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Dealmaker-in-Chief. Not.

A government shutdown. Is there a more fitting way to end the first year in office of a man who is manifestly unfit for the presidency?

Some dealmaker! Even though he presides over a government fully controlled by his own party, the Negotiator-in-Chief couldn’t even cut a deal on either the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), two programs he supposedly wants saved, and which enjoy large bipartisan support in Congress and throughout the country.

The only deals he seems to excel at are divorce settlements, paying hush money to one or more mistresses, and selling apartments in Trump Tower to despots, drug dealers, and accused mobsters and money launderers, most of whom are card-carrying Russian oligarchs.

This is the great businessman who was going to fix things in Washington. (Who knew he really meant someone who intervenes to circumvent the law or arrange for favors.) Never mind his three Atlantic City casino bankruptcies, defrauding Trump University students, stiffing contractors, American banks refusing to lend him money, and other notable business failures, (e.g., Trump Airlines, Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, and the United States Football League).

Is it any wonder that the Genius-in-Chief wants to tear up every significant international agreement to which the United States is a signatory? When you’re so busy making it about you and your demagoguery, ignoring the majority of citizens who voted for your opponent(s), picking fights on Twitter, and driving people away with vulgar epithets and name calling, you reveal yourself as someone who is constitutionally incapable of respecting the legitimate interests of those opposite you at the negotiating table. You haven’t a clue as to how to forge a fair and enduring accord when complex national or international issues are at stake.

In fact you don’t have a clue — period — when it comes to occupying the Oval Office.

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Cruelty In Our Name

The recent deportation of Jorge Garcia, a man who was brought to this country illegally at the age of 10 thirty years ago, and has since lived here lawfully while raising two children with his wife who is an American citizen, is yet another example of Homeland Security’s cruel and morally indefensible enforcement of immigration policy. This video of Mr. Garcia’s leave-taking shows the human cost of what Trump and his rabid cronies are doing in our name. What national purpose is possibly served — how are we made more safe from terrorism — by breaking apart a family whose American roots formed decades earlier?

More evidence can be found in a New Yorker article entitled “When Deportation Is a Death Sentence.”

If anything sums up the current administration, it is its utter indifference to pain that it causes. An insecure, ignorant, narcissist has been given free reign to indulge his most base inclinations. It’s easy to think that this country is still an advanced democratic society but that’s what Germany was in the late 1920’s. Day by day, executive order by executive order, expletive by expletive, we are being pulled against our better natures to a dark abyss.

We know that the Narcissist-in-Chief watches a lot of TV in between rounds of golf, so here is some recommended viewing for him — if he ever gets bored with Fox and Friends — and anyone else who might be interested in understanding how low he has brought the presidency: Just watch any video clips of speeches or guest appearances on late-night talk shows by the man who preceded him in office.

They reveal someone with more class, integrity, intelligence, humor, warmth, sincerity, eloquence, and grace than DJT can ever hope to have. What’s truly remarkable though is that this black-skinned con artist, with a name that sounds like a Muslim terrorist, was born, according to McDonald’s First Customer, in a hut [Editor’s note: Nigeria/Kenya? What’s the difference?] in one of the shithole countries of Africa — and therefore had no business being in this country in the first place.

If the Grifter-in-Chief is looking for examples of what makes America great, he’ll find them, not by looking in the mirror or to his white supremacist base, but at replays of former president Obama on TV.

[Special note to Ivanka Trump]: Is this how you empower Third World women — by calling their native countries “shitholes”? To paraphrase something you said several weeks ago about Roy Moore: There’s a special place in hell, right next to Roy Moore in fact, for those who say one thing but actively work in support of the opposite.

* * * * *

Of all the written or spoken commentaries that expressed outrage at Trump’s latest vulgarity, none did it more powerfully, and with laser focus, than Philip Kennicott, the Washington Post’s art and architecture critic. Read his column and see if it doesn’t get right to the heart of what this nation and its institutions are becoming under the current president.

And on a lighter note, check out what’s being projected over the Trump International Hotel’s entrance in Washington, DC.

 

New Year’s Eve with Donald

Two days after signing a mammoth tax cut for the Trump family and ultra-wealthy Republican donors, our fake-president told friends at Mar-a-Lago “You all just got a lot richer.” Notice that he didn’t follow up by demanding they pass that largesse on to workers as higher wages, and to create new jobs or bring others back from overseas. That’s something you’d expect from a true populist, except you’d never find one at Mar-a-Lago. It certainly wouldn’t come from Donald Trump unless he was peddling the snake oil and Kool-Aid he’s famous for at a rally of true believers.

Speaking of Trump’s winter White House, the Washington Post reports that prices for tickets at Mar-a-Lago’s “very glam” New Year’s Eve party went up this year, another example of how the Grifter-in-Chief thinks nothing of lining his own pockets while president. [Trigger alert: Reading this article may induce vomiting.]

One guest and fan is quoted as saying: “Now he’s president, and he’s accomplished so much already.” That’s certainly true if you happen to be a white billionaire whose major worries are sagging skin; an evangelical Christian who sees the Trump administration as proof of God’s will; a gun owner convinced that even more firearms are the answer to epidemic levels of gun violence; a neo-Nazi or white supremacist thrilled that an ally now sits in the Oval Office; or someone who doesn’t know the difference between real journalism and state-run TV, aka Fox News.

More than two centuries ago, the French had an answer to the obscene wealth that royalty and the upper classes enjoyed. It was called the guillotine. I’d settle for a Democratic takeover of the Senate and House in 2018.

Dear God’s Gift to America,

As the Christmas holiday approaches, and your first year in office comes to a close with a mammoth tax cut for the wealthy and crumbs for the rest of us, I find myself thinking about:

  • young American citizens whose deported mothers or fathers won’t be able to watch them opening presents on Christmas day
  • DREAMERS whose lives are in limbo because you’ve ended their protection
  • victims of mass shootings and other gun violence whose numbers increase daily while you do nothing to address this deadly epidemic
  • women you’ve sexually molested or harassed and now defame as liars
  • the destruction of pristine wilderness areas your administration has opened to fossil fuel extraction
  • victims of hate crimes perpetrated by neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists, and religious extremists emboldened by your words and deeds
  • those who must forego health insurance, or suffer barely affordable premiums, now that you’ve sabotaged Obamacare
  • children who will lose life-saving medical care without CHIP funding
  • your unending assault on truth, scientific knowledge, basic decency, democratic institutions, and American values
  • weakened protections against toxic chemicals, air and water pollution, workplace and food-safety violations, and Wall Street greed
  • refugees fleeing war, oppression, famine, and gang violence who now find the door to America slammed tightly shut
  • adult women and girls in third-world countries deprived of needed health care due to drastic cuts in the US contribution to the United Nations Population Fund
  • human beings and animals everwhere whose lives and habitats are threatened because of climate change you call a hoax
  • a heavily polarized nation you show zero interest in uniting

It therefore seems fitting to wish you, Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Jared — grifters all — something for Christmas that the five of you have given to so many others: indigestion, gas, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, heart palpitations, and nightmares.

And if Santa is in a particularly generous mood this year: backed-up toilets at Mar-a-Lago.

Now that would be a wonderful Christmas present for the American people.

If you’re an un- or under-employed sadist, consider applying for a job with the Department of Homeland Security. You’d be a perfect fit for its workplace culture.

In late October, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy immediately after emergency gall bladder surgery. Her crime? Being brought to this country illegally as an infant. Perhaps it was an effort to top what a sister agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, had done earlier in the month — rejecting dozens, if not more, DACA renewal applications because the post office had somehow managed to delay delivery of them for weeks until after the October 5th deadline. Although the USPS readily acknowledged its colossal failure, and most US agencies and other institutions set the postmark date as a deadline, USCIS has its own set of rules:

According to U.S.C.I.S. regulations, a request is considered received by U.S.C.I.S. as of the actual date of receipt at the location for filing such request,” Steve Blando, a spokesman for the agency, wrote in a statement. He added: “U.S.C.I.S. is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses, or for delays on the part of mail service providers.”

So — when a government agency makes a mistake that can destroy a young person’s life, it’s more imperative to abide by bureaucratic boilerplate than to exercise some flexibility and accommodation that will prevent irrevocable damage? This is the refuge of the brainless and heartless, Exhibit A for a mean-spirited agency that is out of control in its relentless execution of Trumpian malevolence.

Its website provides contact information for reporting employee “misconduct, corruption, fraud, mismanagement, wasteful activities, and allegations of civil rights or civil liberties abuse.” Accepting the invitation, I called the phone number provided, 800-323-8603, and communicated my disgust to an actual person. I encourage everyone else to do likewise.

[November 15, 2017 update: USCIS will now allow individuals whose DACA renewal applications were originally rejected because of mail delays to resubmit their paperwork. One would like to think that this policy reversal was a harbinger of things to come, i.e., a more humane approach to immigration, but short of a Donald Trump heart transplant, let’s not hold our breath.]

Profiles in Courage

This is worth reading and looking at, however painful and deplorable.