Politics postsWednesday April 10, 2019
Bolsonaro and Trump: Who's Worse?
John Lee Anderson has a good piece in the April 1st New Yorker about Brazil's new authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro. It's smartly titled “Southern Strategy.” (This was before Whatserhface turned that phrase into an ignoramus' history lesson this week.)
Comparisons between Bolsonaro and Trump are easy to find for anyone who wants them:
- Bolsonaro is on his third wife
- His shitty kids are involved in his business
- He insults people via Twitter
- He insults people in person (“She's not worth raping”)
- He likes the appearance of toughness (“A policeman who doesn't kill isn't a policeman”)
- He verbally abuses the press
- He's directly supported by Steve Bannon
- He has the support of the religious right, the arms industry, anti-environmentalists and the xenophobic
- His allies feign exasperration at his worst tendencies but constantly support him
- Despite the above, in the last election, he won more than half the female vote
A good discussion can be had on which man is worse. Bolsonaro grew up working class and made a career in the military before the leap into politics, which seems more admirable than Trump taking over the family business. But he seems more vicious; and he's the head of a country with only a few decades of democratic rule.
That said, and no offense, but if Bolsonaro ruins Brazil, it will set back that country only decades and won't be felt much on the world stage. If Trump ruins the U.S., if he makes a mockery of rule of law, if he darkens the shining city on a hill, I don't know where the world will be.
Yesterday, the New York magazine website published a good, short piece by Jonathan Chait called, “The President as Adolescent Bully,” which includes a shot of Biff Tanen from the “Back to the Future” movies. Some of the better lines:
He is especially fascinated with the appearance of toughness. Trump has praised “his” generals as looking like they come out of “central casting.” He has praised his ICE director, “He looks very nasty, he looks very mean ... that's what I'm looking for.” He has famously urged police officers to treat suspects in their custody with more brutality. Of course, abusing a person who's in handcuffs does not take courage.
Actual courage is a virtue Trump regards with indifference sometimes bordering on hostility. He has spent years mocking John McCain for having been captured in the Vietnam War, completely disregarding his perseverance under torture and refusal to give his captors a propaganda victory by accepting their offer to be sent home ahead of his order of capture. This is not simply Trump's habit of automatically flaying anybody who attacks him. “He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don't know. I'm not sure,” Trump said in 1999, long before McCain had crossed him in any way. ...
What is so remarkable about Trump is that he has no interest or need to conceal his cruelty. Trump is a highly familiar social type: the leader of a gang, taunting his targets while his flunkies guffaw. Before he came along, it was never possible to imagine such a person occupying the Presidency of the United States.
The distinction about Trump loving the appearance of toughness but not actual courage is a good one. Dems should use it. All the time.
199 Criminal Charges
Yeah, I mean, it's not like, say, grand juries and federal judges were involved in approving the 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, and 50 pen registers that resulted in 199 criminal charges against 37 individuals including 7 members of the campaign pleading or going to jail https://t.co/FsiN2qLR2B— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) March 25, 2019
Remember the numbers:
- 199 criminal charges against
- 34 individuals, and
- 3 companies, with
- 7 members of Trump's campaign pleading guilty/going to jail
Remember it all. Remember that in Sept. 2016 Mitch McConnell refused to be part of a bipartisan effort to warn Americans about Russian interference in the election. Remember the special counsel was only appointed because Trump fired the FBI director and then stated on national television that he did so because of the Russian investigation. Remember that so far we've only heard a summary by a political appointee of the accused. Good god, people, WTF up. And follow the fucking money. Our country depends on it.
The RNC Deputy Finance Chairman who's under investigation for money laundering is a different guy from the RNC Deputy Finance Chairman who pleaded guilty in a federal fraud case and they‘re both different from the RNC Finance Chairman who’s accused of rape and sexual misconduct.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 18, 2019
Meadows By a Nose
“Who was your favorite [GOP congressman during the Michael Cohen hearings]? Was it Paul Gosar of Arizona, the guy whose entire family made a commercial for his opponent the last time he ran? (Gosar struggled so long with the phrase, ‘pathological liar’ that he gave Cohen to opportunity to ask,‘Are you referring to me or to the president?’) Was it jacketless Clay Higgins of Louisiana, who once filmed a campaign spot at Auschwitz? (Cohen mentioned at one point that he'd consulted some documents that were stored in boxes. Higgins demanded that a warrant be served on the boxes only to be told that Robert Mueller already had examined the contents and returned the boxes to Cohen.)
”Was it Bob Gibbs of Ohio, who seemed to drift away to Oz in the middle of his sentences, or Carol Miller of West Virginia, who was simply appalled at being a part of this when the committee could be discussing ‘neo-natal abstinence syndrome,’ a condition afflicting newborns due to their mother's drug use in utero? A worthy topic, surely, but hardly the provenance of the House Oversight Committee. And everybody kept yielding time to the egregious ranking Republican member, Jim Jordan of Ohio, or to Jordan's fellow Freedom Caucasian, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and those two jamokes couldn't get out of their own way. ...
“As for Meadows, well, he thought he had something going with an item regarding contracts with foreign clients on a disclosure form that Cohen had signed, only to have Cohen point out that, contrary to Meadows's obvious reading deficits, the form referred only to foreign governments, for whom he had not worked. Meadows thundered away that Cohen was dodging the truth only to have a copy of the form pop up all over the Intertoobz in about 15 minutes, just long enough for Congresswoman Katie Hill to read it into the record and make Meadows look like a fool.”
Charles P. Pierce, “The Republican Party Completely and Utterly Disgraced Itself at Michael Cohen's Hearing,” Esquire. The key quote for me comes from Steve Lynch, a Democrat who represents Massachussett's 8th district (Tip O‘Neill’s former hunting grounds), and who said, “I don't think any of them asked any questions about the possible criminal actions by the president.”