• Synagogue Vandalized with Anti-Semitic Symbols: Will Donald Trump Tell Us There Are “Good People on Both Sides?”

    vandalized synagogue, Nazi symbols, Indiana
    Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, Indiana, was targeted by vandals who spray painted a Nazi flag and other symbols on the property.

    A synagogue outside Indianapolis was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered over the weekend.

    From the IndyStar:

    According to the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, the vandalism occurred at Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in the 3000 block of West 116th Street in Carmel. The vandalism occurred late Friday or early Saturday and was discovered Saturday morning.

    The crime scene remained intact and surrounded in yellow police tape Sunday morning. The graffiti, which comprised a pair of Nazi flags and iron crosses, was spray painted on two walls of a brick shed that surrounds the property’s garbage bin.

    On the grass in front of one of the Nazi flags, there are apparent burn marks in two places, and a portion of the graffiti bears a black burn mark, too.

    Will Donald Trump tell us there are “good people on both sides” again? Will Sarah Huckabee Sanders tell us, “Look, obviously the president disapproves of vandalism of any kind,” when, in fact, nothing is obvious about this president at all?

    Except that he never comes right out and condemns Nazis.

    Except that he “dog whistles” to the racists all the time.

    Except that we honestly don’t know where he stands on race and racism, except that we do.

    We know exactly where Donald J. Trump stands on racism. He tells us every time a brown child is separated from her parents, stripped from her parents, as they come to America seeking asylum.

    Donald Trump has told us repeatedly where he stands on racism.

    He stands with Fox News. He stands with Steve Bannon.

    He stands as one of the leaders of the Alt-Right in America.

    From the Human Rights Watch:

    Claiming the “animals” comment is just about MS-13 is a semantic trick – don’t buy it. Trump’s policies put immigrants in the crosshairs; he is increasing deportations of deeply-rooted, hardworking people away from their homes, families, and communities. While claiming to protect us from dangerous gangsters, he makes it US policy to rip children from the arms of their parents in order to criminalize migrants and asylum seekers and break families apart through massive deportations. Americans should see through this ploy and reject the inhumane policies that Trump’s rhetoric serves.

    We should see through all of his ploys. He is a dangerous, dangerous man.

    We must #resist.


  • The Fear of Trump Among the Elderly

    senior, man, fearful, sad
    A man fearful, sad. (Creative Commons)

    I don’t know if there’s anything so under-reported and so heart-wrenching right now as the fear of Donald Trump among the elderly. There is a grave terror, almost, of what Trump and the Trump Administration might do to the safety net supporting the vast majority of our senior Americans. This is across the board, although some are more fearful than others, depending on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, veterans, those with physical or mental disabilities — no one seems to consider herself or himself safe.

    Had a conversation yesterday with a retired couple. They’re white, middle class, now living on a fixed income. But their fear is palpable. The rumblings among the GOP in Congress to gut or privatize Social Security, slash Medicare — these are real concerns for this couple.

    I’ve heard similar fears expressed by older family members and friends. The revolt would be great and gray.

    GOP governors have already hacked away at Medicaid, with Maine’s GOP Governor Paul LePage saying earlier this month “he would rather ‘go to jail’ than expand Medicaid programs without a long-term plan for substantial funding.” That’s a nice statement, and, on the surface, it sounds like responsible economics. But what is he doing to secure such sustainable funding? And what is the economic cost of people dying early or young because of lack of access to health care?

    If we examine news reports, we find some coverage of Social Security, fears of what Paul Ryan might do to Medicare, but this anxiety our longtime residents feel about Donald Trump, is, I believe, under-reported.

    And I hope some news organizations begin to take a closer look.


  • Insulter-In-Chief Can’t Do Simple Math

    Donald Trump smug smile
    Donald Trump, willfully ignorant.

    Donald Trump flaunts his ignorance.

    In Illinois, state representatives used to say that former-now-disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich governed by press conference. He would rarely speak with legislators as people, rarely talk policy. Instead, he would talk about legislators to the press, in the press.

    He lived for interviews.

    Donald Trump governs — if you could call it– that, by insult.

    His latest, attacking Dems. All Dems, I guess, everywhere. But focusing on Congress this time.

    First, Trump has a penchant to randomly capitalize words. And only he understands why and what he is trying to emphasize.

    Here, he says:

    Democrats in Congress must no longer Obstruct [sic] – vote to fix our terrible Immigration Laws [sic] now. I  am watching what is going on from Europe — it would be soooo simple to fix. Judges run the system and illegals and traffickers know how it works. They are just using children!

    Let’s consider how un-presidential this word salad sounds. The New York Whiner hasn’t a clue — or willfully ignores — the facts. Many, many people trying to enter this country are asking for asylum, these “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

    Kyle Griffin of MSNBC’s @TheLastWord captures a portion of Trump’s willful ignorance:

    Democrats don’t control Congress. The House voted on two immigration bills in June — neither had majority Republican support.

    But, hey, why should math bother this President? Why get bogged down with facts when incendiary charges work so much better.


  • Trump’s America: 92-year-old Beaten with a Brick

    Rodolfo Rodriguez
    Rodolfo Rodriguez, age 92, legal U.S. resident.

    Welcome to America, Rodolfo Rodriguez.

    Wait. Mr. Rodriguez is a legal United States resident, 92-years-young.

    And a woman beat him because he looks, well, different. You know. Not like an “American.”

    Okay, he’s not White.

    Here’s the horrible news:

    Rodolfo Rodriguez, 92, set out about 8 p.m. on Independence Day on his regular evening walk around his Los Angeles neighborhood, relatives told KTLA. But what happened next was anything but routine.

    When Rodriguez bumped into a young girl while trying to pass her on the sidewalk near his home, the toddler’s mother shoved him to the ground and beat him in the face with a brick, police told the station.

    After a passer-by stopped to record the incident on video and call police, four men ran up and began kicking Rodriguez while the child’s mother shouted at him, reported KCBS.

    “Go back to your country, why are you here, bad things,” the witness said the mother told Rodriguez, who is a legal U.S. resident, according to the station.

    Welcome to Trump’s America.

    Why didn’t President Trump apologize for the actions of this White person? President Obama was called on the carpet each and every time a Person of Color allegedly did something inappropriate.

    Why are things different now?

    I wonder.


  • Giuliani Makes Up Date Mueller Probe Will End

    Rudy Guiliani
    Rudy Guiliani

    The president’s “lawyer” Rudolph W. Giuliani said the special counsel plans to wrap up its investigation of whether President Trump obstructed the Russia inquiry by September 1.

    Guillani made his remarks Sunday, according to the New York Times, saying “that waiting any longer would risk improperly influencing voters in the midterm elections in November.”

    Somehow I don’t believe Rudy Guiliani, nor do I believe that Robert Mueller’s primary concern is the midterm elections.

    Rudy doesn’t pass the smell test, again.

    How did he come up with the date of September 1? Likely he said it many times during the “negotiations” with Mueller’s team, finally convincing himself that the special counsel’s office agreed to that date.

    In short, he made it up.

    The NYTimes reports:

    The office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, shared its timeline about two weeks ago amid negotiations over whether Mr. Trump will be questioned by investigators, Mr. Giuliani said in an interview. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

    Mr. Giuliani’s comments were an apparent attempt to publicly pressure Mr. Mueller amid their interview negotiations.

    Most relevant from this report?

    “A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.”

    That’s all we need to know. Guiliani runs at the mouth every time he gets before a camera or microphone. No doubt this time he is simply playing parrot to what President Trump would like to be true. Mr. Mueller works in a political void — so it seems to me. Let his work continue until it has reached its natural conclusion, and a real report can be prepared.

    Bring on the midterms.


  • North Korea Is Pulling Out: How Will Trump Trump Obama’s Nobel Now?

    Crazy Donald TrumpThe talks between North and South Korea have collapsed.

    The summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un are collapsing as we write.

    How will Donnie T. trump President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize now?

    It’s all going up in smoke.

    For a while, I was thinking, “Only Nixon could go to China. Maybe only Trump can go to North Korea.” Except that appears less and less likely as time goes on.

    From the New York Times:

    North Korea threw President Trump’s planned summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, into doubt on Wednesday, threatening to call off the landmark encounter if the United States insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

    The statement, made by the North’s disarmament negotiator, came hours after state media warned that the summit meeting might be canceled to protest a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea that began this week.

    The warnings caught Trump administration officials off guard and set off an internal debate over whether Mr. Kim was merely posturing in advance of the meeting in Singapore next month or was erecting a serious new hurdle.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.

    And I didn’t even know Gloria was sick. (h/t Mel Brooks)


  • White House Deletes Key Line From Transcript Of Jared Kushner’s Speech In Jerusalem

    Jared Kushner, Amy Siskind, Other 98
    Amy Siskind and the Other 98.

    For some reason, Jared Kushner spoke on behalf of the United States today at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

    Jared Kushner, who was elected to nothing.

    Jared Kushner, who has no background, training, or education at all to be the voice of the United States.

    Jared Kushner, who has no security clearance.

    That Jared Kushner spoke on behalf of the United States today at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

    And the White House edited a key line from his talk from the official transcript.

    From Alternet:

    The White House on Monday released an official transcript of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner addressing the opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. In the version submitted to reporters, however, the administration neglected to include an important—and controversial—line from the top Trump aide.

     

    “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Kushner said during his remarks in Jerusalem. At least 52 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Gaza by Israeli security forces.

    For some reason, the White House removed Kushner’s line saying, “…those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

    Besides the 52 Palestinians killed attempting to enter Israel — Israel fired on them with live ammunition — besides the 52 killed, at least 1,000 Palestinians were injured.

    No more than 40 miles away.

    From where Jared Kushner, a man with no background, elected to no office, a man with no security clearance, spoke on behalf of the United States.


  • Donald Trump’s Dangerous Reality Show

    Rex Tillerson
    Rex Tillerson, official portrait.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the latest to find himself outside the revolving door of the Trump White House. CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Tillerson, according to reports.

    Trump treats his White House as a reality TV show. He treats national security as a TV reality show. The number of firings, resignations, etc., of the “best people” is staggering. The number of positions not yet filled, numbering in the hundreds, is very troubling.

    The federal government employs 2 million civilian workers nationwide, but many positions at the top of the food chain remain empty a year into the Trump presidency. Of more than 600 key jobs filled by presidential nomination, more than half of them are currently vacant awaiting confirmation or have no nominee.

    We are in crisis. Our government is in crisis. Our national security is in crisis. The man at the top thinks he is running a TV reality show.

    I must say it again. I have no other explanation. He thinks this is all about him.

    And we are suffering, will suffer, for this.


  • Get To Know Conor Lamb, The Next Dem To Upset A GOP Dark Red District

    Conor Lamb, Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 18th.
    Conor Lamb, Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 18th.

    Conor Lamb has as real shot at upsetting a dark red GOP district that includes Houston, PA.

    Lamb speaks on, wait for it, Jesus, as only a young man of faith who knows the teachings of Jesus can:

    “Jesus always started out by going and being with a certain group of people,” says Conor Lamb as we’re winding down hilly back roads to the Washington County Gun Show.

    Jesus, Lamb tells me, tried to get to know people as people before he tried to win them over with arguments. He “wasn’t asking people where they stood on abortion before they came and sat down with them.”

    Lamb, the Democratic candidate in a neck-and-neck special election on March 13, has to hope the people of Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District will likewise listen to what he has to say before judging him by his party affiliation.

    Described as a “square-jawed 33-year-old Marine Corps officer who resigned from his job as a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh to run, has a chance to upend the district’s politics—as long as he can avoid being labeled a liberal without discouraging the district’s not inconsiderable Democrat base from turning out. A devout Catholic, Lamb is pro-union and pro-gun, backs bipartisan deals for fixing Obamacare and the nation’s infrastructure, wants more job training and less college debt, and says he’s pro-fracking but pro-environment, too. And he’s betting that this mix of economic populism and moderate social politics can win the predominantly blue collar district.”

    And I couldn’t be happier for him. Or for Pennsylvania’s 18th, which, currently, begins northwest and west of Pittsburgh, south to the state line, and explodes east into Westmoreland County.

    Let’s see what the district looks like after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is done redrawing it.

    Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District
    Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District (Since 2013)


  • Round And Round: The Web Spins ‘Round Trump

    Nick gates to change plea
    Nick Gates will change his plea to guilty, testify against Paul Manafort.

    The web spins ever more tightly, creeping closer and closer to Donald Trump.

    From the LA Times:

    A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days — and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul Manafort, the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

    The change of heart by Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Richard Gates, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort’s, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.

    Gates will change his plea to guilty within the next few days, according to the report.

    And this:

    Gates, 45, who is married with four children, does not appear to be well positioned financially to sustain a high-powered legal defense.

    “He can’t afford to pay it,” said one lawyer who is involved with the investigation. “If you go to trial on this, that’s $1 million to $1.5 million. Maybe more, if you need experts” to appear as witnesses.