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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The country needs to unite. We need to set aside the conflicts of the past and work as one to move the nation forward.

Um, no. Absolutely not. Not at all. At least, not yet.

We’ve just been through a significant traumatic experience. We’ve had an armed insurrection, a violent incursion into the U.S. Capitol, and the attempted kidnapping and murder of our senior-most elected officials, including the Vice President of the United States. The 45th President just led a campaign of not only lies, but of broadcasted hatred, lasting four full years of his term. We still have threats against the government and the people, from inside the country and, quite likely, amongst the ranks of the military, law enforcement, the federal government, and elsewhere. Unity is not possible right now.

Time for some brutal honesty. Our very society is broken: horribly, horribly broken. These travesties are not symptoms of some mild disagreements, differences in policies or dogma. Divides like these don’t come from tax codes or health care plans, they come from anger and hatred and manipulation and dishonesty. These are serious behavioral problems, and have less in common with public policy debate, and more in common with alcoholism, cultic thought, and spousal abuse. I’ve had personal experience with the first two, and know far too many who’ve had experience with the third. The parallels are glaringly obvious.

Addicts

One thing about alcoholics is true from case to case: they cannot meet any commitment. They cannot be trusted. Always with broken promises. Couldn’t get to work on time; couldn’t go to the Little League game; couldn’t remember your birthday or your anniversary or what day of the week it is. Everything they do or touch is compromised. They are dragged down by their addiction, every action they take is in service of their addiction, and through their inability to do jack squat, they drag down the entire family or entire company or whatever they touch. We’ve just had four years of a president who is addicted to himself, with all the corresponding behaviors of an addict: promises broken, a broken government, a fractured society, and 400,000 dead from a plague that would have been better handled by practically anyone with any level of competence whatsoever. The level of failure by the outgoing administration is outrageous and disgusting.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/its-kind-of-like-an-addiction-on-the-road-with-trumps-rally-diehards-11567762200

Cults

Belonging to cults warps one’s thought process. Cults feed their members lies, lies intended to manipulate their actions to the benefit of their mad philosophies or charismatic leaders. They also develop their own lingo, working to isolate their members from their family, friends, and general society. They convince their adherents that all others are “lesser people”, that they are not “worthy” of “understanding” the “truth”. They are taught not to trust what other people tell them, to disregard experts, and to especially mistrust the press. Cults do this to convince their members that only they are special, that only they matter, as long as “they” serve the Greater Purpose. This is horribly disruptive to families, friendships, societies, and, ultimately, to the adherents themselves. We’ve just seen the result of cultic thought amongst a wide swath of society, leading to violence, assault, and attempted murder. Five people are dead. That’s where cultic thought leads.

Cult Experts Warn That Trumpism Is Starting to Look Awfully Familiar

Abusers

Abusive spouses are the worst of the lot. Beyond the physical violence endemic in such relationships, they are also well versed in manipulative tactics. They continually gaslight, and trivialize, and deny. They divert and dissuade and obfuscate. Everything is “your fault”. “You’re” too stupid to understand, and only “they” know what’s best. You must obey them, even to your own detriment, because they are worthier than you. Everything they do or say is so they stay in power, so they come out on top, so they get what they want, while you sacrifice your own hopes and dreams and even your humanity. They do it out of disgusting selfishness. We’ve seen four years of this very behavior from the very top, and we’re seeing the results now.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/25/trump-trauma-experts-abusive-relationship

Contrition Comes First

In all three cases, there is one thing that’s not possible, and that’s forgiveness, or unity. Sure, you may get some apologies, but these are shallow platitudes. You may get some promises to change, but these will be forgotten. You may receive pleas of forgiveness, but forgiveness is undeserved, because the pleas have no substance. They are diversions and distractions, meant to calm the situation, but the perpetrators will return to their old ways within a matter of days. I’ve seen it, this is what happens, over and over and over again.

What must come first is true contrition. Contrition is, first and foremost, an admission of guilt, an acknowledgement of what one has done, of the wrongs one has committed, of the lies one has told. In this case, there has to be an admission that there was no steal. The election was as free and fair as any we have had. There was no significant fraud. Donald J. Trump lost. He lost because he was a terrible president and hated by the majority of the voting public. That is a fact. There is no conspiracy, no deep state, no secret source known as Q. It’s all crap, a fabrication, a game. A game meant to anger and antagonize and divide, just to give miscreants and criminals an opportunity to seize power or line their own pockets. If you want unity, then first admit what was done was wrong, disavow this misanthropic nonsense, and stop supporting this narcissistic madman and his band of skeezy enablers.

The next step of contrition is to begin to act like decent human beings. Then ask for forgiveness.

Then, perhaps, we can have unity.

[I was going to post some photos of the riots to accentuate the point, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so.]

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President-Elect Joseph P. Biden, I am begging you. You must cancel the inauguration ceremonies set for January 20th. It is not safe. The District of Columbia has been compromised, and is at risk for further insurrection. 

This doesn’t come from a position of paranoia or conspiracy. It comes from rudimentary risk assessment methodology. There are so many red flags surrounding the inauguration itself, and the fundamental security of the District of Columbia, they cannot be ignored.

Risk #1: Extant Insurrectionist Threats

The attack on the capitol on Jan. 6th was the result of well-coordinated efforts involving thousands of radicals. In the weeks after the election, these individuals have been planning meet-ups, advising on equipment, coordinating timeframes, and discussing tactics. There is clear-and-present information in publicly-accessible social networking sites, forums, and message board channels. This activity has escalated since the 6th, and the focus has now shifted to Inauguration Day. These are extant threats, by individuals still on the loose, or perhaps not involved in the incident on the 6th, but standing by for the next one. As of this writing, there have been less than 60 arrests, yet there were undoubtably more than 60 individuals who broke into the Capitol. The threat is still out there.

Risk #2: Extant Threats of Serious Violence

These are not just threats of mayhem or vandalism. These are threats against the lives of public officials, not just yourself and Vice President Elect Harris, but threats against specific members of Congress, Democrats in general, even against the current Vice President, Mr. Pence. These attackers were equipped with firearms, improvised explosive devices, even police-style temporary restraints. These individuals want to kidnap or kill elected officials, or anyone who supports the Democratic Party, voted for your ticket, or generally opposes their radical agenda.

Risk #3: Failures of Official Security Assessments

It is plainly obvious that the security of the Capitol Building failed. At best, the Capitol Police did not understand the risks associated with the protests occurring in the District on Jan. 6, and were unprepared to meet those challenges. In and of itself, this lack of incorrect security assessment is deeply troubling. Similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the nation was grossly unprepared. There is no possibility that any of the responsible parties can correct this issue by Jan. 20.

Risk #4: Likely Compromise of the Capitol Police

There is enough anecdotal evidence today to suggest that some officers within the Capitol Police collaborated with the insurrection. There are videos showing police officers opening barricades, standing down from their posts, giving directions to infiltrators, and even taking selfies with trespassers. There have even been reports that off-duty officers of police departments were involved in the trespass. There is not enough time to thoroughly investigate these anecdotes, gather up evidence, have hearings, and take proper disciplinary and criminal action. Perhaps these officers acted appropriately, perhaps we are misinterpreting images and videos. However, in terms of a security assessment, it must be assumed the Capitol Police is compromised until it can be proven otherwise.

Risk #5: Likely Compromise of the U.S. Army Chain of Command

D.C. and Capitol officials, and officials in Maryland and Virginia, have all made statements that the response of the National Guard was slow, even initially refused, when the insurrection began. This suggests serious problems within the Pentagon and the Army. At a minimum, the lack of any staging of National Guard troops in the event that something did occur represents gross negligence of security assessors and of the chain of command. As before, investigations should reveal the truth. In the interim, however, there is reason to mistrust the U.S. military brass to perform their roles to protect the District of Columbia from further violence.

Risk #6: Members of Congress Might Be Collaborators

It is clear some members of Congress actively promoted, inspired, or supported these attacks by repeating claims of election fraud regardless of evidence. Some Senators and House members spoke at the rallies just prior to the violence at the Capitol. These same Members of Congress, and their staffs, receive a number of briefings on security processes in place at the Capitol, within the District, and within the military itself. Each member of Congress who directly advocated for violence; supported conspiracy theories regarding the election, the federal government, or members of Congress; or otherwise provided sympathy or comfort to the insurrectionist enemy, must be considered a risk for leaking security measures and procedures. Again, from a security risk assessment perspective, the entire Congress must be suspect until proven otherwise.

Risk #7: The Command-in-Chief is an Insurrectionist and a Conspirator

President Donald J. Trump has directly influenced these insurrectionists. That much is abundantly clear. This means that the very person who is ultimately responsible for security within the District, and for any U.S. Military support, has encouraged, enabled, and sanctified the violence that occurred in the Capitol on the 6th. Mr. Trump is also currently responsible for your personal safety, and the safety of all who attend the Inauguration in person on the 20th. The people in charge today are his direct appointments, and ultimately take their orders from him. This is the largest risk of all, and puts the entire operation under deep suspicion.

Responsibility Over Messaging

Mr. Biden, in light of all the uncertainty surrounding the security measures extant in the District of Columbia, you must cancel any inauguration proceedings. The U.S. Constitution only requires you to take the Oath of Office. This can be done anywhere. Stay in Delaware, have a small group of trusted witnesses, and broadcast the event on a wide variety of media platforms for public consumption. You must do this.

Some may think this would be an act of cowardice, and would show to the insurrectionists that they have won. I strongly disagree. This is an act of prudence. It is foolishness to walk blindly into an insecure area and declare “bravery”. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was an urge to return life to normal. We responded by locking down airports, calling up troops, and patrolling the skies. Then we declared that “the terrorists have not won.” This is an entirely different situation. The enemy is amongst us, indistinguishable. There are no TSA checkpoints in the way; there are no passports to check. The enemy is within the very citizenry, something I had hoped to never see in my lifetime. There is no level of action that can be taken in the next 11 days to correct the risks I have listed. Canceling the inaugural events would not be cowardice, it would be sensible, and smart, and responsible. It is the only wise choice to make.

This can be messaged properly to the American people. You can be very clear: you cannot guarantee the safety of the attendees because the current occupant of the office is an insurrectionist, and anything he was involved in cannot be trusted at this time. A full investigation across the breadth and depth of the federal government, including the Armed Forces chains of command, must be and will be undertaken during your administration, in order to provide for the security of the country for the next inauguration.

Please, I’m begging you. Cancel any inaugural festivities. Take the oath in a different location, maybe the 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry Regiment monument in Gettysburg would be appropriate. We’ll understand. 

I’d also advise you to not move into the White House for a while, until people you trust can search it thoroughly. But that is a topic for another post.

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Recap

Let’s review some events from the last few days:

  • TV and cable news channels over-covered the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. In typical fashion, they dwelt far too long on an unimportant piece of trivia, instead of reporting on the important elements of the ceremony.  This is symptomatic of the standard laziness of most media outlets, and not surprising.

Yet at President Trump’s behest, the official White House press secretary stood in front of the press room … and blatantly lied. He not only lied about something that shouldn’t be important to anybody, but he did so with a level of rage that should be reserved for accusations of treason. Press secretaries don’t do things like that, they are trained to keep their cool under the most trying of situations. Sean Spicer isn’t some newbie, he’s a seasoned veteran of press rooms of all types. But there he is, blatantly lying in the White House briefing room.

So let me get this straight: the federal government is funded by taxpayer dollars. The federal government works for us. The federal government is now being prevented from talking to … us. That’s really what it is. This isn’t “stop talking to the press cuz the press is mean to Trump”, this is the government must stop talking to us. Lots of folks, both Trump supporters and not, hate political correctness and oppression of speech. So we combat that by hiring a guy … who then institutes gag orders on those agencies to stop talking to us? Here you have to ask … why? They won, these agencies aren’t going to make a difference in the coming agenda, they will become the coming agenda whether they like it or not, so why bother silencing them?

  • The White House has reaffirmed their position that millions of people voted illegally in the recent election. No evidence has been presented by any state election officials in any state, Red or Blue, to provide evidence to support this claim; no independent watchdog authority of any persuasion has come forward with any evidence;  and even fellow Republicans have stated there is no evidence of significant voter fraud

Again, why is President Trump even going down this path? His victory was verified, there were no legal challenges, he is President according to the U.S. Constitution and all applicable laws. Yet he continues to manufacture a voter fraud narrative out of whole cloth? For what possible purpose, especially when it would be so much easier to just stop wasting time talking about it and get on with the business of implementing his agenda?

The Question

So now I have to ask that one question I teased in the headline:

Trump supporters: is this really what you signed up for?

I get that you have a lot of complaints with the way things are. The Obama administration actually wasn’t that great. Sure, they had good economic numbers, but those statistics are broad and kinda suck, they don’t really reflect the realities on the ground. There are a lot of regulations that do waste money and hamper job growth (being in IT, I have to deal with Sarbanes-Oxley rules, a large number of which are ineffectual). Urban riots that hit the country in the past few years are certainly bad. The opiate epidemic that has hit many rural counties is horrific. I know I was less than thrilled with our choices this past election. I can definitely see the appeal of massive political change in this country.

But is this really what you wanted? A man so protective of his own image he’ll intentionally lie to the American people; will intentionally muzzle the most unimportant of administrative departments; and will manufacture “facts” out of whole cloth just to give him legitimacy?

I really want to know. I just don’t get it.

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Hitting the Bullseye …

I tell you what, those Women’s Marches yesterday were exactly what about 51.1% of America needed: a rallying cry shouting out that the country will not allow itself to be steamrolled by a juggernaut of egoist, portfolio-first plutocrats. Friday’s Inauguration was less of a ceremony signifying the peaceful transition of power, and more of a funeral for a friend. Saturday’s rallies were a fusillade of fireworks signifying “We’re not dead yet!”

I hope this catharsis ripples across the whole country, and boy, it certainly looks like it. Look at Boise, Idaho, one of the deepest of the deep-red states! [photo from the Idaho Statesman]

0121-wmarch

But We’re Not Playing Darts

When you listen to those who hate the notion of a Trump presidency, chief among their list of grievances is all the insulting comments he made during his candidacy and throughout his whole life. “They’re rapists”. “He’s not a war hero.” “Shut down all Muslims.” and, of course, “Grab her by the p*ssy.” He is a vulgar, vulgar man, of that there is no denying. One of my good friend’s sons is autistic, and Trump’s mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski [I’m not going to link to it because that incident is one of the most revolting things Trump has ever done — PAD] sent her into such a rage I wonder if her husband thought she was having a stroke.

So the grievances are clear. He’s a hate-filled man and deserves to be treated like a hate-filled man. Unfortunately, the country isn’t currently imperiled because the President of the Unites States is a hate-filled man. History is replete with hate-filled men sitting in the Oval Office: Andrew Jackson, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, so many others. All had tempers, all could be extremely vulgar. Even both Roosevelts had tempers and less-than-savory views on one ethnicity or another. We suffered through all of them, and some of the worst of the hate-filled shits were actually some of our greatest presidents. That’s not the actual threat to the country.

The real threat that’s out there isn’t vulgarity. The threat we face is much more dire. Donald Trump, his staff, his Cabinet, and his ideologies represent a clear and present danger to fundamental, long-standing American principles, just a few of the items on this list are:

  • the refutation of NATO and acceptance of Russian neo-imperialism
  • the disruption of trade and support of economic isolation
  • the disregard of science, not just in global warming but in vaccinations, air pollution, public health, and other things
  • doubling-down on the economic, geopolitical, and ecological insustainability of oil
  • the magnitude of danger associated with mass deportations and the foolishness of a “big wall”
  • transitioning the education of our children into profit centers for private industries
  • the abandonment of the poor and disenfranchised, whether in terms of the ACA, Medicaid, unqualified HUD management, or any of a list of other initiatives
  • a migration of the nation to plutocracy (just take a look at the Cabinet)

The weapons in their arsenal that they are already using against us?

That last one is really important here in context of Women’s March: the Left has been angered and spawned to action because of cold and calculated expertise in doing so. This is the Right’s current stock-in-trade: using anger and insult to attract and inspire followers and incite opponents into losing their reason. They’ve been doing it a looooong time and do it FAR better than the Center or the Left will ever be able to. That type of tactic simply isn’t in the playbook of the rest of us, and we shouldn’t be using it, or we’ll lose even more.

We Need to Play the Real Game — by Rewriting It

I’m convinced the defeat of the Trump administration will actually be achieved by rewriting political discourse. That’s exactly what he did: he rewrote all the laws of campaigning and won the Presidency (and leaving us standing there, with our jaws agape, wondering what the hell just happened). This is what the rest of us now have to do: we have to change the rules. I’m not entirely sure what it will take, but I’m thinking it will be a combination of these

  • the abandonment of sound-bite, sensationalist, trope-filled news media. They are powerless and ineffective and are actually aiding in the downfall of reason (i.e. they’re making you stupid).
  • the resurrection of fact-based, data-driven journalism. The truth shall set you free, and (as we’ve seen) it pisses off Donald Trump to no end.
  • moving away from protest. Protest is a reaction, and risks playing into their hands (witness the failure of Black Lives Matter because of violent protests).
  • moving towards direct legislative and legal action.

That last bullet is the real problem. The Center is sadly long dead because they did not have strong leaders. There are scant few moderates left in political office, and they are not coalesced. The Left lost because they’ve been failing to build a grassroots political organization at local and state levels and do not have a strong base. This is why the Right has been able to take power so handily.

What’s really needed is direct intervention in politics. Directly calling the offices of members of Congress. Directly challenging laws in court. Directly using FOIA and other protections to force the release of key documents. Directly participating in local politics (especially school boards) and grooming tomorrow’s elected officials.

It is time we fought back. We just need a new game plan.

 

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