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The Shearing of Hair Trompf (15)

Oh my.  R u in the mood for a cheap, sordid, nonfiction novella of international intrigue involving glamorous women, pop singers, Russian oligarchs, possibly the world’s richest man (at maybe $200B), probably obstruction of justice, possibly collusion to swing an American election, possibly money laundering and other lucrative crimes, and The President of the United States?  Read “Trump in Moscow,” a Guardian investigative report by Jon Swaine (NY) and Shaun Walker (Moscow).

And we learn that investigators wiretapped Manafort, before and after election, then after raiding his home told him that they planned to indict him; and based on evidence, a judge agreed there was good reason for investigators to see Facebook info re. possible contributions by foreign persons (which info Fbk has provided).  Here’s “a quick and dirty analysis by Lawfare.  Josh Marshall’s contextualizes, here and then here.

[Pages (1) and (14) of this episode.]

Defeating Fascism (American Style) (5b)

With Trompf choosing deferred gratification on his beautiful wall toy (or not), thereby angering (and confusing) some of his constituents, this seems like a good moment for a follow-up on his attractiveness to his major voter groups, as characterized in the Ekins report (see page 5a). How has an incompetent monstrosity attracted them, and how might he become less attractive?

(But an important reminder: this voter study did not adequately address sexism/misogyny or racism!) *

The idea on this page is to think about defeating fascism by frustrating that 5-cluster base (I’ll restrain my sense of humor here), as Schumer and Pelosi maybe have in mind.  Many of those voters, unlike T, are so set in their interests, and downright rabid about getting what they want, that it might be possible to dilute their power by causing collisions that spin off its energies in disappointments and disillusionments. What will happen as more and more T voters feel disgruntled or even alienated in the land of Trompf?

* [Update next day:  . . .or authoritarianism (incl bullying) or Party über alles!  Eric Levitz (New York Mag), citing espec Thomas Edsall (NYT) and Brigham Young political scientists, suggests that those factors may well trump not only conservative principles but issue importance.  / Greg Sargent presents the complexity and confusion around DACA, for example, and how the resolution might tell us something about the T base.]

We have the recent example of the debt limit accord; and now (Sept 13) we get to watch the playing out of DACA: “Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package,” say the Dem leadership (my bold). Ha! (This reporting illustrates how confusing it can be to “deal” with T. And here’s an immediate response on the DACA-hating Right, and so on.)

(1) So, on this issue of immigration, nativism, invasion by aliens, scary Others: according to the Ekins study T risks seriously pissing off 51% of his 2016 voters.

T’s “core constituency” of “American Preservationists” is against allowing any of that! 12,600,000 voters, for 20% of the T vote. More than any other issue polled, they want T to “restrict immigration” (81% of them named it). (But on other economic issues, and global warming, they share views with Dems.)

Meanwhile, 31% of T voters (19,530,000 of them), “Staunch Conservatives,” also are rabid for gov restriction of immigration (84%). No way they tolerate more free-loading rabble. (And no way they’ll agree with Dems, on anything.)

25% of T voters (15,550,000), the “Free Marketeers,” are secure libertarians who just want to continue to do their successful thing. They prefer to keep gov, and certainly T (they voted anti-HC), out of it. They don’t feel threatened by people from other cultures, and probably even enjoy night club diversity. (Full disclosure:  I personally find libertarians repulsive.)

19% of T voters (11,970,000) seem like they’re Dems except more skeptical about immigration and maybe Muslims, but no big deal.

(2) On T’s infamous gov spending/debt limit deal with Dems (Sept 6), 80 senators voted to pass it, which I think means 32 Rs. Who might be pissed about that? On “reduce nat debt: SCs 67% named it, FMs 65, APs 61, and A-Es 58 (it’s the only issue they get really worked up about.  “Reduce gov”: SCs 77 (but they will only vote R), FMs 65, and APs, but only 53.

(3) What about the R failure to scuttle Ocare, with T all over the barn yard about it? In addition to the numbers above, on reducing the size and role of gov, “reform the health care system,” which surely means dump Ocare, is desired by SCs 78 (just above “combat terrorism” 77), FMs 64, and APs 61.

So I’d say there’re some serious areas of concern among significant T voter groups.

Are we seeing signs of a dropping off of T support, because of his betrayals or failures? Not much, that I’ve seen reported. But it’s early, from this point of view.  I’m still hopeful. Here are some related positives (for me):

Back on 8-9 Jennifer Rubin (WaPo conservative columnist) offered this context of general shrinkage.

9-2 Respondents who approve of T like his personality a lot, but policies and record of opposing Dems, not so much.

9-3 Two R senators, Heller and Flake might be in trouble over Ocare.

And John Wagner in WaPo abt T’s appeal to his “dwindling base.”

9-6 Former O voters who then voted T might be feeling shaky abt it.

9-13 (after those deals) R-leaning Indies who say “Republican” label fits them well declines by 15% since 2016, to 33%.

9-14  And what, then, when we get to taxation?

I’ll continue to follow this hound, and we’ll listen for it to yell louder. Maybe we’ll see T up a tree as the night wears on.

[Pages (1), (5a), and (6) of this episode. Index to “Trump” episode.]

Defeating Fascism (American Style) (7)

SANCTUARY I’m thinking Vast Sanctuary Movement, permeating America. All-Out, All (as in ALL) In.

(And btw, if that doesn’t work, I’m ready for closing it all down. Total, massive, peaceful, non-cooperation. More on that when things come to it.)

This abuse, masquerading as politics, must be stopped.

Why Sanctuary? Obvious: Fascist or not, but racist and sexist unquestionably, militant Trump sociopathy and Republican self-centeredness, both of which are enemies of empathy and compassion, are moving aggressively to destroy everything good that America has stood for, since the Declaration, and are mortally threatening any practice of democracy that is worthy of the name.

They haven’t wasted any time about it. They came for the Muslims, the easiest targets, right away. They came for the migrants. They came for the LGBTQ. Now they’ve come for the children.

They will push until we stop them, and they have already gone so far that stopping them will take a massive effort.

These are not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill racists, sexists, and xenophobes. We must oppose their sociopathy (to put it mildly) with acts of imagination, empathy, compassion, and community.

I’m not an expert on either sanctuary or movements. But here’s a start on what I can imagine.

The jist of it is to declare and provide safety and shelter, everywhere we can, and in every way that we can, for Dreamers, and beyond them for anyone and everyone in America who has lived peacefully and tried to contribute, no matter how small the contribution, to our individual, family, community, national wellbeing. The contribution might be simply being here among us, standing here in the innate dignity of our mutual humanity.

The effort must be one of both resistance and forward-thrusting political revolution. Not just defending democracy, but advancing it.

Sanctuary must be organized, large and small, because, as they say, “You don’ mess with the hornets, ‘cause they’s auganized.” But it must also be disorganized, flexible, creative, light of day, dead of night.

Sanctuary should apply the law, e.g. by voters, by legislators (more) and by state Attorneys General  [9-11 four more states join the 15 + DC suing Trompf over DACA / more on CA ]; but even more, it must be a multi-faceted movement of construction. 100,000,000 points of light—by each according to ability, for each according to need. It must take the form of cities (another), communities and neighborhoods, churches, colleges (and another) and other institutions, public and private, organizations, families and individuals declaring themselves and taking actions appropriate to their missions. It can take the form of a smile in the store or a nod on a street corner.

[In cities v. AG Sessions, cities winning.]

Sanctuary must include civil disobedience, as required, for instance in non-compliance, at whatever scale required (incl very large). It should be both quiet and loud. It should be a spirit, present everywhere, any time, ready to be called into action.

Sanctuary must be totally nonviolent. Otherwise it isn’t civil, and if it isn’t civil it will play into the oppressive fist of unrestrained and unrelenting, sociopathic power.

And that is what we’re up against.

Sanctuary is defending and maintaining America, in idea and in practice, as a sanctuary for humanity, for all of the practices of democracy, for all of ourselves.

Update 9-8  Protect Yourself!

9-17  John Washington (Nation) on how to stand in solidarity with undocumented people, if you are not among the endangered.

[Pages (1) and (6) of this episode.]

The Shearing of Hair Trompf (14)

The insufficiently imagined character, Herr Trompf, Latter-Day President of the Confederacy, masquerading as an American, simply must be impeached, now, regardless of any other consideration, because he has taken off his glove and slapped the face of our democratic identity, by placing himself clearly outside of, and above, the law. By pardoning the sadistic, racist, dictatorial sheriff, Arpaio (see bottom of previous page), T has asserted his Supreme Authority and authoritarianism. He has positioned himself like a mythical, self-made, OT god, who can simultaneously make and break the rules, with impunity, because he instantaneously forgives himself of anything that he thinks to do in order to inflate himself. He would pardon Lucifer if L would just show a little loyalty and turn down his light. He believes that the devil, like a very smart Russian, is in on the deal.

And he is trying to position himself beyond the reach of democratic laws and law enforcement. He will push the legal and moral boundaries that restrict of his ego entirely out of the way, if we do not remove him from power.  He is insatiable.

Really, the guy is ill. He’s a prime example of the sick imagination.

It’s a mortal duel: him or us. Autocracy dies or democracy dies.

So this seems like a good time to begin a new page of this episode about the Constitutional castration of a rogue president. We must shear more than his hair. Mueller’s investigation is the factual, verifiable, way of realizing that metaphor.

As a general rule, we must have verified and verifiable truths, arrived at through a method of discovering and verifying them, because we no longer rely on special, inspired individuals, priests or kings, to tell us what is true; i.e. we believe that just about anybody has the talent to distinguish a factual reality, given the desire and a reliable way of doing it. So we have the scientific method (which T “confounds“), and our logical, public system of achieving justice.  This perspective is foundational for democracy.  We shine our lights.

Herr Trompf, and his Republican enablers know that quite well. Now they must dis-enable him, or choose the fascist, one-party, rule that they have been trying to put in place, ever since the crook, Nixon, and the Southern strategy. Can they opt for democracy, at the risk of their own power? Do they have the desire, and will they use the means?  The Rs are staring into the eyes of The Great Dark, l’ombre fondamentale, themselves. I doubt they have the guts to be honest with themselves and do what they must (vanden Heuvel illustrates).  More likely, they will turn away.

[Rich that Arpaio is guilty of “criminal contempt” of justice, of which T shows such mastery in pardoning him.  Readers who got this far also liked perspectives by:  Feldman (Bloomberg), Chong and Wittes (Lawfare), Rubin (WaPo), Krugman (“Fascism, America Style”) (NYT), Gerson (WaPo),  Chong (NYer), López (Nation), Hing (Nation), Bauer (WaPo), Sargent (WaPo), Beutler (TNR), Lacovara (WaPo), Rubin (WaPo),

8-27 And so the investigation continues:  During early campaign, T was working on a business deal in Russia.  And yes.  And before that.  8-29  Commentary by Josh Marshall (TPM). / And including sanctioned banks. / Okay, so as Rubin points out, we’re riding parallel trains:  T and the Rs are in one, denying everything; the rest of us are in the other, knowing more than enuff.  We stare at each other, wondering.  How much farther before the collision? [*] 8-30 Yep:  “Special counsel Robert Mueller has joined forces with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — a longtime adversary of President Donald Trump— to investigate possible financial crimes [incl money laundering] by Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to Politico.”  And btw, can T pardon someone found guilty in a state case?  Nope.   8-31 The Russian ‘lobbyist’ from Trump Tower meeting has appeared before the grand jury. / How can Kushner get enuff money? / JM’s early thoughts on news that Manafort took notes at Jr-Veselnitskaya meet, incl mention of funding, RNC, and DNC. 9-2 (So what?) 9-6 Facebook sold ad space to Russians, for political content, and is turning material over to Mueller. (Scott Shane in NYT explains one of the Russian social media methods:  fake Americans.)  9-7 Jr now says he agreed to the meeting in order to see if Russians actually had info reflecting on Clinton fitness for office, but he wouldn’t have used such info unless cleared by council. [**] 9-8  Mueller gives WH names of six advisors and staff members likely to be interviewed, incl Hicks, Priebus, Spicer. / Anne Applebaum (WaPo) points out that we know the motive, method, and application of Russian interference, plus circumstantial evidence of T campaign collusion.  It’s like those walls in Poe that keep closing in. 9-11 FBI investigating “internal structure, editorial process, and funding” of Russian news agency, Sputnik, to see if “it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).” / Waldman (WaPo) thinks Bannon [in Rose interview] expressed concern that the M investigation can end the T presidency: “Bannon’s unspoken logical chain goes like this: Trump fires Comey, which leads to the appointment of a special counsel, which leads to the discovery of terribly damaging information about Trump, which brings him down, either through resignation or impeachment.” 9-13 An example of Russians using Facebook during our election to spread hate messages (more on that, and). / Lobbying activities of Flynn son being examined (Turkish, Saudi, Russian business interests). / WH attempting to discredit Comey by saying he broke federal law. 9-15 M brings Feeney from Kleptocracy Asset Recovery.  9-17 Panik?, as WH is up to here in lawyers.

[*] Isn’t this it?:  T knows that the fruit of the investigation will destroy him and his family; but thinks he can pardon everybody; but if he does, he’ll need his base to save him (he thinks) from impeachment.

Must keep in mind that he’s a master delusional illusionist.  He (& Rs) will get nothing done now, except manipulations for self-defense.  Which means that he will become more and more offensive, because that’s the only way he knows, and delights in.

[**] 9-6 to 8  Suddenly (quite) T is dissing the R leadership and playing nice with the Dems.  I’m thinking that, as T knows the investigation is closing in, and with the White House now controlled by the Generals, T believes that he needs more than his base to protect him (which he will keep via Bannon/Breitbart et al.), he also needs congressional Dems.  The most important things, to him, are the attractiveness of the T family brand and his opportunities to enrich himself.  Even if the House impeaches, he stays unless the Senate finds him guilty.  The argument, at least behind the curtain, will be that the Dems can do better with T than with Pence.  The Rs will lose Congress, but that only increases T’s control of the remnant R Party of Trompfite loyalists.  This doesn’t have to make sense.  T is a momentarian American pragmatist.

[Pages (1) and (13) of this episode.]

A Way Out of Their Mess

Republicans and the Trompf family need to get out of this mess of their own making before their brands are completely ruined, i.e. very soon. If I were imagining this plot line, instead of narrating a nonfiction political novel, here’s how it would go:

Herr Trompf is cracking up and breaking down, seemingly moment by moment. (Scenes in public and private.) The Mueller investigation is rightly moving with intense care (as a “criminal investigation” of a president who believes he is beyond the law), but too slowly to provide sufficient grounds for impeachment by enough Republicans in the House—and removal from office by the Republican Senate—in time for Rs to save themselves from self-destruction, via that route.

So, Republicans reach the point where they can turn the government over to Pence, via a 25th Amendment, declaration of mental incompetence [groundwork is being laid, even as I imagine]. How unfortunate are T, the T family, and the nation, that this lamentable but natural phenomenon of aging has hit T so early, and just as he was about to make America great again.

Before initiating the process, Pence guarantees Rs (in scenes behind the scenes) that he will continue the Koch Bros (NLC)-R Party fascist legislative agenda, and that he will leave the T cabinet intact, at least for a face-saving period, so that they can continue their fascist agenda of de-regulation, privatization, and bigoted oppression (Jim Crow, antimin, antiim, and antiwom), at which they are being remarkably successful.

The Trompf family is assured that they will not be exposed as criminals, but will be celebrated for their service to the nation and their care for their demented and patriotic patriarch.

And there he goes!

Don’t you wish this were fiction?

[Later in the day:  here’s journalism on the 25th in the immediate context.  The article ends with the suggestion that we are lucky that T has surrounded himself with (3) generals.  Okay, better than nothing; but I also think that the degree to which T has incorporated men in uniform into his administration is suggestive of fascist governance.]

On borrowed time

“If this plane crashes on take-off, at least I’ll die knowing that Herr Trompf is going down,” I thought, as I left the ground at SEATAC, a few minutes ago.  New volcanos could erupt beneath the warming Arctic ocean, I read earlier this morning.  The planet is in meltdown, and so is Trompf and his administration and his brand.

We’re living on borrowed time.  Surely this page, scrawled on a borrowed computer, marks a major turning of the plot.  And I’m up in the air, mid-flight.

My space on this new 737-800/900 comes right to the edge of a position of torture.  I think of My Man Dick, and I wonder which Republican politician has the coldest heart, Cheney or Trompf.  Or could it be Mister Sinister, My Man Mikey?

The moment of truth is upon us, and upon the Republican Party.  Can the Republicans set aside their cynicism, and their self-serving, just enough to take the political action that the nation, and the living planet, desperately need them to take?

Naaah.

8-17  This morning, in a Guardian interview with voters in Bethlehem PA, a woman Progressive activist says, “He’s delivering exactly what they wanted.  White male supremacy.”  Her friend:  “No women and no minorities.”  And I see in a new poll, pre-Charlottesville, that 47% of women said T should be impeached (up from 35% in Feb; 32% of men, up from 26%).  I’m thinking, women know that they are the main target.  All those angry young white men with their torches want their mothers to be back under control, and their sisters, and the women in their classes and where they work.  Women whom they date and women whom they marry.  Women who do not bow and scrape before their superiority and their authority.  Women who threaten their confidence in their potency.  Women who no longer make them feel needed.  Women who might replace them, everywhere.  Women whom they deeply fear and resent.

Of course the problem for them is how to target enough women, as a class, to bring all women under control.  For instance in a way comparable to the ease of shooting black men at regular intervals, hassling black men at any moment, terrorizing black women with the randomness of violence against their families or themselves, or slandering Black Lives Matter.  Or the ease of deportations of Latin American immigrants.  How can all women be terrorized?  Eliminating Planned Parenthood would hurt a lot of women, but it would not bring Woman under control.  Republicans have an advantage, however, in not having to worry about offending white Evangelical Christian women, since they agree with the denigration of women.  As long as they have Pence in the White House, they’ll stand by their man, and stand by.

8-18  Well.  That’s more like.  I went to bed discouraged, but this morn I’m an optimist again, as it looks as though America’s moderate elites may yet come through for us (or not), now that it appears as though the majority of the citizenry will not stand for any more of this.  Romney says (on behalf of America’s children, a year late) that Hair Trompf is threatening the fabric of the nation, and Gore has called on T to resign.  The appointed heads of the armed services have rejected T’s incitement to racism, bigotry, and violence.  Multiple CEOs have actively expressed concern that T is bad for business.  The Confederate President’s arts commission has resigned, en masse.

8-19  In a lateral move, Bannon has left the WH and immediately returned to the Breitbart that he crawled out of, where he can again be Top Cafard and rabble rouser, continue to serve the T fascist agenda and autocracy, and aggravate for his nationalist-populist remake of the R Party and the country. In basketball terms, T can now play an “inside-outside” game, scoring in the center or at the periphery as opportunity presents. Keep the ball in motion, like that pea that is supposedly under one of the walnut shells. The Mercers will make sure that B has plenty of oligarchic cash, and their man Cruz can compete with Pence for the Fundamentalist vote. Things can only get worse.

Defeating Fascism (American Style) (6)

F (AS) can be defeated, but not even America can guarantee that it will be. Americans must do it. The rapidly developing crisis of terrorist violence perpetrated by white supremacist organizations who are launching an offensive across the country, and by Hair Trompf and his regime in the White House, must be countered by masses of resisters and by morally responsive elites.

Some brief thoughts about strategy and tactics:

1) The fascists must be vastly outnumbered, in public, and in private actions. I believe that, as we found in the sixties, a critical mass of Americans can be rallied in defense of our moral principles (by “action from principle,” as Thoreau named it), including universal human rights, extended to citizens and noncitizens alike. We must insist on the application of the fundamental truths of our founding documents. However “aspirational” they may be, they are our identifying creed, and we are capable of realizing them significantly in our daily lives, personally and institutionally.

2) Rev. King had it right: the only moral option and the only strategy for victory is nonviolence. Overwhelming nonviolent action. Jubilant, dogged, loving, brave and sacrificial nonviolence.

3) Trump must be removed from office. That is an absolute demand.

4) Today’s Republican Party, as a whole, and especially its billionaires, is a fascist party, by commission and by omission. Republicans, as a party, as billionaire funders, as individual politicians, and as voters, must be called out, confronted, publically and privately pressured to change their fascist ways. Politicians who do not do so must be thrown out of office.

5) America’s elite individuals, including billionaires and CEOs, must refuse to cooperate with the Trompf regime. If they do not refuse, we must refuse to cooperate with them, including publically and privately ending our hero worship.

6) Democrats must stop being passive-aggressive and launch a pervasive counter-offensive. We must demand that the Democratic Party, at every level of elective office, bravely step forward with vision and leadership, toward defeating fascism, ending addictive money-idolatry, healing the nation, and promoting a high quality of life for all Americans. For a start, the national party must stop pretending that it is not complicit in the rise of fascist ideology and hopes.

Trompf and his white nationalist vanguard have chosen this moment to precipitate a national clarification of conscience. All Americans must be called upon to declare themselves. It is time and past time, and it might become too late.

[Update:  This is encouraging.  Renewable, sustainable energy.  And tactics.  ]

[Pages (1) and (5a) of this episode.]