Monday, June 19, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Stupid Is As Stupid Does

UPDATE:  "While Trump is erratic and impulsive much of the time, he seems particularly so with regard to this investigation. In some limited way it’s understandable — no president likes being investigated — but it seems to be pushing Trump to particular heights of irrationality. If you were trying to limit the investigation and its political fallout and not antagonize the prosecutors, it would be utterly insane to send out these kinds of tweets. Trump’s staff and lawyers are surely begging him to stop. But they can’t control him. There may be people who are willing to stand up to him and tell him that he’s making a mistake, but he’s obviously not willing to listen.

In an ordinary scandal, you have some initial set of misdeeds, and then possibly a coverup that adds more misdeeds that could themselves be criminal. In the Russia scandal we could have those two sets of actions, but on top of them we have a paranoid, infantile president seemingly determined to put himself in ever-greater political and legal jeopardy. The more we learn about how deep Mueller’s investigation is reaching, the higher the chances that Trump will, in a moment of rage, order Mueller to be fired. If you think things are dramatic and absurd right now, just wait — it’s going to get worse."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s outburst of rage just sent the Russia scandal hurtling forward.

Honestly, I have no idea how this man got to where he is?

Stupid is as stupid does, and Trump has proven himself to be too stupid to be president.

Read the Washington Post, Prospect of Trump firing Mueller keeps becoming more untenable, which stated:

"If Donald Trump thought he could intimidate Bob Mueller, he thought wrong.

A person who spoke with Trump on Tuesday told the New York Times that the president was pleased by the intentional ambiguity of his position on firing Robert S. Mueller as special counsel, 'and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.'

If the president truly believes this, he fundamentally misunderstands what motivates the former FBI director – who has stood up to previous administrations and never swayed under political pressure.

Marines Corps veterans don’t scare easily. Mueller, 72, earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor for his gallantry in Vietnam before devoting most of the rest of his life to public service. Trump, 71, avoided military service by claiming a medical deferment for 'heel spurs,' and he’s said that his 'personal Vietnam' was avoiding sexually-transmitted diseases while sleeping around in New York. 'I feel like a great and very brave solider'" the president once told Howard Stern."

Read also, the Washington Post:

Trump keeps creating his own personal hell,

Trump finds himself exactly where he doesn’t want to be,

Trump is hastening his own political death spiral, and 

Trump still could have obstructed justice — even if he didn’t break the law, which concludes, correctly I think, that:

"Too much time has been spent asking whether Trump might eventually be charged with a crime. Whatever he did or didn’t do, there is virtually no chance he’ll be subject to a criminal prosecution as a result. . .

[The investigation true ramifications will be political.], no matter one’s reading of the relevant statutes.

There are two reasons the political implications are more important: First, even if a particular action or statement is legal, that doesn’t automatically make it appropriate, wise or in keeping with the duties of the highest office in the land. Americans have an undeniable interest, not only in whether their elected representatives are acting within the four corners of the law but in whether they are acting in the interests of the nation. Second, and related, the ultimate remedy contemplated by the Constitution for malfeasance in office by a president is the very political, not legal, remedy of impeachment. Ultimately, the Constitution leaves it to Congress, not the courts, to decide whether a president should be 'removed from Office' for 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.'"

Trump's Sycophant Gingrich's Big CON: Political Hatred and Violence is the Other Party's Fault

UPDATE IV:  "Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice was a ghastly example of the political polarization that is ripping this country apart. Political scientists have shown that Congress is more divided than at any time since the end of Reconstruction. I am struck not simply by the depth of partisanship these days, but increasingly also by its nature. People on the other side of the divide are not just wrong and to be argued with. They are immoral and must be muzzled or punished.

This is not about policy. . .

Partisanship today is more about identity. Scholars Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris have argued that, in the past few decades, people began to define themselves politically less by traditional economic issues than by identity — gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I would add to this mix social class, something rarely spoken of in the United States but a powerful determinant of how we see ourselves. Last year’s election had a lot to do with social class, with non-college-educated rural voters reacting against a professional, urban elite.

The dangerous aspect of this new form of politics is that identity does not lend itself easily to compromise. When the core divide was economic, you could split the difference. If one side wanted to spend $100 billion and the other wanted to spend zero, there was a number in between. The same is true with tax cuts and welfare policy. But if the core issues are about identity, culture and religion (think of abortion, gay rights, Confederate monuments, immigration, official languages), then compromise seems immoral. American politics is becoming more like Middle Eastern politics, where there is no middle ground between being Sunni or Shiite. . .

Today, everything becomes fodder for partisanship. Consider the now-famous production of the Public Theater’s 'Julius Caesar' in Central Park, in which Caesar resembles President Trump. Conservatives have pilloried the play, raising outrage among people who have never seen it, saying that it glorifies the assassination of a president, and seeking to defund the production. Since I tweeted a line praising the production, I’ve received a barrage of attacks, many of them quite nasty. In 2012, a production of the same play had an Obama-like Caesar being murdered nightly, and no one seemed to have complained.

In fact, the central message of 'Julius Caesar' is that the assassination was a disaster, leading to civil war, anarchy and the fall of the Roman Republic. The assassins are defeated and humiliated and, racked with guilt, die horrible deaths. If that weren’t clear enough, the Public Theater play’s director, Oskar Eustis, has explained the message he intended to convey: 'Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means.'

Political theater is as old as human civilization. A sophisticated play by Shakespeare — that actually presents Caesar (Trump) in a mixed, somewhat favorable light — is something to be discussed, not censored, and certainly not to be blamed for the actions of a single deranged shooter, as some on the right have suggested."

Read the Washington Post, The country is frighteningly polarized. This is why.

UPDATE III:  "Extreme partisanship may not be the direct cause of violence. But political violence acts like lightning, illuminating and freezing the whole political landscape for a moment. And what we see is a ready recourse to violence — punches at rallies, assaults, death threats, violent protests and intimidation. The system seems unbalanced — easily veering off course with every provocation.

The capacity for human evil is always there. But stable societies construct restraints. Some of those restraints are institutional — balancing interest against interest, power against power. In America, such institutions are strong, even under considerable current strain. Yet human beings are also restrained by norms — unenforced and unenforceable standards of civility and respect. We rely on character in countless ways to keep people from destroying themselves and each other. And here all the demonization and decapitation fantasies — all the talk of revolution and warfare against our fellow citizens — have taken a toll.

This type of language isn’t new, of course. But the Trump era has unleashed it with a kind of fury. The routine violation of norms has taken on the nature of an arms race. Each transgression justifies and requires a response. Both sides cultivate a merciless certainty. And, in some cases, they have made anger into an industry — using it to run up the number of listeners, viewers and hits. The trashing of norms has been not only normalized but monetized. This type of hashtag animus is not merely change but decay. The damage is clear. If words can inspire, then they can also incite or debase. We are on a descending path of enmity.

In our politics, dehumanization is far along. This is true against outsiders and political opponents. And it is true against those who govern us. We have often dehumanized the leaders who result from our free choices — men and women, on the whole, of public spirit, with a talent for friendship and persuasion. And this should be a reminder to opponents of President Trump as well. His violation of norms is a reason for criticism and opposition; it is not a justification for demonization. As offense and response spin faster and faster, someone must get off this carousel.

The success of our politics, the quality of our culture and the order of our society are very much at stake.

Read the Washington Post, America is riding a carousel of hate.

Although I don't agree on equivalency, criticism and opposition is perfectly American and appropriate, fear, anger and hatred must be renounced and condemned.

UPDATE II:  "Plenty bad before Trump’s campaign and presidency, it has gotten markedly worse. This is what happens when the president and his surrogates portray opponents as immoral, subhuman and criminal, when they hack away at the courts, the press and other pillars of a free society — and when they promote conspiracy theories suggesting American justice is tainted. . .

Revolting in a different way is the speed with which a few on the right have tried to use the shooting to delegitimize the justifiable and widespread anger that Trump has generated. Rush Limbaugh called the gunman “a mainstream Democrat voter.” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said of the shooting: 'I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama.' Sean Hannity of Fox News, broadcasting from the scene of the shooting, alleged a 'record level of vicious left-wing hate,' claiming this is the 'biggest issue we have to face as a country.' . .

The president himself is stoking fear and fury. Seven months after the election, he is still attacking Hillary Clinton as a criminal. He is frightening allies, attacking the courts, discrediting the intelligence community and the 'fake news media' and suggesting there’s a major conspiracy against him in the justice system.

This recklessness causes enormous fear, which generates the 'ferocity' Ivanka Trump perceives. President Trump could calm the anger — if he could calm himself."

Read the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump has noticed a new ‘level of viciousness.’ Its sources are clear.

UPDATE: Other Republi-CON sycophants are joining the blame game.

Read the Washington Post, Rep. Steve King is right. ‘America has been divided,’ and he helped divide it.

And in case you are new or forgot, read also about the longtime Republi-CON campaign strategy of fear, anger and hatred.

You must read the Washington Post, Newt Gingrich’s hypocritical comments on the Alexandria shooting, which I quote in full:

"Newt Gingrich, a peripatetic soul who apparently treks from one TV studio to another with sound bites in hand, the other day came up with the cause of the baseball field shooting that left the House majority whip and four others wounded: 'an increasing hostility on the left' toward the apparently angelic President Trump. He clearly has the president confused with the Dalai Lama.

It ought to be apparent that one man with one rifle does not make a political movement. The shooter was deranged, consumed by hate, and while our times are tense and polluted by excessive partisanship, the list of political assassinations is long — Lincoln, McKinley, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Harvey Milk and Huey Long, to name some of the more prominent. Just as an infinite number of monkeys dancing on an infinite number of typewriters will produce 'Hamlet,' so will a nation of 350 million people and even more guns produce the occasional massacre.

Gingrich was not content to stick to the facts. In his depiction, the shooter represented something called 'the left.' Just a couple of weeks ago, Kathy Griffin held that title. On Fox News, her single (astoundingly) tasteless depiction of the decapitated Trump made her into the face of the Trump opposition. Sean Hannity carried on about her as if she was an actual elected political leader. For Griffin, this was not a bad day’s work: She brought Hannity down to her level.

Now Gingrich has gone further. Appearing on Fox and commenting on the shooting, he said, 'You’ve had a series of things that send signals that tell people it’s okay to hate Trump,' he said. 'And now we’re supposed to rise above it?' He added, 'Maybe this is a moment when everybody takes a step back, but there is no evidence of it.'

But this is the very same Trump who campaigned as a bully in the schoolyard. He ridiculed Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio; he slandered Ted Cruz by linking his father to the Kennedy assassination. He called Hillary Clinton 'crooked Hillary.' He egged on his followers to attack political demonstrators, he encouraged hatred of immigrants and he called Mexicans 'rapists.' Finally, he mocked a disabled journalist.

Through all this, Gingrich contained his desire to speak out in condemnation. He, in fact, supported Trump, becoming an unofficial adviser. He did not get the reward he must have thought behooved him — secretary of state or something – but his wife is going to be the ambassador to the Vatican. Just recently, Gingrich added one side of his mouth to the conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, was murdered last year to keep him from telling what he knew about how WikiLeaks got thousands of hacked Democratic Party emails.

'Nobody’s investigating that, and what does that tell you about what’s going on?' Gingrich said on Fox. 'Because it turns out, it wasn’t the Russians. It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee. He’s been killed, and apparently nothing serious has been done to investigative his murder. So I’d like to see how [Robert S.] Mueller [III] is going to define what his assignment is.'

In a flash, we got an insight into Gingrich’s jaundiced mind. In fact, from the day he first entered Congress, to the day he was forced to resign as House speaker, no one has been more bitterly partisan than Gingrich. He has been on one specious crusade after another — remember the adulterous Gingrich on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? — and now, suddenly, he poses as the voice of reason. Gingrich has accomplished much in his career, but his real triumph is to give hypocrisy a bad name." 

Read also the Washington Post, The bogus claim that a map of crosshairs by Sarah Palin’s PAC incited Rep. Gabby Giffords’s shooting, which noted that although no link to the shooting was found, "Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."