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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trump notes. Plus: The never-dying menace of the BernieBros

Oh, THIS should be good. You may have heard about the big shake-up in Trump's communication team. My heart sang when I read this bit...
An official explained why Trump will do more of the talking for the White House: "He says things exactly the way he wants them to be said."

Translation: When he says it, he can't second-guess his staff.
No. A better translation: He can't blame his staff when the cigar explodes in his face. After the boom, he will know, as we all will know, that he and only he decided to put that cigar in his mouth, even though it had "EXPLODING CIGAR" clearly written on the band.

Isn't it cute? Donnie really thinks that his problems were caused by his underlings: They don't talk good the way I talk good.

Seeing the light. Following up on the previous post: A friend suggested that the White House mystery light was some kind of fire alarm. Given the location, that idea makes a lot of sense.

Heckuva job, Donnie. Europeans feel so sickened by Trump that they are considering a plan to kick out the American military and erect their own nuclear umbrella. Adieu, America: If you can elect an oaf like that, we just can't trust you anymore.

Donnie luvs Deutschland. Trump's superficially anti-German rhetoric has a rather obvious subtext. Check out his latest:
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change
Trump thinks that it will be good for the U.S. if Germany militarizes. Has this guy read any history?

Maybe he has. Maybe he's the kind of guy who roots for the wrong side when he watches The Sound of Music.

Mother Jones has a couple of long pieces out on what we know about Traitorgate (my name for the Trump/Putin scandal).

Here's David Corn's "We already know Trump betrayed America." 

And here's Hannah Levintova's timeline, "Hacks, Leaks, and Tweets: Everything We Now Know About the Attack on the 2016 Election."

From the former:
What could be better for Putin? The US government had called him out, yet the GOP presidential candidate was discrediting this conclusion. Trump made it tougher for Obama and the White House to denounce Putin publicly -- to do so, they feared, would give Trump cause to argue they were trying to rig the election against him.
The problem, I think, is that the Democrats -- as  usual -- were far too intimidated by their fear that people might say mean things about them. The Trumpers will always claim that any evidence collected during Obama's term was concocted by those devious, damnable Democratic conspirators. Team Trump has no choice but to make that play. From the Dem point of view, the best defense is a good offense: Sure, the FBI and the intelligence community spied on the Trump campaign. They did so because they had no choice: The Trump campaign was filthy with treason and criminality. 

Just say it, Dems. Those exact words. Don't apologize: Double down, triple down, keep shouting "TRAITOR" at your critics. Do as the Republicans would do if the situation were reversed. 

Trump and Jesus. Trump is on record as saying that he has never asked for forgiveness because he does not believe that he has done anything requiring forgiveness. There are many versions of Christian theology, and Trump's statement is permissible in exactly none of them. Trump has, in essence, proclaimed his un-Christianity. The guy might as well have written 666 on his forehead while sacrificing a goat.

Yet he remains popular among evangelicals. Yesterday, Kurt Eichenwald addressed this bizarre situation. I would like to translate his tweets into conventional prose:
The evangelical movement is a dead group walking. Its biblically ignorant, hate-filled and hypocritical followers have destroyed any credibility it may have ever had. They have pretended for years they are about the Bible and God. They have proved they are just a group of hypocrites who use "GOP" as a substitute to "GOD." There are some whose faith is beyond question - like @EWErickson. But others are frauds. Young people see that, which is why they're peeling away.

These "faithful" had a choice between a woman who teaches Sunday school and a guy who was in two porns, could not name books of the Bible, cited as his favorite phrase in the Bible an Old Testament verse which is LITERALLY the only one specifically repudiated by Jesus in the New Testament. He attends no church, and before he started running, declared that "The Art of the Deal" was his favorite book, followed by the Bible.

If evangelists wanted to vote for him and say "his policies are what I support," fine. But they still pretend it has something to do with their religious faith. They say "He's a good Christian" - a phrase they now show has no meaning in their lexicon. The evangelicals will never recover from their demonstration of hateful hypocrisy. They have shown themselves -- politically -- for what they are.

So remember, evangelicals: Every time you say Trump is Godly, you stick another dagger in your movement by demonstrating its meaninglessness.
The Old Testament verse referenced above was the one containing the phrase "an eye for an eye." Trump:
That's not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what's happening to our country, I mean, when you see what's going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us ... we have to be firm and have to be very strong.
You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other.
I'm sure that evangelicals will offer some inane verbal formulation which -- in their minds -- can resolve this obvious contradiction between Trump's words and the Sermon on the Mount. (If pressed, I could come up such a formulation myself, purely as an exercise in creative thinking.) Fundamentalist religion always offers the brutes a rationale to justify their brutishness.

The BernieBros are still a threat. As most of you know, Jeremy Christian -- the Portland killer whom Trump would not call a terrorist -- was a BernieBro/white supremacist hybrid. The bros will argue, of course, that one cannot judge their Russia-backed "movement" by the example of one deranged loon. This fine article by Val Perry Rendel offers the necessary counterargument: The fruit of the tree is the inevitable result of the seed.
There’s no doubt about his [Christian's] extremism, though his ideology’s harder to pin down. I checked out his Facebook page so that you don’t have to: white supremacy, check; Islamophobia, check; rampant misogyny, check. He’s mad about gender fluidity, Muslims, removing Confederate monuments, fascism, anti-fascism, Nazis, libtards, feminists, taxation, the military-industrial complex, and Ronald Reagan. He calls women disgusting worthless cumbucket whores who kill their babies, and Timothy McVeigh a “TRUE PATRIOT.” He identifies as Libertarian, and wants a Sanders/Stein ticket for…uh, 2017
Reading these words, my mind flashed back to Gore Vidal, whose politics were socialist-ish, yet who tried to develop a friendship with McVeigh. I think that Vidal hoped to live out a fantasy in which he played John Tunstall to McVeigh's Billy the Kid: That misguided young stud just needed the right mentor. Although Jeremy Christian's motives are harder to figure out, I am persuaded that the Bernie movement sprang from the same twisted psychological realm which the Portland monster called home.

Returning to Rendel:
This is the same kind of visceral hatred that’s been festering among hardcore Bernie supporters since the primaries. Before you #notallBerniebros me, I’m not talking about people who preferred Sanders in the primary but voted for Clinton in the general election; those are known as “rational people.” I’m talking about the people for whom it is an article of religious faith that the primary was rigged, and they are hellbent on vengeance. Corrupt corporate crony capitalism, they cry; to them, the DNC is a bigger threat than Trump, and the entire system is rotten and must be burned to the ground before the new socialist order can be ushered in, or something.
The extremes of the political spectrum seem to be overlapping, in the worst way possible. The very fact that we’re having the HE’S YOURS!! NO, HE’S YOURS!! argument is proof of this.

The toxic masculinity and misogyny of the alt-right is not news to anyone. But ever since Sanders’s defeat, a small but vociferous contingent has increasingly sounded more like Alex Jones than the voice of true progressivism. The indignity of losing to a woman, of having to listen to messages that were not tailored specifically and exclusively towards them, unleashed a wave of rage that drove many Clinton supporters underground, threatened to “hunt down” female journalists for “lying” about the primaries, and targeted the superdelegates with a relentless campaign of harassment.

To be absolutely clear: Sanders himself almost certainly did not imagine that his populism would spark an extremist fringe like this. Maybe he could have contained them earlier, but given the rage the alt-left feels at his “betrayal” in endorsing Clinton, probably not. Extremism of this sort typically breeds in a toxic swamp of ingrained misogyny, white supremacy and economic disenfranchisement. Sanders didn’t create any of these, but a lot of his message was coded (deliberately or otherwise) in a way that reinforced the deep-seated conviction that white working-class men are the nation’s top priority.
Here's where I disagree with Rendel. As long-time readers know, I had been a Hillary critic during her tenure as Secretary of State, and there was a brief period when I gave the emergent Sanders movement a few positive words. On a surface level, he says many things with which I agree. But as I learned more about Roger Stone's effective divide-and-conquer strategy, I began to understand what Bernie was really all about.

At first, I did not want to consider Sanders a witting agent of the Trumpers, but at this point, that conclusion is impossible to avoid.

How else to explain the fact that he handed his campaign over Tad Devine, the fiendish political hit man best known for toiling on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian Putin puppet who poisoned his rival? Tad knew all about the poisoning, yet he worked for Yanukovych. Bernie knew all about the poisoning, yet he said "Tad, you're my man."

The FEC cited Bernie -- not Hillary, not Trump -- for campaign finance huggermugger. The Sanders do-or-die victory in the Michigan primary was clearly the result of vote fraud. (Sanders, an opponent of the General Motors bailout, had been way behind in all the polls.) Bernie Sanders' excuses for not revealing his taxes were just as phony as Trump's, and just as indicative of his exposure to blackmail and manipulation.

Here is the biggest tell: To this day, Bernie Sanders has refused to address the obvious fact that his followers have devolved into a hideous, unthinking, undemocratic mob, reddish in argot but brownish in shirt. Bernie-ism has become a machine programmed to churn out Jeremy Christians.

Yet Sanders has said not one word to dissociate himself from the disgusting movement bearing his name.

His pro-forma endorsement of Hillary does not count. He made the endorsement purely as a ploy -- a ploy which allows him to exercise a malefic influence within the party which he still refuses to join, and which his followers detest. To regain any credibility, Bernie Sanders must do two things:

1. He must repudiate the movement bearing his name, and he must do so in a forceful fashion. Marx, late in life, had the courage to say "I am not a Marxist." Bernie must say "I am not a BernieBro."

2. He must admit -- in public, and with genuine remorse -- that the Russians have used him as a weapon against the Democratic party. The evidence exists. The evidence is overwhelming. The evidence is conclusive. The evidence is massive. The evidence is damning. The evidence has been established beyond rational debate.

If we don't get a mea culpa, mea maxima culpa out of Bernie, then I hope that the Devil fucks his sorry ass in Hell throughout all eternity. Without Bernie Sanders, we would not have Trump.

By the way: Rendel also brought the following to my attention...
The Young Turks, an online progressive “news” network that has essentially turned into The Bernie Channel, is Republican-funded. Our wacko splinter faction is a useful wedge for the GOP, who ought to know better than anyone the dangers of letting your lunatic fringe into the big tent.
I did not know this. I should have known, and I'm certainly not surprised. Here's the proof.
The Young Turks Network has just announced $4 million in new funding from an unlikely source: former Louisiana Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer. The seed money, which includes an option to go up to $8 million, came from the politician’s private equity fund Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co., LLC.
"RRM has been looking for two years to find the best platform in New Media in which to invest,” Roemer said of the investment. “We believe TYT will be one of the critical players moving forward in a new media world – edgy, unfiltered news commentary at its best. They are a lot like me, sometimes wrong but never in doubt.
Never trust those incapable of doubt. That German fellow who decided to invade the USSR did not know doubt. By contrast, those who question themselves make nuanced, reflective and reasonable decisions. When Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living," he was talking about our constant need to reconsider what we think we know.

Sometimes I think that only those who doubt themselves are truly human. At other times, I wonder if I'm right about that. At this moment, I'm certain of one thing: Cenk, you stenk.
Trump doesn't care one way or other if he's impeached and removed from office. He's the dictator for the duration.
The Bernie stuff checks out, the Tad Devine connection is very fishy. But I think TYT's often skewed reporting in the 2016 primary requires more investigation before it's chalked up to something other than naivete and pandering to their young already rabidly pro-Bernie base.

Buddy Roemer's top political issue since leaving office has been campaign finance reform, unsurprising since his attempts at a political comeback have all failed miserably. This is also Cenk's pet issue, and one thing that I think anyone of the left can agree TYT has done good advocacy for.

Per Wikipedia:

"In April 2014, Roemer became a partner at The Young Turks, an online liberal news show hosted by Cenk Uygur. His firm—Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co, LLC—invested $4 million, with an option to double their investment. According to Uygur, the two met and bonded over their shared support of campaign finance reform, an issue that both Uygur and Roemer support and have spoken on the subject thereof extensively over the past several years.[46] According to their investment agreement, Roemer's firm will sit on the Young Turks' advisory board but shall enjoy not editorial and content control over the oversight of the firm. The money will be spent on expanding the sales team, content generation, and platform enhancement."
Not that anyone's telling you, but never stop railing against the toxic cult Bernie deliberately nurtures. He is poison to the left and any resistance to Trump. Thankfully, slowly but surely, Democrats are realizing this since he laid all of his cards out (i.e. the Democratic party is the real enemy) during the "Unity" tour.

I can't help but think of John Brennan's words from his recent Congressional testimony. “Frequently, individuals who go along that treasonous path do not even realize they’re along that path until it gets to be too late.” I don't think this is the case, but I'm not ruling it out. More likely, I think that Bernie was an unwitting agent of Putin. He has a Trumpian-like ego, so he would be easy to manipulate. Of all the unanswered questions of Bernie's campaign, why he didn't release his taxes is the one that sticks out the most especially because he kept railing against Clinton for her "secrecy". This is a classic "Attack your opponent for your own weakness" Russian propaganda tactic. There HAS to be something in there that he doesn't want the public to see.
I remember years back Cenk was saying he started as a republican. In the earlier days what really bugged me about the show was how they treated the female(s) who were part of the team. To me it seemed very disrespectful. I love your take on the old goat. Have u noticed all Hillary's haters are scums?

Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Clintons, throughout their careers, is the kind of people whom they have made enemies.
Surprised that Buddy Roehmer is a Republican now. I have a good friend who worked on his one successful run for governor of Louisiana. He was a Democrat then, and was considered a reformer. Which is why he only served one term. They want reformers in Louisiana until they actually start reforming.
Hillary did just that - shouted TRAITOR at the top of her lungs today. Media of course is all aflutter. But she has no more F**** to give.
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