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Trump country gets a taste of Trump’s policy informed by ignorance



Trump country gets a taste of Trump’s policy informed by ignorance


Mango News / YouTube Donald Trump Mocks Call Centre In...
Mango News / YouTube

“It’s easy!” Donald Trump declared of winning trade wars in a tweet at the outset of March. With the benefit of the 280 characters Twitter has now afforded him, Trump proceeded to school the nation on how global trade works: “When we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore—we win big.”

These are the musing of an imbecile, as many farmers in the Midwest and plains states found out this week. In fact, for Minnesota corn and soybean farmer Bill Gordon, the only thing that was “easy” was tracking how big he lost as Trump “hit back” at China, which accounts for 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports.

Corn has not been profitable, Gordon said; soybeans were his “shining star.” But the 40-cent price drop Wednesday effectively wiped out his gains, and he’ll face a break-even season if they don’t recover.

“The administration needs to understand that the livelihoods of 300,000 soybean farmers are important,” said Gordon, who also voted for Trump.

The administration is showing no such comprehension level. The gains that Trump “effectively wiped out” this week were repeatedly dismissed as small potatoes by Trump and his White House this week.

“We may have a little bit of short-term pain but we’re certainly going to have long-term success,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday when asked if Trump was concerned about Americans losing money because of his saber rattling.

The areas that have been rocked most this week by Trump’s rigorously uninformed impulses also largely cast their vote for those impulses in 2016. According to the Washington Post, soybean-producing counties favored Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 12-point margin. And eight of the top 10 soybean producing states voted for Trump, according to the USDA.

Chart showing the eight of ten top soybean producing states that voted for Trump: Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Kansas. Only Illinois and Minnesota went for Hillary.

Some Trump voters, like Ohio farmer Bret Davis, were more charitable than others, even if they disagreed with Trump’s strategy.

“The way he’s going about this is not the way I would’ve done it,” Davis said. “My way would’ve been talking about it first, rather than just [imposing tariffs]. But Mr. Trump’s way to deal with anything is to throw a diversion into a room and then sit down and talk about it.

“It’s worked with some things,” Davis added.

But others, such as Iowa farmer Dave Walton had a warning for Trump.

“Right now, soybean growers in Iowa and across the nation are encouraging the administration to engage positively with China,” Walton said.

And if that doesn’t happen, he added: “Iowa leads the nation in many things. The presidential election is one of them.”

The American Soybean Association, which directed 84% of its several hundred thousand dollars in political giving toward Republicans in 2016, issued a scathing statement on Wednesday, even before Trump poked China once more to finish out the week.

“We have been warning the administration and members of Congress that this would happen since the prospect for tariffs was raised,” ASA President andIowa farmer John Heisdorffersaid, adding that the organization had never even received a response from the administration about a request to meet with Trump and strategize on the trade deficit.

One has to wonder if they’re surprised now. Trump lied his way through the entire 2016 campaign. He was notoriously under-briefed on every single issue of national importance. He didn’t understand the fundamentals of government, the markets, foreign policy, national security, immigration, healthcare, education. Whatever the topic, he was clueless, spouting whatever came to mind and sending fact checkers into a frenzy. He also didn’t care much for advisers and continually uttered things like “I alone can fix it” and “my primary consultant is myself” because, he assured us, he had a “good instinct” for things and “a very good brain.”

And yet many of those farmers voted for this guy, the billionaire who they somehow imagined understood their pain. He was supposedly a straight shooter despite his incessant lying, a shrewd businessman though he routinely defrauded his contractors and lenders, and a fighter in spite of being born into more money than the majority of Americans will ever see in their lifetimes.

He carried all of those liabilities into office with him and then began marveling at how complex the job of governing was. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” he declared on his way to losing his first major legislative battle—repealing Obamacare.

But that admission was seemingly quaint compared to what’s happening now. This week, Trump moved to mobilize the National Guard to the nation’s border over an immigration crisis he birthed in his brain and foisted upon the nation. He made an impromptu announcement that we would be pulling American troops entirely out of Syria, only to renege on the initiative the following day (who knows what his next militaristic whim will be—we actually have troops overseas whose fate is in the hands of this erratic boob). And as people in farm country watched their “worst fears” come to fruition, he and his aides insisted that the escalating tensions with China were no biggie and all would end well. The entire week was a demonstration in policy built around a willfully uninformed egocentric fraud responding to whatever fantastical delusions were infecting his brain at any given moment.

And Trump voters in the heartland are finally getting a taste of how harrowing it can be when your life, your family, and your livelihood become inadvertent trespassers in Trump’s fantasyland. Sure, he’s vilified immigrants and targeted their families based on his imaginary world. And yes, he’s deemed neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people” as they marched for just causes in his sick estimation. But it’s different when you and yours become the interlopers who cross over Trump’s illusory line.

Ignorance just isn’t as virtuous when you’re caught in its crosshairs. However Trump’s trade folly with China ends, let’s hope these Trump voters never forget what it’s like to be the victim of policy informed by unvarnished ignorance.



Doctored White House video shows Republicans believe in unlimited gov’t power—when they wield it




Doctored White House video shows Republicans believe in unlimited gov’t power—when they wield it


Fox Business / YouTube Mike Huckabee CNN s Jim Acosta 1541719853.jpg...
Fox Business / YouTube

This isn’t the first time our government has lied to us. Other lies, such as those told by the George W. Bush administration in order to justify their unprovoked invasion of Iraq, have had a much more direct impact on people’s lives here in our country and all over the world.

Additionally, this is far from the first lie Donald Trump or his White House have told. Indeed, releasing a doctored piece of propaganda wasn’t even only the Trump lie issued last Thursday. However, even if it isn’t the only one, or the worst one, the nature of this lie requires some special attention, both because of the details surrounding it and the general lack of protest by Trump supporters—a non-reaction that reveals, or at least further confirms, so much.

To recap briefly, during a presidential press conference on Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask a follow-up question of The Man Who (Still) Lost The Popular Vote. The guy at the podium didn’t much like it, and a White House intern attempted to confiscate the microphone into which Acosta was speaking.

After the exchange, the Trump administration revoked Acosta’s access to the White House, and press secretary Sarah Sanders stated:

President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.

However, Acosta did no such thing. A New York Times article on the incident summarized what happened as follows: “Television footage showed that Mr. Acosta and the intern made brief, benign contact—“Pardon me, ma’am,” the correspondent said—as she tried to take a microphone away from him at Mr. Trump’s behest.” Their arms collided because Acosta was bringing his left arm down after pointing forward for emphasis just as the intern, putting her arm across his torso, grabbed at the microphone Acosta held in his other hand.

As awful as it is to block a journalist from the seat of the executive branch, the White House’s behavior got even worse later on Wednesday. That evening Sanders released a video as justification for that revocation. Her tweet claimed that the video “clearly documented” the “inappropriate behavior” committed by “this individual.” The video—which appears to have been originally posted by Paul Joseph Watson, an editor-at-large for the notoriously fact-challenged right-wing conspiracy site Infowars—was a lie. Jen Hayden’s post lays out, in excruciating detail provided by video editing professions, exactly how this video was doctored.

Whether or not the White House knew the video had been doctored before they released it is irrelevant. The president of the United States and those who act and speak in his name have a much higher responsibility than that. Either way, they have continued to stand by the lie, even after it has been clearly demonstrated to be such.

If the notion that our government would do such a thing evokes George Orwell for you, well, you’re not alone. In addition to J.K. Rowling’s tweet, which she issued in response to Sarah Sanders’ post of the doctored video, you can clearly see the truth of what happened during the press conference in the video below.

On a related note, please don’t forget that the Trump White House has directly doctored evidence before. After then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer lied about the size of his boss’ … inauguration crowd (what, you thought I was going somewhere else with that?), Trump got a bit upset when photos contradicted that lie. He demanded that a government employee produce some better (i.e., fake) photos to support it. That little bit of doctoring may have itself been covered up, as the Guardian reporter who discovered it explained: “The newly disclosed details were not included in the inspector general’s office’s final report on its inquiry into the saga, which was published in June last year and gave a different account of the NPS [National Park Service] photographer’s actions.” Lies upon lies.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I know I’ve heard those words somewhere. Over the past two years, this White House has turned those words into a sick joke. Releasing doctored evidence to support a lie—a lie used to justify restricting a member of the press from doing his job—that’s the worst punchline yet.

Republicans have long pretended to enshrine as a core principle the importance of limiting government power. Only by limiting government power can the American people truly be free, they have somberly intoned. There is, however, no power greater than the power to define what is truth. Republicans have now wholeheartedly granted that power to the government, at least while they run it. For anyone who hadn’t already realized it, this incident should finally make clear that Republicans have no principles, only a commitment to grab and hold power through any means necessary.

To quote J.K. Rowling again—this time channeling the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche as laid out in his book Beyond Good and Evil—there’s a line uttered in the very first Harry Potter book by one of Lord Voldemort’s most devoted servants. It’s a line that completely defines Voldemort’s worldview: “There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” This is also the worldview of the Trump White House. As for those Republicans who stand with it after this kind of violation of the truth, they are but the unprincipled servants of their powerful master.

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We must not be complicit in Trump’s distortion of the huge Democratic Midterm 2018 win




We must not be complicit in Trump’s distortion of the huge Democratic Midterm 2018 win


RoguePlanet / Flickr democrats...
RoguePlanet / Flickr

The country is divided into pseudo-ideological lines. As such, discerning reality by the lowliest informed makes altering implanted beliefs, subliminal or otherwise much more difficult. And it is that realization that makes the Democratic Midterm 2018 a bigger success than it seems.

Early on Election Day, I started calling Indivisible Houston activists in the field. I wanted to find out if there were any anomalies at any polling locations so I could visit and report on it. One directed me to an activist with a dual role with the party and several activist groups. I texted her. “All the problems from this morning are cleared up but if you want something to do come phonebank with us.”

When I got to the Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP) war room, there were dozens of people diligently calling people and urging them to vote. We were calling right up to the closing of the polls at 7 PM CT.

It was party time now. Hundreds of activists, supporters, and politicians converged at a huge watch party. The early numbers on the candidates the traditional mainstream media viewed as important were very positive. But as the night went on the races in Georgia and Florida started severely underperforming the polls. It was evident Gillum, Nelson, and Abrams were in trouble. But Beto O’Rourke was still overperforming raising the excitement level with every update. Even though at that time Harris County and El Paso County had not dropped yet, O’Rourke was up by several points. It turned quickly for a while but when Harris County dropped, all was good again. Then something happened. More rural areas started dropping and they ate the gains from the big urban and suburban areas. With over eight million, Beto was short about 250,000 votes.

The watch party seemed deflated. I could not understand why. By then we knew we won the House. Moreover, the Invisible Houston and other Indivisible, Swing Left, Pantsuit Republica, Black Lives Matter activists, and others in Harris County were extremely successful. The HCDP chairwoman came out and congratulated all the winners in Harris County with everyone in the room cheering at the top of their lungs.

Afterward, the doldrums seemed to return. Some were upset with the possible Bradley Effect in the Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum races. Some were upset that O’Rourke missed a Democratic win by just north of 200,000 votes, a number not hard to get in a state this big. The largest pool of potential votes is from the non-voters who definitely have progressive proclivities.

I spent the time cheering up some of my activist friends and cohorts. But on my drive home I had a sinking feeling. We just had a huge win. Yet because of how much was being characterized but the traditional mainstream media, it was as if we missed our target. We did not. Our target was to win the House of Representatives and local races. Anything else was icing on the cake.

When I woke up Wednesday I wrote the following Facebook post.

CONGRATULATIONS Democrats and Progressives. You won, and you won big. Do not allow any narrative other than one of a big successful fruition of hard-fought campaigns. Nationally, we won the House and netted at least seven governorships. We elected an unprecedented number of women. We made a statement in Trump’s ethno-racist America by electing two Muslim women. We turned at least 6 state legislatures blue. Three Red States demanded the Medicaid Expansion to Obamacare. Several states voted in favor of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana and an increased minimum wage. After our step backward with Donald Trump, we have taken many steps forward.

Our mainstream media continues to “group think” and work as a staged production. They decided that Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum, Beto O’Rourke, and Bill Nelson were the bellwether for Midterm 2018. We would have loved for every one of them to win. But in the grand scheme of things those were acceptable and probable losses. I live in Harris County Texas. While Beto O’Rourke lost our statewide race by a few percentage points, his energy activated our Latinos, Millennials, GenZs, and others for a clean sweep of virtually all positions of consequence in the county. These positions have a direct impact on every Harris County resident’s everyday life. As an example of our success in this very diverse county, the most powerful politician in Harris County is now Lina María Hidalgo, a woman, a Latina, an immigrant from Colombia who paid her dues with her grassroots service. (I’ve interviewed here several times (

So, folks lets lift our heads. Let’s not succumb to a narrative that attenuates the sweetness of our success. We have activated populations that were either apathetic or thought they did not make a difference, or that no one cared about. Again, you won, and you won big. Now work to make it not only lasting but growing. Our work has just begun.

While Donald Trump was busy lying at his press conference as he characterized Midterm 2018 as a win for Republicans, liberals were on TV underwhelming the great accomplishments of activists and party loyalists.

The narrative should be that Democrats and progressives won big. In Texas alone, as reported by Gilberto Hinojosa, the Texas Party Chair:

  • Texas Democrats flipped 2 U.S. House Districts with the election of Lizzie Fletcher and Colin Allred—with one race too close to call.
  • Texas Democrats made history by sending the first two Latinas to Congress with the election of Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar.
  • Texas Democrats flipped two seats in the Texas Senate.
  • Texas Democrats picked up 12 seats in the Texas House—with three races that are too close to call.
  • Texas Democrats swept Bexar, Fort Bend, and Harris while holding Democratic strongholds along the Rio Grande Valley, and in El Paso, Dallas, and Travis counties.
  • Texas Democrats made huge gains in suburban Tarrant, Hays, and Williamson Counties.
  • Texas Democrats flipped the DA races in Fort Bend, Bexar, and Dallas Counties.
  • Texas Democrats swept the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 13th, and 14th Court of Appeals. We flipped the 3rd and 14th courts, ushering a new era of fairness and justice in Texas.

Democrats made progress in many of the red states like Kansas. Progressive ballot initiatives continue their march from marijuana, to the Medicare Expansion to Obamacare, to returning the votes to felons who served their time.

Democrats had a great night. We did not win all of the traditional mainstream media marquis races they chose to use as their bellwether for success. But we won where it mattered. Most importantly, it provided us with enough learning to modify our winning scheme for 2020.

So, folks let’s lift our heads. Let’s not succumb to a narrative that attenuates the sweetness of our success. We have activated populations that were either apathetic or thought they did not make a difference, or that no one cared about. Again, you won, and you won big. Now work to make it not only lasting but growing. Our work has just begun.

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Rep. Steve King refers to immigrants as ‘dirt’, lies about it afterwards




Rep. Steve King refers to immigrants as ‘dirt’, lies about it afterwards


House GOP / Flickr Rep Steve King...
House GOP / Flickr

Last week, archconservative publication Weekly Standard reported on an exchange between Republican white nationalist Rep. Steve King and his Iowa supporters in which they referred to immigrants as “dirt” coming from Mexico. It resulted in a tremendous hissy fit from King, who accused them of fabricating the conversation.

As it turns out Rep. Steve King very much said it, and in response to his denials and insults the Weekly Standard has now released the audio. Rep. Steve King had the conversation, Rep. Steve King knows damn well he had the conversation, and Rep. Steve King brazenly lied to the public afterwards because he is a lying and crooked man.

“I guess I’m going to have to go get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch,” King says in the audio, apparently referring to peppers he had grown in his home garden.

“Trust me, it’s already on its way,” a female supporter responds, laughing.

“Well, yeah, there’s plenty of dirt. And it’s coming from the West Coast, too,” King joked. “And a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.”

Just another Republican House member having a fun ol’ time with his Iowa constituents who are super-duper not racist, because reasons.

Interestingly, King was alarmed enough by this conversation going public that he and his allies mounted a public fit to claim the conservative outlet was lying about it; that suggests the man who regularly retweets white nationalists and lends his support to European neo-Nazi groups believes that he still needs to at least pretend he’s not doing that.

But he did, and he lied. He super-duper-duper lied, because he’s crooked. His Iowa base still managed to save his hide last Tuesday, though, because somebody’s got to have the most openly racist member of Congress and they’re quite certain Iowa should have the title. Duly noted; I say we all chip in and buy them a trophy.

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