GOP Message Being Tarnished by Their Own Dishonesty & Corruption…And that GOP message has been badly distorted by Trump & his echo.  This is not your grandfather’s GOP.  It’s not even the same GOP I’ve supported for a lifetime till they recently went off the rails.  I’m disgusted at what’s become of them, so although my center-right views have never aligned that well with the Dems, they’ve become by far my preferred choice.  Even as the energy of their party has shifted towards far-left progressivism that I’m not comfortable with, it’s still a no-brainer compared to the toxic, extremist, deceitful, divisive, irrational, selfish & immoral pile of ash heap that now defines the Republican Party.  With the GOP message having come to serve a cult in allegiance to their authoritarian king, it now appears they will stoop to any level in dragging down the Constitution & deploying their fascist state.  The Republican Party is also undermining our basic values.  They’re a bunch of cheats as seen posted here in the opening to www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/opinion/republicans-trump-democracy.html:

A number of observers, myself included, have written pieces in recent years arguing that the Republican Party is no longer simply trying to compete with and defeat the Democratic Party on a level playing field. Today, rather than simply playing the game, the Republicans are simultaneously trying to rig the game’s rules so that they never lose. The aggressive gerrymandering, which the Supreme Court just declared to be a matter beyond its purview; the voter suppression schemes; the dubious proposals that haven’t gone anywhere — yet — like trying to award presidential electoral votes by congressional district rather than by state, a scheme that Republicans in five states considered after the 2012 election and that is still discussed: These are not ideas aimed at invigorating democracy. They are hatched and executed for the express purpose of essentially fixing elections.

We have been brought up to believe that American political parties are the same — that they are similar creatures with similar traits and similar ways of behaving. Political science spent decades teaching us this. The idea that one party has become so radically different from the other, despite mountains of evidence, is a tough sell. It’s a hard sell to make for one very simple reason: It doesn’t have a name, this thing the Republicans are trying to do. It’s not true democracy that they want. But it’s also a bit much to call them outright authoritarians. And there’s nothing in between.

The president’s relentless attacks on free speech & a free press are central to his tyrannical dreams:

axios.com/donald-trump-first-amendment-free-speech-press

salon.com/2019/07/04/a-conversation-with-the-enemy-of-the-people-cnns-jim-acosta-on-the-war-on-truth

Please spread the word in opposing the corrosive GOP message, as we need to take back our democracy:

thehill.com/opinion/campaign/451221-americans-must-get-mad-enough-to-reclaim-our-democracy

 

Trump’s 4th of July Celebration to Himself

Wanting to prove his critics wrong, the prez refrained from making his speech a partisan campaign event.  Instead, he provided a history lesson, proclaiming the Army stormed the airports to win our independence against the British during the Revolutionary War.  Thanks to the prez for that enlightening bit of info, I’ve never heard that before.  He blamed his faux pas on a malfunctioning teleprompter (he always blames anyone & anything else but himself).  But while Trump was looking back at the days George Washington deployed our B-52 bombers, as is his custom our current prez did not aspire to a greater future vision.  Here are articles on the happenings in DC from yesterday:

huffpost.com/entry/trump-revolutionary-war-airports-twitter-reax

slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/07/trumps-speech-at-the-salute-to-america-was-pretty-tame

thedailybeast.com/trumps-not-crazy-july-4-salute-to-america-speech-just-highlighted-norms-hes-crushed

salon.com/2019/07/05/donald-trump-wanted-a-big-patriotic-spectacle-all-he-got-was-a-damp-firecracker

nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/what-you-missed-at-trumps-july-4th-spectacular

dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/5/1869707/–Our-Army-manned-the-air-it-ran-the-ramparts-it-took-over-the-airports-it-did-everything-it-had

 

Census Fight in Court

After declaring defeat following his losing the Supreme Court census case, the prez got an earful from the echo & suddenly reversed course.  The decision from the justices was split, so this case also highlights the dangers of having an overtly partisan conservative court.  The Constitution requires every inhabitant be counted, which Trump wants to intimidate certain demographic groups not comprising his core base to stay in the shadows.  One of Trump’s cronies was even caught in a memo admitting they wanted to rig the census.  Trump is now pondering an executive order or some other phony excuse to justify the citizenship question.  Any such moves would run through the courts again, but the census forms are already being printed:

thedailybeast.com/2020-citizenship-census-question-trumps-tweet-shows-the-us-government-is-led-by-a-madman

thinkprogress.org/trumps-tweet-on-citizenship-question-surprises-everyone-including-administration-lawyers

salon.com/2019/07/05/trump-says-he-is-considering-an-executive-order-to-add-a-citizenship-question-to-the-2020-census

vox.com/2019/7/5/20683033/trump-executive-order-census-citizenship-question

 https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/07/trump-executive-order-census-citizenship-question.html

motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/07/trump-says-citizenship-question-needed-for-many-reasons-none-of-which-he-can-explain

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/05/trump-rages-over-his-latest-failure-corrupt-our-democracy

 

Evil is Evil

Some men have an entitlement mentality, but rape is rape:

salon.com/2019/07/03/how-trump-and-other-abusive-men-get-away-with-it-many-americans-will-overlook-sexual-assault

 

Amash Bolts the Insane Asylum

A lot more should be doing this, exit stage left.  The Trump cult & his newly minted GOP message may have damaged the party beyond repair:

 www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/justin-amash-our-politics-is-in-a-partisan-death-spiral-thats-why-im-leaving-the-gop

usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/04/justin-amash-says-hes-leaving-gop-4th-july-washington-post-oped

thinkprogress.org/just-one-republican-congress-member-called-for-trumps-impeachment-now-he-has-quit-the-party

thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/451474-kasich-republicans-are-in-a-coma

vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/5/20683110/justin-amash-leaves-gop-donald-trump-michigan

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/05/justin-amash-explains-why-gop-is-irredeemable

 

Stay Informed with New Books from Experts

They’ll help reveal why the GOP message has grown increasingly irrational in recent years.  One book will examine the cozy relationship between talk radio & the GOP, while the other will detail the Fox News-Trump partnership.  These books will tell the truth about the falsehoods, extremism & self-interests perpetrated by these partisan allegiances:

http://www.brianrosenwald.com/book

mediaite.com/print/cnns-brian-stelter-writing-a-book-about-fox-news-in-the-trump-era

 

Fox Fake News is King of the Echo in Support of Their Demagogue King

I really don’t despise our president.  It’s abundantly obvious he’s in over his head.  He’s just clueless/incompetent & being used as an oblivious tool for the radicalization of the right-wing.  But I do despise his personal traits which are awful.  I also despise the echo, as they’ve defiled the GOP message as they’re selling our nation down the river for ratings & profits.  And the echo relentlessly seeks political power.  Fox ultimately capitulated to the far-right narratives from crazy talk radio & social media platforms whom for years conditioned their followers into believing their bombardment of disinformation, so Fox simply gravitated towards that same mindset their conservative viewers were already programmed to think.  With their massive audience, Fox is the most influential messaging source in echo-world, which they discovered that transition into far-right psycho-land helped their ratings & earned the cooperation of the president.  A few of their nuttier hosts even double as co-presidents with Trump. 

This entire arrangement is corrosive, but it’s the Frankenstein monster that’s been unleashed upon our land, so it won’t be easy to persuade conservatives in the GOP base to collectively return to normal human thought processes within the bounds of sanity.  Many of them barricade themselves inside right-wing bubble-world & never venture out, so they only trust whatever Fox & the coordinated echo-machinery tell them.  It’s astounding how so many formerly logical patriotic Americans are willingly drinking the stale kool-aid, but that’s the power of persuasion when exposed to a regular diet of false messaging.  So after years of such echo-brainwashing, the GOP message is now poison.  It’s hurting all Americans regardless of party, yet the GOP base is blind to their own self-destructive agenda.  By the time they finally wake up, the damage may be permanent.  These articles offer a glimpse into the kind of damage Fox fake news is engaged in…    

Trump so often looks like a fool since he’s repeating the same nonsense spewed on Fox fake news: alternet.org/2019/07/how-fox-news-set-trump-up-to-be-a-laughingstock

Fox fake news does have a way of legitimizing &/or glorifying every little crazy or trivial or nonsensical or counterproductive thing Trump does: mediamatters.org/research/2019/07/01/fox-gushes-over-trumps-dmz-photo-op-while-foreign-policy-experts-slam-him-granting-legitimacy-north

North Korean TV & echo-TV are cut from the same cloth, since every dictator needs their state-run television to bamboozle the people into submission with unrelenting propaganda: dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/1/1868705/-Stunning-side-by-side-comparison-of-Fox-News-vs-North-Korean-state-propaganda

rawstory.com/2019/07/disturbingly-hilarious-daily-show-video-exposes-the-similarities-between-fox-news-and-north-korean-propaganda

It’s actually scary the number of people who watch insanity Hannity, presumably because they somehow trust what he says.  My initial reaction to the reverence expressed in this next article assumed the mind-numbing presence of gullibility or ignorance, which it could be a combination of both, but it’s horrifying to think there might be millions out in America just like her.  Personally I was always a GOP-supporting conservative with Fox being my go-to network, but I’ve broken that habit in recent years after such deceptively radical voices took over & have polluted their prime-time lineup: washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/01/te-amo-sean-hannitys-biggest-fan-says-hes-best-journalist 

The pitchforks with their poisoned tips of lies against Mueller are already being thrown around at Fox, being preemptive strikes over what he’s soon to tell Congress: salon.com/2019/06/28/fox-news-hosts-attack-muellers-credibility-i-dont-think-he-knows-the-details-of-the-report

Well, I do agree she’s definitely a racist, bigoted xenophobe: rawstory.com/2019/07/rep-joaquin-castro-calls-fox-news-host-laura-ingraham-a-white-supremacist

 

Other Extremist Echo Voices

The conservative media echo overall has mostly turned into lying propaganda that’s distorting the GOP message, but the GOP base seems fine with that.  Here’s the original echo blabbermouth:

mediamatters.org/video/2019/06/28/rush-limbaugh-rants-7-minutes-about-how-democrats-are-country-s-biggest-hate-group

 www.huffpost.com/entry/rush-limbaugh-migrants-toilet-water_

 

Since his switch from CNN to Fox Business years ago, this guy has gone psycho:

newsweek.com/snowflake-generals-fox-business-mocks-military-leaders-4th-july

 www.thewrap.com/lou-dobbs-generals-snowflakes

 

The echo industry is overrun with peddlers of fiction & far-right extremism, who have managed to hijack what once was the GOP message of pragmatic conservatism: mediaite.com/online/king-of-viral-outrage-how-ryan-saavedra-gamed-twitter-and-poached-content-to-rise-in-conservative-media

 

Deep-fake videos & fake websites, along with more intrusions from Russian bots, are all part of the GOP plot to once again steal a presidential election: mediaite.com/election-2020/one-of-the-webs-most-popular-joe-biden-websites-reportedly-run-by-trump-consultant

 

The Truth is Irrelevant to Them

Trump is unleashing his corrupt congressional cronies & legal attack dogs against Mueller for his coming hearings, spreading lies & conspiracies which have zero connections to the actual truth:

politico.com/story/2019/07/01/house-republicans-robert-mueller-testimony

thedailybeast.com/team-trumps-game-plan-to-destroy-robert-mueller-testimony-hound-him-about-fbi-lovers

 

At least the dumbest member of Congress, Louie Gomer Pyle, does have a way with words: lawandcrime.com/high-profile/gop-lawmaker-russia-report-only-reinforced-the-anal-opening-that-i-believe-mueller-to-be

 

If Trump were truly innocent, GOP committee members could just sit back & let Mueller have his say.  But in trying to cover up the president’s guilt, their plan is to unleash those predictable lies & conspiracies designed to blame the investigators.  In a rational world, such preposterous claims would never get traction, but Trump henchmen know the echo & their base will totally buy in.  As we’ve seen the past couple years, some of these Trump loyalist/echo conspiracies are such obvious lies they fall apart almost immediately.  Others gain enough traction that it takes awhile longer before they die on the vine.  Still others get so ingrained in the psyche of the faithful, they latch on & linger like a parasite that won’t let go.  Those are the falsehoods these shameless GOP reps will again trot out there to muddy the waters when Mueller comes to Congress, as seen in excerpts pulled from washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/01/new-gop-attacks-mueller-will-backfire-trump-bigly:

Given that Robert S. Mueller III’s findings supposedly amounted to “total exoneration” for President Trump, you might be puzzled to learn that Trump’s top allies are spending enormous amounts of time scheming about how to undermine the former special counsel’s credibility and cast doubt on those findings. With Mueller set to testify to Congress on July 17, Politico reports that Trump’s leading Republicans defenders in the House are putting together a new battle plan that will finally expose the Mueller investigation once and for all as the fraud it has always been. If Mueller’s investigation exonerated Trump, you would think the best strategy for Trump’s allies would be to simply sit back while Mueller describes his findings in as detailed and unvarnished way as possible. Oddly enough, that’s not what they’re planning on doing.

 

The monumental absurdity at the core of this disconnect is the reason this strategy is likely to backfire on Trump. Yet, at the same time, the very existence of this strategy, despite its obvious ridiculousness, opens a window on how the Trump propaganda network wields disinformation, and how in certain respects, it does serve his ends. The Republicans developing this strategy explained it in multiple interviews with Politico. They include Trump’s most determined bodyguards against scrutiny and accountability on Capitol Hill, such as Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Matt Gaetz (Fla.). These modern-day Clarence Darrows intend to ruthlessly expose “that Mueller’s team was biased against the president from the start and that the Russia investigation was tainted by inappropriate surveillance,” as Politico puts it.

 

Some of these lines of attack are matters Republicans have already obsessed over endlessly. They will try again to reveal that early surveillance warrants were improperly obtained. So far, those efforts have ended up producing nothing more than buffoonish pratfalls such as the comically ill-fated “Nunes memo.” Then there are those texts between FBI agents, which were supposed to prove that the FBI tried to derail Trump’s candidacy. They didn’t actually prove anything of the sort.

 

Mueller did not find enough evidence to charge anyone in Trumpworld with a deliberate criminal conspiracy. That is nothing like what Jordan claims. But the monumental distortion that Mueller found no “collusion,” which is meant to imply that he found no wrongdoing or misconduct of any kind, will serve as the foundation for the line of questioning designed to undermine Mueller. In other words, the Republican line of attack is basically: So when, exactly, did you reach this conclusion that you never actually reached — that no wrongdoing or misconduct of any kind took place — and how long did you conceal this nonexistent conclusion from the American people?

 

But what this all illustrates is how this kind of disinformation is supposed to work. Jordan knows that the real intended audience for these attacks on Mueller — that is, the Trump base — exists in an alternate universe where Mueller found no corruption or wrongdoing whatsoever. He also knows pro-Trump media can be counted on to spin the events at the Mueller hearings — no matter what happens — into proof of that nonexistent total exoneration, and into proof that Mueller nefariously concealed the nonexistent total exoneration, too. The fact that so many previous efforts to unmask the Mueller investigation as illegitimate imploded proves the point: Those implosions do not complicate the spinning of this alt-narrative in the least, because in spite of them, the alt-narrative’s purveyors just keep on claiming it has been proved right.

 

That Evil Mindset of Extremism, Deceit, Hypocrisy & Selfishness has Permeated the Far-Right

Another example of a “family values” GOP rep: buzzfeednews.com/article/dominicholden/duncan-hunter-affairs-charges-mixing-business-pleasure

This may be the mentality of the typical Trumpeter, always denying the obvious: www.rawstory.com/2019/06/watch-trump-fan-has-a-fake-news-meltdown-after-being-told-president-boasted-he-could-shoot-someone

 

Who’s the real terrorist group?  Antifa is bad with many having a violent criminal mindset, but as we’ve seen, their incidents tend not to be deadly like some of the attacks by white nationalists:

vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/3/20677645/antifa-portland-andy-ngo-proud-boys

www.salon.com/2019/07/04/patriot-prayer-is-building-a-violent-movement-in-portland

 

That entire far-right tribal movement is both evil & cruel:

theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/alt-right-tactics

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/03/migrant-dentention-centres-us-border-patrol

businessinsider.com/photos-dhs-overcrowding-migrant-detention-facilities-texas

esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a28277138/migrant-detention-facilities-inspector-general-report

rawstory.com/2019/06/this-was-the-week-it-became-accurate-to-compare-trump-to-hitler

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/03/not-even-republicans-approve-trumps-cruelty-toward-immigrants

nytimes.com/2019/07/05/opinion/trump-july-4.html

newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-inoffensive-war-on-reality

 

Faith & Politics

In our Part 3’s on the weekends I often suggest Dems should do a better job of appealing to the blue collar & rural working class, but they also need to do a better job of speaking to those of faith.  Many moderates & conservatives alike can’t be pleased with the GOP’s divisive embrace of stubbornly uncompromising & disingenuous tribal self-interests, so Dems need not concede those constituencies over to Trump: theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/2020-democrats-are-talking-about-religious-faith.

In his so-called pursuit of MAGA, for Trump it’s really all about glorifying himself.  But he’s in the process of badly tarnishing the image of the GOP & evangelical church, if not ultimately outright destroying them.  As a consequence, he’s tarnishing the image & moral fabric of America which could ultimately/potentially wind up destroying our country.  This prez is indeed leading the way in abandoning our core values, showering us with unchecked dishonesty, immorality & divisiveness.  Christians of faith do (or should) no doubt understand we can’t fight evil with evil.  But for evangelicals to equate President Trump with King Cyrus in biblical times is quite a stretch, since it appears our current prez’s support & calling originated not so much from God, but Russian bots & far-right echo-media.  So evangelicals who blindly follow Trump are also blind to the real damage they’re doing to their own evangelical church & the witness of their faith: dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/4/1869525/-Trump-As-Antichrist

Here are previews to the final article: rawstory.com/2019/07/trumps-moral-freak-show-will-permanently-stain-christianity-according-to-this-prominent-former-evangelical & also inside alternet.org/2019/07/trump-is-causing-a-deepening-crisis-in-evangelical-christianity-and-it-will-only-get-worse-report, which this unholy scenario has indeed become a crisis as explained in excerpts from theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/evangelical-christians-face-deepening-crisis/593353:

There’s a very high cost to our politics for celebrating the Trump style, but what is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness. Nonchalantly jettisoning the ethic of Jesus in favor of a political leader who embraces the ethic of Thrasymachus and Nietzsche—might makes right, the strong should rule over the weak, justice has no intrinsic worth, moral values are socially constructed and subjective—is troubling enough. But there is also the undeniable hypocrisy of people who once made moral character, and especially sexual fidelity, central to their political calculus and who are now embracing a man of boundless corruptions. Don’t forget: Trump was essentially named an unindicted co-conspirator (“Individual 1”) in a scheme to make hush-money payments to a porn star who alleged she’d had an affair with him while he was married to his third wife, who had just given birth to their son.

 

While on the Pacific Coast last week, I had lunch with Karel Coppock, whom I have known for many years and who has played an important role in my Christian pilgrimage. In speaking about the widespread, reflexive evangelical support for the president, Coppock—who is theologically orthodox and generally sympathetic to conservatism—lamented the effect this moral freak show is having, especially on the younger generation. With unusual passion, he told me, “We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.” Coppock mentioned to me the powerful example of St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who was willing to rebuke the Roman Emperor Theodosius for the latter’s role in massacring civilians as punishment for the murder of one of his generals. Ambrose refused to allow the Church to become a political prop, despite concerns that doing so might endanger him. Ambrose spoke truth to power. (Theodosius ended up seeking penance, and Ambrose went on to teach, convert, and baptize St. Augustine.) Proximity to power is fine for Christians, Coppock told me, but only so long as it does not corrupt their moral sense, only so long as they don’t allow their faith to become politically weaponized. Yet that is precisely what’s happening today.

 

He (Labberton) adds, “The Church is in one of its deepest moments of crisis—not because of some election result or not, but because of what has been exposed to be the poverty of the American Church in its capacity to be able to see and love and serve and engage in ways in which we simply fail to do. And that vocation is the vocation that must be recovered and must be made real in tangible action.” There are countless examples of how such tangible action can be manifest. But as a starting point, evangelical Christians should acknowledge the profound damage that’s being done to their movement by its braided political relationship—its love affair, to bring us back to the words of Ralph Reed—with a president who is an ethical and moral wreck. Until that is undone—until followers of Jesus are once again willing to speak truth to power rather than act like court pastors—the crisis in American Christianity will only deepen, its public testimony only dim, its effort to be a healing agent in a broken world only weaken. At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether that really matters to many of Donald Trump’s besotted evangelical supporters.