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2020 American Political Scene

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  • Has anyone asked John Paul Mac Isaac why he was rummaging around in his client’s email? I don’t care if he got paid or not; that’s one hell of a problem right there.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!


    • He also reportedly viewed Hunter’s self taken porn with a willing female.


      • Famed Navy SEAL pushes back after Trump amplifies baseless bin Laden conspiracy theory
        The former Navy SEAL known for his role in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden is pushing back after President Donald Trump amplified conspiracy theories that the terrorist leader's death was a hoax.

        Robert O'Neill, who says he killed bin Laden in the 2011 raid, has rebuffed Trump and others in several tweets for promoting the conspiracy theory that bin Laden's body double was instead killed.

        "Very brave men said [goodbye] to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double," O'Neill tweeted on Tuesday. "Thank you Mr. President. Happy birthday @USNavy."

        The response from the former Navy SEAL came after the president on Tuesday retweeted a QAnon-linked account that promoted a baseless conspiracy theory alleging that bin Laden is still alive and his body double was instead killed. The account has since been suspended. Trump retweeted another video on Wednesday promoting conspiracy theories about bin Laden's death.

        A White House spokesperson did not immediately comment.

        O'Neill, a Trump supporter who was banned from all Delta flights in August after he published a photo of himself not wearing a mask in the cabin, pushed back against the conspiracy theory in several tweets.

        "Shit. I just found out that I killed Osama bin Johnson. Drinks are on me, I guess..." O'Neill added Tuesday evening.

        Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by SEAL Team Six on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ordered by then-President Barack Obama.

        Trump, meanwhile, has attacked his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, over the bin Laden raid.

        The president tweeted in September that Biden "opposed the mission to take out Osama bin Laden." He wrote in a follow-up tweet that, "If it were up to Joe, bin Laden and Soleimani would still be alive," referencing his decision to kill Iranian paramilitary commander Qassem Soleimani last year.

        Biden was reported to be a skeptic of a possible raid, though the former vice president's account of his advice to Obama has evolved.

        Oh Donnie, you just can't resist spitting on the military can you. Not even your own supporters are safe apparently.

        Maybe now O'Neil will realize what a flaming bag of dog shit Donald Trump is.

        What's your personal red line surfgun? Anything that Trump could do that's beyond the pale even for you?
        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


        • Last Exit From Autocracy
          America survived one Trump term. It wouldn’t survive a second.

          The most important ballot question in 2020 is not Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, or Democrat versus Republican. The most important question is: Will Trump get away with his corruption—will his crooked and authoritarian tactics succeed?

          If the answer is yes, be ready for more. Much more.

          Americans have lavished enormous powers on the presidency. They have also sought to bind those powers by law. Yet the Founders of the republic understood that law alone could never eliminate the risks inherent in the power of the presidency. They worried ceaselessly about the prospect of a truly bad man in the office—a Caesar or a Cromwell, as Alexander Hamilton fretted in “Federalist No. 21.” They built restraints: a complicated system for choosing the president, a Congress to constrain him, impeachment to remove him. Their solutions worked for two and a half centuries. In our time, the system failed.

          Through the Trump years, institutions have failed again and again to check corruption, abuse of power, and even pro-Trump violence.

          As Trump took office, I published a cover story in this magazine, arguing that his presidency could put the United States on the road to autocracy. “By all early indications,” I wrote, “the Trump presidency will corrode public integrity and the rule of law—and also do untold damage to American global leadership, the Western alliance, and democratic norms around the world. The damage has already begun, and it will not be soon or easily undone. Yet exactly how much damage is allowed to be done is an open question.”

          We can now measure the damage done. As we near the 2020 vote, the Trump administration is attempting to cripple the Postal Service to alter the election’s outcome. The president has successfully refused to comply with subpoenas from congressional committees chaired by members of the opposing party. He has ignored ethics guidelines, junked rules on security clearances, and shut down two counterintelligence investigations of his Russian business links, one by the FBI, the other by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He has assigned prison police and park police to new missions as street enforcers, bypassing the National Guard and the FBI. As in 2016, he is once again welcoming Russian help for his election campaign—only this time, he controls the agencies that are refusing to answer the questions of Congress and the American people.

          Those who would minimize the threat that Trump poses take solace in his personal weaknesses: his laziness, his ignorance of the mechanics of government. But the president is not acting alone. The Republican politicians who normally might have been expected to restrain Trump are instead enabling and empowering him.

          Perhaps the most consequential change Trump has wrought is in the Republican Party’s attitude toward democracy. I worked in the administration of George W. Bush, who was the first president since the 1880s to win the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote. Bush recognized this outcome as an enormous political problem. After the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, on December 13, 2000, the president-elect promised to govern in a bipartisan and conciliatory fashion: “I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation,” he said in a speech at the Texas state capitol, where he was finishing his term as governor. “The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background. Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests, and I will work to earn your respect.”

          You may believe that Bush failed in that promise—but he made that promise because he recognized a problem. Two decades later, Trump has normalized the minority rule that seemed so abnormal in December 2000.

          Republicans in the Trump years have gotten used to competing under rules biased in their favor. They have come to fear that unless the rules favor them, they will lose. And so they have learned to think of biased rules as necessary, proper, and just—and to view any effort to correct those rules as a direct attack on their survival.

          What I wrote in 2017 has only become more true since: “We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered.”

          To understand how the U.S. system failed in Trump’s first term—and how it could fail further across another four years—let’s look closer at some of Trump’s abuses and the direction they could trend in a second term.

          Abuse of the Pardon Power

          On July 10, 2020, Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone. As Stone’s own communications showed, he had acted as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks in 2016. Had Stone cooperated with federal investigators, the revelations might have been dangerous to Trump. Instead, Stone lied to Congress and threatened other witnesses.

          Just as Stone was supposed to go to prison, Trump commuted his sentence. Commutation was more useful to the cover-up than an outright pardon. A commuted person retains his Fifth Amendment right not to testify; a pardoned person loses that right.

          Trump’s clemency to Stone reminded others who might hold guilty knowledge—people like Paul Manafort and Ghislaine Maxwell—of the potential benefits to them of staying silent about Trump.

          How did Trump get away with using a public power for personal advantage in this way? There’s nothing to stop him. The Constitution vests the pardon power in the president. Long-established government practices have discouraged presidents from using it on a whim. But a second-term Trump could demand that associates break the law for him—and then protect them when they are caught and face punishment. He could pardon his relatives—and even try to pardon himself.

          Abuse of Government Resources for Personal Gain

          On August 28, 2020, after the president broke with precedent—and, if federal employees besides the president and vice president were involved in planning the event, possibly violated the law—by accepting the Republican nomination on White House grounds, The New York Times reported:

          Mr. Trump’s aides said he enjoyed the frustration and anger he caused by holding a political event on the South Lawn of the White House, shattering conventional norms and raising questions about ethics law violations. He relished the fact that no one could do anything to stop him, said the aides, who spoke anonymously to discuss internal conversations.

          “No one could do anything to stop him.”No one has stopped Trump from directing taxpayer dollars to his personal businesses. No one has stopped him from defying congressional subpoenas looking into whether he was violating tax and banking laws. No one has stopped him from hiring and promoting his relatives. No one has stopped him from using government resources for partisan purposes. No one has stopped him from pressuring and cajoling foreign governments to help his reelection campaign. No one has stopped him from using his power over the Postal Service to discourage voting that he thinks will hurt him.

          Trump found it surprisingly easy to use the Justice Department as a shield against curtailment of his own wrongdoing. The Hatch Act forbids most uses of government resources for partisan purposes. By long-standing courtesy, however, enforcement of that law against senior presidential appointees is left to the president. It’s just assumed that the president will want to comply. But what if he does not? The independent federal agency tasked with enforcing the Hatch Act, the Office of Special Counsel, has found nine senior Trump aides in violation of the law, and has recommended that Trump request their resignation. He has ignored that recommendation.

          “No one could do anything to stop him. ”In his first term, Trump purged the inspectors general from Cabinet departments and punished whistleblowers. In a second Trump term, the administration would operate ever more opaquely to cover up corruption and breaches in national security. The Justice Department would be debauched ever more radically, becoming Trump’s own law firm and spending taxpayer dollars to defend him against the consequences of his personal wrongdoing. The hyper-politicization of the Justice and Homeland Security Departments would spread to other agencies. The last vestiges of ethics and independence in the Republican Party would gutter out.

          Directing Public Funds to Himself and His Companies

          In the 230-year history of the United States, no president before Trump had ever tried to direct public dollars to his own companies—so no Congress had ever bothered to specifically outlaw such activity. American ethics law instead relies heavily on disclosure. When the disclosure rules were instituted half a century ago, the assumption was that, if provided with the necessary information, the political system would police wrongdoing.

          But that assumption originated in a time when the parties were less cohesive—and the public less polarized—than now. Trump’s superpower is his absolute shamelessness. He steals in plain view. He accepts bribes in a hotel located smack in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. His supporters do not object. His party in Congress is acquiescent. This level of corruption in American life is unprecedented. Trump has actually pocketed more from the Republican Party than he has from the U.S. Treasury—money you would imagine that Republicans donated to elect other Republicans and enact their favored policies, not to enrich Trump—yet the party and its candidates continue to book event after event at Trump properties, proving loyalty by allowing themselves to be pillaged. A willingness to line the Trump family’s pockets has become a mark of obeisance and identity, like wearing cowboy boots during the George W. Bush administration.

          The result of this almost-universal Republican complicity in Trump’s personal corruption has been the neutering of Congress’s ability to act when corruption is disclosed. In the past, a subpoena from Congress was a subpoena from Congress; all of its members shared an interest in seeing it obeyed. Now a subpoena is merely an invitation from whichever party happens to hold a majority in the chamber that issued it. Republicans in the House cheerfully support Trump when he defies subpoenas from Democratic chairs, setting a precedent that probably will someday be used against them.

          Trump has a lot to hide, both as president and as a businessman. The price of his political and economic survival has been the destruction of oversight by Congress and the discrediting of honest reporting by responsible media. In a second Trump term, radical gerrymandering and ever more extreme voter suppression by Republican governors would become the party’s only path to survival in a country where a majority of the electorate strongly opposes Trump and his party. The GOP would complete its transformation into an avowedly antidemocratic party.

          Inciting Political Violence

          Trump has used violence as a political resource since he first declared his candidacy, in the summer of 2015. But as his reelection prospects have dimmed in 2020, political violence has become central to Trump’s message. He wants more of it. After video circulated that appeared to show Kyle Rittenhouse shooting and killing two people and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, Trump liked a tweet declaring that “Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.” “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Fox & Friends on August 27. Two nights later, a 600-vehicle caravan of Trump supporters headed into downtown Portland, Oregon, firing paintball guns and pepper spray, driving toward a confrontation during which one of them was shot dead.

          The people best positioned to regulate the level of political violence in the country are local police, whom Trump has again and again urged to do their work in ways that support him, no matter how “tough” that requires them to be. The police are represented by unions often aligned with the Trump campaign. “I can tell you,” Trump said in a March 2019 interview with Breitbart News, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump—I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

          Trump’s appeal is founded on a racial consciousness and a racial resentment that have stimulated white racist terrorism in the United States and the world, from the New Zealand mosque slaughter (whose perpetrator invoked Trump) to the Pittsburgh synagogue murders to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Gilroy, California. In recent weeks, political violence has caused those deaths in Kenosha and Portland. A second Trump term will only incite more such horror.

          The man the Founders dreaded entered the high office they created—and proceeded to abuse that office in just the ways they feared. Now that man is seeking a second term, which would be even more abusive and dangerous. Trump’s election strategy is to weaponize the Electoral College to re-secure the presidency of the United States over the opposition of the majority of the people who live and vote there. If he can activate the fears of enough white people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, he could succeed—defeating the much larger number of Americans who want him gone. Every plausible scenario of Electoral College success implies a popular-vote defeat even more lopsided than the 2.9 million votes he lost by in 2016.

          It’s a trick of authoritarian populists like Trump to proclaim themselves leaders of “the people,” even as large majorities of the electorate reject them. The authoritarian populist defines “the people” to exclude anyone who thinks differently. Only his followers count as legitimate citizens.

          Yet that does not mean the authoritarian populist respects his followers. He is exploiting their prejudices for his own benefit, not theirs. Trump uses power to enrich himself and weaken any institution of law or ethics that gets in the way of his self-enrichment. He holds power by inflaming resentments and hatreds. A second term will mean more stealing, more institution-wrecking, more incitement of bigotry.

          Legend has it that in the 1870s, “Boss” William Tweed, the famously corrupt New York City politician, taunted his critics by saying, “What are you going to do about it?”* Trump’s relentless defiance of law and decency does the same. Congress has done nothing. So it’s up to voters.

          Voters in 2020 will go to the polls in the midst of a terrible economic recession, with millions out of work because of Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. But the country is facing a democratic recession too, a from-the-top squeeze on the freedom of ordinary people to influence their government. Will the president follow laws or ignore them? Will public money be used for public purposes—or be redirected to profit Trump and his cronies? Will elections be run fairly—or be manipulated by the president’s party to prevent opposing votes from being cast and counted? Will majority rule remain the American way? Or will minority rule become not a freak event but an enduring habit? These questions are on the ballot as Americans go into the voting booth.
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


          • How Trump Sealed the GOP’s Suicide

            It didn’t have to go this way—with the GOP becoming a cult of personality suffused with authoritarianism.

            I first wrote about Donald Trump in a September 2015 column predicting his political self-annihilation:
            Slowly, inevitably, Trump will crack, flooding the maws of an avid media with a tsunami of whining, petty feuds, and overblown grievances. His audience will be watching, and not kindly—some out of sheer fascination with his self-destruction, more because most Americans are, at bottom, sensible. They want an optimistic leader who imbues them with hope, not a self- obsessed whiner whose endless psychodrama is, in the end, exhausting. Not only will they not want Donald Trump in the White House; they won’t want him in their living rooms. And one by one they will switch the channel, until Trump is left alone on a soundstage, and the lens into which he stares becomes an empty mirror.

            Okay, so I was five years and one presidency off. Still, better to be premature than to miss the inevitable end game: Because Trump can only be himself, a critical mass of Americans have become sick of his pathology.

            The Bulwark’s Tim Miller cites responses from a fresh poll of independents, a crucial voting bloc Trump desperately needs. Their shorthand descriptions beg analysis: “horrible human being,” “incredibly rude,” “terrible representative for our country,” “unfit to do the job,” “sexist and racist,” “idiot,” “arrogance,” “slimebag,” and, of course, “lies.” I merely summarize the implications for his campaign: Unpromising.

            Because Trump is immutably pathological, he’s incapable of growth as a politician or president. As pollster Sean Trende told the New Yorker:
            One of the big failings of Trump’s Presidency—and there are many—is that he never made the transition from an insurgent candidate to a President. I think he had a very effective insurgent campaign, and it was hard for Hillary Clinton. But, once he became President, he had no reason to listen to people who actually know stuff about politics, who would tell him, “Hey, you’re the President now. You need to put down that Twitter thing.” That’s great for your initial election campaign, but people don’t want their Presidents yelling at the Prime Minister of Denmark because she won’t sell him Greenland. . . . COVID was absolutely a layup for him. . . . People want to hear Presidents give moving speeches, even if what they do isn’t that effective. And he just couldn’t do it.

            When a president’s incapacities include inhumanity, self-exposure becomes malignant. Last weekend Trump reprised his “Evito” turn on the White House balcony, fusing Patti LuPone with Benito Mussolini in yet another display of heedless self-adoration before an audience clustered—the pandemic be damned—to appear bigger than it was.

            “We’re starting very, very big with our rallies,” Trump crowed, before repeating a claim he first made about COVID-19 roughly 216,000 deaths ago: “It’s going to disappear.” In the real America beyond Trump’s mirror of self, the resurgent coronavirus is causing almost 50,000 new cases per day.

            Yet Trump kicked off his renewed contagion tour with potential superspreader events: rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, using as props throngs of largely mask-free supporters crowded together in disregard of physical-distancing guidelines. Public health aside, this is political lunacy: He was speaking to the converted while reminding the larger electorate of his callous disregard for others—and highlighting his mismanagement of COVID-19 for whatever undecided voters remain.

            But he is mentally incapable of doing anything else—and pathetically needy for adulation. So he sequesters himself on pro-Trump media, running a one-man campaign geared only to arousing the supporters he already has.

            As Jonathan V. Last writes, “One of the truisms of politics is: Bad gets worse.” So does Trump. The latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll shows Biden leading by 12 points among likely voters. As to COVID, the Post reports, “Almost 2 in 3 voters say Trump did not take appropriate precautions to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus, and 6 in 10 say they do not trust the administration to provide complete and accurate information about his health.” As for his handling of the pandemic, numerous surveys confirm that he’s irreversibly underwater.

            The more voters see him, the more his finite foundation crumbles. The Post poll shows that independent voters favor Biden by 52 to 40 percent—whereas among independents in 2016 Trump beat Clinton by four points. And the widening chasm among suburban women favors Biden by 28 points.

            This squares with polling averages maintained by FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics, both of which put Biden’s national margin at about 10 percent. Fresh surveys of battleground states show Biden leading comfortably in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, ahead in Arizona and Florida, and up by a hair in North Carolina.

            Politics, of course, is the art of addition. Psychologically maladaptive, Trump is practicing subtraction.

            His last hope is to squeeze yet more votes out of a shrinking demographic, his base of non-college-educated whites, enabling him to manufacture a synthetic Electoral College margin through voter suppression and disqualifying thousands of mail-in ballots cast for Democrats. Yet fresh polls in Michigan and Wisconsin suggest that white voters are defecting in significant numbers from Trump to Biden. Even the intervention of Republican congressmen, state legislatures, and judges to meddle with the Electoral College may not be enough to stave off defeat.

            How did the GOP find itself in this desperate, seamy dilemma? The short answer is four years of subservience to Trump. But it is nonetheless instructive to consider what the party had become before his advent—and how he might have helped save it had he been not only a normal person, but the unconventional political genius some conjured from the ether.

            By 2012, the GOP had come to rely on a partially overlapping base of evangelicals; whites without college degrees threatened by economic dislocation; and malcontents whose distrust of government partook of paranoia. These folks were not natural allies of the party of business or its wealthy donors. In exchange for pursuing the economic agenda of the wealthy, the GOP increasingly offered up a primal vision rooted in culture wars, contempt for government, and scapegoating blacks, immigrants, Muslims and other minorities.

            The real causes of blue-collar woes were globalization, the Great Recession, the housing crisis, and an information society which marginalized the undereducated. About this, the GOP elite did nothing—not about student debt, stagnant wages, dwindling benefits, diminishing job security, retraining for the new economy, or the widespread unaffordability of quality medical care. The epitome of their nihilism was Ted Cruz: a grandstanding opportunist who tried to shut down the government while assembling a stunted coalition of evangelicals, gun fanatics, nativists, climate-change deniers, and Tea Party atavists.

            By the primary season of 2016, that covered most of the GOP base. The party’s only realistic alternative to Cruz was an incendiary and ideologically unmoored interloper—Donald Trump.

            Had the RNC’s then-Chairman Reince Priebus and foresighted party officials and consultants gotten their way, this trajectory would have been different. After Mitt Romney lost in 2012, these seasoned professionals concluded that the GOP was headed for demographic oblivion. The result was the widely-touted “autopsy” which called for a comprehensive rethinking of Republican electoral strategy.

            Its analysis was unsparing—and proactive. The GOP had been “continually marginalizing itself,” said Sally Bradshaw, one of the autopsy’s authors. “We have lost the ability to be persuasive with or welcoming to those who don’t agree with us on every issue.”

            The party, she added, “needs to do better with women” and to become “inviting and inspiring.” Another of the autopsy’s authors warned that “if our party isn’t welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out.” Among the solutions proposed was an extensive outreach to women, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and LGBT voters which included embracing “comprehensive immigration reform.”

            But that last, in particular, ran athwart the nativist passions roiling much of the GOP base. Faced with their fury for his cosponsorship of an immigration reform bill, Marco Rubio folded. Broadening the party’s appeal, it seemed clear, would require a nominee with the vision and gifts to propitiate its restive electorate.

            Enter Donald Trump. In 2013, he tweeted: “New @RNC report calls for embracing ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’ Does the @RNC have a death wish?”

            Smart Republicans foresaw the consequences. Said Jon Huntsman in 2016: “The party itself is less consequential than ever before, and . . . the tribal differences are increasingly irreconcilable. . . . If Trump prevails, he will have single-handedly upended the old Republican order and built a new movement in its place. The question then will be, is it sustainable?”

            Not in the long run, others forecast. Peter Wehner warned in 2016 that the GOP “is becoming redefined by Trump, and the question is, Can we jerk it back? . . . The Republican Party has to make its own inner peace with the changing demographics in America. . . . If it runs against Hispanics and other minorities, that ultimately can’t be sustained.”

            Nonsense, Trump tweeted: "Why can't the leaders of the Republican Party see that I am bringing in new voters by the millions-we are creating a larger, stronger party!"

            In 2020 he is proving himself wrong. But his victory in 2016, however transient and peculiar to its circumstances, foreclosed the path to a broader-based GOP.

            Particularly problematic is that Trump’s appeal—while fatally limited—has among the base a visceral depth which transcends loyalty to the party, its elected officials, or whatever threadbare ideas it retains. The party of Trump has become a cult of personality suffused with authoritarianism.

            As described by the Washington Post, the new book Authoritarian Nightmare by Bob Altemeyer and John Dean presents “data from a previously unpublished nationwide survey showing a striking desire for strong authoritarian leadership among Republican voters.” This squares with findings by Vanderbilt political scientist Larry Bartels summarized by the Post: “Many Republican voters hold strong authoritarian and anti-democratic beliefs, with racism being a key driver of those attitudes.”

            In the Altemeyer-Dean survey, roughly half of Trump supporters agreed with this statement: “Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.” Many Trump supporters, the authors conclude, “are submissive, fearful, and longing for a mighty leader who will protect them from life’s threats. They divide the world into friend and foe, with the latter greatly outnumbering the former.”

            As president, Trump has pushed the boundaries of our constitutional democracy to achieve unprecedented executive power. Not only do his followers support this, but elected Republicans have done nothing to stop him.

            The GOP is no longer about ideas like limited government, or the higher ideals of inclusiveness and an American Dream open to all. Its toxic compound of raw anger and nativist passion is, at bottom, about subjugating the demographic “other.”

            Before Trump, the GOP’s better angels were already enfeebled. In 2016 he killed them off.

            It is barely possible now to imagine the GOP had Trump been different. He came without ideology, propelled by a gift for embodying a potent but undefined populism. He might have become an agent of constructive reinvention, eschewing racism and xenophobia in favor of offering embattled middle-class and blue-collar workers genuine economic uplift. He could have reinstated fiscal responsibility by disdaining tax cuts for the wealthy. He might even have taken steps—if not to drain the swamp—at least to reform it.

            But that would have required real talent, sustained attention, and a genuine interest in governance. Instead this irredeemably vicious, vacant, and narcissistic demagogue unleashed white identity politics and the endless overreach of Republican donors
            This leads inexorably to the deadest of ends—a demographic death knell for his party and, for our democracy, the most grievous of wounds.

            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


            • Reports of Trump’s Political Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated
              Biden’s purported lead is a lot shakier than his media allies will admit.

              The American Federation of Trump-Haters and Never-Trumpers have arrived again at their quadrennial promised land: Trump is finished, a wounded monster lurching about, baited by his innumerable enemies, lashing out mindlessly in all directions. His COVID-19 experience is a gift from God; the diligent lackey Bill Barr is a whipping boy for the long-promised Durham indictments’ non-appearance; raving and interrupting good Joe Biden in their debate has backfired; all the self-serving blowhardism is just miring him deeper in the quicksand as he sinks inexorably out of sight. The Trump era will soon be just a bad dream as the Democrats and their look-alike Republican extras regain control and the 90 percent of the federal bureaucracy that is monolithically Democratic sees off another crusading yokel who came to drain their swamp. What a relief that this horrifying aberration is finished and can go back to being someone we laugh at and poke with sharp sticks, as we move the state slowly to the left, addicting more and more Americans to the munificence of America in its endless quest to be cleansed of its white superiority and capitalist avarice.

              What is missing from this picture is the cautionary statement that it is an illusion. What we’re seeing is the media and parties and polls being pushed forward by the wall-to-wall Trump-hating assault team almost completely unattached from any serious canvass of public opinion. Even as almost all the polls come tumbling down showing a double-digit lead for Joe Biden, none of the states considered solidly red have moved, and Trump has, if anything, gained and in some cases taken the lead in the twelve potentially swing states that will determine the winner: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. Yet even Rasmussen, a bold veteran pollster who has often been among the few upholders of Trump’s electoral viability, has collapsed and joined the mournful chorus of those projecting a crushing defeat for the administration.

              The discordant note in this crescendo of Democratic triumphalism is that believable state polls show Trump leading in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio, and less than five points behind in the other six states except Nevada, where the margin is thought to be 6 percent. This is an election where it is all to play for. The formal and informal Democratic establishment convinced itself that the country had been repelled by Trump’s belligerency in his debate with Biden. There is no reason to think that the country was much impressed with it, but there is reason to believe that it wasn’t much impressed with Biden’s calling the president a “liar, clown, racist,” and telling him to “Shut up!” either. Trump had no monopoly on indignity in that debate and he easily won the exchange of points, including the heavy-handed but, in the circumstances, not altogether uncalled for: “There’s nothing smart about you, Joe.”

              Nor should it be assumed that the country followed the Trump-hating networks in comparing his jaunty wave from the White House balcony after he returned from Walter Reed Hospital after an extraordinarily rapid recovery from the coronavirus to a uniformed, jut-jawed Mussolini responding with a straight-right-arm salute from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia to thousands of black-shirted followers shouting up in unison “Duce, Duce!” The same commentator was reminded of “the Czar family,” presumably referring to the Romanovs (whose balcony appearances were seldom photographed), but more likely thinking of the British royal family, which appears on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on appropriate occasions. President Trump would surely not be insulted by comparison with King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the then princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and Winston Churchill, appearing on the balcony to receive the applause of hundreds of thousands of their countrymen on the day of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, May 8, 1945. It does require, however, in respect of all of these historical precedents, a considerable and malicious imagination to be reminded of them by Trump waving to a handful of White House employees, security personnel, and media from an altitude of one floor. The professional Trump-haters are prepared to identify his every word and action with something pretentious, contemptible, or dishonest, though often they are quite uncontroversial. As Dr. Freud famously said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

              At some point, the majority of Americans will give Trump some credit for coming through the coronavirus as gallantly as he did, for accelerating the pursuit of the vaccine, and for the protection of the vulnerable, the revival of the economy, and the facts that over 99 percent of people infected with the virus survive it, none of which could be easily deduced from the relentless hysteria propagated by the Democratic media in order to justify an extended economic shutdown and lay the full responsibility for the economic consequences on the president’s allegedly incompetent response to the pandemic. Even media commentators who are not rabidly anti-Trump cannot resist implying that his excessive optimism at the onset of the pandemic, and some of the absurd and demeaning exchanges he had with members of the press at the daily sessions where he shouldered the vice president aside to speak for the commission, constituted mismanagement of the crisis rather than merely an inappropriate reappearance of the self-centered verbosity against the temptations of which this president is sometimes powerless. The distinction between substance and optics will assert itself.

              The Democrats were never going to get all the way to Election Day while keeping their quavering and wobbly candidate in his basement, ostensibly for health reasons. And they are not going to get all the way there without a substantial number of thoughtful voters reflecting upon the fact that there is no Democratic campaign except frenzied denigration of the president and an irrational super-spreading of panic about a virus that is not seriously dangerous to the overwhelming majority of the public. The country will not fail to notice that this campaign has been conducted on the candidate’s behalf by an unprecedentedly biased and unprofessional national political media. And contrary to widespread caricature, not all those who will remember that Trump cut their taxes, practically eliminated illegal immigration, made it much easier through deregulation to operate a small business, avoided a furious green assault on the petroleum and automobile industries, renegotiated poor trade deals, rallied America and much of the world to the threat posed by China, revived the concept of nuclear nonproliferation, reduced drug prices, and eliminated oil imports are Archie Bunker look-alikes in MAGA hats swilling beer in front of their television sets. And some will remember the evildoing of those who confected the Trump-Russia hoax, the obstructionist chicanery of the authors of the impeachment trial, and the questionable conduct of the Democratic candidate and his family in dubious financial endeavors in Ukraine and China.

              This mighty fest of mudslinging and defamation has undoubtedly denied the president the heavy reelection that he has earned. Having had as brilliant a first term as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, he deserves, as they did in 1936 and 1972, to take over 60 percent of the vote. He will not do that, but those who think he will be buried by 15 million votes are chronic Democrats replicating Talleyrand’s description of the Bourbons returning to Paris in Wellington’s baggage train after Waterloo: “They have forgotten nothing, and they have learned nothing.” They may learn an unpleasant lesson on November 3.
              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


              • it's pretty funny how the National Review went from a serious, center-right Trump-hating organization to essentially dressed-up MAGA for people with IQs above 110.

                that entire article took several hundred words to say, without any evidence whatsoever, "Fake polls!!111"
                There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                  it's pretty funny how the National Review went from a serious, center-right Trump-hating organization to essentially dressed-up MAGA for people with IQs above 110.

                  that entire article took several hundred words to say, without any evidence whatsoever, "Fake polls!!111"
                  They even turned their guns on poor Rasmussen, Trump's favorite poll!
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                  • Rudy Giuliani uploaded racist video to YouTube in which he's seen mocking an Asian accent

                    Rudy Giuliani, cybersecurity expert extraordinaire, accidentally uploaded a video to his YouTube channel where he did a racist impression of Asian accents.

                    Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, interviewed former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for Giuliani's podcast titled Common Sense on Tuesday. But, as the Daily Beast first spotted, Giuliani's team uploaded an extended video cut of the interview to YouTube. That video included a moment where Spicer was seen logging off, then Giuliani was seen talking with folks off camera. The video has since been set to private.

                    For some reason, during those conversations Giuliani told an assistant — seemingly a woman named Jayne Zirkle — that she was going to be "the most famous model in China."

                    "Ah, get me Jayne Zirkle. Jayne Zirkle!" Giuliani said in the video, in an accent seemingly aimed at mocking Asians. People laughed offscreen.

                    As the conversation turned to a dinner order, Giuliani muttered that "Jayne Zirkle pick up" in the accent.

                    "I want Jayne Zirkle...picture Jayne Zirkle, that's all. No one but Jayne Zirkle," Giuliani then said to no one in particular, while still using the accent.

                    Giuliani even went on to do a few mocking bows, saying "Jayne Zirkle" in the accent repeatedly.

                    Giuliani did not immediately respond to the Daily Beast or Mashable's request for comment.

                    The president's 76-year-old attorney has had more than one slip-up with tech. He once butt-dialed an NBC reporter and left a long voicemail by accident, where he talked about needing cash. Shortly after he was named Trump's cybersecurity adviser in 2017, he had to go to an Apple store to have his phone unlocked. He had entered an incorrect passcode at least 10 times and locked himself out.

                    Trumpers gonna Trump....

                    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                    • Ex-Trump Fundraiser Broidy to Plead Guilty to Illegal Lobbying

                      Elliott Broidy, a former top political fundraiser for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, plans to plead guilty to participating in an illegal foreign lobbying scheme and cooperate with investigators in the matter, according to a person familiar with the situation.

                      Broidy was charged on Oct. 8 with illegally lobbying the Trump administration to stop investigating the embezzlement scandal at the 1MDB Malaysian state investment fund. Jho Low, a Malaysian fugitive who was charged as the mastermind of the 1MDB fraud, initially paid Broidy $6 million to lobby the U.S. Justice Department to stop its investigation and promised an additional $75 million if the lobbying succeeded, prosecutors said.

                      Two other people involved in the scheme have already pleaded guilty: George Higginbotham, a former Justice Department official, and Nickie Mali Lum Davis, a Broidy business associate.

                      Broidy is scheduled to be arraigned at a virtual hearing in Washington on Oct. 20.

                      Trumpers, you know the rest
                      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                      • Trump refuses to disavow QAnon

                        President Trump on Thursday refused to disavow QAnon during an NBC News town hall, saying he knows nothing about it beyond that supporters of the theory are “strongly against pedophilia.”

                        Trump was asked by host Savannah Guthrie to disavow the conspiracy theory, after she described it as a theory about Democrats being a satanic pedophile ring.

                        “I know nothing about QAnon. I know very little,” Trump said. “You told me but what you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact. I hate to say that.”

                        "I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia, they fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it,” Trump continued.

                        When Guthrie noted that Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said QAnon is “nuts” and that “real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories,” Trump again said claimed to have no knowledge about the theory.

                        “He may be right. I just don’t know about QAnon,” Trump said.

                        “You do know,” Guthrie pressed.

                        “I don’t know,” Trump continued.

                        QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory whose followers believe that an underground cabal of Satanic worshipers run child sex trafficking rings and are in control of the so-called “deep state” government and that Trump is working to expose them.

                        The movement began on the internet but has grown substantially in recent months, garnering support even from some GOP congressional candidates. The FBI designated the collection of individuals a domestic terror threat in 2019 because it had the potential to encourage violence.

                        Trump has previously offered tepid support for the group, telling reporters at a news conference in August that he knew little about it but understands its supporters like him “very much” and “love America.”

                        Following Trump’s remarks then, Vice President Mike Pence was pressed in a news interview on QAnon and said that he dismisses it “out of hand.”

                        Trump also tangled with Guthrie when she asked him why he had appeared hesitant at times to denounce white supremacy, including in the first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.


                        How about you surfgun ? Is QAnon in your pantheon of "anti-lefties"?
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                        • Trump calls on Barr to appoint special prosecutor to investigate Bidens before Election Day

                          President Trump on Tuesday called on Attorney General William Barr to “appoint somebody” to launch an investigation into his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden before Election Day, now just two weeks away.

                          “We’ve got to get the attorney general to act,” Trump said in a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends” when asked whether a special prosecutor should be appointed to probe unverified allegations against the Bidens. “He’s got to act. And he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election.”

                          Trump has repeatedly railed against his attorney general for failing to “lock up” Democrats for alleged crimes, including “spying” on his 2016 campaign. In an interview with Fox Business earlier this month, Trump said that history would look poorly on Barr if he does not prosecute Hillary Clinton and other members of the Obama administration, including Joe Biden.

                          “Bill Barr is going to go down as either the greatest attorney general in the history of the country, or he’s going to go down as, you know, a very sad situation,” Trump said.

                          But Tuesday was the first time he publicly demanded Barr start an investigation before Nov. 3.

                          Trump, who trails Biden in virtually every national poll, has sought in recent days to magnify a New York Post report — citing unverified emails reportedly taken from Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive — alleging he tried to introduce a Ukrainian businessman to his father when he was the vice president. The Biden campaign said a review of Biden’s calendars show no record a meeting ever occurred.

                          The FBI has reportedly probed whether the emails are part of a Russian disinformation campaign to interfere in the 2020 election, as dozens of former intelligence officials suspect.

                          More than 50 former senior intel officials signed a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of the emails “has all the classic earmarks” of a Russian disinformation operation.

                          Nonetheless, John Ratcliffe, Trump’s director of national intelligence, has said the emails are not part of a Russian disinformation campaign, and nearly a dozen House Republicans have demanded the Justice Department assign a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

                          In a letter to Barr, 11 GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Ted Yoho of Florida said it was “imperative” that there was “a full accounting of former Vice President Biden’s dealings with his son and his son’s business partners, and if the former vice president misused his office for personal gain.”

                          “If these reports about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, are true, the former vice president fell far short of his responsibility to uphold his constitutional oath and betrayed the sacred trust of the American people,” the letter reads.

                          A Trump ally told Yahoo News that, last week, there were conversations inside the White House and inside Justice about appointing a special counsel to investigate the Bidens. According to the ally, the thinking was that the Justice Department could appoint “somebody above reproach, above partisanship” such as a former FBI director or prosecutor who had been appointed in a Democratic administration.

                          The ally also noted Biden would be unable to interfere with any special prosecutor even if he defeats Trump. With polls showing Biden leading both nationally and in key states, the Trump ally argued that, if Biden does win, a special counsel probe would ensure “his presidency is sidelined before it even starts.”

                          A source close to Trump was dubious that Barr would be open to naming a special counsel to look into Biden. They cited Barr’s handling of the U.S. attorney John Durham’s probe of roots of the FBI investigation into Trump’s campaign, and the fact any new investigation would likely be highly controversial if it began in the home stretch of the presidential race.

                          “Barr’s not going to do anything this close to an election,” the source said.

                          The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

                          The Biden campaign, for its part, has continued to challenge the legitimacy of the allegations.

                          “Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees, whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague, have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said. “Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”

                          Trump's Derangement Syndrome is getting worse by the day. God help us if the Electoral College once again puts him in the Oval Office.

                          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                          • Trump: Schiff Should ‘Be Put Away’ for Calling Hunter Laptop Story Russian Disinformation

                            President Donald Trump called for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) to be “put away” for saying the Hunter Biden laptop stories are part of a smear campaign that originated as part of Russian disinformation. During a call into his favorite morning news show Fox & Friends, Trump began blasting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over the sketchy New York Post reports on the laptop—which Fox News passed on due to credibility issues—before he was asked about Schiff’s remarks.

                            “It’s just crazy. I saw Shifty Schiff get up yesterday and say this is Russia,” Trump exclaimed, using his favorite nickname for Schiff. “He’s a sick man. He is so sick. We went through two and a half years of that, plus. This guy, he ought to be put away, or he ought to be, you know, something should happen with him.”

                            While Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist, has claimed there is no intel to support the assertion that Russia is behind the purported laptop materials, the FBI is investigatingwhether the laptop dump is part of a foreign disinformation operation.

                            Or he ought to be, you know, something should happen with him.

                            "Something"? You want "something" to happen to one of your political opponents? What's that "something" Mr. President?
                            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                            • Why Donald Trump releasing his full '60 Minutes' interview is a major media miscalculation

                              After teasing it for a day or two, on Thursday President Donald Trump released an unedited version of the upcoming “60 Minutes” interview he did with Lesley Stahl.


                              Trump spent most of the week complaining that the interview, which is scheduled to air during Sunday night’s episode, was “FAKE” and “BIASED."

                              Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

                              In fact in the video, which Trump posted on his Facebook page, Stahl comes off as patient, if probing — exactly what she is supposed to do, in other words. Trump, on the other hand, is defensive and whiny, as if he were offended to have to talk about his record as president in anything but the most glowing terms. It’s a bad look, but it probably won’t hurt him much, if at all.

                              It’s hard to see how it’ll help him, though.

                              Lesley Stahl didn't treat Trump unfairly
                              Instead it's just more of the same. His base of supporters is likely to find the aggrieved tone Trump adopts from the start as more proof of media bias. They are a choir that likes being preached to perhaps more than any other — if Trump says he’s being treated unfairly, they’re not going to argue the point. They’re going to agree.

                              Yet Stahl didn’t treat him unfairly. She did what reporters do, or what they’re supposed to do: She asked tough questions and when Trump was evasive or lied in his answers, she pressed him.
                              President Trump cut short an interview with '60 Minutes' correspondent Lesley Stahl and threatened to leak the session before its Oct. 25 airing.
                              “You’re so negative,” Trump said of Stahl at one point. This is his typical tactic with women who press him for answers, as Savannah Guthrie did during last week's town hall. Not so with men, like Chris Wallace and Jonathan Swan.

                              Unedited interviews are always kind of a mess; it's likely Trump will actually come off better in the edited version that airs Sunday. Jumping the gun seems unwise.

                              CBS News wasn’t happy, as you might imagine.

                              How CBS News responded to the release
                              “The White House's unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter '60 Minutes' from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades,” the network said in a statement. (The White House taped the interview, as well, but had agreed to use it for archival purposes.)

                              When talking about his COVID-19 response, Trump trotted out his usual talking points, but again turned the answer toward Stahl’s line of questioning: “We’ve done a good job,” he said. “We’ve done maybe a great job. What we haven’t done a good job in is convincing people like you, because you’re really quite impossible to convince.”

                              You know what convinces reporters? Facts. That seemed to be lost on Trump at several points in the interview. He kept going at Stahl for not reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop “scandal,” and accused her of protecting him.

                              Stahl explained why most reputable media outlets haven’t reported on the Hunter Biden story.

                              “This is ’60 Minutes,’” she said. “We can’t put on things we can’t verify.’”

                              That notion seemed lost on Trump, who often seems disgruntled with questioning when he’s removed from the protective Fox News bubble he prefers. Who knows what he thought he would be asked in the interview? (Biden sat for one with Norah O’Donnell that is also scheduled to air Sunday.)

                              More than anything, Trump's walkout makes him look whiny
                              The interview began with Stahl asking Trump if he was ready for some tough questions.

                              No, Trump said. In that instance, he wasn’t lying. Just be fair, he said.

                              Stahl was.

                              Trump’s tactic was to attack both the media in general and Stahl in particular, as well as Biden whenever possible. This led to a funny exchange, in which he said, “I saw your interview with Joe Biden.”

                              “I never did a Joe Biden interview,” Stahl said. (Trump then said he meant a “60 Minutes” interview.)

                              Despite Trump’s criticisms, Stahl continued to hold Trump accountable. At one point she finally asked Trump a question someone should have asked a long time ago. When Trump started talking about Hillary Clinton deleting emails, Stahl said, “Why is this still an issue? She ran last time.”


                              The much ballyhooed walkout by Trump at the end wasn’t particularly dramatic, but it was, again, whiny.

                              “You brought up a lot of subjects that were inappropriately brought up,” he said.

                              Like his COVID-19 response? The division in the country? The economy? The tenor of his attacks on opponents?

                              They might have been uncomfortable for Trump, but they were far from inappropriate. They were just what they should have been — tough and fair.

                              That doesn't make what he did look like walking out. It makes it look like running away.

                              Funny how so many Trump followers swoon over his supposed reputation as a "fighter". Empirical evidence clearly shows that he's just a whiny little bitch that runs away when people aren't fawning all over him.
                              Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


                              • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                                Funny how so many Trump followers swoon over his supposed reputation as a "fighter". Empirical evidence clearly shows that he's just a whiny little bitch that runs away when people aren't fawning all over him.
                                A whiny little bitch has it right.

                                I say let him use these interviews to placate his base. In the end it is a total waste for him since he needs to appeal to the undecideds where his whiny attitude won't be appreciated. So I say keep on being a whiny little bitch...