fake dictator, just like the real one

How Trump Gets To Be Dictator

Mobut Sese Seku Kuku Kibombe
When you see an election result like “98%” for a sitting president who is actually a dictator do not assume that this dictator would have lost the election had the election been fair.

I lived in Zaire. Mobotu Sese Seku Kuku Kibombe, the arch-typical syphilitic dictator, the model for all the other African dictators found in real life and fiction, would win by 99% every time he ran. He did that because of two things.

Flag of the Movement Popular de Revolution (MPR)
1) The method of election. Everyone could vote. To vote, you pick up a ballot. There are two choices. One ballot is bright Kelly green, the color of the Movement Popular de Revolution, Mobutu’s party. The other was some other color, for the other candidate. Then, you would take this large and visible ballot and walk past some soldiers, then the soldiers would direct you to one of two locations. The first location, visible and right nearby, was the ballot box that you would put the green MPR-Mobutu ballot in. If you had the other ballot, you’d go around the back of the building where there would be a clay pot to put the non-MPR ballot in. Oh, and there would be some drunk solders back there and they would beat the crap out of you.

For half a century before Mobutu, Congolese were routinely enslaved, chained, maimed, and executed.
2) Everybody actually loved Mobutu because he brought peace to Zaire and kept the repressive outsiders out. Remember, Zaire had gone through the worst colonial period of any African colony. The Belgians in Zaire were as bad as Hitler in Poland, except for many decades. Sure, there were small wars now and then, but mostly it was peace. Mobutu brought dignity to Zaire. Most of the Zairois I encountered there, and got to know well and to trust, were either pro-Mobutu because he had stopped the wars and got rid of the whites, or ambivalent, knowing he was an evil dictator, but recognizing that nothing ever happened under Mobutu that was as bad as what happened under the Belgians.

Slaves being executed under Stanley in the Eastern Congo, not far from my study site. Pre-Mobutu. People living there when I was there were fond of saying, “Bring me Stanley’s children. I’ll kill them.” But every other moment of the day, they were all the nicest people you’d ever meet.
I was once at a party (in the US) where there were about 100 Africans, all academics, many were faculty, many were grad students or post docs. They were part of a one of the largest African Studies programs in the US.

I was there to give a talk on some irrelevancy in African archaeology, but they were all there because they were becoming experts on governance, or already were. The host asked for everyone’s attention to give a toast to somebody (there was a reason for the party, somebody getting hired, or retiring, or something, I don’t remember).

As part of his toast, he correctly said, “right now in this room is all the talent you need to assemble the executive branch including a full cabinet for no fewer than five African countries. If only they’d let that happen.”

Asshole American or European mercenaries menaced the Congolese during the post-independence wars.
Those people would not have voted for Mobutu or any other dictator. Those people understood that having a fascist dictator running your country was bad. Those people were standing by and quite ready to lead and govern and run things in their native countries of Nigeria, Zaire, wherever, as soon as the bad guys could be put aside. And, those people were all in Gainesville, Florida, not their native countries. (Many of them were exiled under pain of death or imprisonment).

But the average person living in Zaire, at the time, was not what we could call today “woke” in any way, or only barely so. Had there not been a threat of violence for failing to vote for Mobutu, there is a good chance that he would have won by a landslide anyway.

Ready to be led by a dictator.
Of course, and I fully recognize this, if there was not a threat of violence against opposition to the dictator, there would have been viable alternative parties. People would have gotten political. It would not have been so easy for Mobutu to get a large majority of votes just because he once threw out the whites, and later, put down a bloody rebellion or two.

But, still, most people were not of the mind that the young men and women at that African Studies center were of. Not even close. Most people remained ready to be led by a dictator. Even a bad one. Even one of the worst of the worst, like Mobutu Sese Seku Kuku Kibombe

Today in America, something over 30% of Americans, by my estimate, couldn’t possibly care less about democracy. They would take a Trump dictatorship if it was offered to them. Most of them would probably not fight for such an option, but they would not fight against it, either. And, over time, more and more will probably be likely to fight for it.

A kuku kibombe. If Mobutu knew what his name meant in English, he never let on.
I see a lot of talk about people remembering to recognize a dictatorship when they see one, but this talk is fairly useless because it happens among people who care about whether or not we live in a dictatorship. This talk is not happening among the double digit percentage of people (though still a minority) in the US who would not mind, and may even prefer, a Trump-led, Republican dictatorship.

Does this mean that we must somehow convince the soy and corn farmers, the anti-union workers, the white supremacists, and others, that they are dragging themselves, their children, and the rest of us, into a world led by fascists, with no democracy?

I don’t think so. I don’t think they care, I don’t think it is in their culture to even have that conversation, let alone to grasp the salient points, let alone to care, let alone to act.

We are in this fight despite them. We are, in many ways, in a fight against them. Nobody wants to hear that, but closing your ears does not actually work to close off possibilities.

(The photo at the top of the post is the fictional dictator from The Gods Must Be Crazy.)

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115 thoughts on “How Trump Gets To Be Dictator

  1. Today in America, something over 30% of Americans, by my estimate, couldn’t possibly care less about democracy. They would take a Trump dictatorship if it was offered to them

    That was demonstrated when word got out (released by a Republican who was at the meeting) jokingly said about Xi in China:

    … president for life. I think that’s great. Maybe it’s something we’ll want to try sometime.

    and not one of the drooling authoritarians on the right who would have hauled guns to the streets had President Obama made a joke like that even flinched. As long as the person in power is white, and as stupid, dishonest, and incompetent as they are, the tea-baggers who were paid to organize when Obama took office, the libertarians who have always been supporters of dictators, and the rest of Trump’s scummy swamp of supporters will be happy.

  2. Trump is no dictator. He hasn’t the brains or the balls to run anything bigger than a hotdog stand. However the US has been rule by a dictatorship for decades, and it’s becoming more obvious as the masters see that the public don’t care. Elections are a sad charade. The few MC’s (Presidents) who go off script are punished, or JFK’d. Nixon was the last. HE was framed and forced to leave. Trump goes off script constantly and is ignored. His “orders” are so juvenile the masters don’t bother to punish him, so long as he obeys his real orders. The US is sliding into a Totalitarian state that only a few notice. The jack boots are marching, guns blazing, the armored vehicle rumbling, citizens shot like dogs (blacks now, soon whites) just like a Hollywood movie about “evil Russia” but it’s happening just down your street. Glad I’m not you.

    1. However the US has been rule by a dictatorship for decades, and it’s becoming more obvious as the masters see that the public don’t care. Elections are a sad charade. The few MC’s (Presidents) who go off script are punished, or JFK’d. Nixon was the last. HE was framed and forced to leave.

      Weapons grade idiocy in that crap.

  3. As you know, I believe Trump to be merely the logical ending for a capitalist system that celebrates unrestrained greed as the measure of a man. [ And no, you tech boyz who somehow feel the latest gazillionaire wonderkid will grace us with an engineered utopia have not been very convincing- EXHIBIT A: ‘open-to-the-highest-bidder’ hijinks of the recent data scraping escapade]

    Make no mistake- The USA is in a race towards the mid term elections. And, although Trump has wrought tons more agency destruction and sown much more havoc within Fed departments then even I thought possible , it seems to me that he has NOT accomplished the necessary evils [yet, gulp] to place himself “in charge” ….

    First- unlike , say Putin or Erdogan , the non-Fox news outlets have actually done Real Journalism over the past year. And been relatively free to do so. [Internet news effectiveness is yet to be determined ]
    Second- the judiciary has stood firm. Even though the tweetstorms have been relentless, the DOJ as well as the courts have thus far survived. As Gessen points out- this was the first institution Putin dismantled when he gained the presidency .
    Third- despite the GOP’s best efforts at voter suppression, it looks to me that the young and the women and the POC are catching the drift of how much power they can wield – Alabama, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin make strong cases.
    Fourth- the remnants of Labor seem to have finally realized that this consolidation of wealth under the “socialism for the wealthy. capitalism for the poor” pro corporate BS has to stop- the teacher strikes have some parallels with early strikes in countries that eventually adopted social democracy .

    my biggest fear [besides a capitulation by the judiciary] has been that the intimidation and death threat tactics of the wing nuts would make it impossible for Dems to run for office- and that Herr Tweetster would command enough drooling Ted Nugents to incite that level of Brownshirtism …. who knows- maybe in that 30% there still is the faintest glimmer of traditional ‘Murican values! But man o man this next six months feels like a desperate race for the future of our country….

  4. You never know. I suspect it’s possible that he misses becoming a full fledged dictator by a nose. I suppose you could argue that he’s already a dictator, just a very weak one knocking around inside the increasingly hollow shell of our democracy.

    The thing is that he’s lowered the bar so far, you have to wonder what’s down the road. Do we lose democracy altogether, or do we become some brain-damaged shambles of a hard-to-identify system –shitting in it’s own nest?

    Throw in poorly checked evironmental degradation with the world-wide swing to the right, and the prognosis gets really, really ugly.

  5. world-wide swing to the right

    There is a commonality in this swing: here, in England (related to Brexit), the Phillipines, Malyasia, Australia, Brazil, Kenya, and Mexico, Cambridge Analytica has been identified as working for the more authoritarian candidates in national and local elections (local data firms CA subcontracted work to in those countries have also been involved), and it’s important to note that their leaders (Alexander Nix, in particular) are on record (in published interviews) as saying bribery and sexual blackmail are among the tools they’ve used to influence candidates and others.

    Speaking of their role in Kenya’s elections, they said:

    Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica Political Global, said the company “ran” Kenyatta’s campaigns in 2013 and 2017.

    “We have re-branded the entire party twice, rewritten their manifesto, done two rounds of 50,000 surveys,” Turnbull said, later adding that the firm had been involved in “just about every element of his campaign.”

    No honest person who has looked at their work here doubts they influenced our 2016 election (effectiveness in terms of bang for the buck is still being investigated), and it seems the same is true for elections involving right-wing folks around the globe show the same thing.

    Final comment: in response to the “They didn’t do anything
    – that was against Facebook’s guidelines
    – that was fundamentally different than the stuff president (or candidate, in 2008) Obama did

    Those points have been so completely trashed that repeating them demonstrates only immense dishonesty on your part.

    1. Something I meant to post on the other thread. I didn’t interpret his comments as blackmail, but rather filming to destroy the candidate with public exposure.

      My question is Who is the candidate that Nix sent the Ukrainian women to?
      We know many of the elections they participated in, so it should be pretty easy to see if this happened.

  6. Thinking of Trump as a dictator in waiting is why the Deep State tried to take him out. Whole bunch of people have been fired or ‘resigned’ for their part in this attempt to weaponize law enforcement to steal an election.

  7. ” the Deep State”

    There is no deep state. That idea is simply a right-wing code word to demonize and de-legitimize anyone who voices opposition to the current president’s statements or points out his habitual lying. Believing in a deep state is as childish and stupid as believing in forest nymphs.

    1. Schumer warns Trump: Intel officials ‘have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you’

    2. False equivalence. An unfairly and brutally maligned intelligence community may have a collective (and justified) grievance against the Clown in Chief. But that doesn’t make them the ‘Deep State’. It just makes them pissed off members of the intelligence community.

      This is the problem with conspiracist ideation. Before you know it, you end up inside your own bottom.

    3. just makes them pissed off members of the intelligence community.

      Yes, who have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you. There was a core group within the IC that sought to use surveillance powers against Trump. DOJ National Security Division, and FBI’s McCabe and others were working in tandem. It’s not clear how Comey fits in. Once IG got the power to investigate NSD after Sally Yates left, things started unraveling.

    4. Mike, the point was that Trump acts like he’s above the law. We’ll see if he ever gets the message –doubtful even if gets kicked out of office.

      BTW, in order to claim that your yammering proves a vast and sinister conspiracy, you have to understand what evidence is and know what conclusions can logically flow from it and how. It’s bad enough if you have a poor grasp of how government works, should work, and why. But add in a lack of the basic tools required to self correct, not to mention an adherence to tribalism, and you have a pretty good indication of a dysfunctional education.

  8. Deep state: 1. in right-wing argot a pejorative refering to institutions that support a functioning democracy.
    2. a projected right-wing fantasy.
    3. a gaseous right-wing emanation from brains marinating in a propaganda fever-swamp.

    1. How can people who have the capability to type on a computer have such a poor grasp of reality that they concoct asinine conspiracies like the “deep state” to explain trump’s issues instead of looking at facts?

      I’m also guessing that they would claim the right’s “don’t to anything to help President Obama, oppose everything and try to make him a 1 term president” wouldn’t qualify as “deep state resistance”.

      The lack of awareness (and integrity) they show is astounding.

  9. GL: “Of course, and I fully recognize this, if there was not a threat of violence against opposition to the dictator, there would have been viable alternative parties. People would have gotten political. It would not have been so easy for Mobutu to get a large majority of votes just because he once threw out the whites, and later, put down a bloody rebellion or two.”

    –But let’s disarm the citizens of the nation, because we can trust the State to keep us safe.

    In a post decrying centralized government, there’s a notable lack of advocacy for the common citizen’s or localized government rights.

    1. –But let’s disarm the citizens of the nation, because we can trust the State to keep us safe.

      What crap! Always this dishonest rhetorical morph from ‘ban assault rifles’ to ‘disarm the people’. Bollocks, sez I, and paranoid rightwing bollocks at that.

    2. Were you born without any sense of hinestynir integrity Ron, or did you willingly give them up so you could live in your little fact free world without feeling the need to think?

  10. Since the start of this thread, the president’s personal fixer/attorney has had his offices raided by the FBI. I’m wondering what sort of world we are going to wake up into tomorrow. The reich wing will now undoubtedly generate monumentally great waves of blustery outrage punctuated by little sound bites of fury about the fictitious “deep state” .

    Look Mr. and Mrs. Right Wing, please try to understand that scientific behavior experts largely agree that Trump is a self centered narcissist, a pathological liar, and a con artist. He is someone who always got his way, whether he was a little rich boy throwing stones at a toddler, or, later, taking favors from women that he didn’t have permission to take. Trump’s main concern is Trump, and if you can’t see that you are a total effing idiot. Trump’s fixer/lawyer is a thuggish sleaze bag who has slimed himself so far past the boundaries of legal behavior that he now might as well be a slug munching on a toxic leaf. I can’t see a happy ending for Mr. Cohen right now. Or for Mr. Trump. Or for the rest of us, if Trump isn’t removed from office soon.

    1. Desperate ploy by Mueller, as the surveillance of Trump is coming to light.
      Presumably they found legitimate evidence of something, as it was handled by a different US attorney, and had to be signed off on by a judge as well as several layers of approval at DOJ for warrants that might interfere with attorney client privilege.

    2. I was about to make the same observation. I suspect that Trump may well try to hobble Mueller soon, but there are sufficient next-in-line replacements that doing so will only cement the case that Mueller will already have built and condemn Trump to oblivion.

      What really matters is what a GOP without Trump will do, and what it will permit. Will Pence pardon? Has Mueller arranged contingency suits at the state level to side-step any prettiness in this vein? Will the aiders and abetters of Trump’s destruction of many US institutions be held to account for dragging the country and its democracy so low?

      The second quarter and beyond of this year are starting to look interesting for political nerds, if not even slightly hopeful.

    3. In case it needs to be said, my previous reply was to SteveP.

      Desperate ploy by Mueller…

      Once more you are speaking rubbish. The FBI executed the raid under the ægis of US Attorney for Southern District of New York, so the responsible oversight is effectively by the Department of Justice under the eye of the Republican Rod Rosenstein.

      Mueller’s role was simply to refer Cohen’s case, and that referral could have happened long before now. And according to Cohen’s own lawyer that referral was only a part of the reason for the raid being executed.

      So, “desperate ploy” by MikeN to dissemble and obfuscate. Face it MikeN, Cohen did wrong and was caught with his pants down, and now he’s paying the price. And one way or another he’s dragging Trump down with him.

  11. “don’t to anything to help President Obama, oppose everything and try to make him a 1 term president” wouldn’t qualify as “deep state resistance”.

    No, that would be ordinary resistance, for which they can and should pay a political price.
    Deep state resistance would be to look at Obama’s passport file, use NSA to monitor his communications, etc.

    His passport file WAS looked at in 2008. Strangely, instead of being punished, John Brennan was given a high-profile job. So much for being responsible for actions of employees.

    1. Again: there is no deep state resistance. There is no revealing of illegal surveillance of trump. These asinine fictions reveal nothing more than a lack of acceptance of reality on your part.

  12. So do members of The Resistance here agree with the idea of pulling out of Syria?

    I get it when Trump is attacked for this move by Bill Kristol and John McCain, but Howard Dean?

  13. Trump has now essentially tickled all of the check boxes on the fascist-authoritarian-dictator score card. Fortunately for us, though, even though he is acting like a dictator or wannabe dictator, the restrictions of our remaining healthy government institutions do not allow him much wiggle room yet.

    Also, while he has managed to score in all categories of the dictator report card, his overall grade is low. He is simple not a competent dictator. If he were really as smart as he claims, he could easily finesse the sort of takeover he must crave, but he is not, and he can’t. His undisciplined preoccupation with protecting his delicate narcissistic ego has caused him to squander most of the political capital he would need to make him a successful dictator. Still, these are perilous times and and the damage he can still do is not inconsequential.

  14. as the CT ‘deep staters’ bend ever closer to the “kiss yer ass goodbye ” posture , I’m interested to see how they spin this [via Amanda Terkel: “While the Cohen raid came as a referral from Mueller’s team, it was not officially part of his investigation. It was executed by the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. And the man running that office, interim U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, is a Trump appointee whom the president personally met with. […]

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Berman to the job in January. Berman has a reputation among his friends and co-workers as a sharp, hard-working lawyer. And he’s certainly not part of any Democratic cabal out to get Trump: He donated $5,400 to Trump’s presidential campaign.”

    [oh -that’s right….it’s Obama’s fault]

    1. You’ve already seen the amazing attempts to distract attention from this: Trump’s incredibly dishonest “they broke down the doors to my lawyers office”, his disconnected rant about HRC (as if those accusations haven’t been investigated more than anything he’s done, and found to be empty), and, as the resident trump troll here so clearly shows, the “deep state” masturbation fantasy that the tea-baggers and equally intellectually bankrupt ‘patriots’ keep bringing up. (The off topic question about Syria doesn’t even come into play in the way the trolls believe it does.)

      I don’t have any idea of the rationale for this new branch (nobody does yet), or where it’s go, but it is amazing to watch the people who have decided to side with the worst people the US has to offer (trump and his people) scramble to make up defenses.

  15. > Face it MikeN, Cohen did wrong and was caught with his pants down, and now he’s paying the price.

    I’ll assume this is true. It still doesn’t justify raiding a lawyer’s office. I think this was a desperate ploy to find additional wrongdoing by Trump through his lawyer, because the collusion investigation came up dry.

    A campaign finance violation certainly isn’t worth raiding the President’s lawyer. The basic plan is do the raid under some pretext, then arrange for your team to find out where they should go searching next after the other team looks thru the lawyer’s stuff.

    1. because the collusion investigation came up dry

      An endlessly-repeated rightwing mantra based on nothing.

    2. BBD:

      I actually agree with your statement.

      It is based on nothing. The nothing being the lack of evidence of Trump collusion with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.

      I await more details about the basis for the search of Cohen’s office, home and hotel room. Seems extraordinary to me, but we will see.

    3. It is based on nothing. The nothing being the lack of evidence of Trump collusion with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.

      More mantra. But in your favourite phrase, we’ll have to wait and see.

    4. BBD, it is based on the news reports that said Mueller told Trump’s lawyers Trump was a subject of the investigation. That has a specific meaning, compared to witness and target. DOJ’s formal definition:

      A “target” is a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant. An officer or employee of an organization which is a target is not automatically considered a target even if such officer’s or employee’s conduct contributed to the commission of the crime by the target organization. The same lack of automatic target status holds true for organizations which employ, or employed, an officer or employee who is a target.

      A “subject” of an investigation is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.

      By saying that Trump is a subject and not a target, it means Mueller does not have substantial evidence that Trump committed a crime. Other possibilities are that Mueller was lying or the media report is wrong.

    5. RickA, there is plenty of evidence. Meeting in Trump Tower, after e-mails that said Russia is trying to help you out. Steele Dossier is evidence. E-mails from Felix Sater. The Greek. Trying to set up back channel with Russia in Dec 2016. Lots and lots of evidence.
      Now some of this evidence is false(Steele Dossier), and much of the rest is contradictory as if there was collusion, there would be no need for the meetings at that time thru those people, but it is still evidence.

    6. Actually MikeN, it’s interesting.

      The mafiya pwned Don back in the day and Russia has effectively owned him ever since. It’s all about da money. And wait and see. Whether or not direct evidence of collusion in the 2016 election can be proven, Don came with baggage with Russian labels on it.

    7. … because the collusion investigation came up dry…

      and

      It is based on nothing. The nothing being the lack of evidence of Trump collusion with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.

      Interesting how both MikeN and RickA can reach their conclusions when the investigation is not yet complete, or fully revealed to the public. Who knew that conservative ideologues are prescient and/or have access to time travel and private/classified information?

    8. Bernard, see my reply to BBD above. If the media reports are true, Mueller has already stated that he does not have substantial evidence Trump has committed a crime.

      In addition, the actual indictments he has delivered is more evidence Mueller doesn’t have anything. He can’t use them as good witnesses for collusion or conspiracy if he has charged them with lying. He did not have them plead guilty to conspiracy or collusion, which is pretty useful thing to get from a co-conspirator.

    9. Bernard, see my reply to BBD above.

      All you are doing is repeating rightwing spin.

      And ignoring the elephant in the room, which is Donald’s decades-long immersion in filthy Russian money.

      It’ll all come out, eventually.

      And bye-bye Donald when it does.

    10. >All you are doing is repeating rightwing spin.

      Is the Washington Post part of this rightwing spin?
      April 3 reporting says that Mueller notified Trump’s lawyers Trump is a subject of the investigation but not a target.
      So now you have to decide:
      1) Did Mueller tell the truth to Trump’s lawyers, meaning he has no evidence to indicate Trump has committed a crime?
      2) Did Mueller lie?
      3) Is the Washington Post story wrong?
      or
      4) Did they find out something new in the last 35-45 days?
      As of early March, it is one of the first three choices.

  16. It still doesn’t justify raiding a lawyer’s office.

    Essentially everything you’ve ever posted has been flat-out false, and monumentally stupid (I’m not referring only to this topic). However, that comment is very near the top i both categories.

    1. You haven’t seen the additional guidelines DOJ has for conducting search warrants on lawyers. They have to show there was no other way to get the material for example. The raid is not justified merely by
      ‘Cohen did wrong and was caught with his pants down, ‘
      Presumably they went through the other procedural hoops, but if this is about payoffs to women, I don’t see how they can make that case.

  17. Being a lawyer does not absolve one from responsibility for one’s actions. In the newest incarnation of the Republican rules of engagement, though, it apparently does. Something major must have triggered the DOJ to launch this open assault on the tasteless and thuggish consigliere. It may just be that the good people of the DOJ finally decided that it was time to get bolder about the evil forces (Manafort, Kislyak, Lavrov, et.al) that were corroding our government and Cohen just happens to know where a number of the bodies are. Republicans can try to color perceptions as much as they like, but at some point, they will have to face reality. Trump is not up to the job and will be replaced.

    1. SteveP, NYT is reporting that the ‘something major’ was payments to other women and the National Enquirer silencing a woman(buying her story and not running it).

      Jon Gotti’s lawyer was on FBI wiretaps showing he had knowledge beforehand so they could use the crime-fraud exception, and they did force him off the defense team as a potential witness, and they never raided his office.

      This is exposing more of the team who was working against Trump before the election.

  18. In the newest incarnation of the Republican rules of engagement, though, it apparently does.

    Not new at all — republicans have rarely been concerned with lack of ethics or flat out illegalities by their own. Remember that to this day a good percentage of the right don’t think Nixon did anything wrong and believe he was framed (or go further and buy into the “Silent Coup” idea, famously pushed by famous felon and racist G. Gordon Liddy), and that Reagan was never held responsible for leading marines to the slaughter then giving the OK to sell weapons to the people behind the slaughter, or for selling weapons to terrorists in Central America, or for telling the DEA to step aside so those same Central American terrorists could move drugs into the country to raise funds without risk of being arrested.

    In other words — Republicans today don’t view ethics, integrity, or following the law as things they need to have or do, they are only things to accuse opponents of not having or doing.

  19. J Garbo: The few MC’s (Presidents) who go off script are punished, or JFK’d. Nixon was the last. HE was framed and forced to leave.

    And you started off so well…

  20. OA: The thing is that he’s lowered the bar so far, you have to wonder what’s down the road. Do we lose democracy altogether, or do we become some brain-damaged shambles of a hard-to-identify system –shitting in it’s own nest?

    Indeed. Trump does not have the consistency or the guile to be a full-fledged dictator. But there is a chance that he might pave the way for one (and I don’t mean Pence.)

    I’m looking forward to Madeline Albright’s book.

    1. But there is a chance that he might pave the way for one (and I don’t mean Pence.)

      A wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries is answerable to the chairmen.

  21. I think this story will be remembered as THE point where mikeN went completely batshit crazy and dishonest in his “defense” and “interpretation” of reality.

    Meanwhile: evangelicals have always been a sleazy bunch, and they’ve only cemented that status with their support for Trump. However, their statements don’t show their
    hypocrisy any better than what always batshit crazy Jenna Browder (from the christian dogma – broadcasting – network) said today to explain why trump still has their support:

    Browder’s answer was that Christians were willing to extend Trump “grace.”

    … it really does come down to grace and the fact that this president continues to, for the most part, keep it clean in office. We’re not hearing about scandals coming out of the Oval Office, and he continues to deliver on policies that are really important to evangelicals.

    Yup — being racist, bigoted, and dismissive of the poor — sums up evangelicals perfectly.

    1. >I think this story will be remembered as THE point where mikeN went completely batshit crazy and dishonest in his “defense” and “interpretation” of reality.

      But I will be remembered, mate.

  22. Question for Trump supporters. Do ya reckon Reagan would have easily conversed with Trump or looked at him like he was dogshit on his shoe?
    Cant even imagine a derro like Trump fronting up to the Reykjavik summit.

    1. Trump is a direct descendant of Reagan: Reagan began the weaponization of dishonesty, racism, and blatant lies: Trump and the modern republicans have perfected it.

    2. Li, I think Reagan conversed easily with everyone, and there are pictures of Reagan meeting Trump, however William F Buckley wrote that Trump is a despicable character.

      As for Reykjavik, I think Trump would have done the same, but not as eloquently as Reagan’s statement, “I went to Reykjavik determined that everything was negotiable except two things: our freedom and our future. “

    3. Mike N, I reckon Reagan was a slimy bit of shit. But not naive. Not pathetic. Not fourteen years old.
      Trump is pure stupid and ignorant.
      ANYONE who has half a mind for climate science could take Trump down in a debate and make him appear universally to be the cretin he is ( and fuck you Clinton for not doing so. And fuck the other useless elephant cantidates for not doing so either .)
      I hate Reagan. But the bloke had some sort of intellect. Even if it was wrapped in a flag. Some sense of governance. Of piety. When Reagan did slime, he knew he was doing it. Could no doubt validate it in his own conscience with ideas of greater good, or exceptionalism , or something.
      Trump couldnt weigh up a transgression to validate it because Trump is too stupid to get he has transgressed in the first place.
      Hes so fucking vulgar. Chintzy. Pathetic. Small.
      Fourteen years old.

    4. “Reagan had…”

      No, there was nothing positive about Reagan. He was dishonest to the core, made the initial huge strike in the war against quality education in California (and urged the attacks across the country that the Republicans took up and have very successfully prosecuted), fed the fake “welfare mother” meme to cement the racist core of the Republican party, and (again) cleverly honed his use of racism and flat out lies as political tools.

      The Reagan that the modern right idolize publicly isn’t one that has any basis in reality — they trot out one that is artificial, with all of the crap he did sanitized.

      I have no doubt the real Reagan is also held in high esteem — as he was as much a dishonest, lying, racist, POS as they are.

    5. Reagan’s forte was in playing the media- and they wanted to be played [“the Great Communicator”!…are you shitting me?” ] Carter’s earnestness as well as his future visions that were at odds with American consumerism did not sit well with what post Nixon media wanted to see, so they were more than happy to accord Reagan his noblesse oblige character.

      But I cannot imagine RR to have had such incompetent an attorney as Cohen. He has let himself be completely owned by the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels- today’s FBI raid is really just an extension of Avenatti’s request a month ago to the Trump Organization and two banks asking them to preserve any emails, records or other documentation related to the payment Cohen admitted he had made. Pretty sure this fails lawyering 101….

    6. Li, I was expecting Clinton to destroy Trump in debates, particularly because in the primaries he faced off against 10 others and could hide for long stretches. When the field got smaller, the debate got tougher, and he canceled them after Cruz and Rubio started tag teaming him.
      The third debate in particular, when Chris Wallace said he would go into detail on each topic, looked like death for Trump, pulled right from The West Wing script.

    7. Li, at the time, Reagan was portrayed the same as Trump is now, and getting the same level of attacks from the media, with no Fox News to endorse everything he did.

  23. >responsible oversight is effectively by the Department of Justice under the eye of the Republican Rod Rosenstein.

    Facing an impeachment vote tomorrow night.

  24. Dean, I don’t know what you mean by your Syria response. I meant it as a serious question.
    While partisanship always plays a part, I am used to seeing liberals being somewhat anti-war for decades.
    Clinton’s war in Kosovo failed to get support in the House. Liberals were objecting to war in Syria and some even Libya. So I am surprised to see so many people wanting war with Syria now. I get when Kerry and liberals said W was ignoring the real war in Afghanistan to focus on Iraq. At least then they were opposing one war while promoting another. They also returned to opposing Afghanistan war once Obama was elected. But here, there is no other war to oppose while saying Trump is not attacking Syria enough; just the idea that the first time last year, it was a phony war by Trump having fun while eating chocolate cake.
    I’ll ask again, do liberals on this board think military action in Syria is a wise move?

    1. I’ll ask again, do liberals on this board think military action in Syria is a wise move?

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally, no. All further Western intervention in Syria will do is prolong the civilian suffering. Assad has won.

    2. Your lies about opposition to Kosovo and the reasons for opposing the one in Iraq aside (we knew then, and have more evidence now, that not even Bush’s people believed the bullshit about weapons of mass destruction there — it was on their minds to go into Iraq and they just happened to be able to have a horrible attack on the United States to use as a button to control emotions, and they hammered it).
      The complaints about Afghanistan had to do with Bush’s taking his eye off the ball there: moving attention to Iraq effectively ended the “hunt” for Osama he claimed to be pursuing — although he had already made decisions that led to Bin-Ladin getting away when they could have had him at Tora-Bora, and he later referred to him as “Unimportant” and said he didn’t care where he was. No mikeN, the complaints about that first war weren’t (in general) about its existence, they were about Bush flat out lying and changing his mind about what he wanted to accomplish there.

      Syria — not related to this conversation at all, other than the fact that (as I said) it was the topic of Trump’s PR meeting with military when he gave his insane little rant. Your implied defense of trump in regard to Syria is laughable, since Trump was rabidly against the US doing anything there when Obama was in the White House (as were republicans in general because, you remember, that president wasn’t a white man so the only republican thing to was oppose him), and remember: Trump’s last “major strike” in Syria amounted to a few cruise missiles at an airbase, and the “damage” was repaired in under 3 days.

    3. BBD, thanks. It’s nice to see at least one liberal maintaining an anti-war stance.
      Dean, I’m not attempting to defend Trump, and am against the war in Syria. I am just surprised by the seemingly bipartisan push this time around, after Iraqi WMD debacle. I am not convinced Assad used chemical weapons or even if we should get involved if he did, with Russia sitting there on his side.

    4. Mike, people are objecting because it’s OT and an apparent deflection.

      I will say that, like pretty much everything else you post, you’re really not fully tuned in to what “liberals” think and cognizant of the fact that they are not a monolith. There are lefty hawks and lefty pacifists.

      (And there are a whole lot of Repub wingnuts out there who are just devoted to f****ing with people’s perceptions [cough].)

      Quakers have action points for peaceful resolution of conflicts (it’s a Christian thing which means that it completely baffles and annoys Republicans). Others agree.

      Others are just tired of the endless waste.

      There are liberals who have, for historical reasons no doubt, drunk the Putin Kool-ade.

      There are otherwise liberal people, who have shipped on a Likud view of the middle east.

      There are liberal atheists who think that they have an excuse to indulge in hatred of Muslims.

      It goes on and on…

      My take is that war may be a necessary evil when incompetent criminal butheads have created the dumbest possible damned clusterfuck. A really special situation however, is the middle east, into which the west and Russia have been sticking their oars since before I was born. But Bush’s war of choice in Iraq really took the damned biscuit (with the help of pissant Dems who were afraid to eat frenchfries and only ate G.D. ‘Freedom Fries’, BTW).

      The result is a chain of events leading to a f****ing mess that’s so FUBAR that there’s no f****ing solution and no good f****ing resolution in sight. Get it?

      It must be a great time for Republicans though, who think that we have god-like beings in the Whitehouse who aren’t incompetent, or foaming-at-the-mouth warmongers, or generally worthless buckets of toxic diarrhea, right?
      /sarc

      ———-

      Special shout-out to Ryan:
      Buh-bye!

  25. Interesting how active MikeN has been on this thread. A useful informal indicator of how close the shit is getting to the Trumpian fan.

    1. The obviousness of the lies both mikeN and rickA are tossing around now is interesting (as is the bullshit attempt to divert attention to Syria, when the only tie-in to this topic was that the loon in chief went on his irrational and fact free rant while at a meeting to talk about Syria. You could smell the embarrassment and discomfort oozing from the others around that table as Trump went on his little bit of insane blowout.

    2. The obviousness of the lies both mikeN and rickA are tossing around now is interesting (as is the bullshit attempt to divert attention to Syria, when the only tie-in to this topic was that the loon in chief went on his irrational and fact free rant while at a meeting to talk about Syria.

      They know this won’t end well. And perhaps I shouldn’t have responded to MikeN’s obvious red herring about Syria but he cannot now pretend that he was ‘refused’ an answer by us libby snowflakes.

  26. What sort of values would you expect from a family associated with these things:

    Gold Rush hostelry
    Post war profiteering
    Casinos
    Fake University stewardship
    Leadership without compass
    Extremist Nationalism
    Patriotism tainted by treasonous conspiracy with a US adversary.
    High rises without sprinklers
    Tackiness
    Superficiality
    Sociopathic Lying
    Freedom from empathy
    Advocacy for cruelty
    Exploiting immigrants for their labor
    Exploiting immigrants for their value as scapegoats
    Treating women as sex objects
    Narcissistic arrogance
    Narcissistic racism
    Endless pursuit of adulation
    Psychopathic Patriarchal Authoritarianism
    Hypocritical espousal of patriotic memes while evading patriotic duty
    Hypocritical espousal of buy-Murkanism while practicing buy-from-Chinaism
    Association with and use of thuggish and bullying consiglieres

    Do those family values seem at all compatible with the behavior of a dictator?

    1. “Exploiting immigrants for their labor
      Exploiting immigrants for their value as scapegoats”
      A quite extraordinary and well observed pairing.
      I think the condoning of big game hunting for pleasure could be added to the list.
      That said, I dont think Trump is a dictator, however much of his fucked up psychology typifies real dictators.
      The yank system dosnt allow such a thing, luckily.
      I wonder if Trump ever was aware of a Australian fuckwit by the name of Pauline Hanson at the time of her first election. The similarities of her platform and election strategies are amazing. The persuaded voters have similar commonalities too.
      One other thing.
      Advocating for torture of witnesses should alone have been a big flag that this Trump bloke is not fit to be a leader. He has a broken mind.

  27. >Your lies about opposition to Kosovo and the reasons for opposing the one in Iraq

    This is why you are accused of throwing around the word ‘liar’.
    I said that Kosovo failed to get support in the House, referring to the vote down of authorization, something like 300-100.
    I gave no reasons for opposing the one in Iraq, just that it was opposed.
    Yet you declare lies.

  28. BBD

    All further Western intervention in Syria will do is prolong the civilian suffering.

    And continue the revenue streams to weapons manufacturers.

    But of course the Trumpf won’t worry about that as he will not be anywhere near – he thinks. Anybody else watched ‘Designated Survivor’?

  29. Question:

    I don’t fill in the “Website” field when I post a comment. So why does my post end up linking to “deleted”? I makes it look like my comments point to an objectionable site when in fact they are perfectly self-contained rants and bouts of lunacy.

  30. Notably stupid right winger Nunes is apparently upset about two things: that he hasn’t been getting enough attention, and that people still realize all of his objections and comments about Mueller’s work are false. Here’s his latest asinine idea. How dumb so you have to be to believe anything this clown spouts?

    “Nunes threatens to ‘impeach’ Wray and Rosenstein”

    1. Congress has issued subpoenas and contempt citations and everything else Nunes has wanted. We’ll see what happens here. What’s strange is Nunes must know that there is a special prosecutor looking at all this and so it can’t be provided to Congress.

    1. However, it appears Greg has only lived under one dictatorship, the guy pictured. Perhaps Greg will correct this by moving to North Korea or Cuba or somewhere else run by a non-black dictator to be more diverse.

  31. Nobody said only black are dictators — that is a bogus comment. Nor was there any implication that living under a non-black dictator would be any better.

    The comments by BillyR and MikeN are crap and dishonest attempts at diverting attention from the message of the post. Not unexpected from MikeN, because that’s his behavior.

    1. Except notice how the trolls disappeared from the collusion discussion abruptly and completely…

      Maybe the penny has dropped.

    2. I wish the penny would drop.

      Still waiting to see any evidence of collusion.

      What I have seen about the raid of the lawyers office and so forth has nothing to do with collusion – but we will have to wait to see.

      All we know is that so far none of the charges have anything to do with Trump colluding with Russia.

      So there is nothing more to say until we hear more from Mueller.

    3. Still waiting to see any evidence of collusion.

      Not reporting the approach by the Russians to the FBI or anyone else is collusion. I shouldn’t be having to explain this to a lawyer.

    4. “Nobody said only black are dictators — that is a bogus comment. Nor was there any implication that living under a non-black dictator would be any better.”

      dean, your post is crap and dishonest. The fact is that the first four pictures were of black people. Tell me, is there a shortage of white dictators because
      if there is then I am wrong.

      Furthermore, we all know that Trump is acting like a tyrant, just as were Bush and Obama. Bad choices of pictures, since the topic was about a white dude in the White House. <—– another name that should be changed

    5. The first four pictures were of black people, but not of black dictators! Did you even bother to read the post? Under your ‘Greg is racist for saying dictators are black’ theory, does this mean Trump is black?

  32. Only if the meeting was about collusion – which as far as we know so far, it was not.

    Your speculation about what the meeting was about is not evidence.

    1. Only if the meeting was about collusion – which as far as we know so far, it was not.

      Your speculation about what the meeting was about is not evidence.

      We know what the meeting was about because emails. There’s no getting out of this. Failing to report the offer to ‘incriminate’ HRC to the FBI or anyone else is collusion. With Russians.

    2. We will see.

      If you are right, I will be able to read all about it when Mueller indicts somebody related to that meeting.

      So far – no indictment.

    3. Give it time.

      And the decision not to report the Russian offer to damage HRC moved the Trump campaign from passive collaboration with Russian interference to active collusion with it. You know this.

  33. Furthermore, we all know that Trump is acting like a tyrant, just as were Bush and Obama. Bad choices of pictures, since the topic was about a white dude in the White House. <—– another name that should be changed

    If you really believe Bush and Obama, for their problems (with Bush ahead) are equivalent to Trump, you are an effing idiot.

    No, not an issue at all with my comment. Your comprehension and ability to think, on the other hand, are problems.

  34. with the help of pissant Dems who were afraid to eat frenchfries and only ate G.D. ‘Freedom Fries’, BTW

    Yup, on many issues lots of blame on both sides: votes for the freedom-robbing “Patriot Act”, all the surveillance votes, lack of concern about Bush’s turning the NSA and other “security” organizations loose on the American public and the refusal of the two succeeding presidents to reign those agencies in, the recent Cloud act, the “anti sex trafficking” bill that is anything but, and the renewed attempts to get phone manufacturers to put a “safe back door” into phone encryption, so that law enforcement could get into anyone’s phone — the stupidity and worse is astounding, and fact-based.

    Compare that to the ignorant people who think Nunes has ever told the truth or had a valid point about anything, or who believe HRC was responsible for a huge uranium sale (never happened), etc. The small paranoid brains of the right are amazing in their lack of ability for critical thought.

    1. The small paranoid brains of the right are amazing in their lack of ability for critical thought.

      Cannot even understand what ‘collusion’ is.

    2. I’d like to see someone run for Senate on a platform of they will vote no on every bill that has a title. No on Patriot Act, JOBS Act, and whatever other bills with titles that get stretched to use a nice acronym.

      The effect if elected would be that eventually no one would put these titles, because they didn’t want to lose one vote.

    3. Id like to see someone run on a platform that is strongly aligned with the NPT, but thats not gunna happen cuz yanks are fucked in the head and dont believe in the NPT.
      They have much company in this lack of belief, unfortunatly.
      Theres waaaay more action on climate change ( thankfully ) than the NPT.

    4. Again, im reminded how little press coverage there was of the 2017 Nobel peace prize. Its often claimed press has agendas, besides impartial reporting of news. Theres certainly an agenda going on, across the left, right and whatever spectrum, not to push the NPT as an imperative, and to not continually call out inaction as morally deficient.

  35. “The first four pictures were of black people, but not of black dictators! Did you even bother to read the post?”

    Yah, I did read it. What matters are first impressions. The writer was talking about
    TGrump, the Mafia in Chief, yet he posted pictures of insignificant black despots,
    when the proper comparisons, would have been Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.

    After all, all four have the same stature and status.

    1. And if Greg had put up a picture of a well done steak(with ketchup), your first impression is he’s trying to show a black steak so it’s racist.

  36. Small niggly issue. Its some military officer/interrogator/henchman. Not the prez/dictator, who was played by the talented Ken Gampu.

    Fuck i love that flick. Best bit is when the gate arc is underestimated.

  37. Greg, do you mind explaining the Kibombe name thing? Is it an injoke sorta?
    Im terribly confused on a couple of fronts about it. Thanks.

  38. “Don’t blame your lack of understanding on someone else’s writing.”

    You are ignorant and a racist.

    “And if Greg had put up a picture of a well done steak(with ketchup), your first impression is he’s trying to show a black steak so it’s racist.

    Who serves a blacken steak to a customer?? An what does meat have to
    do with the slander of black people? Your example is pathetic.

    1. There you go. You think there is something wrong with blackening of food. You are a racist. I suggest you go for thought correction.

  39. No billyR, you are simply an asshole. Accusing people of being racist without anything other than your own limited understanding, whether because of lack of capability on your part or because you are too lazy to put forth the effort, is shitty behavior.

  40. “There you go. You think there is something wrong with blackening of food. You are a racist. I suggest you go for thought correction.”

    mike, you are defending the undefendable and once again your
    example is pathetic. All the author has to do is delete the black
    pictures and or replace them with white people; who has a legacy
    despotism.

    The depiction and suggested characterization is plain wrong.

    If Trump is a racist then what is this writer?

    “No billyR, you are simply an asshole. Accusing people of being racist without anything other than your own limited understanding, whether because of lack of capability on your part or because you are too lazy to put forth the effort, is shitty behavior.”

    dean, no have no brains other than being a shitass. I have explained why
    I believe this article is racist and you simply respond with irrelevant musing.

    You must support racism.

    1. billyR, your explanation is based on what seems to be your own willful ignorance. That leads to everything else you are saying being pure crap.

      The difference between your assessment of me as racist and my assessment of you as an asshole who is too lazy to make an attempt at reading for comprehension: everything you’ve said supports my assessment. I haven’t made a single racist comment here.

      Your “explanations” are as full of misleading and dishonest crap as are the right’s defenses of the nazis in Charlottesville or president trump in general. Don’t expect to avoid being called out when your position is as intellectually bankrupt as those of the typical tea bagger or libertarian.

  41. BillyR

    Before throwing around words like ‘racist’ you need to look more closely at GL’s writing. Not just the OP – which alone makes a nonsense of your claims – but some more besides.

    I don’t personally know GL but having read somewhat of his output on this blog, I do know that he is not a racist. I also know that you are way out of order and owe an apology. And some due diligence.

    1. Oops, I think Billy is being sarcastic. Well done sir.
      Yes, I agree it is racist to show black people in power. Only pictures of white people should be shown.

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