AuthorTopic: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 107168 times)

Offline Agent Graves

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1395 on: August 01, 2018, 10:17:22 PM »
Quote from: GO
Deeds, not the resume Surly, it's the deeds. 

Point made, and fair enough. I commend you to Mueller's deeds. Where therein do you find evidence for "tainted political crony?" Or that "this whole affair is a political witch hunt" outside the tweets of an obviously guilty criminal, and his political wingman, Hannity?

They seem to bring out these above reproach straight men like Colin Powell, to play like aces to sell the big ones. According to the rest of the doomosphere, alt media and international news:

Mueller bluffed that he found evidence, and then when one of the accused fronted to defend the case, he dropped it. Then he indicts another 12 russians who he knows can not be extradited, but when Putin offers to let them be interrogated he doesnt take up the offer. how about presenting zero evidence at all for the whole US  MSM narrative based entirely on his serious face and resume of getting to the top swimming with sharks, same as the also beyond reproach Comey. How about prosecuting muckraking as meddling when it is standard practice? How about his sidekick Strzok saying that they have no evidence, and that they are doing their best to stop a Trump presidency? How about losing the server like the moon landing footage? How about being a top level insider, but never calling out any false flag?

I expect given enough time he will find a few things of some substance in Trumps dealings to prosecute. The problem is, proving what we already know; that hes a con artist and crook who would sell his grandma to the highest bidder are not reasons to start a war. Mueller and Trump are probably both high up enough to have a place in the big bomb shelter, after signing off on the trigger. Fox/CNN tell us this amounts to the same thing as twin towers, gulf of tonkin, WMD and pearl harbor, just nuclear.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 10:53:52 PM by Agent Graves »
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Trumpism: The Real Danger of Donald Trump
« Reply #1396 on: August 03, 2018, 07:31:41 AM »
Draitser gets most of this right, except for the fact that what he refers to as "Trumpism" is actually what the Republican party has become after a 40-year logical progression. From the race-baiting of Nixon's "southern strategy," through Lee Atwater's Willie Horton ads, through Leroy Gingrich's "Contract on America" to the present day, one in which the Orange Lout has become the apotheosis of the right-wing fever dreams of a radicalized cult of white nationalists, racists, cornpone nazis, delusional Christopaths and assorted rage-filled twats. Raise your hand if you recognize yourself in that description.

A recent CBS News Battleground Tracker poll found that, among people who self-identify as strong Trump supporters, 91% trust Trump to give them accurate information – the truth. 91 percent! Friends & Family came in second at 63 percent. Let those numbers sink in for a moment. More than 9 out of 10 Trump supporters believe, seemingly a priori, anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth. This tells us something about Trump and his power. But perhaps even more ominous is what it tells us about Trumpists.

This is what happens when you are able to relentlessly propagandize a third of the country such that they are immune to evidence and prefer instead a diet of their own "facts." Q Anon, anyone? How about another helping of Alex Jones?

Trumpism: The Real Danger of Donald Trump

Trumpism: The Real Danger of Donald Trump

by

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

From the very moment Donald Trump was elected President, I have had one overriding fear. It is a fear that no one in the corporate media will ever articulate because it is extremely bad for ratings. It is a fear that very few in the alternative media ever discuss, or even consider. It is a fear that haunts our future.

My fear is that the United States falls into the ideological morass of fascism. Not necessarily the goose-stepping Nazis and gas chambers brand of fascism, but something akin to it, uniquely American and yet unmistakably fascist. An apple pie laced with cyanide, just like grandma used to make.

I can already hear the groans from some of my fellow leftists about the alarmism, or the temerity to say that a white supremacist, patriarchal, settler-colonial imperialist project such as the United States, built on slavery, dispossession, and genocide as it was, could possibly slip further into the abyss. But it’s true.

To quote Bizarro Ronald Reagan: “America’s worst days lie ahead. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

But why do I say that no one in the corporate media will say this when it seems every day, all over traditional and social media, that Trump is a fascist? How can I possibly suggest that no one is discussing the threat of fascism in America when much ink has been devoted to Trump’s flirtation with, and embrace of, many aspects of classical fascism?

The answer is rather simple: Trump is not the fascist threat, Trumpism is.

Donald Trump, as both a president and human being, is concerned primarily with Donald Trump. To the extent that he has an ideology, it is one of individual success and narcissistic delusions. Loathsome though this human nematode may be, he as an individual does not represent a threat beyond the wide-ranging ramifications of his policies (climate denialism, racist application of immigration laws, etc.). And were that the only concern, then we could all go back to our regularly scheduled politics of corporate neoliberal imperialism.

However, what Trump has done is cobble together an array of far right, reactionary political forces that are angry and beginning to get organized. And what happens to those forces once Donald Trump leaves the political scene? Will they simply dissipate into the ether, consigning their fascist politics to some distant memory as they pack away their Gadsden flags, Blue Lives Matter pins, and Punisher’s Skull stickers in some old trunk in the attic?

No, instead they’ll be looking for their next leader, the next demagogue who, unlike Trump, will be a slick, photogenic, well-tailored and well-spoken ideologue. Not just a fascist, but a true believer. He’s out there right now somewhere, watching the political evolution of this nascent movement, thinking just how much he could accomplish with the right talking points and a clean, wholesome family image.

And he’s there. Biding his time. Waiting for his turn which he feels, with much justification, is inevitable.

From Personality Cult to Megachurch

What separates a typical political supporter and a cultist is faith; the cultist believes without question that truth is only that which bolsters, supports, or flatters the venerated and dear leader. While politicians create bases, campaigns, and networks of supporters, cult leaders create armies of fanatics prepared to sacrifice their own well-being for the good of the dear leader.

And it is clear that Trumpism is not so much an ideology as a personality cult. It is held together in various ways by some policy positions and ideological principles – extreme nationalism, racial exclusivity, hatred of Muslims, white entitavitity, etc. – but it becomes a force through the power of Trump’s words. And, as absurd as it may seem, those words carry a tremendous amount of weight.

A recentCBS News Battleground Trackerpoll found that, among people who self-identify as strong Trump supporters, 91% trust Trump to give them accurate information – the truth. 91 percent! Friends & Family came in second at 63 percent. Let those numbers sink in for a moment. More than 9 out of 10 Trump supporters believe, seemingly a priori, anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth. This tells us something about Trump and his power. But perhaps even more ominous is what it tells us about Trumpists.

“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Sosayethhis eminent holiness, the high priest Donald J. Trump.

To his worshippers, Midtown Mussolini is the master of reality itself, the judge of what is, and is not, real, true, and right.

So, what happens when Trump slithers off the political stage? It’s not terribly difficult to predict that the semi-coherent coalition he leaves behind will seek to unite behind another representative of their fears, mistrusts, and hatreds. And if that person knows how to be a demagogue in the way that Trump does, then a fascist movement is born.

Painting a Terrifying Picture

Despite the countless scandals, chirping from Democrats and liberals about treason and other high crimes, and the steady stream of pronouncements of Trump’s political demise, the Orange Beast’s base has actually grown.

According torecent Gallup data, Trump’s “own party” approval rating – his support from among Republican voters – is the second highest of any president since the end of WWII, trailing only George W. Bush who had a huge artificial boost from public opinion in the wake of 9-11. Moreover, Trump voters from 2016 seem to have remained unwavering in their support of Trump despite all the shocking scandals and revelations. This has more to do with the psychology of the Trumpist than anything Trump himself has done.

So let’s consider what comes next…

Trump inspires such antipathy from Democrats and others that the 2020 election marks a defeat for Trump at the hands of a progressive candidate such as Bernie Sanders, or even a neoliberal centrist like Kamala Harris or Hillary Clinton. The candidate almost doesn’t matter as anyone to the left of Genghis Khan would be a Muslim-loving communist in the eyes of the Trumpists. The Trump base would be incensed, likely suggesting that the Deep State conspired to destroy Trump and steal the election from him in order to hand power to a left wing, commie, Muslim-loving, immigrant-hugger who will force all young girls to have abortions and all boys to use gender non-specific pronouns and play with dolls.

What would happen is a sharp rise in far right wing, fascist paramilitary groups. And while the growth of thatmovement took off under Obama(for reasons that are not difficult to imagine), it would multiply exponentially in a post-Trump period, particularly when the overriding narrative will be that Trump was a crusader for America who was blocked at every turn by the liberals, CNN, Antifa, and all the other undesirables that seek to destroy the US. Trump was our hero, sent by God to clean up this country, and instead he was crucified over Russia, porn stars, and fake news.

Now consider the numbers, and what radicalization might look like.

In the 2016 election, Donald Trumpreceived nearly 63 million votes nationally. While some former supporters have since abandoned him, many Republicans who were initially Trump skeptics have transformed into hardcore Trumpists. And while it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many hardcore Trumpsters there are out there, we could conservatively say that roughly 50-75 million Americans fit into this category.

Now, consider that if even one in ten Trumpists became radicalized to the point of engaging with non-electoral forms of political action. This would mean that there would be between 5 and 7.5 million Americans joining militia groups (i.e. III Percenters, Oath-Keepers), fascist gangs like The Proud Boys, and other far right formations. Such numbers would fundamentally transform our national and local politics, creating the first true fascist political bloc in modern US history.

In the aftermath of the August 2017 Charlottesville white supremacist rally, which left Heather Heyer dead, aWashington Post/ABC News pollfound that 9 percent of Americans (roughly 22 million people) thought it was acceptable to hold Neo-Nazi or white supremacist views. And consider that these views have only become further entrenched as the Trump Train has chugged along from one dumpster fire to the next.

In other words, millions upon millions of Americans have already accepted a sort of fascist politics as their guiding worldview, one which would only be further radicalized by a progressive president to follow, and undo, much of what Trump has done. And that radicalization would foster more organization, as the fascists wouldn’t take this lying down. They’d continue organizing in every corner of the country. And with numbers in the millions, such a fascist movement would only need one man to galvanize and weaponize it.

And that man is coming. We just haven’t met him yet.

More articles by:ERIC DRAITSER

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.organd host ofCounterPunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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🤡 The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
« Reply #1397 on: August 08, 2018, 03:39:24 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-useful-idiocy-of-donald-trump/

The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump


Mr. Fish / Truthdig

This is a repost of a Jan. 28, 2018, column by Chris Hedges, who is on vacation. His new articles will return Aug. 19.

The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.

Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy. They are dynamiting the institutions, including the State Department, that served interests other than corporate profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing, corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting and destroying.

Once democratic institutions are hollowed out, a process begun before the election of Trump, despotism is inevitable. The press is shackled. Corruption and theft take place on a massive scale. The rights and needs of citizens are irrelevant. Dissent is criminalized. Militarized police monitor, seize and detain Americans without probable cause. The rituals of democracy become farce. This is the road we are traveling. It is a road that leads to internal collapse and tyranny, and we are very far down it.

The elites’ moral and intellectual vacuum produced Trump. They too are con artists. They are slicker than he at selling the lies and more adept at disguising their greed through absurd ideologies such as neoliberalism and globalization, but they belong to the same criminal class and share many of the pathologies that characterize Trump. The grotesque visage of Trump is the true face of politicians such as George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Clintons and Obama, unlike Bush and Trump, are self-aware and therefore cynical, but all lack a moral compass. As Michael Wolff writes in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the president has “no scruples.” He lives “outside the rules” and is “contemptuous of them.” And this makes him identical to those he has replaced, not different. “A close Trump friend who was also a good Bill Clinton friend found them eerily similar—except that Clinton had a respectable front and Trump did not,” Wolff writes.

Trump, backed by the most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, including Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Sheldon Adelson and Carl Icahn, is the fool who prances at the front of our death march. As natural resources become scarce and the wealth of the empire evaporates, a shackled population will be forced to work harder for less. State revenues will be squandered in grandiose projects and futile wars in an attempt to return the empire to a mythical golden age. The decision to slash corporate tax rates for the rich while increasing an already bloated military budget by $54 billion is typical of decayed civilizations. Empires expand beyond their capacity to sustain themselves and then go bankrupt. The Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires all imploded in a similar fashion. The lessons of history are clear. But the illiterate charlatans who seize power in the dying days of empire know nothing of history. They are driven by a primal and inchoate lust for wealth, one that is never satisfied no matter how many billions they possess.

The elites in dying cultures turn everything into a commodity. Human beings are commodities. The natural world is a commodity. Government and democratic institutions are commodities. All are mined and wrecked for profit. Nothing has an intrinsic value. Nothing is sacred. The relentless and suicidal drive to accumulate greater and greater wealth by destroying the systems that sustain life is idolatry. It ignores the biblical injunction that idols always begin by demanding human sacrifice and end by demanding self-sacrifice. The elites are not only building our funeral pyre, they are building their own.

The elites, lacking a vision beyond satiating their own greed, revel in the intoxicating power to destroy. They confuse destruction with creation. They are agents of what Sigmund Freud calls the death instinct. They find in acts of national self-immolation a godlike power. They denigrate empathy, intellectual curiosity, artistic expression and the common good, virtues that sustain life. They celebrate a hyper-individualism embodied in celebrity, wealth, hedonism, manipulation and the ability to dominate others. They know nothing of the past. They do not think about the future. Those around them are temporarily useful to their aims and must be flattered and rewarded but in the end are ruthlessly cast aside. There is no human connection. This emotional numbness lies at the core of Trump’s personality.

“[Stephen] Bannon described Trump as a simple machine,” Wolff writes. “The On switch was full of flattery, the Off switch full of calumny. The flattery was dripping, slavish, cast in ultimate superlatives, and entirely disconnected from reality: so-and-so was the best, the most incredible, the ne plus ultra, the eternal. The calumny was angry, bitter, resentful, ever a casting out and closing of the iron door.”

The elites in a dying culture confuse what the economist Karl Polanyi calls “real” and “fictitious” commodities. A commodity is a product manufactured for sale. The ecosystem, labor and money, therefore, are not commodities. Once these fictitious commodities are treated as real ones for exploitation and manipulation, Polanyi writes, human society devours itself. Workers become dehumanized cogs. Currency and trade are manipulated by speculators, wreaking havoc with the economy and leading to financial collapse. The natural world is turned into a toxic wasteland. The elites, as the society breaks down, retreat into protected enclaves where they have access to security and services denied to the wider population. They last longer than those outside their gates, but the tsunami of destruction they orchestrate does not spare them.

As long as Trump serves the interests of the elites he will remain president. If, for some reason, he is unable to serve these interests he will disappear. Wolff notes in the book that after his election there was “a surprising and sudden business and Wall Street affinity for Trump.” He went on: “An antiregulatory White House and the promise of tax reform outweighed the prospect of disruptive tweeting and other forms of Trump chaos; besides, the market had not stopped climbing since November 9, the day after the election.”

The Russia investigation—launched when Robert Mueller became special counsel in May and which appears to be focused on money laundering, fraud and shady business practices, things that have always characterized Trump’s financial empire—is unlikely to unseat the president. He will not be impeached for mental incompetence, over the emoluments clause or for obstruction of justice, although he is guilty on all these counts. He is useful to those who hold real power in the corporate state, however much they would like to domesticate him.

Trump’s bizarre ramblings and behavior also serve a useful purpose. They are a colorful diversion from the razing of democratic institutions. As cable news networks feed us stories of his trysts with a porn actress and outlandish tweets, the real work of the elites is being carried out largely away from public view. The courts are stacked with Federalist Society judges, the fossil fuel industry is plundering public lands and the coastlines and ripping up regulations that protected us from its poisons, and the Pentagon, given carte blanche, is engaged in an orgy of militarism with a trillion-dollar-a-year budget and about 800 military bases in scores of countries around the world.

Trump, as Wolff describes him in the book, is clueless about what he has unleashed. He is uninterested in and bored by the complexities of governance and policy. The faster Trump finds a member of the oligarchy or the military to take a job off his hands the happier he becomes. This suits his desires. It suits the desires of those who manage the corporate state. For the president there is only one real concern, the tumultuous Trump White House reality show and how it plays out on television. He is a creature solely concerned with image, or more exactly his image. Nothing else matters.

“For each of his enemies—and, actually, for each of his friends—the issue for him came down, in many ways, to their personal press plan,” Wolff writes of the president. “Trump assumed everybody wanted his or her fifteen minutes and that everybody had a press strategy for when they got them. If you couldn’t get press directly for yourself, you became a leaker. There was no happenstance news, in Trump’s view. All news was manipulated and designed, planned and planted. All news was to some extent fake—he understood that very well, because he himself had faked it so many times in his career. This was why he had so naturally cottoned to the ‘fake news’ label. ‘I’ve made stuff up forever, and they always print it,’ he bragged.”

Yes, the elites wish Trump would act more presidential. It would help the brand. But all attempts by the elites to make Trump conform to the outward norms embraced by most public officials have failed. Trump will not be reformed by criticism from the establishment. Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who denounced Trump, saw their approval ratings plummet and have decided not to run for re-election. Trump may have public approval of only 39 percent overall, but among Republicans the figure is 78 percent. And I don’t think those numbers will decrease.

The inability of the political establishment and the press to moderate or reform Trump’s egregious behavior is rooted in their loss of credibility. The press, along with political and intellectual elites, spent decades championing economic and political policies that solidified corporate power and betrayed and impoverished American workers. The hypocrisy and mendacity of the elites left them despised and distrusted by the victims of deindustrialization and austerity programs. The attempt to restore civility to public discourse and competency to political office is, therefore, fruitless. Liberal and establishment institutions, including the leadership of the two main political parties, academia and the press, squandered their moral authority. And the dogged refusal by the elites to address the engine of discontent—social inequality—ensures that they will remain ineffectual. They lay down the asphalt for the buffoonery of Trump and the coming tyranny.
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Re: 🤡 The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
« Reply #1398 on: August 08, 2018, 09:40:13 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-useful-idiocy-of-donald-trump/

The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump


Mr. Fish / Truthdig

This is a repost of a Jan. 28, 2018, column by Chris Hedges, who is on vacation. His new articles will return Aug. 19.

The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.

Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy. They are dynamiting the institutions, including the State Department, that served interests other than corporate profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing, corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting and destroying.

Once democratic institutions are hollowed out, a process begun before the election of Trump, despotism is inevitable. The press is shackled. Corruption and theft take place on a massive scale. The rights and needs of citizens are irrelevant. Dissent is criminalized. Militarized police monitor, seize and detain Americans without probable cause. The rituals of democracy become farce. This is the road we are traveling. It is a road that leads to internal collapse and tyranny, and we are very far down it.

The elites’ moral and intellectual vacuum produced Trump. They too are con artists. They are slicker than he at selling the lies and more adept at disguising their greed through absurd ideologies such as neoliberalism and globalization, but they belong to the same criminal class and share many of the pathologies that characterize Trump. The grotesque visage of Trump is the true face of politicians such as George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Clintons and Obama, unlike Bush and Trump, are self-aware and therefore cynical, but all lack a moral compass. As Michael Wolff writes in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” the president has “no scruples.” He lives “outside the rules” and is “contemptuous of them.” And this makes him identical to those he has replaced, not different. “A close Trump friend who was also a good Bill Clinton friend found them eerily similar—except that Clinton had a respectable front and Trump did not,” Wolff writes.

Trump, backed by the most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, including Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Sheldon Adelson and Carl Icahn, is the fool who prances at the front of our death march. As natural resources become scarce and the wealth of the empire evaporates, a shackled population will be forced to work harder for less. State revenues will be squandered in grandiose projects and futile wars in an attempt to return the empire to a mythical golden age. The decision to slash corporate tax rates for the rich while increasing an already bloated military budget by $54 billion is typical of decayed civilizations. Empires expand beyond their capacity to sustain themselves and then go bankrupt. The Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires all imploded in a similar fashion. The lessons of history are clear. But the illiterate charlatans who seize power in the dying days of empire know nothing of history. They are driven by a primal and inchoate lust for wealth, one that is never satisfied no matter how many billions they possess.

The elites in dying cultures turn everything into a commodity. Human beings are commodities. The natural world is a commodity. Government and democratic institutions are commodities. All are mined and wrecked for profit. Nothing has an intrinsic value. Nothing is sacred. The relentless and suicidal drive to accumulate greater and greater wealth by destroying the systems that sustain life is idolatry. It ignores the biblical injunction that idols always begin by demanding human sacrifice and end by demanding self-sacrifice. The elites are not only building our funeral pyre, they are building their own.

The elites, lacking a vision beyond satiating their own greed, revel in the intoxicating power to destroy. They confuse destruction with creation. They are agents of what Sigmund Freud calls the death instinct. They find in acts of national self-immolation a godlike power. They denigrate empathy, intellectual curiosity, artistic expression and the common good, virtues that sustain life. They celebrate a hyper-individualism embodied in celebrity, wealth, hedonism, manipulation and the ability to dominate others. They know nothing of the past. They do not think about the future. Those around them are temporarily useful to their aims and must be flattered and rewarded but in the end are ruthlessly cast aside. There is no human connection. This emotional numbness lies at the core of Trump’s personality.

“[Stephen] Bannon described Trump as a simple machine,” Wolff writes. “The On switch was full of flattery, the Off switch full of calumny. The flattery was dripping, slavish, cast in ultimate superlatives, and entirely disconnected from reality: so-and-so was the best, the most incredible, the ne plus ultra, the eternal. The calumny was angry, bitter, resentful, ever a casting out and closing of the iron door.”

The elites in a dying culture confuse what the economist Karl Polanyi calls “real” and “fictitious” commodities. A commodity is a product manufactured for sale. The ecosystem, labor and money, therefore, are not commodities. Once these fictitious commodities are treated as real ones for exploitation and manipulation, Polanyi writes, human society devours itself. Workers become dehumanized cogs. Currency and trade are manipulated by speculators, wreaking havoc with the economy and leading to financial collapse. The natural world is turned into a toxic wasteland. The elites, as the society breaks down, retreat into protected enclaves where they have access to security and services denied to the wider population. They last longer than those outside their gates, but the tsunami of destruction they orchestrate does not spare them.

As long as Trump serves the interests of the elites he will remain president. If, for some reason, he is unable to serve these interests he will disappear. Wolff notes in the book that after his election there was “a surprising and sudden business and Wall Street affinity for Trump.” He went on: “An antiregulatory White House and the promise of tax reform outweighed the prospect of disruptive tweeting and other forms of Trump chaos; besides, the market had not stopped climbing since November 9, the day after the election.”

The Russia investigation—launched when Robert Mueller became special counsel in May and which appears to be focused on money laundering, fraud and shady business practices, things that have always characterized Trump’s financial empire—is unlikely to unseat the president. He will not be impeached for mental incompetence, over the emoluments clause or for obstruction of justice, although he is guilty on all these counts. He is useful to those who hold real power in the corporate state, however much they would like to domesticate him.

Trump’s bizarre ramblings and behavior also serve a useful purpose. They are a colorful diversion from the razing of democratic institutions. As cable news networks feed us stories of his trysts with a porn actress and outlandish tweets, the real work of the elites is being carried out largely away from public view. The courts are stacked with Federalist Society judges, the fossil fuel industry is plundering public lands and the coastlines and ripping up regulations that protected us from its poisons, and the Pentagon, given carte blanche, is engaged in an orgy of militarism with a trillion-dollar-a-year budget and about 800 military bases in scores of countries around the world.

Trump, as Wolff describes him in the book, is clueless about what he has unleashed. He is uninterested in and bored by the complexities of governance and policy. The faster Trump finds a member of the oligarchy or the military to take a job off his hands the happier he becomes. This suits his desires. It suits the desires of those who manage the corporate state. For the president there is only one real concern, the tumultuous Trump White House reality show and how it plays out on television. He is a creature solely concerned with image, or more exactly his image. Nothing else matters.

“For each of his enemies—and, actually, for each of his friends—the issue for him came down, in many ways, to their personal press plan,” Wolff writes of the president. “Trump assumed everybody wanted his or her fifteen minutes and that everybody had a press strategy for when they got them. If you couldn’t get press directly for yourself, you became a leaker. There was no happenstance news, in Trump’s view. All news was manipulated and designed, planned and planted. All news was to some extent fake—he understood that very well, because he himself had faked it so many times in his career. This was why he had so naturally cottoned to the ‘fake news’ label. ‘I’ve made stuff up forever, and they always print it,’ he bragged.”

Yes, the elites wish Trump would act more presidential. It would help the brand. But all attempts by the elites to make Trump conform to the outward norms embraced by most public officials have failed. Trump will not be reformed by criticism from the establishment. Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who denounced Trump, saw their approval ratings plummet and have decided not to run for re-election. Trump may have public approval of only 39 percent overall, but among Republicans the figure is 78 percent. And I don’t think those numbers will decrease.

The inability of the political establishment and the press to moderate or reform Trump’s egregious behavior is rooted in their loss of credibility. The press, along with political and intellectual elites, spent decades championing economic and political policies that solidified corporate power and betrayed and impoverished American workers. The hypocrisy and mendacity of the elites left them despised and distrusted by the victims of deindustrialization and austerity programs. The attempt to restore civility to public discourse and competency to political office is, therefore, fruitless. Liberal and establishment institutions, including the leadership of the two main political parties, academia and the press, squandered their moral authority. And the dogged refusal by the elites to address the engine of discontent—social inequality—ensures that they will remain ineffectual. They lay down the asphalt for the buffoonery of Trump and the coming tyranny.

I we had a government of people like Chris Hedges, with his brains, compassion, and ethics, then it wouldn't matter if we were capitalistas or commies.

But we don't. We have Mike Pences and Greg Abbotts and Chuck Shumers and Paul Ryans and Hillary Clintons. Power-mad predators is a term that comes to mind.
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🤡 Donald Trump and the American Left
« Reply #1399 on: August 14, 2018, 03:09:10 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/03/donald-trump-and-the-american-left/

August 3, 2018
Donald Trump and the American Left
by Rob Urie


Photo by nguyengurl | CC BY 2.0

The election of Donald Trump fractured the American Left. The abandonment of class analysis in response to Mr. Trump’s racialized nationalism left identity politics to fill the void. This has facilitated the rise of neoliberal nationalism, an embrace of the national security state combined with neoliberal economic analysis put forward as a liberal / Left response to Mr. Trump’s program. The result has been profoundly reactionary.

What had been unfocused consensus around issues of economic justice and ending militarism has been sharpened into a political program. A nascent, self-styled socialist movement is pushing domestic issues like single payer health care, strengthening the social safety net and reversing wildly unbalanced income and wealth distribution, forward. Left unaddressed is how this program will move forward without a revolutionary movement to act against countervailing forces.

As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump’s racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected ‘others.’

This points to the most potent fracture on the Left, the question of which is the more effective reactionary force, the Democrats’ neoliberal nationalism or Mr. Trump’s racialized version? As self-evident as the answer apparently is to the liberal / Left, it is only so through abandonment of class analysis. Race, gender and immigration status are either subsets of class or the concept loses meaning.

By way of the reform Democrat’s analysis, it was the shift of working class voters from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 that swung the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. To the extent that race was a factor, the finger points up the class structure, not down. This difference is crucial when it comes to the much-abused ‘white working-class’ explanation of Mr. Trump’s victory.

What preceded Donald Trump was the Great Recession, the most severe capitalist crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession followed approximately three decades of neoliberal de-industrialization, of policies intended to reduce the power of organized labor, reduce working class wages and raise economic insecurity under the antique capitalist theory that destitution motivates workers to produce more for less in return.

The illusion / delusion that these problems— lost livelihoods, homes, social roles, relationships, sense of purpose and basic human dignity— were solved, or even addressed, by national Democrats, illustrates the class divide at work. The economy that was revived made the rich fabulously rich, the professional / managerial class comfortable and left the other 90% in various stages of economic decline.

Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work— classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here’s the rub: Mr. Trump’s critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats’ neoliberal nationalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn’t left this critique behind— neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn’t to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump’s motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

Within the frame of identity politics rich and bourgeois blacks, women and immigrants have the same travails as their poor and working-class compatriots. Ben Carson (black), Melania Trump (female) and Melania Trump (immigrant) fit this taxonomy. For them racism, misogyny and xenophobia are forms of social violence. But they aren’t fundamental determinants of how they live. The same can’t be said for those brutalized by four decades of neoliberalism

The common bond here is a class war launched from above that has uprooted, displaced and immiserated a large and growing proportion of the peoples of the West. This experience cuts across race, gender and nationality making them a subset of class. If these problems are rectified at the level of class, they will be rectified within the categories of race, gender and nationality. Otherwise, they won’t be rectified.

Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump’s racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base.

Mr. Trump’s use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism and was the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that state control of the corporate-state form is fascism while capitalist control—neoliberalism, is something else.

Lest this not have occurred, FDR’s New Deal was state control of the corporate-state form. The only widely known effort to affect a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists.

More recently, the effort to secure capitalist control has been led by liberal Democrats using Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements. So that identity warriors might understand the implications, this control limits the ability of governments to rectify race and gender bias because supranational adjudication can overrule them.

So, is race and / or gender repression any less repressive because capitalists control the levers? Colonial slave-masters certainly thought so. The people who own sweatshops probably think so. Most slumlords probably think so. Employers who steal wages probably think so. The people who own for-profit prisons probably think so. But these aren’t ‘real’ repression, are they? Where’s the animosity?

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural— congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics.

The liberal explanation for this is ‘political culture.’ The liberal solution is to change the political culture without changing the economic relations that drive the culture. This is also the frame of identity politics. The presence of a desperate and destitute underclass lowers working class wages (raising profits), but ending racism is a matter of changing minds?

This history holds an important lesson for today’s nascent socialists. The domestic programs recently put forward, as reasonable and potentially useful as they are, resemble FDR’s effort to save capitalism, not end it. The time to implement these programs was when Wall Street was flat on its back, when it could have been more. This is the tragedy of Barack Obama.

Despite the capitalist rhetoric at the time, the New Deal wasn’t ‘socialism’ because it never changed control over the means of production, over American political economy. Internal class differences were reduced through redistribution, but brutal and ruthless imperialism proceeded apace overseas.

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he’s gone. If he pulls it off, this isn’t reactionary nationalism and it isn’t nothing.

Otherwise, the rich have assigned the opining classes the task of defending their realm. Step 1: divide the bourgeois into competing factions. Step 2: posit great differences between them that are tightly circumscribed to prevent history from inconveniently intruding. Step 3: turn these great differences into moral absolutes so that they can’t be reconciled within the terms given. Step 4: pose a rigged electoral process as the only pathway to political resolution. Step 5: collect profits and repeat.
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More articles by:Rob Urie

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1400 on: August 14, 2018, 05:19:57 AM »
Yeah. Maybe they're beginning to get it. But I doubt it.
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1401 on: August 14, 2018, 07:41:17 AM »
Trump's Tweet today calling his former staffer Ms. Omarosa a "dog" is potentially political dynamite. He seems to have been able to say things that would have caused most Presidents to be run out of town on a rail and still maintain popularity, but this one, I think, runs up squarely against a really well-established social norm that says that you have to be very circumspect when you criticize persons of color who are in the public eye.

He could call Manafort a dog, or Cohen a dog, and it wouldn't be nice, but he would get away with it. But given the unwritten rules that we've been playing by in our culture for a generation, this is a major breach of race etiquette by any official elected to national office. In prior administrations, Presidents have fired cabinet secretaries for this kind of talk.

I have no opinion about Omarosa, never saw her on TV, nor do I have much idea about why she turned on Trump (other than I question how anyone with a brain and a conscience could hitch their wagon to his dog-and-pony show in the first place.)

But I would expect some serious race-card playing now by all the usual suspects, and regardless of how I feel about that, I would expect a large segment of the US population to take his offensive remarks in a negative light. I know the white power people will love him more, but I'd be surprised if that turns out to be the majority of citizens.

Trump is walking a fine line, and I'm sure he thinks he will get support for his POV. But if he does, it's a really bad sign for the country and says a lot about how our national conversation is degenerating.

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1402 on: August 14, 2018, 08:49:00 AM »
Also, the revelations about Trump's apparent change in behavior from Omarosa's previous time of working with Trump and now, lends credence to the idea (which has been whispered about throughout the administration's tenure) that Trump has lost his previous mental sharpness, is fairly credible to me coming from her statements, which seem entirely plausible and rational.

He Trumped up his medical, we know this. He very easily, at his age, might have suffered minor strokes or have some other condition that plays here.

He can attack her and maybe stave off the current assault, and he might discredit her....but that does NOT necessarily mean she's lying, or that she's wrong. She seems to have had a lot to gain by hanging in with Trump, as opposed to bailing and putting her experience into a tell-all book.

Maybe the only thing she's guilty of is being loyal to the country, and brave.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 09:09:20 AM by Eddie »
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1403 on: August 19, 2018, 11:35:38 AM »
Also, the revelations about Trump's apparent change in behavior from Omarosa's previous time of working with Trump and now, lends credence to the idea (which has been whispered about throughout the administration's tenure) that Trump has lost his previous mental sharpness, is fairly credible to me coming from her statements, which seem entirely plausible and rational.

He Trumped up his medical, we know this. He very easily, at his age, might have suffered minor strokes or have some other condition that plays here.

He can attack her and maybe stave off the current assault, and he might discredit her....but that does NOT necessarily mean she's lying, or that she's wrong. She seems to have had a lot to gain by hanging in with Trump, as opposed to bailing and putting her experience into a tell-all book.

Maybe the only thing she's guilty of is being loyal to the country, and brave.


I doubt it is a medical condition.  Trump has always been Trump.  One brick short and bombastic.  Bombastic enough to play off his shortcomings for seventy years.  As for strokes, he was having the same minor strokes thirty years ago.  With a stroke of luck he will soon fall into his reflection and drown.

« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 11:39:54 AM by K-Dog »
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1404 on: August 19, 2018, 11:36:44 AM »

But today his sun shines.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 11:43:30 AM by K-Dog »
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Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread - 45 holds Mrs. 45 HOSTAGE !
« Reply #1405 on: August 19, 2018, 05:25:15 PM »
Omarosa Now Claims Trump Is Holding Melania Hostage On Sick Threat Over Her Head

Amorosa has once again decided to bite the hand that fed her



https://rwnofficial.com/omarosa-now-claims-trump-is-holding-melania-hostage-on-sick-threat-over-her-head/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/watergate-john-dean-trump-don-mcgahn_us_5b7b413ae4b05906b41685d0

 POLITICS 08/20/2018 09:17 pm ET
Watergate Witness John Dean Thinks Trump Has A ‘Real Problem’ With Don McGahn
“This is pretty important testimony,” Dean said of the White House counsel’s cooperation in the Mueller investigation.
By Mary Papenfuss


Watergate figure John Dean warned Monday that White House Counsel Don McGahn’s cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation represents a “real problem” for President Donald Trump.

“This is an invaluable witness. He’s a real-time witness. You can infer ... that he might have been actually testifying very shortly after the events when they were fresh in his memory. He had knowledge of them,” Dean told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead.”

“He had been asked to do things that were not proper. ... He resisted,” said Dean. “So this is pretty important testimony, and it’s taken Trump 48 hours almost to understand what’s going on here.”

Dean, who had served as White House counsel under Richard Nixon, spoke the day after Trump blasted him as a “rat” on Twitter, referring to Dean’s own cooperation with prosecutors during the Watergate scandal. Trump also suggested that McGahn had no information that could hurt him.

The New York Times had reported Saturday that McGahn spent more than 30 hours talking to Mueller’s team about situations at the center of the investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.

“That’s a lot of testimony,” Dean said on Monday. “So I think Trump has got a real problem here. And I’m not sure how he’s going to handle it.”

As for Trump calling him a rat, Dean said, “I’m not surprised. He thrives on insulting people in situations. So this is typical Trump.” He defended his actions 45 years ago, saying that he had battled against the Watergate coverup.

Trump has ripped the Times reporting as “fake.” He has portrayed McGahn’s cooperation as his idea and insisted that he has “nothing to hide.”

But while the White House gave McGahn the “greenlight” to answer questions in the investigation, “they have been in the dark” about the extent of his cooperation until the Times article, according to Times reporter Richard Schmidt speaking Monday on the newspaper’s podcast “The Daily.”
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“I still don’t think they appreciate the extent to which McGahn has cooperated. We don’t know everything that McGahn did, but it’s more than they think,” he added.

The president “thought that McGahn was going to go in and sort of act as his personal lawyer and say to Mueller, ‘Hey, look, nothing wrong went on here,’” Schmidt said. “I don’t think the president appreciated what McGahn’s cooperation would actually entail.”

The president’s personal lawyers have also “never been given a full accounting” of what McGahn told Mueller, Schmidt said. 

Check out the rest of what Dean had to say in the video clip above. And listen to Schmidt delve into the McGahn story in the podcast below:

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🤡 Two courtroom dramas leave Trump's presidency on a cliffhanger
« Reply #1407 on: August 22, 2018, 03:14:19 AM »
What a difference a short vacation makes in the Geopolitical Collapse millieu.  Will the Donald survive this latest onslaught?

RE

Two courtroom dramas leave Trump's presidency on a cliffhanger
Stephen Collinson Profile

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 5:38 AM ET, Wed August 22, 2018
The evolution of Trump and Cohen's relationship

Current Time 0:00
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Duration Time 2:50
 
Giuliani: Trump, Cohen legal teams sever ties
Giuliani: Wouldn't pardon Cohen if I was Trump
avenatti dershowitz split
Avenatti, Dershowitz debate gets personal
SE Cupp: Trust no one. All 3 bullies, liars
cuomo giuliani split 07260
Cuomo, Giuliani clash over Trump-Cohen tapes
Late night skewers Trump over Cohen recording
Cohen claims Trump knew of Trump Tower meeting
Why the Trump-Cohen tape is a big deal
Now Playing
The evolution of Trump and Cohen's relationship
Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen pleads guilty on 8 counts
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Cohen agrees to plea deal
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Michael Cohen, (L) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. According to a filing submitted to the court Tuesday night by special master Barbara Jones, federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, are set to receive 1 million files from three of his cellphones that were seized last month. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen surrenders to FBI
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Michael Cohen, (C) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. According to a filing submitted to the court Tuesday night by special master Barbara Jones, federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, are set to receive 1 million files from three of his cellphones that were seized last month. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Cohen in talks to plead guilty to charges
Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Sources: Feds preparing charges against Cohen
Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney, takes a phone call as he sits outside near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
WSJ: Cohen under investigation for tax fraud
Schlapp on Cohen 'duping' Trump: It can happen
Giuliani: Trump, Cohen legal teams sever ties
Giuliani: Wouldn't pardon Cohen if I was Trump
avenatti dershowitz split
Avenatti, Dershowitz debate gets personal
SE Cupp: Trust no one. All 3 bullies, liars
cuomo giuliani split 07260
Cuomo, Giuliani clash over Trump-Cohen tapes
Late night skewers Trump over Cohen recording
Cohen claims Trump knew of Trump Tower meeting
Why the Trump-Cohen tape is a big deal
The evolution of Trump and Cohen's relationship
Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen pleads guilty on 8 counts
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Cohen agrees to plea deal
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Michael Cohen, (L) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. According to a filing submitted to the court Tuesday night by special master Barbara Jones, federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, are set to receive 1 million files from three of his cellphones that were seized last month. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen surrenders to FBI
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30: Michael Cohen, (C) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. According to a filing submitted to the court Tuesday night by special master Barbara Jones, federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, are set to receive 1 million files from three of his cellphones that were seized last month. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Cohen in talks to plead guilty to charges
Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Sources: Feds preparing charges against Cohen
Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney, takes a phone call as he sits outside near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
WSJ: Cohen under investigation for tax fraud
Schlapp on Cohen 'duping' Trump: It can happen

(CNN)It was like binge-watching history as two of the President's men went down.
A twisting saga of intertwined legal plots and human drama dripping with hubris, vengeance, betrayal and defiance suddenly combined Tuesday in a frenetic, barely believable burst that left Donald Trump's presidency stained by a tide of crime and corruption.
Michael Cohen, the Trump clan's attack dog, and Paul Manafort, the ultimate Washington swamp creature with the ostrich skin jacket, paid dearly for their association with their former boss in near-simultaneous convictions that will mean years in jail.
Trump's riotous, rule-breaking political career is often compared to the voyeurism of a reality show -- a perfect forum for his spinning of alternative truths and narratives.

But Tuesday's theater -- unfolding in courtrooms about 240 miles apart -- was more like the compelling denouement of a slow-building Netflix drama that came together in frenetic, shocking final moments that made their own statement: Truth and facts still matter in America.
Like all good season finales, this surreal cliffhanger tied up some plots but unleashed deeper, more consequential intrigues to tee up more compelling sequels to come. And that may evolve into existential questions for the Trump presidency itself.
For at the end of an afternoon that rocked Washington to its core, the President himself stood accused, under oath -- by his former lawyer, who once vowed to take a bullet for his boss but has now turned a smoking gun directly at him -- of conspiring in and directing a crime.
Chris Cuomo: This was a bad day for Trump

Chris Cuomo: This was a bad day for Trump 04:14
Not just any other day
Tuesday dawned like every other day of the Trump presidency in a flurry of tweets and speculation about Russian election meddling.
There was little sign of the drama to come.
In Alexandria, Virginia, court reporters filled out crosswords and played cards as the Manafort jury ground out a fourth day of deliberations.
In New York, no one expected Cohen's case to suddenly converge with the fate of the former Trump campaign chairman in such a disastrous way for the White House, though reports over the weekend had said charges were likely in his proceeding by month's end.
The first smoke that became a raging legal inferno emerged at 11 a.m., when Manafort jurors sent Judge T.S. Ellis a note. They asked what to do if they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on a single count. Ellis sent them back to their room to try to thrash it out, but it was clear: Manafort's fate was close to being resolved.
But the momentousness of the day began to take shape as sources revealed that Cohen was in talks with prosecutors on a plea deal.
Suddenly, the possibility of dual Trump-related legal dramas playing out at once looked likely as speculation washed across the split screens of news channels showing the doors of court buildings in New York and Alexandria.
By 2:30 p.m., Cohen had surrendered to the FBI. His plea agreement was a done deal and he was soon in court, in a dark suit, white shirt and gold tie.
He had center stage for only a few moments before the nation's necks twisted back to Alexandria, after Manafort attorney Kevin Downing walked into the courthouse telling reporters, "It's a note."
Fueling the drama, the President's motorcade cruised up to the 757 version of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, where he took off for the embrace of Trump-loving West Virginia on what was rapidly becoming a disastrous day.
Down below, the Manafort jury had hit a brick wall and announced it had reached verdicts on eight counts but deadlocked on the others. Ellis resolved to talk to jurors individually, raising expectations that their travails might stretch into Wednesday.
But living up to his reputation for running a "rocket docket," the judge decided swiftly to accept a partial verdict, declaring a mistrial on the 10 unresolved charges, and Manafort's moment of destiny was suddenly at hand.
Reporters racing out of the courtroom -- where cellphones and computers are not allowed -- broke the news that Manafort had been found guilty on one count -- before similar verdicts on another seven were quickly confirmed.
As Ellis explained the verdict to Manafort, the man once known as one of the smoothest operators in politics looked on impassively. Some jurors looked him in the eye. One member appeared visibly upset as the jury left the courtroom for the final time. After a combative duel, prosecutors and defense lawyers exchanged handshakes.
And a grim-faced Manafort nodded at his wife of 40 years, Kathleen, as he was led away.
The evolution of Trump and Cohen's relationship

The evolution of Trump and Cohen's relationship 02:50
Vengeance
Washington was only beginning to wrestle with the enormity of Trump's former campaign chairman being convicted when an even more stunning scene unfolded in New York.
Cohen did not just plead guilty to eight counts of tax and bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He also fed his grudge against Trump and his belief that he had been hung out to dry by throwing his old mentor under a bus.
He testified that he made payments to hush former porn star Stormy Daniels and had urged the National Enquirer to make a similar payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had had affairs with Trump, in the run-up to the 2016 election "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office."
The impersonal language could not disguise the grave impact of his words -- especially since Trump had previously told the American people he knew nothing about such payments.
Effectively, Cohen was accusing the President of the United States of being a fellow crook.
Cohen read out his statement, admitting to his crimes, without emotion. He said "Yes, sir" and "Yes, your honor" when addressed by the judge. When asked if he was of sound mind and not under undue influence, he revealed that his last alcoholic drink had been a Glenlivet on the rocks at dinner Monday night.
Crestfallen, he left court with none of the swagger that he had used to effect as Trump's cleanup man.
Blumenthal: 'We're in a Watergate moment'

Blumenthal: 'We're in a Watergate moment' 02:09
The fight back begins
By now, Trump was back on the ground. And cornered, he acted in the only way he knew -- by fighting back.
He said he "felt badly" for Manafort but lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, who targeted his former campaign chairman and referred Cohen's case to prosecutors in New York.
"Nothing to do with Russian collusion, we continue the witch hunt," the President said.
Later, Trump hinted at his next political strategy, seizing on a tragedy in Iowa and an undocumented immigrant charged with the murder of student Mollie Tibbetts.
"You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico. And you saw what happened to that incredible beautiful young woman," Trump said at his West Virginia rally, in remarks that may resonate more with his base than Tuesday's legal drama.
Indeed, at one point the chant "Lock her up!" -- long directed at Hillary Clinton -- rang out among Trump's crowd with no apparent trace of irony given the day's events.
Those around the President are already referring to Cohen as "the rat" but they acknowledge things could hardly have gone more badly.
"What a bad day for the home team," one source said.
A source familiar with White House deliberations said staffers were "stunned" and "rattled."
Asked about Cohen and Manafort, Trump press secretary Sarah Sanders told a CNN reporter: "I don't have anything for you on that."
On Capitol Hill, Democrats were crowing.
"Not a witch hunt," tweeted Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. His Democratic colleague from Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal added that the White House was looking "increasingly like a criminal enterprise."
Remind me ... who is Paul Manafort?

Remind me ... who is Paul Manafort? 01:15
The sequel
As the dust settles from Tuesday's frenzy, new plot twists are already developing.
Republicans have been embarrassed, trolled and outraged by Trump -- but so far they've never deserted him.
They don't seem likely to do so now, over a campaign finance transgression, but the question has never been more acute about how history will view them, given that the President they are shielding has been implicated in his former lawyer's felony.
Simply parroting the GOP line that Tuesday's drama has nothing to do with Russian collusion won't ease the pressure.
The Trump camp is already fighting back: "Even if Cohen says Trump told him to break the law, the source says, who's going to believe Cohen now, after admitting to lying?" a source with the Trump Organization said.
Indeed, Cohen's claim is not a legal charge and Trump, like anyone else, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. And it's almost inconceivable a sitting President could be indicted for a crime.
But Democrats now have fresh ammunition to subject the Trump White House to relentless scrutiny should they win back the House of Representatives in November. And the question of possible impeachment will now hang tantalizingly over the election.
Had he lost the Manafort case, Mueller would have been under fierce fire from Trump partisans, with the credibility of his investigation in doubt.
But now he may be emboldened -- as he presses on with an investigation into alleged Russian collusion and presidential obstruction that is moving ever closer to the Oval Office door.
All eyes are on whether he will move against Trump or more of his acolytes before the fall campaign cranks up.
Trump, as he flew home to a White House being pelted by a later summer storm, had much to brood upon, beginning with the fallout of Cohen's courtroom betrayal.
He might contemplate a pardon for Manafort, but political blowback would be immense.
He must worry that his two former associates, seeking to reduce their sentences, will cooperate with Mueller in other areas that could threaten the President himself.
There are no final answers after Tuesday's double courtroom drama.
But the trajectory seems clear: The Trump show is heading down a foreboding road.

CNN's Erica Orden, Jim Acosta, Jessica Schneider, Jeremy Diamond, Christina Alesci, Sara Murray, Katelyn Polantz, Steve Brusk, Ted Barrett, Phil Mattingly, Noah Gray, Kaitlan Collins, Evan Perez, Liz Stark, Mark Morales, Kara Scannell and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.
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Offline RE

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It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. The Schaudenfreude of watching Trumpovetsky shills like Golden Oxen suffer through this is amongst the greatest experiences of my life.  :icon_sunny:

RE

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-manafort-cohen-legal-blows_us_5b7d54a8e4b0cd327df87828

 POLITICS 08/22/2018 08:33 am ET Updated 15 hours ago
Back-To-Back Legal Blows From Cohen And Manafort Trials Jolt Trump Presidency
With Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen convicted of multiple criminal charges, the investigations circled ever closer to Trump.
Zeke Miller, Jonathan Lemire and Darlene Superville
X

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump confronted one of the most perilous moments of his presidency Tuesday after two onetime members of his inner circle simultaneously were labeled “guilty” of criminal charges. Although Trump largely ignored the jarring back-to-back blows at a campaign rally in West Virginia, questions mounted about his possible legal exposure and political future.

In a split screen for the history books, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of financial crimes at nearly the same moment Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a series of felonies, including campaign finance violations that the lawyer said he carried out in coordination with Trump.

With two men who played prominent roles on the president’s campaign convicted of multiple criminal charges, the investigations circled ever closer to Trump. But for all that, Trump spent more than an hour at a rally in Charleston on Tuesday night painting a rosy view of his accomplishments in office, ticking off developments on trade, taxes, North Korea and even his plans for a Space Force.

“What we’re doing is winning,” Trump told cheering supporters.

“Where is the collusion?” he demanded, underscoring that Manafort’s crimes had occurred before he became involved with the Trump campaign. “You know they’re still looking for collusion.”

The president did say he felt “badly for both” men, but he largely ignored Cohen’s guilty pleas to eight felonies.

Manafort was convicted Tuesday in Virginia on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice. Cohen pleaded guilty in New York, saying he and Trump had arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.

It is the Cohen case that places Trump in the most jeopardy, legal experts said, as the longtime personal “fixer” acknowledged his role in a scheme to pay off women who accused the future president of sexual misconduct.

“It’s going to be hard for the president to try to discredit all this. It’s circling him,” said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who is not involved in the case.

Trump has shown an uncanny ability to shake off a relentless stream of accusations and jolting statements that provoked outrage. His loyal base of supporters has stayed with him despite his effort to blame “both sides” for the deadly violence between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, for one, and his refusal to side with the U.S. intelligence services over Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month, among other controversies.

Case in point, the crowd in West Virginia loudly chanted Trump’s campaign staples “Drain the swamp!” and “Lock her up!” despite the fresh corruption convictions and looming prison sentences for his former advisers.

Manafort’s conviction served as a vindication of Mueller’s work as investigators continue to probe potential misdeeds by the president and those in his orbit. Mueller’s team also had referred evidence in the Cohen case to federal prosecutors in New York.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani sought to cast the blame solely on Cohen in a Tuesday statement, saying: “There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen.”

Trump’s legal team has also been engaged in a monthslong negotiation with Mueller’s team about a potential sit-down with the president, but has objected to the scope of the questions.

In a separate courtroom Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys for former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn agreed to postpone his sentencing after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian official, in a sign his cooperation was still needed in the Mueller probe.

The afternoon of explosive legal developments comes as the White House is refocusing itself around the upcoming midterms and as Trump allies like Steve Bannon seek to frame the election as a referendum on the potential impeachment of the president. Trump confidants have long argued that the president’s fate in such a scenario would ultimately be more a matter of politics than law.
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Of Cohen’s plea, Bannon argued Tuesday that it “takes away the argument from those who are telling the president it’s not that bad if he loses the House. This now becomes more than ever a national election on the issue of impeachment.”

The president seemed to convey the stakes in Charleston, warning the crowd that “You aren’t just voting for a candidate. You’re voting for which party controls the House and which party controls the Senate.”

Trump confidants reasserted late Tuesday that it is the White House position that a president cannot be indicted, referring to a 2000 opinion of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal advice and guidance to executive branch agencies. Trump’s lawyers have said Mueller plans to adhere to that guidance, though Mueller’s office has never independently confirmed that. There would presumably be no bar against charging a president after he or she departs the White House.

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer pressing a civil case against Trump for Daniels, who has said she had sex with the president, tweeted Tuesday that the resolution of the criminal case against Cohen “should also permit us to proceed with an expedited deposition of Trump under oath about what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it.”

The Supreme Court in 1997, ruling in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, held that a sitting president could be made to answer questions as part of a lawsuit. That ruling did not directly address whether a president could be subpoenaed to testify in a criminal investigation.

Despite blustery public denials, the fate of Manafort and Cohen has worried the president’s inner circle.

For many around Trump, Cohen has represented a greater threat than even the Russia investigation, drawing from his decade of working as the then-celebrity real estate developer’s fixer. An FBI raid on Cohen’s New York office and hotel room in April rattled the president, who has complained publicly about what he felt was government overreach while privately worrying about what material Cohen may have had after working for the Trump Organization for a decade.

Those in Trump’s orbit, including Giuliani, have steadily ratcheted up attacks on Cohen, suggesting he was untrustworthy and lying about what he knew about Trump’s business dealings. When Cohen’s team produced a recording that the former fixer had made of Trump discussing a payment to silence a woman about an alleged affair, Giuliani sought to impugn Cohen’s credibility and question his loyalty.

Trump stewed for weeks over the media coverage of the Manafort trial. Though the proceedings were not connected to Russian election interference, Trump has seethed to confidants that he views the Manafort charges as “a warning shot” from Mueller.

As he watched the courtroom proceedings, he told confidants that he feared his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., could at some point be the one on trial, according to two people familiar with his thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations.

“What matters is that a jury found that the facts presented to them by the special prosecutor warranted a conviction of someone who surrounds the president,” Weinstein said.

___

Superville reported from Charleston, West Virginia. Catherine Lucey, Ken Thomas and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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Offline RE

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🤡 Trump says 'everybody would be very poor' if he's impeached
« Reply #1409 on: August 23, 2018, 07:59:29 AM »
I'm ALREADY poor  This would not be a big change!  ::)

RE

Trump says 'everybody would be very poor' if he's impeached
CNN Digital Expansion 2018 Clare Foran
Kevin Liptak-Profile-Image

By Clare Foran and Kevin Liptak, CNN

Updated 10:01 AM ET, Thu August 23, 2018

Current Time 0:05
/
Duration Time 1:39
 
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Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump said "everybody would be very poor" and questioned how he could be impeached when he's made strides improving economic conditions in an interview aired Thursday.
"If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor," Trump said in response to a question from Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt, who asked if he believes Democrats would try to impeach him if they win back control of Congress. "You would see numbers that you wouldn't believe."
Trump says longstanding legal practice of flipping 'almost ought to be illegal'
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"You know, I guess it says something like high crimes and all -- I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job," Trump said.
READ: Impeachment talk still a no-go for Democrats hitting GOP's 'culture of corruption'

Trump said during the interview that he would give himself an "A+" if asked to grade his performance in office so far, citing his successful appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and predicting that Brett Kavanaugh, his next high court pick, will be confirmed as well.

"I give myself an A+. I don't think any President has ever done what I have done," Trump said.
READ: Ex-Trump campaign aide: We're closer to impeachment after Cohen guilty plea

"We haven't even been 2 years. Biggest tax cuts in history. Soon to be two unbelievable Supreme Court justices, I'm sure that Justice Kavanaugh will be approved. Justice Gorsuch has been a star. You look at all the things we have done with regulations, the economy is the best it has ever been in history. The only thing I'm doing badly in is the press doesn't cover me fairly," Trump said.
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