Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Hypocrisy, Absurdity, and Stupidity of the trump Era In 60 Minutes...

There is only 22 more days left until the country's biggest moron and most unqualified and inept president in our country's history is tossed from the Peoples White House. And a damn fine thing that is. We will soon be able to breathe a deep breath of fresh air following a wretched four years of putrid rancid BS from the Great Orange One. 

So, today seems like a great time to grab a wine, a beer, or a joint, and spend and hour laughing at the hypocrisy, absurdity, and stupidity of the trump years of chaos and disgrace.

Enjoy the show. The "star" is a real showman...


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

trump, Delusional, Deranged, Unhinged, and Dangerous...

Not that there ever was really any doubt about trump's remarkable ability to deny factual evidence concerning anything that displeases him. Now that trump has gone full out conspiracy theory on damn near everything any doubt, no matter how remote, has completely evaporated. trump has left reality behind and is floundering about in his self manufactured delusions.

His current state of mind is not only delusional it is downright dangerous. The flaming nut job is now, more than ever, a loose cannon. One that in his present state of delusion and denial just might act completely irresponsible and take action that could be disastrous for the nation and its people.

trump is one vindictive and spiteful bastard. He has in fact admitted as much himself. He has professed how much he loves getting back at people who, in his narcissistic mind believes have done him wrong. And America (in his deranged mind) has done him wrong in the way he fears the most. America made donald j. trump the Nation's BIGLIEST LOSER!

The next 4 weeks will prove to be as interesting as it will be tense and problematic. trump will make it so. And, he and The Proud Boys may very well bring violence wrapped in a fitting fascist veneer.

On to the feature article...

The New York TimesWith four weeks left in President Trump’s term, he is at perhaps his most unleashed — and, as events of the last few days have demonstrated, at the most unpredictable point in his presidency.

He remains the most powerful person in the world, yet he is focused on the one area in which he is powerless to get what he wants: a way to avoid leaving office as a loser.

He spends his days flailing for any hope, if not of actually reversing the outcome of the election then at least of building a coherent case that he was robbed of a second term.

When he has emerged from his relative isolation in recent days, it has been to suggest out of the blue that he would try to blow up the bipartisan stimulus package, driving a wedge through his party in the process, and to grant clemency to a raft of allies and supporters, mostly outside the normal Justice Department process.

He has otherwise sequestered himself in the White House, playing host to a cast of conspiracy theorists and hard-core supporters who traffic in ideas like challenging the election’s outcome in Congress and even invoking martial law, seeking to give some of them government jobs.

He is almost entirely disengaged from leading the nation even as Americans are being felled by the coronavirus at record rates. Faced with an aggressive cyberassault almost surely carried out by Russia, his response, to the degree that he has had one, has been to downplay the damage and to contradict his own top officials by suggesting that the culprit might actually have been China. He played almost no role in negotiating the stimulus bill that just passed Congress before working to disrupt it at the last minute.

It is not clear that Mr. Trump’s latest behavior is anything other than a temper tantrum, attention-seeking or a form of therapy for the man who controls a nuclear arsenal — though one alternative, if charitable, view is that it is strategic groundwork for a grievance-filled run in 2024.

If nothing else, it will make for an especially anxious next 27 days in Washington.

This article is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration officials, Republicans and allies of the president.

Most of his advisers believe Mr. Trump will depart the White House for a final time by Jan. 20. The pardons he announced Tuesday night suggest he is comfortable using his powers aggressively until then. But how far he will go to subvert the election results, actually refuse to leave the White House or to unleash a wave of unilateral policy decisions in his final weeks is hard to discern.

Still, his erratic behavior and detachment from his duties have even some of his most loyal aides and advisers deeply concerned.

For the moment, Mr. Trump has told advisers he’s willing to stop listening to Sidney Powell, the lawyer who has appealed to him by peddling a conspiracy theory about the election, and people like Patrick Byrne, the former chief executive of Overstock.com, who was present for a wild, nearly five-hour meeting in the Oval Office and then the presidential residence last Friday.

But current advisers have described a daily struggle to keep Mr. Trump from giving in to his impulse to listen to those who are telling him what he wants to hear. And former advisers say the most worrisome issue is the gradual disappearance of the core group of West Wing aides who, often working in unison, consistently could get him to turn away from risky, legally dubious and dangerous ideas.

“The number of people who are telling him things he doesn’t want to hear has diminished,” said his former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who had a very public parting of ways with Mr. Trump and who has been vocal in objecting to the president’s thrashing against his electoral loss.

trump, America's Fascist... Toying With Sedition... May He Rot In Hell...


trump, One Damned Deranged Moron...


trump, 2020"s Bigliest Gremlin and Con...;


trump, America's Grifter Extraordinaire...l


trump As He Celebrates X'Mass...


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Veterans Against Trumpism And How trump Lost Their Support...


The Veterans Organizing to Stop Trumpism

A former Navy SEAL oversaw the creation of a new code of conduct that puts loyalty to democracy above politics.

The following article begins with the history of the Korean War's American prisoners of war and the horrific torture and lack of nourishment and decent hygiene they experienced. I have left that out of this reproduction to shorten the article a bit and moved right to the era of trump and Trumpism. For those who would prefer to revisit that historical background simply click on the highlighted headline above,

What these veterans are doing and the American and Constitutional values they hold are the kind of patriotic acts and value that all Americans should stand behind and give their full support to. 

Working to end, and destroy every vestige of Trumpism is work worthy of ALL truly patriotic Americans.

trump's stench and his incompetence will leave marks that will take time and a lot of energy and work to blot out. But the effort will be worth the reward.

On to the article...

The New Yorker ... Barkhuff is a conservative. He voted Republican until 2016, when he saw insurmountable character deficiencies in Donald Trump. He noted that, as Stockdale endured torture as a P.O.W., Trump, who dodged the draft, was “enjoying the comforts” of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. As troops risked their lives in Afghanistan after 9/11, Trump was bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy.” The thought of Trump becoming President disgraced the friends that Barkhuff had lost to combat and the peers he had watched make “countless small choices: to be truthful, to stay committed to a code of honor and duty, and to choose a harder right over the easier wrong.” Barkhuff thought it reasonable to expect any leader to respect courage, self-sacrifice, and service. He did not vote for Trump.

When Trump took office, Barkhuff decided to give him a chance, hoping that the President “would rise to the level of the office.” But, Barkhuff told me, Trump was “worse than I thought he would be—and I thought he was going to be terrible.” Barkhuff often expressed his dismay on Facebook, where his posts were seen only by his relatives and Navy pals. When he discovered that other veterans shared his concerns, he created a page—Veterans for Responsible Leadership—where like-minded members could vent.

Service members are trained to remain apolitical when in uniform, but veterans are free to espouse their views. The V.F.R.L. members chatted online about diversity in the military (“transgender people should obviously be allowed to serve”), athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice (kneeling “is NOT disrespectful to our troops”), and the President’s divisiveness (“Trump wins only by creating controversy and firing up people. . . . It’s dictatorship 101”). Most of the members were Navy vets, yet V.F.R.L. hoped to recruit from all branches and ranks. Glenn Schatz, one of the V.F.R.L. leaders and a former nuclear-submarine officer, told me that the Trump Administration’s assault on established norms called veterans back to service. “Once you’re out of uniform it’s your obligation to speak up when you see the Constitution being violated,” he said.

In June, 2017, Barkhuff registered Veterans for Responsible Leadership as a political-action committee. He seeded the organization himself, with five hundred dollars. The group had three fundamental goals: to “promote integrity and rational thought in politics,” to “support veterans who demonstrate these qualities as they run for office,” and to “defeat candidates who don’t show these qualities, the most obvious of which is Donald Trump.” When one member complained, on Facebook, that V.F.R.L. seemed “solely aligned with the Democratic Party,” Barkhuff replied, “Not aligned with either party. In fact most of the early interest in our group is from Republicans disgusted with Trump.”

Barkhuff wanted V.F.R.L. to be a group that lauded candidates who chose “the harder right.” He often thought of Cincinnatus, “the guy who doesn’t want to run for office, and is out with his plow, when people come to him and say, ‘You need to do this.’ ” Barkhuff could acknowledge that politics was professionalized, but he thought it reasonable to expect service to outweigh financial and political self-interest.

In the 2018 midterms, V.F.R.L. backed one candidate, Dan McCready, a Democrat and former Marine Corps captain, in North Carolina, who ultimately lost his congressional race. By 2020, “there were no Republicans left to support,” Barkhuff told me. “They had all gone all in on Trump.” V.F.R.L. did not endorse the high-profile veterans Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, or Dan Crenshaw, of Texas, because, the organization argued, by aligning themselves with Trump, they had “sacrificed foundational principles for political expediency.”

Barkhuff and the other V.F.R.L. members often discussed why service members continued to embrace Trump. At a panel discussion at M.I.T., titled “Republican Resistance in the Age of Trump,” Barkhuff theorized that in geographic regions that disproportionately populate the military, such as the South, there is “much more comfort with combat, with these notions of masculinity that, for better or worse, exist.” Such voters seemed to like candidates with “a chip on their shoulder,” he said, adding that, for them, the 2016 election, in some ways, was “one big eff-you to the establishment.” On Facebook, one V.F.R.L. member wrote, “These folks support this asshole because it provides them a social group, a tribe.” Barkhuff replied, “The idea of V.F.R.L. is we provide a tribe to compete with the white nationalism of Trump.”

On July 3rd, Barkhuff, in a post on V.F.R.L.’s Facebook page, tried to capture the scope of the criticism surrounding Trump’s handling of military issues: “Since his inauguration Donald Trump has, in no particular order: lost active duty troops on missions he personally approved and blamed it on ‘his’ generals . . . , refused to believe the intelligence reports given to him by the Central Intelligence Agency . . . , minimized the TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) sustained by troops in Iraq during an Iranian missile attack as ‘headaches’, deployed active duty troops to our southern border to stop a ‘caravan’ of migrants immediately before the midterm elections, called a collection of his generals including General Mattis a bunch of ‘dopes and babies.’ ”

Barkhuff asked if he had forgotten anything. Dozens of replies piled up, highlighting other affronts: Trump had disparaged Gold Star families; publicly ridiculed Senator John McCain, a former P.O.W., for being captured in Vietnam; appeared to make unilateral policy decisions by tweet; asked for a military parade; and inappropriately involved Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a photo op. Later discussions would mention Trump retweeting a post from an account linked to QAnon conspiracy theories, alleging that the seals never killed Osama bin Laden. (Robert O’Neill, the former seal who said he fired the kill shot, had to tweet assurances that the bin Laden operation had happened, and that the target was dead.)

Barkhuff had started V.F.R.L. right before joining the faculty of the University of Vermont, where he is the director of trauma and mass-casualty-incident education. His op-eds appeared in outlets like the Daily Beast and the Baltimore Sun, but, in November, 2019, he turned to a new medium. “We need to identify (hopefully in our group) vets willing to go on camera and talk about why we shouldn’t reelect this clown,” Barkhuff told the group. “The perfect candidate would be a red state combat vet who voted for Trump in 2016 and now realizes it can’t happen again. Anybody know anybody?”

Combat veterans learn that there are two kinds of courage—physical and moral. “Many military people are great at the physical courage, but the moral courage is harder to find,” Barkhuff told me. “Physical courage, you’re motivated by a group bond; moral courage requires breaking that bond, in some aspects.” Stockdale, after surviving imprisonment and torture, had tried to understand what he called “the rising of the few.” Barkhuff similarly believed that “leadership requires personal risk, and a willingness to go first.” Veterans had a unique responsibility to step forward, denounce Trump, and stop the degradation of the constitutional principles that they had fought to protect.

Barkhuff eventually decided to appear in an anti-Trump spot himself. He had been working with Sarah Longwell, the founder of Republican Voters Against Trump, and also had become friendly with Stuart Stevens, the veteran G.O.P. operative who had served as Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012. Like Barkhuff, Stevens lived in Vermont; both wound up working with the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super pac whose leaders were former and current Republicans.

The Lincoln Project’s ads were going viral. Barkhuff—square-jawed, dark-haired, and blunt—made two spots. In “Betrayed,” he “basically looked President Trump in the eye and called him a coward,” as Schatz put it, for doing nothing about the fact that Russia, working with the Taliban, reportedly placed bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan. In “Conservative,” Barkhuff declared Trump “the most easily fixable problem in America today,” and said that Joe Biden, the Democratic contender, could be trusted to conserve the Constitution and the rule of law.

On YouTube alone, Barkhuff’s ads have been viewed nearly three million times. Veterans for Responsible Leadership received a flurry of individual donations: the group has taken in nearly four hundred thousand dollars, most of it recently. During the 2020 Presidential campaign cycle, V.F.R.L. spent almost a hundred thousand dollars supporting Biden and seventy-seven thousand dollars actively opposing Trump, largely via ads and billboards.

Membership in V.F.R.L. swelled, to more than two thousand. Trump’s Presidency had “caused a real crisis of patriotism,” Mike Smith, V.F.R.L.’s director of operations, and a former F/A-18 pilot, told me. He recalled Brian Jopek, a member whose son Ryan was killed, in 2006, in Iraq, where Brian had himself been deployed two years earlier. “When somebody has given that much to their country and they don’t really understand where their country’s going, it’s important for them to find a home,” Smith said.

Smith and I were talking this summer, by Zoom, along with Schatz, who is the V.F.R.L. vice-president, and Fred Wellman, a Iraq combat veteran who had just joined the Lincoln Project. Schatz and Smith said that, initially, V.F.R.L.’s leaders saw their organization as an outlet for “veterans who were a little bit disaffected with politics.” The group had become a place to discuss how to explain to the Trump supporters they knew that the President threatened the very principles that they had risked their lives defending.

Trump’s support within the military community was slipping. Over the summer, a poll by the Military Times showed that thirty-eight per cent of those on active duty supported the President, down from forty-six per cent in 2017. In September, a Morning Consult poll showed that Trump’s support among military households had dropped from fifty-seven per cent to fifty-two per cent since 2016. In November, exit polling showed that just over half of registered veterans and active-duty service members voted for Trump, but that forty-five per cent had chosen Biden—a far narrower margin than in the 2016 race.

Since Election Day, Trump has raised more than two hundred million dollars by claiming, baselessly, that the election was stolen. Despite the definitive loss, Trump’s campaign grinds on. His fund-raising texts read like a parody of QVC (“Pres. Trump has authorized a 1000% IMPACT for the NEXT HR to help CRUSH our End-of-Month goal!”) laced with stalker-y menace (“I texted you. My sons texted you. Now I’m texting you AGAIN”).

Donors may have believed that they were contributing to an election-defense fund, when, in reality, as my colleague John Cassidy noted, seventy-five per cent of each contribution goes to a new so-called leadership political-action committee, whose monies can be applied to Trump’s future political activities. The fact that more than seventy million people voted for Trump—some of whom continue to send him money, even in defeat—shows “that Trumpism is alive and well,” Gary Lawson, a V.F.R.L. member and former Marine infantry platoon commander, told me.

Trump may decide not to run in 2024, but his acolytes will assuredly be around. V.F.R.L. plans to oppose them and to support down-ballot candidates whom they deem credible, especially veterans. “We want to politically punish Trump’s enablers,” Barkhuff said. “Marco Rubio—I don’t think he belongs in prison for the rest of his life, but he’s lost the right to lead our country.” Lawson, a lifelong conservative, told me that V.F.R.L. wants candidates “who are thinking about the real, practical needs of the people they’re there to serve,” not “manipulating the process so you can have a forty-year career in the Senate.”

It is unclear how many veterans serve in state and local elected office, but in Washington their numbers are dropping. In 1973, about seventy-three per cent of Congress, or three hundred and ninety representatives and senators, had “some type of military experience,” the Military Times recently reported; in 2011, the number of veterans in Congress dropped to a hundred and eighteen. On January 3rd, when the 117th Congress is sworn in, the number of veterans serving in the House and Senate will fall again, to ninety-one—the lowest level since the Second World War.

The V.F.R.L. members are working on a plan to address what Barkhuff calls the “segregation” of civilian and military society. After Vietnam, he said, “everything changed” as the military adjusted to an all-volunteer force and several Ivy League schools “shit-canned” or downgraded their R.O.T.C. programs. The idea of a military is neither conservative nor liberal—it’s Constitutional—and it frustrates Barkhuff that the Democrats “have just conceded the military.” Likewise, the group wants to diminish the growing division between college-educated and working-class Americans. “One of the big dividing lines in our culture is a college education,” Barkhuff said. He envisions a sort of exchange program in which “a kid from the University of Vermont perhaps could work on a project with a kid who works in a factory. That could go a long way toward fixing this distrust of experts, this distrust of the university system—these deeper chasms in our society.”

Lawson, an honors graduate in history from the Naval Academy, said that Trump, taking advantage of enormous, rapid technological changes, had used media outlets like Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, and Facebook to drive tribalism, paranoia, and conspiracy nonsense. Trumpism is “grievance, above all else,” Lawson told me. “It’s denial of rational, analytical thought,” such as “seeking out evidence, vetting that evidence, coming to rational conclusions. If we cannot get our arms around that, it’s really hard to see how we can bring the country back again.”

In October, Lawson recommended that V.F.R.L. create a Veteran Code of Conduct, signifying that responsibility and honor do not end with discharge. The code, modelled on the Code of Conduct that was issued in 1955, consists of six brief articles, and begins, “I am an American veteran, standing with my fellow citizens to serve my country and our way of life.” The code places “loyalty to the United States above political party.” It expressly supports “the peaceful transfer of power,” and asks adherents to vow not to “take up arms against the lawful government.” Veterans can pledge to “continue to honor my Oath to the Constitution” by promising to “stand for the equality and dignity of all” and to “hold myself and all servants of the public trust, including elected leaders, government servants, and law enforcement, to the highest moral, ethical, and professional standards.” V.F.R.L. released the Veteran Code on its Web site in November.

In a YouTube video, the group explains that transitioning from military to civilian life can be “jarring,” causing some veterans to “lose their way.” The group specifically cautions against veterans joining extremist organizations. Lately, a sobering number of former or active-duty service members have been connected to militias, or to plots or crimes related to public safety. Two of the men who have been charged in connection with a thwarted scheme to kidnap the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, had served in the military; one, a former marine, reportedly co-founded the militia group Wolverine Watchmen. In June, in Las Vegas, an Army reservist and two other men, who reportedly had served in the Air Force and Navy, were indicted on charges of plotting to throw Molotov cocktails at police during a Black Lives Matter protest; the defendants allegedly were members of the Boogaloo movement, and had told an F.B.I. informant that their group was “for people who wanted to violently overthrow the United States government.” In Missouri, a man claiming to be a Navy veteran, who died in a shootout with the F.B.I., in March, had planned to bomb or attack one or more possible sites—a nuclear plant, houses of worship, a hospital, Walmart headquarters, a predominantly Black elementary school. Last year, an active-duty Coast Guard member, who was later convicted of drug and firearms charges, kept a hit list of “traitors,” including Democratic politicians and well-known news anchors, and had written a letter calling for the establishment of a “white homeland” through “focused violence.”

Only a small fraction of the country’s twenty million veterans wind up involved in the nation’s three hundred or so militia groups, as the Times recently reported. But Lawson told me that “nefarious forces on the fringe” try to “exploit vulnerabilities that exist in people that served and then got out.” Leaving the military means losing support structures, cultural norms, and enforcement mechanisms that, for some veterans, do not exist in civilian life. On average, seventeen veterans commit suicide each day. Militia leaders, Lawson said, can “take a morsel of principle,” such as resisting tyranny, and “redefine it in a way that’s irrational and not fact based.”

In 1955, Admiral Arthur Radford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, in a speech, that the newly created Code of Conduct “could very well be a part of every American’s attitude.” It was not enough to memorize the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, he declared, “for you could teach a parrot to do that.” Radford warned that unless every American assumed individual responsibility for understanding and upholding the true “meaning of liberty,” the country was “apt to fall prey to tyrannical forces, from within as well as from without.” Barkhuff thinks of the Veteran Code as an urgent affirmation that the “rules of the game” aren’t just fair play: they’re existential.

Hopefully Another Loss Will Be Visited Upon The Lying Corrupt trump...

 Looks like trump might just have a bit of trouble when he tries to set up his shadow presidency at Mar-a- Lago after President Elect Biden oust his carcass from pour White House. 

Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney...

 Starr and McCartney, enjoy the performance!

A nice way to chill and momentarily forget politics and such... 

The Leaky And Crazed Lawyer...


The Twelve Stains Of trump...

As America tries to have a decent Christmas in spite of trump and his disasters.


It's Refreshing To Re-listen To An Actual President Of The People Following His Huge Election Victory... President Elect Biden

It's posted simply because it's refreshing to be reminded what truth and a real President sounds like. Especially during the trump imposed insanity during the transition to a REAL  president. 

The WATB trump who currently is defiling our White House represents the biggest POS to ever walk the halls of government.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Senate Majority Leader Finally Comes Around While a Few Consider A Last Gasp Stand For Whittle donald j. trump...


McConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College vote

Better late than never I suppose. This is a good thing, right?  But, and this is a big but. McConnell remains a trump sycophant who aided and abetted trump's corruption, lying, and his attempts to overturn the free, fair, and secure election in which President Elect Biden handed him his ass.

So, for me it too late and therefore deserves no kudos. McConnell remains the jackass he's always been.

On to the article...

THE HILLSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging Republicans not to object during Congress’s count and certification of the Electoral College vote next month.

McConnell’s comments were made during a caucus call on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the call, and come as House Republicans are eyeing a challenge to the results on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress.

A Republican senator who participated in the call said that McConnell, Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) all urged colleagues not to object to states’ electoral votes when they are received on the House floor next month.

McConnell warned that any GOP senator who signed onto a House Republican objection to a state’s electoral votes would then force the Senate to debate and vote on the objection, putting fellow GOP senators in a bad position.

The GOP leader said an objection “isn’t in the best interest of everybody.”

No Senate Republicans indicated during the call that they are currently planning to object.

“Not that I heard,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), asked if anyone indicated that they would object during the call.

Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, added that he hasn’t “heard of any” GOP senator willing to object next month.

No Senate Republicans indicated during the call that they are currently planning to object.

“Not that I heard,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), asked if anyone indicated that they would object during the call.

Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, added that he hasn’t “heard of any” GOP senator willing to object next month.

I think that there was encouragement on the phone for us to accept the result, as much as it's not what we, you know, would have envisioned for the next four years, and to try to do what's best for American people, which is to look forward," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said about the call. 

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has said he will object as part of next month’s Electoral College count, and is likely to gain support from other Trump allies in the House.

But to successfully force a debate and vote on his objection he’ll need support from at least one GOP senator. That’s only happened twice since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service.

No Republican senator has joined Brooks, though a few conservatives, including Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), haven’t ruled it out.

A growing number of Senate Republicans are acknowledging President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the November election, including McConnell, who congratulated him from the Senate floor on Tuesday, one day after the Electoral College voters gathered to make their votes. Biden and McConnell had their first known conversation since the election on Tuesday.

So, even as everyone with so much as a sliver of intelligence is moving on there remains senators  that are as seditious at heart as the 126 representatives who signed on to Texas AG Paxton's meritless and frivolous suit the SCOTUS ruled against.

Some little jackals never give up with their nefarious activity, and you KNOW trump is pushing them like there's no tomorrow to support the challenge. Because for trump, there really will be no tomorrow for him in DC. 

More BELOW the FOLD.

Journalist (And Other Media) Must Constantly and Forcefully Defend Democracy Against Would Be Tyrants Like DJT...

Even after Trump is gone, the press must challenge Republicans who supported his attempt to steal the election.

Defending democracy is part of a journalist’s job

In a lawsuit filed last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that last month's elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia “suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities.” The suit asked the Supreme Court to allow the Republican-controlled legislatures in those states to appoint delegates of their own choosing to the Electoral College. As those legislatures would almost certainly appoint pro-Trump electors, a win for Paxton would’ve effectively flipped four states won by President-elect Joe Biden to President Donald Trump, invalidating Biden’s win and handing the president a second term.

Legal experts eviscerated the suit, calling it “frivolous,” “anti-American,” and “procedurally defective.” But other Republicans couldn’t resist joining. In total, 126 Republican members of Congress, along with 18 Republican state attorneys general signed on in support of Paxton’s attempt to steal the election for Trump.

On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to hear Paxton’s case. But the press can’t let Republicans who signed onto his efforts to overturn the election off the hook. 

The past four years have been a long-running example of normalcy bias in the press. Normalcy bias is our collective tendency to believe that things will continue as they are currently going, even when we’re aware of serious risks. The way we talk and think about the American democratic system is steeped in normalcy bias. We have assumed there will be midterm elections in 2022, that 2024 will be another presidential election year, and that there will be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power should incumbents be defeated. For the most part, those assumptions are fair. Those things are all probably true, and will probably happen.

In September, however, Trump was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election. All he had to say was “yes.” Instead, he started ranting that mail-in ballots were “a disaster” and that if we “get rid of the ballots,” then “there won’t be a transfer, frankly; there’ll be a continuation.”

It was an alarming thing to say. But the next morning, the story was nowhere to be found on the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, or the Chicago Tribune. Trump expressing his willingness to upend democracy was a blip on the press radar.

As my colleague Matt Gertz wrote at the time:

The newspapers’ treatment of the story resembled what happened in July, when Trump baselessly accused former President Barack Obama of treason. If something like that happened elsewhere in the world, it would be interpreted as a sign that the state’s democratic institutions were imperiled. But Trump’s comments were largely ignored by the press.

The emergency lights are flashing, and it’s likely to get worse. With the nation careening toward a democratic crisis, journalists can’t look away.

Those emergency lights may have been flashing, but many journalists couldn’t bring themselves to take Trump’s threat seriously. Normalcy bias is why Trump’s clearly authoritarian proclamation was met with a shrug and reported on as though it was just bluster. In hindsight, it’s obvious journalists should have been taking the threat he posed to democracy more seriously.

To avoid making that same mistake again, journalists now need to apply those lessons to how they cover the Republicans who took part in Trump’s antidemocratic assault.

“Right now, the most serious attempt to overthrow our democracy in the history of our country is underway,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said last week in a straightforward accounting of what’s happening. “Those who are pushing to make Donald Trump president for a second term, no matter the outcome of the election, are engaged in a treachery against their nation.”

Now compare that to the opening line of this December 8 NBC News article: “Talk about another awkward day for a country where the outgoing president has yet to concede to the incoming president-elect who clearly defeated him a month ago.”

In truth, what’s happening is less “awkward” than horrifying. There’s absolutely no reason to discuss the overthrow of democracy the same way one might discuss two women who showed up to a party accidentally wearing the same dress. Attacks on democracy are scary, but normalcy bias helps explain why journalists might downgrade this to simply being “awkward.”

What Trump and Republicans have been doing since November 3 can only be described as an attempted authoritarian takeover of the U.S. government.

No matter how Trump’s defenders try to spin the past month of unhinged conspiracy-mongering and failed attempts to pressure courts and state legislatures into doing an end-run around the election results, this was a serious assault on our system of government. Trump and his allies trotted out a cavalcade of conspiracy theories about voter fraud and “irregularities,” but they haven’t provided any evidence to back up their claims, likely because there isn’t any. In Paxton’s lawsuit, the main argument, insofar as there was one, was that the legally cast votes of millions of people should have been discarded because state election officials overstepped their responsibilities by creating pandemic-specific accommodations for voters without getting the necessary approval from state legislatures.

It was a bad legal argument, but it was also disturbingly antidemocratic. Voters in other states chose Biden as president, but the Texas attorney general wanted to have the election handed to Trump on a technicality, itself based on a dubious understanding of election law. 

This is uncharted territory for the U.S., even if Republican hostility to democratic principles is hardly a new phenomenon.

A study released in October from the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden meant to measure the health of democracies around the world had some disturbing findings about U.S. political parties. On its “illiberalism index,” which measures a commitment to democratic norms compared to authoritarianism, V-Dem found that while the Democratic Party’s position on that chart hasn’t shifted significantly since 2000, the Republican Party has been rapidly abandoning democratic norms. At this point in time, the report says, the Republican Party is more similar to authoritarian parties like Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Hungary’s Fidesz than it is to either the U.S. Democrats or even the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party. (emphasis mine)

“This rise of illiberalism is not like mere disagreement about policy issues,” V-Dem Deputy Director Anna Lührmann said in the report. “Lacking commitment to democratic norms signals a willingness to also erode these norms once in power.”

What Lührmann described is exactly what we’re seeing right now in the Republican fight to overturn the election. The Republican crusade against democracy is being fought in the name of the very thing the GOP is trying to restrict. White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern recently appeared on Fox News to make the audacious, Orwellian claim that Trump’s attempts to disenfranchise millions of voters are part of a commitment to “free and fair elections.” This only goes to show that enemies of democracy rarely come right out and say what they’re trying to do.

There certainly exists some non-authoritarian minded republicans, although they've become few and far between. There was even a very small number of republicans who congratulated Biden on his resounding victory over trump in the most secure election our nation's history. Unfortunately the vast majority of the GOP signed on to the doctrine of Trumpism. Which is to say a cult of personality and authoritarianism reminiscent of fascism in Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany in the 1920's and 1930's.

Our main stream media MUST NEVER let the seditious republicans of the trump era ever  live down their un-American and anti democracy activity trying to overturn the free, fair, and secure election of 2020. 

The 126 representatives in congress who backed the attempt by corrupt Texas AG Paxton to invalidate millions of legitimate ballots in battlegrounfd states in his attempt to overtrn the results of the election should to be ostracized and not allowed to participate in any congressional activity. Effectively boxing then out until the 2022 mid term elections and beyond iuf neccessary. Insuring the integrity of our democratic republic and its democracy is far more important than to allow seditious bastards to destroy our democracy and its institutions.

Hopefully the republican party will learn a valuable lesson by their behavoir during the dark age of trump. But I for one sure as hell won't put money on it.

Much of the artice BELOW the FOLD.

Let;s Not Let trump Live Rent Free In Our Heads After January 20, 2021...


Plea to the Press: Don’t Make Trump 2021’s Shadow President

By ALL means it will very soon be time to cut trump's lifeline to publicity in the main stream media. The last thing any rational person wants or needs after 01/20/2021 is the Great Orange Blob occupying any space in thier heads rent free.

trump is one commodity that is now best left at the curbside for the garbage man to pick up and dispose of so to speak. He may be an ex president after 01/20/2021 but he will offer absolutely zero value for anyone but his fascist  cultists. And that crowd of anti Americans will have its own network of deranged goons punping out trash commentary in support of their Der Leader.

Now, on to the excellent article covering this subject...

There’s a dirty little secret between Donald Trump and the media that at this point isn’t much of a secret. A symbiosis exists between us; we use him and he uses us. Now that his presidency is mercifully taking its last gasp, can we quit him and return to a modicum of sanity and normalcy? Starting in January, can we string together a few Trump-free news cycles? More to the point: can we quit taking his bait? Or are we doomed to cover Trump’s antics as a sort of shadow presidency?

Doing so will be tempting. Even as Trump has sought to undermine the media as “fake news” and “enemies of the people,” we have laughed all the way to the bank. This was true almost from the beginning. “It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS,” admitted Les Moonves, the network’s CEO, during the 2016 presidential campaign. “Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

Keep going he did. Moonves wasn’t afraid to drag our dirty little secret into the light. Trump is great for the media. He’s great for ratings. He’s entertaining. Even people who hate him can’t help but watch him. Rubbernecking exists because we can’t take our eyes off of a horrific crash. If it bleeds, it leads. You know the story.

Now, electorally, this phenomenon ultimately did not redound to Trump’s benefit. You live by the publicity stunt, and you die by the publicity stunt. By sucking up all the attention—being the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral—even Trump eventually oversaturated and exhausted the average American’s attention span. It turns out that there is such a thing as bad publicity; at least there is when you’re in a business that demands you win 50 percent plus one.

But keep in mind, I’m not in that business. No writer, commentator, TV channel, or news outlet tries for, much less gets, a majority of the viewers or readers. The average American isn’t clicking my links; I’m here for the addicts. And the stark truth is: The average American can’t get enough of Trump. That explains why 80 percent of my columns are about him.

Blame the collapse of print advertising if you like. The media elevated Trump in a bid to survive in what was becoming an increasingly fraught industry. During the campaign, this seemed harmless enough. The assumption was that Trump would eventually flame out (the same bad bet Ted Cruz and other Republicans made). Then the media went into overdrive on Trump’s Muslim bans, Russian interference, impeachment—you name it.

Hell, if Trump were trying to script a “reality show” for us, it couldn’t have contained more drama. In fairness, once he actually became president, he became legitimately newsworthy. This meant that even if the press was willing to sacrifice ratings and clicks and go on a Trump-free diet (they weren’t), doing so would actually be an abdication of their journalistic responsibility. It’s hard to justify not covering something a president does or says (or even tweets), no matter how ridiculous it might be.

But that excuse is about to run out. Soon, Trump will no longer be president. The new president will, instead, be a man who won precisely because he was, well, normal and boring. Joe Biden won by staying in his basement. Biden won by allowing the election to be about Trump. Biden won by flying under the radar while Trump sucked up most of the attention. And the moment Biden is sworn in as president, everything he says and does will almost, by definition, become newsworthy. Then, it would be an abdication of journalistic ethics not to cover him. Simultaneously, covering Trump would be optional and ancillary.

But what if, aside from providing catnip in the form of controversial tweets, rallies, and speeches, Trump sets up a sort of shadow presidency at the “Winter White House”? One could imagine him holding court at Mar-a-Lago, handing out faux awards and citations, and entertaining dignitaries. As a former president, he would be privy to some of the trappings of the presidency, including being addressed by the title, “Mr. President.” The question is, to what degree will this all be televised, amplified, and glamorized (I mean by the mainstream media; he will obviously still be “president” on most of the exclusively right-wing outlets)?

I’m not saying we can or should ignore Trump. I’m just saying that we should put his ex-one-term presidency into proper perspective. Trump should not be leading the news. But the naked truth is that we respond to you. If hate-clicking (or love-clicking) on Trump columns is your jam, then you’ll probably get more of those pieces. But to the extent that decisions are still made at the top—that assignment editors still pick what’s empirically newsworthy—what I’m asking (OK, pleading) is that you don’t make Trump a shadow president in 2021. Media executives thought they were cashing in on a goldmine in 2016, but those short-term ratings wins were Pyrrhic victories. As Lt. Frank Drebin said in the Naked Gun, “It's like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside.” In a perfect world, they would choose not to repeat this mistake out of civic responsibility. But if nothing else, they should do so out of self preservation.

It’s time to move on into the future. Trump doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in our minds—or our TV sets and iPhones. And besides, America only has room for one president at a time. And (coming soon) his name is Joe Biden.

Article continues BELOW the FOLD.