The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Trump: A Petulant, Spiteful, Incurious Ignoramus

    WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Sunday that he would remove Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who issued a stinging rebuke of the president when he announced his resignation last week, from his post by Jan. 1, two months before he had planned to depart.

    "One aide said that though Mr. Trump already had the resignation letter when he praised Mr. Mattis, he did not understand just how forceful a rejection of his strategy Mr. Mattis had issued."

    In other words, Trump was too self absorbed, too stupid and too lacking in curiosity or critical thinking to bother to read the resignation letter of his Secretary of Defense, and understand what it was saying. Until he heard Mattis had delivered criticism of him in the letter, likely on Trump's favorite Fox News, he had no interest, recognition or comprehension of what it said: exactly why Mattis was leaving.

    This is our President, the most powerful person on the planet.....

    Constant immeasurable sycophantic praise is his primary demand, and mission in life. Matched only by his pursuit of self enrichment, by any means available that he thinks he can get away with.  He is oriented like a laser beam to seek nothing but applause and adoration from wherever and whoever he can get it. Those of any stature, position, relation or responsibility who refuse to be toadies to his boundless ego are attacked, terminated, sued or payed off to keep them quiet.


    Trump is mentally ill. The Republican base still is willing to follow. We are screwed.

    Yes exactly. And I think this is the thing to always keep at the top of mind, while at any one time he might be serving Republican goals, the party can never be sure. He not only can't/won't read anything, he won't obey any party goals or handler or talking points. Recent reports are that he will no longer even listen to Ivanka and Jared. Further I doubt he reads scientific polls, he proceeds as if Fox and friends know the zeitgeist of his fans better.

    Bob Woodward in his book was trying to warn of the big picture: this is crazytown and the team in the White House is not really on board, just deluded that if they show themselves capable of handling a crazed toddler enough that he won't burn down the house, that it will burnish their resume as crazed toddler handler or something. Has a crazy logic, I guess to be able to say: I helped keep him from burning down the house. At the very least, one can make money off a tell-all book.

    Republicans will "abandon our allies"....they have abandoned US citizens, and have proven they will "break their word" to American citizens (repeal and replace, deficit "hawks" who blow up the deficit, want to demolish the safety net etc). So Stephens is whistling in the breeze with:

    The United States is about to abandon our allies to the tender mercies of thugs. We are breaking our word to those who helped us decimate the Islamic State. We are standing aside so that Erdogan, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and the Taliban can roll in, and ISIS can fight on.

    What do Republicans care about? What do they want? Money and power. Tax cuts for the rich and a Supreme Court that will hobble a progressive federal government.

    And enough senators to block the next Democratic president. Insured by the closed loop of Fox News/Hate radio propaganda empire and a vote white racist blame the liberals/immigrants.elite campaign strategy.

    Trump is packing the courts with toadies, John Roberts is the only barrier to a court that will approve anything the Republicans desire. Republicans hope for one or more of the older liberal judges to leave before 2021.

    If the economy goes into recession, or, suffers a severe crash, Republicans and the plutocrats whose bidding they do may be able to block economic recovery. Which will increase fear and hate, which is so easy for the GOP to use to exploit their base.

    Block or hamstring a federal assisted recovery, demand more tax cuts for the rich and cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare in exchange for just barely avoiding national bankruptcy. They don't want, ever, to give the impression (or provide the means or possibility) that the federal government can serve the people. Stage a great comeback in 2022 as they did in 2010 with the same old strategy of lies, racism, fear, "liberty" and hate.

    Stephens makes a good point that Trump has only a few ideas of the world that he locked into decades ago. I would add that such rigidity corresponds to the small menu of responses available to him when he tries to turn them into reality. What causes Trump's continual experience of disappointment with the selections offered by his foreign policy apparatus is that their options never correspond adequately with his menu. The gap between the two set of options does not arise from two different visions of strategy but rather from Trump's inability to think strategically. Nobody ever packed that Swiss Army knife into his haversack.

    Keeping this spectacular demonstration of the Peter Principle in mind, I will argue with the following statement by Stephens:

    Above all, he’s against “meddling,” whether it’s meddling in the affairs of others — or having others meddle in his. The Trump Doctrine is the doctrine of unaccountability.

    Trump has no problem with meddling in the sense of killing other people at will or threatening to do so. He has not objected to the use of drone strikes. There has not been any push back on the idea of proxy wars or supporting what allies such as Saudi Arabia do in Yemen. In all his rhetoric involving nuclear arms in relation to Iran, North Korea, and Russia, the only consistent theme is that the U.S. is able to maintain dominance and rain "unbelievable destruction."

    So, it is true that there is a "doctrine of unaccountability" in effect in terms of not working toward the benefit of other people unless they give him something in return. But since he is not able to conceive of transactions beyond sets of particular moments of quid pro quo, the strategic consequences of the approach are beyond his comprehension.

    Even Trump's most hawkish enablers, such as Bolton, understand that using force in a diminishing sphere of global influence still means allying with others to achieve outcomes that won't harm the U.S. Trump's cognitive limitations means that he will never grasp what Garri Hendell means when he explains that Deterrence is not a Tactical Task.


    Good points and interesting link.

    Trump's "menu" has one entry. What can I do for Donald Trump today and can I get away with it...?

    He meddles with truth, elections, laws, FBI investigations, allied nation's and city's domestic affairs, never with despots behaviors or policies. Bret is a bloviating GOP excusing BS artist, in the style of David Brooks.

    Trump will start a war if he thinks it helps Trump.

    Agreed on David and Bret going to the same kung fu classes; just pin the tail on any donkey heading into the desert. It is funny how the "accountability" part always happens while those guys are backstage rolling doobies.

    I also agree that the purpose is always about figuring out what helps Individual One. But he does use a finite number of techniques that never get proven wrong. When A doesn't work any longer, switch to B. When that hits the gutter, use C, etcetera.

    It is what makes him a stable genius.

    Rep Danny Heck discusses the finite menu in play:



    Thanks....the "menu":



    Play the victim

    Change the subject

    And the furloughed federal workers are now "Democrats"........

    Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump

    Have the Democrats finally realized that we desperately need Border Security and a Wall on the Southern Border. Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking,Gang Members & Criminals from coming into our Country. Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?

    Perfect example, look what he tweeted this morning after Mnuchin tried (rather ineptly in the opinion of many) to calm the markets regarding the damage of reports about what Trump was saying about the Fed:

    It's self-destructive behavior.


    Trump is the trusted authority for the Republican base. along with Fox News/Limbaugh.

    The Base believes whatever Trump and Murdoch tell them to believe, and they don't remember or care what was said yesterday.

    I think this is well said especially that major policy consequences are irrelevant to hiring, so they could be almost anything.

    Trump as a random policy generator: He hires based on who flatters best or the cut of the jib test (who looks right for the part); major policy consequences are irrelevant to hiring, so they could be almost anything.

    — Jonathan Bernstein (@jbview) December 24, 2018

    Just sharing what I think is a damn good graphic:


    All very interesting as to the selling of a demagogue:

    Helpful  discussion of "what to prepare for" as a big picture reminder:

    I just wish somehow someone could figure out how to manipulate him to resign,only because then all the prosecutions wouldn't horde all media air and only a smaller segment of the audience would be following what happens.He could play martyr and still rile up the fan base, so it wouldn't really be "free at last" of Trump, but it wouldn't have such a day-to-day hold on so many.

    good related point, wonder if it will work for her or not to "just do it" and ignore him now:


    FWIW, this is the #1 most popular story @ The Hill right now: Predictions: Trump goes, unexpected candidate emerges in 2019

    Opinion by John LeBoutillier, a former Republican congressman from New York, co-hosts “Revolution — The Podcast,” available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

    I think what that tells us: the headline is what their readership is hoping for!

    But also, it looks like he's got someone smart advising him what to tweet today:

    Trump on 2019: 'Calm down and enjoy the ride'

    @ - 01/01/19 08:33 AM EST

    OMG, just OMG (and I suspect Luntz is really going "OMG" too):

    but wait, there's more, along the lines of "all may not be what it seems"

    Great moments in media: Trump's team gives the Washington Examiner an "exclusive" list of 205 supposed "historic" accomplishments he will campaign on; the Examiner just publishes it in full; Trump tweets about it as if it came from the Examiner.

    — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 1, 2019

    Edit to add: Daniel Dale is really one to follow on decoding anything about Trump campaign tactics, as he took on the uneviable chore of live tweeting every Trump rally so other reporters on the beat didn't have to watch to cover the basics, he knows all of Trump's favorite memes and dog whistles like the back of his hand.

    this little video is actually an astounding piece of work:

    Love the last clip: "The truth is I am a very modest person."

    40% believe this fraud.  Cult of charismatic authority. This will not end well.

    Trump is running the country like a Trump business: bankrupt with tax cuts for himself and donors, close it down, stiff the employees of their wages.

    Trump is running the country like a Trump business: bankrupt with tax cuts for himself and donors, close it down, stiff the employees of their wages.

    This is the take home message. Trump is a grifter.

    Trump’s family are grifters

    Trump’s cabinet are grifters.

    His supporters know that they are being conned. They are willing to be in on the con to exact revenge on the the consider outsiders.

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