SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Thursday November 29, 2018 - 10:55:00 PM

A Gas Mask for Lady Liberty?

If the Statue of Liberty were alive, she would be in tears.

Emma Lazarus, in her famous poem, "The New Collossus," immortalized this "mighty woman with a torch" as the "Mother of Exiles."

Donald Trump's gassing of desperate women, men and children on our southern border has shamed our nation before the world. Trump's actions may require a rewrite of the statue's welcoming message:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe tear-gas . . . I lift my guns beside the golden door!" 

Forget the Wall: America Needs Carpenters 

It was a surprise to see that Willie Brown and I are "on the same page" (albeit in different sections of the Sunday Chronicle). My November 25 letter to the editor echoed a call in Brown's same-day column for Trump to redeploy US troops from the southern border to help fight the firestorms in Butte County. 

If the "Defense" Department was worth it's salt, it would be defending the domestic "Homeland" from extreme weather events and rebuilding entire cities (nearly 20,000 structures in the case of Butte County) destroyed by wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. 

Green New Deal 

Donald Trump's Orange Deal has been a raw deal for poor people and the struggling middle class. It has encouraged the exploitation of nature, the acceleration of climate change, and the proliferation of weapons and wars. 

The US could eradicate poverty and provide housing, education and healthcare for all of the poor people in our country but ONLY IF we stop spending billions to kill and maim poor people in other countries. War is a scam that only serves the interests of an elite class of billionaire war-profiteers. Save the Earth, Don't Enslave the Earth! 

Now there is an alternative. The Blue Wave of progressive Dems has spelled out plans for an FDR-inspired New Green Deal for a government that serves the many not the money. Read more about the Green New Deal bill at this link

PS: I called Rep. Barbara Lee's office on Wednesday and confirmed that she still has not signed on to supporting the Green New Deal. Give her a call and encourage her to go Green. 

Give Peas a Chance 

A Thanksgiving press release from the White House reads: "From the moment polls opened yesterday, Americans began casting their votes online for our two very qualified candidates, Peas and Carrots. With the votes now tallied, by a razor-thin margin, Peas has earned the honor of 2018 National Thanksgiving Turkey!" 

According to this PR blurb, the winning bird was also "crowned." And, with this announcement, Donald Trump appears to have added a new twist to this annual White House event—giving himself the imperial power to "crown" a turkey. With Robert Mueller's indictments in the wings, perhaps there's a political message behind the practice of following a "crowning" with an act of "pardoning." 

Fake Spews: Trump's Bogus Search for Media Praise 

The White House likes to grind out a daily feature called "Resolute Reads"—aka, "Real news president [*] Trump wants you to read." 

These are positive articles ostensibly written by the "real news" media. But a closer look reveals that many of these cherry-picked articles were actually written by members of the White House staff, dutiful cabinet secretaries, and various conscripted underlings. 

The November 16 edition contained nine stories praising the White House occupant. Most were bogus. 

"President Trump Has Kept His Promises," trumpeted the top story in the news list: "No president has done more in two years to strengthen our military and reform the Department of Veterans Affairs to better serve our nation’s heroes than President Donald Trump," it read. Who was the author? Trump's Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. So, in effect, the author was also "resolutely" praising himself. 

Three were sourced from Fox News but two of these essential "reads" were the same article, entered twice—a vague policy statement issued by GOP chief Mitch McConnell. The lead "read" from Fox bore the headline: "Veterans Have No Better Friend than President Trump." Who authored this "news" story? Vice-president Mike Pence. 

Also cited was a USA Today article headlined "Donald Trump Honors Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth in First Medal of Freedom Ceremony." The "nation's highest civilian honor" is awarded to individuals who have "made significant contributions to the United States' national interests and security, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." One of the honorees was "GOP donor and philanthropist Miriam Adelson." The article failed to note that Mrs. Adelson is the wife of Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire Las Vegas casino operator who ranks as the GOP's biggest donor. Together, the two Adelson's have donated $87 million (and counting) to GOP SuperPACs this year alone. 

West Wing Reads 

"West Wing Reads" is the title of yet another source of cherry-picked, pro-Trump fake-news-blurbs. The following samples were culled from a November 26 White House press release: 

From The Wall Street Journal: "For eight years under President Obama, the growing burden of government suppressed the economic recovery that should have followed the recession of 2008-09. Mr. Obama nonetheless has claimed responsibility for today’s boom, asking Americans in September to 'remember when this recovery started, Yet it wasn’t until President Trump took office that the economy surged.” 

Attribution: An op-ed by Andy Puzder, "former CEO of CKE Restaurants." 

Unmentioned: According to CNBC: "Puzder had drawn scrutiny after Trump picked him [to serve as Labor Secretary] over his opposition to federal minimum wage increases, alleged wage violations at CKE fast food restaurants and decades-old abuse allegations from his ex-wife. He later withdrew from consideration amid these allegations." 

On Fox News, Linda McMahon opined that things are better than ever for America's small businesses, citing: "A strong economy and record level consumer optimism. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in almost 50 years and consumer confidence is at its highest level in 18 years." 

And who is the author? McMahon is Trump's Small Business Administrator. 

Also from Fox News: "President Trump was right to order troops to our border with Mexico to reinforce our overworked law enforcement officials and protect our sovereignty. No amount of leftist protestations should distract us from the fact that the primary purpose of our military is to provide security to America." 

The author? Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata. 

On November 27, Reads reposted five more pro-Trump "news" stories. One was written by Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zincke while another, a USA Today article praising Trurmp's nationalism, was penned by Boris Epshteyn—a former Trump aide—who wrote: "being a nationalist is to correctly believe that America is a beacon of freedom and is the greatest country in the world. These are sentiments all Americans should want to get behind." 


Maybe I've become too self-sensitized on this WarSpeak thing. I'm trying to teach myself not to use words like "assault" and "attack" and substitute words like "organize," "campaign," "strive." I'm not sure about middle-ground phrases like "tackle a problem" and "slapping a project together." Now I'm even wondering whether the word "overcome" is too belligerent. 

The Latest Proclamation from the Monarch of Planet Moron 

Speaking to the Washington Post on November 26, Donald Trump "explained" why he "didn't believe" the official government report that human-caused climate change was a real and imminent threat to human existence. 

Here—swear to God—is Trump's response. 

TRUMP: "One of the problems that a lot of people like myself—we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including—just many other places—the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with." 

Trump's pugnacious gibberish cries out for a new word: How about "incoherent" plus "rants" equals "incoherants." 

Haikus in the News 

Ivanka's emails 

Unsecured! Now what's that line? 

Oh, yeah: "Lock her up!" 


Trump on Kashoggi: 

"The rich can get away with murder." 

So, "case closed" 


They cut off his arms? 

Just don't cut off our arms sales. 

America First!