Odds and ends

Trumps cuts the diplomatic corps loose
Last night a report from the The New York Times was making the rounds about an edict from the incoming Trump administration that all politically appointed ambassadors are to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day. This directive runs counter to previous administrations of both parties.

Trump didn’t understand until he met with President Obama after the election that the incoming administration has to staff the West Wing. Now he is rushing to have our country’s representatives to allies like Japan, Britain, and Germany vacate their offices on January 20th.  While it can take months to get ambassadors confirmed, I’ll venture that Trump gets someone cherry-picked by Vladimir Putin in place right away.

On the other hand, this positions the Democratic Party and voters to hold the Trump Administration responsible from day one on diplomatic actions.

In the mean time, or worse, for the long run, does Trump plan to handle our diplomatic relations with late-night Tweets?

White House Press Briefings
Last week Trump staffers said they didn’t like having White House press briefings broadcast live. Instead, they want the media to report out on the briefings.

In a world of fake news, and Trumpsters’ proclivity to gaslight, that makes sense- why let the public hear the briefing for ourselves when the Trump administration can hope that the media simply parrots whatever was said by his staffer? I enjoy listening to the questions and hearing the answers myself. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s first press secretary, had a good sense of humor and enjoyed word play. His briefings were interesting and sometimes entertaining. Trump doesn’t seem to enjoy the company of people who are witty, or use big words. But I’ll still listen.

Henchmen in the Trump campaign

It isn’t hard to deconstruct the rantings of someone who uses the vocabulary of a third grade bully. Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump has surrounded himself by people of the same mindset. A Tweet by King Robbo,  @realkingrobbo, who identifies himself as a lobbyist and “Donald’s General of Memetic Warfare” calls for bringing back one of the very worst elements of Jim Crow days, “disappearing” of black people.

Thank goodness for screen shots that capture the incredible amount of hate being spewed by Trump and his band of thugs. @realkingrobbo Tweeted this, but later deleted it:

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 10.33.42 AM

#BlackLivesMatter leader DeRay McKesson was arrested in Baton Rouge, LA Saturday night during a peaceful protest. The march was held in response to Alton Sterling’s death Tuesday night when Baton Rouge police officers shot him multiple times, after tackling him to the ground.

How does “Donald’s General of Memetic Warfare” respond to McKesson’s arrest? He calls for Baton Rouge police to, “Come on boys, be HEROES!” by hoping @deray gets “disappeared.”

If you’re wondering what kind of police state Donald Trump and his henchmen would try to impose on the United States, or at least on people of color and any other groups Trump hates, this is a stunning example.

This is not an election where Trump supporters each of us may know can be excused away for supporting this vile person. When it comes to hate and discrimination, there really isn’t any room for dividing up the pluses and minuses of a candidate. Votes cast for Trump are votes cast for “disappearing” black men under police custody.

 

Only 276 pages left

only 276 pages left
only 276 pages left

One on the highlights of the year for me is joining a group of women, most of whom I see only once a year over lunch, for conversations encompassing a wide range of topics. The only time there is quiet around the room is when we share noteworthy books we’ve read in the past year.

My list is always the shortest (these women are serious about reading). Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit” was on my list, to which my friend Sue kindly pointed out, I’ve been reading that one for years (She’s right, it was on my list last year. I’ve still got hundreds of pages to go).

Rural and Progressive came up in the discussion last Saturday, and I made a point of saying I haven’t been posting much recently as I continue to dive into a new job. That doesn’t mean I’m not following politics, so don’t count me out on posting about politics, especially while the Georgia General Assembly is in session.

GPB has added three in-house produced programs focused on state politics and issues that are worth a listen. “Political Rewind” on Friday afternoons includes a balanced group of pundits/consultants/journalists/former politicians. I’ve heard it in full more than “On Second Thought” and “Two Way Street.” All three programs cover a range of issues and topics pertinent to our state. They are worth a listen.

It is worth noting that GPB has added these programs since disgraced Georgia State Representative Chip Rogers was fired last year. Shame on the network for producing good content and failing to make it available by podcast.

I’m a stickler for fact checking and supporting data. Consequently I really like Fact-check Friday on the AJC. 

If you are curious about what I am reading that is newsworthy, from my perspective in rural Georgia, like Rural and Progressive on Facebook. I share things there almost every day. My Twitter feed includes links to news items too (events like the State of the Union address are ideal for Twitter). Those platforms, in addition to the comment section here, provide a chance to weigh in on the posted items with your thoughts.

Please join the conversation.

 

 

#weknownathan

Yesterday Nathan Deal’s campaign operatives launched a new slogan complete with t-shirts and bumper stickers, #weknownathan. And yep, the Democrats, with the always keen work of Better Georgia, co-opted it and made it ours. Even the Conservative Peach Pundit scolded the Deal campaign for its utter cluelessness about social media.

A quick search of #weknownathan shows that Deal’s campaign wasn’t even savvy enough to secure the Twitter handle @weknownathan or register the domain weknownathan.com.

#weknownathan but wish we didn’t.  That’s exactly why I am voting @carter4governor in November.

#weknownathan

Psst. Over there. On the right.

Rural and Progressive tends to lean a little, or a lot, to the Left when it comes to politics. Just last weekend I launched a new shiny Facebook page for Rural and Progressive. You can find a link to it and my Tweets on the right side of this post. I’m using both for things that I come across or are sent to me. I hope you’ll join the conversation in either or both places.

 

 

Scientific American: “Gingrey is a bad doctor, says science”

After Mitt Romney’s 47 Percent video went viral in the fall, pundits thought politicians might dial back their comments in group settings where they might be recorded.

Rep Phil Gingrey (R-11th District) didn’t get that memo (or doesn’t care), and last week in front of a Cobb County Chamber of Commerce group in Smyrna, Gingrey defended former Missouri Rep Todd Akin’s statements about “legitimate” rape. Gingrey also added that as an ob/gyn (trained at the Medical College of Georgia) he tells women trying to conceive, “Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight, because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’”

The hailstorm of criticism which exploded after the Marietta Daily Journal‘s coverage  ranges from a petition by a Gingrey constituent calling for his resignation to #philgringrey  trending on Twitter. Then all those sciencey people, including women, started telling Gingrey he was just plain wrong.

A post on the Scientific American web site titled Gingrey is a bad doctor, says science,  written by Cell and Molecular Biology PhD candidate Christie Wilcox, includes, “Gingrey is just wrong on all accounts, and so is Akin. There is no evidence to support the role of adrenaline-mediated prevention of ovulation due to rape. There is no science to support their insinuations that, somehow, rape victims are less likely to get pregnant. Their statements directly contradict reproductive science, and serve only to demean women who have already undergone a terrible atrocity. There is simply no excuse for such blatant ignorance and thinly-veiled misogyny, especially coming from the mouth of someone claiming to ‘know about these things.’ ”

Wilcox continues, “Here’s a tip for the GOP and republicans (sic) in general: stop citing biology to defend your misogynistic positions. At least stop claiming things to be true without a cursory look at the literature. It’s not hard to look these things up, boys, and you have a team of assistants to do such things for you. When you flap your lips without even the slightest clue as to what the science actually is on the subject, you look stupid at best. I’d say stop talking in general, but I think it’s good that the general public sees your positions for what they really are. On second thought, ignore my advice: keep on trucking. The baseless, unscientific lies that you tell will only serve to strengthen the people who run against you.”

That’s enough pressure to make a poor member of Congress forget his own medical advice. Instead of having a glass of wine and letting his own adrenaline levels subside, Gingrey took his Twitter account down:

@philgringreyWilcox is right.

We’ve got less than two years to find good candidates to run against the waahoos Georgians are sending to Congress. It will take a lot of money to run against Republicans with big war chests. Based on the first few days of this Congress, I hope some smart people in both parties are thinking about testing the water.

I would say we couldn’t do any worse than who we have now, but I’m afraid, based our recent voting trends, that we could.