Trump: America first after Putin

Here’s one direct consequence of President Trump’s America First policy:

A group of 11 countries announced Saturday that they had committed to resurrecting a sweeping multinational trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, without the United States.

Other countries are slowly but surely making progress on their own sweeping trade deals, without any participation from the United States. China is negotiating a potential deal with 16 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, India, and South Korea.

The European Union and Japan hope to strike separate trade pacts with a group of South American countries, Brazil and Argentina among them.

The rest of the world seems to have decided that they can make deals without the US which will put the US at a disadvantage.

But Trump backs away from the America First policy in some key places:

Trump heaped disdain on the former leaders of three US intelligence agencies — John O. Brennan, the former CIA director; James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence; and James Comey, the FBI director he fired this year — appearing to suggest that they were less trustworthy than Putin.
“I mean, give me a break — they’re political hacks,” Trump said. “You have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey’s proven now to be a liar, and he’s proven to be a leaker, so you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that.”

Putin has spoken nicely about Trump and, in general, Trump likes people who speak nicely about him … even if that person tried to disrupt elections in the US.

 

MS-13 is horrible. Ok, it’s not too bad.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump have gone on and on about how horrible the Central American gang MS-13 is. Unless that is they’re talking about shipping immigrants back there:

More than 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States under a form of temporary permission no longer need to be shielded from deportation, the State Department told Homeland Security officials this week.
The statement was issued a few days ahead of a highly anticipated DHS announcement about whether to renew that protection.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to acting DHS secretary Elaine Duke to inform her that conditions in Central America and Haiti that had been used to justify the protection no longer necessitate a reprieve for the migrants.

As an aside, MS-13 formed in the LA area by Salvadorans displaced by the civil wars fomented by the US and it took root in El Salvador after the US deported many of them back to El Salvador. Reagan’s actions have come back to bite us.

The poor don’t need healthcare

Here’s the Trump administration’s idea of helping people out:

Underpinning that effort is Verma’s belief that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act was a disastrous move that extended coverage to millions of low-income people who shouldn’t be getting insurance from the government.
“We’ve put more than 10 million people, 12 million people into this program where the doctors won’t see them, and the policies that are in the Medicaid program are not designed for an able-bodied individual,” she said. Verma added that the administration’s goal is to keep those people in the private insurance market, where they would not be “dependent on public assistance.”

Umm, Verma, the whole reason they are on Medicaid is they don’t have and can’t afford private insurance so keeping them in the private insurance market means keeping them without insurance. I know that’s the Republican ideal but you would think she might want to circumspect when she says people don’t deserve insurance.

Politcal Correctness in the EPA

The new EPA is all about Political Correctness:

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.

Ok, that’s really just censorship. Here’s the Political Correctness:

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program.
Under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA also has removed most mentions of the words “climate change” from its website.

On an EPA website, scores of links to materials to help local officials prepare for a world of rising temperatures and more severe storms have been removed.
Among the now-missing pages are those detailing the risks of climate change and the different approaches states are taking to curb emissions. Also edited out were examples of statewide plans to adapt to weather extremes.

It is no longer politically correct to talk about global warming at the EPA–that’s impressive, the agency tasked with protecting the environment doesn’t want to talk about something that will have a pretty adverse effect on the environment.

“Fake News”=political correctness

According to Wikipedia:

In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase “politically correct” was used to describe strict adherence to a range of ideological orthodoxies. In 1934, the New York Times reported that Nazi Germany was granting reporting permits “only to pure ‘Aryans’ whose opinions are politically correct.”[2]

As Marxist movements gained political power, the phrase came to be associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between Communist Party members and American Socialists. This usage referred to the Communist party line, which provided “correct” positions on many political matters. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,

The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.

— “Uncommon Differences”, The Lion and the Unicorn Journal
Thus President Trump is the ultimate politically correct politician. Anything that he signs is great (including ‘health care’ bills that he hadn’t yet seen. Anyone who praises him is great–even if they’re a dictator. States that voted for him are great, those that didn’t are not. He has said that the deal with Iran was terrible, so he found a way to say it needed to go even if Iran has exactly followed its terms. When the unemployment rate was going down under Obama it wasn’t real, but it is now that he’s President. If someone doesn’t kowtow to him, they’re fired.
The biggest tell is when he says ‘Fake News’. If something isn’t to his liking he labels it fake news which is the equivalent of being politically incorrect. Every time he says ‘fake news’ you should substitute ‘politically incorrect’ and you will see what he really means:
for example, if he says CNN is fake news that really means they are saying bad things about him. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, only if it makes him look good or bad.

Patriotism

There was a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the origin of the Pledge of Allegiance today in Malden:

James Bailey Upham (1845-1905) resided on Lincoln Street in Malden and was an active member of the First Baptist Church. As a partner at the popular children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion, Upham devised a promotion to distribute an American flag to every public school in the country and to have students recite an oath to the flag in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

There’s more to the story here with this interesting bit:

What is uncontested is this: The pledge — in an early form — was first published in the magazine Youth Companion on Sept. 8, 1892. YouthCompanion was, in the words of the early publishers Nathanial Willis and Ada Rand, aimed at  encouraging  “virtue and piety, and … warn against the ways of transgression.”  Both Upham and Francis Bellamy, a minister,  then worked for the magazine. In 1888, one of the departments in the magazine launched the School Flag Movement. This was a campaign to sell flags to public schools. In the guise of patriotism, a genius marketing boom was born.

Yes, the idea of the Pledge was originated to sell flags. Now that’s American patriotism.

You see the same thing in the NFL:

In 2015, a Senate report released by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake poured cold water on some of the more heartwarming moments of patriotism seen in professional sports.

The report found the Department of Defense had spent $6.8 million on what they called “paid patriotism” between 2012 and 2015. This money was spread out among 50 pro teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, MLS and others.

In exchange for the money, teams organized displays of national pride including flag presentations, the honoring of military members, reenlistment ceremonies, and even the most unassailable and uplifting of patriotic moments: surprise military homecomings. To be clear, plenty of teams also do, and have done, such things with no compensation.

and it wasn’t until 2009 that players were mandated to be on the field for the Anthem–before that they usually stayed in the locker room until after the Anthem.

It sure seems like one of the main reasons for displays of patriotism in the US is to make money.

Oh, there’s also religious freedom involved:

On Monday, June 3, 1935, Watch Tower Society president J. F. Rutherford, was interviewed at a Witness convention about “the flag salute by children in school”. He told the convention audience that to salute an earthly emblem, ascribing salvation to it, was unfaithfulness to God. Rutherford said that he would not do it.” While the matter was not yet established doctrine or written policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at least some Witness families quickly made a personal conscientious decision on the matter.

Well, I’m sure everyone realized they had a right to their beliefs. Ha ha, I kid:

In September in Lynn, Massachusetts, a third-grader and Jehovah’s Witness named Carleton Nichols refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and was expelled from school. The Nichols incident received widespread media attention, and other Witness students soon followed suit. Rutherford gave a radio address praising Nichols, and schools around the country began expelling Witness students and firing Witness teachers.

and it gets worse:

Minersville, Pennsylvania was predominantly Roman Catholic and there was significant animosity towards the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tensions were already high before this case arose and many viewed this as one way to get back at the Witnesses. As a result, his children were subjected to teasing, taunting, and attacks from the other kids. For Lillian, this meant giving up her status as class president and losing most of her friends. “When I’d come to school,” she said, “they would throw a hail of pebbles and yell things like, ‘Here comes Jehovah!’ Billy’s fifth grade teacher attempted to physically force his arm out of his pocket to make the requisite salute.

A local Catholic church started a boycott of the family store and its business dropped off.

and even worse:

On June 9, a mob of 2,500 burned the Kingdom Hall in Kennebunkport, Maine. On June 16, Litchfield, Illinois police jailed all of that town’s sixty Witnesses, ostensibly protecting them from their neighbors. On June 18, townspeople in Rawlins, Wyoming brutally beat five Witnesses; on June 22, the people of Parco, Wyoming tarred and feathered another.

The American Civil Liberties Union reported to the Justice Department that nearly 1,500 Witnesses were physically attacked in more than 300 communities nationwide. One Southern sheriff told a reporter why Witnesses were being run out of town: “They’re traitors; the Supreme Court says so. Ain’t you heard?”

Remember this the next time the conservatives cry about religious freedom.

You’re fired

Oh Donald Trump, you’re such an idiot:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” wondered the president, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” The hypothetical was met with cheers from the assembled crowd.

Trump also said such an owner would “be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.” He added that if fans were to “leave the stadium” in response to a protest, “I guarantee things will stop.”

First, if an owner fired their best player because they kneeled, my guess is they wouldn’t be too popular that team’s fans.

Second, “That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for”? I thought the country stood for free speech? I guess that’s not as important as blind loyalty for the Donald.

Lastly, if we’re going to fire someone who disrespects our country, can we fire Trump? Please, he’s an embarrassment to everything the country stands for.

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