Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, October 13, 2017

They will laugh at his mighty thumbs

We have to start with this undeniable, irrefutable observation made in comments at TPM:

Twitter - the playground on which adult kids can hurl insults, tell lies and act tough with a big audience to observe the stupidity.
And then go to the perfectly valid observation that Trump enjoys his power to torment by speaking, while failing utterly to understand what power as President he actually has:

The tantalizing and awful theater of this high-stakes decision-making enthralls the president. Examining every claim Puerto Rico can make on U.S. aid, accounting for the island’s preexisting debt, assessing the worthiness of the governor and mayors—here is all the intoxicating choreography of leadership and none of the heart. For Trump, relishing the suspense he’s creating, these will-he-or-won’t-he wobbles are expressions of a deeper malice. His lament that Hurricane Maria has derailed the federal budget dressed his sadism up in cool, Olympian judgment. The common folk were begging for their lives, but he had a deficit to consider. Could he in good conscience afford to send more help? Hmm—he’s going to need to get back to us on that one.

A simplistic thinker if ever one lived, Trump has a pattern of equivocating on matters that repel nuance. He ventured that some of the participants in a white supremacist rally were “very fine people.” Now he is waffling on whether hurricane victims deserve the resources of their own federal government.

It shouldn’t surprise us that the president would linger over the myriad branching “complications” of saving Puerto Rico. Many of his grand pronouncements don’t chime with reality. Consider his threat to revoke NBC’s broadcasting license, which a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission summarily shut down. In hurricane relief, though, the president has discovered a lever susceptible to the shifts in his moods. He can regulate the flow of supplies to desperate Americans after a cataclysmic storm, which means he can write these people’s fates with extreme precision.

Clearly, the vulnerability of his own citizens is an irresistible lure. It is not enough for Trump to praise himself for delivering Puerto Ricans from danger, even when what he’s doing is distributing basic supplies—this president can transform the clearing of the lowest possible bar into a feat of benevolence. He must also preserve his capacity to hurt and subdue. Sparing the gladiator looks so much more impressive when the emperor could have just as easily had him killed. And anyway, who cares what happens to the guy in the ring? Trump just wants to remind us who has the mighty thumbs.

Link that up with Trump's desire to punish football players even though neither he nor even the team owners have the power to make men stand on a football field.  The end doesn't matter, it's all about the means, as his Twitter feed continues to make obvious this morning:
That was in response to this tweet from O'Reilly, another "reliable source" who also has no idea what he's talking about (but Trump approves of any ability he might have to do "major damage"):


And let's not miss a chance to demagogue immigration, or the Democratic Party:

"Sanctuary," of course, is not a crime.  It's a humanitarian effort, and a reasonable law enforcement effort.  Unless you want to revive the original meaning of "outlaw," which means one outside the protection of the law; an invitation to true lawlessness.  But hell, they're immigrants, so who cares, amirite?  I mean, it's not like they live in Puerto Rico, where everything sucked even before the hurricane.
We just can't keep the military there forever.  Afghanistan?  After 16 years, we need to increase the troops we've had there.  Puerto Rico?  Sorry, gotta cut our losses on you.  Trump will be with you!  FEMA, the military, any other help; not so much.

It's all about what makes the President look good; or at least, feel good.  And whether he wants to go thumbs up, or thumbs down.  We'll all just have to wait and see how our benevolent dictator feels.

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