Syria, Nicaragua, and the US: the Mighty Threesome

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Gary Cohn, a Trump economic adviser, said of Trump at the G-7 Meeting, “He came here to learn. He came here to get smarter… His views are evolving, which is exactly as they should be.” But because Trump is not capable of learning or getting smarter, he came away only more sure of his campaign promise–the only promise he is able to keep without courts or Congress to balance his incompetence.

Clearly, Trump didn’t want to commit to withdrawal at the G-7 meeting in Sicily because he would have had to justify it, to answer questions. He was unable to do that. Here, he can withdraw from a distance and not have to stand up to direct criticism in the room. His case is  simple in every respect. It was a campaign promise, and the only one, so far, that he can effect without having to satisfy other governmental agencies.

The upshot? We join only Nicaragua and Syria in declining to pledge to reduce carbon emissions. Who’d a thought? Syria, Nicaragua, and the US, a mindless threesome. At least Syria and Nicaragua had an excuse.



Trump is not mentally well, and is not fit to be president. This does not address conservative philosophy or policies. This is not political, but is about his mental state. This should be obvious to any objective viewer for the following reasons.

1) His inability to discriminate between fact and fiction. This is a pathology completely unacceptable in a public servant in charge of national security and defense. He is so driven by his ego needs that he can’t distinguish real from imaginary phenomena. He drives his press secretary and spokesmen to repeat his lies when he feels offended.

2) Related to this, his naïve acceptance of conspiracy theories. He does not know how to vet information or its sources, and is prone to believe anything that feels good. He does not accept objective scientific information unless it serves to stroke his ego.

3) His breathless rush to sign executive orders. He has both houses of congress, which will happily pass any rational legislation that fits within the conservative philosophy. But his gag orders on government agencies indicate fear of working with people. All of his life he has sent out mandates. He has no experience in cooperative efforts, and so cannot risk debate and discussion in congress. Thus, in his rush to self aggrandizement, he ignores the legislative branch of government and shuns established alliances such as NATO.

4) He has angry outbursts and meltdowns, typical of narcissistic personalities, usually driven by events that don’t support his agenda. Meltdowns could be catastrophic in times of crisis.

5) He has to keep his family (mainly his sons and daughter) close by to help him govern, much like an Alzheimer’s victim. He needs help remembering what he’s doing, what he’s already done, and what he must do next. These functions fall to relatives rather than to advisors and outside collaborators. Ronald Reagan similarly used his wife to manage his affairs and even press conferences. This is an embarrassment that puts the US in a position of weakness.

6) His thoughtless treatment of his wife, and his infatuation with his daughter are other indicators of serious personality disorders.

7) His obsession with criticism and his need to get revenge. Personal slights reverberate for days, weeks, or in some cases, years. This is a distraction from important business, and in international cases, is a weakness that could cause injury to the nation’s diplomatic status.

We have dealt with many twists and turns in our history, but this is a crisis we’ve not faced before. How long will Pence and the Cabinet allow him to continue like this?



Why Trump?

A recent Facebook post by Brendan O’Neill addressed the question: “TRUMP?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??” He posted a list of eighteen reasons that people (he, in particular, I think) voted for Trump. Here is the list, just as he posted it.screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-10-12-02-am

On religious questions, reason is subordinate to belief. In fact, in many religions, rational argument is held as an enemy of the Truth. Jesus apparently said that unless we become as children, with blind, unquestioning faith, we can’t see the Kingdom of Heaven. The person who is convinced that Jesus physically rose into the clouds, for example, defying gravity, cannot entertain the possibility that a metaphor is in play. The metaphor, contrary to its purpose, directly contradicts the accepted fact: Jesus was not bound by the laws of physics. Once this “fact” is established in the mind, no amount of discussion can alter it. A thousand demonstrations that everything known in the universe follows gravitational equations will not matter. Reason and analysis will not penetrate the fortress.

Similarly, once a person has accepted as fact that Donald Trump is the answer to their personal offenses, however trivial or desperate, no display of flagrant narcissism, in-your-face examples of deviate behaviors, lawsuits settled at costs of tens of millions of dollars, or vicious diatribes directed at most groups within society will have any effect on the belief. Any analysis of the vehicle—that he has no regard whatever for facts, that he changes his spots with each audience, that he denies saying what he just said, that he has been married three times, that global climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, that his products are made in China, that he’s been bankrupt four times, that he denies ever declaring bankruptcy, that he has business deals in twenty-plus countries around the world, that he refuses absolutely to release his tax returns, blah, blah, blah—any discussion at all that involves Trump’s personal failures is held as an attack on him, while we should be locking up Hillary Clinton. It just won’t play.

So I suggest that a better approach, for both sides, is to take point by point the offenses taken by the Trump voters, find examples and explanations, and identify the real culprits. Who is actually behind these offensive policies? And how might they be successfully addressed?

Brendan’s Facebook page gives us absolutely nothing about his history, his education, his place of residence, or his interests. Nevertheless, because it is a raw, angry list of grievances, I am using it as a springboard to address the honest concerns of voters and how they motivated Brendan to vote as he did. Some of Brendan’s issues are very real and merit consideration. Others are trivial, but are indicators of offense taken regardless of actual effects on him or other individuals. The first point is such a trivial one. But other points should provoke deeper thought.

  1. “Trump won because you banned super-sized sodas.”

The problem here is three-fold, at least. First, who? Who banned super-sized sodas? Well, as far as I can tell, New York city was the only place in which this happened, and it was struck down by their court system as unconstitutional after a two-year battle. So, ill-advised and unconstitutional, this law barely made it into the books before it was eliminated from the books. Second, why did they ban them? The law was passed as an effort to address the epidemic of obesity. Not to punish the citizenry in general, but to help kids stay in shape a little better. And three, how do we address Brendan’s personal injury from this law? Well, if he lives in New York, we can apologize for those two years during which he had to buy two sodas to make up for the reduction in size. We can also remind him of the court decision to strike down the law. Upshot: Brendan won that battle! So a Trump vote is a non sequitur. I’m going to have as big a Dr. Pepper as I can find. Continue reading “Why Trump?”