The march toward full Republican acceptance of a Trump Dictatorship 

52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.

Moreover, nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote, which is similar to this finding. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68 percent) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73 percent). Again, this is similar to previous polls.

Not surprisingly, beliefs about the 2016 election and voter fraud were correlated with support for postponement. People who believed that Trump won the popular vote, that there were millions of illegal votes in 2016, or that voter fraud is not rare were more likely to support postponing the election. This support was also more prevalent among Republicans who were younger, were less educated, had less factual knowledge of politics and strongly identified with the party.

Of course, our survey is only measuring reactions to a hypothetical situation. Were Trump to seriously propose postponing the election, there would be a torrent of opposition, which would most likely include prominent Republicans. Financial markets would presumably react negatively to the potential for political instability. And this is to say nothing of the various legal and constitutional complications that would immediately become clear. Citizens would almost certainly form their opinions amid such tumult, which does not at all resemble the context in which our survey was conducted.

Washington Post


Former MI8 officer Christopher Steele ambushed by a bunch of lame Nunes’ hacks

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. The dossier contained explosive allegations about Trump and the Kremlin. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Two US congressional staffers who traveled to London in July and tried to contact former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele were sent by a long-standing aide to Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee and a close ally of the White House.

The trip has brought back to the surface a continuing struggle for control of the committee’s investigation into Moscow’s role in the 2016 US election. The reliability of a dossier compiled by Steele, containing explosive allegations of extensive secret collusion between Trump and the Kremlin, is a key part of that investigation.

The two staffers turned up unannounced at Steele’s lawyers’ offices while the former MI6 officer was in the building, according to a report by Politico on Friday. But the committee’s leading Democrat, Adam Schiff, said on Sunday neither he nor his Republican counterpart had been informed about the staffers’ London trip.

A congressional official insisted, however, that the staffers were in London on official committee business. He said they had been told to make contact with Steele’s lawyers, rather than Steele himself.

“It was an intelligence committee trip although going to meet with the lawyer was not the sole purpose of the trip. They were also there on other committee business,” the official said, but he added he could not describe what else the committee staffers were doing in London.

“Them being sent to meet with the lawyers was at the behest of the committee staff director,” the official added, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The House intelligence committee’s staff director is Damon Nelson, who worked as deputy chief of staff for Devin Nunes from 2003 until 2014 and then as a senior adviser before moving in 2015 to the staff of the committee which Nunes chairs. Nunes was a member of Trump’s transition team on security and enraged Democrats by maintaining close contact with the president and making a secret visit late at night to the White House in March to view supposedly secret information without telling other committee members.

The staffers were sent by an aide to Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee and a close Trump ally. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Nunes stepped aside from the committee’s Russia investigation in April, months before the London trip, after becoming the subject of an inquiry by the House ethics panel into whether he disclosed classified information in a bid to discredit the Obama administration. The Republican congressman Mike Conaway took over Nunes’s duties directing the Russia inquiry. Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, has since praised Conaway’s cooperation into investigating the links between the Trump campaign and Moscow, but has also complained that Nunes has continued to intervene in the investigation, despite his understanding to stay out of it pending the ethics inquiry.

The staffers were sent by an aide to Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee and a close Trump ally.View photos

Schiff’s office declined to comment, and Conaway’s office did not reply to a request for comment. But Schiff said on Sunday that neither of them had been told about the London visit aimed at establishing contacts with a key witness.

“I wasn’t aware of it, and I don’t think Mr Conaway was either,” Schiff told CNN. “But the reality is we do want to meet with Mr Steele, would like him to come before the committee. If he’s not willing to do that, we’d be happy – Mr Conaway and myself – to go to London to sit down with him. He does have, certainly, very relevant information that would assist our investigation.”

Steele’s dossier on Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government was compiled in 2016 for a Washington research company, Fusion GPS, and commissioned by Trump’s election opponents, first Republicans in the primaries, and then Democrats.

It was presented by Republican Senator John McCain to the then FBI director, James Comey, in December, and has since been part of a wide-ranging inquiry into possible collusion, now under the control of special counsel Robert Mueller.

A congressional official insisted it would not be unusual for a committee staff director to organize a foreign fact-finding trip on his own authority.

However, Adam Blickstein, a former Democrat spokesman on the House intelligence committee, said he found that unlikely in such a sensitive investigation.

“In this specific scenario, I can’t imagine a staff director sending two staffers on this trip without the chairman knowing about it,” Blickstein said. “That wouldn’t pass the smell test.”

“I find the fact that they presumably spent taxpayer money to undertake such a hyperpartisan and unprofessional effort extremely troubling,” John Sipher, a former senior CIA officer said in an emailed comment. “There are normal ways to do this through our existing institutions, and their relationships with our British partners. This is bad on many levels.

“Republicans that are part of the House investigation should not be undertaking efforts without informing their Democratic colleagues,” Sipher added. “Not only is it unprofessional but it is impolite. Mr Steele was a professional who worked on important and compatible issues with the US. He deserves better than being ambushed by a bunch of hacks.”

F–k Rob Arkley!

“Our own local racist bully boy version of Trump doesn’t want the Wiyot’s stolen home returned to them.”TE

Tuluwat Village

Allen McCloskey sets the record straight:

Indian Island is and always has been of great cultural and historical value to the Wiyot People. I support the City of Eureka City Council (Austin Allison and Kim Walford-Bergel) and City Leadership in their efforts to restore Indian Island to its original inhabitants/stewards. The Wiyot People as the original inhabitants and stewards of Indian Island have what I equate to a genetic-historical-connection to Indian Island. The cultural connection of the Tribe to Indian Island goes back countless generations and their people are intrinsically tied to the Island. In fact I would argue that their individual and collective well-being and prosperity and the healing of the Tribe’s genetic memory with regards to the historical trauma and deliberate attack by Eureka’s great businessmen of the time, to commit genocide of the Wiyot people, is truly contingent upon the environmental health and return of this land to its original inhabitants/stewards.

The Tribe and the City of Eureka in recent years have worked together collectively to mitigate years of pollution and contamination and have engaged in meaningful dialogue with regards to transitioning Indian Island back to the Tribe. The collective work of the Tribe and the City should not be tarnished and/or in any way delayed or derailed by the intentional and ignorant intervention by the likes of Robin Arkely, merely on the premise that he feels that the Island belongs to him and his family, because, in his words they “like it.” Indian Island was stolen from the Wiyot people at the hands of “prominent Eureka businessmen” of that time who murdered and viciously killed the Wiyot people.

The current City leadership is now in the process of contributing to the healing of the Wiyot people by returning the Island to its original inhabitants. The City’s efforts to return the Island to the Wiyot people is clearly an act of restoring to the indigenous peoples what very obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to, and a claim I might add that on the Tribe’s part is in no way divisive but rather restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation. I commend the City of Eureka Council for their recent actions and their commitment to the Wiyot People and the return of Indian Island.

In Solidarity,

Allen McCloskey


Can our Country and all it has stood for be salvaged?

America in Crisis: How Will We Get Out of this Mess?

Captions by James Simonelli

Our national crisis in 2017 is a situation that we never expected, and never want to see recur.

We are up against a hellish convergence of trends that transformed the last election into a freak show. The experience for most of us was gross in the extreme — grotesque. But it was just the beginning.

We are trapped in a political chamber of horrors without any visible doors. Will there be no reprieve? Fools and fanatics run riot as the rest of us seethe— but what can we do? That depends. Our position in life will determine our options and so will the flow of events . . . including the surprises.

In any case, there are limits right now to what anyone can do and that is a fact worth remembering.

It is far too soon to foresee how the crisis of 2017 will develop. Before long, we could find ourselves so completely worn out that we will simply find a way to muddle through. Or an emotional catharsis could propel the nation forward to a much better state of affairs. That is hard to predict.

But the trend has been steadily downward so far and we might have to wait until 2018 — and the next congressional elections — before significant things can be accomplished for the sake of America.

Will we ever feel the same about our country? Who can say? The leadership issue is essential. A great figure may arise before long who will lead us back into a semblance of political normality, or even to a state approaching grace. There is little we can do about that except watch and wait as the choices of the politicians play out.

But there are other types of possibilities — some more specific than others — that could pull us out of this disaster.

One of them, of course, is a resurgence of strength on the left that could balance, or even overcome, the disproportionate power in the hands of the radical right that has warped our political culture. And a steep plunge downward in our economic fortunes could strengthen the hands of politicians who protest the extremely dangerous maldistribution of wealth in the United States.

The investigations of the Trump-and-Russia connection are proceeding and so is revulsion toward the vile behavior of the president. A congressional inquiry into his mental condition has been suggested, and a full-fledged impeachment proceeding might be unavoidable. How much longer will Americans tolerate a misfit who drags our nation into the gutter? Almost anything is possible in this bizarre situation, especially if more Republicans begin to feel that this pariah could drag the whole party down to defeat in 2018. Indeed, the tipping point for the Republicans could come before the end of this year.

The condition of the Republican Party is itself a matter for reflection. The far right dominates the party, but that situation could be challenged. Republican moderates — those who remain — are in a weak position, but a bold new nonpartisan initiative could strengthen their hand.

The ferocity of the radical right is an affront to American decency. The insistence of the radical right that our social safety net should be destroyed could force millions to die in destitution. What do Christian ethics have to say about things like that?

The power of religious fervor can be double-edged, and so the power of the right could be confronted by a new non-denominational movement, one that is led by some responsible religious leaders along with some conscientious conservatives — and there are still plenty of them — to save the soul of the Republican Party. The Republican Party as such and conservatism as such would be spared, and yet the power of the radical right would be the subject of a national outcry. The Social Gospel movement of the Gilded Age could be revived through an attack upon cruelty. The Sermon on the Mount could be invoked in such a way as to emphasize the need for repentance. The leaders of this movement could argue that the nature of Christian spirituality is on the line in America — not by the standards of self-righteousness and vainglory, but by standards of decency and mercy.

A crisis of conscience for Republicans would strengthen the hand of Republican moderates — would it not?

It is possible that in the next generation a new party system may emerge. Attempts to destroy our existing party system and create a brand new one have been made now and then since the current system took shape in the 1850s. None of these attempts have yet succeeded. But some third-party movements have shaken the foundations of our system and ushered in significant change, and perhaps this could happen again.

In theory — though the process would produce many risks — we might do better with three or four political parties that could join in coalitions in response to the electorate’s wishes. If the Republican Party could somehow be split in two — into a party of irrational fanatics on the one hand and a party of rational conservatives and moderates on the other — our nation would be far better off. And then the Democrats in turn could be split into a party of progressive radicals and a party of consensus-builders.

But who will take the lead in such matters? In some ways it’s really a shame that Ross Perot and his people did not persevere in the 1990s. We might be far better off if they had.

Here’s a totally different scenario.

Things would also change if some moderate Republicans gave up on the Republican Party and decided to switch their allegiance by transforming themselves into Democrats. That would change our situation a lot — especially right now in the Senate. Perhaps the current crop of moderate Republicans have never thought of doing such a thing.

But perhaps they could think about it now.

Challenges could be launched to the structural injustices that make America undemocratic. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts. Perhaps a larger challenge could be launched against the “winner take all” procedure that perverts the Electoral College. The challenge would argue that the method of winner-take-all is at odds with the “original intent” of such Founders as Alexander Hamilton. Conservative justices who subscribe to “originalism” would be put on the spot and they would have to do some independent thinking. And some of them — such as the current chief justice — have proven they are capable of independent thinking.

If attempts to guide the flow of events toward best-case outcomes should fail, futuristic planning is in order — especially in light of the secession controversy that is going on in California. I have argued elsewhere that the constitutional case for disunion can be made. But that point would be disputed — to put it mildly — if the “Calexit” movement succeeds, and the movement is in flux. An earlier installment in this series broached the topic of a coming civil war. The bloodiest pages of history show that events can topple, quite suddenly at times, straight down to abysses of horror. Only fools would deny that this is so.

Could we save ourselves from such a fate? Would the threat of secession bring so many people to their senses — and back from the brink — that a change in our Constitution might be possible? A fundamental change through a package of constitutional amendments designed to ease the crisis? Stranger things have happened.

Some observers would stop right here in their analysis. They would shrink from any further speculation into prospects that no one can foresee. And yet . . . we might profit quite a lot from responsible attempts to think boldly, to “think the unthinkable.” Much better, perhaps, to consider some “unthinkable” ideas then to plunge on blindly into danger. So let’s proceed with the theme of disunion.

If secession should prove unavoidable, the change could still be a peaceful one — a point to emphasize. The threat of mass killing should surely make the need for a peaceful solution quite obvious — especially so if it permits our two antagonistic tribes to be rid of each other.

A no-fault separation.

If we find that nothing else can heal us, we may also discover that the strategy of disunion and rebuilding — accompanied by massive population shifts — may be impossible to prevent. Decade by decade, Americans may vote with their feet through emigration or dramatic relocation rather than submit to ways of life that they reject if their opponents try to force these situations upon them. Sophisticates, for instance, may begin to flee from “the heartland” and all that goes with it. Such migrations have played a fundamental role in the story of America — have they not?

It would take a long time for such events to play out — a very long time — and it would have to be our children or even their descendants who would make such choices later on.

Futuristic thinking along such lines might appear to be quixotic or even irresponsible, but consider: secession movements have also emerged in Quebec, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in some western Canadian provinces. If California were really to “exit,” the entire west coast might follow by the end of the twenty-first century. The idea of an independent republic in the Pacific Northwest has been broached many times in the course of our history. Such ideas are not out of the question.

The possibility of new experiments in nation-building should not be ruled out or laughed away. People may indeed choose to laugh, but we will never get to see who laughs last: historical developments have been fooling the smart alecks since time immemorial and no one can predict when that will happen.

Arrangements for cooperation between seceded states and a shrunken American Union — in matters of continental security, for instance — could be developed through intelligent treaties.

Evil must be faced, and we are all being hurried along into a future that we never foresaw. We must now turn our minds to the tasks that we believe to be our duty — to ourselves and the people we love. With intelligence and patience and audacity as needed, the best of us may prevail. Things could still go our way in due time.

And all may yet be well in our America.

by Richard Striner

Richard Striner, a professor of history at Washington College, is the author of many books including Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery and Lincoln’s Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power.





Pardons, threats, lies, misdirection, phony leaks, Pay attention people! This is a slow rolling Republican sanctioned Coup d’état

(They lost the popular vote by 3 million, but thanks to “Cross Check” voter suppression and Russian sabotage the Republicans now completely control the Government and seem ready for Trump to officially become its dictator.)TE

Misdirection: Trump attacks Post over report Sessions discussed campaign with ambassador

Donald Trump went on the offensive on Saturday morning, after the Washington Post reported that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, discussed Trump’s White House bid with the Russian ambassador to Washington in 2016.

The president did not defend Sessions, whom earlier this week he criticized strongly for his recusal from the Russia investigation. Instead, Trump complained about “illegal leaks” and demanded: “Why isn’t the AG or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?”

(Talk about fake news, now we have the media initially falling for this “so called leak” that actually was reported about months ago. Now being re-leaked by the White House) TE

The Post report cited US intelligence intercepts which contradict Sessions’ assurances that the campaign was not discussed. Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow he talked about campaign-related matters and significant policy issues during two meetings with Sessions, according to current and former US intelligence officials, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The ambassador’s accounts of the meetings, which US spy agencies intercepted, clash with those of Sessions and pile fresh pressure on the attorney general just days after the president publicly criticized him.

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted his anger.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 3:33 AM – 22 Jul 2017

A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!

Trump has complained that Comey, whom he fired in May, has leaked confidential information.

Trump also tweeted a complaint about the Post’s main rival:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  3:45 AM – 22 Jul 2017

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security

On Friday, Gen Raymond Thomas, head of Special Operations Command, blamed a “media leak” for one instance of Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, escaping capture or death.

Trump did not immediately follow up or expand his argument, instead tweeting about a speaking engagement in Norfolk, Virginia. He then tweeted a reference to reports, met with horror among Democrats, that White House advisers were exploring the possibility of presidential pardons.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  4:44 AM – 22 Jul 2017

“While all agree the US President has the complete power to pardon,” Trump wrote, “why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS.”

He added:

So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 4:47 AM – 22 Jul 2017

…What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.

 Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump  5:00 AM – 22 Jul 2017

My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!

Sessions, formerly a senator from Alabama, was a senior foreign policy adviser to Trump during the presidential race. After being tapped to run the justice department, he first failed to disclose his encounters with Kislyak and then said the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

The Post cited an unnamed US official who called Sessions’ statements “misleading” and “contradicted by other evidence”. An unnamed former official said the intelligence indicated Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for bilateral relations in a Trump administration, the paper reported.

The officials acknowledged that the ambassador could have mischaracterized the meetings in his briefings to Moscow.

The attorney general has repeatedly said he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was in his capacity as a senator, not a Trump surrogate, that he met Kislyak. “I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” he said in March.

The apparent discrepancy with Kislyak’s version of events capped a torrid week for Sessions. Trump said in an interview published on Wednesday that he regretted appointing him after Sessions recused himself from investigations into links with the Trump campaign and Russia.

The president, marking six months in office, appeared to be venting concern that the investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly expanding to include his business ties with Russia.

Sessions told reporters on Thursday that he would continue in his job “as long as that is appropriate”. He made no immediate response to the Post’s article on Friday.

However, in a statement, a justice department spokeswoman told the paper: “Obviously I cannot comment on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept that the Washington Post has not seen and that has not been provided to me.”

In a separate development on Friday, the Senate judiciary committee said that next week it would interview the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and his former campaign chief Paul Manafort behind closed doors rather than in public testimony, as originally planned.

Both men agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed prior to a public hearing, the committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, and its ranking member, Dianne Feinstein, said in a statement. “Therefore, we will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.”

(“Instead in an attempt at a big misdirection Grassley tried to replace them with GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson the research firm responsible for funding the bombshell Russia dossier. An attorney for Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson rejected a request to voluntarily appear before a Senate Judiciary hearing next week, citing Simpson’s vacation plans.”)  nice try TE

News from story in the Guardian –

The Mayor: Prayer Breakfasts in the morning….thievery as a public official during the day????

It appears as if in 2016, the (honorable?) Eureka Mayor Frank Jager was not only earning over $100,000 a year in PERS retirement and $15,000 a year from the County working as a deputy coroner/public “administrator of estates”, he couldn’t help himself from allegedly stealing from dead people thru the unethical practice of having his wife and himself purchasing property from deceased peoples estates at below market value.  We have a question for our very religious Mayor; what would Jesus do?  Certainly not what this ex-EPD “good ole boy” has done.  It is time for Mayor Jager to repent.  It is also time for some justice and for him to reap the consequences of this kind of low-life behavior and probably breaking the law.

This growing scandal is catching many of our local good ole boys by surprise. They thought sheriff Billy was going to handle it in the usual way, appoint the usual suspects to investigate one of their own then say basically “nothing to see here move along” sweeping all under the rug. Well as we posted about before…  (OOPS!) The DA invited the State Department of Justice in. For the most part, they don’t give a shit about the local good ole boys perceived right to line their pockets at the rest of our expense. Stay tuned to this story is going to get interesting especially if it starts coming out the tragic death of family members was followed by the looting of their estate

The rumors mill is reporting that Mayor Jager is for some reason feeling a sense of relief because the FBI has declined to investigate at this time.  However, from what we have heard the California Department of Justice is very interested in investigating the whole matter.

Take a deep breath Mayor Jager, it’s going to be quite a ride

New low after new low. If this is what “making America great” looks like, God help us.

So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like?

Russian nesting dolls Trump and Putin

This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putin, tweeted about what autocrats do when caught:

1: Deny, lie, slander accusers.

2: Say it was a misunderstanding.

3. Say ‘What are you going to do about it?

The day after that tweet, Donald Trump stood on a dais in Paris beside the French president and said of his son’s now-confirmed willingness to receive campaign help for his father from Russia: “I think it’s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.”

That would be jaw dropping and bizarre coming from a mob boss at his pretrial hearing, let alone from the president of the United States. But that line is now standard issue among much of Trump’s political party, which has come around to the notion that collusion with a foreign power—even an adversarial one like Russia—is no big deal.

Trump, his family, and his defenders in the once Grand Old Party have mounted various defenses for his campaign’s collusion with Russians and their cutouts to win the 2016 presidential election. They have tried to ignore Russiagate. They have said collusion with Russia never happened. They have blamed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Loretta Lynch (Trump now says the Russian government lawyer who met with Donald Jr. was only in the country because Lynch let her in. It will surprise no one to discover that’s not true.) And they have landed on the notion that even if collusion did happen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Check off all three of the Kasparov boxes.

With Trump’s ascension, the Russification of the Republican Party, which once supported apartheid-era South Africa and continues to back a Cuba embargo, both on the basis of keeping countries out of Russia’s sphere of influence, is complete. Trump, who in the 1980s complained that Ronald Reagan was too tough on the Soviets, and who has used Russians, including reputed mobsters, as everything from bailouts to buyers to brokers for the expansion of his hotel and pageant franchises, has officially brought kakistocracy to Washington. None but the most unmoored to any recognizable morality need apply. He has made fools of his own spokespeople. He has exposed the religious right’s leaders as very much men of this world, with all its hatred and avarice. He has unleashed the forces of white nationalism and even neo-Nazism in our country. And he has revealed an America that is far less than we thought we were eight years ago when the United States became the first former slave republic to make a member of its once entrapped minority population its national leader.

One wonders whether this democracy, as fragile as it has been revealed to be, and whether the presidency as an institution is entirely salvageable, now that Trump has exploded the norms we thought constrained the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Since becoming president, Trump has flouted the emoluments clause and openly profited from his office, taking payments from all comers, from the State Department to foreign governments at his golf courses, hotels and his private Florida club. He has encouraged his children to treat the White House as a marketing tool for the Trump businesses, and allowed them to commingle their business activities and ongoing involvement in his government. He has turned American foreign policy into a Santa’s workshop for Saudi and Russian interests and goals, from the needless fight with Qatar to pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords to attempting to return the Kremlin’s spy facilities, which the Obama administration seized in retaliation for Russian interference in our election, to giving Russian oligarchs direct financial interest in the Keystone pipeline boondoggle to having his administration lean on House members to soften a Russia sanctions package. (He even briefly floated the outrageous and absurd notion of cybersecurity cooperation with the Kremlin.) He has invited the Russian foreign ministry into the Oval Office out of the eye and earshot of the American media, who now are reduced to audio-only press briefings where they take a back seat to Trump sycophant right-wing blogs, and he has now canoodled with Putin himself, taking the murderous Russian autocrat’s word for it that no election meddling occurred.

Trump has made political thuggery the new American political standard; throwing allies overboard and cuddling up to dictators and autocrats around the world. He has diminished American influence and credibility every day he has been in office.

Meanwhile, he has stripped the presidency of its basic dignity, tweeting his every thought at all hours of the day. He presents America in his world travels as a troglodyte nation, led by an ill-mannered, ill-tempered, praise-needy buffoon—a real life Joffrey Baratheon—who still thinks he’s a television performer, and whose attention to duty lasts only as long as his favorite Fox shows aren’t on.

Domestically, he has thrown the country into chaos, from his Muslim travel bans to his utter incoherence on health care, which he and his party are threatening to strip from up to 23 million people so they can fork over a trillion dollars to America’s own oligarchs. Putin must be positively gleeful at the damage his little ruse—tricking the arrogant ignoramuses of the Trump campaign into believing Russian hackers had the goods on Hillary, and then reeling them in—has wrought.

And so, a political party that long prided itself on a particular kind of patriotism now welcomes foreign interference, so long as it helps them win. A nation that dragged itself, painfully, from slavery to the Voting Rights Act now faces a federal government that is the single biggest threat to the right of all people to vote. A country that stuck out its chest in promoting a particular kind of greatness now wallows in defunding public education, gutting scientific research, and promoting basic ignorance about the planet in the service of bygone industries belching pollution into the air and water, as if American innovation that could create new industries and new jobs for those displaced workers is no longer possible.

Meanwhile, our children are learning that bullies do indeed prosper; that cruelty and narcissism can be a pathway to power, that one of our two major parties believes the poor and struggling do not deserve health care, and that according to the president of the United States, women essentially have no value beyond their looks and dress sizes.

One wonders whether the presidency can recover, or whether we’re doomed to live in an endless cycle of lowbrow celebrity autocracy—America remade in the image of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.

Already, other entertainers are bellying up to the bar, eager to follow Trump’s grubby example and take their turn at political powerball. We could soon have a national leadership that includes The Rock, Kid Rock, and who knows, maybe Ted Nugent, now that white nationalism and public vulgarity have gone mainstream.

What hope is there for a country that has reduced itself to this? What future? For now, it’s hard to see a particularly bright one. If this is what making America great looks like, God help us when greatness ensues.

JOY-ANN REID in the Daily Beast