June 18, 2022

What's Weirder?

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One thing stood out for me in Trump’s rambling word salad vomit-inducing hate-filled speech on Friday at a Faith and Freedom event in Nashville, Tennessee (watch video here). What may have stood out to those of you who saw it replayed (I saw it in RawStory article) his characterization of Rep. Adam Shift as “watermelon head” This is how he put it: “I watched this Adam Schiff the other day. Shifty Schiff, this guy is nothing. He's nothing -- we call him watermelon head."

Hmmm, now we know Trump may be watching stations like MSNBC which air interviews with Rep. Schiff. I doubt Fox News interviews him.

His all but promising he’d pardon those who stormed the Capital if he’s reelected is also making headlines, on HUFFPOST for example: 

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Trump uses projection all the time accusing Democrats of doing what he’s doing. This is the line which came near the beginning of the series of disjointed diatribes which jumped out at me:

 “that is why this month we’re going to stand up to the left-wing fascism...”

Not only is this sheer projection but it defies the very definition of the word fascism. This is how my online dictionary defines fascism (my emphasis):

fas·cism| ˈfaSHˌiz(ə)m | (also Fascism) noun an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. • derogatory extremely authoritarian, intolerant, or oppressive ideas or behavior: an outright ban is just fascism. • [with modifier] very intolerant or domineering views or practices in a particular area: this is yet another example of health fascism in action. The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43); the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also Fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.

The website World Population Review his this definition

Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultranationalist political philosophy. Fascist governments traditionally take the form of a one-party dictatorship led by a single person. Fascism stands in contrast to the principles of democracy, in which the government should work to benefit all of its citizens, and instead views the nation's wealth and success as far more important than the welfare of its citizens. As a result, there are very few individual human rights, if any, at all, under a fascist regime. Fascist regimes often create stark divisions between classes in both society and the economy and use force to suppress opposition and keep the masses under control. Some extreme fascist regimes can also be classified as totalitarian countries.

The ignorance of a man whose own Secretary of State called a moron about the meaning of various political terms is not surprising. For the man who not only lies like a rug and is also a font of misinformation and ignorance personified, this one struck me as particularly weird.

In a completely different way than my reaction to the segment of Trump’s speech that I watched did, it struck me as weird how the far-right militias have expanded their enemy’s list to include members of the LGBTQ+ community and target, literally, Pride parades.  Did some group have a meeting and decide to do this or was there some secret national strategy meeting and they decided to enter the culture wars? Regardless, it’s like these people, mostly young men, have to have something to vent their collective spleens over and they decided, what the hell, we hate gay people and they’re having parades, and there are no political events making the news this week so lets head to Idaho and if we don’t get to do some gay bashing at least we’ll make the news. Guess what? They did the later:

At least in the appalling event that if Trump becomes president again, he can’t pardon them because if convicted it will be for breaking state laws. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these men are so stupid that they think Trump has the authority even now to pardon them.

The competition for the weirdest political news of the day or week is always tough. I’d have to call this one as a toss-up between the two I thought were pretty damn weird.

Here’s a three minute segment of Trump’s hour long speech if you can stand to watch it. I think it ranks up there with his most unhinged and incoherent speeches.

He also said that these extremists (on the left) are “consumed by rage against nature” among other off-the-wall things.

Having watched this video I have my doubts whether he even wrote the coherent parts, few as they were, of the speech. I suspect someone gives him bullet points which end up on his teleprompter and he riffs with his disgusting sure to get laughs in a friendly crowd (as some of these did) ad libs.

Addendum:

Some comments below. 

Read more on Daily Kos here. 

If Trump was actually a nearly as good a comedian as Volodymyr Zelensky was, even though he’s reprehensible it would be one thing, but he’s about as funny as a rubber crutch… oh wait, he and his audience think a rubber crutch is hilarious.

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Read article: www.msn.com/...

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I see from the poll that some readers haven’t watched the three minute video. I know it is time you will never get back, and it is sickening to some to even watch and listen to him, but I recommend you do. Ask yourself whether Republicans in political office watch speeches like this and really think they want someone as unhinged as this to be their standard bearer.

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This is from Trump disparages Pence for lack of 'courage' as Jan. 6 hearings continue in The Tennessean.

But Trump appeared to be paying attention, spending more than a half hour of his speech disparaging the committee and current Republican leadership.

"We have to fight some very sick and very evil people,” Trump said, describing the bipartisan House committee as having a “menacing spirit” and being “con artists" putting on a "theatrical production."

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Excerpts:

For now, Reed (the organization founder) sees it as the evangelical group’s role to remain neutral during the primary, like in 2012 and 2016, and offer potential 2024 candidates an opportunity to make connections with the Christian voters who will play an outsized role in deciding the nominee.

The stage in Nashville offered potential 2024 candidates like Sens. Tim Scott(R-S.C.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley the chance to directly address some of the nation’s most influential evangelical grassroots activists and local leaders. On Saturday night, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to deliver a speech.

Notably absent from the lineup were former Vice President Mike Pence, a veteran of the conference with deep ties to the evangelical Christian movement, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

On Friday, Trump talked extensively about Pence, attacking him in front of the Republicans who are most sympathetic to him: evangelical Christians.

“Mike Pence had a chance to be great,” Trump said. “He had a chance, quite frankly, to be historic. Mike did not have the courage to act.”

After an awkward pause, the audience responded with light applause.

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These may be the kinds of really scary things that far-right militia members are being influenced by:

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Read: www.lgbtqnation.com/...

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I don’t know whether the Michigan Attorney General regrets saying this, noting she ended up throwing red meat to the far-right culture warriors like Donald Trump, Jr. 

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Read: www.lgbtqnation.com/...

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Here in Portland, where I live, we are a magnet for far-right groups like The Proud Boys, this is making the news ahead of our Pride events:

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Read: www.koin.com/...

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June 17, 2022

Far-right militias

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First, I want to be absolutely clear about my position. I think the insurrectionists must be vigorously  prosecuted.

 In watching the J6 hearing yesterday, especially where they showed how close the Proud Boys and other insurrectionists bent on killing Mike Pence came to achieving their goal, two very disturbing things occurred to me.  One is that this revelation could be a good recruiting tool for the far-right militias, and the other is that it they can learn strategic and tactical lessons from the mistakes they made in achieving their goal.

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From the point of view of those who were in the mob who came 40 feet from Vice President Pence, his aides, and the Secret Service detail can lead to the “we came so damn close” reaction. The likelihood that some of them probably would have died won’t be sobering for many of them. Few if any of them would have thought it would have been them who took a Secret Service bullet, and second they’d believe that such a martyrdom would have made them heroes of their movement.  

I have little doubt that there are many people who have resisted doing this before would respond to calls to join far-right militias. One of the unavoidable results of the publicity generated by the televised hearing is that there are people across the country for whom this will make being a member of a far right militia seem glamourous.

I can see that the leaders of these groups who have avoided prison called an “Apalachin meeting” of sorts.  This is when, in 1957, leaders of the Mafia met to coordinate their criminal activities. (Fortunately, 60 underworld bosses were detained and indicted following the raid.) 

The incarceration of leaders like Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who has been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol assault, and others will only be a temporary setback. These people will become martyrs to the insurrectionist cause and the more well known leader’s images can easily end up as great recruiting tools for them. While the hearings show how close Trump’s mob came to undermining democracy their interpretation come from Trump himself that the goals was to preserve the Constitution. As long as he continues to send this message he is really their chief recruiter.  

One of the messages coming out of the J6 Committee can be used as a slogan for far-right militias: “we almost succeeded last time, next time we will succeed”. 

From their perspective one of the lessons from their failed attempt to be the tip of the spear for Trump’s coup is that if they try something similar again their planning and preparation must be far better. I have little doubt that if they tried this again they'd be armed with firearms.  The leaders, some probably with a military background, would have to indoctrinate their troops in a kind of jihadist mentality so they’d be prepared to sacrifice their lives. 

All I can hope for is that the Department of Justice and FBI are considering all these factors and looking back to their successes, and failures, in fighting organized crime as a template or roadmap for how they will dismantle and destroy these organized bad boys and their deadly toys.

As for the Capital Police, I think it won’t be long before we see them wearing body armor and carrying military assault weapons which are even more deadly that the civilian versions like the AR-15. Unfortunately, Americans will have to accept that access to the Capital will feel more like going through a TSA screening at an airport and that the police there look like members of a SWAT team.

On January 15, 2021 Newsweek published “Far-Right Militias Pose Greatest Threat to US National Security, Experts Say.” 

Here’s an excerpt:

Far-right militias pose the greatest threat to the national security of the United States, experts tell Newsweek.

In stark language, they warned of the increasingly grave risk posed by these organized armed extremist movements, as they seek to capitalize on unprecedented political instability to wage war on their own country.

"The threat posed by domestic groups is real," Richard Fontaine, chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security think tank, told Newsweek.

This is the world Trump ushered in for us. He remains the leader of each and every American far-right militia. If he died tomorrow he’d no longer be able to issue orders through thinly disguised tweets, or even directly through others, however in some ways he’d be stronger in death than in life.


June 16, 2022

Trump 2024 sh*tshow says advisor

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Trump advisor on 2024 run "another fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants sh*t show". Is he the best for Democrats to beat?

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I was struck by this paragraph in “Trump's inner circle is keeping their distance from his 2024 presidential plans: report” by Tom Boggionii in RawStory:

As one advisor admitted, “I don’t think the lack of planning means he’s not actually serious about running. It just means it’s going to be another fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants sh*t show if he does.”

Here’s a related CNN article: “Trump is weighing whether to announce a 2024 bid before the midterms. Advisers are divided on that timing.”

My sense is that for the Democrats Trump would be the best candidate to run against rather than any other in the group of comparatively sane Republicans who have presidential aspirations. This is because I see that Trump’s mental deterioration and connection with reality is in an ever steeper decline. I say this as a retired psychotherapist who spent his 40 year career working with a variety of psychotically impaired patients. Contributing to Trump’s impairment is that he is surrounding himself with a cadre of advisors as unmoored from reality as he is.  It is like the inmates are running the asylum.

Can you imagine the likes of Steve Bannon, if he’s not in prison, flat earth believer Lin Wood, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Peter Navarro, John Eastman (if he’s not in jail too) and Mr. Pillow running his campaign? Hell, maybe he’d hire Ginni Thomas.

Call Trump running a shit show or a heep of garbage of a campaign, you say tomato and I say tomatoe. This is from Salon: 

"Garbage in. Garbage out”: Trump's former chief of staff trashes Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell --Trump's inner circle at the end was … [Rudy] Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, Peter Navarro," said Mick Mulvaney.

Donald Trump's former White House Staff White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Monday called members of the former president's inner circle "garbage" during the January 6 hearings.

"Trump's inner circle at the end was … [Rudy] Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, Peter Navarro," Mulvaney tweeted. "Garbage in. Garbage out."

He cannot win an election with a base composed of largely of believers in QAnon conspiracies, White supremacists, neo-fascists who want a dictatorship, and gullible low information dim bulb voters. He needs the disaffected blue collar middle class voters who led to his being elected in 2020.

Would enough of these sane voters vote for a raving lunatic to swing an election his way? I don’t think so.

Consider how you think Trump would fare running for president compared to DeSantis, Pence, and others (in no particular order) Senators Ted Cruz, Tim Scott and Tom Cotton; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Mike Pompeo, and I’ll throw in Tucker Carlson, who might give DeSantis, Pence, or any of the others a run for their money. Some of them will pull in the culture warriors and history revisionists, the anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion single issue voters, the outright racist bigots, and other similar groups, though there might not be enough of them to swing the election.

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 The Sandra Sanders speech wasn't psychiatric word salad, it was deliberate gaslighting By Hal Brown, MSW Those of us who  watch  MSNBC ...