Evil-Echo Empire Update….

The ridiculous arguments from echo-coached toadies on the Trump train keep pouring in, & they are as nonsensical as ever!  Again we’re seeing rhetoric from echo-land that no lie is ever too ridiculous in trying to deflect & soften the impact of the Russian scandal.  Over the past year, we’ve seen the extremist blowhards on Fox, talk radio & internet groups bloviate over dozens of phony scandals they cooked up, which upon closer inspection always turned out to be much ado about nothing.  But in their desperation to protect the leader they worship & try to salvage their own sagging reputations, they keep throwing out trial balloons hoping to find something that finally sticks.  Some shows on Fox barely cover real news anymore, they just roll out their case for yet another fake scandal.  The latest coordinated gambit is to drum up momentum for a second special counsel over the ridiculous abuse claims about a FISA warrant, which some congressional GOP leaders are getting behind.  It’s another rabbit hole they’re going down not to uncover the facts, but to confuse the facts.

Among the more ridiculous tales spun in Trump-echo world lately, somehow it was Hillary who colluded with Russia.  Huh?  While it’s true Russia sought to sow discourse with fake stories stirring up our prejudices on both sides, but the overwhelming amount of email dumps & fake social media messages were definitively anti-Hillary.  The extent we’ve learned of the Kremlin’s huge amount of interference, it’s reasonable to think maybe they did alter the outcome of our presidential election.  Another whopper is that Obama didn’t confront the Russian meddling.  Maybe he didn’t do enough since he didn’t want to give off the appearance of his actions being politicized right before the election, but he did address the matter.  But at that time we didn’t fully realize how serious the Russian collusion was, but now that we do & they’re still doing it, it’s truly a dereliction of duty our current president still does nothing, either to penalize the Russians or try stopping their continued interference in future elections.

Another echo excuse was Trump was just joking when he made that recent comment about we should try having a president for life here in America, but that’s not something a president should ever joke about, especially the current one whose autocratic tendencies are regularly on full display while he attacks our democratic institutions & norms.  And not when democracies are losing favor throughout the world which America was always seen as its great protector.  The Trump fascist tendencies & admiration for dictators around the world must be Trump news taken seriously.

So the GOP/echo henchmen’s ultimate motive with any of their fake stories is to find a reason to investigate the investigators in order to discredit them, with their only purpose being distracting & raising doubts over the Mueller probe, if not totally sabotage it.  The evidence points to there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING behind all these GOP conspiracy theories cooked up by Trump & his compliant echo, as this article from democrats-strike-a-blow-against-gop-efforts-to-shield-trump concludes here:

What does this all add up to? Republicans say they have a blockbuster witness who will prove Hillary Clinton engineered the approval of the Uranium One sale because she was paid off by the Russians. They use that claim to pressure Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate Clinton. But then it turns out that their claim is completely bogus: Not only is the witness unreliable, but also he isn’t even claiming to have the evidence Republicans say he does, which we learn only when Democrats release more information that Republicans were in no hurry to reveal. We should note that the Republicans may have a response to the information contained in the Democratic memo, and perhaps they’ll be able to explain why Campbell really does have the goods on Clinton. But at the moment that looks like it’s going to be an awfully hard case to make. So the question now is: What is Sessions going to do? Sessions hasn’t seemed particularly gung-ho about appointing a special counsel, probably because he knows that the charges Republicans in Congress are making are laughable. At the same time, he’s under pressure to demonstrate his loyalty to Trump, who tweets about Uranium One whenever he sees something about it on Fox News. There would be few better ways to bolster his job security than to appoint a special counsel to investigate the president’s former opponent, as Trump has regularly demanded.

I’ve taken a lot of excerpts here from is-donald-trump-a-cult-leader-expert-says-he-fits-the-stereotypical-profile, as it reveals interesting insights that are as pertinent as they are alarming for what America is currently facing, since at this unique point in our history we’re seeing the rise of a demagogue leader given power through his rabid followers.  It goes along with what I’ve repeatedly warned about in regards to fascism, don’t think it couldn’t happen here!

Let’s review: Donald Trump is a petite-fascist and aspiring demagogue who has threatened violence against his political enemies and shows no respect for the rule of law. He lies persistently and repeatedly, about matters small and large, in an effort to create a malignant new reality. Trump’s policies — and those of the Republican Party that overwhelmingly backs him — have hurt the American people, particularly those in the infamous “white working class” who support him most enthusiastically. Despite his many and obvious character deficits and failures of presidential leadership, Donald Trump appears to control the opinions of about 35 percent of the American people. There seems to be almost nothing he could do to weaken their support of him (including, as he has himself observed, committing murder in broad daylight). These are the attributes of a political cult.

 

Donald Trump fits the stereotypical profile of a cult leader. His followers fit the model as well. Many of them, especially the ones that say, “He could do anything and we would still believe him, we would still follow him,” sound like people who have been indoctrinated into a totalistic mindset.

 

Trump’s strategies of fear programming, redefining reality and defining independent journalism as “fake news” mirrors a country on the verge of a totalitarian takeover. People think, “It can never happen to me — only the weak or the stupid and the uneducated could fall for that.” In fact, everybody is vulnerable. Once a person engages in a set of behaviors — even something as simple as voting for someone — the tendency is to want to have confirmation bias. You want to believe that you made the right decision. To maintain that belief, a given person will systematically ignore information which challenges the bias.

 

There are definite characteristics which define the difference between an ethical leader versus someone who is unethical. One of the things is lying, for example. When a leader says, “The weather was great during the inauguration,” but everybody who was there got wet and the National Weather Service said it rained, the leader is wrong and therefore is lying. When there’s a big, loud, repeated lie, the average person tends to defer and say, “Well, maybe I got it wrong” or “Maybe where he was, it wasn’t rainy at all.” There are other aspects such as narcissism, where people are not operating out of real relationships, but more in a compensatory relationship of wanting to look good in their own mind. Thus, when they’re accused of being abusive to women they make claims such as, “Nobody respects women more than me,” or “I never said that I was grabbing a woman’s genitals,” even though he was recorded and the person that recorded him was there.

 

The characteristics of a cult leader are that they want people to be loyal. They want people to be obedient. They want people to do whatever they’re told and they often will fire anybody who questions their judgment or authority. There is also a very low toleration for dissent. When somebody can’t admit that they were wrong or that they lied and then apologize, that’s another characteristic of cult leaders. They think they’re above the law, they think they’re God on earth, and they expect everyone to just merge into what their definition of reality is. What gives me hope is that there are journalists, activists and others who still have the courage to stand up against bullies and totalitarians. What frightens me is that the most powerful person on earth, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, could unilaterally declare a war and then impose martial law.

 

Knowing that Putin is a strong-armed dictator & murderous thug (putin-threatened-russian-traitors-the-year-sergei-skripal-went-to-uk), the question remains why does Trump always show him so much love & is so reluctant to push back on his interference in our democratic system?  Trump fascist fantasies probably have him envying Putin’s ruthless power & control.  Our president’s unabashed support for authoritarian dictators is setting a precedent for undermining democracy here & around the world, so just a word to the wise as revealed in these excerpts from the-chaos-after-trump:

Italy is now a poster child for the three big trends that are undermining democracies around the world: First, the erasure of the informal norms of behavior. As Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt argue in “How Democracies Die,” democracies depend not just on formal constitutions but also on informal codes. You treat your opponents like legitimate adversaries, not illegitimate enemies. You tell the truth as best you can. You don’t make naked appeals to bigotry. Berlusconi, like Trump, undermined those norms. And now Berlusconi’s rivals across the political spectrum have waged a campaign that was rife with conspiracy theories, misinformation and naked appeals to race.

 

Second, the loss of faith in the democratic system. As Yascha Mounk writes in his book “The People vs. Democracy,” faith in democratic regimes is declining with every new generation. Seventy-one percent of Europeans and North Americans born in the 1930s think it’s essential to live in a democracy, but only 29 percent of people born in the 1980s think that. In the U.S., nearly a quarter of millennials think democracy is a bad way to run a country. Nearly half would like a strongman leader. One in six Americans of all ages support military rule. In the Italian campaign, we see the practical results of that kind of attitude. Voters are no longer particularly bothered if a politician shows dictatorial tendencies. As one voter told Jason Horowitz of The Times: “Salvini is a good man. I like him because he puts Italians first. And I guess he’s a fascist, too. What can you do?”

 

Third, the deterioration of debate caused by social media. At the dawn of the internet, people hoped free communication would lead to an epoch of peace, understanding and democratic communication. Instead, we’re seeing polarization, alternative information universes and the rise of autocracy. In Italy, the Five Star Movement began not so much as a party but as an online decision-making platform. It pretends to use the internet to create unmediated democracy, but as La Stampa’s journalist Jacopo Iacoboni told David Broder of Jacobin: “In reality, the members have no real power. In reality, there is not any real direct democracy within M5S, but a totally top-down orchestration of the movement.” In Italy, as with Trump and his Facebook campaign, the social media platform seems decentralizing, but it actually buttresses authoritarian ends.

 

The underlying message is clear. As mounk has argued, the populist wave is still rising. The younger generations are more radical, on left and right. The rising political tendencies combine lavish spending from the left with racially charged immigrant restrictions from the right. Vladimir Putin’s admirers are surging. The center is still hollowing out. Nothing is inevitable in life, but liberal democracy clearly ain’t going to automatically fix itself.

I’ve posted excerpts here from the-death-of-the-center on our new political reality, where I constantly urge both sides need to be willing to negotiate towards the center to get anything significant done.  With both parties moving farther out on the fringes, we’re hopelessly locked into polarization & gridlock, where not pursuing the common good means we all lose:

The transformation of the GOP into a right-wing populist party is already well underway. Partly in response, the Democrats are following suit by shifting further left. Not that either change is happening without a fight. On the contrary, just as the formation of a stable and coherent government in a multi-party system becomes more difficult when parties further removed from the center gain in strength, so the big-tent parties that prevail in two-party systems begin to buckle as those on the inside drift apart ideologically from one another. But of course the gap separating members of the same party is nowhere near as wide as the even greater chasm that separates each party from the other.

 

Those are the centrifugal forces that will be buffeting our political system for the foreseeable future — with each party lurching away from the center and engaging in a rancorous internal struggle over how far to take the change. What happens if Trump’s massive tax breaks for corporations, cuts to federal regulations, and attacks on immigration are followed by Democratic moves to vastly expand social programs, increase taxes, and open the nation to newcomers? The answer is that those very policies, which gained popularity on the left partly in reaction to Trump’s diametrically opposite agenda, will provoke yet another round of radicalization on the right, and so on and so forth. Politics in a polarized, populist age can be nasty, turbulent, and unstable. But it will never be boring.

Rubin touches on that same subject in democracy-is-more-fragile-than-we-would-like-to-admit, with this excerpt explaining never before have we seen the possibility democracy itself may be trending towards extinction.  The one way to save it is to learn to work together & meet someplace closer to the center, providing viable & real solutions in the best interests of the people:

Donald Trump may be unique in American presidential history, but he is hardly alone on the world stage. We are seeing a movement in which Western democracies, pluralism and the rule of law are under assault across Europe. It is no longer a question of whether democracies face threats unprecedented since the end of World War II, but how serious they are and whether democratic values will prevail.

 

Yascha Mounk, the author of The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It, wants us to know that support for democracy is waning. During a recent interview, he told political commentator David Frum:

 

In the United States, for example, over two-thirds of older Americans believed that it was absolutely essential to live in a democracy; among millennials, less than one-third did. Twenty years ago, one in 16 Americans thought that “army rule” was a good system of government. A few years ago one in six did. And the figures are similarly worrying for a whole range of countries in Western Europe.

 

What we know is the center-left and center-right have not gotten the job done — either in providing prosperity or in giving their citizens a compelling sense of national purpose. If America wants to dump Trump, Democrats, wayward Republicans or a new political movement will need to sketch out a vision of both.

Please do peruse the related articles below, which cover topics ranging from the rise of authoritarianism to the lies from the echo.  A perceived strong economy & excitement over the prospect of a deal with North Korea has many Americans willing to give Trump a pass, even if it can be proven he engaged in criminal activity over the Russian case. But democracy is a fragile thing & getting more so all the time, so no president should be above the law & permitted to abuse his power. Regardless of circumstances, I don’t perceive this president as having the moral authority to lead us. So the groups I’ve always personally connected with, such as the GOP base, conservatives & even evangelicals, now that they’ve excused & are enabling serial dishonesty & moral depravity, it’s difficult to associate with them anymore. And what should especially be so obvious to everyone, the constant lying coming from Trump & his pundits, it’s hard to know if his Trumpeter base actually believes all that stuff or maybe they’re just willing to look the other way.  In particular, so many willing to watch Hannity is concerning, but to actually believe him is confounding.  And a goofball like Robert Jeffress is working hard to destroy the moral code of the evangelical church.