Saturday, July 14, 2018

Trump's New World Order...



Trump is effectively changing the way America does business.  He is changing how our allies and the rest of the world perceives us. Very litle is positive.

The New York Times - Some near-forgotten anniversaries are worth commemorating. One hundred years ago — Bastille Day, 1918 — Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest son, Quentin, was killed in aerial combat at the Second Battle of the Marne. Twenty-six years later, Quentin’s oldest brother, Ted, also died in France, after landing at Utah Beach on D-Day.

Quentin and Ted are buried side-by-side at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer. It’s a moving sight for everyone who still believes in the cause for which they and their brothers in arms fought and died — above all, the idea, possibility and preservation of a free world, anchored and inspired by America but not subservient to it.

In other words, the things that Donald Trump has spent his presidency trashing under the historically sordid banner of “America First.”

That trashing reached some sort of climax this week with the president’s excruciating tantrum against Germany at the NATO summit in Brussels, followed by his gratuitous humiliation of British Prime Minister Theresa May via an interview in a Murdoch tabloid. Maybe next he’ll propose that Vladimir Putin rejoin the Group of 7 — except he already did that in Canada more than a month ago, right around the time he launched a trade war with Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

What does all this achieve?

No doubt just what Trump intends: the collapse of the liberal international order, both in its animating commitment to open societies as well as its defining international institutions — the G-7, NATO, the European Union, the World Trade Organization. Seen in this light, the president’s wretched behavior isn’t — or isn’t merely — the product of a defective personality. It’s the result of a willful ideology.

So much should be clear by the president’s negotiating style, guaranteed as it is to elicit “no” for an answer.

SKIP

For Trump, the upside is the substitution of a liberal order with an illiberal one, based on conceits about sovereignty, nationality, religion and ethnicity. These are the same conceits that Vladimir Putin has long made his own, which helps explain Trump’s affinity for his Russian counterpart and his distress that Robert Mueller’s investigation “really hurts our relationship with Russia,” as he remarked Friday.

It also explains his undisguised contempt for contemporary European democracy and his efforts to replace it with something more Trumpian: xenophobic, protectionist and truculent. This is the Europe of Germany’s Alexander Gauland, France’s Marine Le Pen, Britain’s Nigel Farage, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Italy’s Matteo Salvini. Note that the last three are already in power.

All this must be gratifying to Trump’s sense of his historical importance. For America, it’s a historical disaster. The United States can only lead a world that’s prepared to follow.

But follow what? Not the rules of trade that America once set but now claims are rigged against it. Not the democratic ideals that America once embodied but now treats with disdain. Not the example of fighting bullies, after it has now become one.

This will suit Americans for whom the idea of a free world always seemed like a distant abstraction. It will suit Europeans whose anti-Americanism predates Trump’s arrival by decades. And it will especially suit Putin, who knows that an America that stands for its own interests first also stands, and falls, alone. Surely the dead at Colleville-sur-Mer fought for something greater than that.

America was indeed a unique and special nation. It was truly different than any other before it. Trump is changing all that. It won't be good.

Trump, America's Pathological Liar...

The only ones who don't acknowledge Trump is a pathological liar are his cultists. Which is to say the willfully ignorant








SOURCE

Friday, July 13, 2018

tRump's Fake Presidency Is Growing Old Fast -- With Real Americans...

See the source image


Donald J. Trump has been identified as America's worst president -- Ever. And he proves it daily. See another of his attacks on the legitimate press. Which serves to again highlight his abject ignorance and anti Americanism.

President Trump’s penchant for diminishing the fourth estate didn’t wither on British soil. “Fake news,” he riffed at various points during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May — the better to shout down all the accurate reporting about his unhinged behavior and pronouncements about the United States and its most pivotal allies in the world.

Kristen Welker of NBC News asked the president if his fractious relationship with NATO allies provided the “upper hand” to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the upcoming summit in Helsinki. “See, that’s such dishonest reporting — of course it happens to be NBC, which is possibly worse than CNN,” Trump said. Then he boasted about his exploits with the NATO countries.

The slight aimed at CNN provided a toehold for CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who has jostled with the president and his emissaries in the past. He waited for a lull in the proceedings, and this exchange proceeded:

ACOSTA: Mr. President, since you attacked CNN, can I ask you a question?
TRUMP: John Roberts, go ahead.
ACOSTA: Can I ask you a question?
TRUMP: No, no. John Roberts, go ahead. CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN.
ACOSTA: Take a question …
TRUMP: John Roberts of Fox, let’s go to a real network.
ACOSTA: Well, we’re a real network, too, sir.


Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts then said, “Thank you, Mr. President” — essentially validating the president’s hostile, baseless, authoritarian, gratuitous slam on a group of peers. {SOURCE}

When will American so called conservatives wake up, open their eyes, and denounce their leader's constant illegitimate attacks on legitimate and credible news? The press is, and always has been the protector of American democracy.

We quote Thomas Jefferson --

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

And this -- "The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." 

Trump is wrong, dead wrong. And he continues to weaken the institutions of our democratic republic in his push to move America towards an authoritarian oligarchy.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

American Nationalism... The Looming Danger


The following Notes on Nationalism, pened by George Orwell, have continued significance today in the USA. Especially given the direction of our federal government in the Era of Trump and the Christian fundamentalism that is growing.

It is doubtful those who most need to consider the wisdom expresseed in Notes on Natioanalism will read and seriously consider what Orwell is saying. Nonetheless, if his words influence even a few to become more active in fighting tghe clear and present danger of a growing nationalism in our country this effort will have been worth it.

Somewhere or other Byron makes use of the French word longeur, and remarks in passing that though in England we happen not to have the word, we have the thing in considerable profusion. In the same way, there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

So long as it is applied merely to the more notorious and identifiable nationalist movements in Germany, Japan, and other countries, all this is obvious enough. Confronted with a phenomenon like Nazism, which we can observe from the outside, nearly all of us would say much the same things about it. But here I must repeat what I said above, that I am only using the word ‘nationalism’ for lack of a better. Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to one's own country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist. To name a few obvious examples, Jewry, Islam, Christendom, the Proletariat and the White Race are all of them objects of passionate nationalistic feeling: but their existence can be seriously questioned, and there is no definition of any one of them that would be universally accepted.

It is also worth emphasising once again that nationalist feeling can be purely negative. There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U.S.S.R. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakeably certain of being in the right.

Skip

The reason for the rise and spread of nationalism is far too big a question to be raised here. It is enough to say that, in the forms in which it appears among English intellectuals, it is a distorted reflection of the frightful battles actually happening in the external world, and that its worst follies have been made possible by the breakdown of patriotism and religious belief. If one follows up this train of thought, one is in danger of being led into a species of Conservatism, or into political quietism. It can be plausibly argued, for instance — it is even possibly true — that patriotism is an inoculation against nationalism, that monarchy is a guard against dictatorship, and that organised religion is a guard against superstition. Or again, it can be argued that no unbiased outlook is possible, that all creeds and causes involve the same lies, follies, and barbarities; and this is often advanced as a reason for keeping out of politics altogether. I do not accept this argument, if only because in the modern world no one describable as an intellectual can keep out of politics in the sense of not caring about them. I think one must engage in politics — using the word in a wide sense — and that one must have preferences: that is, one must recognise that some causes are objectively better than others, even if they are advanced by equally bad means. As for the nationalistic loves and hatreds that I have spoken of, they are part of the make-up of most of us, whether we like it or not. Whether it is possible to get rid of them I do not know, but I do believe that it is possible to struggle against them, and that this is essentially a moral effort. It is a question first of all of discovering what one really is, what one's own feelings really are, and then of making allowance for the inevitable bias. If you hate and fear Russia, if you are jealous of the wealth and power of America, if you despise Jews, if you have a sentiment of inferiority towards the British ruling class, you cannot get rid of those feelings simply by taking thought. But you can at least recognise that you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your mental processes. The emotional urges which are inescapable, and are perhaps even necessary to political action, should be able to exist side by side with an acceptance of reality. But this, I repeat, needs a moral effort, and contemporary English literature, so far as it is alive at all to the major issues of our time, shows how few of us are prepared to make it.

Being a bit lengthy I have postted only the introduction and clossing, leaving it to the individual to decide for themselves whether to "dig deeper".

In closing I will say only that whether Trump has inadvertently or tacitly given his approval to a growing nationalism is open to debate. It ought to concern and trouble all American Patriots.

Link to complete text of Notes on Nationalism.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pence Believe the American People are Naive... Are They?

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, left, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, and Vice President Pence at the Capitol on Tuesday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)


Vice President Pence said Tuesday that while he would personally like to see the Supreme Court one day overturn its landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, neither he nor President Trump has discussed the issue with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh


Right. Given everything we know about Pence and Trump, and the Evangelical's strong influence on both, only the very naive will actually  believe the issue has not been dicussed. Conservative religionists have been dreaming of the day when they might again have the power to deny women reproductive rights and control of their own bodies. With Kavanaugh's nomination to the SCOTUS that dream is now a step closer to becoming reality.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, and this is very likely, the court shifts further right and conservative judicial activism will be the likely result. This will put not only Roe-v-Wade at risk it will also possibly result in the loss of marraige equality as well. It is clear at this point that neither is settled law as both will likely be challenged again and brought before the SCOTUS when it moves further right.

Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination is the result of years of unopposed conservative organizing is an interesting article and it explains how years of work by conservatives as brought us to this point. Click on article to read.


Basically WASF.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Trump's American Reality Show...

If the lead-up to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement feels like reality-TV drama, it’s because that’s exactly how it was designed.
But instead of a one-year contract as Trump’s errand boy, the “winner” on Monday night will likely nab a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land and a chance to reshape American law and jurisprudence for generations.
The high stakes of the announcement were nevertheless preceded by a day of wild speculation and tea leaf-reading, designed, some conservatives briefed on the nomination process believe, to prevent a leak of Trump’s decision by flooding the zone with contradictory information. It’s characteristic of a president who revels in the political press spinning its wheels, and is naturally inclined to the sort of primetime TV drama that he helmed as host of NBC’s The Apprentice.
“There are few people in politics, or entertainment for that matter, who have a better understanding of marketing than the president,” Andy Surabian, a former Trump White House official and a Republican strategist, told The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon. “He gets that modern-day politics is no different than Hollywood, and his grasp of marketing would even make P.T. Barnum proud.”
It’s the sort of showmanship to which those who work for Trump have become accustomed. But the gravity of the day’s events was not lost on some of Trump’s more senior advisers.
“It’s like a big contest of great importance,” Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, told The Daily Beast in an interview. Asked if the “showmanship” at play here reminded him of President Trump’s reality-TV days, Giuliani laughed and remarked, “It’s a little more important than that!”

We have finally arrived at that dangerous tipping point in American politics and governance where reality show glitz and drama is more important than actual substance. Presnit tRump is no fool. He is a master at marketing and deception. And America is about to swallow his most dangerous poison pill yet.

More BELOW the FOLD

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Liberty...

The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.



Honestly consider whether Republicans and Donald J. Trump understand, support, and protect individual liberty and everyone's right to the same when you vote in 2018 and 2020. The liberty you might lose could very well be your own.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Bittersweet 4th of July...

As we celebrate Independence Day 2018 focusing on the following and fighting to preserve our freedoms and civil liberties has taken on a new urgency. With the election of Donald J. Trump our cherished freedoms and civil liberties face the greatest internal threat than at anytime during our modern history.

Trump and his conservative and Christian Evangelical allies wish to mold freedom and liberty to fit neatly into their belief system and world view. By legislation and conservative judicial fiat they hope to impose their world view and morals on all Americans. In short, they wish to roll a hundred and fifty plus years of social and economic progress back into the dark ages. We cannot allow an Orange Haired lying narcissistic authoritarian to facilitate such a horrendous change and reverse American progress.

The following is an excerpt from and article published in The Washington Post written by Dana Milbank.

Freedom from Trump’s constant attacks on women, immigrants, people of color, gay people and Muslims.
Freedom to work and live without discrimination, harassment and violence because of your gender, race or religion.
Freedom to get medical care when you or your children are sick.

Freedom from a rigged economy in which the top 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent combined.
Freedom to marry whom you choose.
Freedom to make decisions about your own body.
Freedom to send your kids to school without fear for their safety.
Freedom to breathe clean air, to drink clean water, to live on a habitable planet.
Freedom to elect your leaders without the rich, or foreign governments, choosing them for you.
And freedom to speak, to protest and to publish without the threat of violence.


Complete article HERE.