Trump Worse than bin Laden
This week, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough asserted that "President Trump is a far graver threat to America than the 9/11 attacks. The terrorists only killed a few thousand people, but Trump has poisoned the minds of tens of millions of voters."
"There is no way that al Qaida could've hoped to seize control of the US, but seizing control of the US is precisely what Trump, with the aid of 60 million co-conspirators, has done," Scarborough contended. "This is a sizable enemy within that is in the process of undermining all the progress toward socialism achieved during the Obama Administration."
"We had an effective counter to bin Laden—a commando team hunted him down and shot him," the MSNBC talking head observed. "Unfortunately, Trump has proven a harder target. The covert machinations of the US intelligence community were unsuccessful in preventing Trump's election and their post-election scheme to undermine him has yet to succeed. Even worse, the booming economy resulting from Trump's policies could sway voters to support candidates who will pander to individual selfishness rather than the collective solidarity and personal sacrifice that characterized the Obama years. I fear for the fate of my country if Trump's lurch to the right isn't stopped."
An example of the personal sacrifice promulgated by the Obama Administration was a $90 million program that helped 55 Afghan women obtain jobs. The net cost to US taxpayers for each job p-lacement was in excess of $1.6 million. Each job paid an average annual salary of around $11,000. While this program would appear to have been a poor investment, Scarborough urged that "we look beyond the price tag. Having rich Americans pay millions to benefit a few dozen Muslims built bridges that the penny-pinching Republicans would never have accomplished given their near religious dedication to serving the personal greed that has been their Party's main ticket to electoral success."
Carter Weighing 2020 Presidential Run
Distressed by what he called the "human rights disaster perpetrated by President Trump," former President Jimmy Carter said "I may have to come out of retirement to save the nation from his reelection."
"My main grievance is the blatant inequality Trump is willing to foist on this country," Carter complained. "When I was president the entire country suffered through a malaise, but we did it together as one united people. The prosperity Trump is forcing on the country has shattered this unity and encouraged individuals to compete to get ahead. I don't believe this is what Americans truly want. Otherwise they wouldn't have reelected Obama for a second term. Since he is barred by the Constitution from being elected president again I think I could offer voters a chance to continue his legacy by electing me in 2020."
"If I were elected in 2020 I would begin by reversing every single policy that Trump has implemented," Carter promised. "I would reclaim the government's money that Trump's tax cut foolishly gave away. I would rescind the deregulation that allows businesses and individuals the right to do what they think best and re-institute the strict government oversight that guarantees socially responsible decisions. I would end ICE's persecution of international travelers and redirect the agency to adopt a more welcoming stance that would include helping these travelers to find public housing, sign up for government assistance, and register to vote."
Kerry Bolsters His Foreign Policy Credentials for 2020 Run
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, a potential rival of Carter's for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, sought to burnish his credentials by announcing that he has been secretly serving as an unofficial foreign policy adviser to the Iranian government. "I told them not to knuckle under to Trump's pressure to discontinue their nuclear program," Kerry bragged. "It is their 'ace-in-the-hole' for gaining the leverage they need to become a major nuclear power before Trump or anyone else can stop them."
The aspiring would-be White House resident scoffed at the possibility that his advice to Iran might be seen as treasonous by likening it to the career path of New England Patriots football coach Bill Belichick. "Before he was the head coach of the Patriots he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns," Kerry pointed out. "Do we revile him for being disloyal to the Browns? Or do we admire his skill in guiding the Patriots to five Superbowl championships? I think voters will view my experience in advising Iran as a plus when compared to the lesser foreign policy accomplishments of the other contenders for the presidency."
Professor Shoots Self to Protest Trump
At the College of Southern Nevada, Professor emeritus Mark Bird shot himself in the arm in a restroom as a protest against President Trump's anti-gun control policies. "People like me should never be permitted to have a gun," Bird said. "The demented Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms clearly failed to prevent me from shooting myself. Trump's unwillingness to repeal this Amendment is the cause of the injury I suffered from my self-inflicted wound."
Bird acknowledged that "those who enacted the Second Amendment in 1789 inhabited a simpler and saner world than we do today. Back then most people died from causes—disease, Indian attacks, work accidents—that have been largely eliminated in our modern society. Today more survive and eventually succumb to the mental illnesses deriving from stress. We need to revise the Constitution to reflect this new reality."
"Which people should have guns is something that the government should decide based on need," Bird suggested. "If a person needs a gun to earn a living he probably should be allowed to have a gun. Soldiers, police, bodyguards, armored car drivers and armed robbers are the types of professions where access to a gun might be essential to success."
Media Blames Trump for Hurricane Damage
This week, Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina coast of the United States. The Washington Post's editorial board charged President Trump with "complicity."
"The Trump Administration's failure to sign the Paris Climate Accord combined with the surge in economic activity inspired by tax cuts and deregulation are directly responsible for any damage done by the weather in this country," the editorial claimed. "The steps former President Obama took to subdue economic growth had put the nation on a path that could have prevented hurricanes from being so dangerous. The shutdown factories and lower incomes his policies achieved mitigated the environmental forces that contribute to bad weather. The benefits of those policies have been negated by the Trump Administration."
The irony is that even though the United States has not signed the Paris Accord this country's reductions in CO2 emissions has been larger than that of the European countries that did sign. In addition, nothing that the Trump Administration has done since coming to power in January of 2017 can be shown to have had any impact on this year's hurricane season. Finally, it is likely that the suffering due to the economic depression resulting from Obama's policies was worse than the damage done by hurricanes coming ashore in the United States.
In related news, a study from George Washington University's Milken School of Public Health estimated that there were 2,975 "excess deaths" in the period following Hurricane Maria's landfall in Puerto Rico. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin blames Trump for these deaths. The fact is that the US government, at the direction of President Trump, did more than any other entity to aid Puerto Rico in the aftermath of this hurricane. Blame for the estimated deaths would more reasonably be attributed to the vulnerability of the island being in the path of major hurricanes, the poorly constructed housing typical on the impoverished island, and the inept local government that left a lot of the US-provided aid to rot before it could be distributed.
FaceBook Better Prepared for 2018 Elections
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that "this year's efforts to ensure the proper election outcome will be more successful than our 2016 intervention."
"In 2016 our security safeguards didn't prevent all nonconforming content from reaching voters." Zuckerburg admitted. "Some anti-Clinton messages weren't detected and blocked. Likewise, some pro-Trump messages still managed to get through. In the intervening two years we have tightened our measures. I am highly confident that we will have the maximum possible positive influence in determining who wins."
As an example of the "tightened measures" Zuckerberg pointed out that "we have banned the #WalkAway movement that seeks to encourage millennials to desert the Democratic Party. Blocking this group should be decisive since they have no access to corporate money and rely entirely on grassroots efforts and individual donations."
Brandon Straka, the founder of the #WalkAway movement, is a former liberal who left the Democratic Party because "it has devolved into intolerant, inflexible, illogical, hateful, misguided, ill-informed, un-American, hypocritical, menacing, callous, ignorant, narrow-minded and, at times, blatantly fascistic behavior and rhetoric."
Straka said his turning point came after his liberal friends blamed him for being attacked by a homeless person who demanded money. "They said it was my fault for being a privileged white," Straka recounted. "My 'privilege' is that I work for a living. I've never asked for a handout and don't appreciate being designated as a nonperson who can be victimized by a parasite demanding my hard-earned income."
In other election news, a Democratic Party activist seeking to register voters in the Somerville Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Massachusetts was observed tearing down and urinating on American flags that mourners had set up by some of the graves. A witness driving by snapped a photograph of the man and the pile of flags he urinated on. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) alleged that "the witness' actions constituted an invasion of privacy and could be construed as an attempt to suppress the vote."
Meanwhile, Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate for the US Senate in Texas, hosted a private fund-raising event in New York City "because Texans are too stingy to pony up the millions I require for my campaign."
Text Messages Prove Strzok a Liar
Newly released text messages between former FBI anti-Trump conspirators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that Strzok's claim that "the media leak strategy" text revealed last week "was to discuss ways of preventing leaks" is false. In this week's batch of newly discovered texts, Strzok wrote Page to tell her that "the Times is angry with us for giving the Washington Post the scoop on the leak about Carter Page and the FISA warrant."
Strzok's admission that he leaked classified information to the Washington Post would seem to invalidate Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's excuse for refusing to turn over the unredacted FISA warrant to Congress. Rosenstein, however, remains adamant about withholding this information insisting that "because a reporter at the Post has seen this classified information it doesn't mean that anybody else should. It has been my experience that the Post can be trusted not to carelessly handle leaked information as well as to protect the identity of the leaker. Just because Strzok has stepped in it shouldn't lead us to expose others who have successfully handed off classified information without boasting about it in a text."
Rosenstein brushed aside Carter Page's complaint that Strzok's leak to the media led to him receiving death threats, saying that "if he hadn't gotten involved with Trump in the first place none of this would've happened. He wouldn't have been the patsy used as a pretext for the FISA warrant. The FBI would've had to find someone else to serve that purpose."
Dems Object to Federal Pay Freeze
Democrats in Congress are calling for legislation to reinstate a pay increase that President Trump canceled by executive order. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md) labeled Trump's pay freeze "an indefensible attack on the hard-working government employees who keep the country going."
The reasoning behind the federal pay freeze is that government workers already earn far more for comparable work than their private sector counterparts. According data from Bureau of Economic Analysis, annual wages for federal government employees is nearly $89,000 vs. $59,000 for similar jobs in the private sector. When fringe benefits are counted, the gap widens to $127,000 vs. $71,000.
Raskin contends that the comparison is invalid. "Government needs to retain the best and brightest among the population," the Congressman said. "We have to pay a premium to woo the elite performers away from the less important functions of the private sector. The actions of private sector workers are more limited in scope—affecting the narrow constituency of customers and shareholders. The actions of government workers crafting the rules and regulations that tell the private sector what to do are much more important and broader in scope. They deserve to be paid more."
Rep. Scott Taylor (D-Va) pointed out that "a workforce that has become accustomed to higher levels of pay cannot easily adapt to lower than anticipated wages. If they become dissatisfied they are in a position to shut down the entire country. The country can survive if truckers, or steel workers, or construction workers go on strike, but can it survive if the people who write and enforce the regulations go on strike? I don't think the American people want to find out. It would be better to pay now than be sorry later."
Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard credited President Donald Trump with boosting U.S. economic growth in a way that may prove to be sustainable by lifting productivity. "Trump's impact isn't the fleeting temporary bump from a government spending binge," Bullard observed. "The tax cuts and deregulation he has championed have increased the real returns on private sector investment. As long as these returns aren't undermined by policy reversals economic growth will tend to compound at higher and higher rates over time."