Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Last Call For The Disrespect Never Ends

It seems Obama Derangement Syndrome won't come to an end once Barack Obama leaves office. In fact, it may be far easier starting next week to treat him like the help.

President Obama’s clashes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may cost him a membership at an exclusive golf club, sources said.

Obama is looking to join the elite Woodmont Country Club in Maryland once he becomes a private citizen.

But members of the mostly Jewish club are at each other’s throats over whether to accept the golf-loving president, with many saying he deserves to be snubbed for not blocking an anti-Israel vote at the United Nations, according to the sources.

Obama’s UN decision was followed by a speech by Secretary of State John Kerry that was seen by many in the Jewish community as hostile to Israel.

“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” a source told The Post.

Obama’s complimentary membership in the club — which charges regular members an $80,000 initiation fee — would have begun after he leaves the White House on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

The Obamas will continue to live in Washington, DC — and the Rockville club would offer a relaxing respite just miles from his new home. It would also offer a chance for Obama to hit the links on “two premiere golf courses . . . known across the country for their spectacular championship play and . . . rave reviews by golfers throughout the years,” according to the club’s Web site.

“It’s a very exclusive, high-end club,” a source said.

If I were President Obama, I'd delightfully tell these assholes to go stick their golf clubs where the sun doesn't shine and decline their invitation if offered, but that's why he's a better person than I'll ever be.

But the hatred and massive disrespect for the man will never end, will it?  America will treat Barack Obama like just another ni-CLANG for as long as he's alive, and then some.

The Donald Does Not Like Questions

His Imperial Orangeness would like you to know that media critical of the Trump administration will not be tolerated in any way.

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday would not let a reporter from CNN ask him a question during a press conference, saying that he worked for a “fake news” company.

The contentious exchange happened after Trump trashed a report CNN published Tuesday that said the U.S. intelligence community had presented him with allegations that the Russian government had compromising, but unverified, information about him.

“Could you give us a chance, you're attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?” CNN's Jim Acosta asked him.

“Don’t be rude. I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump responded. “You are fake news.”

After the news conference, Acosta said on air that Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, told him that “if I were to do that again, I was going to be thrown out of this press conference.”

What happens when Trump has the power of the state to not just throw journalists out his press conferences, but to start jailing them at will?

Might be something CNN wants to start asking. Heck, he almost covered up the real story at his presser: that he still refuses to release his tax returns, and refuses to resolve his painfully obvious conflicts of interest.  Greg Sargent:

We appear to be entering into truly uncharted territory. The vast extent of Trump’s global holdings, combined with their opacity, create both a level of potential for conflicts, and an inability for us to track those conflicts, that render all efforts to predict the consequences utterly hopeless.

It is hard to say what will happen now. The role of the press in trying to keep track of those conflicts will be crucial. But on that front, too, what we saw at today’s presser was cause for alarm. Trump tore into CNN as “fake news” for publishing a careful if provocative and envelope-pushing story on unverified claims that Russian intelligence gathered compromising information on him. Trump ferociously attacked Buzzfeed for publishing a dossier of those claims, pointedly noting that Buzzfeed would “suffer the consequences.”

That would be worrisome enough on its own. But combine it with Trump’s unprecedented dishonesty and his refusal to revise his claims when they are widely called out as false, and it all starts to smack of an effort to stamp out the very possibility of shared agreement on the legitimate institutional role of the news media or even on reality itself. It’s easy to imagine that, if and when a news organization uncover potential conflicts, Trump will simply deny the reality of what’s been uncovered (“fake news”) and begin threatening “consequences” towards that organization.

One thing that remains clear: Congressional Republicans are not going to step up and try to mitigate this situation. Republicans are not going to take any of the steps they could be taking to try to prod Trump into showing more transparency about his holdings, which would make conflicts and corruption less likely. It’s hard to see that changing, unless, perhaps, intensified media scrutiny shakes loose enough scandalous stories to make the lack of congressional action untenable. That will also require public pressure — of the sort that forced Republicans to reverse recently on their plan to gut an independent ethics oversight office, but probably a lot more.

Right now, serious pessimism appears to be a reasonable default setting. I could be entirely wrong about this — maybe Trump really will surprise us. If not, our institutions are going to be tested in unforeseen ways, and it will be on us — through vigilance, organizing, and political action — to make sure they are up to the task.

We're a week and change away from the most terrifying administration in recent history, and odds are very good that things will begin to disintegrate in America very quickly.

President Obama Says Goodbye

President Obama's farewell address was one for the ages, Obama being Obama, unrepentant and unbowed after eight years, the professor sharing his thoughts with the class.

That's what I want to focus on tonight: The state of our democracy. Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued. They quarreled. Eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity --- the idea that for all our outward differences, we're all in this together; that we rise or fall as one. (Applause.) 
There have been moments throughout our history that threatens that solidarity. And the beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism --- these forces haven't just tested our security and our prosperity, but are testing our democracy, as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland. In other words, it will determine our future. 
To begin with, our democracy won't work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. And the good news is that today the economy is growing again. Wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are all rising again. Poverty is falling again. (Applause.) The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a 10-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. (Applause.) Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years. And I've said and I mean it -- if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we've made to our health care system and that covers as many people at less cost, I will publicly support it. (Applause.) 
Because that, after all, is why we serve. Not to score points or take credit, but to make people's lives better. (Applause.)

But he also spoke on the America yet to come and our role in it, a multicultural America.

But we're not where we need to be. And all of us have more work to do. (Applause.) If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. (Applause.) If we're unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don't look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children -- because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America's workforce. (Applause.) And we have shown that our economy doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women. 
So if we're going to be serious about race going forward, we need to uphold laws against discrimination -- in hiring, and in housing, and in education, and in the criminal justice system. (Applause.) That is what our Constitution and our highest ideals require. (Applause.) 
But laws alone won't be enough. Hearts must change. It won't change overnight. Social attitudes oftentimes take generations to change. But if our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction -- Atticus Finch -- (applause) -- who said "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." 
For blacks and other minority groups, it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face -- not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he's got advantages, but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. We have to pay attention, and listen. (Applause.) 
For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn't suddenly vanish in the '60s -- (applause) -- that when minority groups voice discontent, they're not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness. When they wage peaceful protest, they're not demanding special treatment but the equal treatment that our Founders promised. (Applause.) 
For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, and Italians, and Poles -- who it was said we're going to destroy the fundamental character of America. And as it turned out, America wasn't weakened by the presence of these newcomers; these newcomers embraced this nation's creed, and this nation was strengthened. (Applause.) 
So regardless of the station that we occupy, we all have to try harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own. (Applause.)

The president spoke frankly on race, saying the post-racial America envisioned has definitely not come to pass.  It's the kind of thing he should have said eight years ago (or at least seven and some change after he was elected.)  The fact he's saying it now is amazing.

Needless to say, not everyone's a fan of the speech.

I am.  Listen to the man one last time.


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