Tag Archives: AR-15

Trump Guilty of Impersonating a President

According to a law passed in 1948, it is a federal crime to impersonate a federal officer. Title 18 of the U.S. Code, section 912 provides:

Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

In the case of Donald Trump, I vote for “both.” Any relationship between Donald Trump and an actual president of the United States is both purely coincidental and fictitious. He was elected with the help of a hostile foreign power and lost the popular vote. I understand that he and the White House Press Secretary continue to claim he won the popular vote but that assertion, as with so many others, is blatantly and demonstrably false. We have a serial liar for president.

The latest example of Trump’s grossly inappropriate conduct is his visit to Pittsburgh that was resisted by most of the responsible, and respectful, people there. It wasn’t that they all opposed his visit. They just didn’t want the distraction while they were grieving and planning the prompt burials required by the Jewish faith.

Trump, however, could care less about the latest victims of AR-15 enabled mass violence. His visit was a political gesture that, like so many others, was designed to suit his political base and has nothing to do with respect for the dead, for Jewish people or anything other than self-interest and maintenance of political power. If it were otherwise, Trump would have respected the request of local officials and families of the dead to come at another time. His political calculation is that this is the best time. Otherwise, according to the White House, the visit might have interfered with Trump’s planned election rallies for the mid-term elections. Always first-things-first at the Trump White House.

I actually expect that Trump is quite happy that the Pittsburgh visit has stirred yet another hornet’s nest of turmoil. Trump’s political strategy is to dominate the news regardless of the circumstances and regardless of who may be affected. It’s part of his deflection strategy that often works because the news media, the people he claims to hate because they criticize him, hang on his every word and his every move. Jake Tapper just stated on CNN that Trump came with the “best of intentions.” How Tapper knows that will remain a mystery. Why he felt it was appropriate to say it is beyond my understanding as well. It is just one example of the media fawning on the man that responds to them with the charge that they are the “enemy of the people.” Someday, historians will explore the devil’s bargain the media have made with Trump: “kick me again, I love the pain and the attention.”

Look at it this way. The school yard bully beats up a different kid every day for six months. Then, as the school year ends, he gives some candy to one of his victims. Should everyone conclude from this one act of generosity amidst dozens of acts of evil that the bully had good intentions and was “doing the right thing?” I rest my case.

Maybe the media should try another approach – like ignoring what Trump says and does once in a while. CNN, for example, will apparently spend the entire day and evening rehashing and rehashing Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh. Surely there is more news to report than this. Nothing new is emerging. The same people are interviewed repeatedly and asked the same questions and make the same remarks. Many local officials are obviously reluctant to question the president’s motives publicly. Why?  Because they know he’s a bully and could turn on them in a heartbeat with vicious tweets and humiliating statements at his “rallies.” How about the media tries depriving Trump of the constant free national and worldwide publicity he seeks and see how he likes it? Fox News will always be there for him, making stuff up and promoting his far-right authoritarian agenda.

The so-called mainstream media have, I suggest, aided the “normalization” of Trump’s behavior to such an extent that many of his outrageous lies get little or no pushback, further enhancing the fantastical beliefs of his sycophants that he speaks the truth. The mid-term elections may well be the last chance the United States has to re-establish some balance of power in the government, rebuilding the system of checks and balances that the Framers of the Constitution assumed would always exist. They were wrong. Having all three branches of the federal government in the hands of one political party headed by an authoritarian bully has been catastrophic for American democratic institutions. One need look no further than the voter suppression activities being pursued by the Republican Party around the country in an effort to steal another election from the people. If you agree with me about this, it is imperative that you vote, no matter where you live. And take some other people with you. Don’t let the apathy of others undermine your rights as an American. November 6. Do it.

Trump Proves Yet Again His Incompetence and Corruption

A few days back Donald Trump put on another display for public consumption regarding the massacre of students and teachers at Parkland School in Florida. In a meeting at the White House he said he was ready to do something about the curse of easy access to high-powered assault rifles and other military grade firearms that were typically used to kill large numbers of people in a few minutes. From the White House website: “It’s not going to be talk like it has been in the past. It’s been going on too long; too many instances. And we’re going to get it done. The press was giddy with excitement at the thought, the “fact,” that Trump was going against the National Rifle Association, was in favor of enhanced background checks, confiscation of certain weapons when necessary and limiting the age at which “rifles” could be purchased.

As if usually the case when Trump speaks extemporaneously, unscripted, this appeared to be a change of course, induced, at least in part, by the aggressive public pressure by the surviving Parkland students, still grieving even as they declared “Never Again.”

Trump loves being the center of attention. Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming that he will say and do almost anything to assure that in any situation, he is the dominant personality, the critical actor, the driving force for whatever agenda he has at the moment.

Of course, skeptics were …. skeptical. Those how have learned from experience, one of the hallmarks of intelligence and education, were concerned that Trump’s conversion was no more authentic than the hundreds of other times when he had either lied outright or quickly reversed himself only minutes or hours after some attention-grabbing maneuver. They were right.

It took almost no time for Trump’s newfound moral compass to gyrate itself into a hole leading straight to Hell. Trump has now disavowed virtually everything he said just days before. Now the White House website displays a four-point “master plan” for protecting students in schools:

First, “Hardening our schools: The Administration will make sure our schools are safe and secure—just like our airports, stadiums, and government buildings—with better training and preparedness.” [Italics mine]

Think about that for a second. Is the President proposing to create a School Security Administration like the Transportation Security Administration that inspects luggage and performs body scans on every airline passenger and compels visitors to the U.S. Capitol and other federal agencies to remove belts and shoes and pass through metal detectors? Will children attending schools be treated that way every day? What is that going to accomplish when, courtesy of the National Rifle Association, the next shooter appears with an AR-15 and immediately guns down the inspectors before entering the school to kill students and teachers?

 Or, is the President proposing to set up military-style gun emplacements around every school entrance so that anyone entering the area can be challenged and, if necessary, shot before doing damage? Bear in mind there are about 90,000 public and private elementary schools in the United States with more than 33 million students attending. That’s just elementary schools. Compare that with 5,145 public use airports.

“Hardening” schools as a protective measure seems like a ridiculous idea.

 Two, “Strengthening background checks and prevention: President Trump is supporting legislation and reforms to strengthen the background checks system and law enforcement operations.”

Grand. Other than the NRA, who would oppose such a plan? In fact, we understand that most members of the NRA support improvements in the background check system, though exactly what that support really looks like has not been tested because the NRA continues to use its cash and lobbying force to cower the Republicans who control the Congress. And, as is usually the case in this Keystone Kops administration, there are no details and this one, of all the ideas, should have been easy to flesh out with specifics. And, spoiler alert, the NRA isn’t about to roll over for any changes that could interfere even slightly with what they claim is their God-given right to free and immediate access to the firearms of their choice.

Three: “Reforming mental health programs: The President is proposing an expansion and reform of mental health programs, including those that help identify and treat individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others.”

This is the well-disguised ruse that says that the United States, a country of about 324 million people spread over 3,800,000 square miles, is going to establish a comprehensive and effective program for detecting individuals with mental conditions that might lead them to violent acts against school children (and presumably, present and former co-workers and employers, neighbors, etc.). This program will then, with or without compliance with constitutional guarantees related to due process and personal liberty, remove such persons for “evaluation and when necessary treatment” even if against their will or the will of their parents, guardians, etc.

Again, the plan based on pouring more money into mental health programs as a solution to gun violence, while it may be well-intentioned, is utterly useless as a real-world practical solution even in the long run.

Finally, Four, the capstone: Keeping the conversation going: In addition to these immediate actions, President Trump is establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to recommend policy and funding proposals for school violence prevention.” [italics mine]

Of course! Why didn’t we all think of this? Keep the conversation going. Start a commission to study the problem and issue a report. In a year, or two or three. No rush. How many will die in the meantime?  No matter. In the Republican calculation, those are what the military calls “acceptable losses.” Of course, the military was organized and staffed to fight and win battles and they understood there would be casualties as the necessary price of winning. That was an inescapable, if grisly, feature of the activity in which they were forced by history to engage.

So, do we just accept the President’s side-door escape from the harsh truth of gun violence and go with a study commission so we can defer the hard questions to another day. Doesn’t that play right into the hands of the NRA-funded chorus that always says “this isn’t the right time to address the issue.”

And of all people in the United States to put in charge of such a commission: Betsy Devos? She has repeatedly shown she knows little or nothing about education policy, is ignorant of the state of public education in her own state of Michigan, is solely devoted to promoting charter schools for white well-to-do kids at the expenses of the public-school system she appears to loathe.

What the Hell does Betsy Devos know about gun violence or security? How can she possibly chair an effective committee on the subject of protecting schools, students and faculty from armed violence? This “commission” is going to be like the so-called Voter Fraud Commission that Trump appointed, with the real purpose of imposing obstacles to people voting, especially in Democratic-leaning districts. The Devos commission (I choke on the idea) is simply a scheme to put off dealing with the issues indefinitely. The NRA bought and paid for this outcome. They met with Trump and everything changed.

We don’t have to accept this. The Parkland students are not going to accept it and everyone of good will should support them. Support their right to 17 minutes of silence on March 14 to honor the Parkland victims. March with and for them on March 24 wherever you are on that day. Relentlessly demand an end to the gun violence.

There is only one common denominator in all this and we don’t need a national commission to figure it out. The common denominator, one we can quickly do something about, is the ready access to assault-style military grade weapons, high-capacity magazines and any devices, however, described or operated, that convert those weapons into automatic-fire mode.

Surely, many gun “experts” will jump up and down like burned rabbits, complaining that people like me don’t know what an “assault” rifle is. Sorry, but you can’t win with the argument that this is about technicalities. This is not that hard, despite persistent efforts to make it seem like rocket science only a few elite gun experts can truly understand. And, in any case, we should err on the side of public safety. If we err and inadvertently bring a few non-assault weapons into a ban, we can fix that later. Right now, the emphasis should be on human safety, not about which precise weapons can fire at what rate of speed.

So, if you possibly can, on March 14 at 10 am, stop what you are doing for 17 minutes to honor the fallen students and teachers. Then, join me and hundreds of thousands of others on March 24 to March in the streets and tell the Trump administration that the time to act is NOW. No more excuses. We will wait no longer for our government to put an end to this curse.

The 2018 election season is underway. Prepare to vote. If you know someone who is not registered, offer to help them. Drive them to the polls if necessary or contact the local Democratic Party to get that done. Nothing is more important than reversing the descent into Hell that was started when Donald Trump was elected president.

BROKEN NEWS – TRUMP BUYS CNN, CHANGES NAME TO “TRUMP NEWS TODAY” (TNT)

Washington, DC – July 5, 2016:  It was learned today that Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president of the United States, has purchased Cable News Network, normally known as CNN, for an undisclosed sum. Trump hired the public relations firm of Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey to advise in connection with the transaction.

“When you think about,” Trump added, “my buying CNN makes perfect sense. They spend 90 percent of their time talking about me, anyway, with around-the-clock panel discussions and live video of my every utterance, so why shouldn’t I own it? Isn’t the press supposed to be free in this country? Believe me, CNN wasn’t free. It cost me a bundle, but with my former campaign manager working for them now, it was clearly the right move. Their constant coverage really helped my campaign and saved me a lot of money. And now, this way, we can cut costs by eliminating what remains of their so-called journalists. Instead of constant speculation about what I said and what I meant to say, they can just ask me directly and I’ll tell them what to report. They should just report the news I give them. That’s it,” Trump said.”

In a related development, Trump’s advisors hinted that Trump, at his own expense, had purchased large tracts of land along the U.S.-Mexican border and was already starting construction of his infamous Wall. A large area has been set aside for construction of Trump Castle, similar to a hotel, but with a moat, for the convenience of visitors to the massive construction site.

Around-the-clock web cam coverage of the construction is being suggested for broadcast by TNT. Trump is also planning to sell the dirt from the Wall excavation as souvenirs for his supporters. Finally, word leaked out from his campaign that he is considering renting shooting positions along the wall to aspiring owners of AR-15 rifles who, for a fee, have the opportunity to stand guard and fend off anyone seeking to breach or scale the Wall. His spokesperson said that Trump meant to say that only rubber bullets would be permitted. Thus, even if Mexico does not end up paying for the Wall, Trump will still make a killing, figuratively speaking, of course.

Note: This is satire. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.  Believe it.

Or not.