That’s why we should implore people not to vote for Republican Party…And please do encourage people to get out & vote!  When we hear this could be the most important election of our lifetime, such dramatic statements can often come across like hyperbole, but in the case of the 2018 midterms, it may well be true.  We’re living in the most divided America since at least the Vietnam era & possibly going as far back to the Civil War.  It’s time for us as Americans to send a message.  Our president is constantly channeling the echo narrative of tribal grievances through distortions & conspiracies, worsening the nation’s bitter divides through angry rancor that brings out the worst in some.  He is not the unifying leader America needs in these times & doesn’t have the moral authority to effectively serve as our president.  To the extent him & his echo-rhetoric have in essence hijacked & now basically control the Republican Party, the strong message we must send through our votes is to reject the party of Trump.

In aspiring to make America great again, we must start by restoring the civility & values that we as a people have always stood for.  Granted, there are many responsible leaders within the GOP with constructive policy positions & ideologies, but this election is far bigger than any party affiliation or conservative agenda.  There’s a malignant malice that has become interwoven in our society, which our failure to contain it could lead to our demise.  These are trying times with a very uncertain future, but if we keep going down the road being led by selfish factions that ostracize everyone not swearing allegiance to their Trumpian echo-tribe, America will be on the path to destruction.  We’ve been witnessing this attitude of exclusion & hatred gain traction, which is why this election is so important, since our nation must reverse course!  This goes way beyond politics, it’s about choosing between what’s right or wrong!  Ironically, saving the Republican Party may require rejecting the Republican Party in these midterms!

We’re Conservatives currently against the Republican Party

Some of us conservatives can clearly hear the alarm bells ringing & will out of necessity switch over to voting blue, as some comments with such sentiments are revealed in never-trump-republicans-midterms-democrats.  This Washington Post editorial from voters-this-is-whats-at-stake-in-the-midterms sums it all up:

(In a week) Americans who have not cast early ballots will go to the polls, finalizing what may be the most consequential midterm elections in modern U.S. history. The high stakes in 2018 reflect the consequences of what happened in 2016: the election of Donald Trump as president. Contrary to many wishful forecasts, assuming power did not render Mr. Trump more responsible or temperate, more respectful of long-standing norms or even of the ordinary human feelings of those with whom he interacts at home and abroad. He has used the bully pulpit of the presidency to normalize vulgarity and venom and to divide an already divided nation along lines of race, region, gender and education. He has done repeated violence to the truth, about matters trivial (the size of the crowd at his inauguration) and tragic (the presence of “very fine people, on both sides,” during last year’s violence-plagued right-wing demonstrations in Charlottesville). As we have repeatedly emphasized, this is not what a normal president would do. It is not what any decent person would do.

Alas, Mr. Trump has maximized the political advantage to be gained from this debasement of politics. His popularity is not high, but, among the 40-odd percent of the country that kindles to his message, it is strong. The president is now campaigning around the nation asking more voters to join the “base” on whose behalf he preferentially governs. In the face of Democratic calls to treat what is actually a race for House, Senate, governor and myriad other offices as a referendum on Mr. Trump, the president responds, in effect, “Bring it on.” Rather than modulate his divisive rhetoric against immigration, the media and other bogeymen, he has doubled down. As a result, the country is passing through a political storm even though economic conditions are not only benign but prosperous. In an ordinary year, that continuing expansion might be at the center of political debate: To what degree does Mr. Trump deserve credit or — given the massive run-up of federal deficits — blame? In 2018, however, pocketbook issues must not override legitimate concerns about the health of our political institutions.

Inescapably, the issue that predominates is Mr. Trump’s noxious, divisive and dishonest style of government. Fearmongering over a distant band of ragtag Honduran migrants. A fairy tale about a middle-class tax cut. Relentless vilification of essential institutions of democracy, including an independent Federal Reserve, the media, organs of law enforcement and the opposition party. Resistance to legitimate judicial and congressional oversight. Restricting the franchise under the pretext of rampant voter fraud: He has put all of these on the ballot. Sadly, most members of his party have opportunistically gone along. Inevitably, the politicians who oppose Trumpism are themselves, in various ways and to varying degrees, imperfect. Nevertheless, we believe voters should back any candidate who will stand up to Mr. Trump’s brand of reactionary populism. After Nov. 6, we will have a better idea whether 2016 was the beginning of an extended dark period in U.S. politics or an aberration that shocked the nation’s democrats, of whatever party affiliation, into effective action. Think about that, and vote accordingly.

Excellent Midterm Insights

The election coming up on Tuesday is so critically important!  Click on these links where polling shows the Dems have some late momentum, especially with the way Trump handled these recent tragedies.  We can also read here how far the Republican Party has gone off the deep end.  I can’t state this strongly enough, I want my Republican Party to return to sanity, but we in no way should support what has now become of the party.  Voting the bums out who run on the Trump ticket can send a vital message:

A Swift Kick by the Boot

Lamenting our current sorry state of affairs, these thoughts from Max Boot come from what-is-happening-to-our-country:

I am so sad. I am so heartbroken. What is happening to our country? How can we live in an America where a gunman can barge into a synagogue and open fire, reportedly screaming “All Jews must die”? How can we live in an America where someone — the FBI has arrested a Trump supporter named Cesar Sayoc — can send pipe bombs to, among others, former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), financier George Soros, former CIA director John Brennan and CNN? This is not what America is about. We are a country dedicated to freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion. We are a nation of immigrants from all corners of the globe brought together in mutual dedication to the “self-evident” truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All “men” means, in the language of the 18th century, all people of whatever gender or color or creed.


There is no exception for liberals or Jews or critics of the president. Tolerance for political and religious differences is a non-negotiable part of the social contract in the United States. It is the very core of our national identity, even if it has all too often been honored more in the breach than the observance. We settle our political differences through debate followed by voting. Political terrorism and sectarian bloodletting — these are the sorts of horrors that occur in the Balkans or the Middle East. Not here. Not in the land of the free. We’re better than this. We’re Americans. Except now the horror show has arrived on our shores.


The fault does not lie, as President Trump insists, with those in the media (e.g., “lowly rated CNN”) who have the temerity to question and criticize him. It is the job of the press to hold those in power to account, and the press has recently done a magnificent job of discharging its constitutional responsibility. Has the media gotten everything right? Of course not. But it has gotten a lot more right than a president who lies with impunity and abandon. Nor does the fault lie, as Trump’s supposedly reasonable supporters insist, with “both sides.” For example, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), tweeted: “Why is it so hard to accept that a clearly deranged man carried out deranged acts? The ‘false flag’ conspiracy theories on one side & the ‘it’s Trump’s fault’ on the other shows how unhinged politics has become. This isn’t incivility. It’s a society that has lost common sense.” I, too, have criticized the incivility of Democrats. Hounding officials in restaurants is a mistake. Comparing Trump to Hitler is wrong. But those errors cannot be spoken of in the same breath with terrible crimes such as sending pipe bombs or opening fire in a synagogue.


To be clear, the investigation into Saturday’s attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh is only just beginning, and there is more to learn about Sayoc’s apparent infatuation with Trump. But it also should be clear to all that holding the president of the United States to account for his hateful rhetoric is not the same thing as subscribing to lunatic “false flag” conspiracy theories that ricochet around the right-wing world. In their eagerness to protect their leader, Republicans are guilty of the very sin they have spent years decrying — false moral equivalence. Extremism has been present in America for a long time. But Trump is applying a match to the kindling. Asked by reporters whether he would tone down his hateful rhetoric, he defiantly replied, “I could really tone it up.” Asked if he bore any responsibility for what is happening, he answered, “There’s no blame. There’s no anything.” In times of crisis, we look for the president to bind our wounds, to overcome partisanship, to unite the country. Trump is doing the opposite. He is deliberately exacerbating our divisions for partisan gain. He is risking widespread political violence so that he and his Republican supporters can hold on to office. I am so sad. I am so heartbroken that our president is acting this way.

On a Different Subject which is the most Critical Issue of all!

Please read this article by Mikhail Gorbachev which comes from a-new-nuclear-arms-race-has-begun.  It addresses what might be nothing short of the biggest & most troublesome issue in world history.  And that’s not hyperbole.  What’s even more scary, on one side we have a brutal Russian dictator who last week threatened America with advanced hypersonic weapons, which I’m not even convinced we can trust our own American President more than Putin:

Over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and I signed in Washington the United States-Soviet Treaty on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. For the first time in history, two classes of nuclear weapons were to be eliminated and destroyed. This was a first step. It was followed in 1991 by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which the Soviet Union signed with President George H.W. Bush, our agreement on radical cuts in tactical nuclear arms, and the New Start Treaty, signed by the presidents of Russia and the United States in 2010. There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world, but the American and Russian arsenals are now a fraction of what they were during the Cold War. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference in 2015, Russia and the United States reported to the international community that 85 percent of those arsenals had been decommissioned and, for the most part, destroyed. Today, this tremendous accomplishment, of which our two nations can be rightfully proud, is in jeopardy. President Trump announced last week the United States’ plan to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and his country’s intention to build up nuclear arms.


I am being asked whether I feel bitter watching the demise of what I worked so hard to achieve. But this is not a personal matter. Much more is at stake. A new arms race has been announced. The I.N.F. Treaty is not the first victim of the militarization of world affairs. In 2002, the United States withdrew from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty; this year, from the Iran nuclear deal. Military expenditures have soared to astronomical levels and keep rising. As a pretext for the withdrawal from the I.N.F. Treaty, the United States invoked Russia’s alleged violations of some of the treaty’s provisions. Russia has raised similar concerns regarding American compliance, at the same time proposing to discuss the issues at the negotiating table to find a mutually acceptable solution. But over the past few years, the United States has been avoiding such discussion. I think it is now clear why. With enough political will, any problems of compliance with the existing treaties could be resolved. But as we have seen during the past two years, the president of the United States has a very different purpose in mind. It is to release the United States from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles.


The United States has in effect taken the initiative in destroying the entire system of international treaties and accords that served as the underlying foundation for peace and security following World War II. Yet I am convinced that those who hope to benefit from a global free-for-all are deeply mistaken. There will be no winner in a “war of all against all” — particularly if it ends in a nuclear war. And that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. An unrelenting arms race, international tensions, hostility and universal mistrust will only increase the risk. Is it too late to return to dialogue and negotiations? I don’t want to lose hope. I hope that Russia will take a firm but balanced stand. I hope that America’s allies will, upon sober reflection, refuse to be launchpads for new American missiles. I hope the United Nations, and particularly members of its Security Council, vested by the United Nations Charter with primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, will take responsible action. Faced with this dire threat to peace, we are not helpless. We must not resign, we must not surrender.

Election Attacks keep on going

We know foreign enemies are attacking our elections, yet we’re doing very little to counteract the attacks, which are a direct assault on our democracy: new-russian-hacks-raise-alarms-in-us.  With no presidential leadership, our nation is literally inviting the attacks, & these excerpts from our-elections-are-wide-open-for-a-constitutional-crisis show we have no provisions for dealing with the aftermath:

With the clear evidence that Russia acted to influence the 2016 presidential election, and has taken at least some steps — as has China, potentially — to intervene now and in the future, the issue of election security is major. What if, for example, China or Russia knocks out the electrical grid in one region of the country on a presidential Election Day? A hundred or more electoral votes would be disrupted, leaving the election outcome unsettled (along with many House, Senate and other elections). And of course, the same disruption could occur with a hurricane; given that we are seeing more hurricanes and more potent storms as seas have warmed, this is not a remote possibility. We have no provision for a later election just in one region, and if we did, it would not be fair, because voters would know the results in the rest of the country. We have no provision to hold another election at a later date.

Mueller Team still Working Hard in the Background

We normally highlight the Russia caper in these VORACS part 1’s, which will likely take center stage again right after the midterms.  See this article Will-Mueller-hit-the-buzzer-first-after-all-national-voting-sites-close-November-6? where we could see a game of musical chairs between Trump & Mueller, with one chair left & the music stops immediately when the voting booths close next week.  My fear is Trump will spark a constitutional crisis by violating the rule of law in replacing AG Sessions with a loyal crony who had been confirmed by the Senate for a different position, who would quickly act to stifle Mueller.  And with all the anticipated firings, it’s probably a smokescreen set up by the prez to help the Sessions firing & being replaced with an acting AG to sort of get lost in the shuffle & chaos: a-new-report-reveals-trumps-plan-to-fire-a-lot-of-people-after-the-midterms.

In addition to various crimes investigators are looking to uncover, Trump has also been found to be thoroughly corrupt: trump-administration-corruption-conflicts & also donald-trump-acn-lawsuit.  With so many parallels between Watergate & Russiagate, we may now be watching history repeating itself in real time.  Expect the final chapters to start unfolding after the midterms, & I believe we’ll find the ending to this gripping story (that’s been ongoing so far for two years) will be by far the most dramatic part!  Here is the entire op-ed inside the-case-for-impeaching-trump-i-voted-to-impeach-nixon-i-can-recognize-a-president-running-amok:

Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy. I have shown evidence of how he appears to have assaulted the rule of law in deep and serious ways. Whether it is his effort to impede and obstruct the investigations into Russian interference, his refusal to protect our election system from Russian manipulation, his open hand to payments his businesses receive from foreign governments and domestically, or his assault on the rights of thousands of children at the border, the president’s misdeeds cast a wide net. They are ongoing, with no end in sight. And he continues to spin a web of incessant and brazen falsehoods, deceptions, and lies to disguise and conceal the misdeeds. In 1973, the country also faced a president run amok. Richard Nixon, whose campaign minions broke into the Watergate complex, orchestrated a vast, multipronged effort to stymie investigations into the burglary. Nixon engaged in other nefarious activities and abuses of power: he violated the rights of Americans though illegal wiretaps of journalists, an illegal break-in into a psychiatrist’s office for damaging information, an order for IRS audits of political opponents—the Enemies List—to name a few. Nixon’s cover-up was effective: it got him reelected with one of the largest electoral margins in American history. Then, it began to unravel. Evidence harmful to him came to light, and, in a grandiose move of maximum presidential authority, he ordered the special prosecutor investigating him to be fired. That’s where the American people drew the line. They demanded that Congress take action, and it did. It started an inquiry, which resulted in a bipartisan vote for articles of impeachment, forcing Nixon to resign.


It was in response to obstruction that the articles of impeachment against Nixon were adopted. Their message? Presidents cannot block, tamper with, and destroy the machinery of justice that is aimed at them. If they do, it is at their peril. They face impeachment, removal from office, even imprisonment. But if we allow presidents to block, tamper with, and destroy the machinery of justice that is aimed at them, we do so at our peril. The rule of law will go up in smoke. We will enshrine two standards of justice, one for the powerful and one for everyone else. We will find ourselves on the road to tyranny. It is a road that we’re dangerously close to traveling today. Nixon worked mightily to stop the institutions of justice from closing in on him and his associates. So has President Trump. Not every aspect of Nixon’s impeachable offenses is replicated in President Trump’s behavior. Still, there are astonishing and troublesome parallels, particularly in the Russia investigation, including Trump’s firing the FBI director (Nixon had the special Watergate prosecutor fired); dangling pardon possibilities to those under investigation (Nixon did the same); making relentless and false attacks on the investigation and those conducting it (Nixon called for an end to the investigations and engaged in other attacks); and deceiving the public and Congress constantly and systematically (Nixon did that, too). Watergate started with burglars who used burglars’ tools to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, DC. They were interfering in the 1972 presidential election. The investigation of Donald Trump started with the Russians’ using cyber tools to break into the DNC computer servers and interfere in the 2016 presidential election. We don’t know what the Watergate burglars were looking for. We don’t know what the Russians’ real objective was, or even the full impact of their interference. It may even have vaulted Donald Trump into the White House.


But we do know that Trump called for Russian help in winning the election. And we know that Russia gave him help. Was the help coordinated with the Trump campaign or just coincidental? If coordinated, then Trump has committed a high crime and misdemeanor of the gravest kind—working with an unfriendly foreign power in violation of our campaign finance and other laws to get elected. It is imperative for Congress to ascertain the facts, and not leave us to speculate or with a secretly beholden president. Trump’s effort to block the investigation into his possible collusion with the Russians over the 2016 election on the face of it warrants an impeachment inquiry. It may well be that a full examination of his behavior will exonerate him, but, given the record of his tweets and his public statements, not to mention his firing of FBI director James Comey, it is more likely that his actions have been prompted by the impermissible and impeachable objective of stopping the investigations before they find him out. President Trump’s misconduct does not stop with his repeated attempts to impede the Russia investigations. He has steadfastly refused to protect our election system from further Russian attack, failing to fulfill his central obligation as president to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. This failure too is related to his effort to impede the Russia investigation. If the American people, including his “base,” fully understood the seriousness and scope of the Russian attacks, they would demand effective measures from the president to stop them, but they also might question why President Trump is calling the investigation a hoax when the Russians really attacked us, as our intelligence agencies, the Justice Department, and private social media companies have found.


The president has also defied and flouted the Constitution’s ban on emoluments on a very large scale, creating the appearance if not the reality of influence peddling at the highest level of our government. This is another assault on our democracy. Finally, President Trump’s lawless and heartless separation of thousands of children from parents on the Southwest border is an action that violates our Constitution’s deepest promises of due process and equal protection. The willingness to assault the Constitution by harming so many threatens all of us. President Trump’s misconduct continues and expands. He has relentlessly attacked the press, undermining public confidence in it and charging that it is an enemy of the people, despite its central importance to our democracy, which is enshrined in the first amendment to the Constitution. He has divided the country, attacking women’s rights and the rights of African Americans and Hispanics, not to mention the rights of immigrants/refugees and others entering the United States, and fostered bigotry by mimicking a victim of sexual assault, calling for the firing of NFL players who have kneeled to protest the shooting of black young men in America, and equating neo-Nazis with civil rights activists. Not any of these acts is impeachable, but they illuminate a presidency without respect for diversity—whether of opinion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Together, President Trump’s actions are indicative of a president who has established a different standard of justice for himself—exactly the kind that we declared impermissible in Nixon’s articles of impeachment. He has done so at the expense of democracy. And he’s done so at his own peril.

Here are a few more breaking-news articles on the Mueller probe

He has something going on with Bannon (& expect Stone to soon be indicted):

Yep, Stone should be indicted since they caught him on tape:

Trump’s legal team looks to be evading Mueller’s questions, since they probably can’t be answered without revealing guilt:

Here’s a real strange story, which could add to the mounting evidence of obstruction of justice.  It also is a strong indication Trump-world knows they are in big trouble.  Think about that, it looks as though they tried to frame Mueller!!!:

Have you heard this poem?

We should heed this famous saying that first started circulating after WWII, that we all need to speak out against evil bigotry, repression & fascism:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

A Nation Grieving After Pittsburgh

From all the available evidence, the Pittsburgh shooter was an American Nazi with very strong anti-Semitic beliefs.  From his social media posts, what seemed to help set him off were those crazy conspiracy theories that George Soros was funding the immigrant caravan coming up through Mexico.  With hate always spreading through social media, maybe we should put some of our incarcerated prisoners to work monitoring social media sites, in return for rewards or shorter sentences (just a thought).  But what is also obvious as we could clearly see from last year’s Charlottesville tragedy, Trump’s rhetoric has helped embolden these neo-Nazi & white supremacist groups.  When an angry mob was carrying tiki torches & shouting Jews will not replace us, plus a woman was killed by one of those haters, yet Trump explained it away by saying “both sides were to blame,” it gave a loud dog whistle that certainly contributed to energizing these right-wing terror groups.  When statistics show hate crimes are on the rise, with the targeting of Jews in Trump’s first year of his presidency climbing dramatically over 2016, it’s only logical to conclude the president’s rhetoric does help legitimize & drive these violent movements.

A primary role of any president is to bring our nation together, which on that note Trump is a dismal failure.  No American president has ever promoted such divisiveness, condoned violence & perpetrated conspiracy theories more than Trump.  For part 1 in TheVORACS blog from Friday, we posted many many many article titles about the Trumpeter mail bomber which included short blurbs from each article.  We’ll use that same format with these numerous articles about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, since those short excerpts could spark your curiosity to look up the whole article.  In limiting our number of outbound links, you can find articles which interest you by doing a copy & paste of the media source & article title (posted here in bold) into your search engine.  But even these short excerpts are very interesting to read:


But this definition of culpability is too narrow, too legalistic — and ultimately too dishonest. The pipe-bomb makers and synagogue shooters and racists who mowed a woman down in Charlottesville were never even looking for Trump’s explicit blessing, because they knew the president had allowed bigots like them to go about their business, secure in the knowledge that, like Nemtsov’s killers, they don’t really bother the president, at least not too much. His role is just to set the tone. Their role is to do the rest.


“This is the central premise of his presidency — to attack and smear immigrants and refugees,” Wang said. “All the violence we see is the extreme and radical version of what he is implementing on a policy and legal front as president of the United States.”


It’s not clear that either Cesar Sayoc, who allegedly mailed explosive devices to a number of Democratic politicians and to CNN last week, or Robert D. Bowers, who allegedly killed 11 people at a synagogue on Saturday, suffered from mental illness. But there’s certainly evidence that dominant political rhetoric — including rhetoric promoted by President Trump — may have served as a similar framework for their dangerous, violent actions.


Divert, deflect, attack. Drive the wedge deeper. This is what Trump does — it’s the only thing he knows how to do — and the damage he is inflicting will not easily be repaired. And the GOP happily goes along. Don’t tell me that “both sides” need to do better. Republicans who remain silent deserve to be swept out of office.


At the same time, and not coincidentally, the big business of partisanship — cable networks and hosts, radio personalities, talking heads, and conspiratorial websites — manage to profit from the escalation of contempt. They are the culture-war profiteers.


On Shabbat, Jewish custom says, God gives each of us a “neshamah yeteirah,” an extra soul for rejuvenation on the day of rest. But this Shabbat, we lost 11 souls. And our Jewish and American souls will continue to be so drained — unless our president changes his ways, or we change our president.


In February, the Anti-Defamation League released its annual report, finding that “the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.” If you think words — especially an American president’s words — don’t matter, think again.


But his administration’s animus toward refugees, exemplified by Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric, seems most directly linked to Bowers’s alarm about “hostile invaders” who “kill our people.” If there is not cause and effect between Trump’s language and Bowers’s alleged actions, there is moral culpability for creating this overheated climate of fear. From the supposed Mexican rapists of his campaign launch to his unsupported claims that the migrant caravan includes “very tough criminal elements” and “unknown Middle Easterners,” Trump has stoked the fears of the Bowerses among us.


Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans support laws prohibiting assault weapons. Significant numbers of gun owners — 48 percent, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll — also support a ban on assault-style weapons. The previous national ban on assault weapons, enacted by Congress in 1994 but allowed to expire in 2004, showed a decrease in the use of assault weapons in crime.


Trump cannot comply with the request to stop spreading hate. It’s like breathing oxygen for him. He cannot show empathy, for he lacks any. Trump has not merely split us by race, ideology, party, religion or origin of birth; to be with him is to endorse or condone or willfully ignore monstrous conduct and rhetoric. To be against him — and to speak out against the bile he spews — is to give us hope for America’s moral and political recovery.


He has openly encouraged violence against protesters at his rallies and celebrated the physical assault on a reporter who was body slammed. Perhaps inevitably, his supporters/followers have often modeled their language and behavior on his, especially as he has stoked anger against his critics and embraced conspiracy theories about their malevolent plans to destroy America.”


What happened in Pittsburgh was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in this country’s history. Like 9/11 or even the Challenger explosion, the synagogue shooting is a national tragedy that has produced a moment of pure grief shared by all Americans. The simple truth is that Trump doesn’t have the instincts or the empathy to lead us during this moment.


The killing rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday deepened sharply divided views in the American Jewish community about President Trump, inflaming a debate about whether he has fostered an atmosphere that allows hate and anti-Semitism to flourish.



Eleven Jews are dead in Pittsburgh, gunned down during Shabbat services allegedly by a man who shared President Trump’s paranoia about a migrant caravan. Pipe bombs were sent to more than a dozen of Trump’s favorite political targets, including the homes of two former presidents, Democratic leaders and CNN. But let us not lose sight of the real victim here: Donald Trump.



This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds.


President Trump, not to mention Republicans in general, denied any connection between the shooting and the president’s rhetoric. They are either historically ignorant or moral cowards.


The politics of fear has not killed our hope. But fear is once again proving to be a powerful adversary, and not just here in America. Next Tuesday is more than “a referendum on our future.” It is a test to see whether hope has any life left in it, or whether fear has, at least for now, overtaken it.


Right now, the threat to ordinary Americans from homegrown terrorists, radicalized by racist and nativist conspiracies they read on the Internet, is significantly higher than the threat from Islamist terrorists, radicalized by jihadist conspiracies they read on the Internet.


President Trump and his political allies told a series of racist lies about a caravan of migrants. Those lies dominated right-wing websites and, for a few days, the mainstream news. (As Serwer notes, we in the media fed Trump’s hype machine by covering the caravan so heavily.) A deranged man who frequented right-wing websites then cited the caravan as a reason to commit mass murder.


Therein lies the uneasy alliance: The white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right are energized by Trump’s election, and yet many find his white power positioning falls short of their own.


It is a sign that President Trump’s remorselessly cynical, jungle-style vision of how to conduct business and politics is ripping apart a society already under the stress of generational, demographic, technological, economic and social change.


Armed with a semi-automatic rifle and three handguns, he killed 11 people and wounded six more, including four police officers. “Jews must die,” he was said to have shouted. The suspect in the Pittsburgh killings, Robert Bowers, had found a home for his hate on Gab, a new social network that bills itself as a guardian of free speech, unlike somewhat less permissive platforms like Twitter.


The Pittsburgh massacre should be a similar shock to us today, waking us up to the anti-Semitism and hate in our midst and reminding us all that the fight against them must be diligently fought at every turn by each and every one of us.


But it (the NRA) has been hijacked by extremist leaders committed not to their members’ (much more reasonable) views, but to hard-line resistance of safety regulations. All countries have violent, hateful people, but only in America do we give them ready access to assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and even bump stocks, and that’s in part because of the N.R.A.


After far-right terrorist attacks, the president sticks to what he does best: polarize.


I am sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time President Trump opens his mouth. I am sick of being afraid of what some crazed Trump supporter will do next. I am sick of the national anguish Trump has caused. I am going to vote. Everyone who has had it with this president should as well.



A group of progressive Jewish leaders told President Trump that he is no longer welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism following the shooting at a synagogue there over the weekend.


More than 44,000 people have signed an open letter from progressive Jewish leaders saying President Trump is not welcome in Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism. Eleven members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice penned a letter to Trump following Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue that left 11 congregants dead. “President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities,” the letter reads. “President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”


A majority of Americans in a new poll believe President Trump’s behavior encourages white supremacists. A Public Religion Research Institute poll published Monday found that 54 percent of respondents think Trump’s decisions and behavior as president have encouraged members of white supremacist groups. Trump has faced criticism for not consistently condemning white supremacism, including when he initially said that “both sides” were to blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August. The poll released Monday also found that 58 percent of those polled disapprove of Trump’s performance as president, including 42 percent of people who strongly disapprove.



A “Vote! Vote! Vote!” chant broke out during a vigil held Sunday night for the victims of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Tree of Life congregation Rabbi Jeffrey Myers reportedly called on political leaders to set the example as he spoke to the crowd of more than 2,000 people.



I’d like to say that I am, again, shocked at the violence now perpetrated against Jews in Pittsburgh, but I am not. Given what I saw in the streets here, it now seems that it was an inevitable tragedy, a straight line from the events in our small town in August 2017; to President Donald Trump’s assertion of “very fine people on both sides”; to the demonization of George Soros and other, so-called and unnamed “globalists” with the use of time-worn anti-Semitic conspiratorial tropes that they are secretly pulling strings to undermine the standing of white culture; to Saturday’s horror.


Here is the dilemma: It doesn’t matter what Trump says now. No noble sentiment, no full-throated embrace of American values, will make us believe. There have been too many lies, too many divisions, too much trampling on and shredding of the most basic notions of who we think we are.


The tone starts at the top, which is precisely where Donald Trump sits and the notion that he will ever change seems sadly, painfully absurd. Still, we must plead and hope that he can find a way because the alternative is too dark. It’s time to tamp down the insanity.


Instead of turning down the rhetoric that inspired the deadliest anti-Semitic massacre in U.S. history, the president feeds the nativist fringe that inspired it.



The point is that people who hate Jews and immigrants and minorities believe that when they commit violence against these people, they are behaving as the followers their president wants them to be. Do all or most of the president’s fans believe this? Certainly not. But we have seen far too many of them performing on the words the president puts out there. And it doesn’t matter who is “responsible” because he accepts no responsibility no matter what.


Earlier in the month, Fox & Friends also mentioned the connection, this time citing a tweet by Rep. Matt Gaetz that openly questioned whether Soros was funding the caravan. “Mr. Gaetz yesterday called for an investigation whether U.S. backed NGO’s, or George Soros were behind the caravan,” Fox News’ Steve Doocy said. Rep. Louie Gohmert also mentioned the possibility that Soros was funding the caravan earlier this week. “Well, I can’t help but think the Democrats—perhaps Soros—may be funding this thinking it’s going to help them,” Gohmert said. Beyond what he could have heard on Fox News, though, Bowers also seemed to be fond of a theory that has become viral on far-right websites and forums. That theory involves a photo that appears to show migrants getting onto a truck that has an apparent Star of David visible on the side. To the surprise of no one, Infowars’ Alex Jones also got in on the conspiracy theory, saying the caravan was an example of how Soros and others are trying to open up “large migration routes from the third-world into the first-world as part of a neo-colonialism system.”


On Saturday, an anti-Semitic gunman inspired in part by Donald Trump’s bigoted rhetoric walked into Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue during Shabbat services, shouted “all Jews must die,” and killed 11 people. He was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns, all of which he purchased legally.


Racial violence exists on a continuum. Trump’s use of racially violent language enables racially violent acts.



This was a week of bombs, shootings — and blame. “72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects,” CNN writes: “Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans … at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.” “After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested … who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.” Yesterday morning, “a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.” What all three have in common: hate.


No one was talking about terrorism when President Donald Trump sought to remind Americans about it earlier this month, warning without evidence that a migrant caravan in Central America headed toward the U.S. border had been infiltrated by “unknown Middle Easterners.” It was a short-lived attempt to revive fears about Islamic terrorism, one quickly turned upside-down by two major domestic attacks with no apparent links beyond America’s borders, and which Trump has struggled to address politically.



As for those who aided the president in his propaganda campaign, who enabled him to prey on racist fears to fabricate a national emergency, who said to themselves, “This is the play”? Every single one of them bears some responsibility for what followed.



Peduto rejected Trump’s prescription of ramping up armed security, saying sacred public places deserved more proactive measures of protection that would confront “irrational behavior.”


Two major developments appear to be driving the increase in acts of hatred. The first is the creation of an extremist community online. Both Robert Bowers, the suspected Pittsburgh shooter, and Cesar Sayoc Jr., who is believed to be responsible for mailing 14 pipe bombs to leading Democrats and CNN, were compulsive netizens. Sayoc had two Facebook profiles and three Twitter accounts. Bowers frequented Gab – a social network for white supremacists and Nazis who had been driven off Twitter. The second development that has lit up this increasingly linked and animated extremist world is the advent of Donald Trump. The statistics demonstrate clearly that the biggest bump in hate crimes in recent history coincides with the period since his presidential campaign began. This is not just a matter of correlation but causation. Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, from his accusation that Mexicans coming to the U.S. were rapists to his claims that the caravan of impoverished Central American migrants coming north included Middle Easterners–aka “terrorists”–has given license to those who peddle hatred to emerge from the shadows.



Trump has for weeks been stoking fears about the migrant caravan, and much of his appeal to his supporters is based on fear of immigrants and racial minorities. Though he strongly condemned the Pittsburgh attack and anti-Semitism Saturday, he’s failed to do so at other key points of his presidency, including after racist violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. He has pointed the finger elsewhere, saying the media is at fault for fueling political divisions and hate in America and has unfairly cast him as a contributor to the current situation.


After a mass shooting, President Donald Trump will say anything to avoid acknowledging the real problem. Anything but the one thing that’s consistent in all these shootings — access to a gun.



The midterms, which early voting indicates could have their highest turnout in decades, are always more or less a vote of confidence in the sitting presidentWhere his predecessors have sought to build bridges and unify, he has embraced the politics of polarisation across gender, race and culture lines in the hope of firing up his base, tacitly acknowledging he has lost a vast swath of the nation for good. The midterms will provide the first official measure of whether the sum of love for Trump is exceeded by the sum of hatred. 



The mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh comes amid a wave of rightwing violence across the US fuelled by conspiracy theories. It is also part of a long history of white supremacist terror aimed at American Jewish communities. The murder of 11 people and wounding of six, allegedly by Robert Bowers, 46, came a day after the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, 56, for a mail bombing campaign that targeted liberals including George Soros. A prominent Jewish billionaire, Soros has in recent weeks been the target of heightened conspiracy-minded rhetoric from prominent Republicans including Donald Trump. A social media post that appeared to be Bowers’ last before the attack was an attack on HIAS, a Jewish-run refugee charity, which he accused of working to “bring invaders in that kill our people”.


Donald Trump has fuelled a climate of hatred in general and antisemitism in particular, with the Republican party acting as his enabler, experts warned on Monday.


Fox is facing growing criticism and calls for a boycott amid accusations that language used on its programming is fueling antisemitism, prejudice and violence.


The sad undeniable truth is that the US faces a grave challenge from homegrown terrorism that has nothing to do with Isis or al-Qaida. Most of these domestic terrorists lurk in the darkest corners of the crazed, conspiratorial far right wing.


Still, Bowers does identify with some of Trump’s goals and rhetoric, because Trump has inspired the racist far right to a degree surpassing any modern American president. His depiction of immigrants as inherently criminal, and his attempts to connect immigration to shadowy cabals of financiers, closely track white supremacist tropes.


We see this play out in Trump rallies, where obligatory language about nonviolence is met with a muted response from crowds who prefer to save their cheering for calls to lock up Trump’s political opponents without cause or to egg him on as he denounces the “enemies of the people” media for daring to publish critical stories. This avid hunger for ugliness suggests that even after Trump is gone — whenever and however that happens — there’s little hope of opening right-wing ears to the message that racism and violence are serious problems.

salon/this-is-trumps-america-slaughter-in-pittsburgh-racist-killings-at-kroger-and-the-magabomber (& see song at bottom of part 3) 

This mass murder literally occurred in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood: Beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers lived three blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue. America’s innocence is long gone. Saturday’s horrors are an exclamation mark. The Pittsburgh massacre is reportedly the worst single act of anti-Semitic violence in American history.


To repeat the obvious: The president is on record using eliminationist rhetoric hundreds of times, and he continues to get away with it while the press, the group that’s allegedly “so unfair” to Trump, is actually taking some of the burden of guilt off his narrow shoulders. To call this madness greatly understates the crisis.


Trump has a long history of anti-Semitic dog whistles. He’s guilty of careless disregard for bolstering racist propaganda and values his pride over standing up to bigotry.


President Donald Trump resumed tweeting baseless conspiracy theories about a migrant caravan that is traveling north from Central America on Monday morning, less than 48 hours after an anti-Semite who reportedly promoted similar conspiracy theories on social media murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. An analysis of Bowers’ other social media activity reveals numerous references to absurd conservative conspiracy theories about the migrant caravan being funded or directed by George Soros. Multiple Fox News hosts have pushed conspiracy theories to fear-monger about the migrant caravan, which has become part of Republicans’ closing argument in advance of next week’s midterm elections.


CNN sucks,” the audience replied. “CNN sucks.” This was the first one of these that I’ve attended since the campaign and you realize quite quickly that there is absolutely no news value to anything he says at these gatherings…Now there’s another guy who rode that tide into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, wherein he drowned in actual blood an actual ceremony of innocence. The president* stood in the rain at Andrews Air Force Base Saturday and called for guns in places of worship and a wonderful, sleek, streamlined new death penalty. I had no interest in the president*’s remarks on the subject, because there would not be any life in them.


Worst of all, it’s not just the president who’s proving himself more than willing to ratchet up the atmosphere heading into the midterms. He has an entire ecosystem of disinformation to call on, starting, of course, with Fox News. These shameless liars will say anything. And Fox’s programming in general has gone on as if the spasm of violent bloodshed last week never happened. Remember that the Pittsburgh shooter specifically cited unfounded conspiracies about The Caravan? But it’s yet another attempt to dehumanize the supposed invaders coming for the southern border. In reality, the people in “The Caravan” are a thousand miles away, and those that make it to the border will present themselves to American immigration authorities in the hopes of getting an asylum hearing, as is their right under international law and treaties to which the United States is a signatory. In saner times, we might call them “refugees.” But not in these times. The idea the migrants in The Caravan are vermin carrying disease is now apparently one of the stock tropes at Fox.


Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman in the massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, reportedly killed 11 people and wounded six others when he entered the place of worship Saturday morning. “All Jews must die!” he reportedly yelled while shooting at random. Bowers was apparently an avid user on Gab, the “alternative” social media site where many members of the alt-right (including white supremacists) convene. When Andrew Torba, an avid Donald Trump supporter, launched Gab in 2016, people compared it to sites like Facebook and Twitter, but were drawn to the less restricted atmosphere. Unlike on mainstream sites, Gab users could post hate-filled ideologies with abandon. Unsurprisingly, it’s become an echo chamber for the alt-right. Research even backs it up; Gab is essentially a breeding ground for white, male extremism.


It’s fair to say that Robert Bower used that word. He certainly demonstrated what that word means, and the absolute result of a Republican Party that has supported xenophobia and Antisemitism to the death. Not their death, of course. Trump is right to say that the people in that synagogue needed protection. From people like him.


(Shows a hodgepodge of articles about the increase in anti-Semitic violence)


We can absolutely make the assertion that anti-Semitic rhetoric broadcast over the airwaves results in a likelihood of anti-Semitic violence. We can especially do so in an environment that has seen such violence escalate uncontrollably since the 2016 elections. The Trump supporter who attempted to assassinate over a dozen of Donald Trump’s most railed-against critics believed he was acting as patriot by murdering Trump’s enemies. The mass murderer who targeted a Pittsburgh synagogue explicitly did so because he genuinely believed Jewish groups were behind a new supposed wave of violent immigration–the very subject of recent (and viciously false) Fox and Republican rhetoric. There is not even the slightest question over whether or not the increasingly conspiratorial rhetoric of the party has made acts of violence–that is, domestic terrorism–against their opponents more likely: It is measurable. It is obvious. We cannot say with assurance whether this or that specific domestic terrorist would not have still acted out had their own personal conspiracy theories not been mainstreamed and promoted as supposed truth by Republican Party lawmakers and officials, but was can absolutely say that the embrace of those conspiracy theories by figures of authority lent them an air of truth, and of absolute urgency, that they would not have otherwise had.


Still, it’s Trump’s fault, that this kind of scum is boiling to the surface, because, from the very start of his Presidential run, Donald Trump based the immigration plank of his platform on hateful and delusional ideas like immigrant Mexican rapists coming for white guys’ women and jobs.  Because Trump’s rhetoric always moves toward, and never away, from greater delusion, more hate, soon enough Trump’s carefully cultivated cultists learned that  the phony fact that immigrants had slaughtered 63,000 innocent Americans since 9/11.  Also, while some care was taken, for a short time, to limit Trump’s red meat, propaganda horror stories to illegal immigrants, soon enough Trump started campaigning against 100% legal Syrian refugees already living in America.  The next thing we knew, Trump sent armed thugs to block asylum seekers’ access to places where they could lawfully apply to enter the U.S. and kidnapped their children.  Now, for the midterms, Trump wants it all about The Caravan. Let’s not kid ourselves.  Donald Trump’s divisive Presidential rhetoric is getting Americans killed.  The slaughter at the Tree of Life Synagogue is on Trump, every bit as much as the assassination of Becket was on Henry II of England.



Trump offers a torrent of racist, xenophobic bile spewed night after night to crowds of mindless citizens baying back their appreciation. But the synagogue killer declared his motives. On the social-media site Gab, he specifically stated he wanted to kill Jews, who he blamed for encouraging a migrant caravan to come to the United States through Mexico. I wonder where he got that idea?



History is going to wreck you. It’s going to mock, belittle, and revile you in ways you can hardly imagine. You’re going to be a tragicomic footnote, a political fart in the hurricane of history. You name will be a punchline, not a rallying cry.



God forbid this country goes into an economic tailspin. Or we face a huge terrorist attack. Or something else I can’t yet conceive. Imagine him being told he has to sit in that chair in the Oval Office and talk to the country on live TV because, whatever it is that happened is so big and terrible, we need the President to talk to us.  To guide us. To be…presidential. He has squandered my ability to listen to him anymore. He alone can only make it worse. We are leaderless right now. It is unsettling. It isn’t supposed to be like this. Not in America.