Friday, December 28, 2018

Drowning Accomplished

Conservatives wanted to drown government in a bathtub. Now they are doing that.

I think everybody understands: Trump is not serious, he is a troll. He doesn't know anything about running a government but knows how to amplify the resentment of ignorant people and create a populist smokescreen for international organized crime. "The wall" is trolling, it's not a grown-up idea, it's not for real. It started as a campaign skit to get crowds worked up about immigration. As Joshua Green explained in his book, Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, Roger Stone and Sam Nunberg take credit for it:
“Roger Stone and I came up with the idea of ‘the Wall,’ and we talked to Steve [Bannon] about it,” said Nunberg. “It was to make sure he talked about immigration.”

Initially, Trump seemed indifferent to the idea. But in January 2015, he tried it out at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a presidential cattle call put on by David Bossie’s group, Citizens United. “One of his pledges was, ‘I will build a Wall,’ and the place just went nuts,” said Nunberg. Warming to the concept, Trump waited a beat and then added a flourish that brought down the house. “Nobody,” he said, “builds like Trump.” The Guy Who Thought Up ‘the Wall’ Says Trump Should Shut Government to Fund It
It is fine to negotiate and compromise on bipartisan differences, but this is not a real proposal, it is just trolling and no compromise is possible. You can't win by opposing it, by reasoning about it, because the idea of a border wall does not meet the criteria for being included in a logical argument. All you can do it ignore it.

Walls were fine in Medieval times when barbarians were shooting arrows at your castle, but the function of "the wall" as an idea in the twenty-first century is to isolate and ridicule those who still believe in objective reality, and who believe that a democratic government can be effective.

If they can't literally drown it in a bathtub then conservatives can at least mock government, ridicule it, propose absurd ways to waste tax money, and while they're at it they can mock and ridicule people who take government seriously. Drown the libs in a bathtub, too. Conservatives hope to get everybody worked up in an absurd debate while the government ignores real crises; this will prove that government deserved to be drowned. They are hoping this shutdown does it. There is no hurry to re-open, no real need to as long as they still have control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. This is it: there is no federal government. Drowning accomplished.

The Democrats will fail completely if they attempt to debate "the wall." It would be like Elizabeth Warren showing us her DNA report -- playing the game is losing. The Democrats need to stay focused and positive; they have a bipartisan plan to manage border security, they have the votes in Congress for it, and they cannot let themselves be distracted from that. Don't argue about the strengths and weaknesses of a Medieval wall. It doesn't matter why it wouldn't work, or how tall it is, or if it has slats, or spikes, it is just a dumb idea.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Flynn Free, Trump Continues to March Off the Edge

The news is coming too fast and furious to blog about -- something posted in the morning is old news by afternoon. This morning Trump let go a series of Twitter statements that defy mental health. He is worse than an 8-year-old. It is pathetic. Later today a report is expected from Robert Mueller, new details about the crimes of the Trump mob family will come to light and it is actually frightening, as the stock market crashes with our international reputation and the lucidity of domestic policies and decisions.

It comes back to this video and the smug belief that they are better than the rest of us. There is no justification or even explanation for it, conservatives simply believe that they are good people and deserve power. Liberals are not just mistaken or misguided individuals, but criminals who should be jailed or shot, or thrown from helicopters. I have posted this before but you can never watch this video too much, and it is appropriate this week as we reflect on Michael Flynn's sentencing memo -- dark with redactions as multiple investigations continue. Here is Flynn at the 2016 Republican Convention, giving a speech supporting Donald Trump. Even while he was speaking, Flynn was a traitor and a criminal who was actively working to undermine the interests of the USA.

This isn't some schmoe sittin' in a bar somewhere complaining about the gummint. This is a retired Lieutenant General of the United States Army who would soon be appointed National Security Advisor to the US President, and was, while he spoke, actively working with foreign governments to sabotage American democracy. And don't forget, Trump knew all this when he appointed him National Security Advisor, he had been briefed by the Obama administration.

Flynn is leading a chant of "Lock her up," accusing Hillary Clinton of crimes involving her email use. Clinton, Trump's opponent in the election, had been under nearly constant political persecution by conservatives since the 1990s, and no matter how well-funded the Republicans were or how bloodthirsty they were to nail her on something, anything, the government repeatedly established that Hillary Clinton is not a criminal. If she had spit on the sidewalk once in the past thirty years they would have caught her at it, but there was nothing. The Republican Party was successful in creating a sort of aura of suspicion around her through a steady stream of accusations, but the worst they had was the fact she wore pant-suits sometimes, or was shrill and bitchy, that is, spoke her mind while female.

Flynn on the other hand was setting up backchannel deals with the Russians, arranging to undermine our presidential election and compromise our American sovereignty once Trump was in office. Things did not go as planned, and Flynn -- after being installed by Trump as the National Security Advisor -- has pleaded guilty of making "false, fictitious, and fraudulent" statements to the FBI.

The federal prosecutor recommended no prison time for him, which is incredible for someone who has been a leader in treason at the highest of levels of government. But Flynn talked, he talked a lot, and they are rewarding him for cooperating.

I know you've seen it, but watch this video again. Watch the face of nationalistic commitment, the eagle eyed intensity of a traitor who is arguing that his political opponent should be jailed for her beliefs. Look at how happy the Republicans are, chanting, cheering. Tearing down our country has been fun for them.