Trump emerging as one of weakest executives in history as Republicans, cabinet heads openly defy him

Donald Trump is fast becoming one of the weakest presidents the nation has ever seen after going to war with a federal government that is defying him at every turn. Despite the fact that he has lashed out repeatedly at congressional Republicans, for instance, they are brazenly ignoring him. The same goes for Trump’s cabinet heads, who are clearly going about their business as if Trump were nothing more than pesky a flea on their behind. Annoying? Sure. But essentially toothless.

First, let’s just appreciate how desperately Trump wants Republican lawmakers to take the wrap for his failure in leadership. He blamed them today for our souring relationship with Russia, adding, “the same people can’t even give us HCare!” He declared his superiority over them yesterday in a statement on the Russia sanctions bill, asserting that he could make “far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.” And last week after

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The NRA declares war on America: ‘the only way we save our country … is with the clenched fist’

The National Rifle Association has issued a video in which conservative talk radio star Dana Loesch declares war on … Them. Where “them” is Americans.

They use their media to assassinate real news.

They use their schools to teach children that the president is another Hitler.

They use their movie stars, and singers, and comedy shows, and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.

And then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance. 

All to make them march. Make them protest. Make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding. Until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.

And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage.

The only way we stop this. The

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Arizona (yes, Arizona) joins the battle in defending its confederate monuments from removal

Battles regarding the removal of long-standing confederate monuments have been making the rounds in the South as of late. Though this debate isn’t necessarily new, recently in LouisianaAlabama and Virginia, folks have gone to absurd lengths to protect their beloved monuments. This has included intimidation and harassment, violence, death threats against public workers and contractors and the passage of laws that have made it almost impossible to make any changes to monuments. Louisiana even went so far as to pass a bill in the House requiring an actual election before any war memorial can be removed or altered. But surprisingly, the attachment to confederate memorials is not limited to Southern states. Arizona is now engaged in its own debate about removing six confederate memorials, the most recent of which was erected in 2010.

But Arizona’s Confederate memorials don’t date back to [the Civil War] era.

They fought and died for freedom: Black soldiers in the U.S. Civil War

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and as we prepare to attend ceremonies for members of the U.S. military who died in service to this country, I want to salute those black men and women who fought so that my people could gain their freedom.

Black soldiers, including more than a dozen Congressional Medal of Honor winners, fought in 449 Civil War battles. More than one-third of them died during the war.

This is more than just a political or historical issue. It is also personal, since my great grandmother Amelia Weaver’s brother Dennis Weaver served in Company D, 1st Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT). He served and survived—and spent the rest of his life fighting to get his pension, as did his wife Delia after his death. My dad’s grandfather, John Oliver, served in the 17th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, and fought at the Battle of Nashville.

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‘See, I picked someone from the other party.’ That’s how we got Comey—and President Andrew Johnson

As you maybe, possibly, have heard, the president of our country this week fired the person who was leading the investigation into collusion between his campaign team and a foreign power seeking to interfere with our democratic process.

Let’s get something straight: FBI Director James Comey deserved to be fired for his absolute mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email matter—not that Trump cares one iota about that—and, at the same time, it was an absolute scandal that Trump fired him now, in a bald-faced attempt to derail the aforementioned investigation just when it was, in the words of an FBI source, “accelerating.”

That was this week. But let’s take a trip back to the halcyon days of spring 2013. Barack Obama was fresh off a clear, decisive re-election victory over Mitt Romney, an election in which his party also held the U.S. Senate—remember that the Democrats lost the

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Donald Trump doubles down on the story of Andrew Jackson, peace maker

Donald Trump is utterly unable to admit a mistake. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or how egregious the original remark. It doesn’t matter if it’s something he said off the cuff without much, or any, advance thought. Once a statement has squirted from between from his puckered lips, it must be defended.

The process starts when Trump hears some couch banter on Fox and Friends, or puzzles through some headlines on Breitbart, mixes up a few “facts” in an already questionable story, then spews. Next—and this is critical—people laugh at Trump. Lots and lots of people. Laugh, laugh, laugh at Donald Trump.

At this point Trump squeezes his hands into ping pong ball-sized fists, and doubles down on his original statement. You want a triple-dog dare? Oh, he’ll go there. Plus he’ll order the NSC and Justice Department to get busy finding some way, any way, he can claim to

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Trump: ‘Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?’

Donald Trump is extremely confused again, where confused means ignorant beyond reckoning. Let’s start your reading of his discussion, with interviewer Salena Zito, of the seventh president of the United States and his lessons about the Civil War, with a couple of very basic facts about Jackson and the war.

Andrew Jackson was president of the United States from 1829 to 1837 and died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861. 

I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said “There’s no reason for this.” People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil

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Lincoln’s heir

As American presidents enter their final months in the White House, they invariably focus on their legacies. That effort to shape history’s judgment invariably leads to comparisons to the greatest of them all: Abraham Lincoln.

George W. Bush and his amen corner certainly tried. In September 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice compared the three-year old Iraq debacle to the Civil War. “I know there were people who said, ‘Why don’t we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?’” Five months later, Rudy Giuliani explained that Lincoln had “that ability that a leader has—a leader like George Bush” to “look into the future.” The next spring, Vice President Dick Cheney similarly compared a “very courageous, very consistent, very determined” President Bush to Honest Abe, asking ABC News viewers to “think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had

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Will the GOP even exist after 2016?

The GOP is falling apart before our very eyes—that much is clear. The gaping chasm between the elite/establishment wing of the party and the white working-class voters in the South who have consistently voted Republican (often against their own economic interests) has swallowed whatever middle ground may have once existed between the two factions. Libertarians, in the meantime, don’t know which way to turn. This has Republicans of all stripes conjecturing about what the future holds for conservatives—and here’s one thing they seem to agree on: The GOP as we know it won’t exist following this election. Niall Stanage writes:

John “Mac” Stipanovich, who has worked in Republican circles in Florida for 35 years, including as a senior adviser to Jeb Bush and chief of staff to former Gov. Bob Martinez, said that he thought “people of good intentions and goodwill may regain dominance in the Republican Party” but that the process

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Leadership you can count on: Republican National Committee goes dark as party devolves into chaos

This is what real leadership looks like, folks. Some of your people are jumping ship, some are lowering the life boats, and some are waiting for a decisive call from the top. And yes, anyone who’s waiting is screwed, writes Politico:

As Donald Trump’s campaign unravels, the Republican National Committee has gone dark — failing to give GOP vendors guidance on whether to keep working for the nominee or to move resources into down-ballot races, and not even returning calls from party members ahead of a critical late-afternoon meeting about the way forward.

Numerous Republicans on Monday used the same phrase to describe the response of the RNC to their questions: “radio silence.”

RNC officials weren’t available to comment for the story—natch! This follows Paul Ryan’s complete and utter failure to make a clean break from Trump Monday. Even as Ryan insisted he would focus on down-ballot races instead of defending Trump,

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Is Donald Trump about to declare war on the Republican Party?

As everyone knows, Donald Trump cannot take any slight or any insult without lashing out. And given that somewhere north of 50 Republicans spent their Saturday denouncing Trump, rescinding endorsements and calling for him to step down—not to mention a very public snub by Paul Ryan and a report that Reince Priebus’ RNC was cutting and running—you can bet Trump is ready to blow a gasket. And the Republican Party may be feeling the wrath of Don all day on Sunday. There was this tweet from Trump:

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Let there be no mistake, the “establishment” here is the Republican Party. And then there was this:

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus will no longer appear on Face the Nation

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Open thread for night owls: Our national anthem has always been ‘tainted with racism’

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From The Intercept:

The popularity of the “Star Spangled Banner” grew continuously in the decades after Key wrote the lyrics. By the time of the Civil War, some on both sides tried to claim it as their own.

Tellingly, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. felt if the song were to belong to the North it would need a new stanza — one he provided, invoking “the millions unchained who our birthright have gained.” By contrast, supporters in the South did not believe it required any changes. “Let us never surrender to the North the noble song, the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’” the Richmond Examiner editorialized in 1861 in the capital of the Confederacy. “It is Southern in origin, in sentiments, in poetry, and song. In its association with chivalrous deeds, it is ours.”

In the subsequent decades the “The Star Spangled Banner” continued to be contested territory and the subject

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Cartoon: Who’s on whose side?

If this cartoon seems complicated, that’s because it is. With nearly all attention focused on the latest headline-grabbing statement by Donald Trump or a suction-cupped Trump Tower climber (fun stuff, I admit), it’s important to remember that there are real issues, real suffering and extreme complexity in the world. A simplistic, seat-of-the-pants style will not translate well to foreign policy, particularly when it comes to Syria.

While we’ve been live-streaming the tower climber and his suction cups, millions of people in Syria are facing war, death and siege conditions. What is being called the “most crucial battle” of Syria’s civil war has been going almost unnoticed here in the United States. Besides that, the convoluted alliances and ever-changing battle lines are mind boggling.  

Small militant groups that have received TOW antitank missiles from the United States have taken part in a unified rebel victory

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The Memorial Day history forgot: The Martyrs of the Race Course

I am republishing this in honor of Union soldiers we should not forget — DOV

A pencil drawing and a grainy photo in the Library of Congress are all that is left of the cemetery where 257 Union soldiers were buried after the Civil War on what had been a race course in Charleston, South Carolina.  

Nor has much been written about the memorial celebration held by more than 10,000 mostly newly freed blacks, which was one of the first, if not the first memorial held for those who fought to end slavery.

Civil War historian David Blight describes the event:

War kills people and destroys human creation; but as though mocking war’s devastation, flowers inevitably bloom through its ruins. After a long siege, a prolonged bombardment for months from all around the harbor, and numerous fires, the beautiful port city of Charleston, South Carolina, where the war

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‘Captain America: Civil War’ uses the fun of superheroes to explore power and its consequences

A common interpretation of the superhero genre is that its appeal is based in being a modern-day equivalent of the legends of ancient mythology. Both are fantasies which use outlandish elements to connect to human ideas of justice, or the lack thereof. Obviously, there’s an aspect of wish fulfillment. Who hasn’t wanted to run faster than everyone else, be stronger, or fly? There are the religious overtones. The hope that someone will descend from the sky, or appear out of nowhere to save us from the evils of the world, wipe away all tears, and make everything okay. Others see the popularity of the entire genre as a reaction to the September 11 attacks and its aftermath. Skyscrapers fall and buildings are destroyed, but the lines between good and bad are more clearly defined. And the fiction of it all presents a force the audience can get behind without all of the contradiction and controversy evident

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