Goodbye, weirdo

Trump goes into exile, a nation rejoices

POWER DAILY – Regime Change

Here we are – in about 24 hours, Donald J. Trump will fly away from Washington. Adios. Fin. The End.

Let’s face it, it’s been four very long years. Several lifetimes of crazy and chaos. The constant humiliation of having a president who hates real American values, and soldiers, and the Constitution, who despises democracy and the truth. It’s a lot. But now we can look forward.

Reading the national moment, the incoming Biden administration has already announced one of the most ambitious 100 Days pushes since Franklin Roosevelt tried to shake Depression America into hope. It will be transformative, and it can’t happen fast enough. (See POWER PLAYER below.)

With all this change in the air, it made me think about what I won’t miss. The miasma of weirdness that envelops Trump and his followers is *hopefully* in the rear-view mirror. But before we look forward, let’s look back.

In no particular order, here are the top 5 Trump era things we are unlikely to miss:

1.       24/7 Lies. The Lie Caravan™ got launched in the first days of the Trump Administration, when Press Secretary Sean Spicer weirdly declared that Trump’s Inauguration audience was very, very big indeed: “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period”. It was puzzling; why lie about something that could be so easily proven wrong? We just didn’t get at that moment that for Trump lying is the most natural form of expression. We could not possibly imagine that he would lie over 30,534 times while in office – yes, that’s an actual count of Trump lies by The Washington Post. Of course, he will likely be remembered for his ultimate Big Lie: I won the election in a landslide.

2.       The Hating. So much hating. Mexican immigrants are rapists. Muslims should be banned from the U.S. Powerful women. Powerful Black women, in particular. All kinds of immigrants (except Norwegians). LGBTQ folks. The poor. Black people. Latino people. California and New York.  Most Asians. Denmark. All Democrats. Dogs. Angela Merkel and most of Germany. Hillary. Nancy. It’s a long list. Be nice to move beyond this Hate Presidency.

3.       The Corruption. Whole books will be written about Trump’s thievery. The Trump name will become synonymous with a Queens mob that captured the Republican Party with generous help from the Russians. My favorite instance of Trump malfeasance, although small scale compared to the overall Trump family criming , was forcing the Secret Service (aka, the American tax payer) to rent expensive golf carts for Trump’s never-ending golf outings. Literally profiting from his security. And don’t forget charging agents market price for bottles of water at Trump’s tacky clubs. So low, so gross.

4.       Trump’s Cabinet. Like every Mafia boss before him, Trump surrounded himself with a gang of equally immoral, greedy people to plunder and share the booty. Remember the various Cabinet officials forced to quit after they were found to be living large on our dime,  flying first class and using their security details to fetch body lotion? Or perhaps you recall Jeff Sessions, the Dwarf Menace, who decided ripping babies from their mothers at the border would be a good policy. Betsy DeVos who hates public education. Bill fucking Barr running the Justice Department like a Mob law firm. I mean, it’s a strong bench of horrible people. It’s hard to pick which one of these various creeps was the worst, but historians will figure it out.

5.       Trump’s Family. I still remember my reaction after Trump announced that Ivanka would join the White House staff. (Fuck!) It was incomprehensible. Making handbags for rich people seemed like a thin resume for high office in the White House. Don Jr. is the typical rich kid who does not understand he is nothing without the family money, just another mediocre man with a weak chin and an unfortunate cocaine (?) habit. But the big surprise was Melania. Who knew that behind the model face was just another Trump thug who was skating on family money and privilege? I don’t really care, do you?

Goodbye, nightmare.

POWER PLAYER – Biden’s 100 Day Agenda

The house is on fire and here comes the fire brigade. Lots of fire-men and women with big, red trucks. Biden is determined to address this emergency and get the country on solid footing again.

Focused on the pandemic and the economy, Biden will press on those issues that are overwhelming Americans. The last year of Trump’s incredible mismanagement has resulted in some 400,000- Americans losing their lives. Millions unemployed, hundreds of thousands of small businesses ruined. Lives on pause. Widespread hunger.

And although there are no fast-acting solutions to these complex problems, having a person with a plan (Biden) finally in charge should give us hope. Here are some highlights as reported by CNN:

“Biden's goal is to reverse the damage that Democrats believe has been inflicted by Trump. Through executive action, he plans to end the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries and rejoin the Paris climate accord on his first day in office. He will also do what Trump refused to do to fight the pandemic, including a mask mandate on federal property and interstate travel and working to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border. Biden's stimulus plan would provide the kind of economic assistance to states and localities, $350 billion worth, that Republicans have blocked and move toward a bold immigration plan that undoes the era of restrictionism.

“Unlike some other famous first 100 days, like FDR in 1933, Biden's plan primarily aims to reverse the direction of policy under his predecessor and stabilize society from the pandemic rather than setting out on a fundamentally new path that remakes public policy. Nonetheless, given the circumstances, the plan is extremely ambitious.

“Besides executive orders and legislation, the biggest issue in the coming months is an implementation issue. There Biden has also shown he will not be passive. His incoming administration has promised to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days. He is working to open new vaccine centers and has said he will use the Defense Production Act to ramp up the distribution of shots.”

POWER READ – From The Atlantic:

The Worst President in History

“Trump was a serial violator of his oath—as evidenced by his continual use of his office for personal financial gain—but focusing on three crucial ways in which he betrayed it helps clarify his singular historical status. First, he failed to put the national-security interests of the United States ahead of his own political needs. Second, in the face of a devastating pandemic, he was grossly derelict, unable or unwilling to marshal the requisite resources to save lives while actively encouraging public behavior that spread the disease. And third, held to account by voters for his failures, he refused to concede defeat and instead instigated an insurrection, stirring a mob that stormed the Capitol.

“Many chief executives have failed, in one way or another, to live up to the demands of the job, or to competently discharge them. But historians now tend to agree that our worst presidents are those who fall short in the second part of their pledge, in some way endangering the Constitution. And if you want to understand why these three failures make Trump the worst of all our presidents, the place to begin is in the basement of the presidential rankings, where dwell his rivals for that singular dishonor.

POWER QUOTE – Certainly a day to think about hope again

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” - Saint Augustine

MLK Defeats Trump

Sometimes you need evil to see the good

POWER DAILY – Beware of Trump’s heirs

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who went to jail for campaign finance crimes in the Stormy Daniels affair, told us: Trump ran for president “only to market himself”.

Fearing the fading of his Apprentice TV show franchise, and lackluster profits at his golf courses begging for a marketing push, he envisioned a flashy run for president as the ultimate American huckster play.

And it almost worked; he could have ridden a losing run for president into everlasting fame and lucrative golf memberships at his clubs and other ventures.

Except he won. And we will live with the consequences of his failed product relaunch for many years.

As Donald Trump sunsets this week, to what most hope will be an uneventful life of constant golfing, cheeseburger scarfing, and general grousing to the paying guest at Mar-a-Lago, we can start on a path of calm and normalcy. Right?

Sure, this may be crazy wishful thinking as Trump has threatened to haunt the American political system, like a bitter ghost looking for vengeance.

But without Twitter to amplify Trump’s every thought and impulse, and exiled from every other platform including Tinder, perhaps we’re going to get a bit of quiet. Which we richly deserve.

Before all this calm (!) sets in, take a moment to ponder this: America almost collapsed on January 6th. It was pretty close. Only the courage of brave Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies, and a lifetime supply of good luck, kept the coup from succeeding.

Which brings me to senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley - Trump’s erstwhile political heirs.

By now, many of their colleagues in the Senate think they are garbage. Traitors for some (me), hopeless frauds in the same vein as Trump for others.

In either case, they are emblematic of a species of rotten politicians who will always do the wrong thing when choosing between self-interest and the fate of the nation. Always.

These two examples of overpowering ambition divorced from ethics and principle, along with the other Republicans who insisted on blocking Biden’s vote certification after the coup attempt, need to be drummed out of office. Retired. Exiled to a far away island. Or Russia.

Don’t fall for this mendacious duo’s attempt to wash off the coup stink. Like Trump, these individuals are keen marketers of lies and delusions, they use their big brains not for good, but for power gathering.

The future stability of the nation depends on de-Trumpifying the Republican Party. Lose these lame marketers looking for personal profit. Clean house.

POWER PLAYER – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It took an individual like Donald Trump to fully illustrate the lessons taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, on his birthday, we must recognize that the values MLK espoused stand as a bulwark against the decadence and malfeasance of Donald Trump, and those people who even now seek to inherit his power.

Dr. King’s inspiration has a created an objective standard by which to judge good and evil. He wrote, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Donald Trump, by contrast, has spent the last four years trying to show that MLK’s philosophy of nonviolence was naïve and weak.

He has tried to turn American morality on its head – from a land of people (theoretically) equal, to a country of opposites, us vs. them, the Other prominently featured as the enemy of “real American” values.

This morning I laughed when I saw Ivanka Trump’s tweet lauding MLK.

What? The daughter of the most openly racist president is furiously trying to wash her hands, to get the damn spots off her expensive designer bag.

Ivanka, it won’t work. The record of you standing by Daddy’s ever evildoing is clear - and there’s no plastic surgery for this imperfection.

But even in her cynical tweet, it’s obvious that MLK has won. He set the standard for American values that even the daughter of a fascist president wants to, at least publicly, echo.

And while Ivanka – and the rest of her criming family – will never wash the stain of her father’s evil, we will always have a clear moral compass in the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy birthday and thank you so much.

POWER READ – From the AP:

Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot

“Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.

“A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.

“Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally.

“The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

POWER QUOTE – A little dark, sure. But on point:

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

White Supremacist in the White House

Trump ends where he began

POWER DAILY – The racist core of Trump’s presidency

When Trump glided down the gaudy escalator of Trump Tower and declared his candidacy for president, he did so with a vicious attack against Mexican immigrants.

Trump said:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

When I heard that speech, I thought, this guy is even crazier than he seemed when he ran around New York going bankrupt and cheating on his wives. He’s going to crash and burn as soon as Jeb! trains his sights on him.

I confess, it was a colossal failure of my imagination. After almost 8 years of Barack Obama in the White House, it had become fashionable on both coasts to think that the country had truly broken a barrier. That sure, racism exists, but it’s on the wane. A shrunken shadow of the sanctioned lynching mobs of the 20th century.

We did not understand – and I think the startling violence at the Capitol last week proved beyond a doubt – that Trump had violently woken up White anxiety and resentment of a Black Man in the White House.

For a demagogue seeking to ride White resentment to power, Barack Obama was the most tangible demonstration that “they were robbing our country.

Even people obsessed with history (me) are nevertheless surprised when the Big Lessons of Holy History are proven right again. Namely, hate is more powerful than love when driving political passions.

While Obama often spoke of “our better angels”, Trump’s inaugural speech focused on “American carnage”.

We therefore have no right to be surprised by Trump’s racialist rule, the abject cruelty of his polices, and his devotion to fascistic myth making – placing Trump at the head of the White Power movement to save Americans (white Christian Americans) from other races.

It was inevitable; it is his nature.

Conventional wisdom a few days before Trump leaves the White House has it that Trump will be primarily remembered for his attempted coup. That sounds about right.

But he must also be understood as the last (?) gasp of White Supremacists fighting like hell to take the country back to the American Apartheid of Jim Crow.

POWER PLAYER – Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman

As more vivid video of the Trump attempted coup emerges, we’re seeing both the acute violence of the mob, and also the powerful bravery of police officers and other people at the Capitol who through self-sacrifice averted the kidnapping of legislators, staffers, and the media.

Perhaps most famous at this point, is the story of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman. He is likely to be remembered as the man who single handedly distracted the mob away from the Senate chamber – possibly saving Vice President Pence and many senators from a lynching. (See Power Read below.)

We’d all like to think that in a moment of chaos and panic we would be brave enough to act with a cool head and dispatch – ready to do what’s necessary to save the day.

When Trump unleashed his private army, Officer Goodman, his life at stake, showed who he was - a real hero at a moment when the nation needed heroism.

Here’s a striking look at Goodman leading the mob away from the Senate chamber:

POWER LOSER – Project Warp Speed

As with all things Trump, we re-discover that he is not just a pathological liar and a cheat, he is also profoundly incompetent.

Operation Warp Speed was his administration’s bombastic name for the effort to finance quick vaccine development. Composed of government scientists and billions of our dollars, the program was meant to quickly get vaccines into the arms of Americans, defeating the virus like a Starfleet armada killing off Romulans. Or something.

Well, it did not work out that way. Because despite the obvious need to get a vaccine into the arms of people – Trump’s administration made no plans to actually distribute the vaccine. Yep.

This is incompetence that rises to criminal negligence.

Some details from The Washington Post about this awful failure:

“When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

“Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding eligibility for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.”

POWER READ – From The Washington Post:

How the rioters who stormed the Capitol came dangerously close to Pence

“Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber.

“About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate.

“Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.”

POWER QUOTE – Resonates with our present circumstances:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” - Nelson Mandela

Impeachment today, criminal prosecution tomorrow

Trump can still come back if we let him

POWER DAILY – Impeachment is not enough.

Trump always wanted to be famous, to be the center of the universe, a big star. Or as Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter observed about her father:

“My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.”

Now Trump has achieved rare, long lasting historical fame. He is the first president ever to be impeached twice. And there is a better than even chance that this time, in the second run through the humiliating rejection of impeachment, the Senate will convict.

In fact, the irascible Senator Mitch McConnell, a true lover and wielder of power, has let it be known that he is happy Trump was impeached and that he is open to lowering the boom by convicting him.

OK, maybe. Let’s see.

Now this is all very important not because of the deep joy millions of people are feeling after Trump’s fall, though there is a whole lot of Schadenfreude going on.

This event is important because it is transcendent of politics. This is not another mere political victory in the never-ending cats and dogs fight between Democrats and Republicans.

This is a fight between democracy and dictatorship. Order and chaos. And yes, at the risk of being hyperbolic, a battle between good and evil.

And at this point, good is winning.

It’s critical that Trump is being held to account. As I write this, Washington DC is being protected by some 20,000-armed troops. Soldiers in the nation’s capital to defend us not from a Russian or Chinese invasion, Al Qaeda or Iranian terror, but from another attack by Trump’s private army.

If history is indeed the frame by which we learn to avoid future problems, then we must remember Hitler’s story. Yes, yes, I wrote about Baby Hitler the other day. And no, I’m not obsessed.

But Hitler also undertook an unsuccessful coup years before he was elected. In the mindset of let’s spread forgiveness, turn the page and make believe we’re all one happy family again, Hitler was pardoned.

The effect was to launch his career with fresh energy and success – and revolutionary creds.

Let’s not repeat this mistake. Prosecute Trump to the full extent of the law.

POWER PLAYER – Twitter

In the few days since Twitter (and other social networks) banned Trump’s hate screeds, the world feels a bit lighter.

Trump’s awesome power to immediately zap any friend or foe on Twitter, causing them to reel as if struck by lightning, is over. And with it, a significant part of his total power has drained away, like the receding waters after a hurricane.

In the process, we’ve learned that in 2021 social media has gone from cat videos and chit chat, to something much more profound – the creation of new modality of politics that lives and dies on social media.

As the Trump terrorists invaded the Capitol, they helpfully confessed to the FBI by documenting their every crime. They posted on Twitter and You Tube.  They confessed their tremendous happiness at capturing the seat of American government on a whole host of social outlets that, for a moment, allowed them to be the authors of their own tale.

The power of personal expression through social media is so overwhelming as to erase any common sense. Pro tip: don’t film yourself committing major crimes.

But now that Trump is de-fanged, social media wise, it’s a good time to evaluate – do we want private companies driven by profit interest to dictate our political activity? Obviously, no.

POWER LOSER – Trump family business

Next time you want to throw that fancy masquerade ball, will you book Trump’s hotels? Probably not. If you’re like most ball throwing people, you don’t want your fancy party associated with a known criminal.

One of the most “attractive” elements of the Trump candidacy in 2016 was the idea, embraced by Trump supporters, that he was such an amazingly successful CEO (not) that Trump would be an equally wonderful president.

You see, Trump was able to sell the comical idea that simply being a businessperson is qualification for government service.

Now, with the wreckage of this presidency before the eyes of the world, the Trump brand is worth as much as a bag of rocks.

Sure, there will always be MAGA cultists who will worship at the golden toilet altar of Donald Trump.

But it’s less clear what magical spell Trump can conjure to reverse the tainted, tawdry decay of his once golden brand.

PS – want to buy an Ivanka handbag, anyone?

POWER READ – From The Washington Post:

QAnon reshaped Trump’s party and radicalized believers. The Capitol siege may just be the start.

“The siege on the U.S. Capitol played out as a QAnon fantasy made real: The faithful rose up in their thousands, summoned to Washington by their leader, President Trump. They seized the people’s house as politicians cowered under desks. Hordes wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the “Q” symbol and toting Trump flags closed in to deliver justice, armed with zip-tie handcuffs and rope and guns.

“The “#Storm” envisioned on far-right message boards had arrived. And two women who had died in the rampage — both QAnon devotees — had become what some were calling the first martyrs of the cause.

The siege ended with police retaking the Capitol and Trump being rebuked and losing his Twitter account. But the failed insurrection illustrated how the paranoid conspiracy theory QAnon has radicalized Americans, reshaped the Republican Party and gained a forceful grip on right-wing belief.”

POWER QUOTE – Trump on my mind

“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

POWER IMAGE - From Brian Stauffer, one of America’s leading editorial illustrators. He recently shared this image with me.

Brian explained, “Watching the events of Jan 6th 2021, this image came to mind.  It’s the symbol of bigotry, fascism, ignorance, intolerance, extremism, lies, and hatred, with a symbol of our nation’s freedom in its’ grasp.”

Donald J. Trump, Traitor President

Trump makes history, but not in a good way

POWER DAILY – Traitor Day at Congress

By the end of today, Donald Trump will have been impeached. Again.

His traitorous attempt to overthrow the American Government will be dealt with – according to the Constitution.

If nothing else, we will be acting to defend Democracy. The system will flood antibodies – not against COVID-19, but against tyranny.

It didn’t have to be like this, of course. Trump could have slinked off to Mar-a-Lago to a gilded post presidency, surrounded by his sycophants and paying guest, throwing rocks at the parade and playing golf nonstop.

Trump could have been the overwhelming power of the Republican Party. Who gets to run for office? Decide who gets donor cash, who gets primaried. His enemies shaking as he decided their fate.

But now, this shrunken husk of a man, will be forever a Traitor President.

Like Benedict Arnold before him, Donald Trump will be a brand – for cowardice and authoritarianism, disloyalty and corruption. And incompetence.

No airports or schools named after Trump. Instead, his name will be a verve – to Trump. Which is to steal and lie and undermine the law.

Trump’s brand, the focus of his love and work, is now defined for the ages: Infamy.

POWER PLAYER – Liz Cheney, Patriot

There’s little doubt that when the history of this sad time is written, Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, daughter to former VP Dick Cheney, will stand out as a hero.

By coming out forcefully against Trump’s perfidy, calling it for what it is – a betrayal – she has taken a brave stand for the Constitution.

A stand that is unlikely to enhance her career; she is perhaps one of the few selfless Republican in today’s GOP.

In a blistering statement against Trump, Cheney capture the moment of national outrage:

"On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.

"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.

"I will vote to impeach the President.”

POWER LOSER – Donald Trump and his Children

After four long years of a totally corrupt man who would overthrow democracy, the Constitution bites back.

The outrage generated by Trump’s coup attempt will forever remind us and future generations of the tragic mistake of electing this misfit president.

But Trump didn’t just kill his own legacy. He also executed his children’s’ overwhelming ambition.

The Trump family is absolutely linked to the coup attempt. They will never be able to wash the stink off.

There is no silver lining to the disaster Trump unleashed last week at the Capitol. But seeing this family of monsters ruined is not a bad consolation prize.

POWER READ – From Axios:

Top Republicans want Trump done — forevermore

“Top Republicans want to bury President Trump, for good. But they are divided whether to do it with one quick kill via impeachment or let him slowly fade away. ..The bottom line ... The way one well-wired Republican put it: "People have been waiting for Trump to do himself in since the escalator ride. If we want him gone, Republicans are going to have to take him down.”

POWER QUOTE – Let’s Loathe the Traitors

“I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery.” - Aeschylus

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