that I would argue, if mental health professionals are en masse coming out to suggest the guy who is responsible for launching nuclear missiles might be losing his grip on reality, I feel like we should all know about it.  As to the ethics of it…listen, if Trump’s personal therapist was coming out and telling the world that he admitted to fanaticizing about getting peed on by Russian hookers, I might suggest his ethics are questionable.  If a highly regarded psychiatrist who viewed the very public life of the President is suggesting that based on his behavior, he might destroy the world, then maybe the psychiatrist is ethically safe.