U.S. President Donald Trump, center, speaks while Juan Luciano, chairman and chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Co., from left, Jared Kushner, senior White House advisor, Kenneth Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., and Mark Fields, president and chief executive offier of Ford Motor Co., listen during a meeting with manufacturing executives in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Trump told some of America's most prominent corporate executives that he intends to put them to work restoring manufacturing jobs and U.S. dominance in trade. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There is a lot of gathering going on. There are the right wingers gathering at CPAC and giving themselves many standing ovations. There are gatherings of immigrants trying to filter through Donald’s immigration proclamations. There are gatherings of lawmakers at town hall meetings and there are probably dinner gatherings for those too afraid to face their own constituency.

As The Donald Turns: Gatherings

• We start with a quick note on the passing of liberal commentator Alan Colmes. He had the guts to be a progressive at Fox News, at one time paired on a talk show with the “in-over-his-head” Sean Hannity. Ironically, his sister-in-law was Monica Crowley the ultra-conservative talking head who had to back away from job in Donald’s administration because she plagiarized too much of her latest book. Colmes was 66 years old.

• Now to the business at hand, gatherings…..Donald had a gathering of CEO’s in the White House Thursday to discuss manufacturing. Donald says he is going to return manufacturing to the US. One has to wonder where manufacturing went if it is to be returned. Manufacturing is the largest job sector in the US economy already. Output is at near record highs according to the US Census. The challenge is, manufacturing is being done with fewer people and more robotics. Donald proclaimed in this meeting, with the CEO’s of Ford and Boeing and other tech-using companies that he would bring back manufacturing JOBS. At that point, the media cameras were kicked out of the room. I am sure the administration did not want the country to see what was coming when the CEO’s told Donald there was no way they were cutting into their record profit margins to use people instead of robots. Memo to the rustbelt people who voted for Trump based on getting their old jobs back; Sorry, but you voted for him. Donald has signed executive orders to open more coal mine jobs and to allow the dumping of coal waste into the local waterways, so the return of black lung disease and contaminated drinking water are in the future for you and your families, so there is that at least.

• Speaking of gatherings, there was a big one last Summer. It was called the Republican National Convention. During that gathering Donald said the following: “As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.” That of course was when he had to make promises to sound main stream. Once he got elected, every day is full of record levels of randomness. Last year, President Obama issued an advisory to school districts to protect the rights of LGBTQ students or risk losing federal funding under Title IX provisions. This week, Donald’s attorney general, Keebler Elf, issued a memo telling the districts it was a state’s rights issue and rescinded the advisory. In other words, back to the way you were. This is alarming, but has no real legal merit. It is an opinion memo. There are cases in the federal judicial system, one of which will be heard by the Supreme Court next month, that will be the determining factor. In an odd moment, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposed Keebler Elf’s opinion and said all students needed protecting. That one kept me up at night. The State’s Rights claim by the right is always vexing. Desegregation, same sex marriage, Discrimination against the aged and disabled, slavery….any of these ring a bell?

• The Conservative Political Action Conference is having its annual gathering of self-proclaimed conservatives who listen to speeches and then get drunk and party…same as any other convention. Last year Ted Cruz mocked Donald Trump for not showing up. Now Cruz fully supports everything Donald says. The message of course is while the people at the conference take themselves very seriously, no one else really should for their opinions and stances are as flexible as a champion gymnast.

• Take our reigning champion of making up political positions, for example. Revolutionary War Barbie, Kellyanne Conway has allegedly been pulled from television appearances, by the administration, because everything she says requires further explanation by others. Conway was the first speaker at CPAC on Thursday though and had the following to say on being a feminist, “It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist… it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion.” Probably some debate to be had on that, but this is CPAC and they just make it up as they go along and then hit the bar.

• There has also been an increase in gatherings of ICE agents in the last week. Donald’s administration took any and all restraints off ICE to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants, even if it means some documented ones are getting caught up in the web. There have been stories of ICE agents waiting outside of schools in high density Hispanic neighborhoods, waiting for parents to pick up their kids and then arresting the parents if they do not have their paperwork. Now Donald said he was going to deport 11 million people, so this should not surprise anyone. I think we just assumed he would gather experts on the matter to devise a plan that was something other than Yosemite Sam and deputies doing ad hoc round ups. Every person I know wants to see immigration addressed, but this is just arresting and dumping people. As a matter of fact Donald has vowed to dump all of those arrested back on the Mexican side of the border, even if they did not originate from Mexico. You know who he forgot to tell about this? Mexico. That has created new tensions between the two countries. Wednesday, Sparkle Pony Spicer had declared the relationship with Mexico as “Wonderful.” He needs to recheck the translation app on his phone. “Mierda” in Spanish does not translate to “wonderful.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his staff were sent to gather people in Mexico and explain what Donald means instead of what he says and does.

• People have been gathering for more than a week now to clean up what Donald says and does. Vice President Mike Pence was sent to Europe last weekend along with Defense Secretary Mattis to assure NATO countries that we do not despise them and if there is a war, they have at least a coin flip chance that the US will honor its commitment to help defend them.

• Of course, the most attention-getting gatherings have been at political town halls, as Congress has been on recess and Senators and Representatives have been returning home to listen to their constituents. Sparkle Pony says the loud protesters are just paid operatives and these are organized. First of all, so what if they are organized? It does not make the feelings less real. Secondly, I was at a town hall meeting last weekend, so whom do I see about my pay check, cuz all I got was bottled water and one chocolate chip cookie.

• Last “gathering” topic. If you are going to gather with others to light up your weed, you’d better know who is around you. Sparkle Pony announced today that feds are going to crack down on states where voters approved recreational marijuana. That would be Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, California, Maine and Massachusetts. See anything in common? Yeah, Maine split its vote and the rest voted for HRC, so Donald is getting his revenge. I would have thought Spicer had to be stoned to be quoting from Sparkle Pony during the 2016 Republican convention. The Feds will look into pulling federal funding from the states that have this. So, let me get this straight…..it is a state’s right to penalize people who are LGBTQ, but it is not a state’s right to become financially independent with the sale and taxation of marijuana. It is a state’s right to deputize local cops for federal immigration roundups, but not a state’s right to cut down on the illegal drug trafficking by legalizing marijuana. Check.
So the era of reducing the size of government lasted just past the inauguration. We are going to spend tens of millions of money we allegedly don’t have to hunt down immigrants at churches and schools. We are going to spend billions on a wall homeland security does not want. We are going to spend tens of millions in lawsuits for allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people. We are going to waste tens of millions shutting down the bong hits. I thought we were broke. Donald said so.

These “gatherings” are giving me a headache on who has which rights. If only there was a cure for these headaches.

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