Ludy Ongkeko

Ludy Ongkeko (7)

No hesitation from the Boy Scouts of America in giving their say to President Trump

It does appear that President Trump almost always uses all his speaking engagements to transform the latter into his well-publicized political rallies.
The recently-held Boys Scouts of America National Jamboree event became the backdrop of Trump's rants against all his presumed enemies, as he turned the celebration into a political rally. A great many among his viewers on television noted how he loudly bashed his rivals.
In the same address directed to a specific organization estimated at 40,000, a number of them identified as teenage boys, Trump drew the picture of Washington, calling it a "cesspool," using the occasion to announce his threat on firing one of hisCabinet secretaries if "Congress failed to repeal Obamacare."
"As the Scout law says: 'A Scout is trustworthy, loyal'-- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that," as Trump read from a script.
Almost all news reports described the Trump address as "rant, not speech."
Many listeners in the audience decried the Trump speech.
Although a number of news commentators stated that it is not"unusual for a sitting president to appear before the Boy Scouts ofAmerica," they strongly invoked the role of past presidents who appeared before the same organization's usual traditional celebrations that commenced 80 years ago. The annals of history have recorded the same event when the nation's leaders were held in high regard as they were meant to be: the personification of leadership.
What was made emphatic was what the intent of the Scouts in inviting the country's chief executive stood for.
The invitation is meant to be "wholly nonpartisan and does not promote any one position...political candidate or philosophy."
"This 80-year old custom of inviting presidents to speak to Scouts is in no way an endorsement of any person, party, or politics," was heard from the Scouts.
"Rather, the speaking invitation is based on our 'Duty to God and Country' from the ScoutOath and out of respect to the Office of the President of the UnitedStates," a statement continued with the Scouts' reaction of the Trump speech.
The Trump address drew comments from those who, at certain stages in their youth, were Eagle Scouts.
Typically heard: "As an ex-Boy Scout, I was stunned. Was this a speech before the Boy Scouts of America or before an alt-right rally? Trump's attack on a constitutionally protected American institution, the press, as "dishonest people;" his calling our nation's capital "a cesspool;" and a sewer," and most of all, his attacks on a former president of theUnited States -- all were grievously out of line on an occasion intended to inspire Scouts to the highest values of Scouting andAmerica."
Another strong voice identified the speaker, an Eagle Scout.
"I believed, then and now, in the ideals of the Boy Scouts, so I find it appalling that President Trump used a major Boy Scouts of America event as a background for a partisan, rancorous political speech."
From the remarks of those who denounced Trump's speech, either the president was never a Scout or if he was, never learned the organization's values.
When will the 45th president of the U.S. start acting presidential?
This space's columnist has a grandson who earned his spurs as anEagle Scout. As a parent, he wishes to see his own son become a Scout like him.
Thus, I asked him to recite the Scout's pledge which he did.
"A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."
Isn't it therefore high time Trump could learn a few lessons from the Scouts?

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Jeff Sessions' testimony on Russia did not deliver what was anticipated: expected news clarification

There were winners and losers from the Jeff Sessions' scheduled mid-June appearance with the Senate's Intelligence Committee (SIC), prominently aired on TV's principal news stations.
Sessions, the Trump appointee to the position of attorney general met with the SIC.
Interestingly, Sessions spent less than two and a half hours responding to questions on his reported ties, or lack thereof, to Russia, as well as his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
It provides great pleasure for this space's columnist to go into the winners' positions who expressed their opinions briefly, but covered with competence as television coverage was complete and uninterrupted.
Some from the Winners' Circle:
Maine's senator, Angus King (Independent) stole the show. Despite his move of appearing in the middle of the group of questioners, King zeroed in on why, exactly, "Sessions was invoking executive privilege and how there was absolutely zero legal reason" for that move. King likewise touched on a widely-circulated comment of Sessions' sharing conversations with Trump that seemed to "favor the administration."
In the mind of any viewer, the senator from Maine accomplished what he meant to execute as a legislature committee member without coming across as overly partisan and angry.
Tom Cotton, GOP, Arkansas. Those who are far from Trump sympathizers would be prone to call him a show-boater. He firmed up Sessions by way of asking him a question that the attorney general thanked him for. As the introduction of Cotton was said, he delivered what was dubbed a performance. Reportedly, Cotton showed he must be aiming for a national position which was more lengthy than his time with Sessions.
Martin Heinrich and Kamala Harris. Both are relative newcomers to the Senate. Heinrich, representing New Mexico, and Harris, California. Both senators showed scarcely any deference to Sessions, at least, during the schedule. Heinrich was quick to state, as he gave a firm look to Sessions: "You are impeding this investigation." On her part, Harris repeatedly interrupted Sessions as he tried to play four corners with her time, forcing the attorney general to admit: "I'm not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous."
Jim Comey. Cotton called him theatrical. Then Sessions refuted, sort of...the conversation the two of them had, following the February 14 one-on-one with Trump was highlighted. Sessions failed to dispute the basis of Comey's earlier testimony. It was evident that when Cotton made mention of Comey, it was not objected to by Sessions. Another victory for Comey.
The Mayflower Hotel. The scene of many significant occasions. That Connecticut Avenue landmark in Washington, D.C. was all over the hearing. It was mentioned frequently during the session as a typical venue of the principal political organizations.
"Lingering." One question that came up: Did Sessions linger in the February 14 meeting at the White House where James Comey's presence was mentioned?
Losers. Definitely Sessions' numerous replies, i.e., "I don't recall." Most watchers of the Sessions' hearing would be unanimous in saying: "I lost count of how many times Sessions could not recall when a specific question was asked."
Some Administration officials from the ideological spectrum at times struggle in recalling specific details that could get them in trouble.
Listeners are bound to remark that not saying "no," is one way of saving those being interviewed by legislative committees.
Yet, not saying "yes" won't hold them to their statements. When one says he simply can't recall, a listener or an interrogator can never insist.
But if later developments will show up and that a testimony will prove that the answer wasn't right, the speaker could be considered a liar or a prevaricator.
One expression, executive privilege: Sessions was quoted prior to his appearance at the Senate hearing in reference to the possibility that Trump might invoke executive privilege.
Sessions was quick to state that President Trump has executive privilege.
Researchers continue to refer to Comey, the former FBI director's disclosures when he appeared at another Senate panel.
The question came up: Does the president have an 'executive privilege?
The answer: Yes. It is not written in the Constitution or federal law, but Congress and the courts have assumed that the president, who heads the executive branch of government, has a right and a privilege to maintain some privacy as he goes about his work. Just as the president could not tell the Supreme Court justice to tell him what was discussed in one of their private conferences, judges and senators cannot tell the president he must disclose what he discussed in the Oval Office.
Typically, legal privileges are invoked by people who have evidence or documents that someone else is seeking. By invoking their privilege, they are saying they are refusing to turn over the material.
The hearing which featured Attorney General Sessions was over, but far from the desired results.
As most onlookers surmised, owing to the fact that he is the head of the Department of Justice, Sessions was expected to tell the truth.
Headlines of dailies the next day were full of negative commentaries that the attorney general of the United States did not deserve his appointment. Exhibit A was the scheduled appearance of the newly-appointed top justice official. Most listeners, it goes without saying, expected more and much more. Instead, he used a trite expression hardly anticipated in
similar sessions.
"I do not recall," was the main ingredient of the Sessions' response to nearly all of the questions that came to the fore.
Was the above-mentioned response what was expected to be uttered many a time by the nation's attorney general?

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Linguistic challenges continue undeterred in reference to Trump's widely stated comments

A striking example of the kind of utterance that has caused professional transcribers to state as fast as Trump sounds off via Twitter: "There is no collusion certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself---and the Russians, zero."
At the time President Trump gave the aforesaid response to a question at one of the May 2017 press conferences, it served as the latest example of descriptions that he has made since he took over the White House residency on January 20, 2017.
One doesn't have to be an English major or an English language expert to diagnose the aforesaid expression which exemplified his tortured syntax, mid-thought changes of subject, and evident trouble in formulating complete sentences, not to underscore the importance of coherent paragraphs in unscripted speech.
It wasn't the first time that Trump was known to give on-air interviews. Since his inauguration, reviews have been made in comparison with the Question & Answer sessions. Those who have commented lengthily find the differences as "striking and unmistakable."
Researchers on the subject of radical changes in speaking style have stated that the cause lies in cognitive decline.
Certain interview samples have come to the fore.
In interviews Trump gave in the 1980s and the 1990s (with Tom Brokaw, David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, among those who figured prominently), he was described as having spoken "articulately," using "sophisticated vocabulary," despite his insertion of dependent clauses into his sentences into a polished paragraph, without losing his train of thought, as summarized.
Trump was noted particularly as "having strung together sentences into a polished paragraph, which...and this is no mean feat...would have scanned just fine in print."
The above-mentioned description was so noted: "Even when reporters asked tough questions about, for example, his divorce, his brush with bankruptcy, and why he doesn't build housing for working class Americans," seemed to be taken up for the sake of clarity.
The Trump answers consisted of words and phrases such as: "subsided," "inclination," "discredited," "sparring session," and others that indicated what his listeners called "a certain innate intelligence." Tossed off were well-made sentences such as: "It could have been a contentious route," and "These are the only casinos in the United States that are so rated."
He was quoted as stating well-turned sentences: "If you get into what's missing, you don't appreciate what you have," and "Adversity is a very funny thing."
As he took over as 45th president, reportedly Trump's vocabulary became simpler.
Here are the examples: he repeats himself over and over; lurches from one subject to an unrelated one as illustrated during an interview with the Associated Press only weeks ago.
"People want the border all. My base definitely wants the border all, my base really wants it. You've been to many of the rallies. OK, the thing they want more than anything is the wall. My base, which is a big base; I think my base is 45 percent. You know, it's funny. The Democrats, they have a big advantage n the Electoral College. Big, big, big advantage....The Electoral College is very difficult for a Republican to win, and I will tell you, the people want to see it. They want to see the wall."
Research has disclosed that deterioration in the fluency, complexity, and vocabulary level of spontaneous speech can indicate slipping brain function due to normal aging or neurodegenerative disease.
Consequently, based on the research studies on the manner of Trump's language which researchers have considered solely as unscripted utterances, not planned speeches and statements based on the principle: only the former tap the neural networks that offer a window into brain function.
The same research studies focused on the same sort of linguistic decline which can likewise reflect stress, frustration, anger or merely plain fatigue.
As noted via the recent interview with National Broadcasting Corporation's Lester Holt, a Trump comment drew what a second-grade teacher said in despair: "We'll do some questions, unless you have enough questions."
Other Trump examples drawn from the Holt interview: "When I did this now I said, I probably, maybe, will confuse people, maybe I'll expand that, you know, lengthen the time because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago."
Those cited in the same NBC interview: "If they don't treat fairly, I am terminating NAFTA, and "I don't support or unsupport" ...leaving out a "me" in the first and an "it" (or more specific noun) in the second. Other sentences simply don't track: "From the time I took office till now, you know, it's a very exact thing. It's not like generalities."
Some language experts say the change in logistic ability could be strategic; maybe Trump thinks his supporters like to hear him speak simply and with more passion than proper syntax.
One comment: "Maybe he's using it as a strategy to appeal to certain types of people."
Why neurologists use tests of verbal fluency and especially how it has changed over time, to assess cognitive status is timely: "The reason linguistic and cognitive decline often go hand in hand, is that fluency reflects the performance of the brain's prefrontal cortex, the seat of higher-order cognitive functions such as working memory, judgment, understanding, and planning, as well as the temporal lobe, which searches for and retrieves the right words from memory."
One Trump supporter who declined to be identified but wishes to see that he will pay more attention to his declarations, implied how language can deteriorate for other reasons.
"His language difficulties could be due to the immense pressure he's under, or to annoyance that things aren't going right and that there are all these scandals."
Another line of reasoning emerged: "It could also be due to a neurodegenerative disease or the normal cognitive decline that comes with aging."
Speaking about aging, Trump just celebrated his 71st birthday anniversary.
The rationale in regard to the aging phenomenon: "Research shows that virtually nobody is as sharp at age 70 as they were at age 40."
Another opinion has put forward a fact of life, as described by a neurologist.
"A wide range of cognitive functions, including verbal fluency, begin to decline long before we hit retirement age. So, no surprise here."
In reviewing the commentaries cited in the foregoing, evidently, the well-known researchers in the field were directed in their manifold studies and certainly, in studying the present state of the presidency as it unfolds, is meant to disseminate information.

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Trump's branding certain members of the judiciary as ‘so-called judges’

 The United States' populace thought it had enough of Trump, indeed, in constant repetition against some judges, while he denounced one in particular during his presidential campaign rallies.
        One of his earlier complaints was focused on what he questioned as the impartiality of a federal judge hearing the Trump University lawsuit.
        Trump declared the judge's ethnic heritage would make him biased.
        The issue on the federal judges worsened when President Trump accused the federal judges in the midst of decisions that came from three courts that temporarily halted his travel bans growing out of purely political motivations and limited intelligence.
        Yet, what was particularly noted as disheartening, was to hear disrespect for a federal judge as aired and publicized by Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.
        As  the nation's highest-ranking law enforcement officer, Sessions attacked the Hawaii-based US District Judge Derrick Watson after the latter issued a temporary restraining order against the second Trump travel ban.
        Sessions' commentary was one of the issues.  He complained that "a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific" could issue a nationwide decree.
        The aforesaid Sessions statement was eerily reminiscent of Trump's earlier dismissive tweet that the US, district judge who stopped his first travel ban was a "so-called judge."
        Of course it is established that federal judges should be above legitimate criticism. 
        Federal jurists deal with vital, and at times life-threatening issues; they need to hear well-informed and zealously advocated contrary views both inside the courtroom and out.
        Indeed, there is an underlying difference between legitimate criticism and crass delegitimization. 
        Just based on his remarks, Sessions was judged to have crossed the line when he intertwined potentially valid criticism of district court injunctive powers with a dismissive joke.
        According to an expert in matters affecting jurists, valid reasons exist on why federal-judge bashing is beyond the pale.
        First:  Politicians who attack federal judges are not fighting fair.  Traditions and ethical canons applicable to federal judges severely limit their ability to respond. Most of the time, judicial decision-making transcends politics.
        Second:  A variety of "rule of law" factors, such as precedent and doctrines of judicial restraint, influence even the most highly visible judicial rulings: two of the four lower-court  judges ruling against the first Trump travel ban were appointed by Republican presidents.
        Third:  The most important: all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation and ideology have a vested interest in preserving the national judiciary as a third branch of government with the independence and respect to check and balance non-judicial officials.
        Returning to the term used by Sessions, it did remind the populace of a certain Trump tweet that the US judge who stopped his first travel ban was a "so-called judge."
        Both the Trump comment followed by Sessions' opinion on the federal judge in Hawaii, carried limitless disrespect of the judiciary which is considered independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.
        Today's presidents and Congresses have awesome powers affecting the people's lives, fortunes and freedoms. Therefore, it is of absolute significance that courts need the independence and respect, not only review presidential orders and federal legislation, but also to declare them invalid.
        Every president, attorney general and member of Congress has an obligation.
        Theirs is to reinforce, not undermine, respect for the crucial constitutional values served by the country's independent federal judiciary.
        It is hoped that the Supreme Court will continue to support the country's constitutional values and standing as a democracy.
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Protests continue against Trump's continued refusal to release his tax returns

"WHAT DO WE WANT? TRUMP'S TAX RETURNS. WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW.
'WE WANT A LEADER, NOT A TAX CHEATER. WE WANT A LEADER, NOT A FRIGGIN' TWEETER."

Closer to the hundred days into theTrump presidency: photographs and anger have spoken for themselves.
Scenes allover are simply depicted across the country: from Los Angeles to Boston; from Seattle to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Palm Beach,Florida, illustrated how three thousand people spread out in droves to display a veritable racket contiguous to Trump's Mar-a-Largo resort, the first choice of the '45th' who has proceeded to line up his weekend activities without any contradiction at all.
The now well-known hideout of Trump's new I.D., 'the First Golfer' drew some easy-to-read signs: "Twinkle Twinkle Little Czar, Putin Put You Where You Are," struck a vehemence on the Trump motorcade: it was forced to take a circuitous route back from Trump International Golf Club, where the owner was reported to have concluded his sixteenth round since taking office, courtesy of a Palm Beach Post report.
The same report stirred a twitter grumble from Trump: "Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies. The election is over."
Truth to tell, the named protests weren't small at all. Nobody paid for them.
Indeed, as Trump has underscored: the election is over. But what kind of leadership has he shown that has spawned protests galore?
Those same protests represented the most recent manifestations of a popular movement that Trump himself has been adjudged to have inspired. Isn't it an example of one that has established itself as an important presence on the national political scene? Similarly, it is regarded as one which Trump and his Republican allies/enablers increasingly need to contend with.
The two-week Easter break saw numbers of G.O.P. congressional members forced to contend with their own constituents upset over the failed Republican effort to dismantle Obamacare.
In all clarity, most of the protesters at Republican events might be identified as non-G.O.P. voters. Neither are they all Democratic activists.
Anti-Trump rally participants have shown they are activists: college graduates outraged by Trumpism; office workers whose ire sprung from Trump's utter refusal to release his tax returns; doctors and nurses strongly concerned about the health-care system; retirees constantly worried about members of their younger generation; and above all: Americans from all walks of life who are pronounced in their beliefs that Trump is certainly unfit for office.
Thus, it is inevitable to conclude: Trump represents a grave danger to the country.
Troubles proceed to mount as Trump continues in office; instead of diminishing the protest movement, he has encouraged it. Although the political system has been characterized as tainted by huge funds and influence-peddling, political participation has taken a principal role.
Federal officials, jurists, Democratic and Republican legislators, including Trump himself, cannot ignore nationwide activism and public opinion.
Increasingly growing tax-day protests have exhibited how the President has no wish to release his returns. Too, he has not shown indicators in setting up a proper blind trust for his business assets, or of separating his family from the machinery of government.
Currently, as has been proven in less than a hundred days, the Trump administration is bent on rolling back the clock in myriad ways that will present difficulties to halt what commenced since January20th.
The principal problem is Trump himself.
Throughout his career, troubles abound. And the nation's length and breadth cannot and must not be further damaged.
The American people need act immediately before the degree of the worsening national stature gets beyond repair.

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‘Russian leaks’ still pervading despite White House assertions

Very recent media reports concerning Russia and members of President Trump's team are being described as: "The slow drip, drip of Russia stories."
Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, announced how upset he is at the mention of the stories that have not been terminated at all.
Preibus, in his role, has been described as having contacted the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).The focus of the Preibus' FBI contact as announced: "to request the agency dispute on news stories that the Trump campaign had contact with Russian officials."
Such a communication by Preibus was categorized as highly unusual by the White House press coverage based on what ought to be aired through the news media, both print and broadcast.
Strong voices from the media: The Preibus action is called meddling.
"The meddling puts the president's chief of staff in the middle of an ongoing investigation that involves his boss.
"FBI Director James Comey refused Priebus' request owing to alleged contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia are still under review."
Trump's quest for the presidency during his candidacy was rife with his personal comments: Washington's government institutions were "rigged" against him.
The then presidential candidate laudedC omey's 'public intervention in the election when the FBI director informed Congress he was"reopening" the investigation into the much- publicized Clinton e-mails as she likewise sought the presidency.
It was widely publicized that Comey stated how he did not find anything new and quickly closed the subject. The Comey report did not fall on deaf ears and was used as a weapon against the Democratic presidential candidate by the Trump backers.
Trump proceeded to attack the intelligence community -- it was termed a continuation of a lengthy "spat" with American officials tasked with ferreting out truths critical to national security.
Therefore, how would some members of theAmerican populace translate the Priebus' move? Isn't it clear even to non-partisans that the Priebus' request directed to the aforesaid intelligence agency could vastly weakenTrump's position?
TheTrump reaction was (as always) via 'Tweet' in regard to the response of Comey directed to the Priebus' request. Trump was described as having blasted the FBI and NSA on Twitter; central to that tweet surfaced: that the FBI is totally unable to stop the national security leakers.
After all the caustic exchange of opinions that has taken place, which originally came from Trump's main surrogate, Comey's having turned down the Priebus request is deemed justifiable by those who have been keeping a close watch on the intelligence panorama.
Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager whose very recent re-appearance on the political scene, is the latest report on alleged Russian ties.
Reportedly, texts were sent to the cell phone of Manafort's daughter relating to the involvement of Manafort himself: that he had close financial ties with the former president of Ukraine,a Russia ally.
Similarly, what was bruited around re Manafort's ties, was how he helped set up a meeting between DonaldTrump and an associate of the Ukrainian president in 2012, on Trump's alleged relations with Russia.
Trump, in the meantime, delivered a keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He railed about his ongoing war with journalists. He made emphatic his views on news reports as “fake,” calling unnamed sources as the “real enemy of the people.”
But the media coverage did bring out the mood at the CPAC convention.
Some in attendance at the same CPAC event were described as waving small Russian flags with the word "Trump" on them as he started his speech.
How else could some observers at the very same audience react to whatever knowledge has been aired without hesitation, in regard to how Trump has conducted himself amid so-called "Russian backing?"

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The cost of protecting the Trump family

"It’s not easy or cheap," as per estimates gathered by The Washington Post

Early reports from the nation's capital paper have stated that President Trump and his family would supersede what it cost to protect former President Barack Obama and his family by 'hundreds of millions of dollars.'
According to Judicial Watch, a well-known conservative group that kept track of Obama's travel expenses, an estimate of $97 million was spent during the former president's eight years in office.
The period under report has set forth an example of just four weeks into the 45th president's term.

Enumerated below are but a few examples thus far:
· 3 trips to Mar-a-Lago in Florida since the Trump inauguration, may have cost about $10 million, based on a government report from October that provided an analysis of the White House travel which includes expenses on the cost of US Coast Guard patrol boats on the shoreline.

· Palm Beach County officials announced how they will request reimbursement of tens of thousands of dollars per day from the White House, for their deputies who provided “security and logistical support around the city.”

· Police officials have provided estimates on what it would cost New York $500,000 a day or $183 million a year, to guard Trump Tower, where First Lady Melania Trump and the ten-year old Barron Trump live.

· Secret Service and embassy employees paid some $100,000 in hotel room bills during a trip to Uruguay by a Trump son, Eric. Reportedly, he went to that South American city where he
promoted a "Trump-branded building."

· Should the Pentagon successfully secure rental space in Trump Tower -- "needed" when the president returns to New York -- it would cost $1.5 million per month, per information received from the building's website according to news reports.

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