GUEST ARTICLE: The First American Dictator

The First American Dictator

by

Kenneth R. Mackie

            The people of the United States of America, the first democratic republic the modern world has ever known, have ceded rule to a dictator for the first time in its 200+ year history.

            A dictator is “one holding complete autocratic control: a person with unlimited governmental power” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary); “a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession” (Dictionary.com).

            A dictatorship is, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a

form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations. The term dictatorship comes from the Latin title dictator, which in the Roman Republic designated a temporary magistrate who was granted extraordinary powers in order to deal with state crises. Modern dictators, however, resemble ancient tyrants rather than ancient dictators. … Dictators usually resort to force or fraud to gain despotic political power, which they maintain through the use of intimidation, terror, and the suppression of basic civil liberties. They may also employ techniques of mass propaganda in order to sustain their public support.

            No one becomes a dictator without help. A cadre of loyalists is essential to grab and keep power. And support amongst a sizeable portion of the populace, even a sizable minority, can propel a would-be demagogue into power.

THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE

            Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, is attributed with saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” This has been taken to heart by Republicans since the days of the “Christian Coalition”, who found that they only needed to fool enough of the people at the proper times (elections). And faith-based voters belong to the ‘some of the people all of the time’ group. The conservative “Evangelical Christian” block can be counted on to vote Republican for the foreseeable future. Throughout 2109, Republicans approval of the First American Dictator ranges in the upper 80s to low 90s percent[i]. The approval rating among highly religious, white and Protestant Republicans is 92% over the past two years[ii]. This translates into millions of faith-based voters who support the First American Dictator.

            Among these is a growing cadre of white nationalists, encouraged to take up arms against all enemies of the current Administration. When “God’s Chosen[iii]” encourages violence, it is a statistical certainty that some will take up arms. Hence the mass murders of Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, etc.

            The First American Dictator enjoyed sufficient support among a mobilized and armed minority to be propelled into power.

THE POWER OF LOYALISTS IN GOVERNMENT

            In the unique structure of the United States government, all one party needs is 51 Senators to control the Senate (or just 50 Senators, plus the Vice President as a tie-breaker), hence the entire legislative branch, and give carte blanche to a dictator to ignore the Constitution. A bare majority of Senators allows a party to block all legislation, or ram-rod bills through regardless of any opposition. Even a minority of only 41 Senators is all it takes to prevent an override of a presidential veto.

            While the Constitution was designed to establish a legislative branch with the power to check a renegade President, it was not drafted to prevent a political party from obtaining enough power to allow the Constitution to be ignored.

            The First American Dictator enjoys the support of a majority in the Senate. As a result, the legislative branch is incapable of forcing him to act within the powers granted to him by the Constitution.

THE POWER OF LOYALTY OATHS

            It has been widely reported that Trump demands a “loyalty oath”[iv] from subordinates[v].

            The 25th Amendment provides that the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet can declare the President unfit for office, at which time the Vice President becomes the Acting President. A “loyalty oath” to Trump, and not to uphold the Constitution, ensures that Trump is protected by loyalists to him. Trump has surrounded himself with loyalists that put loyalty to a dictator above loyalty to the Constitution, or to the country. The First American Dictator enjoys the support of an inner circle of loyalists.

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

            Fox News and the network’s opinion shows are widely seen as the propaganda arm of the Trump administration[vi]. One Fox newscaster in particular, Sean Hannity, is seen as an unofficial advisor to Trump[vii]. While Trump lambasts CNN as “fake news”[viii] it is Fox which has the worst track record for making false or misleading statements, whereas CNN ranks the best[ix].

            A majority of Republicans for whom Fox News is their primary news source solidly support the First American Dictator and there is nothing he could do that would make them lose their approval[x].

            When it comes to faith-based voters, nearly all who identify as white evangelical Protestants for whom Fox News is their primary news source oppose Trump being impeached and removed from office[xi].

            The First American Dictator has a propaganda machine spouting falsehoods to help keep him in power.

UNCHECKED POWER

THE POWER TO PROFIT FROM HIS OFFICE

            Trump has the unchecked power to profit from his office, in disregard of the Constitution.

THE POWER TO PROFIT AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE

“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased (sic) nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.[xii]

            Any profit arising from the possession of a public office is an emolument.[xiii] Trump profits off his office in many ways. He still owns numerous hotels and resort properties. He has taken numerous trips to his resorts, billing taxpayers millions of dollars[xiv]. He has directed members of the armed forces to stay at his property in Scotland, at taxpayers’ expense[xv]. His Vice President and members of his administration stay at his properties[xvi], again lining Trump’s pockets.

In using taxpayer funds to pay for golfing trips and hotel lodging at his properties, Trump is causing the United States to pay him over and above his compensation as set for his office by Congress.

THE POWER TO PROFIT FROM FOREIGN STATES

No person “holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.[xvii]” Foreign governments that make use of Trump’s properties are putting their money into Trump’s pockets. In addition, China has granted Trump or his companies about 40 trademarks since he became President. Congress has not given its consent to foreign money flowing to Trump either directly or through his corporations’ profits. Members of Congress filed a lawsuit in June of 2017 seeking an injunction to bar Trump from further accepting emoluments from foreign governments without first seeking Congress’ approval[xviii]. Trump is currently appealing the finding that members of Congress have standing to seek a court order compelling Trump to comply with the Constitution. Meanwhile Trump does not have to produce any documents showing which foreign governments have paid to stay at which of Trump’s properties, nor how much they paid, nor how much of that has gone into Trump’s pockets while he is in office.

Trump has the unchecked power to profit from his office, billing taxpayers for his vacations at his resort and collecting payments from foreign governments for their rents of his properties.

THE POWER TO DIVERT FEDERAL FUNDING AT WILL

            Congress has the “power of the purse”, that is, to pass legislation to raise revenues, and to appropriate funding[xix]. Trump wanted money for a wall between the United States and Mexico. Congress considered, but did not fund Trump’s request. So the First American Dictator declared an “emergency” that didn’t exist, and diverted funds from congressionally approved projects to his border wall[xx]. Congress responded by passing a bill rejecting Trump’s emergency declaration, which Trump vetoed[xxi]. Thirty-six Republican Senators supported Trump and his veto was not overridden. Trump has the power to divert federal funds at will.

THE POWER TO IGNORE INTERNATIONAL LAW

            The First American Dictator inherited the power to ignore international law prohibiting torture, “secret rendition” aka kidnapping, holding prisoners in undisclosed prisons indefinitely without charges, and invading a country for the purpose of regime change.

            This power has been expanded to include separating children from their parents[xxii], and ignoring international law regarding refugees seeking asylum[xxiii].

THE POWER TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE

            The First American Dictator used the power of his office to obstruct investigations into allegations of misuse of power, first in the Mueller probe looking into potential collusion between his campaign for the office of President[xxiv], then by refusing to let former and present members of his administration testify before Congress as the House investigated possible acts giving rise to an impeachment proceeding[xxv].

            Acting under the First American Dictator’s orders, and without a claim of privilege, Trump’s present and former subordinates have refused to comply with a subpoena to testify before Congress[xxvi]. The First American Dictator has been seen to dangle a potential pardon to influence testimony[xxvii].

Trump’s messages on social media are seen as attempts to intimidate witnesses[xxviii]. He is so bold as to disparage a witness even as the witness testifies before Congress[xxix]. Likewise his administration uses an official social media account to disparage a witness while testifying[xxx].

            Ordering percipient witness to refuse to comply with a Congressional subpoena without a claim of privilege, dangling the possibility of a pardon for witnesses accused of providing false testimony, and disparaging witnesses while they are testifying all point to obstruction of justice.

THE POWER TO BRIBE JURORS

            Republican Senators will make up the majority of the jurors in an impeachment trial of the First American Dictator. “President Donald Trump—who is facing a formal impeachment inquiry in the House—has leveraged his fundraising network to boost the campaigns of struggling Republican senators who have signed a resolution condemning impeachment proceedings.” [xxxi]

            Thus members of the jury who have already come out in support of the First American Dictator are being rewarded with campaign cash to help them keep their jobs. The First American Dictator will not be facing an impartial jury in his impending impeachment trial.

THE POWER TO USE CONGRESSIONALLY APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR PERSONAL POLITICAL GAIN

            The First American Dictator leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to coerce a foreign government to announce an investigation against a political rival[xxxii]. The ramifications of this unchecked power cannot be understated. With foreign aid tied to political favors, foreign governments will be highly motivated to comply. Indeed, it does not take too much of an imagination to see federal dollars allocated to the various States withheld unless the State agrees to investigate political opponents. This power, the power to generate countless investigations into political opponents, combined with the power of the propaganda machine and the power of loyalists, is the power to destroy all opposition.

THE FIRST AMERICAN DICTATOR

            President Donald Trump is the First American Dictator. By all indications, he won’t be the last. If, and it appears likely, the Republicans in the Senate refuse to remove him from office, his successors will enjoy the same powers – as long as they have enough loyalists in the Senate[xxxiii]. The courts won’t be able to constrain these powers, as the courts have no power to enforce their rulings[xxxiv]. If Trump is allowed to remain in office because the Republican Senate acquits him of “high crimes and misdemeanors” the above enumerated powers will be ceded to the office of President. The crowning achievement of the Republican Party will be to turn a constitutional republic into a dictatorship, with them in control.

Trump will be known as the first of a long line of American Dictators.

Kenneth R. Mackie is a former educator turned attorney. He studied Constitutional Law under Professor John Cary Sims at University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and “Fundamental Rights in Europe and the United States” under Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and Sionaidh Douglas-Scott at the Salzburg Institute in Salzburg, Austria.


[i] https://news.gallup.com/poll/203198/presidential-approval-ratings-donald-trump.aspx

[ii] https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/248384/highly-religious-white-protestants-firm-support-trump.aspx

[iii] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/25/why-evangelicals-like-rick-perry-believe-that-trump-is-gods-chosen-one/

[iv] https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-demands-loyalty-oath-from-job-seekers-who-criticized-him-during-election

[v] https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/donald-trumps-grip-on-the-republican-party-just-got-even-tighter

[vi] http://hillmanfoundation.org/sidney-awards/jane-mayer-wins-april-sidney-elucidating-how-fox-news-became-propaganda-arm-trump

[vii] https://political.com/is-sean-hannity-one-of-trumps-unofficial-advisor/

[viii] https://fortune.com/2018/06/09/donald-trump-cnn-fake-news-g7/

[ix] https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2015/jan/27/msnbc-fox-cnn-move-needle-our-truth-o-meter-scorec/

[x] https://www.prri.org/research/fractured-nation-widening-partisan-polarization-and-key-issues-in-2020-presidential-elections/

[xi] https://www.prri.org/research/fractured-nation-widening-partisan-polarization-and-key-issues-in-2020-presidential-elections/

[xii] United States Constitution, Article 2, section 1.)

[xiii] https://thelawdictionary.org/emolument/

[xiv] https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2019/07/10/trumps-golf-trips-could-cost-taxpayers-over-340-million/

[xv] https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/18/military-trumps-scottish-resort-1501877

[xvi] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/9/3/20847247/mike-pence-ireland-doonbeg-trip-180-miles-away-trump-hotel

[xvii] United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 9.

[xviii] https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/trump-and-foreign-emoluments-clause/

[xix] https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Power-of-the-Purse/

[xx] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/04/trump-diverts-3-6-billion-military-projects-build-more-border-wall/2208166001/

[xxi] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-congress-emergency/trump-vetoes-measure-to-end-his-emergency-declaration-on-border-wall-idUSKBN1WV06P

[xxii] https://ilg2.org/2018/06/10/trump-administrations-family-separation-policy-violates-international-law/

[xxiii] https://time.com/5626498/trump-asylum-rule-international-law/

[xxiv] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obstruction-of-justice-10-times-trump-may-have-obstructed-justice-mueller-report/

[xxv] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/12/impeachment-report-trump-obstruct/602938/

[xxvi] https://www.lawfareblog.com/revisiting-criminal-obstruction-justice-impeachment-inquiry

[xxvii] https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-pardon-paul-manafort-obstruction-justice-1237150

[xxviii] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/20/20970572/impeachment-hearing-judiciary-committee-trump-obstruction

[xxix] https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-11-15/trump-tweets-on-impeachment-witness-yovanovitch-during-testimony

[xxx] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/19/white-house-twitter-attacks-vindman-during-trump-impeachment-testimony.html

[xxxi] https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabeltogoh/2019/10/31/trump-accused-of-bribery-after-urging-donors-to-support-senators-defending-him-against-impeachment/#21b769013eb5

[xxxii] https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-house-impeachment-report-highlights-trumps-ongoing-abuse-of-presidential-power

[xxxiii] https://origins.osu.edu/review/imperial-presidency-pushes-back

[xxxiv] https://sustainatlanta.com/2015/04/02/remembering-the-time-andrew-jackson-decided-to-ignore-the-supreme-court-in-the-name-of-georgias-right-to-cherokee-land/

(Descending into) March Madness – Week One Gnus

Let’s start with some bad news, hopefully I’ll come up with some good news later.

First, to get it out of the way, the first Manafort sentence – WTF was the judge in the VA Manafort trial thinking, 47 MONTHS? “…an otherwise blameless life…”? This is the guy whose lobbying firm partners were Roger “Nixon Tattoo” Stone and Lee “Evil Incarnate” Atwater, the slimiest trio of political operatives in several decades. Not to mention all of his foreign entanglements with vicious dictators. “Blameless?!” And poor, poor Manafort, so “humiliated and shamed” during the court proceedings. Not “humbled and ashamed”, of course. No, he was “humiliated and shamed” because he had to be seen, even if just in court drawings, in jumpsuit and chains with graying hair, instead of his usual natty expensive suits and jet-black coif. Oh, and there’s the gout, can’t forget the gout- that’s what the wheelchair is for, to remind everyone. Funny how that gout hit him once he was jailed, because in all of the videos we see of Manafort going into and out of courtrooms, he seemed to be walking just fine.

That nominal sentence is a goddamn outrage. A slap on the wrist for an unremorseful lifelong thug, and (another) slap in the face to justice in these United States. I’d go on a good rant, but I’m concerned about my blood pressure. And sanity. 😦

Moving on…

For some reason which I don’t currently remember, I’ve been getting these ‘breaking news’ emails from “Christian Headlines”. Regardless…I got one this afternoon and the title of the article is pretty frightening: “Judge Lets Father Represent Aborted Baby in Wrongful-Death Suit.” Yeah, here we go down an extremely slippery slope, deliberately greased by religious fanatics and misogynistic politicians. This “personhood” nonsense is unconstitutional and dangerous.

According to the article by Michael Foust:

“An Alabama judge has let a wrongful death lawsuit proceed in which a father is suing an abortion clinic on behalf of his aborted unborn child…The lawsuit references a constitutional amendment passed by Alabama voters last year stating “it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”

“The case in Alabama is chilling because it represents the real-life consequences of anti-choice ‘personhood’ policies, which, by design, seek to demote the fundamental rights of women, and are a stepping stone in the anti-choice movement’s ultimate goal of criminalizing abortion and punishing women,” Kimmell [Adrienne Kimmell, V.P of NARAL Pro-Choice America] said. “To see it playing out in this case in Alabama should serve as a grave warning sign.”

(But the good news from Christian Headlines is that you can have “free devotions from Dr. Charles Stanley sent right to your door!” Okay, I was a Roman Catholic, so I have no idea what that means.)

Next…

We all remember what a mendacious git Judge Andrew Napolitano has been in the past. So he continues to surprise me in his appearances on Fox by his relative frankness regarding trump’s myriad legal troubles and appearance of guilt. I wish that Napolitano would apprise his Fox viewers of his opinion as published in yesterday’s Washington Times. Yes, sorry it’s the WT, but it’s actually worth the read. And while I take issue with a few things, i.e., his reference to trump’s “tormenters”; and his interpretation of the Republican-destroyed rule that “politics ends where the water’s edge begins” (that doesn’t mean that the House can’t hold hearings while trump is out “negotiating” with a murderous dictator), Napolitano did clarify some things about which I, at least, had been curious. Just one excerpt:

“Can a lawyer testify against his own client? What has become of the attorney-client privilege? These are sound questions that were not asked last week because of something called the crime-fraud exception. Normally, all communications between a client and his lawyer are privileged from revelation. The exception comes when the lawyer can demonstrate that he and the client were together engaged in criminal or fraudulent acts.”

You’ll have to read the rest, for some reason I can’t copy-and-paste from the Washington Times article.

Let’s get to some cheerier stuff…

Like the penguins in this snippet on Twitter – play it with the sound on, and watch all the way ’til the end. Enjoy!

Also, too…

April the Giraffe is due to give birth any moment, and you can watch her here.** April may have calved by the time I post this, but in that case the morning might bring us a little cutie like this:

UPDATE:  March 13th, 12:26am ET, still no baby giraffe.  I’ve heard that April was more than a month late with her last calf, so…watch this space!

**UPDATE!:  Baby BOY giraffe born approximately 12:42pm ET on Saturday, March 16th.  5′-11″ (taller than our own Zookeeper!) and 139 lbs.  Baby to be named in some sort of contest in the near future.  In the meantime, you can watch mom April and the little guy (with dad Oliver in the far pen) live, almost 24/7, here (The link is a new one, the one above has been taken down for archiving.)

Lastly…

Doesn’t everyone need a hug?

This is our Open Thread – batten down the hatches, ’cause we’re in for some rough political weather!

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 27th, 2017: FAKE President/REAL Threat

Each and every day of the last 37 days since trump started his residency of the White House, we are seeing the true nature of the “policies” in the Bannon/trump agenda. Some examples from this past week follow.

Last week brought us the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or NAMBLA (well, they might as well be, as far as ‘family values’ goes.)

Acting President and White Supremacist Steve Bannon, hand-in-hand (briefly) with White House (coughincompetent) Chief of (coughincompetent) Staff Rience Priebus, made a special appearance, during which Bannon casually confirmed that his true agenda is to a) gut First Amendment rights, muzzling the “free press” and protestors; then b) destroy our form of government/turn it into a kakistocracy.

BANNON: “Just like they were dead wrong on the chaos of the campaign and just like they were dead wrong in the chaos of the transition, they are absolutely dead wrong about what’s going on today because we have a team that’s just grinding it through on President Donald Trump promised the American people. And the mainstream media better understand something, all of those promises are going to be implemented…
“… every business leader we’ve had in is saying not just taxes, but it is — it is also the regulation. I think the consistent, if you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction, the way the progressive left runs, is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just gonna put in some sort of regulation in — in an agency.

That’s all gonna be deconstructed and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.”  [emphasis mine]

A Daily Kos diary from 2/24 describes Bannon’s treacherous goal as well. A brief excerpt, though you should read the entire post:

“Remember the interview in which Bannon wanted to burn down democracy?
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed. …

“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Back to CPAC: Puppet FAKE president trump also gave a “speech” – and I use that term in the very loosest definition, in that he DID at least utter many many words, one after the other, i.e.:

“Great to be back at CPAC. It’s a place I have really — I love this place. I love you people. So thank you very much. First of all, I want to thank Matt Schlapp and his very, very incredible wife and boss, Mercedes, who have been fantastic friends and supporters and so great when I watch them on television defending me; nobody has a chance. So I want to thank Matt and Mercedes.
When Matt called and asked, I said absolutely I’ll be there with you.

The real reason I said it, I didn’t want him to go against me, so I said absolutely. And it really is an honor to be here. I wouldn’t miss a chance to talk to my friends. These are my friends. And we’ll see you again next year and the year after that. And I’ll be doing this with CPAC whenever I can, and I’ll make sure that we’re here a lot.

If you remember, my first major speech — sit down, everybody, come on.

You know, the dishonest media, they’ll say he didn’t get a standing ovation. You know why? No, you know why? Because everybody stood and nobody sat. So they’ll say he never got a standing ovation, right?

They are the worst.

So sit down. Donald Trump did not get a standing ovation. They leave out the part they never sat down. They leave that out. So I just want to thank you.”

NO, YOU FUCKING IGNORAMUS, THEY NEVER SAT DOWN BECAUSE YOU NEVER FUCKING TOLD/ASKED THEM TO! IT’S CALLED PROTOCOL, DAMMIT, HAVE SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT TO YOU!

Sorry.

Anyway, that was as much as I could read before my brain threatened to short out. If you’re tougher than I am, you can read the whole thing at the link above.

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones had this to say after trump’s “press briefing” prior to which CNN, the N.Y. Times, and the L.A. Times were shut out in favor of (puke) Breitbart [FAKE] “News” and the Washington Times:

“A few days ago, there was some talk about whether Trump would slow-walk federal disaster relief for the Oroville Dam [California] area. As it turned out, he didn’t, but the possibility was taken seriously for a while.
This is what makes the Trump presidency so unpredictable. No modern president would even think of taking revenge on a state that voted against him by refusing disaster aid. No modern president would dream of evicting news outlets from a press briefing because they had criticized him. No modern president would lie about easily checkable facts on a routine basis. No modern president would loudly cite every positive bit of economic news as a personal triumph. No modern president since Nixon would casually ask the FBI to take its side in an ongoing investigation.

 

It’s not that modern presidents couldn’t do these things. They just didn’t. And we all came to assume that none of them would.”

Then there’s this series of tweets from the tiny fingers of the childish man-baby, after the DNC selected Tom Perez as its Chairman:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!
5:02 PM – 25 Feb 2017

Tom Perez

✔ @TomPerez

Call me Tom. And don’t get too happy. @keithellison and I, and Democrats united across the country, will be your worst nightmare.
5:49 PM – 25 Feb 2017

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally “rigged.” Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!
6:33 AM – 26 Feb 2017

Seriously, America, FAKE president trump is OUR “worst nightmare.”  When are the Republicans going to finally acknowledge that trump is an incompetent puppet with no morals, whose strings are being pulled not by the GOP, but by an anarchist who, with assistance from murderous Russian strongman Putin, will bring THEIR world “crashing down”, too?  What President-in-effect Bannon plans won’t just destroy the R’s hated “big government”, it will destroy the United States, and totally fuck up the balance of power in the world.

Democrats alone cannot stop trump.  If there are any Republicans with an ounce of patriotism left in their hearts, well, “now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”  And quickly.

This is our Open Thread, you know what to do.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, February 15th, 2017: First Hypocrisy, Now Treachery

It’s been well known for a long time that the GOP is the party of hypocrisy–hence the acronym IOKIYAR. Now, with all of the trump cabal’s innumerable Russian connections, it appears that the GOP is also the party of treachery.

Despite the fact that several U.S. Intelligence agencies have already been investigating key trump personnel, none of the pertinent House and Senate committees want to do a damn thing about it, with the minor exception of Kellyanne Conway’s “free commercial” for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. No, instead, GOP leaders are either silent on the subject, or say that we should just “move on” now that Flynn has resigned. Apparently they do NOT give a damn that trump knew all about Flynn’s conversations with Russian contacts, in particular the call that Flynn made, on the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering with our elections, to let Russia know that president trump would lift those sanctions.

Would ANY Democrat, even one not running for the Presidency, get away with something like this? FFS, the GOP held, what, seven or eight hearings on Benghazi, and went fucking nuts over Hillary Clinton’s emails, none of which in any way, shape or form, endangered the security of the United States. Yet the fact that trump has surrounded himself with people who have, in many cases, had longtime relationships with Russian officials doesn’t seem to worry our ever-so-patriotic Republican majority “leaders.” “Move along, nothing to see here, looky-loos” and “but what about Hillary and her emails” are the typical responses from the GOP.

Well, FUCK YOU, GOP, fuck you hard with something sharp. You are all useless pieces of shit, and I hope that not only does trump go down in flames, I hope he drags you all to hell with him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, just for laughs, here’s an article from the Christian Post that I know you’ll find amusing. I mean, just the title alone is hysterical: “God Delivered US from ‘Spirit of Witchcraft Through Trump”. Here’s an excerpt:

Appearing on “The Jim Bakker Show” on Tuesday, Christian thought leader Lance Wallnau spoke about President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington that followed, saying God used Trump to deliver “the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office.”

“What I believe is happening is there was a deliverance of the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office,” said Wallnau, an evangelical business strategist and leader of the Lance Learning Group consulting firm in Dallas.

“The spirit of witchcraft was in the Oval Office, it was about to intensify to a higher level demon principality, and God came along with a wrecking ball, shocked everyone, the church cried out for mercy and bam—God knocked that spirit out, and what you’re looking at is the manifestation of an enraged demon through the populace,” he added.

“This is biblical,” Wallnau, author of God’s Chaos Candidate, added. “Many of the disruptions we are gonna see are going to be the evidence that we are seeing the awakening already began.”

Wallnau, who holds an M.A. from South Western Theological Seminary in Texas, predicted before the election that Trump was the “prophesied president.” He earlier explained that he came to this conclusion after attending a widely-publicized meeting between Donald Trump and evangelical leaders at the Trump Tower last year.

Giving an address at the 3rd Christian Inaugural Gala hosted by Women for a Great America at the Washington Hilton along with prominent Christian speakers and authors last month, Wallnau claimed that when he returned home to Dallas following the meeting with Trump, the Lord put the biblical passage of Isaiah 45 on his heart and told him that “the 45th president is Isaiah 45.”

[He actually had to use Google to confirm that trump would be the 45th president – and these evangelicals are demanding the right to preach politics from the pulpit?]

This is our Open Thread – have at it!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 28th, 2017: “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Since so many people are referencing the Hans Christian Andersen tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, in regard to Trump’s first week in office, I thought I should post the classic for all to re-read.

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

“Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all”. But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it’s beautiful -it’s enchanting.” The old minister peered through his spectacles. “Such a pattern, what colors!” I’ll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

“We’re pleased to hear that,” the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn’t see anything.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” the man thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of my good office. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out, though.” So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, “It held me spellbound.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

“Magnificent,” said the two officials already duped. “Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of “Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, “Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, “These are the trousers, here’s the coat, and this is the mantle,” naming each garment. “All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that’s what makes them so fine.”

“Exactly,” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindlers, “we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.

The last line, of course, doesn’t exactly compare to our Trumperor, who would NEVER suspect and certainly could never admit that any actual, tangible, verifiable fact “would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool.” Our Trumperor has been strutting around naked for a very long time. So, how many ‘little children’ will it take to convince ‘the whole nation’ that the Trumperor “hasn’t got anything on!”

This is our Open Thread–what’s on your mind?

The Weekend Watering Hole, Saturday, January 7th-8th, 2017: Russian Roulette

Here’s some of the most recent articles about the U.S. intelligence agencies’ report on the Russian influence in Trump’s election.

First, here’s a PDF of the report itself.

Next we have relevant articles from yesterday’s Washington Post and the New York Times.

And then a couple of articles on Trump’s post-intelligence-briefing statements, one from the NY Times, and one from this morning’s Raw Story. Apparently Trump took time from his preoccupation with Arnold and The Apprentice to tweet a few idiocies while avoiding the ‘yuge’ Russian elephant in his room.

What will it take for Trump, his minions, and the GOP to finally admit that the chambers in the Russian Roulette revolver aren’t all empty?

This is our Open Thread – join in with whatever you want to talk about.

The Weekend Watering Hole, December 3rd-4th, 2016

As George W. Bush so eloquently stated all those years ago, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

There are countless numbers of people who should have taken to heart even Dubya’s garbled version (perhaps he had been listening to The Who on his way to that day’s event) of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”, during this past Presidential campaign and election. The vast majority of those people belong in that huge conglomeration known as “The Media”. Subgroups include, but are not limited to: cable and other news channels, their corporate owners and news division heads, “journalists”, “reporters”, newspundits aka talking heads, political strategists, and official spokeswhores for political candidates. I’m not even going to bother going into the internet “media”, that would be like peeling away every layer of the world’s largest onion (and would bring tears to your eyes, too.) Better to focus on the main offenders.

On Thursday, a “postmortem session” was held at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, attended by representatives of several of the above subgroups. Apparently this is a traditional event that’s held following Presidential elections. As described in general in this article in The Washington Post, this year’s event quickly devolved into a “shouting match.”

A lot of lies were told, and false narratives put forward; too many for me to address all at once, so I’ll limit myself for now and add further commentary as the weekend progresses and time allows.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned [Steve] Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart, a news site popular with the alt-right, a small movement known for espousing racist views.

“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” she said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”

“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri…”

Yes, you did, Kellyanne. Trump’s rants freed the voices and actions of a legion of bigots, including and especially white supremacists. But you and other Trump campaign spokeszombies denied, deflected and disowned reports of rising anti-Muslim anti-immigrant, anti-minorities threats and violence, along with Nazi-related graffiti, etc., often in Trump’s name; you did everything but denounce it in the strongest of terms. Forfuckssake, your candidate actually gained ground when he refused to tone down his violence-condoning rhetoric.

“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?” Conway asked. “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?”

Well, Kellyanne, Secretary Clinton DID have a “decent message for white, working-class voters” – the problem was that Trump’s unsubtle dog-whistle message stripped away the veneer of decency from certain segments of “white, working-class voters.” Maybe if Clinton had couched her economic message and policies in lurid hyperbole instead of measured, factual terms, the “media” would have given her more coverage, and more “white, working-class voters” might have paid attention. Or not. I think that once Trump opened his campaign with his lying anti-Mexican slurs, the inner xenophobe in too many Americans sat up and proclaimed “now, that guy speaks MY language.” (Yes, when your language is ‘limited vocabulary/poor grammar’ Americanese.) Trump’s angry shouting drowned out any more mundane, pragmatic offerings from Hillary Clinton. And “the media” simply ran with the loudest “monster-shouter” (H/T Stephen King’s “The Stand.”)

Trump officials said Clinton’s problems went beyond tactics to her weaknesses as a candidate and the deficits of a message that consisted largely of trying to make Trump unacceptable.

[Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook posited that the media did not scrutinize Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as intensively as the issue of Clinton’s private email server.

Conway retorted: “Oh, my God, that question was vomited to me every day on TV.”

First the only weaknesses candidate Clinton had were that she’s center-right (which means dangerously left to the impaired judgment of the right-wing), her name is Hillary Clinton, and she’s a woman. She was not “the most crooked politician ever to run for President”, or anything even close to it. She did not murder anyone, despite all of the “body count” conspiracies. And, despite millions of dollars and thousands of hours of fruitless investigations, she did not cause the deaths in Benghazi. Hillary stayed on message the majority of the time, but how could she NOT point out all of the myriad reasons why Trump made HIMSELF unacceptable? Especially since “the media” wasn’t doing a damn thing to inform voters of those reasons?

Second, yes, Kellyanne, you were asked about Trump’s tax returns every day, because neither you nor Trump ever answered the fucking question. As with so many other important questions, you were the one who was projectile-vomiting nonsensical talking points, redirecting the interview right back to Hillary and her emails, or Benghazi, or whatever the current Clinton faux-scandal was on your agenda.

“Conway accused Clinton’s team of being sore losers. “Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” she said. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”

Well, ‘hashtag’ FUCK YOU, Kellyanne, would Trump have accepted the election results if he had lost? You know the answer to that one, you slimy harpy twat. And fuck every goddamned Republican who dares to demand that we kowtow to Donald Trump and his minions, after every word and deed from the right wing for the last eight years were meant solely to stop duly-elected President Obama from actually acting as the American President. Donald Trump is incapable of giving any dignity or credence to the Office of the President of the United States; IMO, he doesn’t even aspire to do so. “Sad.”

Kellyanne, you’re a paid professional liar, and you sold your shriveled, empty soul to an amoral selfish greedy disgusting excuse for a human being. If there really is a Hell, I’m sure that you’ll eventually end up being the spokeswhore for Satan.

There was so much more that I hope to address eventually. Plus, there’s a more detailed account of the discussions at the Harvard event here.

“The media” seemed to feel that its job was to sit back and let Trump be his deplorable self, almost idly marveling in wonder as to how Trump got away with telling the out-and-out lies that he did. It took until the last month or so before the election for “the media” to, to a small degree, come out of its collective catatonic state and finally challenge some of the lies, but there were too many and it was too late. “The media” owns a yuge chunk of the blame for this election’s horrific outcome. But that’s a topic that also needs more time than I have at this moment. But an important part of that discussion involves both Jeff Zucker and CNN’s endless and usually uncritical coverage of all things Trump, along with the insidious, duplicitious role of Trump campaign advisor/CNN political “pundit” Corey Lewandowski and his current role in the Trump transition.

This is our Weekend Open Thread – discuss whatever you’d like.