WTF

Father of Navy SEAL Killed in Trump Raid Refused to Meet with Trump

It was just about a month ago when Donald Trump ordered a fail raid in Yemen, a raid that ended up killing a little American girl and a Navy SEAL named, William Ryan Owens. When Owens remains came back to the U.S., Donald Trump himself wanted to see the damage his hands caused, and he wanted to have a meeting with Owens’ family. Owens’ dad however, wanted nothing to do with Trump.

Speaking with the Miami Herald, Bill Owens explained that they had requested a private transfer of the remains, with no press and just a few military dignitaries. However, when informed that Trump was on his way, Owens said he didn’t want to meet him.

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him,’’ Owens recalled telling the chaplain who informed him that Trump was on his way from Washington. “I told them I don’t want to meet the President.”

He told the Herald he “cringed at the thought” of having to shake the president’s hand and that his “conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.” Owens, a veteran himself, also questioned why the mission was even approved.

“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?’’

Following the mission, which besides the loss of Ryan Owens’s life also saw numerous civilians killed and an aircraft destroyed, the White House has pushed back against any disagreement that the raid was a complete success.

WTF

Alien and Sedition Acts Redux

When you really think about it, conservatives have wanted to take this country back to the beginning of the republic ever since Reagan was elected in 1980. After all, Antonin Scalia and the Originalists (which is a great name for a rock band, yes?) made their political and philosophical careers on interpreting the constitution according to what they believed to be the framer’s intent. And as long as Scalia and Thomas and the far right were on the fringe, it looked like the country might avoid the embarrassment of living in the 1790s.

That’s all changed, hasn’t it?

If the first month of the Trump administration was a bit of an organizational mess, the second month is proving to be a full court press on the nation’s values and mission. What was once a pair of bedrock beliefs–that anyone who could make a contribution to society was welcome here, and that a free press was the major check on executive and congressional power–seem to be under assault by the president (shudder) and his minions in the White House. They are now committed to actually breeding hatred, suspicion, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-intellectualism and undermining news organizations and journalists who dare to cover them critically.

Gone are the days, if they ever existed, where Americans could take some solace in the idea that Donald Trump was more moderate than his campaign words and that he would try to unify the country around change that would benefit the working and middle class. His screed in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference was a call to arms against fellow Americans who understand that fear and suspicion are the enemies of representative democracy, and Sean Spicer’s press wall against those news organizations that the administration blames for negative coverage is a dangerous admission that the Trump White House has little regard for facts or interpretation.

It makes sense, then, to think that we might be on the verge of new Alien and Sedition Acts (and reading the first paragraph of this entry made me laugh. The Soviet Union is gone, so just substitute Trump’s America). Far-fetched, you say? Banning immigrants is on the check list. Muzzling the press and making it illegal to criticize the president? Former, yes, the latter, not out of the realm of the possible. These laws were terrible enough in the 1790s, but they would be a catastrophe today. The president and Steve Bannon seem to be in agreement on challenging every mainstream media organization and demonizing their reporters and executives. They champion their own press that has, shall we say, a spotty record when it comes to reporting actual facts. They want to plug press leaks too. Anybody seen G. Gordon Liddy around?

Of course, this is all a great big Hypocrisy Woodstock love-in. When the press was using Russian leaks about Hillary Clinton, Trump encouraged more. When James Comey bombshelled the election 10 days before the vote, Trump was exultant. Now he’s blaming the FBI for being against him. And there will be more verbal attacks on other agencies as they inevitably will need to come into conflict with the White House, because it’s clear that Trump cannot be wrong. But don’t worry; he’ll tweet what’s correct.

None of this is normal. None of this has a precedent. None of this conforms to any notion of responsible presidential behavior. None of it. We are moving in reverse. Time to dig our heels in.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

WTF

Sen. Barbara Boxer Sends Trump a Copy of The 1st Amendment

Barbara Boxer, a Democratic Senator from California, is hoping that you help her send a message to the President – that according to the United States Constitution, the 1st amendment guarantees “freedom of the press.” Boxer took to Twitter to send the 1st amendment to Donald Trump, and she asking everyone on Twitter to do the same.

“Trump shot out press,” Boxer tweeted, referring to the recent unprecedented move by Donald Trump to restrict press coverage of a White House press gaggle. “Tweet him a copy of the 1st amendment, guaranteeing freedom of the press,” she wrote.

I just did. But I don’t think Trump is capable of understanding the 1st amendment, let alone the U.S Constitution.

WTF

Donald Trump Will Not Attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

The sitting president of the United States is often the featured speaker at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But this year, in what has so far turned out to be a tumultuous year in office for the donald, Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to announce his decision to stay away from this year’s April 29th event.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

On the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump has had a strained relationship with the press, calling journalists “the enemy of the people” and frequently criticizing outlets and individual reporters whose coverage he does not like.

The reporters’ group said it would go ahead with its April 29 dinner despite Trump’s absence. The Washington event typically draws movie stars, politicians and business leaders to hear a humorous speech by the sitting president.

The dinner “has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters White House correspondent who heads the association this year.

Ronald Reagan was the last president to sit out the event after he was shot in 1981.

Politics

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – “We Are Not Experiencing The Best of Times” – Video

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke with BBCs Newsnight, and mentioned the Japanese American internment camps that happened in this country during her lifetime. She called that action “a dreadful mistake.” When asked if she saw similarities or “echoes” today when compared to the time of the internment camps, Ruth Ginsburg replied, “we are not experiencing the best of times.”

But, the 83-year-old jurist said the public’s resistance to the new administration — on full display at last month’s Women’s March protests — has given her “reason to hope that we will see a better day.”

“A great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle; it is the pendulum, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back,” she told BBC.

Video

WTF

Trump to Conservatives – “Now You Finally Have a President, Finally”

One time Democrat, now self-proclaimed Republican Donald Trump, spoke at the yearly conservative gathering called CPAC and declared to the group that he is their president, “finally.”

President Trump declared himself among friends as he delivered a campaign-style speech Friday at an annual gathering of conservative activists and told the crowd that his movement represented the future of the Republican party.

“Now you finally have a president, finally,” Trump said, shortly after taking stage to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

He later promised that “the forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no more.”

With his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland, Trump became the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to address the group during his first year in office.