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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Folly, Vice, and Madness

There is just so much hurt, disappointment, and oppression one can take… The line between reason and madness grows thinner.
-- Rosa Parks


Let's begin here:

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Now that Harley-Davidson is moving part of its operation out of the U.S., my Administration is working with other Motor Cycle companies who want to move into the U.S. Harley customers are not happy with their move - sales are down 7% in 2017. The U.S. is where the Action is!

Did you read that?

Do you see what it says? What it implies?

Trump is working with "other" motorcycle (or "Motor Cycle") companies who want to move to the U.S.

Other motorcycle companies.

Who want to move to the U.S.

Meaning they're not in the U.S. now.

Meaning they're not American.

You see this, right?

Leaving aside the part where he offers up some statistic from 2017, you know, before Harley-Davidson announced their decision to move some of their manufacturing overseas in response to Trump’s 2018 trade war, Donald Trump would rather work with foreign companies, instead of changing the wrong-headed policies that forced an American company into this situation in the first place.

I mean, you do see it, right?

No?

Maybe it's just me.

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Just out that the Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians - including to government officials. How big (and bad) is that?

How big and bad is that, asks Trump.

How big?

How bad?

Well, I don't know.

How could I?

You see, it's impossible to say one way or the other, because Trump deliberately offers no proof and no context.

How bad? Well, what if those Iranians were ... persecuted Christians?

What if they were Iranian Jews?

What if Obama allowed 2500 persecuted Iranian Christians fleeing Muslim persecution into this country? Made them Americans? Would that be big and bad? Or small and good?

I mean, would that information influence your perception of this situation?

Would it?

Is that what happened?

How do you know? If Trump never gives supporting facts or context or sources?

It’s not actually. What happened. Because, in fact, there were no 2500 Iranians granted US citizenship as part of the Iranian nuclear deal. None. Zero. Not one. No, Trump based his accusation on a Fox News story which was in turn based on a comment by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary hardliner Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour. And there is no evidence whatsoever to support Zolnour's claim. The guy just made it up in order to accuse his own more moderate countrymen of striking some secret deal with The Great Satan, i.e. us. See, Zolnour and other Iranian extremists don't want any deal restricting their nuclear ambitions. And they are trying to take down their own, increasingly moderate government who wants to reach an agreement with the West.

Ironic, isn’t it? That Trump should then be parroting this lie, eh? Not to mention Fox News.

Ironic indeed.

Speaking of nuclear war:

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Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!

Many good conversations.

What conversations? Who's doing the conversing? What are they talking about? Are our allies involved? Is Congress? These are matters of national interest, matters of state, matters of the public record. And yet, there's no proof of this assertion. None.

"If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!"

Really?

That's the president saying we would be at war with North Korea. It’s not ambiguous. There’s no room for flexible interpretation. We would be at war with North Korea.

Was North Korea preparing for war? I mean, this is a hell of a statement: If not for me, we would be at war with North Korea.

Trump is claiming he personally stopped a war. A war that we would be in right now.

But there’s no evidence that North Korea was preparing for war.

So who then does that leave as the aggressor?

Us?

On what grounds? At what provocation? Because it sounds an awful lot like the United States was secretly gearing up for a preemptive war -- which would be illegal by both our own and international law – not to mention the very thing Trump spent years castigating George Bush over.

Again, maybe it's just me.

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How can the Democrats, who are weak on the Border and weak on Crime, do well in November. The people of our Country want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!

Demeaning.

A loss of dignity of and respect for. Degrading. Humiliating. Shameful. Debase. Degrade. That’s what demeaning means.

Trump says democrats are “demeaning” our “great law enforcement.”

Demeaning.

You see it, right?

The implication?

You should respect authority simply because it is authority, because it wears a uniform. Not because it is worthy of respect.

Speaking out against abuse of power is unpatriotic. Militancy is necessary, authoritarianism is necessary, oppression is necessary, for safety, for security, for the public good.

I mean you see it, don’t you?

You hear the echoes of all the worst regimes from history in that rhetoric, do you not? You can hear the tromp of jackboots and the screams from the concentration camps, can’t you? For the public good. For safety. For security.

No?

Maybe you’re just not listening.

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When we have an 'infestation' of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elelments [sic] that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do! Nov.

...these rough criminal elements that bad immigration laws allow into our country...

There is no proof of this. None.

And in fact existing data shows exactly the opposite. Trump ignores his own experts for a politically driven false worldview, because it pushes the narrative of fear. And because that fear drives the conservative agenda: We must do this because "the people of our country want and demand safety and security."

The people of our country want and demand safety and security.

You see it, right?

You hear it, right?

These are the very same words from your history books. These are the very same ideas our grandfathers stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight.

The very same.

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The economy is doing perhaps better than ever before, and that’s prior to fixing some of the worst and most unfair Trade Deals ever made by any country. In any event, they are coming along very well. Most countries agree that they must be changed, but nobody ever asked!

"perhaps"

See the weasel words?

Perhaps. He caveats every statement like this, giving himself a way out, showing that he himself doesn't really believe what he's saying. That he knows his own words are untrue.

He doesn't believe it.

He doesn’t, but the howling mob does.

"most countries"

Note again that he doesn't provide any proof of this, no list of countries, no world leaders to back him up. In fact, the response from world leaders and our erstwhile trading partners says exactly the opposite. Again.

And we are now for all practical purposes in a trade war.

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Crazy Maxine Waters, said by some to be one of the most corrupt people in politics, is rapidly becoming, together with Nancy Pelosi, the FACE of the Democrat Party. Her ranting and raving, even referring to herself as a wounded animal, will make people flee the Democrats!

"said by some"

Again, who? Who said that? When did they say it? What was the context? What proof do they offer of this "most corrupt people in politics?"

Trump repeats the murmuring of sycophants and agents provocateur, the paranoid unhinged voices in his head, but offers no actual proof.

But, of course, the howling mob requires no proof. No critical thought. No reason. No objective thought.

They only require a target for their hate.


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Many Democrats are deeply concerned about the fact that their ‘leadership’ wants to denounce and abandon the great men and women of ICE, thereby declaring war on Law & Order. These people will be voting for Republicans in November and, in many cases, joining the Republican Party!

"many Democrats"

Many.

Democrats.

What democrats? Who are these people? What democrats are joining the Republican party? If there are “many” then it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a list of names. Where is it?

Instead, it's prominent republicans who are publicly abandoning Trump, abandoning their party. So who are these democrats Trump is talking about, the ones joining the republican party? Who are they? Let's see the voter registration rolls. Let’s see the headlines.

Well?

It never even occurs to his supporters to demand such proof. He tells them what they want to hear. He makes their unfocused rage and their impotent fury legitimate. They don't need proof.

They just need a target for their hate.

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Wow! The NSA has deleted 685 million phone calls and text messages. Privacy violations? They blame technical irregularities. Such a disgrace. The Witch Hunt continues!

Wow, indeed.

And now we’re down to it.

You see, once upon a time, the idea of spying on Americans was utterly abhorrent to the civilian analysts and the military electronic warfare specialists and the signals intelligence experts of the Nationals Security Agency. I know, I used to be one of those people. Our job was to protect Americans, not spy on them. We were proud of that. It was important. How we did our job mattered as much as why. We were patriots, not the fucking Gestapo.

Now?

Now, the National Security Agency spies on Americans.

Now, NSA spends more time and more resources and more effort spying on Americans with the willing assistance of American business than they do on our enemies.

Because they were ordered to do so.

Because our leaders tell them that we are the enemy.

Because Congress changed the law and provided limitless funding.

Because the president, this one and the previous one and the one before that gave the order.

And apparently Trump didn't even read the Defense Authorization bill he signed last month.

And why?

Why was the National Security Agency ordered to spy on Americans?

Why was the US intelligence apparatus turned loose on Americans?

Why was its mission expanded to domestic surveillance and its budget massively enlarged to support spying on its own citizens?

Why did Congress change the law and the President give the order?

Why?

Because "the people of our Country want and demand safety and security."


That’s why.


Because the generals and the spies and the angry white men who run this country, those fearful old Cold Warriors, they told us that the only way to make ourselves safe, the only way to gain security, was to let the FBI and the CIA and the NSA and the local cops listen to our phone calls,

read our emails,

monitor our texts,

plumb our hard drives,

audit our library records,

access our medical history,

search our houses,

all without a warrant, without probable cause, without oversight.

That's what they all told us when they passed the Patriot Act and the Protect America Act and when they renew those secret laws every year.

That’s what they tell us when they strip-search little kids and old ladies in the airports. When they kidnap citizens right off the street and spirit them away for "enhanced interrogation" at some CIA black site in some undisclosed foreign country. When they detained Americans without warrant or trial.

That’s what conservatives told us.

That's what Republicans like Trump tell us now.

Ironic, no? That out of fear we demand impossible safety and security, and thus grant unlimited powers to government, and that government then makes us into the enemy in the name our own safety and security.

And when people like me – someone who used to work for these sons of bitches and who knows the terrible power of the intelligence community from the inside – when we told you that was madness, well, we were shouted down as "weak on the Border and weak on Crime" and weak on terror and weak on national security.

We were called unamerican and unpatriotic.

We were called traitors.

And we still are, every day. Including today by the president himself who is right now ironically bemoaning the very authoritarianism he himself, and his own party, helped to create.

Donald Trump is insane.

He's a raving madman. A very, very dangerous madman, who's surrounded himself with toadies and fops and fascists and evil lieutenants and is cheered by the brainless mob like some goddamned megalomaniac from an Ian Fleming novel.

He demonstrates this every single day and you have only to look at his own words up above to see it.

And yet, right now, right here, on this blog, in my social media timelines, liberals will shortly arrive and admonish me to "just ignore him."

Just ignore him.


That’s what they'll say. Just ignore him.


Wrong.

Fucking wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Ignoring madness is how you wake up one morning in a country gone utterly mad.

Ignoring madness is how we all ended up here. Now. In this place. Living under this insanity.

Trump's insanity, his duplicity, his dangerous disingenuous bullshit, must be called out every single time.

Every. Single. Time.

Trump and his supporters must be held to account.

If congress wouldn't do it, then congress too must be held to account.

Because, sooner or later, Citizens, one way or the other, we're all going to be held to account for this madness.


But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
--
Edmund Burke

124 comments:

  1. Personally, I'd argue that ignoring Trump's bullshit on a moment by moment basis is necessary to keep sane and not burn out. But everyone should have a trusted news source they check every couple of days to stay caught up. Give yourself a bit of an insanity buffer.

    I might be wrong. Either way, the very fucking least I'm going to do is VOTE. Going to see about bothering my friends to do the same.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Either way, the very fucking least I'm going to do is VOTE."

      And THAT is the best, most powerful thing you can do. All the comments, all the marching, all the tweets against these no-goods--NONE of it will matter if you do not get out there and vote against this crew of vipers.

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  2. Chief, a small correction: Ian's last name is spelled "Fleming."

    Thank you for saying all this, loud and proud and pissed as hell. I've been rendered uncharacteristically speechless over the past few days, what with the gleeful cruelty and random bullshittery of this "administration."

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  3. I'm so tempted to send this post to a couple people I know who still, believe it or not, think Trump is doing good for this country, but I know they will simply dismiss it as lies. That's what they do. The only way out of this madness is for everyone to vote in November. If someone has a better idea, I'm listening.

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    1. I have quit sending things to some people because I know they won't even read things like this. Maybe I shouldn't quit, maybe I'll start again. I agree that the only way out of this mess is to be an informed VOTER in Nov. And take like minded people to the polls with you. Any more ideas, Yes! I'm listening.

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    2. An election isn't going to change the trajectory of America. Where do you get that idea? The way out is to leave America, or to wait for it to go down on its own.

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    3. I have family member who hang in his every corrupt word, and you are right they would say it is all lies, I really don't know what it is going to take to get through to them.

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  4. Hitler had loyal Germans believing Germany was winning the war until his chicken-shit suicide let them know otherwise.

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    1. Just read a book on the crew that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan. When the Emperor went on the radio to announce unconditional surrender, he used such arcane language that some listening thought that Japan had won the war. After all, that is what they were told; they were winning when they were not.

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  5. I've been incredibly uncomfortable with my feelings approaching the Fourth. Those feelings take shape here.

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    1. I had a lot of conflicted feelings tonight listening to the end of the national anthem. It came across as a legitimate question - "Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the FREE...?" Because wherever that land is, I'm not so sure it's here any more.

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  6. This came when I was trying to think of how to respond to a friend who is taking the "adult in the room" position that it doesn't matter who started it, it only matters how we address it.
    But this answers that question. Because everything he says matters, because this path leads to death camps. We already have concentration camps and the stripping of citizenship.

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  7. One more typo, Jim: "concentration" camps, not "centration"

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  8. Jesus Jim!! There are only two futures for you. Either you will go down in history as the pure voice of reason when trump fails, or you will face a firing squad in some barbed wire camp if he succeeds. I am praying that one day I can take your collected writings and pass them on to my grandkids as an example of the kind of thinking that truly help saved the American Experiment.

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    1. I second the this a thousand times.

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  9. It remains baffling to me how complicit our elected leaders are to this. The "principled opposition" was necessary, and although sometimes annoying and hyperbolic, worked to maintain checks and balances. These people? Chilling.

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    1. Yes, this is the item that gets me the most. There seems to be a very serious agreement amongst the Republican leadership that they are willing to trash the future in exchange for increasing their own short-term wealth. I don't think it has always been like this (am I just naive? maybe). It horrifies me how fast the US is falling and fucking up the rest of the world as it goes. Yes, we've been losing an information war we didn't realize we were fighting for some time now, but I think for things to get this bad it requires a lot more. All I can really come up with for a cause is many people who feel no sense of stewardship for the future, taking advantage of the current chaos. As an individual voter (and mind you, one who had to leave the US to find work), I don't feel even remotely empowered to have any effect whatsoever.

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  10. Enjay in MontanaJuly 3, 2018 at 3:27 PM

    I try really hard not to listen to the President speak because it's like walking into the middle of a foreign movie not understanding the language or what is going on. (Reminiscent of Sarah Palin "word salad".) A lot of buzz words scrabbled together without a clear sentence or cohesive thought. No specifics, no facts, no information, just a random collection of words.

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    1. I totally agree. My head hurts afterward.

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    2. While speaking, Trump rarely finishes a thought or a sentence. I am convinced he has ADD. In addition, he has a very weak vocabulary. Put that all together with his malignant narcissism & you get a president resembling (if you can picture what I'm describing) an ignorant tornado zig zagging around the political landscape, ripping out power lines, tossing automobiles, & returning to do it all over again the next day.

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    3. I felt like that reading an interview he did with the NYT. I could barely get through it, and I'm a good reader. It wasn't that he was using big words above my vocabulary range. It was that his thoughts were almost completely disordered. Once in a while I could maybe understand how he had managed some mental leap or another... most of the time I just sat there going, "Ow. Ow. Ow. My head."

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    4. I choose not to kill brain cells that way. If I want to try to kill them, I'll use mass quantities of bourbon or tequila.

      My Mute button has gotten a LOT of use in the last 2 years...

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    5. Same with my mute button. I never listen to him, but I also never ignore his words. Having a go bag and exit the country strategy feels like an overreaction, yet...I feel like I need to do both just in case of a worse case scenario.

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    6. To the person who said the Hair Fuhrer has ADD:

      I have ADHD I can still string together a coherent sentence. Please don’t demonize people with mental disorders by comparing us to Trump.

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  11. So Jim, What do we do, besides speak out, protest, demonstrate, vote, write our Members of Congress? I've done all of the above...what else?

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    1. Be a clear example of what a person committed to a free, open and equitable society is to all the young people you know. Sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, friends' kids, students, young folks on the job: Be *their* role model for how an adult should behave. Volunteer. Lend an ear. Be a guide. Don't just talk about what should be. Help make sure that the young folks have the vision and the mental fortitude to reject the dystopian future that some are trying so hard to push.

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    2. Unfortunately I don't think it is the kids who are the ones that will be advancing a dystopian future. They are the ones who are staggering under the horror of the one that is being forced upon them. I never seen teens saying "yeah, the US is going great places!" instead they are trying to figure out how to survive in a world where they will likely have an even smaller piece of the already vastly inequitably sliced pie, where the ocean is becoming a plastic shithole, where natural wonders like the barrier reef and animal diversity are being wiped from the Earth, and the whole world is speeding towards a horrific changing climate. Everyone knows this, but they rarely feel any empowerment to change it. I think it is going to take a lot more than being a good role model to solve this problem.

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    3. Maintain the rage. Until they suspend election there is always the possibility of getting more sane control back through voting. Help others register, get ID and vote. Disenfranchisement is the main weapon they have been using. Through deregistration, through gerrymandering, through making acceptable ID impossible to obtain and through fatigue. The more people who don't vote the better for the extremists. Vote down ticket, all of the tickets, all of the votes.
      Until elections are suspended, the Second Amendment is not required to be exercised.

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    4. David Paris, I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying the kids are pushing a dystopian future -- and they are already suffering from immobilizing despair. I work with high school students regularly, and I can assure you that most aren't like the most vocal of the Parkland kids -- they are stressed out and ready to give up. They need to see that there are adults around them who have not given up, who have the strength to persevere, who have found ways to cope with the Bannon/Miller onslaught of negativity, and who encourage the kids to learn to do the same. Developing that mental fortitude is critical to gaining a sense of empowerment. If they have that, they will believe they can make a difference, and VOTE.

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    5. " I think it is going to take a lot more than being a good role model to solve this problem."

      Well, of course, it will and no one suggested otherwise. I honestly think one of the foundational problems we have is that we seem to think we're unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. So we get into endless arguments about "it's about being a role model!" "NO! It's about voting!" "NO! It's about protesting!" "NO! It's [your thing here]."

      Reality is not binary. That someone is focused momentarily or individually on a particular aspect of a problem, doesn't preclude them also working on other aspects of it or of others working on those aspects.

      It's teamwork. It's collective effort. Think of a baseball team or a software development team or any other group working toward a goal. Each member has their own strengths and foci and facets of the process that they're contributing to. Everyone isn't a pitcher or a catcher (or in the case of a software team, a database expert). If they were, their efforts would fail and no results would be produced because you need a weave of different skills to solve a complex problem.

      Changing the world longterm ultimately requires that we change at the individual level. That we teach our children and ourselves to care. To seek knowledge and to act on that knowledge with wisdom and compassion. Otherwise it's just talking the talk. How many people repeat the phrase "family values" ad nauseam while still being cool with viewing refugees and undocumented immigrants as criminals or worse, vermin, instead of first recognizing and responding to their plight. If we do not model and teach how to be compassionate and just, future generations will fail to develop those life skills.

      Yes, we need better role models and to BE better role models. AND yes, we need to vote, AND yes, we need to push back against hatred and bigotry and just plain meanness. And that requires change at a fundamental level. A very difficult change, for many of us.

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  12. Need to correct the word concentration (from centration) camp. Also put "an" in front of Ian Fleming.

    Any "liberals" who come here to complain about this essay are NOT liberals, they are either repubs or Russian trolls.

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  13. PREACH! As soon as I'm back to work, I'm gonna buy you a cup of coffee.

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  14. Not only must 45 be held accountable for every lying, disingenuous, bullshit thing he says but we must also hold each and every member of Congress and the Senate accountable for their obsequious, fawning homage to his ruinous policies and pronouncements.

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  15. Thank you for being the voice of sanity (well, close) in the wilderness, Jim. I voted in primariy & I am going to GOTV & vote & drag whomever I can to the polls in November. Spell check: "centration" -> concentration.

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  16. I am 56 years old and for the first time in my life I am afraid of if not a war, some sort of civil insurrections. What happens when Mueller indicts Trump or he is Impeached? What happens if he refuses to resign?
    Will the right wing revolt? Will there be armed conflict? Despite, ALex Jones announcement about the Liberals starting a civil war on July 4th, I am sure it won't be us.

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    1. The constant fire hose of derp from this administration* keeps the president* all over the news one way or another, just the way he likes it. I'm old. I'm not afraid of dying anymore. With this going on, I'm afraid of living. And terrified for the young people, who have to cope with growing up while deluged with fear mongering. Jeanne

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    2. I have the same thoughts and fears. I don't see any future in which the right doesn't become violent. Mueller indicts Trump? Violence. Trump gets voted out of office in 2 years or 6 years? Violence. I don't see Trump stepping down from the greatest gig he could ever have in terms of attention and adulation. He lives for those things. How could he ever let them go? And, of course, by then he will have convinced his followers that it's god's will (or something like that) that he stay in charge forever.

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  17. Just FYI: "You can hear the tromp of jackboots and the screams from the centration camps, can’t you? For the public good. For safety. For security." "Con" needs to go in front of "centration" camps. Which is oddly funny. The "con" part, I mean. Maybe it's just me.

    You will NEVER hear "ignore him" from me. Never. I'm exhausted from not ignoring him and from arguing (or trying to have a conversation) with the ignorant and clueless and unreasonable and yet I can't stop. Mostly I feel like Edvard Munch's The Scream. A thin line between reason and madness indeed.

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  18. "Now, NSA spends more time and more resources and more effort spying on Americans with the willing assistance of American business than they do on our enemies."

    Please allow me to emphasize part of that statement. "...with the willing assistance of American business..."

    The fascism is here, it is real, and I am fearful.

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  19. I was in my teens throughout most of Bush the Lesser's administration. I remember the fear and the hatred and the xenophobia and the moral cowardice that typified the time. When Obama won the presidency, I thought we were finally ready to heal from 9/11 and the War on Terror - a return to the good old days of the '90s (yes, for me and my generation, those were the good old days).

    I still can't believe how wrong I was.

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  20. I'm taking a knee tomorrow at the 4th of July event when they play the National Anthem.

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  21. As a Canadian, a lot of you will be telling me to mind my own business, b7t what happens to you matters greatly to me. We're neighbors and some of you friends and family. What happens to you, matters to me! Already, tarrifs are hurting consumers on both sides of our border. Already we have a filthy rich right-winger just voted in as Ontario's Conservative Premier, and not but a small margin. What happens to you matters to me!! I care and I pray every day that reprieve comes soon, for all our benefits!! Let's all rewatch Independance Day, we could all use a jump-start of real patriotism!!

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    1. Mind your own business.*


      *This is your business. ;)

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    2. As an American, I will tell you to SHOUT LOUDER!

      And make room for us when Amerikkka completes it's transformation.

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    3. Can Canadians adopt older Americans? I need an exit strategy.

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    4. As a Canadian:
      I have listened to my circle of friends say often 'It is *America* that I have problems with - not individual *Americans*, many are my friends.'
      My circle is a group who regularly travels into the USA, for most several times a year, some every month. Yes, I too have many long, good, dear friends who are Americans - who I have visited and worked along side many times, over decades.
      But...
      I personally have been officially branded 'Illegal Immigrant without Documentation'. For the offense of attempting to attend a five day academic conference. This specifically caused by the order to 'Keep American for Americans'.
      I personally work in metals, and will face a 25% increase in not only the raw material, but an additional fee placed on any object *I* make that might be ordered by an American (guess who is going to pay that fee).
      Even for Canadians, Mr Trump's policies are absolutely having dramatic impact.
      Honestly? I have lost any interest in crossing into the United States of America.
      Some advise? Be very careful how hard you push those 'nice Canadians'. There is absolutely a line over which you do NOT want to cross.

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    5. What happens in this country most certainly IS your business!

      Decades ago we all became part of a global community where one country's actions, particularly one as large and influential as the United States, affects everyone else in that community. What the current occupant of the White House says and does has tremendous impact on people around the world, and particularly on our nearest neighbors.

      I have friends in Europe whose reactions to current events have transformed from sympathy for those of us living under this administration to abject fear for the potential catastrophe this incompetent maniac might cause. We can only hope that the results of the ongoing investigations and the election in November will limit the damage being done to this country.

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  22. As a Canadian, a lot of you will be telling me to mind my own business, but what happens to you matters greatly to me. We're neighbors and some of you friends and family. What happens to you, matters to me! Already, tarrifs are hurting consumers on both sides of our border. Already we have a filthy rich right-winger just voted in as Ontario's Conservative Premier, and not by a small margin. What happens to you matters to me!! I care and I pray every day that reprieve comes soon, for all our sakes!! Let's all rewatch Independance Day, we could all use a jump-start of real patriotism!!

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    1. Move to Nova Scotia. No crazy right-wingers here!

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    2. Yes! I'm working on getting Permanent Residency in Nova Scotia right now with an eye toward Canadian citizenship in five years or so. I'm not so much wanting to renounce America as add Canada to places I love and would defend. I love the land and its people.

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  23. Horrifying and terrifying!!! AND, he recently suggested he would unleash "his base" on those who continue to protest him. I am deeply concerned about the mid-terms! V.O.T.E. Who is leading the democratic charge? What is our message? What is going to rally blue voters? All we are doing is reacting to his BS! When are we going to drive the narrative? Maybe we need to pay more attention to the Nazi playbook and get ahead of it? If we lose the mid-terms, IMHO, life is going to get decidedly uglier and potentially bloodier. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend my retirement. Hate every minute of this shit storm!!!

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    1. You haven't been paying attention to your local Democratic candidates. The ones in my area are campaigning on health care, tax reform, building needed infrastructure, sensible gun control laws -- in other words, "bread and butter" issues.

      So far, the Dems are tailoring their message to the district they're campaigning in -- look at Lamb in PA or Ocasio-Cortez in NY.

      Join your local Indivisible chapter and help register people, or pound the pavement canvassing for your local Dems.

      Delete
  24. "Trump and his supporter" As much as I'd like to believe that Trump only has one support, I'm guessing you meant supporters.

    Also, I agree with you but also with Anonymous. Paying attention to every little utterance is exhausting. I've got the big details and don't need to throw a hissy fit (then do nothing) every time he opens his mouth as a few of my acquaintances seem to do.

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    1. "Trump and his supporter" conjure up some frightening images. Well, for a guy.

      EMH

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  25. People who say "Just ignore them" are people who are angry that you're intruding on their tidy lives with unpleasantness about which they know they should do something, they just don't want to. It's true of teachers telling kids to ignore the bullies beating them up for their lunch money, and it's true of people who want to believe that ignoring a madman with unfettered access to nuclear weapons will somehow turn out okay in the end.

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  26. Have you ever felt like your middle name is Cassandra?

    Please don't ever give up the fight; you are an inspiration to countless people.

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  27. Someone on a blog the other day compared Trump's tweets to someone teasing their cat with a laser pointer. Their contention was that Trump was just pwning the Libtards, and the silly Libruls should just STFU about his tweets and Ignore them.

    Yeah, right.

    I do feel that the media barrages the rubes with too much worthless information and too much hyperventilating over dumb stuff. I also agree that freaking out over every single tweet is a Mug's game, as I do think that some of Trump's motivation is Distraction - of both libs and his fanboyz. Distraction so that he and his evil cronies can continue with their rapine, pillaging and plunder of our nation.

    One should also, needless to say, keep one's eyes on what else is going on with the TrumpCo Admin, especially as the "media" deliberately obfuscates and/or ignores much of that.

    But one must pay attention to and respond to many of the tweets. Ignore them at our peril. He's not just playing silly buggers and then going away to do "good." And in fact, many of his tweets become edicts or policy or what have you. Yes, even the ones that make little to no sense.

    Thanks for a great post, which sums it all up. Although this way surely lies madness, we must pay attention, at least most of the time, to this crazed lunatic hell bent on the ruination of our country.

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  28. Canadian here. I recently sent my sister, an American for these last 25 years a letter to come home...she was no longer safe down there with the madman Trump in control. My own fear is that Trump is dreaming of Manifest Destiny right now; thus the reason he has suddenly demonized Canada as "the other" while kissing ass to Kim Jung Un and Putin. He loves dictators because he is a wannabe dictator. Give no quarter to the man because his goons will not give you quarter.

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  29. And the "great" patriots who picked the last President apart to the bone say nothing, totally complicit in this deep dive towards madness

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  30. As a liberal progressive, I absolutely do NOT want you to ignore Trump. That's how we got him in the first place!

    Thank you, Jim, for yet another essay pointing out that this emperor has no clothes.

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  31. There was some discussion of a preemptive strike on North Korea by the U.S.. The former ambassador or specialist of some sort didn't support the idea and was fired by this administration. Bolton's appointment was a concern that it might escalate. So in some ways we were at risk of causing a war that wasn't desired by the Korea's and would likely have led to many lives lost or damaged.

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  32. Other than voting, which everyone in this household will be doing, what do we do, Jim? How do we fight against the madman and his sycophants? Is there any form of resistance that will work?

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    1. Any I would suggest would draw the attention of groups mentioned above, so...

      Delete
  33. Twilight Zone : Its a good life.
    Or maybe on a lighter note, some Kafka.

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  34. I shared this to my facebook with the following: "This is a must read. Not just a good read, it is a must read.” I suggest others do the same.

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  35. Thank you Jim.

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  36. I try to find ways to engage people about voting. In line at the McD's, I noticed the health dept rating of 98% and recalled trumps hotels and restaurant citation for filth and outdated, poorly stored foods. I asked cashier if she knew what that really meant. She said go ahead and I told her her shop was rated considerably better than trumps diners, she asked how is that possible. I replied that he doesn't pay or treat his employees well or properly so they shoe their feelings towards him that way. Then asked her to be sure to get her friends and family to vote in November. These opportunities are everywhere so I use them .

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    1. Well done!

      It's an example of what Slate had an article about not long ago: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/trumps-lies-are-winning-you-can-fight-back.html

      I'm Dutch, also not directly involved, but we have our own fight against madness to fight here, so we may screech to a halt while still on the brink of the abyss.

      Delete
  37. You sir are quite right,
    Trump ever the con man, is not wired in any way, to understand that a agreement can be mutually beneficial. As a conman he only see winners and losers and if anyone come out on the plus side, other than him is a loss. So one one can negotiate with someone who cannot understand both sides can win. Its called compromise, and he like many on the right have no idea how it works.

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  38. Trump is mad that is for sure. Congress on the other hand is not and yet they have not done their Congressional duty to protect our Democracy. They have not for numerous reasons $$$$$$$$$$ is the main one of this I do not doubt.

    Far as July 4th ALex Jones prediction I heard about it and did the following made sure my personal weapon was clean. I have no intention of using it unless I need to protect my family at 62 and a Veteran I will do that.

    I do wonder if the Alex Jones thing followed by a Tweet I read and responded to of Trumps that seemed to threaten that his base will attack Democratic Party members is a call to arms for Trump's base. If so I will defend mine and all of those around me if the need comes.
    My big question is how do those that have sworn an oath to protect the U S Constitution live with the fact they are doing nothing to stop this mad man and his numerous cohorts?

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  39. Thank you, Jim Wright. When I read your thoughts and your words, I know I'm not the only one in this rowboat. I'm not crazy for what I see happening. I'm not hysterical for the words I speak. I'm not negative for criticizing #45 and his evil-demon administration. I'm not stupid, and I'm not pathetic. I'm just like you. You just say it better. :-) Thanks.

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  40. As a German who has lived gainfully employed in this country for close to 30 years and raised socially competent children into young adulthood, I realized in November 2016 that it is not enough to give my love, labor, taxes, and donations to this country or to volunteer in schools, for environmental causes, and the juvenile court system. Armchair activism and hand-wringing among like-minded peers is equally pointless and I initiated the process to become a citizen. Today I was sworn in. Your words kept me from abandoning the effort in frustration which would have been the easy way out. You made me keep my faith in the essential promise of this land through your passion, knowledge and insight. As long as there are people like you keeping us sane and honest, there is hope. Thank you, Jim, and don’t ever stop imploring us to be better citizens if we want a better nation.

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    1. Welcome to America, new citizen Gabi Estill. Thank you for letting us know. Thank you also for your moving expression of patriotism and thank you for the encouragment to Jim Wright. I share your sentiments.

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    2. Gabi Estill, thank you for the vote of confidence! We can use all the help we can get!

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    3. Welcome aboard, Gabi. Not too proud to say we could sure use your oar.

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  41. Another keen strike at the undertone effects Trumps words have. Thank you Chief. Definitely FB sharing, again.
    Small omission of the word "of" -- and that government then makes us into the enemy in the name our own safety and security.

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  42. 25th Amendment. Doctors with guards.

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  43. Government of the black people by the white people for the rich people.

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  44. FFS people! Please quit editing him; read his "Disclaimer" where it says to expect misspellings. Read him for his content and intent; not how he spells.

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    Replies
    1. Old hands at Stonekettle know that Jim appreciates the free editing. As a professional, he wants to get it right.

      -- EMH

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  45. Thank you for speaking truths we don't always want to hear, but need to face. I've shared this on my FB but I post so much anti-Trump info very few Trump supporters still remain on my page.

    I'm grateful for that. I don't want to be friends with anyone who supports our destruction. I keep thinking of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man & wishing the Ghostbusters were here to rescue us.

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  46. Another excellent post. Right on the money, point by point. Congress...I have suspicions about some of Texas' finest due to long experience of politics in this state, and wonder about a lot of others...can they really be that blind, that focused on the next FEC deadline of their campaign, that ignorant? "Just ignore" any problem and it gets bigger, toothier, and meaner, whether it's a "funny noise" in the engine, a funny smell in the closet, the sound of tiny feet galloping around the attic, or a slow draining drain. When it's a problem affecting the whole country, when it's a crisis in government, ignoring it doesn't work any better unless someone's just going to pack a bag and run away. Some of us won't do that.

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  47. "Because generals and the spies and the angry white men who ruIn this country"

    FIFY. (Yeah, yeah, I know. But mine fits better.)

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  48. I had hoped that the Congress and Supreme Court would check Trump's power, but it looks like they have abdicated their duty.

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    1. I too had hoped that their loyalty to the country and the people they represent would win out over their insatiable greed and desire for unlimited power. Clearly I was wrong. They have gleefully sacrificed this country and its citizens as they use the distraction of Trump's deranged and irresponsible behavior to accomplish the destruction of all the qualities that made our country great.

      I never imagined I would see the level of pure evil that has been demonstrated by the Republican members of Congress as they attempt to destroy every piece of legislation that protects our people and our environment. Not only have they caused damage that will take generations to repair, if it can be done at all, but they are furiously working to place radical conservatives in our Supreme and federal courts so that the devastation they are causing will continue for decades.

      Delete
  49. Thank you, Chief!

    As a 66 year old former LEO, I salute you! The direction we are headed worries ne to death.

    I know you live near Pensacola and sometime when I'm visiting the coast. I like to toast your health and your patriotism.

    We can't give up! Never, never, never!

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  50. Incredibly well said, but it will cause me to lose some sleep.

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  51. The thing about Donald Trump's tweet stream is you really need a good strong press to deal with someone like this. You need someone to be asking questions like "which motorcycle companies?", "what are you offering them?", "when is this likely to happen?", and even "have they actually returned your calls?". (Never forget: Donald Trump is, first and foremost, a con artist, and as such, regards "the truth" in the same way a child regards chewing gum. Right down to spitting it out in distaste and discarding it when it's no longer palatable). You need a press corps which is going to nail his feet to the floor, his trousers to the mast, and pin him down to details, rather than letting him wriggle out of things. A press corps which is going to damn well check every single thing down to the last detail, and bring up things he said previously which outright contradict his current position (the one he's saying he's always held).

    Unfortunately, this isn't what you have. Instead, you have a press corps which is basically more concerned with retaining access to the Great Leader than they are with performing their essential democratic function of holding said leader accountable to the people who elected him. A press corps which is getting conned by a con artist, right along with the rest of the nation.

    The thing about surviving a con artist is this: you have to watch them closely. You have to ask awkward questions. You have to be willing to abandon any investment as a bad idea. You have to double-check everything. You have to be alert to weasel words, to wriggle spaces, to the generalities they'll try to leave as vague as possible, to the ambiguities of language and so on. You also have to watch their hands, because one of those hands will be trying for your wallet at any possible moment.

    This will, of course, get you labelled by the con artist as being "no fun", "bad news", "paranoid", "overly suspicious", "a party pooper", and so on. Those are labels you should be proud of. Start listening hard to the people Trump is labeling as "fake news". Start listening hard to the people he's labeling as wrong and stupid and so on.

    (Oh, and by the way: note that the whole business of throwing the blame on the Democrats is something Trump is borrowing from Australian politics. Our current government - the party which has been in power since September 2013 - has been blaming the party in opposition for everything that can, might, and has gone wrong in their entire term. In the first six months of their term in office, yeah, sure it might have been believable. Five years and one election later? No guys, quite a lot of these problems are either of your making, or they're hangovers from the Howard Liberal government which got voted out in 2007).

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    Replies
    1. Well said Meg. Our government seems to have a love/love relationship with Trump's administration, much to our detriment.

      Delete
  52. I'm trying to sort out two competing world views -- either that, or figure out some way they can both be true. In one, tRump is unhinged, delusional, possibly suffering from dementia; there is neither rhyme nor reason to anything he says, he's a random destructive force, a bull with hemorrhoids in a china shop. In the other, he's cleverly advancing an all-but-unstoppable fascist takeover of government and the dismantling of the world order, either at Putin's behest or as part of a tightly organized GOP cabal going back to the day Nixon got on the helicopter for that last long ride of shame. But which is it? -- criminal masterminds of the sort required for the second world view wouldn't trust their master plan to the unhinged narcissist of the first. Yet we have ample evidence for each. Help?

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    1. Neither Stupid nor Bat-shit Crazy precludes cleverness in getting what is wanted. Your obvious answer is Both.

      Delete
    2. If the mental illness manifests in what the person wants or believes should happen, it doesn’t mean they don’t know how to use favorite tools to get what they want. If the sufferer tries a behavior with the intention of getting a certain response and it works, then he’ll use that tool over and over every time he needs that response.

      The madness is in believing that the response to the behavior is beneficial or healthy.

      Delete
  53. Kinda short, isn't it Jim? (ducking for cover)

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  54. The message, the message, the message!!!!! Not the spelling

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  55. Two things we can do -- vote and register young people to vote. There are LOTS of high school students who will turn 18 before the November elections.

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  56. Well, unless you're writing about him, I'll assume you're ignoring him. And since I don't have a Twitter account, Twitter doesn't count.

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  57. This is exactly what people,should be paying,attention to.

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  58. There's no disconnect for Trump between the opposing views of requiring "safety and security" and the so-called witchhunt of the NSA spying on folks. In his mind, and for that matter the minds of the people who created and continue to support it, that spying is supposed to happen to "other" people. Not fine upstanding (read "white") people like themselves. It's simply willful ignorance.

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  59. Thanks, Jim. I guess and, bit by bit, election by election, we restore a more palatable democratic society. I don't happen to think the Dems have a corner on ethics...even slightly, but better than what we currently have

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  60. "If not for me, we would now be at war with North Korea!" Even if the factual statement weren't insane on the face of it -- even if Trump had actually achieved something -- how can anyone accept a President who talks like that? Do people think a leader constantly aggrandizes himself?

    Remember when Jimmy Carter, after the Camp David Accords were signed, bragged to the world, "If not for me, Egypt and Israel would be at war! I'm a genius!" No, 'cause grown people who aren't pathological narcissists don't talk like that.

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    1. Paradoxically I do remember* Neville Chamberlain declaring saying something like he'd achieved "peace in our time" after signing a treaty with Germany just before World War II. Hope that's not a precedent for North Korea today.

      * No, not me personally. Not that old, just in the history books / films.

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    2. That would be the same Neville Chamberlain who, whether he believed what he said that day or no, increased the British defence budget drastically. He did the best he could from a position of weakness, while doing what he could to strengthen that position.
      It was too late to deter Hitler (if that was even possible), too late to save France, but just in time to ensure the RAF faced the Luftwaffe flying Hurricanes and Spitfires, rather than Gloster Gladiators.

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  61. I have watched this guy for awhile, and I call Troll. He knows exactly what he is doing. I lived with an intelligent, crafty, and abusive partner for six years - Trump fits the mold perfectly. Playing stupid is the ultimate defense. Claiming ignorance, gaslighting, and shifting responsibility to others are definitely the big three in the abuser's toolkit. Do. Not. Underestimate. This. Guy. Under. Any Circumstances!

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  62. Thank you, Jim. As unsettling as this essay is, your points are straight up and I trust your analysis. Isn't it all about trust? I have no trust in this nutjob prez, nor any of his damned enablers.

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  63. Terrific stuff. Whenever I get most-eloquently and fulminatingly angry on my blog, I think of Jim Wright and pile on another log! (at: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ ) I'll follow this with my latest rant. Wright's the right stuff!

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  64. Abraham Lincoln speaking in 1858 about the Declaration of Independence.: “They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. The erected a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”

    How many ways can you find, in that one paragraph, that today’s Republicans have betrayed both Lincoln and the Founders? Now the party of oligarchy, fighting only for the privileges and property of a kingly-lordly-owner caste?

    Lincoln does speak of “humane and Christian virtues —” as do today’s Red Letter Christians, who emphasize the caring, generous words of Jesus, and not the bilious hate-drenched Book of Revelation, or BoR. Notice that Lincoln gets almost science fictional, in speaking of “farthest posterity” — an implicit utter-rejection of the gleeful apocalypse yearning expressed by today’s End Times junkies, like president-in-waiting Mike Pence.

    Read this appraisal of Lincoln’s 1858 speech… though the author seems to be under an impression that the Great Commoner won his senate race against Stephen Douglas. He did not, and the 1850s were a hellish time, when aristocratic forces seemed hell-bent on ending our revolution.

    Today, in similar dark times, remember that. Gird yourselves, patriots, to defend this great experiment, as our ancestors did at Cowpens and Valley Forge. At Antietam and Gettysburg. At Little Rock and Selma. It will be hard. The Confederacy has powerful foreign backers, this time, and they have taken Washington. But we are made of no lesser stuff than those forebears. And we can still be a light unto the world.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/declaration-of-independence-lincoln-trump-fourth-of-july/564431/

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    1. That's one awesome quote there. Thank you David Brin - and I loved your SF novels & short stories too.

      (Thor Meets Captain America seems like apt re-reading right now.)

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  65. Jim you are spot on. Which is very scary. We have to find the courage to stand up. Before we repeat history.

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  66. Spot on and disturbing stuff - thankyou Jim Wright.

    One word amongst Trump's tweets really stood out for me :

    "When we have an 'infestation' of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elelments [sic] that bad immigration laws allow into our country." - Trump, President of the United States, 2018.

    "Infestation."

    A lot of echoes of Nazi and Rwandan and the Armenian genocidal rhetoric in that single ugly word. Literally putting these human beings, refugees seeking a better life down at the level of vermin or a disease.

    I'm pretty sure I will not be the first to note this here. I think I recall reading elsewhere some survivors of the Shoah (Holocaust) stating that Trump's language use here reminds them of 1930's Germany.

    But that is scary, disturbing shit that leads to, well, we all know damn well, where it leads don't we by now?

    Didn't we say Never Again?

    Are we really going to let it happen again, again?

    And whatever happened to 'E pluribus unem', America the great melting pot and the words of Emma Lazarus on the plaque on Lady Liberty, the "mother of exiles".

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  67. And you don't even mention, in re the first tweet, how a President (tm) is abusing his power to "punish" a corporation by helping its competitors.

    The list of violations and abuses grows longer and longer with each day. Wonder what will happen.

    EMH

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  68. Why are people so attached to this American empire? The rest of the world will be relieved when it finally goes down. You should be cheering Trump on if he is really destroying it, not trying to save it.

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    1. Call that Plan B

      You see, some of us are attached to the idea of the United States. We were willing to give up our lives for it. And we're working to make it live up to ideals of its founding, knowing that we still fall short but ALSO knowing that the alternative would likely be far worse.

      You're welcome to go elsewhere if you like, but I'm staying right here and I'm going to keep shoveling shit against the tide until they shovel dirt in my face.

      Delete
    2. Yup. cain’t dance, too fat to fly.

      Delete
    3. Your view of the world must be extremely limited if you think that the demose of the US "Empire" will be good for the rest of the world. The failure of the USA will, should it occur, plunge the rest of the world into interminable financial and armed strife of a level not seen before, and yes I have heard of the two World Wars.

      Delete
    4. Maybe that's the problem: you're attached to an ideal of the United States rather than the reality, which is something quite different. I do think emigrating is a wise move; another option is to stay here, but separate yourself from the madhouse and wait for it to collapse rather than fighting to save the madhouse. It sounds like a lot of you believe in American exceptionalism, and really just want to make America great again. How much have you travelled? Why on earth do you think the alternative to America must be so terrible?

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    5. Tumbleweed, so you think we should do nothing to stop another Nazi Germany? Because that is what a fascist America will become.

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    6. Tumbleweed, the problem with leaving is that the fight is happening through much of the world. Hungary and Poland are losing democracy. China and Russia have never known it. American collapse is not going to usher in a golden age for freedom in the rest of the world. More likely a world of single party autocracies.

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  69. I had read the book: "It can't happen here" earlier this year. Even though it was written as a semi-satirical novel, over 80 years ago, all the crap, the fascism that crept in to the country in that novel, can and is happening here.

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  70. Or
    “Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
    This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- "No, YOU move.”

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  71. I just realized something. Because of Donald Trump, the chances of one or more military bases entering a total rebellion against the tyranny of Donald Trump have increased in an impressive way.
    If that happens, it will be a terrible situation, because it is evident that, being Donald Trump a monster, he will order a total attack and without mercy against those who dare to revolt.
    Nevertheless; I suspect that if a military base goes into rebellion, millions of Americans will join them cheerfully and with great joy, which could cause doubts in units willing to quell the rebellion. Something like Russian tanks that refused to crush people and turned their weapons in the opposite direction.
    No one seems to realize that something like this could happen. And I wonder if that could trigger a real civil war on a large scale. Not a cold civil war, like the one Americans are currently experiencing; but a hot and real war, with artillery fire and massive bombing.

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    1. I once held the naive belief that American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen would never obey and order to go against American citizens, but even a short reading of our history showed me how wrong I was. When American veterans of WW1 marched on Washington to demand their promised benefits, they were dispersed by American Army troops using tear gas and tanks under the command of MacArthur and Eisenhower, in spite of the Constitutional right to petition the Government for redress of grievances, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. Think about Kent State. When the ship hits the sand, they will do as they are ordered. As for the police, just watch your local news. I like to think that my naivete has abated somewhat, but I keep my guns clean and well-oiled just in case.as one gets older, the threat of life in prison doesn't seem as scary as it once did.

      Keep up the barrage, Jim

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  72. Sharpen your pitchforks. Keep your torches handy. The day is coming when we will have to take to the streets.

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Comments on this blog are moderated. Each will be reviewed before being allowed to post. This may take a while. I don't allow personal attacks, trolling, or obnoxious stupidity. If you post anonymously and hide behind an IP blocker, I'm a lot more likely to consider you a troll. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.