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Friday, July 14, 2017


What possesses them?

by Tom Sullivan

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he didn't know about the June 2016 meeting his son, Donald Trump Jr., and campaign aides Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had taken with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya "until a couple of days ago." But in speaking with reporters on Air Force One later the same day, Trump admitted, “In fact maybe it was mentioned at some point.”

This is a pattern, not only with Trump Sr., but with the entire Trump entourage. Lie, and when the lie is revealed, admit to the lie (as little as possible). Then lie again, until that one proves false. Repeat. Explain the lies and the lies before them as no big deal. If only President Trumpstaff and his band of lying rascals were as comically harmless as Shakespeare's. Or Monty Python's gangsters, the Piranha bothers.

But they are not.

There is something more disturbing than the Trump orbit displaying toxic levels of wealth and privilege in trafficking in and defending its lies. It is that the conservative establishment remains committed to standing behind what looks (as if we did not already know) like an ongoing criminal enterprise for laundering "mob-connected money" from Russia. Not to mention standing with him knowing his team was willing to conspire with a hostile, foreign power to undermine American democracy.

Jonathan Chait parodied the responses from Trump and his supporters before the Air Force One admissions:

There was no hacking, Russia didn’t do the hacking, we didn’t meet with any Russians, when we met with the Russians we didn’t discuss hacking. The position of Trump’s conservative apologists is that this time they are probably telling the truth. It’s the law of averages. It’s like a coin came up heads 99 times in a row — the next one just has to be tails, right?
He takes the Wall Street Journal to task as one of the loudest and most influential conservative outlets, writing:
At every stage, the Journal and other Trump apologists have leaned heavily on the uncertainty of the facts not yet revealed, while disregarding the importance of every previous defense that has been disproven. Now faced with evidence more damning than anybody could have imagined — a promise of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf, in writing! — the Journal is treating the clarity of the evidence as more reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
There is no point in going back to count the number of investigations into Benghazi or Clinton's emails, nor the resources expended by Republicans in Congress in an attempt to land Hillary Clinton's head on a platter. It is what they do. Political parties have their tribal loyalties and defend their loyalists. From the moment Hillary Clinton announced her run for president, she was bound to be her party's nominee. With her long history as a party activist, of course she became the default choice of Democratic primary voters. There was no Obama this time to upstage her. But Trump is no party loyalist. He barely qualifies as a Republican. Yet Republicans fell into line behind him, their brand as empty as Trump's own. To secure their precious tax cuts, watch how long flag-pin-wearing Republican leaders defend disloyalty to the country they themselves have sworn to defend. Watch how long Trump supporters do.

The breast-beating and flag-waving have long been pharisaical. Their public demonstrations of patriotic piety are the kind Christ condemned among the religious elite of his day. It is as if, like Trump and "winning," they must constantly remind themselves and the public of their faith in America, a faith that is in practice a mile wide and an inch deep. (See Kris Kobach, et. al.) Perhaps it is Trump's phoniness they relate to and see in themselves.

Liberals, we know, hate America and all it stands for. Book of Fox 24:7.

That's why it was stunning last night to see Rachel Maddow's plea for Trump to get better legal representation. After a review of the rogue's gallery of hot-tempered lawyers Trump has assembled (not to mention the mob lawyer Trump Jr. has hired), Maddow argued that the president, any president, should have "competent representation" for the sake of American justice, and so it might be served and preserved:

As for Trump, we shall have more anon.