Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Putin Owns Trump

For more than I year I've said that "Putin has the kompromat to control Trump, and Trump knows it since he knows his own compromising financial and personal information."

Now, more and more people are asking the question.

Read the Washington Post, We just watched a U.S. president acting on behalf of a hostile power, which states in part:

"President Donald Trump habitually calls the press 'the enemy of the people' — a loathsome calumny, redolent of dictatorships, that he repeated on Sunday. In fact, by asking tough questions at Trump’s joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, reporters once again showed that they are the sentinels of America democracy. If anyone is 'the enemy of the people,' it is Trump himself.

Those are words I never thought I would write about an American president — even one as boorish and bigoted as Trump. But after his appalling performance in Helsinki at what CNN’s John King aptly called the “surrender summit,” questions about Trump’s loyalty to the American people will only intensify. Indeed, the question came up at the news conference itself. The Associated Press’s Jonathan Lemire courageously asked 'does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?'

Think of how extraordinary — how unprecedented — that moment was. Can you imagine a similar question being asked about any previous U.S. president? I can’t. In the past, the only people who questioned the loyalty of U.S. presidents were crazy conspiracy theorists such as the John Birchers, who accused President Dwight Eisenhower of being a Russian agent — or the birthers, including Trump, who questioned whether President Barack Obama was really born in the United States. But today the question of where the president’s loyalties lie is a legitimate one, and it will only grow in urgency after Putin deflected the question about whether he had kompromat on Trump. . .

In the past week I have asked two senior, retired U.S. intelligence officers who spent most of their careers focused on Russia how they would characterize the Putin-Trump relationship. Independently of each other, they both said, 'Putin has something on Trump.'"

Read also the Washington Post, George F. Will: Our ‘America first’ president put America last in Helsinki, which asks:

"America’s child president had a playdate with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing daycare. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democrat closely associated with such Democratic national security stalwarts as Sen. Henry Jackson and former Sen. and former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations. In her speech to the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, she explained her disaffection from her party: 'They always blame America first.' In Helsinki, the president who bandies the phrase 'America first' put himself first, as always, and America last, behind Vladimir Putin's regime.

Because the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco, Kirkpatrick branded the 'blame America first' cohort as 'San Francisco Democrats.' Thirty-four years on, how numerous are the 'Helsinki Republicans'?"

Monday, July 2, 2018

Only We Can Stop Hating, Part 2

"On Thursday, after five people were brutally gunned down in a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, President Donald Trump was repeatedly pressed to comment on the bloodshed and to offer condolences to grieving family members. As he strode across the White House lawn, he said nothing.

This sets up a test going forward for Trump. Will he now refrain from heaping abuse and vitriol on reporters, and from whipping up his supporters into frenzies of rage at them? If the answer is what I expect to be, this will also implicate one of our biggest debates right now - the one over 'civility' and the appropriate ways of expressing political anger at a time when there is a great deal of it. . .

[W]e cannot seriously debate the 'civility' question without placing the role of Trump's deliberate provocations in causing all the anger front and center.

Trump's own advisers have explicitly said they see stirring up anger around immigration and race as a political strategy. Stephen Miller called this 'constructive controversy - with the purpose of enlightenment.' Steve Bannon enthused that 'our thing is to throw gasoline on the resistance.'

To Edsall's credit, he notes this, observing that Trump's race-baiting is designed to energize his base and lure liberals into using the 'racist' slur, but urges liberals not to fall into that 'trap.' But this understates the case. Out of a desire to solidify his hold on his base - that is, a shriveled white minority - Trump's racist provocations are also doing great civic damage to the country and hurting untold numbers of real people. . .

Trump is actively trying to divide the country in all kinds of ways. This is getting a lot of people angry. But that is Trump's goal. Even if the emotion at times strays out of control in counter-productive ways, let's get real: This is not the kind of public anger that can easily be managed or channeled, given the scale of the deliberate provocations that are producing it. The 'civility' conversation is way out of balance: Its focus needs to be squarely not on the perpetrators of the anger, or the victims of the provocations, but on the real cause-and-effect chain here - and on the terrible toll it is inflicting, one that could grow more horrifying."

Read the Washington Post, After shooting, will Trump stop abusing journalists? Let's revisit that conversation about 'civility.'

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