“He was simply a spy. A traitor to the motherland. He‘s simply a scumbag, that’s all.“
— Russian President Vladimir Putin (10/4/18).
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (10/4/18)
Dear Fellow Readers,
It is a common trait of strongman nationalists to enforce order and attack their opponents. This is more than political hardball and Trump has brought this to the U.S. Trump demurs and says, “many sides” and his cult nods, smiles, laughs and stand with him because they hate the same things — the same people. When Trump offers his “many sides” with a smirk and a shoulder shrug after Charlottesville it was his then senior adviser Steve Bannon that said Trump, “was taking it to a higher level”. Bannon also said, “Donald Trump’s a fighter. Great counter puncher. Great counter puncher. He’s a fighter.”
The strongman approach – it’s not just a need to win, it’s a need to crush, belittle and humiliate one’s antagonist. Putin belittles Skripal (the above quote), the former Russian double agent poisoned, along with his daughter Yulia, in the UK.)As Woodward aptly named his book, ‘Fear’ as the way to keep the hoi polio in line.
On Tuesday evening Trump crudely mocked Judge Brett Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. By any reasonable standard what Trump did was despicable. But to who? Watch the three men over Trump’s right shoulder, they laugh and applaud, so is it despicable? Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) say Trump’s comments were wrong. So who is wrong – Trump, his supporters, the Russpublicans that shake their head in dismay and say nothing? Before you answer…
Tuesday the New York Times ran a 14,000-word expose on Trump tax schemes that had him receiving the equivalent of $413 million from his father (he always claimed $1 million), exposing him to charges of tax fraud. When asked, Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway coyly deflected with a comment about how Trump always gets the last laugh with the New York Times. If Trump gets away with it, was he wrong?
Before we rush to a conclusion, let’s consider Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck ‘Angry’ Grassley (S-KY), Sen. Orin ‘I believe him’ Hatch (R-UT) and the rest of the GOP members of the committee. Hatch and Grassley had their staff vet a person that questioned the accusations of Kavanaugh’s first-hand knowledge of sexual assault and rape made by Julie Swetnick. AND they released the results of the interviews with Dennis Ketterer because it undermined the credibility of Swetnick. It’s enough to make us think that Sen. Lindsey Graham’s angry five-minute outburst at the hearings was disingenuous. Cue the caring head shakes of Flake and Collins.
The award for wanton cruelty & dishonestly goes to…
But here is our nominee for the Trump strongman poster child candidate for the news cycle: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielson: An Internal Report Lays Bare The Trump Administration’s Dishonesty About Family Separations.
We won’t dig into the article but just note that DHS and Nielson are fingered for cruelty, lying and incompetence over the Trump administration policy of separating families and locking up legal immigrant children in cages; soe of thse children too young to speak.
In case you needed a refresher, the White House said it didn’t have a choice but to do this and even said it wasn’t a policy:
- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”
- Trump: “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.”
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “It’s the law, and that’s what the law states.”
But Nielson is also in the news for this: The Cybersecurity 202: ‘No indication’ China Intends To Interfere With Midterm Elections, Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Says.
That’s right, a few days after Trump accuses China of interfering in U.S. midterm elections at the UN General Assembly, Nielsen quietly walks back Trump’s accusation.
“The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t seen signs that China seeks to interfere in the midterm elections by targeting election infrastructure, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday — a statement at odds with remarks President Trump made about Beijing last week.”
So Nielsen wins. Not just for her cruelty and ineptness, but for the complete lack of trust she instills in her execution of her responsibilities. One would think her ability to completely undermine the credibility of the institution she heads would win her the recognition she grovels for: Trump’s approval. But just like Trump’s apparent disdain for Kavanaugh because he dislikes drinkers, it’s a wonder that the Trump sycophants never seem to learn that, as republican strategist Rick Wilson never-Trumper observes in his newly published book by the same name, “everything Trump touches dies”.
Mitch’s traitorous threat
But for a statute of limitations as a parameter for deciding the award, Sen. Mitch McConnell would have won hands down: McConnell threatened Brennan & Obama to prevent CIA disclosure of Putin’s 2016 interference.
Most of us remember that McConnell was the sole opponent to a bi-partian statement by the Obama administration condemning Russia for interference in the midterm elections. But it wasn’t just his resistance; the new news is about his threats:
“…not only did McConnell refuse to sign on to a bi-partisan statement condemning Russian interference in the 2016 election, he actually went much further. He threatened that if the CIA disclosed it’s finding that Putin was actively working to elect Trump, then McConnell would in turn blame Brennan and Obama for trying to influence the election. This was a threat and it has not previously been reported, though there have been hints in prior reporting.”
This of course is the same guy who boasted, “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, ‘You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy’”. This of course was when he blocked Obama’s SCOTUS nomination of Merrick Garland.
Which brings us full circle as McConnell now lectures the nation on obstruction by Dems, going so far as to invoke the shadow of the ‘McCarthy Era’.
This man, this administration, this president know no shame.
Cheap counterfeit of a president*
We’re going to give the final word to Charles Pierce of Esquire as he calls Trump a “vicious buffoon”.
“We have had good presidents and bad—a Buchanan is followed by a Lincoln who is followed by an Andrew Johnson, and so forth. But we never have had such a cheap counterfeit of a president* as currently occupies the office.
“…Isn’t he a funny man? Isn’t what happened to that lady hilarious? Watch the assembled morons cheer. This is the only story now.”
Trump, McConnell, Graham, Sarah Sanders, Conway, Grassley, Hatch, Bannon, Nielsen… how do you pick one? We did – Nielsen – but McConnell gets his life-time achievement award while he is still in office.
As for a last laugh, Conway may want to note that New York state tax authorities have already announced a much-needed-too-log- delayed review of Trump family tax affairs.
Vote. Vote for Oversight.
(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )