[There are two new resources to refresh your memory when the time comes: Amy Siskind’s book The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year (3/27/18); and New York magazine’s “501 Days in Swampland” (4/1/18), a list of White House corruption]
— RECENT HEADLINES —
“Putin Ejects 60 U.S. Diplomats, Closes 1 Consulate; President Remains Silent on Russia” (3/29/2018)
“Trump Orders WH Staff Not to Comment on Toughening Russia Policy Moves; Ostensibly Doesn’t Want to Be Seen Accommodating Media; Actually, Likely Doesn’t Want to Anger Putin” (3/29/2018)
“Sergei Skripal (U.K. Nerve Attack Victim), Christopher Steele Found on Russian Hit List” (3/29/2018)
“VA Sec. Shulkin Says His Firing Was for Refusal to Privatize VA, Other Charges False” (3/29/2018)
“Trump Touts Imminent Syria Exit; Shocked Pentagon and State Dept.: Work not Done” (3/29/2018)
“Comms. Director Hope Hicks’ Last Day; Trump Considering not Replacing Her” (3/30/2018)
“Russia Tests ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile Again; Putin Brags of ‘Invulnerable’ Arsenal” (3/30/2018)
“Trump Tweets ‘NO MORE DACA DEAL!,’ Blames ‘ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws’” (4/1/2018)
“Outrage, Protests Grow Over Police Shooting of Unarmed Stephon Clark, 22, Last Month” (4/1/2018)
“Stock Market Falls 458 Points, Responding to Latest Fears of Chinese Tariffs and Trade War” (4/2/2018)
“EPA, Trump Admin. Announces Rollback of Obama-Era Fuel Emissions Standards” (4/3/2018)
“EPA Director Scott Pruitt Under Increasing Scrutiny for Financial Kickbacks, Abuses” (4/3/2018)
“President Announces Intention to Deploy Military Resources to ‘Protect’ Mexican Border” (4/3/2018)
“1st Mueller Probe Sentencing: Alex Van Der Zwaan, 30 Days in Prison, $20,000 Fine” (4/3/2018)
“Trump Continues Weeklong Bashing of Amazon (& Owner), Conflating It With Wash. Post” (4/3/2018)
“Last Month Mueller Told Trump Lawyers He Was ‘Subject’ but not ‘Target’ of Russia Probe; Legal Experts Say Status Could Change to ‘Target’ at any Time, President Should Take no Comfort” (4/3/2018)
“Wis. Dem. Supreme Ct. Candidate Wins by 11 Points; Wis. GOP Panicking About Blue Wave” (4/3/2018)
“50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination in Memphis, Tenn.” (4/4/2018)
“U.S. Pledges to Stay in Syria; White House Announcement Contradicts President” (4/4/2018)
“McConnell Fears Midterms: ‘We don’t know whether it’s going to be a Category 3, 4, or 5’” (4/4/2018)
“Mueller Team Questioning Russian Oligarchs About Illegal Trump Campaign Donations” (4/4/2018)
“Facebook Revises Number up of Stolen Accounts Breached by Cambridge Analytica: 87M” (4/4/2018)
“Ethics Issues Heat up as Incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton Talks to WH Ethics Lawyers; Bolton PAC Was Early Beneficiary of Stolen Facebook/Cambridge Analytica Data” (4/4/2018)
“China List of Tariff-ed Products Translated; Red State Product Producers Targeted” (4/4/2018)
“Syria, Assad Launch Devastating Gas Attack on Own People, Killing 40+, Many Children” (4/4/2018)
“It’s disgusting. The comportment of these people is shameful. And none of these people who are working in the White House are hostages. In fact, we’re the hostages, and they’re complicit with the hostage-takers, when we look at the assaults on these vital institutions and their work to degrade the office of president of the United States. It’s just really a tragedy that we have tens of thousands of kids look at the president of the United States and they see a joke. You can’t watch the evening news with your children because any different moment the newest porn star will be on, explaining the relationship. From a personnel perspective, we’ve never quite seen the assemblage of crooks, just outright weirdos, wife-beaters, drunk drivers, complete and total incompetence that’s been assembled. If you took the 10 greatest HR managers in the history of the world, put them together, and said we want to form a 1927 Yankees of incompetence, it’s not possible that they would’ve done a better job than assembling this team, and it’s not possible that this team could’ve let loose more chaos than they already have. And Evan [McMullin] is exactly right, as we get close to the hour of tragedy that will inevitably come from these types of people around an office where life and death decisions are made.”
(Schmidt, Steve, R-, 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign chief strategist; MSNBC’s Deadline: White House; 3/30/2018.)
The political situation in America right now is a waking nightmare.
The Watergate analogy is probably getting old for a lot of people, especially casual news consumers, but it’s no less apt. President Trump likely is on his way to exceeding the crimes of President Richard Nixon. Aside from the crimes, however, Trump has already far outdone Nixon in damage to the presidency, damage not necessarily covered by legal statute.
“It’s just really a tragedy that we have tens of thousands of kids look at the president of the United States and they see a joke.”
When Steve Schmidt made this statement Friday, he was not laughing. He was not smiling. His co-panelists — several of whom were also like-minded thinking conservatives — had to simper and grin a bit at the blunt truth of his eloquent assessment of Trump’s presidency. But Steve was dead serious. Schmidt ran John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama. He is no shrinking GOP violet. He is no RINO (right-wing pejorative acronym for Republican in Name Only). He is a thoughtful Republican, a dwindling breed, and one of the few brave enough to speak the Trumpian truth.
“You can’t watch the evening news with your children because any different moment the newest porn star will be on, explaining the relationship.”
Schmidt nails the point that kids see an immoral, corrupt buffoon in the current president. It taints their view of public service, politics, the presidency, and even grown-ups in general for creating this travesty. They’ll carry their tainted outlook into adulthood and apply it as they ultimately take their turn running the country. This is terrifying to contemplate. There is a common belief that Trump is damaging the institution of the presidency for decades to come. The example he sets for children and young aspiring politicians is one of those ways.
Patent, Persistent Prevarication
“The president even has griped to several people that [Stormy] Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive.”
(Parker, Ashley & Rucker, Philip & Dawsey, Josh; “‘Not in a punch-back mode’: Why Trump Has Been Largely Silent on Stormy Daniels”; The Washington Post; 3/26/2018.)
“I would have never worn those ugly-ass [Bruno Magli] shoes.”
(Simpson, O. J.; civil trial deposition for [1997 Ron Goldman] wrongful-death lawsuit; January 1996.) (this was Simpson’s response to a photo of him wearing Bruno Magli shoes; a men’s size 12 Bruno Magli shoe print stamped in the victims’ blood was found at the scene; a salesman testified at the 1994-95 criminal trial to selling a pair of Bruno Maglis to O. J.; Simpson wears a size 12; only 299 pairs of Bruno Magli size 12’s had ever been sold in the U.S.; since then, 30-plus photos have surfaced of O. J. wearing the Bruno Maglis before the murders)
On top of consorting with adult-film actresses and Playboy models — while his wife was home nursing his months-old newborn — every kid in America knows Donald Trump is the ultimate lying rat bastard. How do they know this? No, not because he said it’s the Democrats’ fault that DACA is dead. No, not because he said he has no dealings with Russia. Not because he claimed massive voter fraud cost him the popular vote. Not even because he said his inaugural crowd size was bigger than Obama’s, which anyone with eyes could easily refute.
No, kids in America know Donald Trump is a shameless fabulist because he was reported telling associates “[Stormy] Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive.” Every person in the country, young and old, knows Stormy is EXACTLY the type of woman Donald finds attractive! Kids in America heard that lie and said, “Amateur.”
And O. J. wouldn’t be caught dead (or near a dead person) wearing those “ugly-ass shoes.”
“Thank you to Rasmussen for the honest polling. Just hit 50%, which is higher than Cheatin’ Obama at the same time in his Administration.”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 4/3/2018.)
Never mind that Rasmussen has consistently, artificially favored Trump, and no other poll has him near 50 percent. And never mind that Obama was being hammered at this point in his presidency with negative GOP propaganda about his Affordable Care Act — which, by the way, is currently overwhelmingly popular.
Most kids in America by now have also sneered “Amateur” upon hearing a new Trump-assigned nickname. The nickname thing has been utterly embarrassing for our country. Adults know it. Children know it. Now Donald — always trying to outdo himself, and usually succeeding — has bestowed an adolescent put-down nickname on a former president. Donald loves his firsts. But this one? In the past, Trump at least has tried to base his choice of debasing sobriquet on a known lie about the target of his ire, e.g., “Crooked Hillary” or “Puppet [Doug] Jones” or “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.” But “Cheatin’ Obama”? This has no meaning, no relation to any non-existent lie about Obama ever cheating at anything.
“It’s just really a tragedy that we have tens of thousands of kids look at the president of the United States and they see a joke.”
Stupid or Lying, Redux
The question of whether Donald is stupid or lying has been highlighted again this week. The issue has never gone away, but the ever-cresting tsunami of Trumpian outrages drowns it out from week to week, just as Donald intends.
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 4/1/2018.)
“A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA. They had a great chance. The Democrats blew it.”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Q&A with traveling press pool; 4/2/2018.)
The question here is this: Is President Trump stupid, i.e., does he not know that immigrants are not eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status unless they arrived in the U.S. before June 2007, under the age of 16, along with other restrictions?
Or is he lying about a mythical mass DACA immigration threat to manipulate the stupid of those members of his political base?
“It is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that ‘the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,’ and that … does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a ‘lobbyist’ and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. ‘increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.’ This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 3/31/2018.)
“Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 4/2/2018.)
Once again, Is the president stupid, i.e., does he not know the U.S. Postal Service makes money from its parcel contract with Amazon (which, by the way, is properly negotiated as are all of its other bulk package delivery contracts)? Is the president stupid, i.e., does he not know that Amazon has been collecting state taxes, in every state that levies a retail tax, for several years, now?
Or is he lying to punish Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, to help his rich retail buds, and to conflate the ownership and non-relationship between Amazon and The Washington Post (which accurately reports the news, therefore, is harmful to Trump)? It’s true that Bezos also owns the Post. But it is run completely independent of Bezos, and certainly of Amazon. Is Trump lying to manipulate the stupid of the members of his political base?
It doesn’t matter whether President Trump is stupid or lying. The resulting carnage is the same. He’s tearing our country apart, embarrassing and harming us on the world stage, and doing great damage to the presidency either way.
Outrage Fatigue — And the Resources Cure
As I’ve said, Donald knows exactly what he is doing by creating real and faux crises and outrages daily. He knows that for the majority of citizens, all his transgressions — and blatant lies excusing them — merge together into one big glob of amorphous information. People develop outrage fatigue, or outrage desensitization, if you like. Even thinking people get to the point where “it’s all just too much.”
That’s OK for now if you are one of those people. But when the decisive moment comes, citizens must do their civic duty and evaluate “what the hell is going on” (— thanks to Donald Trump).
There are many information sources for the caring, thinking person who hasn’t been able to keep up daily with the world according to Trump. This magazine is one of them. I invite you to peruse the “Resources” menu (at the top of any GraniteWord.com page). You’ll find a plethora, a cornucopia, a plenitude, a feast, a wealth (— thanks to Merriam-Webster thesaurus) of lists and timelines that will help you put the story together when the necessary time comes, including all the resources mentioned in this article and others.
As always, I highly recommend bookmarking the Trump-Russia Timeline at BillMoyers.com (see link below). This is the go-to, user-friendly, up-to-date historical reference for all-things Trump-Russia.
A great new resource out now is Amy Siskind’s book The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year (released 3/27/18):
“Experts in authoritarianism — Masha Gessen, Sarah Kendzior, and Ruth Ben-Ghiat — wrote about the tools of autocrats: using hatred as fuel, silencing dissent, disregarding norms, and breaking down trusted institutions. All described how things would be changing, slowly and subtly, warning us not to be fooled by small signs of normalcy on our march into darkness. Sarah Kendzior suggested that citizens write things down, starting that day, making a list of the specific things they never would have believed, things that they never would have done, before the regime came into power.”
(Siskind, Amy; “Introduction”; The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year; 2018.)
That is a terrifyingly accurate description of President Trump’s first year in office.
One more reference I want to leave you with is New York magazine’s “501 Days in Swampland: A constant drip of self-dealing. And this is just what we know so far …” (see link below), by David Cay Johnston, Joy Crane, and Nick Tabor:
“The second [inaugural] message, which Trump delivered without speaking a word, was aimed at a much smaller, but very rich, audience. As the new president’s motorcade left the Capitol, rolling past knots of supporters and protesters, it suddenly stopped three blocks short of the White House. Trump, the First Lady, and the rest of his family got out of their limos and took a three-minute turn in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“This was no random spot. The very first place Trump headed after being sworn in — his true destination all along, in a sense — was the Old Post Office and Clock Tower, which only 12 days before the election had been repurposed as the Trump International Hotel Washington. The elegant granite structure, whose architectural character Trump had promised to preserve, was now besmirched by a gaudy, faux-gold sign bearing his name. The carefully choreographed stop sent a clear signal to the foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate interests keen on currying favor in Washington: The rewards of government would now be reaped by a single man — and the people would bear the cost.”
(Johnston, David Cay; introduction to Crane, Joy & Tabor, Nick; “501 Days in Swampland: A constant drip of self-dealing. And this is just what we know so far …”; New York magazine; 4/1/2018.)
Donald Trump has four primary areas of swampdom: conspiracy with a foreign government to alter a presidential election; obstruction of justice to cover up that conspiracy; general financial corruption within his many secret business dealings; and using the presidency to enrich himself and his family.
It is this last category of abuses that Crane and Tabor chronicle beginning days after Election Day 2016. Many of these you will have forgotten about. Most of these you will not have known about. All are important. Now you know where to find them.
Always remember: “The president even has griped to several people that Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive.”
And O. J. would never wear those “ugly-ass shoes.” ■