Sounding Code Red by Thomas Friedman and other columnists


Disons le franchement, nous aurions préféré ne pas avoir à publier ces caricatures (au demeurant brillantissimes) de Patrick Chapatte ainsi que les trois articles sélectionnés dans le Washington Post et le New York Times.
Mais l’on n’a jamais atteint avec ce Président des Etats-Unis, un tel niveau de vulgarité et d’incompétence. C’est grave mais il y a encore plus grave : Donald Trump comme l’écrit Thomas Friedman est désormais une menace pour la démocratie. Certes, il a été  élu démocratiquement, quand bien même il a obtenu moins de voix que sa rivale Hillary Clinton. Pour autant ce n’est pas relevant car c’est la résultante du système électoral américain toujours en vigueur.
Et toutes les limites ont été franchies avec la sortie de Trump sur Mc Cain, véritable héros américain alors que Trump a trouvé le moyen de ne pas aller au Vietnam ; enfin la gestuelle honteuse mimant les terroristes du Bataclan est une insulte aux victimes rarement atteinte.
Nous espérons cependant que la si belle et si inventive démocratie américaine sera plus forte que cet égarement passager et que les dégâts causés à la Pax Americana ne seront pas irréversibles.
leo Keller

Sounding Code Red: Electing the Trump Resistance

By Thomas Friedman

  • May 29, 2018

 

With the primary season winding down and the midterms soon upon us, it’s time to point out that this election is not about what you may think it’s about. It is not a choice between the particular basket of policies offered by the candidates for House or Senate in your district or state — policies like gun control, right to choose, free trade or fiscal discipline. No, what this election is about is your first chance since 2016 to vote against Donald Trump
As far as I am concerned, that’s the only choice on the ballot. It’s a choice between letting Trump retain control of all the key levers of political power for two more years, or not.

If I were writing the choice on a ballot, it would read: “Are you in favor of electing a majority of Democrats in the House and/or Senate to put a check on Trump’s power — when his own party demonstrably will not? Or are you in favor of shaking the dice for another two years of unfettered control of the House, the Senate and the White House by a man who wants to ignore Russia’s interference in our election; a man whose first thought every morning is, ‘What’s good for me, and can I get away with it?’; a man who shows no compunction about smearing any person or government institution that stands in his way; and a man who is backed by a party where the only members who’ll call him out are those retiring or dying?”

If your answer is the former, then it can only happen by voting for the Democrat in your local House or Senate race.

Because what we’ve learned since 2016 is that the worst Democrat on the ballot for the House or Senate is preferable to the best Republican, because the best Republicans have consistently refused to take a moral stand against Trump’s undermining of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Civil Service, the basic norms of our public life and the integrity of our elections.

These Republicans have made the craven choice to stand with Trump as long as he delivers the policies they like on tax cuts, gun control, fossil fuels, abortion and immigration, even though many privately detest him.

It is up to the Democrats to say and do the opposite: To understand that as long as Trump is president, he’s unlikely to sign any legislation a Democratic majority in Congress would pass — but that’s not their job for the next two years. Their job is to protect America from Trump’s worst impulses.

Their job is to get hold of at least one lever of power — the House or the Senate — in order to oust the most corrupt Republican lawmakers who lead key committees, to properly oversee the most reckless cabinet secretaries, like Scott Pruitt, and to protect the F.B.I., the Justice Department and Robert Mueller from Trump’s intimidation.

 

I don’t write this easily. On many non-social, non-environmental issues, I’m not a card-carrying Democrat. I favor free trade, fiscal discipline, pro-business regulations, a democracy-expanding foreign policy, and I have an aversion to identity politics.

But all of that is on hold for me now, because something more fundamental is at stake: It’s not what we do — it’s who we are, how we talk to one another, what we model to the world, how we respect our institutions and just how warped our society and government can get in only a few years from a president who lies every day, peddles conspiracy theories from the bully pulpit of the White House and dares to call our F.B.I. and Justice Department a “criminal deep state” for doing their job.

So that’s why I have only one thought for this election: Get power. Get a lever of power that can curb Trump. Run for the House or the Senate as a Democrat; register to vote as a Democrat; help someone else register to vote as a Democrat; send money to a Democrat; canvass for a Democrat; drive someone to the polls to vote for a Democrat.

Democrats are never going to win the news cycle from Trump. He’s an attention-grabbing genius. But they can, and must, out-organize him, out-run him, out-register him and out-vote him.

Nothing else matters now. Remember the single stupidest statement from pro-Trump commentators after the election? It was: “The media took Trump literally but not seriously. But his supporters took him seriously but not literally.”

Actually, some of us took him seriously and literally — our only mistake was not taking him literally enough. I assumed that a candidate who lied so casually and so often in the campaign would also do so as president; I just didn’t think he would literally utter 3,001 false or misleading claims in his first 466 days in office. I feared Trump would indeed, as he vowed, tear up the Iran nuclear deal, withdraw from the Paris climate accord and start a trade war with China; I just didn’t think he’d literally do them all at once with so little expert input.

I figured Trump would try to destroy Obamacare; I just didn’t think he’d literally do it without having a better alternative — any alternative — in place. I figured Trump would seek to tighten the border with Mexico; I just didn’t believe that he’d literally ask Congress for $18 billion to extend the border wall. I knew we needed to “drain the swamp” of Washington; I just didn’t think the drain would literally have to start in Trump’s White House and the offices of his cabinet secretaries.

Still, Democrats can’t count on winning by just showing up. They still have to connect with some centrist and conservative voters — and that means understanding that some things are true even if Trump believes them: We do have a trade issue with China that needs addressing; we cannot accept every immigrant, because so many people today want to escape the world of disorder into our world of order; people want a president who is going to grow the pie, not just redivide it; political correctness on some college campuses is out of control; people want to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country in an age where globalization can wash out those identities.

Democrats need to connect with some voters on those issues but then take them in a constructive direction, in contrast with Trump’s destructive direction.

In the end, I don’t want to see Trump impeached, unless there is overwhelming evidence. I want to see, and I want the world to see, a majority of Americans vote to curtail his power for the next two years — not to push a specific agenda over his but because they want to protect America, its ideals and institutions, from him — until our next presidential election gives us a chance to end this cancer and to birth a new G.O.P. that promotes the best instincts of conservatives, not the worst, so Americans can again have two decent choices.

Again , this is Code Red  : American democracy is truly threatened today — by the man sitting in the Oval Office and the lawmakers giving him a free pass.

Thomas Friedman
New York le 29 Mai 2018

Trump is no joke

by Colbert I. King June 8

Some of President Trump’s detractors regard him as an object of ridicule to be laughed at and dismissed as a narcissistic, bombastic, uncouth showman, totally lacking in class.

Trump may be all that. But there is nothing amusing about him.

This president may well be the single greatest threat to our constitutional form of government and the rule of law to have ever occupied the White House. Considering our traumatic national experience with President Richard M. Nixon, that is saying something.

Trump is hell-bent on overriding long-standing constitutional controls over the arbitrary exercise of executive powers.

Undermining freedom of the press is a case in point.

In the first months after Trump’s inauguration, I blogged  that there is a “strategic calculation” in his war on the media. I indicated it would be a mistake to treat his Twitter attacks and “fake news” charges as simply the juvenile behavior of a 71-year-old president stuck in his adolescent years.

Regarding the media as a dangerous adversary, a cold and calculating Trump set out to bring it down in the public eye. “His aim is to denigrate the work of the media so that our reporting and analyses are summarily dismissed by the public, regardless of the evidence,” I wrote at the time.

Branding us as the “most dishonest human beings on earth” and “scum” were not “off-the-cuff invectives,” I wrote. There was a method in his madness.

Trump had already shown his hand, we now learn, in an interview with broadcast journalist Lesley Stahl conducted during the last presidential campaign.

Stahl, interviewed by PBS News Hours’s Judy Woodruff ,at a journalism award event in May , said  she asked Trump in July 2016 why he was attacking the press over and over, and whether he planned to stop doing it. Stahl said Trump responded, “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

That calculation later figured into Trump’s pre-inauguration attacks on the U.S. intelligence community, questioning their motives and abilities. It was no coincidence that these attacks occurred as the intelligence services were looking into Russian interference and influence in our presidential election. Branding them as incompetent was designed to weaken their credibility and inoculate Trump from any suggestion that his campaign was under foreign influence.

Likewise, Trump’s incessant degrading of the special counsel and the FBI has a clear strategy. Belittle. Question motives. Plant the idea that Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation is a “ witch Hunt” fueled by Democrats still hurting from defeat in the presidential election.

Trump is waging war on institutions of government — the Justice Department, federal investigators, members of Congress — any and all who pose a threat to what he wants to be: America’s unchallenged ruler.

That aim is what sets Trump apart from other modern day presidents. It comes through in the way he comports himself. In his view, he has no equal, there is none grander. No one in the world is more deserving of adulation and approval.

We now know, if we didn’t before, that Trump is a compulsive liar. He is emotionally abusive to those around him — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

His toleration for criticism, nil; his store of empathy, empty.

Instead of the admiration he richly deserves, he’s being victimized by his own government — at least, he is in his own mind.

Which gets us to the threat that Trump poses.

Unlike Nixon, if Trump — or his clan or campaign — is confronted with wrongdoing, this president will not go away quietly.

Trump has made it clear that the law, evidence and the criminal-justice system mean little to him if they conflict with his interests.

This is not a wish. But the prospect of Trump legally on the spot should be viewed with trepidation. He believes, I fear, that authority over his fate rests solely with him.

The rule of law could soon be at stake. There’s nothing the slightest bit funny about that.

Colbert I. “Colby” King writes a column — sometimes about D.C., sometimes about politics — that runs on Saturdays. In 2003, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. King joined the Post’s editorial board in 1990 and served as deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007.
Colbert I King


After Trump’s G-7 summit fiasco, be afraid

by Jennifer Rubin June 9

Trump pulls out of G-7 joint statement

President Trump removed the U.S. from a joint G-7 agreement on June 9, and blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for « false statements. » (Reuters)

After President Trump’s atrocious and irrational behavior leading up to and at the Group of Seven summit, the disintegration of the liberal world order in place since the end of World War II and the potential for a serious international crisis no longer seem hard to imagine. The president, unmoved by history, ignorant of facts and guided by sycophants, has not been forced to grapple with the real world nor to hear views that don’t coincide with his twisted worldview, in which allies are ripping us off and aggressive strongmen are to be admired and accommodated.

Trump — after departing the G-7 meeting early — reversed his earlier decision to sign on to the joint statement with other member nations. He no doubt was reacting to the public tongue-lashing from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who told the press, “I highlighted directly to the president that Canadians did not take it lightly that the United States has moved forward with significant tariffs on our steel and aluminum industry.” Trudeau continued by declaring that the Trump administration’s decision to invoke “national security” to justify tariffs was “insulting” given Canada’s alliance with the United States in multiple wars. As Trudeau put it, “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.” Trump can never tolerate criticism, let alone such public and direct criticism, so he accused Trudeau of making “false statements” and reneged on the decision to sign the joint communique.

Trudeau: Canadians ‘will not be pushed around’

During his last news conference at the G-7 summit, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters he found U.S. tariffs « insulting » and would respond with retaliatory ta (The Washington Post)

Trump demonstrated once again that he is erratic and untrustworthy — with his own allies! The contrast between his antagonistic relationship with democratic allies and his never saying a bad word about Russia defies explanation, unless one is to buy into the theory that he is indebted in some fashion to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose campaign to interfere in the U.S. elections helped land Trump in the White House.

Even before this diplomatic disaster, Trump was already grumbling about his failure to get our allies to capitulate. The Post’s Damian Paletta and Anne Gearan report:

President Trump told foreign leaders at the Group of Seven summit that they must dramatically reduce trade barriers with the United States or they would risk losing access to the world’s largest economy, delivering his most defiant trade threat yet to his counterparts from around the globe.

Trump, in a news conference before leaving for Singapore, described private conversations he held over two days with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada. He said he pushed them to consider removing every single tariff or trade barrier on American goods, and in return he would do the same. But if steps aren’t taken, he said, the penalties would be severe.

“We’re the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” Trump said. “And that ends.”

I have no idea what he is talking about. Our allies are not stealing anything. It is far from clear what, if anything, would satisfy him. If — and it is a big if — Trump is serious about erecting barriers to U.S. markets, we are looking at a full-blown trade war with our closest allies and trading partners, along with the trade wars with China and Mexico. All this would redound to the benefit of exactly one country, Russia. A worldwide recession would not be hard to imagine.

Trump becomes irrational and unhinged when contradicted, and given the degree of contradiction permitted within his inner circle (none), it must be unnerving indeed to discover that our allies view him with disdain if not contempt. Arriving late and leaving early from the G-7 gathering, Trump played the petulant child, trying so very hard to say that he didn’t want to be part of their group anyway — so there! Worse still, his disturbing invitation for Russia, the United States’ most worrisome foe, to join the G-7 suggests he really cannot tell who is a friend and who is an enemy.

Trump’s Republican enablers, who ridiculed liberal Democrats for coddling dictators and ignoring allies (ah, the good old days when they groused, inaccurately, about the return of a Churchill bust!), should see what their groveling has wrought. They now back a president who does not put America or the West first. A Manchurian candidate could not show greater fealty to Russia nor more diligence in helping Russia pursue its goals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who refuses to consider reclaiming Congress’s role in trade, will see the consequences that flow from his and his fellow Republicans’ neglect of their constitutional obligations. Republicans have rejected their obligation to restrain an unfit executive and lessen the damage by reasserting Congress’s rightful power in areas such as trade. They are now Trump’s facilitators in his apparent desire to blow up the international world order — the world order America helped created and has always led. In that sense, McConnell, too, is helping, wittingly or not, to make Russia great again.

Last week, McConnell bragged that the past 16 months have been the best he’s ever seen for conservatism. Unless “conservativism” means the anti-liberal regimes in Europe and Russia, that evaluation is daft. Starting trade wars, coddling enemies, inflating the debt, tolerating widespread corruption and fanning despicable racial animus make for “success” in conservatives’ minds? No wonder many former Republicans cannot abide the current GOP. These political outcasts have for decades been against every one of the things I just listed; the GOP now accepts and even celebrates every one of them. The question is not why former Republicans have left the party but what purpose the party serves beyond sustaining Trump.

As Trump is poised to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, he declares he’ll know within a minute whether the meeting will be a success. Here is a man declaring his gullibility and waiting to be snookered with a few smiles, some stomach-turning flattery and many empty promises from a calculating adversary. Trump seems not to know that the first meeting between the U.S. president and the dictator of North Korea is not an amazing achievement for the United States; it’s a huge win for Pyongyang.

In the case of the Singapore summit, we really do see a zero-sum equation. Trump, for fear of failing, seems to have defined “success” down to a photo op, thereby giving a massive victory to Kim, who obtains legitimacy and reduces, if not eliminates, any real risk of military action against his regime. Kim will do what North Korea has done again and again: speak nice words, pull the United States into fruitless discussions and give up nothing of consequence. The empty gesture of formally ending a war that has been over for 65 years achieves nothing for the United States but will burnish Kim’s image.

The notion that real denucelarization is even possible needs to be rethought. How could an entirely closed regime, replete with secret labor camps and a substantial military, ever allow inspectors to rove the entire country to determine what it has and what, if anything, it is giving up? How could Kim give up the jewel of his regime, the very thing that got him a summit with the world’s only superpower? Getting “investment” or economic aid from the West likely sounds like colonialism redux to the North Korean regime. Taking “help” from the West would be inviting the fox into the henhouse from their perspective. Surely someone in the Trump administration understands this, right? (Where is national security adviser John Bolton when you need him?)

Trump is now so desperate to show he’s “right” — a master negotiator who breaks every precedent — that it is becoming more and more likely the summit will deliver plenty of glad-handing but no concrete moves toward denuclearization. In that respect, Trump is exactly like every other American president who got pulled into a process whose end result is North Korea’s continuing status as a nuclear power. The main difference is that none of Trump’s predecessors were dim-witted enough to give the ghoulish dictator of North Korea a public-relations triumph. Oh, and they managed not to get into fights with Canada.

Jennifer Rubin

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