Trump opens his ‘Office of the Former President’ in Florida

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-office-of-the-former-president-b1792583.html

Donald Trump has established his “Office of the Former President” in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has opened a headquarters for his post-presidential public affairs.

The office will manage his correspondence, appearances and other “official activities to advance the interests of the United States” and “carry on the agenda” of his administration through “advocacy, organizing and public activism.”

 

A statement on executive letterhead from the office said Mr Trump “will always and forever be a champion for the American people.”

 

 

The office will be run by his former administration’s aides and other staff.

Prohibited from most social media networks following his supporters’ deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January inspired by his dangerously false election fraud claims, the former president has largely been silent after the inauguration of Joe Biden on 20 January. He fled the White House and Washington DC hours before the ceremony and golfed at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach the following morning.

The Former Presidents Act establishes funding for a president’s office once they leave office, along with access to classified security briefings, personal security and a pension.

Mr Trump and his outgoing administration and campaign staff have not indicated whether he will re-enter politics after his four-year term. He did not concede his loss to President Biden.

In a brief statement to a reporter from the Washington Examiner, he said: “We’ll do something, but not just yet.”

Mr Trump could end up a significant player in mid-term congressional elections among Republican candidates in 2022, though his massive base of support could influence GOP designs on another presidential bid in 2024.

On Monday, the House of Representatives delivered its article of impeachment to the Senate, which will schedule a trial to convict the former president on charges of inciting a riot after the lethal insurrection at the Capitol.

 
 

The House impeached the president a second time on 13 January, with 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to impeach.

 

Don’t Let Them Gaslight You: The Implications of Trump’s 6 January Insurrection Riot as a Flashbulb Memory

Hello CalicoJack. It has always astounded me that people would forget what a politician promised and failed to do between elections. Or the reverse. I remember during the 2018 elections when Republicans were running advertisements and publicly saying they would save the ACA at the same time having voted repeatedly to destroy it. They were in court to have it declared illegal and they were running on keeping it safe. A lot of people seem to completely disconnect the Republicans voting against giving them the assistance they desperately needed, yet voting those same people back into office. I am thinking of McConnell who was voted back into office with a 10 point margin by the very poor people he basically stiff armed. Thanks for this post explaining it for us. Hugs

The Psy of Life

Trump’s insurrection riot was one of the most significant events in American history. It’s one that we should be sure to understand thoroughly because of the wide-ranging repercussions that it will have on our politics and society for an extended period of time. We’ll focus on one aspect of it that, perhaps, few others are discussing: The implications of it being a flashbulb memory in the American psyche. As a flashbulb memory it will be well remembered; and it is vulnerable to manipulation.

Flashbulb Memories

As discussed before on Ye Olde Blogge,a flashbulb memory is a special type of memory that is formed when an event has significant personal importance and strong emotional content. While all of our #COVID19 milestones are important, the frequency of their occurrence numbs us…

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Tucker Carlson Is Not Happy About Joe Biden’s ‘War On White Supremacists’

Guilty: Fox News host Tucker Carlson is not happy about President Joe Biden’s war on white supremacists, and warns his viewers that they could be targets in this new war.

Speaking on Fox News Carlson said:

Now that we’re waging war on white supremacists, can somebody tell us in very clear language what a white supremacist is? 

That’s not some picayune semantic question — Joe Biden isn’t a high school debate coach. Joe Biden is the new president of the United States. Joe Biden controls the largest military and largest law enforcement agencies in the world. He has now declared war. So we should know specifically and precisely who exactly he has declared war on. We have a right to know that. 

Innocent people could be hurt in this war, they usually are. There could be collateral damage in this war. And the casualties will be Americans. 

So again, what is a white supremacist? You might be surprised to learn just how broad the definition for that has become. 

Bloomberg News has described a wall along our southern border as “a monument to white supremacy.” So be certain not to support that. 

Colin Kaepernick, who seems to have the unequivocal support of corporate America, calls the Fourth of July an example of white supremacy. So you’d better put away the fireworks and the hot dogs. 

The United States Army, a trusted institution if there ever was one, has used an entire manual on what is and what is not white supremacy.

So you should know this, among the telltale signs of a committed white supremacist are these: celebrating Columbus Day, using the term “American exceptionalism,” any support for federal border security or English only measures, or “education funding from property taxes.” All white supremacy. Using the phrase, “There’s only one human race,” is white supremacy too, according to the army. And of course, voting for Donald Trump. All white supremacy.

Here’s the problem. Let’s say you don’t buy those definitions. Let’s say you’re for example white but poor, and you have trouble accepting the idea that you are benefiting from some kind of structural advantage. You better shut up about it if you know what’s good for you because according to the United States Army, the, quote, “denial of white privilege” is a classic sign of — yes — white supremacy. So, no complaining.

This is not the first time Carlson has tried to deny or minimize the problem of white supremacy. Previously the Fox News host claimed that white supremacy is a “hoax” and “not a real problem in America.” At the time Carlson said:

The whole thing is a lie… It’s actually not a real problem in America… This is a hoax… I’ve never met anybody — not one person — who ascribes to white supremacy.

Also worth noting, NPR reports that Carlson’s head writer,  Blake Neff, was forced to resign last July after evidence surfaced that he had “posted racist, sexist and homophobic sentiments online for years under a pseudonym.”

Bottom line: Fox News host Tucker Carlson is not happy about President Joe Biden’s war on white supremacists, and warns his viewers that they could be targets in this new war.

(Transcript via Media Matters)

Tucker Carlson Is Not Happy About Joe Biden’s ‘War On White Supremacists’ (Image via Screen Grab)
Tucker Carlson Is Not Happy About Joe Biden’s ‘War On White Supremacists’ (Image via Screen Grab)

The Nonsense in Spades We Are Now Dealing with

Dealing with dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters was difficult enough when he was in office, but now that he is gone, such cultists have doubled down to a state of psychological mania that beggars belief. I have seen Twitter feeds and forum comments that make me incredibly sad. This isn’t a watershed moment of getting the US to a state of unity and moral and policy decency, this is an excuse to dive even deeper into conspiratorial and ideological nonsense the likes of which should make one’s skin crawl.

Hell hath no fury like a Trumpista scorned.

I don’t want to linger too much on the type and level of comment and claim I have seen; it makes me feel dirty. But I will look at a couple of claims made by resident right-wing ideologue Anjasha Freed on the comment threads here. This is the first set of claims:

Will you be able to stop talking about him, Jonathan? Or will you spend the next four years like you spent the last four years?

Here are some new stories for you to cover:

1. There is mass distrust in the US media. They will never get it back. What will the result be?
https://news.yahoo.com/trus…

2. Biden cancelled the oil pipeline with Canada, destroying thousands of US jobs and creating a diplomatic rift with Canada. What will happen to the world economy if Biden spins us into a depression by destroying our current oil and gas industry?
https://www.aljazeera.com/n…

3. Alternate social media paradigms are going to arise that will be resilient to government and corporate takedown.
https://itsfoss.com/mainstr…

4. Biden has signed an executive order allowing transgender athletes to play on female teams. One state has drafted opposing legislation. Eventually, transgender integration demands will go global.
https://thehill.com/changin…

5. Biden has re-instituted critical race theory training at the federal level. What is critical race theory? My guess is that most of your readers only think they know. Racist Kristen Clarke will be a big purveyor of it and so will Biden’s new education nominee Cindy “Spirit Murder” Marten.
https://www.city-journal.or…

I talked a lot about Trump because he was compulsive viewing, just like terrible horror movies, or rubber-necking a road traffic incident. He was and is also morally abhorrent and I felt it my duty to point this out.

The claims from Freed above require a short rebuttal – they aren’t worth much and I have little hope of removing the shackles from their own political imprisonment.

1) You reap what you sow, you lover of FOX, Breitbart and all the other lowest value news sources. More to the point, the claim that Freed makes, and the data collected, is nothing new (going back to the time of Washington and Lincoln). See “POV: Many Americans Distrust the Media, but It’s Not a New Phenomenon” by political media consultant. When FOX News’s answer to this problem is to replace the primetime news slot held by Shep Smith (who has moved to MSNBC) with another opinion show, you know the media is becoming a consumer-led affair to an even greater degree.

But who are the ones denying facts and science more? Climate change, Covid, the election? FOX, OAN, Newsmax, Breitbart or MSNBC, CNN and PBS? Chris Ruddy, in his very illuminating interview with Mehdi Hasan, admitted his own Newsmax channel is not accurate (“Like all the networks, and networks you’ve been on, there’s a lot of opinion hosts, and they have all sorts of things that I don’t subscribe to,” Ruddy replied. “I do believe in free discourse, I believe in people having their opinion. We’re not saying that that is accurate.”):

The question is, who is most responsible for the lack of reliability in the news media?

2) How about the US government takes the $649 billion subsidisation (including through negative externalities) payments to the fossil fuel industry and pumps that into green and renewable energy so that we still have a liveable world. Obama was right in trying to make the US the global leader in green tech. And now much of the rest of the world has a head start. Trump has set you back four years.

It’s comments like theirs that show that naysayers like them don’t have an ounce of critical thinking capability in their bodies.

See: “United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education“. A whopping $649 billion was spent subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2017 in the US. Renewables didn’t even come close. They weren’t on the same page. Read my article: “Renewables, Going Forward

Freed later said to me about this point:

10,000 US jobs mean nothing to you, hmm? Well that is not surprising because you are not an American and you don’t have to watch your fellow citizens weeping as their financial lives circle down the drain while China and India churn out fossil emissions and we subsidize them with millions of dollars from our economy to do it. I’m sure China will give Biden some nice kickbacks for putting taxpayer money back in their pockets.

And that misses the entire point. Rather than try a muted Obama drive for green jobs but be hamstrung by the continued bullying from the fossil fuel industry and continuing to subsidise it to insane levels, take on something like the Green New Deal. Be bold. Be gutsy. Be on the right side of history. Look, you could create 10,000 jobs by going to war with Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to do.

I guarantee you, Freed, that if you ignore the climate from now onwards, it will bite you on the arse.

I would then invite you to, with your children if you have any, go and live and breathe the air for a year of a coal-fired power station and compare that with breathing the air around a wind farm.

I take your 10,000 jobs and I would raise that a whole heap more in sustainable industries.

3) “Corporate takedown”? Says someone who favours information funded by Heartland, AEI, Kochs, etc etc. You love corporations until they don’t peddle the ideological nonsense in your head. See my article “It’s a Climate Change Conspiracy!

4) Ah, the culture wars. When the right has nothing else, it’s always safe to, you know, during a pandemic and impending economic collapse, worry about the culture wars. Get over your culture wars whingeing. We’ve got bigger things to worry about right now. I see you said the square root of f*ck all about Trump not turning up for a Covid task force meeting for six months whilst 400,000 people died, and then going AWOL to play golf.

That indefensible attitude makes me sick.

5) See 4).

Whinge whinge whinge yet not a word spoken about 45, who sat and sulked and did nothing (but invite insurrection) whilst his country sank deeper into pandemic chaos.

This is where I just get angry: Go sound off at Gab or something. Fester in some pool of alt right-wing slime.

Let’s see if it got any better. I’ll reply inmterlinearly to Anjasha Freed’s next comment found here.

What are you talking about?

A decision was made to accept the results of a fraudulent election. The reasons are obvious: a number of high-ranking/wealthy/influential individuals did not want Trump to be president.

This nonsense will be peddled for the next four years despite all the evidence debunking this conspiratorial twaddle. If Freed can’t bring themselves to deal with objective reality, there really is no hope for them. Even Newsmax and OAN had to walk back their claims in light of a court case. And remember all those sixty-odd failed legal attempts.

It’s all rather sad and pathetic.

Nothing can be done now. As you know, I have no power to challenge anything. My vote does not count in US elections. I live under a regime that is picked by political operatives.

The US election was the safest/most secure conducted in US history. Deal with it. Perhaps you want to deal with media and information meddling from Russia? No, didn’t think so.

So, all I can do is move on.

Please do.

I won’t call the election fair. I won’t call Biden legitimate. I won’t even really call our government a US government.

Grow up.

Your new normal is that tens of millions of people share my opinion and you have no idea what they are going to do about it.

This is your most salient point and it is a worry. So very many people devoid of correct information, wilfully so oftentimes, becomes a national security threat. If I was Biden, this would be top of my priorities in one form or another. There needs to be something done about disinformation and the festering ideological morass buying into the OAN narrative. Or creating it.

Nor do you have any idea how Biden plans to rule the new political landscape. Never has a US president been so despised or a regime so distrusted in this country.

 

Empirically false unless you swap the word “Biden” for “Trump”. Please stop the lies. Because not least, after only one day in office, no opinion survey could be or has been done to evaluate Biden’s popularity as President.  As Fortune reported:

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 34% in a Gallup poll released Monday, the low point of a presidency that already had the weakest average approval rating of any of his predecessors since the survey began in the 1940s.

His results were also the most polarised. There are just a lot of people like Freed who would support Trump no matter what, even if he really did shoot someone on Fifth Avenue.

The media cannot be used as a persuader for the government because people hate them too.

I didn’t hear you saying this when Trump was literally using FOX as the state media arm. Double standards.

Biden is backed into a corner and his only tools to control a population like this one are tools of coercion and intimidation. But he knows that the world is looking on and he will be judged for political repression.

He had the most people voting for him in the history of US democracy. He doesn’t control the population, he was voted in with a mandate to enact his policy agenda. That’s the thing about democracy – you’re never going to get everyone happy all of the time. Hence half of the US being distinctly unhappy for the last four years.

This is where misinformation and disinformation are terribly important. Was it the case that people voted in Trump on a basis of lies against Clinton and lies in support of Trump? Arguably so.

I think that he is likely to spin us into a crisis that will be blamed on outside forces or blamed somehow on Trump and his voting base. It will be a “national security crisis” that will be used to justify shutting down organizations and communications that Biden perceives as threats. Some obvious targets will be grassroots political organizations, talk radio, alternative social media and a blacklist of “dangerous” individuals.

I wonder if you will be able to back up this rather nebulous claim in four years.

I am not saying that will happen. I am saying that it is one possibility for clamping down on dissent.

There’s a possibility that unicorns exist. It’s just vanishingly small.

You think you are on the “right” political side and that a clampdown on freedoms will not affect you, but history shows that your freedoms will fall under the reaper along with mine. Maybe not at first, but in the second or third waves of repression.

Citation required.

The other likelihood is that there will be a migration of people from L–ist bastions to places that support the interests of the law-abiding middle class. I think the centers of power are going to change a lot in the next 4 years and that states will increasingly fight for independence from federal mandates. Biden will basically be fighting with multiple states trying to bend them to his will and the resisting states will work to establish new networks of power.

Is that supposed to say Leninist? Leftist? Lesbianist? C’mon. This is juvenile stuff when you have to present arguments in such a format.

These claims, this last paragraph, are actually no different to the culture wars claims. Fear! Apocalypse! They’ll take your guns! There’ll be aborted fetuses’ lying all over the neighborhood! The Stasi will come in and plant listening devices and cart off any naysayers!

It’s just such patent nonsense, but there are too, too many hyped-up critics of the left (l-ft) who spout torrents of this garbage without taking a breath and asking:

What is really going on here with the Democrats? What are they trying to achieve and for whom? How will my life be tangibly worse? What if I were someone else in society?

Take a deep breath. Calm down. Things are looking a ton more competent right now. You have plans and strategies, not a wing and a prayer scrawled on Twitter from a golf buggy.

Am I helping by ranting like this? No. It’s personal catharsis. I am deeply worried, though, by how many people I have read in various places who think and write like Freed, and many who are far more rabid.

I do not think that Biden can unite the country in a four-year stint; there are some particularly egregious differences baked in as a result of decades of nefarious work, Machiavellian machinations from dark money vested interests, culminating in media forces on the right that are interested in misinformation.

I wonder whether the tide is turning with the likes of James Murdoch resigning form News Corp over disinformation concerning climate change and saying US media ‘lies’ unleashed ‘insidious forces’ in the insurrection.

Get money out of politics, on both sides, and get it out of news media, if that is at all possible. Given, other than national broadcasters, media is consumer-led, this could be a tough call…