How bad is it when a major fast food corporation is happy to publicly ridicule yet another of the president's typos in one of his tweets.
Randy Rainbow is back with another song. It doesn't have as much "story structure" as some of his others, though that's largely because of the song it's based on, which is more of a "list" kind of song. But it's lively and, as always,quite enjoyable.
This is likely one of the more "under-the-wire but notable" stories today --
Rasmussen Polling leans fairly heavily Republican, so Trump quotes them all the time. (Two months ago, when all other polls had Trump around 39-42% approval, they had his approval at 50%, and it's hovered near there since, though has been lowering.) But their new tracking poll just released has his approval plummeted all the way down to 43%. And his disapproval up to 55% -- with "strongly disapprove" at 46%, which is even higher than his approval.
Beyond the specific numbers, though, what's the most important thing (and generally so with any poll) is the trend, since specific numbers have their margin of error. And the trend here is not only downward but significantly so. And most importantly, for the right-leading Rasmussen.
"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
-- Steve King (R-IA)
How? Well, for starters, the Holocaust didn't help.
And the Ku Klux Klan was a real impediment for making the position acceptable. The hoods alone were a dead giveaway. Also, lynchings. And cross burnings. And just the general principal of outraged hatred towards people for no other reason than they had different-colored skin, or had a different ethnic background, or were simply different.
That's how. For starters.
I love Steve King's explanation that he had a 50-minute interview and made a freshman mistake which people are singling out one sentence. Well, for starters, Steve King isn't a freshman congressman, he's been serving for 15 years. And second, and most important, "one sentence" is all it ever takes. Especially if that one sentence is hate-filled and virulently racist -- and isn't just "once sentence" but rather is supportive of what you've been saying for the past 15 years, and more. If you wrote a 500-page novel that was beautifully written, majestic in its imagery, and eloquent in addressing its noble philosophy, and there was only "one sentence" that said, "And by the way, blacks, Jews and women were sub-human with no rights,".it would be a very big problem for you. "One sentence" is a powerful tool.
What's notable about all this is not what Steve King said. After all, he's been saying pretty much this for a long while. No, what leaps out is that it took until now, after years, for there to be any critical reaction to Steve King in the Republican Party. And that this critical reaction in the GOP was limited in the immediate aftermath to about a half-dozen members of Congress. And only after four days, officials of the Republican Party are only starting to express their displeasure.
On Sunday, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said "That language has no place in America. That is not the America I know, and it is most definitely not the party of Lincoln."
To be clear, the Republican Party has not been the "party of Lincoln" for almost half a century, ever since Richard Nixon used race-baiting to attract support for the GOP in the South. Further, it has been anathema to the party of Lincoln since Republicans nominated Trump and its representatives in Congress have supported and enabled his racism and nurtured white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK. Indeed while that language has no place in the founding principles of America, it has a very foundational place in the Republican Party.
Let us not forget that only this past June Steve King sent out a tweet that “Europe is waking up... Will America... in time?” and included a link to a link to an anti-immigrant comment by a well-known British neo-Nazi -- and when confronted about it, defended it and has left the tweet up to this day. And Republicans did nothing about it.
How outraged was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)? On Sunday he finally built up his gumption and said that King's comments were "stupid" and "he needs to stop it." Ouch. That should show Steve King.
No, it's not "stupid," it's virulently racist, and it's the Republican Party that needs to take outspoken action against one of its own.
Like with Trump, this is not about Steve King. This is about the Republican Party and its elected officials who have enabled King for many years. And even now are only uncomfortably dancing around criticizing him. And if they finally feel pressured into stripping King of his committee seats, that's a fine action but too little and too late. They need full, outspoken condemnation that the party as a whole must change. And they needed it years ago.
Before getting to that one question, a brief update.
I'm heading back from CES now. I spent a half-day at the Sands Convention Center, largely to see the Eureka Park showcase of international pavilions, start-ups and crowd-sourced companies. It's a bit odd compared to the rest of CES but very enjoyable. Perhaps I'll write more on it later, though I'll definitely include it in my final Big Wrap-up.
Then, I took off and stop in Primm Valley at the Nevada state line where they have three hotels and a pretty nice outlet mall. I've been to the mall and have checked in, where I am now. I then head all the way back tomorrow, when I have a slightly shorter drive by a half hour. By the way, the outlet mall is still pretty nice -- stores like Williams-Sonoma, Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. But...it's a shadow of itself. About 60% of the stores are empty, which is a shame.
Anyway, I'll keep this short.
There's of course been a huge amount of talk about Trump's wall for the past couple weeks. The U.S. government shut down over Trump's wall. So, there's one question I'd love a reporter to ask Trump, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or any Republican elected official. Or any Republican, for that matter. But mainly Trump.
What is the wall going to be, exactly?
To be clear about this question, I mean -- What are the plans for building it, exactly? Where will it be, exactly? What are the designs for it, exactly? What will it be made of, exactly (since that's switch A LOT of times)? How much will it all cost, exactly? How will eminent domain claims be made, exactly?
What is the wall going to be, exactly?
And keep in mind if someone says that those details will be figured out -- these aren't pesky details. These are the core issues. If someone asks you for $5 BILLION (and no experts say it will close to that "little," more like $25 BILLION or perhaps more...depending on what it actually is) -- wouldn't you want to know EXACTLY what it was for and EXACTLY how all those billions of your money were was going to be used??? Yes, of course you would ask. You'd ask that if someone asked you for $1,000. Congress probably would, too.
And keep in mind, too, if someone says that those details will be figured out -- Trump has been talking about building a wall for THREE YEARS. And he and Republicans haven't come up with any of those details by now?!! If Trump -- and the Republicans, who are the ones supporting the wall and the government shutdown -- haven't come up with any of the details of what the wall exactly is (including all those question) after THREE YEARS, then that should show you and show any thinking, caring, rational person that Trump and Republicans in Congress do...not...care...at...all...about...any...wall.
I didn’t get a chance to watch the wall speech last night, since happily I was preoccupied with the ShowStoppers event here at CES, which began at 6 PM. The show's schedule has put my own schedule a bit out of whack, so writing about last night's news at this point seems a bit after the fact, but then that's never stopped me before, so why start now.
Driving home after the event, I did listen to MSNBC on my drive back to the hotel, and so got to hear a replay of their earlier programs. After about 40 seconds I muted the sound of the speech, not wanting to crash the car from teeth-gnashing angst. (Man, that guy cannot read. That does not make someone a good or horrific president, but it certainly comes across like he doesn’t have a clue what he’s saying...). I did turn up the volume for the Pelosi-Schumer response. I thought what they were saying was blunt, pointed and terrific — though later when I got back to my room and watched them on the news, the visual planning for them could have been given more thought.
As for the speech though — earlier in the evening, I heard Chuck Todd on MSNBC say he’d been invited to the White House that afternoon for an off-the-record conversation. He couldn’t repeat the details but could given some general comments. And it was that Trump would not be declaring an emergency or even be trying to convince the public of his position. Rather, the concern of the White House was that they were losing the support of the GOP House and Senate, and that’s who Trump had to speak to and convince.
Hearing that alone said to me that Trump was in deep trouble, overseeing a sinking ship. And the mere fact that networks allowed an opposition response to a presidential speech from the Oval Office (and boy, was that pathetic and borderline shameful...) most certainly spoke volumes to members of Congress. It never would have happened if there was any sense that an actual emergency or national crisis existed.
More to the point, if Trump’s need was to speak to his party in Congress and convince them that he isn’t lying about his facts and there being a crisis, it was a lost evening. Whatever they say in public, they know the reality. And they know the GOP got pummeled in the Mid-terms using this as an issue. And that the public isn’t buying it and hates that there is a government shutdown over it. So, whatever Pelosi and Schumer said after was almost academic. It was necessary to make that they be there to make the point that there was significant disagreement of Trump's contention, but I sense that their words were borderline unnecessary in that they didn't likely convince any of anything who didn't have a position already. Mainly it was a very bad evening for Trump. It all showed his weakness, emptiness and hole he’s dug for himself.
And he and the Republican Party which has enabled him to get to this point, only brought it on themselves.
As I write this, Trump hasn't yet purloined the airwaves with his attempt to convince the public that his racist hope to have a wall keeping out Mexicans is an emergency. I don't know where I'll be when his 8-minute rant airs, so I don't know if I'll get to listen -- or even want to, picking up the salient "points" later instead. But I'm glad to hear that the networks have granted the unprecedented request by Democrats to have a response.
That action alone speaks volumes about how little the media (and so much of the public) has come to trust a word from this person's mouth, allowing an opposition response to his -- perhaps -- call for an emergency. And if it isn't a specific call for an emergency, it will be an attempt to make the public think we're on the edge of one.
We have a pretty good idea what he'll say, because he's been saying it and saying it and saying it -- and saying it -- for months, let alone for the past almost three years.
There is no "emergency." There are not 4,000 terrorists who have been stopped at the border. (Chris Wallace's remarkable real-time "fact-checking" of Sarah Huckabee Sanders during her lying interview with him which flustered her made that very clear.) Six people have been stopped at the Southern Border. The other 3,994 people were checked at airports throughout the country. And these people stopped were only done so -- not because they were terrorists, but -- because they were arriving from countries on a Watch List because full database information isn't available. Further, there have been significantly more people stopped at the Northern Border at Canada. Yet there is no Trump cry for a wall with our northern neighbors.
And meanwhile, the government remains shut down, despite there being a bill on the table passed by the House which is the exact same wording of a bill already passed by the Republican Senate, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even refuses to bring to a vote. Let Trump veto the bill if he wants -- after all, he's said he's willing to own the government shutdown. But nope...nothing.
The speech -- and Democratic response -- will likely air when I'm on my way to the ShowStoppers event tonight. So I'll probably have to wait until much later tonight when I get back to my hotel after the event is over in order to get the exact specifics. But...we have a pretty near-certain idea what the deal will be.
It will be racist, irrational and a flim-flam harmful con. And most Americans have show they aren't buying it anymore.
Trump's former tax attorney in Chicago, Ed Burke (who's also a city alderman), was just charged by the U.S. Attorney's office with federal charges of extortion. It's moments like these where I harken back to Trump telling us again he only knows The Best People. And that that's who'll he'll hire. I'm certain he'll continue to shovel this malarkey to us, and that his base will eat it up, tasty as it is to them.
As we've seen in his administration, time and again, this is the precisely kind of crooks he hires. Not just from all the guilty pleas from the Special Counsel's investigation, but cabinet members and other on staff who've had to resign from controversies, many of which are expected to lead to criminal charges. It's stunning that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross still has his job. Let alone isn't in prison.
But then, when that's the kind of crime family operation you've run for 40 years, that's who you know. And that's who you hire.
This article here in Raw Story puts the story in its Trump perspective. And this is the original article from the Chicago Sun-Times which is the foundation of the report with details of the charged-extortion.
Usually, the new year begins on January 1. Though a quirk of nature, this year the new year begins today, on January 3. Though it's somewhat like the Jewish calendar, where events fall in the Gregorian calendar we use on different days from year to year, it's another matter entirely. This year, the new year starts today because that's when the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives and everything changes.
A Democrat becomes Speaker of the House, and sets the agenda for that body.
Democrats become chairmen of every committee -- most notably Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Financial Services -- and set the agenda for their work.
Democrats get investigation power.
Democrats get subpoena power.
Democrats can request tax returns from the IRS.
Democrats have the majority for every vote taken in the House.
It's a new year.
I don't think Trump has a clue what he's in for. I think other Republicans in Congress know. But Trump has shown himself so clueless and uninterested about how Congress works, I suspect he only has a general idea that things will be more "difficult." That it'll be harder to pass a bill. That maybe there will be an investigation, but the Special Counsel seemingly is the only investigation that means anything to him. It's just a sort of new bump in the road, perhaps a really big bump, but a bump..
But it's not, It's not even a big swerve in the road. It's really more like a total detour away from fairy land along a road that is blandketed with jagged rocks and falling boulders and pockmarked with deep potholes along the entire route and covered with buried land mines heading into alien, unmapped territory which narrows into one, ice-covered lane as it curves around perilous mountain ledges and across deep ravines covered by rotted-out wooden bridges missing slats and passes through a Black Hole.
Leading into a new year...
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times had an interview with outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly where he said, among other things, that he should be judged "on what Trump didn't do while I was chief of staff."
Well...for starters, no. He doesn't get to set the terms on which he's judged. If you rob a bank and shoot several bystanders, you don't get to tell the court -- as well as the court of public opinion -- "Don't judge me for what I did, judge me for all the bad things that didn't happen when I was in the bank." Sorry, life doesn't work that way.
I mean, seriously -- here's a former general, and he's asking not to be judged by his actions???!!! Nope, we will all happily (and alas, unhappily) judge him on everything. What he did, and what he didn't do.
But still, it's the beginning of a year, with a new year of sunshine and a Democratic House ahead. So, let's be totally fair and at least in part give John Kelly what he wants. Judge him on what Trump didn't do while Kelly was chief of staff.
Trump didn't denounce white supremacists.
Trump didn't stop trying to build a wall to block Mexicans.
Trump didn't stay in the Paris Accord.
Trump didn't support a free press.
Trump didn't support the judicial system when it ruled against him.
Trump didn't support the U.S. intelligence services over the Russian dictator.
Trump didn't sign the budget bill he had agreed to, so the government shut down.
Trump didn't tell the military the truth in Iraq about pay raises.
Trump didn't sit down with the Special Counsel and testify under oath, like he said he would.
Trump didn't release his tax returns, like he said he would.
Trump didn't create a better, cheaper health care replacement, like he said he would.
Trump didn't stop childishly calling people utterly infantile names in public.
Trump didn't get Mexico to pay for his wall.
Trump didn't support U.S. intelligence services over a Saudi prince who had an American resident killed
Trump didn't criticize Russia or Putin.
Trump didn't replace the nuclear treaty with Iran he ended.
Trump didn't get North Korea to give up anything after he himself gave in on concessions.
Trump didn't visit the WWI cemetery in France.
Trump didn't visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
Trump didn't reaffirm strong alliances with our allies.
Trump didn't reprimand, let alone fire John Kelly for lying about Rep. Fredericka Wilson and never apologizing.
Trump didn't [Fill in the blank...]
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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