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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Democrats respond to Supreme Court gun ruling with new bill to fix it; GOP plans to "shoot it down"

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says that "last week’s decision is another warning sign that this MAGA court is going off the deep end, aligning with the most extreme elements of the hard-right.”

By Joan McCarter

Daily Kos Staff

When the Supreme Court overturned a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, an accessory that turns semiautomatic rifles into weapons of mass destruction, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his concurrence that there was a “simple remedy” to ban the part: “Congress can act.”

The Senate is attempting to do just that, with Democrats trying to pass a bipartisan bill to ban bump stocks on Tuesday. They are trying to bring the bill to the floor under unanimous consent, a way of fast-tracking its passage. The move takes on both Republicans—who will certainly object—and the Supreme Court.

In a floor statement, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the court. 

“We must act because a few days ago, the MAGA Supreme Court struck once again, saying the federal government has no power to ban the sale of bump stocks,” he said. “The MAGA Court’s decision is an utter disgrace—it will endanger our communities, endanger law enforcement, and make it easier for mass shooters to unleash carnage. Last week’s decision is another warning sign that this MAGA court is going off the deep end, aligning with the most extreme elements of the hard-right.”

The bill comes from Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Republican Sen. Susan Collins from Maine. Since the court’s Friday ruling, the bill has gained 20 new cosponsors. 

The ruling was not based on the Second Amendment grounds but on tortured semantics: What did Congress mean when it effectively banned people from owning machine guns back in the 1930s? Even though a semiautomatic with a bump stock could kill 58 people and injure more than 800 in a matter of minutes just like a machine gun, the majority argued that it couldn’t be called a machine gun.

Despite the fact that this isn’t a gun ownership issue and that the bill is at least nominally bipartisan, Republicans are not likely to allow it to go forward. Even though, as Schumer points out, it was their guy who established the regulation in the first place.

“What today’s bill does is return things to the status quo set by Donald Trump, saying bump stocks are dangerous and should be prohibited,” Schumer said. “Senate Republicans by and large supported Donald Trump’s ban on bump stocks back then, so they should support this bill today.”

Remember those bygone days when the Supreme Court could be counted on to act in the best interests of we the people?  You can thank Donald Trump for what it has become.  He appointed the bastards.  And he brags about overturning Roe to this day.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

There’s a New “Silent Majority” Out There—and It Is Not Conservative This Time

There’s a New “Silent Majority” Out There—and It Is Not Conservative  Pro-choice protesters marching. (photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
 

 
 Ever since Richard Nixon used the phrase, it’s been a Republican thing. But the Republicans are the extremists now, and the Silent Majority isn’t what it was in 1969.
 
Michael Tomasky / The New Republic

Those of you of a certain age will recall the phrase “the Silent Majority,” made popular by Richard Nixon—and his crooked, cash-thirsty Vice President Spiro Agnew—in 1969 to refer to those middle-class Americans who weren’t out in the streets making noise about Vietnam or civil rights but sitting quietly at home seeking normalcy, law and order, and someone to save the country from extremism. Pat Buchanan, the old Nazi war criminal defender, has claimed that he placed the phrase before Nixon in a memo and the president seized on it.

Republicans have used it ever since. It was used by Ronald Reagan. It was employed by Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg (when he was running, as a Republican, for mayor of New York). Donald Trump gave it a spin in 2016. Overseas, Tory David Cameron and rightist leaders in Italy and Portugal have taken it up.

No candidate on the broad left has ever, to my knowledge, invoked the phrase. It’s high time that changed.

Earlier this week, you may have noticed, there was a special election in Ohio’s 6th congressional district, which runs from Youngstown to the West Virginia border. The Cook Political Report rates that district R+16, meaning a Democrat wins it about as often as Trump emits an untangled sentence. In 2020, Trump carried it by 29 points.

And Tuesday? The Republican still beat the Democrat—but by single digits. Michael Rulli, the Republican state senator who won the seat, spent $570,000. The Democratic candidate, an Air Force veteran who most recently worked as a waiter, spent $7,000.

What’s this have to do with the Silent Majority? I suspect maybe a lot.

If an amateur Democrat who couldn’t put two metaphorical nickels together can come within nine points of an experienced pol Republican in a district as scarlet-red as the Buckeyes’ jerseys, something is up. And this result is not an outlier. As Aaron Blake pointed out in The Washington Post, there have been six special congressional elections this cycle and the Democrat has outperformed in four of them, the Republican in just one. In the sixth race, Blake notes, the results (the Democrat won) closely mirrored the 2020 results, but “Democrats swung the results by double digits from the 2022 race for the same seat and flipped the seat blue.”

Simon Rosenberg, the high priest of Democratic optimism with his Hopium Chronicles Substack, constantly preaches: Don’t look at the polls; look at election results. We do not of course know whether his optimism about this November will be validated. We do, however, know that he (and pretty much he alone) was correct that the Democrats would hold their own in the 2022 midterms. He was right then, and he’s been right about most of these elections ever since.

So, a theory for you: Maybe, just maybe, there is an army of Americans out there who may not call themselves liberal or progressive but who are anywhere from sort of turned off to massively repulsed by MAGA. And while Trump and Fox News and Steve Bannon and Marjorie Taylor Greene and all the rest of them spend their days fulminating about America dying and hyping the authoritarian tsunami coming—talk that the mainstream media picks up and that dominates our discourse—there are in fact millions of Americans sitting quietly at home who detest these histrionic harbingers of hatemongering (a Safire-esque turn of phrase for you, since I mentioned Agnew).

They are out there. And they, I submit, are your new Silent Majority.

They’re not all liberal. But they definitely support abortion rights. They’re not rushing to join trans rights groups. But they want people to be treated with empathy and tolerance. They’re not reading gender-bending young adult fiction. But they recoil against censorship. They’re not socialists. But they want the government to do more for working- and middle-class people. They’re not Earth Firsters. But they believe climate change is real. They may still tell pollsters they’re wary of “big government.” But new interstates and bridges, and airport expansions, and new light-rail tracks, and expanded broadband access? They’re great with all that.

And most of all: They, just like Nixon’s old Silent Majority, seek normalcy, law and order, and someone to save the country from extremism. But in Nixon’s time, the extremism came from the left, while today it comes from the right. It’s the Trump right that attacks normalcy, on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. It’s the Trump right that is lawless, as evidenced most obviously by the fact that all these Republicans are tripping over themselves to support a convicted felon to be the president of the United States. And it’s the Trump right that is extremist on just about every issue, from health care to foreign policy.

So they sit at home, probably not watching much cable news, not marching in any marches, but just waiting until Election Day to register their opposition to MAGA. And in case you were wondering—yes, Michael Rulli, the Republican in that Ohio district, was MAGA all the way. He ran an ad in which the voiceover said: “On June 11, vote pro-gun. Pro-life. And pro-Trump.”

I would love to see the Democrats run with this idea that they are the new Silent Majority. It would infuriate the Republicans, who have assumed for 50 years that it is they who represent “regular America.” But with their slavish embrace of a sexual assaulting, classified document stealing, insurrection leading, twice impeached, quadruply indicted, and once (so far) convicted felon, they have waved goodbye to all that. They’re a noisy minority, and they’re alienating Americans by the millions.

"They are out there. And they, I submit, are your new Silent Majority."

Friday, June 21, 2024

Happy whatever, you losers and scum: 11 years of Trump's holiday wishes

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By Mark Sumner

Daily Kos Staff 

June 19, 2024

REPUBLISHED BY:

Blue Country Gazette Blog

Rim Country Gazette Blog

Sunday was Father’s Day. As might be expected for a holiday devoted to putting things on the grill and trying to figure out where to display a child’s paper-mache artwork, President Joe Biden offered up a decidedly mild-but-warm greeting.

“Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, pops, and father figures who have shown us guidance, encouragement, and unconditional love,” Biden wrote.

And, with equal predictability, Donald Trump … didn’t do that. Instead, Trump clamped down on the caps lock and leaned into making this holiday, like every holiday, a day to pry America apart.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL, INCLUDING THE RADICAL LEFT DEGENERATES THAT ARE RAPIDLY BRINGING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INTO THIRD WORLD NATION STATUS WITH THEIR MANY ATTEMPTS AT TRYING TO INFLUENCE OUR SACRED COURT SYSTEM INTO BREAKING TO THEIR VERY SICK AND DANGEROUS WILL. WE NEED STRENGTH AND LOYALTY TO OUR COUNTRY, AND ITS WONDERFUL CONSTITUTION. EVERYTHING WILL BE ON FULL DISPLAY COME NOVEMBER 5TH, 2024 - THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

Essentially: America sucks. You suck. Happy Father’s Day! And now that this holiday is sufficiently ruined, let’s look at just a few of the ways that Trump has turned every holiday into an excuse to be awful.

Trump’s holiday greetings tend to follow a pattern. Happy whatever to all, including these terrible people.

The pattern was still being polished in 2013, when Trump remembered 9/11 by saying “I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11.” Since then, Trump has made every holiday about his generosity in reaching out to the people he hates.

Happy New Years to…

“... THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA.” (2019)

“... CROOKED JOE BIDEN AND HIS GROUP OF RADICAL LEFT MISFITS AND THUGS” (2023)

Happy Mother’s Day to…

“... RACIST, VICIOUS, HIGHLY PARTISAN, POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, AND VERY UNFAIR RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRAT JUDGES." (2022)

"... THE MOTHERS, WIVES, and LOVERS OF THE RADICAL LEFT FASCISTS, MARXISTS, AND COMMUNISTS WHO ARE DOING EVERYTHING WITHIN THEIR POWER TO DESTROY AND OBLITRATE OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY. … PLEASE MAKE THESE COMPLETE LUNATICS AND MANIACS KINDER, GENTLER, SOFTER, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, SMARTER…” (2024)

Happy Memorial Day to…

“... THOSE … STOPPING THE THREATS OF TERRORISTS, MISFITS AND LUNATIC THUGS WHO ARE WORKING FEVERISHLY FROM WITHIN TO OVERTURN AND DESTROY OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN IN GREATER PERIL THAN RIGHT NOW.” (2023)

“... THE HUMAN SCUM THAT IS WORKING SO HARD TO DESTROY OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY.” (2024)

Happy Father’s Day to…

“... THE RADICAL LEFT, RINOs, AND OTHER LOSERS OF THE WORLD.” (2021)

Happy Thanksgiving to…

“... RACIST & INCOMPETENT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK STATE LETITIA ‘PEEKABOO’ JAMES, WHO HAS LET MURDER & VIOLENT CRIME FLOURISH & BUSINESSES FLEE; THE RADICAL LEFT TRUMP HATING JUDGE, A ‘PYSCHO,’ ARTHUR ENGORON, WHO CRIMINALLY DEFRAUDED THE STATE OF NEW YORK & ME … CROOKED JOE BIDEN WHO HAS WEAPONIZED HIS DEPARTMENT OF INJUSTICE AGAINST HIS OPPONENT & ALLOWED OUR COUNTRY TO GO TO HELL; & ALL OF THE THE OTHER RADICAL LEFT LUNATICS, COMMUNISTS, FASCISTS, MARXISTS, DEMOCRATS, & RINOS WHO ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING TO DESTROY OUR COUNTRY.” (2023)

Merry Christmas to…

“... THE RADICAL LEFT MARXISTS THAT ARE TRYING TO DESTROY OUR COUNTRY, THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION THAT IS ILLEGALLY COERCING & PAYING SOCIAL AND LAMESTREAM MEDIA TO PUSH FOR A MENTALLY DISABLED DEMOCRAT OVER THE BRILLIANT, CLAIRVOYANT, AND USA LOVING DONALD J. TRUMP, AND, OF COURSE, THE DEPARTMENT OF INJUSTICE, WHICH APPOINTED A SPECIAL ‘PROSECUTOR’ WHO, TOGETHER WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY, HATES ‘Trump’ MORE THAN ANY OTHER PERSON ON EARTH.” (2022)

"The ability to post—or have your staff do so—holiday well wishes that don't generate controversy and derision isn't technically a prerequisite for the Oval Office. And at this point, generating controversy and derision is part of Trump's brand. Still, it's nice to have a president who doesn't do that.

"Essentially: America sucks. You suck. Happy Father’s Day!"

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Trump trashed their "horrible" city. One brewery is making it a badge of honor

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Smooth move, Donald.

Yellin’ Felon’s logorrheic lamentations: "I never said Milwaukee is 'horrible,' but if I had it would be because of its crime and elections..."

By AJP for Community Contributors Team

Community

Daily Kos

Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a week after Donald Trump called Milwaukee, Wisconsin—the site of July’s Republican National Convention—a “horrible city,” one local brewery is showing its civic pride while taking full financial advantage of the Yellin’ Felon’s logorrheic lamentations. 

Trump may have created less than zero jobs over the course of his presidential tenure, but he is providing a boost to the fortunes of MobCraft Beer, which has debuted (Not So) Horrible City IPA in direct response to Trump’s witless diss.

"We were just putzing around this morning, talking through our production schedule and kind of heard the news of our city being called horrible and didn't really like that. Milwaukee is so cool," MobCraft owner Henry Schwartz told Milwaukee’s WISN-TV.

But while some insults are easier to leverage than others—“Marxist, Fascist, Radical Left Thugs Living Like Vermin” barely even fits on a onesie, for instance—MobCraft’s new brew is part of a long tradition of reclaiming put-downs and using them to rally, and raise up, one’s own people, whether through the power of civic pride or tribal identity.

In fact, the Biden campaign well recognizes this and has already started selling “(NOT) a Horrible City” stickers and T-shirts at its official swag store. It’s reminiscent of the left’s reclaiming of MAGA’s secretly vulgar “Let’s Go Brandon” chant through the sly and sticky Dark Brandon meme, which the Biden campaign has fully embraced and currently uses in fundraising

These sorts of injuries to tribal and civic pride can be really powerful, of course. In fact, while many pundits (and Hillary Clinton’s campaign itself) pointed to the infamous 11th hour James Comey letter as the key turning point in the 2016 election, her description of half of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” may have been even more determinative, as those very deplorables almost instantly started using it as an ironic rallying cry—making the comment virtually impossible to forget.

In a November 2016 election post-mortem, entrepreneur Diane Hessan, who’d been on a special assignment for the Clinton campaign, noted that it was the “deplorables” comment more than anything else that turned undecided voters against Hillary. Hessan described how the comment had alienated voters like George, a 58-year-old undecided Democrat from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

The Boston Globe:

There was one moment when I saw more undecided voters shift to Trump than any other, when it all changed, when voters began to speak differently about their choice. It wasn’t FBI Director James Comey, Part One or Part Two; it wasn’t Benghazi or the e-mails or Bill Clinton’s visit with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. No, the conversation shifted the most during the weekend of Sept. 9, after Clinton said, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

All hell broke loose.

George told me that his neighborhood was outraged, that many of his hard-working, church-going, family-loving friends resented being called that name. He told me that he looked up the word in the dictionary, and that it meant something so bad that there is no hope, like the aftermath of a tsunami. You know, he said, Clinton ended up being the biggest bully of them all. Whereas Trump bullied her, she bullied Wilkes Barre.

So could Hillary’s “deplorables” comment—despite its undeniable accuracy—have cost her the election? Ultimately, that’s unknowable. But it sure didn’t help.

Meanwhile, it’s entirely possible that Trump lost Arizona, a traditionally red redoubt, because he couldn’t stop insulting Grand Canyon State favorite son John McCain. That’s not the same as insulting an entire state, city, or voting bloc, but it does veer dangerously close to attacking a state’s shared identity by smearing one of its widely acclaimed heroes. (Imagine if, instead of saying Milwaukee was “horrible,” Trump had claimed the Miller Park sausage racers were juicing. Or that Robin Yount throws like a Trump.)

A Nov. 8, 2016, Politico story sought to trace Trump’s Arizona face-plant back to his yearslong McCain feud, which somehow continued well after the senator had died of brain cancer

As of Saturday, it appeared that about 100,000 voters in Arizona’s Maricopa County alone, which makes up about half the state’s population, voted for Biden and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly but chose all Republicans for a host of other state offices, said Garrett Archer, the former chief data analyst for the Arizona secretary of state.

“Generic Republicans down-ballot are winning,” he said, including in the state Legislature, which was widely predicted to flip into Democratic hands for the first time in more than 50 years but will keep its GOP majority. That suggests many reliably Republican voters had a special animus toward Trump and Sen. Martha McSally, who was banking on her reflexive loyalty to Trump to carry her over the threshold.

In other words, some insults hit closer to home than others, and in an era defined by tribal politics, poking entire tribes in the eyes is never a good, erm, look.

Of course, ever since Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 with the help of Russia, Comey, and our idiosyncratic 237-year-old Electoral College, many have been tempted to overestimate his political savvy. 

Though he’s fallen on his face over and over since then—losing the White House and Congress in 2020 and leading his party to a mealy midterm performance in 2022—many pundits remain enamored of the Teflon Don. But is Trump’s pugilistic campaign style a considered strategy or just a way to keep his head from exploding with rage—similar to when a surgeon installs a stent to drain dangerous excess fluid from a patient’s brain? 

More likely, it’s the latter. While insulting Gold Star families, military service members in general, and numerous U.S. cities in both blue and red states somehow failed to derail him politically in the past, it can't have improved his electoral prospects. And it’s hardly a stretch to think Trump’s “horrible” gaffe could cost him the 2024 election. After all, Wisconsin is among the swingiest of swing states, having gone to Trump by a 22,000-vote margin in 2016 and to Biden by a mere 20,000 votes in 2020

Why else do you think the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee—which is posting billboards featuring Trump’s quote all across Milwaukee—are leaning so heavily into this? And why else would Trump, who has the impulse control of a tweaking rhesus monkey, be backpedaling so furiously?

Oh, wait, you didn’t hear that part? Yes, because Trump is Trump, he’s denying he said the thing that he said to House Republicans during a recent campaign strategy meeting.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In a post Saturday on Truth Social, the 45th president posted: “The Democrats are making up stories that I said Milwaukee is a ‘horrible city.’ This is false, a complete lie.”

But that came after an interview with Fox in which Trump didn't deny the remark and said he was commenting on crime and elections in Milwaukee.

[...]

Republican congressmen in the room confirmed the comment to the Journal Sentinel with different takes on what Trump was talking about, but Trump in his social media post blamed Democrats, none of whom were in the room.

Well, if Republicans can blame President Biden for rising crime rates that are actually falling, why should it be so hard to blame Democrats for repeating things they heard in a room they never stepped foot in? After all, they just need to convince human manure spreader Sean Hannity that it happened—because he’ll repeat anything that lets him jump in front of Lindsey Graham for the chance to loofah Trump’s bone spurs.​​​​​​​

Of course, Trump’s clear animus toward Milwaukee—and Baltimore, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., et al.—is part and parcel of his ingrained racism. And his dog-whistling may actually help him in northern Wisconsin towns with more giant fish statues than racial minorities. 

But Milwaukee—a town of more than half a million souls—is unlikely to forget this diss anytime soon, and Trump may ultimately discover that his mouth was his own worst enemy.

While some may see Trump’s insults as part of his secret sauce, there’s a reason most politicians don’t follow suit. These kinds of gaffes can be political suicide—and you can rest assured this unforced error will be part of the news cycle again when Republicans meet in Brew City for their convention in July. 

That said, we shouldn’t wait. As Democrats, we need to turn these crass comments into rallying cries of our own. Because the one thing that would truly be horrible is Donald Trump returning to the White House.

Yellin’ Felon’s logorrheic lamentations: "I never said Milwaukee is 'horrible,' but if I had it would be because of its crime and elections and because it's just filthy dirty.  It's the filthiest, dirtiest city I've ever seen and it's beer is watery, but I never called it 'horrible.'"

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ocasio-Cortez, Raskin to Introduce Legislation to ‘Rein in Rogue’ Supreme Court

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"Coke Can" Clarence Thomas' Sugar Daddy: A cartoon by Mike Luckovich.  Daily Kos

Miranda Nazzaro / The Hill 

ALSO SEE: Alito Recording Plunges Supreme Court Into Deeper Controversy

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Tuesday they will introduce legislation in response to the increased ethics concerns related to the Supreme Court.

Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez, who serve as the ranking and vice-ranking members, respectively, on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, were part of a committee roundtable Tuesday regarding these concerns. They explored various “avenues” for holding Supreme Court justices accountable, they told MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

“And so, it is not a question … of if Congress has jurisdiction and power over the Supreme Court. It is, what power are we going to exercise in order to rein in a fundamentally unaccountable and rogue court?” Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday night.

“Congressman Raskin and myself will be introducing forthcoming legislation to even have the Supreme Court be subject to the same $50 gift rule that he and I are subject to, as everyone else who are members of Congress,” she added later.

The Supreme Court has come under scrutiny over the past year following a series of reports detailing various undisclosed luxury trips, gifts, and questionable extrajudicial activities involving multiple justices. The reports spiked interest in congressional oversight of the justices’ behavior and the gifts they accept.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have repeatedly pushed for legislation to increase oversight of the Supreme Court. This pressure increased last month after reports surfaced about a pair of flags flown over Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s homes, including an upside-down American flag over his Alexandria, Va., residence in the days surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and President Biden’s inauguration.

“It’s the highest court in the land with the lowest ethical standards. These are the only governmental officials in the land who are not governed by a binding ethics code. There’s no process by which we can hold any of them accountable,” Raskin said.

“And so, we need to clean that up. And that’s why we said we’re going to start with something simple that the whole country will be able to understand immediately and intuitively,” Raskin said. “We want a $50 gift ban for U.S. Supreme Court justices. They make $300,000 a year. Pay for your own lunch and pay for your own vacation.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters Democrats are planning to try moving legislation on Supreme Court ethics on the floor this week via unanimous consent. A Republican senator is widely expected to deny consent.

The Supreme Court adopted a new code of ethics in November, but Democrats said its impact is hampered by the ability for each justice to enforce it upon themselves.no image description available

In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor explains that a bump stock weapon is a machine gun.  A cartoon by Clay Bennett.  Daily Kos

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Let’s Talk About Trump’s Gibberish

 Let’s Talk About Trump’s Gibberish  Former Presidet Donald Trump. (photo: Eric Thayer/Getty)  Why does he always make an "0" with his thumb and forefinger.  His IQ perhaps...or the number of remaining brain cells...or the number of perceived enemies who will be alive when he's done with them...or how many porn stars he never slept with...or the days he served in the military (he's no loser or sucker)...

What the former president’s shark tirade says about his mental state

Tom Nichols / The Atlantic

Perhaps the greatest trick Donald Trump ever pulled was convincing millions of people—and the American media—to treat his lapses into fantasies and gibberish as a normal, meaningful form of oratory. But Trump is not a normal person, and his speeches are not normal political events.

For too long, Trump has gotten away with pretending that his emotional issues are just part of some offbeat New York charm or an expression of his enthusiasm for public performance. 

But Trump is obviously unfit—and something is profoundly wrong with a political environment in which he can now say almost anything, no matter how weird, and his comments will get a couple of days of coverage and then a shrug, as if to say: Another day, another Trump rant about sharks.

Wait, what?

Yes, sharks. In Las Vegas on Sunday, Trump went off-script—I have to assume that no competent speechwriter would have drafted this—and riffed on the important question of how to electrocute a shark while one attacks. He had been talking, he claims, to someone about electric boats: “I say, ‘What would happen if the boat sank from its weight and you’re in the boat, and you have this tremendously powerful battery, and the battery’s now underwater, and there’s a shark that’s approximately 10 yards over there?’”

As usual, Trump noted how much he impressed his interlocutor with his very smart hypothetical: “And he said, ‘Nobody ever asks this question,’ and it must be because of MIT, my relationship to MIT. Very smart.” (MIT? Trump’s uncle taught there and retired over a half century ago, when Trump was in his 20s, and died in 1985. Trump often implies that his uncle passed on MIT’s brainpower by genetic osmosis or something.)

This ramble went on for a bit longer, until Trump made it clear that given his choice, he’d rather be zapped instead of eaten: “But you know what I’d do if there was a shark or you get electrocuted? I’ll take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark. So we’re going to end that, we’re going to end it for boats, we’re going to end it for trucks.”

Hopefully, this puts to rest any pressing questions among Americans about the presumptive Republican nominee’s feelings on electric vehicles and their relationship to at least two gruesome ways to die.

Sure, it seems funny—Haha! Uncle Don is telling that crazy shark story again!—until we remember that this man wants to return to a position where he would hold America’s secrets, be responsible for the execution of our laws, and preside as the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world. 

A moment that seems like oddball humor should, in fact, terrify any American voter, because this behavior in anyone else would be an instant disqualification for any political office, let alone the presidency. (Actually, a delusional, rambling felon known to have owned weapons would likely fail a security check for even a visit to the Oval Office.)

Nor was the Vegas monologue the first time: Trump for years has fallen off one verbal cliff after another, with barely a ripple in the national consciousness. I am not a psychiatrist, and I am not diagnosing Trump with anything. I am, however, a man who has lived on this Earth for more than 60 years, and I know someone who has serious emotional problems when I see them played out in front of me, over and over

The 45th president is a disturbed person. He cannot be trusted with any position of responsibility—and especially not with an nuclear arsenal of more than 1,500 weapons. One wrong move could lead to global incineration.

Why hasn’t there been more sustained and serious attention paid to Trump’s emotional state?

First, Trump’s target audience is used to him. Watch the silence that descends over the crowds at such moments; when Trump wanders off into the recesses of his own mind, they chit-chat or check their phones or look around, waiting for him to come back and offer them an applause line. For them, it’s all just part of the show.

Second, Trump’s staff tries to put just enough policy fiber into Trump’s nutty verbal soufflés that they can always sell a talking point later, as if his off-ramps from reality are merely tiny bumps in otherwise sensible speeches. 

Trump himself occasionally seems surprised when these policy nuggets pop up in a speech; when reading the teleprompter, he sometimes adds comments such as “so true, so true,” perhaps because he’s encountering someone else’s words for the first time and agreeing with them. 

Thus, they will later claim that questions about sharks or long-dead uncles are just bad-faith distractions from substance. (These are the same Republicans who claim that every verbal stumble from Joe Biden indicates full-blown dementia.)

Third, and perhaps most concerning in terms of public discussion, many people in the media have fallen under the spell of the Jedi hand-waves from Trump and his people that none of this is as disturbing and weird as it sounds. The refs have been worked: A significant segment of the media—and even the Democratic Party—has bought into a Republican narrative that asking whether Trump is mentally unstable is somehow biased and elitist, the kind of thing that could only occur to Beltway mandarins who don’t understand how the candidate talks to normal people.

Such objections are mendacious nonsense and represent a massive double standard. As Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post wrote today: “It is irresponsible to obsess over President Biden’s tendency to mangle a couple of words in a speech while Donald Trump is out there sounding detached from reality.” 

Biden’s mush-mouthed moments fall well within the range of normal gaffes. Had he or any other American politician said anything even remotely like one of Trump’s bizarre digressions, we’d be flooded with front-page stories about it. Pundits would be solemnly calling for a Much Needed National Conversation about the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

It is long past time for anyone who isn’t in the Trump base to admit, and to keep talking about, something that has been obvious for years: Donald Trump is unstable. Some of these problems were evident when he first ran, and we now know from revelations by many of his former staff that his problems processing information and staying tethered to reality are not part of some hammy act.

Worse, the people who once managed Trump’s cognitive and emotional issues are gone, never to return. A second Trump White House will be staffed with the bottom of the barrel—the opportunists and hangers-on willing to work for a reprehensible man. His Oval Office will be empty of responsible and experienced public servants if the day comes when someone has to explain to him why war might be about to erupt on the Korean peninsula or why the Russian or Chinese nuclear forces have gone on alert, and he starts talking about frying sharks with boat batteries.

The 45th president is deeply unwell. It is long past time for Americans, including those in public life, to recognize his inability to serve as the 47th.

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There's that "O" again.

And if that doesn't scare the bejusus out of you: Trump challenges Biden to cognitive test, then forgets his own doctor’s name

Donald Trump challenged President Joe Biden to take a cognitive test on Saturday night, saying that he had “aced” such a test. Then, one sentence later, Trump forgot the name of the White House doctor who administered the test.

By Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
 
I think [Biden] should take a cognitive test like I did,” Trump told the audience at the Turning Point Action convention in Detroit. “I took a cognitive test and I aced it. Doc Ronny. Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history, so I liked him very much indeed immediately.”

It’s a fair bet that the answer to Trump’s question is “no.” No one knows Ronny Johnson. Because the person he is referring to is Rep. Ronny Jackson, who was a doctor in Trump’s pill-pushing White House

Based on how often he mentions it, nothing makes Trump prouder than the results of the cognitive fitness test Jackson administered to him in 2018. That test, which gifted the world with the immortal phrase, “person, woman, man, camera, TV,” was not what Trump seems to believe it was. As The Washington Post explained in 2020:

Experts say the president’s fixation on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment—or MoCA, as it is sometimes called—is particularly puzzling because the test is normally administered only if someone is concerned that they or their loved ones may be experiencing dementia or other cognitive decline. Getting a perfect score—as Trump has repeatedly claimed he did—merely signifies that the test-taker probably does not have a cognitive impairment as measured by the exam.

Since Trump is still referring to “a test” administered to him by “Dr. Ronny Johnson,” it seems likely he hasn’t taken any other test since then. So Trump is citing a test that he took six years ago to screen for dementia as proof that he‘s a smart guy.

Biden certainly knows what inflation means. But Trump doesn’t know the meaning of the test he took, or the name of the man who gave it to him. 

And the man who said that Trump’s test was “perfect” way back then was the same doctor who, in the same exam, adjusted Trump’s height and weight just enough to keep Trump from being classified as obese. 

Asked how someone with Trump's diet and no known exercise routine could achieve such relatively strong physical results, Jackson said there was no definite answer.

"It is called genetics. I don't know," Jackson said. "Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. I don't know."

The same doctor who said Trump could live to be 200 and fudged the numbers to make his physical health seem better reported his “perfect” score on a cognitive screening test. That makes it difficult to accept the reliability of these results from six years ago.

There are mounds of evidence that Trump has declined significantly since the time of that test. Even stories that Trump has told for months at his rallies have recently disintegrated into gibberish. His appearance before Republicans on Capitol Hill last week turned to Trump daydreaming about both Taylor Swift and Nancy Pelosi. A later meeting with CEOs confirmed that Trump was “remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought [and] was all over the map,”

Before Biden agrees to anything, at least one reporter should pin Trump down on exactly what kind of test he took, and whether he’s taken another in the last six years.

"So the boat sinks and I'm in the water.  And right beneath me is this giant shark..."

Monday, June 17, 2024

Press the Case Against the Supreme Court

Press the Case Against the Supreme Court  Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito face increasing pressure over ethics allegations. (Photo: USA Today)
 
 

"Judicial coup d'état: a hostile commandeering of the highest court in the land by a small group of individuals openly hostile to the founding father’s vision of a democratic republic."

Marc Ash / Reader Supported News 

There is now an awakening to the reality of who this Supreme Court is and what they intend. We can see in the current context what they are doing, but it could be generations before the full scope and implications are understood.

Like all things Republican and intended to facilitate minority rule there must be a big lie in the eye of the storm. The big lie with regard to this Supreme Court is that it is a court with judicial validity in the sense that we have known throughout American history. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

It is a judicial coup d'état, a hostile commandeering of the highest court in the land by a small group of individuals openly hostile to the founding father’s vision of a democratic republic. At best what we have a rogue legislative body acting outside the framework of the constitution.

It is also a plainly and transparently corrupt and self dealing court and therein lies the potential for recourse. What preserves the status quo is inaction. A sense that nothing can be done is exactly what authoritarians depend upon.

An American citizen acting individually has little power to affect the conduct of large governmental institutions. But concerted public pressure by a large segment of the population can, in fact always has. The one thing authoritarians fear above all else is the ire of their subjects.

Congress does have the power to rein in the Supreme Court; state’s governments do have the power to confront the supreme court. Legitimacy is the platform on which the Supreme Court or any court stands. Congress and state government officials are loathed to confront institutional corruption; it’s fraught with risk and has long odds of success. But they can when pressed by the public.

Right now, today, every American who values the democratic republic must focus their efforts on impressing upon state and federal officials the existential importance of confronting the charlatans who have taken control of the most important judicial body in the U.S.

On Saturday 15, June the Washington Post reported that the Democrats are divided on the issue of confronting the court. “progressives” and “liberals” favoring bolder action and “centrists” being more cautious. The time has come for the American people to settle the debate.

My sample letter to state and federal officials:


Dear State or Federal Official,

I am writing to express my deep concern over radical direction and appalling ethics displayed by the so called conservative members of the current Supreme Court.

Your urgent action in this matter is of the utmost importance. An immediate effort to address the blatantly unethical and politically partisan conduct of this court must be undertaken with resolve and courage.

As you are aware the conservative members of this court did not achieve their dominance through regular congressional order. Their’s was a path of extraordinary means. The process was rife with abuse and outside influence. This must not stand.

I urge you in the strongest terms to use all lawful means at your disposal to challenge the legitimacy of this ideologically motivated group of individuals derailing the integrity of the Judicial Branch from its highest bench.

With respect and urgency,

Your constituent.


Feel free to use, modify and distribute.

no image description available

"Coke Can" Clarence's reluctant disclosure.

A cartoon by Clay Jones.

Daily Kos


Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.