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Saturday News: “President Trump, White House Apprentice”; Fallon Does Trump’s Bizarre Press Conference

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, February 18. As for Jimmy Fallon, I’ll never forgive him for helping to normalize Trump, but this impression of Trump’s bizarre press conference is pretty funny.

  • Dan Rather:

    President Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday is one of the most unusual and unsettling from a president perhaps in our nation’s history. It reminds me a bit of the final days of President Nixon’s tenure, when the world was collapsing about him. But Mr. Trump is not yet a month into his presidency.

    As many of my fellow journalists have noted, the scorn for Mr. Trump’s ramblings and incoherence, nevermind the matter of the topics he did address, has been widespread. But it would be a grave mistake to think it is universal. This President remains deeply popular with his base. While his overall numbers are sinking well below any historical comparisons, his numbers amongst Republicans seem to be floating on helium.

    This is one of the great urgencies of the moment – a deep bifurcation in how the country sees the President and the Republican agenda as a whole. The two are linked but only weakly. The effects of this can be seen by the tepid criticism at best from the GOP leadership and rank and file on Capitol Hill. Even as many in the press and on the political left – and even maybe independents – see an Administration teetering on collapse. Republican voters see it very differently. at least for now. The votes on controversial cabinet posts continue with few speed bumps. The latest vote on Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier whose potentially explosive emails were ordered by a judge to be released, is a perfect case in point as this article in from The New Yorker makes clear.

  • Video: Check out the brainwashed, Faux “News” zombies who support Trump. At the minimum, they are authoritarians. At the worst, they are fascists. Regardless, they live in a completely fact-free, alternate universe in which science is NOT real, facts are lies, and “It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sdb5soF2TQ&t=0s

  • Video of Sen. John McCain speaking yesterday at the 2017 Munich Security Conference. Great words, implicitly slamming Trump; now it’s time for McCain to DO SOMETHING about the situation, like impeaching the lunatic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ_Xz-HVOBU

    “Thank you, Ian, for that kind introduction. Let me also thank the German government and people, as always, for their warm and gracious welcome.

    “Not every American understands the absolutely vital role that Germany and its honorable Chancellor, Chancellor Merkel, are playing in defense of the idea and the conscience of the West. But for all of us who do, let me say thank you.

    “My friends: In the four decades I have attended this conference, I cannot recall a year where its purpose was more necessary or more important.

    “The next panel asks us to consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now.

    “This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. Indeed, it is why they first started coming to Munich. They did not assume the West would survive, because they had seen its near annihilation. They saw open markets give way to beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism, and the poverty that imposed. They saw a world order fracture into clashing ethnic and nationalist passions, and the misery that wrought. They saw the rise of hostile great powers, and the failure of deterrence, and the wars that followed.

    “From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what we call the West—a new, and different, and better kind of world order … one based not on blood-and-soil nationalism, or spheres of influence, or conquest of the weak by the strong, but rather on universal values, rule of law, open commerce, and respect for national sovereignty and independence. Indeed, the entire idea of the West is that it open to any person or any nation that honors and upholds these values.

    “The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense. Our predecessors did not believe in the end of history—or that it bends, inevitably, toward justice. That is up to us. That requires our persistent, painstaking effort. And that is why we come to Munich, year after year after year.

    “What would von Kleist’s generation say if they saw our world today? I fear that much about it would be all-too-familiar to them, and they would be alarmed by it.

    “They would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.

    “They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.

    “They would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies.

    “They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.

    “But what would alarm them most, I think, is a sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West … that they see it as a bad deal that we may be better off without … and that while Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it is unclear whether we have the will.

    “All of us must accept our share of the blame for this turn of events. We grew complacent. We made mistakes. At times we tried to do too much, and at others we failed to do enough. We lost touch with many of our people. We have been too slow to recognize and respond to their hardships. We need to face up to these realities, but this does not mean losing hope and retreating. That we must not do.

    “I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that is the message you will hear from all of the American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That is not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That is not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. And that is certainly not the message you will hear tomorrow from our bipartisan congressional delegation.

    “Make no mistake, my friends: These are dangerous times, but you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out. We must be prudent, but we cannot wring our hands and wallow in self-doubt. We must appreciate the limits of our power, but we cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the West. We must understand and learn from our mistakes, but we cannot be paralyzed by fear. We cannot give up on ourselves and on each other. That is the definition of decadence. And that is how world orders really do decline and fall.

    “This is exactly what our adversaries want. This is their goal. They have no meaningful allies, so they seek to sow dissent among us and divide us from each other. They know that their power and influence are inferior to ours, so they seek to subvert us, and erode our resolve to resist, and terrorize us into passivity. They know they have little to offer the world beyond selfishness and fear, so they seek to undermine our confidence in ourselves and our belief in our own values.

    “We must take our own side in this fight. We must be vigilant. We must persevere. And through it all, we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values—that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair … and that even though we will inevitably take losses and suffer setbacks, through it all, so long as people of goodwill and courage refuse to lose faith in the West, it will endure.

    “That is why we come to Munich, year in and year out—to revitalize our common moral purpose, our belief that our values are worth the fighting for. Because in the final analysis, the survival of the West is not just a material struggle; it is now, and has always been, a moral struggle. Now more than ever, we must not forget this.

    “During one of the darkest years of the early Cold War, William Faulkner delivered a short speech in Stockholm upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. ‘I decline to accept the end of man,’ Faulkner said. ‘I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.’

    “Even now, when the temptation to despair is greatest, I refuse to accept the end of the West. I refuse to accept the demise of our world order. I refuse to accept that our greatest triumphs cannot once again spring from our moments of greatest peril, as they have so many times before. I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries. I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West, and I believe we must always, always stand up for it—for if we do not, who will?”

  • Fascinating “tweetstorm” by Peter Daou ‏@peterdaou 12h12 hours ago

    1. A thread on the danger of treating Americans as a monolith in the Trump era. They are not. Over-generalization dilutes opposition. (1/16)

    2. Pundits, reporters and political observers talk about “the people” or “the public” or “Americans” reacting to Trump’s wild provocations.

    3. But it is essential to understand that various factions view Trump through distinct lenses. There are different American “realities.”

    4. Five major factions to consider: Trump supporters. Republican leaders. The anti-Hillary left. The news media. The Trump opposition.

    5. Trump supporters run the gamut from fierce loyalty to tepid acceptance. They are “informed” by Fox/Hannity/Breitbart/Limbaugh/etc.

    6. Loyal Trump supporters DO NOT SHARE THE SAME WORLDVIEW his opponents do. They are not alarmed by him. Rather, they are encouraged.

    7. Tepid Trump supporters may waver, but they still perceive “libruls” or “libtards” as the enemy, not Russia. And they despise the media.

    8. Republican leaders are another important faction. Most know what Trump is doing is NOT NORMAL and undermines our Constitution and values.

    9. But GOP lawmakers think they can “contain” Trump to advance their rightwing agenda. It’s a craven and dangerous game that they’ll regret.

    10. The anti-Hillary left is a small faction but a loud one. They helped elect Trump and are not seen as allies by marginalized communities.

    11. The anti-Hillary left continues to be a destabilizing influence, driven mainly by unchanneled rage (and guilt) from the Dem primaries.

    12. The news media occupy a unique space. Their horrendous Clinton coverage during the election gave us Trump. But now they check his power.

    13. Absolving the national media for smearing Hillary is unnecessary. It is a burden they must carry as they defend themselves from Trump.

    14. The biggest US faction is the Trump opposition, including activists who call themselves #TheResistance. Trump opponents are the MAJORITY

    15. Trump hates being reminded of Hillary’s popular vote margin because he knows MORE PEOPLE OPPOSE HIM THAN SUPPORT HIM. That’s real news.

    16. In conclusion, it is crucial to distinguish various factions when thinking about how to deal with Trump’s threatening words and actions.

  • Yes, this is the 2013 Virginia GOP’s nominee for Lt. Governor…

    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ewjacksonweaselsbackstabbers.jpg

  • From the Dem Party of Virginia:

    First GOP Gubernatorial Debate: It’s Trump’s Party Now

    As GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Gather for Their First Debate, Trump Will Be Front and Center As Candidates Align To Implement His Far-Right Policies on Virginia

    Meanwhile, New Poll Shows Democrats Beat Republican Candidates in All Possible Match Ups in General Election

    As Donald Trump’s first month in office continues to unravel, the Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidates today will continue their race to the right and align themselves to Trump’s agenda. Despite Trump’s 30% approval rating with Virginians, the four Republican candidates for governor are now racing to out-Trump one another.

    “Since day one of Trump’s presidency, Virginia’s GOP gubernatorial candidates have supported Trump and his far-right policies at every turn,” said Becca Slutsky, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia. “On everything from Trump’s travel ban, to the president’s support of a 20-week abortion ban, to Trump’s freeze on federal spending — a direct hit to Virginia’s economy — the GOP candidates will continue their race to the right today as they fully align themselves behind the unraveling Trump presidency.”

    Virginia rejected Trump in November, and continue to reject his agenda. A new Quinnipiac poll out this week shows that Democrats are beating Republicans in all possible matchups come November’s election.

    As this first debate will make clear, when you pull back the curtains from today’s Republican party, all you find are alternative facts and a lack of common sense solutions — which is why Democrats are beating Republicans in all possible matchups come November’s election.

    Here is what we expect to see from the first GOP debate in Charlottesville:

    Full Support of Trump: When it comes to general support Donald Trump, the GOP candidates have been right there along with him. Ed Gillespie’s support of Trump was “clear from the beginning” and have since urged Republicans to “come home” to support Trump. Corey Stewart likes to brag that “I was Trump before Trump was Trump,” Frank Wagner was co-chair of Trump’s Virginia campaign, leaving Denver Riggleman to claim that Trump “opened up the lane” for people like to him to run for office.

    Trump’s Travel Ban: While multiple federal courts have ruled to uphold halting Trump’s illegal travel ban, both Stewart and Riggleman have called Trump’s executive order “necessary.” Wagner has said he backs Trump’s executive order, and despite top security experts agreeing that this travel ban makes Virginia less safe, Gillespie said that a pause of refugee resettlement is a rational step.

    Trump’s Federal Spending Freeze: Trump’s freeze on federal spending will slash jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Even Rep. Barbara Comstock broke with Trump on his executive order instituting a government wide hiring freeze. Corey Stewart has publicly backed Trump on this effort, leaving Republicans wondering where the other candidates stand behind Trump’s executive order.

    20 Week Abortion Ban: Stewart, Gillespie, Wagner and Riggleman have all affirmed their support that they would back a 20-week abortion ban. This is their direct attempt to take away the constitutional rights of women and make abortion illegal, endangering the health of women across the Commonwealth.

  • Video: Corey Stewart stands in front of Confederate flags, decries “tyrants” in C-ville wanting to take down Robert E. Lee statue

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SqlFR6DYow

  • Quizzical

    San Diego building EV charging stations as part of its climate action plan
    http://ngtnews.com/san-diego-doubles-number-of-ev-charging-stations-with-500k-grant