Monday, June 5, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He is the Manifestation of Republi-CON Cruelty, Recklessness and Indecency

UPDATE IV:  BTW, like much else with The Donald, it's all about the show.

"Saying that terrorist attacks like the one in London on Saturday have 'gone on too long,' Trump promised that '[a]s president, I will do what is necessary to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores and work every single day to protect the safety and security of our country, our communities and our people.' . .

[Earlier that day] he spent four hours playing golf and dining with Sen. Bob Corker and former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning at his club in Virginia. It was the second day in a row he’d golfed and, by our count, the 22nd time he’s played golf since he was elected president. He was back in the White House by 2:30 p.m. . .

[T]his was the person who, in August of last year, pledged that he was 'not going to have time to go play golf' because he was going to be working for the American people. He found time to golf less than 24 hours after 'the horrific terrorist attack on the people of London,' as he described it at Ford’s Theatre.

Trump’s comments about how he will work every single day to protect Americans must also be viewed in light of the efforts he’s made in that regard so far in his presidency. . .

He tweets like someone who finds great urgency in the threat of international terror. He doesn’t govern that way.

Read the Washington Post, Trump pledges to ‘work every single day’ to fight terror, hours after golfing with Peyton Manning.

UPDATE III:  As usual after a terrorist attack, this time in London, "our president acted like a clod, a heartless and dull-witted thug in sending out a series of tweets. . .

[It was] vintage Trump — impulsive and cruel, without an ounce of class or human decency. His behavior no longer surprises us, but it should offend and disturb us, first, that he remains the face and voice of America in the world and, second, that his fans hoot and holler, seeing this as inconsequential or acceptable conduct. We wound up with this president because millions of Republicans could not prioritize character, decency and overall fitness to serve over their mundane and frankly petty partisan wish list (28 percent top marginal tax rate!). Self-appointed religious leaders fail to see that this soullessness — not the dreaded liberal elite who insist on saying 'Happy Holidays' or refuse to countenance discrimination against gay customers — is a threat to the moral fiber of a democracy that requires a modicum of common sense and human decency to function.

Sure, Trump’s policies and rhetoric are incoherent and based on a tower of lies. Far worse, however, is his appalling character, which accelerates the erosion of democratic norms and social cohesion a diverse democracy requires. . .

The London attacks bring out the best in Britain and in Western leaders on the European continent; it brings out the worst in Trump and his followers. The former protect the soul of Western civilization; the latter drive a stake through the animating ideas that make America special."

Read the Washington Post, With his London tweets, Trump embarrasses himself — and America — once again.

Notice how Trump prompts himself and hatred after tragedy.

UPDATE II:  "The party has become “a refuge for intellectual frauds and bullies, for mean-spirited hypocrites who preach personal responsibility yet excuse the inexcusable.

Conventional wisdom says that Trump executed a hostile takeover of the GOP. What we have seen this week suggests a friendly merger has taken place. Talk radio hosts have been spouting misogyny and anti-immigrant hysteria for years; Trump is their ideal leader, not merely a flawed vehicle for their views. Fox News has been dabbling in conspiracy theories (e.g. birtherism, climate-change denial) for decades; now Republicans practice intellectual nihilism. Nearly every point of criticism raised against the left — softness on foreign aggressors, irresponsible budgeting, identity politics, executive overreach, contempt for the rule of law, infantilizing voters — has become a defining feature of the right. . .

The Republican Party no longer embodies those ideals; it undermines them in words and in deeds. It now advances ideas and celebrates behavior antithetical to democracy and simple human decency. Center-right Americans, we have become convinced, must look elsewhere for a political home."

Read the Washington Post, A week that reveals how rotten today’s Republican Party is.

UPDATE:  And read also the Washington Post, Gianforte’s victory after assaulting reporter reflects rising tribalism in American politics, which cited the article quoted above and noted:

"Many right-wing intellectuals blame Trump for corrupting the conservative movement so much that Gianforte can get away with hitting a reporter:

Charlie Sykes, a conservative former talk-show host in Wisconsin, told Karen and Bob: 'Every time something like Montana happens, Republicans adjust their standards and put an emphasis on team loyalty. They normalize and accept previously unacceptable behavior.'"

Joseph Nye Welch, "was the chief counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation for Communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, an investigation known as the Army–McCarthy hearings. . .

On June 9, 1954, the 30th day of the Army–McCarthy hearings, Welch challenged Roy Cohn to provide U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. with McCarthy's list of 130 Communists or subversives in defense plants 'before the sun goes down'. McCarthy stepped in and said that if Welch was so concerned about persons aiding the Communist Party, he should check on a man in his Boston law office named Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, which Brownell had called 'the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party'. . . Welch dismissed Fisher's association with the NLG as a youthful indiscretion and attacked McCarthy for naming the young man before a nationwide television audience without prior warning or previous agreement to do so:

    'Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us....Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.'

When McCarthy tried to renew his attack, Welch interrupted him:

    'Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild ... Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?'

McCarthy tried to ask Welch another question about Fisher, and Welch interrupted:v
    'Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask Mr. Cohn any more witnesses. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.'

At this, those watching the proceedings broke into applause.

I recall this incident to ask, when will we call out Republi-CON cruelty, recklessness and indecency? Two recent cases:

Read the Washington Post, The conservative mind has become diseased, which asks much the same:

"To many observers on the left, the initial embrace of Seth Rich conspiracy theories by conservative media figures was merely a confirmation of the right’s deformed soul. But for those of us who remember that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were once relatively mainstream Reaganites, their extended vacation in the fever swamps is even more disturbing. If once you knew better, the indictment is deeper.

The cruel exploitation of the memory of Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was shot dead last summer, was horrifying and clarifying. The Hannity right, without evidence, accused Rich rather than the Russians of leaking damaging DNC emails. In doing so, it has proved its willingness to credit anything — no matter how obviously deceptive or toxic — to defend President Trump and harm his opponents. Even if it means becoming a megaphone for Russian influence.

The basic, human questions are simple. How could conservative media figures not have felt — felt in their hearts and bones — the God-awful ickiness of it? How did the genes of generosity and simple humanity get turned off? Is this insensibility the risk of prolonged exposure to our radioactive political culture? If so, all of us should stand back a moment and tend to the health of our revulsion.

But this failure of decency is also politically symbolic. Who is the politician who legitimized conspiracy thinking at the highest level? Who raised the possibility that Ted Cruz’s father might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Who hinted that Hillary Clinton might have been involved in the death of Vince Foster, or that unnamed liberals might have killed Justice Antonin Scalia? Who not only questioned President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, but raised the prospect of the murder of a Hawaiian state official in a coverup? 'How amazing,' Trump tweeted in 2013, 'the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.'

We have a president charged with maintaining public health who asserts that the vaccination schedule is a dangerous scam of greedy doctors. We have a president charged with representing all Americans who has falsely accused thousands of Muslims of celebrating in the streets following the 9/11 attacks.

In this mental environment, alleging a Rich-related conspiracy was predictable. This is a concrete example of the mainstreaming of destructive craziness. . .

Trump is doing a kind of harm beyond anything Clinton could have done. He is changing the party’s most basic moral and political orientations. He is shaping conservatism in his image and ensuring an eventual defeat more complete, and an eventual exile more prolonged, than Democrats could have dreamed. . .

The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased. . .

The future of conservatism now depends on its capacity for revulsion. And it is not at all clear whether this capacity still exists."

Read also the Washington Post, The GOP inherits what Trump has wrought.

Trump's Big CON: I WILL Move the U.S. Embassy From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (Maybe Later)

"The White House announced — no real surprise to veteran Israel watchers —  that it is delaying its move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The statement accompanying the waiver (which a president must sign to avoid the move) read in part, 'President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.'

On one level this is no surprise. Presidential candidates have for decades promised to move the embassy and then thought better of it when elected. Presidents come to believe that the move would somehow prejudice peace talks (of which there are none presently) or inflame Palestinians, perhaps causing an increase in violence. What is different here is that Trump repeatedly, loudly touted to really do this — unlike all those spineless pols who never carried through on their promises. He made a very big deal of it. (Ironically, he might have been able to get away with moving the embassy, say, to West Jerusalem where the Israeli Knesset, prime minister’s office and supreme court are all located.) The degree of posturing and chest-pounding on this topic was extraordinary, and seemingly endeared him to many in the U.S. Orthodox Jewish community who took him at his word. In short, he looks buffoonish in his hasty retreat (which he denies is a retreat, as he denied saying 'Israel' when giving Israeli intelligence to the Russians).

There are two reasons why an expected accommodation to reality becomes a gaffe in the hands of the Trump administration.

First, the Trump team chose to make the announcement of all days on Shavuot, one of four so-called festival holidays in the Jewish calendar . . .

Second, this comes at a time when the world is learning to disregard everything this president does and says — when the United States behaves in unpredictable and hypocritical ways. Trump seems to expect other countries (like his own cultist followers) to ignore that the emperor has no clothes. Promise? What promise? One important U.S. agreement after another — NATO, NAFTA, the Paris agreement — is called into question. Whether or not Trump alters or drops them, he is telling the world that the United States is unreliable, that nothing is ever the final word. (This is pure Trump by the way. In the business world he is infamous for inking deals and then offering to pay the other party 70 cents on the dollar. Such tactics work in New York real estate but not superpower foreign policy.)"

Read the Washigton Post, Except on Russia, Trump never keeps his word.

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show, Climate Change Edition

UPDATE III: Trump's decision "was partly driven by selfish political motives. . . Trump seems to realize how much trouble he is in from the metastasizing Russia story. So he sought to appeal to his political base, shrunken though it is, by re-embracing his 'nationalist' side. He said he’d pull out of the Paris agreement and, by God, he did it! Doesn’t that make him look strong?"

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s diplomacy of narcissism only makes him look weak.

UPDATE II:  "There was no need for President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement to achieve his goal of overturning the Obama administration’s global warming policy. This had already occurred through court rulings and executive orders, which effectively halted higher vehicle fuel economy standards (up to 54.5 miles per gallon) and ended the Clean Power Plan program, which pushed electric utilities to shift away from coal. Moreover, national commitments to slash emissions made in Paris are voluntary. Countries can modify or ignore them. There is no enforcement or penalty for missing targets. . .

There was little, if any, loss of national sovereignty. The Trump administration could have accepted what it liked (presumably, cheap natural gas with lower CO2?emissions) and rejected what it didn’t (say, the tougher vehicle fuel mileage standards). To make the same point slightly differently: Trump’s actions were mostly symbolic and political. They were grandstanding, intended to impress his core supporters."

Read the Washington Post, Trump ignores the messy reality of global warming — and makes it all about him.

UPDATE:  Did you enjoy the show?

The bill comes due in a generation or two.

Of course it was a quintessential Donald show, "frequently relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims to make his case that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy. Notably, he only looked at one side of the scale — claiming the agreement left the United States at a competitive disadvantage, harming U.S. industries. But he often ignored the benefits that could come from tackling climate change, including potential green jobs.

Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama administration.

The plans are not legally binding, but developing and developed countries are treated differently because developed countries, on a per capita basis, often produce more greenhouse gases than developing countries."

Read the Washington Post, Fact-checking President Trump’s claims on the Paris climate change deal.

Read also the Washington Post, Trump's Paris speech needs a serious fact check.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M.  The White House Rose Garden.  MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

6:05 PM - 31 May 2017