It will come as no surprise to anyone who regularly reads my blogs to hear that I am not a fan of Donald Trump.
In my opinion, he's a despicable human being. As a businessman he is totally lacking in ethics and integrity. I don't think he is competent -- intellectually or mentally -- to be president; and I certainly don't agree with his beliefs, his policies, his methods or his plans for the country. And, were I an American, I would never have voted for him.
But having said that, I am not surprised in the slightest that he wasted no time in taking the preliminary steps to get rid of Obamacare, to build the wall along the Mexico - U.S. Border and to ban Muslims. It's exactly what he said he'd do throughout his entire campaign. In fact, I would have been shocked if he'd backed away from any of it, or even waited for the Obama's plane to take off for Palm Springs before getting started.
He couldn't wait to start signing those executive orders and hold them up -- like trophies -- for all the world to see.
I don't have to like it; and, in fact, I don't. But he was elected. Done deal.
President Trump signing orders. (Photo: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann/Flickr (CC))
The sane among us wish that Congress would at least try to stop him. But alas the democrats have zero power -- and even if they had some they are shell-shocked from their massive defeat, have no leadership and, from what I can see, no ideas or strategy either.
Whatever energy they can muster, which is limited at best, is spent holding up the confirmation process of Trump's cabinet picks -- an exercise in futility because the Republicans have a congressional majority and Trump has all the support he needs -- with or without them.
There are some Republicans who don't agree with what he's doing or the way he's doing it but they're wimps and are afraid to oppose him. The only two who speak up regularly are John McCain and Lindsey Graham, but two out of 292 is hardly enough.
And the rest, like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence to name a few, are as morally bankrupt as he is. So no one should expect them to come to America's rescue any time soon.
And there we have it.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with representatives of Harley-Davidson, including CEO Matthew Levatich. Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
What does have me literally gasping for breath, however, is how blatantly President Trump is attempting to eliminate potential opposition and/or interference, control what Americans are told, what they read, what they can say and how he is systematically going after -- attacking and silencing -- all those who criticize him:
- He signed a presidential memorandum removing the nation's top military and intelligence advisers as regular attended of the National Security Council and added his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, as a regular attendee
- He's banned employees of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Department of Agriculture to speak to reports or provide updates on social media
- He briefly suspended the social media privileges of the Department of the Interior, after an employee at the National Park Service tweeted a photo of his inauguration crowd compared to Barack Obama's
- Department of Transportation employees were instructed not to publish news releases or engage on the department's social media accounts
- Officials at sub-agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services have been told not to send "any correspondence to public officials"
- Spokespeople and surrogates are currently banned from appearing on CNN
- Wants senate rules to be changed if necessary to push through the confirmation of his supreme court nominee
"Surely, this can't go on."
All of this has sparked a childhood memory involving very close, lifelong friends of my parents. The husband did business with several eastern bloc countries and travelled there often. I remember the stories he told when he'd return home.
Stories about how he'd receive briefings from Canadian government officials before he left on what he could and could not say or do while there, how diligent and careful he had to be. Stories about how, once, there, his every move was monitored -- even while in meetings. Stories about how his hotel rooms were bugged. Stories about how terrified people were to say or do anything that could result in their arrest, in their being jailed or even being killed. Stories about how absolutely no news from the west was permitted anywhere, at any time.
As each new Trump order and directive is issued, it feels more and more like this is where he's headed.
Surely, this can't go on.
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