White House Woes

The Trump Presidency

First 7 Months in Trumpland

Volume II - September onward


TRUMP NEWS

Early Trump News (January-August 2017)

Latest News Briefs

June 19: Defiant Trump faces growing backlash from opponents of immigration policy that results in separation of border-crossing children from parents. Criticism comes not only from liberals, but from a number of conservative leaders and Republican lawmakers who ordinarily back the president.

June 19: U.S. withdraws from United Nations Human Rights Council.

June 19: Trump warns of immigrants who "infest" the U.S. ... during interview on CNN, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski responds to report on 10-year-old with Down Syndrome, taken away from parent at border, by uttering dismissive "Womp Womp."

June 20: Despite his previous insistence that Democratic-initiated "law" prevented halting practice of separating families at Mexican border, Trump signs Executive Order to accomplish that change.

June 27: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement. President quickly reveals list of possible conservative replacements, promising to make choice by July 9.

June 28: Senate leader Mitch McConnell insists that replacement Justice be selected and vetted quickly, so nominee can be sworn in before November election. Critics charge McConnell with hypocrisy, citing his blockage of Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, until after the 2016 presidential election.

June 28: In Washington D.C., some 600 women are arrested at a protest against continued mistreatment of undocumented migrant children.

June 30: Massive protests demanding humane treatment of migrant children separated from parents take place in cities across the country.

June 30: PBS reports that migrants seeking asylum are compelled to pay a Bond, if they want to released from detention while awaiting a hearing. Minimum Bond cost is $1,500, but some judges are requiring as much as $25,000.

July 5: EPA head Scott Pruitt resigns, amid numerous charges of legal and ethics violations.

July 7: Following meeting on denuclearization with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, North Koreans charge U.S. with making "gangster-like demands" and creating "cancerous" situation.

July 11 : At opening breakfast of NATO Summit in Brussels, Trump assails allies for not spending enough on defense, as a percentage of their Gross Domestic Product. Rather than accept the goal of 2 percent by 2024, agreed to in 2014 , Trump arbitrarily calls for doubling that amount. He lated claims personal victory at the Summit, but allies disagree with his assessment.

July 12 : Mass protests are expected in Britain, Trump's next stop, including floating a huge balloon depicting Trump as a diapered, ill-behaved infant.

July 12-13: Mass protests take place in Britain, Trump's next stop, including floating a huge balloon depicting Trump as a diapered, ill-behaved infant. In interview published in Sun newspaper, Trump criticizes prime minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit situation.

July 15: In Helsinki, Finland, Trump has two-hour meeting with Vladimir Putin, with only translators present. In news conference afterward, U.S. president appears to believe Putin's denial of Russian meddling in 2016 election, even though American intelligence agencies have stated firmly that Russia is the culprit. Additional Trump remarks suggest that he was taking Putin's side on related issues, prompting considerably outrage back home. Some critics call Trump's behavior "disgraceful," and even "treasonous."

July 16-19: Trump faces massive blowback, even from Republicans, for remarks in Helsinki that suggest he believes Putin more than his own intelligense services. Attempts to rectify those comments, claiming to have been "misunderstood," draw even greater criticism.

July 23: Using all capital letters, Trump sends ferocious tweet to Iran's leader, promising "consequenes the likes of which few throughout history" have experienced, if that country ever threatens the U.S. again. Earlier, Iranian president Rouhani had promised that conflict between the two countries would amount to the "mother of all wars"

July 27: Immigration agency misses deadline to reunite remaining detained children with their parents. News agencies report that undreds of parents have already been deported.

July : Trump administration seeks $100 billion tax break, nearly all for super-wealthy. President expresses willingness to bypass Congress, ordering revision of capital gains rules on his own.

August 1: Trump tweets that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should halt Mueller probe "right now." Meanwhile, president is willing to do in-person interview with Mr. Mueller, who agrees to limit questions on obstruction of justice.

August 13: The New York Times reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking legal steps to support states that have launched restrictive voter-registration laws, upturning actions taken by the Obama administration. Critics assert that minorities, likely to vote Democratic, are most likely to be purged from voter rolls or prevented from registering.


Recent News Briefs

June 4: President tweets that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself, but will not do so because he has "done nothing wrong." Not only is the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt," he asserts, but it's "unconstitutional."

June 8: Trump arrives late at G-7 conference in Quebec, Canada after alienating long-standing allies and calling for readmission of Russia to the group.

June 9: Departing early from G-7 conference, Trump refuses to sign joint communique and, in tweet from plane enroute to Singapore, calls Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau "very dishonest and weak."

June 10: Two presidential advisors escalate the verbal assault on Canadian prime minister. Peter Navarro declares that there is a "special place in hell" for any world leader who engages in "bad faith diplomacy" with Trump.

June 11: Attorney General Jeff Sessions tightens rule on asylum-seekers who flee domestic violence or gang attacks, making it far more difficult for them to be allowed into U.S. Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean, Italy and Malta turn away a rescue ship carrying more than 600 refugees from Africa.

June 12: Historic summit between U.S. president and Kim Jong-un results in agreement to continue talks, but few details. Trump supporters hail the session as a diplomatic victory, while critics charge that the North Korean leader gained considerably more than he gave up.

June 13: Citing coverage of Singapore summit, Trump calls the media, led by NBC and CNN, America's "biggest enemy."

June 17: Photo of 2-year-old child in tears as her mother is searched by immigration agents spreads rapidly, intensifying criticism of "zero-tolerance" policy initiated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Distressing audio tape of detained children crying and calling for "Mommy" or "Daddy" adds to the backlash.

For additional details, as well as previous News items, please click here.

Toil & Trouble

Countdown to Trumpland, our new section on the Trump phenomenon and its potential impact on so much of American life, was our main story until Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017. Since then, we've provided news and commentary on the Trump presidency, in a section called White House Woes. Mr. Trump's candidacy and election has led to a crucial urgency among progressives and others who feared a barrage of disastrous decisions from his Administration.

Meanwhile, Tirekicking Today has been developing this section on work, labor, and consumer concerns. Toil & Trouble builds upon the uncommon views in Work Hurts, one of our Books in Progress. In addition to notable news items related to work and labor, this section will feature critical essays and editorials.



"No man is good enough to be another man's master."
George Bernard Shaw,
in Major Barbara



Work/Labor News Headlines and Victories


• In mid-January 2018, Amazon announced that 20 cities were on the "short list" of possible sites for the company's second headquarters. Each city has offered massive incentives in its quest to attract Amazon, which promises to make some 50,000 jobs available in the winning locale.

Before a final decision is made, residents of those cities might want to read a vivid description of the working life in an Amazon warehouse, in one chapter of a recent book. Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder, chronicles lives of "houseless" Americans, many of them elderly, who live in vans and RVs, working at seasonal and short-term jobs (including Amazon warehouses) to survive.

March 5: West Virginia teachers high on enthusiasm, on 8th day of strike for higher pay. State ranks 48th in nation for average teachers' salary.

March 6: Victory for jubilant West Virginia teachers, as state employees win 5-percent salary increase. A century earlier, West Virginia was in forefront of America's vibrant labor movement.

April 2: Teachers strike in two additional states: Kentucky and Oklahoma.

April 26: Arizona teachers engage in strike action.

May 1: May Day, celebrated by workers in much of the world, is again largely overlooked in U.S. In Chicago, however, a large crowd assembles at Haymarket Memorial, singing labor songs and marching toward downtown Loop. Haymarket Square was the site of one of the most notable events in labor history, in 1886.

• North Carolina teachers walk out – the sixth state to see striking teachers in 2018.

• 2018 Labor Notes Conference took place April 6-8, near Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Tirekicking Today covered the event, and a report will be posted soon. A record number of workers and labor advocates attended, exhibiting enthusiasm reminiscent of the early days of the labor movement.

The New York Times reports that Stockton, California will test "universal basic income" program. Similar programs have been tried recently in Finland, Canada and elsewhere, hoping to reduce income inequality. (June 1)

• On June 1, Department of Labor reports lowest unemployment rate (3.8 percent) since 2000.

• Late in June, Supreme Court rules against public-sector unions in Janus case. Unions can no longer collect fees from non-members.

• By wide margin, voters in Missouri reject "right to work" law, giving labor movement a seldom-seen victory. (August 7)

Additional Labor news items will be posted periodically. Please check again.



"No Human Being Is Illegal"
Sign carried by protester marching in support of "Dreamers" on January 19, 2018



The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin



“You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.”
Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johansson, in episode 4 of the HBO series Girls, created and written by Lena Dunham



Labor-related Essays:

Own Nothing, Owe Nothing
Surprise! Some of us like to pay taxes
Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise
Overview: All too often, Toil Is Trouble
Needed Now: Jobs, Not Careers
New Ways To Look at Work
Solidarity Forever?
Quit calling us consumers!
Let's break the chain of consumer debt
Prioritize! Living with Less and Liking It

New and updated essays on labor, work, money and other topics will be added regularly.



"He that has to obey the will of another is a slave."
Samuel Fielden (1886)



“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Typically attributed to Winston Churchill, but actual source is uncertain.


UPDATED: August 13, 2018

After 23 years of covering cars and the auto industry, Tirekicking Today has shifted gears, with a new focus on social issues and current affairs - led by the unprecedented ramifications of the Trump presidency


TK Press, an offshoot of Tirekicking Today, is preparing a schedule of new books to be published this fall-winter and into 2019. See book details below.


Top Trump News Briefs

August 2: Trump administration proposes easing of fuel-economy standards, undoing schedule for greatly improved fuel-efficiency, initiated by President Obama. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other critics respond quickly, pointing out grave danger from increased emissions and impact on climate change, as well as higher gasoline prices.

July 15: In Helsinki, Finland, Trump has two-hour meeting with Vladimir Putin, with only translators present. In news conference afterward, U.S. president appears to believe Putin's denial of Russian meddling in 2016 election, even though American intelligence agencies have stated firmly that Russia is the culprit. Some critics call Trump's behavior at Putin meeting "disgraceful," and even "treasonous."

July 12-13: Mass protests take place in Britain, Trump's next stop, including floating a huge balloon depicting Trump as a diapered, ill-behaved infant. In interview published in Sun newspaper, Trump criticizes prime minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit situation.

July 11: Trump turns combative at start of NATO Summit in Brussels. His European trip also includes a visit to the UK, where massive protests are planned; and to Helsinki, to meet with Vladimir Putin.

June 30: Hundreds of thousands of marchers, in some 750 U.S. cities, protest against Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. Protesters demand that undocumented migrant children, taken from parents and held in detention centers, be reunited with their families while awaiting decision on refugee status. An estimated 50,000 people protested in Los Angeles alone. In Chicago, the crowd "overflowed Daley plaza," according to our observer. Protesters carried a "huge diversity of signs," including "Trump should be caged" and "We are all immigrants," along with "abolish ICE."


VANTAGE POINTS
News/Opinion

Protesters gather near vice-president's Chicago-area speech

ROSEMONT, Illinois (July 13) – While Mr. Trump was in Europe, vice-president Mike Pence arrived in the Chicago suburbs to give a speech on tax issues at the Westin O'Hare hotel. Protesters began to gather in mid-morning on Friday the 13th, initially at one corner of the hotel's property.... Click here for full report.


March for Our Lives protests draw millions of gun-control advocates

CHICAGO (March 24) – Anyone who thinks teenagers cannot accomplish what their elders failed to do should have been in the crowd at one of the “March For Our Lives” protests, held around the country on Saturday, March 24.... Click here for full report.

Essays and reports on a variety of subjects will appear in this space, replaced regularly.


Third book from TK Press Is ... Incompetent

TK Press, the book-publishing division of Tirekicking Today, has issued three titles since 2014. Each has been written by James M. Flammang, author of more than two dozen previous books.

The latest is INCOMPETENT: Coming Up Short in a World of Achievement. Whether it's sports, business, personal relationships, the arts, or any other area of life, some of us score a flat zero in the skills and talents department. Blending serious concerns with a humorous tone, each chapter covers a specific area of incompetence with which the author, amazingly, is all too personally familiar.

Incompetent is available NOW in print (paperbound) and e-book form, at these and other retailers:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-2-3 ($10.50)

Excerpts may be seen at Bublish.com.

Also On Sale NOW:

Mr. Maurice Knows It All ... and tells you so. Available in print (paperbound) or e-book form at various retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-3-0 ($8.50)

In 78 concise chapters, the debonair yet down-to-earth stuffed pig known as Mr. Maurice–who just happens to know everything–unleashes a torrent of acerbic, humorous, delightfully wise words on subjects ranging from work to movies, from money to citizenship, from status to guilt. An emigrant from Britain, with obviously French heritage, Mr. M. manages to combine strictly contemporary attitudes and piercing opinions with a gallantry and sophistication reminiescent of the era of Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.

Note: PDF copies of Mr. Maurice ... and Incompetent are available FREE. Just send e-mail to jf@tirekick.com. Please ask about printed copies, signed by the author.

Books in Progress (outlines and excerpts)

Editor James M. Flammang, the author of thirty books (including six for children), is at work on several more. Each title views its subject from an oblique and lighthearted – yet serious – perspective. Preliminary outlines and unedited excerpts may be seen by clicking on each linked title.

Absurdities: Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought is a comprehensive collection of stinging essays that gaze with disbelief at various aspects of modern life. Chapters are arranged in sections, including Work, Money, Identity, Communication/Technology, Consumption, Politics and Law, Pastimes, Sex, and Transportation. Scheduled to go on sale in early fall 2018.

Untied Knots - Fiction by Flammang: two groups of short stories, each with a tangy twist. One group is travel-based; the other focuses on stay-at-home folks. The collection also includes several stories, previously unpublished, from the author's archive.

Fraidy-Cat: Surviving a lifetime of unwarranted fear and fright. A personal look backward, focusing on lessons learned about debilitating fear and anxiety, including ways to cope and survive.

Work Hurts: Reflections on a wasted life questions the conventional wisdom on work and careers. For untold millions, including many with "good" jobs, each day's toil delivers no joy and little reward.

Hotel Life, subtitled "Living small in an age of large," assesses the satisfactions of simpler living and minimal consumption, while chronicling the joys (and drawbacks) of residing in low-end accommodations.

Also under consideration for future publication:
Steering Toward Oblivion is a caustically critical but humorous observation of the car culture and auto business. Note: Outline will be updated to reflect current conditions.

For further information, please contact us at JF@tirekick.com.



• Articles and essays on topics related to current affairs, and occasionally about relevant automotive subjects, will be posted here periodically.


• New editorials, automotive and non-automotive), will be posted periodically.



• Occasional reviews of current vehicles and disussions of auto-related issues, including self-driving cars, will appear in this space.

Editor James M. Flammang also contributes to vehicle reviews at NewCarTestDrive.com.



Tirekicking Today editor James M. Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as autoMedia.com, New Car Test Drive, CarsDirect, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power, cars.com, and the Chicago Tribune. Flammang is a member of the Freelancers Union, the International Motor Press Association, and Midwest Automotive Media Association (past president). The author of more than two dozen books, mostly on auto history, also has contributed extensively to Consumer Guide publications and to such trade publications as Ward's Dealer Business. TK Press, established in 2014 as a division of Tirekicking Today, has already published three books by Flammang.





"I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)
Paleontologist, The Panda's Thumb

Countdown to Trumpland

Early January, 2017

Leading Up to Inauguration


Delight or Disaster?

Trump presidency signals either his promised return to a “Great” America, or the demise of Constitutional Democracy, with economic tragedy for lower and middle classes.

As the New Year begins, Americans face a political scene that can only be called unprecedented. To about half the voters in November’s election, the arrival of Donald Trump as president-elect demonstrated a fresh start for the country. To the other half, seeing this willfully ignorant, ill-behaved, flagrantly self-absorbed bully prepare to take the reins of government – despite fierce distaste for so many of the principles and values upon which this nation was founded – is an occasion for dread, distress, and abject hopelessness....

Click here for more.

As soon as Donald Trump entered the White House on January 20, 2017, Tirekicking Today halted its section “Countdown to Trumpland." Our follow-up series (at right, above) is titled “White House Woes: The Trump Presidency."

In addition to articles on specific issues that President Trump deals with, we include news items on the latest actions and words emanating from, and about, the Trump Administration.



For latest commentary, as well as details on protests and resistance, please click here.

For commentary and protest reports from the first seven months of the Trump presidency, please click here.



For Latest News of Trumpland, please click here.



For news briefs from the first seven months of the Trump Administration, please click here.




News Headlines
in the Auto World

• Environmentalists fear that Trump administration will ease fuel-economy requirements for future cars.

• Ford promotes 50th anniversary of Mustang Bullitt. The original Bullitt was driven by Steve McQueen in popular film of that name, including what many regard as the best car-chase scene ever.

• Subaru unveils Ascent three-row crossover, its largest-ever SUV.

• Super Bowl commercial to promote Ram trucks uses words from famed sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., drawing flurry of criticism. (February 5)

• Ford issues "do not drive" notice to owners of 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series compact pickups, due to faulty Takata airbags.

• Ford announces that sedans sold in U.S. will cease production, including Fiesta, Fusion, and Taurus, as company turns solidly to SUVs and trucks.

• Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz will not participate in Detroit's 2019 auto show. (May 10)

• Trump White House is reportedly reconsidering intent to roll back fuel-economy standards established under Obama.

The New York Times reports that Trump is considering imposition of tariffs on imported vehicles. (May 24).

• Trump administration submits plan to ease auto-emission standards, permitting cars to emit more pollutants. (May 31)

• Automakers are among the manufacturing companies concerned about Trump administration's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada or Mexico.

• In June, U.S. president complains that too many German cars are imported, suggesting the possibility of a 35-percent tariff. Majority of those German-brand vehicles are made in America.

• Audi CEO arrested in Germany, in connection with Volkswagen company's diesel-emissions testing scandal. In December 2017, a U.S. Volkswagen executive was sentenced to prison for diesel emissions cheating.

• GM warns that tariffs introduced by Trump administration are likely to raise cost of cars as well as result in job losses.

• Sergio Marchionne, head of FCA (FiatChrysler) steps down after suffering problems with surgery. In late July, CEO passes away.




All editorials, essays, and articles are available for reprinting.
Editors are invited to contact us for rates and full details.

TIREKICKING TODAY began in 1993 as a monthly print publication. Created by widely-known automotive writer/editor James M. Flammang and associate editor Marianne E. Flammang, it went on the Internet in 1995. TIREKICKING TODAY has given consumers, enthusiasts, and industry leaders an abundant supply of valuable automotive information, incuding new-vehicle reviews, used-car buying advice, editorial commentary, and feature articles. By 2016, we were ready to ease away coverage of automobiles, and take the publication on a completely different track - focusing primarily on topics that had become far more crucial than cars.

©All contents copyright 1997-2018 by Tirekicking Today.
Material may not be reused in any way without express permission from Tirekicking Today.
For information on reprinting and syndication rights,
please contact us at JF@tirekick.com.
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