Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network
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Associated website:
Economics Blog for UFPJ-DVN

Veteran's resources. This page summarizes available governmental, organizational and other resources and makes them easily accessible to those searching for assistance.

PRAWN Flyer (PDF) Updated 20Feb2010

Information sheet on Austerity


Ray Torres is the director of the short film

Beyond Credit Unions

The film is available for groups to show. Contact Ray at 215 753 9022


I kinda like this as an anthem for the left these days.

Brief history of PRAWN

PRAWN's mission is to:
  • Network groups, organizations, and individuals to stop the repression caused by "never ending wars" at home and abroad, by the US corporate military state
  • Support organizations having common ground
  • Educate and activate the general public

Local Resource Organizations

National Organizations

Marlene Santoyo's Political Allies Newsletter

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Commentary Archives
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Webspace provided by 1&1 Internet
Webmaster: Rich Gardner

Upcoming Events


will CONTINUE to be held at
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration
Tuesday evenings, 6:00 to (at least) 6:45 PM
6900 Stenton Ave. (Stenton at Gorgas Lane), Phila 19150

Bubbies & Zaydes (Grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East - Peace Vigil

Held at the corner of 19th & JFK Boulevard

1st & 3rd Fridays of each month - all are invited to attend



Drone Free Horsham

Protests are held last Saturday of each month, 12:00noon to 2:00pm

North corner of Horsham Air Base
Intersection of Easton Road & W. County Line Road

Facebook event page

YouTube - Living Under Drones

Protests held on Apr13, Jun13, Jul13, Apr14, May14, Jun14, Apr15, Jul15, May16, Jun16, May17, Aug17

Senate Intelligence Committtee Torture Report

(Local copy, the redacted summary)

Midsection archive

Crowd on the march
Women's March 2018

Video - first part of Conference on US Military Bases in Foreign Countries.

speaker at rally
Treatment of Puerto Rico and 250th day of Trump Presidency

Singer and announcer

Horsham Air Base Aug 2017

facing road
Anti-Drone Protest May '17
May Day at Clark Park

May Day celebration at Clark Park

Marching near Liberty Bell
March for Science

rally-170302-00330 (115K)
Rally on 41st day of Trump Presidency.
15 days into Trump's presidency

Protest held on 15th day of Trump presidency

Women's March in Philadelphia

Women's March in Philadelphia during first week of Trump Administration.

Marching in Central Philadelphia

March held a few days before President Trump's inauguration

protest-160708-00222 (202K)
A Black Lives Matter protest.

protest-160528-00158 (244K)
Anti-Drone Protest outside Horsham Air Base.
Social-Forum-150628-00117 (144K)
Social Forum - Phildelphia 2015
Protest-150425-00025 (236K)

Anti-Drone Protest at Horsham Air Base.

climate march

Climate March NYC / Comments from reporter Naomi Klein. / The significance of the march

Rally for Michael Brown

rally for gaza

Rally for Gaza


Gay Pride Parade - Vets For Peace and FUMCOG contingents


May Day 2014


Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Corbett arranges to meet with students of one of the schools that he's been defunding, but cancels when students, parents and teachers make it clear that they were goingto protest his visit. We all assembled anyway.

drone protest

Anti-drones protest

group photo

Syria strike protest

Horsham Air Base

Protest at Horsham Air Base about proposed Drone Command Center

Anonymous protests

Last (?) Protest on behalf of Pfc. Bradley Manning

gay pride parade

The 2013 Philly Gay Pride Parade

Brad Manning demo

Demonstration on behalf of Bradley Manning, whose court-martial begins next Monday.


May Day USA 2013
May Day 2013
Horsham Air Base drone protest
Protesting drones at Horsham Air Base
Sandy Hook Vigil
Vigil for Sandy Hook Elementary School
Visual essay on event and on the gun control issue

near Liberty Bell

National Gathering Facebook page
Live-blog of National Gathering

in front of school board
Rally at the School Board to defeat the Knudsen Plan

May Day Rally
Also, same problems that apply to privatized schools apply to prisons as well.

Decarcerate PA
march & rally story

bellringer with vigilers in background
The "Final Friday" vigil concludes

Dilworth Plaza

Occupation of Dilworth Plaza, Philadelphia

Protesting War in Libya

Declare Peace
Declare Peace & protest of interception of Boat to Gaza

Mt Airy Day
Mt Airy Day 2011


Philadelphia's Take Back The Night annual march and testimony

two groups
UNAC opposed to the wars abroad

Lafayette Park
Noting the beginning of the 8th year of the Iraq War. Also, protest of how Pfc. Bradley Manning is being treated.

At Love Park
Two protests in support of the citizens, workers and unions of Wisconsin.
MSB Plaza     Love Park

rally for Egypt
In support of the Egyptian people against their dictator Hosni Mubarak. Update on situation. Videos of another protest shortly afterwards.

Vets protest

Veteran-Led Civil Resistance to U.S. Wars
Announcement    \ Flyers    Photos   Huffington Post


Archive of actions & photos

Info, articles, etc.

Ooh! These are not good! An Israeli jet gets shot down by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces that are Russian and Iranian-supported. Also,  Kurds shoot down a Turkish helicopter. Turkey has been a US ally since NATO was formed back in the late 1940s, the US has been supporting the Kurds since 2003 and especially lately in actions against ISIS.

Fox News contributor Marie Harf really tries! She really does, but her co-hosts won't hear the far more sensible explanation on the FBI lawyer Lisa Page sent to FBI Agent Peter Strzo text message that she offers.

Iraq needs $100 billion to recover from the damage the US did to them with the 2003 invasion and an occupation that lasted until the end of 2011. Obviously the US could have afforded that had they not just blown $1.5 trillion on a tax break and are planning a $200 billion infrastructure bill.

The President puts out a tweet bemoaning the loss of due process for white, wealthy men accused of domestic abuse and assault. This twitter author reproduces the full-page ad encouraging the execution of the Central Park Five, five innocent men wrongly accused of a brutal rape that one Donald J. Trump put into the paper. More details on that case.

The second part to this blog post is infuriating as it relates to austerity/government spending and urgent, real-life priorities. The particular subject here is security clearances.

President says he can't release Democratic response to the Nunes memo without unspecified revisions. Democrats will work with Justice Department to find out what President's concerns are.

Aww, man! House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is so badass! Love it! She speaks, gets interrupted and grins "Touched a nerve there, I hear." Ha, ha, ha!

*Sigh* The President's briefers just can't win for losing. They realize they have to simplify the briefings so he gets them, but "at times, Trump has been dismissive of his briefers. He has shaken his head, frowned and complained that the briefers were 'talking down to him,' this person said."

For a person to say "I'm not fit to shine such-and-such a person's shoes. He exists on a plane far above us mere mortals," is fine. But he has no business saying that other people are on that same humble plane as he is. Steve Cortes has absolutely zero business saying that neither Joan Walsh nor Erin Burnet can criticize White House Chief of Staff Kelly. Kelly clearly failed in a big way and should be fired for it.

'Fraid to say I'm completely on the same page as Krugman here. I thought presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was making a lot of really wild claims during 1980 and concluded very quickly after he was president that this whole "fiscal hawk" stuff was a cover for being against Democrats spending money in ways that helped the non-wealthy.

Kind of interesting that Speaker Paul Ryan would wax poetic over a "bipartisan, bicameral super committee aimed at advancing real reforms to fix our broken budget process," because in the immediately preceding tweet, he put out five priorities, 1. Is okay, but not obviously needed, 2. Is very much needed, 3. Isn't particularly important. 4 & 5 are totally one-sided, partisan goals.

So Kellyanne Conway, a pollster, is running the Trump Administration's effort against opioids, essentially just replicating the work of the "Drug Czar," whose budget is being slashed for no apparent reason. Oh, and "Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy," whose main achievement in life has been in the area of golfing, is one of Conway's major assistants.

How poorly has the White House handled the Rob Porter wife abuser scandal? Judging by Amanda Carpenter's reaction here, pretty poorly!

Rob Porter, who served until Wednesday as White House Staff Secretary, did not have a full security clearance, a fact that it's difficult to believe White House Chief of Staff Kelly wasn't aware of. It's equally hard to credit the idea that Kelly was unaware of the specific reason Porter didn't have a clearance, that is, the allegations made against him by two ex-wives.

Yep. back in the past, once upon a time, deficits were a big, important thing.

Wow. Our Attorney General's plan sounds about as useful as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program was (To be fair to the former FLOTUS, her program was designed for children and was never intended for adults).

This is pretty amazing and saddening. Our Secretary of State admits that Russia is hacking our elections software. When asked what we're doing about that, throws up his hands and says we can't do anything. He's given some stern warnings, but appears to know his warnings will have no effect. Piece has link to correspondent with plenty of things we can do.

Oh good grief! The wannabe dictator, our President, wants a parade

Aww, man-n-n-n! Shep Smith of Fox News is just having way too much fun with the President's idea of having a big military parade. 

Hmm, priorities, priorities. How to decide?

Estimated cost of Trump's military parade: $17.2 million 

Cost to provide housing for every homeless veteran in America (40,000): $24.7 million

Military Times ran a poll. 51,000 respondents answered. 89% oppose a military parade.

The President says: "We are not getting support of the Democrats.” Well, it would kinda help if the Trump Administration could speak with any consistency on what it is they all want. As it is, it appears to just be a complete cluster****. How does the administration feel about DACA? About a government shutdowm? Depends on who you ask

Speaker Ryan says that the Nunes memo is all about the abuse of FISA, which I presumes means spying improperly on domestic opponents. Regardless of what one thinks of FISA, the memo provides zero evidence that the act been abused.

Representative Collins draws what we call a "distinction without a difference." Democrats "didn't applaud Trump" but Republicans were "not overreacting." 

With ISIS having been more or less eliminated in Syria a month or so ago, after having been eliminated in Iraq earlier, it's far from clear what the mission of US troops is in Syria now.

For the GOP to have released the Nunes memo, obviously for political gain, could have serious long-term consequences.

CDC is seriously short on funding. I guess the Trump Administration is just so nostalgic for the flu epidemic of 1918 and the ebola outbreak of 2014, they're figuring "Hey, let's have more of those!"

Eek! Dow is down 1,175 points! Hmm, Janet Yellen was just denied a second term as Federal Reserve Chairperson. And hey, as long as we're talking about the economy being down, "Top 5 Economic Disappointments of the Trump Regime (so far)."

Federally-funded health centers are not being funded at the moment and are under financial pressure. That has an impact on the abortion debate.

"Donald Trump Attacks Democrats Not Clapping At State Of The Union As 'Treasonous'." The President allows his authoritarian flag to fly. Funny how Republicans consistently sat on their hands during Obama's speeches, consistently showed a lack of enthusiasm, but the president at that time never described them as "treasonous" or of not loving America.

Why didn't the RNC pay for the President's trip to Cincinnati? After all, it was a highly political speech! There was barely a pretense of it being anything other than entirely political. Why did American taxpayers pay for it?

"House panel clears release of Democrats’ rebuttal to GOP memo, forcing showdown with Trump."
Very cool! Kudos to the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee as the Democratic memo was unanimously cleared. Now we'll see if the President has the cojones to sign it.

Yeah, back during October, our President was very eager to take credit for the state of the stock market. Today? Ehhh, not so much. The market's gone down even further since the above piece came out. 

The Pentagon has a lot of problems joining the rest of the Trump Administration in denying climate change as many bases are imperiled by things like seawater rise and extreme weather.

Freedom is a popular thing everywhere! Iranian women speak out against the forced wearing of the hijab. They don't have a problem with themselves or anyone else wearing it voluntarily, of course.

Wow! This guy would get an award from an authoritarian leader! Faced with the crystal clear evidence that the current level of black unemployment has little or nothing to do with the current occupant of the Oval Office, this Trump adviser nevertheless soldiers on and says a bunch of stupid stuff.

Several days after the Nunes memo is released, AG Sessons weighs in. Very little and very late.

Donald Trump Jr. here continues to show just how narrow and constricted his social contacts and news sources are. "Trump Jr.: Nunes Memo Release Is 'A Little Bit Of Sweet Revenge'."

Good! A really seriously fringe extremist was rejected for an environmental post. "But Buchele says Hartnett White told him years before that 'she supported regulations, just not at the expense of growth and that industry is actually essential to a healthy environment.'"
Hmm. Yeah, when she claims to support regulations, but "not at the expense of growth," that doesn't sound as though she supports much regulation at all.

Uma Thurman comes out with allegations that track well with other allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.
Quentin Tarantino is not accused of any sexual improprieties but he apparently acted without any due regard for Thurman's safety when filming a scene.

"Young US Jews Write 700 Letters of Solidarity to Ahed Tamimi." The letters were to celebrate her 17th birthday.

President is absolutely convinced tha Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him. It of course does no such thing.

Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that $1.50 a week bump was a significant and worthwhile consequence of the big tax bill they passed in December. Mockery was so fierce, he quickly deleted the tweet. 

Carter Page was the main subject of the Nunes memo, the fellow that the surveillance and the FISA warrant was all about. Did the warrant rely on the Steele Dossier? Uh, no. Surveillance of Page began in 2013, many years prior to the dossier.

Passed on by an FB friend who lives in China. Living in China means he knows propaganda and he feels this ("China is building a laser 10 trillion times more intense than the Sun that could tear space apart." from Fox News, of course) is one of the most ridiculous propaganda pieces around. Keep in mind when you read this hysterical, overheated piece that a laser is simply light passed through a liquid, a crystal or a gas that then amplifies it in some way.

BTW, my friend feels the really serious and worthwhile news from China is that they've made huge progress in air quality. When he arrived in 2011, the coal smog was a really serious health hazard and they've done quite a bit to clean it up.

I lasted about a minute into Sean Hannity's "case" that FISA had been abused before I heard so many errors/misstatements I had to turn to something else. If you want to tune in, I recommend reading the real facts here on the Nunes memo first.

Update: Think Progress puts out a detailed fact check. Distressingly, his audience is four million, just about all of whom are probably pointing to his monologue and saying "See? Here are the real facts!"

The tax cut passed in December by the Republican Party is draining the coffers faster than expected.

Young Turks discuss the just-released Nunes memo. Huh! Didn't know Francesca Fiorentini was a member of that group. Cool that she is, though.

Some Republicans deeply impressed with the Nunes memo. Others, including Representative Trey Gowdy, who was about the only member of Congress that read all of the underlying, background material, were considerably less impressed.

The central claim of the Nunes memo is that the FISA process was abused. Problem is that neither Representatives Trey Gowdy nor Adam Schiff agreed with Nunes on that. Nunes is desperately trying to make his actions appear far more reasonable then they actually were. It was wildly irresponsible for Nunes to make the claims he did.

Wow! When Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has "no confidence" in the Nunes memo, that's saying something! More criticisms of the memo here, here and here.

"Trump clears way for release of the memo over objections of FBI, DOJ and Democrats."
Shortly after the Women's March, a friend asked another (words to the effect of) "Why? Why do people not Love Our Glorious Leader?" To which I'd answer that we know Fox News was at least as critical of Obama as the traditional mainstream press has been of Trump. There haven't been any financial or foreign policy disasters over the past year. Yet according to Gallup (They've been conducting daily approval polls of the president since Harry Truman) Obama never got below a 40% approval rating and Trump has been at 40% or below since June of last year. The answer, I believe, is illustrated in this piece, where the President acts as a tinpot, Third World dictator of a banana republic and demonstrates zero concern for the rule of law.

Update: President takes comfort from an obviously outlier of a poll that puts him at 49% approval.

So it only took a single phone call to persuade the President that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a good idea. It obviously never occurred to him to ask "Why have people been opposing drilling in ANWR all these years?"

Before it decided to release the Nunes memo, the House Intelligence Committee took partisan, party-line vote after vote. This was despite the fact that the White House was inceasingly concerned that the memo might be a dud. Speaker Ryan is asked about the memo and immediately change the subject to tax cuts

"The Fascist underpinnings of Trump’s State of the Union."
Our blogger reviews the SOTU and is considerably less than impressed. Piece includes Young Turks clip. 

Rachel Maddow did a piece on this last night (Jan 31). Three Russian spy chiefs arrive in Washington DC and we have to learn about it from Russian media. We never heard anything from the American government on this.

Eric Trump always just reminds me of the very limited and constricted social circles he spends time in. He speaks of liberals and Democrats as though they were alien creatures who lived on a far-off planet. He obviously doesn't know any personally. He says Democrats were terrible and unpatriotic and obviously didn't love America or Jesus because they didn't stand and cheer for his dad often enough.  

MSNBC's Chuck Todd is his usual unhelpful self here, drawing a false equivalence between Democrats and Republicans not standing and cheering for the other Presidents' SOTU. 


"Trump Didn’t Bother to Say What Happened to the Birth Mother in His Police Adoption Anecdote."
We see in a photo the First Lady, the heroic and generous police officer and the officer's wife with the baby of the woman who had drug and legal problems. Where is that last person? Nowhere in the picture, not named and the President couldn't be bothered to explain how she was doing.

Hmm "Fitzgerald, who is 71, declined to explain to Politico why she purchased thousands of dollars of Big Tobacco stocks after assuming leadership of the CDC on July 7." Sounds to me like someone had some inside iformation

Wow! Just ... wow! About the Nunes Memo, the document that not all of the intelligence agencies have been able to review or who have just had a brief time to look at, this has to be the most wildly, incredibly irresponsible statement from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: "I'll let all the experts decide that when it's released. This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds." Main problem the piece identifies is that the Nunes Memo presents information without context or explanation. Naturally, of course, the GOP hasn't cleared the Democratic rebuttal memo for release.

Hmm, interesting. Representative Jason Chaffetz quits and now Reprentative Trey Gowdy announces his retrirement. Chaffetz was head of the Oversight Committe, just as Gowdy is now.

The President said a few good things in his first SOTU regarding national unity. We don't even need to look for examples outside this particular speech to see how hollow and empty those statements were. Problem is, his idea of "unity" seems to be the crowds at his own campaign rallies or of a Nuremberg rally in the 1930s, Nothing that an American would recognize as real unity.

Wow! Yeah, statements like “I don’t think anyone can argue it is probably one of the most successful first years in office,” and an assertion that the President “has some wind at his back,” are just stunningly out-of-touch! I'd say Trump's first year is a lot like the younger George Bush's last three years, he's disliked by pretty much everyone outside the hard-core right wing and can't get much through Congress.

How Rs & Ds feel about the other party's presidents during bad times is similar. Percentage of Republicans who said Clinton provided poor moral leadership in 1999 was 91%. Percentage of Democrats who say the same about Trump today is 96%. The real difference is between how they felt about their own respective presidents at the time. "After the Lewinsky scandal, 65% of Democrats disapproved of Bill Clinton’s morality. Today, just 16% of Republicans say Donald Trump doesn’t provide moral leadership."

In advance of the State of the Union (SOTU) Address, what's the real state of the union?

Slovenia is now the second country after Sweden to recognize Palestine as a state. Our FLOTUS is a Slovenian.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is trying really, really hard to convince people that Iran launched or provided some missiles that were aimed at targets in Saudi Arabia. As the piece here points out, it's far from clear which country manufactured the missiles. As a group examined the missiles earlier, they asked when the missiles were launched. If they were launched before the agreement with Iran was signed, then they're completely irrelevant. Those presenting the missiles had no idea when they were launched.

The Trump Administration wants to release the Nunes memo in the name of "transparency." The institutions named in the memo haven't been able to review it and so have opposed its release. This is hardly an administration that can credibly talk of transparency.

Very happy to see at least one member in the mainstream press admitting that he was guilty of drawing a false equivalence between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016. 
Also nice to see that Maureen Down, who played a "Mean Girl" to President Obama also now sees the light and that Obama was a good president. 

Really stupid piece on how nuclear wars can be won and that our hugely excessive number of nuclear weapons serves any purpose beyond fattening the wallets of arms contractors. 

Good thinkpiece on how our intelligence agencies and media and technology people can protect the 2018 midterm elections.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Of course former Press Secretart Sean Spicer regrets working for the Trump Administration! He totally surrendered any integrity he had. That's why no one will hire him and why Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't ever get hired either. That's the fate that waits for lots of Trump people and why no one is on deck to replace them.

Very disturing to see far-right supporters of the President calling for the deaths of political opponents.

Saturday Night Live's Will Farrell brought up a very good point. Yes, the younger George Bush was a better president than Donald Trump is, but only by comparison. Bush was an absolutely awful president.

Our President was asked about global warming. He doesn't appear to be any better informed on that than he is about much of anything else. No one knows where he got this: “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records.”

Here's the problem with living in glass houses and throwing stones. Many GOP members were eager to condemn Democrats in October as the sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein had been a generous donor to the Democratic Party. Democrats agreed and condemned him and returned his contributions. Now, the casino mogul Steve Wynn played a far more central role to the Republican Party and his scandalous behavior towards women is at least equally egregious. Unlike Weinstein, who was just a movie producer, Wynn was the Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. So Wynn is quite a bit more embarrassing to the Republican Party than Weinstein was to the Democrats. So the Republican silence and very unenlightening statements on Wynn are quite notable. 

Update: RNC's disposal of Wynn's money.

"Entire board of USA Gymnastics resigns after enabling Nassar abuse. USAG received early reports of Nassar's abuse, but dragged its feet to take any action."
Good! There wasn't enough sense of either shame or duty sufficient to have protected the gymnasts, but there was at least enough to see to it that enablers quit their posts.

"Donald Trump's mouth has cost U.S. 40,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in lost tourism." This was a concern back when President Trump's first attempted to put travel bans into place. This is one of the many reasons why the economy will decline during this administration.

Despite our President being stubbornly retrogressive, most of the world's businesses are seeing the light and are moving towards renewable energy.

Big gulf between the parties. A few months after Trump became the President, Democrats gave the "moral and ethical climate" of this country a 37, Republicans gave it a 22. Currently, Democrats rate it as 23 and Republicans as 31. Republican approval is now up to where it was in 2008, right before Obama became President.

Got a letter from Senator Toomey (R-PA) where he commented on President Obama and DACA: 

To the contrary, the Constitution requires the President to enforce the law. President Obama simply did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law. In fact, he said on numerous occasions before he created DACA that it would be unlawful and contrary to the Constitution for him to create such a program through executive action.

Problem is, Obama never agreed that he was breaking the law. "In contrast, he emphasized his authority to set priorities until Congress approved the DREAM Act, a measure that would formalize the legal status of this group of immigrants."

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has a very clear, simple, straightforward message for older male bosses who might be thinking of dating their younger female subordinates. "Don't." Your female subordinates have no romantic or sexual interest in you. If females want to chase you, they'll do so at cocktail parties or other social events, they won't use the workplace to catch your eye. 

Iraq is cleared of ISIS, so US forces have no one to fight any longer. Syria is split between US-backed Kurds, Turkey and the central government of Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran. US forces can keep backing the Kurds, as long as the fight doesn't get very big. This now resembles Angola in 1975. The US and South Africa had troops inside Angola prior to Angola's independence. Problem was, Cuba flooded Angola with troops and the US didn't have any sort of popular mandate with the American people to defend Angola with. Similarly, the US can maintain some support for the Kurds in Syria, but only until our opponents there get really serious. 

TPP has lots of flaws and problems, I and many other progressives agree. Problem is, when an administration can't come up with a meaningful alternative, their opinion just becomes "The world just moves on without us." 

Fox News commenter Sean Hannity delivers comedy gold. Sayng roughly "We've got a scandal!"
"Oops, uh, no we don't."
"Hey, check out this high-speed auto chase!" All within a half-hour. 

So what was Hannity so excitable about? Ptresident Trump demonstrated that the meaning of the term "fake news" is quite clear. It's news that makes the President look bad, news he doesn't like. The term says absolutely nothing whatsoever about how accurate the item really is. The news in this case was that he tried to fire Robert Mueller a few months ago. 

Good summary of all of the "Secret Society" nonsense.

The answers that Press Secretary Sanders gives to the latest mass shooting are a mess because even though the Trump Administration, Republican Senators and Representatives and conservative media commentators all shouted in unison in October that "It's too soon after horrific shootings to discuss practical, legislative answers to gun violence!" What they all really meant was "We have no intention of ever discussing practical, legislative answers to gun violence!"

"American democracy is failing. The courts are finally starting to notice."
Very encouraging signs, but after a "lost decade," lots and lots of work to do. We'll probably need a Constitutional Convention to set things right.

A Republican Senator makes a truly incredble claim.  The claim is that there is a "Secret Society" within the FBI. Even the Fox News announcer is leery of this claim.

Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) is amazed he even has to address this "secret society" nonsense.

"Lara Trump Says Women Are Too Stupid To Know Why They Are Marching."
Lara Trump asks "Why/ Why don't the people Love Our Glorious Leader (Donald Trump, her father-in-law)?!?!?! I wrote a blog post on that. 

"Schumer takes Trump's border-wall funding off the table."
So by pushing for everything the Trump Administration got nothing. They upped the ante so much, they blew the deal. Good for Minority Leader Schumer!

Sad to say, I completely agree with this

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Great Penis Hunt of 1998. This happens to be when modern American political journalism went into a very bad tailspin out of which it has not yet recovered.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. No, President Trump doesn't get a "mulligan" (golf term meaning "do-over") for cheating on his wife with a porn star. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Clinton was an evil, horrible, terrible person for cheating on his wife, then Trump is at least as much so. 

Yeah, I completely agree with Michael Steele. Evangelists have zero business talking about any sort of moral superiority on their part. 

Hmm, nope. Not buying it. I don't agree with Evamgalists see that Donald Trump has changed in any significant way.

The Republican Party thought the achievements of Obama would be easily swept away. Obama's achievements have been amazingly durable.

This sounds pretty reasonable as a missio for US forces in Syria:  "Green said the civilian mission was not to rebuild but to help civilians return home by clearing roadside bombs, and restoring water and electricity." But I'm very wary about this: "US forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia."
This sounds to me like the compromised, half-in, half-out strategy that the US was using in Vietnam and has tried without much success in various places since then.

The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) is perhaps the most highly classified regularly-distributed document that the government has. Jared Kushner gets a copy every day. Kushner does not have a top-secret security clearance! Fun fact: Obama had a total of seven officials cleared to see his PDBs at the end of eight years in office. Trump already has 14 people on that distribution list!

Glenn Greenwald's done a lot of good investigative work, but I agree with Southpaw, I care very deeply about foreign powers mucking around in our elections.

Seems to me that Nixon tried the "Madman Theory" of foreign relations and the American public was much more frightened by it than our adversaries were. So if this "Poll: Almost half of voters question Trump's mental stability" is some deliberate plot by our President, it isn't working.

Hmm. So Ivanka Trump is in the process of "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," by trying to get White House Chieff of Staff John Kelly fired. I'm hard-pressed to get too excitable about this. Yes, it would be this White House's third Chief of Staff in a little bit over a year, but Kelly's hasn't exactly been doing a good job. The President's tweets and announcements are as undisciplined as ever and Kelly has revealed some seriously archaic beliefs. So I'm like "Ehh."

In the now-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission, we now have documents saying they were trying to tag all voters with Hispanic surnames, at least for Texas and fortunately, those records were never turned over!

VP Mike Pence encourages Palestinians to return to the peace talks with Israel. But according to the Palestinians, that isn't going to happen. "Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Pence’s speech on Monday 'has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.'”
Pence also said discouraging things about peace with Iran.

Lots of arguments against and a link to a Vox piece arguing for the Democratic strategy on shutdown ending today. Dunno, I think Democrats came out ahead today. 

"WH releases photos of Trump working through shutdown." Yeah, if I were the PR guy here, I would not have approved this photo. We know that the President is anxious to get to Mar-a-Lago and then Davos so he can hobnob with his wealthy buddies. So a picture of him wearing a hat and jacket without a tie  tells us that he's just wrapping up a few quick details before hopping onto the helicopter and getting out of town. The photo does not give the impression of "I'm working hard for the American people!" As an FB buddy pointed out: "empty desk: no computer, no folders filled with background material. A completely staged picture that shows he does nothing."

This is especially worrying about the shutdown. Foreigners are watching how the Trump Administration negotiates and they have no reason to feel confident that any agreement they reach will be honored.

Also, it doesn't sound as though the Republican Party is in any hurry to end the shutdown."[Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer: White House Hasn't Called Me To Negotiate Gov't Shutdown."

Poor Senator Flake got hit from the left and the right for his comment that President Trump's language dangerously resembles that of Josef Stalin. Lefties were unimpressed because Flake isn't following up his rhetoric with actions like voting with Democrats. Right-wingers like Howard Kurtz have to be really obtuse and needs to pretend to be ignorant in order to criticize Flake.

Women's March in Philadelphia. I'd say we had about 1/5th fewer people this year. We could move around more freely. Not quite as jammed up. 

Update: Sunday shows barely mentioned the march.

Oh, and while the President is sad that he's missing his inauguration anniversary party due to the government shutdown, things aren't going all that well overseas. "Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash."

The amusing thing about Hannity's rant here is: Since when is it the responsibility of prosecutors and investigators to be objective?!?!?! Jury members, at the beginning of a trial, should be objective. Judges should be objective from the beginning to the end. No one else in the judicial process has any objectivity requirement. Also, people can separate their own personal feelings from the facts of the case.

"Yeesh! Why are the libs so critical of Our Glorious Leader for playing golf so much?"
Well, here ya go! Because our President has spent so much time on the links and not enough in the office, "Of the roughly 130 federal office and agencies that have to have shutdown contingency plans, 66 of them haven’t been updated since 2015."

What's the situation that led to the shutdown

It's been 112 days since CHIP expired, 112 days since the fiscal year ended without a budget, and 137 days since Trump revoked DACA. The #TrumpShutdown could have been avoided if Republicans simply did their job last fall instead of waiting until the last minute.

And the "Trump Shutdown" commences. Heh! "Trump Shutdown" trending worldwide on Twitter. Got a few people on Facebook trying to tag is as "Schumer Shutdown." Sorry guys! No one is blaming Democrats!

Excellent piece by an anti-choicer. Yes, I do see her movement as one that "only cares about an unborn child until he or she exits the womb," and the author is right that having the very highly divisive President Trump as a speaker does absolutely nothing to convince people that the movement cares about women as opposed to just their babies.

*Sigh* Yeah, looks like we'll have a shutdown. Caught someone on TV saying "Democrats are simply not going to put up with policy being made by Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton."

Republicans threatened on the 19th, to release what later became known as the "Nunes memo." Some guy on the Fox News Sean Hannity show said it would release a “tsunami of information” exposing “Obama/ Clinton/ Deep State scandals.” My reaction was

Oh, Hell YES! Release it all! Release it all NOW! Wonder why we haven't heard anything more about the recently reopened Uranium One "scandal?" That's because it was a nothingburger. My very strong suspicion is that we'll see the same here.

Update (Feb 2): Yep, the memo was a complete bust. Absolutely chock-full of lies and information that didn't prove anything. Many Republicans disagreed that it said anything meaningful.

"Trump delays latest golf trip to Florida—at least until tomorrow—as Republican shutdown looms."
In response to one of my posts lately, I got lots and lots of comments! One of the commenters wondered why "libs make fun of Trump for his golfing." My answer was 

No, we don't make fun of him. We regard his grossly excessive golfing as Dereliction of Duty. There are many issues he hasn't taken the time to understand. There are many government positions where there is no nominee. He's blowing off tasks that need doing.

Colleen Rowley and the Veterans for Peace put out a meme stating that the US has refused offers from North Korea for peace. US News and World Report confirmed that in September. On the face of it, the North Korean proposal, a "Freeze for a Freeze" sounds pretty reasonable. Cancel military exercises where the US and South Korea pretend to invade the North in return for North Korea standing down its nuclear program. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said: "When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an [intercontinental ballistic missile] pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard." 
"Lower [our] guard"?!?!?! That seems a pretty hysterical, overheated way of regarding the question. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was looking at "aggressive measures, both diplomatically [and] economically. As we've said, all options are on the table." If canceling provocative military exercises are out of the question, it's difficult to imagine what options are on the table!

Rachel Maddow reveals through a report on Fusion GPS just how the Russians have moved money to Donald Trump and subordinates. Essentially, they just overpay for properties.

Rather, erm, eh, interesting view of civil rights here! The Trump Administration believes it's a "civil right" for bigots to not have to provide medical services to people they feel are morally unworthy. Yes, this is a very, very dangerous principle to put into law.

Hee, hee, hee! Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tries to use the VIP gate at the airport so he can fly back home. Airport people say "Nope!" He's gotta use the regular person's gate. Story features photo of him looking really cross.

This is extremely bad. The majority of the board that advised the Interior Department resigned because, after about a year on the job, they were simply being ignored. Secretary Ryan Zinke just didn't care to consult them at all. This is no way to run a government.

The "Stormy Daniels" is titillating, but the financial aspect is important. A very big and important question is where the pay-off money came from. What account, from whose pocket was it taken? Doesn't sound like an isolated event, either.

"House Spending Bill Changes Law To Let Trump Administration Secretly Shift Intelligence Money."
Oh, good grief! There's so little oversight as it is! These guys feel that they need even less oversight?!?!?!

So the President finally put out his "Fake News" awards. First one is kind of a puzzle. A prediction from an economist that the stock market would "never recover" from Trump's election victory. I have a really hard time classifying an incorrect prediction as any sort of "fake" or "false" or "dishonest" news. I don't think that really fits the definition. There's no dishonesty in being wrong. The "awards" that follow are similarly underwhelming.

Update: Not surprisingly, the President's "Fake News Awards" suffered from a severe lack of work, time, effort, truth and relevance. They were a "healhearted flop." 

Early in President Obama's term, he got the P5+1 powers to impose sanction on Iran. Iran finally said "Uncle!" and sat down to a serious negotiation which lead to the nuclear deal. Is President Trump's approach to DACA similar? Yeah, a bit. He blew up DACA and then waited for Democrats to offer concession on it. The problem? As Senate Majority Leader McConnell says: "I am looking for something that President Trump supports..."  In other words, if the President had any sort of coherent plan to follow up his taking apart DACA with, he might have made something other than a mess.

Very bad staffing news. The Trump Administration has no one waiting to fill positions after the current people get burned out and quit. For people to burn out while working for the president is very common and goes back several decades, but the lack of people to replace them is a new problem. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent several years trying to carefully balance the interests of all of the stakeholders in the predatory "payday lending" industry. Under direct control from the Trump Administration, the CFPB has said words to the effect of: "Ah, screw that! Screw the consumer! It's the lenders and only the lenders that are important!"

The US is trying to create a 30,000 strong police force in Northern Syria. From Ankara,Turkey to Moscow, Russia, this is a highly unpopular move .

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