Monday, November 13, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Whatsoever a Man Soweth, That Shall He Also Reap (AKA Karma's a B**** Ain't It Republi-CONs)

UPDATE VI:  "Sexual harassment is not the sin of one party. We’ve seen liberals and conservatives alike caught up in the maelstrom of sexual assault and predation complaints. However, Democrats have an easier time dealing with revelations and an opportunity to seize the high ground in a time when voters are furious at politicians who wield power for their own interests.

Let’s begin with the proposition that not all allegations are equal. As David Frum put it, '[Sen. Al] Franken’s prank was cruel and humiliating. [Roy] Moore’s acts ‘if true’ rank among the worst crimes in the statute book. And the president is a confessed serial sexual assaulter, on the record.' That does not excuse Franken nor give him a pass to remain in the Senate (more about that in a moment), but support for Moore and/or President Trump necessitates either 1) willingness to disbelieve multiple women with detailed and similar accounts or 2) toleration of a pattern of sexual assault against multiple women over years. That is the position all Republicans who continue to support Trump are in, and, candidly, I’m surprised Democrats have not made a much bigger deal of this. . .

There are many ways to approach this, but the following seems appropriate for candidates and members of Congress:

An alleged sexual predator/abuser (whose actions are confirmed by reliable accusations and surrounding facts) should not be eligible for the party’s nomination in a House or Senate race. If elected, the person should be expelled from office by the Ethics Committee.

The party should do everything in its power, including support for a third candidate or a write-in, to prevent the alleged predator/abuser from winning.

If the conduct occurs in office, expulsion is the only appropriate remedy.

If the conduct predated the accused lawmaker’s time in office but is discovered once he is in office (as in the Franken situation), the Ethics Committee should consider a full range of options, including expulsion. At the very least, the accused should not be supported for reelection. Parties can and should expel individuals from the party, which is a voluntary association. They can deny anyone the privilege of caucusing with their party or getting assigned to committees.

Now, if that seems reasonable, why should the same standard not apply to the president? . .

Impeachment does not seem to be applicable to conduct before election that was known to voters (although more compelling evidence that comes to light in office might be considered). However, other actions, such as censure, are possible. And certainly Trump is unfit on multiple grounds and has committed conduct that should properly be considered in good faith as impeachable conduct. But at the very least, the GOP going forward cannot support for reelection a candidate against whom so many credible complaints of sexual predation have been launched. There is no moral justification for doing so. There is no political barrier to declaring that henceforth, people of Trump’s ilk cannot run under the GOP’s banner.

And that, you see, is the real difference between the parties. Republicans almost certainly won’t do any of that. Democrats can and should. One party can tolerate an alleged sexual predator, and the other can decide never to do so."

Read the Washington Post, Republican risk being defined as the party of sexual predators.

Read also the Washington Post, Sorry: There’s no equivalence between Republicans and Democrats on sexual harassment., which names the many women who have accused The Donald of sexual harassment or assault, and notes: "we should all be asking ourselves some very hard questions, not only about the people now in positions of power, but about how we’ve each thought about these issues in the past and what we want to change in the future. Democrats are doing that — perhaps imperfectly, and arriving at different answers of varying quality — but at least they’re grappling with it. Republicans, by and large, are doing anything but."

UPDATE V:  Another MUST READ: the Washington Post, Just how bad are Republicans?, which states in substantial part:

"It turns out that electing President Trump was not the apex of Republicans’ political insanity. Since last November, consider the Trump GOP’s track record:

The GOP’s idea of health-care reform was trying to remove millions of people from health-care coverage while giving tax cuts to the super rich. Having learned their lesson (not), Senate Republicans now support a tax bill that will remove millions of people from health-care coverage while giving tax cuts to the super rich — and to big corporations. . .

The GOP’s environmental agenda includes climate-change denial (despite the government’s own confirmation that climate change is real and man-made), lifting the ban on importing elephant trophies (the first sons are avid big-game hunters and Christmas is around the corner) and trying in vain to save the coal industry. Trump’s GOP has made China look like a leader in global environmental issues.

The GOP president now embraces (literally, I think) autocrats like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, applauds autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a stolen election, barely if at all brings up human rights in China and Saudi Arabia, and has not a bad word to say about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The GOP now opposes multilateral trade deals (the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership) while China makes trade deals and the TPP countries forge a deal among themselves without the United States.

The GOP’s constitutional conservatism amounts to giving a totally unqualified nominee who hid a conflict of interest a lifetime federal court appointment. . .

The Trump GOP does not believe in fiscal responsibility nor in federalism (as evidenced by its attack on localities that don’t do the feds’ bidding on immigration enforcement) nor in legal immigration. It does, however, believe in mass deportation of “dreamers,” who came here illegally as children.

The GOP president believes 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally based on no evidence whatsoever but doesn’t think the Russians meddled in our election despite the unanimous findings of our intelligence services.

The GOP president does not believe the media should be able to write whatever it wants nor that a sheriff found in contempt of court for abusing the rights of suspected illegal immigrants should be convicted and punished.

The GOP-led Congress is content to tolerate Trump’s nepotism, massive conflicts of interest and possible receipt of foreign emoluments. It looks the other way as a president monetizes the office, hawking his properties at every opportunity.

This is not a party that can be described as coherent, sensible, respectful of the rule of law, dedicated to equal protection or grounded in reality — let alone conservative. Today’s GOP stands for a set of crackpot ideas, unworkable and unpopular policies and a president not remotely fit to remain in office. Some sunny optimists think the GOP can be saved. From our perspective, it’s not worth trying." [Emphasis added.]

UPDATE IV:  "With Republicans searching for a solution to having an Alabama Senate nominee who is accused of molesting a teenager, Roll Call’s David Hawkings reports that how Trump will address the situation has emerged as a “pivotal question” for the party. Trump has three options. He can side with the GOP establishment and call on Moore to step aside. He can stick to the White House’s previous middle-ground response, by saying Moore should abandon his candidacy only if it’s true that he did what his accusers claim. Or he can side with Moore, though this appears a remote possibility.

The problem is that, because of the peculiarities of this situation, it’s plausible that none of these options will prove a good one. . .

Trump cannot call on Moore to exit without raising questions as to why the charges against Moore are disqualifying while similar ones against him are nothing more than a fabrication created by a conspiracy between liberal elites and the “fake news” media.

In the end, there is a fair bit of poetic justice in Trump being stuck with this particular dilemma. Moore is feeding his voters a similar set of narratives about allegations against him that Trump has fed to his own voters for well over a year now. But Trump cannot call on Moore to step aside without undermining Moore’s efforts to pull the same scam — and putting his own agenda in serious peril." [Emphasis added.]

Read the Washington Post, The Roy Moore problem is now squarely on Trump.

UPDATE III: Do you doubt the accusers?

Read The New Yorker, Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore’s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall.

UPDATE II:  Read also the Washington Post, Ignore the spin. Trump and the GOP have made a devil’s bargain with Roy Moore., which notes that the aim of Trump and his syncophant media enablers is to confuse people about what happened and dissuade them from . . . [making] a judgment as to whose account is the more credible one."

UPDATE: "Roy Moore may or may not become a U.S. senator, but he was fortunate that the explosive allegations about him pursuing relationships with teenage girls (one as young as 14) while he was in his 30s emerged at a time in his party’s history when it had been preparing for years to defend something like this.

If Moore’s political ambitions survive, he’ll have President Trump — and the way the GOP, in service to Trump, abandoned any pretense of moral principle — to thank.

Moore is insisting that The Post’s story is all a bunch of lies engineered by people who want to silence Christians like him. He’s even using it as a fundraising tool, asking supporters to contribute so that he can fight back against 'the forces of evil' and 'The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs.'

But if you read the story, it’s almost impossible to believe it isn’t true. Our reporters found four different women, none of whom know each other, telling similar stories of Moore pursuing them when they were teenagers. They didn’t come forward themselves — the reporters, after hearing rumors that apparently had been circulating in Alabama for years, tracked them down and convinced them to share their stories. They have nothing to gain. Relatives and friends corroborate the stories. . .

[The GOP] response gets at two essential things about the GOP. The first is that for Republicans in 2017, there is no such thing as truth. There is only what you want to hear and wish to believe, and anything else can be ignored or explained away. This is the result of an epistemological project that dates back decades, most especially since the founding of Fox News in 1996. From the beginning, the ideology Fox pounded into the heads of Republicans was not only that the mainstream media are biased against them, but that anything the mainstream media says can be dismissed out of hand as nothing but lies, no matter how factual it might appear. The only thing you should believe is what you hear from conservative sources.

That belief system achieved its apotheosis with the nomination of Trump, the most promiscuous liar in American political history. After years of being fed a diet of insane stories about their political opponents — Bill and Hillary Clinton had dozens of their enemies murdered, Barack Obama was born in Kenya — they were perfectly happy to swallow whatever tripe Trump tossed at them. When you hear the phrase, “if it turns out to be true,” this is a line coming from a party that has waged a brutal and systematic assault on the very idea of objective truth.

The second vital feature of today’s GOP is that Trump has led Republicans to a place where there is essentially no behavior that they cannot countenance. This is certainly Trump’s fault. But we shouldn’t excuse Republicans — after getting over some initial qualms, they quite happily followed him down into the moral sewer.

The seminal event in that descent was the release of the 'Access Hollywood' tape, in which the future president bragged about his ability to commit sexual assault with impunity. When it came out, some Republicans condemned it, but they got over their distaste pretty quickly and rallied behind him. When more than a dozen women came forward and said that Trump had groped them, kissed them against their will or otherwise assaulted them, Republicans ignored it or explained it away. To this day, it is the position of the White House that all those women are liars, something I have heard no Republicans dispute.

But that’s hardly all. In the age of Trump, Republicans have taken the position that a hostile power meddling in American elections is no big deal, not even if they got help from people inside the president’s campaign. They’ve stuck with the president as he said that those marching alongside neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were 'very fine people,' as he installed his family members into positions of power, and as he used the office of the presidency, which they once claimed they had such deep respect for, as a vehicle to enhance his own wealth.

In short, the Republican Party has made amply clear that it holds no moral principle above seizing and maintaining power. So a U.S. Senate candidate hit on teenage girls as a man in his 30s? If he can get away with it, Republicans can live with it." [Emphasis added.]

Read the Washington Post, The Roy Moore mess actually began with the Trump ‘Access Hollywood’ tape.

Republi-CONs really have no principles and values, or shame anymore.

Read the Washington Post, Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32, which is a detailed and creditable investigation (as much as Republi-CONs will label it FAKE NEWS).

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

Or as the kids might say: 'Karma's a b**** '.