Conservative capitalist Koch holds Trump accountable for his bigotry

❝ Conservative patriarch Charles Koch and his vast network is vowing to oppose President Donald Trump if and when he deviates from their dedication to “free and open societies.”

This weekend alone, Koch raised concerns about whether the Republican president will adopt an “authoritarian” governing style. Koch’s chief lieutenants condemned the nascent administration’s plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects. And the Koch network’s many donors lashed out at Trump’s push to block immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

“It doesn’t do any good for us to be positioned as hating whole classes of people,” said Erick Brimen, who, like the other 550 or so donors who gathered at a luxury California hotel this weekend, will pay at least $100,000 this year to fund Charles and David Koch’s nationwide network of policy and political organizations…

❝ The sentiment was in line with a formal statement released Sunday by the Koch network, which said Trump’s “travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

❝ Many who attended this weekend’s Koch donor conference reported anxious optimism about the extraordinary opportunity for conservatives. They highlighted strong ties between the Koch network and the Trump administration. And even before it is announced, Koch’s team is preparing to devote its tremendous resources to defend Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

Yet there are also deep concerns about a new president with no long-term commitment to conservative priorities like free trade, free markets and small government.

“Our suspicion is we’re going to get three parts good and one part bad,” said Chris Wright, a Colorado-based energy entrepreneur. “We’re worried about the one part bad.”

Always interesting to see the way America’s rightwing devolves – when push comes to shove. Mike Pence is one of those political cretins who rejects an inclusive democracy altogether. He claims to be a Christian, conservative and Republican in that order. The Koch Bros own all three of him.

Trump OTOH cares for nothing more than the world of real estate development – and folks tugging on their forelock when they address his majesty. The Koch Bros leave the ignorant, the idiocracy to Trump.

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Did you notice part of our Constitution was missing?

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Notice the difference between reality of our Constitution [on the left] and how Trump [on the right] thinks it works? It took a lot of shouting and finger-pointing to get the creeps running the White House to sort out the page explaining how checks and balances are supposed to work in this nation – and return the Judicial Branch to this illustration of powers and responsibilities.

At least for a while.

Pic of the day


Click to enlargeAndrew Kelly/Reuters

Iraqi immigrant Hameed Darweesh walks out of JFK with Congressman Jerrold Nadler (L) and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (R) after being released

The whole world is watching. Trump’s official bigotry is halted for a brief while. The Republican Party’s acceptance of official bigotry is halted for a brief while. Congress’ acceptance of official bigotry on behalf of the United States of America – is halted for a brief while.

Nearly half of Americans didn’t vote — Shutting down easy access to vote was part of the reason

The latest poll numbers also indicate that Clinton may have just barely squeezed out a win in the popular vote. An estimated 25.6 percent of eligible voters named Clinton while 25.5 percent voted for Trump.

When you narrow the numbers down to those who did vote, Clinton had 48 percent (59,580,545 votes) compared to 47 percent (59,341,558 votes) for Trump, according to the Associated Press.

Last Tuesday was the first election since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling against the Voting Rights Act. The changes added new voter identification requirements.

Opportunity remains an outstanding limiting factor. Since the 2012 election, over 800 polling places were simply closed.

Republicans deliberately broke American politics

❝ As far as anyone can tell, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House — and the leader of what’s left of the Republican establishment — isn’t racist or authoritarian. He is, however, doing all he can to make a racist authoritarian the most powerful man in the world. Why? Because then he could privatize Medicare and slash taxes on the wealthy.

And that, in brief, tells you what has happened to the Republican Party, and to America.

❝ This has been an election in which almost every week sees some longstanding norm in U.S. political life get broken. We now have a major-party candidate who refuses to release his tax returns, despite huge questions about his business dealings. He constantly repeats claims that are totally false, like his assertion that crime is at record highs (it’s actually just a bit off historic lows). He stands condemned by his own words as a sexual predator. And there’s much, much more.

Any one of these things would in the past have been considered disqualifying in a presidential candidate. But leading Republicans just shrug. And they celebrated when James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., broke with policy to lay a heavy thumb on the election scales; if Hillary Clinton wins nonetheless, they have made it clear that they will try to block any Supreme Court nomination, and there’s already talk of impeachment hearings. About what? They’ll find something.

❝ So how did all our political norms get destroyed? Hint: It started long before Donald Trump…

❝ Those of us old enough to remember the 1990s also remember the endless series of accusations hurled against the Clintons.

Nothing was too implausible to get on talk radio and get favorable mention in Congress and in conservative media…Nothing was too trivial to trigger congressional hearings…

❝ And since accusations of Democratic scandal, not to mention congressional “investigations” that started from a presumption of guilt, had become the norm, the very idea of bad behavior independent of politics disappeared: The flip side of the obsessive pursuit of a Democratic president was utter refusal to investigate even the most obvious wrongdoing by Republicans in office.

Paul Krugman suggests It would help “if the media finally learned its lesson, and stopped treating Republican scandal-mongering as genuine news”. Ain’t about to happen. A story that gets the most eyeballs is still the best story.

RTFA for lots more detail, making of historic points. I suggest Mr. Krugman has too much optimism about what can be done with a political party – the Democrats – that was happy for too many years simply representing the liberal side of Wall Street. Yes, there is one and it’s just as limiting as you might presume.

Being a lot older than Paul Krugman, I’d also take the Republican commitment to racism back to Nixon’s decision to lead his party into the valley of bigotry abandoned by LBJ and the Democratic Party – in response to Dr. King and the civil rights movement building into something large enough to challenge imperial war as well as racist American culture.

Truthiness on the March

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Lucy P. Marcus

❝ The late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That may be true. But, entitled or not, politicians and electorates are constructing their own alternate realities – with far-reaching consequences.

❝ Nowadays, facts and truth are becoming increasingly difficult to uphold in politics…They are being replaced with what the American comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness”: the expression of gut feelings or opinions as valid statements of fact. This year might be considered one of peak truthiness.

❝ To make good decisions, voters need to assess reliable facts, from economic data to terrorism analysis, presented transparently and without bias. But, today, talking heads on television would rather attack those with expertise in these areas. And ambitious political figures – from the leaders of the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – dismiss the facts altogether…

❝ …The Iraq War was launched in 2003 under false pretenses. Intelligence reports had not established that there were weapons of mass destruction in the country, yet British Prime Minister Tony Blair dutifully followed US President George W. Bush in ordering his military to invade. The consequences of that decision are still emerging.

If our leaders can be so willfully wrong about such consequential matters, how can we believe anything they tell us? This question has opened the door for a new, more overt truthiness, espoused by the likes of Trump, who seems to introduce freshly invented “facts” on a daily basis. Trump’s surrogates, for their part, use television appearances and social media to restate the falsehoods, seemingly operating under the principle that if you repeat something often enough, it will become true…

RTFA for more details – if you need them. There is an added parallel example in the cupidity of British voters and how they were misled quite deliberately into the Brexit vote. Lies, agitprop both for and against voting at all. Not unlike Republicans who swear they haven’t a bigoted bone in their body – and never emit the slightest peep over that party’s vaguely-disguised voter suppression campaign.