Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Trumps' Big CON: Even If He Is Not Racist, Trump Uses Racism, CONt. Part 3

UPDATE III:  "President Trump has spent the past few days excoriating NFL players for 'disrespecting' our country, our troops and the American flag. But not once, in his Friday night 'get that son of a b—- off the field' speech, or his tweets questioning the patriotism of Colin Kaepernick and other pro athletes for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, has the president addressed the fact that as a candidate, he explicitly promised African American voters that under his administration, 'the law will be applied fairly, equally and without prejudice.'

Which is pretty much all that Kaepernick’s protest is about. . .

[During his campaign, Trump] made a series of explicit appeals to the black electorate, including his October “new deal for black America” speech in Charlotte, where he said:

    'I have heard and listened to the concerns raised by African American citizens about our justice system, and I promise that under a Trump administration the law will be applied fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules — not a two-tiered system of justice.'

That is, exactly, the top-line demand of Kaepernick and, for that matter, Black Lives Matter. . .

To question the patriotism of athletes protesting to demand, in effect, that “the law will be applied fairly, equally and without prejudice” — the president’s own words — underscores just how hollow those words were.

Read the Washington Post, Trump promised black voters equal justice. That’s all Kaepernick wants.

UPDATE II:  This year Yom Kippur, with its "central themes are atonement and repentance" begins Friday, September 29 at sunset.

"In worship on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and in contemplation during the surrounding days, Jews are expected to engage in heshbon ha-nefesh — taking stock of one’s soul. And atonement for sin is to be achieved through prayer, charitable giving and, most of all, the repentance called tshuva.

These concepts, of course, inform many other major religions. Islam asks its faithful to practice tawbah, meaning repentance or regret. Catholicism calls on its believers to regularly enter the confessional booth in the sacrament of reconciliation. In the secular world, South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission operated under the twin precepts of forgiveness and repentance.

As I mark the High Holy Days for the 61st time in my life, I recall one act of tshuva as the most profound. Far from being explicitly Jewish, it involved a Christian politician and a particular church. And it is certainly the most relevant to this moment in U.S. history.

On a Sunday morning in 1979, an unexpected guest rolled his wheelchair up the aisle of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. During the city’s 1956 bus boycott, the catalyst for the modern civil rights movement, this pulpit had belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The man in the wheelchair had been King’s nemesis, the former governor and arch-segregationist George Wallace.

Other than an aide to help Wallace navigate the church sanctuary, a surprisingly small place for such a historical one, he brought no retainers and no reporters. Wallace’s pilgrimage was not a media event but the imperative of a troubled soul.

Nobody in Dexter Avenue’s pews that morning needed any reminder of Wallace’s deeds. A racial moderate early in his political career, he had remade himself into a flaming bigot to win the statehouse. In his inauguration speech in 1963, he infamously declared, 'Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.' He made divisive political theater out of confronting Kennedy administration officials trying to desegregate the University of Alabama. Perhaps most notoriously of all, Wallace deployed the state troopers who brutally beat the nonviolent freedom marchers in Selma on 'Bloody Sunday' of March 7, 1965.

Seven years later, running for president with the same demagogic style, Wallace fell victim to the turbulent times he helped to stir up. A would-be assassin shot him during a rally in Maryland, and Wallace was paralyzed and condemned to incessant pain.

Just as Judaic theology holds that self-affliction is the essential precursor to repentance — the reason Jews do not eat, drink, bathe or have sex on Yom Kippur — so Wallace was afflicted.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who had been beaten unconscious on Bloody Sunday, wrote in a New York Times op-ed soon after [George] Wallace’s death in 1998: 'I had to forgive him, because to do otherwise — to hate him — would only perpetuate the evil system we sought to destroy. George Wallace should be remembered for his capacity to change. And we are better as a nation because of our capacity to forgive and to acknowledge that our political leaders are human and largely a reflection of the social currents in the river of history.'

Now, a generation later, there is no need to reiterate all the well-known and widely reported examples of our present political leaders stirring the cauldron of hatred for electoral advance. Nor is it necessary to call the names of those courtiers who have stood idly by amid the bigotry or made known their private misgivings only through self-serving leaks.

As Wallace recognized in his process of heshbon ha-nefesh, the past can never be changed or undone. A flawed human in search of a spark of morality can answer for it only with humbled, pained, hard-earned tshuva and with compassionate acts beyond the day of atonement. One of my personal prayers in these Days of Awe will be to live long enough to hear such repentance and witness such acts from the arsonists of our national conflagration."

Read the Washington Post, What today’s leaders should learn from George Wallace.

Which made me wonder, will The Donald ever atone and repent?

UPDATE:  "It is often difficult to determine if President Trump’s offenses against national unity and presidential dignity are motivated by ignorance or malice. His current crusade against sideline activism at professional football games features both.

[T]he end of slavery was hardly the end of oppression. We are a country where the reimposition of white supremacy following the Civil War involved not just segregation but also widespread violence. A country in which mass incarceration and heavy-handed police tactics now create a sense that some neighborhoods are occupied by a foreign force. A country in which wealth and opportunity remain, in significant part, segregated by race.

If white Americans can’t feel even a hint of this alienation and outrage, it is a fundamental failure of empathy and historical memory.

Trump seems ignorant of, or indifferent to, the unfolding drama of the civil rights movement — of President Abraham Lincoln’s firm hand signing the Emancipation Proclamation, of African American military heroism in defending the Union, of the stubborn courage displayed by protesters in the front of buses and at segregated lunch counters, of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, repeated in many bloody versions. When the president looks at protesters, he cannot see what they are trying to be.

This ignorance is matched by malice. Trump must know that rallying his white base against young African American protesters is feeding racial tension and providing permission for bigotry. He is essentially accusing these athletes of disloyalty, just as he accused Mexicans of being rapists and Muslims of being threats. This is a pattern and habit of division by race, ethnicity and religion.

Stop and consider. This is a sobering historical moment. America has a racial demagogue as president. We play hail to this chief. We stand when he enters the room. We continue to honor an office he so often dishonors. It is appropriate but increasingly difficult.

In this case, demagoguery is likely to be effective, in part because protesters have chosen their method poorly. The American flag is not the racist symbol of a racist country. It is the symbol of a country with ideals far superior to its practice.  . .

The president’s agenda of division is fully exposed. Faith in the Declaration, and in the genius of American institutions, remains the proper response. Under the flag that symbolizes them both." [Emphassis added.]

Read the Washington Post, America has a racial demagogue for a president.

"President Trump’s race-baiting attack on African American athletes is nothing new. During the civil rights movement, blacks in the South who dared to stand up for justice were often punished by being fired from their jobs. Trump is demanding that National Football League team owners act like the white segregationists of old.

It was gratifying to see the overwhelming rejection of Trump’s hideous rabble-rousing by NFL players, owners and fans. But let’s be clear: There is no reason, at this point, to give Trump the benefit of any doubt. We should assume Trump’s words and actions reflect what he truly believes. . .

Trump claimed in a Monday tweet that “the issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” but that is a lie. Kaepernick’s method of protest had everything to do with race, as its intent was to focus attention on racial injustice.

Trump was speaking to a virtually all-white audience in the Deep South. About 70 percent of players in the NFL are African American. Some political analysts put two and two together and concluded that Trump was playing to the racial anxieties and animosities of his base. . .

Trump’s intent, I assume, was to create a wedge issue, with patriots on one side — his side — and non-patriots on the other. He did not realize that so many people who might dispute Kaepernick’s position on police violence would nevertheless defend the players’ right to take a stand, or a knee. We have a president who does not understand our fundamental freedoms.

We also have a president who, if he’s not a white supremacist, does a convincing impression of one. . .

[R]ecall that Trump and his father were sued by President Richard Nixon’s Justice Department for illegally refusing to rent apartments to black prospective tenants. Recall that Trump continued to insist that the 'Central Park Five' — four black men and one Latino — were guilty of a brutal rape even after DNA evidence had conclusively proved their innocence. Recall that Trump led the 'birther' movement, ridiculously claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Recall Trump’s campaign appeal to black voters: 'You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?'

And recall his reaction to Charlottesville, where he discerned some 'very fine people' among the torch-wielding parade of Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis.

I don’t believe this can all be political calculation. I believe Trump is telling us what he really thinks — and who he really is."

Read the Washington Post, If Trump’s not a white supremacist, he does a good impression.

Trump's Big CON: He is the Dupable President

Another MUST READ: the Washington Post, Stephen K. Bannon’s remarkable admission: President Trump is easily duped, which states in full:

"The information that President Trump sees has been a major subplot of the White House's internal drama. Aides often privately describe the president as highly susceptible to acting upon the last piece of information he's seen — no matter how dubious. And controlling that flow of information is a big part of new White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly's effort to right the ship and keep the Oval Office on-task.

But rarely do you see someone close to the president just come out and admit how unsophisticated he is as a consumer of information.

That's what Stephen K. Bannon did Monday night, though not quite in so many words. While chatting with Fox News's Sean Hannity, the former White House chief strategist suggested that Trump was essentially duped into supporting appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in Tuesday's Alabama special-election runoff. And it wasn't really all that subtle.

Bannon, who along with Breitbart and some other Trump stalwarts, has endorsed former state Supreme Court justice Roy Moore against Strange, told Hannity that there needs to be a 'real … review' of how Trump came to the decision to endorse Strange.

'They tried to destroy Donald Trump; the same gang that is going after Roy Moore is the same gang that went after Donald Trump,' Bannon said. 'And I have to tell you, I think at some time later after [Tuesday], a real, you know, review has to be done of how President Trump got the wrong information and came down on the wrong side of the football here.'

Bannon's reasons for saying this are pretty apparent. Among them:

    He is signaling to potential Moore supporters that Strange really isn't Trump's kind of candidate and that they should feel good about voting for Moore.

    He is trying to give Trump an out after the special election — which Moore is favored to win — by suggesting that Moore was really the more Trumpian candidate all along.

    He is perhaps settling old White House scores by arguing that those around Trump don't have his interests at heart. (Bannon was one of those sources of information Kelly has sought to clamp down on.)

But making that argument — that Trump was duped — also means arguing that he is capable of being duped, and apparently rather easily in this case. Inherent in Bannon's argument is the idea that Trump either isn't discerning enough to make that endorsement decision for himself, or at least that he doesn't do enough homework.

Bannon is basically confirming everything aides have said privately about how unsophisticated Trump is in consuming information. This is the president of the United States, and Bannon is talking about him as if he's still a total political novice — a weather vane, even.

That's a pretty stunning admission coming from one of the people who has worked closest with Trump."

Trump's Big CON: The American Taliban Senator?

UPDATE VI: Someone isn't happy, again.

Read CNN, Trump infuriated after backing Alabama loser.

UPDATE V:  "President Trump wants to talk about the NFL because other than that, there’s virtually no topic he can address without reminding his followers of the most dreadful week of his presidency. On Tuesday, Trump-backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) lost the GOP Senate primary to a full-blown birther crackpot, former judge Roy Moore, who has been removed from the bench twice for disregarding the law. Moore was backed by fired Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon. The race was a runaway, suggesting that neither Trump’s (or Vice President Mike Pence’s) presence nor gobs of money can prop up normal Republicans in the maelstrom unleashed by the Trumpkins. The GOP is being entirely subsumed to the nationalist/nativist/protectionist shock troops whom Trump and Bannon have unleashed.

The party that once defended the rule of law now defends those who defy court rulings (Moore and Joe Arpaio, for example). You’ll likely see a slew of Bannon-backed GOP primary challengers who will dislodge or bruise Senate and House GOP incumbents. One can now envision circumstances in which the Democrats win majorities in both houses. Even if the Senate remains nominally in GOP hands, it seems that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s days as leader are numbered.

That was only the tip of an iceberg threatening to sink Trump’s presidency. . .

Perhaps a new center-right party can emerge. Maybe such a group can find common cause with center-left Democrats if their party goes over the edge as well. Increasingly, however, it seems hard to imagine that the GOP will rid itself anytime soon of Trump and the stench of Trumpism. More likely, Trump will rid himself of the GOP as we have known it, leaving the party of Lincoln in ruins."

Read the Washington Post, The worst day of the worst week for the GOP.

UPDATE IV:  "Roy Moore, the new GOP nominee for Senate in Alabama, defied a court order directing him to remove a tablet bearing the Ten Commandments from a state court building. He has said homosexuality is a 'crime against nature' that defies the laws 'of nature’s God' upon which (he claims) our nation is based, meaning homosexuality is illegal. He has opined that the 9/11 attacks might have represented punishment from God, adding that this wrath may be retribution for our legitimization of abortion and 'sodomy.' He appears to have described Asians as 'yellows' and Native Americans as 'reds.'

President Trump enthusiastically endorsed Roy Moore this morning, describing him as a 'great guy'."

Read the Washington Post, Trump just endorsed a lawless bigot in Alabama. Here’s how Democrats will run against him.

UPDATE III:  Read the Washington Post, Roy Moore’s win is bad for Alabama, and even worse for the GOP, written by “a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses”, who wrote:

"As a proud Alabaman, I’m walking today with my shoulders slumped. Roy Moore is the Republican nominee to be the next U.S. senator from my state, and he is likely to be elected in December. Moore is bad for Alabama and worse for the GOP.

To liberals, having Moore in the Senate will be the gift that keeps on giving. He will be the mainstream media’s favorite Republican senator. They will count on Moore to embody every negative stereotype that a conservative from Alabama and an elected Republican can have. And based on what we know about Moore, he is unlikely to disappoint. Liberals couldn’t be happier. Finally, there is a truly anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, anti-everything elected Republican for all the world to see.

Beyond believing that he is divinely guided, Moore doesn’t really have a governing point of view. At least not one that is applicable to this century. To suggest that Moore represents something Trumpian only confirms the worst things said about the president. The idea that Moore sees the world the way some cantankerous Republicans such as Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) do is an insult to Cruz. And to those who say that Moore’s election is somehow good for President Trump, well, I wonder exactly what they think Trump might gain from the presence of an ill-informed, failed demagogue in the GOP Senate caucus. Alabama specifically and Republicans everywhere will suffer as a result of Moore’s presence in Washington."

My response: "[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Read also the Washington Post:

Moore wins Republican Senate primary, dealing blow to GOP establishment,

Luther who? Trump tweets backing the losing candidate in Alabama get deep-sixed,

Tuesday started as a bad day for Mitch McConnell. It only got worse.,

After Alabama, GOP anti-establishment wing declares all-out war in 2018,

Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement is notable for when it’s happening,

Roy Moore’s victory and Bob Corker’s retirement are fresh indicators of a Senate that’s coming apart, and

A short history of Roy Moore’s controversial interpretations of the Bible.

UPDATE II:  "The last few polls in the GOP Senate primary runoff show alt-right hero and ousted judge Roy Moore leading Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), whom Trump campaigned for and endorsed, by double digits. The RealClearPolitics poll average shows Moore leading by more than 10 percentage points.

A loss for Strange would be a stunning rebuke to the president and to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a sign that Trump has unleashed extreme, unhinged populist sentiments that not even he can contain.

While it remains unlikely that Democrats could win the seat in a general election, a Moore victory in and of itself would spell trouble for the GOP on multiple fronts."

Read the Washington Post, What happens if Roy Moore wins the Alabama runoff?

UPDATE:  "[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

And after years of fear, anger and hatred, there is Roy Moore.

"With the thunder and fire of an old-time revivalist, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore rose before the assembled souls at the Redemption Baptist Church, a front-runner in the polls days out from an election that could rattle the rickety structures of the Republican Party.

'You think that God’s not angry that this land is a moral slum?' asked Moore, 70, reciting a rhyming poem he had written years earlier during a 50-minute address before several dozen believers. 'How much longer will it be before his judgment comes?'

Republican primary voters across the country have been trying since 2010 to elect angry, outsider candidates who promise to disrupt the ways of Washington. But no one in recent history has promised to be quite as disruptive as Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who has twice been removed from the bench for defying judicial orders.

And few have divided the GOP as Moore’s candidacy has, producing a momentous power struggle over an election that is likely to turn out less than 20 percent of Alabama’s Republican voters but could nonetheless set the tone for the coming 2018 election battles.

In August, Moore won the first round of primary voting with 39 percent of the vote, and then won the endorsement of the third-place finisher weeks later. Now, with the election just five days away, Moore leads public polling averages with a nine-point edge over Sen. Luther Strange, the man appointed to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions."

Read the Washington Post, Roy Moore disrupts Alabama Senate race — and prepares for new level of defiance in Washington.

Read also the Washington Post, ‘You’ve got to go’: How the GOP persuaded Trump to campaign in Alabama.

"Bomb-throwing Roy Moore is closing in on victory in the Alabama Senate race — and that's very bad news for the Senate GOP leader."

Read Politico, McConnell's mortal enemy might soon be in his caucus.

So, after whipping them into a frenzy for years (as former House Speaker John Boehner said), what goes around comes around! :)

Have the inmates taken over?  Today we find out!!