Living Large In Carson City: Yeats: Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world Edition

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Fear is what kills us (Anonymous)

This presidency is going to be the death of me. It has me goggle eyed and brain dead seven days out of the week. With the release of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s findings last Friday, Trump’s life and political future just got a lot more complicated. Mueller’s release exposes former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s role in paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen’s confession implicates the president in his role in two plausible cases of campaign finance violations.  Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about his contacts with Russian operatives in the now infamous Moscow Project well into the 2016 campaign season (with Trump’s knowledge). If Trump is not afraid, he should be.

Add to that, the fact that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, lied to Mueller on several occasions. Primarily, Manfort said he was not in contact with the Trump administration in 2018 when he actually was.  He also lied about his connections with Russian friend and longtime business associate, Konstantin Kimlimnik, who supposedly has ties to Russian intelligence. Kimlimnik is also a part of the Moscow Project and Cohen’s involvement with negotiations on Trump’s proposed building.

With these latest revelations, Trump and his minions have the stench of fear all around them. With Chief of Staff John Kelly’s imminent departure and Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Nick Ayers, the supposed heir apparent to Kelly turning down Trump at the last moment, an image of rats abandoning a sinking ship seems appropriate. Further complicating Trump’s situation, like Ayers, their doesn’t seem to be a lot of qualified people who want the job. Who in their right mind would accept the position as Trump’s hand maiden when it is obvious he doesn’t want to be handled, and as the New Year dawns, Mueller will certainly ramp up his filings causing the White House’s new Chief of Staff even more headaches.

Add to that, the Democrats takeover of the House and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff’s, promise to use the committee’s subpoena powers to delve further into the Russian investigation and Trump’s own checkered past. Trump has to be feeling the heat and not a little fear of what is to come. The possibilities have to frightening in light of Cohen’s confession of guilt, especially in terms of Project Moscow which could very well lay subpoena’s at the doorsteps of John, Jr and Ivanka. Ivanka’s husband, Jared, has problems of his own concerning his pre-inauguration cloak and daggers machinations trying to set up secret back channel communications with Russia. The entire scenario unfolding is reminiscent of the early 70s satirical comedy The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight, except the movie is more believable.

Even more concerning is the fact that Trump’s base and some of his go-to supporters at Fox News are waffling in their support of his less than stellar track record. In an article for Raw Story, Tana Ganeva quotes opinion writer Paul Waldman of the Washington Post when he wrote about the Chief of Staff debacle and why so few people are queuing up for the post,

“Why is that? It isn’t only that anyone tasked with running this White House and managing this president is destined to fail,” he notes.

“It’s also that if you care about your future in politics, it’s never too early to start distancing yourself from Trump. Because once he’s no longer president — perhaps in 2021, or perhaps even sooner — everyone who worked for him, supported him, or stood by him is going to be in an extremely uncomfortable position.”

“In Washington, where “former administration official” can be a ticket to lifelong employment and status, “former Trump administration official” or even “former Trump supporter” could well wind up being a scarlet letter,” Waldman says. “It might not ruin your career, but it could come to be seen as an indicator of poor judgment and questionable integrity.”

Claiming to be one of Trump’s deplorables always seemed shortsighted to me. Now, we see the chickens coming home to roost. To be a deplorable, one has to disavow allegiance to the  foundation of our democracy, common sense, and personal self worth. Seeing people chant “lock her up” and “CNN sucks” was probably thrilling in the heat of some Podunk meeting hall with the Orange One lifted high above the rabble. Yet, having done so, millions of Americans marked themselves as intolerant, gullible, base, and unemphatic. With the knowledge of what is coming, I wonder if they have regrets or at least an understanding of the harm they were doing to their public personae.

Recent polls show Mueller is having and effect on Trump’s popularity. The most recent polls place his disapproval rating at somewhere around 52%. Even more worrisome than the number of supporters abandoning him as his legal problems mount, Trump now has to worry about his bulwark of support from Fox News. Tucker Carlson is the cherub- faced darling of the red meat crowd that watch his show on Fox News. Over the years he became renown in hard-right-wing conservative circles as a staunch supporter of the president. Carlson, however, in recent days has changed his tune dramatically. The Conservative Free Press quotes Urs Gehriger of the German-language opinion magazine Die Welwoche and his recent interview with Carlson. Gehriger quoted Carlson saying,

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson said.

He went on to note that he didn’t have much hope in those promises coming to fruition over the next two years.

“He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do, so it’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things,” Carlson said. . . .

“I don’t think he’s capable,” he said. “I don’t think he’s capable of sustained focus. I don’t think he understands the system. I don’t think the Congress is on his side. I don’t think his own agencies support him. He’s not going to do that.” CFP

On their face, Carlson’s comments should scare the hell out of Trump. When the die-hard support from one of the most conservative outlets in the country becomes suspect, most politicians pay attention. Will Trump? Probably not. He has shown a disdain for any counsel other than his own and has used Fox News as his own personal sounding board and propaganda machine. He may very well not be capable of hearing derogatory comments about his perceived greatness.  Time will tell.

Conventional wisdom would point to serious problems for any politician when conservatives begin eating their own and start turning their backs on someone they idolized until only recently. For Trump, who has run primarily on his own egotistical belief in himself, it should provoke tremors of fear and point to even more troubles looming in the near future. Yet, this isn’t the Trump we know. I am reminded of a quote from Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson. He wrote,

A man who has blown all his options can’t afford the luxury of changing his ways. He has to capitalize on whatever he has left, and he can’t afford to admit — no matter how often he’s reminded of it — that every day of his life takes him farther and farther down a blind alley. HST

Trump appears to be three-quarters of the way along on his journey.

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