Resisting Trump’s Incessant Efforts To Chip Away At The First Amendment Is More Important Than Anything

Trump Starts This Morning Cheering People Who Booed

Then denies he’s racist:

Then quickly tries to change the subject:

Editorial: Kneel, If That’s How You Feel. Or Boo. That’s What It’s All About

Because when it comes down to it, there is nothing that makes us more uniquely American. We can speak out whenever we feel the need to speak out. And believe whatever we want to believe. We take it for granted. But the reality is, not that many other people in the world can.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh said it all when he said: “Check the Constitution“.

So we did. Here’s the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

We frequently do not fulfill that promise. We do live in a society where voices are repressed. But we have lived in many places around the world and unflinchingly believe we’re the best out there at expressing ourselves. Because we can. And because of that, we’re looked to as shining examples of freedom (or were).

Trump is making it into a test of fealty to him. Salute the flag, obey him and what he stands for. Take a knee, disrespect his vision of America. We said this on the 4th of July and we’ll say it again: the licensing rights to the American flag do not come with the Presidency.

But when Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon says (although he now says he didn’t know about Trump’s Tweets): “It’s dangerous when folks in our country stop respecting the White House and the seat of the president”, it makes us no longer regret the Mets didn’t get him when they had the chance. Because, no. It’s not dangerous if you disagree with the President. It’s your protected right. The fact that we can have that disagreement is exactly what makes us great.

Anyway, there’s tons of coverage of what every team did or didn’t do (and Tweet) in reaction. The New York Times has an extremely comprehensive wrap-up. So does The Atlantic.

We just want to point to a few things that caught our attention:

• New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft spoke out against Trump, which is shocking because they are close allies. Kraft saying in a statement “I am deeply disappointed by the statements made by the President….I support [our players’] right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner they feel is most impactful.”

• While it seems a bit far fetched (although Trump holds a grudge like few others), Joe Nocera in the New York Times points out there’s no love lost between Trump and the NFL. As an owner in the upstart USFL, he sued the NFL, and “won” but was awarded damages of only $1.

• And remember Trump simultaneously uninvited the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to the White House after their biggest star, Steph Curry said he didn’t think he’d go.

Yeah, you can call even the President a “bum”. We wouldn’t (but only because our fathers told us never to call anybody a “bum”). But yeah. And LeBron also scored a huge “win” over Trump on Twitter: nearly 650,000 Retweets vs. Trump’s 63,000. Completely irrelevant, except Trump notices this stuff.

• Trump then touts a White House visit by the apparently much more patriotic Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.

Except most of the NHL champs are not from the U.S. 60% of the team is foreign (the largest percentage, Canadian). And they’re taking high paying jobs from Americans. If anything, he should be deporting! 

Republicans Unleash “Sweeter” Health Care Bill

Just hours after Trump Tweets what seemed like a baldfaced lie:

Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are set to come out with a rewritten version of their bill that magically makes that so: instead of getting federal funds cut, those three states will gain some. That according to an advance copy obtained by Politico. Those three states have Republican Senators who oppose or are leaning against it.

Among them, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, who’s continued to say he won’t vote for the bill. Although Paul now says maybe if they meet him halfway, by cutting block grant amounts to states by half, he might consider it. Of course, that would be a great way to probably lose Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s support once and for all.

While another among them, Senator John McCain, is calling for a bipartisan alternative, Lindsey Graham has been loudly asserting Democrats only want “single payer health care” so a bipartisan bill can never happen.


Yes, Bernie Sanders probably won’t vote for it. Neither will Ted Cruz. But there are a whole bunch in the middle of both parties who could get you enough votes.

Editorial: CNN, Give It A Rest!

We are seeing red about this: CNN plugging a health care debate this evening, featuring Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy on one side, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders?!!! on the other. Now hold up a second: we’re not saying we’re against “Medicare for all”. Just that it plays right into Lindsey Graham’s hands: he’s trying desperately to make the debate Graham/Cassidy vs. “Medicare for all”. But really, it’s Obamacare vs. Oblivion. Sanders will not help make that case. But we guess Patty Murray and Brian Schatz wouldn’t pull the same ratings.

New “Travel Ban”: Trump Tries Sleight Of Hand To Make It Look Less Anti Muslim-y

Trump’s initial 90 day “travel ban” is expiring, so he’s replacing it with a more permanent one that’s essentially the same except it adds two countries to the array of Middle Eastern and North African ones: Venezuela and North Korea. Here’s the official release. This could help the White House argue the ban isn’t a religious test, as it heads for the Supreme Court. Virtually no North Koreans ever visit the U.S., and the Venezuela ban really only applies to government officials.

Merkel Wins 4th Term As German Chancellor, But Far Right Gains All The Momentum


Merkel’s accomplishment is huge. We were struck by this graphic in the New York Times: she’s by far the longest serving non-autocratic leader in Europe:

At the same time, the radical, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany Party becomes the first Far-Right nationalist party to gain seats in parliament since World War II. It ends up with 13% of the vote, making it the 3rd largest. It had never gotten enough votes to hold any seats in Parliament before. Most of its strength coming from areas in the former East Germany.

While Merkel won easily, which wasn’t always a certainty, the backlash to her liberal refugee policy was strong. As Quartz reports, the AfD rallied voters with a nasty anti-refugee ad campaign including “posters saying: “Burqas? We like bikinis,” “New Germans? We can make them ourselves.” and pictures of pigs, captioned: “Islam doesn’t fit with our cuisine.””

We Ask Again: Is North Korea “Laughing At Us?”

After Kim Jong-un proved to be the better name caller: “Dotard” totally destroyed “Rocket Man”… Trump, obviously reeling from his loss, grasped for something but could only come up with the feeble “Little Rocket Man”, and so threatened nuclear oblivion instead.

North Korea countered by staging a mass anti-US rally where young people held signs saying things like “the U.S. is evil’s headquarters!”

All that is deadly serious.

At the same time, we think North Korea’s propaganda machine may be deliberately trolling Trump. Our President has shown extreme sensitivity when he perceives other countries or people are “laughing at us”. And in many recent photos, Kim and his Generals are chortling, sometimes directly into the camera.