Signs of Fascism are now here in America…I’ll keep my commentaries short here in part 2, since we’ve posted some selections with long excerpts from outstanding articles, explaining Trump’s constant lying & being enabled by the evil echo which are putting serious strains on our democracy.  The first two articles we’ve posted in their entirety, giving us important warnings on the signals of fascism to watch out for.  To prevent such a dire outcome as sliding into fascism, it requires a citizenry being aware of the signs.

Our new posts normally hit the blog on Tuesday & Friday afternoons, but with the Thanksgiving holiday we plan on skipping Friday this week, barring a major headline story like Mueller dumping a bunch of indictments on top staff from the Trump campaign.  A Manafort report is due on Monday to the judge in his case from Mueller, with the Flynn case also coming to a resolution soon, which could necessitate Mueller showing his hand on the evidence he might have on a number of other top Trump campaign officials.  Stay Tuned!

So keep checking back with us here at thevoracs.com, where we summarize & provide clarity on the most important/relevant news articles of the week.  Typically, part 1 features Russiagate, part 2 the echo lies & assault on our democracy, with part 3 on the economy (& a song selection at the bottom).  And please do share with your contacts, since the one thing we need most in America amidst the Trumpian/echo plethora of lies, is an informed citizenry with a grasp on what’s happening!  Please don’t treat the word fascism lightly, it is no joke & not beyond the realm of possibility it could happen to us.

First Article on Fascism

For anyone who has read our blog for any length of time has seen, I’ve often said this of fascism, that don’t think it couldn’t come here to America.  The article inside donald-trumps-fascist-politics-and-the-language-of-disappearance has a unique way of stating the risk which is now right in front of us, so we’ve posted the entire article which I encourage people to read it all:

In an age when speed overcomes thought, a culture of immediacy blots out any vestige of historical memory and markets replace social categories, language loses its critical moorings and becomes what Chris Hedges has called “a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture.” No longer a vehicle for critique, doubt or possibility, language in the age of Donald Trump upholds the cultural and political workstations of ignorance and paves the way for a formative culture ripe with the death-saturated practices and protocols of fascist politics. As a species of neoliberal fascism eradicates social bonds and democratic communal relations, vulgarity parades as political wisdom and moral cowardice becomes a mark of pride. In a neoliberal age that has a high threshold of disappearance, the sins of a Vichy-inspired history have returned and are deeply rooted in a Republican Party that is as criminogenic as it is morally irresponsible and politically corrupt. Of course the threads of a fascist politics weave through both political parties, which have sold their souls to the financial elite, though the Democrats do their work under the cover of self-righteousness and constitutional liberties while the Republicans bask in their embrace of corruption and a craven silence in the face of Trumpism. Vast apparatuses of pedagogical regulation endlessly work to produce a kind of Orwellian magic realism in which fiction and reality collapse into each other and the label of “fake news” provides a camouflage for serial liars.

 

The bad-faith vocabulary of individual responsibility, self-reliance, and choice eliminates the notions of soul crushing constraints and broader systemic forces, and in so doing produces armies of individuals stuck in the debilitating grip of social atomization, low self-esteem and the anxieties produced in landscapes of battered schools, rusting towns and meaningless work, if available. The destruction of collective structures capable of resisting the discourse of fascist politics go hand in hand with a culture awash in civic illiteracy and a culture of cruelty. Persistent denigration now leads to unbridled racism, the resurgence of white nationalism and an indifference to rampant criminality at the highest levels of government. Robert Jay Lifton’s description of an earlier historical moment as a “death-saturated age in which matters of violence, survival, and trauma inescapably bear down on daily experience” has returned in a new form with a vengeance under the Trump regime. Yet such an age has been met by those in power with a silence that reeks with the scourge of complicity and the moral blindness of a kind of willful ignorance. Where is the collective rage among the Republican Party over Trump’s endless rhetorical tropes of hate and demonization that both wound and undermine the foundations for a civil society? What can be said about an administration and its followers that refuse to respond to the accusation that Trump’s highly charged rhetoric both legitimates and fuels acts of violence? Why does the American public not erupt in outrage when the Trump administration makes the anti-Semitic claim that George Soros is funding the caravan of migrant workers, and engages in outright racist slurs by calling Maxine Waters a “low IQ person” and demeaning the intelligence of basketball great LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon? What kind of signals does this type of rhetoric send to numerous fascist groups that support him?

 

Trump thrives on promoting social divisions and often references violence as a means of addressing them. His praise of Greg Gianforte, then a Montana congressional candidate (and now a congressman) for body-slamming a Guardian reporter in 2017 registers as a mark of pride. Oblivious to the horrors of the past, Trump once called the Nazi protesters in Charlottesville “very fine people.” Unsurprisingly, David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, praised Trump for the remark. This is the politics of fascism wrapped in the discourse of indifference and disappearance. The language of compassion, community and vulnerability is erased from government media sites, as is any reference to climate change. References to compassion, the grammar of ethics, justice and democracy wither as the institutions that enable and promote them are defunded, corporatized or privatized. The language of egoism, self-interest, hyper-masculinity and a vapid individualism erase any reference to social bonds, public commitments, the public good and the commons. Even worse, under the blitz of a rhetoric of bigotry, hatred and dehumanization, the ability to translate private issues into lager systemic and public concerns is diminished. The language of fascism is now reinforced by a culture of immediacy, stupidity, ignorance and civic illiteracy, and as such promotes a culture in which the only obligation of citizenship is consumption and the only emotion worth investing in is unbridled anger largely directed at Blacks, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and the oppositional media.

    

In the age of Trump, self-reflection is a liability. Reason and informed judgment are increasingly viewed as archaic and outdated. Trump both embodies and models an age in which power and ignorance reinforce each other. One recent example brings this point home in spades. Following  the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Trump was criticized for his ongoing rhetoric of bigotry, dehumanization and violence. He responded with his usual felonious flight from any sense of moral and political responsibility by stating that he was going to “tone up” his rhetoric rather than tone it down. He lies endlessly, shreds standards for discerning the truth, and produces falsehoods daily in order to divert the media from addressing serious topics ranging from health care to attacks on Social Security and the Mueller investigation. Peter Baker and Linda Qiu of the New York Times reinforce this charge by pointing to the litany of lies Trump produced while campaigning for the midterm elections. They write: As he barnstorms the country trying to help Republican allies, President Trump has offered voters this fall a litany of misleading statements and falsehoods that exaggerate even legitimate accomplishments and distort opponents’ views beyond the typical bounds of political spin. In the past couple of weeks alone, the president has spoken of riots that have not happened, claimed deals that have not been reached, cited jobs that have not been created and spun dark conspiracies that have no apparent basis in reality. He has pulled figures seemingly out of thin air, rewritten history and contradicted his own past comments.

 

The endless lying is about more than diversion or a perpetual motion machine of absurdist theater. It is also about creating a mediascape where morality disappears and a criminogenic culture of thuggery, corruption, white supremacy and violence flourishes — and democracy dies. History seems to be repeating itself in a script in which language collapses into an ecosystem of falsehoods, militarism and racism. Jason Stanley, in his book, “How Fascism Works,” argues that the 10 pillars of a fascist politics are alive and well in the United States. The pillars he points to are the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety and appeals to the heartland. History offers us a reliable narrative of the horrific consequences of a society in which the elements of a fascist politics are at work and points to how, closer to the current historical moment, anti-Semitism is couched in the language of globalization and the call for racial and social cleansing is echoed in the discourse of borders and walls. What historical memory reveals in this case is an emergence of a form of fascist politics that alarmingly resembles the 1930s. In an age when civic literacy and holding the powerful accountable for their action are dismissed as “fake news,” ignorance becomes a breeding ground not just for hate but also for a culture that represses historical memory, shreds any understanding of the importance of shared values, refuses to make tolerance a non-negotiable element of civic dialogue and allows the powerful to poison everyday discourse. State-sanctioned ignorance is more than fodder for late-night comedy shows. It also provides the psychological conditions for individuals and groups to associate the discourse of “pollution” and disposability with what Richard A. Etlin calls “a biologically racialist worldview, which divides the human race according to the dichotomy of the pure and impure, the life-enhancing and the life-polluting.” This is a language mobilized by the energies of the ethically dead, and resonates strongly with the anti-Semitism that was at the center of the genocidal policies of the Third Reich.

  

The endpoint of the language of disappearance can also be seen in the warehousing of minorities of class and color into the school-to-prison pipeline, a carceral system that represents a bloated and punitive  21st-century apparatus of apartheid, and a regime of law and order in which young black men are indiscriminately subjected by the police to racial harassment and extreme violence. The language and logic of disappearance is also evident in attempts to both punish and make invisible the voices of the poor, homeless and sick who lack basic economic rights such as health care, housing, a living-wage job and quality education. As the language of violence saturates American society, the underlying causes resulting in the killing of journalists both at home and abroad disappear in the spectacle of lies and tweet-bombs that emerge from the White House daily. Trump, obsessed with weaponizing Twitter, is Archie Bunker in drag, who outdoes his comedy routine by, as Matthew Miles Goodrich observes, “railing against fake news, in a moment where Khashoggi was dismembered for being a dissident member of the press.” The Trump administration has now joined ranks in enabling the vile discourses of racism and anti-Semitism, which have returned to an unusual and dangerous extent in Hungary, Poland and a number of other countries now moving towards fascism. These discourses have come back to life, occupying centers of power, while surfacing among alt-right and other neo-Nazi groups in the United States. It is difficult to ignore, but apparently among politicians easy to forget, that Trump’s racist remarks set the tone for his presidential campaign and have been the driving force during his presidency. Under the Trump administration, people who should be considered a threat to democracy are now at the center of power and embraced by Trump. Moreover, as Trump increasingly appeals more and more to his base, his discourse becomes more extreme and his condoning and fomenting of violence more intensified.

 

The threads of a general political and ideological crisis run deep in American history. With each tweet and policy decision, Trump pushes the United States closer to a full-fledged fascist state. His words sting, but his policies can kill people. Trump’s endless racist taunts, dehumanizing expressions of misogyny, relentless attacks on all provisions of the social state and ongoing contempt for the rule of law serve to normalize a creeping fascist politics. Moreover, his criminogenic disdain for any viable sense of civic and moral responsibility gives new meaning to an ethos of a selfishness and a culture of cruelty, if not terror, that has run amok in the United States. An aura of corruption, lies, mendacity and violence defines this administration. The erosion of public values and the rule of law are now accompanied by a worldview that wreaks havoc on everything it touches. The walking dead now inhabit the White House and they have a ravenous appetite for destruction and civic catastrophe. Preoccupied with apocalyptic delusions, they view the current age as one of privileged disposability — a period in which racial and social cleansing informs their model of politics and governance. This is the politics of invented danger, rooted in a discourse that chomps on the flesh of the body politic, whose power is in part haunted by a paranoia over the possibility or threat posed by repressed ideals of the promise and possibility of a radical democracy. Some high-profile Republicans have dismissed the charge of fascism against the current administration as fraudulent or claim that the real threat to national sovereignty comes from anyone who is not white or for that matter even Democrats. For Trump as well as his spineless Republican allies and many of his unquestioning followers, facts or morality appear never to get in the way of acknowledging the degree to which Trumpism has normalized violence as a tool to squelch dissent or threaten journalists and others critical of Trump’s fascist politics.

 

Many in Trump’s fan base suffer from more than a bad-faith act of adoration for the strongman; they also represent a corrosive element of fandom marked by what appears to be a gleeful allegiance to the structures of white supremacy.The rhetoric of violence, hate and intolerance has morphed into the service of fashioning Trump as the undisputed strongman at the center of a stupefied cult, and as a symbol for criminalizing those individuals and groups considered disposable and outside the ultra-nationalist notion of America as a white public sphere. Under Trump, violence defines the political sphere, if not politics itself, and has become a mythic force in which all meaning, desire, relations and actions are framed with a friend/enemy divide. This is the worldview of the demagogue, and points alarmingly to a resurgence of a fascist ideology updated for the 21st century. Trump’s rhetoric of hate resembles the Nazi obsession with the discourse of elimination, ritualistic acts aimed at purging critical thought and undermining informed judgment. This is the discourse of barbarians, and a petri dish for nourishing the virus of a fascist politics. Of course, Trump is not simply some eccentric clown who happened to be elected by a body of angry and desperate sleepwalking voters. He is symptomatic of a savage form of neoliberalism that over the past 40 years has promoted a war against the welfare state, the most vulnerable and those deemed excess while punishing everyone else with austerity policies that also made the financial elite richer and major corporations more powerful. Extreme wealth and inequality has found its savior and unabashed apostle in Donald Trump — a populist for the rich. Trump is distinctive in that he merges the worst of casino capitalism with an unapologetic reverence for white supremacy and bigotry. Government welfare for the rich and misery for everyone else, mixed with relentless racism that has dispensed with the old dog-whistle variety for the bullhorn variety of Bull Connor, archenemy of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

 

Trump delights in smearing those individuals and groups he considers disposable. He has brazenly attacked journalists even in the face of a growing number of assaults on them — over 1,000 killed in the last decade across the globe. He has endlessly defended Saudi Arabia’s role in torturing and killing Jamal Khashoggi, unabashedly suggesting that the profits from trading in weapons of death are more important than defending civil and human rights. Trump delights in producing and suggesting cruel policies that might have seemed unimaginable a decade ago. For instance, he now threatens to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship, believing his nativist impulses can overturn the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. His racism appears unbounded, given his endless attacks on immigrants, Muslims and blacks. When asked about his history of racism, he dismisses it, stating that the term is applied by Democrats to Republicans who occupy positions of power. He wages war on the planet through his support for the fossil fuel industry and his ongoing deregulation of corporate practices that pollute the environment. The debris of violent shootings, racism, religious intolerance, the fog of celebrity culture and the destruction of civic culture has cast an apocalyptic shadow over the future of both democracy and the United States. Trump represents a ghost of the past, and we should be terrified of the way it emboldens and resonates with what is happening both in the United States and in other countries such as Brazil, Poland, Turkey and Hungary. Trump’s love affair with some of the world’s most heinous dictators and his hatred of democracy echoes a period in history when the unimaginable became possible, when genocide was the endpoint of dehumanizing others, and the mix of nativist and nationalist rhetoric ended in the horrors of the death camp. The world is at war once again: It is a war against democracy, and Donald Trump is leading the battle. Trump is our demagogue-in-residence, and the discourse of fascist politics and illiberal democracy no longer resides outside the United States. The menacing abyss of fascism is now at our doorstep.

Next Article on Authoritarian Fascism

The entire article from is-donald-trump-an-authoritarian-experts-examine-telltale-signs is also posted below, as preserving our constitutional democracy demands a participatory public who remains aware of what’s really going on.  So we recommend you not only read this, but share with others:

With disorienting speed over the past two weeks, the US has spun from facing a fake migrant invasion, to a blue-wave election, to an attack on that election by the president. Then it was on to the appointment of a lackey attorney general, a fiasco at a first world war memorial event in Paris, and the White House disseminating a doctored video to justify silencing a CNN reporter. In one sense, it does not matter what political ideology Donald Trump partakes in – which label is applied to it, what historians later might call it. To summarize the views of philosophers, historians and analysts: the currents of history are flowing, and all of America is paddling; we can debate what all that was about when, and if, we make shore. But there remains a desire to know which direction to steer, and in recent conversations, those philosophers, historians and analysts did not hesitate to resort to the most freighted words in our political vocabulary – words like fascism and authoritarianism – if not always to label Trump, then in an effort to place him in context.

 

The natural question many observers of the Trump era have asked is whether the latest transgressions by the president – for example suggesting a “Call for a new Election?” after an otherwise perfectly normal vote – might represent an identifiable step across a clear threshold on the path toward authoritarianism, and the ruination of American democracy. The answer that emerges through conversations with experts in the history of fascism is that rhetoric is indeed powerful, particularly from the president, and must not be ignored; but since the authoritarian style of leadership relies on intimidation and fear, there is a danger of overreaction. Trump’s recent attempts to undermine the election results in Arizona and Florida served two purposes, said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University specializing in fascism. The president was testing his ability to corrupt the results of the election, she said, but also pursuing “an authoritarian attempt to make our reality uncertain”. “The authoritarian wants us to lose our faith in our ears and our eyes, what we read and what we observe, so that we can be more dependent on him,” Ben-Ghiat said. “‘Reality is what I say it is. “So it’s very, very dangerous that he is doing this with regard to the biggest index of democracy, which is free and fair elections.”

 

In his book How Fascism Works: the Politics of Us and Them, Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, describes how fascist movements typically rely on a myth of rural purity in contrast with urban depravity – a divide that appears to be deepening in Trump’s America, as richly demonstrated by the midterms, Stanley pointed out. “The president is tripling down on a very frightening politics that creates a rural-urban split, that takes honest voters in rural areas and gives them a kind of panic and fear over nonexistent threats,” Stanley said, noting that Trump largely stopped talking about the “invasion” of the migrant “caravan” as soon as the election was over. “That’s scary because it’s hard to roll back. What’s he’s doing is he’s creating ever-more-dedicated supporters. And he’s giving them a kind of existential dread of otherness.” David Neiwert, a correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center whose most recent book is about the “rise of the radical right in the age of Trump”, said Trump’s authoritarian impulses were on full display in the post-election news conference at which CNN reporter Jim Acosta confronted the president only to have his press credentials revoked. “A trademark of his tenure,” Neiwert tweeted, has been for Trump “to assert that his version of reality is the only legitimate one, and that all others are ‘fake’… He uses the gap as a wedge to drive his followers closer.”

 

In a point that has been forcefully made by the Lawfare editor-in-chief, Benjamin Wittes, and others, Neiwert pointed out that Trump cultivates “chaos by design … following the pattern set by authoritarians throughout history – using the turmoil to create so much uncertainty that his rigid positions eventually come to define the general consensus.” The list of Trump’s recent perceived infractions against the wellbeing of liberal democracy in the United States is long. Before the midterm elections he held a series of snarling rallies in which he sought to villainize and dehumanize the political opposition with lines like “radical Democrats want to plunge our country into a nightmare of gridlock, poverty and chaos, you know that. They want to impose socialism on our country, turn us into another Venezuela, throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and ruthless gangs.” When those Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives, Trump warned of a “warlike posture” if he was investigated, then replaced the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, with the former US attorney Matt Whitaker, who had advertised his partisan devotion to Trump and Trumpism on cable television in hopes of landing an administration job. Challenged by the press on the move, Trump attacked, telling CNN’s Abby Phillip it was a “stupid question” and turning on her personally: “you ask a lot of stupid questions”. That was a day after he sneeringly accused a second African American reporter of asking “a racist question” at a news conference, in which he made a show of berating reporter after reporter. “Authoritarian-minded rulers want us to feel that their power is unstoppable – that they are unbreachable, they are strong – they are intimidating, they want us to be intimidated,” said Ben-Ghiat. “And they also want us to feel that their triumph is irreversible.”

 

But Ben-Ghiat said that stress fractures were visible in Trump’s public persona, especially following the midterms. “What happens is that they crack under pressure, because these quote ‘strongmen’ are actually very weak and brittle people,” she said. “For example, he’s been threatening the press forever, he’s been threatening to take their access away, but he actually did it, and he did it to the reporter who’s been the chief person who stood up to him the most. “The fact that he went one step further right now tells you about his psyche.” Stanley, whose parents both arrived in the US as refugees, his mother from eastern Poland and his father from Berlin, pointed out that Trump’s “core personal ideology” fits the fascist template. “Fascism is based around loyalty – loyalty to nation, loyalty to your friends,” Stanley said. “On power, as opposed to truth.” The rejections of Trump in the midterm elections, Ben-Ghiat said, amounted to the strongest kind of counterargument to Trump’s assertion of incontestable power. “We have to look carefully at these indexes of authoritarianism that are more and more in our face, but we also cannot give up the fact, the belief, that our actions matter,” Ben-Ghiat said. “Because when we believe that it’s not worth voting, which is what Trump is trying to subtly or not-so-subtly have us believe, then we give up. And authoritarians want us to be hopeless, to be depoliticized and to feel it’s not worth our while to even try.”

GOP has become Sniveling Cowards with their Tails between their Legs

The safeguards built into the system protecting our constitutional democracy include a party willing to call out their leader when that leader abuses their power, yet the current GOP has been thoroughly corrupted & compromised by the Trump cult.  That point is brought home in this post from when-trump-complains-about-elections-its-bad-when-gop-joins-its-worse:

Trump’s narrative that “Republicans don’t win … because of potentially illegal votes” is part of a larger strategy to disenfranchise his opponents by portraying them as cheaters. If one side is cheating, then any victories it claims are illegitimate. Absent legitimacy, though, the democratic system is broken. And that’s where Trump’s casual accusations of fraud cross the line from routine, if cynical, politics into something potentially more dangerous. Observers have already warned that Trump’s efforts to arouse suspicions about U.S. elections undermine the very democratic institutions he says he’s trying to defend. By raising doubts about the freeness and fairness of the electoral process — the backbone of any democracy — Trump and others incite distrust among ordinary Americans. This is already happening: A new report by the nonpartisan Democracy Project finds that a majority of Americans view democracy as weak and getting weaker, with about half expressing concerns that the country is in “real danger of becoming a nondemocratic country.” Democratic institutions survive only so long as ordinary citizens believe in them, so fears that our democracy is becoming nondemocratic could become self-fulfilling prophecies. The chance of the American democracy breaking down is low — but most experts believe it has gotten higher in recent years. If Trump continues to insist that the only legitimate elections are the ones his side wins, what might 2020 bring?

 

Research on contemporary democratic erosion suggests that there is a clear pattern in the mode through which today’s democracies fall apart. Rather than an outsider taking control through violence and force, democratic collapse increasingly occurs at the hands of democratically elected leaders who slowly chip away at their country’s institutions to consolidate control. Examples include Venezuela under Hugo Chávez and Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The tactics such leaders use to undermine the pillars of democracy are similar: They place loyalists and cronies in key posts, marginalize and discredit the media by censoring it or legislating against it, and silence civil society and political opposition. The rhetoric they use to justify this agenda shares a common theme: The country needs to be saved and strong leadership is required to save it, traditional political institutions are failing and in a state of decay, and experts and the established elite cannot be trusted. Such leaders typically position themselves as political outsiders, anchor their campaigns in their personality rather than the platform of their political party, and seek to confuse ordinary citizens by discrediting those in the media and challenging the legitimacy of those who oppose them.

 

Trump’s actions clearly check many of these boxes. Yet in the end, democracies do not fall apart because a single leader destroys them, but rather because the individuals and bodies with the power to check the leadership fail to use that power to preserve the system. Research suggests that two key actors play a critical role in preserving democracy in the face of incumbent power grabs. The first is the judiciary. Will judges act based on the law, rather than as partisans? Rules and guidelines cannot enforce themselves; norms of behavior matter. For this reason, Broward County Judge Jack Tuter’s intervention in Florida urging those with evidence of fraud to report to it local law enforcement and calling on both sides to cool down the tone of their allegations is so noteworthy. Rather than remaining silent, the judiciary signaled its commitment to the democratic process and the laws that support it.

 

But when leaders stack the judiciary with loyalists and supporters, its ability to remain an independent body that can check the executive weakens. Preventing this requires resistance on the part of those with a say in judicial confirmations. This leads to the second key actor: the leadership’s own political party. It is tempting for observers to look to the party that opposes leadership to push back against efforts to consolidate power. And indeed, members of opposition parties usually do try to resist. Their efforts are frequently futile, however. It is impossible to “check” the power of an executive without a majority in the legislature. That means preventing democratic breakdown requires that members of the leader’s party vocally oppose any efforts to undermine democracy. Again, research shows that institutions are only powerful to the extent that those who live under them act to uphold them. So when leaders appoint overly partisan judges, staff the executive branch and bureaucracy with underqualified loyalists, and issue statements that question the legitimacy of democracy, the responsibility lies with the leader’s party to take a stand against such behaviors. Surely it is not in the party’s self-interest to do so, but nor was it in the self-interest of George Washington to refuse to stand for a third term. Rather, the robustness of democracy requires it.

More Rants of a Moron

As Trump did his token photo op by visiting the fire-ravaged city of Paradise, CA, he didn’t offer cogent ideas other than federal funding & better forest management through raking.  See our selected song at bottom of part 3.  Less than 4 years ago we see from an old tweet he couldn’t care less about proper forest care, even blasting Smokey Bear: trumps-old-tweet-smokey-bear-forest-fire-prevention-psa-california-wildfires.  Once Trump is removed from the White House (the sooner the better), I think he might have a future with the forest service to rake the brush in the woods of California, as excerpts inside trump-raking-wildfires-climate-change reveal his brilliant idea:

President Trump visited the wildfire-devastated Paradise, California Saturday and offered the ravaged community a bizarre suggestion. “You gotta take care of the floors, you know the floors of the forest,” said Trump. He then cited a conversation with the President of Finland, where, he said, “they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem.” Finland is a subarctic nation with a landmass that’s one-third marshes—California, meanwhile, has a warm, arid Mediterranean climate. Dry vegetation fuels California wildfires, while powerful Santa Ana winds fan their flames. This is all to state the extremely obvious: California’s climate is nothing like Finland’s, and it’s deeply unlikely that the climate change-worsened wildfires will simply be raked away. (And the Finnish president denies that he ever said anything about raking in the first place.) In an interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace that was taped Friday but aired Sunday, the president conceded that “maybe” climate change “contributes a little bit” to the wildfires. But he’d changed his tune by Saturday. A reporter asked the president whether seeing the destruction in Paradise had changed his views on climate change. “No,” said Trump “I have a strong opinion: I want great climate, we’re going to have that, and we’re going to have forests that are very safe.” During his trip, the president promised California Governor Jerry Brown federal funding in the aftermath of the wildfires. This was a reversal of a tweet in which Trump threatened to pull payments to the state, presumably because they weren’t raking enough.

More Nonsense

More of the president’s nonsensical, petulant, self-serving rants we’ve posted in this article pulled from https://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=39767:

This has been a busy Sunday for Donald Trump. When he wasn’t posting flagrant propaganda videos of himself disrespecting California fire victims, he was excitedly planted in front of his television so that he could fire off rapid responses to the insolence directed at him by those pesky Democrats and wayward Republicans. So naturally he lashed out the imaginary “caravan” of criminal invaders marching toward the U.S. border. He posted an infantile tweet that referred to Rep. Adam Schiff and Adam “Schitt.” And he promoted his latest appearance on State TV (aka Fox News) with Chris Wallace. There was a lot of blathering idiocy throughout the interview, and it can be viewed in conveniently sectioned off pieces here. But one area of particular interest was when Wallace sought Trump’s reaction to remarks made by retired Admiral William McRaven. Trump twice interrupted Wallace as he tried to ask the question regarding McRaven saying that Trump’s attacks on the press are “the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.” Eventually Wallace got the question out and it resulted in this disturbing exchange (video below by clicking on the link).

 

Holy Shiitake Mushrooms. Trump actually has the gall to disparage a Navy Seal with more than three decades of service to his country, and whose leadership helped bring down two of America’s most virulent foes. And Trump’s reason for slamming McRaven was that he allegedly supported a couple of Democrats (aka Americans). What’s more, Trump’s insult went off the deep end by belittling McRaven’s accomplishments because they hadn’t happened sooner. For the record, George W. Bush had eight years to deal with bin Laden. Under Obama, bin Laden was dead in two years. And that was while Obama was also dealing with Bush’s Great Recession. Trump, on the other hand, evaded military service entirely via five questionable deferments. He has no moral standing to criticize McRaven, Obama, Clinton, or anyone else. It’s also worth noting that Trump is lying again. McRaven was not a supporter of Clinton or Obama. He never endorsed either and he served presidents of both parties. However, he was on the Trump transition team’s short list for a top national security post. Which makes his slander all the more repulsive. This ought to be a wake up call for every member of the military, every veteran, and every American who supports them, that Trump has zero respect for their service or commitment to duty. Unless, that is, they are also slavishly adoring of him personally. Anyone who demonstrates independent thought or otherwise veers from total devotion to Trump is discarded and treated like traitors no matter how impressive or patriotic their past. Trump will turn on you if you fail to worship him sufficiently. And that’s not patriotism, it’s malignant narcissism with tyrannical tendencies.

 

More on Sunday Fox Interview

This explains a lot.  In that interview with Chris Wallace shown over the weekend, Trump said when making decisions he doesn’t thinktrump-reveals-how-he-makes-decisions-to-chris-wallace-i-dont-think-about-them.  Our prez also resumed his attacks on the First Amendment & our right to a free press: chris-wallace-to-trump-youre-seen-around-the-world-as-a-beacon-for-repression.  This failing president with his massive ego also gave himself a grade of A+, only because he didn’t know of a grade higher than that.  And inside why-did-trumps-lies-fail-so-badly-important-new-data-provides-a-clue is this basic overview of the election:

Chances are many Fox viewers will now robotically agree that the outcome had zero to do with Trump. But even if Trump’s name was not literally on the ballot, the story Trump has been telling about this country was undeniably central to this election. With the Democratic edge in the House popular vote now swelling to nearly eight points — 53 percent to 45.3 percent — it’s clear that the country decisively rejected this Trumpist story.

If the shoe fits…

Kasich gives us this accurate assessment of Trump & his toxic rhetoric in excerpts from republican-governor-says-trump-makes-people-victims:

Ohio Governor John Kasich, a possible 2020 candidate, slammed Donald Trump for dividing the country by playing the “blame game.” “What I have resented and disliked about the president is instead of being a unifier and someone who can dig deep into people’s problems and say ‘yes those are problems, but together we can fix them,’ he has played a blame game,” Kasich commented during a speech in New Hampshire at the Loeb School’s First Amendment Gala on Thursday. “He has allowed people to consider themselves victims,” Kasich said, and fostered the idea in them that if good things failed to happen it is “because somebody else did this to you”. The longtime Republican went on to say that he has “held out hope for a couple years” that the president would become a unifying presence for Americans. But now he is “convinced he can’t.” 

Always About Him

Trump’s masturbatory personality is only obsessed with himself, with an ego that can’t handle any departure from the utopian vision he has of himself.  So he lies to embellish himself in feeding that vision & pushing back against any criticisms.  The president’s lies are not only numerous, but strategic as seen inside trump-lies-media-strategy-george-lakoff.  A reporter who fact-checks Trump writes of his experiences inside its-easy-to-fact-check-trumps-lies-he-tells-the-same-ones-all-the-time, which we’ve posted the opening to his article here, from where the rest of the article keeps on chronicling an avalanche of lies:

I’ve made it my mission to fact-check every word Donald Trump utters as president. That means trying to watch every speech, read every transcript, decipher every tweet. I’ve accidentally established a reputation for using Twitter to point out that he’s lying within seconds of him telling a lie. People sometimes ask in response how I can blast out these corrections so quickly. But I have no special talent. My secret is that Trump tells the same lies over and over. On his fifth day in office, Trump baselessly alleged widespread voter fraud. He did the same thing this past week. In his third month in office, Trump falsely claimed that the United States has a $500 billion trade deficit with China. He has said the same thing more than 80 times since. Listen to this president long enough, and you can almost sense when a lie is coming. If Trump tells a story in which an unnamed person calls him “sir,” it’s probably invented. If Trump claims he has set a record, he probably hasn’t. If Trump cites any number at all, the real number is usually smaller. Fact-checking Trump is kind of like fact-checking one of those talking dolls programmed to say the same phrases for eternity, except if none of those phrases were true. As any parent who owns a squealing Elmo can tell you, the phrases can get tiresome. I’m sure my Twitter followers get bored when I remind them that Trump wasn’t the president who got the Veterans Choice health-care program passed (Barack Obama  signed it into law in 2014 ), that U.S. Steel is not building six, seven, eight or nine new plants (it has recently invested in two existing plants) and that foreign governments don’t force their unsavory citizens into the lottery for U.S. green cards (would-be immigrants enter of their own free will).

Assault on the Free Press 

The truth is, we’ve never seen anything like the Trump lies: press-freedom-defense-fund-leader-says-trump-poses-unprecedented-threat-to.  That fiasco where the White House revoked the press badge for CNN’s Jim Acosta, which wound up in a court ruling, has the administration saying they want to create rules & regulations for reporters.  As seen inside trump-jim-acosta-cnn, journalists & media organizations regard the threats as like having a sword hanging over their heads.  The administration blames CNN for having to enforce these new rules, but CNN is just doing their job, pursuing truth & preserving democracy: Donald-Trump-Issues-a-Flagrantly-Authoritarian-Decree-for-Governing-the-Conduct-of-Journalists.  Yep, those new rules are absurd: chuck-todd-rips-absurd-white-house-rules-no-serious-journalist-will-follow & also trump-clamping-down-on-white-house-press-corps.

It’s all part of Trump’s attempts to suppress reporting & control the messaging.  The more he can demonize the real news, the more it elevates the lies from the echo in the eyes of his supporters: the-more-you-distrust-media-the-more-likely-you-fall-for-fake-news-study.  Trump wants to be free to keep lying without reproach, which coming from a president may truly be as dangerous of an internal threat as we’ve seen in our lifetime: while-all-politicians-lie-trumps-lies-could-undermine-democracy.  On that topic, these excerpts are taken from https://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=39755:

Apparently Donald Trump isn’t satisfied with just referring to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of people.” And it doesn’t fulfill his reckless compulsion to merely put a target on the backs of constitutionally protected journalists who are receiving more death threats than ever. Even more than threats as actual bombs have been mailed to the reporters that Trump has specifically directed his hostility. Now Trump is openly declaring his pride in creating a brigade of willfully ignorant disciples who despise the media and exacerbate a dangerous environment for journalists who just want to do their jobs. Trump is actually proud to be inciting violence at those who engage in the practice of freedom of the press as America’s Founding Fathers envisioned it. And Trump said so explicitly in an interview with Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller:

 

“A lot of the animosity that we have in our country is because of fake news. They’re so angry at the news. You guys are at my rallies all the time, you see the anger when I mention the words ‘fake news’ and they turn around.” “You look at what’s going on with the fake news and the people get it. Now they get it, and you know they had a very high approval rating before I became president, and I think it’s actually a great achievement of mine. Their approval rating now is down as low as just about anybody. And much lower than your president. I actually have good approval ratings, which nobody ever writes.”

 

Trump is exhibiting how severely he misinterprets reality if he thinks that the country is angry at the media rather than at him. And his boasting about the Deplorables who respond with blind obedience at his rallies only reinforces the observation that he’s leading a cult, not a political party. However, the most troubling part of these comments is Trump’s assertion that he has lowered the approval rating of the media, which he regards as a “great achievement.” He is bragging that his self-serving tantrums are negatively impacting the one profession that the framers of the Constitution saw fit to protect by name. He actually believes that disparaging the free press is a triumph of his “leadership,” when, in fact, it’s proof of his betrayal of American values. In addition to Trump displaying his personal loathing of constitutional principles, he is also showing his flagrant ignorance and dishonesty. First of all, his claim that media approval is “much lower than your president” is easily refuted by every poll on the matter. The most recent Gallup poll puts Trump’s approval near his all-time low at thirty-eight percent. And just a couple of months ago, a Quinnipiac poll revealed that the public has far greater regard for the media than for the President.

 

So Trump is both wrong on his facts and wrong to use his lies to brag about damaging America’s long-held reverence for a free press. He is wrong to encourage and embrace followers who have such open animosity for the journalists who strive to keep them informed. But of course, they are merely emulating his despicable and dangerous example. Other nationalist tyrants have sought to produce the same sort of blind loyalty that recognized only their Dear Leader as a truth-teller, and only his words as believable. Trump is, after all, the one who told his dimwitted devotees that “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” In other words my children, “Believe me, not your own eyes and ears.”

Q-Nuts!

Yep, these “Q” people are nuts, as presented in these excerpts below from qanons-true-believers-are-devastated-as-the-conspiracy-theory-goes-down-in-flames.  But it’s the same kind of mentality it takes to believe the absurd concoctions always dished out by insanity Hannity or Alex Jones.  If fascism were to come to America, these are the ideal mouthpieces to make up crazy propaganda in support of a dictator:

The “QAnon” community is falling apart. Perhaps no conspiracy theory has thrived more readily in the dark corners of the internet since it was first born last October on the infamous troll message board 4chan, following President Donald Trump’s vague remarks last year at a military dinner that it was the “calm before the storm.” An anonymous user claiming to be a high-level government informant and calling himself “Q,” after the highest level of security clearance at the Energy Department, began leaving cryptic messages he called “crumbs.” These were supposed to be hints about a wide-scale government operation known as “The Storm” to take down government corruption and the New World Order, with Trump at the center. While the messages often had specific dates, many aspects of them were purposefully vague, allowing believers in “QAnon” to use their imagination and fill in gaps.

 

In time, a gigantic overarching narrative emerged in which Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller were all working together, planning mass arrests of everyone from Hillary Clinton to liberal financier George Soros to members of Congress for their alleged roles in a massive, world-spanning criminal child sex ring enterprise that has included every former U.S. president — and that people should prepare for martial law and orchestrated mass riots aimed at protecting those marked for arrest. Q’s believers have claimed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a CIA plant, that former Democratic staffer Seth Rich was assassinated by MS-13 on the orders of party leadership, and that Republicans intentionally lost the special election for Sessions’ former Senate seat in Alabama to build evidence of voter fraud. At its height, QAnon broke into popular culture, with disgraced TV star Roseanne Barr promoting it on Twitter.

 

The end result, according to conspiracy theory debunker Mike Rothschild, is that tons of QAnon believers now realize they have been grifted, while the rest, who have gathered on the social network Voat since the community was banned from Reddit in September, are at each other’s throats and frantically spinning ever crazier ideas to explain away why nothing Q has said has come true. The notion that some of the remaining QAnon believers might form “citizen militias” is particularly troubling, as far-right conspiracy theories have led to violence — most famously, a man nearly shot up the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington last year, acting on the hoax narrative that Hillary Clinton and her inner circle were running a sex trafficking ring out of its basement. Whatever happens, the QAnon conspiracy theory was never fated to end well for its believers. And the whole saga is a cautionary tale about being careful what one believes on the Internet.

Millions under a Spell? 

What is even more disturbing is this chronic case of tribal brain constipation isn’t just confined to crazed Trumpeters, but seems to have been embedded in the minds of most of the GOP base!  Maybe that group is crazily gullible, maybe it’s some demonic power swaying them with a spirit of deception, maybe the charisma of their cultish leader sold them a dream they don’t want to give up, maybe they refuse to admit they were wrong, or probably it’s a combination of factors.  These excerpts from Trump-Supporters-How-Can-People-Believe-the-Unbelievable try to offer up a psychological profile that perhaps 1/3 of the American population have been bewitched by a trance:

It is a genuine psychological mystery—so many people believing the incredible. Here’s just one dramatic illustration. President Trump and then-FBI Director James Comey had conversations early in 2017. The two men give different accounts of what transpired. Comey says Trump sought his loyalty, and that he Trump leaned on him to get him to back off on the investigation of Mike Flynn, who’d clearly broken the law. Trump denies Comey’s story. Who is to be believed? The answer could hardly be more obvious. James Comey has proved himself the quintessential “reliable witness.” Immediately after the conversations in question, Comey did what the model witness would: he wrote up a contemporaneous memorandum detailing exactly what had transpired. Then he immediately gathered his main team of law enforcement professionals to tell them all what had just happened, so that if necessary, they too could bear witness. Even Comey’s severest critics testify to his impeccable honesty. On the other side, we have a President who has provably lied (or told falsehoods) at a rate that, for the first year, was five falsehoods a day and, as the Mueller investigation has been closing in on him, has increased to seven or eight lies a day. (His penchant for lying should be clear to everyone: Just witness how he changes his story on one thing after another – like the payoff to Stormy Daniels, and the meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower – when the disclosure of new information undercuts what he’d said before.)

 

Moreover, what Comey describes rings true, because we’ve witnessed Trump’s displaying precisely the same conduct — publicly – as he’s gone after his Attorney General. Repeatedly, Trump has expressed his fury at Sessions’ “disloyalty” in recusing himself—meaning Sessions’ putting upholding the law above protecting the President. Whom to believe—the model witness with lifelong devotion to law enforcement or the prodigious liar who consistently shows his disrespect for the rule of law? Can there be any question? Yet polls show that the great majority of Republicans believe the chronic liar Trump. How can that be? I’ve been really interested in understanding the psychology of politics for more than half a century. When I was 19, I wrote about the “Radical Right” of those times—the kind of people who thought that rock-and-roll was a communist conspiracy to stoke the forbidden animal impulses of America’s youth. When I was 40, I was awarded a prize by the International Society for Political Psychology for my first book (The Parable of the Tribes). Which is not to boast but just to provide a context for my confessing how difficult I’m finding it, despite a half century of study, to understand how tens of millions of Americans – many with good intelligence – can believe the unbelievable.

 

What is happening in people’s minds that leads them to believe the obviously false, and prevents them from seeing what is clearly true? An image arises when the question is posed that way: the hypnotic trance. The hypnotized person believes whatever the hypnotist says; and the hypnotist can induce blindness to what is right in front of their eyes. The idea of “trance” has been broadened, among some in the field, since I studied it many decades ago: it’s a matter, some say, of “filtering”: we attend to some things while ignoring others. In that sense, they say, all of us are in some kind of “trance” all the time. (There’s a famous study in which people are given an assignment to watch a video of basketball players and count how many passes they made. In the midst of the video, “a woman in a gorilla suit sauntered into the scene, faced the camera, thumped her chest and walked away. Half the viewers missed her. In fact, some people looked right at the gorilla and did not see it.”) The extreme case of the hypnotic trance introduces another factor that can shape people’s filtering — when one person gives power over to another to control what they will see and what they will be blind to.

 

Those who believe Trump – against all evidence – do seem to have given over to their leader some of their powers. Might the idea of “trance” in which one person is exercising power over others — help explain otherwise sane and intelligent people believing the manifestly unbelievable? But how could such a “trance” have been induced? And how does it work for some trance state to operate in people’s political consciousness at the same time they’re otherwise living their own autonomous lives? Even if the answer to this psychological mystery of the Trump believers lies along these lines – which I suspect, while remaining uncertain — such mysteries about the “trance” phenomenon remain. And other mysteries as well: such as how our human nature came to include our susceptibility to entering trance states, and our vulnerability to being controlled in such a way? And one more, somewhat urgent for us Americans: is there any way for others, not party to the trance relationship, to break in and awaken the entranced to the reality right before their eyes?