Journalists know: When leaders go berserk, furiously denying there's anything going on, blaming others--that's when you're getting close.— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 4, 2017
The past week in tweets and newsfeed, as I've captured it for you readers (reflecting my preoccupation with matters like the obligation to speak truth and defend the least among us, and what happens to social groups that succumb to moral vacuity and do not push back against leaders channeling dark, destructive energies):
This man is an advisor to the leader of the free world. This guy, right here. #rogerstone pic.twitter.com/brxqZAfw09— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 5, 2017
Roger Stone, who wrote a book called The Clintons' War on Women just spent the last 24 hours calling every woman who tweeted him a 'b*tch'.— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 5, 2017
.@MichaelWinship: Russia/Trump: Something out there has people scared, but no one’s telling the full story. Yet. https://t.co/zraIjxQgWd— BillMoyers.com (@BillMoyersHQ) March 5, 2017
Simon Maloy on how the Trump administration's Russian lies are now biting back:
The steady trickle of leaks emerging from the Justice Department and the intelligence community is a strong indicator that more political damage lies in store for President Trump with regard to Russia. One way to get ahead of the storm would be for the president to welcome an independent counsel taking over the investigation. He could do that, or he and his aides could continue lying, further damage the administration's already wrecked credibility and keep fueling a scandal that they insist is meritless. It's tough to argue you have nothing to hide when you keep getting caught hiding stuff.
The question of what’s in Donald Trump’s tax returns gets more and more interesting every day.— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 2, 2017
Charles Pierce on what lies behind the Donald's end-of-week unhinged Twitter rants:
I think the whole thing started percolating to draw attention away from Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's unfortunate collision with his own confirmation testimony this week. But I think the real match tossed into the powder magazine was an interview that Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, gave to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Friday afternoon.
In that interview, Coons as much as said that he believes that transcripts of conversations between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials exist. In my opinion, if those transcripts exist, and the Trump people know it, and know what's in them, it is in the interest of the administration to flip the script pre-emptively to how the transcripts were obtained as opposed to what they might contain. If administration officials are in contact with the Breitbart people—which isn't exactly a leap in the dark—then they slip the possibility of wiretaps to those people and then the president* reacts to news that some of his own people may have planted. (Think Dick Cheney, Judy Miller, and the aluminum tubes.) In any case, the stakes in this matter just became mortal. . . .
There is a critical mass building quickly concerning the connections between the president*, his administration, his aides, and the Putin regime. There's just too much of it right now for the administration to contain. Given that, it probably would have been helpful if the president* hadn't had another episode on Saturday morning. Of course, once the episode passed, he was back to serious business again – tweeting about Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance on Celebrity Apprentice. I guess the time for trivial fights really is over.
Jesse Berney on how Trump represents a shift to the dark side of human nature:
Trump doesn't represent a shift to the right; this is more cataclysmic than a simple change of party. Donald Trump represents the dark side of human nature: ugliness, ignorance and fear. He wants to build a giant wall, an act contrary to the idea of art. He won on the promise of banning a religion from immigrating, a rejection not just of an entire culture but of the idea of culture itself.
This is our new president: a man who revels in rejecting truth and anything that helps us find it. He wants to make America look more like him. We can't let that happen.
McConnell & Ryan sold their country out to Russia & white supremacists to take health care away from kids. That's how bad they wanted that. https://t.co/g2ZUlQvEEj— emigre80 (@emigre80) March 4, 2017
Dara Lind on the disconnect between what the Donald says he's doing about immigration, and what he's actually doing:
President Donald Trump has promised the only immigrants being deported now that he's in office are "bad hombres": convicted criminals, threats to American safety and the national interest.
News reports from across the country are making clear that's not true.
Trump got 80% of evangelical vote....and they knew what they were getting https://t.co/vzSyP9ohrv— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) March 4, 2017
The preceding tweet by Eric Boehlert is a response to this BuzzFeed news story:
The Trump administration is considering separating undocumented parents from their children https://t.co/34CVk9JDTK pic.twitter.com/RXftbUM115— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 4, 2017
Peter Beinart on* the Donald's scapegoating of immigrants and historical parallels:
Frustrated by the failure of most Germans to participate in a boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933, Adolf Hitler’s government began publicizing Jewish crime statistics as a way of stoking anti-Semitism.
Tom Krattenmaker on who supports the targeting of immigrants (especially Muslim ones) and who doesn't — a breakdown of statistics according to religious affiliation:
A solid majority of white evangelicals not only support a temporary ban against Muslims, but do so by an increasingly large margin.
PRRI finds that 61 percent of white evangelicals favor a ban, up from the 55 percent figure reported last year when then-candidate Trump called for banning Muslims.
By contrast, 44 percent of white Catholics support a Muslim ban, and just 39 percent of white mainline Protestants. Both with the white Catholics and white mainliners, the support levels are down significantly from last year.
And speaking of dynamics that seem hard to figure out, the group least influenced by Jesus and Christianity is least likely to support the travel ban. Among nonreligious Americans, only 21 percent support the ban.
@SpeakerRyan sold his soul for tax cuts for wealthy. #GOP has zero honor left https://t.co/y6hU9DwA3r— mary (@marytny) March 5, 2017
Tom Boggioni on the response of conservative commentator Charlie Sykes to Speaker Ryan's capitulation to the Donald:
"That was actually painful watching Paul Ryan standing and applauding while Donald Trump was laying out all his spending plans," Sykes stated, referencing Trump's Tuesday night speech to Congress. "Watching the Vichy Republicans showing that they have been completely taken over."
"It;s been painful to watch the absolute capitulation of the conservative movement and the Republican Party to Donald Trump," he continued as the audience applauded.
Paul Ryan doesn't want a thorough Russia inquiry because it could break the momentum of his drive to take poor families' health care away.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 5, 2017
Paul Krugman on the moral vacuity of Congressional Republicans, as they pursue their overweening goal of tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor:
The moral vacuity of Republicans in Congress, and the unlikelihood that they;ll act as any check on the president, becomes clearer with each passing day. Even the real possibility that we're facing subversion by agents of a foreign power, and that top officials are part of the story, doesn't seem to faze them as long as they can get tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor.
Meanwhile, Republican primary election voters, who are the real arbiters when polarized and/or gerrymandered districts make the general election irrelevant for many politicians, live in a Fox News bubble into which awkward truths never penetrate.
Robert Reich on what we the people of the U.S. now face in Donald Trump:
Whatever the reason for Trump's rant, America is in deep trouble. We have a president who is either a dangerous paranoid, or is making judgments based on right-wing crackpots, or has in all likelihood committed treason.
Each of these possible reasons is as terrifying as the other.
Mark Silk sums it up for us:
We judge this to be hypocrisy unprecedented in the history of American politics.
*A note of thanks to Fred Clark at Slacktivist for this link.