Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blind eyes of Donald Trump and the GOP. The eye opening challenge: "prove it"

Originally posted 2/15/17/ Updated 2/22/17

President Trump, his supporters, and apologists are turning blind eyes to bad news that is in our faces and in plain sight.    The role Democrats and " the resistance" can play when they hear such delusions is to respond with "prove it" .   An administration that loses credibility is an administration that will likely fail in future elections.

Trump has continued to blast media as "dishonest", (most recently defined coincidentally when they criticize him) and "fake news' when it is negative about his administrations. He railed against the tone of reporters he called hate filled. He urged the public to view only Fox and Friends and some other ideologically right wing web casts instead of CNN and MSNBC  Hurling such  name calling   without proving how their reports are dishonest  eventually will become part of a credibility problem that will come back to haunt him. In the  meantime, he is  trying to damage the credibility and trust of all news sources.

If political strategy and policy are based on delusions, there is great possibility they will make strategic errors that will work against the GOP and Trump sooner or later. It will give their opposition media fodder and could lead to the the public losing trust in both the Trump administration and GOP Congressional members who are trying to bury the issues they prefer not to give exposure. It will also dominate the news cycles and tie Congress in knots. The diversion will stop the Trump legislative agenda in its tracks for months, from job creation, tax reform, health care, and much more. But far more harmful to the public interest and the security of the US will be shaping of domestic and foreign policy based on false premises. Garbage in, garbage out , and that garbage could  be toxic to the well being of its citizens and national security.

 Here is the bad news :the GOP and the Trump administration either denies or seek to divert attention from the public eyes:

The Russian connection:  The Flynn debacle and the highly likely connection the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton is not only a problem of Russian meddling and hacking the 2016 elections, it is also the possibility it was to some extent coordinated with the Trump campaign.  The GOP and Trump instead of going full bore to find the truth are, trying to get public attention focused on "leaks" as the real criminal act instead of shedding light on the substance. That is a self-defeating strategy. The GOP dominated Congress has taken the route that would keep findings from the public eye by burying it in intelligence committees that mostly work in secret.  That is an outrage. The public needs to know, not just one secretive  committee in Congress and the way that can be accomplished is a Select Committee investigation, setting up an independent commission,  or the appointment of a special prosecutor.  The best proof: release the transcripts the FBI has of those conversations between the Trump operatives and Russian intelligence and officials. The text is going to be leaked sooner or later, anyway. Those in Congress who stonewall shedding public light on whether there was indeed collusion so harmful to our democracy deserve to be the target of the 'resistance".  The danger to national security is that foreign policy would be shaped  to enhance the power of Russia and would not to the national interests of both the US and its allies, especially our NATO allies, and  diminish US ability to shape policy in its national interests.

The delusion that the public demonstrations, in particular the women's march in revolt against Trump policies, were made up of paid flunkies, all 1.1 million, is so easily disproved,  it is truly laughable. I was one of those marchers; I know who organized this in my area and who communicated with me. I saw who stood next to me in that enormous crowd and who joined me at my encouragement.  The ultimate challenge to those who want to put blinders on their dedicated followers is to prove it.  In the meantime, 1.1 million paid minimum wage for 4 hours of their time and to be compensated for out of pocket transportation expenses (my bus ride to the event cost over $40) would be at minimum $23 million dollars. Where did that money come from? That  size of a money trail should be easy to uncover if it is true. Find it and prove it.

Donald Trump's more recent  attack of fooling himself is to claim all of those angry citizens turning up at GOP members of Congress' town halls are "fake".  They may be organized to turn out and paint signs, but there would not be such angry turnout if there were not a large body of voters who would be willing to do it...week after week. Think they are paid? Prove it.

The delusion is a making of Trump's own fantasy, that the nearly three million gap in favor of Clinton in the popular vote were illegal voters.  No one is challenging Trump's win  in the electoral college or his right to serve as President,  but it is a wound to Trump's  delicate ego and  it diminishes his claim to have a  popular mandate for  his policies . The challenge to Trump: prove it. An independent panel in Congress should conduct an investigation.  Of course, they won't, because only Trump  and his most dedicate followers believe it and he has already been sworn in.

 The consequence is that his supporters who believe it too will make bad political calculations  in their overconfidence and  result in such overreaches in policy that such action will create a reaction that will swing the pendulum to the left in future elections. The danger is that policies on health care access and quality of benefits will be so shrunk, that many will be left in far worse condition than they now have with Obamacare, losing insurance and important benefits. Expect  a reaction  from Congress and the public to any replacement, finding the deficit or their out of pocket expenses will soar, as will the number of bankruptcies and poorer health of many. That pain would be felt immediately and the backlash will be equally quick.

Taking longer to feel the pain are removing  consumer protections from financial services practices provided in Dodd-Frank and weakening environmental regulations. Voter suppression moves will be felt in future elections.  Turning back Dodd-Frank  will lead to more fraud, anti consumer policies that will cost their pocket books, and  dangers of repeating the 2008 crash.  More bad air and polluted water will be what citizens will suffer , but not realize it for a while since those impacts are more accumulative and anecdotcal. Worse, the unproved delusions will be used as a political motivation by legislatures to restrict voters' rights and suppress the votes of the most vulnerable, the minorities, and seniors. That is great for the GOP, bad for democracy and citizen participation.

More delusions: 2017 polls are here as well...and except for one poll, the rest reveal Donald Trump is living in an alternate world. In his rambling press conference of 2/16 he cited the Rasmussen poll as proof he was doing well and popular...claiming 55% approval.  

2016 Latest Polls


Footnote on fake news: I have spent some long noon hours lately listening to Denver  Radio Station KOA's line up of right leaning talk shows.  If attitude toward the "other side" is a hateful tone Trump defines as "fake news" , then what I heard  is "fake news" to me. During the campaign I  tuned into FOX, and theirs meet Trump's fake news definition in tone, emphasis to my ears.   In fact, if someone in the household switched to FOX, I could recognize a certain tone in the next room and recognize it as FOX without listening to the content, but  just on the basis of a unique plaintive, accusatory tone.  That is a hallmark of our fragmented media, especially cable, that caters to a divided audience and contributes to making a divided nation even more deeply divided as listeners/viewers accept the slanted report as factual and accurate news.   The problem is searching out straight news and I have some postings and statements regarding that.

While I write opinions, and I do not consider my columns  news, but my take on it.  I also footnote my sources upon what my opinion was based in each blog. Blogs are the wild west of opinion writing.  Facebook and twitter postings are likewise more opinion than fact.I  do not pretend to be a straight reporter; I give my opinions. That is why what I write is labeled as  "opinion", separate from the news reports in the other print pages.  In talk shows, opinion and facts get merged into something bordering on entertainment  bent on seeking ratings. I know that. I was one of Denver's first radio talk show hosts in the very early '80's and when the tone of the genre got nasty and hateful and got the big ratings, I  bowed out of that media form forever which required a tone and slant that was just not me.

What also listeners and viewers and readers also must realize, since Watergate  investigative reporting , once called muckraking in the early 1900's , is in vogue again.  Some of the reasons investigative reporting gets front page, serious news designation, is that it drives readership and it can have a real impact in uncovering facts and take the role of  whistle blowing. It is a valuable part of current journalism, but it takes critical thinking to sort out its credibility and its importance. Critical thinking depends on getting information and opinions and news  from many, sources not just from the media that synchs with our own opinions, guts, and knee jerks.

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