Monday, July 23, 2018

Last Call For Trump Cards, Con't

As I keep telling people, some folks are driven by duty, some by ambition, some by avarice, some by faith, and plenty of folks are driven by hatred.  Donald Trump however is driven by revenge.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that President Donald Trump is “looking to take away” the security clearances of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe
All of those individuals served in the Obama administration and some served in the Trump administration, though none currently do. All have been critical of the President. At least McCabe, according to his spokesperson, and possibly more of the officials already had had their clearances deactivated after being fired by Trump.

During a press briefing Monday, a reporter asked about Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) evidence-free assertion earlier in the day that Brennan could be spilling state secrets to media outlets in order to profit off of his access. Paul’s office never responded to TPM’s questions about what specific allegation, if any, Paul was making. 
“Will the President consider Sen. Paul’s suggestion and call for the removal of former director Brennan’s security clearance?” the reporter asked. 
Sanders appeared ready for the question, reading her response from prepared remarks.
“Not only is the President looking to take away Brennan’s security clearance, he’s also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe,” Sanders said. 
“The President is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearances because they’ve politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances,” she added. “Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia — or being influenced by Russia — against the President is extremely inappropriate, and the fact that people with security clearances are making baseless these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

“Isn’t the President doing exactly what you just said the President doesn’t want all these people doing?” NBC News’ Hallie Jackson asked later. “Politicizing matters of national security by going after his political enemies?” 
No, the President’s not making baseless accusations of improper contact with a foreign government and accusing the President of the United States of treasonous activity,” Sanders responded, though Trump frequently made just those kinds of baseless attacks against former President Obama.

I mean Sanders makes it clear here that this is about petty revenge, because Donald Trump is a petty, vengeful person and always has been.  Of course, there's several former Obama intelligence advisers who have already given up their security clearances...

Oops.  Petty and ineffective, that's our Donald!

The Endagered Endangered Species Act

The Trump regime is taking aim at dismantling most of the Endangered Species Act so energy, timber, fishing, and mining companies can get back to ripping the country's national parks, wetlands, forests and wildlife refuges apart for their chewy profitable centers.

The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November’s midterm elections.

In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the law have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration.

The actions included a bill to strip protections from the gray wolf in Wyoming and along the western Great Lakes; a plan to keep the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that inhabits millions of oil-rich acres in the West, from being listed as endangered for the next decade; and a measure to remove from the endangered list the American burying beetle, an orange-flecked insect that has long been the bane of oil companies that would like to drill on the land where it lives.

“It’s probably the best chance that we have had in 25 years to actually make any substantial changes,” said Richard Pombo, a former congressman from California who more than a decade ago led an attempt to rethink the act and is now a lobbyist whose clients include mining and water management companies.

He and others argue that the act has become skewed toward restricting economic development and Americans’ livelihoods rather than protecting threatened animals.

The new push to undo the wildlife protection law comes as Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress, and is led by a president who has made deregulation — the loosening of not only environmental protections but banking rules, car fuel efficiency standardsand fair housing enforcement — a centerpiece of his administration.

The Trump administration unveiled its main effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act on Thursday, when the Interior Department and the Commerce Department proposed fundamental changes to the law. Those include a provision that for the first time could allow the economic consequences of protecting plants or animals to be considered when deciding whether or not they face extinction.

If the proposal is finalized, species that remain on the endangered list would still see their habitats protected, but it would become more difficult to list a new species for protection and easier to remove those now on the list.

The myriad proposals reflect a wish list assembled over decades by oil and gas companies, libertarians and ranchers in Western states, who have long sought to overhaul the law, arguing that it represents a costly incursion of federal regulations on their land and livelihoods. Until now, those efforts have largely failed, even during periods when Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress.

So Trump is literally going to put a price on extinction of species and of course decide that corporate profits are more cost-beneficial to "Murica's biggest companies.  I am once again prompted to remind everyone that maybe having Hillary around wouldn't have been "worse than Trump", but then again "climate change and the environment" have completely dropped off everyone's problem list (along with ISIS, Medicare and Social Security,and LGBTQ rights) in the Trump era anyway, so this is actually a smart move for Team Evil right now.

Republicans are going to burn down the environment before they lose in November, and they'll probably have the votes from red state Dem senators to do it, especially Manchin, Tester, and Heitkamp.

Seems like a win for them.

They Will Never Leave Him, Dems

White evangelical Christians will never, ever, ever, ever leave Donald Trump, and Democrats need to stop wasting time, resources, manpower and money chasing after them, and I hope the Washington Post article on the members of a Southern Baptist chirch in Alabama makes this painfully clear.  They are lost.

What was important was not the character of the president but his positions, they said, and one mattered more than all the others.

“Abortion,” said Linda, whose eyes teared up when she talked about it.

Trump was against it. It didn’t matter that two decades ago he had declared himself to be “very pro-choice.” He was now saying “every life totally matters,” appointing antiabortion judges and adopting so many antiabortion policies that one group called him “the most pro-life president in history.”

It was the one political issue on which First Baptist had taken a stand, a sin one member described as “straight from the pits of Hell,” and which Crum had called out when he preached on “Thou shalt not kill” the Sunday before, reminding the congregation about the meaning of his tiny lapel pin. “It’s the size of a baby’s feet at ten weeks,” he had said.

There was Terry Drew, who sat in the seventh pew on the left side, who knew and agreed with Trump’s position, and knew that supporting him involved a blatant moral compromise.

“I hate it,” he said. “My wife and I talk about it all the time. We rationalize the immoral things away. We don’t like it, but we look at the alternative, and think it could be worse than this.”

The only way to understand how a Christian like him could support a man who boasted about grabbing women’s crotches, Terry said, was to understand how he felt about the person Trump was still constantly bringing up in his speeches and who loomed large in Terry’s thoughts: Hillary Clinton, whom Terry saw as “sinister” and “evil” and “I’d say, of Satan.”

“She hates me,” Terry said, sitting in Crum’s office one day. “She has contempt for people like me, and Clay, and people who love God and believe in the Second Amendment. I think if she had her way it would be a dangerous country for the likes of me

They are lost.  They thought Obama was going to "end racism" by absolving white America of slavery and Jim Crow and lynch mobs and history, and when Obama pointed out that racism still existed, they turned on him and the Democrats in frightening numbers.  And they are lost.  They aren't coming back.  Not when Trump's GOP is gladly the white supremacy party.

As he saw it, there was the issue of Trump’s character, and there was the issue of Terry’s own extinction, and the choice was clear.

“He’s going to stick to me,” Terry said.

So many members of First Baptist saw it that way.

There was Jan Carter, who sat in the 10th pew center, who said that supporting Trump was the only moral thing to do.

You can say righteously I do not support him because of his moral character but you are washing your hands of what is happening in this country,” she said, explaining that in her view America was slipping toward “a civil war on our shores.”

There was her friend Suzette, who sat in the fifth pew on the right side, and who said Trump might be abrasive “but we need abrasive right now.”

And there was Sheila Butler, who sat on the sixth pew on the right side, who said “we’re moving toward the annihilation of Christians

She was 67, a Sunday school teacher who said this was the only way to understand how Christians like her supported Trump.

“Obama was acting at the behest of the Islamic nation,” she began one afternoon when she was getting her nails done with her friend Linda. She was referring to allegations that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian — allegations that are false. “He carried a Koran and it was not for literary purposes. If you look at it, the number of Christians is decreasing, the number of Muslims has grown. We allowed them to come in.”

Obama woke a sleeping nation,” said Linda.

“He woke a sleeping Christian nation,” Sheila corrected.

Linda nodded. It wasn’t just Muslims that posed a threat, she said, but all kinds of immigrants coming into the country.

“Unpapered people,” Sheila said, adding that she had seen them in the county emergency room and they got treated before her. “And then the Americans are not served

Love thy neighbor, she said, meant “love thy American neighbor.”

Welcome the stranger, she said, meant the “legal immigrant stranger.”

“The Bible says, ‘If you do this to the least of these, you do it to me,’ ” Sheila said, quoting Jesus. “But the least of these are Americans, not the ones crossing the border.”

They are lost, and they are done.  Trump's evil won't repel them, and appeals to economic populism will fall on deaf ears.  They believe their reward for fighting for Trump and for white Christianity lies in heaven.  They are a lost cause.  All Democrats are doing is ignoring their own base in order to try to shave a few off the margins in the suburbs and exurbs, and it's coming at the direct expense of black, Hispanic, and Asian voters.  It's a fool's trade.

Frankly at this point Trump is circling the wagons and winning back "never Trump" critics after his performance in Helsinki last week.

President Donald Trump’s approval rating edged higher during a week in which he faced withering criticism following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, signaling that he is positioned to weather the latest controversy sparked by his unusual brand of politics.

Mr. Trump’s job approval rating rose to 45% in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the highest mark of his presidency and up 1 percentage point from June. The survey was taken over a four-day period that started July 15, a day before Mr. Trump’s news conference with Mr. Putin in which he questioned the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Underpinning Mr. Trump’s job approval was support from 88% of Republican voters. Of the four previous White House occupants, only George W. Bush, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, had a higher approval rating within his own party at the same point in his presidency.

Their hearts are closed and their minds are made up.  We have fifteen weeks left from tomorrow.  If Dems do not regain control of the House at the minimum, we are done as a nation.  The damage by the time November 2020 rolls around will be incalculable if they still control the country. I understand the need to grow the Democratic party brand, but that means getting new voters out that we can reach, not chasing Obama-Trump voters who are not coming back this year and may never come back.

If we don't get our crap together now, we will be the ones who are lost.  If the events of this week where it became clear that Trump is compromised by Russia and no longer cares if the world knows about it didn't cause a crippling and obvious collapse in support for Trump, there is nothing that will, save Donald Trump becoming a Black Lives Matter fan on national TV.

It is time to move on.


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