The Watering Hole; Thursday May 12 2016; Trump Summarized

He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign . . .

Those are Emily Dickinson’s words from roughly 150 yrs ago, but when one reads them today, it’s a really good trick to not find oneself immediately ‘thinking’ about Donald Trump. Perfect summation, I’d say; brief, but amazingly cogent and accurate.

Meanwhile, I’ve more or less analyzed the situation as it’s been presented, and have come up with a mere seven words which, to my mind at least, summarize the vast bulk of what Donald Trump really is. For clarity’s sake, I’ve included common definitions of each, which, taken together, result in what’s commonly known as a closed loop:

Stupid: annoying or irritating; troublesome; tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless; mental dullness; foolish; senseless.

Narcissist: a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.

Xenophobe: a person who fears or hates foreigners, strange customs, etc.

Racist: a person who believes in the doctrine that one’s own racial group is superior to any or all other racial groups.

Misogynist: a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.

Bigot: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Idiot: an utterly foolish or senseless person.

Stated another way, Trump is a Stupid, Narcissistic, Xenophobic, Racist, Misogynistic and Bigoted Idiot. Not exactly poetic I know, but still a (highly accurate) foolish and senseless closed loop — the very definition of the pinnacle of human crud. Something like that.

Others have their own notions as well, and some even use different words than I’ve noted above. For example:

Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald:

So it has come to this: Trump 2016.

What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary. His last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both dropped out within 24 hours, leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.

[. . .]

When you spend decades stoking people’s insecurities, resentment and outrage, when you devote thousands of radio and television hours to scapegoating the marginalized and demonizing the vulnerable, when you campaign on coded appeals to xenophobia, racism and misogyny, when you make facts optional and lies routine, when you prioritize expedience above integrity and embrace ignorance as somehow more authentically American, you may not credibly profess surprise when you produce a candidate who embodies all those traits.

Mark Sumner at Daily Kos indicts the Republican Party for Trump’s emergence from the political swamp. I can’t disagree.

When it turned out that their policies weren’t enough, Republicans made a bargain with racism to get the votes they needed to stay competitive. And when racism no longer made up the difference, they made a bargain with misogyny to get an edge. And when racism and misogyny together would no longer guarantee a victory, they added xenophobia and religious bigotry. They tacked on bullying, and mockery of science, and the politics of personal destruction.

Then someone forgot that there were supposed to be policies. And here we are. If you go long enough thinking that the ends justify the means, someone is bound to prove you wrong.

I note that both Pitts and Sumner left out Stupid, Narcissistic, and Idiot, but by golly they got the rest right!

Question remains, though: was it solely the Republican Party that gave us Trump, or did he have some ancillary help? I think the latter; here are a small handful of the reasons:

1. Conservative operative Roger Stone (who has called for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to be killed):

A longtime political operative, Stone has built his reputation on controversy and dirty tricks. During his time on the Nixon campaign, for example, he reportedly created a fake identity, and made multiple donations to Nixon’s opponent from the Young Socialist Alliance. He then tipped off a local newspaper about those donations, to prove Nixon’s opponent was a left-wing extremist.

In 2008, he created an anti-Hillary Clinton group called C.U.N.T., which he said stood for Citizens United Not Timid. Stone later lamented that he could not think of a good acronym for B.I.T.C.H.

2. Katrina Pierson, the face of the Donald Trump campaign:

A former Democrat, [Trump Spokesperson Katrina] Pierson voted for President Obama in 2008, but decided to switch her affiliation to Tea Party Republican after hearing that Obama did not wear an American flag pin on his lapel.

3. Carl Paladino, 2010 (Republican) candidate for Governor of New York:

As a politician, Paladino was one of the original Tea Party heroes. He made headlines more than a few times for what many considered outlandish behavior — He once forwarded emails to colleagues containing racist memes and horse porn; he brandished baseball bats in the state capitol; he bragged about boycotting a gay pride parade; and claimed people on welfare need to be taught personal hygiene. While campaigning for Trump last month, he referred to president Obama as “raccoon in the basement.”

4. Sam Clovis . . . campaign’s national co-chair and senior policy adviser:

Clovis was well-known as a college professor and far-right radio host. He made waves during his time as a radio host for suggesting that President Obama only “claims to be black,” and that Obama’s racial makeup would make it difficult to impeach him.

Shortly after Clovis joined Trump’s campaign as a senior policy adviser, Trump announced his controversial plan to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. In an interview with the Guardian, Clovis defended the policy, calling it a “reasonable precaution.” “Our view [is that] there is nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a break,” he said.

There are numerous others involved, of course, but just those four seem to amply describe the “Stupid” and the “idiot” parts (resp.) of Trump’s campaign persona to date. Add to them the rest of his staff — Steve Mnuchin, Corey Lewandowski, Carter Page, Edward Klein, Paul Manafort, Michael Glassner, Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, Joseph Schmitz, Daniel Scavino Jr., Gen. Keith Kellogg, Dr. Ben Carson, George Papadopoulos, and Walid Phares — and the presentation of Trump as a Stupid, Narcissistic, Xenophobic, Racist, Misogynistic and Bigoted Idiot is fully explained. The lowest of the low — “foolish and senseless” — now clarified. Trump Summarized.

Or, stated a better and more poetic way,

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!
(Emily Dickinson)

My suggestion for the New Trump Slogan:

The Best Offense is to be Offensive!

D.J.T. Q.E.D.




9 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday May 12 2016; Trump Summarized

  1. Michael Ratner, attorney for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, dies at 72

    Michael Ratner, the civil and human rights attorney who represented Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the US, died Wednesday at age 72, leaving behind an outsized legacy of advocacy for whistleblowers and US government detainees.

    “As an attorney, writer, speaker, educator, activist … Michael Ratner’s passion was not just for the law but for the struggle for justice and peace,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights, a not-for-profit legal advocacy organization where Ratner worked to bring cases for 45 years. “Michael dedicated his life to the most important fights for justice of the last half century.”

    Ratner joined CCR in 1971 after graduating from Columbia law school, just a week before the famous prisoner revolt at the Attica correctional facility in upstate New York. The case of the Attica brothers versus then governor Nelson Rockefeller would be Ratner’s first for the organization.

    A tireless critic of extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention throughout the post-9/11 war on terror, Ratner was co-counsel in a 2004 suit filed on behalf of captives at Guantánamo Bay that reached the supreme court. In a landmark decision, the justices decided in Rasul v Bush that detainees did have the right to challenge their detention and that US courts have the jurisdiction to hear those complaints in the case of foreign nationals.

    Michael Ratner is also the brother of Ellen Ratner, head of Talk Media News Service, heard regularly on Thom Hartmann, Nicole Sandler and other Progressive talk shows.

  2. We didn’t need to drop the bomb — and even our WW II military icons knew it

    When President Obama visits Hiroshima later this month, he might do well to reflect on the views of another President who was also the five-star general who oversaw America’s military victory in World War II. In a 1963 interview on the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima, President Dwight D. Eisenhower bluntly declared that “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

    Eisenhower was even more specific in his memoirs, writing that when he was informed by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson the bomb was about to be used against Japan “…I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…”

    Eisenhower was not alone. Many of the top military leaders, mostly conservatives, went public after World War II with similar judgments. The President’s chief of staff, William D. Leahy–the five-star admiral who presided over meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–noted in his diary seven weeks before the bombing of Hiroshima: “It is my opinion that at the present time a surrender of Japan can be arranged with terms that can be accepted by Japan and that will make fully satisfactory provision for America’s defense against future trans-Pacific aggression.”

    After the war Leahy declared in his 1950 memoir: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender….My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children…”

    I couldn’t agree more. Ever since the mid-fifties when I first learned the details, I’ve had to wonder why it was that this country felt the need to do it . . . when there was no need to do it.

    Obama should issue a formal and official apology. I know America is not at all accomplished in doing the right thing internationally (or at home, for that matter), but this would be a good way to start. It’s the right thing to do.

    See also:
    America’s enduring Hiroshima shame: Why Barack Obama should apologize for the atomic bomb — but won’t

    Apologies do not undo any damage. They don’t automatically turn the world into a different place. But they are still important. They represent an acknowledgement that a wrong was committed. They signal to people that the pain they endured is being taken seriously. They symbolize a devotion to historical truth. The United States incinerated tens of thousands of innocent people in an instant in Hiroshima. It opened up a pit of the deepest human misery. In bringing nuclear arms into the planet, it made the world a far more dangerous place. Aren’t those all things that America should apologize for?

    • The rights and wrongs notwithstanding, and I am on the side that Japan was *not* on the point of surrender, the hawks in the army still considered themselves undefeated – the bombs IMO put the power in the hands of the party which wished to sue for peace.

      The thing that I think is missed in all of this is that I think it is a very good thing that two smallish bombs were dropped at the very end of exhausting and catastrophic war – everyone wanted it to be over. And so everyone got to see first hand, just how horrible these things were and just what we had unleashed upon ourselves.

      The alternative is this: either the Japanese were going to throw in the towel OR the rest of the summer was spent firebombing the cities and readying millions of Allied soldiers for at least a partial (maybe the southern major island) invasion and a result on a scale 100 times worse than Okinawa – where soldiers fought to the death and civilians jumped off cliffs. But Fat Man and Little Boy stayed home.

      Korea – MacArthur gets his way and dozens of bombs, all of the much bigger than Fat Man and Little Boy get used on the Chinese army and Russian-backed Kim-Jong Il – thermonuclear hell breaks out.

      I am glad we ended a war with those things – because the horror of it helped stop some nutjob from STARTING one with a bunch of much more powerful ones.

      • That’s kinda my thought as well. In a time when so many world events are driven by ignoring history; that’s one lesson I don’t think we would have learned simply from demonstrations. What’s even worse? We might have kept the secret from the Soviets long enough for someone, like LeMay, to convince the rest of the world that a nuclear war was winnable.

      • I’ve long been of the opinion that another approach could have been tried first. I wonder what would have been Japan’s attitude if we had dropped one of those two bombs offshore, within view of, say, Tokyo, with the promise that if there was not an immediate and unconditional surrender, the next one would destroy a city. Tokyo, perhaps. That approach might possibly have put the onus on Japan, without the mass killing of largely innocent civilian populations.

        Don’t know if that would have worked, but wish someone would have decided to at least try it. And yes, I am NOT a warrior, never have been, never wanted to be one up through the current day.

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