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Is Anybody Steering? Surging Gas Prices, Trump Fuels Backlash


      Is Anybody Steering?

      Gas Prices Surging, Trump Fuels Backlash

      Image: Mark Bryan

      By Ray Cunneff

      May 25, 2018


      re: The Ship of State

      subject: Is Anybody Steering?

      As predicted, we're seeing a sudden spike in U.S. gas prices as we go into the Memorial Day weekend. And the price is likely to go much higher through the summer as oil-producing nations continue to tighten supply in response to Trump's pullout of the Iran nuclear deal, oil from both Iran and Venezuela going elsewhere.

      But what hasn't quite yet been felt by most Americans is that any "economic euphoria" the GOP was counting upon in the 2018 midterm elections resulting from the tax cuts and rate rollbacks is being more than wiped out by a sudden increase in the cost of goods and services across the board.

      Quite apart from prices creeping up, particularly in industries involving aluminum or steel over "trade war" fears, America's dependency on the automobile seems especially at risk from several quarters, not the least of which is the president himself.

      What is Trump's response to higher gas prices? He threatens to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts that could raise the price of family vehicles by 25 percent. Does he not understand the consequences for average Americans? Or is he simply indifferent?

      In any case, on Trump's instructions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross launched an inquiry* this week into whether automotive imports pose a national security threat, a move that could lead to penalties boosting the cost of a $20,000 car by $5,000. It seems an almost targeted attack on the middle class.

      Many of Trump's political allies, particularly those facing the voters in November, are both outraged and panicked to see so many of their constituents about to take a financial hit. Business leaders are alarmed as well, their marriage of convenience suddenly very inconvenient.

      This is where interests collide between Corporatism and Trumpism. The boardroom beehive does not intersect well with a despotic cult of personality, particularly when the despot is dangerously erratic and unstable.

      The corporatists want to sail full speed ahead but with Trump at the helm, is anybody steering?



      * Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who worked closely with Trump to pass last year’s tax reform bill, called the new investigation “deeply misguided.”

      “Taxing cars, trucks and auto parts coming into the country would directly hit American families who need a dependable vehicle, whether they choose a domestic or a global brand,” Hatch said.

      Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) criticized the Trump administration for launching the probe under the “false pretense” that car imports pose a threat to national security, which he said “invites retaliation and weakens our credibility on actual trade disputes.”

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      Pundit Post

      Watching Ireland: It’s Inspiring To See Democracy In Action.


          This was great to read today - Ireland is using democracy to right a wrong that has existed against the women of Ireland for a long time.

          Ireland is getting ready to vote on a historic change that could make women's choice in reproductive matters legal for the women of this Catholic country. As a result, Irish citizens who are not currently residing in Ireland are flying home to cast their ballots in favor of safe and legal abortion.


          Abortion rights campaigners protesting in London, UKClaire Doherty/AP

          Irish Citizens Are Going #Home To Vote On Abortion, And It's Warming Our Cold, American Hearts

          As Ireland prepares to vote on a historic referendum that could legalize abortion in the deeply Catholic country, Irish citizens are flying home to cast their votes—and they’re using the now-trending hashtag #HomeToVote on social media to talk about it.

          The Irish constitution’s Eighth Amendment is one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the world. Ireland currently grants women and fetuses an “equal right to life,” and women who have abortions could face up to 14 years in prison.

          Tweets came overwhelmingly from those in favor of legalizing abortion.

          Here are some of the best: (There are many more in the original article)



          View image on Twitter
          Brussels airport boarding to Dublin. The passengers on one flight
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          Pundit Post

          The Social Cost​ Of Being A Racist Is Now Taking A Toll​ On Them


              When they try to abuse the minorities by acting as though minorities don't belong they are brought down a peg or two or even turned into paupers in some cases.

              Social media has turned into the best asset for those fighting bigotry and abuse in every type situation you can think of. From college campus to mom and pop businesses, restaurants, and even chain stores are starting to pay attention. No people wise to what is going on are standing idle anymore nor tolerating the abuse. You are not special if you are white and if you are white you better think first before spewing your hate in a public space for now on regardless if you own it or not.

              People are taking notes, filming and speaking up all over the U.S. and creating a nightmare for everyone that believes public space belongs exclusively to white people, who are the custodians of public space and can enlist the police, or a business owner to enforce their own boundaries on minorities.

              If you are such a person you get to look forward to your shame being broadcast all over the internet and the TV! Plus plummeted customer ratings; A slew of public post on your social media accounts; You may be hounded by reporters day and night seeking comment; and even may have to deal with a terminated business, or home rental lease. You may lose your business because everyone is boycotting it. You may even look forward to seeing a court room to where you have to do some explaining to a judge on why you treated someone to a phone call to the police for frivolous reasons or issuing threats just because people are out and about and you think ONLY YOU have that right.

              Public space belongs to everyone. If racists don’t like hearing Spanish being spoken in a deli, or having Native American teens on a campus tour, or seeing black folks going on about their lives, they should just stay home, or crawl into a hole somewhere and die. I won't feel bad about it, nor will I feel bad if you lose everything because isn't that what you have done to minorities all your life by depriving them of the same rights that you have?

              The Social Shaming of Racists Is Working


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              Today's Medal Of Honor Ceremony Had Trump Meddling Dishonorably


                  President Trump on Thursday awarded the Medal of Honor to Britt Slabinski, the retired Navy SEAL who rallied his outnumbered troops during a chaotic rescue mission on a snow-covered mountain top in Afghanistan in 2002.

                  Three observations:

                  a) Trump looked bored and distracted until he got the spotlight. Nothing unusual in that.

                  b) In his remarks he referred to the "Congressional Medal of Honor". Wrong. It is simply "The Medal of Honor."

                  c) His remarks had a number of personal asides....his observations about the nature of combat. Something he has never experienced, and, in fact, avoided through a series of deferments. He alluded to tactics in combat....something of which he plainly has no idea.

                  And the crowd applauded.

                  Not a critical voice has been raised.

                  Imagine Obama doing the same....oh, the howls of outrage!

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                  Pundit Post

                  Evidence Russia Tipped Election For Trump "Staggering,"


                      In an interview by Rachel Maddow last night, former DNI James Clapper said that when he left the government, the intelligence community had no evidence that votes were manipulated in 2016, but that does not mean votes were not manipulated.

                      I continue to maintain that the reason there is no evidence that votes were manipulated is because there was no investigation to make that determination.

                      I also suggest that Democrats who run for congressional seats in 2018 should include as a part of their campaigns that IF Trump is found to be guilty of an impeachable offense, indications based on how congressional republicans have attempted to dismiss or cover up evidence of wrongdoings by Trump, reflect that they will not impeach him. On the other hand, Democrats will impeach Trump IF the Mueller investigation finds that he committed crimes before, during or after being nominated by the GOP to run for president.

                      THAT is the responsibility constitutionally tasked to Congress. Democrats should not concern themselves with the CERTAINTY that deplorable people who support Trump will be energized by the likelihood that Democrats would impeach Trump, WHETHER DEMOCRATS CAMPAINGED ON IT OR NOT.

                      Democrats should demonstrate confidence that the majority of Americans EXPECT THEM TO DO THEIR JOB, AND IF IMPEACHMENT IS REQUIRED, IT WILL BE DONE.


                      Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has spoken out about Russia’s bid to subvert the 2016 presidential election.

                      In his new memoir, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence, Clapper describes evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin swayed the election in a bid to secure Trump’s election as “staggering.”

                      “Of course the Russian efforts affected the outcome," writes Clapper, as cited in a Washington Post review.

                      "Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point. Less than eighty thousand votes in three key states swung the election. I have no doubt that more votes than that were influenced by this massive effort by the Russians.”

                      Describing a report on Russian interference presented by the intelligence community to president-elect Trump in January 2017, Clapper writes “I remember just how staggering the assessment felt the first time I read it through from start to finish, and just how specific our conclusions and evidence were.”

                      In the intelligence chief's view, “We showed unambiguously that Putin had ordered the campaign to influence the election… and how the entire operation had begun with attempts to undermine US democracy and demean Secretary Clinton, then shifted to promoting Mr. Trump when Russia assessed he was a viable candidate who would serve their strategic goals.”

                      He warns of the threat posed by Trump’s dismissal of inconvenient facts as “fake news.”

                      “I don’t believe our democracy can function for long on lies, particularly when inconvenient and difficult facts spoken by the practitioners of truth are dismissed as ‘fake news,’ ” Clapper writes. "I know that the Intelligence Community cannot serve our nation if facts are negotiable.”

                      Clapper does not go so far as to state that Trump colluded with Russia, but describes the president’s attitude in face of evidence of Russian interference as one of “aggressive indifference."

                      Trump has strenuously denied allegations of colluding with Russia, describing investigations into the claims as a "witch hunt."

                      Clapper is also critical of Republican congressional leaders for refusing to sign a bipartisan statement condemning Russian meddling in 2016.

                      "House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not support a bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president," Clapper writes in an excerpt of the book published by NPR. "I was disappointed but not surprised. It seemed they had decided by then that they didn't care who their nominee was, how he got elected or what effects having a foreign power influence our election would have on the nation, as long as they won."

                      Clapper has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of Trump among former leaders of the intelligence community since resigning in November, 2016.

                      On Tuesday, he criticized the president for demanding the Justice Department investigate allegations that the FBI placed a mole in the Trump campaign.

                      "When the President -- this president or any president -- tries to use the Department of Justice as kind of a private investigatory body, that's not good for the country," Clapper told CNN.

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                      Second Top Official Resigns From Bernie Sanders Group


                          "The decision by Catalina Velasquez, an undocumented immigrant and transgender activist who was co-vice chair of the Bernie Sanders-inspired organization, came during a week of reverberations in the wake of a POLITICO reportdetailing widespread problems within the group."


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                          Pundit Post

                          Mueller Coolly Reminds Us: The Trump-Russia Probe Is Still Happening


                              It is STILL Mueller Time! He is NOT going away, and neither is the investigation he is leading.

                              In a court filing Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a U.S. District Court in Washington to deny a request from a group of five major news organizations to gain access to sealed documents, including search warrants and court transcripts, from its investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election and the activities of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman.

                              Mueller quietly reminded everyone that of all the leaking going on in Washington and New York, none of it is coming from his team — and his team knows things you don't:

                              The special counsel's investigation is not a closed matter, but an ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry. No right of public access exists to search warrant materials in an ongoing investigation. ... Search warrant materials regularly remain sealed while investigations are ongoing. And a right of public access risks jeopardizing open investigations. That remains true even though some aspects of the investigation have resulted in charges; the overall investigation is not complete, and the search warrant materials relate to that ongoing investigation. [Court filing, Robert Mueller]

                              "As of this date, the government has brought criminal charges against 22 individuals and entities arising from the investigation," Mueller added, listing the charges in an appendix, in case anyone in the White House forgot that his office has already turned up considerably more than nothing. The five news organizations — The Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico — will likely have to look elsewhere for their information. They could always try Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Peter Weber

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                              Pundit Post

                                  Friends, please read the following statement, then, sit quietly and close your eyes allow the words to sink in, and for the moment try, try hard to put yourself in Neil Heslin place. Try to image what he was feeling at that moment. Just try.

                                  After the body of Jesse Lewis, age 6, was recovered from his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, his father, Neil Heslin, cradled him for a final time. At the top of Jesse’s forehead was the gunshot wound that ended his life. “It meant a lot to be able to see him,” Mr. Heslin said in an interview. “When he was born, I was the first to see him, and I was the last one to hold him.”

                                  After that, then consider these following:

                                  On his radio show, Mr. Jones said Mr. Heslin needed to clarify “because the coroner said no, the parents weren’t allowed to have touched the kids or have seen the kids.” He played a video in which the InfoWars “reporter” Owen Shroyer says of Mr. Heslin, “He’s claiming that he held his son and saw the bullet hole in his head.”

                                  Neil Heslin had to bury his six-year-old son because he was the victim of Adam Lanza six years ago. He was also the victim of Alex Jones, who had the unmitigated audacity to claim that Sandy Hook never happened. That it was a hoax and everyone was acting out a false flag so the government could take away people’s guns. Here is a quote from Newsweek written Dec 12, 2017:

                                  Almost five years ago to the day, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In the next five months around three million more gun were sold across the U.S. than usual, and 60 extra accidental gun-related deaths took place.

                                  Instead of massive gun confiscation, a surge in gun purchases took place amidst the defamation of the families of Newton Connecticut.

                                  While Mr. Heslin would mourn his son and work on dealing with the impact of this tragedy had on his family he – and others – had to face the onslaught from people who believed Jones’s lies. He and others were subjected to harassment by followers of Alex Jones, who demanded proof of the death of their children, having monuments defaced all because these scum buckets believed the lies told by Jones, in between his pushing diet supplementals and survival gear.

                                  Well, it may be time for Jones to pay the piper. He has been hit with another defamation lawsuit. This one filed in Bridgeport Connecticut makes number three. It is my most profound hope that he loses all three and is utterly bankrupt from these suits.

                                  Jones and those of his ilk are despicable individuals who make a mockery of their right to freedom of speech. He spewed forth lies about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. His rants resulted in people harassing the victims, but he didn’t care as long as the money kept coming.

                                  Also, let’s not forget his greatest prize was one Donald Trump calling into his show saying, “I will never let you down” and “we’ll be speaking a lot.” That call resulted in a surge in his following, but, it still didn’t make what he was spewing true. It just confirms that Trump is an idiot and bonafide conspiracy crackpot.

                                  We cannot forget that Trump said he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating when the Twin Towers came down, which we know is a lie. As bad as that is, Trump was passing someone who believes the attack on the Towers was an inside job. Take a moment and ponder that inconsistency.

                                  As the Times article points out defamation is hard to prove, but, in the process of defending himself, Jones will have to put up legal fees in his defense along with providing discovery which requires time. Not to mention it opens him up to a level of scrutiny that he may not want considering he last his child custody case.

                                  The parents of Sandy Hook have suffered a loss off the Richter scale of loss. Compounded by the baseless lies put forth by this toad Alex Jones. I usually do not wish ill on my fellow man, but for this excuse of a human, I feel the words of Genghis Khan fit for him:

                                  “I am the punishment of God...If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

                                  Mr. Jones may you suffer the punishment of God from the Khan of Sandy Hook!!


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                                      California is willing to do something about the danger that guns can cause. I believe this is only the beginning. California has other recommendations which may be ready for a vote soon.

                                      This expanded red flag bill widens the scope of those who can petition to remove firearms beyond family, roommates and police, to include schools, co-workers and neighbors. . . anyone deemed dangerous.

                                      Getty Images: Students in Los Angeles protest against gun violence during the National School Walkout on April 20.


                                      Lawmakers in the California Assembly voted Monday to advance a bill that would authorize employers, co-workers and school personnel to request the temporary confiscation of guns from individuals determined to pose a danger to themselves or others.

                                      The legislation, AB 2888, would build on California’s existing “red flag” law, passed in 2014 following a deadly shooting spree in Isla Vista. The 22-year-old gunman in that case had reportedly exhibited a number of warning signs before killing six people, and then himself, in the rampage.

                                      The current red flag law gives family members, roommates and law enforcement officers the power to petition the court to remove firearms from individuals who have displayed dangerous behavior. Judges then hold a hearing to determine whether to order the gun owner to surrender their firearms and stay away from all guns, typically for a year, although the restraining orders can be extended beyond that based on additional evidence.

                                      The new bill would expand the list of people who can file for such restraining orders to include a subject’s employer and co-workers and the staff of a high school or college that the person has attended in the last six months.

                                      “We’re grappling with this issue of gun violence as a nation,” bill sponsor Assemblyman Phil Ting (D) told HuffPost. “I’ve never said this is a panacea, but it’s just one of many solutions we have to offer.”

                                      The state’s courts have issued around 200 restraining orders to prevent gun violence since the original law went into effect in 2016, according to Ting. He said his bill would provide additional opportunities to catch troubling behavior.

                                      The state’s courts have issued around 200 restraining orders to prevent gun violence since the original law went into effect in 2016, according to Ting. He said his bill would provide additional opportunities to catch troubling behavior.

                                      “Once you move away from home and you’re an adult, you may not spend time with your family,” said Ting. “You may not have much interaction with law enforcement, but chances are if you’re working, you see your co-workers every day for eight-plus hours a day, and you’re with them not just in the work environment but socially.”

                                      Continue Reading: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-schools-co-workers-red-flag-dangerous-gun-owners_us_5b044fdce4b003dc7e4700f7

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