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The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn – POLITICO Magazine

Please read this article and let me know if any of this sounds familiar. I’m sure Trump would call this fake news and a bunch of lies, but he is a man bereft of the ability to see his own reflection in the mirror. I have no doubt Trump’s fall will eventually occur. My only hope is that he won’t end up taking way too many innocent people down with him.

– rjc

 

The unrepentant political hitman who taught a younger Trump how to flout the rules didn’t get away with it forever.

Source: The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn – POLITICO Magazine

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Fear, Paranoia, Trump, Evil, and the Absence Of Empathy

Another outstanding essay by Steven Dundas in his blog, Padre Steve’s World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps. He nails the plethora of character shortcomings embodied by President Trump which leave him ill-suited for the office he has held since January 20, 2017 and for which he seeks re-election in November of 2020.

It is incumbent upon all of us for whom these glaring flaws are apparent to work as hard as necessary to insure that this President is not given another four years to fashion an even more nightmarish future than most of us foresaw when he burst on the American political scene as a candidate back in 2015. We need a government which will improve the lives of all Americans and the world as a whole rather than just Trump, his family and a relatively small group of oligarchs who have been benefiting at the expense of the rest of us to an ever increasing degree ever since he took office.

As I argued in an earlier blog post of my own recently, Trump must go. I never thought he belonged in the White House to begin with, and the totality of his actions to date has done nothing but strengthen my opinion in this matter. Polls appear to indicate I am not alone in this view. We need to not allow him to steal another election, and continue dismantling what remains of our democracy and civil liberties, for another four years of insulting and attacking us, while filling his pockets with our tax dollars. – rjc

Padre Steve's World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Every day that I see a tweet or hear President Donald Trump go into incoherent

streams of banal blathering I am reminded that the man has no ability to empathize with any other human being, even his family. It does not matter whether it is people suffering in a hurricane, people who have seen mass numbers of family and friends murdered by domestic terrorists, labeling racial and religious minorities as terrorists, criminals, animals, or vermin; or encouraging violence against political opponents and the press at his rallies, he always makes things about him, and plays to the fears of his base.

His lies are often whoppers and those he has been proven by many organizations to have lied or distorted the truth well over 10,000 times during his presidency, often to the detriment of his policies and programs, and which subvert the alliances and treaties…

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10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them by David Swanson

Lengthy missive By David Swanson via Dandelion Salad blog describing the subject in the title. War Is a crime. We do need to stop pretending it is not and start learning to do without it before we do irreparable harm to humanity and the planet. Rationalizations may sooth the consciences of many but they do not alter the facts. With Trump, Putin and the various and sundry would-be and actual dictators ruling so much of the world, the risk of an actual apocalypse is greater than ever. – rjc

via 10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them by David Swanson

Trump allies fear their white supremacist image, and that’s why they’re threatening journalists

Excellent essay by Robert A. Vella in his blog “The Secular Jurist” concerning the attempted (in many cases successful, I suspect) suppression of journalism which criticizes policies and practices of many national and world leaders by attacking the character of the journalists themselves. As more and more members of the media, even to some extent outlets which for years have supported ideologies espoused by authoritarian and would-be dictators such as Donald Trump and many other current and historic figures who practice hate speech and excuse violent behavior against scapegoated groups sets the stage for even more violence with the passage of time.

Our President is now even criticizing outlets such as Fox News which have long bent over backwards to support him regardless of the nonsensical lies he has spewed forth. The time has come to end his reign before it gets even worse for critics and innocent protesters alike. Surely, giving Trump another four year term (or more, if, as many fear, he succeeds in usurping our democracy entirely by eradicating term limits) would only make matters worse. – rjc

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

Trump allies understand what I detailed in an editorial earlier this month – that the president will be defeated in next year’s election if the public sees him as an overt racist.  The historical evidence for this dynamic is unmistakable:

Yes, white supremacy has always existed in America;  but, America has not always been a country of white supremacists.  What I mean is that bigoted and racist sentiment has always been present in the population, as it is in all populations, but it has only periodically gained enough political power to project its vile image for the nation.  The Antebellum South was one of those periods as was the Jim Crow era;  however, in each case Americans rejected the overt empowerment of white supremacy and much blood was spilled as a result (i.e. the Civil War, and the Civil Rights era of the 1960s).  The racists…

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Harvard constitutional law prof says Trump’s ‘treachery and betrayal’ are now clear — and there’s only one solution – Raw Story

Renowned  Constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe discusses the current state of American democracy under the leadership (or lack thereof) of Donald J. Trump. We live in perilous times. – rjc

 

House Democrats continue to move in a plodding and methodical way toward the impeachment of Donald Trump. On Aug. 8, the House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., announced the formal launch of impeachment proceedings. But the Democratic Party’s leadership is also sending mixed signals, vacillating between being relatively direct about their […]

Source: Harvard constitutional law prof says Trump’s ‘treachery and betrayal’ are now clear — and there’s only one solution – Raw Story

Rebranding Walmart

Since Congress and President Trump seem totally unwilling or unable to do anything about mass shootings in this country, perhaps the time has come for We the People to take common sense actions to persuade who can do something to improve the situation and our safety from such attacks in the future. Following the mass murders in Dayton and El Paso, President Trump and a portion of his Merry Misfits (OBM Director and Acting Chief of Staff Nick Mulvaney comes to mind) rallied around the two factors that everyone knows are the real culprits of such events – mental illness and violent video games.

Walmart was quick to react to the shootings, ordering displays depicting violent video games and hunting videos be shut down or removed from viewing by customers. That does not mean the retail chain will stop selling the games or guns, but out-of-sight out-of-mind must work in this instance. Ever since this was brought to my attention by the local news, I have had terrible nightmares of insane gamers committing mass murders in popular public venues with Play Station and XBox controllers. Thank goodness this problem was solved by quick thinking and Mitch McConnell was not forced to end the Senate’s annual August recess to actually do some legislating. Goodness knows they would never come up with a solution to the mental illness red herring, either.

That Trump and his spokespeople continue to use the mental illness and video game memes to justify their continued subservience to a well-deservedly discredited NRA leadership should be viewed by most people as absurdly unacceptable. They must surely believe the general public to be incapable of seeing through such nonsensical explanations. The United States of America, among all nations on earth, is the one and only country that has violent video games creating these monsters and forcing them to go out, buy weapons and ammunition, then use this equipment to murder as many people as they can in as short a timeframe as possible.

Most, if not all, candidates for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination next year have spoken out and made concrete proposals designed to stem the tide. Trump, McConnell and the rest of our governmental obstructionists continue to distract, waffle and delay taking any action that requires more than a teleprompter and a press release to accomplish. For their part, many groups of ordinary people directly or indirectly affected by these all-too-frequent events are taking concrete steps to start to effectively change the equation.

The American Federation of Teachers has called for a boycott of Walmart until such time as they cease selling guns. Perhaps, if the powers that be continue to be as tone-deaf in the face of armed attacks on their own customers and employees as they have to date, losing a significant chunk of their business and profits to an organized boycott of its stores may cause them to rethink their inaction. If not, then perhaps Walmart should rebrand their business to Morons R Us. None of us needs the stress and fear of a potential domestic terror attack in order to simply shop for items we need in the course of living our lives.

The President’s reaction to these deadly attacks has been both insufficient and inappropriate. If he and his GOP-run Senate chose to deal with them with the sort of “business as usual” cavalier inaction we have witnessed to date, they all need to be sent home to pound sand so that problem solvers can go to work and make public places safe for the public again. That includes places of worship, places of commerce, schools and anywhere else we choose to gather to conduct our everyday lives.

I wish Mitch McConnell well in his recovery from the fall that resulted in his broken shoulder. It needn’t prevent him from doing his job as Senate Majority Leader. Surely, others in the past have worked in that august body with equal or worse health problems. The President deserves a vacation as well (though perhaps not as badly as we deserve a vacation from his antics). But they, along with the rest of our government, need to stop banging their heads against the wall and wondering why it hurts long enough to truly meet the obligations of their oaths of office.

Suggested Further Reading:

Walmart orders violent video game displays removed after mass shooting

Nation’s largest teachers union threatens Walmart boycott over gun sales

A Prelude to Trump’s Reign of Terror

Now that Congress is safely out of Washington, DC on its annual August recess, it seems the time has arrived for President to relish even more time in the spotlight by regaling the nation and the world at large with his wit and wisdom regarding how to lead this country through such perilous times. He had no sooner finished (if he can ever be said to be done insulting anyone and everyone who dares question the wisdom of any of his actions or policy proposals) displaying his ignorance and racist tendencies by signaling his contempt for four freshman Congressional representatives who happen to be women of color opposed to most of his stated political agenda, when he turned his ire on a respected Democratic House Committee chair and his entire Congressional District.

I guess it’s only natural for the President to take offense at members of Congress who are in the process of investigating possible wrongdoing on his part that could potentially result in his impeachment and removal from office, but the fact that he goes out of his way to speak utter nonsense in order to stir up racial hatred among some of his most ardent supporters is going a bit overboard. The fact that his most recent tirades were punctuated by two more mass shooting incidents (one of which was a blatant racial/anti-immigrant attack on Latin Americans in El Paso, Texas) was not a coincidence.

Trump’s political rallies have intentionally sought to inflame racial tensions and anti-immigrant sentiments ever since he first declared his candidacy for the GOP Presidential election back in 2015 – even earlier if you count the anti-Obama birtherism nonsense he espoused at least as far back as 2012. He has spoken openly in terms of using personal physical violence against people protesting against his policies or proposals. That some of his followers follow through on his thinly veiled references comes as no surprise to him or most anyone else.

When the situation becomes out of control and folks look to President Trump to provide a steadying and calming influence, he never fails to disappoint. His steadfast refusal to denounce racism, white nationalism or white supremacy or to confront the violent behavior of those who espouse them unless a public uproar too big to ignore more or less forces him to respond belies his constant claims to “not have a racist bone in my body” and to be the least racist President in the history of the United States of America. Just as his half-hearted response to the racist violence in Charlottesville resulted in a large outcry at the ridiculous claims of “good people on both sides” of that ideological conflict, his response to the most recent mass shootings fails to show the leadership the American people expect of their Commander-in-Chief in such trying times.

One surefire way to tell that Donald Trump is totally insincere when he speaks publicly on any topic is for him to read it from a teleprompter in a monotone in the closest human imitation of an automaton possible – just he delivered the speech he gave following the horrific events of last weekend. It was about as believable as a pitch called a strike by an umpire despite the fact that the batter didn’t swing and it hit him smack dab right in the head. He may have fired up part of his base by his recent antics, but he has also certainly fired up most of the Democrats running to try to defeat him in 2020.

After the Parkland massacre last year, Trump vowed to push for legislation to reduce the potential for future such incidents to occur. As has happened so many times in the past, under Administrations of both parties, this did not happen. This time, he made a point of visiting both Dayton and El Paso in the aftermath of their horrific events. The visit to El Paso was widely panned by both Beto O’Rourke and the current House Representative of its Congressional District. The survivors who were still in the Hospital when he came did not wish to see him. He has spent much of his term in office denigrating the Hispanics who comprise about 85% of the city’s residents. Whom among us would welcome such a person under similar circumstances?

Since these events took place, Trump’s attacks on immigrants have also reached new lows with the arrest of hundred of workers in Mississippi by ICE. Congress remains unwilling and/or unable to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, allowing Trump to continue his scapegoating of refugees and escalating the terror he is fomenting among immigrant communities. While he rails against “illegal” migrants, American citizens are also getting swept up in the fervor, merely as a result of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. He doesn’t care about justice for any of these people, just about stoking the enthusiastic support of those from whom he claims they are stealing jobs. He seeks to punish those who are being exploited for cheap labor while ignoring the complicity of their employers entirely.

I sense that Trump may be setting us up for a situation where he can declare another emergency (in essence, one intentionally instigated by himself) which he can use as an excuse to crack down on the civil liberties of anyone protesting his inhumane policies and cruel treatment of innocent men, women and children who are guilty of trying to escape from equally bad or worse treatment abroad. That would indeed lead us even further down the path to authoritarian rule than we have ever travelled before.

President Trump is right to fear impeachment and removal from office. The fact that he has lasted this long is a testament to his devotion to obstructing justice – as evidenced by his steadfast refusal to comply with Congressional requests for testimony and documents relevant to their Constitutional oversight duties. My hope is that these legal battles over his taxes, profiteering at public expense from his private business ventures, etc. will allow enough of the truth to become public to ensure that he will at least not win another term in office, but it won’t be an easy task. His near total usurpation of the Republican Party and ability to do long-term damage to the judiciary with the help of henchmen like #MoscowMitch McConnell and all the other enablers in the Senate and various state governments certainly give him advantages in attaining authoritarian ambitions unforeseen by the nation’s Founding Fathers. We need to restore our democracy and stop the rapid silencing of our voices he has been perpetrating ever since his inauguration.

   

Further Suggested Readings:

Who Pulled the Trigger?

Trump Blames Video Games and “Mentally Ill Monsters” for El Paso and Dayton Massacres

After El Paso, we can no longer ignore Trump’s role in inspiring mass shootings

Obama’s latest tweets consoled a grieving nation in a way that Trump never could

Paul Krugman blasts Trump as ‘a systematic enabler of terrorism’ in scathing NYT column

This paragraph from before Trump’s election now looks ominously prescient about his ability to inspire violence

Toni Morrison’s Lessons

Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, A Comic Stands Up to Racism | TomDispatch

"Don’t Look Away": Videos and Images of Weeping Children and Loved Ones Spread as ICE Arrests 680 in Mississippi

The Declaration of Independence Told Us What to Do About Tyrants Like Trump by Zenobia Jeffries Warfield — YES! Magazine

Now is the time to just do it. Trump’s antics are not serving the American people the justice we deserve. Nor do they do anything positive for humanity as a whole. He needs to stop being the spoiled child demanding, and getting, all our attention so we can accomplish what needs to be done to move our society forward. – rjc

Source: The Declaration of Independence Told Us What to Do About Tyrants Like Trump by Zenobia Jeffries Warfield — YES! Magazine

Trump Must Go

 Recent Twitter rants and campaign rallies have convinced me that this country can no longer afford the luxury (can you see the sarcasm dripping?) of having Donald Trump or anyone else who shares more than a few of his notions of how to properly lead us forward. Just as almost nobody would care to be driven by a blindfolded cabbie, the people of this country deserve more from their Commander-in-Chief than government of the few, by the few and for the few. The list of faults that make Trump unfit to serve which are widely known only pales in comparison to those which he has managed to keep hidden from us.

The most recent exhibitions of our President’s shortcomings when it comes to dealing with the myriad problems which face us on a daily basis involved a serious of tweets this past weekend attacking four first-term members of the US House of Representatives who happen to be women of color who not only disagree with most of his policy positions but are also not shy of publicly stating such in the course of representing the interests of the people who elected them. This is anathema to the man who seems to firmly believe that those who voted for him in 2016 did so with the understanding that it is acceptable for him to rule as he sees fit – in his own interest and those of his family and cohorts. His bullying and authoritarian nature when faced with opposing viewpoints become more apparent as his campaign for re-election in 2020 begins to ramp up.

His targeting of these four individuals ( Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib) allows him to display his least appealing personal characteristics all at once. His blatant racism, misogyny, lack of any empathy for others less fortunate than himself, determination that the future needs to be his way or the highway all blended nicely for him in his tweets and produced a chant of, “Send her home” at his recent campaign rally in North Carolina, which he paused to enjoy (despite his protestations to the contrary once he knew how it was received in hindsight).

There are many other members of Congress who are white males born in the USA (only Omar among his “squad” was born outside this country, and she IS an American citizen) who share opinions diametrically opposed to those espoused by Trump. He chooses to ignore that fact while accentuating racial and ethnic divisions and  hatred towards those who wish to immigrate from what he refers to as “shithole countries” where they are often in imminent physical danger should they remain there. In fact, it often seems as if Trump is intent on transforming the United States of America into another of his “shithole countries” as he uses heavy-handed tactics to terrorize undocumented immigrants along with their citizen family members while simultaneously creating concentration camps to detain those seeking asylum at the border.

His attacks on these individuals, who unlike him were elected by actually receiving more votes than their opponents, seemed to be having the effect he desired, at least in his most recent rally. He knows he is setting the stage for someone even more unhinged than he is to act violently towards a person he has identified as a nemesis. Will it take an assassination attempt by one of his followers on one or more of his political opponents to get Trump to reassess the way he communicates? I doubt that would be anymore than another excuse for him to throw yet another of his followers, no matter how misguided, under a proverbial bus to escape having to take responsibility for an act which he practically asks them to perform for him.

Since taking office, Trump has done little to advance any policy agenda, with the possible exception of massive tax cuts for big business and the super-rich. His and Congressional GOP health care proposals, such as they were, would’ve provided for less, rather than more, health care for the people living here. Promises of jobs returning from abroad were merely words read from a teleprompter. His foreign policy, such as it. His forays into negotiations with North Korea on nuclear weapons and China on trade have yielded very little, if any, results other than a chance for him to blow his own horn in public speeches. His tariffs have harmed more than helped our economy.

If Trump manages to get through the end of his term without causing massive social conflict in his effort to win another election it will be a minor miracle. His mantra of Make America Great Again promised to take us back to an imaginary time during which our predecessors lived idyllic lives that the passage of time and the hordes of envious illegal immigrants (their term, not mine) have eroded to the sad state of affairs we face today. Given the choice of his way or the highway, the latter would probably be far preferable.

His attitude seems to echo the 1960’s and 1970’s Vietnam era counter-protest notion of “America, love it or leave it”, where to love it meant to acquiesce to American government policy, Many did choose to leave. Plenty of draft dodgers left the country rather than fight in that war. Rich folks like Trump tended to get deferments (some of questionable validity, right Cadet Bone Spurs?) Others chose to do neither, but remained instead to fix the perceived problems through protest and other actions intended to persuade elected officials to change the offensive policies – as permitted by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. US citizens do not need submit silently to misguided government policies. All four members targeted by Trump’s tweets and speeches fall into this category. If Trump wants to accuse anyone who disagrees with him or his Administration’s policies do not deserve to have any President tell them to shut up and do as they’re told – especially when they were elected to a co-equal branch of government Constitutionally charged to check and balance the King, er, Executive Branch.

Fortunately, that particular either/or proposition is not the end of the story. Trump keeps upping the ante on the pranks he is willing to pull in trying to stage an authoritarian coup on our government and way of life. His closets have become so overloaded with skeletons he’s trying to hide that he will be unable to keep them from us much longer. Whether Mueller’s testimony, his income tax returns, his past business practices or even the way he has manipulated the system to make sure he is enriching himself even more at taxpayer expense than he did before he was in office, something will ultimately cause his downfall. I only hope he is stopped before he does too much more damage than he has already caused.

Ideally, Trump would take the Nixon way out. His name being on the 2020 Presidential ballot would be even more of an abomination than it was in 2016. Another four years of Donald Trump’s total disregard for the rest of humanity and the situational ethics which allow him to unabashedly lie concerning just about  anything imaginable while treating the vast mass of humanity as pawns in his insatiable desire for his own personal gratification and financial aggrandizement  would likely produce worse results for the world, and this country, than any previous natural or manmade disaster. His political rallies are already being compared by some to Hitler’s in the 1930’s. I would not care to witness one in person. We certainly don’t want to go down that particular rabbit hole.

Further Suggested Readings:

‘I Stand With Ilhan’: Outpouring of Support for Rep. Omar Counters Racist ‘Send Her Back’ Chant by Trump Crowd

Trump outdoes himself with latest display of rank hatred and rancid bigotry

Trump Readies His Mob for the Race War

Where Will Trump and His Followers Thoughts, Words, and Actions Lead?

Why I’m Glad About Trump’s Latest Twitter Tirade

The Deplorable Stain of the Detention Camps

The article linked to here is certainly a better representation of the views held by far more people in this country than the compassion-free demagoguery spouted by President Trump and illustrated by the treatment of innocent children seeking to escape insufferable conditions in their homelands. It’s a shame that such treatment at the hands of our government at the behest of its alleged leader is allowed to shape the way in which the world beyond our shores views us. Enough is enough. Stop the senseless cruelty and help these people rather than continue their undeserved abuse.

Thank you, Sally, for eloquently putting into words the outrage felt by so many of us the more we hear and see of the insanity being perpetrated in our names and with our tax dollars to further the aims of the Despot in Trump Towers as he rules for his temporary perch in the White House. More reason than ever to make sure he does not receive another term in office to wreak even more insane cruelty on the world’s most desperate and helpless people. – rjc

Envisioning The American Dream

Migrant children in Detention Centers 2019

There is a stench in America; a foul stain so deep on our country no amount of soap can wash it away.

The noxious stink emanating from our southern border is less from the unsanitary camps holding these poor abused migrant children, than from the rotting corrosion of our core values.

They are decaying in plain sight in the hot sun.

Trump and his sordid administration has sullied and befouled what our great country once stood for, and this may be the most heinous of all.

The bright and shiny post war country left to us by the greatest generation is now deeply tarnished, the dark layers of filth so widespread it feels unrecognizable. Our country has more than lost its luster. We have allowed our moral compass to crumble as we permit the inhumanity to continue to be perpetrated upon innocent children at these camps on our soil.

Not…

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