Opinion | Michael Cohen Takes a Bullet – by Charles Blow – NYT

“Here’s to Michael Cohen. He’s finally getting something right.

First, let’s state forthrightly that Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, the fix-it man, the one who mopped up Trump’s messes, the one who said he would “take a bullet for the president,” is an incredibly unsavory character and a bully.

He thought himself a tough guy, Trump’s muscle collecting the crumbs of Trump’s money.

For instance, in 2015 he threatened a Daily Beast reporter who was writing about the time Trump’s first wife, Ivana, claimed Trump had raped her, only to later say that she didn’t want her use of the word rape “to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

According to that reporter, Cohen erroneously — and outrageously — claimed, “You cannot rape your spouse,” before launching into this tirade:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know … So I’m warning you, tread very [expletive] lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be [expletive] disgusting. You understand me?

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.” “

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Opinion | Trump- Treasonous Traitor – by Charles Blow and Commenters – NYT

“Put aside whatever suspicions you may have about whether Donald Trump will be directly implicated in the Russia investigation.

Trump is right now, before our eyes and those of the world, committing an unbelievable and unforgivable crime against this country. It is his failure to defend.

The intelligence community long ago concluded that Russia attacked our election in 2016 with the express intention of damaging Hillary Clinton and assisting Trump.

And it was not only the spreading of inflammatory fake news over social media. As a May report from the Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee pointed out:

“In 2016, cyber actors affiliated with the Russian Government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against state election infrastructure. Russian actors scanned databases for vulnerabilities, attempted intrusions, and in a small number of cases successfully penetrated a voter registration database. This activity was part of a larger campaign to prepare to undermine confidence in the voting process.” “

Opinion | The Weasel of Oz – by Charles Blow – NYT

Assuming that you have maintained the ability to be astonished by Donald Trump’s antics and insolence, The Washington Post reported last week that in 2017, before Trump was to deliver a speech to Congress, he “huddled with senior adviser Jared Kushner and [Stephen] Miller in the Oval Office to talk immigration.”

As The Post reported:“Trump reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he were at a rally, he recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.”

Opinion | A Blue Wave of Moral Restoration – by Charles Blow – NYT

“Donald Trump’s approval rating is rising. The Democratic advantage on survey questions about party preference for control of Congress is vanishing. Liberal anxiety about the fate of the midterms — and I would venture, the country itself — is rising.

To all this, I say: Calm down.

Not relax. Not rest easy. Not coast. But stay the course and don’t panic. Work hard, message well and bring your passion — and a few neighbors and friends — to the polls in November.

If voters do that, as they have already done in special elections, signs are positive for a major realignment in Washington.

As a CNN analysis last month said: “These results suggest that the Republican Party is in trouble heading into the midterm elections. If past trends hold, it is possible Democrats could see a double- digit swing in the average House district in 2018 compared with past elections.” “

David Lindsay:  Yes, thank you Charles Blow. Here is my favorite comment:
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJ1h ago
And if you don’t believe Charles Blow, because he may not be your cup of tea, then consider the words of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – who had a front row seat to Donald’s moral, intellectual and economic bankruptcy show – at yesterday’s commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute.

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom”

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America”

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years”

“One of America’s great advantages is we have many allies. Our adversaries — China, Russia, Iran and the terrorist organizations — have few.”

“We must never take these long-held allies for granted. We must motivate and strengthen them — not just in our areas of complete agreement, but particularly in bridging our differences both in trading relations and in national security matters.”

Lying for a living is a socio-political cancer that the Liar-In-Chief and the Grand Old Prevaricators have injected into American democracy.

Reject it with force on November 6 2018.

1 Reply136 Recommended

Opinion | Horror of Being Governed by ‘Fox & Friends’ – by Charles Blow – NYT

“This show, with its kindergarten-level intellectual capacity, moved from parroting conservative policies to constructing presidential priorities. “Fox & Friends” has essentially become Donald Trump’s daily briefing.

Countless media outlets have written and talked about the strangely intense connection between Trump and the show.As The Guardian put it, “The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

Politico Magazine concurred, saying the show “feels intentionally designed for Trump himself — a three-hour, high-definition ego fix.”And the impact that the show is having on Trump is undeniable. Dan Snow, a master’s student at the University of Chicago, analyzed the president’s tweets and found that they are highly concentrated in the hours when the show is on.As Politico wrote, Trump is “live-tweeting” Fox’s coverage. Vox noted that at times he seems to be tweeting precisely what he sees on the show, sometimes even using their exact language.”

Yes and thank you. Here are two of my favorite comments:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“As The Guardian put it,
“The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

I’ve watched snippets of this inane show selected by other networks to make a point.

It makes me groan to see these two idiotically grinning males with a buxom leggy blond scrunched between them, on this stupid white couch.

Why the couch? Why the lack of notes, pads, papers, pens, mics, you know–the tools of the trade?

It’s unnerving to think this particular show and network are so widely watched given its shallowness fact-free content.

But it does explain what has to be said, which is just when you think America can’t get any dumber, all you need to watch is FOX to find that’s not true either.

If the president merely watched the network it would be bad enough, but that he tweets its talking points and hires its “commentators” for his administration is downright frightening.

Yes, Charles, you nailed it: Fox & Friends is the president’s daily briefing–just not condensed for his limited attention span but expanded to meet his insatiable desire for validation.

But by whom? When I was a girl, my mother used to say, “consider the source” when I complained about what kids were saying at school.

America, consider the source.

Socrates
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJ

“All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. “

Mein Kampf (and Fox and Friends and Daycare Donnie)

Grand Old Propaganda 2018

Nice GOPeople.

America Is the Gun – by Charles Blow – NYT

“There are things that we could do right now that could lessen the lethality of the guns currently available and we could ban some guns — neither of which is likely to happen.

I’m convinced that we must think big and systemically. We must treat gun violence in this country as a public health crisis, because it is

First, we must repeal the N.R.A.-backed Dickey Amendment, named for the man who sponsored it, former Representative Jay Dickey, an Arkansas Republican. It reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” “

Trump Is a Racist. Period. – by Charles Blow – NYT

“I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”

David Lindsay: “Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”
Yes, true, and this is a fine op-ed, but racism is also a complicated set of discriminatory ideas or practices, that infect even many of the most scrupulously moral people, because of attitudes thalt are in the society, or are molded by difficult encounters with poor and disturbed people, who are often people from a different skin color and culture. By this larger, more complex definition, all humans have some racism, but the most moral humans try to be aware of their racism, and using intellect, try not to be ruled by racist attitudes that were part of their upbringing or general culture.

Here is the top comment, which I endorsed and recommend:

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona. NJ 1 day ago

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” said LBJ to his young aide Bill Moyers in 1960.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

And four years later, after LBJ signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, LBJ was euphoric, but late that very night the same aide Moyers found him in a melancholy mood as he lay in bed reading the early edition of The Washington Post with headlines celebrating the day, and Moyers asked him what was troubling him.

“I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come,” said LBJ.

Here we sit 50-plus years later – certainly a much better and more evolved country – but still deeply cursed by LBJ’s prescience and the wretched fumes of white privilege, white supremacy and the radical rich right-wing that foments racism for political power and economic pillaging and plundering.

Trump perfectly personifies the conjoining of Republican evil – psychopathic greed hiding strategically behind the wall of psychopathic racism, fear and loathing that has served its 0.1% Randian overlords grotesquely well since 1968 to divide, conquer and shatter America into a shoddy, fake democracy of rural rubes cheering for 18th century coal as rest of the world ramps up on solar, wind, a better education and better job skills.

https://goo.gl/YpJ7pf

Grand Old Poison 2017

 

Trump’s Attention Economy – by Charles Blow – NYT

“On Tuesday, Donald Trump unleashed yet another tweet storm from within his unceasing drought of competence.

In a series of 16 tweets, Trump lied, boasted, lashed out, bemoaned, provoked, belittled and prodded.In other words, Trump began this year the way he ended the last one: eroding and reducing the office of the presidency on a daily basis.His most consequential tweet was a boast about destructive power:“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Sir, this is not a missile-measuring contest. No one wants to think about the size of your button. You seem to think that the effects of a nuclear strike would be the verification of your virility rather than the loss of innumerable lives.”

Good column and comments. Here is my favorite comment, of the 10 or 15 I read.

Cathy Hopewell junction ny 6 hours ago
We are watching Trump jettison the people who coached him into power, and to try to contain an investigation into the lives of the people he has not yet fired. He exposed his family to harm, by giving them roles they don’t understand in a game they don’t know how to play. And it looks like the Russians, who do know how to play the game, are winning.

And the rest of us suffer. I now understand how it feels to be the hero in a Greek tragedy, who suffers at the hands of capricious gods, for no real reason at all, except that they felt the hero got too uppity. Government is something inflicted upon us, and we can take the consequences, or turn ourselves into laurel trees.

And it is important to understand, if Greek tragedy is our model, not to depend on Mueller to be our Deus Ex Machina, Gods never descend to save the day until it is too late.

217 Recommended

The Omen of Alabama – By Charles Blow – NYT

“The political winds are shifting with all the subtlety of a hurricane.Doug Jones’s defeat of Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election is yet the latest signal that the accommodators of Donald Trump, those who have normalized and bolstered him, the gutless, schismatic conservatives who abandoned principle to follow a pariah, will have hell to pay in 2018.Yes, Roy Moore was defeated, but it can never be fully erased from history or memory that he was endorsed by this president and supported by the Republican National Committee. All of Roy Moore’s sins are their sins, and they will wear that scarlet R straight into the midterms.We should also note that Jones didn’t win by a landslide. The margin was thin as a rail. Moore still won the Republican vote and the white vote and, yes, the “white born-again Christian” vote. These people contorted their faith to support a man accused of unthinkable transgressions.They made a mockery of Christian faith and moral fidelity. But as the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians, “God is not mocked.”The Resistance is marching on, emboldened, with a strategy and proof that the strategy can work.The Alabama election has demonstrated once again that resisters aren’t just angry; they are motivated and insistent that the past will not defeat the future.”

Thank you Charles Blow. Let’s work harder, and win our country back, and preserve the environment for future generations.

The Other Inconvenient Truth – by Charles Blow – NYT

“It is possible to trace this devil’s dance back to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the emergence of Richard Nixon. After the passage of the act, the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln to which black people felt considerable fealty, turned on those people and stabbed them in the back.

In 1994 John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser and a Watergate co-conspirator, confessed this to the author Dan Baum:“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The era Ehrlichman referred to was the beginning of the War on Drugs. Nixon started his offensive in 1971, declaring in a speech from the White House Briefing Room: “America’s public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”The object of disrupting communities worked all too well — more than 40 million arrests have been conducted for drug-related offenses since 1971, with African-Americans being incarcerated in state prisons for these offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that for whites, according to Human Rights Watch.”

The above passages are of great interest to me. I suspected this, but never had an articulate confirmation before now. It is horrifying.

Here is a comment which I found helpful, and another quite amusing, if tragic.

ChristineMcM

is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 2 hours ago

“”This is the tragedy of racism because its ultimate logic is genocide. If one says that I am not good enough to live next door to him, if one says that I am not good enough to eat at a lunch counter, or to have a good, decent job, or to go to school with him merely because of my race, he is saying consciously or unconsciously that I do not deserve to exist.””

Charles, with this quote from King, you’ve opened my eyes to a shattering logic I could never reach on my own.

Your words are a blistering indictment of a party that pays lip service to equality but pursues bigotry via a return to harsh drug and voter “fraud” laws –the very policies Jeff Sessions is dragging back from the grave into our criminal justice system.

The other thing that astounds me in this piece is the how pernicious racism is even among the well-intentioned. The ultimate arrogance if you will–I feel your pain. Of course I can’t–I’m not in your shoes.

But by my vote I signal my beliefs. Never has this been truer than in the age of Trump, a man who managed to openly slander both Jews and African Americans in his justification of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

If you roll the videotape and watch the body language of Cohn, Menuchin, and Kelly, you need no other information on the size of the dagger Trump inserted into his presidency.

Is this the end of Trump, or only the first blow? Who knows–but your articulation of how racism works is irrefutable.

Larry Eisenberg

is a trusted commenter Medford, MA. 4 hours ago

Once known as dumbest in his class
Once for five deferments harassed
A standby first pager
In print all the rager
For each disaster he’s amassed.

Non reader, non thinker of yore
At gath’rings a terrible bore,
A garrulous greeter
Insatiable tweeter
What greater horrors are in store?