Archive

March 1st, 2017

We have met the enemy -- and he is us!

    Take a good look at all 45 presidents so far. Regardless of party, they all have one thing in common. From George Washington to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump, they all had their problems with the media.

    Indeed, they all complained about their press coverage. But none of them hated -- yes, hated! -- the media like Donald Trump.

    For Trump, it's an obsession. His ego has no bounds. Any story that does not talk about how wonderful he is sets him off. It's just more proof, in his mind, that the "very, very dishonest media" are out to get him, advancing their own political agenda and actually working for the opposition party.

    Not only that. If media companies don't unabashedly praise Donald Trump, they might even be anti-American. On Friday, he told his 25 million Twitter followers: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

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Transgender kids are bullied all the time. The White House is helping the bullies.

    If there has been one defining trait of the first month of the Trump administration, it's bullying. Americans have watched their president turn on some of the country's most vulnerable populations, including Muslim refugees and travelers and the judges who rule in their favor, as well as undocumented immigrants and the cities that offer them sanctuary. Even the leader of one of the United States' closest allies has labeled him a bully. Threats against religious and ethnic minorities are on the rise as a result.

    And on Wednesday, President Donald Trump targeted another vulnerable demographic: transgender children, who already fear for their safety at school.

    The administration's decision to rescind federal guidelines protecting transgender students in public schools nationwide didn't come as a surprise to most advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Whatever feelings Trump has toward LGBTQ people, most of us assumed he'd owe it to the Christian right that helped put him in the White House to let conservatives target transgender people. On Wednesday, those fears were confirmed.

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Death and Tax Cuts

    Across the country, Republicans have been facing crowds demanding to know how they will protect the 20 million Americans who gained health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and will lose it if the act is repealed. And after all that inveighing against the evils of Obamacare, it turns out that they’ve got nothing.

    Instead, they’re talking about freedom — which these days is the real refuge of scoundrels.

    Actually, many prominent Republicans haven’t even gotten to the point of trying to respond to criticism; they’re just whining about how mean their constituents are being, and invoking conspiracy theories. Talk about snowflakes who can dish it out but can’t take it!

    Thus, Rep. Jason Chaffetz insisted that the public outcry is just “a paid attempt to bully and intimidate”; Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, calls all anti-Trump demonstrations a “very paid, AstroTurf-type movement.” And the tweeter in chief angrily declared that protests have been “planned out by liberal activists” — because what could be worse than political action by the politically active?

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Obamacare has staying power

    What's the holdup, House Republicans? During the Obama administration, you passed literally dozens of bills to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act -- knowing that none had any chance of being signed into law. Now that President Trump is in the White House, why can't you seem to pull the trigger?

    That's a rhetorical question, of course. Republicans see that they have two choices: They can snatch health insurance away from millions of people, or they can replace Obamacare with something that looks suspiciously like Obamacare-with-a-different-name. Wary of both alternatives, erstwhile anti-ACA zealots have spent the first month of the Trump administration doing little more than clearing their throats.

    The framework laid out by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP officials last week is part capitulation, part evasion. In no way is it worthy of being called policy.

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February 27th

Trump will likely sell out his working-class white base. Here's how.

    For many months on the campaign trail, Donald Trump sent a clear message about his fellow Republicans: Ideologically, I'm not one of them. This wasn't just true on trade, but also on safety-net programs that protect, among others, low-income whites. President Trump, he said, won't let people die in the streets and will protect Medicare and Social Security from those heartless Paul Ryan types who are forever salivating at the chance to slash them to ribbons.

    But now The New York Times reports that congressional Republicans believe they will be able to get around this niggling problem. Republicans have seen Trump appoint people who want to downsize the safety net -- like Tom Price to oversee health care and Mick Mulvaney to shepherd the budget -- and they think Trump can be persuaded to forget about all that inconvenient campaign talk:

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The limits of promoting 'free speech'

    Speech is free, but not consequence-free. Milo Yiannopoulos managed to skirt this reality for years, but eventually it comes for us all.

    A quick recap for those who have not been following this sordid tale: MILO, as he's best known (all-caps his own), is an Internet personality and now-former Breitbart News senior editor best known for his glibly offensive remarks about minority groups, his hatred of "political correctness" and his support of Donald Trump.

    Many on the right hailed Milo as a much-needed iconoclast, one of the few brave enough to defend free speech, speak uncomfortable truths and push back against the simpering "social justice warriors" of the left. After his charmingly titled "Dangerous Faggot" speaking tour was met with protests at college campuses, including some - most notably at the University of California at Berkeley this month - that turned violent, he was invited to speak at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

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February 26th

Our warm February feels fabulous and frightening all at once

    Insanely warm February: We love you. We hate you.

    It's a little delicious, right? A record-breaking February is a fast-forward through the worst month of the year straight into park picnics and spring.

    But warm February is also a little off, like a haunted doll's unhinged smile.

    Gardeners are among the most freaked out by the weather.

    "It's frightening. I've never seen this before," said Scott Aker, head of horticulture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Arboretum. In his 20 years on the job, he's witnessing a first.

    "The lilacs have broken bud," he said.

    This has already been a bizarre month, where thousands of high temperature records have been set across the country. It was 79 in Nebraska and 74 in Moline, Ill. Dallas has hit 80 degrees 11 times already.

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Not The Nation We Thought

    Few would have argued that this nation had reached the peak that we liked to think we inhabited but we most assuredly did not think we would be in the predicament we now find ourselves occupying.  The fall 2016 election took the lid off all the venom - venom we thought was under control. 

    We are anything but the "one nation under God" that we proclaim.  All those beautiful words in various documents we supposedly venerate appear to be just words with little meaning to so much of the population.

    It would be bad enough if only a small percentage fit in the category but there are enough that we find ourselves in near chaos. 

    There is little doubt that the man holding the highest office in the land, or for that matter the world, is without question the most unfit, the most unqualified to ever hold the office. Making matters worse is that he has surrounded himself with appointees equally uncommitted to running the nation for the benefit of the entire population.  He is representing a party that has abandoned its past principles to an exercise in power. 

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If abortion rights fall, LGBT rights are next

    We represent the organizations that won leading Supreme Court cases in recent years on sexual and reproductive rights: Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which secured legal protections for the marriage of same-sex couples, and Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, which struck down Texas's attempt to use sham health regulations to shut down 75 percent of the state's abortion clinics.

    President Trump has taken sharp aim at the rights affirmed in those cases. During the campaign, he attacked the Obergefell opinion and repeatedly and unambiguously promised to put justices on the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. According to the president, it's the government, not each individual, that should hold the power to decide who can get married and whether women can terminate a pregnancy.

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Chris Christie's meatloaf humiliations

    This week, in the White House, Donald Trump forced Chris Christie to eat meatloaf, even though Christie did not necessarily want the meatloaf.

    There was a time when Christie was a man with autonomy and pride. There was a time when Trump was kind and his voice was soft and his words were inviting, and life was a Springsteen song and the song was exciting. There was a time, and then it all went wrong.

    Trump rewarded loyalty, they said, and he was loyal.

    He gave Trump his boughs and his branches and his leaves and the better part of his trunk. He brought him the severed head of Marco Rubio. He let Donald Trump sit on his worn-out stump.

    Christie had hopes. He was going to be vice president. And then, he was going to have a job in the White House. And then, he was going to head the transition.

    "There's the menu," Trump told the room, when Christie visited. "You guys order whatever you want. Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf."

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