Opinion: RBG, Trump Show Us That Only The American People Can Save Us From Autocracy

American romantic poet, philosopher, and diplomat once referred to the U.S. Constitution, in an address to the Reform Club of New York in 1888, as “a machine that would go of itself.” More precisely, in using this phrase, he meant to diagnose a dangerous complacency infecting American political life, one born of the misguided belief that the Constitution itself provided a powerful enough governing framework to keep the American democratic system from ever derailing. read more

Pelosi on Trump: “Whether He Knows It Yet or Not, He Will Be Leaving”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has taken President Donald Trump to task after he declined to say whether he’ll accept the election results if he loses to Democrat Joe Biden. Pelosi made the remarks earlier this morning during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“The fact is, whether he knows it yet or not, he will be leaving,” Pelosi told co-host Mika Brzezinski. “Just because he might not want to move out of the White House doesn’t mean we won’t have an inauguration ceremony to inaugurate a duly elected president of the United States.”

“There is a process,” she continued. “It has nothing to do with the certain occupant of the White House doesn’t feel like moving and has to be fumigated out of there.”

You can watch footage of Pelosi’s comments below.

Pelosi tells Trump that he'll be leaving., "The fact is, whether he knows it yet or not, he will be leaving. Just because he might not want to move out of the white house doesn't mean we won't have an inauguration ceremony to inauguration a duly elected president." pic.twitter.com/3wq2oKjFrA read more

Trump Claiming He Knew Pandemic Was Coming Is Actually Worse — It’s ‘Malpractice’ If True, MSNBC Host Says

President Donald Trump recently shifted gears and said earlier this week that he always knew a coronavirus pandemic was on its way. But while that may be a CYA move by the president in a blatant attempt to make it seem like he’s not failing when it comes to responding to the CODIV-19 outbreak, others noted that it’s, at best, a sign of negligence.

“This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” Trump said on Tuesday.

That contradicted a number of statements he made in the past, however — including calling previous complaints about his slow response to the disease a “hoax,” and claiming the number of individuals infected with coronavirus would be “close to zero” within a “couple of days” in late February.

But according to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski, even if we suspend all logic and go with what Trump is saying here, it’s indicative of poor planning and management by the president.

“The president said he knew it was coming. It’s almost worse when you look at it that way,” Brzezinski said on Thursday morning. “That’s just malpractice. You know something like this is coming, and you do nothing. That’s what he’s telling the American people. He did nothing from the get-go.”

Her husband and “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough also complained about Trump’s recent claims, adding that, if he really knew this was coming, why was the president so ill-prepared to do something about it — and why is his administration still failing to test people for coronavirus?

2,000+ new cases today. Total U.S. coronavirus tally at the end of each Wednesday:
• Jan 15 — 0
• Jan 22 — 1
• Jan 29 — 5
• Feb 5 — 12
• Feb 12 — 14
• Feb 19 — 25
• Feb 26 — 60
• Mar 4 — 160
• Mar 11 — 1,262
• Mar 18 — 8,264https://t.co/74QzWYbn1p read more

Opinion: Beware of Anti-Trump Republican Apostates Claiming Conservatism Isn’t Racist

Defending conservativism against charges it is an inherently racist ideology has become de rigeur among not just that sector of Republicans that has for some time sought to distinguish and distance themselves from Trump but also among more recent apostates jumping the sinking Trumpist GOP Titanic.

As Trump’s overt racism threatens to expose, or indeed has exposed, the ugly ideological core of a Republican Party that has long sought to play upon white voters’ racial anxieties and suppress the Black vote, not to mention challenging civil rights at every turn possible, of late the drumbeat has been louder in the efforts to rescue conservatism from its associations with racism.

The tactic seems to be to return the political rhetoric of Republican conservatism to the dog-whistle racism encoded in terms like “small government,” “states’ rights,” “tax cuts,” and “fiscal responsibility.”

Former congressman Joe Walsh’s recent appearance on Morning Joe exemplifies this seemingly orchestrated initiative.  Walsh rode the Tea Party wave into the House of Representatives back in 2010, campaigning with a fulsome devotion to anti-Obama birtherism and an unapologetic anti-Muslim ideology. He ardently supported Trump in 2016.

Now, of course, he has thrown his hat in the ring as a challenger to Trump in a Republican presidential primary.

Host Joe Scarborough guided Walsh through his ritualistic mea culpa, giving him the opportunity to apologize and reject his racist past and his support for Trump, to let us know he has grown. Indeed, it is precisely because he has grown, that he is seeking to right his wrongs by seeking to oust Trump.

Once it became clear Walsh had seen the error of his ways, he and Scarborough bonded over what attracted them to conservatism and Republican politics. They talked about the need for small government and fiscal responsibility, complaining about Trump’s exploding deficits and out-of-control spending.

The gymnastic rhetorical exorcism was complete. Republican politics and traditional conservatism were dispossessed of Trump—head-spinning, vomit, scary voices, and all.  That old Joe Walsh who used to pee on the carpet was gone, and real pre-Trump Republicanism was back in business.

He could now join the ranks of anti-Trump Republican apostates like MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, former communications director during the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime. Wallace claims she didn’t leave the party; the party left her by changing its core platforms, saying “This Republican Party is unrecognizable to me . . . I’m not embarrassed to share a political party with John McCain or the 41st president or 43rd president.”  Her show is also known to parade other disaffected Republicans such as David Frum, Steve Schmitt, and Charlie Sykes.

The message is the same: The conservative politics of the Republican Party and its long tradition are wholesome enough and not at all racist; it was just Trump who brought racism to the party.

In a recent column in Time titled “My Fellow Republicans Must Stand Against the Alt-Right Virus Infecting America,” David French danced a similar pattern, arguing that while the white nationalist has been thrilled by and attracted to, perhaps even enabled by, Trump’s rhetoric, that movement is separate both from Republican conservative politics and even, he argues, from Trump. Focusing on Trump, he argues, is too narrow and won’t address the real problem plaguing America, which is white nationalism. Indeed, French went even a step further than Walsh, refusing even to throw Trump under the bus. The real problem is that white nationalism has infected America, and the GOP is the victim of this same infection.

He puts a point on this argument, writing, “To be clear, the vast majority of conservative or right-leaning Americans are not racist, hate racism, and utterly reject the ideology and language of white nationalism.”

Timothy P. Carney, in a recent opinion piece in The Washington Examiner titled “It’s time to create a conservative ecosystem that doesn’t welcome racists,” opens with a similar position, arguing that Republicans aren’t racist but for some reason racists have been attracted to the party: Liberal commentators will always say conservatives are just a bunch of racists. This is a lie. But conservatives need to do a better job convincing the racists that it’s a lie.”

Republicans, he says, need to start running more candidates of color to scare racists away.

But is racism really absent from the core of conservative politics?

Consider the recent bombshell reporting on the newly-released tape of Ronald Reagan’s conversation with Richard Nixon, in which Reagan referred to African diplomats as “monkeys,” begins to make this point clear. Reagan doesn’t sound all that different from Trump, when he tells Nixon, ““Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television, as I did, to see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them — they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”  And Nixon laughs.

The only difference between Trump and Reagan here is that Reagan thinks nobody will hear the conversation, so his hateful racist attitudes can inform Republican policies in coded and unrecognized ways.

And let’s remember exactly how Republican operative Lee Atwater described the Southern Strategy he crafted to get Nixon elected in 1968 and, really, move to consolidate Republican dominance in the South moving forward to the present.

Here’s how Atwater characterized the strategy in a 1981 interview, laying bare its racist underpinnings:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “[N-word], [n-word], [n-word].” By 1968 you can’t say “[n-word]”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N-word], [n-word].”  (parenthetical substitutions of “n-word” are mine.)

The exorcism, it seems, cannot be complete without dismantling the GOP and conservative ideology down its fundamental DNA.

Racism is the foundation of conservatism in the United States.

Democrats Must Discuss Public Education to Address 2020 Challenges and Russian Interference

In an interview on Morning Joe after two nights of Democratic primary debates, Colorado Senator and Presidential candidate Michael Bennet pointed out that during those two nights not one question was asked of the twenty candidates regarding educational policy. Indeed, he continued, no question was asked of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential debates.

As a former superintendent of Colorado’s public school system, Bennet’s ears are sensitively trained to perk up for conversations about education, or to notice the absolute dearth of such conversation.

His observation is a keen one: education has simply fallen off of the political table of nationally important issues. Arguably, in the now famous exchange between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden regarding the busing of children to enforce integration in the public schools, an issue of education reared its head in the debate. The issue at hand, though, more quickly became a discussion about racial politics rather than educational policy—or, perhaps more accurately, the discussion became one about Biden’s character, political record, perspectives on race, and viability as a candidate. Harris’s strategic pounce did not springboard into a larger discussion about education in the United States.

Certainly, it is notable– and distressing–that issues of education, most narrowly defined, were not addressed, leaving such vital issues as the quality—and equality—of our K-12 public education systems, college access and affordability, and the student debt crisis, unapologetically ignored.
What this lacuna also reveals, perhaps even more significantly, is the extent to which those dominating the political sphere do not understand education, most broadly defined, as playing a key role in transforming our larger culture and in helping to address in meaningful ways all the pressing challenges we face, from climate change, to national security, to income inequality, and so forth.

It’s not hard to see, for example, that educational policy needs to be a key part of moving us forward in the effort to address climate change. People of all generations need to be equipped with a basic critical scientific literacy to accept the reality of climate change, its consequences, and the urgency of addressing it. This means education must take place outside the narrow confines of K-12 and even college educational systems and must be part of a broader cultural initiative and transformation.

Let’s take the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election as an example of this point. Several candidates on the primary debate stage mentioned Russian election interference a chief threat to our national security.

None of the candidates discussed educational and cultural transformation as part of the solution in combating Russian interference.

And yet, as I’ve discussed elsewhere in the pages of PoliticusUsa, perhaps the most successful model on the globe for addressing Russian political interference has centered educational and cultural initiatives in the effort to counteract the proliferation of fake news and other propaganda efforts.

I’m talking about the example of Finland, a nation which, ironically enough, solicited American experts to help them design their educational initiative to defend their democracy against Russian intervention, and this initiative has now become a model for other nations seeking to similarly secure their political integrity.

Having declared its independence from Russia 101 years ago and sharing an 832-mile border with Russia, Finland has a long history of fending off Russian propaganda but has stepped up efforts in the digital age, especially after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

What has the effort been? One that emphasizes educating its citizens in critical thinking, which includes a widespread initiative to train not just students in schools but all residents, journalists, and politicians to recognize fake news and critically question false information purveyed to sow division.

Again, the educational initiative was not limited to schools. As social media attacks escalated in 2015, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, Eliza Mackintosh has reported for CNN, “called on every Finn to take responsibility for the fight against false information.” Chief communications officer for the prime minister’s office Jussi Toivanen, while echoing that “it’s everyone’s task to protect the Finnish democracy,” also asserts that “[t]he first line of defense is the kindergarten teacher.”

The point to be emphasized is that the initiative was not undertaken in the educational system, narrowly speaking. The effort was to educate the population as a whole, so classes are offered, for example, at adult education centers, where one can take a seminar on how to know if one has been trolled by a Russian army and learn how to detect manipulated videos, false profiles, and so forth.

According to Mackintosh, this initiative, which is “one layer of a multi-pronged, cross-sector approach the country is taking to prepare citizens of all ages for the complex digital landscape of today . . . appears to be working, and now other countries are looking to Finland as an example of how to win the war on misinformation.”

Finland is showing the U.S., indeed the world, what it looks like to combat Russian interference.

But that means talking about education in broad ways. Indeed, funding for public libraries and park districts, not to mention public education overall, has been slashed, never recovering from budget cuts made during the Great Recession. And yet these are key sites of public education for our residents.

The first step is actually recognizing the spheres of education and culture as sites of warfare, really, where we must work to defend democracy.

Putting America first might mean following Finland’s example and recognizing that devotion to public education and critical thinking can prove effective in the fight for democracy.

Panel Shocked That Hardliner Miller Is Now In Charge of Immigrant Policy

Trump, Miller, Bannon

Donald Trump seems to have a very unusual relationship with White House Adviser Stephen Miller, who has been accused of white supremacism.

In fact, the president is now relying on the 33 year-old immigration hardliner more and more every day. Miller was reportedly behind the recent purge of the Department of Homeland Security, including the firing of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

It is also now rumored that Miller is actually setting White House policy on immigration, and he is reportedly telling the president

how to deal with security at the Mexican border. read more

McCaskill Begs Abrams to Run for the Senate and ‘Take Down McConnell’

Stacey Abrams and Claire McCaskill

During a TV appearance when the discussion was all about whether or not Stacey Abrams would run for president in 2020, a former U.S. senator practically begged her to run for a Senate seat in Georgia instead.

The former senator, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, made a strong pitch directly to Abrams, saying that if she were to run for senate seat in Georgia she could help end Mitch McConnell’s tenure as majority leader.

Abrams appeared today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss her decision on running for office after her loss in Georgia’s gubernatorial race last November. She lost narrowly in a contest that was marred by claims of massive voter suppression.

She has vowed that if she runs for another statewide office in Georgia, she and other Democrats in the Peach State will not allow themselves to be victimized again by Republican voter suppression efforts.

McCaskill, the former Democratic senator who is now an MSNBC TV analyst, asked the charismatic young African American woman from Georgia to help take down McConnell.

“I think you’ve got a really hard decision,” McCaskill told Abrams. “I think you’re an amazing leader, and I am so proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished – -say that first.”

McCaskill then slammed her former colleague, Georgia senator David Perdue for being a blind supporter of Donald Trump, and indicated that Abrams would be a huge improvement.

“The difference between leadership in the United States Senate between David Perdue and Stacey Abrams is night and day,” McCaskill said. “I mean, he is a sycophant for Donald Trump, he is all things Trump. He’s not even thoughtful about it.”

She pointed out that Democrats could not advance their agenda in the U.S. Congress so long as McConnell stood in the way as Majority Leader.

“I really do think that it will be very hard for us to what we want to do in this country as long as Mitch McConnell is running the show in the United States Senate,” McCaskill said. “So I want you to do whatever your ambition and your planning leads you. I use the word ‘ambition’ because I’m proud of your ambition, women need to own their ambition — I think that’s terrific.”

She said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had helped her overcome her own second thoughts about running for Senate in 2006, but she did, and that helped Democrats take control.

“We took the Senate by three narrow races, in Virginia, Montana and Missouri, and that was in 2006,” McCaskill said. “I think we could repeat that in 2020, but maybe not without you.”

Abrams said she also has received feedback and encouragement from Schumer, to help her make her decision.

However, she was very clear in saying that she still has not decided what she will do next.

“Leader Schumer has been nothing but gracious,” Abrams said. “He’s been very intense and very intentional, and I appreciate that — I appreciate the input. My job is to make sure, one, I’m the right person for the job, two, that it’s the right time, three, that this is the right job that I need to hold.”

But she agreed that someone should replace the junior senator from Georgia.

“I share your disappointment about David Perdue,” Abrams said, laughing.

Stacey Abrams Needs to Have a Future in Politics, and the Future is Now

For many reasons this is a very unusual time in American politics. Three of the Democratic Party’s rising stars all lost elections last November: Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Gillum, along with Stacey Abrams.

But for all of these three talented young leaders there must be made a place — not just in the party, but in elected office. O’Rourke is running for president, and there is a good chance that Abrams will be running for the senate. (Gillum’s plans for the future aren’t known, but he is leading

a massive voter registration effort in his home state of Florida read more

Mika Lambasts Senile Trump Who Doesn’t Know Where His Father Was Born

Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski couldn’t believe Donald Trump’s false claims made yesterday — and many times before — that his father Fred was born in Germany.  In fact Fred Trump was born in the Bronx, in New York City, in 1905.

During today’s show Brzezinski played a series of video clips showing the numerous times that the president misrepresented the birthplace of his father. Like many others, she expressed disbelief that the President of the United States doesn’t know what country his own father was born in.

“You’re a birther — how do you not know where your parents were born?” Brzezinski exclaimed. “How can you get that wrong so many times? I’m just — it’s vexing.”

The Morning Joe co-host then asked the other panelists if they could offer any explanation for what caused Trump to make his bizarre claims.

“I was born in Germany, so I can speak to this,” said a Morning Joe guest, author Mark Leibovich. “No, I mean, it is curious. It is not kind of a standard variety lie, necessarily. What do you gain from it?”

“He has these asides,” Leibovich continued. “‘I’m German, my father was German.’ Something you can drop into a conversation. It’s almost as if he wants it lyrically, the phrase, to include a kind of, you know, falsehood in a weird way. I don’t know, I don’t quite know where it gets him or what he is trying to do.”

MSNBC contributor Elise Jordan said it was one of the many bizarre tics the president demonstrates on a daily basis.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone on the world stage with such a five-minute window of attention span,” she said, “where if he thinks in the moment saying his father was German, a blatant lie, is going to gain him praise, he’ll do it.”

Trump is Such a Pathological Liar That He Often Doesn’t Know He Is Lying

When you watch the video clips that Mika Brzezinski played today it becomes apparent that Donald Trump doesn’t even know that he is lying about his father’s birth country. Telling falsehoods is so commonplace to the president that it has become second nature. He does it automatically, without even being aware of it.

He also may be senile, and suffering from dementia.

Donald Trump poses a danger to America because of his unstable mental state, and because he lies so often, about everything.

But perhaps a bigger danger is the fact that so many people — including his supporters who plan to vote for him — are willing to accept his lies.

When the truth doesn’t matter in politics and government, then we know we are in real trouble. Hopefully the frightening reign of Donald Trump will end soon and we can restore the importance of Truth in the operations of the United States government.

 

CLICK HERE to watch the Morning Joe segment courtesy of MNBC read more

Morning Joe Plays Brutal Video of Trump’s Empty Healthcare Promises

MSNBC’s Morning Joe program today played a brutal video montage of Donald Trump making promises about health care that have turned out to be completely false. It points out that none of Trump’s promises can be believed, especially on healthcare.

The video starts back in 2015, shortly after Trump announced he was running for president in 2016. During a “60 Minutes” interview, Trump endorsed the idea of universal health care, which he said set him apart from other Republicans in the race.

“This is an un-Republican thing for me to say… I am going to take care of everybody, I don’t care if it costs me votes or not,” he said.

During an interview two days after winning the presidential election, Trump then insisted that people with

preexisting conditions read more

MSNBC’s Mika Blasts Trump for Hiring ‘Criminals’

Morning Mika Brzezinski and Joe

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski slammed President Donald Trump today for hiring shady individuals who operate outside the law. She also criticized him for throwing them under the bus when it served his purposes, noting that he has turned his back on all of his former associates after they were sent to jail for him.

Brzezinski also said that, no matter what crimes special counsel Robert Mueller’s report might reveal — if Republicans ever allow its release — the president has already shown us what type of person he is, and has revealed his slimy character.

“Donald Trump had his close allies,” Brzezinski said, “people who worked with him every step of the way in the campaign who came with him to the White House — Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort being at the very top of that — his national security adviser, a guy who flew around with him everywhere and apparently was his emotional teddy bear to talk to him in between events to keep him busy and Paul Manafort, the guy who headed his campaign, in jail, going to jail, in jail, and guess what, look at the president, not one line of defense for these guys.”

“He throws them under the bus, close friends, family friends, people he lived and traveled with, stayed at Mar-A-Lago with, throws people under the bus as if they are garbage, could give a damn about them,” she added.

“Is that someone you want in the White House? Somebody with no empathy, somebody with no sense of duty or loyalty, somebody who doesn’t take a loyalty oath back as a human being. Who does he hire, by the way — criminals? That’s what people have to think about when they’re wondering whether or not to re-elect this president.” read more

Morning Joe Says No Exoneration Despite Trump’s Claims

Mike and Morning Joe

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski expressed outrage at Donald Trump and his allies today for claiming vindication before special counsel Robert Mueller’s report had been released to either Congress or the public

The Morning Joe co-hosts made clear that there are some extremely important questions that still must be answered from the 22 month investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. And they demanded that we be given those answers.

Despite the claims of the president, the short summary of Mueller’s report by Attorney General William Barr did not in any way “vindicate” him or let him off the hook for his misdeeds.

At one point during the show Brzezinski said:

“The one quote in it that Barr did put forward is that Trump is NOT exonerated in terms of obstruction. If you listen to the White House, and if you listen to Fox News, and if you listen over and over and over again, they are branding this as a full exoneration — it is not. It’s not even close to an exoneration, it is not an exoneration. Does anybody want to argue that? It’s not.” read more