Friday, September 1, 2017

Climate Change, Baby Powder Threat, Cuba Exile Excoriates Trump in Art and Words, South Sudan Journalist’s Death, Comey Lecture Series, Arpaio Pardon, Emoluments, Hunger Strike for Immigrants, Artificial Wombs

So unprecedented torrential rains, floods, and hurricane force winds in east Texas three years in a row are not “climate change,” but “fake news,” according to Trump, whose administration proposes cuts to FEMA and Environmental Protection budgets? Facts on the ground may eclipse Trumpian spin and affect those elected officials still loyal to his pronouncements. Let them change their tune or be defeated at the polls. Of course, some will still say the Texas flooding was an act of God and had nothing to do with human activity, perhaps punishment for approving gay marriage and taking down Confederate statues? Meanwhile, Hispanic construction workers will be needed to re-build, so time to go easy on deportations. Trump’s threat to shut down the government contrasts with his pledge to provide flood damage relief so that the storm may have had a silver lining after all.

Just talked with Betio, a former Honduran environmental activist for whom I helped gain asylum here.  He moved with his family from the DC area to Houston, but, he says, in the outskirts, a little elevated, and water has not actually entered into their house. He and his sons expect to be able to go back to work in construction by next Tues. and there's a lot of work for them to do! 

This item below looks like Betsy DeVos’s doing:

With North Korea’s provocative missile launch over Japan, can the world and our country afford allow Donald Trump to have his finger on the nuclear trigger? Let’s hope that more sober folks are babysitting him on this.

With a large jury award going to a woman who blames her apparently terminal ovarian cancer on the use of baby powder, some mothers are wondering about the safety of baby powder for their babies. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, apparently it is possible for flecks of powder to migrate up through the genital tract into the ovaries and other areas, but there is no proof if that happens that the powder can cause cancer. It also seems likely that the powder could be inhaled—certainly it smells good. Given the concern, pediatricians have advised mothers not to use powder, to use a cream or Vaseline if necessary, or just to leave a baby’s bottom bare, as is done in rural Honduras. A photo of a bare-bottomed toddler is shown on p. 136 of my book Triumph & Hope. That way the child also learns to potty-train him or herself.

Here’s a guy who has done a number of anti-Trump TIME covers. He left with the Mariel boatlift like my late foster son Alex Lopez.
I fled despotism in Cuba. Now I’m fighting it in America.
 August 25, 2017, Washington Post

Criticize Venezuela dictatorship but mum on Cuba? That’s political hypocrisy. BY ANDRÉS OPPENHEIMER

Cuba does not seem to be a priority for Trump; he is leaving it to some of his advisers. He should do that with almost everything and not activate his tweeting finger or open his mouth on any issue. Then we might get some sanity and predictability in the government. I'm sure the Cuban government is wary of him and now, with the problems in Venezuela, is trying to hold things together without being too confrontational. After so many years and after Fidel's death, especially when Cuba's influence on Venezuela is viewed negatively, the Cuban regime doesn't have the worldwide support it once enjoyed. Russia and China are giving some economic aid, but have not been loudly touting the virtues of the Cuban Revolution. Of course, Trump put his foot in his mouth by threatening a "military option" in Venezuela.

Christopher Allen, an American freelance journalist, has been reported killed in the fighting in South Sudan. The people living in South Sudan were able to unite to obtain independence but their tribal leaders wasted little time in jockeying for power.

James Comey will give a lecture series here in DC at Howard University (he’d better have protection from Trump supporters).

Kellyanne Conway, with a straight face, told Pat Robertson on Christian News that Donald Trump’s most outstanding trait is his humility!

While Trump gets low overall support in national polls that include not only Republicans but independents and Democrats, polls of Republican voters show that he is still preferred when matched against other potential Republican candidates. Trump is taking no chances, apparently having started to collect funds and support for 2020 on inauguration day. Heaven help us if we have to endure an additional 4 years of a Trump presidency. Since he is already 71, maybe he won’t live that long. I hope that the Republicans lose control of Congress in the mid-terms, but because of gerrymandering and voter suppression in key states, that may not happen. Pardoning Joe Arpaio so soon after his conviction and even before sentencing, while an injustice to all those whom he has injured, was not terribly surprising, given his age and Trump’s promises. Trump should have the power to persuade and educate some of his most rapid and faithful supporters to soften their opinions, but he chooses rev them up instead. He would not lose most of his voters by tamping them down somewhat and might well gain others. He criticized Obama for commuting Manning’s sentence, but that was not an outright pardon after no time served, as with Arpaio.

Donald Trump is currently being sued by nearly 200 lawmakers for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by taking payments from foreign governments through his hotels and resorts. And now Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is headlining an event at one of the very hotels in question. The emoluments clause lawsuit could easily end up before the Supreme Court, and Trump continues to use the presidency to push his brand and make himself even more wealthy. 

Donald Trump, you are age 71, have bad habits, are overweight, and you cannot take it with you. So what’s the point of increasing your wealth? Why not have the Trump family make a generous donation for Houston flood victims? It seems where philanthropy is involved, Trump has always avoided actually giving anything himself while pretending that other donations filtered through him are actually his own—a charlatan and faker through and through. Now he has said he will “probably” donate $1 million for flood relief (an amount also pledged by donors of considerably more modest wealth). He has a history of not actually making promised donations with his own money, but bravo, if that turns out to actually be the case. Meanwhile, Mike Pence, in appropriate political fashion, greeted victims in person, rolled up his sleeves, and began clearing up debris, perhaps with an eye to 2020. As an experienced politician, he knows how to conduct himself. But, of course, he doesn’t have the fervent followers that Trump seems to attract.   

The event at which Gorsuch is scheduled to keynote is for the Fund for American Studies, a conservative group that touts limited government and free-market economics. It is being held at Trump International Hotel, a property that is at the center of the emoluments clause lawsuit. In fact, some think that the Fund specifically chose the Trump hotel as a message of support for the president's position on the emoluments case.

Is the Trump administration engaging in lawless deportations?

Ending DACA would be cutting off our nose as a nation to spite our face. Here are thousands of US-raised, English-speaking, educated, and productive young people whose deportation could wreak economic havoc on the country. Trump’s best bet would be to extend “study” of the matter, just as is happening with the transgender military ban, until after the 2018 elections, to see which way the political winds are blowing then. Maybe, just maybe, he will want to extend his appeal beyond his small base. His base, who love Donald Trump unconditionally, come hell or high water, are not going to abandon him on the DACA issue.

This is a longish but revealing article about Ivanka and Jared:

Here in DC, three Catholic activists have been on a hunger strike at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, asking for it to become an immigration sanctuary, protecting people from deportation.

Artificial Wombs?
The following article discusses experiments being carried out on sheep fetuses at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia as part of an effort to develop artificial wombs. So far, so good, as normal lambs have been born. Indeed, already, special care for premature human babies has almost put them into artificial wombs in NICUs as they continue their development. What would artificial wombs mean for the abortion debate, also for fathers’ rights, since once outside the birth mother’s womb, both genetic parents would presumably have equal rights?  No longer would the fetus be considered a parasite of the birth mother, but the whole issue of parental rights and responsibilities, and of abortion rights, would be turned on its head. For expectant mothers, assuming no harm would come to the child, it would certainly be easier than a 9-month pregnancy and childbirth. Meanwhile, contraception is increasingly effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

No comments: