Utter absence of shame highlights GOP playbook

Posted by Tom Camfield

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832

Here’s more about real news and real opinion it has effected; what some others have been saying more recently than Goethe . . .

William Rivers Pitt wrote a brief article recently on non-profit truthout.org titled “The Utter Absence of Shame.” The article began: “On the last day of July, Ken Starr—the infamous special prosecutor who began with Whitewater and ended with impeachment hearings against President Blll Clinton for lying about trysts with an intern—was on CNN voicing warnings about . . . wait for it . . . out-of-control special prosecutors. ‘I don’t want investigators and prosecutors,’ he solemnly intoned, ‘out on a fishing expedition’.”

“Of course Starr was referring to the ongoing Mueller investigations, and of course the statement is preposterous on its face. Starr’s investigation lasted four years and netted two wildly peripheral convictions. Mueller’s investigation, by comparison, has gone on for less than two years and has already seen five close Trump associates plead or be found guilty. Beyond the details is the simple fact that no one on this good Earth has less standing to prattle about ‘fishing expeditions’ than Ken Starr.”

In his concluding remarks, Pitt stated, “I have said it before and will say it again: The single greatest strength of the modern conservative movement is its utter and complete lack of shame. Its adherents will say anything, no matter how contradictory or concocted, it they think it will move the political ball down the field a few more yards. . .”

Dana Milbank, The Washington Post, Aug. 29“So President Trump is worried there will be violence if the Democrats win in November. ‘They will overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently,’ Trump reportedly told evangelical Christian leaders at a private White House dinner Monday. Citing Antifa (anarchists, not Democrats) and ‘some of these groups,’ Trump added, ‘these are violent people’.”  [Note how he deviously manages to make Antifa and Democrats one in the public mind.]

“His concern is entirely understandable. The Democrats are a menace to public safety” (wrote Milbank, a true master of sarcasm). “It is time to hit this threat to domestic tranquility right between the eyes — and to arm teachers with guns just in case a Democrat wanders into one of their classrooms looking for trouble.

“This week, for example, I was sure Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) was about to cane Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) on the Senate floor (restarting the 1856 feud in which a South Carolinian attacked Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner). Fortunately, an overheard remark about income distribution tables distracted Warren from unleashing American carnage . . .

“And in the House there is no more aggressive a man than 78-year-old Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. In Selma, Ala., in 1965, he rammed his head into a state trooper’s club so forcefully he fractured his skull . . .”—Dana Milbank is an op-ed columnist. He sketches the foolish, the fallacious and the felonious in politics. 

On the other hand we have mild-mannered Donald Trump, who actually shouted about protestors at his rallies: “Knock the cr&p out of them, would you? Seriously, okay? ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.” And who spoke of “good people on both sides” of the white-supremacist rally and riot at Charlottesville last year as it featured several deaths, extreme beating of a young Black man, etc. 

Associated Press, Aug. 30—President Donald Trump informed Congress on Thursday that he is canceling pay raises due in January for most civilian federal employees, citing budget constraints. He said he was axing a 2.1 percent across-the-board raise for most workers as well as locality pay increases averaging 25.7 percent and costing $25 billion.

This is the president who this past year signed a package of tax cuts that is forecast to expand the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years. That law provided steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

"President Trump's plan to freeze wages for these patriotic workers next year ignores the fact that they are worse off today financially than they were at the start of the decade," said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents some 700,000 federal workers. Cox said federal worker pay and benefits have been cut by more than $200 billion since 2011, and workers are currently earning 5 percent less than they did at the start of the decade.

The American public—in a poll Aug. 31: Disapproval of Donald Trump is at a new high, support for the Mueller investigation is broad and half of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll favor Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against the president (among women, support for impeachment has reached 57 percent). Sixty percent in the national survey disapprove of Trump’s performance in office, numerically the highest of his presidency; that includes 53 percent who disapprove strongly, more than half for the first time. Thirty-six percent approve, matching his low.

Contrary to his “drain the swamp” rhetoric, 45 percent say corruption in Washington has increased under Trump, while just 13 percent say it’s declined. Sixty-one percent say that if assertions by Cohen are true, Trump broke the law. Fifty-three percent also think Trump obstructed special counsel Robert Mueller’s work.

Neo-Nazis and other racists—Florida voters started receiving ugly robocalls recently targeting Democrat Andrew Gillum, the African-American candidate for governor, that are linked to a neo-Nazi website in Idaho, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. In the automated phone calls, someone speaking in an exaggerated dialect pretends to be Gillum as drums and jungle noises can be heard in the background. The caller also says he’ll pass a law letting black people escape arrest if “fo’ sho he didn’t do nothin.”

Race quickly became an issue in the Florida gubernatorial contest when Gillum’s Republican rival, Rep. Ron DeSantis, made comments that were widely viewed as a dog whistle to racists. DeSantis, strongly supported by President Donald Trump, said on Fox News after the recent primary that the “last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda.” Gillum won the Democratic primary late last month, becoming the first black nominee for Florida governor.

On Trump re: Palestine—The U.S., which until last year was by far the biggest contributor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), announced last week that it would no longer make any contributions to the "irredeemably flawed operation”. The move by President Donald Trump's administration was described as "cruel and irresponsible" by senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi and there were similar responses by a great many others. In the impoverished Gaza Strip, where most children attend UNRWA schools, 55-year-old Hisham Saqallah said the US move was "political blackmail" that would raise tensions. "If they stop aid to schools, this means destroying the futures of a large number of students and throwing them into the street," he said. See  https://www.yahoo.com/news/palestinian-anger-us-ends-funding-un-agency-114950560.html

Fact-Checking Pants-on-Fire Donald—Associated Press reported Aug. 27: “It was a week of exaggeration and outright fiction for President Donald Trump as he sought to push through a trade pact with Mexico, hyped numbers on jobs and raged against Google and the Russia investigation.”

As you can imagine, this was quite a lengthy article, too long to repeat here. However, it’s well worth reading at: https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/ap-fact-check-trumps-imaginary-wages-trade-falsehoods-044916806.html

Here’s one example—TRUMP: "This is one of the largest trade deals ever made. Maybe the largest trade deal ever made." — phone call Aug. 27 with Mexican President Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. THE FACTS: Not even close. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated by the Obama administration, included the three NAFTA partners — United States, Canada and Mexico — plus Japan and eight other Pacific Rim countries. Trump withdrew the United States from the pact in his third day in office.

Wikipedia on income inequality“Income inequality in the United States has increased significantly since the 1970s after several decades of stability, meaning the share of the nation's income received by higher income households has increased. This trend is evident with income measured both before taxes (market income) as well as after taxes and transfer payments. Income inequality has fluctuated considerably since measurements began around 1915, moving in an arc between peaks in the 1920s and 2000s, with a 30-year period of relatively lower inequality between 1950–1980.Recasting the 2012 income using the 1979 income distribution, the bottom 99% of families would have averaged about $7,100 more income.”

The vice-president—As late as the year 2000, Vice-President Mike Pence denied that smoking could kill you. "Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill,"  Mike Pence wrote in an op-ed piece at the time.

Donald Trump— He told Fox News Channel in an interview after his Singapore summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” Or in case you missed it, this one during one of his typical anti-media rants at the VFW convention in Kansas City July 25:  "Stick with us. Don't believe the cr&p you see from these people, the fake news . . . What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.” In effect saying: I (and those who support me) are the only ones telling you the truth. Anything you hear from anyone who is not me is not to be believed.

And me—Self-anointed giant that your are, Donald, look down once in a while. There are "little people" all around down here and you're stepping all over us.

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