Bearing Witness to Trump Month 43 Aug 23-31

The Republican National Convention met this week to crown their Dear Leader in what has become a tragic personality cult instead of a once proud political party. The convention was most notable for what it was not. There was little talk of a platform or policies and priorities to deliver upon that platform. That is other than they are for anything Trump wants to do and against everything the Democrats seek, but which most Americans favor if you ask them issue-by-issue. There were no invited Republican ex-presidents, like George W Bush, or their former cabinet members. Nor were there former Republican presidential candidates like Mitt Romney in attendance. If war-hero John McCain had been alive he would have been snubbed as well; least we forget Trump once said he likes fighters who are not captured. However, just prior to the convention 70 Republican former national security officials pledged their support for Biden due to Trump’s assault on the nation’s values.

During the Royal Trump Convention there was little acknowledgement of all the American public is having to endure: illness and deaths from the pandemic, record unemployment, economic recession, international tensions, shrinking GDP, exploding national deficit, extreme weather events, health care crisis, racial inequality, gerrymandering voter suppression, environmental degradation, a broken Congress, and the list goes on and on. Watching the RTC demonstrated that not only has America been abducted by Trumpism, but the Republican Party which once supposedly stood for Christian values and righteous morality has been swallowed up whole without a fight from people who profess to be Christians who love America and are willing to die for it. Those who continue to go along with the Trump presidency seemed to have sold their souls by hitching their future and reputation to that of the President.

As if President Trump was establishing a long-running political dynasty – or is it a reality TV show – he had numerous members of his family speak including wife Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, sons Eric and Donald Jr., and daughter-in law Lara . Even Junior’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle got time on stage. Dictator Saddam Hussein should have been so lucky to have had more than Uday and Qusay defend his autocratic reign.

Melania Trump spoke from the recently renovated White House Rose Garden. The First Lady, an immigrant herself born in communist Slovenia, wore a militaristic green suit made in Italy, not America, with brass buttons looking more appropriate for the wife of an aspiring despot. She was quoted as saying “Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, you always know what he (the president) is thinking.” Please, Melania, Donald Trump cannot open his mouth without lying. She said (or threatened?) that her husband will never give up. She also spoke of social media bullying. Let this all be another warning of what awaits America after the fall election. Maybe that was her goal, to warn Americans in the way a Stockholm Syndrome hostage victim would. Where o where is QAnon when we need their help with conspiracy making?

The lies, propaganda, and red meat to rile the base coming out of this convention had no comparison in recent American political history. Secretary of State Pompeo gave the president credit for saving us from the aggressions of China, Iran, and North Korea. This even though Trump created those crises. Pompeo also said Trump made our alliances like NATO stronger – another lie – all while also securing the safe future of Israel in the Middle East in its new relationship with the UAE. Funny though, he made little mention of the Russians. Other speakers said Trump was a champion for women, had infinite benevolence, economic genius, and handled the pandemic perfectly.

Vice President Pence warned that we would not be safe in Joe Biden’s America, as if we are in Trump’s perpetual fear-mongering and race-baiting chaos. Other speakers said if the Democrats win that our cities would be overrun by violent mobs and those left behind would have to fend for themselves. But they claimed the President really cares about black lives. Other speakers predicted that the Democrats would disarm you, empty the prisons out and invite M-13 gangs to live in your neighborhoods. They would side with anarchy and communists, encouraging tyranny, vandalism, rioting and looting. Dems would fill the swamp with monsters, tear down the nation, destroy the country, steal your liberties and freedoms, enslave you, and attack the principles upon which the nation was founded. All said in total denial of all which Trump has destroyed. The gun-toting wealthy couple from St. Louis who threatened peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters from the the steps of their mansion proclaimed that your family would not be safe in radical Democrats’ America who wanted to abolish the suburbs. As if Black Americans are safe in Trump’s nightmarish horror version of America.

They continued on with distorting – no it was more pure lying – about Joe Biden’s policy statements on police funding, health care, energy, immigration, border protection, education, and taxation. They claimed Biden was a tool of the radical left, instead of the moderate centrist he has demonstrated over his five decades of public service. They lied with such ease and abandonment it is clear it comes naturally to them from a lot of practice. The populist Republicans must so disdain the public they proclaim to be saving from Democrats that they assume we are largely uninformed, ignorant, and ever so gullible suckers. And of course to cap it all off, President Trump repeated his claim that they only way the Joe Biden can win is if the election is rigged.

There was no attempt to build bridges at the convention nor widen the base of support for the Republican Party. It simply existed to praise and worship the President and then to further divide and scare Americans into  hopelessness and submission, as all aspiring autocrats and despots attempt to do.  As an act of total subservient loyalty most guests at the White House coronation of their nominee did not wear masks or keep social distancing.

Four years ago evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. spoke at 2016 RNC to make glowing remarks while endorsing then-candidate Trump.  This year Falwell is forced to resign after photos emerge of him partially dressed and drinking with a younger woman aboard a yacht. This was quickly followed by allegations that his wife had an affair with a much younger pool boy.  Falwell was further accused of observing them having intercourse. Falwell’s and Trump’s commitment to family values and morality seems so compatible I am surprised he was not invited back to speak this year.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, told Congress this week that the U.S. military will have no role in resolving a disputed presidential election this fall. Yes, it has become that bad that after our president suggested he may not accept the results of the election that the military has to declare they will stay in their barracks, all as if we are some banana republic.

Shortly after the convention, government watchdog groups claimed that the Republicans violated the Hatch Act which prohibits political activity during official government business by federal employees or the use of government resources. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to the convention during a international trip to Israel and the acting head of Homeland Security appeared in a made-for-reality-TV showing of a naturalization ceremony. And of course the biggest violation was the President hosting his closing night acceptance speech using the grounds of the White House as a prop, a flagrant violation of the Hatch Act by at least White House staff. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said no one outside of Washington really cares about violation of laws like these. Just another example of a corrupt lawless and out-of-order administration which is now masquerading itself as the law and order presidency.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee moved to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt after he rejected subpoenas for records related to Ukraine. Pompeo is only one of several top Trump administration officials who has refused to appear before Congress, thus obstructing the powers of oversight given to Congress by the Constitution.

While the RNC coronation was going on, over a dozen died, thousands were displaced, and hundreds of thousands were left without power and water along the Louisiana Coast. This all due to Hurricane Laura which rapidly blew up in a few days time from being a tropical storm to a near Category 5 hurricane over the abnormally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There have now been a record number of tropical storms in the south Atlantic for this early in the hurricane season. And yet the President still takes no action on climate change and is only making it worse for future generations with his support of the oil, gas, coal, and climate-denying industries.

Wildfires rage across California in a scale never before seen with thousands evacuated as nearly 2,000 homes and businesses are destroyed despite the efforts of over 15,000 firefighters. A 65-year old resident, whose home burned and 92-year old father just tested positive for Coronavirus, said what many Americans are feeling given a pandemic crisis, economic crisis, racial justice crisis, civil unrest crisis, and political leadership crisis: “2020 can go to hell. This has been the worst year of my life.”

Another Black man, Jacob Blake, is shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Violent protests erupt but are quickly followed by peaceful protests from Americans of all colors across the country. A few days later a 17-year white kid from Illinois shows up during the protests waving a long arm gun around and claiming he is there to support the police. In a skirmish he shoots and kills two and injures one more of the Black Lives Matter protestors. Then while toting his gun he walks past the police without being stopped, questioned, or detained. Just imagine if the white kid had been a black man carrying around a gun during the street violence. He would likely be dead. Prior to that the local police had been seen handing out water and thanking the armed vigilantes who had shown up to support them.

The president calls these armed militias great patriots and refused to condemn them, adding more fuel to the fire. It is so obvious that Trump is trying to inflame racial tensions so we can rally his base around a law and order president. Adviser Kellyanne Conway acknowledged so much when she said that chaos and anarchy is good for the president. Some often worried the president would start an international war to help unify Americans around his leadership, but little did we ever think he would incite armed conflict on the streets at home.

A skirmish between Russian and American forces in Syria results in injuries to four American soldiers when the Russians ram the vehicle they were riding into the Americans. Are we surprised there is not a word about this from the President?

Another thing we don’t hear anything about from the White House is Putin’s warning that he will send “assistance” to Belarus to help restore law and order. The country’s authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, faces increasing pressure after declaring himself the winner of his sixth term in office and cracking down on protesters and the media. His opposition says the election was rigged, sending protestors into the streets. A play coming soon to America? Perhaps Trump will ask Putin for help here after the election, or has he already? Or then again, maybe if he loses and has to be forcibly removed from the White House, Trump will seek refuge and exile in Russia to escape prosecution and then plan his triumphant return from there.

In a Fox News interview President Trump threatens to send in federal and local law enforcement along with state attorney generals to polling stations during this fall’s presidential election. It’s largely seen for what it is; just another attempt to scare Americans and suppress voting through intimidation. He has no authority to do any of these things. Yet we know that has not stopped him before.

Pandemic-related state unemployment claims again top 1 million this week with an additional 600,000 self-employed filing for federal benefits. That makes 23 weeks with more than 1 million losses and total claims that exceed 50 million with some 30 million still said to be unemployed. Layoffs are continuing at a rapid pace with some economists suggesting that up to half of all jobs lost may be permanent. And yet the Congress and White House still can’t agree on the next round of relief aid for struggling individuals and businesses.

But all this economic hardship is perfectly ok with Wall Street as stock indices break all-time records, benefiting the wealthy who own the vast majority of stock holdings. The Federal Reserve announces a shift in policy to prioritize employment of labor over inflation. This should be easy since I believe they have been manipulating inflation data for years. This just means that the Fed will keep interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future, fueling the rise in the stock market and accelerating the increase in wealth inequality. It has truly become a “K” recovery.

An excerpt from Michael Cohen’s soon-to-be-released book is made public. Cohen writes “I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con mam.” What is so surprising about this is that there is nothing surprising or shocking that many of us did not already think about the president.

The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media  including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

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