Real Damage to Our Nation Being Done with Trump Train Wreck!…All through our commentaries & posted articles here in Part 2 today, we see strong signals this Trump train wreck is not the type of leadership America needs.  Of course, we could say that of the info in all our blog posts!  For one of many examples, thanks to you-know-who, the United States is slipping on the worldwide corruption index as found inside trump-corruption-america-index-2018 & also united-states-slips-corruption-index.  In the next link, shysters Trump & Stone learned their corrupt con man ways from one of the best, disciples of McCarthyism through Roy Cohn, where truth & virtue are deemed irrelevant since getting one’s own way is all that matters: wheres-my-roy-cohn-review-damning-documentary-on-villainous-lawyer.  Trump may go down as the worst president ever & he’s well on his way, with the only viable comparison being with this former president: mellman-trump-the-andrew-johnson-of-our-time.  John McCain’s daughter said in a recent interview, that like many of us, she’s very disturbed by the direction of the GOP onboard the Trump train wreck.  Comments from her are seen here from meghan-mccain-says-trump-apos:

While she still calls herself a conservative, she is gravely concerned about where the right is headed. “Something will come out of this in one way or another―I just don’t know if it will be the traditional Republican Party because Trump changed it so much and it’s not what I recognize anymore and its character seems to be gone,” she said. What’s missing, McCain said, is the decency that members of the party, including her father, once embraced. McCain added that the GOP’s new brand “scares me a lot.”

More Signals of Trump Train Wreck

Under the tutelage of the prez, the GOP is in danger of imploding through their failed leadership & adherence to a narrative of pure nonsense.  The cult-like buffoonery that increasingly defines the party is brought out in this entire article from veteran-atlanta-journalist-breaks-degeneration-republican-party-era-donald-trump.  Some good stuff in here!:

Veteran journalist Jay Bookman wrote an extensive thread on how the modern Republican Party has managed to deteriorate into an embarrassment and a catastrophe in the era of Donald Trump. “The modern GOP has degenerated into a group of people who have agreed to tell each other and believe impossible but reassuring things, to the point that the willingness to eagerly believe all those impossible things has become the glue that holds a crumbling party together,” began the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter. When it comes to the issues like Mexico paying for the US border wall, the conspiracy theories about climate change and science and the GOP’s scam tax bill, Republicans have tried to win arguments with absolute nonsense.

“It wasn’t always like this. GOP leadership once understood that such things were nonsense, that you might say them but never act upon them, and it governed accordingly. But over time, those who knew such things to be basic nonsense were RINO’d out by those who do not,” Bookman continued. That’s how the Republican Party ended up in the tiny-handed grasp of the president and others in the far-right. “He has zero interest in whether the product he’s selling can actually work; his sole concern is whether he can get you to buy it,” he went on. “So a perfect match of conman and mark the GOP has also created a formidable media machine to enforce that belief in the impossible, to ensure no doubt or skepticism can creep in. Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc., act as powerful thought police, much as political commissars in the old Soviet Union once did.”

Bookman’s descriptions sound almost cult-like, with Republicans policing “thoughts and statements” because it’s what “binds them together.” If they don’t do this, he explained that the entire party could “collapse.” “And today, it is faltering,” he continued. “The responsibilities of actual governance have proved to be incompatible with continued belief in the nonsensical, putting the country in danger. And we find the perfect embodiment of that conflict sitting in the Oval Office. Republicans have agreed among each other to believe that Trump is a mighty leader literally ordained by God to rebuke the libs and lead them out of the wilderness. That belief has become central to the GOP identity, and none dare publicly question it.”

Meanwhile, America sees proof of Trump’s questionable morality and intellectually-challenged decision-making daily. He even lacks basic knowledge of how the government works and what the Constitution mandates. “Most Republicans who admit that to themselves are not yet willing to admit it to each other, because … what then?” Bookman asked. Well, when the responsibilities of governance have proved to be incompatible with continued belief in the nonsensical, isn’t it possible — difficult, but possible — to drop that belief in the nonsensical and look again with clear eyes? Isn’t that the start?”

Divided We Fall

We can’t live under the delusion America can do no wrong, & that we’re great because we’ve always been great.  Remember, pride leads before a fall.  If we fail to recognize our problems & faults, we’re doomed to repeat them.  Plus we won’t fix them.  And Lord knows we have plenty of faults these days.  The alt-right has become a cancer on our society, but repelling them doesn’t necessarily mean Dems need to keep moving left.  Preserving our democracy will ultimately require we somehow come together & unite around the common good.  We must become the United States again instead of united factional tribes.  Agree or not, some interesting points are raised in these excerpts from american-exceptionalism-has-to-die-david-neiwert-on-the-rise-of-the-far-right:

Neiwert has spent his career studying far-right movements. Alt America analyses their growth over the past several decades, and looks at how authoritarianism and conspiracy thinking have come to hold sway over US politics. Neiwert believes that the far right’s surge, the election of Donald Trump and mass homelessness in Seattle all spring from a common root: the deliberate assault on democracy by the US right and the Republican party. For several decades following the Great Depression, when capitalism and liberal democracy teetered on the brink, Republicans and Democrats “agreed to defend democracy, and defend the values of democracy because it benefited them all by following basically FDR’s program. Now, we’ve lost that because conservatives have decided they are no longer willing to submit to any kind of government run by liberals,” Neiwert says. “The current conservative movement has decided it no longer wishes to be part of a liberal democracy.”

The principal reason, he thinks, is greed. You can’t tax me!’ Politics has become so focused on economics that we’ve lost sight of humanity.” For Neiwert, Trumpism is the apogee of the decades-long drive to create a dog-eat-dog economy. The chaos that this has unleashed, and the deliberate promotion of anti-democratic sentiment, has led conspiracy theories and authoritarianism to permeate the political right – and the brain of the current occupant of the White House. Neiwert says that “authoritarianism appeals to our desire for security and safety and control. When fearfulness and chaos are being promoted, authoritarianism ramps up.” Authoritarianism, in turn, uses conspiracy theory to drive a wedge between a movement’s followers and the world. “Conspiracy thinking ensures that the authoritarian leader has their followers’ loyalty because they thereby enter his version of reality.” He offers a concrete example: “When Trump is lying nakedly, but all of his followers still believe him, well, that’s what he’s doing.

“Democracy is about people actually linking arms, and having the franchise, and real political power resting with them, not with the people at the top. If we don’t revive democracy, frankly I don’t know where we’re going.” Neiwert’s observations, and his arguments in Alt-America, are rooted in decades of tireless, and sometimes thankless, reporting on the far right. He has developed the knack of getting up close to the ugliest parts of American life without being obtrusive. He is still a regular at far-right rallies in the Pacific Northwest, which he has, until recently, reported on for the Southern Poverty Law Center. If he looks at home among the self-styled rebels on the radical right, it is because, in a complicated way, this is his tribe. Neiwert grew up as a rural Republican in the years before the Republican party went, he says, “completely over the cliff”.

Trump, of course, became the principal pusher of the idea that Obama wasn’t born in the US. His subsequent presidential campaign was powered by authoritarian and conspiratorial fantasy. And so, Alt-America has its president. But can the problems Neiwert points to actually be remedied? “I’m not optimistic,” he says. “I believe that we’ve dug ourselves a really deep hole and we have a really long way to dig up.” He believes that while Trump is likely to lose in 2020, the movement, and the party, that propelled him to power will continue to have a malign effect. One important step to challenge this would be media reform. He says that the internet and corporate ownership of local media have “basically gutted the ability of local newspapers to cover local news, gutted the ability of larger newspapers to do consumer and investigative reporting”. Social media, a paradise for conspiracy theorists, is filling the gap.

Political reform is also needed. “The Democrats need to become more progressive and stop being afraid of their progressive wing.” The Republican party as it stands, he thinks, may be too toxic to change, but the US does need a legitimate conservative force that is loyal to democracy. If nothing else, Trump’s election has disclosed some home truths to a group of Americans who “were asleep, but now maybe are awake”, he says. Among these truths are “that America is not over its racism. That we still have a lot of work to do. That we still have a long way to go to become an equitable and fair nation that lives up to the values that it proclaims to the rest of the world. “I mean, Trump’s all about ‘make America great again’. It’s this idea that this American exceptionalism will never die. And it has to die,” he says. He looks out of his window once more, over a neighbourhood partly buried under the glass, steel and concrete of the gentrifiers. “It has to die because it’s killing us.”

Trump Train Wreck that was the Government Shutdown

Trump is a disastrous outgrowth of the GOP messaging going radical on us.  Once a party goes off the rails as it has, it becomes very difficult to get it back on track.  The prez is incompetent but the echo keeps covering for him.  And it was really the echo that brought us Trump in the first place, even though he was completely unqualified to be elected president.  In this latest circus act, the shutdown our prez orchestrated was just more Trumpian tomfoolery, but as a master distractor it was a way to dilute the even more disparaging news headlines, like anything we keep learning that’s come out of the Russian probe.  It’d be great if DC leadership could work out a comprehensive immigration/DACA/wall deal before the next deadline in a couple weeks, but nobody can get a handle on what Trump might support.  We can only wonder how long America can withstand the unprecedented mayhem coming from this White House, as here are interesting excerpts pulled from only-one-trump-can-blame-this-latest-disaster-is-himself.  Yes indeed, we’re witnessing the Trump train wreck in real time:

Why the long faces, Trump supporters? There’s good news. The president’s humiliating defeat on the government shutdown Friday afternoon distracted attention from his confidant Roger Stone’s arrest that morning by the FBI, which in turn distracted attention from NBC’s Thursday night news that White House security specialists had recommended that son-in-law Jared Kushner not receive a security clearance because of “potential foreign influence on him.” Only a genius such as Donald J. Trump could possibly have orchestrated events with such fiendish cleverness — and only a few analysts with an unswerving commitment to “Make America Great Again” could possibly have seen through all the “fake news media” analysis to fully appreciate this master class in political maneuvering.

You have to be a savant of sycophancy to imagine that Trump actually had a strategy during a shutdown that did nothing to bring about a border wall but did real damage to his political standing. (He’s down to 37 percent approval and 57 percent disapproval in CNN’s poll of polls.) But that is the kind of person that Trump surrounds himself with. When the president appeared on Friday afternoon in the Rose Garden to announce a shutdown-ending “deal,” his senior staff and cabinet actually applauded. It’s as if Napoleon’s ministers had cheered a great victory after he returned from Russia. Sure, the Grande Armée was decimated, but the emperor has his enemies right where he wants them. N’est-ce pas?

Trump supporters have been worshiping the god that failed. He is not the uber-competent, alpha-male boss depicted on “The Apprentice.” He is, in truth, the weakest president since Jimmy Carter and the least competent since Warren Harding. Trump underlined his impotence with his rage-filled tweets after Stone’s arrest. “If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others?” Trump demanded. “What about Hillary to FBI and her 33,000 deleted Emails? What about Lisa & Peter’s deleted texts & Wiener’s laptop? Much more!” Well, what about it? If there is a legitimate case to pursue, why isn’t Trump’s Justice Department pursuing it? His inability to bend the government to his will, even after two years in office, is a sign that (a) the rule of law still prevails and (b) he does not know what he is doing. The Trump mystique has been based on fear and faith — fear of immigrant hordes swarming the borders and faith that Trump “alone can fix it.”

The failure of his shutdown dealt another mighty blow to both illusions. If there is a genuine border emergency, as Trump supporters wrongly imagine, then the president is doing nothing to address it. Indeed, the number of undocumented immigrants caught at the southern border increased in 2018 — even if it’s still 75 percent below the peak reached in 2000. Trump never really tried to get Mexico to pay for his wall. He did try to get Congress to ante up and failed miserably. The president has not adjusted to the brutal reality of dealing with a Democratic-controlled House. When Republicans were in control of both chambers, he could plausibly threaten lawmakers because of his cultlike hold on 80-plus percent of Republican voters. But his base is only 35 percent or so of the entire electorate, and Democrats are not intimidated by him. His aura of invincibility has been cracked — and, with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III scheduled to report, the worst is yet to come. Two painful, punishing years loom.

Cracks Form in the Trump-Echo Unity

Trump uses the echo in governing, which is an unmitigated disaster!  As former NY senator Alfonse D’Amato just suggested to Trump as the prez keeps trying to appease his fervent Trumpeters & echo commentators: “Don’t let right-wing whack-a-doodles run the place. They’re out of their mind.”

But the aftermath of the shutdown has prompted some sniping from a few in echo-world, as the prez received some backlash from normally sycophant sources.  And he always punches back, since he just can’t help himself with that oversized ego.  If Trump keeps bashing anyone who challenges or criticizes him, he’s not going to have many friends left.  Hannity & Judge Jeanine may turn out the only ones so possessed by his cultishness, they’ll excuse him no matter what.  All this bickering is good news for the rest of us, since it cuts into their credibility & confuses their doting base.  Check out these articles about the echo bickering among themselves & with Trump (& the song at bottom of Part 3 is about the prez losing the love), which the titles you find most intriguing, within seconds you can copy/paste into a search engine:

huffingtonpost/fox-news-julie-banderas-donald-trump

newshounds/trump_attacks_fox_news_john_roberts_and_gillian_turner

salon/trump-turns-on-fox-news-alleging-cable-networks-journalists-are-worse-than-fake-news-cnn-nbc

vox/trump-coulter-conservative-border-wall-transactional

thedailybeast/ann-coulter-goes-scorched-earth-on-newt-gingrich-in-battle-over-trump

thedailybeast/now-we-know-what-it-takes-for-some-people-like-ann-coulter-to-learn-that-trump-is-untrustworthy

thedailybeast/fox-and-friends-lashes-out-at-ann-coulter-says-shes-off-her-rocker-and-doesnt-represent-the-base

mediamatters/trump-s-propagandists-go-war-each-other-after-he-caves-shutdown

huffingtonpost/sean-hannity-conservative-friends-donald-trump

huffingtonpost/ari-melber-trump-supporters

mediaite/cnns-new-day-mocks-hannity-and-pirro-over-trump-cave-coverage-you-can-tell-who-still-wants-to-go-to-mar-a-lago

 

Journalism & Free Press at Risk

Democracy wouldn’t even exist without a free press.  Unable to hold leaders accountable, our system would devolve into a malaise of fake-news propaganda, enabling corrupt & autocratic leadership to shape the narrative being fed to the people.  Dictatorships around the world always leave their citizens in the dark.  With journalism starved for revenue in this digital age, we’re facing the real risk of the news we get coming from a limited number of sources, even social media giants like Facebook & Google where real journalism gets masked amidst all the noise.  There’s also the need to report the news on a local level while holding local leaders accountable, which we’re losing that important service with so many local papers disappearing as their ad revenue dries up.  Such trends are ominous & it’s hard to say what can be done to save real journalism, since having a free press distinct from political leadership goes hand-in-hand with democracy & freedom.  These are not live links to stay within our limits, but they are important articles you could search for about the challenge of survival faced by many news sources:

washingtonpost/is-journalisms-pivot-to-dust-arriving

washingtonpost/local-newspapers-have-already-been-decimated-theres-nothing-left-to-cut

businessinsider/ap-loss-of-newspapers-contributes-to-political-polarization-2019

theguardian/huffpost-buzzfeed-layoffs-digital-journalism

theguardian/jill-abramson-interview-journalism-digital-era-trump-new-york-times

slate/the-newsrooms-losing-battle-with-facebook

huffingtonpost/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-journalism

 

Mental Health & Trump’s Mob Mentality

Mental health is a serious issue in the United States, none more so than the past couple years as the dire prognosis of “TAD” has reared its ugly head & is now running rampant: experts-say-trump-anxiety-disorder-has-become-major-cause-of-mental-health-problems-in-the-united-states.  Michael Cohen is soon scheduled to testify twice in Congress behind closed doors.  Cohen knows Trump as well as anybody, so it’s no wonder he is afraid to testify publicly before Congress, especially after Trump & his PR/TV lawyer threatened his family.  Trump’s mob ties & running his organizations like a mob boss goes way back, as seen in excerpts from michael-cohen-terrified-testify-trump:

There may well be forthcoming information about Russian organized crime connections in the Mueller report, but it has always surprised me that more attention isn’t paid to this aspect of Trump’s past. It’s pretty clear that he’s been connected to organized crime since at least the 1970s when he hooked up with his infamous mentor Roy Cohn, who at the time was representing leaders of the Genovese crime family during a federal racketeering investigation. It’s well documented that Trump was “connected” both as a builder in New York, where many of the construction trades were infiltrated by the mob, and then in Atlantic City, where he ran casinos. In more recent years his real estate ventures have resembled vast money laundering operations, mostly for the benefit of criminals with foreign origins. There’s a lot there. The late journalist Wayne Barrett wrote a book called “The Deals and the Downfall” that delved into this in detail. Journalists David Cay JohnstonChris Frates of CNN and Jeff Stein of Newsweek, among others, have all done in-depth reporting on the issue.  Politifact even did a fact check on this when Ted Cruz accused Trump of having mafia links — and rated the claim “true.”

Short Bits on Trump Train Wreck & Most Recent Lies

These are live links you can simply click on.  Most of these have to do with Trump’s convoluted arguments for a wall…

How disingenuous for his business to take advantage of the very same situation he rants against: trump-and-his-company-are-no-aliens-to-undocumented-workers

The numbers on illegals he has way overinflated with no evidence: trumps-tweets-illegal-immigration-seemed-wildly-high

Also zero evidence of women gagged with duct tape: women-tape-truck-smuggling-trafficking-border

And false claims of rampant voter fraud in Texas, he’s just making all this stuff up!: trump-returns-to-making-false-claims-about-rampant-voter-fraud

He lies about Obama when it is Trump that watches TV all the time: donald-trump-obama-tv-white-house

He either concocts these lies himself, or pulls inflated numbers & conspiracies straight from the echo: Trump-offers-up-false-immigration-numbers-so-outlandish-it-s-anyone-s-guess-where-he-got-them

The Trump train wreck in a fit of rage: trumps-latest-rage-tweets-give-democrats-an-opening-heres-how-theyll-respond

His lies sound like the ramblings of a fool, probably because that’s what he is: the-government-is-trying-to-turn-trumps-lies-into-truths

And based on all his boastful claims, he’s also a fraud: opinions/trump-is-a-fraud

More Recent Political Updates

As the ideal crackpot for the crackpot caucus, he’s been reelected to lead all the other crackpots in the House: meadows-re-elected-house-freedom-caucus-chairman

They finally agreed on SOTU for Tuesday night: trump-pelosi-agree-on-feb-5-for-state-of-the-union-address

Like Warren, Harris opens as one of the Dem front-runners with progressive proposals: kamala-harris-2020-presidential-campaign-medicare-for-all  (By the way, I wouldn’t outlaw private health insurers, so let them compete while also offering better coverage with supplemental plans)

And also like Warren, we provide the same 50 reasons why we should not support Harris, as was listed from us in The VORACS a few weeks ago:https://www.thevoracs.com/elizabeth-warren-decides-to-run/

 

Howard Schultz of Starbucks toying with Independent Run

He may have been my dream centrist candidate in 2016.  But he’s got the Dems spooked in that he could split the anti-Trump vote (assuming the prez even makes it to 2020 & decides to run again).  I’ve got a good idea for Schultz.  To calm Dems & not alienate their voters, go ahead & campaign on ideas closer to the middle he believes would be good for the country that neither party is backing, but assure the nation if polling before the 2020 election shows he has no chance of winning & that he could hurt the Dem nominee running against Trump, he’ll vow to drop out.  Either that, or challenge Trump directly in the GOP primaries, or he’s always been a Dem so run that way.

Perhaps Schultz’s trial balloon into politics could be temporary & turn out a blessing in disguise, by helping prevent Dem candidates from going too far out on the fringe left which could damage their electability.  So if Trump’s still hanging around in 2020, the last thing we need for the country is to help him out.  Here are titles from the newsfeeds on Schultz you could search if you’d like:

businessinsider/democrats-threaten-starbucks-boycott-howard-schultz-campaign

businessinsider/michael-bloomberg-slams-howard-schultz-independent-2020-presidential-bid

theatlantic/how-howard-schultz-may-save-democratic-party

slate/howard-schultz-should-run-republican

politico/howard-schultz

bloomberg/starbucks-schultz-may-not-decide-on-2020-until-at-least-midyear

bloomberg/ex-starbucks-ceo-howard-schultz-s-presidential-campaign-is-naive

huffingtonpost/howard-schultz-heckled-book-event

nytimes/on-politics-howard-schultz-starbucks-independent

thedailybeast/howard-schultz-and-steve-schmidt-play-russian-roulette-with-2020-election

vanityfair/trump-is-practically-daring-howard-schultz-to-run