Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 2017

What Trump has done in the past four weeks

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You can see why a mental test is a good idea.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 3:54 pm

The Week When President Trump Resigned

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Frank Bruni has a strong column in the NY Times:

As the worst week in a cursed presidency wound down, I spotted more and more forecasts that Donald Trump would resign, including from Tony Schwartz, who wrote “The Art of the Deal” for Trump and presumably understands his tortured psyche.

They struck me not as wishful or fantastical.

They struck me as late.

Trump resigned the presidency already — if we regard the job as one of moral stewardship, if we assume that an iota of civic concern must joust with self-regard, if we expect a president’s interest in legislation to rise above vacuous theatrics, if we consider a certain baseline of diplomatic etiquette to be part of the equation.

By those measures, it’s arguable that Trump’s presidency never really began. By those measures, it’s indisputable that his presidency ended in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon, when he chose — yes, chose — to litigate rather than lead, to attend to his wounded pride instead of his wounded nation and to debate the supposed fine points of white supremacy.

He abdicated his responsibilities so thoroughly and recklessly that it amounted to a letter of resignation. Then he whored for his Virginia winery on the way out the door.

Trump knew full well what he should have done, because he’d done it — grudgingly and badly — only a day earlier. But it left him feeling countermanded, corrected, submissive and weak, and those emotions just won’t do for an ego as needy and skin as thin as his. So he put id before country and lashed out, in a manner so patently wrong and transcendently ruinous that TV news shows had to go begging for Republican lawmakers to defend or even try to explain what he’d said.

Those lawmakers wanted no part of him. The same went for the corporate chieftains he considers his peers. And for the generals he genuinely reveres. The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all went out of their way to issue statements condemning the hatred that Trump wouldn’t take on. A soft coup against a cuckoo: It confirmed how impotent Trump had become.

On Tuesday he “relinquished what presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan have regarded as a cardinal duty of their job: set a moral course to unify the nation,” wrote The Times’s Mark Landler, in what was correctly labeled a news analysis and not an opinion column. Landler’s assessment, echoed by countless others, was as unassailable as it was haunting, and it was prompted in part by Trump’s perverse response to a question that it’s hard to imagine another president being asked: Did he place the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., on the same “moral plane” as those who showed up to push back at them?

“I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane,” Trump answered.

Indeed he wasn’t. And if you can’t put anybody on a moral plane, you can’t put yourself on Air Force One.

On Friday Trump finally dismissed his polarizing chief strategist, Steve Bannon. That’s excellent. And irrelevant. A president’s team doesn’t matter when he himself is this lost.

In The Atlantic, under the headline “Donald Trump Is a Lame-Duck President,” David Graham wrote: “For most presidents, that comes in the last few months of a term. For Trump, it appears to have arrived early, just a few months into his term. The president did always brag that he was a fast learner.”

In Axios, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei noted that the president had “systematically damaged or destroyed his relationship with — well, almost every group or individual essential to success.” They then listed these “methodically alienated” constituencies: “the public,” “CEOs,” “the intelligence community,” “every Democrat who could help him do a deal,” “world leaders,” “Europe,” “his own staff.”

In The Times,  . . .

Continue reading. And do read the whole thing.

Later:

Because of his victories in the Republican primary and then the general election, his campaign was hailed for its tactical genius. But it was driven by, and tailored to, his emotional cravings. All that time on Twitter wasn’t principally about a direct connection to voters. It was a way to stare at an odometer of approval and monitor, in real time, how broadly his sentiments were being liked and shared.

Applause. Greater brand exposure. A new layer of perks atop an existence already lavish with them. Utter saturation of Americans’ consciousness. These were his foremost goals. Governing wasn’t, and that was obvious in his haziness and dishonesty before Election Day and in his laziness and defiance after.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 2:24 pm

Excellent analysis of where Trump is now and how he got there

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Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 1:48 pm

Trump’s big business CEOs are horrified by his Confederate excuses — but his religious advisers have nothing but praise

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Of course, churches in the antebellum South thought slavery was fine and the Civil War didn’t necessarily change their minds or outlook. Matthew Sheffield reports in Salon:

Corporate CEOs aren’t exactly regarded as bastions of morality but it’s notable that more than a few of President Donald Trump’s economic advisers have decided to cut ties with him after his repeated defenses of racists in Charlottesville, Virginia. By contrast, as of this writing, literally none of Trump’s religious right allies have decided to cut ties.

Incredibly, some of these Christian nationalist advisors have actually praised Trump for words that even his fellow Republicans have been condemning in droves.

On Thursday, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University tweeted out that he was “so proud” of Trump. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 1:27 pm

White nationalist has a meltdown on tape

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Amazing. It’s from Newsweek.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Daily life

Romney calls on Trump to address the nation, apologize for Charlottesville comments

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We’ve long since crossed the frontier of precedented, but surely we move further into unprecedented territory when it comes to this, reported in the Washington Post by John Wagner:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Friday called on President Trump to address the nation and apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville, warning of “an unraveling of our national fabric” if Trump doesn’t take “remedial action in the extreme.”

“Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said in a lengthy Facebook post.

With his post, Romney, who was highly critical of Trump during last year’s campaign but later considered by Trump for secretary of state, became the latest high-profile Republican to speak out about the president’s comments, in which he blamed both sides for the hate-fueled violence at a gathering organized by white supremacists.

Romney said the Republican president’s words had hurt the morale of the military and threatened U.S. security.

“Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate,” Romney wrote. “America’s ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?”

Romney also voiced concern about . . .

Continue reading.

Of course, Trump continues to have support of part of the public (around 35%, apparently) and quite a few in Congress.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 1:06 pm

Extremely ominous: Months before Charlottesville violence, minorities were already feeling alienated and excluded

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Jonathan Collins reports in the Washington Post:

The violence in Charlottesville this past weekend — and President Trump’s unwillingness to unequivocally condemn the white nationalist groups behind it — has produced widespread condemnation of these groups and Trump himself.

Although the “alt-right” expresses its views in the guise of “equality” for whites, its prejudice toward minority groups is clear. Thus, the events in Charlottesville represent a clear threat to a variety of racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

But we should not let that threat obscure a more basic reality: Well before the violence in Charlottesville, minority groups were already feeling threatened, alienated and excluded. A newly empowered white nationalist movement may heighten those feelings, but they are hardly new. The implication is that addressing those feelings will require much more than the marginalization of white supremacy.

A unique survey sheds important light on the views of minorities. From Dec. 3, 2016, to Feb. 15, 2017, the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) conducted 10,145 online interviews in five languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese). The sample included larger samples of ethnic minority groups than in traditional surveys: 3,102 African Americans, 3,003 Latinos and 3,006 Asian Americans, as well as 1,034 whites. The sample included registered and unregistered voters in addition to non-citizens, all of whom were recruited through a mix of registered voter listings that could be matched to email addresses as well as opt-in online panels. The data for each racial group are weighted to match 2015 Census data in terms of age, gender, education, nativity, ancestry and voter registration. More detail about the study’s methodology can be found here, and the full questionnaire can be accessed here.

One important question in the survey asked only to African Americans sought to measure whether they perceived an increasing sense of threat from whites: “Since President Obama’s election, do you feel that whites have become more racially discriminatory and angry towards blacks?” The majority of African Americans (57 percent) said yes. Of that majority, almost 60 percent believed that the increase in discrimination and hatred was due to the growing “belief that blacks are advancing more than whites.” Similarly, 71 percent of African Americans believed that discrimination against them as a group was a “very important” factor in explaining disparities in education, income and homeownership between whites and African Americans. The survey did pose these questions immediately following questions about racialized police violence, which could have heightened African Americans’ sense of threat, but a Pew Research Center survey conducted before the election found similar results.

Racial and ethnic minorities were also more likely to  . . .

Continue reading.

I would say this is quite ominous, as is the geographic distribution of hate groups. We are coming to a crossroads.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 12:54 pm

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