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Sargent writes: "As the implosion of President Trump continues amid the increasingly bitter intraparty war engulfing the GOP, let's not lose sight of the very real impact this spectacular meltdown could have: It could end up harming millions and millions of people."

Donald Trump. (photo: Richard Shiro/AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: Richard Shiro/AP)

ALSO SEE: Trump Could Make
Waves With Health-Care Order

As Trump Implodes, He Threatens to Hurt Millions - Out of Pure Rage and Spite

By Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

10 October 17


he Morning Plum:

As the implosion of President Trump continues amid the increasingly bitter intraparty war engulfing the GOP, let’s not lose sight of the very real impact this spectacular meltdown could have: It could end up harming millions and millions of people.

This morning, Trump unleashed two tweets that telegraph the massive damage that may yet ensue. The first bashed Democrats for allegedly not wanting to secure our border and claimed this imperils a deal to protect the “dreamers.” The second signaled that Trump is set to broaden his efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

These two stories are intimately related to Trump’s travails amid the GOP infighting we’re now seeing. When Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fed these divisions by blasting Trump’s temperamental unfitness for the presidency, he suggested that it threatens the prospect of armed conflict and global destruction. But you can also draw a direct line from Trump’s unfitness to serve — and the battling among Republicans — right through to his gamesmanship with the dreamers and sabotage of the ACA, both of which also threaten real harm to enormous numbers of people.

The Post has a remarkable report on Trump’s frustration and fury over the insufficient plaudits he has received for his handling of hurricanes and over his conviction that congressional Republicans are letting him down. All this has made Trump more eager “to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign”:

The president has groused to numerous White House aides about his concerns over his popularity with “my people” — his base. He blames the Republican establishment and others for failing to enact his agenda and making him look feckless … according to people briefed on White House deliberations.

As GOP pollster Whit Ayres put it: “Trump got elected with minority support from the American electorate,” and now he’s mainly focused on “energizing and solidifying the 40 percent of Americans who were with him.” Trump tweeted today about “Liddle Bob Corker,” another sign he’s withdrawing to his campaign safe space, where he belittled Republicans with schoolyard taunts (“Little Marco”) to great effect.

But the problem isn’t just that the minority president is retreating to his minority. It’s that this could get worse. Republicans believe Trump’s escalating attacks on Corker, and the senator’s scalding responses, threaten to further imperil other Trump goals, such as tax reform. And above all, Trump appears preoccupied with ensuring that “his people” don’t think he’s “feckless” — that is, a big loser.

Which brings us to the dreamers and the ACA. The White House just released a list of hard-right immigration goals Trump will demand in return for agreeing to a solution for hundreds of thousands of people brought here illegally as children. The wish list includes money for the wall and cuts to legal immigration. Democrats had agreed in principle to a deal that would have boosted border security in exchange for protections for the dreamers. But there is no way they can agree to anything even close to this absurd new wish list. It’s obvious this move is rooted in a desire to placate Trump’s base, and further legislative failure will induce Trump to want more “wins” on the hard-line stuff, making it more likely that he’ll scuttle a deal with Democrats and that hundreds of thousands will soon face a precarious, frightening situation.

On the ACA, Trump announced today that he’ll be using executive action to give people “great health care.” But as Jonathan Cohn notes in his explanation of this executive action, it is actually a bid to weaken the ACA’s regulations in ways that will ultimately destabilize the individual markets. Meanwhile, the sabotage continues on other fronts. The New York Times has an important report detailing that much of the administration’s rationale for cutting funding for enrollment efforts by the so-called navigators — that they are falling short of their goals — appears to be fiction, meaning there is no serious policy rationale for it.

This, along with other sabotage tactics, such as threatening to halt cost-sharing reductions and weakening enforcement of the individual mandate, promises great harm. “It’s death by a thousand cuts,” Nicholas Bagley, a health policy expert at the University of Michigan, emailed me today. “No one of those moves may be a big deal on its own. Taken together, however, they amount to a deliberate campaign to destabilize the insurance markets, with the potential to harm millions of people.”

The most likely explanation for all this is that it’s pure rage and spite. In a remarkable moment, Sen. Joni Ernst (R) gently suggested that Trump may be undermining an effort in her home state of Iowa to shore up the individual markets because he is upset over the failure of repeal. On the dreamers, Trump himself has spoken compassionately of them and has seemed open to reasonable dealing on their fates — yet now his desire to boast of wins before roaring rally crowds puts them in peril.

It is not easy to grapple with the staggering levels of bad faith and sheer unbridled malevolence that characterize Trump and his administration. It sometimes seems as if we haven’t hit on the language we need to do justice to it all. But there is a thread running directly from Corker’s suggestion that Trump is unfit for the presidency to these latest moves on immigration and health care, and to the harm they may end up doing to millions.

* AFTER CORKER’S COMMENTS, REPUBLICANS CHOOSE AVOIDANCE: After Corker claimed Trump must be constrained by his inner circle from doing great damage to the country and the world, The Post reports that many Republicans are opting for avoidance:

A day after Corker and Trump traded some of the sharpest intraparty blows of the year, Republican senators were mostly quiet. Those who did speak did so obliquely — by praising Corker generally but steering clear of inserting themselves directly into the brutal clash. … That approach grows riskier with each passing crisis — exposing congressional Republicans to culpability for the actions, some with potentially grave global consequences, of an unpredictable and contentious president.

Corker has now made it impossible for Republicans to deny that Trump is unfit for the presidency. So they’ll remain silent — no matter what the consequences.

* HOW TRUMP STAFFERS MANAGE HIS EMOTIONS AND IMPULSES: Numerous people who have worked for Trump tell Politico that they manage Trump’s impulses by putting him off his momentary obsession in hopes that he’ll move on from it:

Interviews with ten current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process where they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling – and many days are spent managing the president … Trump, several advisers and aides said, sometimes comes into the Oval Office worked into a lather from talking to friends or watching TV coverage in the morning. … Then, staffers would step in to avert a rash decision by calming him down.

In other words, Corker was absolutely right. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+4 # pappajohn 2017-10-10 15:34
Carpet biting anyone?
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-10 17:23
What a silly article. The Wapo has been saying this for 9 months now. They have been predicting the crack-up every day. Can't they see that this is Trump's style of operating? Are Post writers really this daft? Trump has been the same for 30 years.

I saw Greg Palast on RT today. He was commenting on a new study of voter machine hacking. He said flat out that Russians did not rig the 2016 election but republicans did. He said that Trump was involved with Kris Kobach on voter suppression by cross checking. Why is the Wapo not going after Trump for this election meddling?

Palast said he wrote an extensive story in Rolling Stone on all Kobach and Trump rigging the elections in key states and NO media picked up the story. He said that if he'd just changed Kobach's name to Russia or Putin, he'd be in every media outlet in the US.

We see what is going on. The authorized narrative is only about Trump's personal insanity and about Russia. It is not about the republican party. Or the democratic party. Or the role of the billionaire patrons of both parties.

The Wapo is part of the problem. The Wapo is right now hurting millions and it is doing it out of rage and spite. The Wapo would like to see RT closed down. But at least RT has Greg Palast on. The Wapo has never mentioned his work. That's what really hurts.
+9 # frances_morey 2017-10-11 01:25
FaceBook manipulation should be front and center. Think inside the bull's eye. The use of the extensive available algorithims to tailor ads for millions of specific voters is mind boggling--like gerrymandering. FB likely knows more about us than the NSA, CIA, FBI and NHS combined.
Trump's antics got covered by the media 24-7 thousands of times over, beyond the other candidates of both parties combined. He became the heir apparent, a household name, with celebrity billing carried over from his television shows.
His unsuitability for office is magnified by the total emptyness of any programs of action, as if he leads a Do Nothing Party.
His listlesness, narcisism and hubris in tweets and appearances are a dangerous combination in any national leader. In him they are the deadliest of all. He kills our national spirit and the damage is not unlike a black hole, for Obama's initiatives to vanish.
The culpability for massive, aggravated election theft that had to be in effect to elect Trump by such a razor thin margin falls to everyone inside the Beltway. Their's is a virtually conspiratorial silence on all the dirty-tricks-on -steroids that had to be perpetrated by ALEC, Kris Koback and his minions. The pollsters weren't wrong. It was the manipulators who effected the strange outcome, not the voters.
There was procedural collusion at the precinct level. Long lines waiting hours in poor precincts with instant voting convenience for the wealthy. Cynicism won on election day.
0 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:46
Millions didn't see them. Only a handful of the already committed. They had no effect of the election. Hillary lost it on her with her tone deaf approach to the economic problems of everyday people.

The emphasis SHOULD be on Trumps toxic personality. He is not just unpleasant he is lethal to millions. I doubt the Puerto Ricans are much worried about Facbook ads these days.
+11 # opinionaire 2017-10-11 08:42
What is not silly is that the rage of a narcissist has no bounds, and Trumplethinskin has few bounds placed on him, and none he recognizes.
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-11 10:27
opinion -- I agree with you but we have been talking about this for a long time. It is not just Trump. This is basic neo-con political theory. They believe that a nation should have a president or a leader who has what they call "plenary powers" -- that means full power to do anything. They believe and Bush II sometimes said the president has "unitary powers" -- that is, in a time of war, the president unifies the congress and the courts so he does not consult but rules in his own right.

The neo-cons run the nation right now. They do not believe in any bounds placed on a president or the military. That's what accounts for Trump. He is a neo-con sock puppet.

There's a new book by 40 psychiatrists all of whom say Trump is a narcissist, sociopath, and so on. Of course they are right. It does not take 40 psychiatrists for anyone to know all of that. But the truth is most billionaires and corporate CEOs are just this kind of sociopath. Bush I and II were. Obama was the same. We have to be careful not to be fooled by personal style. Obama was ultimately a more successful con-man than Trump. Trump fools very few people. Obama fooled a lot.
+6 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:48
It is just Trump. No other president destroyed life sustaining programs out of personal spite. That is the difference. Even "W" wasn't that mean.
+3 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 09:47
You don't think Cheney was this mean? I do. Republicans have been stealing from children and programs for the poor for decades. They let Katrina victims sit on their rooves for days.
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 10:54
Ife -- We agree on the substance of Trump's positions, but not on style. I, too, think his style is particularly offensive. But I really don't care about style. I only care about substance or what he actually does. He's a blowhard, a bluffer, and a conman. He says things to provoke a response from others. It is very hard to tell what he means or intends. I do believe that he is now under the control of the neo-cons and the military. That's very bad and we know clearly that these people intend.

Style is a strange thing. At first I liked Obama's style but later I grew to hate it intensely. Obama was an actor. He played the role of the "happy negro" from the old movies of the 40s and 50s. He would affect a stutter to gain sympathy from people because of his weakness. But it was all an act. Obama was a hard-core CIA operator. I've read Wayne Madsen's "The Manufacturing of a President: The CIA's Insertion of Barack H. Obama, Jr. into the White House" and I think his argument is correct. Obama is a cold-blooded killer, worse than what Trump has shown so far. Obama unleashed the murderous rampages of the CIA in his "pivot to asia" and his "Africom" (I know Africom was a creation of Bush but Obama implemented it).

I do believe, however, that Trump will be worse and I'm very afraid of that. The difference is that Trump's style is mobilizing an opposition. Obama's style put everyone to sleep.
0 # Cassandra2012 2017-10-16 17:04
Quoting lfeuille:
It is just Trump. No other president destroyed life sustaining programs out of personal spite. That is the difference. Even "W" wasn't that mean.

The "toddler-in-chi ef" kicking his heels on th floor to get his own way??
+10 # frances_morey 2017-10-10 23:44
With the president surrounded by generals it is like a bizaar coup, frozen in time and place. They keep guard but they don't take control. Curious.
It's strange that those who would steal elections don't know what to do with the prize once it's in their hands. They treat Trump like their Patsy, who spouts their philosophy but they don't dare enact it into law. Their careers are on the line.
+1 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:49
They can't take control. They are not president. They don't have the authority. And it wasn't a coup. It was a give away. Trump didn't want to interrupt his golfing to attend to matters of state.
+12 # relegn 2017-10-11 05:48
Does d.trump have a "populist" base or would it be more correct to say that he has a "sucker" base?
+12 # librarian1984 2017-10-11 07:29
Yes. Democrats are infighting about the legitimacy of Russia-gate. Skeptics demand evidence while rabid anti-Trumpers eschew evidence because they'll consume anything that targets Trump. They do not want to admit they're being led down the garden path by the MIIC and msm, so they remain in denial, adopting faith that the impeachment-lev el evidence is just around the corner, always a moment away.

But how about this? Look at what the media is NOT reporting, at what none of these Congressional reports and hearings are talking about: corrupt elections.

Why, in the midst of all this hysteria about election tampering, is there not one word about CrossCheck, about hanging chads, malfunctioning machines, hours' long waits to vote, about provisional ballots and the (non) counting of such, about purged voter rolls? We know it's happening. We watch it happen. But there's no media followup .. except from the dogged, passionate Mr. Palast.

Why don't Democrats talk about it? Even Sen. Sanders.
+1 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:53
It's more than that. What they don't want to face is the necessity of breaking with their corporate donors. They latch onto Clintons lame excuses because they are coming from the same place although most of them are a bit smoother about it.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 07:06
lib -- "Why, in the midst of all this hysteria about election tampering, is there not one word about CrossCheck,"

This is the crucial question of the time. The Russiagate is being pushed by all of the organs of the Deep State or Ruling Shadow Governemnt: major media (esp. NYT & Wapo), congress, CIA, FBI, NSA, both political parties, etc. But these same groups are totally silent on the real election rigging.

The only reason for this very strange situation is that it is precisely what the Ruling Elites want. They must be quite happy with the fraudulent elections.

I can't help thinking about the very many discussions in the US in the period of the 1930s to 80s about how to "take the risk out of democracy" -- to borrow the title of a book by Alex Carey. The risk was all the new people and movements participating in democracy -- unions, women, non-whites, immigrants, socialism, communism, etc. Rigging elections makes democracy safe for the elites.

In 1975 Samuel Huntington on behalf of the Trilateral Commission published "The Crisis in Democracy." the crisis was the excess in democracy, the idea that people have that they control government and that voting is power. Huntington and his colleagues wanted to bring democracy back under control.

The US has a "managed" democracy. It is not democracy at all. But that is the way the Ruling Elites want it, so their media does not cover voter suppression or election rigging at all. They want this.
-1 # librarian1984 2017-10-12 09:54
As I was reading your post I was thinking, 'Yeah, the TLC and conservative response to the 60s'.

The Crisis in Democracy is the document where LIBERALS decided to sabotage the schools.

I agree completely.
+3 # frances_morey 2017-10-12 11:49
School sabotage is embodied in the Sec. of Education, Betsy DeVos. She was appointed to shove vouchers into law, imperil the public school system and encourage Charter School Takeover, read, privatize education with public school tax money to reward campaign political cronies who become the unregulated and unaccountable boards for these new Texas has over of 50 of such schools operating. See the documentary, "Killing Ed" to get the big picture.
0 # librarian1984 2017-10-13 08:30
Yes, DeVos is an abomination, but you don't need to have kids to know the schools have been under attack by the establishment for 40 or 50 years, and not just by Republicans.

In response to the activism of the '60s the left responded by forming the Trilateral Commission whose report, 'A Crisis of Democracy', named the activists as the crisis!

Within the document they decried the failure of schools and universities in their 'indoctrination of the young', and many policies were born out of their trying to 'correct' that deficiency. Many, including Noam Chomsky, see it as the origin of skyrocketing student tuition (and loans) as well as the defunding of schools and elimination of civics and history classes.

When people lament the dumbing down of Americans, they don't know that it was consciously done by TPTB, including Democrats. The GOP alone could not have destroyed what used to be the best public school system in the world.

It's easier to see the attacks coming from the GOP, Trump in particular. But these problems are deeper than we wish, and must be addressed as well. Trump and DeVos are obvious obstacles but we have to be willing to take on the DP.

When Trump is gone we can't go back to business as usual.

I have seen 'Killing Ed'. It is chilling. DeVos is monstrous, a spoiled rich sociopath.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 07:19
"Why don't Democrats talk about it?"

Why won't the NYTimes mention it. Oh, here's the reason from James Corbett --


Arthur Sulzberger

"As publisher of The New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger Sr. was one of the most influential men in the news media from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. And he worked hand in hand with the CIA.

The connection was first uncovered by Ramparts Magazine in 1966, investigated by Congress in the mid-70s and documented in detail by Carl Bernstein in his landmark 1977 Rolling Stone article, “The CIA and the Media.” In the report, Bernstein identifies Sulzberger (along with Henry Luce of Time Inc., William Paley of CBS and numerous other mass media organizations) as working directly and knowingly with the CIA to help the agency achieve its propaganda objectives. There were ten CIA operatives working at the New York Times in the 50s and 60s alone.

The CIA’s drive to infiltrate the news media was code named “Operation Mockingbird” and included everything from Sulzberger’s New York Times and Paley’s CBS down to AP, Newsweek, Reuters and even the Louisville Courier-Journal . The program formally came to an end in February 1976 when then-Director George. H.W. Bush created a new agency policy promising that the CIA would never again contract with any accredited U.S. news service, newspaper, radio station, television network or journalist. Because we all know the CIA would never lie about something like that, right?"
+1 # frances_morey 2017-10-12 09:43
My first awareness of Operation Mockinbird came reading a book, "Mary's Mosaic," by Peter Janney. Before reading about Benjamin Bradley's involvement in Deep State machinations I had great respect for the man. After reading "MM" I realized that my admiration was misplaced.
0 # frances_morey 2017-10-12 10:17
Another book that deeply impacted my understanding of how nations can be controlled is "The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers" by Richard McGregor.
What I took away from reading this book is how similar it is to our own secret Deep State that controls our country. The CCP has embraced capitalism as easily as our so called democracy has embraced the rule of a shaddow government.
The lobbyists on K Street are the lieutenant colonels of Deep State institutional conduct. Most evident to me as observer is the way obesity has become the new normal. Some thirty something years ago Richard Nixon asked the food industry what they could do to stop the swags in food prices. The industry asked for freedom from regulation. They got it. The obesity curve took off like a rocket.
Americans are eating themselves to an early death. The food industry is free to do whatever sells product, and not to be at all concerned with human health.
This criminal license has gone world wide. More than a thousand activists attempting to save the Rain Forests and the Amazon River in Brazil have lost their lives protesting this wanton destruction of their environment--in the interest of producing cheap meat. Yikes!
+7 # frances_morey 2017-10-11 11:01
I told the Democratic Party I wouldn't contribute again unless and until they sue ALEC and Kris Koback over Operation Crosscheck.
I sent impassioned Letters to the Editors, based on Greg Palast's revelations in his documentary film, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," to many major media players: "NYT, WP, New Yorker, Texas Observer, Texas Monthly' and a number of top newspapers across the state. NONE of my Letter's to the Editor ever appeared in print.
I wasn't making up my observations out of whole cloth. These accusations are well corroborated and documented. FB blames Hillary for not taking them up on the scam enabled by their cutting edge marketing. Hawr! How's that for Blame-the-Victim?
My husband, Mike Westergren, ran for TX Supreme Court, Pl.3. He got 3.5 million votes and lost by 200,000 votes. It is said that 5 million elegible Texas voters neglected to vote.
Could they have been turned away on Election Day, their names scrubbed from the polling place lists? How many were turned away over unconstitutiona l VoterID issues? How many got the meaningless Provisional Ballots that gave voters the appearance of voting but with ballots that went uncounted? Might that have had something to do with the missing 200,000 votes he needed to win the office?
I heard that 1.2 million Provisional Ballots were handed out and that only 47 individuals subsequently returned to certify their right to have their votes counted. Why bother, the election was "called" by midnight.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-11 14:37
frances -- why is it that US media, Robert Mueller, and congress are going fucking nuts over the smallest meddling by a Russian into US elections, but they are 100% silent on the really huge election fraud of Kris Kobach and the whole republican party? What is going on? The Dems won't mention it, either.
0 # lfeuille 2017-10-11 18:55
We do not know what Mueller is actually doing. He is not the one talking about it. It could just be CIA disinformation.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 11:08
yes, agree. There are a ton of leaks but it is not clear where they are coming from.

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