Trump and the Roman Empire

Last night Trump gave a speech to House Republicans that suggests he is going stark, raving mad. Examples:

  1. He doubled down on the claim his father, born in the Bronx, was born in Germany. Trump’s grandfather was born in Germany, and perhaps he meant to say “grandfather.” But in his extended remarks, it is clear Trump was talking about his father and not his grandfather.
  2. He doubled down on the claim that wind power doesn’t work — the wind doesn’t always blow, you know — and also said that wind turbines cause cancer.
  3. He kept using the word “oranges” when he clearly meants “origins.” “I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges. The oranges of the, uh, uh, investigation.” Et cetera.
  4. He told the assembled Republicans that they should be more paranoid about vote counting. And then he added,

“Someone’s gonna leak this whole damn speech to the media,” Trump worried aloud. It was a valid fear, given that reporters were in the room and C-SPAN cameras were covering the speech live.

And the most troubling part of this story is that audience members didn’t run from the room, screaming. R. Eric Thomas covered the speech for Elle,

And that said conspiracy could reach all the way to the White House. I’m inclined to agree. I don’t want to start an international incident but it seems clear that the President himself is trying to make Trump look like a fool. We have to investigate.

Jennifer Rubin says that Trump is increasingly incoherent:

The Post quotes him at a Republican event on Tuesday: “We’re going into the war with some socialist. It looks like the only non, sort of, heavy socialist is being taken care of pretty well by the socialists, they got to him, our former vice president. I was going to call him, I don’t know him well, I was going to say ‘Welcome to the world Joe, you having a good time?’” Even when attempting to defend himself, he emits spurts of disconnected thoughts. “Now you look at that [presidential announcement] speech and you see what’s happening and that speech was so tame compared to what is happening now, that trek up is one of the great treacherous treks anywhere, and Mexico has now, because they don’t want the border closed.”

But there’s more. It’s becoming clearer that Trump officials are moving ahead with their own agendas, separate from what Trump says he wants, because what Trump says he wants is nuts even to the genetically challenged crew who work for him. Greg Sargent writes,

There’s a deep disconnect, or even a pathology of sorts, festering at the core of the Trump administration’s response to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

On the one hand, Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s secretary of homeland security, is appealing to congressional Democrats to engage in a constructive effort to find real solutions to the crisis. Nielsen has embarked on a new private and public campaign to get Democrats to consider legal changes that will supposedly ameliorate the situation.

Yet even as this is happening, Trump is rampaging around like a madman, threatening or putting in place all kinds of unhinged responses, through unilateral action, that are utterly disconnected from the realities of the actual crisis. These actions will only make the situation worse, and they render constructive engagement far less likely, or even impossible.

Right now, even as Nielsen wants Democrats to help solve the border crisis, White House aides are frantically scrambling to figure out how to dissuade Trump from closing down the border entirely, telling him that this would do immense economic damage to the country.

Here is something else Trump said yesterday, about his border crisis. This is an official White House transcript, mind you:

And what we have to do is Congress has to meet quickly and make a deal.  I could do it in 45 minutes.  We need to get rid of chain migration.  We need to get rid of catch and release and visa lottery.  And we have to do something about asylum.  And to be honest with you, you have to get rid of judges.

We have to get rid of judges?

Every time — and you won’t even believe this, Mr. Secretary General — you catch somebody that’s coming illegally into your country, and they bring them to a court.  But we can’t bring them to a court because you could never have that many judges.  So they take their name, they take their information, and they release them.  Now, we don’t release too many.  We keep them.  It’s called “catch and keep.”  But you don’t have facilities for that.  But you have to bring them through a court system.  If they touch your land — one foot on your land: “Welcome to being Perry Mason.  You now have a big trial.”

So what they’ve done over the years is they release them into the United States and they say, “Come back in four years for a trial.”  And nobody comes back.  I guess 1 percent — 1 to 2 percent, on average, come back.  And nobody can understand why they come back.  They’re the only ones that come back.

So no judges, no trials, no hearings. No asylum, I guess. And no coherent sentences.

Republicans in Congress were able to persuade Trump to back off promising a big new health care initiative soon. Now it’s been put off until after the 2020 election. But on many Trump’s erratic pronouncements have given his own officials and Republicans in Congress a bad case of whiplash.

“Given that the president’s proposals range from the imprudent to the impractical, at best, congressional Republicans seem largely to be ignoring them in favor of their own priorities: nominations in the Senate, and highlighting Democratic radicalism and disunity in the House,” said Michael Steel, who worked under former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

However, the degree to which Republicans meekly go along with whatever the madman wants remains disturbing. (See “Trump’s Takeover of the GOP Is Almost Complete” in the New York Times.) At the moment, one suspects that, like Caligula, Trump will become more and more outrageous and out of control. However, it will be up to our broken political processes, and not the Praetorian Guard, to take him out.

Elsewhere: The House Judiciary Committee has approved a subpoena for the complete Mueller report.

Caligula

17 thoughts on “Trump and the Roman Empire

  1. tRUMP stretches credulity so far that it can't even snap, it just wraps around and he tortures it to form a Mobius Strip – only to rinse and repeat!

    To my surprise, it seems apparent to me now that we humans didn't evolve from apes, but citrus fruits!                                                                        Evidently, Darwin wrote "The Oranges of the Species."   

    And that's proof of why tRUMP is the most evolved human being  in history:                                                                                                                    He's the orangestestestest(estest?)!!!!!

     

     

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  2. *sigh* Nick – maha is non-violent. A decade of hanging out here makes that as obvious as my big nose.

    Look at the comment in context and you might note Maha was talking previously about the GOP in Congress.

  3. This blog had a bit of a notion that this was the trendline some time ago, and predicted future mental deterioration in agent orange.  Not all saw it that way but none of the bright people that post here have offered other explanations of substance. 

    No one know for sure, but in hindsight this blog was way ahead of the curve again. We have more hindsight to come, I hope, but how big of a pile of evidence will it take to break the curse?

    At least most of the talking heads on Sunday morning  have quit trying to find reason and sanity in a failing brain and his rhetoric.  Come on, spend some time in an old age home.  Help a failing relative with marbles on the floor.  This may be your and my future too.  Sometimes the body outlives the mind.  A dead soul in a body that will not shut down.  Could it be good that this education is happening on the grand world stage?   Dotard hell man, the leader of the free world is coming apart like a cheap watch.  Where is Shakespeare when you need him?

  4. Oranges, how it began. He could not think of the word origin.

    Definitely losing it. 

    Meanwhile enablers: McConnell

    Mulvaney

    Nielsen

    Barr

    Fox news etc are all busy trying to screw up as much as possible before the collapse of the great orange balloon.

    Meanwhile trump is making money off of guests , members at mar a lago who are spying on US. Great deal ain't it? Make money off of spies coming to your club to steal all they can. Makes a whole new way to sell our country out.

  5. The key is Trump's base: 90% approval. They could care less about the nuttiness as long as he's an a$$hole and intimidates his/their enemies.What's going to crack that?

    The key to Trump's base is the media they feed on. If the base's media – which promotes "All Fear, All the Time" – could be shut down for a few months, more people would start to come to their senses. 

    Until that happens, the smart and normal people in this country will continue to be ruled and oppressed by the dumb minority, owing to structural flaws, such as the electoral college, and the way the many rural states can dominate a few populated states in the Senate. Will the Senate ever go Democratic in my lifetime? I doubt it.

    In other words, it's over for this country, when such an obvious buffoon supported by a corrupt party, cannot be removed in any easy fashion.

  6. Well, one thing we can be sure of is that Trump was aware that his synapses weren't firing. That blank stare on his face kinda gave him away. Normally, my experience is that if I can't find the word that I am looking for I might hesitate to some degree in trying to express what I want to say, but I've never had the experience of finding the word I want to use and not being able to pronounce it. That to me would indicate an entirely different level of diminishing capacity.

    Again, normally, I would feel a bit of compassion and sympathy in watching another human being slip away by the loss of their mental faculties, and consider it a cruelty of nature.. But in Trump's case I view it as divine retribution. He's just a big bag of shit who has told so many lies over his life time that he's worn out his amygdala by the constant friction of his lies bumping into one another.

    Bible says that the wages of sin is death. Lies, being sins, would also qualify to meet that criteria in the death of brain cells.

     

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  7. "However, it will be up to our broken political processes, and not the Praetorian Guard, to take him out"

    Imagine how f#cked up he would be without the threat of losing re-election? If he was to win in 2020 I fear he'll actually get worse if that is possible? Hopefully we Democrats will nominate a candidate that will take him out November 2020, that's our only hope!

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  8. OT – and I hope Maha will indulge me… a couple of questions:

     

    If Barr redacts areas of the report from Congress which do NOT have to be suppressed (sources and methods) isn't that criminal Obstruction of Justice? Yeah, I know he's A/G but he won't be forever and his intent may be borne out in the content he may be suppressing. Intent is the key factor to prove in Obstruction cases.

    Second question: If the full unredacted report is suppressed until 2021 and the content suggests the level of involvement by Trump proves Obstruction of Justice, can't Trump then be charged? There's no way (short of charging Trump with a crime and having the jury return a not-guilty verdict) that Trump can be immunized from charges when DOJ isn't run by one of Trump's stooges. Or am I missing something?

    Trump is completely stonewalling the US House. It seems inevitable that the people in different departments will testify that they were ordered to defy Congress, not give testimony, (or give false testimony) only supply tons of irrelevant paper and delay, delay, delay. All administrations are guilty of dragging their feet with Congress to a degree when it suits them, but the blanket policy of denying the authority of Congress in defiance of  the Constitution is not only new – it proves (in my non-lawyer mind) intent to Obstruct. Or is the crime of Obstruction only applicable to a DOJ investigation which the new A/G won't ever initiate even if they find a dead body in the Oval Office?

    Even Nixon knew when/how to save his own a$$ when he saw he was caught. He resigned. Trump keeps doubling down on his bets and delaying the end of the hand he's loosing. Eventually, cards will be shown (even if it's 2021). Won't there be a criminal accounting then?

    I say this because the underlying arguments about what Trump did, and what Barr seems to be hiding suggest that if we don't get Trump now, he will escape. The harpoon is in – it's in deep and regardless of how Trump dives deep and thrashes, it seems like we will haul him in with the truth in full display. What the facts are, I still don't know, but if they weren't a critical injury, they wouldn't be suppressed. And they can't be destroyed. 

    • "Even Nixon knew when/how to save his own a$$ when he saw he was caught. He resigned."

      Nixon didn't have FAUX news. Trump lives in the same land of delusion as his base, they see nothing but fairy tales and rainbows, he's not even close to even considering resigning? As far as 2021, assuming he loses I don't see any federal charges, every republican President in my lifetime has committed crimes while in office, not one of them has ever been held to account.

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  9. Maybe its a bit irrational or overly wishful of me, but I don't expect Trump to ever get close to a second term. To steal some rhetoric from Lincoln with slight modification..We are now engaged in the struggle for the soul of our nation testing whether this big bag of shit called Trump can long endure.

     I don't think the only way Trump will be eliminated from our political landscape has to be through a political process. There's always mother nature, and given the deterioration visible in Trump's statements she seems to be working overtime to achieve that end.

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  10. Welcome to the world Joe, you having a good time?

    Of everything Trump gets away with, the one that still leaves me speechless is how this cosseted little prince who has lived on a cushion of inherited and borrowed money since the day he was born pretends that he's this grizzled, experienced old guy who understands how the world really works. Pete Buttigieg and AOC have done more and seen more than this 72-year-old failson.

    It's why "naive" is right up with "scared" among my favorite words to use to describe Trump in arguments with Trumpites. It absolutely drives them nuts because in their worldview those are the two absolutely worst things a person can be — and it's what they are.

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