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Trump, The Shell Game: The Conning of America

Trump, The Shell Game: The Conning of America

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Trump, The Shell Game: The Conning of America

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622 pagine
8 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2020
ISBN:
9781662404122
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

To describe Donald J. Trump as unfit for office is not sufficient unless you can also explain in detail exactly why. That is what this book is intended to do and in great detail as captured in a series of columns written by the author. Paul Schwartz is a political columnist and has focused on the Trump administration and its mismanagement, from Trump’s misunderstanding of import tariffs to his total lack of understanding of how illegal drugs are smuggled into our country across the southern border to his embarrassing July 4 speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial during which he referred to George Washington’s use of air power. If you want to reminisce about Trump’s miscues, this is the book for you. It is a time capsule of that administration from inauguration to impeachment.

Pubblicato:
Nov 13, 2020
ISBN:
9781662404122
Formato:
Libro

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Trump, The Shell Game - Paul Schwartz

Trump, The Shell Game

The Conning of America

Paul Schwartz

Copyright © 2020 Paul K. Schwartz

All rights reserved

First Edition

PAGE PUBLISHING, INC.

Conneaut Lake, PA

First originally published by Page Publishing 2020

ISBN 978-1-6624-0411-5 (pbk)

ISBN 978-1-6624-0412-2 (digital)

Printed in the United States of America

Table of Contents

Get an Advance on the Betting Line

An Inaugural to Be Remembered

A Ban by Any Other Name…

Call It Voter Suppression, Not Fraud

The Federal Government: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

A Presidency Unhinged and Unbelievable

The Loyal Opposition Isn’t Anti-American

Promises, Promises and the Dionne Warwick Lament

Tap Dancing with Fallen Stars

Rebuilding the Democratic Party

Threats to the Democratic Process

Learn to Be Like a Boy Scout and Get Prepared

Meet the New Boss—Same as the Nixon Boss

Maybe It’s Merely the Longest 100 Days—Yet

Taking an Oaf of Loyalty

Dreaming the Impeachable Dream

Where Have You Gone, Pumpsie Green?

In the Land of DC, the Question Remains, Who Is It You Can Believe?

The Lost Sessions in Congress

The Business of Government Is Not Business

Pee-wee Herman and Today’s Political Scene

Starve the Funding and Kill the Health Coverage

Delaney Tries to Tackle Crumbling Infrastructure

Raskin Shines the Light on Government Darkness

Rebuilding Dem-Labor Alliance in Trumpworld

The Missing Russian Is Now with Sinclair TV

The Enlightenment of the Charlottesville Riot

Casting Call for Trump the Movie of All Times

Dear Young American Little Girl…

From Russia with Love…

Hindsight and the 2020 Election

The Fed Isn’t the Enemy, Folks

Who Is the Worst President in Our History?

Turning Rhetoric into Action with Results

No Room for Aristocracy in Today’s Society

Ronald Reagan Is Tantamount to Blasphemy

It’s Never Too Early to Talk about Gun Control

A Look Back at History through Clear Classes

Reasons for Activism

Facebookin’ on the Hill

Welcome to the Nevermind Obama, It’s All About Me Donald Trump Presidency

And It Really Should Be Equal Justice for All

Caught in a Downpour of Deception and Fraud

Redistributing the Wealth the Old-Fashioned Donald Trump Way…

Racists Are Simply and Merely Lazy

Remember to Turn Out the Vote

Rex Tillerson Actually Got This One Right

Back to the Future via Biff—or Trump

Everyone Needs to Establish Standards

Keep Your Hands Off the Pension, Dude

And Now Gun Rights for Everyone!

Democrats Face a Messaging Problem

Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to Washington

Don’t Tell Me What I Need to Know—Just Tell Me What I Want to Hear!

Leadership for the Few Isn’t Exactly Leadership for Us All

Continuing Trump Hypocrisy

All the News Unfit to Print

A Threat to the Federal Government Is a Threat to All

The Press Isn’t Going to Go Anywhere, Mr. President

Mueller Questions

Democracy Finds Itself in a Shambles as Mad King Donald Takes Center Stage

And Now a Word about ICE

The Danger to Democracy Is Far Deeper Than Just the Current Problems of Trump

And Remember—That Was the Week That Was

The Basic Lessons Need to Be Remembered

President’s Analyst Is Definitely Missing

There’s Always a Question in the White House

How to Identify a Racist Today

An Unending Thirst for Power

Once Upon a Time, President Trump Sat Down for an Interview

You Heard It Here First: Predictions

Back to the Future or Back to the Past?

Unhinged, Unfit, and Uncontrollable

The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth—I still Like Beer!

Executive Orders Take a Back Seat to the Law

Finally Election Protection

Get Out and Vote!

Voter Fraud: An Admission

Postelection Analysis of the 2018 Midterm Elections

Putting America Back Together Again

Some Year-End Questions That Still Need Answers

And Now for Some Government for, by and of the People

When a Bleacher Bum Becomes President

Changing America’s Gun Culture

Loose Lips…

Humpty Trumpty Fell Off His Wall

And Now, a Few More Words about Tariffs

To Impeach or Not to Impeach? That Is the Question.

Policy Development Requires More Than Campaign Promises

The Caveman Cometh

It’s about More Than a Wall

Things of Which You Can Be Sure

A Day at the White House—Deciphering the President

Trump’s Shell Game

Capitalizing on Socialism

Billy Martin’s Words of Wisdom

Experience Does Matter

Zero-Sum Politics in Trumpworld

The Mueller Report: Don’t Celebrate before Entering the End Zone

A River Runs Through the White House

You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide

Empty Desk, Empty Suit, Empty Soul

Andrew, Almost Dick, Bill, and Now the Donald

Lowering the Barr

Letters, Lots of Letters…but None to Santa

My Day at the Ramblin’ Rose…Garden

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Nixon: I Want a Do-Over

Let’s Play Jeopardy

If Fraud Is a Crime, Why Is Trump Still President?

A Foreign Policy Like No Other

Walking and Chewing Gum at the Same Time

The Stakes Are Too High

Ram Those Ramparts

Enough Is Enough

Run, Hide, and Fight…Again and Again

Which America Is It?

The Brotherhood of Nixon

Appropriations Are Not a Shell Game

I Told You So

The Smoking Gun?

The Ukraine Scandal in a Nutshell

Will the Winning Ever Stop…Please?

A Real American Patriot

Impeachment, Hypocrisy, and the GOP

Why Would He?

Who Are the Real Human Scum?

Wisdom before the World of Tweets

Both Sides of Their Mouths at the Same Time

Circular Firing Squad

A Walk Through the Constitution

Leave Our President Alone!

Why Two, Not Three?

Are You Better Off Today?

Appearances Can Be Deceiving…or Are They?

Another One Bites the Dust…Goodbye, Sentinel

I dedicate this book to all the journalists who risk their safety, especially while covering Trump rallies, in pursuit of keeping the public informed and meeting their responsibilities under the First Amendment of the Constitution. As Thomas Jefferson so famously once said, When the speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant. Rants of Enemy of the people immediately come to mind.

Introduction

Somehow, some way, the most unfit individual ever to run for the presidency of the United States found his way into the Oval Office. Was it because of Russian influence in our election? Was it because of former FBI director James Comey’s non-indictment indictment of Hillary Clinton’s email use? Was it due to Bernie Sanders’s either inability or unwillingness to bring the Democratic Party together in the aftermath of his failure to secure the Democratic nomination? Was it Hillary Clinton’s inability to resonate with the seventy thousand voters across the three states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan as a third term of Obama? Was it, simply, the skill of Donald Trump as a conman who conned a nation? Maybe, just maybe, it was a combination of all these possibilities to create the perfect storm that whisked Donald J. Trump and his fellow swamp creatures into the White House.

Regardless of the cause of what has resulted in an assault on our democratic values and institutions by the Trump administration, the reality is that Donald J. Trump has, indeed, sat in the White House as the president of the United States since January of 2019. Covering both the White House and Congress for the Montgomery County and Prince George’s Sentinel newspapers has been my focus since that fateful day in January, the day of the Trump inauguration.

As political columnist for the Sentinel newspapers, I have a ringside seat to both the White House and Congress, and my weekly columns on Washington, DC, politics serve as my platform to share my perspective on all the controversies emanating from both.

My columns serve as the basis of this book and, as such, a mechanism for capturing all the constant turmoil created on an almost daily basis by the Trump administration. The columns provide my perspective on the issues we face and how their impact on the citizenry are compounded by the unwillingness of the Trump administration and his Republican enablers in Congress to put country above party.

From Trump’s complete lack of understanding of how tariffs work to his misrepresentation of the value of a border wall to his even more egregious and complete mishandling of foreign policy and, along with it, the alienation and sometimes abandonment of our allies, I take the reader through a journey to explain in detail how Trump’s unfitness for office does create vulnerabilities for our nation that should be of grave concern to every American.

As of this writing, while impeachment of Trump has become a reality, removal has not yet been decided. However, much of the justification for both actions can be found in these columns regardless of whether he is ultimately removed. As importantly, if not more, it is hoped that the release of this book serves to shine even more light on the issues of the day as we enter into the 2020 campaign season and the November election, when it will be the voters who have the final word.

I have placed the columns in chronological order in an attempt to lead the reader through events and issues as they occurred at any particular point in time. It is not my intention to change anyone’s position on any specific issue, only to share my perspective and let the readers decide for themselves the validity of the positions I have taken.

I do hope you enjoy the ride and find value in my arguments.

Paul’s View

Get an Advance on the Betting Line

Paul K. Schwartz

January 19, 2017

@PKSpaul

The betting line has been established, and it is time to get your bets in. How long will Trump last in the Oval Office? Will it be one year, two years, three years, or four? How many gamblers out there are willing to wage he will last into a second term? These are not questions ordinarily asked about incoming presidents, but they are certainly warranted for this president.

Will he be impeached as a result of his refusal to divest himself of any conflicts of interest? Since he never really expected to win the election, this apparently was never a concern for him until now. Will his taking money from foreign governments through those business dealings and in clear violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution he swore to uphold be justification enough for impeachment by even this Congress?

Will he step down voluntarily rather than jeopardize any of these vast holding if forced to divest? Of course releasing tax returns could shed some much-needed light on this situation, but this president apparently is not subject to the same norms that previous presidents adhered to.

Could it be he is using the presidency for private gain, in clear violation of federal law, specifically 5CFR2635.702, an impeachable offense, which states, An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations. In other words, stop pushing your golf courses, your hotels, and all the rest, Donald; by the way, the Old Post Office was more useful to your base when it offered a food court.

Maybe he will be impeached as a result of his ties to Russia. Defending Russia at the expense of our intel community will undoubtedly come back to haunt this president. Colluding with a foreign power against the interests of the United States is not only an impeachable offense; it is a treasonable offense. Oh, and by the way, Donnie, it wasn’t the intel community that got weapons of mass destruction wrong; it was the Cheney administration. The real question, here, is whether Trump’s relationship with Russia will be too much for even congressional Republicans to tolerate, especially with one of their very own, Pence, waiting in the wings.

Maybe what will prevent him from getting through a full term is the fact that he is an overweight, out-of-shape seventy-year-old who can’t handle either emotionally or intellectually even the slightest of criticisms. He now finds himself in a position the very nature of which garners criticism with every action taken or not taken. The bet is not about if he will implode under these circumstances, but when.

In all likelihood, what will cause him to step down is that at some point he will realize just how far over his head and how manifestly unqualified he is for the position the voters placed him in, and so will the voters. Will the American voters finally come to realize the frivolity of their choice, and more importantly, will the backlash resulting from his failure to keep any of his campaign promises make it clear to Trump that he will not be given a second term? Will that realization cause Trump to step down on his own terms to save face? Will he ultimately do the right thing if for the wrong reasons? Jeopardizing his financial holdings with an unpopular presidency might be just enough motivation for him to seek a graceful exit.

These are the questions facing voters as a result of their being conned by the ultimate conman. Get your bets in now. It will be a very entertaining one or two or three or four years as we watch your earned benefits and government protections against corporate greed dismantled one by one. Enjoy the show!

Paul’s View

An Inaugural to Be Remembered

Paul K. Schwartz

January 26, 2017

@PKSpaul

Often, in life, one finds oneself in a situation in which he is uncomfortably out of place. Welcome to my attendance at the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the forty-fifth president of the United States.

Sitting among the throngs of Trump supporters, it didn’t take me long to realize I was in somewhat foreign territory. Was it the fact that they applauded individuals and statements that I found objectionable and that individuals whom I admired were derided such as the shout out, once again, to lock her up? I must say that if there ever was an example for Michelle Obama of someone going high when they go low, it was Hillary Clinton’s attendance at this crowning of a clown as president.

Certainly this contributed to my feeling of being somewhat of an outsider even in my own country and at a location, the US Capitol, that I frequent quite regularly in my capacity as a columnist.

However, it was much more profound than that. It was Trump’s speech and the reaction to all the substanceless rhetoric in it by these sheep being herded to slaughter that made me so very disappointed in my fellow Americans.

In all honesty, with regard to Trump’s speech, I really didn’t expect anything different than what he gave. I did, however, have hope for a great deal more. It was an opportunity for him to say something that could have actually helped begin the process of bringing this divided nation together. He chose, rather, to give a campaign speech that played to his base. He chose rather to miss a golden opportunity. He chose rather to rally the half that supported his election and dismiss the half that didn’t.

From the speech he gave, it is quite clear that Trump feels most comfortable in campaign mode. The only problem with that is that he won and no longer has to attack his competition. He won; he is no longer running for office. He is now in the office. Now his focus must be on solutions, not campaign rhetoric. Nothing in that speech provided anything approaching what could be considered ideas, solutions, or proposals for achieving America’s goals. Nothing! Actions do speak louder than words.

Enough with the words, especially the word redisTRIButed, not redistriBUTEd as he so incorrectly pronounced it. Word to the wise: if you can’t say it correctly, stay away from using it until you mastered it.

Ordinarily, when I trash what a person says, I like to provide specific examples to support why I found the statements so objectionable. In this case, let us just say, it was the entire speech!

Yes, he said we need to address jobs, schools, crime, drugs, etc., etc., etc. How about a vision for exactly how that will happen? That is what I was hoping to hear, but to no avail.

He said he would give the power back to the people! How? Did his cabinet picks reflect that dream? Not even close!

He said he wants to rebuild our depleted military. Aside from the fact that the military already accounts for more that 57 percent of the federal budget, exactly what needs to be added, fixed, revised to improve our military, and how would whatever needs to be added, revised, or improved do just that?

Trump, in his speech, made it clear that America comes first. Well, sounds a bit patriotic but also quite naive. Yes, America must always consider its self-interests when dealing in a global economy, but patriotism must never be confused with isolationism, which is exactly what he was describing. We are no longer in the 1950s during which America clearly had the strongest economy and was in position to call all the shots. We are now in a global economy with other strong players on the playing field, and we have to work within that framework if our own industries are not to be left behind. The fact that Mr. Businessman can take an isolationist view in the global world is quite disturbing, to say the least. Elections have consequences but none more so than this one.

He ended his speech by saying We will make America strong again! We will make America wealthy again! We will make America safe again! We will make America great again! A great rallying cry; his base literally ate it up! What America truly needs, however, is not a king of sound bites and 142 characters, but real ideas for making America better than it is, for narrowing the partisan divide, for competing in the global economy in such a way as to strengthen domestic industry.

A somewhat out-of-the-box suggestion to the new president for narrowing that partisan divide if he is really honest in wanting to be a president for all Americans. Call it a peace offering. If he is really serious about working with the other side, the side I clearly am on, there is no limit to how many he could potentially win over if he does just one thing. My suggestion is that he nominate to the Supreme Court someone who was universally supported by both Democrats and Republicans…that is, until he was nominated by President Obama. Trump should nominate to the Supreme Court moderate Judge Merrick Garland. He won’t do that of course, but if he did, he might even get me to reconsider my position on him.

Paul’s View

A Ban by Any Other Name…

Paul K. Schwartz

February 2, 2017

@PKSpaul

Donald J. Trump’s instituting a ban on individuals from seven Muslim nations entering our country is not the first time a ban has been set in place, but it clearly is a ban like none before it. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration instituted the No-Fly List and the Terrorist Watch List.

The No-Fly List is a list of individuals prohibited from boarding commercial aircraft for travel to or within the United States. The Terror Watch List, a much longer list of names than the No-Fly List, consists of individuals suspected of some involvement with terrorism and as of June 2016 has some 1,877,133 names on it.

The difference between these lists and the banning of an entire religion from entering the United States, as was just done by our new president, is the difference between religious freedom and religious persecution. It is the difference between a Constitution, like ours, that protects religious freedom and one that does not. It is the difference between targeting specific individuals based on specific information and targeting a specific religion. It is the difference between being cautious and being un-American!

Clearly, we are currently in a war against terrorism from abroad and at home and precautions must be taken. During the first Persian Gulf War, heightened security regarding Iraqis entering the country was in place, but that was with a specific nation with which we were currently at war. It was not, as is the current case, against several nations, some of whom we rely on in our war on terror, simply because of their being a Muslim-majority country.

The same can be said for Trump’s claim that his ban is similar to what President Obama did in 2011. The main difference is that what President Obama did was to intensify the vetting process for both Iraqis who were yet to enter the country as well as Iraqis who were already in the country in response to an actual identified threat, the discovery that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bomb-making in Iraq that had targeted US troops. Under congressional pressure, officials decided to reexamine all previous refugees and also impose the new screening procedures, which led to a slowdown in processing new applications. The process was slowed down considerably due to the enhanced screening, which is still in place today, but was not an outright ban. Trump, by contrast, issued his executive order without any known triggering threat.

Further, and quite significantly, Obama’s policy did not prevent all citizens of a specific country, including green-card holders, from traveling to the United States, as is the case with Trump’s policy. Add to that the fact that there is a peculiar stench surrounding a bit of inconsistency in Trump’s selection of Muslim-majority countries to be banned. The seven banned Muslim-majority countries—namely, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan—have something in common other than the Muslim faith. None of these states had individuals who were part of the 9/11 attack. Nor do they have any business dealings with Donald J. Trump. On the other hand, Muslim states that are not included in the ban—namely, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon—all had individuals involved in that attack and, by the way, have either financial or potential financial dealings with one Donald J. Trump. Trump properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers operating in Turkey. You are free to draw your own conclusions about this inconsistency.

Of more concern is that this president apparently is under the mistaken assumption that if he is not aware of a process, then the process apparently does not exist. Compounding this flawed thinking is the apparent fact that he refuses to do any homework that might reveal a truth that is contrary to his misguided beliefs.

Specifically I am referring to the already existing extreme vetting process regarding refugees, specifically Syrian refugees. Syrians must pass several layers of security checks before being admitted to the United States, a process that can take two full years. A bit long for a terrorist to wait, don’t you think? Moreover, the process does not guarantee that the United States would be the final destination for the refugee.

The process begins with the United Nations, who registers, interviews, and then grants refugee status to the individual. The next step is for the United Nations to refer the individual for resettlement in the United States. After that the State Department takes over and includes an interview, a first-level background check, then a higher-level background check, and then still, another background check run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist and criminal history. Next is fingerprinting screening and a photo, then a second fingerprinting screening against the FBI and Homeland Security databases. The case is then reviewed at Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by a refugee specialist. At Homeland Security there are several extensive reviews, interviews, and screenings all performed prior to the individual ever leaving for the United States. If the individual finally receives approval from the Department of Homeland Security, the individual must still be screened for contagious diseases and attend a cultural orientation class, matched with an American resettlement agency, and undergo another multiagency security check before leaving for the United States. It is the thoroughness of this process that results in it taking some two full years to complete.

I am not certain whether one of the questions asked during any of the multitude of interviews is whether the individual vows to support and love deeply our country as Trump requires, but I would take a wild guess that if the question were asked of an individual fleeing for his and his family’s lives, he would likely reply yes.

Paul’s View

Call It Voter Suppression, Not Fraud

Paul K. Schwartz

February 9, 2017

@PKSpaul

Anyone remember the claims by Trump during the campaign that the election was rigged against him? Apparently with Trump, the end justifies the means, as his claims have calmed down since his electoral college victory. That is unless you listen to his claims that he actually won the popular vote even though Hillary won that metric by some 2.8 million voters.

The fact of the matter is that if, indeed, there was any rigging of the election, it had more to do with the undue influence on the election of outside entities. Whether it was FBI Director Comey’s decision to try Hillary Clinton in the court of public opinion even though he admitted there was no basis for any indictment or whether it was WikiLeaks, in cahoots with the Russians, releasing a slew of emails for the sole purpose of embarrassing Secretary Clinton and the Democrats, any rigging of the election did not result from any voter fraud.

Voter suppression clearly exists as evidenced by the widespread attempts by Republican state governments to limit access to voting by mostly lower-income and minority voters who, just by some strange coincidence, happen to be primarily Democrats. Requiring government-issued IDs such as driver’s licenses and then closing motor vehicle locations is just one example. Limiting early voting days, times, and locations is another rather popular method for reducing voter turnout of some segment of the Democrat electorate.

What clearly is not happening, however, is any degree of voter fraud at the polls. To begin with, despite Trump’s rantings, voter fraud is not perpetrated by illegal immigrants who are so afraid of coming out of the shadows that they wouldn’t dare risk revealing their situation by coming out to cast a vote. Nor, I might add, is voter fraud perpetrated by dead people.

Granted, dead people may, indeed, still be on the voter rolls, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they voted. Ever have a Facebook friend die? Have you unfriended him or her yet, or is he or she still on your friend’s list? My assumption is that you haven’t received too many postings from that individual lately.

Now this is not to say that there aren’t any instances of voter fraud. There of course is the possibility that Uncle Freddie, who lives with you but who has recently passed away, received his write-in ballot and you take it upon yourself to fill it out and send it in on his or your behalf. However, the number of such instances occurring to such a degree as to actually influence the outcome of the election is quite remote at best.

Voters appearing on multiple voter rolls is another claim that has no substance. People move from one state to another and rarely take the steps to remove themselves from the voter rolls of the state they left. However, to think they return on election day to vote in more than one state is a preposterous assumption. Likewise, it is unlikely that anyone will have the post office forward their mail in ballots for years at a time.

According to a New York Times report, there have been few credible allegations of fraudulent voting in this year’s presidential election. The Times indicated that it made inquiries to all fifty states and all but Kansas responded. The report noted that election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia indicated that they did not find any credible claims of voter fraud, election officials in eight states indicated only one allegation of voter fraud, in Tennessee, out of some 4.3 million primary and general election votes cast, there were only some 40 credible allegations, and Georgia opened 25 inquiries into suspicious activity out of 4.1 million ballots cast.

The Washington Post has also indicated that its research indicates no evidence of any widespread or even modest voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

These conclusions, of course, are not in the least bit surprising since to effectively rig an election through voter fraud would require a widespread, nationwide coordinated effort. Combine this with the fact that each state runs the election process independently, and you would have to have a coordinated effort of enormous magnitude that neither major political party seems capable of pulling off. Think Congress.

Paul’s View

The Federal Government: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Paul K. Schwartz

February 16, 2017

@PKSpaul

If the goal is to undermine the effectiveness of the federal government to such an extent that it justifies all claims that it is ineffective, there are two surefire ways to achieve this end. One is to underfund the agencies that comprise it to prevent those federal agencies from having enough staff to carry out their individual missions.

A primary example of this strategy is the underfunding of ATF. You will recall that Congress fought tooth and nail to prevent ATF from even having a director. Congress likes to say that we do not need any new gun safety legislation; we should simply do a better job of enforcing existing gun safety laws such as those relating to background checks. Yet that very same Congress does not fund ATF to the extent that it can hire the requisite number of ATF agents needed to visit gun shows to ensure that gun sales for profit that do not meet the personal exemption standards are shut down if they do not ensure the legally required background checks.

The other surefire method for undermining the federal departments and agencies tasked with administering and enforcing the very laws enacted by Congress is to place as department heads individuals who are either so inexperienced or so antigovernment that placing these individuals to head a federal department or agency is akin to placing the fox in the hen house. Welcome to the Trump administration!

If you want to not only protect corporate interests but also enhance corporate interests at the expense of the general population by trashing all government regulations designed to protect the general welfare, then the Trump administration is the place for you.

Let’s start with Trump’s choice for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt is literally one of the last people anyone would want as EPA administrator based on his stance on climate change. He’s a radical climate-change denier, with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, who has repeatedly sued the EPA to block the Obama administration’s life-saving clear air and climate rules. In his role as attorney general for Oklahoma, Pruitt repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency to stop environmental regulations including rules to slash carbon pollution from power plants, protect children from toxic mercury pollution, reduce air pollution near our national parks, and clean up America’s polluted waterways. Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator would likely lead to the dismantling of more than four decades of environmental and public health protections.

How about Rick Perry as his choice for secretary of Energy. As many of you may recall, former governor Perry had three agencies on his list to close down: Education, Commerce, and OOPS. Well, the OOPS one was supposedly Energy. What better strategy to make the Department of Energy dysfunctional than to place Rick Perry, who is also a climate-change denier, in charge of it. Many of the previous secretaries of Energy were scientists, not science deniers.

Next up, Ryan Zinke, another climate-change denier, as his choice for secretary of the Interior. Representative Zinke’s environmental voting record in Congress earned him a score of 3 percent by the League of Conservation Voters. A winning score when it comes to the Trump administration.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is his attorney general! Is it possible that anyone could actually believe that someone who has fought as hard against voting rights could be entrusted as the top law enforcement official in the nation to enforce and protect the right to vote for all Americans? I think not!

Dr. Ben Carson will be heading Housing and Urban Affairs. Really? How absurd is this choice? This is a doctor who removed himself for consideration as secretary of Health and Human Services because he claimed he didn’t have the experience to run that department. Agreed. Other than living in a housing project in Detroit as a child, what experience does he have to run HUD? Keep in mind, although he admittedly didn’t have enough experience to run HHS, he did seem to believe he had enough experience for the presidency. I do have to admit, however, that the results of the election do demonstrate that experience is not required for the presidency.

Anyone concerned with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as our new secretary of state? I guess if having close relations with Russia is a goal, who better than Rex, who has a great deal of experience catering to Russia for drilling rights which will become a great deal easier to obtain with him as secretary of state. He, too, is a climate-change denier. Drill, baby, drill!

Drain the swamp, you say. What better way to drain the swamp than by placing the swamp monsters in the president’s cabinet? Actually, I am fairly certain there is a much better way, but apparently this is the preferred method adopted by the new administration.

Steven Mnuchin as secretary of the treasury? Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner, profited greatly off the financial crisis and became known as the foreclosure king as his company, OneWest, foreclosed on thousands of homeowners, including the elderly. Mr. Mnuchin bought IndyMac, a mortgage lender, changed the name to One West, and then made huge profits by targeting homeowners for foreclosures resulting from the risky mortgages sold. Sounds like just the man to protect our economy! Not!

Although there are plenty of other examples, let’s end with placing an individual in charge of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has no experience as an educator and, as another member of the swamp, has never attended or sent her children to a public school. That alone should have been dismissive of her nomination, as is her record of advancing a voucher system that would result in public funds being used to support private education such as religious schools. There is a constitutional requirement for separating church and state no matter how religiously fanatic an individual may be. Further, she is a strong advocate for charter schools, which clearly failed in her home state of Michigan as well as other states such as Pennsylvania.

Education is the cornerstone of a democracy. Without an educated electorate, regardless of income, our democracy is at risk, as the results of the 2016 election demonstrates all too clearly!

With a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, there will not be any doubt that all of Trump’s picks for his cabinet will be confirmed if they have not already been so. As I have said on more than one occasion, elections have consequences, and the American people have been witnessing those consequences on an almost-daily basis and the administration is less than three weeks old.

Paul’s View

A Presidency Unhinged and Unbelievable

Paul K. Schwartz

March 2, 2017

@PKSpaul

Is it really possible that anyone running for president of the United States would not possess even the most basic understanding of the United States Constitution, specifically the separation of powers? Is it possible that anyone holding the office of the president of the United States could be unaware that the separation of powers among the three branches of government is a cornerstone of our democracy? Apparently, the answer is yes on both counts. Welcome to the Trump presidency.

Is it really possible that anyone holding the office of president of the United States can be unaware that the office of the president brings with it a level of scrutiny experienced by no other position in the world? Is it possible that anyone holding the most powerful office in the world could not understand that every action taken as well as every action not taken will undergo that scrutiny? Apparently not. Welcome to the Trump presidency.

After only four weeks in office, which saw the administration hit with several setbacks including a reversal by the courts of his Muslim ban, the president’s press conference held on February 16 served as the vehicle that best exposed his inability to interpret any question posed to him as an attempt to seek answers to real issues as anything but a personal affront.

As someone who has been attending the daily White House press briefings on somewhat of a semiregular basis, I could say the attitude by this administration toward the press is disturbing, to say the least. Many of the statements made by the president during this particular press conference serve as a clear indication that the tone is set at the very top. Here are just a few examples culled from that now infamous press conference:

I turn on TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos, chaos, yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Considering the manner in which his Muslim ban was rolled out, a manner that clearly failed to consider constitutionality, one must question the claim of a fine-tuned machine. Further, he went on to state, We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban; we had a bad court. Right! If a court ruling goes against your action, it is because the court is bad, not because you failed to exercise due diligence prior to rolling out your executive order! Concerning the leaks regarding his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, the president said, The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. Really? What, specifically, is fake? Would not the public interest be best served with an impartial bipartisan investigation to prove just that? Isn’t it important for the public to be assured that there are no illicit connections by members of the administration with Russia?

Regarding Flynn, the president indicated why he asked for Flynn’s resignation by saying The thing is, he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember…that just wasn’t acceptable to me. This, of course, raises the question as to whether the resignation would have been sought if Flynn’s discussion with his Russian counterpart had never been revealed by the media as a result of the leak. Moreover, the president went on to say that he would have instructed Flynn to discuss with that Russian counterpart the sanctions even though President Obama was still in office. If this doesn’t warrant a full investigation, then nothing does…no, not Benghazi and not emails!

At this same news conference our new president stated, Russia is fake news. Russia—this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they’re there, because we have our new people going in place, right now. In other words, the issue isn’t the question involving the extent to which there was possible illegal interaction with a foreign entity that took steps to influence our election but, rather, that information regarding this activity was leaked to the press. This argument is tantamount to blaming the person pulling the fire alarm for the fire.

On this same topic concerning interaction with Russia, he stated, Nobody that I know of. How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Well, if he really wanted to allay concerns about his connection with Russia so that he and the country could move on with confidence, then how useful would it be for the new president to finally release his tax returns!

The list is quite extensive of the new president’s disconcerting statements during this news conference, but let’s turn to something that captures just how out of touch and how narcissistic this president is. During the news conference, the president was asked by a Jewish journalist about the rise in hate crimes across the country. Anyone who follows the Montgomery County Sentinel is aware of our recently held hate crimes forum resulting from a rise in hate crime incidents right here in Montgomery County.

The questioner took steps to make it quite clear that he respected the president and that the question was not about him but, rather, about what can be done to address the rising incidents of hate crimes. He included the fact that there have been some forty-seven Jewish centers across the country that had received threats. The president’s response, however, seemed to address a question that was never asked: Okay, sit down… So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism—the least racist person. That about addresses that concern!

Regarding his narcissism as well as his tendency to take reality with a grain of salt, let’s end with his obsession with always turning to his electoral college victory as the answer for any question. When questioned about his oft-repeated claim that he had the largest electoral college victory since Ronald Reagan at 306, it was pointed out to him that President Obama had electoral counts of 365 and 332 to which he changed his reply to say he was talking about Republicans. When it was then pointed out that George H. W. Bush had 426, his response resorted to blaming information he received. The actual question asked dealt with why Americans should trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake, when you’re providing information that is not accurate?

I will leave it to the voters of this country to answer that question!

Paul’s View

The Loyal Opposition Isn’t Anti-American

By Paul K. Schwartz

March 30, 2017

@PKSpaul

Trump supporters like to put anti-Trumpers on the defensive by telling them how un-American it is to not want our president to succeed. The usual response is to point out that that is exactly how President Barack Obama was treated throughout his eight years in office by the far right. Remember Mitch McConnell’s famous quote about his number one priority was to make President Obama a one term president? Don’t fall for that trap.

Although exposing hypocrisy is often gratifying, it doesn’t necessarily make for an effective government. Wanting our new president to succeed, however, likewise doesn’t necessarily make for the kind of government that we, as Americans, should want.

When the Trump supporters attempt to put the rest of us on the defensive by accusing anyone who doesn’t want the president to succeed as anti-American, the important question that must be considered is, what do they mean by succeed! In every instance the Trumpsters fail to explain

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