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ElkeH

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Texas
Member since: Fri Dec 23, 2016, 02:19 AM
Number of posts: 105

Journal Archives

Please. Just stop.

During the 2016 campaign we always thought Trump was just one outrageous tweet or bad news conference away from dropping out the the race. If he did not drop out, surely GOP leaders would not allow such a loonatic to win the Republican nomination. When he did win the Republican nomination, we turned our confidence to the American voters and said, "We got this. WE GOT THIS!" Hillary Clinton was going to win in a landslide, and those who worried about a President Trump were often dismissed as concern trolls.

It turned out that we did not got this. Even with the FBI and Russian influence, Trump won a frightening amount of votes. The Electoral College voted in his favor. The Congress approved the votes of the EC. One emergency stop after another failed.

Now we are seeing a repeat of the whole campaign process. There are countless news reports citing anonymous sources that detail the Trump administration is on its last breath. Once again, just another outrageous tweet or bad news conference should see the end of President Trump. A few are even so optimistic that they think impeaching Trump would magically remove his entire administration and cabinet and see Hillary Clinton sworn in as President the next day.

Of course I understand the motivation. When we are faced with a dangerous situation, it is only natural to tell ourselves everything will be alright. We are only overreacting, right? Let's not worry. We got this. WE GOT THIS!

So I hate to come across as a party pooper. Or as a concern troll. Neither the Kremlin nor anyone else is paying me to post this. But while I generally admire optimism, I also think we please need to stop this wild speculation. It is a waste of time, energy, and happy vibes. Instead, we need to face the reality..

..that yes, we will face a Trump administration for at least the next four years. If Trump is not leading it, certainly Pence will, and while he might not be as unpredictable, he is nevertheless far more socially conservative than Trump. Regardless the next four years will not have much happiness for us.

Yet the better we understand this, the better equipped we will be to fight.

Too many Trump supporters know exactly what they are doing

You might still be inclined to dismiss them as stupid or brainwashed for voting for Trump in the first place, but they are not stupid in the sense that they did not realize for whom or what they were voting.

They have no problem with Russian influence, some even welcome it, if that influence strengthens the GOP and undermines the Democratic party. They have no problem dropping ACA for something less desirable if it also means the "undesirables" have an even more difficult time affording health insurance. Intimidation? Voter suppression? Deportation? Again, no problem if it only affects "those people."

Some would not even mind if Trump resigned or were impeached, because he does not say much about God and Jesus, whereas a President Pence would certainly try his hardest to make this the Christian States of America.

Could a Sessions confirmation have stopped DeVos?

I have read a few times now that if Sessions had been confirmed as AG ahead of the DeVos vote, she would have lost 49-50 because Sessions would have resigned as Senator by then and would have been ineligible to vote in favor of her.

If that is true, why did Democrats not try to get his confirmation out of the way? Even though I think he is a horrible choice for AG, he was always more likely to be confirmed than DeVos anyway, so this seems like a squandered chance to stop at least one Trumpling.

They are vicious

I live in Texas and therefore it is to be expected that I have some acquaintances on social media, mostly people whom I also know in real life, who are conservative or even outright Trump worshipers.

They loved the news of Trump suspending the refugee programs and trying to bar visitors and immigrants from certain Muslim countries. I was saddened but not really surprised.

But what struck me most was their reaction to the possibility of even some greencard holders not being permitted back into the country. "If they love America, why aren't they citizens?" was one of many responses. "Non-citizens have no rights!" was another. Of course some even thought that resident alien screening under President Obama was a big joke compared to the Bush administration. "See if you can pass the test this time, haha!"

I felt sick to my stomach. I came here from Germany in the early 90s. I am an American citizen but I was a greencard holder for a while. Some people never even have a shot at a greencard in the first place. I was lucky enough that my step father is an American and wanted to sponsor me and my mother. But even with a greencard it always feels like you're "guilty until proven innocent," as if you had to prove that you were worthy of the status.

My memory of visiting the ICE office in San Antonio for the first time was that it felt more like an interrogation than anything else. The immigration officer did not just want samples of mail to show my parents lived at the same address, he even compared their house keys to make sure they were the same. He was even surprised that my mother and I were relatively fluent in English. I had already been studying for years.

This was during the Bush Sr administration, where anti-immigrant sentiment wasn't anywhere near as strong as now. Nevertheless my father sometimes became angry because he felt like we were treated as second-class citizens by ICE for not having been born here. But my mother and I always told him that the troubles were worth it. Germany was and is a great place, but we were very happy to be here instead and we counted ourselves as Americans.

The same goes for countless greencard holders from Muslim countries, as well as for people who do not have permanent resident alien status yet but hope to get it some day. Yet Trump supporters think people are worth less if they did not have the luck, because where you are born is nothing but a matter of chance, to have been born in the US. Some even think being a greencard holder means you don't love America enough to become a citizen, because the idiots do not realize that you have to have a greencard for a certain number of years before you can even apply for citizenship.

I bring this up to again remind people that Trump is not acting on his own. There is a disturbing number of people all across the country supporting his efforts and they are vicious.



The method to Trump's madness

Trump is lying left and right. Is he a pathological liar? Is he mentally ill? There is actually a method to the madness. The sinister truth is that the lies are part of a great disinformation campaign Trump and his team are waging, and they seek to serve several purposes:

- They keep Trump in the spotlight and acting as a decoy. While most of the attention is on him and his latest outrageous statement, the rest of his team can work quietly in the background. Everybody is so busy talking about Trump that many of the actions of his team, the latest EOs, dismantling of the government, and such, receive relative little scrutiny or even fly under the radar.

- They erode trust in the media. Of course news outlets aren't going to stop reporting on Trump and his outrageous statements. Sometimes they are good about calling him out relatively quick, but the avalanche of lies is such that he is already made several more statements by then. It confuses people and makes them wonder who and what they can trust.

- They cause anger and anxiety in his opponents. The average person can take anger and anxiety for only so long, and the hope is that the avalanche of lies will eventually tire out his opponents. They will turn to apathy and disconnect from the political process as a way to protect their mental health. Some will have an extreme reaction and then Trump can dismiss them as lunatics.

- They appeal to his core supporters. Many of these lies are crafted to tap into the prejudices of Trump voters. For example that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes. They believe anyway that Democrats rig votes and that the country is being overrun by immigrants. These kind of lies then help Trump supporters feel even more connected him.

Straight out of the KGB/FSB playbook.

One thing Presidents Obama and Trump have in common

One thing Presidents Obama and Trump have in common is that they expose deep divides in the country.

Of course, they are completely different in that President Obama tried his best to heal those divides while Trump does his best to exploit them.

With President Obama it started as soon as he was sworn into office. Many were upset that an African-American was leader of the free world. They believe that role should be reserved to white men. I say men because those same people would have been upset if Hillary Clinton had become President. They would not be happy with a female leader. She too would have exposed deep divides, but like President Obama, she would have done her best to try to heal them.

It was not just about race or gender. President Obama also reached out to the LGBT community, which the homophobes did not like. He treated Muslims and the subject of Islam with dignity, which the Islamophobes did not like. But it is important to note people who opposed Obama were not tolerant and open-minded before he took office. His actions and even his mere presence in the Oval Office brought their hate to a boiling point.

With Trump it started as soon as he began campaigning. Normal people did not believe he had a chance especially because of his behavior, and yet his numbers kept rising and he made it all the way to the general election. He had figured out how to tap into the hatred of the deplorables. They love that he speaks out against immigrants, people of color, Muslims, and that he treats women like dirt and surrounds himself with homophobes like Pence. Trump's success was not in spite of his behavior but because of it.

The way Trump and his people embrace concepts like alternative facts and fake news are great examples. These concepts actually predate his presidency and his campaign. Deplorables used to call CNN the "Clinton News Network" when President Clinton was in office, and they have always had a tendency to dismiss news they did not like as biased and false reporting by the "liberal media." Well, if the media has a liberal bias, why did they help put Trump rather than Hillary Clinton into office?

That is because the idea of the media having a liberal bias is one of many alternative facts. Deplorables live in their own alternate reality actually. They don't realize for example that the economy has been much better under President Obama than Bush, or that Bush wiped out the economic gains made under President Clinton. Then again, they also believe that President Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya and that Hillary Clinton and Democrats are running a child prostitution ring.

So whenever Team Trump talks about alternative facts and fake news, deplorables feel warm and fuzzy inside because they think he is talking about things in which they have believed all along. This is very important for Democrats to understand. Even if Russian hacking, interference by Comey, and so forth had not put Trump over the top, the fact that he ever even made it past the Republican primaries should be very troubling to everyone.

Trump did not create deplorables, just like President Obama did not turn open-minded people into racists by becoming President, but Trump exploited their existing hatred to help propel him into the White House. Even if we are lucky enough to have a Democratic President in 2020, that hatred will not cease to exist.

Sean Goebbels or Joseph Spicer?

Still not sure what to call him.

I am leaning toward Sean Goebbels.

The zenith of the Cold War

The zenith of the Cold War is now.

I used to live in West Germany, and I remember when the Berlin wall fell, how many Ossies (East Germans) commented on how surprised they were by the freedom and friendliness of the Bundesrepublik (West Germany). They always thought that no matter how bad things were in East Germany - and things were bad indeed - their lives were still superior to West Germany or any Western nation for that matter.

That was the power of Russian disinformation. I say Russian rather than Soviet because even during the Cold War the Russians were the driving force behind everything. They mastered the art of psychological operations and propaganda. Both in the Soviet Union and in its satellite states they managed to keep people in line by telling them over and over that the US/Western Europe/NATO was about to attack, and failure to fulfill their duties might lead to an enemy victory.

Yet much of this pales in comparison to what we are seeing now. While the Internet and cable news makes it more possible than ever to share information, it also makes it more possible than ever to share falsehoods and lies. I see it on my FB feed every day, from conservative acquaintances reposting right-wing fantasies and creating their own alternate universe in the process. Every attack on Trump strengthens them, as does every lie from Trump himself.

These people are not interested in the truth. At best, they are interested in manipulating the truth for their own purposes. At worst, they are the interested in creating a new but false truth that suits their agenda. That's why they love Putin, because their fondness for disinformation and propaganda is the same.
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