Merkel Rising above Trump

A line from the Washington Post, reporting on the Trump visit which he called — in amazing ignorance — a home run:

“Merkel told a packed Bavarian beer hall rally that the days when Europe could rely on others was ‘over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.’”

Those are not just sad words about how Trump is weakening America and our leadership in the world — They are words that reflect the damage he is doing to the unity of the West. And who benefits from this weakening? Certainly not America. And certainly not Europe.

Indeed, the winner is the vulture sitting in the tree, watching the West dissemble: Vladimir Putin. Trump may not be on Putin’s payroll but he might as well be. Putin has no closer ally in the West than Trump.

The president of the United States does not know the difference between a home run and a foul ball. With such ignorance, he could not even make a Little League team, let alone be qualified to lead our country and the West. He brings such incredible shame on America.

He brags about “America first” while lacking the sense to see that he he rushing us toward last place.

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Trump Increasingly Anti-American

If one wishes to increase the health, wealth, status, and power of one’s country, one of the steps to be taken is to strengthen friendships and increase resistance to opposition forces. Seems simple enough.

Trump is incredibly kind to the opposition and incredibly rude to our friends. What is his goal? To make America first in the eyes of people whose opinion ought not to matter to us? We must be working to deserve ever-more respect from the England’s and the Germany’s, not continually offending them.

He seems to be aligning us with those who are as crooked and greedy as he is. What a shameful leader he is. And how deep is the shame of his supporters, the very ones he is most obviously deserting in domestic issues.

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The Ever-Deceptive Trump

It was clear long before he announced his bid for the presidency that Trump has always been a deceptive, manipulative crook. Nothing in his personal history has ever suggested otherwise. No one should be surprised, therefore, that his crooked ways have continued into his first months in office.

“We should give him a chance,” his supporters have urged. Okay, he’s had four months to reveal some other side of his character. What we’ve seen so far makes him seem much worse than the most pessimistic among us had anticipated.

His budget proposal, announced during his absence from the country, leaves us no more room for giving him the benefit of the doubt. He remains a crook, an anti-Robin Hood, stealing massive sums from the poor and giving it to the rich in the form of huge tax cuts. by no coincidence, he happens to be one of the rich who will benefit at the expense of the majority of Americans.

Americans after the presidency of Reagan should never again trust the obviously misguided view that government favors to the wealthy at the expense of the poor and the middle classes will ultimately benefit all alike because the wealthy will spend more. In the first place, the wealth of the top 5% or so is so very great that they can hardly spend more than they already do. They are not limited by lack of capital. In the second place, it is not lack of spending by the the wealthy that is hurting American jobs — it is a wide variety of factors, including the growth of technology and the patterns of international trade.

Republicans — who now see their views in a grotesque form in Trumps budget — have blindly chanted the manta of reducing taxes for so long they have lost the ability to think clearly about what they are saying. As Socrates used to say, the unexamined tax cut is not worth a vote. But the necessary examination appears to be a task beyond the capacity of today’s conservative politician.

It takes only a moment to look at economic charts of the last 40 years, years that include large tax cuts under Reagan and W, to see that tax cuts achieve none of the goals intended. Each, in fact, has contributed directly to severe abuses on the part of the wealthy, the ones who were promised to be the saviors’ of the poor and middle classes.

Trump’s budget, like everything else about his “leadership,” reveals his ignorance of history but he is not alone — The whole Republican party seems blinded by an out-of-date ideology. When the dominant party is unable to deal with or even recognize reality, all America pays the price.

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The Little Emperor Has No Clothes. . .or Sense

Trump surprised everyone, including his own staff, by revealing classified information to the Russians. His staff at first denied it, possibly believing that it could not be true. Then, as he often does, Trump made fools of his own people not only by admitting he had shared the intelligence with the Russians but that he has “an absolute right” to divulge anything he chooses.
Since it was such a surprise to everyone in the White House — and then seemed to cause such a quick stir in the intelligence community immediately afterward — it is safe to say he did this entirely on his own without benefit of the intelligence community or his own security team. And it is just as safe to say it was shared on a whim with no forethought at all.

Can there be anyone left in America who does not see the extreme dangers of a president who combines amazing ignorance with stunning thoughtlessness, adds in a grotesque ego and blends it with a sense of total irresponsibility?

Never let yourself forget these two photos, one showing Trump with a crucial ally and one showing him with active predators. The first shows him very uncomfortable with and almost ignoring a friend and the second showing him relaxing with buddies who represent the country which had actively interfered with our election. Remember, too, that the picture with the Russians was taken by Russian photographers, since Trump wouldn’t let American journalists or photographers in the room.

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I’ve got trumpitis, a disease marked by great mental fatigue and caused by unending dramatic twists and turns in the Oval Office. Trump’s bizarre blending of malevolence and incompetence is bewildering and disorienting. How strange it is to watch a man in the highest office in the land blunder so badly that he can’t stop himself from revealing his own evil. Never has the old phrase “his own worst enemy” been so apt.

Trump’s self-inflicted wounds seem to occur several times each week, making it nearly impossible for him — or for congress — to get anything done. Washington was dysfunctional before Trump arrived and in fact probably was a major factor in his election.  But now Washington has reaped the whirlwind and — were they not blind — the Republican leaders would surely be saying another of those old phrases: “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

The Republican commitment to stopping Obama, no matter whether he was right or wrong on the various issues, jammed the wheels of government, which created a backlash that in turn led to the election of a truly and deeply incompetent oaf at president. What none of us guessed during the campaign was the extent to which Trump would act like a man beholden to Vladimir Putin. It is becoming increasingly clear that Trump at the very least has shown a degree of favoritism toward Russia that is inexplicable in purely political terms. This favoritism is not a matter of policy or diplomacy but something more sinister.

I keep thinking of how happy Trump looked while hosting the two Russian officials in the Oval Office last week. We can see that happiness because Russian photographers were permitted to take photographs while American photographers and reporters were excluded. What the photos show is a Trump who seems much more at home with the Russians than he has with any other foreign officials, including our closest allies. In fact. he seemed much happier in those photos than when he is with his own wife. . .


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Turn the Lights Off

Was it the funniest moment of the week? Or was it the saddest?

On Tuesday night, a few hours after the sudden firing of FBI Director Comey, Sean Spicer was “caught” by reporters outside the White House. Apparently he tried ducking behind some bushes but did finally emerge. Before talking with the reporters, he said, “Turn the lights off.” He was reluctantly willing to talk with them but only under cover of darkness.

Funny? Or sad? Darkness certainly characterizes the White House these days. The light of truth is blocked by an incredible quantity of lies and misrepresentations coming mostly from Trump himself. The Washington Post counted 492 in Trump’s first 100 days.

Even his closest staff members and his official spokespersons cannot guess the truth when Trump speaks. They end up passing on falsehoods, perhaps inadvertently, which are then undercut by Trump himself. Maybe the worst dimension of Trump’s antagonistic relationship with reality is that Trump himself cannot seem to keep his stories straight. I think he has lied so very much in his lifetime that he simply cannot tell any longer whether he is speaking truth on this or that occasion.

I doubt, for example, that he intended to reveal the truth when, speaking with Lester Holt, he admitted that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey, It was a very deeply damning admission. He owes us a great many more such admissions of guilt.

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Trump’s Ties to Russia

One way to see the difference between the way Trump treats Russia and the way he looks on democracy is to compare these two pictures. In one Trump is being rude to Merkel, as he apparently was during her entire visit. She is the world’s strongest leader of a democracy, one which is central to Europe and therefore of great importance throughout the globe. In the other we see a happy Trump, warm and gracious, with the Foreign Minister and the Ambassador from Russia. Clearly, Trump has everything all backwards. . .

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