“I Alone Can Solve”
Jan 21 Post-Inaugural update: Well the #TrumpleThinSkin #Trumptocracy is now official. Over at Whitehouse.gov, they wasted no time in posting over-the-top Dear Leader glorifying of the Yugest, Biglyest, Bestest President ever.
Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story. Throughout his life he has continually set the standards of business and entrepreneurial excellence, especially with his interests in real estate, sports, and entertainment. Likewise, his entry into politics and public service resulted in the Presidential victory in, miraculously, his first ever run for office.
After graduating from the Wharton School of Finance, Mr. Trump followed in his father’s footsteps as a real estate developer, and he entered the world of real estate development in New York. The Trump signature soon became synonymous with the most prestigious of addresses in Manhattan and subsequently throughout the world. An accomplished author, Mr. Trump has authored over fourteen bestsellers and his first book, The Art of the Deal, in addition to being the #1 book of the year, is considered a business classic…
The poignant, incoherent, clinical insecurity of this man is something to behold. The remainder of his whitehouse.gov bio goes on to yet again recount how he heroically came from last place in the polls to kick every Republican ass in 2016 before whupping “Crooked Hillary” on November 8th.
Post-November 8th update: Well, Donald J. Trump is now the 45th U.S. President-elect. He assumes power with GOP majorities in both houses of Congress. He unapologetically says that his corruption and conflicts of interests were “priced into the election. People knew what they were getting.”
I first posted this back in April, with recurrent episodic updates.
Where’s the “Pre-Crimes Unit” when you need one?
Put aside the endless onslaught of reflexively arrogant, belligerent, and vulgar P.T. Barnum bombast. Forget the neurotic, tellingly insecure “The-Beautiful-Thing-About-Me-Is-I’m-REALLY-Rich” fixation, replete with gauche, ostentatiously cheesy gold-plated fixtures and escalators, and the “Finest Polished Marble.” Never mind the (made in China) monogrammed shirts and pastel silk ties, redolent of arriviste exhibitionist 60’s Manhattan throwback 4-Color Glossy tabloid “Style and Elegance.” Forget the creepy, objectifying, lecherous “Nice Tits,” “Down on Your Knees” sash, bikini, big hair, and spike heels misogyny. Forget that everyone who dares dispute Him is “A Loser,” “Weak,” “Stupid,” “A Moron,” “Disgusting,” “3rd-Rate,” “A Stiff,” “A Dope,” “A Low-Life” — someone to perhaps be the target of the latest 500 million dollar empty Trump lawsuit threat du jour.
Let pass the patently phony “I’m a Strong Evangelical” whose “favorite book” is “da BIBLE!” Forget the low-intellect Moths-To-The-Flame Totem comprising that stupidass Mexican Wall proposal. Forget the equally phony “I Have Many, Many Great Friends Here in ______________.” Forget the blindingly obvious time-worn boiler room grift M.O. of “Trump University®,” “Trump Network®,” “Trump Baja Ocean Resort®,” and “Trump Institute®.” Put aside that in the net worth ranking of world billionaires he’s a rounding error (Update: I’ve coined the hashtag “#BiglyFakeBillionaire”).
Forget his eye-rollingly fatuous “only rich people should be allowed to play golf.”
Forget that “maybe protestors should get roughed up.” “Maybe I’ll pay the [attackers’] legal expenses.”
Forget that “women must be punished” (well, uh, maybe not, at least until after Wisconsin).
Put aside all of that, along with the the rest of the maudlin, panoramic accruing expanse of its kindred lowbrow, cognitive-pollution Time Share Closer bullshit (see, btw, Harry Frankfurt’s instructive book “On Bullshit”).
Focus on, remember, and act against the truly important stuff.
Call them our Pre-Crimes Portents.
He’s dog-whistling war crimes. Without much subtlety, as is his style.
Our chronic domestic discord aside, in the face of a maddeningly complex, irredicibly dangerous, and all-too-requently corrupt world of international geopolitics comprised of ~7.4 billion contending people, Donald J. Trump proposes that we simply ignore or explicitly abrogate myriad inconvenient international obligations (akin to the way he has long viewed his multiple corporate bankruptcies as expedient “smart strategic defaults”); he would have us abandon NATO (an Inaugural Ball gift to Vladimir?). He would have us part company with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. He claims that 23% of humanity — Islam — “hates us” and should be banned from the U.S.
And — “wink, wink” — perhaps nuked.
Donald Trump would also apparently be OK with the Koreas and Japan all going nuclear. Were a war to break out, he simply says during a Rothschild, Wisconsin GOP primary rally “If it happens, it happens. Good luck. Enjoy yourselves.”
(None of which, it has to be noted, is to imply that all of our “allied” international relations are just fine. We all know that’s not the case.)
Because of the atrocities committed by ISIS, Donald Trump would have us abandon the Geneva Conventions. Y’see, we simply have to race to the moral bottom, given the tactical inconvenience imposed by long-established legal norms of civilized behavior. We have to employ “waterboarding, and a hell of a lot worse.” Tit for tat.
July 2, 2016 update:
We have to “Win.” At whatever. At any cost. Even that of advocating torture and genocide.
Five percent of humanity shall dictate the Terms of the Deal to the other 95%, thank you.
oderint dum metuant. “Let them hate so long as they fear.”
“[O]nce [Trump] vanquishes all his rivals everyone will fear him and do his bidding. In other words, if you win you can get away with anything. That is his definition of leadership.” — Heather Digby Parton
You’ve heard of “Freddie Kruger?” Donald J. Trump is Dunning Kruger (Google it) — blissfully unaware of how little he knows, the walking, talking personification of Rumsfeld’s “Unknown Unknowns.” Supremely confident that he knows it all, with his hair-trigger Twitter bandolier ever at the 24/7 ready against all who would dare question him.
In what does Donald J. Trump truly believe (besides, clinically, in that of his own Greatness)? That you even have to ask the question at this point illustrates the problem. In the wake of his by now tiresomely repetitious tactical “wink-wink” dog-whistling toward the basest and unreflectively angriest elements of the national psyche, it becomes apparent that Trump’s cardinal ethos is “Whatever It Takes to Get Over, to Seal the Deal.” Life is the Art of Winning at the Zero-Sum Game. Whatever it takes to Seal the Deal. If you’re not the “Winner,” you’re a “Loser.”
But, (wink, wink) he doesn’t really believe any of this crap, and, once elected, he’ll be the Soul of Elegant & Stylish (of course), Gracious Diplomacy, Reasonableness, Consensus, and Nuance. The irony should be noted that such elements of “civility” are among the ostensible character qualities of his uniformly “weak” political rivals that he has never passed up an opportunity to excoriate in military prep school locker room towel-snapping fashion.
But, again, Trump doesn’t actually believe any of his ad nauseum juvie tripe. Ya gotta work the refs, that’s all. Just Show Biz, that’s all. Hinting at ordering war crimes as President? Just kidding. Perhaps.
Not too long ago, we had a President who thought the ends justified the means, and that it was tactically useful to keep other world leaders guessing as to whether he was in fact unstable and might just do something irremediably crazy.
His name was Richard Nixon.
It did not end well. For him, that time.
Even more recently, we had a President who, in the wake of the outrage of 9/11/2001, also thought the exigent ends justified the means, and that it was tactically expedient and proper to overthrow a a nation that had not attacked us and to thereafter suborn torture.
That did not end well for any of us. ISIS has its “Founding Fathers” as well.
Well, those there then, this is now. It is not 2054, it is 2016, and the closest things we have to “Pre-Crimes Units” are the GOP Presidential Nominating Convention and the general election — should the latter become our last line of defense against the narcissistic, dangerously ignorant lunatic known as Donald J. Trump.
PS, see my Twitter series “Your Daily Donald™”
“From his career in New York real estate to his extraordinary campaign for the White House, the court of Donald Trump has operated much like that of Louis XIV of France: everything revolves around the imperious, bouffanted Sun King.
“He is a total narcissist, and what you see here is the way he’s always been,” said a source intimately familiar with Trump’s way of working, who declined to be identified criticising a potential president. “This, between you and me, will be the destruction of the United States.”
The band of loyalists surrounding the property developer and television host have frequently shown themselves to be uncouth, combative and ignorant about the mechanics of American politics — rather like the unorthodox candidate they call their boss.
But as Trump inches closer toward the Republican party’s presidential nomination, the prospect is growing that those in his orbit could soon have their hands on the levers controlling the world’s richest economy and a military of unparalleled might…”
AUGUST 9TH UPDATE
Well, Trump just channeled his Inner Sharron Angle.
“If she gets to pick her judges ― nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.”
Dog-whistling war crimes, and now the political assassination of his rival. Unreal.
How about this little nugget?
“Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.”
— Omarosa Manigault,former “Apprentice” contestant and current Trump campaign surrogate.
SEPTEMBER 17th UPDATE
First, this gem from Sept. 16th:
He went on later that day to assert that Hillary Clinton’s security detail should “disarm, lay down their arms. See what happens to her.”
Recall his prior scurrilous remarks?
Next, apropos of the riff with which I begain this post. Former Republican Defense Secretary Robert Gates, OpEd in the Wall Street Journal:
When it comes to credibility problems … Donald Trump is in a league of his own. He has expressed support for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico; for torturing suspected terrorists and killing their families; for Mr. Putin’s dictatorial leadership and for Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent successes against terrorism. He also has said he is for using defense spending by NATO allies as the litmus test on whether the U.S. will keep its treaty commitments to them; for withdrawing U.S. troops from Europe, South Korea and Japan and for the latter two developing nuclear weapons — a highly destabilizing prospect.
Mr. Trump has been cavalier about the use of nuclear weapons. He has a record of insults to servicemen, their families and the military, which he called a “disaster.” He has declared our senior military leaders “reduced to rubble” and “embarrassing our country” and has suggested that, if elected, he will purge them — an unprecedented and unconscionable threat. As of late, he appears to be rethinking some of these positions but he has yet to learn that when a president shoots off his mouth, there are no do-overs.
Mr. Trump is also willfully ignorant about the rest of the world, about our military and its capabilities, and about government itself. He disdains expertise and experience while touting his own — such as his claim that he knows more about ISIS than America’s generals. He has no clue about the difference between negotiating a business deal and negotiating with sovereign nations.
All of the presidents I served were strong personalities with strongly held views about the world. But each surrounded himself with independent-minded, knowledgeable and experienced advisers who would tell the president what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. Sometimes presidents would take their advice, sometimes not. But they always listened.
The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone. In domestic affairs, there are many checks on what a president can do; in national security there are few constraints. A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America…
Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief.
“The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers.”
UPDATE: Below, the Oppo Research October Surprise, pre-2nd debate.
My Facebook observation during the 2nd “debate.”
[D]uring the second presidential debate, Donald Trump unequivocally denied that he did any of the unwanted advances / pussy-groping things that he SAID he did in the now infamous Billy Bush video and audio. “It was just talk.” “Just locker room banter.”
OK, Trump supporters, you are now all satisfied with that. Which means that you are comfortable with a President who just casually lies about stuff if it serves his purpose. The very same asserted character flaw quality you hold against Hillary Clinton.
Well, we’ve cleared that up.
We may be about to embark on a very dark and dangerous time. Beyond his immediate post-election policy waffles du jour, Mr. Trump’s initial cabinet and senior staff nominations to not exactly inspire confidence.
DECEMBER TRUMP TORTURE UPDATE
Now, Trump tells us that his Defense Secretary nominee General “Mad Dog” Mattis told him, to his utter surprise, that “a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers work better” than torture.
Okee Dokee. So, maybe he won’t order torture after all.
In late 1973 or early 1974, [Daniel Kahneman] gave a talk, which he would deliver more than once, and which he called “Cognitive Limitations and Public Decision Making.” It was troubling to consider, he began, “an organism equipped with an affective and hormonal system not much different from that of the jungle rat being given the ability to destroy every living thing by pushing a few buttons.” Given the work on human judgment that he and [Amos Tversky] had just finished, he found it further troubling to think that “crucial decisions are made, today as thousands of years ago, in terms of the intuitive guesses and preferences of a few men in positions of authority.” The failure of decision makers to grapple with the inner workings of their own minds, and their desire to indulge their gut feelings, made it “quite likely that the fate of entire societies may be sealed by a series of avoidable mistakes committed by their leaders.”
Michael Lewis (2016–12–06). The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds (Kindle Locations 3316–3322). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.