Donald Trump is frustrated in his inability to move legislation. He said in a recent interview that the form and function of the US Constitution are "archaic" and should be restructured so that it would be "modern." He also says that he would like to change the libel laws, evidently for the purpose of controlling dissent. So far as I know there are no federal libel laws. They are all state laws. The federal constitution protects freedom of speech but the law, so far as I know, does not offer the opportunity to sue for defamation in the federal Article Three courts. Does DT not understand that he does not control the state courts or legislatures? He is frustrated with his inability to move legislation in the US Congress? By analogy, if he were still in business, the response by a CEO type to a business plan for the company that obstructed his planning would be to seek to change the business plan at a stockholders meeting. Well, pilgrims, the US Constitution is not a business plan and the US Congress is not a stockholders' meeting. The US Constitution contains provisions for its own modification through amendment or a constitutional convention. Neither of these processes is anything like a stockholders' meeting. In fact the constitution was designed to make its modification difficult, and not easy at all. An amendment required 2/3 approval in BOTH houses and 2/3 ratification by the state governments. This was necessary in framing because a number of the original states would not have ratified the document without that approach. Yes, that means that the Union is an agreement among the states.
The extent to which DT understands the US government system is, IMO, doubtful. He appears to this lay observer of humans to have a number of learning disabilities; a form of Asperger's syndrome perhaps, ADHD, and dyslexia are among the possibilities. The comedian Hassan Minhaj told the press at the White House Correspondents; Dinner on Saturday that their responsibility is greater now than it has been in previous administrations because this president does not read briefing papers, cannot endure protracted oral briefings and has little knowledge of world affairs in his mental "library." It seems to be the case that he gets his information from 24/7 TV news . That is really unfortunate since most 24/7 news is merely a mouthpiece for someone's information operations whether left or right.
At the same time he has watched a lot of movies What a combination of influences! pl
I’m reminded of this quote of President Truman’s regarding President -elect Eisenhower: “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”
Pat, I’m wondering where you pulled the “constitution are archaic and should be restructured” language? When you have time…
Truman was wrong. Eisenhower recognized the difference and organized his staff t osupport efficient decision making and liaison with Congress. that’s why you have the Interstate Higway syste amnog other things. pl
One of his recent TV interviews. http://www.salon.com/2017/05/01/donald-trump-doesnt-like-the-archaic-constitution-its-really-a-bad-thing-for-the-country/
Great article in Sputnik about “imitation aggression”. In this scenario, McMaster would be playing a political role fully supporting the President. The author says he prefers imitation aggression to Clinton’s real aggression.
But Krugman’s article is undoubtedly correct. The levee will break. The question is what will get washed away.
Is Trump not then a good representative of US electorate; in as much as they also have a poor grasp of US system of government as well as receiving their information from 24/7 TV (propaganda) news?
More generally, was not the so-called “Tammany Hall” system a more reliable system for producing worthy elected officials?
One thing to remember is that there is an actual mutual defense treaty between the US and South Korea. This is US law and would come into immediate play if the NoKos act against South Korea. pl
Ike, having dealt with Monty, was used to the idea (that is, the idea of dealing with contrary opinions.)
clever. As you know we were better off when WASPs and other elites ran the country. pl
DT seems prone to endless gaffe’s. I was surprised when he ran and even more when he won, but now he’s POTUS and I’m willing to give him some benefit of the doubt.
I’m sure he is genuinely surprised at the road blocks he runs into, even from his own party. I can’t believe though, that someone his age and with his background, doesn’t have a basic understanding of the Constitution and what it’s all about.
I’m hoping a rocky shake down cruise by an outsider will lead to better performance soon.
The DPRK is a powder keg, but I do believe he and his advisers know it and are aware of just how much NK can be taunted.
R Priebus gets on national tv to say that the WH is considering amending the constitution. Seriously?..the WH is looking at re-writing the First Amendment because Trump hates his press coverage? When is Priebus gonna say “enough” and get the hell outta there?
I agree with you, Col. As I see it one of Eisenhower’s most effective qualities was his ability to get real and potential rivals to underestimate him.
Where is Troy? I forget his name, but I am referring to the individual who produced so many impassioned and eloquent defenses of Trump and Trumpism in the time before Trump took office.
That is NOT snark or gloating, BTW. I am genuinely interested in his take and whether he is still on the Trump bandwagon.
@Hood Canal Gardner: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-us-constitution-archaic-really-bad-fox-news-100-days-trump-popularity-ratings-barack-a7710781.html
Trump’s wishes with regard to governance may explain why he is curious to meet Erdogan
and his counterpart from the Philippines, two guys who don’t let mere laws stand in their way. In the case of Erdo, he changes the whole system. In the case of the Philippines, he simply ignores it. Does he envy the control that El Sisi enjoys?
Oh my. Describing the Constitution as archaic, aside from indicating what he really thinks of how the US governance should work, is perhaps the biggest political mistake Trump has made. It will lose him a significant fraction of his base, especially on the Republican side.
From a business POV he is used to being not only CEO, but in control of the board. He will find neither works as POTUS.
Quite an eye opener as he obviously didn’t pay much attention in civics class as this appears to be new to him. The Democrats will exploit this to high heaven.
He will be used by the borg as they see fit then discarded. Otherwise he will be a huge drag on the Republicans in a year and a half, let alone the next presidential election.
In a parliamentary system like yours Trump would be altogether in charge so long as he maintained his majority in parliament and we do not have a king so there would be no need for the royal assent in anything. pl
More generally, was not the so-called “Tammany Hall” system a more reliable system for producing worthy elected officials?
A more reliable system for producing “reliable” candidates. Both FDR and Fiorella LaGuardia were vehemently anti-Tammany Hall.
I am inclined to suspect that DT is playing the buffoon to hide some deadly serious
stuff going on behind this smokescreen. Am I alone in having this impression?
“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said “There’s no reason for this.” People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
I guess he missed some parts of high school history.
I guess I missed parts of high school history because, I too, think that the US Civil War was unnecessary. pl
Colonel, a small correction-ratification of a proposed amendment requires a 3/4 majority of state legislatures or state conventions.
Sent from my iPhone
Jackson was more remarkable than we knew. He was clairvoyant: being angry about what was happening 16 years after his death. He died in 1845.
How unhinged, if he is, is the Fearless Leader of the NKs?
Wouldn’t any serious aggression from the North towards the South be in essence, “suicide by cop?”
The North Koreans used to be adept at brinksmanship games. Have they miscalculated here, or is their “bluster” still useful?
I don’t really see the prominent signs of Asperger’s, though you could make the case for some ADHD. What I would be more worried about is early cognitive dysfunction. Dependence upon family and emotional lability are signs of deterioration in its early stages, along with the inability to adapt well to new situations. Hard to tell since his image is so heavily scripted by both his supporters (on the positive side) and his detractors (on the negative side) that we won’t be able to tell wha tis happening until he is much further along. They hid Reagan’s issues quite well.
That’s not DT “playing” anything,that’s DT.
I don’t rule out the idea of smokescreens and deadly stuff,however.
No, he missed the part about people liking war; an insight, that like so much else about the War Between the States, I learnt from Margaret Mitchell.
IMO his impulsive outbursts would fall in that area. pl
steve and apol
steve – You never answered my point about DT having all the cards in a parliementary system. Apol – if it looks like a duck … pl
Tyler got it right. It’s just that Trump, for whatever reason, no longer does.
He’s still your President. It was a deadly piece of theatre in Syria and his administration no longer feels the love from this particular outsider. I happened to see the chocolate cake interview and that was it for me. But however low his chances of coming good now are they’re still higher than Clinton’s would have been.
And if he’s been turned, I very much doubt the people he gave a voice to have.
Well I think the current system only encourages the most incorrigible narcissist to run for US Presidency; after all, he or she is going around telling people “Vote for me because I am so Great.”
And the electorate has bought into this; that the Presidency of US is an office only fit for the “Greatest American”.
A consequence of it, in my opinion, is that the US President often cannot level with American people because if he does so, then he will be rejected as not being “The Great Man/Woman” and would be replaced by the next fellow who could convince the electorate that he is greater.
The “Blood, sweat, and tears” speech of Churchill is not possible in the United States, in my opinion.
It is interesting that you mention FDR, the greatest US statesman of the 20-th century; how much his star has diminished while the Cult of Churchill keeps on going.
DT is probably being used as a smokescreen, so you are half right.
Well, I’ll go out on a limb.
The one thing that Kim Jung-Un (sp?) has wanted since 2013 is to meet with an American president and talk. Obama snubbed him. The Chinese has asked the US since 2014 to meet with and listen to Korean concerns. No luck.
So that little dance on CBS on Sunday was a pas de deux for Kim, imo.
(1) the butter poured down his back about taking over when he was 25 after his father died and surviving palace intrigues and running a country. (Ignatius on Morning Joe this AM thought it was unbecoming a US prez to say the things he did buttering up Un. Thought minions should do it.)
(2) As Thomas Mann once said of someone, “He’s not such a big man that he can make himself so small.” Well, the US president can. And it’s an old trick from Sun-Tzu if you can pull it off to make your enemies think you can’t handle “it.” I heard in Trump’s ‘frustration’ with Congress another message for Kim that left to his druthers, Trump could just whack him and end it, but there’s a pesky Congress that can block him, so there’s some save-face space and TIME for Kim to negotiate without going full postal. Kim has a million-man army, but those soldiers are needed for the harvest or the people will starve, as they did a few years ago. One of the harvests didn’t come in because someone (us?) planned an altercation, or something, and Un had to pull the soldiers off the fields to don uniforms. Kim’s–and all North Koreans–fear is another 1950s when Pyongyang was wiped out, over a million dead, two buildings left standing. The starvation was unbelievable. 20 million refugees with no homes, heat, food…everything obliterated.
Who taught all those Americans about the structure of our government? What party are they in? As to the most important Americans, the fake Americans, who do you think they vote for and why?
I think he’s busy with the deportation force.
Of course he envies their power. Thank God for the Constitution and the separation of powers.
I was behind Trump almost as much as Tyler. What can I say other than the Borg sucked his brain? Too bad, I knew it could happen. At least he isn’t calling me a privileged racist and taxing me to death while carrying out the will of the Borg. So there’s always that to hang on to. And he lets me keep my guns, which are beginning to look more relevant all the time.
I am also still hoping that Trump started a trend in which outsiders can be viable candidates.
All the stupid gaffs, seeming ignorance of history and Constitutional processes and self-center impetuousness were always a known feature of The Donald. Like a lot of supporters, I didn’t care about any of that as long as he stuck to his guns re; the key pillars of his platform – and sticking it to the elitists/Borgists. Almost all candidates and politicians of the last 30 years or so say really stupid stuff.
All of that said, maybe it’s a good thing that he’s not just ignoring NoKo like past administrations have. I mean they appear to have a lunatic dictator with nuclear weapons and a constant program to develop a means of delivering them as well exerting a constant threat to SoKo. At least Trump is addressing the situation and not sticking his head in the sand.
Speaking of sand, while I do not agree with the lame missile attack on Syria over a highly likely faked Syrian govt poison gas attack, the action worked wonders for Trump. It was like political magic. So there’s still a possibility that the guy is crazy like a fox. Time will tell.
The federal constitution protects freedom of speech but the law, so far as I know, does not offer the opportunity to sue for defamation in the federal Article Three courts.
In fact a defamation suit could be heard in federal court if the litigants were from different states, it is called diversity jurisdiction. But STATE law would be applied by the federal court hearing such a lawsuit.
Pardon me, but I used to be a law prof long long ago.
I believe that what they are all trying to hide is an economy on the verge of a serious breakdown.
The Washington Post reports that Trump got rolled in his first budget negotiation. I admit I am baffled. Steve’s description of old age fits me and, apparently, the President to a tee; “Dependence upon family and emotional lability along with the inability to adapt well to new situations”. Can the President just be ignored? This does not portend well for the future. 80% of Americans were thrown under the bus by the Reagan/Thatcher counter-coup and Globalization. The populist President the people elected in 2016 has flopped 180 degrees on every election promise. The establishment rules. JFK; “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”.
I fear it may be Trump who has miscalculated. Advantage lies with NK, if they sit tight. Status quo means they continue to develop nukes/missiles – which means it is Trump’s move. If NK won’t budge, this can only be a preemptive strike which likely leads to nuclear war. In chess this situation is called zugzwang; you lose because you have to move next.
In his previous life Trump’s ‘foes’ were rational corporates who could be relied upon to fold out of calculated self-interest if bullied adequately. I don’t recall a chapter in Art of the Deal on strategies for delusional personality cults whose very existence is sustained only by ever more dramatic displays of weapons designed to destroy you.
You only post a comment once her and then wait for me to decide whethe or not to publish it. pl
If Trump gets impeached, will Kushner go with him?
If it was necessary, then as a corollary it was necessary for 620,000 soldiers to die in the Civil War.
From there one must proceed to the question, did the Civil War work? Whoever answers that question in the affirmative must also state unequivocally that there would still be slaves in the United States today had the Civil War not been fought. If that cannot be stated, then one must state at what point in the history of the United States would slavery have disappeared without the deaths of 620,000 soldiers. Recall that slavery was inextricably intertwined with cotton, white gold.
Bear in mind that the preponderance of the Founding Fathers were slave owners including Benjamin Franklin. The blood of 11,000,000 African American slaves was on their hands. The holocaust had already occurred long before 1850.
But if the Civil War was not fought to end slavery, but rather to preserve the Union, I return to my first question: was preserving the Union worth the lives of 620,000 soldiers? Preventing secession was worth 620,000 lives. What utter nonsense.
And we come to today. Our country is so perfect that we can be allied with Saudi Arabia, a society so repellent that I am sickened by it. Oh, yes, the Civil War was necessary so that we can get into bed with Saudi Arabia today.
Well we are three plus months in and those that like or hate DT have not changed much. He has been moving along steadily enacting what he can but being stifled by Congress as usual, our real problem. For all McCain’s faults he is right about one thing “watch what he does not what he says” or something along those lines. We have a first rate cabinet who have all gotten out and around learning the ropes. There have been a few missiles and bombs tossed and more to come. Vlad seems to being flipped while we are getting close with China.
I believe he was right in getting out amongst the people the other night versus attending the Swamp Fest. Hopefully he does that for another three years or so.
Yes, I miss Tyler as others do but I do not see his view changed but enhanced as we have a worker in the White House looking out for his fellow workers.
Oh, is there a Doctor in the House.
Going back to the old system of pres selection by party bosses is a non starter. The nominating process just needs to be shortened and overhauled. Free tv time for candidates and public financing of elections by the taxpayers would be welcome too, but that’s probably not possible with this SCOTUS.
None of those things will happen. Nevertheless, a different kind of Dem candidate will be running in 2020, the Dem Party got rightly chastened in 2016. FDR’s star is rising again and I expect that “Blood, sweat, and tears” language as a way to a “hopeful future” would be welcomed by Dem primary voters. AFL-CIO pres Richard Trumka is looking at people like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Jeff Merkley as prospects because they all have clear economic messages.
I don’t understand what goes on on the GOP side. The party is ideologically hidebound, but Trump ran and got elected as a populist.
Back in 2016, seems so long ago, Trump said he’d meet with Kim Jung Un, wonder if he still feels that way? Video if you care to look:
I can only lament now that we didn’t elect Ron Paul back in ’08.
In the Corporate World, when an Idiot demands idiot options on an impossibility,
You spin it out as “investigating the options”.
You might even go so far as creating a “commitee” to drink coffee, eat donuts, kibitz, while not really “investigating the options”.
You spin it out as long as you can with out results in the hope that the Idiot, forgets his/her idiocy, eventually.
With the “Flynn” vetting, Prebius ensured that he can’t walk away from Trump, unscathed.
If Trump gets convicted by the Senate maybe Pence will fire him.
I know the US system is vastly different than a westminster parliamentary system. But when one party in the US controls all the federal levers of power, as is the case now, it certainly is possible for a guileful President to approach or even exceed those granted to a Prime Minister.
What’s surprising to me is that it’s the Republicans who are mostly keeping DJT in check. Trump clearly thought he could order the republican party around like a big boss: not so. Over the summer, I expect there will be a President/congressional Republican caucus meeting, where a legislative agenda will be proposed and agreed upon. It’ll be rammed through next winter, even at the expense of the filibuster.
I dont know what ppl here think of RD Steele, but he mad a summary roundup of DT’s performance to date including good, bad, & ugly:
I often have wondered the sacriligious thought that the US would operate much more effectively if it had split into two smaller nations, (albeit with other problems remaining to be resolved)
Various commentators, in this post, and all over the Internet and media,
are deploring Trump and “the system” which resulted in his election.
We need to take a step back and note that
his supporters voted for what he said,
not who he was.
I think there is ample evidence for that.
So the real questions are, or should be:
“Why was such a flawed exponent of popular ideas chosen?
Was there not a less flawed exponent of those ideas available?”
Well, there certainly was another exponent of those ideas.
See the article:
‘The Ideas Made It, But I Didn’t’
Pat Buchanan won after all.
But now he thinks it might be too late
for the nation he was trying to save.
By Tim Alberta
So why has Pat Buchanan been so marginalized,
both politically and in terms of media reach?
If his ideas won, why didn’t he?
I think there can be no doubt whatsoever about the answer to that question:
His statements about Israel
(e.g., “Whose War?”,
made him unacceptable to the American Jewish community.
As clear proof of that, see the article:
Fear rises that Bannon could bring the ‘alt-right’ into White House
Trump’s decision to appoint the Breitbart executive his chief strategist stokes warnings across the political spectrum.
By Katie Glueck, 2016-11-14
The relevant quote from that article:
For another example of their antagonism to Buchanan, see
The latest Atlantic has a good article titled “Why Was There A Civil War”. I find their reasoning quite good.
Pardon me, but aren’t both Trump and Clinton WASP?
There is also an actual mutual defense treaty between China and North Korea.
Buckle up, things might get bumpy quickly.
I remember someone suggesting this bumper sticker:
McMaster and Lady Graham have no qualms about the millions of SoKos who will die if we attack NoKo preemptively because they are years away from developing a viable threat to the US. Russia would be a better ally to SoKo than us.
Apologies, won’t happen again.
Aspergers/ADHD is very fashionable in current artistic portrayals of Borgist intellectual superiority. The Nritish version of “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and his portrayal of Alan Turing, Jonny Lee Miller’s American portrayal of SH in “Elementary”, recent incarnations of Dr Who.
The Scandinoir TV series “The Bridge” – and I’m only talking about the Danish version – treats Aspergers on a much more tragic and profound level. Saga, the Swedish female detective, I see mainly as an angelic being, interested purely in abstract justice. But she is also aware of her unnatural distance from ordinary humans and her isolation. In trying to integrate herself she fatefully decides to follow the worldly advice of her compromised Danish co-detective. He teaches her how to lie. Her lying, to please him, in turn leads to the death of his own beloved son.
I think the Anglo-Americans co-opted the superficial comic and entertainment potential of Aspergers from the the Saga Scandi model while entirely ignoring its tragic and dangerous elements.
Eric Newhill – this has to be right:-
“All the stupid gaffs, seeming ignorance of history and Constitutional processes and self-centered impetuousness were always a known feature of The Donald. Like a lot of supporters, I didn’t care about any of that as long as he stuck to his guns …”
As long as he stuck to his guns. It’s as if Michael Collins had said at the height of the conflict “I’m not that bothered about Ireland, now it comes to it.” All Trump really had to do was stick to his guns. Not as if he hadn’t got them lined up.
He stood head and shoulders above the PR politicians. How could he not, when you look at Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the fakes? The media gave him no cover so he did look stupid a lot of the time, but however he blundered about – maybe because he blundered about – he had the rare gift of being authentic. That he threw away by playing the PR game over the Syrian episode. Unless he was genuinely hoaxed by the neocons, which is difficult to believe.
Now he’s played the PR game, now it looks as if he’s joined the fakes, there doesn’t seem to be a lot going for him. But maybe, as you say, he’s crazy like a fox. He’d have to be, I suppose, to get anything past the rest of them.
I think he is playing the buffoon because that is what he is. The emperor has no clothes.
What is it about him that you do not like? pl
To meet with them wouldn’t be something new, it seems. But surely Kim Jung Un coming to the US to meet Trump. Just as Trump wouldn’t meet him in North Korea. Was there ever a president that did? …
Scroll down a little, the initial alarm around USS Carl Vinson has been reduced to faux news on Wikipedia by now.
Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) for the presidency?
Bruce Blair, a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security, at Princeton, told me that if Trump were an officer in the Air Force, with any connection to nuclear weapons, he would need to pass the Personnel Reliability Program, which includes thirty-seven questions about financial history, emotional volatility, and physical health. (Question No. 28: Do you often lose your temper?) “There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump would never pass muster,” Blair, who was a ballistic-missile launch-control officer in the Air Force, told me. “Any of us that had our hands anywhere near nuclear weapons had to pass the system. If you were having any arguments, or were in financial trouble, that was a problem. For all we know, Trump is on the brink of that, but the President is exempt from everything.”
(I guess we can’t hold Presidents to these standards.)
He may have been recalling Andrew Jackson’s stance during the nullification controversy. Jackson was vehemently against any attempt by any of the states to usurp the authority of the national government. By implication, had he been president instead of Buchanan, secession and war might not have occurred. That Trump had this in mind is pure supposition on my part. It seems similar to the “tens of thousands of Moslems” celebrating in N.J. on 9/11 which could have come from his recollection, such as it was, of the incident with the mossad agents.
One more point I should have included; Trump has a gotten a good man appointed to the Supreme Court and will likely have the opportunity to make two more appointments; certainly at least one.
Even if Trump fails to deliver on everything else he promised, appointing solid originalists – or as close to originalist as possible – to the Supreme Court will be enough. Without that, the USA would be kaput in 20 years; a victim of destructive leftist activism like Venezuela. So Trump will have saved the country regardless of what he does in the foreign policy arena.
The man is poorly educated and IMO somewhat handicapped. I understand what he meant about Jackson and so do you. Would secession have occurred if Jackson had been president in the late 1850s? Probably not. He lacked Buchanan’s inhibitions. pl
It would be easier to say what I like. He seems a devoted father. He appears to have a good work ethic.
I find his demeanor unpresidential, his speech inarticulate. His admiration of dictators frightening. I am unsure where he stands on most issues and he is divisive not unifying. I don’t trust him. I’m sure many on this site would probably say much the same about Obama or Clinton.
Yes Nancy, I agree, thanks to the US constitution, without that document, this Greedy Bunch would have walked all over us.
My own opinion is that President Trump, having had his legislative agenda devoured whole by the clash between the Tea Party (defund-the-nanny-state) and the small rump of moderate Republicans plus the Democratic Party, projects himself into the historic person of President Jackson, and, through this projective identification, imagines that a person who understands everything and wins all the time, would simply end slavery without a shot being fired and then unify the country.
It seems to me wishful thinking, even as an imaginative response to Trump’s self-generated thought problem. It is, again as I view it, indicative of Trump’s feeling powerless to–100 days out–simply order the government and nation around, bend it to his will, and make America great again.
As Josh Marshall describes our leader, Trump is “militantly ignorant.”
During the campaign he told the nation he would drain the swamp of special interests, Wall Street self-dealers, and, the corrupt media. Instead President Trump and his administration has doubled down on Goldman Sachs and other plutocrats, and, he set up an opaque WH, understaffed the cabinet bureaucracies, and, created conditions for his own family’s coming to financially benefit immensely from his Presidency.
His 36 year old son-in-law has been charged with: ending the opioid crisis, resolving the crisis in the ME, reorganizing the Federal Government based in principles of cost/benefit/efficiency/accountability.
Has he become almost totally assimilated by the Borg? Is a severe round of reaganomics in our hyper rent-seeking era going to bring back coal, steel, manufacturing?
Irony helps. President has killed his own agenda. Still, he has severed “better coverage” from his pre-election promise to provide healthcare that lowers premiums and deductibles, covers everybody including those with pre-existing conditions, and is “beautiful and much much better than Obamacare.”
There were days of celebrations in UAE cities – “with coeds coming to class giggling…”; if you do not believe me search the public Internet.
And the United States, Canada, UK, France, Australia are committed, absolutely committed, to the preservation of the security and prosperity of UAE against Any and All.
“Any”, I imagine, stands for “Iran” and “All”, I suppose, stands for “the Party of Ali”.
I did not vote for Trump or HRC! Both represent political currents long past IMO. As to Presidential power the U.S. became a service dominated economy by 1970! The U.S, service economy cannot fight major wars IMO. So we must be expert on military mobilization and national preparedness. Neither are items that can be bought off the shelf.
Jackson’s great gift to U.S. History was his commitment to the UNION.
As to Presidential power the application of organized violence is the keystone of a nation-state system devolved largely by organized violence. This is a skill, knowledge, and competency 180 degrees out from being a real estate developer in NYC.
There can be no “test” for elected officials but the vote itself. to do otherwise is to submit to the bureaucracy. pl
How do democracies collapse? Guys like Donald Trump.
Which collapsed democracies are you citing as historical examples? Republican Spain? Weimar Germany? pl
For what it is worth now, we ALL knew ALL of this BEFORE Trump won the Electoral College. NONE of this was hidden and NO ONE should be surprised.
We also knew that Trump did not excel at running public companies…with actual shareholders. His companies are closely-held family-run companies and he had NO IDEA how to persuade or re-tool or “work well with others.” An oligarch was elected to the US Presidency.
Why are we concerned now?
Ike had run a government—WWII was like herding cats for the Supreme Commander. He was actually quite well-prepare for the Presidency. This doesn’t mean that most Generals would be well-prepared but Eisenhower’s preparation was pretty darn good.
Doug, it will not lose him any part of his base…and will gain him any corporate oligarchs that are still wondering. For heaven’s sake, these people don’t like EPA regulations that keep our air and water cleaner than they were 25 years ago…they certainly aren’t going to understand or care about separation of powers or due process!
The other problem is that over the last 15-20 years in ALL schools, civics has become downgraded and ECONOMICS has become the hot course of study…this is true in high schools all over the nation. So…what has been taught is not a fuller of civics and government but one semester of civics and one semester of economics which in the US is NOT economics but capitalism with a capital C.
We are in trouble.
A dear friend just died of early-onset dementia. I see flashes of similarities and it is quite scary.
When will the Navy doctors at Walter Reed start examining Trump????
If we are now talking about the possibility of democracy collapsing, be it in the United States or Europe, perhaps it is time to remind ourselves that ‘republican’ thought was always deeply ambivalent about ‘democracy’.
And, making matters even more ironic, there are the very clear common elements one finds in, among other places, French ‘republican’ thought (read Tocqueville, or Élie Halévy), or the ideas of figures in the German resistance to Hitler (such as Helmuth von Moltke, George Kennan’s mentor), or Russian ‘conservative liberals’ (such as the authors of the 1909 ‘Vekhi’ symposium.)
In some ways, the most relevant today may be the thinking of people like Mikhail Gershenzon, whose brainchild the ‘Vekhi’ symposium was. Whatever the problems of his thinking, he most clearly saw a deep dilemma: that a ‘populist revolt’ may lead to the destruction of ‘liberal’ ideas, and to potentially catastrophic ‘Caesarist’ outcomes, but one does not deal with the problem by simply denying any legitimacy – or indeed rationality’ – to the forces that power it.
And then, many of those dilemmas can be found in classic American writers.
So Herman Melville, so much a product of ‘New England’ culture, produced after the Civil War the most bizarre doggerel poem ‘Clarel’.
In it, some of his deepest anxieties were put into the mouth of ‘Ungar’, the part Indian, I think Catholic, Confederate veteran, turned ‘soldier of fortune’ in the Middle East.
Much of ‘Clarel’ is tedious.
But parts remain both extraordinarily beautiful, and deeply troubling. So, in the course of a discussion where ‘Ungar’ is, very much, in a minority, Melville has him say the following:
“True heart do ye bear
In this discussion? or but trim
To draw my monomania out,
For monomania, past doubt,
Some of ye deem it. Yet I’ll on.
Yours seems a reasonable tone;
But in the New World things make haste:
Not only men, the state lives fast –
Fast breeds the pregnant eggs and shells,
The slumberous combustibles
Sure to explode. ‘Twill come, ‘twill come!
One demagogue can trouble much:
How of a hundred thousand such?
And universal suffrage lent
To back them with brute element
Overwhelming? What shall bind these seas
Of rival sharp communities
Unchristianized? Yea, but ‘twill come!”
“Your Thirty Years (of) War.”
“Should fortune’s favorable star
“Fortune? nay, ’tis doom.”
“Then what comes after? spasms but tend
Ever, at last, to quiet.”
Whatever happen in the end,
Be sure ‘twill yield to one and all
New confirmation of the fall
Of Adam. Sequel may ensue,
Indeed, whose germs one now may view:
Myriads playing pygmy parts –
Debased into equality:
In glut of all material arts
A civic barbarism may be:
By popular science –Atheized
Into a smatterer”
“Yet knowing all self need to know
In self’s base little fallacy;
Dead level of rank commonplace:
An Anglo-Saxon China, see,
May on your vast plains shame the race
In the Dark Ages of Democracy.”
One does not have to agree with Melville. But it might help if contemporary Americans did occasionally read some of the greatest writers their culture has produced.
It sounds as if you and I are finally singing from the same hymnal as to the competence of the president.
The severe polarization of American politics is one sign of trouble. Throw in a weak economy for a large part of the country and a president who denies the legitimate outcomes of the democratic system…yet maintains a sizable fanbase and a party that tolerates it and we’ve got a recipe for sh*t to happen. Maybe all it would take is a Trumpian version of the Reichstag fire. Some examples: yes to yours and Poland in the 1920s too. Not sure that recent events in the Philippines and Turkey are equivalent.
FDR’s star was “diminishized” on purpose for decades by the various New Deal Haters who spent decades plotting their revenge on the New Deal by working to repeal and erase every part of it they could.
Perhaps the process of restoring and repairing some kind of present day New Deal would involve re-respecting and re-studying FDR and what the New Dealers of the day really thought and really wanted to achieve ( and in part did achieve).
Edward Amame – you ask “How do democracies collapse?”
The first step is simple enough, however, and was explained by your President Carter last year: get the big money into politics and buy the politicians. I’d say that’s the crucial step and after that the world’s your oyster.
In no particular order after that:-
Locate your core industries abroad. Bring labour in to compete with local labour – I expect by now you’re beginning to see how important it is to buy the politicians. Those two steps don’t advantage the bottom 90% so you have to make sure the bottom 90% has no say in the matter.
All Western societies have a large and influential group called intellectuals. They’re centred in the universities and the media. The devil finds work for idle hands to do and those intellectuals can be a real nuisance if you don’t keep them occupied. Set them to work on gender politics and identity politics and bathroom design. That seems to keep them happy most of the time.
Some of the intellectuals are called economists. They’re important. It’s their job to tell the bottom 90% that everything’s fine. If any of the 90% get uppity about losing their jobs or not having enough to live on, the economists are able to explain to them that that’s because they’re workshy or uneducated. If any of them get better educated and still find no jobs then it’s for the economist to explain to them that that’s inevitable in a globalised economy.
So you see the economists really do have an important role to play. As do the riot police, of course, for when the economists fail to convince.
Chuck in a hefty dose of panis et circenses. Wreck your education system. Get stuck into a bit of mayhem abroad. Make sure the politicians have got exceptionally good security. That’s about it.
I hope that was some help to you. In fact, when you break it down, collapsing a democracy isn’t complicated at all really.
“a president who denies the legitimate outcomes of the democratic system.” Whoa! Your party lost the presidency and both houses of Congress to his “fanbase.” You claim to support democracy? It doesn’t sound like it. pl
Babak, I’m sure you’re correct about the giggling coeds. I was referring to Trump possibly confusing in his mind the group of darkish complected chaps who were observed filming and high-fiving in a parking lot in N.J. as the towers were coming down. It turned out that, after their arrest, they were found to be Israelis and, very likely mossad agents. They were released and spirited out of the country very quickly.
Nailed it! BRAVO!
Dependence upon family and emotional lability …
could he simply be grooming them, giving them the chance to experience the US higher political circus? Like he offered his kids jobs in his business?
It may get more usual. Didn’t a former US president offer a special job to his wife too? Well, she failed then, and it was a single task, but it may have prepared her for further tasks in politics. So now it’s the daughter and the son in law.
turcopolier — His attacks on the validity of judicial rulings is certainly an attack on our Constitutional democratic system.
There is nothing wrong with questioning the outcomes of judicial proceedings. Would you not have questioned the outcome of Plessey vs Ferguson? pl
Ungar (Hugar), together with his brother Magyar (Majar) were the legendary sons of Attila the Hun and purported founders of the Magyar Nation; a.k.a. Hungary.
Western people refer to them as Hungarians, Easterners as Majars/Magyars.
Attention deficits, specifically short attention span, are certainly characteristic of ADHD as are things like the late night tweets. Many learning disabilities fall on the Autism Spectrum. They include things like reading disabilities it seems we see in Trump.
Fashionable or not, when trying to understand behaviors, starting with things we know that commonly cause them is a pretty good practice. Trump’s odd sleep patterns, short attention span, and distaste for reading are pretty simple and straight up markers for cognitive processing issues like ADHD and reading disabilities. As noted above, “If it walks like a duck…”
I am not a Trump fan, but I do care that he is functional as President. Understanding the issues that hinder his comprehension and performance is the first step to ameliorating them. When dealing with someone who has access to nuclear weapons (and conventional) that ain’t superficial, comic or trivial.
Keith, interesting Buchanon profile by André Chung, well done. Thanks for the alert.
Concerning Pat’s reference to Buchanon and Palin in 2008. Which I may have missed. Do you recall the rumor around William Kristol of Weekly Standard fame, or his meeting and support of Palin as McCain’s running mate at the time? I even seem to remember the image of an American next to a little Israeli next to an American flag on her desk at the time … A a more complex scene of themes, influences, money , power and taboos?
Pro-Israel hawks cannot be reduced to their strain of ‘exporting the American Dream’ of freedom to a resistant world at gunpoint, if need be. Just as Buchanan surely cannot be simply reduced to a racist, xenophobe and antisemite. They may be opposing forces on a lot of other issues too. I find him an interesting character, even though I do not share his nostalgia for the 50s. 😉
Katie Glueck* missed a group of Jewish supporters of Steve Bannon, people like David Horowitz. But she seems an apprentice. Anyway: They strongly share his nationalist and “anti-multiculturalist” agenda on US ground. But may be more open to the R2P “obligations” as city on the hill of the US. … I have no idea where Bannon stands in that context.
There is this rumor about Bannon clashing with Yared Kushner on the US military response in Syria. The more prominent rumor of course is Ivanka forced her father with her tears about the babies. Is that ruse to polish his image? Or does he share the idea with whomever, left or right, that such a response would need a solid basis in evidence?
* Katie Glueck, catched that Heritage canned Jim deMint without a chance to publish it on Politico. Others were already on the story. But Politico caught what couldn’t be easily reduced to rumor anymore earlier.
To be ousted, even though he successfully brought many Heritage People into Team Trump, article end of April?
After DeMint left the Senate and took the reins of Heritage, the group’s advocacy arm, Heritage Action, was converted from a policy-driven vehicle into an aggressive political outfit that waged attacks against House and Senate leaders.
DeMint earned a salary of $1.1 million in 2015 from the Heritage Foundation, according to the organization’s tax filings. (not that it matters)
A DeMint ally who’s worked with Heritage and the Trump administration on policy proposals said the timing of the push to oust DeMint “is ironic, because I don’t think Heritage has been more relevant than they are right now. They were deeply enmeshed in the transition and in a lot of policy in the Trump administration.”
Jim deMint knocked out in a power struggle, or since he drew too much limelight? Check the ends of the two articles:
In 1981, a newly elected President Ronald Reagan distributed The Heritage Foundation’s 3,000-page set of policy recommendations, known as the Mandate for Leadership, at his first Cabinet meeting. As thousands of the foundation’s recommendations were adopted, they made an indelible mark on the administration.
The passing of the baton back to Feulner marks an attempt, both literally and figuratively, to return to those days.
“Heritage’s academic credentials were much greater under Feulner than DeMint. Hopefully, Feulner, if he takes over, can help reestablish Heritage as what it used to be during the Reagan years,” Edwards said.
Not the way he’s doing it. He’s a demagogue.
I have made up my mind about you. i don’t want to see your propaganda here again. pl
If you feel the election was invalid I suggest you call Senator Schumer and ask him why he betrayed America by not signing the challenge to the electoral college outcome made by Representative Barbara Lee of California – or any of the others. Shame, shame, shame. When you are done call the rest of the Democratic Senators and ask them the same thing.
I believe the same thought is presented in a different form by a recent PBS series, “The Great War, in which the depths of Wilson’s abuses of power in wartime were, at least for me, revealed for the first time.
Lincoln did much the same, and Melville’s piece could have fit as well in the post WW1 world, I suspect. The rueing of a mad period is often suppressed. Nobody likes to admit they were cowards and/or fools and most will only express that guilt in odd, obscure ways.
We seem to suspend democracy when it is perceived to be too cumbersome and then restore it. Perhaps it has only been restored in our past because we perceived that the good times are “here again” or we believed they would soon be.
Oh well. I’ll still enjoy your FP stuff. But your Trump stuff is just nuts.
I don’t think EA is a propagandist. EA is a sane voice from the Democratic party. I wish all Democratic party faithfuls are like EA.
You agree with him I suppose so he seems reasonable to you. I have put up with him for quite a few years in spite of the fact that I rarely agree with him on anything. Yesterday he wrote me three e-mails withing a few minutes repeating the same points and then told me he would be back for more on the same subject today when he had time off from work. To me, this is mere argumentative pushing of talking points. I don’t want that on my site. pl
Thanks for the demonstration of the closed nature of your mind. pl
Laura, ok, another Sybil.
I may be misguided, but at the times that mattered the ladies seemed pretty obsessed with Trump’s suits. Fitting versus not so well fitting.
Was that you?
agreed, Tony. I wouldn’t have responded to him more recently if it hadn’t the feel and touch of something like a mental struggle.
Re; Edward – If I may, there is something going on in this country that I really don’t understand. There are – it appears – a large number of people who have adopted political concepts and positions like Edward’s to the point of cult like obsession. This phenomenon intensified many fold in 2016. There is no reasoning with these people.
Due to my life long hobby interests in spiritual/metaphysical topics and guitar music I have made a lot of friends and acquaintances with left leaning views. Those areas interest seem to attract such people like a summer porch lamp attracts bugs. Some of these people have been friends for 30 years or more. Some are minorities. Those that are have been welcomed guests in my home. I have proudly introduced them as friends to people I know in my predominately white community. I have included them in social events. A couple of them and I have been through some things together.
Now, all of the sudden, they call me a “racist” and refuse to talk to me because I voted Trump. Many are calling me “evil” because I work for an insurance company. Their Facebook pages are full of vitriol, fear and loathing against America and Republicans. They weren’t like this even 3 years ago. We used to be able to casually rib each other once in a while about our different political outlooks and have a good laugh over it at each other’s expense. Now they’re practically deadly serious. It’s not funny any more.
I’ve tried to understand what transformed them. Best I can figure from what I see and hear, they have been fully propagandized, indoctrinated and radicalized beyond the boundaries of reason by the MSM, but more, by the online material they consume. They repeat exactly the same talking points that Edward does. There’s no getting through to them. Again, this is a new development for the people that used to be my friends.
The only common threads I detect is that these people have an artistic bent, have always been idealistic and fairly passive physically and emotionally, are somewhat under-achievers and have a tendency to over-simply the realities of life, while believing that they have it all figured out. Their lack of real world experience at any level of power and decision making strongly colors their false impressions of what it’s all about. That’s the people I know. It’s like someone – or something – has crafted a cult perfectly suited for their personalities and they have flocked to it with reckless abandon. Very sad.
Perhaps not a propagandist, but most certainly a proselytizer.
“Democratic party faithful”? Yes, it is devolved to mere religion over the years. Many Democrats have become increasingly intolerant of any beliefs other than their own, and of anyone who does not share their beliefs. Very self righteous too. The new moral majority. No wonder people so many people like me have left the party over the years.
Your irrational hatred of Trump, driven by heavy Dem propaganda, has revealed how many have lost the ability to think rationally, and non-emotionally about the political scene today.
How many hours a week do you spend hating on Trump? Versus doing something constructive to improve and take back the now heavily corporatized Democratic party? There has been lots of talk of rebuilding the grass roots. Can’t build that on Trump hate, it needs to built on a positive vision.
As old time Democrat Jimmy Dore (Sanders guy, a comedian worth checking out) points out on his youtube videos, the current Democratic party doesn’t really stand for anything.
Don’t feel too bad.
I wrote a message to this Iranian woman Facebook Friend that she was supporting Jihadists by posting material in support of the rebels in Aleppo.
She un-Friend-ed me; completely oblivious to what those rebels would do to her – a Shia female – if they could get their hands on her.
I guess we’ve all had it happen.
A niece unfriended me from her Facebook, our only communication link, because I was such a conservative minded old cuss.
Valissa. You are wrong, I don’t hate Trump. I just expressed my opinion about what I think of the President of our country. I think he is a buffoon, not a leader.
I’m a dues paying member of the Michigan Democratic Party. I took an oath to defend the constitution. I never took one to defend the party.
I first started to notice this a few years ago after listening to a podcast the Col. had linked to on civil war history. It was Dr. Robertson from Virginia Tech (He was Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission) discussing teaching history. He mentioned that he saw the same hardening of attitudes among the student body that he had read about in researching the period prior to the civil war. I think it is getting worse now.
Edward Amame: But your Trump stuff is just nuts.
Escaped my attention. What precisely is “nuts” in this specific article by Pat?
The lefties are turning nuts everywhere under the pretense of “fascism threat” while THEY are the ones who promote violence.
French Antifas throwing Molotov cocktails at riot police (CRS)
That will not end well but I think it cannot be stopped, it has to run its course.
The Democrats don’t get it. They want to blame everyone else but themselves for why they lost the last presidential election. Just look at Hillary blaming everyone else.
The fact of the matter is that they have been losing state houses and legislatures too. The Republicans gained states all through Obama’s presidency.
Not that the GOP is much different than the Democrats when it comes to neocon foreign policy and neoliberal economic policies.
Trump won plain and simple because he espoused a America First agenda that spoke to those discarded by the corporatist and warmongering policies of the Borg establishment. Would Bernie have defeated Trump if the Democrats nominated him? It is quite possible as he spoke to the same angst as Trump did. But..the Democrats rigged their primary to nominate the Borg Queen. Now they complain. At this rate they will continue to lose elections even if the GOP does not do a good job!
The Trumpists should watch Pence very carefully. Pence is the silent scorpion in Trump’s boot. Pence is the non-rattling rattlesnake in Trump’s sleeping bag.
It would be interesting to know how many of the people you describe supported Clinton throughout the whole process. It is as much of a family-personality cult ( the Klinton Koolaid Kult if I may be so nasty) as any leftishness . . . especially given that the leftishness of the “KKK” ( that’s Klinton Koolaid Kult) members is cultural and psychomental leftishness with zero political or economic content of any sort.
The reason I suspect all or almost all of the “leftists” you know must be Clintonites and/or Obamazoids is that the Clintonites and Obamazoids are treating Sanderbackers with the same kind of spiteful nastiness . . . insulting, defaming, accusing of any old thing, etc. I don’t know about unfriending or not because I don’t do social media . . . not Tweeter or SpaceFace or MyBook or any of it. So I don’t know how Sanderists versus Clintobamazoids are interacting on these social media spaces.
“Debased into equality” is quite prescient.
Many are calling me “evil” because I work for an insurance company.
They knew that before. Didn’t they? Supposing livelong interest means at least some of them you knew longer.
life long hobby interests in spiritual/metaphysical topics and guitar music
Could you explain to me what type of spiritual/metaphysical interests that are? And guitar music? Only guitar no other instruments? Do you play yourself?
Well there are some beautiful ones, yes. Random pick:
IMO, all this democrats’ religious devotion to the party, was started with Kennedy’s assassination (Kennedy being like Imam Hossain for democrats), which brought a virtual halo of innocence above the party in the minds of the devoted. That cemented itself by the democrats owning the civil right act, and other assassinations on party’ leaders, Johnson’s refusal to continue to run due to Vietnam mess. Basically they proclaimed themselves as the party to protect the unprivileged and righteousness in 60s. I have seen this close for too long, it’s all baloney they are no innocents they will enjoy their free lunch like everybody else on the back middle class.
The phenonenon is nothing new. We have seen this before with Republicans during George W Bush time.
That is indeed irrational.
EXactly what is irrational? pl
EA is. Sending several emails to push a talking points like that is insane. I would not have guessed that behavior from reading previous EA posts.
We all have different opinions about politics. I only respect peope who voice them publicly and prepare to defend their point of view in a civil discourse.
Yes, the phenomenon has emerged of people reciting talking points to old friends, relatives, etc. People I have known for forty years and who know I am not vulnerable to this do it anyway. pl
Yes, indeed, this phenomenon of stubborness arise in many places today and is very, very ominous.
It may seem pedantic and far-fetched but from the works of Ross Ashby about complex systems and homeostasis a common way for a complex system to “evolve” beyond unsolvable conundrums is to break the no more functioning parts before some new regulations emerge.
In simpler words “something has to give” but this will be people, relationships and institutions.
Lefty, As I see it, the problems are with his deficiencies…but with his lack of self-awareness and his apparent rejection of any help mitigating the deficiencies. There are books on tape, for heaven’s sake!
I think we are in a “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” world with this POTUS.
English outsider–I think you laid it out well. We are in dark times.
No…that was not me. The day Trump demeaned the disabled reporter was the day he crossed my Rubicon of “Presidential” possibility. I think that moment has stood the test of time–he ridicules, he hates the press, he personally likes to offend. Not the qualities I would ever choose in a President.
And, yes, we did ALL know—some just couldn’t handle the truth.
He didn’t question the decision…he questioned the validity of the judge and the very court he sat on. Of COURSE, I would (probably…?) have questioned Plessy v. Ferguson…but not the right of the Supreme Court to rule.
Trump doesn’t support our judicial system unless it rules his way…that is not supportive of the rule of law.
Col. — Have you read this? http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-civilian-controlled-military-if-you-can-keep-it/
I would like to know your take as a man who served so long and well.
it is easy to exaggerate the risk in this. FDR delegated running WW2 to GC Marshall and Ernest King withoiuot significan damage to the republic. IMO the real question is the character of the men involved..Mattis and McMaster seem to have some sort of hyper-testosterone condition and a permanent grudge against Russi which is still thought of by them as the USSR. In re Iran they can’t seem to grasp the idea that history moves on and your old enemies need to be made into friends. pl
Leadership and force of personality make a big difference. IMO A. Jackson might well have jaw boned them or bullied them as he had in the 1830s. pl
If you allow me to add a couple of accompanying instruments.
JOAQUIN RODRIGO & JOHN WILLIAMS Concierto de Aranjuez
touches my romantic soul. Not sure though, if I would put that under the label of spirituality/metaphysics.