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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 09:48 PM
Number of posts: 10,671

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I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

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He is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better

Fire, pestilence and a country at war with itself: the Trump presidency is over
Robert Reich
A pandemic unabated, an economy in meltdown, cities in chaos over police killings. All our supposed leader does is tweet

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.

He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV and tweeting.


His advisers aren’t truth-tellers. They’re toadies, lackeys, sycophants and relatives.

Since moving into the Oval Office in January 2017, Trump hasn’t shown an ounce of interest in governing. He obsesses only about himself.

But it has taken the present set of crises to reveal the depths of his self-absorbed abdication – his utter contempt for his job, his total repudiation of his office.

Trump’s nonfeasance goes far beyond an absence of leadership or inattention to traditional norms and roles. In a time of national trauma, he has relinquished the core duties and responsibilities of the presidency.

He is no longer president. The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.

We Need to Speak Honestly About the GOP's Evolution Into a Conspiracy Cult

We Need to Speak Honestly About the GOP’s Evolution Into a Conspiracy Cult


One of the challenges in analyzing modern American politics is accurately describing the Republican Party without seeming unserious and hyperbolic. Major publications are understandably in the habit of presenting both sides of the partisan divide as being inherently worthy of respect and equal consideration, both as a way of shielding themselves from accusations of bias and as a way of maintaining their own sense of journalistic integrity.

Unfortunately, the modern Republican Party’s abdication of seriousness, good faith and reality-based communications or policy-making has stretched even the most open-minded analyst’s capacity for forced balance. Donald Trump’s own inability to string together coherent or consistent thoughts has led to a bizarre normalization of his statements in the traditional media, as journalists unconsciously try to fit his rambling, spontaneous utterances into a conventional framework. This has come at the cost of Americans seeing the full truth of the crisis of leadership in the Oval Office for what it is. For instance, it was ironically salutary for the American public to witness Donald Trump’s bizarre pandemic press conferences where he oddly attacked reporters for asking innocuous questions and recommended researching bleach and sunlight injections, because they got to see Trump raw as he truly is, without the normalization filter. Republicans have long argued that the “mainstream media filter” gives them a bad shake, but the reality is the opposite: sure, it’s not as good as being boosted by Fox News’ overt propaganda, but it does them a greater service than letting the public see them unfiltered at all.

But there comes a tipping point at which it becomes too dangerous to keep up the pretense. Most people left of center would argue (rightly, I believe) that we hit that point long, long ago and the time to re-evaluate journalistic norms and practices should have been decades earlier when the GOP was busy covering up the Iran Contra scandal and promoting the Laffer Curve as serious public policy. Or that any number of catastrophes of conservative public policy and norm erosion since should have sounded the alarms along the way, from the Bush v Gore decision and the Brooks Brothers Riots to the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq, to the deregulation-fueled Wall Street crash, birtherism, the Benghazi obsession and the nomination of Donald Trump. Many would point with legitimate outrage to the abdication of responsibility in the face of climate change, yawning inequality, forced family separation policy, children in cages and so much else.

But even faced with awful consequences of all these horrors, a defender of traditional journalism might simply chalk them up to policy differences in a democratic society. They would be wrong to do so, but the position would be intellectually defensible in principle.

But recently there has been a shift among GOP voters that is different not just in degree of virulence, but also in kind. For a host of different reasons, core Republican voters have begun to reconstitute themselves as a conspiracy theory cult devoted to beliefs that were once relegated to the farthest fringe–fictions that cannot help but end in civil conflict and violence if they fully become canon among conservative voters nationwide. This process arguably began as far back as Glenn Beck’s prominence on Fox News, but it has now blossomed into a grandiose collective paranoid fantasy.


George W Bush paved the way for Trump - to rehabilitate him is appalling

George W Bush paved the way for Trump – to rehabilitate him is appalling


On Saturday, Bush put out a video calling for compassion and national unity during the coronavirus crisis. In it, he declared: “We are not partisan combatants; we are human beings.” This is a lovely message; really, it is. It is just a shame he wasn’t so invested in our shared humanity when he used the fabricated threat of weapons of mass destruction to bomb Iraq into oblivion. It is a pity he didn’t think about “how small our differences are” when he fought LGBTQ+ rights. It is unfortunate he wasn’t so concerned about compassion during his botched and heartless response to Hurricane Katrina.

If there were an Oscar for best use of cinematography to whitewash a bloody legacy, then Dubya has certainly earned it. His three-minute message – which was part of The Call to Unite, a project featuring videos from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts – has been viewed more than 6m times and generated widespread praise. With Trump in office, suddenly Bush doesn’t seem so bad to many observers. At least Bush could reach across the political aisle now and again. “Bush handled post-Katrina by asking his father and Bill Clinton to help,” tweeted Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ White House correspondent. “The current president has been uninterested in asking his predecessors to get involved as the country deals with Covid.”

We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to normalise Bush or rewrite his record just because Trump is unleashing his own campaign of shock and awfulness. We don’t have to minimise the enormous damage Bush did just because he didn’t tweet misspelled abuse at his political enemies. We don’t have to do any of this – but a lot of Americans seem desperately to want to. This is partly because the US has a deep-seated reverence for its heads of state, as illustrated by the fact they retain the honorific of president after they have left office. Perhaps because Britain is a monarchy with a longer history than the US, we don’t see our head of government as a national mother or father figure in quite the same way.

However, the bigger motivation behind the apparent desire to rehabilitate Bush is probably a desperation among liberals to see Trump as an anomaly who doesn’t reflect the “real” US. But Trump is not an aberration. He didn’t emerge from a vacuum. The lies, jingoism and anti-intellectualism of the Bush era helped pave the way for him – and the steady rehabilitation of Bush is paving the way for Trump to evade accountability in the future.

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