To Russia With Love and to Hell With Everyone Else

by Lauren Wynn

On Thursday, the President of the United States literally thanked Vladimir Putin for ejecting 755 U.S. diplomatic personnel from Russia. His reason – albeit a faulty one – was that it would reduce the U.S. payroll and save him money. Some speculated that Trump was being sarcastic while others argued that he wasn’t capable of such an advanced form of communication.

The statement, outrageous though it was, paled in comparison to the remainder of his rambling stream-of-consciousness presser that followed. At the close of a national security briefing at his Bedminster golf club, Mr. Trump took us on a twisting turning tour of his gray matter that covered every topic from transgender troops to North Korea to Afghanistan to the future of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. He even revisited his two favorite topics: Hillary Clinton and the election win.

At times, his hyperbole was comical — all things Trump are the biggest, the best, like none the world has ever seen – but at other times, it was frightening. His continued escalation of the war of words with North Korea raised fears of an actual war where the cost is in lives, not in bruised egos or challenged manhood.

The attention junkie, high on the drug of his choice, was unstoppable. Despite his team’s best efforts to get the President to stop talking — including Press Secretary Sarah Sanders holding up a “One More Question” sign – The Donald continued his verbal geyser of heated rhetoric for over twenty minutes. Presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, likened the event to “a dam that had suddenly burst free.” Unfortunately, we know what happens when a dam breaks: it imperils everything and every one downstream.

As his staff behind the scenes attempts to mop up the messes caused by yesterday’s deluge, his spokespeople are singing his praises. (I’m sure there’s a musical theater joke lurking in there somewhere, but I’ll resist the urge to make it.) I hope that they all got a good night’s rest, because no sooner was the sun over the horizon this morning than their junkie was back out there, seeking another fix:

Either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, his addiction to praise and attention is now backed by the full power and capability of the U.S. military.

Like a kid with all of the coolest toys, Donald Trump is daring Kim to make the first move so he can show them off. His delusions of grandeur come with a price he was never personally willing to pay, but which many braver, more noble souls have. His win-at-all-cost attitude is his way of saying, “to hell with you” to our allies, our troops and our nation.

To that, I say, ‘right back at ya, Don.’

 

Caricature credit: DonkeyHotey

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All We Are Saying Is, Give Pence A Chance

By Susan Kuebler

Yes, yes, Vice President Pence is not a nice person.  In fact, he may well be a horrible person.  But then, Richard Nixon was not exactly every person’s dream of their ideal human being either.  And Mike Pence, like Richard Nixon, has one strong advantage that Donald Trump lacks – he is NOT batshit crazy.

This week, while on vacation, Donald Trump has brought out nation closer to the brink of nuclear war than any president since the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Those of us old enough to remember those days in October, 1962 are, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, experiencing deja vu all over again.

After achieving what everyone considered a major diplomatic triumph against North Korea – the unanimous 15-0 vote by the United Nations Security Council to impose greater economic sanctions, which he acclaimed a mere four days ago:

 

Trump trashed it all just days later in an unprompted, unscripted talk with the press at his private resort, where he is vacationing at taxpayers’ expense:

Later it was revealed that Trump made these threats without consulting with his Secretary of Defense, his Secretary of State, his National Security Advisor, his Ambassador to the United Nations, or even his Chief of Staff, three of whom are former or currently serving Generals in the U.S. military.  It is doubtful he even talked with his most senior advisor, Ivanka, either.  Nope, he just decided to threaten a seriously disturbed dictator with nuclear capability in some off-the-cuff comments.  Because he had taken a liking to the phrase “fire and fury.”

Despite scrabbling efforts by leaders in his administration to walk back these comments, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump doubled down on his “tough” talk with Kim Jung-Un.

Then, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Trump tweeted out the following this morning:

Trump has probably being waiting his entire life, since his valorous days serving in military school, to use the phrase “locked and loaded.”  He likes to talk tough.  He wants to be perceived as being tough.  But in reality, like all bullies, Trump is a coward.  And his most important concern is not the safety and well-being of our country, but of his own reputation.

Of all the options available for removing a sitting president from office, Article 4 of the 25th Amendment is the least satisfactory.  However, in the current situation it may be our best hope for stopping a deluded 71-year-old man from dragging us, and the rest of the world into a major military conflagration.

It only requires that the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet declare the President is unable to perform the duties of his office.  It can be done swiftly, in a situation where time is of the essence.  Those same generals whom Trump has surrounded himself with no doubt recall the oath they took when they joined the military – to protect the Constitution (not the President) from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Perhaps this is overreaction, as cooler heads might advise.  Perhaps wiser voices will prevail in the end.  Perhaps China or Russia will begin acting like the adults in the room in this squabble between two childish bullies and step in. But the likelihood that Donald Trump will back down, publicly, seems remote. And the same goes for North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un.

So rather than face the possibly of war, or, God forbid, nuclear war, all we are saying is – give Pence (and peace) a chance.

Trump’s Schoolyard Bully Antics With North Korea Need To Stop

By Jason Taylor

As par for the course for Donald Trump, his solutions are pathetically uninformed and create more problems instead. Ratcheting up the panic levels via irresponsible spouting off is getting us nowhere. There is a diplomatic solution to this problem and that’s the only real solution. The question is “Do we really want Trump calling the shots in this high stakes game of chicken”? It’s time for Congress to wake up to the fact that we have a crisis on our hands, and the crisis is Trump.

This crisis is entirely one of Trump’s making.

Yes, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have wrestled with North Korea’s nuclear weapons issues with diplomatic talks. And granted, they were not able to halt weapons development. But so far, no one has died. No missiles have been fired. No bombs have been dropped. Trump’s rhetoric, his “fire and fury” comments, may change this. Trump is eager to heat things up, create tension, provoke a fight, start a battle, humiliate someone, show who’s “boss.” Trump staged unnecessary conflict and drama in his “Apprentice” conference rooms for effect. But now he’s filming on a larger set, with the world as his stage. He’s a bully itching for a fight, looking for any excuse to throw a punch.

If Trump launches a nuclear strike, nothing else will really matter anymore. Hillary’s e-mails, the Russia inquiry, Comey’s firing, Mueller’s investigations, replace and repeal, conflicts of interest with Trump’s businesses — all of this will be scarcely noticeable under the blast of a nuclear weapon. Just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki are etched into the consciousness of mankind, any nuclear strike will be indelibly burned into the history of humanity. Thus, Trump will demonstrate how powerful he is, and how insignificant we are.

To a rational person with a sense of history, A threat of ‘fire and fury such as the world has never seen’ can only mean nuclear attack. Yet, Mr. Trump says he is “open to talks.” Does he even understand the implications of the things he says? He sounds like a boastful 8-year-old, playing with his toys, when he says, “We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful.”

Does Trump, or his much-vaunted base, understand that what Trump is talking himself into will likely mean that North Korea will hit Seoul with a massive amount of sarin gas and any nuclear response from us means that Japan will be faced with the fallout? This is just insanity. To put our allies in this position is despicable.

This is like a bad dream. You can see what’s about to happen but are powerless to stop it. This entire crisis was avoidable. Trump is unnecessarily escalating on a public stage. It borders on criminality that Trump can so callously throw around such irresponsible and provocative language which, if it were to happen would come at the expense of innocent lives. It is outrageous that having a night to sleep on and think it over, this is what Trump and his advisors have come up with. This more than anything proves Trump has no master plan for dealing with North Korea. Last week when asked he stated, “We’ll handle North Korea. We handle everything.” Is this what he meant?

At this point, I have to believe that the GOP wants war so they can keep their stranglehold on the USA. What’s better than destabilizing the world and the country, in order to stoke more fear? And fear is what the GOP needs to keep their train going. At the cost of potentially hundreds of thousands of lives and who knows what environmental damage. Deplorable is too kind a word for who the GOP has become. If they truly loved this country (more than their money and power) they would hurry to DC to fix this mess and prevent the worst case scenario.

Trump and Tillerson are the rankest of amateurs but Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly are not. When will one of his beloved generals sit Trump down and tell him that his childish posturing simply has to stop? Or has the Toddler-in-Chief managed to bully them into submission as he’s managed to do with the rest of his sycophants?

“Clear and present danger” isn’t a phrase normally applied to the occupant of the Oval Office, but these times are far from normal. If he can’t be reasoned with, perhaps a more primal approach will work — duct tape and a straitjacket might be effective.

Trump only knows campaigning, and he only campaigns to his supporters. His tweets and speeches are for them, only for them. Neither Kim nor any other leader matters, nor do any other Americans, and nor does his staff, cabinet, or Congress. He proclaims the faithful cheer. A TV star. Great work, GOP. This is on you and your greed and cowardice. Shame on you.

Trump’s North Korea Military Transgender Crossover

By Tiffany Rodgers

Trump has truly just out trumped himself. He was speaking about the North Korea situation earlier today. He stated that his “fire and fury” comment from yesterday probably was not strong enough.

He continues by stating that he is backed “100% by the military – we’re backed by everyone.” Everyone? What about the transgender folks that he is banning from the military? Are they included in this statement? Last time I checked, transgender people are still JUST people.  Here is what Trump said about them:

Trump is doing the military a great favor? How? By banning some of our military personnel? How is that a favor of any kind? What is so complicated about this? I am extremely perplexed at the reasoning behind this.

Americans that want to serve our country should be able to serve. It should not matter the gender, race, marital status, amount of tattoos, hair color, political party affiliation, etc. The only thing that should matter is their dedication to this country and their physical ability. Being transgender, or even just being female, does not automatically mean that they are not physically able.

The only people that seem to be having confusion on this issue are bigoted judgmental people. What happened to human rights? Or even equality? When did America step back into the 50’s? (Cute clothes, but very close-minded)

Someone needs to tell Trump that “100% of the military” includes transgender personnel. He is pushing to start a nuke fight with North Korea and decided to alienate a good chunk of our current serving military. What is more important to him? The safety of our country, or spreading even more division and hate? I stand behind every #LGBTQ person who has fought, is fighting, and will continue to fight. They are just as vital to the program as anyone else.

The X (-tra Great) Files: Trump’s Fluff Folders

By April Horowitz

By now you’d think people have grown accustomed to hearing cringe worthy stories of Trump’s egotism and endless quest for validation, but if you’ve ever uttered the phrase “things can’t get any worse,” you know Trump ceaselessly manages to out trump himself.

When disturbing reports emerged of contentious phone conversations between newly elected President Trump, and Australian PM Malcom Turnbull, and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto people were understandably concerned. The thought of the President of the United States treating our allies with such contempt and acting like a school yard bully was unfathomable.

White House surrogates came out in force vehemently denying any such interactions took place, and if that weren’t enough, they went on to prettify Trump’s performance as confident, focused and described a leader concentrated on issues that will “Make America Great Again”. Not only did they repudiate negative claims as insulting and fake news, they deflected any criticism by emphasizing such leaks threaten national security, and stifle Trump’s ability to hold open, private dialogue with world leaders. The official White House read out of the respective calls, painted a picture of a bland, run of the mill, “getting to know you,” “here’s we agree” typical first conversation between dignitaries.

The ruse didn’t stop there. Trump exploited statements from Turnbull and Nieto (which I can only describe as generously diplomatic) in an attempt to further dispel rumors of his incompetence, disparage the media, and show “proof” of a congenial, productive conversations.

On Aug. 3, 2017 transcripts of Trump’s phone conversations were released by  The Washington Post    There in black and white the world learned the ugly truth, and the howls of lies and fake news became very real. The discussions (if you can call them that) were far worse than cynics imagined, and the administration’s dishonesty was exposed. Not only did the transcripts reveal a combative braggart crowing over election wins, they confirmed Trump to be a short-tempered, whiny man with only one thing on his mind, his image. He cared less about America’s interests and more about his reputation, and demanded what he needed to fulfill his self-interests.

There’s no doubt Trump takes great satisfaction knowing world leaders, pundits, and the Republican party are either reduced or willing to stick their necks out to defend him in the name of “keeping the peace.” We’ve seen the Prime Minister Dusko Markovic of Montenegro take in stride Trump’s less than stately shove as he tried to get in the front of the line for a photo op. Markovic went as far to say,

“It is natural that the President of the United States is in the front row”.

When it comes to Trump’s presidency we’re witnessing sycophantic submission never seen before to placate a man whose cup has a hole. There’s no end to Trump’s obsession with his own magnificence and his surrogates fall over themselves to feed the beast.

We get it, nobody wants to poke the bear, but when it comes to Trump it goes beyond keeping your head down and ignoring the dysfunction. People feel it necessary to take it to the next level and shower him with adulation. Aside from the politic discourse expected from global leadership with the one objective of maintaining relations, many have learned Trump is easily influenced by cajolery and validation. It’s not enough to excuse his incompetence, he requires, no, demands acclaim at every level. It’s no secret pacifying Trump’s insecurities is a full-time job but apparently it now takes a village. Whether it’s keeping the peace, gaining favor or keeping Trump in a positive state of mind, people are working overtime.

VICE News has reported Trump receives a fluff folder not once, but twice a day filled with fawning, positive news about himself. Three current and former White House officials confirmed since Trump took office, he is being spoon fed carefully selected material in order to feel good about himself. The folders were nicknamed the “propaganda document,” and one must wonder what kind of of person, let alone the leader of the free world, requires a constant barrage of smarmy love letters to himself.

“These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.”

It’s not unusual for the White House to monitor media for a host of reasons, but what is unusual is the scope and manpower this administration assembled for the sole purpose compiling a fluff folder to enhance the mood of the President of the United States.

“Maybe it’s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning.”

The only well oiled machine in the White House is the throng of staffers collecting information for Trump’s vanity file. In an unprecedented move, members of the RNC were recruited to help manage the task. Starting at 6:30AM until 4:30PM a group of ten people scour various news programs, social media and articles for toadying data to assure Trump would start and end the day with self-satisfying delusions of his greatness. Ironically the only critique the communications shop received in regards to their work was, “the propaganda document needs to be more f**king positive.”

The idea was the brain child of former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. A source within the White House described a pathetic scene of the two men “competing” over who would deliver the golden goods to Trump. Since Spicer’s and Priebus’s departure Trump receives the document less often and its ultimate fate lies with the new Communications Director.

One look at Trump’s presidency to date and it’s evident the propaganda document has failed to impact Trump’s temperance. He’s more unhinged than ever and a horrified nation waits in fear and disgust at what will inevitably happen next. The absurdity that a sitting president is so needy he receives feel good folders pales in comparison to the notion Trump is being shielded from unfavorable news which might otherwise help a resolute, competent leader gauge the state of affairs. The idea the president’s ego is so fragile he’s getting a distorted view of the world is another disturbing reality Trump is unfit to hold the office.

This is a diseased presidency of extraordinary proportions. Trump’s impotent because he’s consumed with immortalizing himself as a man of power and strength and there’s nothing he won’t say or do to advance his charade even if it’s at the expense of others including our country. Trump has spent his life trying to become the caricature that lives in his head. It’s an exhaustive effort for beneath the farce is an insecure weakling who needs screen shots of agreeable chyrons to make himself feel important.

Trump requires a horde of babysitters and constant oversight. The appointment of Gen John Kelly as Chief of Staff gave a troubled nation some glimmer of hope the seasoned Marine would quell the insanity.  It’s not to be so. After less than a week Trump took to Twitter reaffirming, a rabid dog can’t be contained.  Although they will never admit it, those who work closely with Trump know all too well Trump can’t be controlled and the best they can do is manage the chaos. At this point it’s a matter of survival and maintaining some semblance of order ( and keeping your job) requires above all, making the emotionally unstable, self proclaimed King feel good.

 

The First 200-Days Flashback to Trump’s Finest Moment

By Darrell Roberts

Slightly past the 200-day mark into the Trump Presidency and some are still waiting for that “Presidential pivot” that is never coming–EVER. To think otherwise is just silly or wishful thinking. However, after President Trump’s first Congressional speech, many had proclaimed that he had turned the Presidential corner.

Please enjoy a flashback to a real-time analysis of the President’s biggest speech:

On 28 February 2017, President Trump gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. The President’s speech must be viewed as a success especially when measured by his previous performances. Make no mistake, the President remained loyal to a populist message that was largely ambiguous with details, but it did strike a popular tone. Through the use of a teleprompter along with effectively capitalizing on human emotions—President Trump will see a short-term gain in popularity.

However, IF one paid attention to his words— one would discover a lack of details and cleverly disguised wording describing some anti-popular legislation.

Here’s an examination into the first Presidential address to the Congress. The first thing that stands out is his use of the teleprompter. Of all the POTUS’s during my lifetime (Carter-Trump), Trump is the worst at public speaking. This deficiency even extends to his obvious unfamiliar use of the teleprompter. However, when he uses the teleprompter—it somewhat diminishes determining what his true meaning or feelings are. Instead, it just feels like he is reading the words of the writer(s).

The opening of the address was surprisingly splendid. The President cleverly sets to disarm and undermine critics who had labeled charges of racism and xenophobia against him–a highly effective technique that transitions to his normal populist message heavily centered around nationalism. Of course, he sneaks in how he won the election. HaHa. That part is both petty and omnipresent.

Then, the speech introduces a disturbing message that brags about killing regulations, instituting large-scale drilling, and pulling out of the TPP trade agreement. Followed by a populist message that suggests building a police state to include “The Wall” because America is under threat from Mexicans and Muslims.

The next phase of the address is economic-centric but leaves more questions than answers. Trump seems adamant to usher in a new era of “Trickle-down” economics as well as opening the possibility of international trade wars. Tailed by soliciting support in “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare, his plan sounds like the GOP plan which centers around tax credits, saving accounts, access, and more state control.

Overall, the President’s speech would (and did) come across as his best to date. However, this may be largely due to his effective use of an extremely emotional moment.

Unfortunately, the President also heavily relied upon false or exaggerated statistics and claims. Thus, not only are his words confusing so are his true intentions. For instance, his desire for a trillion dollars for massive infrastructure improvements sounds great…but—is that realistic? He doesn’t say where that money is coming from and it goes against his party. Thus, this plan is probably dead on arrival even before the proposal. Additionally, the President’s plan to significantly bump up military and police spending, while not increasing the budget deficit, means that deep cuts are necessary to other programs and agencies. What are these programs and agencies? It matters.

Besides, America already spends more than every other country in the world on the military. Consider the following from a January 2016 article from Politifact, “The United States spent $581 billion on the military in 2014…while the eight next-highest spenders combined spent about $531.9 billion.”

There are similar challenges, problems, or serious questions concerning most of the President’s desired agenda. What will the Trump administration do? That remains a mystery for not only you and me but maybe even to the administration.

Re-cap and reaction:

In the aftermath, many were stating Trump had turned that corner and made “the pivot.” At that time, my thought was, “Ok, because a guy read someone else’s words off a teleprompter without deviating to attack someone that makes him Presidential? Why? The bar has been lowered. Trump is President Low Bar.” But, not everyone agreed with my analysis.

For instance, does anyone remember Van Jones stating, “And for people who had been hoping he would become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment.”

Jones would add, “For people who have been hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should be a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”

Then, Jones boldly proclaimed, “He (Trump) became president of the United States.”

For those that may wish to view Jones statements on video.

Regardless, almost all (myself included) agreed it was Trump’s finest hour.  Surely, he was set to build upon this momentum to carry his administrative goals forward…and a few days later…momentum GONE. As Trump went and Tweeted:

So what did the President do after uncovering what would be one of the biggest political crimes (if it were true–but it was not) in American history? Right, he goes on to criticize the Terminator’s Apprentice ratings.

After the first 200-days, ask yourself, which one is the “real” President Trump?  The guy who sticks to a pre-written speech or the mad tweeter who attacks anyone (but Putin) with impunity but minus facts?

#TrumpChicken “Fire and Fury Sale”

By Tiffany Rodgers

During these stressful uncertain times, we can all use a little distractive humor in our lives. If you have not heard of this #TrumpChicken, it is rather hilarious. One can only imagine the kind of rage it is causing Trump.

Can I just say that Trump’s stupid haircut looks just as stupid on the chicken.  Seriously dude, you are wealthy and this is the hair style you have chosen! Has no one in his life had enough guts to tell him to chose a different look?

Twitter is enjoying this well-deserved humorous distraction as well.  Laughter is the best medicine folks.

It is pretty sad that #TrumpChicken is way more popular than @realdonaldtrump. I think a special election is due! Vote for #TrumpChicken!

Today’s humor antidote is brought to you by the letter ‘T’, as in #TrumpChicken. Also by the number ‘0’, as in real Trump’s successes in the White House thus far. Enjoy the twitter fun and have a good laugh today!