Thursday, February 13, 2020

Descent Into The Dark Ages

   We are witness to a battle of forces. Enlightenment and ignorance vie now for the soul of the of the United States.
    It's true the contest is as old as the wash of the sea against the mountain, but it has come to this cultural age with a rapier and bludgeoning reality. In the balance is whether the democratic republic will survive.
       The rule of law, the balance of power of three branches of government, and a belief in ideal and principle are at stake.   
       Donald Trump is not the cause, he is the challenge. Trump is the poster boy for the war between knowledge and ignorance, between self interest and the common good. 

       These last months I have sought to avoid the American disease. I hope the posts from Scotland and Ireland have provided beauty and relief. Ahead in this post is more of that, but first we need, finally, to return home and see it with clarity. 

     It seems improbable, and the potential is tragic, but this American nation is on a glide path to becoming a clone of what we have always derided as Banana Republics, where a strongman or dictator rules by force, demands fealty and where the law is disregarded. It is mind blowing. 

    This is harsh, but this affliction has been spread by those who voted for Donald Trump, those who support him still and the cowards who have enabled him in the US Senate.
    This is far beyond partisan politics, make no mistake about that. This goes to the core of who and what the United States is and will be.
    The discontent and broken politics that enabled Trump to become a minority President, aided by Russia, has only begun to receive the volume of attention and research that will play out over decades. But our immediate focus is the immediate crisis. 

    We are watching an erosion of Congressional power and a destruction of government by law and tradition. 

  • WAR POWERS-There has always been a tilt over "war powers." Who controls those terrible powers, the President or the Congress. Trump's unilateral and unadvised decision to abandon allies and give Syria a green light is a signal of how egregiously this man acts. In normal times there would be more than whimpering from a fully vested Senate. Congress has been weakened by the Republican complicity with Trump's abuse of power. They are ceding what is a constitutional role in the balance of a federal government and in this area of "war powers" they have displayed cowardice. 
  • ECONOMIC INFLUNCE-Congress is losing ability to guide economic forces and trade. Trump's tariff wars leave the deliberative body of our government on the stoop. The Republican majority is complicit and appears undisturbed by another sign of lost power.
  • LEGISLATIVE CAPACITY-Trump has written more executive orders than any President and the Senate leader, McConnell, "Moscow Mitch" to millions of voters, just belches approval and does nothing to seek an end the deadly cancer of legislative deadlock. In fact he is a proponent of that evil tool that undermines the very intent of the legislative branch. McConnell and the Republicans are participants in the intentional weakening of the "blocking mechanism," the advice and consent role which is intended to keep a President honest and prevent the rise of an imperial or autocratic dictator.
  • CHECKS AND BALANCE-McConnell's hand in hand behavior with the White House, and his statement about cooperation with Trump during the Senate Trial will be considered one of the most shameful and wretched abuses in the history of the Senate and the United States. That and his loathsome and vile racism in trying to subvert Obama's presidency, because he was black, will last as the McConnell legacy in history, but in the interim it has helped to undermine the traditional role of the US Senate to be a Check and Balance on the other branches of government. The Republicans are complicit in the destructive racism and they are cutting their own throats and attempting to do so to future Senates. The "trial" without witnesses and the pre-declared acquittal, despite an oath, to God and to the nation, to be fair makes our senate look like that of North Korea, or Putin's Russia. For show only. McConnell would be run out of Washington if the Senate Republicans had ethics, conscience and were not also white nationalist racists, or if they had the courage of Mitt Romney. 

     On can be excused for saying the party of Lincoln is like those pathetic urine soaked, white, old sots in all the bars of the world. They've lost their character, or "spine" and are too frightened to fight back as the Trump White House does what no other has done; obstruct congress, defy subpoenas, pervert the justice department, and take this nation off the rails that have guided us since the inception. The Trump party, the Republicans he controls like a mob boss, have aided and abetted the deliberate and intentional dismantling of what we used to call the "greatest nation on earth." Republicans were once patriots. Now they are a cult. The best of the old party have fled and are repulsed. 
      We have become a laughing stock, and a great concern to allies and the world. 
      People with education know this. People who are brainwashed haven't a clue.
      Millions of Americans have neither studied nor learned the significance of the Constitution, nor are they aware of what history has taught us about our 244 year experiment in government.

      When the impeached Trump took to the cameras at the White House to begin his vindictive rage and screed of revenge, the Republican Party and those who support the malicious narcissist became his accomplices. 
     When we watched the petty little tin god madness and nation embarrassing brutishness, someone on his staff should have shut it down or given him a headlock and rushed him away. But more importantly, Republicans should have joined the chorus of those who decried the un-American behavior reminding him this is how Putin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Amin, Kim, and other tyrants and mad men behave.
       Senate Republicans and Trump's sycophants have helped to fire a decorated veteran, a devoted public servant, a good man and his brother, who were cashiered simply because he told the truth. 
       They are also parties in the resignation of a distinguished and praised Ambassador who was the target of a slur and destroy campaign, because she told the truth.
      Truth has no place in the life of Donald Trump and no place in this Republican party and apparently is of no value to those who support this unfit and unhinged incompetent. After the Republican acquittal it is like watching a mob boss, or worse.
      The intrusion in the Stone sentencing is a frightening  extension of his dictatorial ascendency. Trump's lies would be laughable if they were not so malicious and so damaging.      
      It hurts that so many of his cult don't realize they are deceptions. They get their news from a propaganda channel and their ideas from a highly paid propagandist, liar and Russian mouthpiece, Sean Hannity and/or his sordid host colleagues who are laughing all the way to the bank. 

      A couple of years ago I was challenged by some, including conscientious friends, who said I should go easy on comparing the rise of Trump White Nationalism to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930's.  
     It should now be clear we are indeed watching the rise of a fascist movement. Trumpism condones the breaking of law, dispels any belief in "party philosophy or principle" and is loyal not to ideas and concepts, but to a man, who like the German Furerher is delusional and quite simply insane. As in the 1930's we are watching this cult being fed by deceit and ignorance. 
    There is a chilling similarity in the under current and foundational principle of occult or fantastic fantasy pseudo religious manipulations. 
    The Nazis tried by force to co-opt some of Christianity but moved into creating the myth of Aryan supremacy by borrowing from Armanism and Ariosophy.
     The rise of Trumpism was charted by Steve Bannon who is a self avowed "Primordial Traditionalist," a system of belief  created by a French Occultist Rene Guenon. Guenon, like Bannon, had been a Catholic, who became a Free Mason, who then became a Muslim and an observer and proponent of Sharia Law. 
      Both Nazism and Trumpism have views of final justice, restoring "traditional" values, end of age motivations, and destroying those they label as enemies of the state.  
     You can't make up something so bizarre. Donald Trump likely never had a deep thought in his life, but Steve Bannon knew that Trump could be "used" to mobilize the same anger, disenchantment, racial and ethic hatred, to bring about "the change" the world needed. 
      You delude yourself or are burying your head in the sand if you deny that Trumpism has become a political cult.
     Perceptive scholars, historians and journalists have made this case. Pulitzer Winner Bob Woodward, the first to seriously write about this administration entitled his book Fear-Trump in the White House. He said then the nation ought to be worried. The record since validates that. 
     There is no measure that finds the man who was a tax cheat, fraud, swindler, serial sexual predator, liar and racist has helped this nation. His most fervent advocates will point to his putting right wing judges on the bench, which has a lot to do with the approval of the pissy panted Republican sycophants. But close examination of the incompetence of some of those judicial appointments should set off another round of nightmares and dread. He is devaluing and weakening this nation as he builds a cult of followers.

      We must ask why do they want incompetent but ideological people on our courts? What do they want approval to do? Contravene the judicial process, roll back sentences for criminal associates, do away with Roe. V Wade, undo Brown Vs The Board of Education, begin to limit  guaranteed, until now, liberties and freedoms, deport whomever they wish, mandate the teaching of lies and distortions like those that come from the mouth of the new monarch, give corporations free reign to foul the air, water, land, rape resources, give advantage to only the wealthy and do nothing about common need?

     The difference between a Trump Rally and a Hitler speech to the masses is that Hitler spoke with intelligence, eloquence, and a lofty purpose, though evil and insane. He gave Germans a kind of faux religion and vision. The Aryan Riech-Make Germany Great Again
      Trump is a bloated reality television figure saying the same old lines, prompting the same old chants, blathering the same old lies, fanning the same old racism, and acting like everything but Presidential and executive. He goes before his loyal and, with a low brow but toxic mendacity, merely trolls for praise and applause in which he preens and struts and puckers like a sick, evil man from history. The bully boy who would be king.
      Hitler was deadly serious and demanded loyalty and his followers acted like a zealous, hateful, destructive movement,
       Trump too demands loyalty. He is there to bask in the limelight, to absorb all of the attention. He feeds lines to trained dogs who bark and growl on cue. He is an idiot and so, I am moved to say, are his loyal who chant back. But they too act like a zealous, hateful and destructive movement.
       Hitler's people may have been sold a kind of northern myth about a Reich that would rule for thousands of years.
       Trumps people can't trouble with concepts of thousands of years or mythic vision, they are angry, or feel betrayed, or are racists, xenophobes, or simply losers looking to get even. They want to "shake it up" without possessing a real knowledge of what it is they want to shake up, or how it  even works, or how to tell they are being swindled and hustled by a con man who has done nothing else in his life, but cheat and lie.
       I find the great irony to be that so many who believe Trump is sent here by God have never bothered to spend time researching Steve Bannon's vision, that Donald Trump is playing. If you have any curiosity about this vision of Primordial Traditionalism look it up.  Joshua Green wrote a definitive piece in the July 2017 Vanity Fair.  
     Sadly, doing research or study is beyond the desire of many voters. The Trump campaign counts on that and the loyalty of his followers, who would never challenge their leader. Cultish compliance. 

     They've seen him for going on 4 years. No amount of logic, reality, facts or truth will dissuade them. And like far too many million other US voters, they just don't know much.
      Way too many voters are ill informed. They get their info from perhaps one or two sources. As a young reporter I heard Walter Cronkite, then CBS Anchor and "the most trusted man in America" tell an audience if he was the source of their news and information, they were not fully informed. He, and others in that age, urged people to read newspaper(s)-at least two-to listen to radio and watch more than one television news program, to read magazine(s) and Cronkite urged people to read research and academic publications as well as books. We were better informed, when we had those kind of admonitions and sources.
     The sources we all rely on now have downsized. Once America was informed by newspapers and legitimate broadcast news organizations, but that has morphed to swill being piped through social media.  
      Far too much information is fractured, fragmented, not well sourced. 
      Far too many people don't understand how government is structured, or even the difference between a county councilman and a US Senator. We have become an idiot nation, unconcerned about history and its significance or the implication of our own hedonistic stupidity. Steve Bannon and Brad Parscale, the director of the Trump 2020 campaign, count on that.
     It is no wonder so many follow a reality television star but couldn't tell you what the First Amendment is, what it delineates or where to find it. 
    They can chant "lock her up" but how many of those chanters know about the Japanese internment. 
    Do you think many or even any at his rallies could tell you what is kristallnacht. Do you think Donald Trump could tell you?  Do you think any of them have read about Primordial Traditionalism?
     Trump's nation probably knows nothing about the 15th Amendment and see nothing wrong with Republican efforts to suppress votes. They worry not about how the Russian government tried to rig our last election and that "Moscow Mitch" has done everything he can to block election security, but they can be convinced hoards of illegals, or people of color might be voting.
      Cynical and sinister types around Trump understand this and they exploit it. You should read the Atlantic piece on deliberate manipulation of fact and truth and the role it will play in the Trump nation this election year.  
      Like conspiracy theories, Trump lies can thrive when people fail to have grounding in fact, history and knowledge.
The Trump supporters are easily manipulated, but so are  many other low information US citizens. 

      So what can be done.
      Well, you can be like some and hope that Trump chokes on a chicken bone. 
      Or you can be like those who fantasize that a new Booth, Guiteau, Czologosz, or Oswald will appear. 
You can hope that Melania does a Lorena Bobbitt, or you can pray that Donald Trump has a Saul of Tarsus conversion experience, or you can simply pray for him, or you can just worry and make yourself sick and depressed.
      Millions of Americans are suffering a kind of Trump depression. Shouldn't that tell us something?

      Here are a couple of things you can do. 
     --Face the facts. Racists, nationalists, and xenophobes have been a strain off fabric in this nation since the beginning. They've had their moments. Once the Democratic party was the party of racists. 
      --The idea of populism and nationalism have come and gone.
      --Not all of those who voted for Trump are racists, nationalists, xenophobes or haters. He attracted those who were at the end of their wits, felt over looked and forgotten, unemployed, struggling to get by. He made them think he would take care of them. 
      --Democrats can and should pay attention to these people, listen to them, hear their pain and respond with sincerity. If Hilary would have listened to philandering Bill, she may have spoken to those voters and now she could be preparing a re-election. 
      --A candidate should address those who voted for Trump in key counties and townships that swung the electoral college and ask:
         if the coal mines have been re-opened, 
         if their factory jobs have come back, 
         if they have a new health care plan, 
         if their families are free from the fear of an opioid epidemic, 
         if their kids are going to college, 
         if they must choose between a house or car payment and medicine.


       Unless you are a right to life advocate, a right wing evangelical with a belief in judgment, a lover of Russia, a one-percenter, a nationalist, or a white supremacist, Trump's record is his weak spot. 
       His supporters will cite the economy, but the cycle began long before he moved in. The Market, high though it is, is of no solace to the millions being squeezed by lack of benefits, cost of insurance, or being one paycheck from being homeless. There was more growth in Obama's years than in Trumps.
      He has been a failure in Korea, the Middle East, he's abandoned allies, made the world less secure, walked away from Climate Accords, allowed Iran to restart a nuclear weapons program, voices Russian propaganda, gave Russian spies critical and sensitive information, has been called an idiot by a revolving door of military and national security professionals, is destroying the State Department, Justice Department, EPA, run up the highest deficit ever, lies about building the wall, lies all the time  about everything.


If we want this
madman, would be king, out of the White House, the nation needs to pay attention to facts, reality, the truth and talk about it.  
     We need not let the media, who chase his every diversion, divert us from what is so. Trump and his mob understand the "bright shiny object" diversionary tactic. They, like Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi filmmaker and Joesph Goebbels the Propagandist, understand manipulation of public attention and image.
      The Democrat party needs consensus, needs to gear itself to the center of this nation-working people of every color, ethnicity, belief and identity. Jobs, health care, climate, education and well being.  
      It needs to be a kind of bifurcated campaign. The Democrats should define themselves and not allow the Trump characterization be focus. They should fight back.
      The Democrats need to hold the mirror of reality up to Trump and not allow his excesses, his failures, his lies, venality, incompetence and unfitness slide from the public view.
       The candidates should stay on message--their plan for all Americans. Other organizations can take the lead on playing Trump back to America. 
      Whoever emerges as the Democrat ticket will be better than Donald Trump, less destructive than Donald Trump, will put the climate back on the agenda, will be more prudent than Donald Trump, will listen to advisors, will pay attention to national security and intelligence chiefs, will not dis them in public, will not attack the judiciary, and they will not be lining their own pockets while serving, or will not be setting up their children, and will not be Putin's stooge, will not "fall in love" with Kim, will not behave as a traitor,  will not abandon allies, or be a practicing racist and white nationalist. 
      So Democrats, unless you want 4 more years, get your house in order. Back whoever wins the nomination. 
      America is sick. We are sick of Trump and his deceit and dictatorial aspirations. He is poisoning our way of life, our decency, our government, our sense of who we are. Our children need to learn Trump is not "normal" and his ways are vile, aberrant and criminal.  
        We can and should talk about that. 
        In 2016 the majority (millions more) voted against his "highness." The power is in the vote, at every township level in the nation. That is the task. That is the cure. That is the light to keep us from plunging into the new dark ages.

   I welcome your comments and thoughts in the responses below. This is something we need to share and talk about. 


    Adare in County Limerick is one of the prettiest place in Ireland, which suffers no shortage of beauty. 
  And Adare is a village with the traditional thatch roof cottages and buildings. We found them mesmerizing.

   The Earl of Dunraven, who played an historic role in building the village, is commemorated in the village hotel.

    A lovely park reflects the verdant beauty of Adare.
   And Irish friends in a good room, make for a good day.

    See you down the trail. 


  1. I copied this Tom, to send to my FB page. I hope that's ok. Few read my posts, so you are nearly guaranteed anonymity. Wonderful summation of our state of affairs.

    1. Thanks Mike. At the very least it's all laid out. Good of you to pass it along.

  2. Great article. Everyone needs to ready this.

    1. Larry, thanks for taking the time to read it and to respond. I appreciate your words.

  3. 27% of Americans are "deplorable" 15% don't pay close attention, add them together and you get trump's highest approval rating.

    I think his recent and Moscow Mitch's talk about cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going to hurt him.
    I don't care who the dems nominate as long as they beat trump, hire and appoint strong people and have some coat tails. I love the way Bloomberg's ads take it right to trump.I think a majority of Americans want to see trump's ass handed to him.To see him humiliated, to see him prosecuted when he leaves office, because this time we can't "look forward and not back". I could go on, but VOTE!

  4. Oh, how I desperately wish you were wrong!

    1. Jude, we can still turn it around and begin the repair, but it will take effort.
      Getting rid of Trump is paramount, then we need to address the poison in the system.
      It will take people of good will and understanding.

  5. An Indiana correspondent encountered a challenge in entering his response.

    Here it is:
    Here's to Donald eating more chicken.

    Look at a Trump rally and you can see his fuel. I have a great deal of personal experience with the uneducated and I can authoritatively say this --
    that the vast majority of people don't really understand how their minds work.

    We watch and listen with constant frustration and nonstop "I can't believe" or "did you see"? "are you serious"? "he said what"?

    Democrats and unscathed Republicans make the big mistake of thinking that these people actually care about logic or definitive, truthful answers to ANY question, the concept of right or wrong, the "real reason" we did this, all of the prerequisites that matter to most of us. So sensible people just keep reacting with frustration and making more and more effort of coming up with something that they feel will make their point and make sense to these boneheads. Fact is, they don't CARE AT ALL about the concept of round fitting into a round hole.

    And here's the worst part --

    The uneducated (white) people in the US of A KNOW that they're uneducated. They won't come out and say it but they are dedicated to the idea that they are smart as they are right now and that's the way they like it, and that status quo is the way they will live their lives. They absolutely KNOW that they are dumb and relish it.

    This is their WEAPON.

    Knowing that their only power is to frustrate the opposition and watching that Barney Fife vein pop out in someone's neck. The more ludicrous they are the more they feel this sense of power. -- It's ALL THEY HAVE and they get great satisfaction from it.

    Trump the con (and others in the past) have played these people and they have been the catalyst for what the GOP has become. Sadly, too many in the party have also participated by just accepting it -- some even amused by the theater of it all.

    Too bad also that these people are shooting themselves in the foot for voting for the guy as they would be much better served by voting Democratic. Of course, this is the message my party is completely missing. Democrats couldn't sell a 2020 Mercedes for 500 bucks.

    News flash --- The Republicans are the real liberals.
    Mike Berger

  6. I gave up and didn't make it to the end, but not because I disagreed with you. I don't. I am steeped in reading editorials and watching real news and I KNOW. Thanks for helping to spread the word though.

    1. Thanks Linda. It is a long piece, but I wanted to state the case fully and leave it posted for public record. And I thought there are nuances that contribute to a full understand. I appreciate your support.

  7. Tom
    If only we had a vote! What has happened to the USA is I think unique in its history. Congress, and especially the Senate, was always so protective of its role under the constitution, however polarised they may have been. It reinforces my belief that the person who has done most harm to the United States is not Trump but his enabler, his exploiter, Moscow Mitch.
    Thank you Tom for setting out so clearly and so strongly the choice that faces your country next November.
    And thank you for what would be described in the Irish language as a 'focal scoir', the beautiful photos of Adare.

    1. Jack-
      Thanks for your response. We'll also be watching the emerging story of the political landscape of your beautiful Ireland.
      Peace and Slainte'

  8. Tom:

    Eloquently and beautifully stated! I do not know if November will be a good or bad time again for us, but I can hope at this point that perhaps there will be a November end to the current madness.


    1. Hope indeed and an historic effort to turn out a good vote.

  9. Oh dear, what an incredibly depressing post. When I look at Trump I see a smug ugly-hearted man and find it unbelievable that people still support him. Then I look at Britain and want to cry all over again as it teeters on the same path of ignorance and hatred. I'm not a political person; I don't have a great knowledge or understanding; but I do know the difference between a caring society and a greedy one.