Tag Archive: Russia

Trump’s troubling ties to Russia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs Cabinet meeting in Moscow, Feb. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs Cabinet meeting in Moscow, Feb. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Several weeks ago, Donald Trump kicked off a constitutional crisis by firing the Acting U.S. Attorney General, Sally Yates, after Yates opposed Trump’s Muslim Ban. Since then, after rulings by numerous federal courts, Yates’ view has been validated. Now it turns out that another correct decision by Yates, regarding Russia, was ignored by Trump and his White House staff, with dire consequences.

The best way to protest is to vote smart

Anti-Trump protest, January 2017

Anti-Trump protest, January 2017

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

–George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

Massive protests are planned in Washington, D.C. and around the country against tomorrow’s inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Most of the people who will be protesting are on the political left. How many of these people voted against or publicly attacked Hillary Clinton when she was the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee? How many of them didn’t vote at all? If they did those things, they helped elect Trump. Protesting now is certainly in the American tradition, but voting smarter in the first place would have greatly reduced the number of things against which to protest, or even eliminated the need to protest at all.

Donald Trump’s shaky start

Anti-Trump protest in New York City, Nov. 12, 2016

Anti-Trump protest in New York City, Nov. 12, 2016

Donald Trump was able to get away with pretty much anything while campaigning for president, from admissions of sexually predatory behavior to numerous false statements. Now that he’s the president-elect, however, Trump is discovering that preparing to govern is something very different from campaigning. Trump has already gotten into a bunch of sticky or questionable situations just days after the election:

The Republican Party is dead. What comes next?

Republican Party bends to Donald Trump

Republican Party bends to Donald Trump

This week may well be viewed as the week in which the Republican Party died. After Party primary voters chose Donald Trump as their presidential nominee in May, Trump this week chose Steve Bannon, the chairman of right wing website Breitbart News, as his campaign manager, effectively shunting aside Paul Manafort, an experienced GOP strategist and lobbyist. Today, Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign. While Manafort was facing a Russian influence scandal, had become a lightning rod for negative publicity and thus had to go, he was at least a mainstream Republican who deals in reality. Trump’s choice of Bannon as a replacement for Manafort pushes Trump’s presidential campaign, and thus the Republican Party, further into fake conspiracy theory territory.

Trump’s treasonous troubles

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump is not having a good week. Trump managed to cast himself as both unpatriotic and treasonous within the space of a few days. First, Trump invited Russia to commit cyber espionage against the U.S. in order to influence the upcoming presidential election in Trump’s favor, which many have called possibly treasonous or at least a violation of the Logan Act. Then Trump attacked the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan, a U.S. soldier of Muslim faith who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while protecting his troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton‘s lead against Donald Trump is now growing.

Raucous unity at the Democratic National Convention

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at recent unity event in New Hampshire

The diverse, outspoken and sometimes raucous Democratic Party was on full display on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania yesterday. This is the party whose unity is likened to “herding cats.” On the other hand, the outbursts from some delegates at the convention hardly spelled doom and gloom, as some chattering heads on the cable TV news networks intimated. Rather, if you caught the unfiltered convention proceedings via live stream or C-SPAN, you saw a political party reach a noisy state of unity, as only the Democrats can do.

Good government vs. bad government

 

10521626333_18e2468ec7_zPresident Bill Clinton once proclaimed, “the era of big government is over.” That did not turn out to be entirely true, but what we all should want is good government. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are a good example of bad government. A personal anecdote from here at home provides an example of good government.

Cold War Soviet stereotypes come flooding back at the Sochi Olympics

Remember the commercial above? How about this one? If you grew up in the U.S. between the 1950s and 1980s, chances are you were bombarded with negative stereotypes about the Soviet Union. It seems that Russia is delivering on some of those Cold War stereotypes this week, as the Sochi Winter Olympics take place.

President Obama on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Last night, President Barack Obama gave an impressive interview to Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. Obama was perhaps as confident and comfortable as he’s ever appeared as President. Why does this matter? Because, in politics, optics matter. Style as well as substance matters. The Tonight Show still gets strong ratings, and viewership across the country soars when President Obama sits down with Jay Leno. So let’s check out what Obama said and how he said it: