Wednesday, January 18, 2017

IS it Time for the News Media to Ditch Trump Press Conferences

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign the mainstream media provided Donald Trump with free coverage and actively aided in spreading his calls to racism and his outright lies.  Trump's press conference last week was another performance that continued the lies and attacks on the media - indeed, anyone that challenges Trump's dishonest and self-centered agenda. Perhaps the best ting responsible journalist can do is skip the press conferences - assuming Trump has them at all - and simply report on the damage the man is doing and the extremism of a number of his nominees (e.g., Betsy DeVos).  For a narcissist like Trump, few things would hit him harder than simply being ignored.  A piece in Daily Kos argues that the media needs to cease providing Trump with a platform and focus instead on factual news. Here are column highlights:
On the heels of Donald Trump's extraordinarily combative news conference last week came word over the weekend that the incoming administration might relocate the press corps outside of the White House's West Wing.
News outlets, understandably rattled, are searching for traction in a post-fact world so slippery that Trump has turned the term "fake news" against them. The New York Times's Jim Rutenberg deftly diagnosed the problem:
The news media remains an unwitting accomplice in its own diminishment as it fails to get a handle on how to cover this new and wholly unprecedented president.
However, his prescription for White House reporters didn't even come close to reimagining how to approach covering Trump’s presidency. "A united front would have given the reporters stronger footing," he wrote of the melee that broke out during Trump’s press conference. I agree with the sentiment, but as someone who values good reporting and also attended White House briefings for a couple years, I would like to pose something a bit more radical to mainstream new outlets: Why even send reporters to Trump press conferences?
Trump, while a totally repugnant human being, is a master manipulator. The press conferences are sheer sport for him and by continuing to engage in them, reporters are simply setting themselves up as targets on his terrain. A president already has an unfair advantage in the very controlled setting of a presser. The two premises that help level the playing field for reporters when cross examining any president are: 1) that facts matter, and 2) that serving the American people is primary to a president’s own self interests.
Since neither of those two things hold true for Trump, press conferences will be rendered useless for the next four years. They will be nothing but misinformation forums in which Trump spreads lies and feeds his ego by berating and belittling any reporter who asks him a question he doesn't like.
[W]ith a clear sociopath at the helm, leveling shame and guilt will be a little like taking fly swatters to the 800-pound gorilla in the room. . . . the people behind the podium have to buy into the premise that they are there to serve the voters. There has been absolutely no indication—either at the White House or on Capitol Hill—that Republicans believe there should be any check whatsoever on their power. Least of all, a check provided by reporters. 
Here's what a presser would look like [if the mainstream media stayed away]: Breitbart, Infowars, and World Net Daily representatives duking it out to ask Trump or his minion Sean Spicer some eye-popping questions. Talk about must-see reality TV. No joke—this could do a world of good. It would both deprive Trump of the contentious interactions he thrives on, and/or prove deeply revealing to everyone other than the 35-40 percent of Trump followers who are still hoping he guns someone down on 5th Avenue (i.e. sane viewers).
As for what news outlets could do besides be witnesses to a slaughter: They can either go the way of Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, doggedly reporting around Trump rather than trying to report through him. 
Or they could make an honest effort to pour resources into hiring local reporters in order to publicize all the ways in which Trump and Republicans will surely fail voters—even and especially those who voted for them. When coal jobs don't come back, give miners a voice. When millions of Trump voters lose their health insurance, give the uninsured a voice. When the elderly start seeing changes in their Social Security benefits, give them a voice. . . . . how about picking 25 swing districts where GOP congressional members will be particularly vulnerable in the 2018 midterms?
For national reporters and editors, this idea of boycotting Trump news conferences is going to sound radical (even if it doesn't to readers of this site). But the goal isn’t to stop covering Trump, it’s to cover him in ways that don’t distort and serve as a distraction to the truth.
 Weak calls for “solidarity,” even if they get a buy in from members of the press, won't provide any protection against a White House that has no ability or interest to act in good faith. 
I believe that Kerry Eleveld is onto something.  Would that the press would follow this suggestion.
 

Betsy DeVos Is A Dangerous Threat to LGBTQ Equality


The 2016 presidential election was one of the most decisive in history.  Perhaps only the election of 1860 caused as many breaks in friendships and family ties.  What is frightening to me is the manner in which Donald Trump - always Der Fuhrer in my mind - sold his soul (assuming he even has one) to a who's who of Christofascist leaders s in order to cause them to turn out the evangelical vote on November 8, 2016.  Now, the Christofascists are calling in the chips in the form of Trump's cabinet nominees, many of whom are the most extreme imaginable.  A case in point is billionaire homophobe and anti-public school zealot Betsy DeVos whom Der Fuhrer has nominated to be Secretary of Education.  Blogger friend and and radio personality Michelangelo Signorile lays out in the Huffington Post the threat that Devos poses to LGBT students and public education in general.  here are excerpts:
“It is unfathomable that the next Secretary of Education would oppose basic protections for LGBT students and roll back the progress we have made to ensure all students feel safe and supported in our schools,” Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), an openly gay House member, said in a statement last week about Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, the Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos. “Ms. DeVos’ history of opposing equality for LGBT individuals is deeply troubling, and the public deserves to know whether she will work with us to improve lives or continue to advocate an extremist agenda that bullies our students.”
DeVos is not just someone who has opposed marriage equality in the past, like many people, Democrat and Republican, or who differs on particular policies or laws. She is a hardened anti-LGBTQ crusader, a member of a family that has devoted itself ― by donating tens of millions of dollars ― to fighting the rights of queer people. DeVos is a religious zealot who spoke about using public education to “advance God’s Kingdom.” She doesn’t belong in a government job in which separation of church and state is crucial, and one which over the past eight years has been critical to the safety and educational experience of LGBTQ students.
Amid reports in recent years of what seemed like an epidemic of suicides of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, the Obama administration worked with advocates for queer youth to fight the bullying in schools that often leads to students taking their own lives.
And last year, the administration issued guidance on the treatment of transgender students with regard to public facilities, something which conservatives challenged in court ― a challenge that is still pending, with the Obama administration fighting it during the last days of the administration and which is uncertain under a Trump administration.
Will DeVos continue these programs and advance further desperately needed policies toward LGBTQ equality? Both her record and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence’s own words in a radio interview with evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson during the election campaign would suggest not. Pence said he and Trump plan to withdraw federal guidance to the states issued by the Obama administration protecting transgender students.
And since 1998, DeVos and her family’s foundations have donated at least $6.1 million to Focus on the Family, which has fought rights for LGBTQ people, promotes “conversion therapy,” and deems transgender people as “mentally ill.” Focus on the Family also opposes the very anti-bullying programs that the Education Department has developed, and opposes workplace protections for LGBTQ people (like those included in an executive order President Obama signed banning discrimination among federal contractors).
The DeVos family also contributed $500,000 to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. And DeVos and her husband Richard personally contributed to a successful effort to ban marriage equality in Michigan’s constitution.
[U]nless she disavows them and claims to have had a miraculous transformation, it’s impossible to imagine how this individual who has championed school vouchers and private, Christian schools could fairly guide the nation’s public education system, where LGBTQ students are often under attack and need the protections of the federal government.
As I wrote at the very beginning of the Trump transition, with evangelical, anti-LGBTQ Pence in charge of the transition, the Trump cabinet picks are a who’s who of homophobia and transphobia, as evangelical groups like the Family Research Council are getting paid off for their support. It looks like a pack wolves ready to rip apart rights for LGBTQ people. And Besty DeVos is among the leaders of the pack.
In some ways, Betsy DeVos is just as extreme as Islamic fundamentalist who seek to force their religious beliefs on all of society.  Indeed, in DeVos' mind freedom of religion translates to her right to inflict her ignorance embracing, and homophobic believes on all without opposition or criticism. 

Trump is Following the Authoritarian/Fascist Playbook


New York University history professor, Ruth Ben-Ghiat ,whose most recent book looks at fascism in Italy in the 1920-1930's has an op-ed at CNN that notes some dangerous aspects about Donald Trump (a/k/a, Der Fuhrer on this blog).  As she notes in the op-ed, she has spent decades studying authoritarian and fascist regimes and disturbingly sees in Trump a deeply familiar figure based on her studies: the strongman who cultivates a bond with followers based on loyalty to him as a person rather than to a party or set of principles.  What is distressing to me is the inability - deliberate refusal might be a better description - of many Americans to recognize the danger signs that Trump has been exhibiting for many years before he launched his presidential campaign.  Whether one voted for Trump or against him, her op-ed should be required reading.  History can and does repeat itself unless we oppose it.  Here are op-ed highlights:
In less than a week, America will embark on a new political experience: rule by an authoritarian President. Donald Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million. So, for every American who looks forward to the Trump era, there is likely another who fears he will lead us into ruin.
What can we expect from Donald Trump, based on his words and actions over the 19 months since he declared his candidacy?
Many Americans were initially confused by Trump and his unorthodox behavior, or dismissed him as a joke. I have spent decades studying authoritarian and fascist regimes and saw in Trump a deeply familiar figure: the strongman who cultivates a bond with followers based on loyalty to him as a person rather than to a party or set of principles.
Such individuals inevitably seek to adapt the political office they inhabit to serve their needs. They are clear from the start about this intention, refusing to submit to shared customs and norms -- such as releasing tax returns -- that would mean they were submitting to the will of the political class. Anyone who believes that Trump will morph into anything resembling a traditional politician will be sorely disappointed. Authoritarians never pivot.
 He has been open and unconcerned about his most provocative character traits -- his penchant for aggression and for serial untruths -- from the start of his campaign. Two years ago, he boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters -- and voters still rewarded him with the GOP nomination and the presidency. What incentive does he have to change now?
Trump has followed the authoritarian playbook in targeting the media. And once in power he's very likely to step up his attempts at intimidation.
Strongmen show aggression to the press as part of a slow-drip strategy of discrediting all information that is not dispensed by their close allies. Many were surprised at Trump's rude treatment of CNN at his recent press conference. Calling the media outlet "fake news," he refused to allow reporter Jim Acosta to ask a question. This was classic authoritarian posturing.
Trump was delivering a lesson: anyone, no matter how powerful, can be humiliated and deprived of access if they displease him. No wonder Trump's Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised him for putting Acosta "in his place."
We can hope that Trump does not follow Erdogan's criminalization of the media (thousands of Turkish journalists have been arrested). But recall the fencing-off of journalists at Trump's campaign rallies and his incitement of the crowd to treat them in a hostile manner. This does not bode well. The media must push back strongly now or pay a heavy price later.
Strongmen also target the judiciary, since it stands in the way of their "reforms" that often veer into extra-legality. Those with a history of legal troubles can be particularly focused on this sector. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose conflicts of interest and legal involvements were so numerous that they have their own Wikipedia pages, spent enormous energy attacking the Italian judiciary.
So look forward to Trump administration efforts to tar individual judges who seem to block the fulfillment of GOP agendas or interfere with Trump's personal interests.
One more thing: Authoritarians love to think they are making history, and never hesitate to rewrite the past to suit their political agendas. Trump's use of racism as a campaign tool laid the foundations for what will be a concerted effort to delegitimize the history of civil rights struggles in our country.
Trump often levies tweet-attacks on those who criticize him, but his denigration of Representative John Lewis on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend sends a message that he intends to fulfill promises to his white voters to try and reverse the course of racial emancipation.
"Be courageous or be complicit," Representative Cedric Richmond recently stated in his testimony against Senator Jeff Sessions. The Trump administration promises to test that wisdom.
Each of us can stand our ground in our own way, but the lessons that come to us from a century of authoritarian rule around the world -- and the civil rights movement in America -- meet up in one phrase: Do not lose hope. Do not hide away. Be visible and be heard, on the street and in phone calls to your elected officials.
Some of us have taken our freedoms for granted. We now have a reason to value them all the more. We also have a chance to decide what side of history we want to be on. 

Yes, many "friends" who voted for Trump do not want to admit that they made a huge mistake.  At some point in the near future, however, I suspect they will have to decide if they will stand with fascism or with the U.S. Constitution. Personally, I have no intention to act like a 1933 German who through inaction and/or active support of the reprehensible helped to elevate the Nazi regime. 

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

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The Right's Perversion of "Religious Freedom"


Nowadays, the Republican and Christofascist view of "religious freedom" equates to the Christofascists being allowed to force their beliefs on all of society or, if that fails, then being to use claimed religious belief to ignore laws that they don't like and to discriminate against other citizens at will.   Perhaps the most ominous example of this effort to stamp out the religious freedom of others is the farcically entitled "First Amendment Protection Act" which Congressional Republicans have promised to pass and which Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Fuhrer, has promised to sign.  If this act becomes law Christofascists - including corporations and businesses run by them and even medical providers - will granted license to discriminate against LGBT citizens and those who do not subscribe to Christofascists religious belief on abortion, contraception and cohabitation.  Frighteningly, most Americans are not even paying attention. I suspect many believe the act only attacks the LGBT community and, therefore are indifferent.  The act, however, goes much further and rather than protecting the First Amendment seeks to undermine and destroy it.  Here are highlights from a piece in Salon that looks at this insidious and dangerous agenda of the GOP and Christofascists: 
Forget the “War on Christmas.” Although far less known to the general public, Religious Freedom Day, which falls on Jan. 16 — coinciding this year with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance — has become one of America’s most-contested commemorative days. In most ways that’s a good thing, because of the need to shed light on what’s at stake: the very foundations of our most cherished freedoms.
Since 1992, Religious Freedom Day publicly celebrates the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 and passed into law by his protégé, James Madison, in 1786. It disestablished the state power of the Anglican Church, and ensured religious freedom for all.
For Jefferson, and progressives today, the statute — which paved the way for the First Amendment — was a revolutionary break with theocratic rule, a fundamental precondition for all the freedoms we enjoy today, or are still struggling to secure.  Jefferson saw it as a crowning lifetime achievement, so important it is inscribed on his tombstone.
But for the Christian right, “religious freedom” means almost exactly the opposite: the “freedom” to impose their will on everyone else, precisely the sort of power over others that Jefferson fought so hard against.
The religious right has been organizing intensively around its Orwellian redefinition of the term since the beginning of the Obama era. It was laid out in detail in a report by Frederick Clarkson of Political Research Associates, entitled  “When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right.” I summarized that report last year:
The title highlights a key aspect of the religious right’s long-term strategy, taking the time-honored principle of religious exemption, intended to protect the individual right of conscience, and expanding it recklessly to apply to whole institutions, even for-profit businesses — as seen in the Supreme Court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, in a process designed to fragment the common public sphere and carve out vast segments of American life where civil rights, labor law and other core protections simply do not apply.
This strategy was kicked into high gear back in 2009 with the “Manhattan Declaration,” a widely endorsed manifesto linking “freedom of religion” specifically to “sanctity of life” and “dignity of marriage,” which religious progressives are just beginning to effectively counter-organize against.
As recently as the 1980s, Christian Right activists defended racial segregation by claiming that restrictions on their ability to discriminate violated their First Amendment right to religious freedom. …
Instead of African Americans being discriminated against by Bob Jones, the university argued it was the party being discriminated against in being prevented from executing its First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court disagreed.
“Six months after authoring the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson joined with several others in January 1777 to discuss what would later become the Virginia statute,” Clarkson said. “It was an urgent committee meeting because the success of the Revolution depended in part on the cobbling together of a coalition of stakeholders, and religious dissenters of Virginia —the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists — were necessary if there would be any chance of defeating what was at the time the greatest military power in the history of the world.”
If that sounds eerily familiar, there’s a good reason. As with the Democratic Party of today, the popular foundation of the American revolution came from a diverse array of socially subjugated out-groups. But they weren’t brought together through quid-pro-quo backroom deals, they were brought together with a liberationist vision.
“Attendance at an Anglican church on Sunday was compulsory,” Clarkson explained. “Failure to attend was one of the most prosecuted crimes in colonial Virginia in the years before the revolution.” Legally, members of local Anglican church vestries “were also empowered to report crimes like heresy and blasphemy to local grand juries. Violators were dealt with harshly,” But that’s not all. “Baptists were often victims of vigilante violence,” since practicing their faith made them publicly vulnerable.
“This was all in recent memory of such abuses that helped to create the political moment that made Virginia the first government in the history of the world to self-impose complete religious freedom and equality. This actually effectively disestablished the Anglican church as the state church of Virginia, curtailing its extraordinary powers and privileges. It also decreed that citizens were  free to believe as they will, and that this — and this is the key phrase in the legislation — that ‘this shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.’ Put another way, one’s religious identity was irrelevant to one’s standing as a citizen.”
The same political situation Jefferson dealt with in Virginia was replicated throughout colonial America, and persisted through the formation of the United States, bringing other leaders to embrace a similar outlook as well. Case in point: George Washington.
In part, Washington wrote: The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.
The strongest opposition to it came from those who opposed the Revolution, the Anglican establishment and their supporters, whose power and influence were greatly diminished as the new nation formed.
Though that opposition persists to this very day, it has never regained anything like the power it had previously had, prior to the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This is the true history of religious freedom in America. It’s not a battle between the godly and the heathen, but between the tolerant and the intolerant, the inclusive and exclusive, the forward-looking and the backward-looking. But it takes an accurate look backward to see the true way forward. 

Is the Pope Doing Almost Nothing to Halt Predator Priests?

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We regularly see members of the Catholic Church hierarchy feigning contrition over the worldwide sex abuse scandal that was added and abetted by the Church hierarchy for many decades if not centuries.  Despite the rivers of crocodile tears, sex abuse suits continue to be filed, the Church continues to oppose compensating victims tooth and claw, and judgments are entered every passing month against dioceses that closed their eyes to abuse and mere shuffled predator priest off to new, unsuspecting parishes. Meanwhile, of course, Pope Francis and the rest of the upper Church hierarchy continues a jihad against normal, non-predator gays and same sex marriage.  Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, who has written past exposes of the Church, in a new book accuses Pope Francis of doing “close to nothing” to stop clerical sexual abuse in Italy and around the world despite his protestations that he has zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children and youths.  The Guardian looks at Fittipaldi's charges against Pope Francis.  Here are excerpts:
The last time Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote an exposé about corruption at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, it landed him in a Vatican court facing a possible jail sentence on charges that he had illegally obtained confidential church papers in the course of his reporting.
Now, six months after the 42-year-old reporter was cleared of all charges, Fittipaldi is taking on the church again. This time in a new book that accuses Pope Francis of doing “close to nothing” to stop clerical sexual abuse in Italy and around the world, despite the Argentinean pope’s frequent assertions that he has zero tolerance for the abuse of children or those who protect abusers.
In Lussuria (Lust), which will be released in Italian by publisher Feltrinelli on Thursday, Fittipaldi methodically pores over court documents and cites interviews with priests and judicial officials to paint a damning picture of the first three years of Francis’s papacy. Fittipaldi claims that 1,200 plausible complaints of molestation against boys and girls from around the world have been brought to the Vatican’s attention in that period. In some of the twenty cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in Italy in 2016, Fittipaldi writes, priests have been convicted of abuse without the church taking any canonical action against them.
Fittipaldi also devotes attention to the case of Australian cardinal George Pell, who was appointed by Francis to reform church finances and has remained in that senior position despite questions over whether Pell protected serial abusers in his archdiocese in Australia decades ago.
Francis, who did not accept Pell’s resignation in June when the Australian cardinal reached retirement age, has declined to pass judgement on him. When he was asked by reporters about a separate abuse investigation into Pell by Victoria state police the pope said “justice has to take its course”. Last November, Francis did however decide not to renew Pell’s membership in a Vatican office that handles the church’s liturgical practice. He was one of several traditionalists whose membership was not renewed.
“The principle message of the book – the problem – is that the phenomenon of paedophilia is not being fought with sufficient force. Across the world, the church continues to protect the privacy of the paedophiles and also the cardinals [who protect them],” Fittipaldi said in an interview with the Guardian.
“Francis is not directly defending the paedophiles, but he did close to nothing to contrast the phenomenon of paedophilia,” he added.
The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment on the book or the assertion that Francis has not done enough to tackle abuse.
Fittipaldi alleges that under Francis’s watch, priests who practice omertà – a term that refers to a code of silence, usually by the mafia – have been favoured by the church.
Among other incidents, Lussuria delves into the case of Mauro Inzoli, a priest who was nicknamed “Don Mercedes” for his rich taste. Inzoli was found guilty of molesting children in 2012 by the church body that examines such cases and was defrocked by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict. But in 2014, under Francis, Inzoli’s punishment was softened and he was able to return to the clergy under limited conditions, and to enjoy a life of “humility and prayer”. In the meantime, civil authorities in Italy prosecuted him and last year he was convicted of abuse. At the time of his conviction, a judge criticised the Holy See for not turning over evidence in the case.
Fittipaldi was working on Lussuria during his trial for illegally obtaining secret documents. Speaking to the Guardian, he recalled:“It was ironic to be there, during the trial. I was thinking that many priests and bishops and cardinal were involved in sexual abuse and the Vatican does nothing. They preferred going after journalists.” 
In short, since the Boston Globe first exposed the rampant sexual abuse by priests in 2002, the reality is that very little has changed.  Would that the media and politicians would wake up to this fact.

Rejecting Donald Trump is an Act of Patriotism


This evening I ran into a "friend" who voted for Donald Trump who asked me if I was going to be going to the inauguration on Friday.  My response was that I would sooner slit my wrists.   Since the Vietnam War era I have always believed that rather than fall into the mindlessness of the "America Right or Wrong" crowd, true patriotism involves standing up for principle and demanding that America live up to its ideals and that the Constitution be defended.  Now, faced with an incoming president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, exhibits contempt fort conflict of interest rules, and seeks only to satiate his voracious ego, it is more important than every to stand up for America and the ideals of equality and equal justice under the laws. A column in the New York Times argues that resisting Donald Trump as Congressman John Lewis has done and refusing to recognize him as a legitimate president is an act of patriotism.  The far right will shriek and scream, yet they had no problem striving for 8 years to legitimize Barack Obama which merely underscores their hypocrisy.  Here are column excerpts:
[L]et’s ask whether Mr. Lewis was right to say what he said. Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s an act of patriotism.
By any reasonable standard, the 2016 election was deeply tainted. It wasn’t just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf; Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadn’t conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote. This was grotesque, delegitimizing malfeasance, especially in contrast with the agency’s refusal to discuss the Russia connection.
Was there even more to it? Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true? We don’t know, although Mr. Trump’s creepy obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin makes it hard to dismiss these allegations. Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title. So why shouldn’t we question his legitimacy?
And talking frankly about how Mr. Trump gained power isn’t just about truth-telling. It may also help to limit that power.
It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility, of realizing that his duty to the nation requires showing some respect for the strong majority of Americans who voted against him despite Russian meddling and the F.B.I.’s disinformation dump. But he hasn’t and won’t.
Instead, he’s lashing out at and threatening anyone and everyone who criticizes him, while refusing even to admit that he lost the popular vote. And he’s surrounding himself with people who share his contempt for everything that is best in America. What we’re looking at, all too obviously, is an American kakistocracy — rule by the worst.
What this means is that Mr. Trump must not be treated with personal deference simply because of the position he has managed to seize. He must not be granted the use of the White House as a bully pulpit. He must not be allowed to cloak himself in the majesty of office. Given what we know about this guy’s character, it’s all too clear that granting him unearned respect will just empower him to behave badly.
And reminding people how he got where he is will be an important tool in preventing him from gaining respect he doesn’t deserve. Remember, saying that the election was tainted isn’t a smear or a wild conspiracy theory; it’s simply the truth.
Now, anyone questioning Mr. Trump’s legitimacy will be accused of being unpatriotic — because that’s what people on the right always say about anyone who criticizes a Republican president. (Strangely, they don’t say this about attacks on Democratic presidents.) But patriotism means standing up for your country’s values, not pledging personal allegiance to Dear Leader.
No, we shouldn’t get into the habit of delegitimizing election results we don’t like. But this time really is exceptional, and needs to be treated that way.  
I agree. #NotMyPresident.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1