Friday, May 12, 2017

Trump's Corruption: Kinda Like Saying Water Is Wet

Dear president trump,

I am a liberal. I am an unapologetic liberal. I didn't vote for you, and to be frank I would not have voted for you if your opponent was Lord Voldemort. I thought that electing you as president would be a catastrophe of monumental proportions. I would like to say, here and now, without reservation, that you have proved me wrong.

A catastrophe would be a sunny walk in the park in comparison to the unmitigated Category 5 shitstorm you have unleashed.

Many of your apologists -- and their numbers are legion -- are regularly crowing about your various "accomplishments" in your first 100 days. You know, things like two travel bans (with exceptions for Christians, of course) that were both thrown out as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Or appointing a Secretary of Education that opposes public education. Or an Attorney General that has a record of being a blatant racist and bears a disturbing resemblance to Hank Hill's dad. Or a Secretary of Energy who was unaware that his department oversees America's nuclear arsenal. Or an EPA Directory who opposes environmental regulations.

However, they are leaving something very important off this list.

Yesterday I wrote an article in which I attempted to present a list of the actual accomplishments of your administration. I made a genuine effort to find things that you had accomplished. I only had two questions that had to be answered to make this list:
  1. Was this an actual thing you had gotten done, as opposed to the daily loud-mouthery we hear from you?
  2. Would this thing be beneficial for the general public?

I have to be honest, sir. I was unable to find anything, so I expanded the scope of the search to eliminate the first question so that the only criterion was that this thing, whether you have already done, are planning to do it, or are publicly musing about doing, would be good for the American people.

Given even this low bar, I was only able to find one thing: renegotiating NAFTA. You stated that it needs to be fixed, and I agree (for the reasons I covered in that article here). Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything else ... until now. That's right. I'm here to put another one in the "win" column for you. So, this second big thing you have done?

In just a few short months, you have managed to rehabilitate the reputations of both Richard Nixon, arguably the most corrupt President in our history, and George W. Bush, who some would say is the dumbest President. This is no small task, as both Watergate and Iraqgate are still reverberating in American culture.

In fact, it was Nixon who gave us the standard of affixing the "-gate" suffix to any scandal in the first place.

Compared to your administration, though, Nixon looks like a choirboy. Don't believe me? Consider the following items that point to a level of corruption unheard of in the White House prior to this.

The Russian Connection

Since the waning days of the campaign, there have been allegations that the Kremlin interfered with our election to get you elected. Not you, per se, but just any Republican. You do deserve credit for being the last one standing when the Republican clown car that was the primary season ended, but if you think you won this election on your merits as a politician ... well, sir, you are mistaken to the point of being delusional.

It is also telling that, as soon as the Russian investigation started gaining any traction at any point in the last several months, you would do something outrageous to distract everybody. I will admit that you are very shrewd when it comes to knowing exactly when to display a shiny object to draw attention away from things. The problem you are running into is the law of diminishing returns ... the objects have to be shinier each time, as people are becoming desensitized to your particularly white-trashy way of dealing with things ... which is why you had to resort to firing the Director of the FBI. You knew that late-night tweets and ranting about election returns just wasn't going to cut it this time around.

My fear is that, next time you need a distraction, you're going to launch a nuclear first strike against ... oh, I don't know, San Francisco, or something ... to deflect attention away from Jared Kushner selling the Washington Monument to the Saudis, or something like that.

Which brings us to ...

Nepotism

Like you, Ronald Reagan had grown children. Like you, he doted on them. Nobody faults you for wanting the best for your kids ... it's a natural desire shared by all parents going back to the earliest days of a functioning prefrontal cortex in mammals.The problem is that Ronald Reagan did not install his kids in powerful senior positions in government even though they had no goddam idea what the hell was going on.

You have made Jared Kushner responsible for, among other things:
  • Negotiating peace in the Middle East.
  • Solving America's opioid epidemic.
  • Diplomacy with Mexico and China.
  • "Reimagining" the Veteran's Administration.
  • Reforming the criminal justice system.
  • Reinventing government so it works more like a business (which, regardless of how much you want it to be, it ain't ... which I have discussed at length here).

In addition to this, your daughter Ivanka has an office in the West Wing and is touted as a "senior adviser." Granted, neither of these two are drawing a salary ... but they each have unprecedented power and access, and neither one have any experience in governing or policy ... and, in fact, Kushner's business portfolio is littered with failure (nearly bankrupting the real estate company he inherited; buying the New York Observer for $10 million so he could publicly argue that his father is not an anti-Semite, etc.).

Authoritarianism

Many comparisons have been drawn between you and Adolf Hitler, and America in 2017 vs. Germany in the early 1930s. While the vast majority of these comparisons have been overwrought and intended as nothing more than ways to stir the pot, there are disturbing similarities.

Attempts to discredit the press. You routinely squawk about "fake news" and famously called the press "the enemy of the people." Neither of these is true, but your supporters -- apologists, really, given your insanely low approval ratings -- use your statements as fuel for the grease fire that is pro-trump sentiment in this country. While it is true that trump has not gained control over the media to same degree that Hitler did in 1933, this is more a function of the nature of the American system of government that prevents this sort of thing from happening than it is any restraint on trump's part. Given his druthers, he would shut down every outlet except those with which he agrees ... and, considering this list changes on a daily basis, means that the only ones left would be Breitbart and InfoWars.

Scapegoating. Hitler blamed Jews, minorities, and Marxists for the problems plaguing Germany, even though the underlying causes were much more subtle. You do the same thing with Mexicans and Muslims. In neither case was there any underlying factual basis for these claims ... but as demagoguery, they worked brilliantly, inflaming the population into a screaming hatred for these groups that crowded out rational thought.

False flags and emergency laws. The 1933 arson attack on the Reichstag allowed Hitler to use public sentiment to enact a series of measures that gave him virtually complete power and autonomy over Germany. It turns out that there was evidence that the "attack" was actually carried out by Hitler himself as a means for gaining that authority. You haven't pulled a stunt like this yet (that we know about, anyway), but it would not be the least bit surprising to hear reports of a "terrorists attack" on US soil ... or, more likely, a common crime that magically balloons into a terrorist attack that justifies implementation of "security measures" that -- coincidentally, I'm sure -- would curtail press access, etc.

Compared to the gigantic ball of dumbfuckery perpetrated by your administration, the sinking of the Titanic is a leaky faucet, the Hindenburg was a Fourth of July sparkler, and Bernie Madoff's activities were equivalent to bounced check to the electric company. You, sir, are monstrously corrupt, woefully incompetent, and (to be kind) intellectually incurious (or, to be less kind, a raging, egomaniacal, narcissistic dumbass). Regardless, you are not qualified to babysit a dead ladybug, much less run the country.

I am putting you on notice. You have approximately eighteen months to turn this thing around and show that you can actually be president -- and not a "lookit me, I'm on Air Force One and I have Secret Service guys all over the place" president, but an actual running-things-for-the-benefit-of-the-American-people-and-not-just-me-and-my-friends president, or we are kicking your sorry, doughy, creamsicle-colored ass to the curb.

And your little lapdog -- the syphilitic sycophant Bannon -- too.

Sincerely,

Everyone

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