Voices From Under The Hats …

I would like to make a disclaimer before I proceed:  I am not name-calling, and I am not generalizing in what I am about to say.  I do not include all republicans, nor even all Trump supporters, and I am stating a fact, not calling anybody names with the intention of being derogatory.  Please note that the word ignorance is defined simply as “lack of knowledge or information”.  

We keep reassuring ourselves that the Trump supporters are finally waking up, finally beginning to see the light of day, to see that the person they’ve been slavishly supporting is a narcissistic crook.  I have evidence to the contrary.

Trump, under a dark cloud of likely impeachment, weathering a number of scandals of his own making, was still welcomed with what can only be called mass ignorance when he held a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week.  Listen to what one attendee said when asked his thoughts about the impeachment inquiry …

“They’re just making stuff up. He’s starting to fight back.”

Say WHAT???

Nobody is making anything up … both Trump and his Chief of Staff have admitted that he tried to coerce a foreign power to interfere in our upcoming election, to undermine the very principles that make this a free nation, a republic!  Facts, folks … cold, hard facts.  But, though Trump is far from the brightest bulb in the pack, he does know how to rile the masses, how to play to the audience …Maga-1

“They want to erase your vote like it never existed. They want to erase your voice and they want to erase your future. But they will fail because in America, the people rule again.”

Ha ha ha ha ha … the people rule!  What a crock!  Donald Trump rules by bullying and threatening.  Period.  The people are the last thing he cares about, but they, in all their ignorance that they wear like a badge of honour, cannot (or will not) see it.  The more of these comments I read, the snarkier I became.

Another comment from a member of the maga-hat-wearing crowd …

maga-hat-2“I think it’s a witch hunt. I don’t think Donald Trump has done any impeachable offence that’s a high crime or misdemeanour. There was nothing wrong with their conversation. It seems to me they’re turning a Biden scandal into a Trump scandal. I think the phone call has been taken out of context. They’re making it sound like he was trying to take down a political rival. If Biden was using his position to further his son’s career, then that in itself is corrupt.”

Now, here is my evidence, the facts that back up my claim that the people who attend these rallies and cheer ‘til they lose their voice are ignorant.  The thing that matters here is that Trump attempted to coerce a foreign power to interfere in the election.  Period.  The fact is that Joe Biden has already been proven innocent of any wrongdoing, but that is not the point.  The point is that Donald Trump, acting as president of this nation, broke the law.  Broke. The. Law.

And yet another …

maga-hat-3

Yes, Pleeeeeease!

“It’s a joke. It really is. It’s not an official inquiry. It’s Pelosi, having her own private poll. She’s only asking the people she wants to ask. They produced the transcript. That’s the whole story. Trump never said he was going to withhold money. They’ve tried to impeach Trump since before he was in office. It’s not really the Democratic Party – it’s just anti-Republican. If they want an official investigation, they should just go to the courts and do it.”

Obviously, this person is beyond clueless.  Still more …

“We wanted to do our little bit. We wanted to show our support for the president we love and support our free country. We know what they’re investigating. But we know what we know. I’ve read the transcript and I didn’t find anything illegal in it.”

And are you, madam, a lawyer or Constitutional Law scholar???

maga-hat-1“I don’t think he’s done anything wrong. He’s nothing to hide. If there’s corruption, we need to know about it. It’s all a big scam and the Bidens are trying to cover their tracks.”

“All these channels except Fox – it’s the only one that speaks the truth – they’re trying to come up with whistleblowers that don’t exist. They try to change people’s minds with misinformation.”

“As a president, he’s supposed to be looking for corruption. He didn’t do a quid pro quo. He didn’t say ‘I’m going to withdraw funds’. He didn’t withhold anything at all.”

Maga-2Do you even know the meaning of “quid pro quo”?  We’re not talking about “withdrawing funds”, lady!

“I don’t know, like sneaking off with a billion dollars in cash, that might be something. It’s not even a crime, what Trump did. I wish they would take it to a vote. Then both sides would have full disclosure. But Democrats don’t want that to happen.”

Trust me, a vote will be taken, and Trump will be impeached.  Wait for it, madam.

maga-hat-4“I’ve been on the Trump express ever since he got going. If you read the transcript, which I have done, there’s nothing there which was bad. If Democrats want to impeach him, that’s their loss. What did he do that broke the law? The Democrats can’t answer that.  If Obama had that same conversation would any of this be coming up? The answer is 100% no. That’s all it is. They’re out to get him. The Russian election thing failed on them massively. And when this one fails they’ll move into the next thing. They’re going to have four more years trying to get rid of him.”

Yo, buddy!  You can read???  Wow, I’m impressed.  But let me set you straight here … if Obama had done any one, single thing that Trump has done, he would have been impeached, tried, convicted and removed from office within a week.  Can you spell r-a-c-i-s-t?

And lastly, this …

“If people were open minded about what he’s doing, and put aside what they think of him anyway, I think they’d find his views are a lot closer to theirs than they think.”

No, lady, I can guarantee you that there is not one single thing I would agree with him on.

So, there you have it folks … the voice of the 40%.  Differences in political opinion are one thing.  I can deal with someone having a different ideology than I have, being more or less liberal, etc., but I have no idea how to have a sensible discussion with those who are ignorant, and I think that all of the above comments bespeak of ignorance.  Lack of knowledge, and a disinterest in trying to learn about things they don’t understand.  One part of me wants to feel sorry for them, but … these are the very people who got us into this mess we’re in, the very ones that have elected and supported a demagogue who is shredding our Constitution.  Sorry, but I find I cannot dredge up a shred of empathy for them.

Shared Words … Shared Feelings

I wasn’t going to have an afternoon post today, for I have an overwhelming amount of things I must get done today, but then my friend Herb tagged me on something on Facebook this morning, and as I read it, I realized it sums up what the majority of people in the U.S. are feeling these days.

A Message to Trump Supporters
by Mike Miller

‘A message to all tRump supporters:

When this national nightmare is over….and it WILL be over, hopefully sooner rather than later….and the country is returned to normalcy, order is restored, and patriotism and common sense replaces bigotry, hate and stupidity, don’t expect to regain the stature you once enjoyed as a citizen and return to the society you ransomed to placate your hate. Everything this country once stood for….everything better men and women than you sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve….everything we held dear to our hearts, was cast aside, thrown away, denigrated, defiled, stepped on, ridiculed, and despised by you in order to support the most corrupt, dishonest, fascist traitor to every occupy the people’s house. 

When our free press told you the truth about him, you rallied behind his cries of “fake news” and supported his attack on our free press. 

When fake “chrisitan” religious frauds attempted to hijack religious freedom in order to force feed their own deluded brand of bigotry and hate disguised as “christian values” you stood by and let them stoke your inbred prejudices.

When the same mindset that turned Germany into Nazi Germany in the 1930’s tried to establish a foothold here, you again showed your true colors and instead of quashing it in its tracks, you abandoned the spirit of this country, forgot history, and allowed its hatred and division to seep into our society. 

When healthcare was taken away from the most at-risk of our society, you allowed it to happen.

When children were denied food and healthcare, you supported it.

When innocent African-Americans were murdered by law enforcement, you remained silent, only to finally raise your voices in disgust and hatred when they knelt in protest.

When children were murdered in schools and sane gun legislation was called for, you sided with the gun lobby and decided that the murder of school children was more favorable than sensible gun laws.

When hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens were denied their constitutional and human rights simply because of who they chose to love, you allowed discrimination and hate to overtake your sensibility and relegated them to second-class citizenry, using YOUR “religious freedom” as the rationalization for the hatred you hid behind.

When environmental policies that demanded clean water and clean air were thrown aside in order to coddle to the monetary interests of the polluters, you remained silent.

When policies that assisted the homeless, the elderly, the needy, the hungry, the veterans, the retired, and the sick were systematically nullified and terminated in order to transfer that tax money into the pockets of billionaires, you turned a blind eye to their struggles. 

When children seeking refuge were taken from their parents and housed in cages, instead of outrage you supported the victimization and maltreatment of refugees seeking asylum. 

When the reputation of this country and our commitment to our steadfast allies were trashed in order to appease our most rabid enemies, you supported the traitors who betrayed the country and everything we once stood for. 

In every instance where compassion, civility, sympathy, acceptance, inclusion, humanity, fairness, justice, and respectability were needed, you supported the policies and the people who showed no compassion, no civility, no sympathy, no acceptance, no inclusion, no humanity, no fairness, no justice, and no respectability to anyone whose very existence they disregarded and refused to legitimize. 

So again, when this is finally over, don’t expect to be accepted back into the society of the REAL Americans you stabbed in the back simply to legitimize your own prejudices.

At every turn….at every chance….at every opportunity, when you were called on to support the foundation and pillars that this country was built on, you looked the other way and were willing to support those who were tearing down those pillars and destroying that foundation. You had no qualms about sacrificing this country to justify your own intolerance. When the choice was to support your country and its constitutional guarantees for everyone, or support the traitor who has worked tirelessly to destroy those constitutional guarantees, you chose the corrupt wannabe dictator over the constitution. Please know that there are many of us, this person especially, who truly love this country, and are intelligent enough to see the damage your misguided support of this administration has reaped. I, for one, will NEVER FORGET and NEVER FORGIVE you for the choice you made and what that choice did to this country.’

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The Truth about Trump’s devoted supporters

Once again, Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has done some deep thinking and come to a conclusion that, while I don’t like it, I believe is spot-on. We have all had conversations ala the ones Jeff describes having with his trumpeter friends, and it seems that no matter what the ‘man’ in the Oval Office does, no matter how heinous his behaviour, they still love him. They would murder their spouses for behaving as Trump does, but since it’s Mr. Ugly doing it, it’s all just peachy. Sigh. Anyway, please take a look at Jeff’s very well-thought-out post, for I believe he is correct in all he says. Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

It’s been a while since my last posting. Unfortunately, life gets in the way at times. There hasn’t been much going on in the previous three weeks has there? Excuse my humor.

The truth is, no matter what I’m doing outside the blogosphere, I’m always paying attention to current events—especially in the political world. With the reality TV President of the United States at the helm, every day leaves us with more head-scratching chaos. What did he say this morning? What did he do overseas? Ivanka met with who….where? He joked with Putin, and praised what dictator?

It never ends. And of course, it’s all by design. We’ve never had such a narcissist as President, and if there’s one thing he has learned over all of the years in the public eye, it’s how to promote himself … good or bad. As long as we’re talking about him, his enormous…

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Bursting the Bubble …

I’ve talked and listened to a lot of people in the past few days who are convinced Donald Trump will be out of office before the 2020 presidential election.  Some are applauding, others are more concerned that the blatantly bigoted Michael Pence will prove to be more dangerous than Trump (highly unlikely).  A few nights ago, I said I would be writing more about the Manafort/Cohen situations after the dust settled and I had time to sit back and ponder the long and the short of it all.  Although the dust has not quite settled, I have pondered, and here is my take.

Donald Trump has undoubtedly broken the law, as confirmed by former lawyer Michael Cohen, and he is a sleazeball, to boot.  He has robbed this nation of many things, not the least of which is a fair and honest election. But folks … put away the party hats and put the champagne back in the fridge, because it doesn’t look as if Donald Trump is leaving the Oval Office any time soon.  Please … stop throwing the tomatoes at me … I know I am bursting your bubbles and raining on your parade, but that is no reason to throw rotten fruits at me.  Don’t shoot the messenger. Let me explain …

First of all:  impeachment.  As I told you in my post from July titled No Dancing in the Streets … Sorry! Donald Trump is very unlikely to be impeached as long as Congress remains divided almost completely along party lines.  Impeachment proceedings could be introduced in the House, and might even pass, depending on the demographics of the House after the November mid-terms.  But that does not remove him from office, does not even tie his hands.  Remember Bill Clinton’s impeachment?  It had no effect on his presidency, except to cast a dark cloud.

The Senate, even if every one of the 35 seats up for grabs in November goes to a democrat, still will not be able to garner the 2/3 majority required to remove the impeached president from office.  It would require a minimum of nine republican senators to find their cojones and vote to remove him, and at this point, I do not see it happening.

Next:  resignation.  I’ve heard a few say, “Well, he has to be feeling the pressure … perhaps he’ll just resign to save face”.  Sigh.  Think about it, friends.  Save face?  He lost that a long time ago, and his ego, his megalomania, keeps him convinced that he is Donald The Invincible, The Terminator, and The Incredible Hulk all rolled into one.  No, he is many things, but a quitter is not one.  He will not be like Richard Nixon and say “Good-bye” and ride off into the sunset.  He will stay until he is physically removed, dead or alive.

Third:  criminal indictment.  The Justice Department has taken the position twice that the president is not subject to indictment while in office and that no criminal charges can proceed against him unless he’s either removed from office by impeachment or has served out his term.  As a constitutional issue, it remains to be seen, but the precedent set by the Justice Department is clearly against indicting a sitting president.

The question then becomes:  Why are the republicans in Congress still supporting Trump, unwilling to even talk about removing him from office?  And the answer to that is simple … Trump’s base is as supportive as ever.  They have decided that he is their man, and thus far they haven’t heard anything that has changed their mind. Trump’s approval rating from Wednesday, when Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of the 18 charges against him, and Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 charges, until early this morning, dropped by … one-tenth of one percent … no more than the normal fluctuations of any average day.  And 80+% of all republican voters are supporters of Trump.Red state Blue stateNow, if you’re a republican senator from Iowa, a red state, and you’re up for re-election this year, the only way you stand a snowball’s chance in hell is if you are seen by the republican voters in your state as being a Trump supporter, for they definitely are.  And if the republicans won’t vote for you, who will?  Damn sure not the democrats or the independents, for you have been screwing them over for nearly two years now!  And thus, do not hold your breath waiting for any republican in Congress to do the right thing where Trump is concerned.

But why is he still popular?  His popularity with the republicans hinges on some of the very things we find most repugnant about him.  A Pew Research poll* released this month summarizes what Trump supporters most like about him:PEW pollAll of which goes to prove that the most ardent among Trump’s supporters are more interested in his personality than his policy positions.  Okay, frankly I don’t get it, for I find his personality thoroughly disgusting, but … different strokes for different folks.  But seriously … “he’s draining the swamp”?  NO … he has made it worse than it has ever been in the history of this nation!!!  And they’re still hung up on that old “he tells it like it is”.  NO … he has no clue how it is!!!  But anyway, all of this is irrelevant, for the bottom line is that his supporters still love him.

Jean Sickler of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was asked last week how she would rate Trump’s presidency. She gave him a 9 out of 10, and when asked why he lost a point, her reply was, “A little bit of the things in his tweeting.”  This, folks, is what we are up against.

Then what will it take … ??? 

The only thing that is going to see Trump leaving office before January 20th 2021 is if his base finally turns the tide against him.  Once his base, his loyal supporters realize that maybe, just maybe he isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread, then the dominoes can begin to fall, the republicans in Congress will play to the masses and step back away from Trump, and we can begin to have serious discussions about impeachment.  I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking these past few days, and I have concluded that there is only one thing that is going to sway his base:  jobs and the economy.

When Trump’s policies start to hit his base in an up-close-and-personal way, they will open their eyes, stretch, yawn, and enlightenment will begin.  I say it will begin, because even at that point – and make no mistake, that day will come – if Trump can blame it on someone or something else in such a way that his followers buy his excuses, they may still support him.  It’s hard to say, for my crystal ball is in the shop this week, but I truly believe that when, due mostly to the tariffs he has imposed on friends and antagonists alike, jobs are lost, prices of food and other goods rise, the cost of health insurance goes up, and they suddenly find they are struggling just to provide the basics for their families, their eyes will begin to open.  I do not see anything else that will have that effect, for they frankly don’t care about his morals, they don’t care about his honesty or lack thereof, and they don’t care that he is a crass, vulgar cheater.

So, no my friends, much as I wish I could claim otherwise, Trump will not be leaving the White House soon.  I leave you with two parting thoughts:

  • Trump registered on the day after his January 2017 inauguration to run in 2020. He could very well actually win that election.
  • I’ve been wrong before … remember that I was the one who swore there was no way he was going to win in 2016. Let’s hope I’m wrong this time too!

* The article from which I took the Pew data has a number of other graphs and some interesting information about Trump supporters, so here is a link in case you’re interested.

Who ARE These People???

Trump supporters are such a class act; don’t you think?  Just look …trump-supporters-rally.jpgtrump-supporters-rally-2.jpgTrump supporters-rally-3Aren’t they a lovely bunch?  Such class.  The above pictures were taken at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night.  CNN Reporter Jim Acosta was trying to report, but couldn’t be heard over the jeers and chants of the crowd screaming “CNN Sucks”.  Such professional, dignified people, don’t you think?

The Trump klan (spelling intentional) was so proud of these followers that Eric Trump tweeted this video with the description, “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

And then Papa Trump re-tweeted it.  Boy, they sure are proud of their followers, aren’t they?

But you know what, folks?  There isn’t a damn thing to be proud of here.  This feeding frenzy is going to lead to violence against journalists, and the blame for it falls squarely on the shoulders of the ‘man’ who should be setting a positive example for this nation, the man who is supposed to be bringing people together, not stirring them to harm their fellow countrymen.

Jim Acosta, in a later interview on CNN said that “It didn’t feel like we were in America anymore”.  I completely concur.  When I watched that video, I cried.  This is not who we are supposed to be.  The people who attended that rally are not, in my book, human beings with values or consciences.  I don’t know what they are, but they are not people I would even want to be near, not people who belong in the same society in which the rest of us live.

Acosta said he tried to talk to a few of them, ask them why they are so down on the press.  The answers he got were along the lines of “why don’t you ever say anything positive about Trump?”  Acosta was nicer than I would have been, for he took the time to point out that they do report on the low unemployment numbers and reported on the increase in GDP last month.  Personally, I would have said, “If he ever does something positive, I’ll report on it.”

I do understand that these people are only a small sampling of republicans, and I try to remind myself not to judge all republicans by the example set by these few, but frankly it gets harder by the day.  When I hear that some 80% of republicans still support the ‘man’ who is nearly inciting the ‘crowds’ to violence, I have to question the intelligence of that 80%.  If republicans do not wish to be viewed in this light, it is time for them to stand up and loudly disavow this sort of behaviour.

What Trump is doing, having discovered that he doesn’t have the power to simply shut down the reporters he doesn’t like, is attempting to delegitimize them.  Calling them ‘fake news’, refusing to answer their questions, and encouraging his supporters to heckle and harass are all means of attacking the press and their credibility.  As we can see from the video, this has potentially ominous consequences and I think it is only a matter of time before a journalist is injured … or worse.

Think back, folks … can you remember any president ever treating the press in such a juvenile, mob-mentality manner?  I cannot.  Every president has had problems from time to time with the way in which the press reported on them and their actions, but every other president in history has handled those problems in a mature and respectful manner.  We do not have an adult in the White House … we have the schoolyard bully whose solution to every problem involves foul language, raised voices, raised fists, and threats.  And yet … some 40% of the adults in this nation see nothing wrong with it.

Last night I rather stumbled into a discussion on Facebook and somebody asked the question:  What happens if we don’t take back Congress in November?  My answer was that we have three choices:  We either accept living under a dictatorship, we start a revolution and overthrow the evil regime, or we move to Canada.  Think about it, for truly, if we lose our free press, those will be our only choices.

Far Right Interpreted NPR’s Tweeting Of The US Constitution As Dishing President Trump

For 29 years, NPR has broadcast the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, the holiday that honours the document and all it stood for back in 1776. In keeping with the technology of the day, this year NPR tweeted the text of the document in 113 consecutive tweets. And this unleashed a firestorm from the lunkheads on the far right! Blogger-friend Gronda has done an excellent job informing us of why the republicans are up in arms … it will make you laugh, shake your head, and ask yourself where these people went to school … or if they even did! Many thanks to Gronda for this post and for permission to re-blog!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of the constitution and paintings with forefathersOn July 4, 2017, NPR News tweeted the entire US Constitution to honor the US July 4th Independence day, our day of celebrating when this country broke away from the United Kingdom to become the USA.

But conservatives who were not familiar with this famous document took offense to certain passages which they believed  described the republican President Donald Trump in an unflattering way. And they responded, accordingly.

Dear Conservatives, “Methinks thou protest too much.”

Image result for photos of the constitution and paintings with forefathersHere is the rest of the story...

On July 5, 2017,  Jeremy Binckes of Salon penned the following report along with a transcript of US Constitution that some on the right found so offensive, “NPR’s Declaration of Independence tweet-storm angered some Trump supporters.”

“In an act of patriotism and civic responsibility, National Public Radio tweeted out the full Declaration of Independence — the document that told England’s King George that the 13 colonies would be…

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears

It would be funny were it not so tragic.  I have tried to stop short of calling Trump supporters stupid.  I have referred to them as lemmings and other terms, but have never outright called them stupid.  Today, I must re-think that and admit what has been obvious for some time now:  Trump supporters fall far short of being the brightest bulbs in the pack.  What, you may ask, has Filosofa stirred up today?

Shakespeare.  Specifically, one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Julius Caesar.  This play has been politicized numerous times in the past:

On the eve of World War II, Orson Welles staged a landmark anti-Fascist production with a Mussolini-like Caesar. The Royal Shakespeare Company recently set the play in Africa, powerfully evoking the continent’s dictators and civil wars. Five years ago, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis staged a production featuring the assassination of an Obama-esque Caesar by a group of right-wing conspirators. Even John F. Kennedy was once depicted as Caesar! But never before has it stirred quite so much controversy as it did this week, when a production in New York’s Central Park became the flashpoint for threats of violence around the nation.

caesar-2Oskar Eustis, the director, chose to make his Caesar decidedly Trumpian, giving him a shock of hair, an overlong red tie and a wife with a recognizably Slovenian accent. As all Caesars are, he’s killed in the middle of the play — bloodily — by Brutus and his band of co-conspirators.  And the fallout from right-wing dim-bulbs has been ridiculous!

Delta Airlines and Bank of America have pulled their sponsorship from the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park program. But the most troubling aspect is that New York Classical Theatre, which performs in Central Park, has received a host of threatening messages, as have theaters around the country where Julius Caesar is being performed.  Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C., has received about a dozen caustic e-mails and numerous tweets accusing the company of inciting violence and linking it to this week’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice..

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts received roughly 40 venomous messages, including one that wished the theater “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.” At Shakespeare Dallas, executive and artistic director Raphael Parry says his company has received about 80 messages, including threats of rape, death, and wishes that the theater’s staff is “sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.”

One protestor, Laura Loomer, was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after interrupting a New York production of Julius Caesar during the assassination scene and shouting: “This is violence against Donald Trump. This is political violence against the right!”  Audience members booed and shouted for her to get off the stage.  I suspect that this was not a random act, but was planned, since the incident was filmed by Jack Posobiec, a rightwing provocateur best known for helping to spread the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. He stood up as Loomer was escorted off stage by security guards and yelled at the crowd: “You are all Goebbels. You are all Nazis like Joseph Goebbels … You are inciting terrorists. The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands.”

caesar-3A Public Theater spokeswoman said: “Our production of Julius Caesar in no way advocates violence towards anyone. Shakespeare’s play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save.”

Of course the dim-bulbs need someone to tell them when to be outraged, and the majority do not live in New York City, probably have only the vaguest notion who Shakespeare was and even less about who Julius Caesar was.  Enter Fox News and Breitbart who can always be counted on to stir the masses and they did not disappoint this time, either.  True to form, Breitbart led the pack with an article titled “‘Trump’ Stabbed to Death in Central Park Performance of ‘Julius Caesar’”, and Fox News fed the flames, tweeting “NYC Play Appears to Depict Assassination of @POTUS.”

Now, it has been said that if the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, liberals would have the same reaction. But … in 2012 the shoe was on the other foot.  The Acting Company teamed up with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to produce a version of Julius Caesar in which the title character was very similar to then-President Obama.  No corporate sponsors pulled out or even made a comment.  No hate mail was sent.  And the New York Times gave it a positive review, calling it a “tough act to follow”.

Two points need to be made.  First, those who have a bit of knowledge of Shakespeare and the play Julius Caesar understand that the entire message of the play is NOT to promote assassination, but rather to warn against it.  Those who have no knowledge of the premise of the play ought to educate themselves before going off the deep end and sending hate mail regarding that which the do not understand. Second, this is a play.  It is art.  Art is always subject to interpretation.  If we allow people, fueled by right-wing media, to ban interpretations of plays, to shut them down through threats of violence, then what is the next step?  Book burnings?  Censorship of the press?  Arrests of peaceful protesters?  Think about it.

Not A Post About Dodd-Frank!

When I talk about things financial, I notice people’s eyes glaze over and soon they are making an excuse to … well, excuse themselves.  And so, while I was considering a post about the republican’s attempt to overturn Dodd-Frank, I have decided to spare my dear readers (for now, anyway) and write, instead, about this new breed of persons we are seeing:  The Trumpians. Now, there were Trump supporters last year during the campaign, and I referred to them as Trumpeters.  And, as with a Venn diagram, some of the Trumpians are former Trumpeters.  But the Trumpians differ, for these are the ones who, despite the fact that Trump has lied his fool head off ever since taking the oath of office, and despite the fact that there is mounting evidence of much wrong-doing in the White House, still claim to adore him, cheer, applaud and stomp their feet at the mere mention of his name.  These are the ones who are responsible for all 36% of his approval rating.

Now, before I begin, let me state that I have some good friends who are republicans, Trump supporters, but they are not obnoxious, always engage in civil discourse, and are always willing to listen and sometimes even agree with, the other side.  There’s Brian, and then there’s … um … er … well, there’s Brian.  Guess he’s the lone exception to the rule, at least in my sphere of friends.

This evening I read an op-ed piece by Geoffrey Kabaservice writing for the New York Times that gave me some food for thought.  See, I had always considered that Trump supporters fell into two groups:  the ultra-rich who believed he would lift regulations that hindered their businesses, and also give them tax cuts so they could see even more trailing zeros on their profit-and-loss statements.  And the second group, I thought, were those who clung to the hope that he would actually bring back coal jobs, get rid of immigrants, and they were just not smart enough to see the lie behind that promise.

But according to Kabaservice, that may be a fallacy.  It may well be that they just simply enjoy tormenting the rest of us!  A political historian, Kabaservice posits that even as early as the 1950s-1960s there were crackpots with theories similar to those the republicans unsuccessfully tried to launch against President Obama.

“Robert Welch Jr., a founder of the John Birch Society, famously maintained that President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, was “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” Other extremist groups charged that a committee of University of Chicago eggheads was rewriting the Constitution to deprive Americans of their rights to vote and hold property, and that the United Nations was training barefoot African cannibals in Georgia for an armed takeover of the United States.”

Barefoot African cannibals?  Seriously? So today we have the alt-right sites like Breitbart and InfoWars perpetuating myths like Pizzagate, where only a fool could have believed that Hillary Clinton was holding a child-sex ring in the basement of a D.C. pizza parlor.  According to Kabaservice, most republicans don’t actually believe these things, but they “enjoy the ridiculous exaggerations and outright lies for the outrage they provoke in Democrats, liberals, intellectuals and pompous commentators of all political stripes.”  AHA!  Now we’re getting somewhere! And this I can believe, because I have another friend who delights in sending me snippets from Fox or Breitbart simply to get me started. 

“Populist conservatives also appreciate fake news for conveying what they see as underlying symbolic truths. Barack Obama is not actually a Muslim, but those who called him one were pointing toward what they saw as his cosmopolitanism, racial otherness and seeming discomfort with “real” America. Democratic officials do not actually run sex rings, but for fake-news readers they are part of the corrupt and all-powerful government that exploits helpless citizens for fun and profit. Climate change science is not actually a hoax concocted by China and the scientific community, but many see it as serving the interests of globalists from both parties who allowed the devastation of American manufacturing and the working class.”

So, Trump made all these promises … to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, to repeal ACA, to ban Muslim immigrants … yet rather than work with both parties in Congress in order to elicit bipartisan help fulfilling his promises, he pitted republicans against democrats and continued his hateful rhetoric just as he had on the campaign trail, thereby virtually assuring that he would be no more successful at getting legislation passed than President Obama was during his last two years.  (Mind you, I am not complaining, for 99% of his promises were bad ideas anyway.) And yet, despite it all, the Trumpians continue to applaud and practically worship at his feet.

Why?  According to Kabaservice, because most of his supporters, excluding the wealthy whose reasons I have already identified, are “deeply pessimistic about America and its future. Few believe that he will be able to bring back the good times (however they define them) because they’re convinced that the system is rigged: The “deep state” is too entrenched, the demographic tide too advanced and the global elite too powerful to allow real change. Still, they appreciate President Trump for fighting the fight, especially when it involves going against the wishes of his own party and the customary norms of presidential behavior.”

And the article concludes:

“They will continue to see President Trump as the ultimate political independent, taking on the whole world. Even if it’s an empty performance, it’s bound to win applause.”

The article certainly explains some things, but here is what I still cannot understand.  Trumpians, again excluding the very wealthy, tend to be white, Anglo-Saxon protestants, or WASPS.  When Trump admits to multiple episodes of sexual harassment, when he gloats over stiffing contractors – working-class people – out of money they had earned, and when he incites violence at rallies … how are these people reconciling their love of all things Trumpian with his heinous behaviour with their WASP values?  And when he says he fired FBI Director James Comey for mishandling the case of Hillary Clinton’s emails, then the very next day says he fired him for his conducting of the Russian investigation … do they not see the lie?  All of which leads me back, in part anyway, to my original conclusion that they just really are not very well-educated or smart.  Not all … certainly some applaud his actions and words because they get the goats of people like me.  But others still believe he is going to make their lives somehow better, when every single thing he has attempted to do thus far is designed to make their lives far worse, while at the same time further enriching those rich businessmen who are, in one sense of the word, their oppressors.

There are several other articles that attempt to explain the Trumpian phenomenon, and I plan to take a look at some of those in a future post or posts.  I am determined to figure out this puzzle!

So, aren’t you glad I didn’t write about Dodd-Frank tonight?

Little Donnie Dark Finds A Niche …

Donald Trump, he of thin-skin who cannot abide criticism, had a week filled with self-inflicted pain last week.  However, at the end of the day he found a niche where everybody still loved him and thought he was wonderful:  Liberty University.  Trump delivered his first commencement address as president to a crowd of 50,000 at the university’s football stadium on Saturday.  Apparently the graduating class was so busy with exams and what-not last week that they did not see how big a fool Trump made of himself all week, for they gave him a standing ovation and then briefly chanted: “USA! USA! USA!”.  Some even exchanged their mortarboards for red “Make America Great Again” hats.

Liberty was founded in 1971 by televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr. and is now led by his son, Jerry Falwell Jr. Now, both Falwells, senior and junior have been on my list to receive the Idiot of the Week award for quite some time, though I am not a fan of giving the award posthumously, as Falwell Sr has been dead for some 10 years.  Nonetheless, Senior earned the award because he once hoped for an end to public education and blamed abortion providers, feminists, and gay rights supporters for secularizing the nation and paving the way for 9/11.  Junior because of his almost creepy adulation for Trump, even defending him for the remarks he made about how he had sexually abused women, saying, “I don’t think the American people want this country to go down the toilet because Donald Trump made some dumb comments on a tape 11 years ago,”

Trump’s speech, it is said, was somewhat subdued for Trump, but not without his usual message of contentiousness toward his critics.  A few snippets:

“A small group of failed voices who think they know everything, and understand everyone, want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think. But you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe.”

“What will future Americans say we did in our brief time right here on Earth? Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems? I think I did … “

“Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right — and they know what is right, but they don’t have the courage or the guts or the stamina to take it and to do it. It’s called the road less traveled.”

“Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they’re people that can’t get the job done. But the future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics. the future belongs to the people who follow their heart no matter what the critics say because they truly believe in their vision.”

That’s enough for me … but if you can stomach it, feel free to read the entire transcript.

Trump was, as is custom, awarded an honorary degree from Liberty University.

Liberty-honorary-degree

It was the fifth such honorary degree he has been given, but brings his total only to four, as one was rescinded.  Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, awarded Trump an honorary doctorate of business administration in 2010 — a controversial move at the time because the Aberdeen community where the university is located was divided over a Trump-led golf course project. When, six months into his campaign in December 2015, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, the university withdrew the degree:

“In the course of the current US election campaign, Mr Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university. The university has therefore decided to revoke its award of the honorary degree.”

The thing that struck me most about Trump’s speech at Liberty University was some of the comments of people after the ceremony:

“Whatever he chooses is probably best for the moment,”

“He’s just very honest and to-the-point. He’s for everyone, not just one group of people.”

One man said he’s frustrated that the media is so obsessed with Comey’s firing, which he agrees with, and the investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. “For nine months, they’ve talked about it. At some point, it has to stop,”

“He deserves our respect and admiration for enduring relentless and often dishonest attacks from the media, the establishment on the left and the right and from academia,” Falwell said. “I do not believe that any president in our lifetimes has done so much that has benefited the Christian community in such a short time span than Donald Trump,”

And on that note, I believe I will go drink a spot of ginger ale to try to settle the nausea that has suddenly assailed me.