Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He's So Pretty, Arizona Edition

UPDATE VI:  "President Trump rallied his crowd in Phoenix on Tuesday night by invoking the name of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The reaction was exactly as expected.

'Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?' Trump asked the crowd to thunderous applause. 'I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine.'

With those words, Trump effectively promised to pardon Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court, publicly disgraced and voted out of office by the majority of Maricopa County, Ariz., voters. In doing so, the president of the United States sealed another deal with an emboldened white-nationalist movement in our country. . .

Anyone who has paid attention to Trump’s policies knows that a potential pardon for Arpaio would not be his first expression of official racism. As a candidate, Trump made openly racist statements against Mexicans and Muslims. As president, he has followed through on those statements by promulgating policies that attack immigrants and communities of color.

In his first week in office, Trump issued a trio of discriminatory executive orders. On Jan. 25, Trump issued one to build a wall on the southern border and another to unleash a massive deportation force, including measures to force local police into Arpaio-style tactics that have led to racial profiling and damage to public safety. Two days later, Trump issued his infamous ban on the admission of all refugees as well as all immigrants and visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries.

When white supremacists marching in Charlottesville praised Trump’s policies, this is what they were praising. A pardon of Arpaio should be seen for what it is: the latest attack on people of color by Trump."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s most recent shout to white supremacists: I’m with you.

UPDATE V:  "James R. Clapper Jr., former national intelligence director, questioned President Trump’s fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled 'downright scary and disturbing.'

'I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office,' Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon early Wednesday morning. 'I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it — maybe he is looking for a way out.' . .

Clapper said watching Trump’s speech, he worried about the president’s access to nuclear codes.

'In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there’s actually very little to stop him,' Clapper said, referencing North Korea’s leader. 'The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.'

Clapper has become a regular critic of Trump, who routinely disparaged the intelligence agencies during his campaign. But such a statement about a president by a lifelong military and intelligence professional — who has served at the highest levels of government under Republicans and Democrats alike — is extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented."

Read the Washington Post, James Clapper questions Trump’s fitness, worries about his access to nuclear codes.

UPDATE IV:  "[W]Without minimizing the dangers that Trump still poses, it’s worth considering Trump’s act in a somewhat less alarming light, by comparing it with another, similar performance: Dustin Hoffman’s powerful depiction of the public deterioration of legendary political satirist and comedian Lenny Bruce, in the movie “Lenny.” And this hints at where this could — could — all end up. . .

Obviously, the comparison between Trump and Lenny Bruce, as portrayed by Hoffman, is imperfect in all kinds of ways. But not in this one way. Bruce was arrested for various low-level charges, including obscenity and drug possession, and in the movie 'Lenny,' Hoffman depicts Bruce’s later performances as public displays of increasing grievance, resentment and self-absorption over his legal plight, and deteriorating awareness of his audience. . .

There were hints of this sort of deterioration from Trump last night. There was the self-pity, the self-absorption, the outsize resentment and grievance. And it could get worse. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) reportedly has confided that he isn’t sure Trump’s presidency can be saved. Degenerating relations with congressional Republicans could imperil other pieces of his agenda, leading to more anger and frustration. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe continues, meaning more revelations lie ahead."

Read the Washington Post, President Trump is deteriorating before our very eyes.

UPDATE III:  "Only 24 hours after he read a serious speech off a teleprompter committing to send more young men and women to fight in Afghanistan, President Trump reverted to form, delivering a rambling, rage-filled, 77-minute harangue that was alternately defensive, angry, accusatory and just plain weird. Like a trapped animal, he lashed out in every direction, trying unsuccessfully to draw blood.

The opening 15 minutes or so were devoted to relitigating — and lying about — his response to the Charlottesville incident. He omitted his words a few days after the death of Heather Heyer in which he claimed that there were 'fine people' on both sides and that there was blame on 'many sides.' But once again, he dwelled on himself, not on the death of a young woman or the flare-up of anti-Semitic, racist groups. He railed at the media, claiming that they did not cover the crowd (they did, revealing a modest gathering) and that there were not many protesters outside (there were thousands). The sight of the president, eight months into office, still lying about crowd size and whining about the media was stunning but not surprising.

He insisted that he was all about unifying the country, and then launched into a diatribe against his perceived enemies, painting himself as simultaneously the most successful president (repeating the lie that he has signed more legislation than anyone) and the victim of Democrats, the filibuster (which he wrongly blamed his loss on health-care legislation that could not garner even 50 votes) and always, always the 'sick' media (whom he accused of not liking America).

All in all, he appeared desperate, out of control and emotionally needy. . .

All he knows is how to beat the drum of white grievance, rile up an angry crowd and spread discord. His hate is consuming him, bringing  his presidency crashing down before a horrified public."

Read the Washington Post, Trump in Arizona shows just how unfit he is

UPDATE II"  "President Trump’s raucous rally in Phoenix last night was one giant attempt to rewrite history."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s penchant for revisionist history on display during Arizona rally.

UPDATE: "Coming a week after President Trump’s disastrous comments about Charlottesville and a day after a speech about sending more young men and women into combat, Trump’s choice to go to Arizona for a campaign-style rally is bizarre, even for him. It is now when he should be reassuring the country that he’s mentally and emotionally fit to lead. Americans are entitled to question the judgment of a president who just days ago was repeating (approvingly!) a known hoax about Gen. John J. Pershing committing war crimes against Muslim rebels. A demonstration of maturity and sobriety would seem to be in order. Trump is not capable of such displays, at least not for more than a day in a row. . .

The Phoenix visit and potential pardon demonstrate once again that Trump is incapable of leading and unifying a great, diverse country. His yearning for adulation and incapacity for empathy or graciousness cast him in the perpetual role of instigator, divider and provocateur when he should be healing, uniting and inspiring a country he was elected to lead and which he is committing to continued war. Never has a president been so ill-suited to the moment and the needs of the country."

Read the Washington Post, Why Arizona, why now?

"We justifiably mark Donald Trump’s campaign launch on June 16, 2015, as the beginning of his push to the White House. That was the day that he slipped down that escalator in Trump Tower and began riffing about Mexican immigrants and how America doesn’t win any more before formally declaring his candidacy.
But that wasn’t the day that his campaign first seemed real. At that point, he was still just Donald Trump, the guy from the TV and the tabloids. The day his campaign really became tangible came a few weeks later, at a rally in Phoenix — the place to which Trump will return Tuesday night.

Two related things happened around that July 11, 2015, speech in Phoenix that defined the next two years. Trump showed, first, that his harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric had a fervent audience. And he showed, second, that he wouldn’t pay a price for defending his rhetoric against the Republican establishment. . .

The rally was carried live on cable news networks, one of the first Trump events to earn that sort of attention. Trump got to make his case to the whole country, live.

It worked.

Some of the spike in Trump’s poll numbers after the Phoenix rally was part of the aggregated effect of the attention being paid to his position on immigration. Some of it was thanks to the rally itself. Either way, 10 days before the rally, he was in seventh place. Ten days after, he led the field — and would hold that lead with only one exception throughout the primaries.

A Time report from the rally describes Trump’s now-familiar formula as a novelty."

Read the Washington Post, Trump returns to Phoenix, the place his campaign truly began.

Now repeat after me:  He's so pretty!

Trump's Big CON: Celebrating Stupidity

Yesterday's afternoon New York Daily News cover announced:

Trump ignores fake news warning, stares at eclipse."

"Trump’s disregard of expert advice is unsurprising. We are talking about the man who once said, 'I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.'

Claiming to know better than people who actually know better is part of Trump’s shtick.

Plus, he’s a contrarian. His former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, explained last week that 'it’s almost like a counterintuitive thing with him, as it relates to the media. The media’s expecting him to do something; he sometimes does the exact opposite.'

Like look at an eclipse without special glasses, when the media is expecting him to don shades.

[On Hedgehog News, Tucker Carlson said it was 'perhaps the most impressive thing any president has ever done.']

Carlson’s appraisal of Trump’s move ('impressive') reflects an appreciation of the president’s unconventional style. Trump doesn’t do what’s predictable — what he should, in some cases — and his supporters love him for it. Some voters seem to find Trump so refreshing that they overlook the moments when the standard course of action really would have been the best course of action.

A recent situation involving white supremacists comes to mind."

Read the Washington Post, Trump looking at the eclipse without glasses is ‘perhaps the most impressive thing any president has ever done,’ says Tucker Carlson.

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