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The most disgraceful column ever? Peggy Noonan just wrote it

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One of the questions making the rounds on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration has been, What has been Trump’s effect on the media?

Here’s one answer: Trump has given permission to write irresponsible, misleading and demonstrably false columns, like the one Peggy Noonan wrote the other day.

Once upon a time, a credible columnist wouldn’t have dared to put out such a dishonest piece. But in this era of Trumpian lies and disinformation, Noonan has no shame. The ostensible topic of her column is a reflection on the abuse and sexual harassment of women by men—an important topic upon which to write a thoughtful essay, regardless of whether you’re a Democrat or Republican.

But the dishonesty of Noonan’s propaganda—for that’s what it is—lies in this: She moralizes how unsavory it is when “boorish…slobs…use [women] sexually.” They are “creeps” and “predators” whose “piggishness, grabbiness, manipulation and power games” prove they are “not gentlemen.” In fact, Noonan charges, accurately, such predators are not “chivalrous, courteous [or] honorable.” They are not “good to women”; instead of “stand[ing] with them,” they display their “lowest, most brutish selves.”

Noonan’s solution to the problem: Men should be “gentlemen” like Jimmy Stewart, in “The Philadelphia Story”: a man who “could have taken advantage” of Katharine Hepburn’s character because “she’d been drinking,” but didn’t, because “There are rules about that.”

If, Dear Reader, as you peruse Noonan’s words, the face of Donald Trump, with all its unsavory notes, pops into your head (and, of course it does), it’s not a coincidence. There was the Access Hollywood tape, with his boasts about “grabbing pussy.” Since then, at least 19 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, and that was before the Stormy Daniels scandal broke, with its sordid, and possibly illegal, payoffs to the porn star.

One might reasonably expect that an essay by a woman condemning sexual harassment and exploitation of women by a powerful man would include a mention of the most famous, rich and powerful sexual exploiter in America, the current president. But you’ll find not a mention of Donald Trump. Noonan does, predictably, fulminate against “the cultural left,” as if it were the repository of all sexual harassment in America. That is to be expected; it’s her job, I suppose, to castigate liberals.

But not a word about Trump? Not a word about the cultural right that tolerates—indeed, by its acquiescence, encourages—a sexual predator like Donald Trump? By not mentioning him, by attacking Democrats and raising the image of the all-American, clean-as-a-whistle Jimmy Stewart, Noonan implies (deliberately?) that Donald Trump is “an encourager of women,” “a gentleman.”

In her slanted defense of the predator president, Noonan shows that she’s no different a Republican apologist than the evangelical preacher, Franklin Graham, who, cornered by MSNBC’s Alex Witt, dismissed the Trump sex scandals as “just a news story.” At least Graham acknowledged the possibility that Trump is a sexual predator. Noonan can’t even do that.

Everybody knows that Trump is, in Noonan’s words, a “boorish, piggish slob and creep” who “uses women sexually.” He “takes advantage” of women, not necessarily because they’re drunk (although they may well be), but because they’re intimidated by his wealth and power. His intentions towards them are neither “courteous” nor “honorable.”

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan know this. Trump’s entire Cabinet knows it. Franklin Graham knows it. Ivanka Trump knows it. The most rightwing white supremacist at Breitbart knows it. And, yes, Peggy Noonan knows it. But she cannot and will not acknowledge it in public because her chief role in Rupert Murdoch’s rightwing media empire is to support and defend, not the Constitution of the United States, not America, not women, not decency, but Donald Trump.

So when we ask, “What has been the effect of Trump on the media?”, the answer is, to normalize and legitimize the most disgracefully fraudulent and manipulative writing in our nation’s history. Reflect, if you are able to, on Donald Trump’s behavior as you consider the title of Noonan’s essay: “America Needs More Gentlemen.”

Gentlemen like Donald Trump? Peggy Noonan thinks so.


Why Democrats want a clean bill on Dreamers

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I’m not a professional politician, thank God, but I am a Democrat who does a reasonably good job following the issues. I’d like to explain, to Republicans and anyone else, why DACA is important enough for my party to risk shutting down the government.

Probably 99% of Democrats don’t thoroughly understand the ins and outs of DACA, and probably a similar number of Republicans are in the dark. What the two sides do understand, however, is the dichotomy of the issue, in all its stark, black-and-white contrasts. To me, it boils down to this: Democrats think highly of these Latino kids who were brought to the U.S., illegally, through no fault of their own, and we wish to allow them to stay, with a path towards full citizenship.

Republicans, on the other hand, see things through their prism of “law and order.” The Dreamers are in violation of the law. It doesn’t matter if they were brought here when they were babies; the plain and simple fact of the matter is that they’re breaking the law, and if the U.S. is to remain a nation of laws, then they must be deported.

The Republican point of view, it must be admitted, makes a certain amount of sense. I, myself, believe that laws should not be passed, if jurisdictions have no inclination or ability to enforce them. If that’s the case, then the entire concept of “law” is a mockery.

But justice untempered by mercy is not our way. Courts show mercy toward convicted defendants all the time. God is a “God of Justice” but he also is a “God of Mercy.” Even if you’re not a Christian or a Jew, you can see the reasonableness behind tempering justice with mercy. I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice,” said a great American politician, Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president; indeed, it was this quality of mercy that influenced Lincoln’s decision to allow the defeated Confederate Army to retain its horses and sidearms, after the surrender at Appomattox.

I don’t know if hardline, anti-Dreamer Republicans, such as those in the House Freedom Caucus, know any Mexicans, but I do. From my decades of work in the California wine industry, where I met many Mexican-American field and cellar workers and winemakers, to my frequent stays in hotels, where my beds were made by Mexican-American women, to the food I enjoyed in great restaurants—food that was harvested by Mexican-Americans—to the Mexican-American women who clean my house, to the many people I have met and befriended here on the streets of Oakland and, before I moved here, San Francisco—I have found Mexican-Americans to be the most loving, sweet and hopeful group I’ve ever known. Not once have I inquired whether one of them is documented or not. I simply don’t care.

This isn’t to say I don’t care about the law being enforced. I do. Oakland can be a dangerous city—not because of undocumented immigrants, but because of American citizens who choose to break the law. I want the law strictly enforced against them. But I don’t want to see house cleaners, or workers at a 7-Eleven, or men on a construction crew, rounded up by ICE just because they don’t have the requisite papers. And in particular, I don’t want to see young people, who are just starting out, hauled in by ICE and sent back over the border.

I often get the feeling that anti-immigrant Republicans act out of spite and malice. If you ask them what’s so harmful about letting Dreamers stay, they can’t really explain it. All they offer is some free-floating resentment, usually accompanied by slurs against President Obama or Hillary Clinton, or rants against terrorism. Their appeals to “the law” ring hollow–mere excuses to mask an irrational anger.

There’s something quintessentially American about letting Dreamers stay. It’s about the Statue of Liberty, about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, about why Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the Founders wanted a new country. It’s about “All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” Yet it’s also about fundamental decency—a quality notably lacking in the Republican Party for the last century, but particularly since the advent of the Trump regime. It’s about—to use a word Trump himself used, with cringe-worthy results—“love.” It’s about how the rest of the world sees us—as the greatest hope of mankind, a bastion of liberty and opportunity. It’s about extending the hand of mercy and compassion. It’s about feeling good about ourselves, the way Scrooge finally felt good about himself when he realized what an ass he’d been when he was a mean man. For these reasons, and more, Congressional Democrats must stand fast and insist on a clean DACA, or at least one unencumbered by the least possible number of other things.

 

 


From the personal diary of Kirstjen Nielsen

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Dear Diary,

I have something to admit to you: I lied when I testified that I didn’t remember what President Trump said in that meeting.

Big deal. Like politicians don’t lie all the time! Lol. I didn’t lie that much when I worked for President Bush. But when I went to work for Gen. Kelly, I had to lie a whole lot, and it made me feel a little guilty. One night, the General and I were out for drinks and, after a few martinis, I confessed my mixed feelings about lying. I’ll never forget what he said.

“Kirstjen, a very wise man, Winston Churchill, once said, ‘Truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’”

I didn’t understand, and I said so. Gen. Kelly explained, “We in the Trump administration are here to get big things done. Sometimes, it’s necessary to tell lies in order to accomplish that. But remember, the ends justify the means. So don’t sweat telling the occasional lie. In fact, look at it this way: the more lies you tell, the more you’re protecting the truth! And the truth, for us, is President Donald J. Trump. That’s our job: to protect him. If you have to lie in order to do that, then so be it.”

I took his words to heart; after all, Gen. Kelly is a very great man. So when the Democrats on that Senate Judiciary Committee started giving me a hard time with “What did you hear?” and “What exactly did the President say?” I recalled Gen. Kelly, and was able to tell my lies with a straight face. After all, President Trump gave me this opportunity to be Homeland Security Secretary, and I owe it to him to protect him from his enemies.

I have to admit, Dear Diary, that when Cory Booker exploded and accused me of “complicity,” it wasn’t the most comfortable moment. I remember glancing over to Sen. Grassley and catching his eye. We seemed to be seeing into each other’s minds, and I knew exactly what he was thinking. He knew I was lying, and he knew I knew that he knew I was lying, and I swear, he gave me a little wink of approval, Nobody else saw it, thank God, but I did. I knew what Sen. Grassley was saying: “Good girl, Kirstjen. You’re in the big leagues now, and you’re playing like a big league star.” That felt good, Dear Diary.

I figure I’ll stay in this job for another year or so, and then go out and make some serious money. Various individuals have already let me know discretely that I can name my price at Boeing, Northrop Grumman or Raytheon, maybe Facebook. I’d run their security departments and also lobby for them in the District. A friend of mine who works for Lockheed told me she makes $3.5 million a year, and that doesn’t even include all the perks, such as a clothing allowance. That’s three-and-a-half million reasons to tell lies and not feel bad about it.

So, sure, President Trump called Haiti and those African countries “shitholes.” But like I said, so what? And you know what, Dear Diary? They are shitholes. I’ve been to them; I know. The President was right when he said America wants immigrants from places like Norway, which, by the way, is where my mother’s parents were born. Is there something wrong with being White? My family didn’t end up on welfare. They didn’t steal, or join gangs, or smoke crack and have babies out-of-wedlock, like these colored immigrants do. We succeeded the old-fashioned Christian way, through hard work and belief in God. I know that President Trump isn’t the most ethical person in the world, and some of the things he’s said and done give me the creeps, to be perfectly honest. But President Trump is the truth, and if I have to be part of the bodyguard of lies that attends him, I am honored to do so.

 


It’s His Character, Stupid!

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With Republicans circling the wagons around a president who slurred Black countries with his “shithole” comment, Trump is said to be actively casting his gaze upon the 2020 election, in which he apparently expects to be running for re-election.

Gingrich weighed in the other day, declaring, If the economy is good, Trump wins easily. If the economy is bad, he has a tough time.” The economy is certainly good now. Trump takes credit for the stock market’s incredible performance, although anyone can see that the Dow has been on a 45-degree upward trajectory since 2009.

I’m as happy as the next guy with how well my stock-based investments are doing, but there is something about the current numbers that reminds me of Alan Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” remark, uttered 20 years ago. There will undoubtedly be a correction, but nobody knows when it will come (although it will probably be before the 2020 election), or how it will impact the way voters feel.

But let’s assume the economy will be roaring along in November, 2020. Let’s assume, further, that Trump is still president. Republicans will be reminding Americans all the time about how “President Trump revived the economy after the Obama no-growth years.” It’s a lie, of course, but a lot of people will believe it. How do Democrats respond?

To begin with, they’ll need a good candidate and a good message. I believe they have the message: inclusiveness, equality, a restoration of decency in the White House, less of an inclination to go to war, providing affordable healthcare for everyone, respect for science, ending Citizens United, protecting Dreamers, mending relations with Allies, and so on. I believe they’ll find a good candidate, and it might be someone who’s not even on the radar right now. (Right now, I’m looking at Mark Cuban.) But there’s something else Democrats are going to have to do.

They’re going to have to convince people who voted for Trump in 2016 to turn against him, even if they, personally, are benefiting from a rip-roaring economy. How do you change a person’s deeply-held beliefs? I was reading an article yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle about Pope Francis’ visit to Chile, which occurs in the midst of a huge priest-sex scandal in that country. The article quoted “a 57-year old secretary” as saying, “I used to be a strong believer and churchgoer. [But now], all the contradictions have pushed me away.”

Remarkable. A faithful Roman Catholic woman, who has believed all her life, has lost her faith due to years of sex scandals that were hushed up by the Church. What lessons can Democrats learn from this?

The big lesson is that changing people’s most deeply-held beliefs can be done. Even the most passionate Trump believer in 2016 can be switched into an anti-Trump voter in 2020. How? As with the Chilean secretary, it must be done through moral and ethical arguments. She believed in the Roman church with all her heart, but an even deeper streak of belief was her basic human compassion and regard for decency and truth. When it dawned upon her that her beloved Church was engaged in some truly awful behavior, and was covering it up with lies, she finally had had enough.

I think Democrats should continue to hammer away at Trump’s character, or lack thereof. Lord knows, he’ll give Democrats plenty of opportunities to do so. The “shithole” remark, bad as it was, will be followed by others even worse. That’s Trump’s style. The more red meat he throws to his base, the hungrier they get for more; and Trump, the zoomaster, is happy to comply.

So to those Democrats who counsel focusing less on Trump’s character and more on objective political and economic issues, I say: No. Most Americans—even those who voted for Trump—have a basic core of decency. They are repelled by people whose indecency is evident. Many Trump voters knew in November, 2016, that Trump was not a decent man, but they voted for him anyway because they wanted some kind of change. But many more Americans now realize just how thoroughly indecent Trump really is. He’s his own worst enemy, and a wise Democratic strategy is to remind voters, over and over and over again, of two things: One, the stock market started improving under Obama, and two, if you wouldn’t leave your daughter alone with Trump for five minutes, then you shouldn’t vote for him no matter how well your 401(k) is doing.


From the diary of DONALD J. TRUMP

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Of all the crap in that fake book, “Fire and Fury,” the one that bugs me the most is that I didn’t really want to be president.

Dad taught me a great lesson: whatever you do, make sure that, either way things go, you win. So, when I decided to run, I figured that even if I didn’t win (and, Dear Diary, you know, nobody thought I would), it would be an opportunity. I’d be the most famous man in the world. The book deals, the branding, the T.V. shows, the pussy—Huuuuge.

I was thinking about being president thirty years ago. Who wouldn’t, when you’re in my position? Rich, handsome, famous, the most powerful guy in New York City, women throwing themselves at me, celebrities lining up to kiss my ring. Even back in 1988, Oprah was asking me if I wanted to be president. That’s because I’d been leaking hints to my friends, like Liz Smith, who passed them on in their gossip columns. True, she was a dyke, but she probably did more for my career back then than anybody else, except me.

It was easy for me to play with the idea of running because I didn’t have to make a decision. I thought about it in 2000, but that idiot, George W. Bush, had the nomination sewn up. I thought about it again in 2008, and again in 2012, but my instinct told me not to—and my instinct has always been infallible.

So when the 2016 cycle rolled around, my instinct said, “Go for it.” But you know what really made me want to run? It was that White House Correspondents Dinner, in 2011, when Obama made that nasty joke about me and Meatloaf.

I thought, “That bastard, I’ll show him.” I don’t start fights, as you know, Diary, but if somebody hits me, I hit back ten times as hard. So who’s sorry now? Obama’s a big nothing, doing cheap Letterman interviews, while I’m freaking the shit out of the entire planet.

I like this job okay, and I’m gonna run again in 2020. Oh, the damn liberals think they’re gonna drive me out of office. Let them delude themselves. I’ve got my base, and as long as I have them, I have the Republican Party—and I’ll always have my base. The shock when I win re-election will drive my enemies crazy. For that matter, they’ll be shocked when Mueller and those damn Congressional committees exonerate me. The Dems think I’m bad now? Wait’ll I’m in the clear. They ain’t seen nothing yet, to quote my hero, Ronald Reagan. Dems, Iran, Kim Jong Un, Mexicans, dark-skinned immigrants, gays, Pocahontas, welfare, food stamps, terrorists, unAmericans, liberals, the media—I’m comin’ for them all, and nothing and nobody’s gonna stop me.


From the personal diary of DONALD J. TRUMP

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So the Brits don’t want me to come. Who the hell cares? I didn’t want to go anyway. An effete country. Cold and wet. And I don’t care for May. What a bore. She’s weak, not like Merkel. Or Thatcher! Now, there was a gal you could talk to! Ugly as a stick, but smart. Course, if I went, I could always get in a round or two at St. Andrews, which would be nice. But Bedminster’s great, and their kitchen makes me the Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever!  So screw England.

Still, it would be good to get away for a while. Too much heat over here lately, and I don’t mean the weather! Sarah wants me to go to Africa to make nice. I told Kelly to look into it, but he just gave me one of those looks—you know, where he rolls his eyes–and then he said, “Mister President, I don’t think an African trip is a good idea right now.”

I mentioned it to Melania at dinner. “Darling, you can go wherever you want. You’re Mister President. But please, don’t make me go with you.” Mel hates these trips, unless it’s Paris or Rome, where she can shop. To be perfectly honest, she’s happy watching T.V. at home, in her Snuggly-Buggly, and lunching at Jean-Georges. People think she’s some kind of glamor-puss, but she’s really just a regular American mom.

Things were a little tense because of this Stormy Daniels crap. I mean, Melania doesn’t ask me about my private life. That was the deal when I married her. Pre-nup clause #3b[1). I remember she said, “Donald, darling, you can do whatever you want. But please, be discrete, and don’t let me hear about it.” Sometimes I get the feeling she wants to ask me about the rumors. But she’s got a couple billion reasons not to.

I wondered what Jared thought about an African trip. As usual, I found him in the White House gym. “Pops, I think you should go,” he said between crunches. “You could always stop by Lagos and see about that hotel deal.” Jared’s a good kid. Not much of a sense of humor, but Ivanka likes him.

Okay, Sarah’s in favor, Jared’s in favor, Kelly’s against, and Melania’s, like, “whatever.” What does The Base have to say? That’s when I wished I could call up Bannon, but Cohen, my Jewish lawyer, tells me I have to put, like, a billion miles between me and Steve. So I tweeted. “Thinking of going to Africa on State Visit. The Coloreds love me over there. They know that #FakeNews lies.” Sixty thousand “Likes” within 15 minutes! Forty thousand retweets! Those are ratings, folks. America loves Trump! To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about Africa, except for the animals and the huts, but McMaster tells me we need those shithole countries for national security reasons. Speaking of shitholes, Tillerson called last night to say that all the leaders over there are “going ape” over my comment, which I didn’t make in the first place—that Durbin is such a liar, I call him “Deceivin’ Dick”–and that I’m going to have to do some “fence mending.” I was about to ask him if he really thought I should go, but before he could answer I realized I didn’t care what he thinks so I hung up on him.

Fence-mending. What the hell does that mean, anyhow? Do I put on a grass skirt and dance around a fire with the Mucketymuck of Botswana? I don’t mind having these people to the White House, when I have to, but I shouldn’t have to travel ten thousand miles to some mosquito-infested swamp and eat fried termites just to “fence-mend.” On the other hand, it’s a lot easier for the Secret Service to smuggle porn stars into my bedroom overseas than it is here. That’s my biggest complaint about being POTUS. Cramps my style! Everywhere I go that damned press pool follows me around like rats, sniffing for scandals. I haven’t grabbed any decent pussy since before the Inauguration! Why doesn’t the press cut me some slack, the way they did for Kennedy? Because he was a Democrat, that’s why.

There’s another thing: Oprah. Looks like she’s running. I’ll beat her, but it couldn’t hurt to shore up my Black support. Maybe I’ll have Dr. Carson tag along. What a brilliant man. My favorite Black person in America, and I have a lot working for me. Hey, if I’m such a big racist, how come Martin Luther King’s nephew loves me?

So I guess I’ll head over to Africa. I just had my butler bring me a globe. Wow, who knew there were so many countries over there? Must be fifty! I like the purple ones. Memo to self: have Tilly find out if they have decent golf courses.

Wow, just heard on “Fox and Friends” my popularity is up to 68%!!! That’s the highest ever for a President. We’re winning the war against #FakeNews! Gotta call Lindsay, and tell him!!! More tomorrow, Diary.

 


Inside Trump’s Brain

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He’s scared.

Of a Democratic House that will vote articles of impeachment against him. Of a Democratic Senate that will convict him and remove him from office.

Imagine the darkness of his thoughts, late at night, when he’s in bed, alone, brooding. The foreboding…the catastrophizing…his blood pressure must be through the roof. What does Donald J. Trump do?

Part of him knows that there’s nothing, literally, that he can do. The die is cast: Mueller is on the hunt, the walls are closing in. The Wolff book, which rings true despite Trump’s pronouncements about libel lawsuits, permanently destroyed whatever little reputation he had among independents. He sees Republican congressmen quitting in droves, knowing that re-election is almost an impossibility.

There’s no one he can talk to. He’s never had friends, only subordinates. He doesn’t even have a dog. His wives, including Melania, haven’t been confidantes, but trophies who married him for his money. He’s said to be close to his children and Jared, but Trump has to be careful what he says to them these days; everybody’s already testified under oath, or will have to. So Trump, who lives in his head, is utterly alone.

But he’s a strategic thinker who fancies himself “a genius.” He may be facing difficulties that seem overwhelming, but his belief in himself is enormous. He can overcome anything! All it takes is a grinding determination to forge ahead—with what Hitler called “granite will”—a mastery of strategic thinking, and, possibly, a little luck. Well, he’s always been lucky. He lucked out with “The Apprentice” when everybody said it was a dud. He lucked out with the bankruptcies and business failures. He won the damn Presidency! So there’s nothing, really, that can bring him down. Or so he tells himself.

There was no collusion, he says over and over and over again. Even Democrats know that, he insists. He knows that, in the end, he will be exonerated, and the world will see that Donald J. Trump is an honest man, pursued by his enemies, the liberals, the same way Reagan was pursued. Actually, Trump will remind you, he has a lot in common with Reagan. Sometimes, Trump even thinks about his Presidential library: where it will be, who will design it, what it will contain. These fantasies help get his mind off his troubles.

But still…he’s scared. He would never admit it to anyone. Not his style. But deep down inside, it’s there. Maybe he should start being friendlier to Democrats. Warm up to Pelosi, to Schumer, to Steny Hoyer and Dianne Feinstein, make nice sounds about DACA, talk about love (he knows it’s gibberish, but Democrats like to talk about love). Maybe, somehow, he can keep the House Republican, by one seat, if his luck holds. That’s all he needs, a one-seat majority. Even he if loses the House, maybe he can keep the Senate. Even if he does get impeached, there are certain things a President can do to hold onto power. (Here, even Trump knows his thoughts are crazy, but sometimes, you have to be crazy to win.) He is Commander-in-Chief, after all. Has anyone ever tested the limits of that? Memo to self: Find out who can tell him if he can have the Army seize control of the Capitol.

But who could he ask to find out? Kelly? McMaster? No. Can’t trust them. Can’t trust anyone, only himself. Sigh. The fear churns. Need something to take his mind off it. Fox & Friends! That always works. They still like him. Right?


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