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“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 [with Trump]. 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-N.J., 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign chief strategist; MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace; 3/30/2018.)

Institutional Damage

The political situation in America right now is a waking nightmare.

The Watergate analogy probably is getting old for a lot of people, especially casual news consumers, but it’s no less apt. President Donald Trump likely is on his way to exceeding the crimes of President Richard Nixon. Aside from the crimes, however, Trump already has 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 also were like-minded thinking conservatives — had to simper and grin a bit at the truth of this eloquently blunt 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 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 [with Trump].”

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 political aspirants 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-*ss [Bruno Magli] shoes.”

(Simpson, O. J.; civil trial deposition for [1997 Ron Goldman] wrongful-death lawsuit; January 1996.) (responding 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 ever had 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 actors and Playboy models — while his wife was home nursing his 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 easily could 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 I find 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, “Total amateur!”

And O. J. wouldn’t be caught dead (or near a dead person) wearing those “ugly-*ss shoes.”

Nickname Hell

“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 consistently, artificially has favored Trump, and no other poll has him near 50%. 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 also have sneered, “Total amateur,” upon hearing the 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 existing 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 never has 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 [across the southern border] 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, [its] ‘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, has been negotiated properly as have all of USPS’ 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 Donald’s rich retail buds and 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’s 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 (dis)information. People develop outrage fatigue, or outrage desensitization if you like. Even many thinking people give in: “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. I highly recommend bookmarking the Trump-Russia Timeline at BillMoyers.com. This is the go-to, user-friendly, up-to-date historical reference for all-things Trump-Russia.

Another 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, … 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. And the week-by-week description of and response to the madness? I’m also doing that with my articles.

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 …” by Joy Crane and Nick Tabor, with an introduction by David Cay Johnston:

“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: 1) conspiracy with a foreign government to alter a presidential election; 2) obstruction of justice to cover up that conspiracy; 3) general financial corruption within his many secret business dealings; and 4) using the presidency to enrich himself and his family.

It’s 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 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 [Stormy] Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive.”

And O. J. would never wear those “ugly-*ss shoes.”■