Daily Archives: January 24, 2018

Is chief of staff John F. Kelly going to be fired?

In the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency, many speculated that Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart chief, was the one calling the shots in the White House. With headlines shouting that Bannon is the power behind the throne, Trump started to get annoyed. President Steve Bannon is starting to get on Donald Trump’s nerves. Trump was particularly perturbed at Saturday Night Live’s portrayal of “President Bannon” and his manipulation of the man-child Trump. Trump eventually fired Bannon because the egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief must always be the center of attention.

History may soon repeat itself. The National Review recently published this article, Being President Kelly. Ruh-roh.

The president of the United States has been in a low-level public pissing match with his chief of staff, Marine general John F. Kelly.

Kelly got Trump’s dander up by referring to recent presidential statements on border security as “not informed,” insisting that Trump is — dreadful Washington phrase! — “evolving” on the issue. And the president is evolving on it, that evolution being made inevitable by the utter preposterousness of his campaign promises. Long gone is his blustery insistence that there will be a wall (not a mere fence) from San Diego to Brownsville and that the government of Mexico will pay for it. Trump now is talking about renovating some fencing, maybe adding a bit, and not bothering Enrique Peña Nieto et al. too much about the bill. That’s an evolution for Trump, who has a pronounced disinclination to pick up the tab for anything.

That the president may be uninformed is a trope of Kelly’s. In addition to describing the president as “not informed” about the subject of his keynote issue, he has described his job as chief of staff as ensuring that the staff “better informs” the president on a range of issues. “If the administration fails, if the president of the United States is uninformed one time and makes the wrong decision, that’s on me,” Kelly told Fox News. Trump, in his usual passive-aggressive way, resorted to sub-tweeting: “The Wall is the Wall,” he wrote with his by now familiar erratic capitalization. “It has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.” Trump later called Kelly in for an Apprentice-style dressing down, according to the New York Times, which also reports that Kelly, who brought some semblance of order to the chaotic Trump administration, repeatedly has threatened to quit unless his orders are followed — including by the president.

Donald Trump runs a Twitter account. President John Kelly is running the administration.

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Special Counsel closes in on Trump inner circle in obstruction of justice investigation

Our Confederate Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, is in legal jeopardy as Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on the obstruction of justice leg of his investigation.

Sessions was directly involved in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. According to Axios.com, “at the public urging of President Donald Trump — Sessions has [also] been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed. Scoop: FBI director threatened to resign amid Trump, Sessions pressure:

  • Wray’s resignation under those circumstances would have created a media firestorm. The White House — understandably gun-shy after the Comey debacle — didn’t want that scene, so McCabe remains.
  • Sessions told White House Counsel Don McGahn about how upset Wray was about the pressure on him to fire McCabe, and McGahn told Sessions this issue wasn’t worth losing the FBI Director over, according to a source familiar with the situation.
  • Why it matters: Trump started his presidency by pressuring one FBI Director (before canning him), and then began pressuring another (this time wanting his deputy canned). This much meddling with the FBI for this long is not normal.

McGahn has been informed about these ongoing conversations, though he has not spoken with Wray about FBI personnel, according to an administration source briefed on the situation. Trump nominated Wray, previously an assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, last June to replace James Comey as director.

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My View: Blaming the DACA Debacle on Schumer Is Absurd

Almost always, if you compare my view on an issue to the Blue Meanie’s, mine will be the more progressive.

Almost.

But not this time. AZBM recently shared his view, easily the majority view of progressives, that Chuck Schumer was a worse negotiator even than Trump.

I really, really wish Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were not the face of the Democratic Party. So Schumer taking heat here from the base doesn’t bother me personally. But objectively, it’s wrong.

Yes, the DACA situation is horrific and it was frustrating to see Schumer and the Senate Democrats not save the Dreamers. But blame would be appropriate only if a better result was achievable, and I don’t see how that’s so. Continue reading

Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools

University of Arizona History Professor David N. Gibbs

University of Arizona history professor David N. Gibbs described how deeply the billionaire Koch brothers have infected the University and Tucson high schools with millions of dollars for right-wing propaganda.

The Charles Koch Foundation made a $1.8 million grant to the University of Arizona’s “Freedom Center,” which is a conservative think tank designed to turn students into lobbyists. It produced a bogus economics textbook that was recently abandoned by Tucson high schools.

The Freedom Center also got a $2.9 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, a part of the Koch network that seeks to corrupt the discussion of science in the interests of religion.

“This is a center that should not be on a university campus,” Gibbs said at a meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson. “I am surprised that the Philosophy Department is affiliated with something so dodgy and naive about how this will affect their reputation.”

Hiring right-wing faculty

The Freedom Center just spread its tentacles to a spin-off in the University’s “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science,” staffed with key personnel from the center. The purpose is to “hire faculty in economics without the approval of the University’s Economics Department,” Gibbs said.

The Freedom center has used the Koch money “to hire four right-wing faulty, making the Philosophy Department a hotbed of right-wing thinking,” Gibbs said.

“The Koch family not only wants to be able to use money without regulation and taxes, it wants it to be viewed as moral. What better way to do that than by affiliating with a university. That’s the objective, to establish a moral basis,” Gibbs said.
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Privatization of our public schools is unpatriotic

Diane Ravitch is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). She has written 11 books, to include her two latest, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2014) and
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010.)  Her blog, dianeravitch.net, has received more than 30 million hits.

Two of her posts today included my comments to a reader on her blog. This reader is obviously a proponent of school privatization.

Linda Lyon responds to a reader about fiscal responsibility and public schools

Linda Lyon responds again to the same reader

The “reader” shows his bias against our public schools when he calls them “government-run” schools. This verbiage is of course, a slur, meant to disparage our public, district schools. You know, the only schools that take all comers, are totally transparent and accountable, and represent their communities with locally elected school board members. If only privatization advocates would spend their energy, time and resources on ensuring EVERY public school in America had the resources to provide their students what they need to succeed. But then, that isn’t really their goal, is it?