Will LaMalfa hold a town hall, or a dog-and-pony show?

Rep. Doug LaMalfa is scheduled to make a rare public appearance in Grass Valley Saturday at a town hall meeting set for noon at the Fairgrounds. If local Republicans have their way, it will be more of a dog-and-pony show than an open exchange of ideas.

LaMalfa has been missing in action since last November’s election while his fellow Republicans have been taking flak at raucous town hall meeting around the country. But LaMalfa professes to be looking forward to an exchange of ideas and concerns with his constituents.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa

“I plan to have a productive discussion that revolves around the start of the 115th Congress and our goals moving forward with the new administration,” he said in a press release. “I look forward to seeing you all there and hearing your ideas and concerns.”

I’m sure people will want to question him about his position on Ryancare, particularly since over 25,000 of his constituents have medical coverage under Obamacare or MediCal, but don’t expect any deviation from the party line: He’s just a foot soldier who has no influence over the final bill that will eventually emerge from Congress.

I’m confident he’ll express concern for Trump’s proposal to cut discretionary spending by the Agriculture Department by 21 percent; the ag industry is already fighting back. (Fortunately for the LaMalfa family farm, subsidies are mandatory spending, not discretionary.)

People will have plenty of questions and a lot of them are expected to show up. About 1,000 seats are being set-up for the event. Local conservative blabbermouth Todd Juvinall, emulating our fact-free president, claims protesters will be bused in for the event. Like Trump, he offers no evidence.

The Nevada County Republican Party, apparently mindful of the rude reception our congressman received when he surfaced in Auburn last month, is implementing measures to thwart “The typical opposition/protest groups (that) will try to dominate this event.”

Chair Bob Hren claims law enforcement rules–he doesn’t mention the source–will bar large signs or flags inside the venue, and urges fellow conservatives to “show up in large numbers to show we are strong too.”

Perhaps taking a page from local Democrats at the February demonstration in Auburn, Hren is urging LaMalfa supporters to show up in “attire that reflects a flag motif, or the colors red, white, blue.” Democrats are being urged to show up in “blue and/or patriotic attire.” (It may be hard to tell the two sides apart.)

Fellow Republicans are urged to arrive “very early” to get good seats (Democrats say be there by 10), but it turns out a select few will be given early admission to the venue. Those on an approved list of people setting up chairs and other items for the town hall will get early admission and front row seats.

The list, and secret information about when and where to arrive at the Fairgrounds, is apparently under the control of Don Bessee, best known to the general public as the scourge of the marijuana bogey man. Now that the pot issue is settled, he is monitoring attendance and providing janitorial services for the event. It just shows you how far the mighty can fall.

If the Republicans succeed in packing the first couple of rows with the usual suspects, they will have an impressive rock garden. It should make for a lively afternoon.

 

Posted in Nevada County Republican Party, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

A ‘presidential’ Trump? Talk about wishful thinking

“The time for trivial fights in behind us.”–President Donald Trump

Many people were hopeful that we would be getting a more mature, responsible president after Trump’s address to Congress, a one-hour speech in which he actually appeared to have what it takes to do the job.

But it didn’t take long for the real Trump to reemerge. First he trashed Arnold Schwarzenegger for quitting “Celebrity Apprentice” and then he claimed–without offering any proof–that President Barack Obama wire tapped Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

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The buck stops before it gets to Trump

Trump was apparently motivated by a story published Friday by Breitbart News outlining actions allegedly taken by the Obama administration to monitor Trump Tower during the campaign. Their source for this information: Right wing nut case Mark Levin.

Levin referenced stories from the New York Times and other well-known purveyors of fake news on his radio program Thursday, then concluded: “The question is: Was Obama surveiling top Trump campaign officials during the election? We absolutely know this is true.”

Trump, having dipped into the alt-right conspiracy fever swamp again, offered no proof to back up his claim and now expects Congress to launch an investigation. Members from both parties on the Senate and House intelligence committees expressed bewilderment Sunday at the president’s allegations.

We know this much for a fact: Trump will believe anything he’s told that comports with what he wants to believe. We’re still waiting for evidence of the several million illegal votes cast for Hillary Clinton.

The claim that he got the most electoral votes since Reagan? “Those were just numbers somebody put in front of me,” he explained when one of those pesky reporters told him he was wrong. Apparently he doesn’t insist that his staff people give him accurate information.

He also isn’t interested in any conclusions from our intelligence agencies that don’t validate what he believes, particularly the conclusion that Muslims from the seven countries he wants to ban don’t pose any particular terrorism risk to the United States.

Trump doesn’t even have the guts to take responsibility for failed missions he authorizes,  like the raid in Yemen that cost the life of Navy Chief Petty Officer “Ryan” Owens.

He had no qualms about parading Owens’ widow before the nation, but the buck stopped long before it got to Trump. “This is a mission that started before I got here,” he explained. “They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do, the generals…And they lost Ryan.”

John F. Kennedy was in a similar situation when he became president and inherited the Bay of Pigs invasion from his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower. But when it failed, he didn’t blame anybody else:

“Further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility because I’m the responsible officer of the government.”

Posted in Donald Trump | 3 Comments

Correction of a post based on erroneous information

I published a post December 7, “There’s Reinette Senum, and then there’s the truth,” in which I criticized Senum for telling The Union that a demonstrator at the Standing Rock protest almost had her arm blown off by a water cannon.

After the original story was published, Senum informed the reporter that she said the woman was injured by a concussion grenade, not a water cannon, and cited several other errors in the reporting of the story.

My post appeared five days after the original story appeared in The Union, and no corrections or clarifications of the original story had appeared in the print edition of The Union by then. The paper apparently concluded that Senum was right and its reporter was wrong, and corrected the online version of the article, but never formally acknowledge the original mistake. (I rarely read the online version of the paper.)

Based on The Union’s original reporting, I criticized Senum for lying about the incident in an effort to advance her political agenda. I apologize for my erroneous criticism.

The original item was published almost three months ago. Since the premise of the post was based on erroneous information, I have removed it from this blog.

–George Boardman

Posted in Reinette Senum, The Union newspaper, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

And Pelline calls himself a progressive?

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Goldie and Dusty, the original Gold Dust Twins

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline reports that he and the missus recently had lunch with my fellow The Union columnist Hilary Hodge and her wife. (Just to show he doesn’t hold a grudge, he hosted the affair at the New Moon Cafe, an outfit that has yet to advertise in his magazine.)

Podunk reports that everything went swimmingly. In fact, he sounded down right avuncular when he pulled out his arsenal of clichés to write: “Hilary and Angelica reminded us of ourselves when we were younger–‘footloose and fancy free’ or the ‘Gold Dust Twins’ as my dad would joke.”

That’s the kind of knee slapper I would expect to hear at someplace like Golden Empire nursing home. (Are you a member of AARP yet, Jeffy? You’re old enough to join.) But what I really found shocking–particularly for a self-proclaimed progressive–was his insensitive use of the term Gold Dust Twins.

While the term is generally used these days to describe two individuals working closely together for a common goal, its origin is much uglier. The original Gold Dust Twins, “Goldie” and “Dusty,” were trademarked characters use by Fairbank’s Gold Dust Washing Powder in print advertising starting as early as 1892.

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Stereotypes? You Bet

The ads showed the two black children doing household chores together, and reflected the racial stereotypes of the times. They even appeared as vaudeville characters in an act known as “Cora and her Gold Dust Twins,” featuring Tim Moore, who played George “Kingfish” Stevens in the TV version of “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” another insensitive example of racial stereotyping.

Atlanta Black Star magazine called the ad campaign one of the “10 Most Racist Ads of All Time in American History.” And to think Pelline calls himself a progressive! This is the sort of insensitivity I expect from Todd “I Can See My Willy” Juvinall.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Progressives, Todd Juvinall, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It’s not easy being a progressive around here

It’s difficult to adhere to the high standards of political purity required of our local progressives, and sometimes even people with the best of intentions stumble.  Take two of our leading lights: Reinette Senum and Jeff “Podunk” Pelline.

Senum has been relatively quiet since that little dust-up last summer when her claim that cops are hired assassins got the town she claims to love unwanted national attention, but she has resurfaced with the announcement that she’s starting a new blog, TheFoghornExpress.com.

She apparently wants to create some separation between herself and the city of Nevada City, where she sits on the city council, so there’s no confusion when she peddles her wacky conspiracy theories or promotes her newest 5-minute crusade. As she proclaims: “My name is Reinette Senum and I am a Human Foghorn.”

Pelline welcomed this new addition to the local blogosphere by noting that “It comes amid a resurgence in the local progressive movement on the heals of the Donald Trump presidency.”

Jeffie was apparently so excited by the announcement–by the way, he was scooped by Russ Steele over at Rebane’s Ruminations–that he missed, or ignored, Senum’s perhaps inadvertent slap at women. Explaining the ground rules of her blog, she wrote:

“Please note, I have the right to change my opinion according to information I receive; I am a woman.”

Talk about perpetuating sexist stereotypes! I wonder what The Union’s progressive columnist Hilary Hodge thinks about that?

Of course, you wouldn’t expect Pelline to pick up on something like that since he’s a fanboy of Uber,  which was the subject of a boycott after an ill-timed promotion at Kennedy Airport gave the appearance of trying to break a taxi strike called to protest Trump’s immigration policy. The boycott, #deleteUber, prompted an estimated 200,000 people to drop the app.

That didn’t bother Podunk, who used the service extensively during a recent trip to Reno. He’s also used Uber in other cities even though its CEO, Travis Kalanick, served on Trump’s economic advisory council and now proclaims surprise that a former female engineer at Uber left because of a nightmarish, sexist work environment.

But that’s what you can expect from these Tesla progressives, who can talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk. Maybe local progressives should #deleteSenumPelline.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Progressives, Reinette Senum | 5 Comments

Michael Flynn: The spy who’s back out in the cold

Well, there is at least one thing Barack Obama and Donald Trump agree on: Michael Flynn is unfit for government service.

Obama came to that conclusion when he fired Flynn from the top job at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Trump apparently thought that was a feather in Flynn’s cap, because he immediately embraced him as a supporter during the presidential campaign.

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Who’s talking to the media?

Flynn got caught up in the spirit of the campaign, leading chants at the Republican National Convention to jail Hillary and even retweeting a story linking her to an alleged child porn ring headquartered at a Washington, D.C., pizza joint. This is the guy Trump wanted as his national security adviser, the guy who filters the intelligence the president hears.

As the former head of the DIA, Flynn surely must have known that the five conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the day Obama announced he was expelling 35 diplomats would be subject to electronic surveillance. That didn’t stop him from lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the conversations, which ultimately led to his firing.

What’s most interesting about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak is that they all occurred after Obama announced the expulsions and before Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised just about everybody by announcing he wouldn’t retaliate. You have to wonder what Flynn said to the ambassador, and who–if anybody–authorized him to say it.

The Republican chairs of the relevant Congressional committees, showing their lack of a bipartisan backbone, are not interested in pursuing such questions, and the usual conservative media lap-dogs are trying to change the subject by calling for the heads of those who leaked the details about Flynn’s phone calls.

They would like to believe that the leaked information came from former members of the Obama administration, or from Hillary partisans who are in positions to know. That may be the case, but given Trump’s management style and the way his administration has functioned to-date, the information could very well have come from The White House.

Trump’s management style apparently encourages multiple competing views and a walk-in-anytime Oval Office policy. Nobody seems to be managing any of this and, by The Wall Street Journal’s estimate, there are six different power centers operating in The White House.

That might work in private industry, but it just fuels power struggles in Washington, and one way you gain power is by making the other guys look bad. This can be accomplished in part by leaking embarrassing information to the news media, which can be counted on to run with any story it can confirm.

Take the recent leak of the transcripts of the phone calls Trump had with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia. Aside from the fact they showed Trump “mischaracterized” the substance of the conversations (no surprise there), you have to wonder what was accomplished by leaking them. My guess is the leak is part of an internal struggle to influence Trump on such foreign policy matters.

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus would normally be expected to impose order among the staff, but apparently hasn’t been given the power to do so. Now he’s catching the blame for all of the chaos that seems to be a daily feature of the administration, and Breitbart News reports that Trump has lost confidence in him.

Who’s Breitbart’s source? They cite “somebody close to the president,” whoever that might be. That’s the way it works in Washington.

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Media, Politics, Public Policy, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Trump not the first president to defend his daughter

Donald Trump has stirred up his critics again (not that it takes much) by coming to the defense of his daughter Ivanka, criticizing Nordstrom for “unfairly” dropping her line of products.

The upscale department store said it dropped her line because it isn’t selling, but Trump’s toady press secretary, Sean Spicer, is suggesting the decision had more to do with politics than business.

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Harry and Margaret at the piano

(My daughter, a member of Ivanka’s target audience who’s a Nordstrom loyalist when she’s in the country, tells me there’s nothing special about her line of clothing.)

Pops is being criticized for using the Oval Office to advance the family’s business interests, but he’s hardly the first president to come to the defense of his daughter. Take Harry Truman.

Truman’s only child, Margaret, was a budding singer when she performed at a recital in 1950. Paul Hume, music critic of The Washington Post, wrote that “Miss Truman cannot sing very well” and “has not improved over the years.”

That prompted her father to send Hume a letter (on official White House stationery, no less): “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

The two men never met and the controversy eventually went away. Both Truman and Hume lived to ripe old ages, and Margaret went on to a successful career as a writer of mystery novels.

Given Donald Trump’s propensity for creating new controversies, this one will go away as well.

Posted in Donald Trump, Politics | 4 Comments