Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

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Bennies and a Rabies Shot

April 16, 2018

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Last night as part of my Sunday routine, I tuned in to Homeland on Showtime.  Homeland makes every effort to create engaging drama sourced from current events and in the process, can both educate and entertain.  In this recent episode, I learned a lot about the 25th amendment as a means to depose a sitting president.  In it, the fictional president fires four of her cabinet in order to stop a potential vote to remove her from office, thereby eliminating the possibility that the cabinet could get the eight required votes necessary to accomplish their goal.  Hmmmm.

But what if the President fired just the cabinet who had expressed a dissenting opinion over time and replaced them with lesser qualified loyalists who had long ago drank his Koolaid?  That would do it, no?  Hmmmm.

You’re not going to hear anyone talk about that, for sure, but in the age of Trump is that so far out?

To be sure, Trump is always calculating, measuring, conspiring, misdirecting but consistently on a singular path to fulfill his own greedy ends, the satiation of his personal appetites.  After destroying all opposition with overwhelming verbal abuse, a sole survivor, Jim Comey, decides to drop his Boy Scout pocket knife and bring a gun to the gunfight, only to face criticism as the Boy Scout who has learned the middle finger salute and is using it for the first time.

The Trump response is to trot out the big gun–not many left in the Trump circle. Steven Miller has been forever banned for his last failed and embarrassing performance leaving only Kellyanne Conway as the one person who can string two words together cohesively.  Considering Trump’s Twitters and his pitiful prompter speeches, a President that can’t spell and has trouble reading is no equal to the rapid-fire, machine-gun mouth of a crazed surrogate who speaks as if she has just downed a bottle of Bennies and missed her Rabies shot update at the kennel.

Have we already submitted to this endlessly-repeated, lopsided narrative or is there room for dissent, even from a wayward boy scout incapable of lying?

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Bizarro World

April 14, 2018

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Looking back over the past year, I find myself wishing for things I never thought I would wish for, like please Dear Lord, keep Jeff Sessions in office.  Don’t let anything happen to that nasty little racist, or hey, I think I could have been OK with Jeb Bush, maybe even Mitt Romney. After all, they were millionaires too. So was Hilary. In fact, they all were, every last one of them. But Mr. Counterpunch decimated them all, all 16 primary contenders, nutty Republicans for the most part, but not as nutty as Trump, and then even Hilary, tough old broad as she was.  She survived her husband, Bill Clinton but could not survive Trump.  Why is that?  What’s so special about Trump?

Trump defined a new political game, far advanced from old-school mudslinging.  No, he added insults and humiliation, lying and bullying his way through every old-school candidate with his juvenile, schoolyard tactics until he created Trump nation, a body of simple-minded supporters who bought into the notion that Trump was not the anti-Christ, but the true savior.  Marco Rubio may have been the only candidate that tried to take Trump on at his own level and the voters eviscerated him for it.  Why was Little Marco treated so badly and Trump hailed so boldly? After all, this was a big dick contest from the start. Marco knew that and called him out but he was no match for Mr. Counterpunch.

And so, after the election the many stunned GOP losers circled the wagons to lick their wounds and all too readily, happily donned their “I’m with Stupid” T-shirts and went off in search of the promised land of their new savior, the Great America they once knew, the dream of a false prophet, while the Democrats were left reeling, trying to craft a new antidote for the ever-mutating virus.  But no one thought to attack Trump on his home turf, to use Trump tactics to de-fang the beast, meet him head on and counterpunch his counterpunch ten times harder.  No, they were all playing the game by the old rules, ever respectful, trying to maintain the high ground.  Unlike Obama, who was alone in the ability to do so because he never wandered from the high ground, they had already been tainted long before stepping up to the plate to take a few practice swings. Too late, they had already relinquished the moral high ground.  They were not pure.  They were vulnerable. Even Obama did not realize how truly unique he was. Bernie or Elizabeth might have been able to don his mantle, but they were not allowed to.  It was not their time.  It was not their turn.  The battle was to be fought on a different playing field, one the Democrats thought would be an easy win with a middle of the road corporatist candidate, everything that Trump railed against but secretly embraced.

Now with the release of his new book, James Comey steps in as a pinch-hitter and swings for the fences.  He embraces Trump’s tactics and agrees to take him on with 10x counterpunches.  Finally, someone who understands Trump faces him head-on.  But already, the media swarms around Comey like flies around dead meat, emphasizing his style as untoward that of the formerly pristine reputation garnered by a career straight-shooter who had made a single mistake but had always known how to tow the line and had now crossed it. So what, if it’s revenge served cold?  So what, if it’s the absolute truth? The media attacked the messenger as if he had departed his earthly body to inhabit Bizarro world without a license.

 

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Our Zombie President

April 12, 2018

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Day after day, the nation hangs in suspense, making the morning pilgrimage to the den.  Parked on the couch in the light of the flatscreen we await the morning’s news, wishing for something, anything, a tidbit of hope, a scrap of information that will confirm the demise of the corrupt Trump administration. But each day as the casualties mount–none are spared, both the incompetent and the capable, the criminal and the innocent—the many appointees and staff flee in disgrace or are dismissed unceremoniously by our Zombie President who continues to return from the dead and refuses to die. What would kill any other president fails to kill the Zombie. No scandal is big enough. Sexual misconduct is no longer sufficient.  The totality of his fumbling errors and his egregious bullying, his many lies and confusing and contradictory tweets, his inaction and policy failures, all are not able to take him down.  The mountains of criticism by virtually every media outlet in print, television and internet, cannot seem to adequately combat the propaganda of Fox News and Breitbart and the cover given by the support of a once legitimate party cowering in Trump’s shadow, waiting in fear for the falling crumbs from his table or the next shoe to drop. And so here we are, organizing and waiting, demoralized in disbelief that this crazy scenario continues.

Now it falls to one man, a designated savior, to lead the cavalry charge into the fog of the swamp to find the poison pill, the antidote for this nightmare, Trump’s Kryptonite.  But it would seem that no single antidote is enough, no wooden stake, no silver bullet, no crucifix, no garlic nor raging fire, not even sunlight can diminish the flailing of this undead president.  Now as House Speaker Ryan commits himself to not seek re-election, it would seem that even the most entrenched villagers are leaving the scorched political landscape to make their personal lives “great again.”  Forget about saving the ship, just save yourselves.  The lifeboats are already in the water for the many House Republicans who will not be seeking re-election.  Goodwill is not enough.  Honor is a thing of the past.  Integrity must be preserved at the cost of renewed public service in a combative and stifling environment of neutralized action. Smart people move on.  What does that say about Trump?

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Shooting Themselves In The Foot.

March 30, 2018

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When Laura Ingraham set off on a tweet rampage to demean young David Hogg she unwittingly took on the wrong person.  She criticized David, who incidentally has a 4.2 grade average, for having failed to be admitted to four different colleges. David is one of the leading voices emerging from the Stoneman Douglas shootings, so how is her tweet relevant to the issues surrounding gun control?  Her inference is that he is not a good enough student to have a meaningful opinion.  It’s the lowest kind of smear, a cowardly personal attack on a young high school student, one that she obviously thought would be easy for her to pull off.  After all, she’s a powerful host on a Fox News show with a significant audience and influence and he’s just a young kid new to the public eye. She could not have been more wrong because she stepped into a pile of her own doo and slipped.  In an instant, Goliath had fallen to the young David.

How did this happen?  It’s significant to realize that she chose Twitter as the battlefield for her hate campaign, not her news program.  This was a calculated move.  I’m sure she thought this gave Fox News cover while allowing them to attack young David off-air through her, personally on Twitter. Ah, but if you think Fox was not behind it, then you are surely wrong.  How else did she learn that David had been rejected by four colleges if not through Fox. Don’t be fooled into believing that she took it upon herself to seek damaging information on young David.  No, this was done by Fox researchers and cleverly calculated to avoid negative public reaction by focusing Fox’s message to her devoted followers on Twitter. It reads like this, “David is too stupid to know what he is talking about.”

So, young David set about on a campaign of his own, shaming no less than eight sponsors to her show to drop their advertising. Ouch.  Backtracking under the cover of being in a generous mood during Holy Week, Ingraham apologized, but her efforts to repair the financial damage were in vain as David had the last word: “”She’s only apologizing after a third of her advertisers pulled out…I think it’s great that corporate America is standing with me and the rest of my friends because when you come against any one of us, whether it be me or anybody else, you’re coming against all of us. And I think it’s important that we stand together as both corporate and civic America to take action against these people and show them that they cannot push us around, especially when all we’re trying to do here is save lives.”

Ingraham apologized again to David after his rebuke.  In a second Tweet, she commended him for his 4.2 GPA and reminded him that her show was the first to feature him, making him a recognizable figure in the aftermath of the shootings at his school.

Hogg responded on CNN, “I think it’s really disgusting, the fact that she basically tried promoting her show after apologizing to me.”

Ingraham’s misplaced effort is but one of several examples of just how callous and insensitive GOP and NRA cheerleaders can be. Earlier in the week, Rick Santorum had this to say on CNN’s State of the Union: “How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.”

He went on to say that “if the rallies are about more than politics, then the country needs to have a broader discussion that doesn’t revolve around phony gun laws that don’t work” adding, “They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem?’ ”

Just how did Santorum wander into this wasteland of ideas?  He followed his convictions rather than any wisdom.  There’s an old adage shared by carpenters.  It goes like this, “Measure twice.  Cut once.” Santorum and Ingraham need to heed this advice and think twice before uttering such ridiculous and hateful comments.  Unfortunately, we now live in the age of Trump and these types of expressions have been given permission to form our new normal. We don’t have to accept it.  Think twice. For now, they are aiming at you and only shooting themselves in the foot.  Tomorrow may be different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Managing Elections Through Chaos

March 27, 2018

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Elections are decisions.  Before a voter can make a good decision, the voter must be comfortable enough to regard the basis for the decision as being true.  If the truth is in doubt, the voter must weigh the various possibilities and try to sort the facts from the fictions. The more facts and fictions that exist, the more difficult the task.  At a certain point, the scales tip and chaos is achieved.  While some may understand the truth intuitively, chaos will invariably skim off many who hold uncertainties and the result will always be that some have elected to follow the course laid by falsehood.  Others will be reduced to inaction through a stalemate of opposing ideas and give up the cause.

Disinformation is a practice that has been and is being used today, by every intelligence agency in the world.  It is used to manage whole populations and affect national and international policy. In its mildest form, it is called propaganda, which does not necessarily contain falsehoods but can strictly by omission represent a form of heightened opinion supporting a policy position with a firm bias.

The purpose of disinformation is first to short circuit decisive action. This is typically done through fake news, saturating the media with many alternate versions masquerading as fact in order to create confusion and force a stalemate of democratic response. By spreading chaos, the truth becomes irrelevant because the numbers of those who can identify the truth are reduced. Chaos is effective.

Plausible deniability incubates in such an environment and allows the offenders, the creators of the disinformation to point to the chaos of their own creation and label it as simply conspiracy theories or ironically, fake news. It allows them to represent an unsupported position as a real possibility.

To be sure, it has created chaos.  Chaos is the very purpose of disinformation.  In this light, we must take Donald Trump at his word, “I like chaos” and recognize him for what he is, the chief agent of disinformation, the disseminator of fake news, not the victim of it.  He is not plausibly deniable. He revels in his fabrications, preying on the gullible, the naive and the innocent, the ones who think times have changed for the worse but do not understand why. Neither he nor anyone else can take us backwards to a future of greatness reveling in the chaos of disinformation.

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The Opioid​ Phoenix Riseth.

March 26, 2018

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It’s common knowledge that Kellyanne Conway is a successful pollster.  Her success in predicting Trump’s voter response during the campaign ensured her a place at the table in Trump’s Whitehouse. Largely used as a media surrogate, Kellyanne Conway was one of the loudest cheerleaders for the many of Trump’s questionable thoughts, actions and misdeeds, until she fell out of favor with the media and disappeared from the scene temporarily, only to emerge recently in a new form, as the Opioid Czar.

When I saw her the other day on the news, she seemed for the first time quite reasonable and on point. Focused and succinctly to the point, she made a compelling case for what needed to be done and offered several solutions that she would implement to combat the opioid crisis. No one has ever doubted her success, or her intelligence, or her loyalty to Trump, but the application of her talents to maintain a morally void and corrupt administration, through the use of spin and schoolyard tactics, has established a deplorable record for her since Trump took office.  Her repetitive deflections, predictable as they were, became old news and had the tired pall of that old schoolyard taunt, “I know you are but what am I?” C’mon Kellyanne, is that the best you can do?   The indefatigable energy and enthusiasm you brought to the daily combat seemed to indicate that you relished the process, so one has to question, just what is the source of this burning drive?  Can it be as simple as just misplaced values, or is there some other payday?

To look at the significance of her role, one must look at the Trump campaign holistically.  It was a many-pronged assault and unfortunately, the media has approached its analysis of the events as a modular problem to be deconstructed not a holistic one to be pieced together.  As Jared Kushner orchestrated communications between Cambridge Analytica, social media and his Russian connections, someone was needed to provide the necessary feedback to determine the effectiveness of his strategy–enter polling and Kellyanne Conway.

So, one has to ask, “Did Kellyanne Conway know about this intertwined relationship and therefore was she involved in Russian collusion or at the very least conspiracy to tamper with the election process?” Kellyanne had to have known about Cambridge, as the effectiveness of that campaign strategy could only be verified through her polling, which required targeting to determine.  Was her polling of Michigan and other swing states coordinated to complete the process?  To what extent was she involved?  It’s hard to believe that one so ardent was left in the dark and was acting altruistically, especially in the face of such blatant manifestations of malfeasance and suspicious activities.

Mueller should look at the focus of her polling and the timing to determine whether her role was as a willing participant in stealing an election.

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Brothers Under The Skin

March 21, 2018

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Yesterday President Trump called Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his election victory.  In view of the many issues swirling around Russia’s malevolent practices in world affairs, election meddling, infrastructure hacking and the assassinations of political opponents, and considering Russia’s military activities in the Ukraine and Syria, taken together in the absence of substantive sanctions approved by Congress yet to be implemented by President Trump, it would seem obvious that a congratulatory call from the office of the so-called “Leader of the Free World” to one of its most aggressive transgressors would be inappropriate at best.  The fact that Trump would want this call to remain secret is not just bad optics but reveals malignant intent.

Yes, it has been reported that Trump is furious that the simple fact that he made the call has been leaked.  While not against the law to make such a call, his reaction and the reaction of others supporting him is to focus a light on the leakers and away from the action itself. Marco Rubio, in particular, revealed his true colors when he stated that he was more troubled by the leak than by the event and angrily added that “if you don’t like working for the President, resign your job.”  Perhaps Rubio does not understand that the leaker does not work for Trump personally, but is employed by the citizens of this country through its government, to whom they are responsible and have a higher loyalty.

To suggest that an employment issue takes precedence over a moral issue diminishes the importance of the electorate’s need to know the facts.  WHERE IS THIS NATION GOING AND WHY?  Does Trump’s admiration for Putin and other “strongmen” reveal itself as an imitation of their tactics of lies and secrecy or is it something much deeper, an inherent character flaw?   Lies and secrecy are always an obstruction.  Action or lack thereof is a form of collusion.

How can democracy work, if every action of its leaders must remain a secret?  Without leakers and whistleblowers, the innermost workings of corrupt individuals and organizations cannot be exposed. An uninformed electorate is an impotent electorate.  Offhand remarks like the one made by Rubio are most revealing.  Rather than a scripted response or a carefully managed statement, spontaneous remarks like his reveal their truth.  In this case, it reveals that Rubio joins Trump and Putin as “brothers under the skin.”