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The following article was written by Charles M. Blow, columnist for the New York Times.  Article appeared Monday, October 16, 2017.  It is long, but well written and worth reading.

IT MUST BE cold and miserable standing in the shadow of someone greater and smarter, more loved and more admired.  It must be infuriating to have risen on the wings of your derision, and even his very existence, and yet not be able to measure up – in either stratagem or efficacy – when you sit where that person once sat.

This is the existence of Donald Trump in the wee of President Barack Obama.  Trump can’t hold a candle Obama, so he’s taking a tiki torch to Obama’s legacy.  Trump can’t get his bad ideas through Congress, but he can use the power of the presidency to sabotage or even sink Obama’s signature deeds.

In fact, if there is a defining feature of Trump as “president”, it is that he is in all ways the anti-Obama – not only on policy but also on matters of propriety and polish.  While Obama was erudite, Trump is ignorant.   Obama was civil, Trump is churlish.  Obama was tactful, Trump is tacky.

There is a thing present in Obama and absent from Trump that no amount of money or power can alter:  a sense of elegant intellectualism and taste.

The example Obama set makes the big man with the big mouth look smaller by the day.  But I believe that this nonadjustable imbalance is part of what has always fueled Trump’s rage against Obama.  Trump, who sees character as just another malleable thing that can be marketed and made salable, chafes at the black man who operated above the coarseness of commercial interests and whose character appeared unassailable.

America – even many of the people who were staunch opponents of Obama’s policies – admired and even adored the sense of honor and decency he brought to the office.  Trump, on the other hand, is historically unpopular, and to just in America.  As The Pew Research enter pointed out in June: “Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply around the globe and America’s reputation is going down with its captain.

All of this feeds Trump’s consuming obsession with undoing everything Obama did.  It is  his personal crusade, but he also carries the flag for the millions of Americans *- mostly all Republicans – who were reflexively  repulsed by Obama and the coalition that elected him.  

Trump has done nearly everything in his power to roll back Obama’s policies but none are as tempting a target as the one named after him: Obamacare.*

Republicans – including Trump – campaigned for years on a lie.  They knew it was a lie, but it was an enraging one that excited their base: Obama was destroying America’s health care system, but Republicans could undo the damage and replace it with their own, better bill.

First, Obamas wasn’t destroying America’s health care system.  To the contrary, he simple sought to make it cover more people.  He moved to take American health care in a more humane, modern and civilized direction, to make it more universally accessible, even by the sick and poor who often took its absence as a given.

Second, the Republicans had no replacement plan that would cost less and cover as many or more people.  That could not be done  So, their repeal-and-replace efforts failed.  But that also meant that Trump’s promise was proven a lie. Trump has no problem lying,  but in the end he wants his lies to look plausible.

Trump makes assertions for which there is no evidence – either knowingly lying, recklessly casting or wishfully thinking – then seeks support for those statements, support that is often lacking because the statements are baseless.

He violates a basic protocol of human communication: Be sure of it before you say it.  his way sis to say something wrong, then bend reality to make it appear right.  This is why the age of Trump is so maddening and stupefying: He is warping reality.  

Last week he took more swipes at undermining the A.C.A.:  Asking his administration to find ways to increase competition among insurers (a move many worry will not move younger, healthier people out of the marketplace) and stopping the so-called “cost-sharing reduction” (CSR) payments – federal subsidies paid to insurance companies to help finance overage for low-income Americans ( a move many believe will send premiums soaring of for those people).

Trump is doing this even though it will likely wreak havoc on countless lives.  He is doing  this even thought a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Friday found that most Americans want Trump and Congress to stop trying to repeal the law, and instead work on legislation to stabilize the marketplaces and guarantee health care to Americans.

Furthermore, six in 10 Americans believe Congress should guarantee cost sharing reduction payments, as opposed to only a third  who view these payments as a “bailout of insurance companies,” as Trump has called them.  There is no real reason to cut these payments, other than to save face and conceal the farce.

Trump isn’t governing with a vision, he’s governing out of spite.  Obama’s effectiveness highlights Trump’s ineptitude, and this incenses Trump.

*the italics within the article are mine.

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LOOK WHAT I DID!!

A LAW

A Law is the result of a Bill that originated in either the House of Representative or the Senate.  Once it has been passed in the originating house, it is sent to the other house and  after some push and pull may be passed.  It is then sent to the President to either sign it, veto it or not sign it and let it become law by default.  Congress may override the Presidential veto, if they have sufficient votes.

AN EXECUTIVE ORDER

An Executive Order is just an order issued by the President that is enforceable by members of the Executive Branch until it is either overturned by a law passed by the Congress or overturned by a ruling court.

PRESIDENT BILLS PASSED INTO LAWS in FIRST 100 DAYS
Franklin Roosevelt 76

Harry Truman* 55

Dwight Eisenhower 22

John Kennedy 26

Lyndon Johnson* 10

Richard Nixon 9

Jimmy Carter 22

Ronald Reagan 9

George H.W. Bush 18

Bill Clinton 24

George W. Bush 7

Barack Obama 11

*Took office after predecessor’s death, so we’re counting the first 100 days of their full elected terms — 1949 for Truman and 1965 for Johnson. Gerald Ford is omitted from the list.

FOR TRUMP THE 100 DAYS LOOM LARGE!

 In his first 100 days, Trump promised to work with Congress to pass 10 specific pieces of legislation into law. Those bills were:

Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act
End the Offshoring Act
American Energy and Infrastructure Act
School Choice and Education Opportunity Act
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act
End Illegal Immigration Act
Restoring Community Safety Act
Restoring National Security Act
Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act
None of these bills have been signed into law within the first 100 days of Trump’s administration.

 

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Minion liar

Just Wait and See. It might happen sooner than later.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW

  1. “We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open..”  Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a 90% drop in illegal border crossings as a result of increased enforcement. 
  2. …for anyone to cross — and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate.”  Drug seizures are actually down.
  3. “Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.”  Trump claims that his policies have led these companies to create 70,000 jobs. But 69,000 of those jobs were in the works before election and 700 were the result of Obama’s policies.
  4. “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a 5 year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials — and a lifetime ban on becoming lobbyists for a foreign government.  Trump’s lobbyist ban actually removes some of Obama’s ethics rules instead of strengthening them.
  5. “We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic new F-35 jet fighter, and will be saving billions more dollars on contracts all across our Government”.  The savings with the F-35 were in the works before Trump complained about the price tag.
  6. “We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines — thereby creating tens of thousands of jobs.” The Dakota Access pipeline is nearly built. Keystone would create 3,900 direct construction jobs and 16,000 total jobs on an annual basis.
    And those are just temporary jobs; the permanent job count at Keystone will be 35.
  7. Help unemployed by cracking down on immigration.  A pathway to citizenship will create 145,000 jobs each year.
  8. In the last 8 years, the past Administration has put on more new debt than nearly all other Presidents combined.  This claim is misleading. Obama actually curt the deficit by almost three-quarters.
  9. “At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class.”  Trump’s tax plan isn’t designed to help middle class: 6.6% of the plan goes to middle class, 47.3% goes to the top 1%, almost 25% goes to the top 0.1%.
  10. “…stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.”  The coal industry is a victim of market forces and the invent of other energy sources, not regualtions.
  11. “I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson. In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White House.”  Harley-Davidson motorcycles are assembled in the United States but assembled using parts from Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, and Mexico.
  12. We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.”  “We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

RESIST 

Because The Truth Matters

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Over the years, our country has had its share of great orators; Men who could inspire us with encouraging words, enlighten us with words of wisdom, inform us with clarity, share their vision of a future or soothe a troubled nation with intelligent reason.

The history books, (or at least when I was growing up we had History books in school Geography too) and we learned about Lincoln’s great Gettysburg Address, Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, and FDR’s first Fireside address.  Greatness continued though the decades with Ronald Reagan’s Brandenburg Gate speech, in  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear…” inaugural address, John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do…” speech, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Voting Rights speech in 1965, Dwight Eisenhower’s  Military Industrial Complex speech in 1961 and Obama’s Race speech, “A more perfect union”.

Trump smile

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It

“…I went to an Ivy League school. I’m highly educated. I know words. I have the best words, I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid. Right?”

But now we find ourselves led by a man of few words  or How To Speak Solely In Superlatives.  Although brevity is often hailed and long-winded monologues not widely appreciated, consider the current state of presidential pronouncements.  Pronouncements may too generous a description for the 140 characters tweeted on an irregular basis by POTUS.  The following list features words MOST USED by Donald Trump.

AMAZING – TERRIFIC – TREMENDOUS – BEST – WINNING – STUPID – WEAK – LOSER – WE- THEY – MORON – SMART – TOUGH – DANGEROUS – BAD – LIGHTWEIGHT – HUGE- ZERO – CLASSY – BIG LEAGUE

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That horrid mean-spirited chant was ever-present at every Trump rally during the painfully long campaign. Often it was followed by certain attendees  who added hateful calls of “F…k the beaners”.  I, as well as millions of other citizens were horrified by this blatant display of bigotry and ignorance.  But it continued all throughout the months leading up to November and continues to be advocated by Mr. Trump, although not quite as often because now that he is in the oval office, he finds he has MANY MORE ISSUES TO DEAL WITH.

To further add insult to injury, campaign Trump insisted the wall would be built and that Mexico would pay for it.  That arrogant remark provoked vehement denials by Mexico’s president, Enrico Peña Nieto.  This unfortunate exchange has only served to damage our relations with our southern neighbor.

Illegal immigration is definitely an illegal act in my mind, just as any other illegal action. However, we do have a wall on many parts of the border, we do have border patrols AND we must take into consideration WHY are people trying to escape.  I am speaking ONLY about families, women and children either trying to extricate themselves from abject poverty or to join family members already in residence in the United States.  Drug dealers for the most part use many other undetectable means by which to import drugs into our country. There are tunnels that open up in San Diego, there are bundles that wash up on Florida shores.  There is BIG $$$ in drugs and no matter how tall, how big or how beautiful the wall is, the drugs will continue to flow because like any other product it really is all about SUPPLY AND DEMAND.  So look to our own, we are the consumers!

But enough about the philosophy and justification of The Wall – this is really about THE LIE that so many voters swallowed!  Guess what? MEXICO IS NOT GOING TO PAY $21 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE WALL.  My God, $21 Billion dollars could cure cancer, feed hungry children in Appalachia, educate every child in the country and probably send them to college too.  Can you even wrap your head around  $21 BILLION DOLLARS?

Don’t take my word for it……………………

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_brk_mcconnell_no_170309

 

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isc235booklet.indd

A/K/A Three Weeks in the White House

Well, we are three weeks or so into the new administration and it seems as if we can measure the chaos or dysfunction in seven day increments.  The first two weeks of February were particularly “busy” for the White House, the Press Secretary, the news reporters, the political analysts and let’s not forget the Facebook posters and the bloggers (lol).

The highlight or rather the LOW point of this first half of the month was probably Mitch McConnell’s authoritative, paternalistic, demeaning dictum citing Rule 19!  “SHE WAS WARNED, SHE WAS GIVEN AN EXPLANATION. NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED”.  OMG! The very nerve of her!  Well those words will live on in infamy for quite a while.  When spoken, they have a great cadence.  You will be hearing this mantra from feminists, you will see it emblazoned on tee shirts and baseball caps.  The very MINUTE I heard it, I wanted to design a tee shirt for Cafe Press and make a million dollars. 

But that was only one incident in a cacophony of chaos and crisis;  Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch uneasy with Trump’s Tweet calling Judge James Robert a “so-called judge” was quoted saying that the comments were “disheartening” and “demoralizing”.

Then there was the TOTALLY UNFOUNDED and UNTRUE  remarks by Mr. Trump that the media (newspapers and news reporters) do not report terrorist attacks to the public.  Mr. Trump knows better because he is all about ratings and he knows that disruption and disaster are always bigly news and bring bigly ratings.  So why in the world would ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC overlook and omit such a news opportunity?

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump again defended Vladimir Putin;  O’Reilly said, “He’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer”.  To which Donald Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”….  After O’Reilly said he did not “know of any government leaders that are killers”, Trump turned to the Iraq war, seeming to equate George W. Bush with Putin, though he did not name the former president.

Who knows what and when?  Yesterday in the late afternoon, Kellyanne Conway appeared on MSNBC and when questioned about Mike Flynn’s position as National Security Advisor, her response was, “Yes, Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president,”.  Within the next hour or so, Sean Spicer, Press Secretary informed the news media that the president was “evaluating the situation”.  And late last evening Mr. Flynn tendered his resignation to the president.  Yet today we have heard that Mike Flynn offered his resignation  because he knew he was a lightening rod and then we heard from Sean Spicer that the president asked for and accepted the Flynn letter of resignation!   So I repeat who knows what and when?

Dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Japan’s Prime Minister turned into yet another bit of drama à la Donald.  Smack dab in the middle of the resort’s public dining room, not only did Mr. Trump take a call on his cell phone, it has also been reported that papers were passed and discussed in plain view of the  dining room’s guests as well as waiters and the piano player.  Oh dear, short memory all around!  Remember it was a waiter who brought Mitt Romney down with recording of his (Romney) offhand remarks about the infamous 40%.  And let’s not forget how horrified every Republican was with the carelessness of Hillary Clinton and her private server.  Note the word private with server and public with the dining room. National security where art thou?

Time for one more faux pas which is my own rather mild term for Kellyanne Conway’s gross error (and in some minds law-breaking ) remark urging the public to “Go buy Ivanka’s clothes”.  And how did Kellyanne get herself into this position?  Her boss tweeted, 

@realDonaldTrump

My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!10:51 AM – 8 Feb 2017   A father defending his daughter is certainly admirable and okay BUT Mr. Trump should NOT have used the White House Twitter account!  Yes he did in addition to a personal tweet.

Stay tuned….

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I’m perversely glad that Donald Trump is president (not mine of course), because he has brought enlightenment and commitment to our household.  My husband is pleased and happy that I am now reading more than the Wednesday Food Section and Sunday Styles in the daily delivery of the New York Times to our apartment.  Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof (well I became a fan of his way back to Darfur), Charles Blow and the letters to the Editor are now part of my morning routine.  And as the day wanes I’m often drawn to my blog so I can spout, pout, complain about Mr. Trump.  I had virtually abandoned my blog over a year ago but this seemingly endless supply of content and the deeply disturbing emotion Trump stirs in me, have breathed new life into Pbenjay’s Blog.

Maureen Dowd wrote about the silver – NO make that the  gold lining one can find in the daily chaos in the Oval Office.  She mentioned how “he has breathed new zest into a wide range of things: feminism, liberalism, student activism, newspapers, cable news, protesters, bartenders, shrinks, Twitter, the A.C.L.U., “S.N.L.”, town halls, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Hannah Arendt, Stephen Colbert, Nordstrom, the Federalist Papers, separation of church and state, athletes and coaches taking political stands and Frederick Douglass.”

Every time DT mentions “the “failing” New York Times, the digital subscriptions and the stock price jumps.  Americans are eager for help negotiating the disorienting Trumpeana Oceana Upside Down dimension rife with gas lighting, trolling, leaking lying and conflicts”.

Look what he has done for “Saturday Night Live”!  I haven’t watched that show in years and now the show’s ratings are at 20-year high.  The power of the Tweet is proving to be a boon to “S.N.L..”

Personally I’ve found new words to integrate into my vocabulary and bring new life and meaning to some old ones.  During the very long campaign, I found myself wondering about the stamina of some friends and the temperament of my spouse and co-workers. Up until one of the debates I hadn’t thought of the people I might not be friendly with or didn’t care to associate with as a basket of deplorables.  And how clever to refer to some of those same people as skittles.

I thought the spike in my blog readership was all about me but then I realized how braggadocious I sounded and so let me give credit where credit is due and say “thank you Mr. President” for injecting new life and humor into my writing.  I’ve also become acutely aware of the dangers of cyberwarfare,  wondering just when my blog will be hacked by some  fat 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed somewhere.  Some days I never leave my apartment because you never know when you’re going to be the subject of stop and frisk.  These are dangerous times, you know!

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