Tag Archives: Donald Trump

What Does Rob Blum Have to Say for Himself?

Iowa’s incumbent 1st District Congressman Rod Blum does not want to answer for his record or, rather, his lack of a record on any issues of substance during his two terms in Congress.

As a member of the arch conservative House Freedom Caucus, Blum has been a rubber stamp for some of the worst impulses of the modern right wing in America.

Tax cuts that bankrupt the Treasury, but enrich the wealthiest Americans?  Check.

Attempting to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act without offering anything in the way of a replacement that would protect average Americans?  Check.

Allowing corruption to run rampant through his own caucus with nary a word of protest?  Check.

Providing no oversight or investigations into the corrupt and unethical Trump administration because a notionally Republican president is a good thing for their own agenda?  Check.

Well, what do you expect from a member of Congress embroiled in his own ethical scandal who trots out the well-worn Trump line that any investigation into a Republican is a “witch hunt?”

Furthermore, Rod Blum will not answer to his own constituents about these and many more issues.  In the past two weeks I have contacted his office on ten separate occasions regarding questions of revocation of U.S. citizens passports, general corruption in the Trump administration, breaches of security protocols at all levels of government, and unethical behavior on the part of the president without a single response beyond a form email acknowledging my contact.

It is time for Rod Blum to do something for the people of Iowa and walk away.  I am sure that the money he secured for himself by cutting his own tax bill will provide enough succor on those cold winter nights in Dubuque.

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Running Rod Blum

Rod Blum is running.

Rod Blum is running for reelection in Iowa’s 1st District.  Congressman Blum is considered one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.   The 1st district went heavily for Barack Obama in 2012, but swung Trump’s way in 2016.  In 2018 the district is likely to snap back and smack Rod Blum in the teeth.

Rod Blum is running from his unethical behavior.  In true Trumpian fashion Congressman Blum has declared any investigation into his unethical behavior to be a witch hunt.

Rod Blum is running from hard questions.  Just like the time Congressman Blum ran out of an interview rather than answer a question, he has gone silent on any number of issues that pertain to the ethical and/or criminal activities of the Trump administration.

Rod Blum is running from his own record in Congress.  Rod Blum has a 100% score from Americans for Prosperity.  You know those guys because the organization is basically a front for the Koch’s to spend millions of dollars of dark money in the hopes of influencing elections and getting legislation passed that allows them to profit off the people of America.  Rod Blum has a 93% score from the National Rifle Association.  Yes, the same National Rifle Association that clings to ridiculous rhetoric in the face of changing public opinion and scores of school shootings.  Heck, Rod Blum as a 70% rating from the freaking John Birch Society.

Rod Blum is running and hopefully in January he is running home to Dubuque from Washington D.C.

Why No Hearings or Investigations Congressman Blum?

In 2016 Rod Blum was very concerned about the state of security around Hilary Clinton’s emails.  During a hearing, in which the technical expertise of Clinton was roundly mocked, Blum noted, “This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”

I am very happy to see that Rod Blum is concerned about the serious nature of security lapses in a presidential administration.  Surely, he has called for hearings or investigations into similar lapses by the Trump administration?

The sound you hear is crickets coming from the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.  For all of the fire and fury around emails when Barack Obama there has been no outcry over the many security lapses of the Trump administration.

Starting this week I have sent an email per day on the subject of the lack of investigations and/or hearings into the many issues surrounding the current presidential administration.  At the end of this post you can see the sample text that I have been sending.

Here is what Rod Blum’s office sent in reply to pointed questions about hearings or investigations of security lapses under the Trump administration:

“…”

That is right.  I have heard nothing in response to many inquiries.  Why?  Republicans in Congress do not give a shit about what Trump does as long as he keeps delivering on their corrupt agenda.

The general thrust is that Republicans could give a shit what Trump does as long as he cuts taxes, installs compliant activist judges, and generally does the bidding of the kleptocrat class without making them look too bad.  He has succeeded on the first two, but Trump is a miserable freaking failure when it comes to not being an embarrassment.

Republicans in Congress have the power to convene hearings and conduct investigations into the corrupt practices of the Trump administration.  You can rest assured that as long as Republicans control Congress that this power will be kept under lock and key.

What say you Rod Blum?

115th Congress is Complicit in Trump’s Rampant Corruption

There is a spreadsheet circulating among Republicans and, thanks to some investigative reporting and the internet, it is circulating freely among us.  The gist is that this spreadsheet details the list, which is growing daily, of matters that will be investigated under a House of Representatives led by Democrats.

The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • President Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
  • Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
  • The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
  • James Comey’s firing
  • Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
  • Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
  • White House staff’s personal email use
  • Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
  • Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
  • Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
  • Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
  • The travel ban
  • Family separation policy
  • Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
  • Election security and hacking attempts
  • White House security clearances

Wow.

But what about Hilary’s emails?  Do you see the ninth item on the list above?  Trump’s administration is doing the same damn thing, but I do not see Trey Gowdy getting his Skeletor undies in a bunch over the issue.

Remember, the midterm election is 69 days away from today.  If your Representative or Senator is a Republican who has not called for an investigation or, at the very least, hearings on all of these issues there needs to be a reckoning.  Call and email them frequently to get them on the record as to where they stand in opposing the rampant corruption of the Trump administration.

If they demure, remind them of the time spent on Clinton’s email “scandal” and the events that occurred in Benghazi.  Remind them that Clinton spent hours, under oath, in hearings.  Ask for the same treatment of Trump’s administration.  It’s only fair.

If not, remind them and everyone you meet that the midterm election is a referendum not just on Donald Trump but it is a referendum of the complicit nature of the 115th United States Congress.

I cannot wait to see what Rod Blum’s office says in response.

You Must Read—What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia

9780998904146.jpgNot since Jon Krakauer disemboweled Greg Mortenson in Three Cups of Deceit has an author gone quite for the jugular of a popular book like Elizabeth Catte does in What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia.  The target of her ire is J.D. Vance and his uber popular Hillbilly Elegy.

The word Appalachia is really a code word for the dog whistle politics of the right wing.  It conjures all sorts of images of humble working class folk wronged by the liberal politicians of the coastal states.  Too bad this is all just a bunch of bullshit and Catte calls people like Vance to the carpet for perpetuating simplistic stereotypes for financial gain.  Make no mistake, Vance has sold whatever credibility and authenticity he had to being “Appalachian” long ago.  Please, do not take my word for it.  Read this excerpt from page 93:

Vance is a well-educated person of means with a powerful platform who has chosen to accept a considerable amount of fame and wealth to become a spokesperson for the region.  Since he is such an enormous fan of personal responsibility, I am thrilled to hold him responsible for his asinine beliefs and associations.  Appalachian blogger Kelli Haywood, in her essays on Elegy, objects to the individuals who claim that Vance isn’t authentically Appalachian because he migrated outside the region.  I don’t give a damn about geography, but I’ll not that Vance has transcended one of the most authentically Appalachian experiences of them all: watching someone with tired ideas about race and culture get famous by selling cheap stereotypes about the region.

Damn.  J.D. Vance is really just a road side carnival barker selling the United States at large on a drive by tourism of tired Appalachian tropes.

Here’s the thing: Catte is spot on in her criticism.  We, as a nation and especially the media, would like nice and neat narratives about regions like Appalachia because it allows us to fool ourselves into a sense of cultural complacency.  Appalachia is poor and dependent upon extractive industries for whatever economic good fortune might trickle its way.  Iowa is rural and the price of corn or soybeans is the single most important economic indicator on any given day.  Oklahoma is run by the oil and gas lobby…oh wait, that one is probably true.

You get the idea.  We want Appalachia to be easy to understand because it makes our own communities easier to understand.  It is not easy to grapple with an Appalachia that was and, to some degree, remains a place where radical workers reside and resistance to coal companies, as opposed to the assumed subservience, was a hallmark of the holler.  It is not easy to imagine an Appalachia that is increasingly diverse as African Americans and Hispanic populations grow while the Caucasian population declines.  God forbid we try to wrap our minds around an Appalachia that contains members of the LGBTQ community.  Whoa nelly!

Appalachia is America and the sooner we realize that truth is the sooner that we become a better country.

Are Baby Boomers Evil?

This weekend I finished Bruce Cannon Gibney’s Generation of Sociopaths How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America.  I hesitate to recommend the book as a “must read” because it’s point is somewhat repetitive throughout the course of the book making it seem more like a personal attack on an entire generation rather than a statistically backed takedown of an entire generation.  In fact, you could make the case that the book is both of those things at the same time depending upon where you are at in your reading.

Nevertheless, I believe that the core tenant of the book—America’s problems are, fundamentally, caused by the selfish behavior of the Baby Boomer generation—bears some consideration as we muddle through the second year of the presidency of someone who the Baby Boomers basically elected.

In essence, I believe the story can begin and end with Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency.  Donald Trump is a Baby Boomer having been born in 1946 at the beginning of the cohort born from approximately 1943 through approximately 1964.  He represents all of the worst characteristics of the generation—narcissism, aversion to authority other than that derived from their own person, indifference to facts or expertise, hostile to criticism, inability to consider sacrifice, lack of empathy, and so on.  You even get some of the other characteristics like divorce, love of television, taste for fast food, and an attraction to ostentatious displays of affluence.  It is as if the Baby Boomers decided to create a 151 proof version of all of their bad traits and put that person in the White House.

Baby Boomers are even to blame for this man’s election.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the voting statistics behind the 2016 election by demographic cohorts.  Older, white males who identified as conservative loved Donald Trump.  Basically, you Uncle Carl who likes to get lit at Thanksgiving and tell everyone at the table that America is going to hell elected the worst president in modern memory.  Knowing Baby Boomers the generational cohort will likely take no blame and pin the result on everyone but themselves.  Good lord!

But why did Baby Boomers elect Donald Trump over another member of their generation?  Do you remember the move The American President?  Toward the end of the movie President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, excoriates his political nemesis Bob Rumson, played by Richard Dreyfuss:

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: Making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character and you wave an old photo of the president’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she’s to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.

If that does not sound like the playbook of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign I do not know what does.  It is like he saw the movie, the man likes his television, and said, “I got it.  I will be just like Bob Rumson!”  Add in Fox News, Twitter, and a Russian connection…you get the idea.

While we can place blame for the election of Donald Trump on a lot of different factors with baby boomer support being just one, I think the special election for Senate in Alabama was a more insightful example.  By all accounts, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions should have been elected in a cakewalk over any Democrat, unless Nick Saban decided to run for the office as a Democrat.  However, the Republican party put forth Roy Moore, Jr. as a candidate because when it’s primary season you never know what kind of crazies are going to make the ballot.  Just ask Virginia’s state GOP how that is going.

When all the voting was done Roy Moore, Jr. lost to Doug Jones in a fairly close election.  Given the outlandish nature of Roy Moore, Jr. as a politician, judge, and basic human being it should have been a disaster for the GOP.  What happened?  Makes supported Roy Moore, Jr. 56 to 42 according to exit pools.  Even more telling was that people over the age of 45 supported Roy Moore, Jr. by a large margin.  The exit polling from this race is just fascinating. You can disagree with policies all day long but when you cast your vote for a man with no regard for the law who happens to be a serial pedophile just because he is a Republican you are evil.  Thank god that African Americans, women in particular, turned out in force for Doug Jones and saved our democracy the spectacle that could have been.

Sorry baby boomers, but the evidence is starting to make me agree with Bruce Cannon Gibney and I did not want to do that.  The challenge facing us is to sweep aside this generation of leaders and put people in place who actually want to solve problems as opposed to ensuring that largesse continues to flow.

Friday Linkage 5/25/2018

Free your Sundays.  As well as your Monday and Thursday nights.  Free yourself from the craven piss babies who are NFL owners and NFL “leadership” who have caved to the base elements of their fan base and Donald Trump.  Nothing says conscience of America quite like a thrice divorced, porn star spanking, man baby who likes to wrap himself in the viscera of patriotism despite his well-documented history of being physically incapable of serving in the military during the Vietnam War.

The entire issue around the anthem protests has been a dog whistle for extreme white wing.  Well compensated, majority African American males making a statement about well document injustice at the hands of police is just too much.

Well, this kowtowing to the Fox News and Alex Jones contingent of our society is too much.  I am done with the NFL.  Forever.

On to the links…

The Efficiency Myth—Along with trickle down economics I would love to forever banish the conservative edict that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector.  It is not true.

EPA Bans CNN, AP from Covering Summit on Chemicals, ‘Forcibly’ Removes Reporter—This is what transparency and “draining the swamp” looks like under Donald Trump.  It is a government run with the singular goal of enriching the plutocrats and screwing over anyone else.

Park Service Releases Complete Climate Change Report—Climate change is real.  Human beings are the primary driver.  It is going to mess up a lot of stuff.  Despite what Ryan Zinke and Scott Pruitt want you to believe this is the reality.

Recreation is Redefining the Value of Western Public Lands—The value of the lands of the United States are not just measured in the amount of oil, gas, and minerals that can be extracted.  This runs counter to the narrative of clowns like Ryan Zinke, but the facts—oh those pesky facts—show a reality that people do enjoy these lands for the recreational value is available.

This Could Be A Clever Fix For The Biggest Climate Problem—Refrigeration and the energy use it requires is a big problem in any climate change mitigation scenario.  To combat climate change we need to reduce the energy needed to cool ourselves and our food.

Northeastern States Band Together, Develop a Unified EV Charge Network—Take a densely populated area, add an EV charging network that uses the same technology across the geographic area, and…BAM!…you have the recipe for increasing the adoption rate of EVs in the Northeastern United States.

A 100% Renewable Grid Isn’t Just Feasible, It’s Already Happening—At first they said that the grid could not handle 5% renewables and then it became 10%.  Every year that number has to get revised upward because the grid can handle it.

The Netherlands Announces Ban On Coal, Plans To Close 2 Power Plants By 2024—Every day there is at least some good news.

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster—If there was one thing that I wish we would do en masse in the United States it would be to rip out the acres and acres of lawn that cover our landscape.  This is a landscape that provides little to no visual interest.  It provides little to no habitat for wildlife.  It is a suck for time, energy, and chemicals.  Most people do not actually like mowing the lawn.  Remind me again why we have lawns?

Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders—This is what a $1.4 TRILLION tax cut gets you.  Harley Davidson may be in a lot of trouble as its core customers begin to age out of pretending to be bad ass biker guys.  That has not stopped the company from increasing its dividend and buying back stock.  It’s all about maximizing shareholder value and screwing over anyone who gets in the way of profiteering.

How Much Will West Coast Snowfall Decrease In The Next 80 Years?—If you love snow you are screwed:

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