Sunday, July 30, 2017

It is not too late to face the ugly truth about Trump--or for himself to

Is Donald Trump suffering from the onset of advanced schizophrenia? He certainly acts and speaks as if he has delusional paranoia. I mean, when you have U.S. Senators like Jack Reed, who was overheard on a hot mic suggesting a very real concern that Trump is “crazy,” and Susan Collins expressing “worry” about Trump’s behavior, maybe that we should take that more seriously than we would prefer not to? We see evidence of it every time Trump “tweets,” engaging in denial, fabrication, bullying and threats. Isn’t it “crazy” that he claims the Republican healthcare bills are “great” when in fact they are something considerably less than that? Does he think that it is “great” that the 20 million or so people currently with affordable health care will not if these ill-conceived and inhuman “plans” actually become law? Furthermore, isn’t it crazy (and delusional) to repeatedly call what is clearly bad “good” or “great”—especially when there is no evidence of thinking involved concerning action and result, only blunt force? This is what Sen. Collins was worried about; reading over Trump’s budget proposal, he simply “x” outs everything that doesn’t have some connection to the military, homeland security or law enforcement. There is no regard to human cost by Trump and his party of millionaires and billionaires. 

But if Trump is in fact not “crazy,” then the alternative is much worse: he is congenitally inhuman. At least Barack Obama wanted to help a broad spectrum of people regardless of ideology or political affiliation—not harm as many as possible. And who will tell Trump the truth so that he will actual listen? Apparently, no one. His need for constant reassurance of his own infallibility is apparent in his selection of Trump uber-fanboy Anthony Scaramucci as his new communication’s director. Scaramucci is already behaving like a Mafia thug, with Trump as his “Godfather” and threatening everyone in sight. 

Marine general John Kelly is the new chief of staff, but what authority will he really have to control this den of wolves? If one takes an historical perspective, Adolf Hitler had a “ruling” style that most closely resembles that of Trump. Like Trump, Hitler was poorly versed in policy and rarely involved himself in the day-to-day minutia of governing. Their governing “systems” are shockingly similar in another way (besides feeding into racial and ethnic paranoia and scapegoating): that there exists competing factions within the “inner circle” desperate to curry his favor and tell him anything he wants to hear, and engaging in undercutting and backstabbing one another. A policy “decision” is simply something that sounds “good” to Trump, even if it is simply a personal whim of someone who happens to have his ear that moment. It doesn’t matter what the end result is; the “fuhrer” is only interested in being pleased, and it doesn’t matter how many people vulnerable to hate are harmed or die because of it. 

In the meantime, commentators can only nibble around the truth. In regard to the healthcare nightmare for millions that is “Trumpcare,” Greg Sargant wrote in the Washington Post that

This is another reminder that, as Jonathan Chait notes, the health-care debate has been gripped throughout by a refusal on the part of Republicans to forthrightly acknowledge or defend their own actual priorities. In some cases, this has been deeply cynical, with Republicans claiming that no one will be worse off because everyone will have “access” to insurance, or even that the bill wouldn’t cut Medicaid at all. In the case of President Trump, it’s hard to disentangle his cynicism from his seemingly impenetrable ignorance. Trump has complained behind closed doors that the House bill is “mean,” and has called for “more money” to be added, which suggests he dimly grasps that cutting health-care spending on poor people will hurt them.

Also in the Post, Jennifer Rubin noted the hypocrisy of Trump supporters in the face of this evil:
No group has been as blindly loyal to President Trump as Christian conservatives. They have not let religion or values get in the way of their support. Consider the “Access Hollywood” tape, the attack on a Gold Star family, a mass of inexplicable ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials (and the president’s open invitation to Russia to continue hacking), the firing of the FBI director, the humiliation of evangelical-favorite Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the politicization of the Boy Scouts, the threats to the special counsel and now an interview with Trump’s out-of-control, potty-mouthed communications director. What about Trump, exactly, reflects their values? (Taking Medicaid away from millions and separating families to deport law-abiding immigrants?) The Trump administration is a clown show — but it’s the evangelicals who supplied the tent, the red noses and the floppy shoes. Each day presents a new insult to the office of the presidency and a repudiation of civilized behavior.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times inched closer to the truth when he wrote 

Think about it. Losing health coverage is a nightmare, especially if you’re older, have health problems and/or lack the financial resources to cope if illness strikes. And since Americans with those characteristics are precisely the people this legislation effectively targets, tens of millions would soon find themselves living this nightmare. Meanwhile, taxes that fall mainly on a tiny, wealthy minority would be reduced or eliminated. These cuts would be big in dollar terms, but because the rich are already so rich, the savings would make very little difference to their lives…

So it’s vast suffering — including, according to the best estimates, around 200,000 preventable deaths — imposed on many of our fellow citizens in order to give a handful of wealthy people what amounts to some extra pocket change…So one way to understand this ugly health plan is that Republicans, through their political opportunism and dishonesty, boxed themselves into a position that makes them seem cruel and immoral — because they are…

Or to put it another way, Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe. In this sense there’s nothing new about their health plan. What it does — punish the poor and working class, cut taxes on the rich — is what every major G.O.P. policy proposal does. The only difference is that this time it’s all out in the open. So what will happen to this monstrous bill? I have no idea. Whether it passes or not, however, remember this moment. For this is what modern Republicans do; this is who they are.

But in the end, it is Trump who is ultimately responsible for this indecent, immoral and inhuman behavior because he has the pen to sign-off on it, or let the ACA die by refusing to enforce it, or fund it. This is a man who has lived in his unreal “reality” show since he could use his mind, entirely cut-off from the rest of humanity. He knows his only true connection with the mass of people who voted for him is racial animus. There is no point in denying this, since most whites identify minorities with low-income or unemployed people who are the principle benefactors of public assistance; even low or no-income whites believe this, mainly because they blame minorities (who by the way are not the ones paying them low wages) for their problems. Meanwhile, Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, continues his war against minorities; this “genteel” Southern racist has received the ire of Trump for his “recusal” from the Russia investigation, but that has only allowed Sessions more time to engage in his racist passions, which of course Trump full-throatedly approves.

Yet this truth is not getting out to the American people, mainly because too many people are too lazy to read. They certainly are not getting the truth listening to Fox News, and for all the attacks made on CNN by Trump, that network is loath to alienate even white bigots. I’ve heard no talk about the utter immorality of the Trump administration and its policies; the Russian “problem” might be grabbing most of the headlines, but even news on the Republican healthcare woes are not approached from the vantage point of the essential evil of their proposals.

Curiously, the only public figure who has given an intelligent assessment of Trump via the audio-visual medium does not even speak English as his first language. Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, posted a video on YouTube in which he attempts to personally address Trump on his considerable shortcomings as president and as a human being, although in my opinion he being too kind to Trump:

Amigo, you have a ton of flaws, but in my opinion, the one underlying problem with your presidency is that you are doing it for the wrong reason. This is a picture from my inauguration,  one of the proudest days of my life. I can tell you exactly what I am thinking of in this picture: that I have been honored with the massive burden of millions of expectations, and I must do my absolute best to be worthy of that trust. This is you in the most solemn moment of your life. Thinking about how big your crowd was, worrying about if the last guy had a bigger one than you. Donald, his is much bigger. 

This is so important, Donald, and I really want you to concentrate on what I am saying. So I brought something that will make it easier for the bees living in your brain to focus. Here is the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you have ever seen. Now that I have your full attention, Donald, a presidency is not measured in praise, loyalty or lavish gifts. It is measured in the amount of lives it improves. And the worse the quality of those lives, the more credit for the improvement of their lives. If everything you do is designed to make like better for millionaires, or billionaires, your presidency will be infamous. 

You much reach down to the people who make you uncomfortable, who might look different than you, and lift them up. This is what great presidents do. When you became president you did not become boss of your people. They became the boss of you. Even the ones who didn’t vote for you. You can call them haters, losers, but they are still your boss. You live in their house. They pay your salary. And if they don’t like the job you are doing, then in a few years…months? You’re fired! Your whole image is as winner. But if you keep robbing from the poor, to give to the rich, your tenants will take your name off your buildings. Your children will take your name off your grandchildren (fat chance of that; his children are dependent on his money). And you will go down as the single biggest loser your proud country has ever produced. 

This is a dark thought, ain’t it? But there is still time to change it. Roll-up your sleeves, learn about your country you’re leading, and dedicate your life to helping the poor people  you claimed to care about back when you were campaigning. And if at the end of four years you walk into Mar-a-Lago and the entire place erupts into boos, there is a chance you will have become a good president, maybe even a great one. But if you walk in and the millionaires and the billionaires greet you with cheers, then you have failed your country. Your name is mud, and history will grind you beneath her heel. You see Donald, it is possible not to eat the whole cake. 

In another video, Fox attempts to probe into the deepest, darkest corners of Trump’s mind, and offers this advise:

Cute kid, huh? You know who that is? It is you, before you turned into you. Donald, instead of building a wall, build a bridge across the oceans of time, and walk back across it, and find this small boy, and tell him that just because his father doesn’t love him, doesn’t mean he cannot love the world. 

Fox offers an honest assessment of Trump, something that most Americans would not concede to someone representing a country they believe is occupied by mostly “stupid,” lazy, violent, subhuman people.  Unfortunately, the question is who is listening, or better yet, who wants to listen? Certainly not diehard Trump supporters too consumed in their hate to face the ugly truth.