LIVING LARGE IN CARSON CITY: HISTORY IS A BITCH PART 2 EDITION

Trump Face Png Angry Not Happy Transparent

Part 2

Bruce Loebs Hitler’s Rhetorical Theory is a thumbnail sketch of the making of a tyrant, a  fascist and a view of how Hitler played the German people into submission. Submission that would lead to one of the most repressive and dangerous regimes the world has ever seen. His sheer audacity, will power and talent for plugging into the German nationalistic pride changed the world forever. Yet, oddly, Loebs notes that Hitler had an unbridled contempt for the German masses. A contempt that he did little to hide or sugarcoat,

Hitler had contempt for his German audiences declaring,“the masses are slow moving and always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice something, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses remember them.”

In today’s highly partisan political landscape of America, Trump focuses his contempt on the Democrats or others who have the temerity to question his flamboyant style which is hardwired directly into his monumental ego. He has no compunction in demonizing any group in the country if he feels that he can extract a bit of advantage from the encounter. He has repeatedly accused Democrats of being proponents of “open borders”, supportive of lawlessness, obstructionist within the Congress and personally attacks anyone he feels threatened by at any given time.

The recent Maxine Waters (D-CA) dust up is a prime example. Waters injudiciously called for Democrats to call out administration officials they encounter in public places. While resistance has its place, Waters may have gone over the line in her comments. Trump, however, saw her comments as a gift from heaven.

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party,” Trump tweeted. “She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!” Business Insider

Trump’s attacks on Waters which he has renewed daily since her comments were made highlight yet another trait both Trump and Hitler share. Both men’s disdain for women is palpable, yet different considering the shift in cultural norms and mores of the times. Trump has a long history of treating women as objects is centered more in patriarchal disdain than dealing with them as equals in a world dominated by men. Loebs suggests in his essay that Hitler’s disdain was more of a practical approach, if not sheer bafflement, on how to deal with them in public discourse,

Hitler was especially condescending toward women: “to convince women by reasoned argument is always impossible.”

Hitler’s talent beyond his personal oratorical gifts, Loebs states, was in propaganda. His ability to move the masses was directly related to his ability to latch on to the ideas that would appeal to the greatest number of Germans. Trump is no different. What liberal hasn’t taken exception with the slogan, “Make America Great Again”. Beyond his base, most people understand that America is one of the greatest nations on earth. Similarly, “Drain the Swamp” implies that Washington is a place badly in need of restructuring to be able to serve the masses, preferably according to terms dictated by Trump. While both statements may hold a kernel of truth, Trump and his minions’ desire is to return to a time when white privilege was secure and not under attack by forces unlike themselves.

Loebs notes that Hitler’s use of propaganda was based in his belief that the average German was limited in their ability to absorb the “big picture” due to their lack of intellectual expertise, but as Loebs notes, “their power of forgetting is enormous”. Therefore, repetition becomes an important tool in swaying the masses beliefs on any give topic.

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is born in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. Propaganda must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over again.”

How often have Americans witnessed Trump rallies where chants of  “Lock her up, The media is the enemy of the people, Drain the Swamp”, “Crooked Hillary” and other equally offensive terms are repeated again and again. In may ways the repetition of these phrases becomes the foundation off which Trump whips up his audiences into a fever pitch which has in the past incited his audiences to violence, both real and projected.

Of course, repetition spills over into the structure of the political organization. Just like Trump’s cabinet often sound like talking myna birds as they repeat talking points either of the current Republican political philosophy or Trump himself, Hitler’s own leadership did much the same. For both, the approach is often based on lies, or in Joseph Goebbels,   the German Reich’s Minister of Propaganda, the “whopper”.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Trump is a master of the big lie. From claiming the “zero tolerance” fiasco was based on a Democratic law when it was actually his own policy to claiming the Democrats want open borders and support allowing rapists, killers, gang members and other “undesirables’ to enter the United States have all been repeated over and over again in both the media and in the halls of Congress. Trump’s “big lies” are all encompassing depending on the current scandal which he becomes embroiled week after week. This week it’s child and parent separation on the Texas border. A couple of weeks ago it was the infantile assertion that Americans can sleep easy because the nuclear threat from North Korea was ended. Over and over the lies are repeated which become red meat for his base who, shamefully, have no idea or inclination to know what the truth actually is.

Loebs makes several other points about Hitler that are similar to Trump’s way of thinking. “Black/white reasoning” emphasizes there is only one way of looking at an issue. This would be, of course, Trump’s way of thinking. Any deviance is a slap in the face of his agenda and is not tolerated. “Passion over reasoning” is predominant in the way Trump Tweets, speaks to his base and parrots ever time news crews are filming him in the normal course of his work week.

Finally, the concept of “consolidate(ing) enemies” has become one of Trump’s primary ways to discredit people like Democrats, the Canadians, Europe, and a long list of others. In Trump’s world, the Democrats are in league with MS-13 gang members. The G-7 along with the European Union, NATO, China and others are all in league to inhibit his ideas from being implemented on a global scale. For Loebs, this was rooted in disdain for the German people by Hitler. He wrote,

Hitler cautions against attacking multiple enemies because “as soon as the wavering masses are confronted with too many enemies objectivity at once steps in and the question is raised whether actually all the others are wrong and your movement alone is right.”

This is a tactic Trump struggles to incorporate into his message although he tries. The reason is Trump’s ego is so large and fragile he sees offenses everywhere. Currently, however, it’s safe to say that “enemies” are separated into domestic and foreign, which describes his current “enemies” base. It will be interesting how he develops this tacit going forward.

One other trait that Hitler became adept at was “scapegoating”. For Hitler, of course, the Jewish people were the perfect category of Germans to focus his rhetoric and ire upon; a message the German people were quick to embrace. Loebs cites a quote by Robert Waite who wrote,

“Who stabbed Germany in the back? Who signed the armistice? Who had accepted the ‘Treaty of Shame’? Who caused the inflation and the Great Depression? The answer was clear and compelling; ‘always and only the Jew’.”

Trump’s scapegoat is, of course, illegal aliens, most notably, immigrants crossing the American southern border. As mentioned above, his modus operandi when dealing with this topic is to vilify all aliens crossing the southern border as vile and unworthy and by lumping them all (consolidate enemies) together as “Mexicans”. This includes everyone from children and their parents coming to the country for a better life to asylum seekers who have a legitimate reason for fleeing repressive conditions in their own countries to save their families and themselves from death or slavery.

Trump is no Adolph Hitler. He isn’t smart enough to be . . . yet. However, his habit of emulating the repressive tactics of one of the world’s most infamous dictators is frightening to all sane and patriotic Americans. Where will it end? Oddly enough, the answer may lie in the hands of the Republican Party and the hope they will decide to thwart their party leader’s grandiose display of buffoonery and stop him before he does any real danger to our democracy. Other than that, there is Robert Mueller or the ballot box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Large In Carson City: History Is A Bitch Part 1 Edition

Business People: Charismatic Retro Speaker Businessman - Stock Illustration I5109492 at FeaturePics

This past week into the weekend gave us a new perspective of just how damaging Donald Trump is to civil discourse in the nation. The optics of his incredibly insane and harmful family separation policy at the Texas border just seemed wrong. In many ways for some Americans, it was one step over the line that left people feeling the pain of small children snatched from their parents’ arms and placed in cages in the middle of the border desert. What could go wrong?

For some on the liberal side of the equation, it was too much to bear. Director of Homeland Security, Kristjen Nielsen, found out just how riled up Americans are on the topic as they heckled her out of the Mexican restaurant where she was dining. Sarah Huckabee Sanders faced much the same fate as she was asked by the proprietor of the Red Hen located in Lexington, Virginia to leave her restaurant. The harbinger of all things evil in the Trump administration, Stephen Miller, architect of the “zero tolerance” policy that created the border crisis, has been confronted in a restaurant and by protesters outside of his posh D.C. apartment.

The talk of “civil discourse” has been a popular topic on the morning and evening cable networks from Fox to CNN. U. S. House of Representatives, Maxine Waters (D-CA) went so far as to prompt supporters to accost Trump administration officials in an over-the-top tirade stating,

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents,” Waters said at the Wilshire Federal Building, according to video of the event. CNN

Where do we draw the line? All Americans believe that they should be able to eat wherever they choose without the hassle of a group of hecklers shouting out the truth about their questionable actions and associations with (in this case) an out-of-control administration. Does the actions of a group of people really have all that much of an effect on policy decisions made by a president who wears his racism and bigotry on his proverbial sleeve? It does and here is an obvious but toxic example I have been reluctant to make until now.

First of all, let’s talk rhetoric. For those of you who were forced to suffer through formal English composition classes in your first and second years of college will be familiar with Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle. The three junctions of the triangle he labeled like this:

Drawing of the Rhetorical Triangle

Source

These three categories are essential to any well-argued argumentative essay, better

known as the Cadillac of essays. Logos is the foundation of any argument. It

basically means the logic the author uses to make their points of proof. Pathos is

the emotional makeup of the audience. Often overlooked by budding writers, it is

actually a potent tool that can be used to pacify, incite, instill emotion or simply

become a bridge between the author and audience. An example would be you

would not give the same speech on the merits of the Vietnam War to a group of Boy

Scouts as opposed to a group of disabled Vietnam Veterans. Both would expect

totally different information based on their emotional attachment to the subject.

Finally, ethos is the gravitas the writer brings to the argument. Ethos represents the

authority, experience or knowledge the author has on the topic.

Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is the best example of an argumentative essay using Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle. He begins by telling the audience why he is there and the credentials he brought with him. He then goes on to lay out his logos citing examples of actual events, history, his own personal story and both the good and bad side of the situation as it existed when the march on Birmingham took place. He ends with an appeal to the eight clergymen the letter was addressed to for a unification of efforts to bring the crisis to an end. If you haven’t read it, give it a try. It’s quite remarkable. LFBJ

King’s letter could be seen as the shining light of the rhetorical world of persuasion. However, just like there is good and bad in everything, there is the dark side of persuasive speaking as well and my third rail example.

Bruce Loebs, Professor Emeritus Communication, Media, and Persuasion of Idaho State University penned a remarkable essay titled Hitler’s Rhetorical Theory that is both succinct and informative about how logos, ethos and pathos were used by Hitler to shape both the German people’s and his own fate through the use of speech. I am not attempting to equate Hitler to Trump, however, the similarities between what went on in Nazi Germany and the events unfolding in America today are astonishing and a little frightening.

In the opening pages, Loebs gives a bit of background on how Hitler honed his message to fit his evil aspirations. He makes no bones about Hitler’s motivation and accomplishments:

Hitler was evil incarnate. For Hitler a fitting epitaph would be: “Because Adolf Hitler

lived, 50 million people died.”

The second attribute Loebs points out is Hitler made himself indispensable both to

the Nazi party and to the future of the German people. He quotes historian Robert

Waite as saying,

“Hitler was Nazidom. Seldom in the history of western civilization has so much depended on one man’s personality. He created his own political theory and a government that could not exist without him.”

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but the phenomenon and mercurial rise of Trump’s popularity to his base has been pretty incredible. This extends to the Republican Party as a whole. How many times have you heard over the past year and a half that Trump has become the Republican Party or certainly the face of the party. Think about how Trump is a grandstanding cheerleader for all of the things that are anathema to most thinking Americans who oppose his nationalistic message. Without Trump personality and his rallies, his message would have long ago gone stale and forgotten. Yet, by being a bigger than life presence on the political stage, he has singlehandedly changed the trajectory of American foreign and domestic policy, trade, and foreign relations as a whole. For all intents and purposes, he has become America.

Three things Loebs stresses that led to Hitler’s success were the fact he was a great orator, tireless campaigner and his remarkable ability as a speech writer. To the “basket of deplorables”, Trump is an incredible speaker. His use of pathos is actually quite startling. Ever watch the people that are seated behind Trump at one of his rallies? The near rapt attention of these people as he goes through his spiel is a sight to behold. They are literally hanging on the edge of their seats and respond like a covey of marionettes alternately booing, hissing or chanting any number of oldies but goodies like Build the wall, Lock her up or expressing their ire at the “evil media”.

Connected to this is the fact that Trump has never left the campaign trail. Almost weekly he can be found in the American heartland whipping up the faithful to do his bidding. He is always in campaign mode.  The fact that Hitler was an effective and persuasive speech writer seems to break the link between him and the Orange One. However, when at a rally, Trump rarely stays “on topic”, but rather, approaches his audience in a freewheeling tirade that is the equivalent of slinging red meat over the podium into the waiting mouths of his supporters. While Hitler labored over each word of his speeches as Loebs points out, Trump is more of a throw shit on the wall and see what sticks. Unfortunately, a lot sticks and is gobbled up by the Make America Great Again crowd.

End of Part 1

Living Large In Carson City: Trump’s Nation: Tears, Broken Lives And Families Torn Asunder Edition

America the Beautiful: Wherefore Art Thou?

Earlier today, I found myself longing for the good old days (last week) when all that happened was Trump acting like an ass at the G-7 summit and preening like a gobsmacked peacock high on MDA at the hastily arranged and totally fruitless Singapore meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It’s been that kind of week.

This week images of children torn from their mother and father’s arms, forced into cages and left with an uncertain future is all the rage on cable television. Most Americans, a whopping sixty-seven percent, find the images heartbreaking and totally misaligned with what America represents in their minds. Trump’s position is that he is only doing what he has to do to protect the United States because . . . wait for it . . . the evil Democrats will not fix the loopholes that exist in current law that is forcing him to wage war on hapless migrants and asylum seeks on the Texas border. The fact that no law exists doesn’t seem to bother El Orange One.

In the land of the sane and the honest, the current border crisis is the result of Trump’s own policy decision implemented by his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and planned by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.  Today, under pressure from world humanitarian groups, foreign leaders, Democrats and his own party, to say nothing about the two-third majority of the American voting public, Trump signaled he would be open to ending the separation policy but to what degree and how far he would go the

Living Large In Carson City: Obfuscation Du Jour Edition

Move Along Folks: Nothing to see here

Image result for evil genius images

More and more, it seems that anti-Trump forces are underestimating the evil genius of Donald Trump. For day one of his administration, he and his sock puppet advisers have been embroiled in scandal after scandal. Each one has its own individual flavor and particulars. Michael Flynn and the Russian’s tampering with the 2016 election was only the appetizer on a smorgasbord of vile lies, deceit and fleecing of the American public. Every day average Americans wake up and think how could it get any worse than the last news cycle? Yet, somehow, it does.

The latest brouhaha to plague the Orange One is the inhumane turmoil unfolding on the Texas border where parents, many of whom are coming to the United States legally to seek political asylum from violence they face in their homelands, are being forcefully separated from their children. Held in makeshift “prisons” (let’s call them what they are) hundreds, if not thousands of migrant children, teens and adults are shuttled into the holding center and separated indefinitely from their families.

The lies and excuses of Trump and his supporters are like a flash flood in a steep Sierra canyon. Nothing seems to be able hold back the tide of misinformation. One of the all-time best wacko justifications for the Trump policy of warehousing migrant children in holding cells on the Texas border came from Fox News host, the irredeemable Steve Dofus.

“You do see that they have those thermal blankets, you do see some fencing, but keep in mind — some have referred to them as ‘cages,’ but, keep in mind, this is a great, big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain link fences,” Doocy said.

Walls in the real world are impenetrable structures that are made of wood and plaster, sometimes brick and mortar, sometimes glass, but all of them have one major component to them that the “cages” on the Texas border do not have – they are not made out of chain link fencing. Cages are made out of chain link fencing, not walls. Why is this so hard for Dofus to understand?

If ultimate blame is to be assessed on Trump’s family separation policy, the infamous credit falls to Jeff Session’s former communication director and current senior adviser for policy for Trump, Stephen Miller. Miller can be described as hard core, right wing conservative that never met a liberal who he didn’t want to smash like a bug under his shoe. In an article by Jane Coaston for Vox titled, Stephen Miller believes in controversy as political strategy, even if it means jailing children, she wrote,

To understand what the Trump administration is thinking about separating families and locking kids up at the border, you have to understand Stephen Miller’s foundational political belief: It’s better to stir controversy, at any price, than it is to engage constructively.

The architect of Donald Trump’s immigration policy and the White House’s resident troll, the 32-year-old White House senior policy adviser believes it’s good to “trigger the libs,” so to speak, with “the purpose of enlightenment.” To Miller, working constructively across the aisle isn’t as useful as “melting snowflakes.”

Trump is quick to shift the blame like any self-respecting bully, and this time is no different. His target? The democrats in Congress who he falsely accused of being able to fix the situation if they wanted to. Insanely, he continues to say publicly that the law that calls for the separation of children from their parents is a “Democrat law” passed in some deep dark past that has been around for years festering. He would have Americans believe he has no choice due to this evil law that the Democrats refuse to “fix”.

The problem is there is no law requiring separation of families at the border. In the first place, the Republicans hold both houses and the presidency. They could “fix” any issue that they see fit to fix. The separation issue is Trump’s policy cooked up by Miller, Trump and Sessions. It is meant as a means of holding the children hostage until the Democrats come around and sign on to a bill to fund the actual border fence/wall.

Trump faces opposition from his own party and the world to stop separating families who come to the United States seeking asylum or merely a chance at a better life. Trump’s go to position is to double down and vilify the Democrats who hands are tied by his shenanigans. His comments today are particularly unhinged. On Democrats he stated,

President Donald Trump charged Democrats with wanting illegal immigrants to “infest” the U.S., as he defended his administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border and spoke to a business group.

‘DEMOCRATS ARE THE PROBLEM’

[and]

Trump has called on Democrats to work with Republicans to pass immigration legislation, and said on Twitter, “They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13.”  Marketwatch

When he tired of flogging his Democrats, he turned to his ire towards, the press, who else?

Donald Trump spoke on Tuesday morning to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. In the speech, which received a frighteningly level of cheers, Trump declared those who oppose him are criminals, declaimed that he wants “security, not judges” and repeatedly insisted that his political opponents should simply shut up. In a stunning, angry tirade, Trump talked about Canadians smuggling shoes, repeated his lies about crime rates in Germany, and make a shocking claim that in reporting about families being separated by his immigration policies the news media was supporting criminals and child smugglers.

Trump: They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers.  They know exactly that they’re doing. They know it. They know exactly what they’re doing. And it should be stopped.   Daily Kos

In the speech Trump goes on to accuse countries of sending the United States the worst possible candidates for asylum, or those who simply want a better life. The Daily Kos article characterizes Trump’s speech as “unhinged and unbound”, making the accusation that there is a concerted effort on the part of countries to dump “undesirables” into the United States simply to . . . do what? Undermine our democracy? Take over the power of government? It is hard to know what goes on in Trump’s brain, but as the Daily Kos points out he didn’t stop there,

Trump: These countries that we give tremendous foreign aid to in many cases, they send these people up & they’re not sending their finest. Does that sound familiar? Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? Turns out I was 100% right and that’s why I got elected.”

All of this being said, what is to be taken away from the border crisis? Frankly, it is just smoke and mirrors. Everything Trump does has to be seen through the Russia investigation. Last week it was thumbing his nose at our oldest trade partners. Later in the week, it was the Kim Jong Un summit which produced little of substance and a great deal of positive press for North Korea. It was a huge nothing burger that is as susceptible to failure as his border and trade policies.

Concerning Trump, everything going forward should be seen through the filter of Robert Mueller and his inexorable march to a final verdict on whether or not Trump and his minions colluded with Russia, obstructed justice or any of a laundry list of other grievances current under investigation concerning his administration. What is particularly concerning, however, is Trump, Sessions and Miller seem to have no compunction involving innocent children and their parents as a political football that is only meant to cover his lame ass.

Bullies will bully.

 

 

Living Large In Carson City: He Said What? Edition

Trump Channels Rocket Man

The Guardian

This is a short excerpt from a much longer White House lawn interview with Steve Dofus of Fox News. In the beginning of this abbreviated clip, Trump makes several absurd claims about Kim Jong Un and goes so far as to compare Kim with his own style of leadership. Or possibly, it’s bro worship which is just as chilling. The text below begins at .12 into the sound clip:

He’s the head of the country — and he’s the strong head, don’t let anyone think anything different,” Trump said during the interview. He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.

Several questions come to mind. First, does Trump understand that Kim being “the strong head” of his country reference comes from an evil subversion of the North Korean people’s human rights? Junior stole plays from his dad and granddad’s playbook and ratcheted them up to even greater depths of suppression of his people. Maya Salam and Matthew Haag of the New York Times lists Kim’s crimes. They aren’t pretty:

A network of prison guglags

Deliberate starvation as a power play (both the populace and the average citizen on the streets

Kim’s enemies and family have been executed

 

 

An all encompassing indoctrination machine

 

Christianity is deemed a serious threat  NYT

Trump is more than happy to overlook these discrepancies when it gets in the way of his dreams of absolute, kingly power he desperately wants to attain. The man seems unable to understand that praising one of the world’s most brutal dictators is something not done in polite society, especially with Dofus holding the mike and filming his every word. Okay, so we know Trump is ethically challenged and dreams of becoming the despot he so longs to become.

These allegations are old news. Anyone who is paying attention will know Kim is a bad boy of the East, but then the Orange One makes the statement (see video above),

He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.

I take exception. Is he speaking of the people he employs in the White House? Is  he speaking to his basket of deplorables? Probably not on that one, they already give him unquestioned devotion. Or, and I think this is where the whole scenario twists off into the Twilight Zone, is he talking about all Americans? More importantly, you and me? I for one do not count myself as one of his “people”. Most Americans don’t, but the shear audacity of his claim that he wants the rest of us to sit up and pay attention to his every word is at once disturbing and more than a little frightening.

The rest of the interview is worth a watch. In it Trump claims that when he took office America was on the verge of war. Not because of him, he states, but . . . wait for it . . . of Barack Obama. In his mind he is the great equalizer. He and Kim swapped phone numbers, so all is right and holy in the world. It isn’t and won’t be until he and his quackery ilk are run out of the White House for good.

The last part of Trump’s ravings are interesting and worth the watch to hear and see the two female journalist who are simply not having any of Trump’s bullshit. They repeatedly  interrupt him asking for clarification of his statements. He even calls one obnoxious in an aside to another reporter on his right. This is the best way to expose Trump and his lies. However, corporate news seems incapable of doing that on a regular basis. Still, the two women journalists mentioned above seem to have little fear or problems in calling him out. They are the heroes we need.

Living Large In Carson City: Trump Speaks Out Of His Ass . . . Again Edition

What The Other G-7 Members Said . . . Never

Cartoons: Gary Varvel for June 11, 2018

I don’t know about how your weekend went, but if you had time to follow Trump’s bizarre attendance at the G 7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada, you probably feel like me. WTF was that all about? Trump came off as a deranged quack and totally unhinged. There is so much to look into that it really boggles the mind.

First, he declares that Russia should have been invited to the summit. Noting that the group used to be the G 8 before the they kicked Russia out over their illegal invasion Ukraine an annexing the Crimea, this one caught everyone, supporters and detractors alike, off guard. Apropos of nothing, the Orange One pulled this faux pas out of thin air. Looking presidential (in his mind), he seemed to take on the role of “fixer”, or worse, morally superior in his demand that Russia be reunited with the other seven nations. Why would Trump think it was reasonable to give the criminal Putin a get out of jail free card? The man has no common sense or decency.

First of all, any move to readmit Russia would be predicated on Russia’s capitulation and withdrawal from the Crimea. Trump’s response? Blame Obama,

Trump, when pressed on whether he would require Russia to give up Crimea as a condition, indicated he wouldn’t, noting, “They spent a lot of money on rebuilding it.”

“Crimea was let go during the Obama administration.… He allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude,” Trump said. “With that being said, it’s been done a long time.” LATimes

Trump appears to know nothing about international negotiations or the consequences that a dictator faces when they strike out against their neighbors. Invading and taking your neighbor’s toys (or land) is a lesson most of us learn in pre-school or kindergarten. Putin, and Trump by extension, must have skipped class that day to stay out on the playground to pull the wings off of flies to watch them suffer and die.

In an editorial in the Washington Post, Max Boot reveals why Russia isn’t an acceptable candidate for readmission to the group:

Trump may well have been looking for a friendly face at such frosty gatherings when he suggested that the G-7 should add Russia. This was a bizarre suggestion, given that Russia is not only an international outlaw but also an economic pygmy whose GDP does not even rank in the top 10. If the G-7 were to expand, it should include India and Brazil, both democracies that have larger economies than Russia’s. Russia was rightly kicked out of the G-8 because of its invasion of Ukraine — an act of aggression for which Trump perversely blames President Barack Obama — and it has done nothing since 2014 to deserve re-admittance. Instead, its meddling in U.S. elections its (sic) and war crimes in Syria demand more punishment. WAPO

While the rekindling of the Putin/Trump bromance was an unexpected dust up, and a weird one at that, the real drama came from the Orange One himself and his refusal to not act like a condescending asshole to some of America’s most trusted trade partners. The mechanics of who has the better trade deal I will leave to the economists and experts on trade relations (although America has a small surplus despite Trump’s lies). On topics like this one, I am fairly certain how my readers will react. Trump opens mouth, acts badly, offends everyone in the room and leaves the scene taking cowardly shots at his opponents after he is long gone.

Partially overshadowed by Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, but only partially, given that Trump gave up a lot and got nothing in return, the sense that the G-7 leaders are ready to let bygones be bygones isn’t really what’s going on. They are pissed and seem to be going to stay that way for some time. While Trump, typically, is stating that all is well while continuing to heave petulant sissy bombs at Mr. Trudeau, the foreign press has its hackles up.

. . . in Germany, where Der Spiegel reports that “President Donald Trump is intent on treating America’s allies worse than its enemies.” They also have a recommended action, namely that Europe should actively work to “isolate Trump on the international stage.”

The Toronto Globe and Mail emphasized that the remarks from Trump, and even more over the top statements from Trump’s advisors Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro had served to unite Canada. In response, political opponents of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged their support and Canadian officials hardened their line on Trump’s proposed changes to NAFTA.

But leave it to the normally dour English to put a ring on it,

A horrified European political establishment sees Trump, like Vladimir Putin, backing the populists of Europe, especially in eastern Europe, Austria and Italy. These are forces that threaten the liberal order in a way that Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Angela Merkel are only beginning to understand. Daily Kos

The thing I find most curious and disturbing is Trump’s appetite for all things Russian and his admiration of Putin. This is what America gets for allowing a wingnut and a charlatan to become President of the United States. Did anyone with half a brain think this situation would turn out well? Obviously, enough did to elect him. This brings up a serious question. Can Trump be reeled in to lessen the damage he can cause to America’s already tarnished reputation? Americans certainly can’t look to the Republican Party to stand up to him. Or hell, the Democrats for that matter. The motto Make America Great Again took on a whole new meaning this weekend and not in a good way.

Americans owe the world an apology, and that should give everyone pause.

 

 

Living Large In Carson City: Pardon Me Roy Is That The Cad Who Ate Our Constitution? Edition

The Chronicles of the Man Child Who Would Be King

Image result for trump as king images Source 

Quotation of the Day:

We overthrew control by monarchy, and the Constitution signals in multiple places that the president is subject to law.

Peter Shane, a law professor at Ohio State University and the co-author of a casebook on the separation of powers. NYT

Dear Trump Supporters,

This letter is more of a cleansing of my own consciousness than an attempt to change anyone’s mind, so feel free to take my words with a grain of salt. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for Trump to block Hillary; voted for Trump as longtime Republican who felt obligated not to buck the party nominee (regardless of your reservations); or a die-hard deplorable who was simply “mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore,”; I repeat it doesn’t matter. You made an egregious mistake, and now, we are seeing the folly of your misguided allegiance to a candidate who makes Hillary look like a saint.

I really believe that many of you in the first two categories listed above have seen the error of your ways and sincerely wish you could dial back the clock to November of 2017 and take back your vote. Sane, rational people, after 500 days of reflection, have only one option in the matter. Admit your error and work with the rest of the nation to throttle back this man child who would be king and throw the bum out, or at least cripple his agenda come November of this year.

This blog is aimed at the die-hard Trumpers and their inability to see their support of Trump as a strike against our democracy like we have not seen before, and hopefully, never see again. There are several areas that, as Americans, you have to take into consideration.

The first is obviously racism. Many of you developed a racist ideology during the Obama years, or were racist all along, but felt expressing it was too outrageous to display in polite company (or not). Of course, up until the Obama years, no black man had had the temerity to run for the highest office in the land (Jessie Jackson to the contrary). To your shock and horror, however, he won, leaving you in a smoldering funk where you found that that seed of racism within you began to grow and take over your better self. Trump set you free, or as we used to say in the 1960s, you let your freak flag fly.

How you can’t see that racism is eating both you and the country alive, and the results are destructive both personally and too the fabric of our free society. Trump did, and continues, to play you like a cheap fiddle for his own agenda. Do you really think he gives a damn about black men taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem to a protest police brutality against people of color? If you do, put down the glass of Kool-Aid. You have been duped.

Then there are the Evangelicals. Explain to me how a person of faith can sit idly by when the president you helped elect is a proven pussy grabber, liar, fornicator, philanderer, a cheat, and very likely an obstructionist and colluder with our greatest enemy since WWII? Show me in the Bible where your Jesus would condone anything Trump has done in the last year and a half. His half-baked policies are meant to divide this nation, not make it better. What did you expect from a man whose history is painted in moral depravity with what anyone who confesses to be a Christian should find abhorrent and diametrically opposed to what being a Christian is supposed to mean.

I’ve heard many of the holier than thou church leaders claim that it was, and is expedient, to support Trump to help bring America to God. You are fooling yourselves. Americans are not sheep willing to accept your half-baked ideology that Christianity should be the nation’s religion of choice. The Constitution is clear that everyone has the right to worship however they choose, or not. Religion lives in the world apart from our government and it’s intuitions. Be happy with that; it’s more than you deserve considering the low road you have taken by supporting Trump. He’s using you, not the other way around.

I have also heard people proudly claim they are members of the basket of deplorables. Really? What exactly does it mean to willingly align yourself with this group? It means that you are informed by Fox News, or worse, ideologues like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones, rather than think for yourselves. These people are not visionaries. They are entertainers at best or con men at worst who push an ideology of separatism because it sells. They see the fear and anger that people like you embrace and use it against you for profit or ratings or whatever else they can use it for to bilk the unsuspecting masses by fanning your fear and anger for profit. By falling for the hype, you’ve reduced yourself to caricature of what a true American should be. One who questions the acts of our leaders and stands up to them when they go off the rails. If there was ever a president that needed to be stood up to, Trump is the prime example.

The upshot of the support that Trump die-hards have given him we see on the news daily. Now, he and his minions claim that he is above the law. How in the name of all things right and holy can you denigrate your rights as an American to support someone who claims to be above you socially and legally to the detriment of the Constitution and the rule of law? Can’t you see this is the logistical extension of Trump’s agenda? This isn’t a new concept, however, F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best when he wrote,

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.

As I said in the beginning, I write this not to condemn Trump supporters, but rather, to understand. Granted, liberals have their issues as well, but let me be frank, “This shit just got real.” Trump is on the verge of doing something really stupid, really vile and evil in regard to the rule of law and our Constitutional democracy. You have two choices. You can continue to support a man who thumbs his nose at the best of what it means to be an American or see him for what he is: A grifter who considers only himself and his tribe. A tribe, I fear, that his supporters in the ranks will never be a part of in the end.