What have they learnt?


Watching events unfold from far away sometimes offers a fresh or detached perspective. At other times it is confusing because salient facts obvious to those close to ground zero are hard to make out.

Then there are events that are so simple and obvious that it’s hard to mistake them, even if doubts are raised about the culpability of many who refuse to draw the obvious conclusions.

The obvious conclusion drawn all over the world, and by large swathes of the American population, is that President Trump must be deposed for the good of the country. Why is there still hesitation?

There are many answers all leading back to the mercenary but spineless character of the loose reactionary collective known as the Republican Party, whose members are individually and collectively as guilty as the President of all his failures for not stepping in to stop the haemorrhage.

Can they really not see how disastrous Trump is turning out to be to the interests of rich and poor citizens for his simple-mindedness, quantum attention span, towering ego, and ignorant stupidity? I’m not trying to be insulting or glib here; there are prettier words for doing that. The evidence offered by insiders is that Trump is ill educated and not very experienced outside a narrow range of hucksterism (ignorance). His own actions, particularly by creating bad publicity with tweets, demonstrate that he seems incapable of learning from his own mistakes (stupidity). Statements by advisers and others indicate that he seems unable to concentrate on anything longer or more complex than soundbites, and even his own speech patterns indicate that he loses his own thread repeatedly in perpetually incomplete and incoherent sentences (attention span). In the gaps not filled by stupid statements and actions, he finds time to persist in singing his own praises in such transparent fashion that narcissism and ego are words that seem too gentle to describe his pathology (ego).

Although Trump is only nominally a Republican, he has been able to count on the party’s support despite exercising a ‘zugzwang’ – a continuous pattern of wrong-footing the party and forcing it into surrendering strategic advantage while suffering damaging public backlash.

In foreign policy, which is said to be the President’s preserve, he has single-handedly achieved in 100 days what the entire Soviet empire failed to accomplish in 40 years: he has alienated all of the USA’s key strategic allies and insulted all the merely symbolic ones that are nevertheless necessary for winning UN votes. At the same time he has teetered at the edge of talking a trade war with China, which would be a an unarguable disaster not just for the USA, but the entire world, and he has talked himself into a corner with North Korea that has brought forward the threat of a nuclear war.

Domestically policy is supposedly the preserve of the Congress, but Trump tied himself personally to policy that may have gained him some popularity among nationalists, but which is irrational by any yardstick, and arguably even unconstitutional: a wall on the Mexico border; travel sanctions against arrivals from a random selection of countries posing no historical or likely future threat; deportations causing chaos in industries relying on undocumented migrant workers; and rhetoric that encourages misogynistic and racist violence.

In between these acts of political vandalism, he has also found time to increase rather than defuse suspicions about his direct involvement with Russian gangsters, businesspeople, and politicians suspected of being involved in rigging the presidential elections.

Nepotism and pandering to Wall Street have also made a lie of his campaign promises about ‘draining the swamp’, though this seems to be the most minor of his indiscretions.

Trump’s actions in creating this trail of destruction have extended to direct interference to undermine the independence of the judicial system and its law enforcement institutions.

It would be difficult to imagine a more damaging campaign of subversion being orchestrated against the USA by dedicated enemy teams of specialists in propaganda, psychological warfare, and political destabilisation.

It is even more difficult to imagine any mature adult not afflicted by cretinism who is unable to reach the same conclusions, regardless of party affiliations or loyalty.

And yet the USA’s public servants do nothing, and its citizens have found no way to demand that their servants act. Is this a case of escalation of commitment? Mass self-deception? Or just a symptom of a deeply held desire to disassemble the nation?

Are they waiting for a call to act from hidden masters? Do they need to be told openly to act through media tycoon channels? Would that not be an admission they never were public servants, but always in the pay of other masters? Even the tycoons, however, must surely realise by now that Trump is an uncontrollable, unstable disaster-in-waiting.

There is no realistic prospect of Trump changing his ways, or the debacles of his own making just disappearing. But there is a growing certainty that the longer the American people and their elected representatives hesitate before removing the cause of such disasters, the more radical, unpalatable and ruinous the eventual resolution will be.

Perhaps a clue to this perplexing paralysis lies in the irrational desire by Congressional Republicans to remove affordable healthcare for the vast majority of citizens. It is a powerful metaphor for the deranged belief that the nation can survive life-threatening illness by not treating it.


12 thoughts on “What have they learnt?”

  1. I don’t see the Republican congress or senate taking any action. I think they are frozen in fear of any backlash from the tweeterphile in chief.

    This circus has been a circulation and ratings bonanza for print and cable news and one tycoon that is a beneficiary of that probably won’t support a revolt. I hear Murdoch has been hands on at Fox since Ailes left and is on the phone on almost a daily basis with Trump.

    The Russia collusion is surely a myth. Trump is not smart enough to be involved in any direct collusion – he would have screwed it up and/or it have been leaked by now.

    That’s not to say that former Gen. Flynn is not vulnerable to some criminal exposure and curiously, Trump is zealously supporting him – presumably to keep him quiet about something he knows.

    I think more likely he’d leave voluntarily than ever be forced out and I can’t see that happening.

  2. There are some signs that junior Republicans are concerned about being voted out next year due to fierce local activism.

    Impeachment requires all Democrats and 22 House Republicans and 15 Senators to vote with the democrats. That isn’t infeasible.

    The main game now is not the Russians anymore, though that won’t go away, but obstruction of justice; and pissing off the intelligence agencies, who’ll come and get you for lesser slights. But for what it’s worth, I think Trump is guilty as hell, even if he can’t see how taking Russian ganster money ties back to Putin.

    Murdoch might be calling Trump, but have you noticed that in the UK and Australia his media have joined the anti-Trump choir?

    I think the critical threshold has been breached, and only a new war might stop the impeachment movement. But I agree, he’d probably step down if that preserved some ego for him. He knows he’s not up to the job, and he wants out, but not as a defeated and humiliated scoundrel.

  3. He is likely compromised financially with Russia but that doesn’t necessarily mean he colluded directly with Russian media tampering.
    As for obstruction (on the basis of Comey’s memo), Comey has already denied under oath that he was told to end any investigation.
    The intelligence community will certainly fuel the fire and I hope this slow motion train wreck comes to an end one way or another.

  4. Sacking Comey IS the obstruction of justice. Together with some other moves he made.

    What does it matter whether he was directly involved in Russian media manipulation? What kind of idiot would open himself up to this by breaching the emoluments clauses? Even Kennedy was smarter than this.

  5. I agree with you that sacking Comey is obstruction but I don’t see the US Senate impeaching on that.

    As I said the russia collusion is a myth or at least a red herring.

    I also agree with you emoluments should be the clearest route to impeachment but I haven’t see any public investigation pursuing this as yet. Perhaps the Muller investigation might be widened if any campaign links point that way.

  6. And why, then, with the WA stridency that speaks so strongly of inferiority complex, do you tell me that it’s a furphy/red herring/bullshit?

  7. Sorry if I came across a bit harsh. I have no barrow to push in regard to what you wrote, I agreed with your conclusions.
    The collusion theory implies that the Trump campaign arranged for Russian government supported operatives to hack the DNC and leak Podesta’s emails in a quid pro quo for lifting economic sanctions? General political influence maybe?
    Or did Russian operatives do that just because they could?
    I remain uninterested in this theory because it’s potential for an impeachment outcome is extremely low. No crime is being committed.
    Also, James Clapper, John Brennan and James Comey all testified to the US parliament that there was no evidence of collusion (up to when they ceased holding their positions).
    It is a distraction from important from his list of subversive actions including: rolling back pollution regulation; weakening consumer protections; destabilising healthcare support.
    It is also a distraction from focussing on a presumable multitude of financial entanglements that could connect with the Foreign Emoluments Clause.
    Trust me, I would be delighted to learn that there was direct collusion. It would explain so much: Tillerson’s appointment; reluctance to criticize Putin; unfailing support for Gen. Flynn. But I think Putin’s motive is just reduced standing for the US in world affairs.
    I didn’t share that WaPo story to support the collusion argument although I acknowledge it does pour on some more smoke; it was an example of the intelligence community continuing to express its displeasure with Trump.

  8. Apologies for the delay in responding.

    These comment streams are a fucking nuisance. If I don’t set them to demand my approval, they are flooded with spam. But once they need my approval, conversation is killed off if I don’t sit on my notifications like a nervous hen.
    That’s why most of my posts end up on Google Plus as well, where I have whatever limited discussions my pieces might provoke these days.

    About stridency

    In 2013, while I was staying at Brett and Allison’s place, I made an off the cuff remark about how ungraceful a headline in the West Australian looked for using the contraction ‘Indons’ for Indonesians. Brett pounced on me, challenging me whether I had some sort of degree in English to be making such an assessment. I was a bit perplexed: ‘Yes I do, Brett. You know I do. Remember Dave and me went through school together’.
    He just grunted and dropped the subject.

    That incident came to epitomise for me the difference in attitude and interpretation between WA and here (but probably also Sydney and Melbourne, and some other parts of the world).

    It seems to me that there is a much greater sense of rectitude, propriety, and certainty in short statements rejecting a general proposition when it’s made by a West Australian, and a greater degree of an almost academic deference to ‘might’, ‘may’, or ‘could’ statements. The obverse is that here I am much more likely to be challenged to explain myself when making even passingly controversial statements, and it was in that sense that I challenged you to explain your own statements, which struck me as terse enough not to give me an insight as to the ‘why’ of your thinking.

    Trump collusion

    The scenario that strikes me as most likely is that Putin’s administration has pursued the same policy as his Soviet predecessors in seeking to disrupt and undermine all NATO countries, and the USA especially.

    That policy of disruption is likely to have struck its most fertile soil in the UK, with plenty of armchair soft left John Pilger types (I think Dave used to be one of those) willing to demonstrate against their own national interests to cripple their firmness against Russian geopolitical aims.

    I think the rise of Trump, who is so gregariously greedy, stupid, and vain, was a ‘too good to be true’ moment for the FSB. Trump already had dealings with ‘shadowy’ Russian ‘business interests’ (read Russian gangsters), and was a soft touch for approaches cloaked in the language of profit.

    I don’t think Trump was a willing participant in a clearly spelled-out plan of subversion, but I do think he and his staff were used like marionettes to help the FSB in its work.

    And for that egregious stupidity everyone connected by money or other social unguent to Russian interests during and after the campaign deserves to be investigated and deposed; imagine a head of state being too stupid to realise that money for nothing has consequences. The last president who forgot that harsh truth was assassinated in public.


    As for specifics, I am agnostic on the details. I don’t much care who did what for which reasons. I am much more interested to see whether there’s anyone left in Washington who can tell right from wrong.
    That’s not an idle observation.

    Since the Reagan era the Christo-fascists have infected every level of the state with men pathologically incapable of ethical action because they are beholden to the corrosive brand of American religionism which is ethically void, using religion solely as a means to find justifications in the Bible (mostly the Old Testament) for aggressively barbarian behaviours.

    Men and women too stupid to think for themselves rather than to regurgitate the ‘In God We Trust’ ideology are dangerous even without power, but when they are also military officers and CEOs of security apparatuses they become positively malignant.

    In the early 2006 Christopher Hitchens commented:

    Out of a thesaurus of possible nominations, one would have to select George Bush’s remarks about Vladimir Putin as the stupidest utterance of his entire presidency. Impressed beyond words by the fact that Putin was wearing a crucifix that had belonged to his mother and was thus a man of faith, our chief executive then burbled like a schoolgirl and said that he had looked into the man’s eyes and knew he was the one to trust. (I have not checked, but surely someone can discover how many times Putin has worn that crucifix since. It could be a sort of emblem of the fatuity of the “faith-based.”)

    It strikes me as highly likely that people who believe, like children, in pink pony unicorns gambolling at the bottom of the garden with the faeries and leprechauns, will be easy to fool and manipulate to act against their own interests, and the interests they have been entrusted to protect.

    [The pink ponies here are intended as metaphor for the grotesque stupidity that American religionism demands of its adherents in opposing rationality.]

    I see plenty of such people all around Trump, and I read how he uses the same language; I think he has no faith in anything not concerning his own ego, but he has learnt to speak the language as part of his business identity.

    That makes me almost certain that they were exploited by all sorts of non-American interests. If you have cash, such people are likely to sell out their own families and regard it as a bargain. And if you want to see America destroyed to the extent that it can no longer project power, what better way than to get its own ‘leaders’ to dismantle every infrastructure of civilised modernity?

    That is the conspiracy I believe is in effect in the USA today, but instigated some time ago. If, as the Russians and Chinese always have, you believe in the long game, what better way could there have been to damage the USA than to support the Christo-fascists, and to compromise whatever able people there were/are by witchhunt and exorcism? The Americans themselves provided the blueprint for such internal subversion by the willingness with which they submitted to the McCarthy-inspired persecutions in the 1950s.

    Recent comments made in the German an d French media reinforce the point that politics and diplomacy conducted by idiots is not to be trusted, no matter whether there is direct evidence of subversion or corruption. In Germany and France it is simply expected that serious-minded adult people know these things in a way no one in Washington seems to any longer.

  9. It seems my previous comment was truncated after the line ending with ‘barbarian behaviours.’ I have added the rest again.

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