Archive for January 8, 2020

Can A House So Divided Continue to Stand?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 by playthell

Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell

Thing Are Falling Apart!

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln declared at the 1858 Illinois state Republican Convention, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.” This was only four years before Lincoln was elected President and the United States of America fell apart, degenerating into Civil War – the most destructive war in history at the time.

It was the first modern war where industrialized methods were used to produce and transport men and materials, it lasted four years and exacted a price in blood and treasure that devastated the nation. Yet Lincoln could not see it coming, and therein, I believe, lies a critical warning for our times; when Americans are arguably the most divided since the Civil War, and some Trump supporters are openly and increasingly calling for “Civil War” should he be impeached; which is now a fait accompli.

To gain some perspective on the dimensions of this bloody 19th century catastrophe that nearly destroyed the United States, we have but to point out the fact that 51 thousand Americans lost their lives during three days of combat at Gettysburg Pennsylvania, while from 2001 to July 7 2018, 2,372 American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

Hence over sixteen times more Americans were slaughtered by Americans in three days at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, than were killed in the Afghan war in 17 years! The battle however was a resounding victory for the Union forces, and spelled the beginning of the end for the southern Confederacy which saved the Union.

On November 19th 1863, four and a half months after the Union victory, Abraham Lincoln would stand on the blood soaked soil of Gettysburg to dedicate the opening of a new National Cemetery in remembrance of those who had fought and died there to save the Union. Although he feared his oration of 272 words did not rise to the occasion after following Edward Everette – a Massachusetts politician, preacher and famous orator that spoke for two hours – President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is remembered in history as one of the greatest speeches ever presented on a public occasion in America.

The press praised it widely and Everette even wrote to Lincoln that he felt the President’s brief speech touched the central issues of the war much more profoundly than his wordy oration. In fact, Lincoln’s view of why the war was fought can be summed up in the last words of his oration “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Alas, the question that confronts us today is whether truly representative democratic government shall perish from the USA? And I have referenced these events from our tumultuous past because I believe our understanding of current events can be greatly enhanced by the added dimension of historical perspective. Although it is axiomatic among professional historians that history does not repeat itself, that great American wit Mark Twain made a telling point when he observed “History may not repeat…but it rhymes.”

Hence if we view the fundamental cause of the Civil War as the failure of our constitutional government to peacefully resolve internal conflict, then we may be witnessing a recurrent phenomenon; a class of event that is not unique to America, but can be observed in nations embroiled in internecine conflicts across time and geography.

As hard as it is for many Americans to believe, our constitutional democracy is on very shaky ground. The election of Donald J. Trump as President has proved a grave mistake, a blunder of biblical proportions, and our democratic system of governance is imperiled. From the outset the validity of Trump’s election has been in question. Even as fair minded a man as Congressman John Lewis – an icon of the great Civil Rights Movement who is deeply committed to the democratic process, and once put his life on the line to insure that it worked for all Americans – openly refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, declaring his election “illegitimate.”

And the nation’s capitol saw one of the largest demonstrations in its history when the women marched and chanted “Not my president!” They were expressing their righteous anger, protesting what they viewed as a stolen election that prevented the first woman from becoming President. And to add insult to injury Hillary Clinton was the best qualified candidate ever to run for President, and Donald Trump was demonstrably the least qualified for the office. And that is exactly how he has conducted himself as president.

Not only has Trump been an embarrassment with his crude vulgar rhetoric, amoral behavior and disdain for the dignity of the presidency; he also poses a real and present danger to the national interests with his reckless attacks on the fundamental institutions that make our constitutional democracy work. He has repeatedly referred to highly competent dedicated professionals in the intelligence and foreign service communities as “scum,” accusing them of “treason” for doing their jobs – much of which he does not even understand – and declaring them agents of a mythical “Deep State,” that is orchestrating a “coup” against him at the behest of the “evil” Democrats.

He has called the major journalistic institutions, the newspapers of record that future historians will consult when assessing his legacy, “Enemies of the people!” Through the agency of his Twitter feed the Tweeting Twit has weaponized lies – he has been busted telling outright lies over 14 thousand times by professional fact checkers at the Toronto Star and Washington Post – Devious Donald is seriously undermining confidence in their government for millions of his acolytes.

Yet that is just part of the story. Dirty Donnie has also undermined confidence in our presidential and even senatorial elections by his refusal to admit the massive Russian interference in our last presidential election on his behalf even happened, and taking vigorous measures to prevent it’s recurrence. Indeed, he continues to refer to the Russian intervention, which all 17 US intelligence agencies agree happened, as “a hoax.”

When we consider the fact that former the National Intelligence Director James Clapper says Russian intelligence agencies, at the instruction of Vladimir Putin, posted 157 million disinformation messages attacking Hillary and promoting Fat Don tha Con on the internet, it is virtually impossible for a thoughtful person to conclude that such an effort could not influence 77 thousand votes in three states combined! Contray to the claims of that raging buffoon, Jiveass Jim Jordan, Devious Don’s shameless shill in the House of Representatives, trump did not “win the Electoral College in a landslide.” But it is undeniable that he lost the popular vote by three million votes!

Trump’s transparent lies began when he declared his inauguration was “the biggest ever” and denied the photographic evidence from the US Parks Service that clearly contradicted his bogus claim. Then he invented a bizzare conspiracy theory claiming that “millions of illegal aliens voted for Hillary.” When the extent of Russian meddling began to emerge, first from thoughtful analyst in the intelligence community such as retired spook Malcolm Nance, who wrote a book length treatise on it “The Hacking of America, and the FBI stepped up its investigation into the matter, Trump fired the FBI Director James Comey, and was later heard bragging about it to representatives of the Russian government in the Oval Office.

Alas, blabber mouth thoughtless fool that he is, Devious Donald told NBC Evening News host Lester Holt in a nationally televised interview that he fired Comey to end the investigation into Russian attempts to subvert the will of the American people through a covert cyber-attack. It was this act of stupidity and hubris that sparked the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as “Special Prosecutor,” with a mandate to thoroughly investigate the matter. After interrogating hundreds of witnesses and perusing thousands of documents, Mr. Mueller issued a 400 page report detailing extensive Russian interference in the presidential election to support Trump.

He identified the exact units and agents in the Russian intelligence apparatus that carried out the operation and issued indictments against them. Mr. Mueller explained that although he could not establish a “conspiracy” between the Russian operatives and members of the Trump campaign that would meet the standard of evidence required by the statute, the Trump campaign knew of and welcomed the Russian interference. But since “collusion” is not specifically addressed in the law, he would leave it to Congress to decide.

He also pointed to ten instances that could be construed as “Obstruction of Justice,” which he would also leave it to Congress to determine because of a Department Of Justice regulation prohibiting the indictment of a sitting President. However a thousand former Federal Prosecutors, Democrats and Republicans who served in urban and rural areas, say they would indict and convict a suspect on the evidence Mueller provided. Furthermore, Mr. Mueller clearly stated in his Report and later in testimony before Congress, that his investigation did not exonerate the President.

However, by the time the Mueller Report was released, Devious Donald had replaced Jeff Sessions – who had recused himself from all matters involving the Russian investigation, sparking outrage and charges of disloyalty from from Trump – and replaced him with Bill Barr, who proved eager to to do for Trump what the unethical lawyer Roy Cohn had done for him as a businessman in New York. Barr, who as Attorney General, had jurisdiction over Mueller and thus had access to the Report before the public saw any part of it, helped Devious Donald deceive the American people by misrepresenting the Report’s findings and witholding parts of it from the public and Congress.

Barr simply announced that the extensive investigation by Mr. Mueller “found no collusion and no obstruction of justice.” This pronouncement was quickly seized upon and repeated endlessly on Fox News, a right-wing propaganda outfit posing as a legitimate journalistic institution, and that has become the gospel truth for members of the Trump personality cult, that untutored mob they call “the Republican base.”

Since few people have either the time or inclination to actually read a dense legalistic document of 400 pages, and many Republican members of Congress openly declared that they would not read it, while Trump resorted to Twitter, partisan rallies and right wing media to declare himself “totally exonerated” in his hyperbolic style, the Mueller Report detailing the Russian cyber-attack and his crimes of obstruction has become largely irrelevant.

While the meticulous presentation of of the evidence of Russian intervention contained in the Mueller Report has not prevented Trump from labeling it “a hoax,” the new Inspector General’s investigation of the FBI, debunking Trump’s claims that the FBI “spied on his campaign” at the behest of President Barack Obama, seems destined for a similar fate. Attorney General Barr has already disputed it’s findings and has appointed a hand picked Federal Prosecutor to conduct another investigation that will yeild the results he seeks, which is to give legitimacy to Trump’s bogus claims.

Right before our eyes Barr and Trump are lying about the results of the investigation. Listening to them talk, they seem to have embraced the principle of The Big Lie, Invented by Dr. Joseph Goebbles, Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich, it is a simple proposition that has proved to be very effective with targeted audiences subjected to controlled messages repeatedly beamed into their brains: “Tell the people a lie long enough and they will believe it!”

Dr. Goebbles had control of the national radio net work and the film industry, but Trump has the FOX network and Twitter – a more intimate means of communicating with his followers than Hitler ever had. And there is much evidence showing that the fervent acolytes in the Trump personality cult called the “Republican Base,” only believe what they hear on FOX, or right wing verbal arsonists like Rush Limbaugh on WABC radio, along with Trumps Tweets.

Hence they live in a fact free propaganda bubble that bears little resemblance to the reality that other Americans share by virtue of the reporting from objective journalistic organizations; whose reporters are bound by the ethics taught in Journalism schools, peer reviewed by colleagues and policed by professional organizations. The reporters who are winning Pulitzer Prizes for their careful reportage.

Herein lies the crux of the crisis we are now facing in defining reality: What is truth? One of the basic strategies of dictators in making reality conform to their will is to obfuscate and deny the existence of objective truth, Napoleon Bonaparte for instance, said “History is lies commonly agreed upon!” This is why in the effort to establish a dictatorship the first casualty is truth. We hear echoes of Bonaparte’s claim in Trump’s mouthpiece, Kelleyane Conway, who when confronted with unpleasant facts about Trump said: “We have alternative facts!”

This is a dangerous declaration, because Trump has been diagnosed as a “compulsive liar;” the main symptom of which is the willingness to lie even when you know that your lies can be easily disproven. We see this pathological behavior in Don tha Con all the time, it is his modus operandi. The danger we now face as a nation, is that the Republicans have proved willing to violate their oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” and place their personal and party interests above the national interests. This fact pattern conjures up some of the most dire warnings of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington at the founding of this nation, warnings that now have the ring of prophecy.

In his Farewell Address to the nation delivered on Sept. 19, 1796, President George Washington warned about the dangers of the factionalism promoted by the development of political parties in the new republic:

“I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State… Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed… The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities…The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Although delivered over 200 years ago, this is a remarkably accurate description of the antics of Dirty Donald and the Republican Follies! One need only witness their attempts to disrupt the impeachment hearings with transparent lies and shameless sophistries, to recognize the willingness of partisans of the Grand Obstructionist Party to disgrace and beclown themselves to please a corrupt, wannabe autocrat, who demands a permanent lips to posterior posture from all who wish to remain in his good graces.

Why do they do it? Why does educated and accomplished elected officials shamelessly genuflect before this vulgar, pompous, ignorant, boisterous buffoon? The answer lies in their careerist opportunism and the ignorance of the Republican electorate who display a cult like devotion to their savior: “The Donald.” All Republican politicians live in dread of offending him and becoming a victim of the terrible tweets of this twisted twit!

For they have seen the ruin that can come to those who fall from favor with him and become the targets of his vulgar verbal assaults. And, like most elected officials, they understand their constituents and therefore well know that they are dealing with an untutored mob mesmerized by a big city bunko artists whose persona was forged on reality TV and a business career without accountability to superiors. To the “Republican Base” alas, Dirty Donald” is everything they hope to be…the stuff of their dreams.

When your head is empty you can even be convinced to go for the okey doke about Trump being “a blue collar billionaire,” a classic oxymoron. Yet this weird love affair between the plutocrat and the plebes cannot be fully understood without recognizing that they do share something fundamental in common, white trash values; Dirty Donnie is white trash with money! That’s why he can so easily con them with bullshit raps like “us against the elites,” when he is the a prominent member of the most powerful elite in America: The Plutocracy!

But perception is reality for most people alas, and when your mind is a tabla rasa incapable of critical thought, you are the perfect patsy for a bodacious bunko artist playing the long range con. This is the danger that Jefferson saw when he warned the nation: “A democracy cannot work with an ignorant electorate, because they will elect and return the worst people to power.”

The millions of Americans who see Devious Donald for the ignorant dangerous amoral lying charlatan that he is are determined to get his treasonous ass out of the Oval Office as quickly as possible. To them impeachment is the logical, legal and most efficient method of accomplishing this; it was the remedy provided by the architects of the Constitution to remove a criminal, incompetent or power crazed president from office. But the acolytes of The Donald, brainwashed by FOX and the right-wing disinformation complex, are just as convinced of his innocence and are certain that he is the victim of a “coup” directed by the “Deep State” and carried out by deluded evil “liberals” supported by “fake news” from the “Lame Stream Media.”

So here we are, one nation with two different views of reality, and a growing suspicion and mutual hostility toward each other. In a gun crazed nation with millions of firearms in private hands, including military assault weapons, where mass shootings have become commonplace, and a Malignant Narcissist in the Oval Office spouting increasingly reckless rhetoric which echos across the Twitter sphere on a daily basis and fires up the mindless Trumpanzees, anything can happen!

People often ask me how the present period compares with the turbulent 1960’s, which despite nation-wide riots and urban rebellions that set American cities ablaze from coast to coast we survived, and went on to thrive. It is a question that I have been giving serious thought lately, because it is a compass that will help us understand where we are now as the ship of state plows through troubled waters. As one who not only lived through the Sixties, but was a part of the black resistance movement that abolished southern apartheid and outlawed de jure racial discrimination all over this land, I suppose I have a unique perspective on the current state of the Union.

One obvious difference is that radical Black Activists viewed ourselves as part of the Third World Revolution, which was breaking out all over Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Islands of the seas. When I started in the movement I was an angry teenager, a 17 year old college student fighting for my constitutional rights.  Three years later, influenced by the writings of Third World Revolutionaries and news reports of their victorious movements,  spurred on by Thomas Jefferson’s talk about the right and duty to overthrow tyranny, I was an armed revolutionary advocating the overthrow of the racist capitalist American government.

However most Afro-Americans, then as now, continued to believe in the promise of equality contained in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by constitutional law. The biggest differences between the 1960’s and now is the absence of bi-partisanship when both parties had liberals and conservatives in their ranks. For instance, civil rights activists and southern segregationists were largely democrats. And major Civil Rights legislation of the period was all passed with Republican support despite the fact that it was authored by Democrats.

And most of all, there was no disagreement on the basic facts in our news media – which was confined to three networks ABC, NBC and CBS – whose reporters all adhered to a universal code of journalistic ethics that dictated the rules of objective reportage. Today the proliferation of propaganda outlets committed to promoting a “news” product determined by political ideology rather than fact based reportage, where the very distinction between reportage and opinion has been obscured, coupled with the internet where there are no journalistic standards at all in much of what is posted as “news,” our public discourse has been reduced to a tower of babble.

In such a confusing information environment many citizens cannot distinguish fact from fiction and thus choose the narrative of events that appeals to their prejudices or desires. This fractured view of reality promotes tribalist divisions among the populace. And when a demagogue like Devious Donald Trump tells his tribe that honest journalists, such as was envisioned by the founders who enshrined a free press in the Constitution because they considered it essential to a democratic society based on the rule of law, are their “enemies,” these divisions can threaten the stability, or survival, of our constitutional democracy.

This is what Americans are confronted with as I write, and whether a society thus divided can hang together is the paramount question that confronts us in this moment. And, deprived of the prescience of seers, or the heroic optimism of those who walk by faith, the future looks problematic to me.

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Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

1/8/20

 

 

 

On Dirty Donald’s Letter to Madam Speaker

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2020 by playthell
In Speaker Pelosi The Donald has met the Woman he can’t Dismiss

All Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia

Donald J. Trump the accidental 45th President of the United States, whose candidacy was boosted by covert Russian activities, leading many astute observers to suspect that he may be a “Moscow mole,” says that he penned his letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “for history.” However, like most things outside of real estate, Devious Donald is clueless. What he does not understand is that future historians, far removed from the partisan passions of this moment and subject to rigorous peer review, will consult a wide variety of evidentiary sources.

First among these will be the great reporters at mainstream journalistic institutions who won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on the Trump presidency and impeachment. Ironically, the very people that Trump routinely demonizes and dismisses as “fake news” will be a primary source of evidence for historians who will delineate Donnie’s dirty deeds, define his character, and shape his image in our history books for America’s posterity.

The historians will also take into account the observations of contemporary scholars, as well the copious records and internal memoranda of the Trump Administration which, although concealed now, will then be public records. The historians will surely give great importance to the analysis of Psychiatrists and Psychologist on the state of the president’s mental health, and all of these sources will determine how they view Trump’s “Letter for History.” If ever there was a situation where the warning “be careful what you wish for” applied: This is it!

There are certain things about this poison pen letter that seems to me beyond question, none of it flattering to Trump. It is a propaganda instrument, and although it expresses Trump’s true feelings he is too illiterate to have written it. It is clearly the product of a sick mind, which speaks to its authenticity. And although the exact nature of Devious Donald’s illness has been diagnosed, the fear of litigation has restrained the nation’s great journalistic institutions from referencing the psychiatric profile developed by the 27 doctors that put together the “Duty to Warn” document, alerting the nation to the fact that we have elected a President who is afflicted with a serious psycho-pathology. The assessments of future historians however, will not be restrained by such considerations.

Donald Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supplies abundant evidence to support the diagnosis of the mental health professionals; it is an indispensable road map for exploring the twisted mind of the man who “wrote” it. The doctors warned that the nature of Trump’s pathology posed a clear and present danger to our nation. They diagnosed his condition as “Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia;” the same diagnosis of Adolph Hitler adopted by the US Office of Strategic Services – forerunner to the CIA – during World War II.

Hitler’s diagnosis was based on a psychiatric profile developed by the distinguished German psycho-analyst Eric Fromm, under a contract from the OSS, when Fromm was a refugee from German Fascism residing in the USA. This begs the question: If such psychiatric profiling was valid for a leader who posed a danger to our national existence during World War II, why not now when diagnostic tools and methods are a 70 years advanced?

Since the Duty to Warn analysis was published, it has been endorsed by over 70, 000 Psychiatrists and Psychologists. Among their number are some of the most distinguished scholars and clinicians in the field. However due to the “Goldwater Rule,” which was adopted by the American Psychological Association in response to a suit from Republican backers of Senator Barry Goldwater, mainstream media organizations shy away from citing the conclusions in “Duty to Warn.”

Goldwater’s supporters claimed that his bid for the presidency was quashed by Lyndon Johnson largely because of a published psychiatric profile of Goldwater by a group of Psychiatrist who warned that his cavalier attitude toward nuclear war posed a danger to the world. Their suit argued that since none of the doctors had personally examined Goldwater, it was unethical for them to offer an opinion of his mental state which cost him the presidency.

The APA bowed to the attacks of Goldwater’s supporters and ruled that it is “unethical and unprofessional” conduct for a member of their association to offer a diagnosis of someone they have not “personally examined,” and vowed to sin no more; prohibiting psychiatrists from offering such opinions in the future. This ban became popularly known as “The Goldwater Rule.”

However, the Psychiatrists who have signed the “Duty to Warn” analysis have dismissed this restriction. Their rejection rests on two main arguments: The Goldwater Rule is based upon political expedience not science, and observing Dangerous Donald’s behavior in the public arena as a political actor is far more important method of assessing his character and motivations than having him on a couch in their office. For as anybody who has ever been in therapy knows, you can lie to a therapist during interviews, but actions speak far louder than words…it is deeds that paint the truer portrait of who we are.

I would go even further and argue that the entire factual basis of the Republican claims regarding Senator Goldwater’s defeat is a fiction, conjured up by his apologists to explain away his embarrassing rejection at the polls. Any objective examination of the historical record will clearly show that Senator Goldwater was out of touch with the electorate on a variety of critical issues, and one could persuasively argue the his promise to repeal Social Security was far more important to his devastating defeat.

Lyndon Johnson won in a real landslide election – not the fake “Electoral College landslide” that Republican Congressman and shameless Trumpanzee shill Jim Jordan claims for Don tha Con. In the 1964 Presidential election Lyndon Johnson won 44 of 50 states with 61% of the popular vote and 486 Electoral College votes compared to a mere 52 votes for Senator Goldwater. It was the largest margin of victory in a presidential election since 1820, 144 years before!

By contrast, Trump lost the popular election by almost three million votes and stumbled into the presidency with a mere 77 thousand votes spread over three big Midwestern states which gave him a majority in the Electoral College of 304 to 227 over Hillary Clinton, a margin of 77 votes. When we consider that President Johnson defeated Senator Goldwater by a margin of 434 Electoral votes, it is painfully obvious how deluded Trump’s insistence that he won by a “historic” landslide is.

When we add the claim of James Clapper, who was head of National Intelligence at the time, that Russian intelligence agencies posted 157 million disinformation messages designed to help Trump and hurt Hillary on a variety of internet platforms, the legitimacy of Trump’s election is called into question. That’s why Congressman John Lewis refused to attend the inauguration of Devious Donald – which many Americans, this writer among them, considered a day of infamy for our nation when we installed a Moscow Candidate in the Oval Office – and women staged a massive demonstration in Washington.

This skepticism about his legitimacy is the paramount reason why Trump still denies the magnitude of Russian interference in our election, despite the conclusion of all 17 US intelligence agencies that it happened. He continues to deny this fact even after the exhaustive Muller Investigation, which in a rigorously detailed report of several hundred pages not only identified the exact units of Russian military intelligence that carried out the pro-Trump cyber-attack, but even issued indictments for specific individuals who directed it. In his frenzied fight for legitimacy, Devious Donald has gone to absurd lengths to explain his dramatic trouncing in the popular election – even making insane claims that “millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary.”

Yet in three years, with all of the investigative powers of the American government, Trump has produced no evidence for his fantastic claim. His deranged lies were not confined to this travesty; Don tha Con continues to insist that his inauguration was the most largely attended in American history; even dismissing the photographic evidence provided by the US Parks Service clearly showing that the crowds at President Barack Obama’s inaugural were far larger! It was these claims, along with Trump’s grandiose declarations that “Only I can solve the nations problems” – a claim often made by deluded autocrats like the 20th century Fascists Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler – that sounded the alarm for mental health professionals.

Alas the symptoms of their diagnosis – Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia – are clearly evident in Trump’s letter to the Speaker of the house. Grandiose delusions of self-importance; conflating the interest and destiny of the nation with his own; fact free revisionist history that support his claims of victimhood; inability to express contrition; compulsive lying to get his way; lack of empathy; hysterical feelings of paranoia; are everywhere on display in Trump’s twisted missive to the Speaker.

They are so pervasive we can clearly identify several of these pathologies in the opening passage. The pathological lying; dangerous denial of reality; paranoid sense of victimhood; lack of contrition; are prominently displayed. Yet this is the high point of the diatribe…it goes down hill from here:

“I write to express my strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade being pursued by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history. The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”

From the most casual reading of this tempestuous tirade two things are obvious: it is far to literate and thoughtful to have been composed by Donnie Dimwit so it was cobbled together by a committee subject to his approval. And it was written as a propaganda screed designed to becloud the real issues and create mass confusion; a smokescreen allowing the Senate to just let Trump walk away in a fog of legal Mumbo Jumbo. There is no other rational explanation for making this putrid letter public.

Banking on their ignorance, anger and irrational cult like devotion to Dirty Donald, the Republicans think they can sell their base any kind of bogus tawdry tale. Furthermore, if one does not have an understanding of what the Constitution mandates, much of the legal polemics sound like unfathomable babble. Unable to distinguish constitutional fact from fiction, they seek refuge in their tribe. The strategy of Devious Donald’s letter mirrors his approach to politics in general; an approach which prizes the “Big Lie” axiom of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

************

“To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realised as being true, that is called propaganda…Success is the important thing. Propaganda…is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right…We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances…”

One need not be a great thinker in order to recognize the themes laid out by Dr. Goebbels to win the allegiance of the untutored mob, prominently displayed in the in the strategy and political practice of Dirty Donald and the timid automatons in the GOP. All Republican elected officials are terrified of the control Don Tha Con exercises over the “low information” white voters that make up the “Republican Base,” whom he can inflame against them whenever they fail to rigidly adhere to the Trumpist line; no matter if his whacky pronouncements bear any resemblance to objective reality or not.

Like those who flocked to Hitler, Trump’s most passionate acolytes are disillusioned white workers, many of whom are evangelical protestants. Powerless and economically insecure, panicked over the erosion of their “white privilege,” they are convinced that their problems are caused by immigrants, non-whites, traditional elites, and non-Christian elements in the population. And these sordid sad sacks, these pitiful plebes, haven’t a clue that they are being played; that they are the storm troopers advancing the interests of the most reactionary anti-worker faction of the plutocrats!

Hence in their eyes the liberal intellectual elite, Hispanics, black folks; Muslims, Jews, homosexuals etc – their objective allies – are viewed as the enemy. That’s why blatant White Nationalism and the illusion of a return to a golden age – a delusion of grandeur common to all nationalist movements – is so effective in winning them over. To be effective all mass movements must have a power packed slogan that mirrors the hopes and dreams of the disillusioned masses and moves them to action. Trump achieves this with “MAGA: Make America Great Again!” This slogan is so broad and all embracing it can be invested with specific content that make it mean whatever the hysterical Trumpanzees who pack his rallies are told it means.

A fundamental part of Trump’s approach to truth is to quickly accuse his adversaries of the crimes he are guilty of! And sadly, listening to the impeachment debate, it seems as if the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – has whole heartedly adopted this Trump-Goebbles strategy of persistently obfuscating truth with blatant lies. This is why the Trump presidency is called a “post fact period,” an attempt to destroy the belief in “objective truth” for millions of Americans; a standard practice of all authoritarian dictators and wannabe autocrats.

From the outset we can see that obfuscation of objective truth is the paramount objective of this poison pen diatribe, which Dumb Donald believes is a grand historical document of state. It is as if Dirty Donald and his co-conspirators in the Grand Obstructionists Party are referencing Dr. Goebbel’s dogma the way Catholics adhere to the pronouncements of the pope! And Devious Donald’s putrid, paranoid, self-aggrandizing tirade, posing as a historical pronouncement worthy of a great statesman, is compelling evidence that that suspicion is the truth of the matter.

*************

Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

1/7/20