Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Earlier today, I re-blogged a post from Annie of annieasksyou fame, and this evening I am sharing another. Annie has collected a series of observations made by International Analyst Michael McFaul that paint a picture that is … chilling. Please do take a minute to check it out. Thanks again, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Michael McFaul, Stanford University

[Note from Annie:I’ve extracted from Twitter a series of observations made by Michael McFaul last week after viewing the Republican National Convention that I think form a compelling picture of the dangers we’ll face if we don’t remove President Trump from office in November.(The emphases are mine.)

McFaul served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012, and then as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The author of several books and an academic at Stanford, he cites his research interests as American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development.]

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For those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week…

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King Donnie ???

As I have noted on a number of occasions, I do not and will not watch Trump’s daily ‘press briefings’ which are supposed to be daily updates about the current pandemic crisis, but from everything I’m reading, are thinly-disguised campaign rallies where he touts his “accomplishments” and pats himself on the back for the “great job” he’s done.  I am a busy woman … while others are finding themselves with more idle time these days, I spend more than half my 24-hour day researching, working on my blog and related tasks, a few hours sleeping, and maintain a household of eight (3 humans and 5 furry family members).  I do not have time to waste watching an ugly liar spout rubbish.  I do, however, catch the gist of his rallies in a variety of news outlets I keep up with, and I am increasingly both concerned and incensed.

First, the concern.  While Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, is unable to hold press events or campaign rallies due to the imposed isolation of the entire nation, Donald Trump has unlimited press access.  Now, his daily briefings are not supposed to be campaign rallies, they are supposed to be factual presentations, but he is using them as such.  It gives him a grossly unfair advantage, for media time is supposed to be paid for by candidates’ campaign funds, and Trump is getting his for free.  His face is on half the televisions in the nation daily, while Joe Biden is never seen, through no fault of his own.

I suggest that we begin an email campaign, writing letters to the editors of the major news outlets that are carrying his pressers, and demand that they refuse to air them, or at the very least, air only the parts where actual experts are giving factual data.  We are the ones who support the press, and they are doing an injustice to this nation by giving Trump an unfair advantage in the months leading up to the November 3rd election.  This is the same mistake they made in 2016 … do we really want a repeat of the fiasco known as the 2016 presidential election???

Second, the reason I am incensed comes from yesterday’s ‘briefing’.  I have said a few times recently that Trump, who claims he is going to re-open the country for business on May 1st, does not have control over that, for it will be up to the states’ governors whether they decide it is in the best interest of the people of their state.  Medical experts have urged caution, saying that to re-open too soon will only lead to a second wave of the coronavirus … in other words more cases, more deaths, and likely a second period of imposed isolation.  But Trump, you must remember, considers himself to be a ‘stable genius’, claims to know more than all the experts, and refuses to accept anything that doesn’t agree with what he wants.  Which led him to say yesterday …

“When somebody’s president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to to be. It’s total. It’s total. And the governors know that.  You have a couple bands of Democratic governors, but they will agree to it. They will agree to it. But the authority of the president of the United States, having to do with the subject we’re talking about, is total.”

His ‘authority is total,’ he claims.  Total authority … authoritarianism … dictatorship.  If you ever for one minute doubted that he sees himself as a dictator rather than a president, this one sentence should disabuse you of that notion.

Extrapolate the ramifications of his notion of total authority.  Do you seriously believe he will allow a fair and honest election with voting by mail, when he knows that if even 75% of all eligible voters voted, he wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance?  Why do you think he’s willing to let the United States Postal Service ‘sink or swim’ without assistance from the federal government?  The same federal government that is providing financial assistance to industries such as the hotel, airline, and fossil fuel industries.

And what do you think will happen if by some chance, slim though it seems at the moment, we do have a fair election whereby Trump is defeated?  Do you really think he’s going to do as every other outgoing president in history has and walk out, shaking hands with the incoming Joe Biden?  Not a chance.

Back to the governors vs Trump, though.  I don’t think that he can force any state to re-open their businesses, and I know for a fact that he cannot force any business to open, nor can he force We the People to frequent any businesses.  However, there are enough states with republican governors who already play footsies with Trump and his gang of thugs, that are likely to happily follow his mandate, to the detriment of their residents.  Will anybody stop the madness???  CAN anybody stop the madness?  For all our sakes, I hope so, but … I only wish I had more confidence in the checks and balances that have failed so damned miserably for the past three years.  I wish I had more faith in our media not to give him the attention he so craves.  And finally, I wish I had more faith in the people of this nation.

OBSTRUCTION!!!

Donald Trump is playing games with our lives.  Today, in a strictly retaliatory move against Congress and We the People, he played that tired old “executive privilege” card.  Congress had made known earlier this week its intent to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failure to answer the subpoenas they were issued by the House Oversight Committee to release certain documents.  Trump threatened that if they did so, he would invoke ‘executive privilege’ on the documents the committee had requested regarding how a citizenship question came to be added to the 2020 census form.  Just a few hours ago, Trump acted on his threat and invoked that ‘executive privilege’ that he has so often used and abused.

Congress has not only a constitutional right, but a constitutional mandate to investigate, to find the truth. That truth is being hidden, kept from Congress, purloined from the public.  This move reeks of dictatorship, of an authoritarian government, one where the ‘man’ at the top considers himself to be a supreme leader, rather than a democratically elected public servant.

Trump’s refusal to allow documents to be released, his threats and bullying key witnesses to keep them from testifying before Congress is nothing less than obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report laid out nearly a dozen proven instances in which Trump had obstructed, or attempted to obstruct, the ongoing investigation. Nothing has changed … he is still obstructing justice and has become even more blatant about it, for nobody and nothing to date has stopped him.  His minions, his boot-lickers both in the cabinet, the White House staff, and in Congress have lied and covered for him, have pointed the finger of blame in every direction except the right one, and thus we now have a dictator who believes that he has the right to hide the truth, to trample the Constitution for his own purposes.

Trump is a ‘fake’ president and is leading this nation down a dark path.  Yes, folks, he most definitely IS guilty of obstruction of justice, as recently as five hours ago!  We the People are being increasingly kept in the dark, being given only the tidbits that Trump wants us to have.  Do you know when was the last time Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a White House Press Briefing?  March 11th … 92 days ago!  More than three months.  During that time, she has been a regular on Fox News, but has disappeared from the legitimate press.  Not, mind you, that she ever told the truth anyway, but still …

As for William Barr and Wilbur Ross … I would like to see them both cited for contempt of Congress and given 24 hours to comply, else be arrested and put in jail just as you or I would be in similar circumstances.  As for Trump … he claims the Mueller report exonerated him.  It did not.  He claims “no collusion, no obstruction”.  He lies … he is guilty of both, but Mueller’s hands were tied, so he tossed the ball to Congress.  Now Trump and Co are trying to tie Congress’ hands.  If that isn’t obstruction, I don’t know what is.

Chris Britt / Illinois Times

R.J. Matson / Roll CallNick Anderson cartoonAdam Zyglis / Buffalo NewsJeff Danziger cartoon

Above The Law???

Trump says the Mueller report exonerates him, that it proves there was ‘no collusion, no obstruction’.  Those of us who can both read and think know better.  We know the Mueller report, in fact, proves that at the very least, Trump did attempt on multiple occasions to obstruct justice, to interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Today, Trump is still obstructing justice with his refusal to turn over his tax returns or financial records, his threatening and bullying those who have been subpoenaed by congressional committees, and more.  As usual, Robert Reich chimes in with words of wisdom …

In Fighting All Oversight, Trump Has Made His Most Dictatorial Move

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The president is treating Congress with contempt. This cannot stand – and Congress must fight back

Sun 28 Apr 2019 01.00 EDT

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the person who is supposed to be chief executive of the United States government.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: no questioning officials who played a role in putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census. No questioning a former White House counsel about the Mueller report.

No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy. No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances.

No presidential tax returns to the ways and means committee, even though a 1920s law specifically authorizes the committee to get them.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the US constitution.

There is only one power – the power of the president to rule as he wishes.

Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move. And let’s be clear: this is a dictatorial move.

The man whose aides cooperated, shall we say, with Russia – the man who still refuses to do anything at all about Russia’s continued interference in the American political system – refuses to cooperate with a branch of the United States government that the Constitution requires him to cooperate with in order that the government function.

Presidents before Trump occasionally have argued that complying with a particular subpoena for a particular person or document would infringe upon confidential deliberations within the executive branch. But no president before Trump has used “executive privilege” as a blanket refusal to cooperate.

How should Congress respond to this dictatorial move?

Trump is treating Congress with contempt – just as he has treated other democratic institutions that have sought to block him.

Congress should invoke its inherent power under the constitution to hold any official who refuses a congressional subpoena in contempt. This would include departmental officials who refuse to appear, as well as Trump aides. (Let’s hold off on the question of whether Congress can literally hold Trump in contempt, which could become a true constitutional crisis.)

“Contempt” of Congress is an old idea based on the inherent power of Congress to get the information it needs to carry out its constitutional duties. Congress cannot function without this power.

How to enforce it? Under its inherent power, the House can order its own sergeant-at-arms to arrest the offender, subject him to a trial before the full House, and, if judged to be in contempt, jail that person until he appears before the House and brings whatever documentation the House has subpoenaed.

When President Richard Nixon tried to stop key aides from testifying in the Senate Watergate hearings, in 1973, Senator Sam Ervin, chairman of the Watergate select committee, threatened to jail anyone who refused to appear.

Congress hasn’t actually carried through on the threat since 1935 – but it could.

Would America really be subject to the spectacle of the sergeant-at-arms of the House arresting a Trump official, and possibly placing him in jail?

Probably not. Before that ever occurred, the Trump administration would take the matter to the supreme court on an expedited basis.

Sadly, there seems no other way to get Trump to move. Putting the onus on the Trump administration to get the issue to the court as soon as possible is the only way to force Trump into action, and not simply seek to run out the clock before the next election.

What would the court decide? With two Trump appointees now filling nine of the seats, it’s hardly a certainty.

But in a case that grew out of the Teapot Dome scandal in 1927, the court held that the investigative power of Congress is at its peak when lawmakers look into fraud or maladministration in another government department.

Decades later, when Richard Nixon tried to block the release of incriminating recordings of his discussions with aides, the supreme court decided that a claim of executive privilege did not protect information pertinent to the investigation of potential crimes.

Trump’s contempt for the inherent power of Congress cannot stand. It is the most dictatorial move he has initiated since becoming president.

Congress has a constitutional duty to respond forcefully, using its own inherent power of contempt.

I leave you to ponder.

ASSAULT! … On Freedom of the Press

Donald Trump on Tuesday said he told White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings anymore.

“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”

Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, decried the growing infrequency of press briefings in a statement Tuesday, warning that the trend could set a dangerous precedent …

“While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned.”

This headline from The Washington Post seems fairly accurate …

The White House has transitioned from daily press briefings to monthly press beratings

Here’s what happens, folks, when an autocrat moves in and tries to assume power.  Little things, like repeatedly calling the free press the “enemy of the people”.  Little things like pulling a reporter’s press credentials because he asked tough questions.  Little things like calling every legitimate news story “fake news”.  Pretty soon, it seems commonplace and before long nobody thinks much about it.  Oh, those daily press briefings only happen on rare occasions now?  Hmmm … hadn’t noticed.

The first step on the path to authoritarianism is to make sure the press never has the whole story to tell the people.  Make it hard for them to get information, maybe even toss out a few scraps of false information.  Close the blinds and paint over the windows … no need for transparency … nothing to see here, folks.

The New York Times, which is not, by the way, the “failing” New York Times, as Trump has claimed, published a list:  The 551 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List  

Let us take a look at just the things he has tweeted about the mainstream media in general (just skim the list, for it is mostly repetitive, but I wanted you to see the volume of his denigration)

 “Fake News Media”“Fake News Media!”“Fake News”“Fake News Media”“Fake News”“FAKE”“Fake News”“tries so hard to paint the opposite picture”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Never in the history of our Country has the “press” been more dishonest than it is today”“Stories that should be good, are bad”“Stories that should be bad, are horrible”“bad!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“has it purposely wrong”“Please report news correctly”“Fake News”“Fake News Media”“totally out of its mind”“truly the Enemy of the People!”“Fake News Media”“FAKE NEWS”“THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”“Fake News”“disgusting Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake Media”“FAKE NEWS”“They never like to ask me for a quote b/c it would kill their story”“Fake News Media”“Fake News”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS”“the Enemy of the People!”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS MEDIA, crazy”“always seeking to make us look as bad as possible”“Very dishonest!”“Fake News!”“Nasty”“Hostile”“FAKE NEWS!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Disgraceful!”“Fake News”“keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the “Media is the Enemy of the People.””“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“false information not good!”“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“dishonest reporters”“Fake News”“Fake News, Fake & Dishonest reporting”“inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news”“Fake News Media”“the true Enemy of the People”“Fake News, Fake & Dishonest reporting”“purposely false and inaccurate reporting”“Fake News”“so bad and hateful that it is beyond description”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS!”“FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“hates to discuss the real facts!”“Fake News”“going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do”“going CRAZY!”“constant and intense Fake News”“totally dishonest”“Truth doesn’t matter to them”“they only have their hatred & agenda”“This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction”“Enemy of the People!”“Fake News”“They love to portray chaos in the White House when they know that chaos doesn’t exist”“Fake Reporting”“Fake News!”“fiction!”“Fake”“made up stories”“Fake News”“trying endlessly to make me look as bad and evil as possible”“Fake News”“worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say”“phony story”“Fake News Media!”“Fake News, of which there is soooo much”“Fake News”“the Enemy of the People”“So bad for America!”“Fake News”“don’t watch at all”“THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY”“very bad for our Great Country”“much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE”“purposely cause great division & distrust”“very dangerous & sick!”“Fake News”“refuses to report the lies and corruption having to do with the Rigged Witch Hunt”“FAKE NEWS!”“FAKE NEWS”“the enemy of the people!”“Fake News Media”“going CRAZY!”“totally unhinged”“In 7 years, when I am no longer in office, their ratings will dry up and they will be gone!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome”“Very unpatriotic!”“anti-Trump haters”“dying”“they try to distract and cover it up”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Corrupt”“Fake News”“always anonymous sources”“Wrong”“Fake News, Hypocrites!”“Fake News”“going Crazy!, They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof”“total fiction”“Fake News”“wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia”“the real enemy of the people”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“going Crazy!”“Fake News”“it is FAKE NEWS!”“the enemy of the people”“Fake News”“doesn’t want to report the truth”“Fake News”“constantly likes to pore over my tweets looking for a mistake”“Fake News is working overtime!”“Fake Media”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Total corruption”“Fake News”“the enemy of the people”“Fake News”“they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“only shows the bad photos”“Fake News”“once again, WRONG!”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Our Country’s biggest enemy”“Fake News”“easily promulgated by fools!”“Fake News”“so unfair, and vicious”“Fake”“Fake News is really bad!”“Fake News”“desperate to distract from the economy and record setting economic numbers”“Fake News”“corrupt”“working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people, Spies (Informants), into my campaign!”“Corrupt”“Fake”“run the most highly sophisticated & dishonest Disinformation Campaign in the history of politics”“No matter how well WE do, they find fault”“corrupt”“Fake News”“Fake News”“got it purposely wrong, as usual!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“got it purposely wrong, as usual!”“Fake News”“made up, unsourced stories”“Fake News”“Much of the Media may be corrupt”“Fake News”“Fake News”“a disgrace!”“The Fake News is working overtime”“Fake”“Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?”“FAKE NEWS”“Fake News”“going crazy making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist)”“totally unhinged”“the great success of this Administration is making them do and say things that even they can’t believe they are saying”“Truly bad people!”“Fake News”“going ‘bonkers!’”“so silent”“Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will!”“93% bad stories”“Fake News Media”“phony an dishonest press”“Fake News”“Fools”“Fake News Media”“Much of the media is a Scam!”“Fake News Media”“phony stories”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“dishonest and corrupt!”“Fake News”“among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with”“So much Fake News”“Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate”“Fake News Media”“crazed”“They are wrong!”“Fake News”“beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired”“Fake News Media”“they are lying”“Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!”“being mocked all over the world”“They’ve gone CRAZY!”“Total Fake News!”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Media”“approval ratings are correctly at their lowest levels in history!”“untruthful”“Fake reporting”“FAKE NEWS”“very corrupt”“dishonest”“Fake News”“talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative”“contrived!”“So much Fake News is being reported”“They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong”“crazed that WE won the election!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“corrupt & biased”“losers”“lapdogs”“Fake News Mainstream Media”“screaming mental stability and intelligence”“Fake News”“Fake News”“DISHONEST”“CORRUPT”“Dishonesty & Bad Reporting”“Fake News”“very dishonest”“Fake News”“VERY dishonest”“unfair”“Fake News Media”“Phony and non-existent ‘sources’ are being used more often than ever”“Many stories & reports a pure fiction!”“Fake News”“loves to talk about my so-called low approval rating”“massive negative Trump coverage”“The Fake News”“refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is”“They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News”“only negative reporting”“Fake News”“Fake”“the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Hate Shows”“Fake News”“working overtime to follow the lead of their friends, the defeated Dems”“Fake News Media”“untrue stories”“has become a joke!”“Fake News”“purposely false and defamatory stories”“Fake News Media”“They are out of control”“correct reporting means nothing to them”“Major lies written”“a stain on America!”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS!”“dishonest”“corrupt”“distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me)”“They are all bad”“FAKE NEWS”“their ratings are terrible, nobody cares!”“Fake News”“#FakeNews”“They are wrong”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Disgraceful!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME”“FAKE NEWS”“Lost cred”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“going crazy”“Fake”“Fake News”“Fiction writers!”“Fake News”“has become so partisan, distorted and fake”“licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked”“going all out in order to demean and denigrate!”“Such hatred!”“Fake News”“story is totally made up”“dishonest”“Fake News”“one-sided coverage”“Fake News Networks”“just made up”“FAKE!”“Fake”“Fake News”“No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth”“Fake News”“out of control!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R’s”“Shame!”“Fake News”“#FakeNews!”“Because of #FakeNews my people are not getting the credit they deserve”“FAKE NEWS”“anti-Trump”“Collusion?”“Fake News”“totally biased”“dishonest”“Fake News”“they know nothing about me & have zero access”“#FAKE NEWS!”“false reporting”“dying magazines”“Fake News”“Fake News”“a platform to hate groups”“turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets!”“Fake News”“very dishonest, Fake News”“worst”“dishonest”“Fake News reporting”“Fake News”“dishonest”“Fake News”“totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”“Fake News”“truly bad people!”“Fake News Suppression Polls!”“Fake News”“refuses to report the success of the first 6 months”“phony”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“TOTALLY UNTRUE”“Fake News”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Purposely phony reporting.”“Fake News”“Fake News”“LEAKS”“FAKE NEWS”“Fake News”“sick”“Fake News”“becoming more and more dishonest”“Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”“Fake”“phony”“unnamed sources”“highly slanted”“fraudulent reporting”“#Fake”“DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!”“when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“will never cover me accurately but who cares!”“dishonest”“FAKE”“FRAUDULENT”“working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media”“#FakeNews”“Fake News”“likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare”“Wrong”“Fake News”“Fake”“hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media”“made up a phony collusion with the Russians story”“has never been so wrong or so dirty”“Purposely incorrect stories”“phony sources”“agenda of hate”“Sad!”“at an all time high”“Where is their apology to me for all of the incorrect stories???”“#FakeNews”“report the great economic news since Election Day”“FAKE”“working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media”“They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out”“Fake”“Fake”“works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”“fabricated lies”“#FakeNews”“fake”“fake”“#FakeNews”“Fake”“Fake”“Fake”“fake”“fake”“#FakeNews!”“Fake”“FAKE”“Fake”“did everything in its power to make the Republican Healthcare victory look as bad as possible”“Fake”“rarely reports Ocare is on its last legs”“Fake”“officially out of control”“will do or say anything in order to get attention”“FAKE”“refuses to state our long list of achievements”“fake”“FAKE”“almost always negative”“FAKE”“BAD!”“Fake Media (not Real Media)”“has gotten even worse since the election”“Every story is badly slanted”“Fake News”“Fake News”“now pushing the phony Russia story”“vicious”“inaccurate”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS”“rude”“FAKE NEWS”“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media”“FAKE NEWS”“knowingly doesn’t tell the truth”“A great danger to our country”“Sad!”“FAKE NEWS”“fake news”“Fake”“FAKE NEWS”“the enemy of the American People!”“FAKE”“Dishonest”“FAKE NEWS”“makes up stories and ‘sources,’”“fading fast!”“fake news”“going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred”“FAKE NEWS, Very dishonest!”“FAKE NEWS”“lies!”“lied”“Very dishonest”“dishonest”“Dishonest”“fake!”“Dishonest”“Terrible!”“dishonest”“lies”“dishonest”“More dishonest than anyone knows”“distorted and inaccurate”“Serious bias – big problem!”“crooked”“typically false”“Very unfair!”“Very dishonest”“We are winning and the press is refusing to report it”“Don’t let them fool you”“in the tank for Clinton”“refuses to talk about the three new national polls that have me in first place”“has deceived the public by putting women front and center with made-up stories and lies”“dishonest”“distorted”“rigging election!”“rigging election!”“pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies”“dishonest”“So dishonest!”“want me out of the race so badly”“totally one-sided “spin””“VERY dishonest”“just made up lies!”“never covered Hillary’s massive “hacking” or coughing attack”“It is being reported by virtually everyone, and is a fact, that the media pile on against me is the worst in American political history!”“dishonest”“corrupt”“dishonest”“My rallies are not covered properly”“never discuss the real message”“disgusting”“corrupt”“dishonest”“desperate to distract from Clinton’s anti-2A stance”“totally distort so many things on purpose”“Very dishonest!”“very dishonest”“totally biased”“distorted”“one-sided”“biased”“dishonest”“dishonest”“coverage this morning of the very average Clinton speech and Convention is a joke”“phony”“dishonest”“will find a good spinnnn!”“biased”“spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails”“so dishonest”“If I make a statement, they twist it and turn it to make it sound bad or foolish”“They think the public is stupid!”“Dishonest”“trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!”“so totally biased”“dishonesty”“one big lie!”“totally biased”“biased”“phony”“on a new phony kick about my management style”“dishonest”“dishonest”“disgusting”“really on a witch-hunt against me”“False reporting, and plenty of it”“pushing the false narrative that I want to raise taxes”“unfair”“has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly”“able to so incorrectly define a word for the public”“sad!”“dishonest reporters!”“dishonest”“always tough when they falsify”“won’t report!”“dishonest”“wants to surrender constitutional rights”“they only want negatives”“will not report the highly respected new national poll that just came out”“how will the media put a negative spin on this one?”“troublemakers”“despite the[ir] best efforts, the people are speaking loudly and clearly”“totally dishonest”“So sad!”“lies”

WHEW!  And that doesn’t include the filth he has spewed about virtually every journalist and media outlet who has ever criticized him.  Look back throughout history … has any president of the United States ever spoken so?  I think not.  Thus far he has stopped short of actually having journalists jailed, as other autocrats such as Putin and Erdoğan have done, but what he is doing is only one step short of that.  Never before in any democratic nation has a leader been so irresponsible in his dealing with the press.  And now, he has told the Press Secretary to ‘not bother’ communicating with the press, not bother providing information that enables We The People to know what our government is doing.

Remember last July, when Trump spoke to the VFW annual convention in Kansas City, where he said …

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Believe, in other words, only what he tells you to believe.  Believe only what the man who lies virtually every time he opens his mouth, tells you to believe.  Lies are truth, truth is ‘fake’.

Without a free press, folks, our boat is sunk.  Without a free press, we will live under a dictatorship.  Donald Trump was given the keys to the White House without the majority approval.  He has occupied that house illegitimately for two years now, and in that two years he has made a mockery of many of our institutions, many of our freedoms and protections, and the very foundation of our government, the document he took an oath, swearing to “preserve, protect and defend”.

No more daily press briefings.  Trump will tweet you what you need to know.  Nope, nothing to see here, folks …

Another Open Letter to Donald Trump

Mr. Trump,

Once again it seems that I need to set you straight on a few things.  You are rather like the child who has been allowed to play with the bully down the street, and now you are beginning to act like him.

On Tuesday you met with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea as it is commonly called.  You seem to have come home with some wildly mistaken notions about both Kim and your own role in the U.S.  I am not sure why your many highly-paid advisors are failing to advise you, leaving it to me to do.  Have you simply surrounded yourself with stupid people who do not understand global relations any better than you do?

First, allow me to set the record straight.  Kim Jong-un is a dictator.  He is not elected by the people of his nation, but rather inherited his position from his father.  Kim will stay in power indefinitely until either he dies, chooses to step down, or is overthrown.  You, on the other hand, are an elected official and answer to every citizen of this nation.  Your term of office will end – sooner than later if you don’t change your attitude toward We the People.  So, when you say of Kim, “He’s the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same,” you are asking for trouble.  We are not “your people”.  We are, quite frankly, your employers!  You do not have the same power that Kim has, and never will, for the United States is a democratic republic, a nation guided by a Constitution that gives the power to the people, the citizens.  It is imperative that you understand this, for comments like that are offensive to every citizen of this nation!

Second, contrary to your inane comment, Kim Jong-un does not “love his people”.  In order to consolidate his power, Kim had his uncle executed and ordered the murder of his half-brother.  There are as many as 100,000 people being held in gulags in slave-like conditions in North Korea. These are not murderers, thieves or rapists – they are simply people who crossed Kim in one way or another. He orders public executions and allows ‘his people’ to starve to death.  And have you forgotten Otto Warmbier?  Mr. Warmbier was a 22-year-old U.S. citizen who was held prisoner in North Korea for over a year on orders by your buddy Kim. Warmbier’s crime?  Trying to steal a propaganda poster. Last year, he was sent back to the U.S. in a coma and died just a few days later.  Remember way back when you called Kim a ‘madman’ and a ‘killer’?  You were spot on then, but now you are either blind, stupid or simply don’t care about the human race.  Which is it?

Third, your treatment of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is despicable.  You have acted just as I would expect a five-year-old child to act – a spoiled brat!  Trudeau has, I’m certain, bit his tongue on more than one occasion, has tried very hard to be nice to you and to compromise on issues such as trade between our two nations.  But it seems that the word ‘compromise’ is not in your vocabulary and you insist on a game of winner-take-all, where you are the winner.  That is not how politics work, not how international relations work, and is not, in fact, how life works.  Your parents must have been very self-focused people, for they failed to teach you manners, failed to teach you that there are other people in this world and that life is not all about you and what you want.  While you were campaigning for the office you now hold, you said one of your goals was to make America safer, and yet, by pushing away all our allies, you have done just the opposite.  You brag and take credit for a strong economy, for low unemployment numbers, even though they are not yours to take credit for, but allow me to speculate that since you have imposed unreasonable tariffs on Mexico, Canada, the EU, and China, that economy will not remain strong for much longer.  I anticipate prices of goods and services will rise, people will be unable to afford to buy those goods and services, companies will lose money and begin laying off people, and there you have it – a new recession.  And believe me when I say that you will deserve every bit of the credit for that!

To summarize, Mr. Trump, you are doing a lousy job as leader of the United States.  Were it up to the majority in this nation, you would be fired today, but democratic processes take time.  I realize that you are not much of a reader, but the best advice I can give you at this time is to read about the French King Louis XVI and the fate that befell him for ignoring the needs of “his people”.

Sincerely,

Jill E Dennison, citizen/voter