U.S. Politics

Hey Everyone…

I’ll be taking a couple of days off.

It’s time to assess if TFC has run its course.  

I’m going to become a septuagenarian in a few days and I’ve honestly realized that I’m a bit exhausted from running this blog since 2010.

Thanks to all of you who have frequented this blog.  I will get back to you by Wednesday of next week either way.

KSTREET (Sheila)


U.S. Politics

WATCH: Bernie Sanders and Bill Maher Talk About the Canceled Trump Debate and More


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders showed up to Real Time With Bill Maher tonight and talked about the forthcoming primary in California and other, smaller states. He told Bill Maherwhat the real endgame is when it comes to the Democratic National Convention and the race for the presidency, too.

Maher was quick to point out that the other two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, had been invited on the show but never came. Sanders later said he was sorry Trump had also declined to debate him as promised.

Watch above to hear them cover just about everything under the sun, including whether or not Sanders is a full-fledged socialist. (Hint: he is not.)

[image via screengrab]


U.S. Politics

This Immigrant West Point Graduate Proves America Is Already Great


This Immigrant West Point Graduate Proves America Is Already Great (IMAGE)

Featured image via Facebook


A photo of graduating West Point cadet 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache went viral after it was published by West Point’s U.S. Military Academy on Facebook. The photo shows Idrache, tears streaming down his face as the 2016 commencement takes place at West Point, N.Y.

Lt. Idrache’s back story is the American dream, come to life.

He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, according to Army records.

Idrache grew up watching American soldiers in Haiti performing humanitarian missions, not knowing that one day he would be among their ranks.

Like many other immigrants, his family did not come to America with much.

Idrache’s father, Dieujuste, immigrated to America and was able to bring the rest of his family with him in 2009, one year before an earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince. The family didn’t have much, Idrache said, but his father always stressed the importance of education.

Despite the desires of some to say that America is closed, and that nobody else can come in – the only way the country can remain as strong as it is, is for us to continue bringing in immigrants as has always happened. Many of those immigrants have been the ones to serve on the front lines, defending all of our freedom.

Some of them have even given up the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – in defense of American ideals. The idea that America would ever seal itself off from the world, especially with a wall, goes against our best interests.

Lt. Idrache explained the weight of what he was thinking about during the photo, and about those who came before him and what it all meant.

“Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” Idrache wrote. “The first is where I started. I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me. The second is where I am. Men and women who have preserved the very essence of the human condition stood in that position and took the same oath. Men who preserved the Union [in] a dark period of this country’s history. Men who scaled the face of adversity and liberated Europe from fascism …Women like CPT Griest, LT Haver, MAJ Jaster who rewrote the narrative and challenged the status quo to prove themselves worthy of being called Rangers.”

With someone like that on our side, America is already great.

By Oliver Willis

U.S. Politics

All the Presumptive Nominee’s Men

Donald Trump’s new campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort is a longtime political veteran and lobbyist whose clients have included an assortment of dictators and a Lebanese-born arms dealer. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images)

Moyers & Company

For a guy who yells about Washington and Wall Street money in politics, Donald Trump sure has a lot on insiders on his team.

Right after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, I flew off to Australia and New Zealand to attend a conference and take some vacation time. When I got to Sydney, I picked up one of the local newspapers and read that the president-elect had chosen Rahm Emanuel, poster boy for corporate Democrats and the status quo, to be his chief of staff.

Uh-oh, I thought. If Obama was choosing him to guide his administration, we probably could say goodbye to any dreams of a New Deal-style, aggressive agenda to cure the ills of our country. Emanuel was less the type to Keep Hope Alive and more the guy who holds hope at arm’s length with a blackjack threatening in the other hand.

You will know our presidents and presidential candidates by the company they keep. Just as Obama had Rahm and a gaggle of Wall Street Democrats advising him how to step away from the fiscal crisis without putting any of the guilty banksters in jail, so, too, have all our chief executives and nominees had their coteries. Andrew Jackson had his kitchen cabinet, FDR his Brain Trust, JFK and LBJ their best and brightest, Nixon his Palace Guard – even Warren Harding had his poker pals, although that den of thieves reportedly led him to complain to the famous newspaper editor William Allen White, “I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends, my goddamned friends, White, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor nights!”

And now, here comes Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee and thug-in-a-nice-suit. If for some reason you aren’t already appalled by the specter of a con artist occupying the Oval Office, a man who would lie about what he had for breakfast, look to those with whom he has chosen to surround himself. Start with political dirty trickster and sleaze merchant Roger Stone, the man first introduced to Trump by Joe McCarthy acolyte Roy Cohn. Stone has had a 30-year, on-again, off-again relationship with the candidate and was publicly fired from Trump’s campaign staff last summer but still seems to be an unofficial advisor and mouthpiece.

Then there’s the abrasive campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, best known for that March incident with now-former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, who said he roughly grabbed her when she tried to ask Trump a question. A charge of simple battery was dismissed.

But Stone and Lewandowski are small potatoes compared to some of the new hires Trump has brought aboard since he clinched the nomination and expressed the desire to appear more presidential.

Let’s start with Steven Mnuchin, now national finance chairman, chief fundraiser for a man who used to claim his campaign was totally self-financed and that he would not need money from outsiders. Mnuchin is a banker and chief executive of the Dune Capital Management hedge fund — remember, Trump has lashed out at hedge funds, calling them “guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.” He’s also a former Goldman Sachs employee and Trump has gone after Goldman, too, including Hillary Clinton’s association with it.

Among his other accomplishments, The Wall Street Journal reported, with its characteristic wonder at such financial legerdemain:

“Mr. Mnuchin turned one of the biggest bank failures ever, IndyMac Bank, into a very lucrative investment for himself and a consortium that included some of the billboard names on Wall Street, including [George] Soros, hedge-fund manager John Paulson, and J. Christopher Flowers. IndyMac Bank, based in Pasadena, California, collapsed in the summer of 2008 as customers grew concerned about its souring mortgages and withdrew deposits. It was the third-largest bank failure in US history at the time. The group bought IndyMac from the government for about $1.5 billion in early 2009 and eventually sold it to a larger bank for a more than $3 billion gain.”

But at The Nation magazine, Peter Dreier says there’s more to the story:

“The FDIC was so desperate to unload IndyMac that Mnuchin and his colleagues were able to obtain, as part of the purchase deal, a so-called ‘shared loss’ agreement from the FDIC which reimbursed these billionaires for much of their costs for foreclosing on people unlucky enough to have mortgages from IndyMac. Within a year, the group that the Los Angeles Times called a ‘billionaires’ club of private financiers’ had paid themselves dividends of $1.57 billion. In other words, the FDIC took much of the risk by subsidizing the bank’s troubled assets, while Mnuchin and his colleagues pocketed the profits.”

Dreier notes, “Both Trump and Mnuchin have run businesses accused of widespread racial discrimination, and they both represent the excessive wealth and greed of the billionaire developer and banker class.”

But Mnuchin’s deeds pale compared to Trump’s new campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort, a longtime veteran of Republican politics, and a poobah of the lobbying industry that has helped make Washington the swell, dysfunctional place it is. Roger Stone was one of his partners in the lobby biz (and it was Roy Cohn who introduced Manafort to Trump, too). So was the late, infamous Lee Atwater, the brutal, take-no-prisoners GOP strategist who gave the world the Willie Horton ads attacking Michael Dukakis and slickly dragged the smear and whispering campaign to new lows. (He repented on his deathbed.)

Their company, as described by Franklin Foer at Slate, was

“a new style of firm, what K Street would come to call a double-breasted operation. One wing of the shop managed campaigns, electing a generation of Republicans, from Phil Gramm to Arlen Specter. The other wing lobbied the officials they helped to victory on behalf of its corporate clients. Over the course of their early years, they amassed a raft of blue-chip benefactors, including Salomon Brothers and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.”

And Donald Trump.



U.S. Politics

Donald Trump Tells Drought-stricken California: ‘There Is No Drought’

FRESNO, CA - MAY 27: Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Fresno on May 27, 2016 in Fresno, California. Trump is on a Western campaign trip which saw stops in North Dakota and Montana yesterday and two more in California today. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Spencer Platt—Getty Images


‘If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water’

(FRESNO, Calif.) — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told California voters Friday that he can solve their water crisis, declaring that: “There is no drought.”

Speaking at a rally in Fresno, Calif., Trump accused state officials of denying water to Central Valley farmers so they can send it out to sea “to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.”

“We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,” Trump said to cheers at a rally that drew thousands.

Trump said he spent 30 minutes before the rally meeting with more than 50 farmers who complained to him about their struggles.

“They don’t understand — nobody understands it,” he said, adding that, “There is no drought.”

Trump appeared to be referring to water that runs naturally from the Sacramento River to the San Francisco Bay and then to the ocean. Some farmers want more of that flow captured and diverted to them. The three-inch Delta smelt is a native California fish on the brink of extinction. The smelt has become an emblem in the state’s battles over environmental laws and water distribution.

Politically influential rural water districts and well-off corporate farmers in and around California’s Central Valley have been pushing back against longstanding federal laws protecting endangered fish and other species, saying federal efforts to make sure endangered native fish have enough water is short-changing farmers of the water they want and need for crops.

Water authorities say they can’t do it because of the water rights of those upstream of the farmers, and because of the minimum-water allowances needed by endangered species in the bay and by wildlife in general.

The farm lobby, a heavyweight player in California’s water wars, also is seeking federal and state approval for billions of dollars in new water tunnels, dams, water distribution plans, and other projects.

Trump says that, “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive.”

California is the country’s No. 1 agriculture producer. The state’s five-year drought is raising the stakes in water disputes among farmers, cities and towns, and environmental interests. California last year marked the driest four-year period in its history, with record low rainfall and snow.

Trump’s appearance drew several hundred protesters who marched around the arena where he was speaking.

Trump is also scheduled to appear Friday at a rally in San Diego, where police are also taking precautions to prevent the kind of violence that has occurred at previous protests against the billionaire businessman-turned-politician.

A count by The Associated Press found Thursday that Trump has reached the required number of delegates to officially clinch the Republican nomination.

U.S. Politics

Seth Meyers Unravels Clinton’s Ridiculous Email ‘Scandal’


Practically every week, we are inundated with futile attempts to reinvigorate Hillary Clinton’s ’email scandal’ by rival Democrats, the Mainstream Media and Republican opponents. This week’s revelation was just another nothing-burger deluxe with a side of lies. Late Show host, Seth Meyers does a phenomenal job explaining this ‘scandal’, or as he says, ‘the story that just won’t die.’

Let’s face it, they’ve got nothing new. That’s because this is a problem about work rules regarding email, rather than a VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW!

When the ‘news’ surfaced earlier this week, we posted an article explaining the specifics of the latest media-driven email hysteria.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its anticipated report on the State Department’s handling of email and cybersecurity. Lost in the hyperbole is the fact that the OIG report was meticulous and thorough, but also dispassionate, just like any other OIG report I’ve read. There was no direct criticism of Clinton, sharp or otherwise. The OIG was examining the State Department’s practices, not specifically investigating Clinton’s actions.

The report mentions, there were no administrative penalties in place—either about the use of a private email server, or not following the established procedures for preserving emails—at the time Clinton served as Secretary of State.

Meyers devotes the right amount of ridicule to a story that warrants nothing more. He solidly emphasizes this point when he played soundbites of different broadcasters repeating that this is just more ‘drip-drip-drip’ from Clinton. Each minuscule revelation is either devastating to her or absolutely innocuous, depending on who’s watching. Seth ties this in to Bernie Sanders with this comment:

You know if you’re wondering why so many Democrats are attracted to Bernie Sanders. Bernie doesn’t have any drip, drip, drips, which for a 74 year old man is pretty remarkable. It’s a medical marvel!

Meyers emphasizes one of the fallacies oft reported about the investigation: the number of FBI agents that were devoted to this case was erroneously listed as 147 when the actual number was 12. Then we see several clips of Secretary Clinton admitting that she ‘takes responsibility’ for not maintaining two separate accounts for personal and work-related emails; so much so, Meyers predicts that it will be part of her swearing-in statement.

It’s always nice when the media begins to take note that this false hysteria has really gotten out of hand.

Meyers mocked the scandal, calling it “boring” and noting the report states other State Department officials have been reported to have used personal email accounts as well, and that the classified emails Clinton allegedly sent through her personal account did not necessarily represent an endangerment to national security — Meyers highlighted a quote from former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden who said he received a “Merry Christmas” email labeled classified. However, Meyers did conclude Clinton probably broke the rules.

It is very demoralizing that our Fourth Estate is downright desperate to legitimize this fabricated scandal. By entertaining every half-baked conspiracy theory contrived by Hillary’s detractors, they reveal that they are driven by viewership and money, not integrity. What’s worse is that this same media gives a free pass to her pathologically dishonest Republican opponent, a man who is perhaps the least qualified and mentally fit candidate to ever run for office in our nation’s history.

The drip-drip-drip of truth in media should concern us much more than a violation of a vague workplace regulation. Thank you Seth Meyers for mocking the ridiculous.

By LeftOfCenter

U.S. Politics

Obama Wins Respect in Hiroshima

Shuji Kajiyama/AP


After more than half a century of resentment, President Obama’s sincere tribute to the bombings’ fallen has begun to heal the deep bitterness between two nations.

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Almost 71 years after the United States dropped the atomic bombhere, killing more than 140,000 people, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city, and express his condolences to the people of Hiroshima and all of the innocent victims who died in the war. He received a surprisingly warm welcome; the same couldn’t be said for his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

While Obama may not have satisfied those in the United States who portrayed the visit itself as an unwarranted apology, he appeared to have fulfilled the hopes of many in Hiroshima, especially the remaining survivors of the atomic blast known ashibakusha (those who were exposed to the radiation and damages from the atomic bomb). While Obama had an enthusiastic reception and spoke with forceful conviction to the small crowd of people allowed to attend the ceremony at Peace Memorial Park, Abeseemed oddly uncomfortable. It’s not surprising: His last visit to Hiroshima, in August 2015, was greeted with jeers and his failure to affirm Japan’s “peace constitution” or touch upon the almost sacred “three non-nuclear principles”—not possessing, not producing, and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons. Perhaps the tight security was not only there to protect President Obama but also to protect the prime minister from the angry voices of Hiroshima residents.


U.S. Politics

Trump’s Vision of HIS America?



A Short Message:

Good evening everyone.  Some of you may have already seen this but for those that haven’t…the following is a powerful political ad that everyone should see…regardless of their political affiliation. (ks)


U.S. Politics

Ice Cream Parlor Responds Perfectly To Anti-Muslim Bigotry


As a Muslim woman who wears the headscarf in America, 22-year-old Nura Takkish says she expects to be the target of Islamophobia — just not when she and her friends are enjoying ice cream at their neighborhood ice cream parlor.

Takkish was sitting with two of her friends at Andrew’s Ice Cream and Dessert in Orange County, California, on Monday, May 23, when they noticed a commotion at the counter. A customer was being asked to leave for saying “racist and nasty things,” the shop’s baker, Jessie Noah, later told The Huffington Post.

Takkish’s friend Malaak Ammari started to record the incident on her phone.

In the 20-second clip, Noah can be heard saying to the man, “You can give somebody else your business,” as she returns him $3 he spent on ice cream.

“If you can’t be nice, we don’t want you,” Cindy Ramsay, the shop owner’s wife, adds.

As he heads to the door, the man points a finger at the two women in headscarves and says, “I don’t want them near my country.”

“Too bad, we’re here,” Ammari replies, still filming. “Sucks for you.”

“Sucks for me? You’ll see what happens,” the man replies threateningly. Then Noah walks to the door and closes it as the man walks away.

Takkish says she posted the video on Twitter Monday evening to show how common anti-Muslim bigotry has become.

report released earlier this month by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University states that there were more acts of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in 2015 than in any year since the Sept. 11 attacks. And in the month after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernandino late last year — as presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. —hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. tripled. The Huffington Post has also documented the near-daily acts of harassment, violence and discrimination faced by Muslims in the U.S. in recent months.

FACEBOOK | Nura Takkish, left, and Malaak Ammari, right, were in a local ice cream shop when they noticed a man being escorted out. Ammari started filming.

But Takkish said she also shared the video because she was so impressed by the way the shop responded to the man.

Noah, who was seen escorting the man out in the video, said she had never experienced such outward racism before, and felt the need to defend the women.

“To treat them as lesser because of their beliefs is not American,” she told HuffPost.

To date, the video has been retweeted over 24,000 times. While some on Twitter defended the man’s bigotry, many have also expressed support for the women. Several people have also taken to Yelp to commend the shop.

The encouragement has extended beyond social media. Greg Ramsay, the shop’s owner, was not present at the time of the incident, but told HuffPost that he received a call from a Muslim community member offering to organize an event encouraging the area’s Muslims to come to the shop and buy ice cream as a way of showing gratitude for the employees’ actions.

“There’s been an expression from a lot of people to say thank you,” Ramsay said.

The day after the incident, the women went back to the shop to thank the employees for defending them. When they left, Ramsay explained to a couple waiting to order ice cream the reason for the women’s visit. Ramsay said another woman nearby overheard the story, and she placed a $20 bill on the counter and said she didn’t want ice cream but would like to pay for whoever ordered ice cream after she left. When Ramsay explained to the next customers why they didn’t have to pay for ice cream, other people in the shop heard and gave money as well, until Ramsay had $60 worth of pre-paid ice cream.

“It took me about two to three hours to get rid of it before I could start charging people again for ice cream,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to solicit money, but I would tell people and they’d like it.”

Yasmin Nouh

U.S. Politics

Obama Will Visit Hiroshima, But Here’s Why He Won’t Apologize for the Atomic Bomb

Obama Will Visit Hiroshima, But Here's Why He Won't Apologize for the Atomic Bomb

Image Credit: Getty Images


It’s never too late to apologize, but don’t tell that to President Barack Obama ahead of his historic speech in Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday.

He will reportedly stop short of apologizing for the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on the city in 1945, which killed thousands of people and injured scores more, to help end World War II.

Obama Will Visit Hiroshima, But Here's Why He Won't Apologize for the Atomic Bomb

Source: Stanley Troutman/AP

As Adam Taylor wrote recently for the Washington Post, Hiroshima is just one of the many man-made tragedies for which the United States refuses to apologize. Here’s a partial list: slavery’s economic impact on African Americans; the 1973 suspected coup of socialist President Salvador Allende in Chile and the dictatorial reign of Augusto Pinochet that followed; the Iraq invasion in 2003, based on alleged weapons of mass destruction that may not have actually existed.

In this case, observers believe apologizing just isn’t in the nation’s cards. “Countries in general do not apologize for violence against other countries,” Jennifer Lind — an associate professor at Dartmouth College and the author of Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics — told theWashington Post.

That, of course, isn’t always the case. Germany has pretty much apologized for its hand in World War II. “We Germans will never forget the hand of reconciliation that was extended to us after all the suffering that our country had brought to Europe and the world,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said in March 2015, according to Johns Hopkins Magazine.

But reconciliation may not be on Obama’s agenda in Japan this week.

Jamilah King