Living Large In Carson City: Helter Skelter/Look Out, ‘Cause Here She Comes Beatles Edition

Turning and turning in the widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. William Butler Yeats

The time is now. Helter skelter. Charles Manson

Maybe it is a sign of the times when one of the world’s greatest poets and one of history’s most vile madmen can be quoted together and the outcome makes perfect sense. As Americans face a long, lonely haul before the end of the coronavirus outbreak can even be accurately predicted, all patriotic citizens should take a moment to reflect. Working through the haze of self quranteening, furtive early morning runs to Costco in search of the elusive toilet paper roll, and late night cocktails and snacking, most of America is too stupefied to take note of the state of the U. S. government, much less make sense of it. Such are the times.

Ground zero at my house is relatively calm, if not, with a fine pall of worry and concern hanging over our humble estate about how this is all going to play out.  Nevada is ranked number 23rd in the nation with just over a 1,000 cases diagnosed and 17 deaths. Of course, most people don’t understand just how lopsided the population concentration is across the state. Consider at this time, the megapolis of Las Vegas accounts for 753 of the diagnosed cases and 15 of the 17 deaths. The numbers are growing, of course, with yesterday accounting for 48 of the diagnosed cases since Monday, March 30. I digress.

Underneath all of the folderol and wacky miscommunication coming out of Washington and Trump’s mouth, serious shit is happening. Serious shit that the president and his minions would be happy for the rest of the country to ignore. In case America has forgotten, there is a presidential election coming up in November, and ready or not, the federal government and the states need to be prepared for it. This is where it gets complicated and nasty.

For all my life, there has been one truism that has held true through every election, presidential or otherwise: Republicans will do everything in their power to suppress the vote, which skews the election in their favor. Of course, over history there have been times when the issue swung to the other side like during the Jim Crow era, but in our modern world, Republicans have been the culprits. It doesn’t matter if was the Poll Tax, tricked out gerrymandering, throwing people off the voter rolls for no apparent reason, or simply, as we see today, closing down polling places at the last minute leaving voters to fend for themselves. The poor are disproportionately affected by this in a negative way, well hell, all Americans are to some degree.

Considering Trump’s manic thirst for power, the states need to take the lead on this pronto. Since there is no way to predict when the coronavirus will abate, or that it might go away during the warm summer months only to rekindle in the fall, the November 3 election date is iffy at best. Conventional wisdom holds that given Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, it isn’t a stretch to see him executing an executive order cancelling the election in light of the virus’s toll on the economy and the country.

The only way to possibly avoid such an action is for mail-in voting to be in place when November rolls around. The problem is that state’s are going to be cash strapped for the conceivable future due to outpouring of funds to prop up the medical profession as the virus takes its toll. Normally, the states could turn to the federal government to subsidize a project like this, but not in Trump world. Hell, he’s reluctant to send funds and equipment to state’s whose governors he sees as as not being appreciative enough of his actions.

For Trump, the virus is a wet dream that not even he could have imagined. In it he will see the perfect excuse to cancel the election and declare himself the grand poobah for four more years. Does anyone think that a court challenge wouldn’t go all the way to the Supreme Court? Does anyone have faith in the justices coming to  a fair and impartial verdict that puts the country first ahead of Trump’s wishes? I don’t think so.

In an article titled “How the coronavirus pandemic could soon explode into a constitutional crisis” by Cody Fenwick writing for Alternet, Fenwick quotes Davie Daley author of the new book UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling to Save Democracy who is sounding the alarm about just what could happen if conservative Republican governors follow Trump’s lead to suppress the vote later this year. Here he talks about recent events in the Democratic primary in mid-March,

. . . it gets harder and harder to imagine how a normal election might take place. As the crisis was ramping up, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that he was canceling the March 17 election, in which Democratic primary voters were primed to go to the polls. He made this announcement the day before in-person voting was to take place, citing the danger posed by the outbreak, only to be ordered by a judge to proceed with the vote. He defied that order and kept the polls closed anyway. RawStory

Speaking of the polls, the article goes on to point out some obvious and serious concerns. Fenwick notes that the virus is especially hard hitting when it comes to seniors. Seniors are the primary source of people power that run most elections. What if there just aren’t enough poll workers to open the polls, or they are too frightened to show up at an event where hundreds if not thousands of people file in off the street to stand three feet away from them as they get their ballots. Fenwick also points out, how will voters exercise safe distancing when standing in line while queueing up to vote. Daly says it best,

“There are solutions, which all revolve around early voting, expanding vote by mail, expanding drop off centers and no-excuse absentee balloting,” said Daley. “All of this needs to be done in an effective way, and all of it costs money.” RawStory

Why are Republicans so afraid of mail in voting. Well, first of all, they can’t control the turnout. Second, if they can’t control the turnout, they can’t inhibit onsite polling places from dismissing voters as they show up to vote. This would mean they would have to turn to more nefarious means of suppressing the vote, further exposing their underhanded actions to skew the will of the American people. Old folks, minorities, and disabled voters would suddenly become a force to be reckoned with. In their own words, the issue comes down to this,

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston became the latest GOP official to warn about the perils that vote-by-mail initiatives would have on his party.

“This will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia,” he said. “Every registered voter is going to get one of these. … This will certainly drive up turnout.” RawStory

And now famously, Mad King Donald,

Trump earlier this week similarly told “Fox & Friends” that Democrats were pushing for initiatives that would generate “levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”RawStory

And so it goes.

Wacko of the Week Award

On Tuesday afternoon, a train engineer named Eduardo Moreno, apparently with great deliberation, derailed the freight train he was manning in Southern California, nearly killing occupants of three nearby cars. His target? The USNS Mercy, a Navy medical ship that’s been assisting nearby hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

“I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here,” Moreno reportedly told the officer who arrested him. Apparently, Moreno believes in a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus crisis is a hoax being deployed to cover for a shadowy takeover of the government. RawStory

Living Large In Carson City: What Will It Take? Edition

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

And the hits just keep on coming . . . Week two of the public impeachment inquiry and things just keep getting more bizarre. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan are playing tag team inquisitors, a role neither man seems qualified to fulfill, let alone intelligent enough to pull it off. Late last week,  Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts brought against him stemming from the Mueller probe. As the evidence mounts, there just doesn’t seem to be much that can go right for the Republican Party and the merry band of idiots who lead them.

Then there is Donald Trump who took to Twitter to malign former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during her live questions calling her a failure wherever she was posted and coming perilously close to committing witness tampering, or at the least, intimidation. This is nothing new for the president, nor is it surprising. Considering how the Republicans have thus far controlled the national political narrative through lies and avoidance of the truth, which has allowed them to create a chaotic atmosphere across the nation, witness tampering is just one more egregious act from a corrupt presidency.

The real question is just how long the Republicans can continue playing ball in what is blatantly obvious a sham administration bent only on stroking the Orange One’s massive, if not pathetic, ego. Certainly, there is a plethora of Always Trumpers like his rabid base and useful idiots like Nunez and Jordan. Mitch McConnell has made it clear that impeachment proceedings will be dead on arrival, or at best, a truncated event meant only to give lip service to an already determined favorable outcome for the president.

One has to wonder, however, if there aren’t some within the Republican fold who want to see Trump gone as badly as the Democrats. Obviously, up until now, Trump’s real power lies not in his cherry personality or suave ability to lead and command, but in the fear he strikes into the heart of vulnerable Republicans up for reelection. The “primary” threat he tosses about as easily as he spews venom from his mouth carries real world weight when the rabid base is factored into the equation. That was then, however, this is now.

With the live impeachment hearings daily causing the Republicans headaches and bad cases of acid reflux, the tide of power may already be shifting. Suppose that a group of Senators read the mounds of evidence against Trump and decide to ban together to vote for impeachment. This would kill two birds with one stone. First, the fear of Trump’s power to influence primaries against recalcitrant Republicans would evaporate, but it would also bump the president from office where he would slither back under whatever rock he came from back in 2016. It defies logic that every member of the Republican Party is willing to knuckle under Trump’s power at the expense of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Americans, however, have seen even more outlandish occurrences. Who among sentient Democrats were not caught flat footed when the election results came in favorably for Trump back in 2016? Then it seemed like a bad acid trip gone horribly wrong even for a bad acid trip. Yet, four years later, the country has polarized even further than it was when Trump got elected. Yet, the facts bear out that much of that polarization is based, not on Trump solidifying and expanding his position, but rather, a growing exodus of disenchanted Independents and moderate Republican coming to their senses and forsaking the president. Recent electoral gains by the Democrats in state elections tell a story of awakening in the American heartland that will hopefully last through the 2020 election.

While the impeachment sideshow continues to gain the lion’s share of headlines, Trump and his band of pranksters continue dismantling the American democracy. He has to date confirmed 150 right wing radically, opinionated judges. His most recent, Steven  Menashi, is a former White House council who served under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. He had a hand in denying students remittance from for profit colleges that landed his boss DeVos in hot water for ignoring orders to move forward to negate the student’s loan debts. Susan Collins crossed party lines to vote against the nominee stating,

“Mr. Menashi was so poorly qualified, he lacked the basic temperament for this position that I voted not even to proceed with debate on his nomination,” she said. “His past writings, particularly about LGBTQ individuals and advocates, about women, about diversity raise questions whether he would rule fairly.” USNews 

And this from Chuck Schumer,

Democrats’ concerns extended beyond Menashi’s work with Devos. In particular, they lamented that he’s helped guide the administration’s anti-immigrant agenda alongside Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president.

“His record on race, women’s equality, LGBTQ rights and the rights of immigrants should be disqualifying,” Schumer said. “At the Department of Education, he helped cook up an illegal scheme to use the Social Security data of students swindled by for-profit colleges in order to deny them debt relief.”

“A candidate for a judgeship should show respect for the law,” he said. “That’s the lowest possible bar.” USNews

And most of theses judges are appointed for life. Yet, judges are only a small part of a larger equation of subversion and annulment of basic American rights. The aftermath of the impeachment inquiry and possible articles of impeachment will have a far reaching effect on the American psyche for decades to come. The Republican Party faces a very real prospect of sliding into ignominy across the country. If the Democrats can pull their shit together and actually mount a real and viable campaign to drive the Trump administration out of office, still, it will take a huge win in the popular vote.

A win of  that magnitude would surely further divide Always Trumpers and the rest of the country to the point of straining our country’s ability to survive.  America would survive, but at what cost. The prospect of living again in a Trumpless world is tantalizing beyond belief for most Americans. Yet, America can’t expect there not to be repercussions from radicalized white people afraid for their continued relevance in a multiculturally changing United States. Evangelicals, contrary to their god’s teachings, are spreading rumors of civil war and the doom of god’s wrath being rained down on everyone’s heads who refuse to back Trump and his mission of failure.

If the stakes weren’t so high and important, the situation America finds itself in on the cusp of 2020 is comically ridiculous beyond belief. Who would believe that the America Barack Obama left us has been pissed into the wind so quickly and with unbridled enthusiasm under the Republicans’ reign of mediocrity? Granted, Obama wasn’t everything the country needed or wanted, but at least, he took responsibility for his actions. Trump seems incapable of owning his mistakes, or admitting that they are even mistakes.

As the live impeachment hearings continue to roll out official after official implicating Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors, America waits. There seems little anyone can do but weather the storm and hope for sunlight on the other side. If not sunshine, at least some form of cleansing from the past four years that will make the phrase “Proud to be an American” a true statement again. Is there anyone who doesn’t think that will be a heavy lift? Where is Arnold when you need him?

 

Living Large In Carson City: Padraig Deignan: Democracy is the counting of heads, not what’s in them! Edition

500_F_43142151_xGtQsSqiCsEnUpRUUmK27KoRDcNNFGN2

Bread and circuses” (or bread and games; from Latinpanem et circenses) is a figure of speech, specifically referring to a superficial means of appeasement. As a metonymic, the phrase is attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD — and is used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts.

In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace[1] — by offering a palliative: for example food (bread) or entertainment (circuses).

Juvenal, who originated the phrase, used it to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns.[2][3][4] The phrase implies a population’s erosion or ignorance of civic duty as a priority. Source

Here we are at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. It’s been a whirlwind ride with few highs and ever increasing lows. This is the year that future generations will mark as the beginning of the cracking of our democracy by the Donald Trump and his merry, but rabid, ban of deplorabbles. When Hillary first made the “basket of deplorables” comment, I literally and figuratively cringed. I feared she was exacerbating an already undeniable truth – people just didn’t like her and alienating Trump’s base was not the wisest political path she could have chosen.

I was wrong. Trump’s base has proven themselves time after time to be a pack of scoundrels, misfits, and emotionally and intellectually dead individuals, and it is only getting worse. The quote about bread and circuses above has come to fit this administration’s modus operandi to a tee. Today, however, our bread and circus are the world wide web coupled with Twittter as the arena and sensationalism and dishonesty  (fake news) the bread that people feed on daily.  In these opening days of the new year, America needs to come to grips with the reality that our democracy is broken and fixing it is going to take a lot of harsh decisions and more than a little gumption to get us through to the other side.

On the bright side, the Democrats take control of the House on January 3 bringing with them a ray of hope that the Orange One will finally find a modicum of supervision, but with Trump in the mix, who knows how that will work out. Frankly, I have serious doubts about both major political parties doing anything but line the pockets of their donors and the large corporations that control our political system. Still, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take an optimistic view in these blogs, rather than the doomsday approach I’ve taken often in the past. In my defense . . . they made me do it.

Having said that, as bad as the Democrats have the potential of being, they are far more positive and rational than what is now the Republican Party, which has for all practical purposes, abdicated control of the party to the House Freedom Caucus led by former Tea Party members and ultra conservative House newcomers. While few in number, some estimates list its membership in the mid-thirties, as a block, they have tremendous sway on the outcome of legislation and the actions of the president. It was the Freedom Caucus along with Anne Couture and Rush Limbaugh who put the screws to Trump when he capitulated to the Democrats and a portion of his own party in December that passed a bill to avoid the current government shutdown. Trump’s reversal of course was meant to appease his base, of which, the Freedom Caucus can be counted.

American linguist, philosopher, historian, political activist, and social critic, Noam Chomsky (Video Transcript), makes an even bolder claim about the current condition of the political system and those who are involved in determining the life of Americans when he stated,

I’ve said sometimes, what’s considered an utterly outrageous comment, that today’s Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history. Sounds outrageous, but think about it for a moment. I mean, Hitler didn’t intend to destroy the prospects for human existence; Attila the Hun didn’t intend that – nobody has. But that’s what these guys intend, and it’s not ignorant, uneducated you know, religious fundamentalists [or] whatever you want to blame people. These are the most educated, sort of best supported people in the world, and they’re doing this eyes opened because you make more profit tomorrow. It’s hard to imagine anything like it. Source

In the fog of our current cultural war, I think it is easy to single out Trump and place the majority of blame for the current democratic crisis we find ourselves in today. Yet, reread the “bread and circus” quote at the top of the page. Then consider this from Chomsky’s video above,

Trump’s role is to ensure that the media and the public attention are always concentrated on him. So every time you turn on a television set: Trump; open the front page of the newspaper: Trump. And in order to maintain, he’s a conman, basically a showman, and in order to maintain public attention, you have to do something crazy, otherwise nobody’s gonna pay attention to you. . .  In the background, the wrecking crew is working Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, [and] the guys in the Cabinet who write his executive orders.

What they are doing is systematically dismantling every aspect of government that works for the benefit of the population. . . I mean, anything you can think of
is being dismantled and all efforts are being devoted, kind of almost with fanaticism
to enrich and empower their actual constituency which is super wealth, and corporate power; who are delighted. Source

A simple Google search will turn up a litany of real accomplishments the Republicans have achieved while the rest of us have been watching Trump scream “Squirrel” including both his base and those who oppose his actions. Read any number of outlets that have tracked Trump’s nefarious behind-the-scenes machinations. Anthony Zurcher’s, Ten Ways Trump Has Changed America, he wrote for BBC News is a typical compilation. While most of America has been sitting quietly around the nation, either wallowing in Trump’s craziness or grumbling about his ineptitude, the bread and circus continues.

Complicating the situation even more are the misconceptions that all American have about what it is to live, work, and die in America.  Basically, America is run on myths. Myths about our freedom, our rights, our national consciousness. Keeping us believing these myths is the job of the elites, social media, and the corporate ruling structure. Read American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 MythsThe author, Lee Camp, systematically dismantles our foolish beliefs that all Americans hold dear including our democracy, voting/electoral system, consumerism, truth about the media, and on an on. It isn’t pretty how we have been led to this point in our nation’s history. This has been an ongoing train wreck that survives only because it is so much better here in the United States than in other less fortunate parts of the world. But every train wreck has its end, and America is perilously close to that point.

Chomsky uses the Doomsday Clock put out by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to measure just how badly America has slumped though the ages up until December 2017. He wrote,

They (scientists) just moved it to 2 minutes to midnight. That’s where it was in 1953 when the U.S., and later the USSR, exploded thermonuclear weapons which were, could totally destroy the world. It went to 2 minutes, now it’s back to 2 minutes, and that’s the Republican Party. [They’re] the ones who are running the country and dominating the world. There’s never been a situation like this. Bulletin

So much for my morphing into an optimistic man full of joy and wonder. As long as Trump is in the White House and long after he is gone, we will face this existential crisis until Americans wake up and take their destinies seriously in light of rising greed, lack of empathy, and give up on political correctness to reshape America into something different. A nation of laws and governance that takes both the environment and individual liberties into consideration would be a far cry from our situation in the opening days of 2019. Happy fucking New Year.

Living Large In Carson City: Rocky Horror Donald Style Edition

Mental-Hospitals-are-full-of-people-who-believe-Alternate-Facts.png

It’s astounding/Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll/But listen closely  . . .
                                   (Not for very much longer)/I’ve got to keep control                                    Time Warp: Riff Raff (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

If you listen closely and sit very still, you will hear the inexorable winds of change blowing over the horizon. These are harsh winds that bring with them the caustic cleansing that the nation so badly wants and needs right now. The unsettling sound you detect is those same winds slamming into Trump’s sickly coiffed head like a California wild fire scraping over the landscape charring everything in its path. It’s been that kind of week, hell, month and year.

There is no better place to begin understanding the magnitude of this week’s revelations than in an article posted last weekend in the Washington Post. The article began with this statement,

“Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.” Washington Post

The perennial optimist may ask just how bad can that be in the real world. Well, actually, pretty bad when Americans consider that the Trump and his privileged clan of hucksters are facing  17 ongoing criminal investigations. A betting person would give even odds that at some point due to at least one of these investigations Trump is going to catch it in the groin and be doubled over with pain and an indictment.

Then there was former FBI Director James Comey’s comments Monday as he emerged from yet another grilling by House Republicans over Hillary’s emails and the Steele dossier. Clearly perturbed and angry, Comey held nothing back as he lambasted the Republican Party as the spineless sycophants they have become under Trump’s reign.  MSNBC correspondent Steve Benen quoted Comey as saying,

“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?” he asked.

. . .

“At some point someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth.” MSNBC

Add to that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s wacko remarks this weekend to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. In a discussion about former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, Giuliani stated that Cohen had changed his story four or five times to which Stephanopoulos replied so has the president. Giuliani’s come back was a classic misdirection and a response that normally intelligent people assign to liars and con artists. Giuliani   stated,

“The President’s not under oath. And the President tried to do the best he can to remember what happened back at a time when he was the busiest man in the world.” CNN 

So? He can lie with impunity and not be called out about his tarnished veracity.

In other comments, Giuliani claimed that discussion of the Trump Tower Moscow project with the president went on until November of 2016. This is problematic for several reasons. Trump has previously disavowed any communications with Russia during the 2016 campaign, and Giuliani’s revelation supports Cohen’s claims of a timeline that puts the president in jeopardy concerning collusion or at best emolument issues. Either way, Mueller must be having a field day high fiving his team of lawyers and thanking their lucky stars that Rudy Giuliani is a blabber mouth of the first order.

So, how is Trump holding up in this mine field of accusation, faux pas’, and damming innuendos? Typically, he made it all about him. He called for the courts to investigate Saturday Night Live’s programming choices. You can’t make this up. After last Saturday’s now famous cold open which parodied It’s a Wonderful Life (It’s a Wonderful Trump), Trump tweeted,

A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion? Elite Daily

A year and a half ago or even a year ago, a statement like this would have been met with hilarity and glee to think that a grown man would actually say these words aloud. Today, world weary and befuddled by this president’s lack of basic understanding about decorum and appropriateness of being circumspect in one’s speech, especially the most powerful man in the world, Americans can only shake their heads and wonder how we have sunk so low. The idea that a comedy skit is the equivalent with collusion, obstruction of justice, campaign finance allegations, misappropriation of inauguration monies, or supporting a despot who kills journalist in a bizarre Friday the 13th scenario has taken its toll.

Note that Trump is quick to point out networks that call him out on his misdeeds, lies, and corruption but panders to those sites that heap praise on him which is more than a little hypocritical. Fox News comes to mind. The website Media Bias/ Fact Check states that “Nearly half of consistent conservatives (47%) name it as their main source for government and political news.”  Skewed hard right, Fox is not above spreading lies, Republican and presidential talking points (often indistinguishable from lies), conspiracy theories, and employs a host of objectionable personalities who would rather suck up to the president than cultivate their journalistic bona fides. The website finds,

Fox News typically looks at the issues from a conservative perspective and also has a number of on air personalities that are strong supporters of Trump, such as Sean HannityTucker CarlsonLaura Ingraham, and Tomi Lahren. Fox News typically skews conservative as there is less criticism of Trump, therefore the majority of stories are pro-Trump.

In review, Fox News publishes stories with emotionally loaded headlines such as “’They Wanted It to Blow Up’: Limbaugh Says Success of Trump-Kim Summit Caught Media Off Guard” and “Tucker: 2016 Russia Collusion ‘Witch Hunt’ Now Extends to Jill Stein.” When it comes to sourcing they typically utilize pro-Trump pundits such as Rush Limbaugh who has a very poor record with fact checkers, as well as credible sources such as the Wall Street Journal. Fox News is also known to publish right wing conspiracy theories, although after being sued they retracted the story. Fox News has also been deemed the least accurate cable news source according to Politifact.

Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to word and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and spreading conspiracy theories that later must be retracted. (7/19/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/15/2018) Media Bias/Fact Check

Trump isn’t singling out Fox News as unfair, but this is the way of a bully operates. Turn the enemy into the bogeyman, ridicule and spread false narratives about them, and set up a pity party where he is the one harmed and place blame on others. The sheer obtuseness of Trump is breathtaking. On one hand, it is hard to believe a grown man could see the world through such false entitlement; yet, it’s hard not to believe it when we see this scenario played out day after day. Trump should be happy that the American journalism community holds it duty sacred and does not engage in the underhanded, slight of hand antics he is so fond of using on his perceived enemies.

Honestly, it’s exhausting watching the Trump Titanic super tanker sailing into unknown waters and knowing it is destined to run aground when the Democrats take over the House come January. Yet, the thought is heartening if not liberating. Trump’s ghost of Christmas past will be with us long after he is perp walked out of the White House and into some country club prison. The only hope America has is that that time will come soon.

Living Large In Carson City: Down, Down, Down We Go Edition

oldrollercoaster.png

Life during the Trump regime is like a roller coaster that threatens to derail on every turn. The passengers’ squeals of alarm and fear are ignored by the coaster operators as more and more of the customers slip the caution bar and fall inevitably to their death on the rails below. Yet, the ride continues. This is what America has become in two short years of Trump rule.

As I write, George Herbert Walker Bush lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda. North Carolina remains embroiled in an election fraud fracas that may end up with a call for a new election in the near future. Michael Flynn stands ready at the docket to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about his dealings with the Russian ambassador. An emerging scandal involving Trump’s Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, and his role as Miami’s former top federal prosecutor in the shady sentencing deal of Jeremy Epstein, a Miami millionaire, who ran a child molestation ring that ensnared at least 36 young girls is just coming to light. And so it goes.

Most importantly, the Dow just closed nearly 800 points down wiping out 2018 gains by the final bell. Fear of Trump and his lack of understanding of tariffs is partially to blame. It didn’t help matters that Trump falsely proclaimed a new “deal” he struck with China’s President Xi Jinping over dinner at the G-20 talks,

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “The negotiations with China have already started. Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina.”

However, no joint statement from the U.S. and Chinese trade teams was issued after the leaders of the world’s two largest economies met on the sidelines of the G-20. While the Chinese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that further talks on tariffs would proceed, Beijing has yet to corroborate details on any major parts of the trade agreement, with Chinese state media avoiding any reference to a 90-day condition, nor did it mention an agreement to unilaterally reduce car tariffs. NBCnews

Trump continues unabated in his litany of faux pas’ and outright lies that are nothing less than body blows to the American economy and foreign policy to say nothing of our national integrity on the world stage. The man is on a deranged and dangerous slide into chaos and is taking the rest of America with him. However, as any self-respecting bully knows, the fight is not about any one incident. It is about creating a narrative, right or wrong, that his power is greater than the puny masses he deems necessary to demean or destroy. And despite the fact that only a third of the population represent his base, the rest of America sits by and allows the spectacle of gross negligence to continue.

In one of my forays into trying to understand the conservative mind of Trump’s deplorabes, I stumbled across a short article on the Conservative Free Press website titled Trump on Democrat Investigations: “I Will Hit Them So Hard…”  The gist of the article is that if the Democrats continue on the course they laid out after the midterms where they promise to delve deeper into Trump’s financial ties, including his tax returns, he will take the bullying part of his personality to a new level.

Remember back when “spygate” was all the rage from the White House and Representative Devin Nunes? A crude conspiracy theory that had no legs to stand on, it was basically a ploy to take some of the heat off of the administration posed by the FBI investigation of Russia collusion and the heat produced by Robert Mueller’s inquiry. There is no need to hash out the entirety of the brouhaha but here are the basic claims as presented by Philip Bump of the Washington Post,

As it stands, the evidence that there was a “spy” — or multiple “spies” — within his campaign is as follows:

  1. A professor based in Britain reached out to Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page before the election, apparently to evaluate any connections they might have had to Russian actors. The professor also had coffee once with senior adviser Sam Clovis, during which they discussed China.

  2. A former adviser, fired in the middle of the campaign, is telling people that he knows of another spy, but hasn’t offered any evidence to that effect.

  3. A “lot of people” are saying there were spies in the campaign, per Trump.

As Bump points out in his article, numbers two and three are based on unreliable sources. Number two being allegations of wrong doing without evidence to support the claims. Number three, well, it’s Donald Trump’s assertion. At this point in the scheme of things, Trump’s assertions and four bucks will get you a decent pint at a local pub, nothing more.

The remaining “evidence” lies on the back of number one. Again, as Bump points out, the allegations against professor, Stefan Halper, are a bit suspect. Bump writes,

The argument that Halper was a spy planted in Trump’s campaign, though, early on suffers from two significant flaws.

The first, as we noted on Tuesday, is that Halper contacted Papadopoulos and Page only after they were already on the FBI’s radar. . .

The second, of course, is that Halper was never embedded in the campaign. Nor is there any evidence he was ever spying on the campaign.

This was another case of Trump and his minions throwing shit against the wall to see what will stick. The real problem was the veracity of the “spygate” accusations, and that Trump through Nunes threatened to declassify the information in question thus exposing field operators and the work they do gathering information to be used to secure America and its interests across the globe.

The Conservative Free Press website reanimated Trump’s threats to declassify the documents if Democrats start poking around in his private financial interests. In reality, this is the threat of a small man with his back on the ropes. A fact that doesn’t seem to squash the Conservative Free Press’ enthusiasm for the threat,

Wow. Just when we thought this guy couldn’t get any more brilliant, he reveals that he’s been playing these chumps all along. Schiff and the rest have just been caught in a trap of their own design. Move forward with these investigations, and Trump exposes ALL OF IT. CFP

And so we return to the truth of the issue: Trump is a bully who would expose countless numbers of field agents and their patriotic work to cover his ass and place Democrats in what he thinks is a tough bind. Something tells me Representative Adam Schiff and his congressional committee could care less about Trump’s empty threats. They will go right along with the agenda they have prepared to further hold Trump accountable for his dark past and smoldering present..

But really, does anyone believe if the Orange One had anything of value that he would have the will to keep it under wraps? That’s like asking the fox to wait until tomorrow to invade the chicken coup. Were Trump to go ahead with his threats, he would become an even greater pariah to his party and the American intelligence community. As much as that is tantalizing, Trump must be stopped acting like a bully and be held responsible for his actions. Something, I think, will happen much sooner than later.

 

 

Living Large In Carson City: V. Hugo: The Wicked Envy And Hate; It’s Their Way Of Admiring Edition

I-Think-Therefore.png

Most people in our  hyper-political polarized arena identify with either the Democratic or Republican parties, or they are at the least claim to be conservative or progressive if not outright liberal. Sure, there are the Independents, Bull Moosers and the like, but most stick to the two major groups.  I Think Therefore I Am Not A Democrat Or A Republican in the best of all worlds would mean our elected officials are bipartisan. Meaning that while they identify with one of the two major parties, they are willing to work with the other side of the aisle to get things accomplished.

Bipartisan is a funny word, especially when it comes out of the mouth of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This is not unlike Israel saying the Palestinians aren’t so bad and should be given more respect. It just doesn’t jibe with reality. Earlier this week, McConnell gave an interview to Fox News which appears on their website under the title, Sen. Mitch McConnell: Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country? Despite the fact that on the face of the comment, he is skewing the playing field implying the Democrats don’t have the same regard for the country as he and the Republicans have, which is totally false. He brings up the fact that Congress will now be a divided body with the Republicans holding the Senate and Democrats holding the House. He seems to saying, “What could possibly happen?”

Then he says something weird, stating,

Needless to say, the past two years of unified Republican government will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.

Huh? Sure, as he points out, the two parties have worked together to do the bare minimum of governing by taking care of the nuts and bolts of running the government, but what have the Republicans accomplished toward their or the president’s goals. Health Care and the repeal of Obama Care didn’t happen. Immigration reform is in shambles or would be had a plan been put forward. There wasn’t.

The overhaul of the tax plan and the passage of the grossly unfair humongous tax bill turned out to favor the very wealthy with little or nothing given to the middle and lower classes.

A Congressional Budget Office estimate for the conference agreement announced mid-December said the bill would add $1.455 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The Tax Policy Center mapped out how different groups would benefit — or not — over time under the plan, and it projected that people with the highest incomes would see the biggest cuts, while lower earners would see smaller changes to their tax bills, or even have less money after taxes than they would without the bill.

The fact that McConnell can say something like,

What we can make of those opportunities will depend on our Democratic colleagues. Will they choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference?

with a straight face is laughable if it were not so hypocritical. This is the man who said before Obama’s first midterms that the Republicans goal should be to make Obama a one term president. Not, how can we work together with the president but how to boot him out of office as soon as possible? Granted, this is probably the goal of every party that is out of power. It just seems so creepy the way he delivered the statement.

McConnell’s faux concern over the Democrats newly found power makes it difficult to believe he cares even a twit about working with the opposite party.

That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle. (my emphasis)

Years of rhetoric? This is the man who let Merrick Garland’s confirmation for the Supreme Court sit stagnant for 293 days. Something tells me that McConnell has little interest in bipartisanship. His modus operandi has always been grab everything he can for the Republicans and screw the Democrats. So, let’s not pretend that he is holding out an olive branch to his political opponents. If he is doing that, there is surely a dagger concealed in the foliage that he will gladly pull out and thrust it into the heart of any Dem foolish enough to take him seriously.

What the Republican held Congress did do was run rough shod over the American people in their quest to show favor to big business, Wall Street, and the super rich. It is hard for me to believe anyone would think the Republican Party has the good of the nation behind any of their plans. They have allowed Trump’s horde of marauders to gut environmental controls ranging from clear skies to clean drinking water and place our national forests and parks in jeopardy of being destroyed by commercial greed.

The one galvanizing lesson to be learned from two years of Trump rule going forward is that when Trump needs backing the Republican held Senate will be there to do his bidding. Yet, when McConnell stated above, “After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle. (my emphasis) The unintended meaning of his words is something like, “Holy shit, the Democrats won the House and are going to kick our butts.” Well, something like that.

But yeah, it is payback time and McConnell knows better than anyone that the jig is up. The Republicans have controlled Congress since those midterms mentioned above in Obama’s first term or nearly eight years and look at the mess America finds itself in today. We are a laughing stock on the world stage. Our allies are so frightened of our president and the Congress that backs him that they are thinking of arming themselves, not just against Russia and China, but the United States as well.  Let that sink in. Our most reliable allies are scared witless of us.

Of course, the Democrats are going to target Trump and his erratic behavior and criminal activities. Who knows what Mueller will reveal in coming days. Who knows whose name is on the many indictments he reportedly has ready to serve. Bipartisanship? Sure, I am all for bipartisanship when both sides play by the same rules. By definition, those are not McConnell’s rules.

Living Large In Carson City: There Will Be Hell To Pay Edition

TrumpProfile.png

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

If there was any doubt after the election Tuesday that butterflies, dancing unicorns, and waltzing teddy bears were going to be the order of the day, think again. The midterms are over. Democrats did about as good as expected and proved pundits right as they captured the House and made inroads into statewide races across the nation. The Republicans retained their majority in the Senate, as was expected, setting up a evened playing field that will surely run red with blood as the last two years of Trump’s tenure begins anew with fresh rancor and sizzling hatred smoldering in the two party’s collective souls.

Of course, in Trump’s mind, it was all about him. If you haven’t, take the time to watch his press conference held only hours after the polls closed, please do. Winners and losers alike turned their collective eyes to the White House not knowing what to expect, and I wager, they did not see coming what transpired. Banish the thought that Trump’s losses on Tuesday would have mellowed him somewhat and presented the unique opportunity for him to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Democrats. No, instead, he lost his mind and delivered a hate filled diatribe against the Republican’s who spurned his help in their races and, literally, called them out by name as the losers they chose to be. The rest of his opening statement was dedicated to singing his own praises and taking credit for everything that came about Tuesday.

Then things got ugly fairly quickly. The one overriding impression of the press conference was if you thought things were divisive before the midterms, put on your seat belt, they are about to get a lot worse. The world is about to see Trump unleashed like never before. Take for instance his tete a tete with Jim Acosta of CNN beginning at 27:00 and continuing with Peter Alexander of NBC. At one point it appears that Trump might actually leave the podium to wrest the microphone from Acosta’s hands 29:09. The performance was enough to make any red-blooded American to hang their head in shame. Trump was truculent, abrasive, dismissive, and generally conducted himself like an ass. Remember this is the most powerful man in the world. Acting like a third grade bully only diminishes the stature of the presidency and makes America a laughing stock on the world stage.

He was, however, egalitarian in his wacko accusations. His response to Yamiche Alcindor of NPR at 1:06:55 was not just offensive and misogynistic but incomprehensible as well.  Someone should tell the president when he proclaims to be a “nationalist” on the campaign trail, reporters are going to call him on it. Typically, however, Trump had to take it one step farther when he called Alcindor’s question “racist”.  Predictably, calling a young Black woman racist is not ever going to go over well. The debacle du jour went on for a mind numbing one and a half hours. It was classic Trump taken to 11 on the weird dial and was a sight to behold.

What happens next now that the House is in control of the Democrats with all the subpoena powers and investigatory oversight that comes along with chairing powerful committees. Time Magazine‘s Alana Abramson wrote in an article today that,

. . . the incoming chairs of 21 House committees will be looking for ways to hold the Trump Administration officials’ feet to the fire, mainly by pressing forward on investigations they feel were ignored under the Republican majority.

This effort will largely be led by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which will likely be chaired by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. This work, however, will almost inevitably broaden to include all committees that have a section solely devoted to oversight. The intelligence and judiciary committees will also probably find their work in the spotlight, as will Ways and Means, which has the authority to request President Donald Trump’s tax returns from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Time

If the Democrats are smart, they will focus less on impeachment, which although  enticing, would also only increase the divisive atmosphere circling Washington, and focus more on uncovering the underbelly of the Trump organization, Trump himself, the children, including Ivanka and Jared, and his deeply hidden dealings with Russia and other partners the Trumps have had throughout the years. In this case impeachment is the cheap thrill of the equation while uncovering years of financial malfeasance, possibly money laundering and other crimes, would go a long way in bringing down this corrupt administration. Once the shit hits the fan, expect moderate Republicans to fall in lock step behind the Democrats. Rats are like that when the ship starts sinking.

It is a little encouraging knowing that the Democrats are no longer politically neutered. This does not mean they have the time or luxury to sit around licking their private parts. Strike while the striking is good seems to be the best path forward for the newly endowed Democratic Party. There is, however, one elephant in the room that should be dealt with immediately next January. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer (to a lesser degree) have to go.

Do not get me wrong. I have always liked Pelosi. She is a patriot and skilled deal maker like few others that Americans have seen over the past two decades. Unfortunately, both she and Shumer have become polarizing figures on the scale of Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. Distractions are not what the Democrats need right now. They need people who can work behind the scenes and get results, not bad press. Back in June of this year, Pelosi pulled in a paltry 29% approval rate – a nine year low for the California lawmaker – and that was among Democrats. Don’t ask what the Republicans think of her.

In their defense, both Pelosi and Schumer have been battling some of the meanest and corrupt SOBs to walk the face of the planet and call Congress their home. It is simply a case of a clean start would be best all the way around. Neither of the two embody the youthful exuberance that helped people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and a number of up and coming women to tap into the party faithful’s needs and concerns and get things done. Our youth is our future.

So, in the end, the Democrat blue wave delivered about what was expected. There were some misfires and some unexpected wins. Regardless, January will be the moment of truth. Will the Democrats have the wherewithal to stand up to Trump and hold his feet to the fire? Will they cave and allow him to bully them for another two years? America will have to wait and see. One bright spot on the horizon is Special Counsel Robert Mueller and what he plans to do over the coming months. Something tells me that once he gets underway after yesterday’s midterms there will literally be hell to be paid. Bring it on Mr. Mueller.

Living Large In Carson City: Delbert “Standing On Shaky Ground” McClinton Was Right Edition

200px-Fascist_Eagle.svg.png

Fascist Symbol

I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone’s imagination. Hunter S. Thompson

What are we to do as Americans when we see everything this great country stands for being upended and torn asunder by a madman whose sole goal is to stroke his out sized ego, enrich himself and his family to the detriment of the rest of us, and generally breakdown the foundations of what makes America great? As pretentious as that sounds, it has become the reality for more than half of the population of this country. As bad as our fears might have been after the 2016 election, I honestly do not think any of us could have envisioned the level of tumult and dissension that is running through the very fabric of this great nation today.

Remember back in those early days of 2016 when we were all appalled by Donald Trump’s loose and easy association with the truth? He lied at times when lying did him no good. He lied because it is his nature to lie. Truth to Trump we learned was whatever Trump said it was. Do you remember being appalled when a cottage industry emerged whose sole purpose was to track the number of lies the president told. Were you concerned when his total lies topped a thousand? Two thousand? Three thousand? It is a frightening prospect, but I suspect the nation has become so punch drunk from the onslaught of falsehoods and misdirection that comes from the White House on a daily basis we simply look the other way and go about our business.

What is particularly disturbing is once his lies find the light of day his minions have no qualms about parroting the same lies as the party line and shouldn’t be questioned. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a prime example of just how far of plumb the Republican Party has drifted. Sanders has taken Trump’s lying to heart and has started her own litany of untruths to support her boss. Across the board from the Senate, the House, his cabinet, and a bevy of political operatives, all have cashed in their moral integrity to worship at the throne of the Orange One with the hope of remaking America in their image.

It has become so problematic and relentless that Maggie Haberman of the New York Times told “CNN that that staffers are so ‘numb’ to Trump’s lies they don’t even bother correcting him”. This begs the question, “Why?” Haberman thinks it more practical than insidious although it is that as well. Haberman said,

. . . President Donald Trump is relentlessly lying ahead of the 2018 midterm elections because he’s found that it works for him. CNN

It works for him? Think about that a minute. The most powerful man in the world with the ability to change the course of history at his fingertips lies incessantly because it works for him. Considering the state of bankruptcy of the Republican Party when it comes to veracity, empathy, and dedication to a fair and free democracy, Haberman makes a good point. What Trump has been doing all of his adult life is trying to create an reality of America that embraces white males like himself who really believe they are masters of the universe and everything in it.

But at what cost? A New York Times video aired on dailykos.com details the research by Yale philosopher, Jason Stanley, which takes a long, hard look at fascism and how it develops, grows, and ultimately, takes control. In a short five minute video titled, ‘If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be’, should be required viewing by all Americans who already think America is great and fear the direction the country is taking today. His formula for how fascism takes root is fairly simple:

  •  The creation of a mythical “racially pure” and patriarchal past to instill feelings of nostalgia in the masses; the assertion that as long as “he,” the “strongman” remains in power, all will be well, and that without “him” the whole system will collapse;

Watch any Trump rally for five minutes and you will find this is a recurring theme that runs throughout his basic message. Make America Great Again was not chosen because it has a jaunty ring to it. The slogan hits home to older white Americans, alt right groups, and the working class who have suffered at the hand of what they see as the evil Democrats who want to give the country away to immigrants, sexual deviants, and a host of other people who are not like them. In my October 16, 2018 post, I explored what kind of people fall into lockstep with Trump and his vision for America. The point above dovetails a little too nicely into the mindset of the typical Trump supporter and reinforces Stanley’s argument.

  • Turning groups against each other: Germans and Jews, Hindus and Muslims; citizens and foreigners;  whites and blacks, etc.: “when you divide, it’s easier to control.”

In Trump’s world, there is no end to the possibilities that accompany this point. The group du jour to vilify in recent days are transgender folk who find themselves living in a body that does not fit into their sexual orientation. Republicans and the “transgender bathroom” debacle made  transgender Americans an anathema to all right thinking, sexually “normal” people (Trump’s base) who fear people who view their sexual orientation differently for their own.

A healthy nod needs to be given to right-wing, evangelical wackos who in the name of their god fomented the groundless charge that giving transgender people the right to use the bathroom of their sexual preference was merely a ruse for guys to dress up like girls to gain access to the women’s bathroom to do god only knows what to the poor unsuspecting young ladies. As a reality check, do a google search titled “sexual assault on campuses in bathrooms.” The result reveals transgender people aren’t the ones going into bathrooms and sexually assaulting females.

The list, however, has grown over the past two years of Trump’s presidency. Democrats are getting the brunt of his vilification currently. Canadians, Mexicans, NATO, reporters, and on and on have all been targets of Trump’s separation policy from his faithful base. Regrettably, it works.

  • Anti-intellectualism, and attacking the truth, because truth is essential to a free democracy, and therefore anathema to the fascist. This in turn creates a “petri dish” for conspiracy theories, with the ultimate goal of devaluing the truth altogether.

This point brings us full circle in the charade that is the Trump presidency. Facts to a fascist are the  kryptonite that undermines their message and the ultimate control that they have over their followers. Fake news is the perfect mantra for Trump and his followers whether they are Fox News watchers, alt right hoodlums, or even the run of the mill seniors, both male and female. These people want to believe everything Trump has promised them, so his word has become sacrosanct. They honestly believe that CNN, MSNBC, and others are literally making up news to tear down their leader, thereby, destroying the promises he made to them from day one.

While the truth suffers, and suffers badly, possibly even more damaging are the conspiracy theories that arise to support the ideas that the only truth is Trump’s truth. MS13 gangs rolling across the southern border of the United States by the thousands, Mexicans are rapists and hell bent on taking our women folk (or guys depending on their sexual orientation), or the lost Hillary emails and on and on.

Right now,  a caravan of immigrants is marching north from Central America approximately 400 miles south of the Texas border. Half of the group are women and children legitimately seeking political asylum due to the violence and mayhem they face in their home countries. In recent days, Trump, in an effort to get his base out to vote in the upcoming election, claimed the caravan includes terrorists and people of middle-eastern descent supposedly hell bent on destroying the American way of life. He offers no proof, but his echo chamber latched on to the idea and the drum beat of caustic rhetoric has grown to a fevered pitch. The thing about conspiracy theories is they do not feed off of the truth, but fear; something Trump uses as a cudgel to beat his base into a lather to do his bidding.

This morning Americans awoke to the news that bombs were mailed to George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas, and the CNN headquarters in Manhattan. This afternoon, a total of eight bombs have been discovered mailed to prominent Democrats. However, Trump and his minions are never too ashamed to kick in the conspiracy theory to turn the table and the nation’s collective esprit de corps into something usable for the party.

Many in the right-wing media, including prominent voices like Rush Limbaugh, the popular talk-radio host, and Candace Owens, a frequent Fox News guest, have begun to promote a conspiracy theory that Democrats were behind several packages containing explosive devices sent by mail to top Democrats this week. Business Insider

If I am not mistaken, this quote hits all three points that make up a fascist agenda – a trifecta of sorts. Welcome to the brave new world of Trumpism.

Living Large in Carson City: The “Everything You Say Bounces Off Me and Sticks to You Edition

The White House has a favorite excuse to explain away some of Trump’s most controversial statements

Donald TrumpDonald Trump. Jonathan Ernst/Reuter

“When the White House is asked about some of President Donald Trump’s more controversial comments, they’ve frequently returned to one favorite excuse:

He’s just joking.

Both White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the president made the remark in jest. Sanders said the president was “clearly joking,” while Gidley said the comment was “tongue-in-cheek.”

At first it was funny then a little pathetic. Trump apologists were everywhere. Now, it’s become a dangerous obsession. It boggles the mind how Republicans can go on national television and make obscene claims that are meant to justify Trump’s daily outbursts. Of course, the Republican primary and presidential race should have been warning enough that a storm of half-baked, utterly insane Trump justification by his army of sycophants was on the horizon. Remember this?

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

He was talking about his supporters, both hired and from his 33 percent basket of deplorables. America laughed at him then and thought surely this will sink any chance he has of taking the top post in our American democracy.  It didn’t. Still, there was the hope that his base and hirelings would some day come around and see him for the blowhard that he is in a gesture of American solidarity. They haven’t.

This week, Trump accused Democrats who didn’t clap for him in the State of the Union address as treasonous. Just so it is crystal clear, treasonous means betraying one’s country or being guilty in an attempt thereof. Besides being ludicrous, self-serving and just down right wrong, it sets a dangerous precedent for the days ahead.

A true statesman’s job is not to point out the differences between the people, but their job is to find a way to unite disparate beliefs in spite of their differences. Trump’s take no prisoners who disagree with him attitude and his often-incomprehensible antics and snide statements are divisive and beneath the office he seems bent on destroying.

One could argue this is just the ugly side of political infighting. Shit happens, but not to the degree or the regularity that Trump seems to think is acceptable. Paid advisers and talking heads of the media earn their living doing this day in and day out. It is what American politics is about, whether we like it or not.

What is most disturbing is how Trump supporters are beginning to react. Get involved in any online debate on Facebook or other social media outlets. The level of vitriol has ratcheted up to a degree that is both disturbing and a bit darkly comical. There is no reasoning with these supporters. Facts mean zip. They have swallowed the lies and innuendos as the truth. And it is spreading to the absurd.

The Trump administration’s attack on American free press is especially disturbing. Every totalitarian regime begins by attacking and trying to control the press. Trump has been at this task since the presidential campaign. Next, they begin attacking the opposition party like he did his week by labeling Democrats treasonous for having the courage to show their displeasure with his actions. What comes next? Obviously firing Mueller and/or Rosenstein in an attempt to shut down the Russia investigation seems logical.

Logic, however, has never been a synonym applied to Trump’s thought process. What he does next is anyone’s guess.

 

DeSmog

Where the West Meets the Bizarre by Gary Brady-Herndon

goatwoman

it's all about the stories we carry

Blogging About Bloggers

Just another WordPress.com weblog

ProBlogger

Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging

Living Large in Carson City

Where the West Meets the Bizarre

The Intercept

Where the West Meets the Bizarre by Gary Brady-Herndon

Carson City Politics

Where the West Meets the Bizarre by Gary Brady-Herndon

Nevada Progressive

Where the West Meets the Bizarre by Gary Brady-Herndon