Calamity and Climate Change- Will Trump Deny Floods?

The city of Houston is nearly underwater, thanks to the relentless Hurricane Harvey, which Vice President Mike Pence referred to on Friday as  “frustrating.” Harvey remains now where it has been for several days, dumping trillions of gallons of rain on an already inundated and devastated region. Twenty two lives have been lost, and authorities fear the worst is yet to come, in what is already the worst continental rainstorm in American history.

The enthusiastic president has traveled to Corpus Christi, to take a distant look for himself at what has proved to be a truly terrible disaster. A Houston police officer drowned this morning, after attempting a different route to his assigned coordinate, where he encountered the high water that trapped him in his car and killed him.
Trump still doesn’t seem to be understanding the gravity of it all. “What a crowd. What a turnout”, he said upon touching down in Corpus Christi, vowing to congratulate himself at a later time. He spent the hours before the storm pardoning Joe Arpaio and ordering that immigration checkpoints remain open during the evacuation process. All but giddy, every time he talks about the “big, big hurricane”, it would seem he’s very happy to have been given a chance to show his mettle. This is ironic. Because Trump himself, has been a disaster for any kind of emergency relief program, including this one.

When President Trump released his proposed budget earlier this year, it included cuts across the board — including hundreds of millions from programs that help Americans cope with disasters like Hurricane Harvey.

Gigantic cuts are proposed for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency charged with overseeing the government’s response to Hurricane Harvey, as well as other natural disasters. The National Weather Service and the government’s flood insurance programs are to be cut as well.

Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham noted Tuesday on “Fox & Friends” that FEMA administrator Brock Long is still without a deputy.

From looking at photos of flooded Houston, she said: “We can conclude that a federal government does need staff. We see it acutely in need of staff in a situation like this.”

But, mere moments later, Trump took to Twitter by way of a response, tweeting: “@foxandfriends We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don’t need many of them – reduce size of government.”

It is a very good thing for the people of Houston, that Trump had not yet gotten around to reducing the people who’ve been saving them, the heroic holdovers from President Obama’s administration Kathleen Fox and David Grant.

Two weeks ago, just before his disgusting rant at the news conference in which he blamed “both sides” for the violence days earlier in Charlottesville, Virginia. President Donald Trump unveiled an executive order killing planned regulations on new infrastructure building.

Among them was a rule that would have required federally funded projects to account for flood risks. Ten days later, Hurricane Harvey made its first landfall in Texas. This order revoked a whole set of Obama-era rules and regulations that would have made federally-funded infrastructure less vulnerable to flooding. It would have required the federal government to factor in the risk of flooding and sea-level rise, as a result of climate change, when constructing new infrastructure and rebuilding after disasters. Would have been nice, except that Trump doesn’t believe in climate change.
Trump’s entire climate approach, activists say, belies a profound insincerity at his administration’s response to the catastrophic flooding in the region. His strategy is to rip up any and all regulations that interfere with the short-term gain of wealth. This is the same strategy that gave us the Dust Bowl, which is another thing that could happen again if Trump policies in this area come to life. Cities like Houston, particularly the at-risk section of the people, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to future catastrophe.
“While Trump is speaking to people impacted by the storm, his policies themselves are going to make the lives of people in these storm-prone areas worse,” said Thanu Yakupitiyage, the US communications manager for 350.org. Well said.
Back in June, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, was one of dozens of American city leaders to pledge continued support for the Paris climate agreement, after Trump announced his intent to back us out. Scientists across the planet are universal in their conclusions that human effects on the climate are adding to the general trend of worsening storms. Although our knowledge of how the weather works is still very much incomplete, it is safe to say that human-caused climate change has enhanced Hurricane Harvey.
Not according to the president, however. He called climate change “a hoax invented by the Chinese.” 
A guy like that isn’t someone you can even talk to. It would take Archie Bunker himself, to hold fast so tight to a belief that not only flies in the face of scientific evidence, but threatens the long-term health and safety of every living thing. And all for a little more money. Here is a picture of the Manhattan Skyline in 1973, compared to now.

Image result for manhattan skyline 1973 compared to 2016

There comes a time in every adult life when they’ve got to face reality. For example, if you don’t change the oil in your car, it will turn before long into a very, very big and huge paperweight. How much more so is this true, regarding the upkeep of an entire city, or country, or world? However, unpleasant as it is, the reality of our current situation is that our President will not accept this crucial concept. Donald Trump has been a climate-change denier from the first.
By vital contrast, the 2016 Democratic Party Platform had the following statement to make on the subject.
“Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.”
Democrats are aware that climate change is one of the most critical challenges that this nation has to face. Hurricane Harvey is the latest addition to a long list of disastrous proofs. Properly addressing this urgent threat will ensure America’s place as the world’s clean energy superpower, and continue to assure us a role of global leadership in the ongoing process of finding solutions. Democrats will continue to fight to return us to the table of the Paris Agreement. Our goal is to protect both our nation and our planet, for this and future generations.

Enough is Enough, of the Violence in Berkeley

Antifa protesters, getting stupid.

An army of anarchists in black clothing and masks routed a small group of right-wing demonstrators who had gathered in a Berkeley park Sunday, in protest of the city’s progressive politics, and drove them out with violence. A contingent of police officers 400 strong was overwhelmed. The masked counterprotesters, who are coming to be known as the “Antifa“, for antifascist, outnumbered in massive proportion the people who had come for the rally. They were chanting, “No Trump. No wall. No USA, at all”.

The Trump supporters wore red clothing, so the clashing groups could be clearly identified as distinct in the melee, due to the difference in fashion. Their conduct, however, was pretty well identical.

Thousands of other, nonviolent protesters were at the scene as well, doing what they could to make their voices heard the right way. Most who came to oppose the right-wing rally had no connection to the anarchist mob. They were there to protest Donald Trump and the intolerant indecency he has permeated our nation with- not to make it worse. “We’re just puzzled as to why people consider violence a valid tactic,” said Kristin Leimkuhler, 60, of Berkeley, who left the protests when they turned into a melee.

Jay Pino, 23, said he came to Berkeley from New Mexico to protest the right-wing rally, but peacefully.

“I’m here to try to keep the peace”, he said. “No matter how bad the other side is, we have to pray for them as well.”

The difference between the groups is a matter of motivation. Nazis choose the people they hate based on religion and ethnicity, which are accidents of birth. Antifa directs its violence against people with acquired views or traits, such as the Nazis, and the wealthy, or people in authority. The Nazis want to uphold an outmoded and disgusting status quo, while the anarchists want to realign society to fit their own agenda. Ultimately, however, both are fascists,  because they want others to bend to their will due to fear of physical harm. Whosoever seeks to compel his fellows by violence, is a Nazi. At the end of the day, all that Trump supporters and Antifa have going on, is a pissing contest between monsters.

It’s also true that we have no idea who these people in the black masks are, they who descend like wolves upon their fellow man. We don’t know who is paying them, and we don’t know what their true motivations are. We have no way at all of knowing they’re not all the same pack of lunatics, manufacturing events to use as a cause of war. That trick was used by the actual Nazis to start World War Two, when the German radio station in Gleiwitz was “conquered” by Nazis masquerading as Poles, who even went so far as to leave a few dead bodies behind. The incident was used by Hitler as an excuse to send his troops across the border.

This same sort of extreme conduct in Berkeley has been seen before, many times. In 1969, the People’s Park riots led to Ronald Reagan sending actual tanks up Telegraph Avenue with the National Guard to restore order. That incident empowered Reagan tremendously in the eyes of the middle class, who were mostly horrified at the way they saw people behaving, whatever the cause. We seem to be headed back that way. 

We know that the far right has often manipulated the national dialectic by investing in, stirring up, and inciting the far left.

Who could forget all that happened during the 2011 Occupy Wall St. movement? Nothing like a bank lobby filled with homeless people, refusing to leave and literally defecating on police cars, to make the general public miss the nightstick- which, along with all kinds of other military gear, was just reauthorized for use by domestic police. The Occupiers should have carried a banner, emblazoned with the slogan, “Make Police Brutality Great Again“. All they accomplished, was making Democrats and the liberal causes we stand for look terrible. Get off our side, if you can’t at least use a toilet.

We know also that extreme elements of the left are every bit as linked in with Russia as Donald Trump and his guys. Green Party leader Jill Stein was present at that famous meeting with Putin and Paul Manafort in Russia last year. Stein is being investigated by the Mueller probe as well.

It’s natural to ask the question- To whose benefit? Who benefits, from taking groups of decent and determined Americans, and transforming them into groups of raving radicals, ripping apart the very fabric of our country? Who has a direct and comprehensible reason, to want to disrupt the American people’s ability to live in harmony with one another? Who would gain the most, if we decide we really want another Civil War? The most direct answer, of course, is Vladimir Putin. That alone is reason enough to start calming down.

This kind of inflammatory violence has been the hallmark of the nation under Trump. Since he took office, we have seen radicals on both ends of the spectrum go absolutely bonkers, time and time again. This has got to stop. The time has come to make a general call for peace. No matter how outraged we may be by the awful events of this last year, to roll around in the muck of street brawls and disorder is not what Democrats do. We will beat Trump back the right way. The pandemonium we saw in Berkeley on Saturday is not something we want our names on. At Charlottesville, Heather Heyer died, to give us the moral high ground. Let’s not throw that away.

Heroic Holdovers and Houston- Thanks, President Obama.

Donald Trump has been boasting about the federal government’s stellar response so far to the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. For once, he is absolutely right- and we have President Barack Obama to thank for it. Currently, the holdover heroes from Obama’s presidency, David Grant, and Kathleen Fox, are the ones most directly responsible for the organization of actual efforts on the ground. All Trump did, was to sign the piece of paper put in front of him to authorize federal aid. FEMA was reshaped, streamlined, and made viable, by the wisdom and decency of our former president.

That did not stop Trump from stealing all the credit, though. He spent Sunday coping with the problem the only way he knows how- by going on Twitter and bragging. He seemed more excited than anything by the storm. He repeatedly sent out tweets regarding its size and potency, but did not have any words at all for the most tragic aspect of this disaster yet- the two people who have lost their lives so far.
Trump’s administration wants to show the public they are capable of adequately addressing this catastrophe. The handling of a natural disaster is a defining moment for any presidency.  As a general rule, though, it’s bad to go into any crisis, including a gigantic hurricane, with a federal government at war with itself.
Trump’s White House did little to prepare. Instead, Trump spent the hours before the impending storm starting a political hurricane to go with the real one, by granting an unpopular pardon to the former Sheriff of Phoenix, Joe Arpaio.
Fortunately for the good people of Houston, however, Trump has been unable yet to fill two out of three politically appointed positions in FEMA. Trump took so long in deciding who he wanted to do the jobs, that his picks did not have time to be confirmed before the Senate went on recess. The same goes with the top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors storms.
This leaves FEMA’s administrator, Brock Long, who said that this storm was “unlike anything ever seen before. FEMA is going to be there for years,” Long added Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union. There is no doubt this is true. In the meantime, however, the aforementioned Grant and Fox are running the show on the ground, and we are very grateful for them.“Federal civilian employees with decades of experience are currently serving as acting in those positions,” a FEMA spokesperson said.

R. David Paulison, who succeeded the Bush administration’s FEMA director Michael Brown after the latter resigned in the wake of national outrage to his feeble Katrina response, said he is “very comfortable” with the leadership currently in place.

“You like those positions filled,” he said, especially “as you put your policies in place, you want to put your own people in.” But, he added, “The people there in acting positions are seasoned FEMA executives. They’ve been there a long time.”

Unfortunately these efforts have been needlessly complicated, by the fact of major evacuation routes having to pass through immigration checkpoints. These have remained open throughout, contrary to the dictates both of reason and conscience.
Things are certainly looking brighter than they did in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of New Orleans, in the most destructive storm ever to be wrought upon our shores. President Obama saw to that while he was still serving. But one can’t help wondering, what will happen once these heroic holdovers are gone? There is no evidence at all that Trump’s usual sloven would not have carried the day, had it not been for them. It nearly did anyhow.
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the citizens of America should not count on the Trump administration to be able to handle a disaster of this magnitude properly. Over the twelve years that have passed since Katrina, extensive studies have been undertaken in the area of disaster relief. The key implication of them is that government does play a vital role, but that it is also our own responsibility to watch each other’s backs and be prepared. The former president said himself, “We can’t control the weather, but we can control our responses to it“.

Pardons, Bans, and Health Care Sabotage- More than a Tweeting

As Joseph Arpaio’s federal case headed toward trial this past spring, President Trump wanted to act to help him. The former sheriff had been a close ally in the zany world of Trump’s racism political buddies, ever since the birtherism days. So he asked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to drop the criminal case against Arpaio. Sessions, however, was not enthusiastic. He told the president that would be “inappropriate”, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation, which is a very polite euphemism for “starting a political hurricane“.

In spite of the foolishness of Trump, who is lounging happily at Camp David this evening, at a nice safe distance from the actual hurricane, John Kelly has kept right along running the show. He was spared the task of removing one of the final holdouts from the Bannon wing of the new administration, Sebastian Gorka, whose resignation came Friday night amid several chaotic announcements from the White House.

A presidential directive banning transgender recruits became more than a tweeting earlier this week also, but it was the announcement that Texan immigration checkpoints would stay open, even in the face of the coming Hurricane Harvey, that caused the most disgust and outrage. This move, breaking decades of precedent and astounding many with its callousness and lack of forethought, is one of the most alarming signs yet of the president’s inablility to understand consequences.

However, a ray of hope appeared in the form of the recent comments of James Mattis to American troops stationed abroad. “Our country right now, it’s got problems we don’t have in the military,” Mattis said. “You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”

This is the latest in a growing trend. What little decency there is in the Trump administration, is coming from the Pentagon.  All that comes from the White House itself is one continuous mess. Trump’s disorganization has made it impossible for him to get anything positive done. The other branches of government have blocked his worst ideas. Our judicial system has held firm, and saved us time and again. Congressional Democrats have stood firm in a bloc and refused steadfastly to go along with whatever it is the Republicans are offering. Their agenda doesn’t exist, outside the sabotaging of Obamacare. Their efforts have failed so many times, and their president is going to seed in so many ways, that it’s hard to predict what comes next for them.

It has long been a maxim of human life that it is easier to destroy than create. And Donald Trump has at every turn demonstrated to the world that his capacity for pettiness knows no bounds. Against the wishes of even other Republicans, Trump has threatened repeatedly to cut off the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers that allow the the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to keep functioning.

Under this life-saving legislation, the federal government reimburses insurance companies for the discounts on copays and deductibles they’re required by law to give to low-income customers, which is the only way that 23 million Americans can continue to keep breathing.

Trump has always scoffed at social programs.  This was clearly evidenced by the savage shame that was his new budget plan. He has called them “bailouts,” and held forth at bitter length about the supposed evils of them during the drama of the multiple failed attempts by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the public health care law that has long eluded their capture.

Trump is wavering on continuing to make good on these payments to insurers, even though the Congressional Budget Office just released an analysis concluding that ending the payments will increase the national deficit by $194 billion, over the next 10 years. For another several weeks, President Trump will be deciding whether the payments will continue long-term, or be cut off altogether. No one should assume it will go the right way. He doubled down in his comments on the Charlottesville murder. He made his tweet regarding transgender soldiers an official order. He pardoned Arpaio, although the rest of the GOP begged him not to.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that there is nothing on the agenda right now more important than saving the Affordable Care Act. For us regular folks, all we can do is remain watchful and make our voices heard. Trump absolutely may sabotage the ACA by withholding these payments, just because he’s bitter at the way things are going. More evidence regarding secret meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin came out this week, and leaks came out of Mitch McConnell privately speculating that he doubts whether Trump can still save his presidency. Doubtful indeed, but just the same, don’t expect him to go quietly.

 

 

 

The Arpaio Pardon, and the Dragnet of the Storm

President Trump came under withering fire from Democrats for having used the furor surrounding Hurricane Harvey to cover up pardoning Joe Arpaio on Friday. This does keep one of his staunchest political allies out of jail and energizes his conservative base, which supports both men’s hard-line views on illegal immigration. But virtually everyone else is disgusted completely. The ACLU protested the pardon immediately, calling it a “presidential endorsement of racism.

This highly irregular pardon, which comes less than a month after Arpaio was convicted,will further anger the president’s critics. It is also not likely to improve the president’s already abysmal relationship with the judicial branch, which has steadily declined since the very beginning.
R- AZ John McCain was clearly disappointed by this awful decision, saying “The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.” Well said.

The pardon was issued very quietly, while all eyes in America were turned toward the coast of Texas. It’s a disgrace beyond any description. For the president himself to be so low, so cowardly, as to use a natural disaster as a tool. And what a tool. Its purpose is to help him obfuscate his sneaking through this insulting and ugly pardon. It ranks as one of the most disgusting displays of brazen callousness to be found anywhere in all of human history. And, he got caught. The story of this pardon promptly created a political hurricane to go with the real ones. It’s a disaster atop a disaster. Trump is not prepared, and not taking this seriously.

Another potentially terrible tragedy relating to immigration has manifested right alongside Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane has made landfall on eastern Texas, and is impacting the state’s coastal areas from the lower tip until Louisiana.

Thousands of people are evacuating along the state’s major highways. Winds have exceeded 130 mph in some places and cataclysmic flooding is going on as well. Several people have been injured already. Evacuation routes from the coast were already showing heavy traffic on Friday afternoon, and tornadoes are expected to form by the dozens throughout the area. Should anyone need information as to where those evacuation routes are, they can take a look at this list of them.

In a move destined to go down in history as one of the most nauseatingly stupid decisions ever made, Border Patrol checkpoints will stay open as the storm approaches, the Customs and Border Protection agency said Friday.

Several of these evacuation routes go right through these checkpoints, including one on Route 44 in Corpus Christi and another on Route 35 heading up to San Antonio:

Civil rights activists were quick to strongly protest the incredible cruelty of this new policy. In addition to this, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this will make for a logistical nightmare of epic dimension. Tens of thousands will end up bottlenecking behind checkpoints, waiting for the verification of tens of thousands of papers. It seems inevitable to result in avoidable misery, maybe even some fatality.

Furthermore, what to do with those rounded up by this massive dragnet of the storm? To prevent their arrestees from simply walking away, the authorities would have to prepare to detain most immigrants awaiting deportation. Existing facilities would have to be expanded overnight to hold hundreds of thousands. How ironic, if those dreaded FEMA camps the alt-right was convinced Obama- whose administrative leftovers are the ones in charge of dealing with the hurricane, while Trump is off at Camp David- was planning to lock us all up in, did in fact become prisons, under his successor.

In any foreseeable scenario, this kind of project would take time, and during natural disasters, there tends to be no time to lose. As with Katrina, this is the end of the month. People are out of money and afraid already. Many refused to leave their homes in New Orleans because they lacked even the money for bus or monorail fare. George W. Bush left the poor high and dry.

The process Trump is proposing will create a task that would take a good deal of planning out under the best of circumstances, let alone thrown together slap-dash during a hurricane. The men who secure our borders are brave and tough Americans, but they are woefully underprepared for this. It also seems likely that some families with illegal immigrant members will choose not to evacuate the storm zone, preferring rather to chance it with both family and freedom intact.

“This is a disgusting move from the Border Patrol that breaks with past practices,” American Civil Liberties Union director of immigration policy and campaigns Lorella Praeli said. “The Border Patrol should never keep checkpoints open during any natural disasters in the United States. Everyone, no matter the color of their skin or background, is worth saving.

We stand in solidarity with our Hispanic countrymen, and are outraged with them at what is going on. In this country, we’ve got a no-man-left-behind policy. In the face of hell and high water, we Democrats will resolutely hold out our hands to those who need our help. Be they friend or foe, our prayers and hearts are with them. We are countrymen, and fellow persons. We will do what good we can, when we can.

 

 

 

 

Why Russia Finances Radicalism Worldwide- Destability Tactics

I. On the manipulation of foreign powers by Russia, through means of homegrown radicalism.
The hostile world power that is Russia has crafted a meticulous plan to realign the European order as subordinate to the interests of the Kremlin. Their big obstacle was America. So they hatched a plot to remove us from the playing board. Our nation has been victimized. This is a foreign act of war unparalleled in all of history. And we have no leadership who can help us navigate this crisis. Our President is a dangerously childish and unbalanced man.

Trump is not the first corrupt politician in the history of the United States, but he is the first to use his presidential power outright to attack and dismantle the country’s skeletal structure. He is actively working on selling us to the Russians, just to spite all the people that hate him. Updated are the days of Fireside Chats, where unifying speeches of comfort were given by a wise and resolute leader of the world’s strongest nation, directly to the people. These days, our President speaks directly to the people as well, by taking to Twitter daily to berate and insult them.

While he amuses himself with sundry nonsense, Vladimir Putin and Russia are getting away with bloody murder. Soon, his presidency will be over. The Russia thing isn’t going away. But the damage he can do in the meantime, by allowing a thirsty ogre like Putin to have a nice drink of our blood, might not be possible to undo. Putin really is what Trump is only playing at– a billionaire tyrant willing to crush any and all who oppose him. He’s got his claws in us and he’s pulling hard to bring us crashing down.

Our system is on the verge of total collapse, and radicals on both sides of our political spectrum are deliberately clueless to this- or stupid enough to believe it’s a good thing. Putin knows all this quite well, of course. It’s the lightning bolt he has readied to strike us down. If we don’t wake up sometime very soon, the day is going to come where we don’t have a choice anymore. We’re going to wake up one day as slaves.

The way that things are now, America’s own press is out of the loop. Trump is actively working together with Putin and others to see that it stays that way. If you want to know what’s going to happen next in America, you must now pay close attention to what is being done and said elsewhere. When the treasonous disgrace stinking up the Oval Office met with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States earlier this year, he excluded the American press, but let the Russian press in.

At this same meeting, Trump spilled crucial intelligence relating to a terrorist plot being cooked up by ISIS. He went rambling off script, like the cocaine addict so many suspect him of being, and gave away secrets he was not supposed to share. This may well lead to a moratorium on transfers of intelligence data between us and Israel, our most important Middle Eastern ally, and they keystone of stability in the region.

Recently, Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto called Putin’s visit to Hungary “timely”. He then added that sanctions against Russia were “useless”. During a recent visit to Moscow, Szijjarto said: “So far, whenever we tried to work on improving our bilateral relationship, we had to face American pressure not to do it and European pressure not to do it.
Now … there will be no American pressure.

The most critical fracture point currently on the map is Ukraine. Ukraine’s nearly three-year battle against Kremlin-backed separatists in the east erupted into the worst fighting in two years in late January. Exactly why the fighting intensified recently remains unclear, though such encounters have occurred with some frequency during unrest that included Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

The small city of Avdiivka, 90 miles north of Mariupol, became the epicenter of the recent violence. ​​​​​​The fighting quickly spread along a 300-mile line separating the Ukrainian government-controlled lands and those claimed by separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. One can only imagine what it must be like for those people, living as they are directly under the Russian cleaver. The Russians came into these people’s town, gave money and guns to the local Mafia, and used domestic grievances as a cheap excuse to have at their slaughter. If we leave Ukraine to its fate, do we deserve better? Who will rescue our children, if we let theirs be fed to the beast?

If Russia can gain a toehold using ideology and the stupidity and arrogance of Westerners who have never known war, why wouldn’t they? Russia had to pay cash for its allies in Europe. Trump gave it up for free, like the Slovenian slob he married. Elsewhere, Putin had to spend a lot of money to help promote his rightward agenda. He found his first proxy in France’s Marine Le Pen, prominent leader of the far right French National Front party. Because of the National Front’s racist and anti-Semitic past, French banks have consistently and to their credit declined to lend her party any money.

Marine Le Pen has been financed by the Kremlin from the start. She was bought and paid for by Putin.

In 2014, the National Front took Russian loans worth €11m (£9.4m). One of the loans, for €9m, came from a small bank, First Czech Russian Bank, with links to the Kremlin.

The negotiations over the loan coincided with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a move roundly condemned by EU governments. However, Marine Le Pen publicly stated the opposite view, leading some to question whether the loans were a quid-pro-quo. Far right parties across Europe as well, including the German AfD, the French Front National, and the Austrian FPO, depend on Moscow for their support and backbone. The once-sincere values of conservatism, embodified as an ideal in Theodore Roosevelt, have now been dragged so deeply through the mud as to become little more than a euphemism, meaning “Putin’s donkey”.

Putin has expressed the unkind and ungrateful view that the West “would like Russia to be down at the heels”. He said, “I sometimes get the impression that they love it when they need to send us humanitarian aid. These so-called ruling circles, elites — political and economic — of those countries, they love it when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand. As soon as we start declaring some interests of our own, they feel that there is some element of geopolitical rivalry.” This is mostly unfair, considering that much of the over $22.6 billion dollars raised by the International Monetary Fund created to aid the Russians in their post-Soviet reconstruction was raised by the United States, who never got any of it back.

Mighty Russia, for all its cyber-terror and nuclear weaponry, still has only around the economic strength of little Italy. Every thought Putin has, every strategy that motivates him, is how he can assert strategic control over all those resources. His primary objective towards achieving that ultimate goal depends on two things. First, to reassert Russian international power. To Make Russia Great Again. He wants it to resume what he considers its rightful place as a respected world power, although he will settle for being merely feared. To secure this world power, he must first shore up and be in firm control of Russia’s domestic power. An understanding of all of this is where U.S. policy must begin.

Disaster Atop Disaster-Hurricane Trump, President Harvey.

Donald Trump will be at the presidential vacationing resort Camp David this evening as Hurricane Harvey is gaining steam.  It is expected to strike the coast of Texas, which has ordered an evacuation,sometime Friday evening. It has officially magnified into a Category 4 storm and is bringing with it tremendous winds of up to 130 mph, a massive storm surge, brutal flooding- and perhaps the first real test of Donald Trump as a president capable of handling a serious crisis. Millennial Democrats regretfully informs you that instead of preparing for this disaster, the president started a political hurricane by officially pardoning Joe Arpaio.

George Bush’s mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis was one of the things held most strongly against him as a president. In Karl Rove’s book, Courage and Consequence, he opines that the Bush administration mishandled Katrina in a number of different ways. He flew over the scene in Air Force One, without bothering to land and speak to the people. A photograph was taken that indicated an aloof and indifferent response. Aloof, at least, is not the style of this president, but his job performance thus far, indicates a disaster atop a disaster. He is not ready for this, and he is not taking it seriously. He doesn’t even plan on visiting Texas, until early next week.

Earlier this week, Mashable’s Senior Editor for Science and Special Projects Andrew Freedman dubbed the storm “the meteorological equivalent of a White Walker from Game of Thrones.” The storm was thought to have lost potency earlier this week. Over the past two days, however, it has risen from the dead, born again, stronger and harder. What is dead can never die. Hurricane Harvey is coming, and those in its path have had little time to prepare.

Hurricanes usually come with only one of two terrifying characteristics. Either heavy, persistent rainfall or strong, violent winds and storm surge. Harvey could have both, because unique wind patterns may prevent the storm from moving quickly out of the region. It has been hovering over the Yucatan Peninsula for much of the week. None of this has proved of much concern to the president, however. He was busy announcing an official order banning transgender recruits from the military. Until Thursday evening he was still tweeting unhappily about fake news, which advisers have begged him not to do, at least until the hurricane passes.

One can only pray, for the Texans in the path of this disaster of a hurricane. The Trump White House has not done much to prepare. The top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors storms, is one of the hundreds of jobs in the Trump administration to remain unfilled, now nearly 8 months into his tenure. They do have some hope, however. While Trump may not be competent, his predecessor was. Officials left over from the Obama administration are the ones in charge of governing the evacuations, preparations, and relief efforts needed to cope with this storm.

“Federal civilian employees with decades of experience are currently serving as acting in those positions,” a FEMA spokesperson reported today. They are holdovers from Barack Obama’s presidency, David Grant, and Kathleen Fox. Democrats both, who we are very proud of, and lucky to have. Trump can’t even manage the trouble going on over Confederate statues, let alone a hurricane.

 

 

 

Calling All Millennials- Come, And Be Heard!

We millennials are the future. How we feel, and what we perceive, has more to do with the future of our reality than any other national factor. Room has to, and will, be made for our dreams and ideals. We demand it.
 It’s crucial that we make sure our message and our stance is clear. We are Democrats. We believe in helping actual people make actual changes for the better, in their lives and in society. We’re about finding new and innovative ways to do that going in to the future. That’s what Democrats do. We are going to uphold the time honored traditions of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama, by finding new ways to do good for the people living in the world. 
We millennials have concerns that are absolutely valid, regarding our own domestic needs. And we’re addressing them in every way we can. The entire point of this project and this fundraiser is to help all us young people get our lives up and running! Investing in the nation’s youth is investing in its future. 
The first step is to correct the misconception that the party hasn’t been listening. This is easy! All we have to do, is start listening! We represent the party. When we go out and talk to people, we listen to them. We address their concerns with sincerity and an earnest heart. We are offering a sane and decent alternative, to the chaos going on around us on the left and right. People will see that eventually. We simply have to show them.
To do this, the most important thing is community outreach. We set up shop in the neighborhoods that are slipping through the cracks. We start fundraising to feed people. To help them pay rent. To help pay for their schoolbooks. In my experience, all the fancy talk in the world, isn’t worth a hot lunch to people who are hungry.
 Once they’re inside, and full, and feeling loved, we tell them how we’re going to do what we can to make it so those schoolbooks don’t have to have a price tag of hundreds of dollars anymore. We share with them our plans for how to cut housing costs and protect renters rights. We ask them for their help and their ideas, and we share with them ours.  
There’s all the room in the world for our youthful energy and enthusiasm. There’s certainly no end of work to do. One of the things I want to see happen, is that funds be raised for getting people a hand with practical education, the stuff we can use to live on while we get that piece of paper.
I want to set up offices, events, and fundraisers designed with the specific intent of bringing millennials in, and giving them the floor. We need honest feedback spoken from the heart if we want to improve.
These efforts are being made ACTIVELY. Right now, in fact. That is the entire point of Millennial Democrats. That is the reason for this group, that is the reason for this page. That is the reason for this website.

When millennials say to you, We are not feeling heard, say to them, Aha! I’ve got an answer! Come with me right now over to Millennial Democrats, where you can talk to smart and dedicated people who will listen and do their best to help!
We all need to get as tech-savvy as we can. Tag the page. Share the page. Like the page. Send links to the page. Get the word out there, that we are here, we are working hard, and we are willing to lend many hands. 
The way things are now, those of us who are in the sane center together are allies. I believe that our branch of the party has the kindest and most practical solutions to the issues that matter. Moderate Republicans are defecting in droves, because they see their leaders behaving like such scumbags. We’ve got to offer them a home! We don’t beat them over the head for past errors. We simply say Welcome, and offer to shake hands. 
 We Democrats are responding to millennial concerns, by listening to each other.  By coming together, and brainstorming up ways to serve our needs well and help each other become healthy citizens, we ensure that everyone’s future will be bright. We’ve got to have a no-man-left-behind policy.  It takes us all. 

No Wall, No Government, and a Presidential Tantrum.

NakedTrump

The Washington Post published an op-ed piece today, asking this question- How unstable and divorced from reality is President Trump? It seems natural to wonder, especially after Tuesday’s ranting rally.  America has the right and the need to know.

It’s true that Fox News did a counterpiece, giving the opinion that the president is “stone cold sane”. But one wonders- What conservative news organization would have thought it necessary to write such an article about Reagan? Is it usually necessary, to insist upon the sanity of solid and reliable people? What would be the point?

We’re out of orbit here, folks. A great deal of this is completely new to everyone. None of us have been accustomed to asking such questions about our presidents. We don’t know how to even begin a formal inquiry into a president’s mental health, and this has led to many attempts to rationalize his aberrant behavior. It is the nature of the human mind to try and sort things out and make them orderly. It’s a sad fact of life that this often cannot be done.

It is also a sad fact of life that when people try and make themselves stupider than they normally are, they nearly always succeed. So it is that an alarming number of people have fooled themselves in to thinking this is all part of some subtle strategy, when every conceivable evidence has been given to the contrary. Maya Angelou wrote, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

Trump has not only shown us, he has forced it down our throats on a worldwide and daily basis. This says a lot about the state of mind the country’s people are in. Ideological polarity has now reached a level, where radicals will willfully blind themselves to almost anything, in the name of a cause they can hardly define. Finding a way to effectively counter and combat this woeful, deliberate ignorance will be our fundamental task moving forward.

This has led to us Democrats being given a significant opening in Trump’s threatened vow to shut down the government, if he doesn’t soon get money for his border wall.

Democrats value order and decency above all else, and are not so small-minded as to wish the government mired in chaos for the sake of political expediency. However, if Trump does decide to cause some sort of governmental interruption, of course all the blame will belong to him. Likewise, we will be called upon to be stolid and brave in the face of a very difficult task in cleaning that mess up. Should the public then choose to honor us for our earnest attempts at good service, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that we would not be undeserving.

Past government shutdowns have not been a hit among Americans. We seem to be unhappy when the trains fail to run on time, and not without cause, since our collective hard work is what allows for their existence. On Capitol Hill, they’ve got a clever euphemism for bringing national operations to a halt, in the name of partisan causes. They call it a “Spending Gap”. Since the modern congressional budgeting process took effect in 1976, there have been a total of seventeen separate government shutdowns, which have caused us to grind to a halt for 110 combined days since that time.

However, instead of using his touted skills as a dealmaker, Trump has spent most of the past few weeks, taunting and denigrating the Republican leaders he will need to pass through his agenda. Mitch McConnell in particular will be responsible for the navigating of the fiscal obstacles involved.

On Thursday, the president again undercut McConnell as well as Speaker Paul D. Ryan over his proposed maneuver to raise the debt limit by tying it to a popular veteran benefits bill.

“Could have been so easy — now a mess!” the president tweeted..

All of this keeps leading to a flood of resignations. It would seem that the swamp is draining itself. The White House’s rapid response director left his job on Monday, the latest in a swath of departures by high-ranking aides, Politico reported late Thursday.

Andy Hemming left the White House after what White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called a “mutual decision that he could best help promote the president’s agenda on the outside. It’s part of a trend of resignations and cancellations and withdrawn endorsements that have rained down upon Trump in a torrent, since his awful comments about the Charlottesville riots that claimed Heather Heyer’s life.

A man named Theo Wilson recently went undercover as a white supremacist for the number of months since just before the inauguration of Trump. The conclusions that he brought back are interesting. The social forces that make racism commonplace aren’t going away anytime soon. For example, just weeks after being hired, four key members of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s communications team have resigned in the wake of the Republican’s confusing response to a political cartoon depicting a black child begging a white man for money.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, said on Thursday that “With the White House, House and Senate under one-party control, the American people expect and deserve a plan from Republicans to avert a catastrophic default and ensure the full faith and credit of the United States. With so much at risk for hard-working families, Republicans need to stop the chaos and sort themselves out in a hurry.” However, it’s clear that’s not going to happen anytime soon. #RiseAndOrganize.

 

Privacy with Putin- Secret Meetings and Hidden Agendas

 

Many have suspected Tuesday’s rally was meant to obfuscate fresh Russia data, which came out right on schedule Wednesday. Special Investigator Robert Mueller announced that Congressional investigators have dug up a highly damaging email from during the election, from a top Trump aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now Trump’s deputy chief of staff. It referenced a previously unreported effort to set a meeting up last year, between Trump campaign officials and Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Russia investigation has been seemingly quiet in recent weeks, but it’s clear it’s still weighing on Trump. Politico reports that earlier this month, Trump made angry calls to two Republican senators on the subject.

In the first, Trump was bemoaning to Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker the fact of the bipartisan Russia sanctions bill being, in his view, unconstitutional. Apparently he felt it would hurt his presidency. Trump did eventually sign the bill, albeit reluctantly.

Second, during a call with Senator Thom Tillis on August 7, Trump complained bitterly of a bill Tillis is working on with Democratic senator Chris Coons. which is intended to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller should Trump attempt to fire him.

The Russians clearly did all they could to help Trump, and brazenly boasted of expecting quid pro quo. Putin suggested the hacking of our 2016 election “Might” have been performed by some dedicated Russian patriots.

This is a problem that others also have experienced with Russia. In France, the recent election that left Emmanuel Macron in charge was also hacked. And in broad daylight, Putin exploited loopholes in French campaign finance laws to give millions to the campaign of Marine Le Pen, whose father Jean-Marie was a notorious fascist at a time when that was a political death-knell. Every bank in France refused to loan them money because of their repugnant and disproven racial theories. So they got 9 million from Putin, and then asked him later for more. On television, no less.

A number of different questions need to be confirmed before we get near the bottom of this thing. What efforts has the Trump campaign or administration made that would benefit Russia? How much direct influence from Russia was there, for moves such as undercutting those parts of the GOP platform that supported things like stricter economic sanctions and sending arms to beleaguered and burglarized Ukraine?

We know that the Russians openly threatened Trump with the releasing of more information of meetings with Putin, if he did not give back the spy houses Obama took. Sergey Kislyak said at the time, “Maybe they even went to the toilet together.

In any event, one thing, at least, is clear. The Russians came very close to upending us altogether this last year, by way of their influence on Trump. It seems clear our system of checks and balances is insufficiently robust to even let alone prevent, conflicts of interest on the part of the president. Additional measures, such as legislation forcing candidates to show their taxes and reveal their business interests, must be developed.

American democracy is the result of a process of refinement that has gone on since before the dawn of history, and that refining is still going on even now. It’s the sane and decent way forward in a world that is increasingly filled with dead ends. We have always protected it from pollution caused by alien radicalism. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that neither the swastika nor the sickle will ever mean as much here, as even a Green Bay Packers logo, although it should be conceded that they may reach the level of the Chicago Bears. In either case, the good old stars and bars will continue to suit us fine. America never stopped being great.

The keeping of foreign powers at a safe distance from our electoral process is one of the most crucial tasks facing the millennial generation. Like it or not, cyber-warfare and disinformation from hostile entities is a part of reality now. Our votes will only continue to matter if we take the time and effort to make sure they do, and that means making sure we don’t get drowned out by the opposition. #RiseAndOrganize.