“…they should be LYNCHED!”

CREDIT: screengrab.

One Karl Oliver, a rethuglican representative, has made an open, unapologetic statement about the removal of monuments to slavery. Specifically, he wrote:

“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

I haven’t heard one thing about these statues being destroyed. Removed from the public square, yes. The state could always put them up for auction, so hateful bigots like Oliver and his pals who approved his statement, could fork over serious money for them, and plant them in their backyard, where they could continue to worship hatred, bigotry, and slavery. The money could go for education, so we end up with fewer ignoramuses of Oliver’s type.

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, there is a difference between the memory of history, and the reverence of it, and that sentence says all that is needed. These monuments, like the confederate flag, are not a type of aide-mémoire to history; they are a paean to horrible, blood-soaked, hate-fueled times in our recent past. And while we should certainly remember such times and actions, to remind of us of how easily we hate, and how easily we are willing to kill for that hate, that’s not, and never was, the purpose of these monuments. They were created to have some sort of victory; to bolster a sense of self-righteousness in the fight to keep the right of owning other humans.

Not only do I think it’s past time for these types of monuments to go quietly away, I also think the confederate flag, that handy American version of the swastika, should go as well. People such as Karl Oliver need to walk off into the sunset as well, being little more than bags of puffed up, vitriolic bigotry. We don’t need you anymore, either.

Think Progress has the full story.

Caitiff.

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Photo: Defense Intelligence Agency).

It will be a surprise to exactly no one that Flynn has decided to go full court coward, a common trait in military persons who try to go political. That Flynn plans to invoke the 5th, that’s hardly a shocker.  Flynn has also stated he will not comply with a documents subpoena. Golly, wouldn’t it be grand if us regular folks could get away with that sort of thing? I rather doubt Flynn will be locked up until he decides to comply.

Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn plans to ignore the subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and will cite his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

According to an Associated Press report, Flynn plans to officially invoke the Fifth Amendment sometime on Monday.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said last week that Flynn had not yet complied with the Senate’s subpoena, and added that he didn’t expect Flynn to agree to testify under oath.

Flynn asked for immunity from the Senate in exchange for testifying, but so far the Senate has been unwilling to grant his request.

Raw Story has the full article.

$100 Million and Ethically Questionable.

Ivanka Trump participates in a presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal to President Donald Trump at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Oh, palace intrigue, it never ends. Once again, a deal struck now reverberates back to the Tiny Tyrant condemning something done by others, but it’s okely dokely for him and his family. Y’know, Donny has to absolutely love it there, in spite of that little curtsy gaffe, look at all that gilt! Is it too much to hope he’ll stay?

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $100 million to the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an initiative proposed by first daughter and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. The fund, which was first announced in April, has already raised serious legal and ethical questions about how a White House adviser can both shape foreign policy and actively solicit donations from foreign countries for the fund.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initiative would provide technical assistance and investments for projects that support the economic empowerment of women around the globe. Ivanka Trump does not control the money, though she first pitched the idea to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and has discussed the idea with leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Sunday, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim praised “Ivanka’s leadership” in spearheading the fund, and called it “a stunning achievement.”

Getting people to shovel money your way is a handy talent, no doubt. A stunning achievement, though? Oh, I don’t think so. Could the bar for this family possibly be lower?

President Donald Trump was extremely critical of Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation while campaigning against Hillary Clinton, going so far as to call for Clinton to return all the money given to the foundation, both in speeches on the campaign trail and during the October presidential debate.

Credit: Facebook.

Donald J. Trump: Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries.

“You talk about women and women’s rights. These are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money,” Trump said during the debate. “So I’d like to ask you right now. Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money. I think it would be a great gesture.”

The Clinton Foundation received between 10 and 25 million from Saudi Arabia. Gosh, that’s barely a peach pit next to 100 million, isn’t it? Naturally, Trump has not brought up receiving that amount of money from Saudia Arabia, because now that sort of thing is just fine. Great, in fact.

Think Progress has the full story.

Sunday Facepalm.

Uh Oh, it’s the Apocalypse. Again. I’ll confess, I didn’t watch the video, but I love that capture of Bakker holding up a piece of paper, with ‘Words’ written on it. There are definite echoes of A High-Tech Lynching! A Crucifixion! A Tsunami! An Earthquake! The Gates of Hell! in Bakker’s latest apocalyptic admonition.

Jim Bakker repeated his claims that criticism of Donald Trump is inciting violence and bringing about the Apocalypse and End Times, and asserted that conservative media pundits are being targeted for persecution.

Oh, the brutal bugbear of modern times – criticism! Criticism, no matter how mild, constructive, or politely couched, now considered the equivalent of purges, witch hunts, and lynchings in certain quarters, and it is beyond absurd. While criticism can certainly sting, it’s not life threatening, and it’s not a terroristic act, either. Regimes are noted for their hatred and fear of dissent and criticism though, and this does get confirmed, time and time again.

Bakker pointed to attacks on Trump as proof that “the Apocalypse has already began” and “the spirit of Antichrist” is growing in America.

“They want to kill our president, President Trump, with words,” he said. “They want to assassinate his person.”

Honestly, no one needs to go to the trouble of doing so. The Tiny Tyrant does a great job of assassinating his own character, such as it is.

Critical words about Trump, according to Bakker, are the fulfillment of biblical prophecy about the First Horseman of the Apocalypse.

He pointed to the cancellation of a Tim Allen sitcom as further proof that conservatives are under attack.

Uh…okay. The first horse, the white one, is the one which is most disputed, and interpreted rather widely. Could be Conquest, Christ, The Antichrist, Pestilence, Evil, or Empire Prosperity. Now, apparently, the rider of the white horse is Criticism! Oh woe is us and all that shit. As for Tim Allen, what? And more to the point, who fucking cares? I’d assume a sitcom being cancelled was due to the fact it wasn’t bringing in eyeballs. Or money. Most likely due to not being funny.

Bakker claimed that “the devil is trying to cut out the voice of the church” and that “they’re eliminating anyone that is pro-Trump from every broadcast; soon, very soon, the only conservatives will be on Christian television and then we’re the next target—write it down!”

Seems to me you can’t get rid of pro-Trump people in all sorts of broadcast; they’re worse than lice. If you want to claim that conservatives are being herded toward the last bastion of Christian television, you’re going to have to do some work first: Get rid of Fox news would be number one on the list. Then, scrub the internet clean. This is your mission, if you wish to be perceived as persecuted and oppressed. Good luck. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds.

“They hate Trump,” he said. “What is this? This is not a normal spirit. This is not a normal hate. This is that spirit of the First Horse of the Apocalypse, which is riding now. It’s the spirit of hatred that’s taking over America and life and death is in the power of the tongue.”

Oh, you Christians are the specialists in hate. Most of the rest of us can’t be bothered to expend that sort of energy. I don’t hate the Tiny Tyrant. I don’t know him well enough for that. I find him disgusting, disturbingly narcissistic, incompetent to the nth degree, and remarkably devoid of skill and talent, yes. I definitely want the Volatile Clown kicked out of the political circus. After that, I don’t care what he does, just like I didn’t care before.  As for a spirit of hatred, mmm, with hateful bigots, neoNazis, and fascists all pouring out of the woodwork in support of their wannabe dictator, that’s a fair enough statement. You’re just misplacing the source of the hate.

As for power of the tongue, yes, words are indeed powerful. That would be why you should actually be more focused on not spreading hatred; and why you should pay attention when those words turn critical.

Via RWW, the video is there.

“Chaos. Circus. Laughingstock.”

Trump. AP News.

It’s official as it will get – the primary attitude towards the Tiny Tyrant is mockery, along with modest amusement. Those who were initially concerned with the upcoming whirlwind Regime tour aren’t so concerned now. Yes, they know they are dealing with a teensy attention span, and must give Trump tiny participation trophies of some kind, but the attitude has shifted from a fear-laced concern to a mildly amused dismissal. This is not dealing with a savvy, brutal, wannabe dictator. This is dealing with the Naked Emperor, parading his new clothes.

“Chaos.”
“Circus.”
“Laughingstock.”

Those were just a few of the comments I heard in Berlin this week from senior European officials trying to make sense of the meltdown in Washington at just the moment when a politically imploding President Trump embarks on what he called “my big foreign trip” in this morning’s kickoff tweet.

[…]

Many I spoke with said they had made a fundamental mistake of viewing Trump primarily as an ideologue with whom they disagreed rather than what he increasingly appears to be: an ill-prepared newcomer to the world stage, with uninformed views and a largely untested team that will now be sorely tried by a 9-day, 5-stop world tour that would be wildly ambitious even for a seasoned global leader.

“People are less worried than they were six weeks ago, less afraid,” a senior German government official with extensive experience in the United States told me. “Now they see the clownish nature.” Or, as another German said on the sidelines of a meeting here devoted to taking stock of 70 years of U.S.-German relations, “People here think Trump is a laughingstock.”

[…]

“The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery,” Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of the conservative journal the National Interest, told the meeting at the German Foreign Office here while moderating a panel on Trump’s foreign policy that dealt heavily on the difficulty of divining an actual policy amid the spectacle. Heilbrunn, whose publication hosted Trump’s inaugural foreign policy speech in Washington during last year’s campaign, used the ‘L’ word too. “The Trump administration is becoming an international laughingstock.” Michael Werz, a German expert from the liberal U.S. think tank Center for American Progress, agreed, adding he was struck by “how rapidly the American brand is depreciating over the last 20 weeks.”

[…]

Some of the reported preparations for the NATO session in Brussels this week suggest just how much the volatile-clown theory of the American president has now taken hold.

NATO has labeled the May 25 session a meeting, not a summit, and will hold only a dinner to minimize the chances of a Trump eruption. Leaders have been told to hold normally windy remarks to just two to four minutes to keep Trump’s attention. (“This is routine,” the NATO spokesperson said.) They are even preparing to consider a “deliverable” to Trump of having NATO officially join the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria, as Trump has said his priority is getting NATO to do more in combating terrorism. “It’s a phony deliverable to give to Trump, a Twitter deliverable,” said a former senior U.S. official, pointing out that the individual NATO member states are already members of that coalition.

The Volatile Clown Theory. Yes, that sounds right. Now we just have to kick the volatile clown out of the center ring.

The full story is at Politico.

A Cheat Sheet.

Rep. Ted Lieu

To: @POTUS @realDonaldTrump

Here’s a cheat sheet for your 1st overseas visit.

From: @RepTedLieu, Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee

Cheat Sheet for 1st Overseas Visit.

DON’T leak classified information.

Israel = ally.

Russia = not ally.

G-7 is NOT a golf reference.

DON’T talk about a Muslim ban with the Saudis. Actually, don’t talk about banning Muslims ever again.

Heads up for Pope Francis meeting: He knows climate change is real, hates your proposed wall, and is not a fan of locker room talk.

Via Twitter.

Trump: Insulting to Children.

President Trump in Washington on Monday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Earlier, PZ had a post up about the latest shite from David Brooks, and now, two child psychologists have written to reprimand him for insulting children.  I agree, comparing most children to Trump is doing them one hell of a disservice, there’s no need to malign them. If you must go with such comparisons, at least go with childish behaviours, such as being a brat. More apt. I also agree with making the point that he is not only an adult, whether or not he chooses to act like one, and he is highly dangerous to us all, no matter where we reside. The current move by global leaders to make sure he doesn’t have a tantrum is awful, not only because no one is treating him like an adult, apparently, no one feels they can afford to expect him to behave in an adult manner.

Re “When a Child Is Leading the World” (column, May 16):

Can we all please stop using “child” and “adolescent” as epithets? David Brooks laid out the ways that President Trump is still a child, and therefore deficient.

The three reasons Mr. Brooks gives are that he: 1) can’t sit still; 2) “needs perpetual approval to stabilize his sense of self”; and 3) is unable to “perceive how others are thinking.” Yet none of these flaws are true of children, certainly not the way they apply to Mr. Trump.

Most children have no trouble sitting still by the time they reach first grade. Nor do children need “perpetual approval.” If they did, they would find it wanting. Children are also quite adept at understanding the thoughts of others. Most feel sympathy for the suffering of others and are quick to help someone in need, even as toddlers.

Donald Trump is a dangerous person, and he occupies a position of unparalleled power. That is the reality that faces the country and the world. Stop insulting children and adolescents by comparing him to them, and hold him accountable for his own offenses.

JEFFREY JENSEN ARNETT
LENE ARNETT JENSEN
WORCESTER, MASS.

Via The NYT.

Disney: Silencing Robot Trump.

Walt Disney World.

Oh my, oh my. Disney is going to place a robotic Trump in their Hall of Presidents, but the are considering making this particular robot a silent one.

Disney is tight-lipped as to whether Trump will do the same. It’s already certain that a Donald Trump robot will be part of the attraction (which is currently closed for “refurbishments”). Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed this in a call with Wall Street analysts last November:

“We’ve already prepared a bust of President-elect Trump to go into our Hall of the Presidents at Disney World.”

Iger expressed hope for a “smooth transition,” though this looks to be anything but. There are already multiple anti-Trump petitions circulating (the most prominent one has collected nearly 15,000 signatures), which urge Disney to silence the Trump robot, on the grounds that Trump ran for president on a platform of “hateful speech, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia.”

Motherboard spoke via email and phone to a source close to Walt Disney Imagineering—the research and development department behind Disney’s theme park attractions. And according to the source, Donald Trump will be in the attraction, but he will probably not have a speaking role, unlike the three presidents immediately before him. The Imagineers will likely revert the attraction to its pre-1993 format, where only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln recited lines, while keeping the more realistic, grounded tone of the current show.

Motherboard has the full story.

The Dept. of Just Us: Cease and Desist!

Volunteer lawyers wait at the international arrival area for travelers detained at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast).

The Department of Justice is now insisting that lawyers helping immigrants shut down, and stop offering their services, because helping people, well, that’s a bad thing to do. This all hangs on a technicality, but one which is being exploited by the DOJ to remove legal help which is already scant on the ground for immigration matters. Immigrants do not have the right to legal representation here, which means that legal teams reaching out and offering help are doing it on their own time and dime. This is a devastating attack, yet another one which undermines one of those supposedly great pillars of America. It’s also outright white nationalism.

While the country has been fixated on President Trump’s firings, leaks and outbursts involving the Department of Justice, that agency has itself been stealthily attacking our democracy by telling good lawyers to stop representing people. Four weeks ago, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)—a respected nonprofit in Seattle that represents immigrants in deportation proceedings—received a “cease and desist” letter from the DOJ threatening disciplinary action. The letter demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum advisory program. The reason: a technicality, perversely applied. NWIRP is accused of breaking a rule that was put in place to protect people from lawyers or “notarios” who take their money and then drop their case.

Last week, NWIRP filed a lawsuit to defend itself against the DoJ’s order. What’s at stake extends far beyond NWIRP and the 5,000 people it serves every year. The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year and the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants whose cases are currently in front of an immigration judge.

Before I explain more, let’s step back for the context: You have no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. If you are not a citizen—or if the government merely alleges you aren’t—you can be taken from your home, jailed, and permanently deported without ever seeing a lawyer. This is perfectly legal. It happened to more than a million people under the Obama administration, which vastly expanded the machinery of deportation. (If you want this to be an “Obama was good, Trump is bad” story, sorry to disappoint.)

[…]

When lawyers rushed to airports this winter to protect our friends, our neighbors, and our Constitution, people cheered. The Trump administration took offense, and now those lawyers are in their cross hairs. The president is taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of our government: the FBI, the Justice Department, the federal courts. America, we are under attack.

The full story is here.

Catering to the Tiny Tantrum Tyrant.

Trump. AP News.

Oh dear. The Unprez’s trip is looming, and world leaders are all busy lining up favourite foods, padding playpens, and doing power point slides on how to handle the Tiny Tyrant. The mocking by the Twitterati has been merciless, and deservedly so. These are obviously not preparations for a visit by an adult, let alone the supposed president of a company country.  [My Freudian Slip is showing.] These are preparations for a cranky toddler, ever on the verge of a full meltdown tantrum. AP and NYT have stories about these preparations, if you feel like being gobsmacked this day, with a side helping of near-fatal eyerolls.

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal – steak with a side of ketchup – will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine.

At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule.

It’s all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America’s homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign’s possible ties to Russia. For a former international businessman, Trump simply doesn’t have an affinity for much international.

Even before Trump’s trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence.

From the AP article.

After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.

“If you were prepping people for Donald Trump, the two or three points would be: one, bear in mind this is still a guy who focuses on wins,” Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States, said. “He likes to have wins for America and wins for himself from bilateral meetings.”

“Secondly,” he continued, “he is a deal maker, a pragmatist. Third, this is a guy with a limited attention span. He absolutely won’t want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter.”

From the NYT.

“I don’t mean to belabor this comparison but these are literally tips for managing toddlers.”

“@AP @POTUS brings the world together in an international babysitting effort.”

Raw Story has some of the choice tweets on the issue.

Another Day, Another Teeny Tantrum.

Jewish Virtual Library.

In yet another tantrum, Donny has declined to visit the Masada Fortress because he can’t land his helicopter on it. He canceled, rather than have the helicopter land at base, and take a cable car up. For Fuck’s Sake, you little twit, you are not emperor of the world. The Fortress, as most people know, is extremely old and easily damaged. The sheer amount of dust also makes landing a helicopter dangerous to all involved. Also, just how much of an idiot do you have to be to pass up a chance to see Masada? Yeah, I know. Fuck, I would love to be able to stand so steeped in history. What an experience.

President Donald Trump has canceled a planned visit and speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada in Israel after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter on top of the UNESCO-listed site.

Instead, Trump will now deliver a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It comes after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) regulation that prevents helicopters landing at the summit of the Masada site, according to Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster.

Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable car up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether.

Where the hell is Washington DC Nagahame when you need him? There’s a teeny tyrant who could use a lesson in manners.  Via Raw Story.

Speaking of stupid, ill-mannered tiny tyrants, the one named Donny also thinks he’s going to be able to hire Flynn again.