By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (11/15/18)
Dear Fellow Readers,
It’s been a relatively quiet news cycle since Trump rage-tweeted his way to France and back. Filling the void has been a drip-drip of new Dem election victories as close races are decided. One that won our nomination for most notable was: Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Wins Arizona Senate Race, Flipping Second GOP Seat.
Regardless of who won, Arizona was going to have its first female Senator. Kyrsten Sinema’s opponent was Republican Martha McSally who embraced Trump through the election, but unlike Florida Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott, she and state leadership refused GOP requests to shout ‘FRAUD’, as reported by Vox: Arizona Republicans Show Losing An Election With A Little Grace Is Still Possible.
Which points us back to the relative quiet and the underlying cause – Trump’s worsening “sour mood”: Trump’s Post-Election Rage, And What It Suggests About His Alternate Reality.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake offers:
“President Trump is in a sour mood — and apparently has been ever since his party suffered its worst House losses since Watergate last week. It started with him repeatedly and continued during a trip to Europe, as in their must-read new story…”
Trump’s words after the election were about the GOP “complete victory”. His actions, behavior and demeanor said otherwise. And the outlook for Trump is not good:
“Trump’s mood could be about other factors, like internal White House turmoil, or it could be about the fact that he now has to contend with House Democrats using their majority to investigate him. But according to Dawsey and Rucker, the election continues to be a source of frustration. Trump has also fixated on the Senate race in , lodging conspiracy theories and alleging Democratic foul play without providing evidence.”
Trump’s self-invented alternative realities are real to him, it’s the basis of his ability to lie constantly. It’s this poor calculus that bites him in the ass with remarks like the greatness of his presidency leading to laughter at the U.N. General Assembly. Or his poor decision to not visit a U.S. military cemetery outside Paris as part of his trip last week to France. Who’s at fault for poor decisions? In Trump’s tossle-hair head the fault universally lies with someone else, as in Paris where he vented at staff for “not warning him that canceling the visit would prompt widespread criticism”.
Thunderdome of unhappy
For a fuller report of Trump unhinged, there is this: The White House is In Meltdown.
Paul Waldman offers a lengthy list of events, but we’ll simply make use of his well-written summary of the ever spirlling “Trump chaos”:
“New reporting paints a picture of the administration descending into a thunderdome of backstabbing and resentment as staffers jockey for position or wonder whether they should get the heck out, all presided over by an erratic, unhappy president. This might sound like a familiar story, but if it isn’t already worse than it has been before, it soon will be, especially now that the midterm elections have cast a cloud over the remaining two years of President Trump’s term.”
Trump having to face being a loser is sure to make for an ugly scene for someone so dependent on constant feeding of his ego.
But maybe there’s something else as well? The Hill reports on one possibility: Trump’s Written Responses To Mueller Questions Could Come This Week.
So Trump loses an election badly, shocking himself more than anyone else. He makes a series of poor choices through his trip to France that backfire. He’s surprised again by the widespread backlash following his appointment of loyalist and grifter Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.
And in addition, he gets to spend hours answering the written responses to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Trump’s written answers are being finalized shortly after he appointed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to oversee the special counsel investigation, a move that Democrats have criticized as an attempt to undermine Mueller’s work. Trump appointed Whitaker to replace former Attorney General , who resigned at the president’s request. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that they believe the Trump legal team will continue to approach Mueller’s questions the same way, despite the shakeup in leadership at the Justice Department.”
Trump’s spreading world of hate
Could it be any worse? As with most things in Trumplandia, Yes! Of course it is far worse – if you consider the damage Trump continues to perpetrate on us. Let’s consider one aspect of our collective real suffering that will never pierce Trump’s self-delusion of responsibility and guilt: Hate Crimes Rose 17% Last Year, According To New FBI Data.
Trump’s loyalists will resist any attempt to conflate Trump’s hateful remarks with acts of domestic terrorism that reflect his invective.
“More than half of hate crimes, about 3 out of every 5, targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, while about 1 out of 5 targeted their religion. Of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, 2,013 targeted black Americans, while 938 targeted Jewish Americans. Incidents targeting people for their sexual orientation accounted for 1,130 hate crimes, according to the FBI.”
If we look more narrowly at crimes against Jewish Americans, the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes is 37%.
There is an obvious conclusion to all except Trump and his loyal right wing minions: This Country Has a Violent White-Nationalist Problem.
There is no more reasonable denial:
“The mass murder in Pittsburgh briefly threw light on the armed and dangerous right-wing underground that journalists like Dave Neiwert and J.J. McNab have been warning us about for decades. But that event itself already has begun the long drop to the bottom of the news cycle, so I imagine the larger issues involved in the shooting already are down there waiting for it.”
No more reasonable denial, but there is this:
“But the fact remains that mainstream conservatism—and the Republican Party, which is its national political vehicle—has been playing footsie with these lunatics since the 1970s. While Republican senators are not out in the woods in camp, shooting up the landscape, prominent Republicans have been giving speeches to the more respectable political cover groups—the League of the South, the Wise Use movement—for years.”
At least when George Wallace ran for president he was honest about who he was and what he stood for but since he only received 8.6% of the vote in 1968, it’s apparently politically more savvy to loudly self-define as a ‘Nationalist’ and leave room for loyalist defense from those fainter of heart supporters who need the deniability.
The fact is, we — the U.S. — have a serious problem with White Nationalism and Trump and the GOP is playing a dangerous game. Here are two excellent works of analysis from the New York Times: U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat Of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.
The sub-head is: For two decades, domestic counterterrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized.
The second piece which is related but different: Operation ‘Infektion’; Russian Disinformation: From Cold War To Kanye.
This is a three-part video series that helps with an understanding of ‘how they do it’. How can you stand up and brag about being a Nationalist without being rejected? Not just embarrassed by a mid-term election that is within the norms of expectation, but why not repudiated and rejected?
Hey media, here’s how it should be done
And for closure – one view on the difference between an embarrassing vote outcome and being properly repudiated as standing against American principles is here:
THIS is how media needs to step up.
In the meantime, feel free to inquire about our betting odds on who will be indicted next by Mueller as well as the over/under on how many.
(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and fre for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )