Donald Trump

Where in the world is Carl Vinson?

After much chest-thumping by chicken-hawks, the carrier group finally heads towards the Korean Peninsula:

On April 9, Adm. Harry Harris said the carrier strike group was headed north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on April 8. A spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Command linked the move directly to North Korea's "reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability." Days later, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters the Carl Vinson was "on her way up there." In an interview that aired April 12, President Trump said the U.S. was sending ships. "An armada, very powerful," he said.

It is not clear why the carrier strike group never left Southeast Asia, or why the Trump administration did not clarify where she was. On Tuesday, Pacific Command said only that the strike group completed military exercises - and would now head north.

It's actually abundantly clear: You don't cancel training missions (or any other missions) at the drop of a hat (or an asshat). The Strike Group is composed of the carrier and a handful of cruisers and destroyers, and retasking them to go off-mission is a very big deal. Not only does it cost a shitload of money, it screws up capabilities in the entire theater. It's obvious Trump has no grasp of military operations, but it's also becoming obvious he doesn't comprehend geography either. 3,000+ nautical miles is more than just a quick road trip. In other words, don't hold your breath...

Activists blame DCCC for loss in Kansas Congressional race

The establishment is always a handy punching bag:

After a longshot Democratic candidate came within seven points of winning a Kansas district that has been Republican for more than 20 years, progressive strategists blamed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for not putting enough money and resources into the race, and national operatives more broadly for too little attention.

"To the Washington Democratic insiders who wrote this race off before it began, it’s time to wake up and realize that the grassroots expects this resistance effort to be waged unflinchingly in every single county and every single state across the country,” said Jim Dean, president of Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group.

I saw a lot of excitement about this race on social media over the last several weeks, so about a week ago I decided to look at the demographics in that district. The former incumbent (Mike Pompeo), whom Trump tapped to lead the CIA, had won the last three elections by a whopping 30% margin over his Democratic opponents. Even with a new, virtually unknown Republican running to fill that seat, it would have been almost impossible for a Democrat to win. But Ron Estes had already won a state-wide race for Treasurer, so he was fairly well known. All that being said, the DCCC needs to look at more than just statistics, it also needs to be aware of energy and interest, and be ready to act when opportunities present themselves:

Tryon Equestrian partner to fuel massive Trump propaganda machine

The Mercer family is the worst of the one-percenters:

Making America Great, a nonprofit run by Rebekah Mercer, one of Trump’s most influential donors, will begin airing $1 million in television ads on Wednesday, coupled with a $300,000 digital advertising campaign. The TV ads will run in the District of Columbia, along with ten states Trump carried in the presidential election where a Democratic senator is up for re-election in 2018: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Montana and Pennsylvania. The digital campaign also will focus on voters in those states.

“Our group will be a conduit to highlight President Trump’s achievement to the rest of the country,” says Emily Cornell, who is moving from the Mercer-funded data firm Cambridge Analytica to run Making America Great’s day-to-day operations. “We are here to promote successes and hold accountable broken promises -- not just to those who voted for Trump, but to all Americans.”

Really? I would imagine you've got your hands full on that "holding accountable" thing already, since Mister Drain The Swamp has surrounded himself with swamp monsters. If you're frequently plagued by nausea, you may want to skip reading the following:

Nunes cancels Monday open hearing on Trump/Russia

The cover-up is not going very well:

Nunes explained that the hearing would be postponed, so as to allow FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers to address the committee in closed session. Schiff believes Nunes’s true motive is to spare the president a bad news cycle. And he isn’t afraid to say so.

“I think that there must have been a very strong pushback from the White House about the nature of Monday’s hearing,” Schiff said. “It’s hard for me to come to any other conclusion about why an agreed-upon hearing would be suddenly canceled.”

This is turning into a big, hot mess for the Trump administration. I've seen a few reports from dubious news sites that Nunes has a great deal (if not all) of his personal finances tied up in Russian ventures, but I'll wait for that to pan out in the mainstream news media before linking. There are also rumors that Michael Flynn has decided to snitch in order to save his skin, but Congressional interest in his previous behavior is not a rumor:

Trump's foreign "policy" is both clumsy and dangerous

The Tweeter-In-Chief needs a time-out in the corner:

Trump’s public appearances with Merkel betrayed an awkwardness between the two leaders, including during two widely remarked upon appearances in the White House. In one, the leaders failed to stage a handshake for cameras in the Oval Office, and in another Merkel looked baffled by comments made by Trump during a joint press conference. Before the visit Trump had repeatedly called Merkel’s policies “insane” and a “disaster” for Germany.

Trump’s second tweet accused Germany directly of not paying enough to the security alliance. In a joint press conference on Friday, Trump expressed “strong support” for Nato but reiterated his belief that member nations do not contribute a “fair share”. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States,” he said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”

Welp, this is apparently what a whole lot of Americans wanted, a "leader" who speaks his mind, even if what he says has little roots in the truth and will very likely drag us into multiple military conflicts before his next State of the Union address. What Trump doesn't understand could fill a supertanker, but one of those things is this: The effectiveness of NATO as a deterrent has always been the unflinching support of the United States for its treaty partners. If that support is called into question, especially by the US President, the deterrent itself evaporates:

Diagnosing Trump: Mental health professionals are speaking out

And it's not looking good for the Liar in Chief:

These behaviors include but are not limited to: condescension, gross exaggeration (lying), bullying, jealousy, fragile self-esteem, lack of compassion, and viewing the world as Us versus Them. Having observed the school-yard bully tactics Trump employed during a series of public debates as well as his boasting presentation during interviews, we felt it would be important to raise awareness about some of his behaviors.

So in January 2016, we published Bullies: An Exploration Into Different Types of Bullies. Note: Our intention was to use a picture of Trump to make our point but were dissuaded due to the possibility of offending some of our Psychology Today readers, who are also his supporters, and so opted for a generic-looking meanie as our bully poster boy.

If you could have offended enough of those readers back in early 2016 with the truth of his personality disorder, we might not be in the situation we're in. But better late than never:

Thanks to Trump, we're back to dumping coal waste into streams

MB at Dailykos has the roundup of idiotic Trumpiness:

The regulation he boasted about stopping is the Stream Protection Rule drawn up by the Office of Surface Mining. He signed a bill on Feb. 16 eliminating it, noting that getting rid of this rule that was approved in December would save thousands of mining jobs. The rule was meant to keep coal-mining waste out of streams, but it was considerably watered down thanks to industry lobbying. The rule did not ban mountain top removal that is used to get at coal seams, with the overburden of soil and rock dumped in stream valleys.

Even though the rule was far weaker than it needed to be, now instead of making companies stop dumping their coal waste in those valleys, the consequences will continue to fall as it has for more than a century on the people who live where the companies befoul the water and land with their leavings.

Something a lot of folks fail to comprehend when this subject comes up: Mountain streams make up the headwaters of rivers that run for hundreds of miles, through countless small towns and even larger cities, and these rivers cross state lines on their way to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico here on the Eastern half of the US. As far as surface pollution goes, nothing else competes with the sheer distance and volume of water polluted. And thanks to proposed budget cuts to the EPA, tracking that pollution is now going to be much more difficult:

Trump uses "states' rights" excuse in attack on transgender students

Abdicating the Federal government's responsibility for basic civil rights:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the Trump administration will issue new guidance on Title IX protections for transgender students. The comments came in response to a question during a White House press briefing about reports the White House would rescind the Obama administration's guidance that sought to bar discrimination against transgender students and ensure they had access to bathrooms of their choice.

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