Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Trump Most Unpopular President in Gallup History

Yesterday Gallup released their final poll regarding Trump and his presidency. They wrote:

As President Donald Trump prepares to leave the White House, 34% of Americans approve of the job he is doing as president, the worst evaluation of his presidency. His 41% average approval rating throughout his presidency is four points lower than for any of his predecessors in Gallup's polling era. Trump's ratings showed a record 81-percentage-point average gap between Republicans and Democrats -- 11 points wider than the prior record. 

(emphasis mine)

From the same page, this shows how poorly Trump ranks historically -- dead last since Truman:

However, in a poll taken after the January 6th insurrection, 90% of Republicans polled approve of Trump's job performance(!):

Nearly nine in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s job performance, according to the survey, a figure virtually unchanged from just ahead of the November contest. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans said they approved of Trump before the election, compared to 87% in the most recent poll.

Incredible. Even after Trump spent his entire term lying to the American people, even after he outrageously lied about the election results for two months, even after he incited an insurrection -- domestic terrorism -- and an attempted coup, almost all Republicans still support him.

This country has a serious problem, and it's called the Republican party. This is probably only the beginning of our problems. As Bret Stephens wrote in today's NY Times, in a column titled "Lincoln Knew in 1838 What 2021 Would Bring -- Before Jefferson Davis there was John C. Calhoun. What rougher beasts do Trump, Hawley and Cruz prefigure?"

Donald Trump is not a man of “the loftiest genius.” He is, as I’ve written before, a political arsonist who managed, in his inveterately asinine way, to burn down his own presidency while attempting to torch everyone and everything else. Neither is Josh Hawley nor Ted Cruz a lofty genius. They are credential-holding ideological grifters who lack the wit to see how easily they are seen through.

But the three are at least a hazy approximation of what the younger Lincoln most fears — men in the mold of Caesar or Napoleon who would sooner tear down than defend republican institutions in order to slake a thirst for glory. Before Jefferson Davis tore the federal government asunder, John C. Calhoun tried to nullify its power. What rougher beasts do Trump, Cruz and Hawley prefigure? For that matter, for what kind of Reichstag fire was the Capitol Hill insurrection merely a test run?

Monday, January 18, 2021

Who's Dividing the Country?

What some of us were saying in the comments of this post, if perhaps not quite as succinctly.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Another Death at Trump's Riot

There was another death at the Capitol Riot on 1/6 that's just come to light, a woman named Roseanne Boyland who was crushed to death by the pro-Trump mob surging against the police. The NY Times has some video about it, including one that shows two people attempting CPR and then dragging her to safety. 

She's somewhere under this pile, slightly left of center. Except for the building and the hockey stick, this almost looks like something from the Battle of Agincourt, except there there was a bit of a sense of chivalry.


Via the NY Times.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nothing But a Loser

So Trump has been impeached for a second time.

This, and inciting a violent insurrection that overran Congress, is all that he will be remembered for. 

Nothing to do with the economy, with Israel, with whatever tiny victories his supporters will of course insist upon. They are all gone now, crushed into the ashe and mud of his pathologies, inanities and stupidities. 

Trump will be remembered as his worst possible nightmare: a pure, unadulterated loser, loser to Sleepy Joe.

Such poetic justice.

And he has finally made fools of his supporters too, of all of them, as he was bound to do from the very beginning it seems, from the very instant he insipidly declared an "American Carnage" at his inauguration, at the end of Obama's second term, without any evidence, without data, without any logic or reason whatsoever.

It was then Trump announced he wouldn't be tied down by reason or evidence. Smart people had learned that months earlier -- perhaps the earliest was when he made fun of a handicapped reporter, something Trump never had the decency to apologize for, and which, much more importantly, his supporters never made him apologize for. 

Then he insulted a judge merely for his Mexican heritage.

It painted Trump as weak -- but, for his supporters, tellingly, they saw only the kind of racist they were looking for.

Imagine. 

Trump never gained a position of strength, except in the eyes of those who were weak themselves, who saw themselves as failures in the American maelstrom, in the vicious American contest aptly summarized by Brad Pitt at the end of the movie Killing Them Softly

"I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own."

That movie is from 2012. Has much changed? I think some things have. I think Trump was adamantly opposed to those things, as are all Republicans. But there was indeed much to be angry about, such as the grand collapse of the American middle class, their jobs sent overseas by both Republicans and Democrats, right under their noses, until before they knew it those jobs were gone and they were left driving trucks and working at McDonalds or Walmart and enlisting in the military, hoping anywhere to find employment with a bit of something above minimum wage with some health insurance and maybe 2 weeks paid vacation time a year. Or not. 

Despite all the Republicans telling the lower classes to pick themselves up by their bootstraps.

That wasn't me, of course. I had three college degrees and, since Newt Gingrich, was supposed to be happy sitting in a cubicle fielding 60 voice mail messages a day, and 8 meetings a day to keep the sky from falling in and 120 emails a day that all demanded an answer that very afternoon, 30 from three simultaneous girlfriends I was juggling for a few weeks there, until I could finally skip out at 6:30 pm to drink with a few well-placed colleagues at a pleasant wood-strewn New Jersey tavern a mile from our headquarters with my tie off just to let my chest muscles finally unknot. Weren't THOSE great times. They didn't last more than about a year, though.

I'm getting distracted here -- what am I trying to say? 

Just that I think Trump got what the hell he deserved, and more. 

Not enough, in fact. 

Trump has been a jerk from the very beginning. He's been happy to be a jerk. From the beginning. He's insulted America, the institution of the presidency, all degrees of normalcy and decency, all standards of class, and done so without any humor, without any good nature, without any intelligence, or character, or mirth, or tradition, or cleverness. 

Or anything. I'm reaching a point where I don't care so much what happens to the asshole. Just let him slither away under whatever rock he has left to go to, as long as the PGA won't host a golf tournament over it. 

Supposedly that loss enraged him more than being impeached, said a Twitter feed from Maggie Haberman or someone of her ilk. That's pleasant to know. Unlike most people, Trump makes it very easy to hate him. Always has.

Fishy, Smelly News

Year 2386 trivial question: who was the only United States* president to be impeached twice? 
 
*The United States was a large country in the era of nation-states occupying the mid-latitudes of North America from the years 1776 to 2032 CE, whose demise is widely agreed to have been precipitated by this same president. . 
--

There are a smattering of news stories out today that don't have a great deal of evidence behind them yet, but don't smell very good either. 
"Weeks before a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, right-wing activist Ali Alexander told his followers he was planning something big for Jan. 6.

"Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, said he hatched the plan — coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes — alongside three GOP lawmakers: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters.

"'We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,' Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope highlighted by the Project on Government Oversight, an investigative nonprofit. The plan, he said, was to 'change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.'"
  • Why did petulant, gun-crazy Colorado Republican representative Lauren Boebert tweet information during the riot about the location of Speaker Nancy Pelosi? 

These were posted at 2:16 pm and 2:17 pm EST. Early on the morning of the riot she tweeted this:


What did she know about what was about to happen?
"One day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, a Democratic lawmaker says, she saw colleagues leading groups on “reconnaissance” tours of the building.

"Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) made the startling claim in a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday night as she accused Republicans of inciting the pro-Trump mob that vandalized the Capitol and attacked police officers.

"Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot, described seeing 'members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day.'"

"Phone numbers belonging to two of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) offices appeared to be listed as contact information in a note found in a truck belonging to Lonnie Coffman, who has been indicted for allegedly carrying unregistered firearms and 11 Molotov cocktails in that same vehicle during the pro-Trump insurrection last week."

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) -- "AOC" -- said on Instagram Live last night that she had a "close encounter" during the riots last week where she thought she was going to die. She also "worried her own colleagues in Congress might divulge her location to the mob outside, putting her at risk for kidnapping or worse."
  • In Oregon, a Republican state representative was caught on video letting rioters into the statehouse as he left the building. He's since been stripped of his committee assignments, billed for damages and the Speaker of the State House is urging him to resign.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Trump Hasn't Learned a Damned Thing

...or is too craven to admit he has.

Again, for the psychopath: it's always someone else's fault.

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Day I Find Difficult to Summarize

Every time I think I'm about to start a post with what I'm thinking, instead of one with another shocking video or picture or quoting someone, I get weary and don't even start. We'll see how this one goes. 

The more time goes by, the more last Wednesday gets distilled, for me, to its essence and the more shocking it is -- the president of the United States incited a riot to overtake the Capitol and threaten the vice-president and Congressional lives in order to overturn a fair election that he manufactured an enormous lie about. 

I think that statement will be just as shocking in 20 years time, unless even more shocking events are to come in the next weeks, months and years. Weeks and months: my guess is probably not, even though the FBI is warning of extremist discussions of violence in DC and in all 50 state capitols between now and the inauguration. 

But my only reason for thinking that is that it's hard to imagine being so shocked again so quickly, which I realize is a kind of bias.  And because National Guard troops are rolling out -- up to 15,000 in DC soon -- to quell any uprisings. Trump seems truly emasculated at the moment with few of his dependable MAGA avenues left to him, and he's afraid to go on television either at the White House or before a reporter.

I still think he's a threat though, and it's truly disappointing Nancy Pelosi keeps giving Mike Pence 24 more hours to invoke the 25th Amendment, which I don't see him having the courage to do (even though there's the need), and she takes the weekend off of the impeachment effort when on Friday she keep telling us how dire the situation was. Perhaps her caucus was writing and rounding up the votes, when now the Democratic majority in the House is extremely thin (only 220 Democrats out of 435 members, I believe, a majority of just 3). But he still has the nuclear codes, the military commanders seemed to tell Pelosi that taking them away would be a military coup, and it's clearer than ever that he is deeply mentally ill. If you don't invoke the 25th Amendment now, after the worst act by an American president, when would you ever?

My own representative, Democrat Kurt Schrader, said last Friday he didn't support impeachment, calling pressure for it like a "lynching." Yes, he did. He has since apologized, and also now favors impeachment.  

If you have access, or enough free articles left this month, I thought Jennifer Senior's article in today's NY Times was very good, about how malignant narcissists always end up this way, in great tragedy, going down in flames, hurting everyone around them -- spouses, children, relatives, friends, colleagues, companies, governments, countries. She ended with

"You needn’t be a particularly astute observer of the Trump presidency to understand that his incendiary, hateful policies and rhetoric and mirthful disregard for the law would one day end in violence. But you needn’t be a particularly astute observer of character, either, to see that a man who feels no empathy, exploits ruthlessly, lies reflexively, seeks success at any cost and lives in terror of seeing it vanish would never go quietly."

Almost as shocking -- almost, but perhaps not quite -- was that over 100 Republicans voted for The Big Lie, the electoral fraud claim, after the riots had occurred and after they had all run and hid for their lives. This problem is probably much bigger than Trump. The Republican party deserves to die at the voter's hands, but we know that given red states voters most of its members won't lose their seats. Perhaps the current withdrawal of corporate political contributions will matter if their electorates don't care. Perhaps not, we'll see. But there is a bigger problem than Trump, and will be whether he comes back in some form or not.

As I saw more than one person write on Twitter, political scientists remind us that while the first putsch often fails, subsequent putsches often do not -- or the third, or fourth, or.... And once violence is used, the option of using it the next time might well seem less unthinkable by those who want to use it. And that's a very bad slope. 

I've gotten this far, so I'm going to stop here. I'm interested in what others are thinking. I'll try to catch up on comments of the last few days. Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Another Death from January 6th

I hope to post something longer today about last Wednesday; until then--

Saturday, January 09, 2021

An Especially Good News Report on the Riot

Just a Representative on His Knees Cleaning Up the Capitol

After midnight after the riot at the Capitol, Kim spent an hour and a half on his knees cleaning up at the Rotunda. News story here.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Finally Stating the Obvious, A Little Too Late


From the article, which quotes an anonymous administration official:
"I went through Access Hollywood, Charlottesville — all of these insane things. There’s some degree of growing accustomed to the craziness. It’s not like my heart is racing, like, Oh, God, how am I supposed to react to this? It’s just more that I’m depressed. For people who devoted years of their lives to dealing with the insanity in an attempt to advance a policy agenda that you believe in, all of that has been wiped out. The legacy of the Trump administration is going to be that the president sparked an insurrection and people died because he tried his best to not abide by the Constitution and the tradition of a peaceful transition of power that’s been the norm since our founding. Nothing else is even going to be a side note."

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Someone Impersonated Donald Trump on Twitter

These #deepfakes are getting more convincing than ever.

The Republican Elites Cheering the Violence

No, not Proud Boys or MAGAists or Great Lovable Patriots, but Republican elites.

From WaPo:

When Yesterday's Mob Broke Through

The Calm After the Storm, For Now

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots,” signing off, “Remember this day forever!”

This seems to be a paraphrase of the tweet that got Trump temporarily banned from Twitter, and no wonder. Excusing the violence, celebrating the violence, still lying about the election -- I hope Twitter keeps him permanently off their platform. Facebook is, with Instagram, until at least after the Inauguration. 

But then Trump said, in a statement tweeted out by an aide at 3:49 am EST shortly after Pence certified the election for Biden:

"Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

"I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again."

(This is CNN's paraphrase.)

So Trump still insists on his big lie, and adds another one -- "the greatest first term in presidential history" -- proving yet again he is 100% delusional and a psychopath.

According to Axios, Trump was nearly unreachable:

The statement was the product of hours of efforts by aides trying to get him to grapple with reality.

and

Behind the scenes: The president's final days in office will be lonely ones. Some stalwart aides and confidants — after years of enduring the crazy and trying to modulate the chaos — have given up trying to communicate with him, considering him mentally unreachable.

Why his more reasonable aides, the vice-president, the cabinet or Congress is letting a "mentally unreachable" men have access to the military and nuclear weapons is a puzzle. (Added: some are.) He needs to get the 25th Amendment or impeached and convicted, quick, but the latter obviously isn't going to happen. (Maybe he was threatened with the 25A last night if he didn't shape up, who knows.) Though I highly suspect that any military or nuclear threat from Trump has been taken care of, by now if not far earlier, with all kind of safety checks in place before Trump can do anything military-wise. 

Mike Pence actually did the right thing. So did Mitch McConnell. It only took them four years of servile obedience to Trump, so they get no credit. 

There are still over 100 Republican seditionists in the House and a few Senators -- not sure of the exact number, but the most notable are Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. (Cruz actually sent out a fundraising email during the violence in the Capitol.) 

Neither has said anything on Twitter today. But both seem after the fascist demographic for the 2024 election. Cruz seems too personally repellent to be elected president (and barely won in Texas last time), but Hawley is more suave and, ultimately, probably more dangerous.  

Now I gotta get something done today, since I spent yesterday doomscrolling. I hope to hear your comments.