28 thoughts on “Journal During the Trump Regime (3)

  1. The fact that the Trump doesn’t read reports given to him, or dismisses advice (e.g., “Don’t congratulate Putin”), and that the staff struggles to find ways to get him to read these reports has been reported so often now that there’s little chance this isn’t not something real.

    Can this be anything but bad? I guess, if Trump was knowledgeable and a genius at improvising this might not matter, but there is very little evidence of that. This situation is not good, and I’m apt to use the word crazy.

  2. One of the more comprehensive overviews of Trump-Russia Scandal

    It has all the trappings of a conspiracy theory. However, I still want to hear an alternative explanations for some of the most suspicious facts that we know.

    7/31/2018

  3. Economic and Security Impact of Trump’s Immigration Policy

    I the second journal thread, I focused mostly on the zero tolerance policy leading to a separation of parents and children. In this post, I want to focus on other aspects of the policy, namely the economic and security impact.

  4. This Slipped Through the Cracks

    Maybe it’s not the most significant bit of news, but this is something that caught my eye, and concerns me:

  5. Hate Crimes

    I’m not sure if this qualifies. The man police arrested was also being evicted. But they also found swastikas in his apartment, and a witness heard him make anti-semitic remarks. In any event, this is kind of scary, and I’m glad the police foiled this.

  6. That theories about Trump-Russia that have a conspiratorial flavor are moving into the mainstream–justifiably so–is truly remarkable (not in a good way).

  7. Unnerved by Conspiracy Theories

    They seem to be more prevalent, although that could be wrong. What’s so unsettling is that the real news feels like a conspiracy theory as well (e.g., details about the Trump-Russia story). Are real conspiracy theories actually taking place, or am I’m succumbing to conspiracy thinking? How does one know this? I’m sure the most unhinged conspiracy thinker believes that they are completely sane and rational. How does a rational personal distinguish between something real and a conspiracy theory? I don’t know about you guys, but it’s getting harder and harder for me.

    The following thread might be an example. I don’t know who the person is, but the thread was recommended by two people who I think are credible (Rick Wilson and John Schindler, although the fact that they were enthusiastic about this thread and also seemed chummy with a Louise Mensch, a conspiracy theorist, gives me pause.)

    tl;dr The thread presents the belief that organized criminal network in the U.S. eventually became an international network, one that was taken over by Russian mafia, which eventually took over, or had great influence over the Kremlin. Crazy right? Actually, I’m pretty sure it is–or at least I’m extremely skeptical. The thing is, there might be some elements of this that are true. From what I’ve read, fairly close ties exist between the Russian government and Russian organized crime–but the former controls and uses the latter for political purposes. If that’s true, there might be some overlap with the theory presented above. Anyway, the theory is too much for me to accept.

    Here’s another one I encountered, albeit a little less extreme–Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America This came from what seems to be a website run by progressive economists (Institute for New Economic Thinking). The article is about a libertarian economist, James Bucannan, based primarily on a book about him, written by Nancy MacLean. It suggests that Buchanan provided a economic and political theory that essentially advocated for an oligarchy and that Buchanan, enlisting the help of wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers, are attempting to transforms the country into an oligarchy. Yes, it sounds crazy.

    I just found the following wikipedia entry about the book:

    In 2017, Duke University historian Nancy MacLean published Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.[21] Her book claims that Buchanan saw a conflict between “economic freedom and political liberty”, and that he sought (in his own words) “conspiratorial secrecy” in pursuit of what George Monbiot has described as “a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich”.[22] The book has garnered heavy criticism from both libertarian and non-libertarian writers for its perceived flaws in the use of quotes, sources, and the accuracy of its overall thesis.[23] In particular, the claim that Buchanan supported segregation has been disputed as untrue and contradicted by evidence that MacLean’s book omits. Buchanan played a key role in bringing prominent South African apartheid critic W.H. Hutt as guest lecturer to the University of Virginia in 1965, during which he also sharply condemned Jim Crow laws.[24]

    There’s more in this to make me skeptical about the book and the original article.

    The point here is that I feel unnerved by the conspiracy theories that I encounter, and I’m not always confident that I can separate the irrational theories from ones that are reasonable.

  8. Trump Tweets (not related to other thread topics)

    My reaction: He’s trying to galvanize his evangelical supporters.

  9. This guys supposedly knows every dollar that came into and out of the Trump Organization. I heard one reporter describe him as a human version of Trump’s tax forms. Here’s a thought: Is this guy’s life in jeopardy? Trump seems to have a very strong desire to not release his tax forms. If the financial information poses an existential threat to Trump–and could possibly have devastating consequences for Russia–I don’t think wondering about his physical safety (and those of his loved ones) is out of the question.

  10. I’m not sure if these accusations are true, but Big Foot erotica is just…I don’t know. Also, it’s sad that this hobby stands out more than the association with white supremacy.

  11. Rangappa makes the point that White House messaging aligns with Putin’s goals–which involve widening divisions, undermining faith in democratic institutions, and wearing people out. Naftali makes almost the same point. Is this not aiding and abetting an enemy?

  12. Omarosa has been doing the rounds, promoting her new book, which apparently says negative things about Trump. Here’s Trump’s tweet today about her–although I think it says more about him:

    There are many things that could be said about this, but here are a few that come to mind first: His comments suggest he has bad judgment–Why’d he hire someone like her? Actually, the answer seems to be that she said nice things about him. People use the word “narcissism” to describe Trump, and here is evidence (and it’s far from the only one) that the descriptor isn’t hyperbolic.

  13. Nearly every day, Trump makes his hostility clear. He refers to reporters as “scum,” “slime,” and “sick people.” They are cast as unpatriotic––“I really think they don’t like our country,” he says. They are “trying to take away our history and our heritage.” Trump has smeared critical news organizations as “fake news,” a term gleefully adopted by Putin, Bashar al-Assad, and other autocrats who are delighted to have their own repressive reflexes endorsed by an American President. Trump has threatened to sue publishers, cancel broadcast licenses, change libel laws. He betrays no sense of understanding, much less of endorsing, the rudiments of American liberty. During a visit from the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Trump told reporters that he thought it was “frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.”

  14. Thread about taking down a Confederate statue on the Chapel Hill campus. At the dedication of the statue when it went up 1911:

  15. Sad to hear that Senator John McCain has passed away today.

    To make this tweet work, I think Trump would have to apologize for the really awful things he’s said about McCain.

    8/27/2018

    I don’t know about the worst, but this captures my feeling.

  16. I suspect Mitchell already read this, but if he or Don hasn’t read this, I recommend it. Maybe not all of it is 100% accurate, although my sense is that Woodward is very thorough and accurate reporter. Still, none of it is surprising, all of it is believable, if you’ve been following Trump for the past three years. (It’s of a piece with the daily reporters based on leaks from the White House.) Two things that stand out, which I’ve been trying to keep track of:

    1. Trump’s unfitness poses a grave risk to our country. I think the excerpts in this, if true, make a compelling case for this;

    2. Trump, at his core, acts and thinks like a dictator.

    1. 1. The claim that the book is the exact opposite of what’s really going on is highly dubious. It’s almost impossible to imagine how that could be the case, based on Trump’s own behavior and words.

      2. Irony: Trump’s complaining about no consequences for someone making stuff up, when he championed birtherism (claimed to have evidence coming real soon); accused Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in the Kennedy assassination; Obama ordering wire-taps of the Trump Tower; millions voted illegally for Clinton; improper unmasking of Trump team, and I’m sure I’m forgetting things.

      3. Comments about changing the libel laws falls in line with his dictatorial mindset. On this note also see the article below, which compiles a list of Trump’s authoritarian attitude towards protests:

      (The headline is slightly misleading. Trump was complaining about at Kavanaugh hearing, and a charitable reading could be that he was complaining about the decorum and appropriateness of the protests at the hearing. Still, the article does list other comments by Trump that create a disturbing pattern.)

      Edit

      In the “you can’t make this up category”

      Edit

      Edit

      If you believe this is all made up,…

      (Sasse is a Republican senator from Nebraska.)

    2. I’m actually trying to cut down on pushing up Trump threads, but I think you guys should read this. Like so many news flashes recently, I’m initially stunned; there’s a lot to take in and several things to comment on. First: If this is accurate (and I have some questions about the author’s credibility), what he/she’s saying is nuts. Actually, the thinking of the author, if s/he is accurate, seems a little off. For example, s/he seems to speak to casually about details that should set her/his hair on fire. Additionally, the author is way too casual about subverting the President. While it may be understandable, it’s deeply troubling.

      Edit

      Bolstering claims that the POTUS is authoritarian.

    3. I recommend listening to this:

      especially if you’re not going to read the article above or Woodward’s book. What’s said is truly astounding. It’s new perhaps, but it reiterates the crazy situation we’re in–the people around Trump know he lacks the understanding and temperament to be the President of the United States and therefore poses an incredible threat and risk to the country and even the world. One example: The President was going to tweet that they would be removing dependents from South Korea. A North Korea high official told his contacts in Washington that if that happened the North Koreans would view this as an imminent attack. Luckily, the President didn’t tweet this, but in the interview it’s unclear how or why he didn’t–and if there were a way for his aides to prevent this. War, possibly involving nuclear weapons, could have been started with a tweet.

      That’s the situation we’re in now, and I’m convinced the vast majority of Congressional Republicans know this. And yet, they do very little. How is this not a gross abdication of their responsibility?

      1. Woodward explains this within the first 10 pages of the book, why the tweet never went out. I forget the reason but I’ll look it up for you later.

  17. The NYT published a very rare anonymous op-ed by a senior white house official. I can’t link to it because I’ve gone over my monthly unpaid allotment, but Reid may find it interesting.

    1. That’s the article I linked above. Shoot, you can’t read it? I would have liked someone to commiserate with. It’s nuts. Some excerpts:

      The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

      Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

      In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

      Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

      “Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots…” The POTUS is amoral and an authoritarian, but look on the bright side, we got tax cuts!

      The author mentions that people like him are not part of the “deep state” but the “steady state.” (Side note: Lines like this make me think this is someone more a part of Trump’s world than a seasoned government worker or political operative; someone who isn’t that bright.) But s/he description is pretty close to a deep state, if you ask me.

      Edit

    2. Ah yeah, sorry. I started typing that comment before you posted it. I can read it, but I’m reading it in Apple News, the news aggregator that comes on iPhones, which doesn’t give me a link I can share with you since you don’t have Apple News.

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