Saturday, October 1, 2016

Don't Vote Hate

See UPDATE XI (10/03/16) below.


Lord knows we need reform in this country. This blog explains why.

And I had great hope that The Donald could be a reformer.

But now I believe that The Donald is a narcissistic, egomaniacal, religiously bigoted, misogynistic, racist, xenophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

He is our Hitler, and all good Americans have a duty to fight him and defeat him.

God will accept nothing less.


UPDATE:  "'Kill her.'

'Trump that bitch!'

'Build a wall — kill them all.'

New York Times reporters have spent over a year covering Donald J. Trump’s rallies, witnessing so many provocations and heated confrontations at them that the cumulative effect can be numbing: A sharp sting that quickly dulls from repetition.:

Read The New York Times, Voices From Donald Trump’s Rallies, Uncensored.

Or watch the video:

UPDATE II: You must read this article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, New campaign shake-up, same old awful Trump, which notes:

"Republicans have deluded themselves long enough. He’s not stable, coherent or knowledgeable. The man who never apologizes and thinks he has run a perfect campaign will not shift gears. If anything, he is doubling and tripling down. If Republicans cannot declare him ready right now to govern and recommend Trump as he is right now — not after being sprinkled with presidential pixie dust — they should leave him to his own devices and get on with the business of trying to save the House and Senate majorities." (Emphasis in original.)

The rats are abandoning ship.

UPDATE III:  Another must read article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, Trump flunks the commander-in-chief test, which notes:

"Hillary Clinton did not have a great night at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday. Donald Trump had a horrendous one. It was in that sense a microcosm of the race: Only against Trump could Clinton seem far and away the most responsible contender. . .

 None of that — if you can believe it — was anywhere as awful as Trump's rambling, incoherent and at times jaw-dropping performance. He once again fawned over Vladimir Putin, who has invaded his neighbors and repressed his citizens. Besides, Putin has an 82 percent approval! (That's like saying Bashar al-Assad is the world's most popular ruler since he gets 99 percent of the vote.) He declared, "I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia." He went back to the topic shortly thereafter: "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him." It's a telling comment: Trump's sole concern is himself; the interests of the United States don't come into consideration.

Trump repeatedly insulted the military. . .

He repeated his nonsensical position that we should take Iraq's oil . . .

Trump nevertheless is going to demand that the generals come up with a plan for beating the Islamic State. Trump told us he has a plan but apparently he does not, or wants to compare notes with the generals. But they'll be different from the ones reduced to rubble, I guess.

Trump also seemed unaware in discussing sexual assault that there is a military system of justice. ("And the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. Right now, the court system practically doesn't exist.") He also objects to women serving next to men in the military.

It is obvious that Trump has learned nothing in more than a year of campaigning. Perhaps that is because, as he acknowledged, he is still running his business. (Blind trust? Conflict of interest?) Maybe it is because he is surrounded by sycophants of Putin. Then again, it may be that he is ignorant and cannot process information that might contradict the rubbish occupying his brain. . .

The worst of the worst, however, might go to the hapless Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who tweeted that Clinton was "angry and defensive" and didn't smile. No, really, he wants the lady to smile more. Is there some kind of contest at the RNC to see how big a gender gap a Republican can achieve? Priebus is a constant reminder that the GOP may be, after this election, unsalvageable."

Read also, the Washington Post, Don’t be fooled — Donald Trump’s foreign policy is as scary as ever, which noted:

"Trump’s vision of foreign policy seems to be a kind of authoritarian “big guys” club — stealing other countries’ oil, sacking generals, politicizing intelligence and buddying up to a Russian leader who’s running a covert action against the U.S. political system."

UPDATE IV:  What type of Trump supporter are you?

"If you are 'very enthusiastic' about a candidate who has based his campaign on scapegoating immigrants, Latinos and African Americans, talked of banning Muslims from the country, hesitated to disown the Ku Klux Klan and employed anti-Semitic imagery — well, you might be a racist. But if you are holding your nose and supporting Trump only because you think him better than Clinton, that doesn’t put you in the basket.

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the two groups roughly equal: Forty-six percent of Trump supporters say they are 'very enthusiastic' about his candidacy. The rest were 'somewhat' or not terribly enthusiastic."

Read the Washington Post, Yes, half of Trump supporters are racist.

BTW, early in the campaign I was the second type of Trump supporter, until I finally realized that even if Trump wasn't racist he was clearly appealing to fear, anger and hatred to win the election.

UPDATE V:  "Hitler was a psychopath. Trump is just a con man. . .

There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.

Whether he’s jacking up room rates 400 percent when his campaign uses his hotels, or spending campaign money to buy his own books, or blowing racial dog whistles and then accusing his rival of being a bigot, or lying about crime rates to win African American votes, or just plain old running out on his bills — it is all, top to bottom, one long con. A scheme. A grift. To make a buck, to get out of hock, to get some fame, to get his own TV network — the ignominious ends always justify the ignoble means. Even his run for president is a con, a way to gain even more power than this millionaire’s son was already born with. It certainly isn’t to implement any deeply felt ideas. It can’t be. He hasn’t got any. It’s all about the con.

And give the man credit, by the way — he’s good at it. He is, as he says, the best. The white nationalists are eating it up, and they are a tough, tough room. The guy is a fantastic con man.

But he’s no Hitler. Not even close. . .

Is Trump a megalomaniacal demagogue? Yes. Is he a sociopath? Undoubtedly. Is he dangerous? Maybe.

Which bring me to the second reason the comparison of Trump to Hitler bothers me: This isn’t the comparison that matters. It’s the easy comparison, the one that leaves us — We The People — safe from criticism.

The comparison that matters is not, “Is Donald Trump like Hitler?” but, “Are we like Hitler’s willing executioners?”

Will we look the other way, say we didn’t know, stand silently by while millions of our neighbors are rounded up, while women who get abortions are “punished,” while immigrants are given “ideology tests” and our leader heaps praise on oppressive tyrants?

Well? Will we?

Are we that terrified? Are we that hateful? Are we that frightened, that cowardly, that selfish, that helpless, that cold-hearted, that dumb, that easily manipulated, that easily provoked? Are we so bereft of answers, so pathetically hopeless, that all we can come up with is easy scapegoating and blind fealty to Our Great Leader? Are We The People really going to fall for the dumbest, oldest, easiest trick in the book?

Because if we are, then we won’t need an Adolf Hitler to embrace that darkness. Even a two-bit con man like Donald Trump will be enough."

Read the Washington Post, Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler.

UPDATE VI:  And another must read article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, Who will hold the right-wing media charlatans accountable, which notes:

"David Rothkopf writes that instrumental in Donald Trump’s rise was the 'chorus of toxic commentators … the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon and the Black Helicopter guys. They have embraced smear, conspiracy theories, inflammatory language, and gross incivility to drum up ratings and stir up emotions.' They’ve sown not skepticism but hatred and unwarranted distrust of all government. They’ve indulged in climate-change denial and economic nincompoopery.

For a while, they played the ideological purity game. Anyone who deviated from the Heritage Action script or the NRA scorecard or the anti-gay-marriage hymnal was a 'RINO.' (The problem with Jeb Bush, you see, was that he was too liberal.) Trump, it must be said, revealed all of these folks to be frauds. The media chorus that hounded impure conservatives now embraces Trump and the worst excesses of the welfare state (subsidized health care for Ivanka Trump?!). They’ve decided that large swaths of America are made up of victims, driven to madness by elites who refused to say 'Merry Christmas' and deprived them of $30-per-hour jobs that required no college education. They have gone from hawking traditional marriage to embracing a thrice-married adulterer. . .

They used to resent racial- and gender-grievance mongering. Now they coddle non-college-educated white males whose lives have been ruined by … what? Free trade that saves them hundreds of dollars a year at Walmart? By the idea that the rich have gamed the system? (It may be objectionable, but crony capitalism did not stymie the job prospects of high school dropouts in Appalachia.)

The conspiracy generators — Sen. Mitch McConnell sold them out! 9/11 was an inside job! President Obama was born in Kenya! — assumed that their audience was stupid. They then concocted a brew of urban myth and racial resentment that made their audience even stupider. It used to be that Republicans were the ideas party (Milton Friedman! James Q. Wilson!), while the Democrats were the coalition party (minorities, unions, etc.). Now the Republicans’ 'big idea' is that whites are persecuted and Christians get no respect. The right-wing media rails about public schools that don’t teach history adequately — and then spews a fractured fairy tale about U.S. history and make mincemeat of the Constitution when it suits their purposes. . .

They are, on the whole, far less informative, honest and fair than the mainstream media (which has its own problems). They sure are less civil. After the election, it will be a good time to name names, to end the Fox News network monopoly on evening conservative news-ish programming, to debunk the false narratives and grotesque sexism and simply to tune out the gibberish. Shining a bright light on charlatans and encouraging more speech have always been the antidote to noxious, false and destructive speech."

UPDATE VII:  "Trump has virtually no qualifications to be president, repeatedly failed as a businessman, has no history of public service, is the target of multiple investigations into possibly illegal activities, has regularly expressed racist and misogynist views throughout his career and during this campaign, and has deliberately and systematically reached out to groups that can only be described as “deplorable” — including white supremacists, anti-Semites, and other hate-mongers. Further, he has repeatedly expressed (including on Russian-state TV) his admiration for Vladimir Putin, a man who has systematically suppressed democracy in Russia, invaded his neighbors, scoffed at international law, and sought to undercut the interests of the United States. Worse, he has hired top aides who worked closely with the Moscow regime and sought to take advantage of a shockingly overt campaign by Russian intelligence to interfere in the U.S. election cycle.

Trump has repeatedly insulted and attacked the U.S. military and intelligence community, its leadership, and performance — while showing such utter contempt for the electorate that he has made no visible effort to come to understand America’s situation in the world or how foreign policy works. What is more, he has demonstrated his derision for the First Amendment to the Constitution and regularly sought to block, quash, and intimidate the press. If there were a more textbook example of the narcissistic, brutal personality type from which authoritarian thugs are made, it is hard to imagine. Trump is not just an American Berlusconi, he is our Putin- or Mugabe-in-waiting.

In an election year in which inequality and economic insecurity rank atop the list of voter concerns, Trump is a billionaire who has made his money by gaming the system and stiffing the little guy. He is odious and offensive; a poster child for everything wrong with the U.S. system. Indeed, the fact that he is not broke or in jail is powerful testimony to the special and unfair advantages the very rich have in America today. (See, for example, the evolving pay-to-play corruption scandal involving him and Florida’s attorney general.)

In fact, by any rational calculus the only federal office for which Trump seems suited is one with bars on the windows. The notion that somehow he has become a champion for Joe Lunch Bucket is beyond ludicrous. . .

Theories about how we got here are plentiful. We could trace the rise of Trump back to Goldwater or Reagan and the rise of the modern right wing in America. We could trace it to Gingrich and the obstructionists who first shut down the government in the 1990s, proponents of a political scorched-earth policy that has only grown worse in the years since. (The Democrats, it must be said, are not without blame here. After all, it was a Democratic effort to shape the Supreme Court that gave us the verb “to bork.”) We could trace it to the concurrent emergence of the fringe right that stretches from Pat Buchanan to Pat Robertson, from Michele Bachmann to Rick Santorum, from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party. And certainly, elements of all of these movements led us here.

So, too, has the chorus of toxic commentators played a role in this — the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon and the Black Helicopter guys. They have embraced smear, conspiracy theories, inflammatory language, and gross incivility to drum up ratings and stir up emotions. They have a special role to play in moving the media world along the spectrum from light to heat. But cable news networks (Fox and MSNBC) and websites (Drudge, Breitbart, and the liberal equivalents) have all seen their success and aped it, valuing conflict over insight, cage-matches over thoughtful, unbiased analysis.

There is a special place in this demonology, by the way, for the right-wing newspaper commentators who developed a strategy and a series of code words that made them sound patriotic but in actuality were dog whistles for the haters. . .

Something catalyzed all these forces and produced this inexplicable outcome. Determining it scientifically is impossible, of course. The rise of the echo-chamber-within-an-echo-chamber media phenomenon has helped isolate groups from one another and has deepened the us-versus-them mindset. The nonstop Twitter and social media conversation — wherein many of us get most of our news from friends, with whom we share values — is also to blame.

But something else has happened. The 15th anniversary of 9/11 underscores this for me. The entire country endured a psychic shock unlike any other in modern history as we collectively watched a human atrocity and national tragedy unfold. This made us feel more vulnerable and at risk than ever before. It created a level of fear that surpassed that all but the darkest days of the Cold War. This despite the fact that then, as now, we are probably safer than at any time since World War II. We’re stronger. We face no real strategic threat (except those from within our own borders). And the enemies we face, while awful, are weak, small, disparate, and doomed to fail.

The lingering sense of vulnerability indicates the severity of the trauma. It also suggests that subsequent shocks — notably the global financial crisis — deepen the psychological damage. We, as a country, are still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. And Trump is a symptom of our distress."

Read Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Is the Symptom of Our PTSD.

UPDATE VIII:  "No matter what Hillary Clinton’s faults — and they are many — it is hard to seriously argue that a man who would lead a racist conspiracy theory and then try to blame his opponent is fit to be president. Trump, like a small child caught misbehaving, simply denies the evidence or blames someone else or lashes out in anger. (He also this weekend called former defense secretary Robert Gates a “clown” in response to Gates’s well-reasoned argument that Trump is unfit to serve as commander in chief.) Again and again he’s proven his views so extreme (e.g., rounding up 11 million people), his judgement so egregious (e.g., embracing Vladimir Putin) and his character so twisted that only someone in deep denial or blinded by partisanship could defend him and insist he is worthy of the office.

As for the fate of the GOP, the evidence mounts that it cannot go merrily on its way after the election. A party that would sanction people who call out a racist deserves to go out of business. A party whose congressional leaders remain supportive of a nominee who incites violence, perpetuates racism, blatantly, and traffics in conspiracy theories loses the moral authority to govern.

In essence, birtherism is a lenient dividing line."

Read the Washington Post, The GOP died this weekend.

UPDATE IX:  He was 'pathetic dunderhead,' a 'big mouth', and a 'most unlikely pretender to high state office', "who rose to power through demagoguery, showmanship and nativist appeals to the masses."

"[R]egarded by many as a self-obsessed 'clown' with a strangely 'scattershot, impulsive style', he focused on social and political conditions, expertly exploiting unemployment, economic distress, and bitterness, as well as a yearning for a return to greatness and and longstanding ethnic prejudices and fears of 'foreignization' to become lord and master of the country.

He persuaded millions to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred, achieving absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror.

He "was often described as an egomaniac who 'only loved himself' — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and . . . a 'characteristic fondness for superlatives.' His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But . . . his shrewdness as a politician — with a 'keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people' and an ability to 'instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.'"

He "was known, among colleagues, for a 'bottomless mendacity' that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology . . . to spread his message. . . [He was described as] 'so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth' and editors of one edition of [one of his books] described it as a 'swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.'"

He "was an effective orator and actor, . . . assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his [demagoguery] beneath a 'mask of moderation' when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. . . . Here, [he] adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners . . .  He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order."

He "increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising 'to lead [the country] to a new era of national greatness,' though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, . . . the better 'to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.'"

His "repertoire of topics . . . was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, 'it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences' with 'repeated mantralike phrases' consisting largely of ‘accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.' But [he] virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, . . .  [he knew] that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd . . . effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be 'persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.'"

His "rise was not inevitable . . . There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed. . . He benefited from a 'constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously' — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an 'erosion of the political center' and a growing resentment of the elites. . . and the belief of [his] supporters that the country needed 'a man of iron' who could shake things up. 'Why not give [him] a chance?'"

His "ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity . . . [His] style and appearance . . . led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating 'evening’s entertainment.' Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of [his] abuse of power and . . . 'his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.'"

He "it became obvious, could not be tamed — he needed only five months to consolidate absolute power . . . 'with pressure from the party grass roots combining effectively with pseudo-legal measures ordered by the . . . government. Many [people] jumped on the [party] bandwagon not out of political conviction but in hopes of improving their career opportunities, . . while fear kept others from speaking out . . . The independent press was banned or suppressed and books deemed 'un-[patriotic]' were burned. [Soon] . . . 'his government was going to do away with all norms of separation of powers and the rule of law.'"

He "had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become . . . 'a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism' growing in right-wing circles in the [country], but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason and the fundamental principles of a civil society — namely, 'liberty, equality, education, optimism and belief in progress.'"

Read The New York Time, In 'Hitler,' an Ascent From 'Dunderhead' to Demagogue, a review of a book offering "a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

UPDATE X:  "#NeverTrump Republicans warned [this] would happen: An emotionally unstable, raging narcissist would suffer some type of public breakdown, confirming the gross malfeasance of the Republican National Committee and the foolishness of his backers.

Trump could take the GOP down the tubes in an election that was eminently winnable — until the party nominated a lunatic."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s 3 a.m. moment.

Read also the Washington Post, ‘Public slut-shaming’ and Donald Trump’s attack on a former Miss Universe’s alleged sex history and Before 6 a.m., Donald Trump proved Hillary Clinton’s point about his temperament.

UPDATE XI:  "Trump all along has been a clinically self-involved con man who never took the issues, the presidency or the future of our country seriously. Can there be any doubt that his campaign is a branding exercise gone, quite literally, mad?

Trump’s gift to voters was a series of tweets he started sending out at 3:20 a.m. Friday morning. His behavior gives new meaning to the old ads about 3 a.m. phone calls questioning how a would-be president might respond to crisis. Beware any human being who feels an impulse to send out angry tweets at that hour. . .

If an onslaught against a Gold Star family didn’t stop him, why should his wee-hours-of-the-morning storm of vicious invective be any different?

The answer is that this episode should finally force everyone to say: enough. Trump is neither normal nor stable. He is manifestly dangerous to our country and erratic in everything except his unrestrained meanness. He should not be given fifth, sixth and seventh chances. He has shown us who he is. We should believe what we see."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s last tweet?