Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Thank You Dear Leader (AKA Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (CONt., Part 7))

UPDATE: Read also the Washington Post, Trump says the Boy Scouts head told him his speech was the ‘greatest.’ He appears to have imagined this.

Now repeat after me:  He's so pretty!

"On Wednesday afternoon, while paddling through a week that began with press secretary Sean Spicer’s resignation and was pockmarked by Donald Trump dogging his attorney general, the White House launched a hopeful tradition: letters from children to the president, read aloud in the daily press briefing.

Four hours later, the term #PickleTruther was teeming on Twitter, and things had gotten really weird.

'My name is Dylan but every body calls me Pickle,' Wednesday’s letter began, read by spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders from her podium. 'I’m 9 years old and you are my favrit president. I like you so much I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shap of your hat.' . .

At first the detractors centered on Pickle’s request to know 'ho much monny do you have.' Was this not, folks pointed out, exactly the kind of question that the 'release your taxes' movement had been asking for months?

But then the comments became more investigative. Was it odd that the notebook paper, which theoretically arrived in the mail, didn’t seem to have the crease marks one would see on a letter folded into an envelope? Was it unusual that a young child would have spelled 'people' and 'friend' correctly, but then mixed up 'how'? What kind of 9-year-old would request a birthday party themed around a 71-year-old man?

Pickle came to represent everything the nation feared and hoped for: Was the administration a 'friend' to the American people? Was the administration trying to pull one over on us?

'The ‘kid’ who wrote the Pickle letter,' someone posted, as if they had uncovered a second set of Pentagon papers, 'has the same name as the [Vice President Pence’s] cat.'

Pickle was all of us."
 Read the Washington Post, Did a 9-year-old called ‘Pickle’ really write that letter to Trump? Yep, he’s real.

As the article noted, one of the reasons reporters initially question the authenticity of the letter was:

"During the 1980s and 1990s, reporters who were writing about Donald Trump would occasionally have their calls returned to them by a rotation of Trump Organization spokesmen: John Miller. John Baron, sometimes spelled with two r’s. The goal of each was the same — to paint their boss as suave, cool, fantastic, wonderful, the best ladies man. “Actresses, people that you write about, just call to see if they can go out with him and things,” Miller told a People magazine reporter in 1991.

Miller was, of course, Donald Trump. So were Baron and Barron — alter-egos used by the mogul to tootle his own horn in the third person. Some reporters never found out, quoting Miller in multiple news articles. Reporters who knew the ruse thought it was anywhere from playful to creepy."

Read also Trump's Big CON: Thank You Dear Leader (AKA Trump is a Psycho-Narcissistic Con Man (Cont., Part 4))

Trump's Big CON: Evangelicals Are Praying for Armageddon (Formerly North Korea Calls the Bluff (Originally Titled 'North Korea May Call the Bluff'), What Now?)

UPDATE X:  The Donald's hyper-machismo enablers include his entourage of sycophants.

Read the Washington Post, The perks of being a hyperpower.

UPDATE IX:  The Donald is scaring even some of his most ardent supporters.

Read the Daily Mail, PIERS MORGAN: If the President thinks he can handle the North Korea crisis as if it's a Twitter-spat with CNN he could trash talk us into a war.

UPDATE VIII:  More delusional encouragement of Trump's mega-narcissistic personality.

Read the Washington Post, At a time like this, Trump’s team sure seems heaven-sent.

UPDATE VII:  My God, is the babysitter out again?

"Judging by the last few days, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has made little progress in creating an aura of calm, sanity and competence. In the last few days we’ve seen a never-ending stream of threats, boasts, accusations and whiny denials (I am NOT losing my base!) from President Trump.

Trump embarrassed himself and unnerved Americans on Tuesday by echoing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s belligerent tone, rekindling concerns that he will either overreact or just not be taken seriously in an international standoff that could spin dangerously out of control. This morning there was no improvement. The Post reports:

    President Trump continued to forcefully threaten North Korea on Wednesday, asserting that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is 'far stronger and more powerful than ever before.' . .

His boast is as gratuitous as it is inaccurate in suggesting he improved our arsenal in just seven months. . .

This sort of slow-motion meltdown and loss of discipline is precisely what Kelly was brought on to prevent. But, unfortunately, he seems to have a view of his job that is ill-suited to serve his current boss. . .

Kelly apparently has not impressed upon Trump the impossibility of conducting a war on short notice. . .

Making the trains run on time in an administration in which the conductor is reckless, unskilled and irrational misses the point, to put it mildly. If Kelly is to save Trump’s presidency and serve his country, he has to step out of his role as executing the president’s will and start shaping the president’s behavior. He needs to be able to level with the president, explain how Trump is diminishing his own authority and give him some easy-to-follow directions as to how to conduct himself in a crisis. If Kelly won’t do that or Trump won’t listen, the administration, as we have seen this week, will continue barreling out of control. That puts Trump in political peril and the country in real danger."

Read the Washington Post, Kelly cannot treat Trump like a normal president.
UPDATE VI:  "Your ability to locate North Korea is related to how you think about what we should do about the country."

Read the Washington Post, Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t find North Korea on a map. Can you?

UPDATE V:  "Yet again, there is an old Trump tweet for every situation:

Donald J. Trump

Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.
4:46 AM - Aug 31, 2013
" [Twitter link added.]

UPDATE IV:  Babysitter to the rescue.

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning defended President Trump’s reckless threat to rain 'fire and fury' on North Korea, but make no mistake: In the course of doing so, Tillerson quietly erased the red line that Trump laid down, and redrew it in a relatively more reasonable place.

Tillerson’s comments will in this sense have a calming effect. But they are also cause for a different sort of alarm: They raise additional questions as to why Trump made the comments in the first place; what process went into the creation and delivery of them, if any; and what will — or won’t — be done to ensure that there is a sane process in place to shape further comments from Trump as this crisis unfolds. . .

As many have already observed, by vaguely vowing an overwhelming nuclear response to continued threats from North Korea, Trump sounded a lot like North Korea itself, employing a formulation that is both vague and menacing, which in combination increases the risk of miscalculation and, with it, unspeakable horror. Tillerson plainly tried to undo that today by redrawing the line more sharply, while defending the impulse behind Trump’s comments.

But that still leaves us guessing in a way that raises worrisome unknowns about what’s to come. We don’t know what Trump really meant. What has now been confirmed, however, is that Trump will use vague and reckless language in the most dangerous conceivable contexts. “If one had any doubt that Trump was going to be incredibly reckless with language at the worst possible times, he just did it,” Lewis said. “Tillerson’s efforts suggest that everyone around Trump knows that was crazy.”

But that raises an additional question: What process went into the creation and delivery of this statement in the first place? Michael Warren of The Weekly Standard suggests this morning that the White House, including Trump’s national security team, was not aware that Trump was going to deliver this statement. And The New York Times adds, alarmingly, that “White House officials did not respond to questions about how much planning went into his brief statement.”

This urgently needs to be teased out. We need to know more about the process, if any, that went into the creation of this statement, and we’ll need to know more about this process going forward, as Trump delivers more similar statements in what looks like an escalating situation."

Read then Washington Post, Rex Tillerson just erased the reckless red line Trump drew on North Korea., which also noted: 

"Tillerson has already erased this red line. But for how long? We all know how heavily the prospect of looking weak weighs on Trump."

UPDATE III: At a time when minds should not be cluttered with delusions, this is scary:

Read the Washington Post, ‘God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un,’ evangelical adviser says.

The adviser is "Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers who preached the morning of his inauguration . . .

Jeffress last met with Trump in July when a group of pastors laid hands on the president in the Oval Office. He said now that health care is off the table, evangelicals are hoping for tax reform, though he didn’t have any specifics in mind.

Jeffress, who was was an early supporter of Trump, has said that after sharing Wendy’s cheeseburgers in Iowa, he believed Trump would be the next president and that it would be because God placed him there. In July, his church choir and orchestra performed a song called 'Make America Great Again' at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where Trump was in attendance."

Trump doesn't realize that his mega-narcissistic personality makes him easily manipulated.

UPDATE II:  "The North Korean nuclear threat is a 'hinge' moment for the United States and China, and for the new international order both nations say they want.

If Washington and Beijing manage to stay together in dealing with Pyongyang, the door opens on a new era in which China will play a larger and more responsible role in global affairs, commensurate with its economic power. If the great powers can’t cooperate, the door will slam shut — possibly triggering a catastrophic military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump’s bullying style, even in dealing with trivial matters of domestic politics, obscures the extent to which he has tried to marry U.S. policy on North Korea with that of China. For the most part, he has been surprisingly successful. Beijing and Washington have mostly been aligned, as in this past weekend’s unanimous U.N. Security Council vote in favor of additional sanctions against Pyongyang to punish its continued missile tests.

Washington’s diplomatic goal, although it hasn’t been stated publicly this way, is to encourage China to interpose itself between the United States and North Korea and organize negotiations to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. threat is that if China doesn’t help the United States find such a diplomatic settlement, America will pursue its own solution — by military means if necessary. . .

Among the clearest points of consensus among former officials was that the North Korea crisis provides what one participant called a “catalytic” moment. If China and the United States can find a common path and resolve the crisis peacefully, they will succeed in “modernizing the global order,” which was the broad topic of the Aspen discussions.

And if they fail? If Trump’s fiery rhetoric alienates Beijing rather than motivates it? If Pyongyang decides to test its doctrine of self-sufficiency with a roll of the nuclear dice? If Trump becomes the first president since John F. Kennedy to truly find himself at the nuclear brink? One way or another, the coming months will shape global security for many years ahead."

Read the Washington Post, This is the moment of truth on North Korea.

UPDATE:  "Yesterday, president Trump took a break from his 17-day vacation to threaten North Korea. His words:

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.

This threat was a response to a continuing series of provocations by North Korea. However, it only took a couple of hours for North Korea to respond – by escalating their threats. North Korea’s official news agency reported a couple of hours later that Pyongyang was 'threatening' missile strikes near Guam, where the US has several military bases.

This faces the U.S. with a problem. U.S. leaders have traditionally been careful with their language, especially when dealing with nuclear powers, and for good reason. If the U.S. cares about its credibility, then it only wants to make threats that it will deliver on. Now, North Korea has effectively called Trump’s bluff. If the U.S. responds as Trump has promised, it will mark a very dangerous escalation. If the US does not respond, then Trump’s credibility – and perhaps U.S. credibility – will be damaged. . .

[Now that Trump's bluff has been called, the U.S. will] have to deliver on the threat, risking nuclear conflagration, or face the risk that [North Korea will] not believe in their threats in future, greatly damaging their ability to influence their adversaries’ actions. . .

North Korea seems to have decided that Trump’s threat was unbelievable.

This is unsurprising – there are a number of reasons why North Korea might have calculated that Trump was bluffing. . .

The U.S. is now in a difficult situation of Trump’s making. It will be highly costly, and possibly greatly damaging to the United States to deliver on Trump’s threat, even in its minimal form. There is furthermore a significant risk that a spiral of threat and counter-threat might lead to actual nuclear war, which would have devastating consequences."

Read the Washington Post, North Korea just called Trump’s bluff. So what happens now?

"North Korea is approaching the Trump administration's red line faster than previously thought.

According to The Post's Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima and Anna Fifield, a previously secret Defense Intelligence Agency analysis indicates that Kim Jong Un's regime has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside one of the intercontinental ballistic missiles that it has been testing."

Read the Washington Post, North Korea is fast approaching Trump’s red line.

Like the dog that caught the bus, I can hear The Donald saying now: Oh $#!+, now what!!

Read also:

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Show, North Korea Edition,

Trump's Big CON: North Korea Will Not Develop a Nuclear Weapon Capable of Reaching the U.S. "It won't happen!", and

Trump's Big CON: He Has No Plan, But Could He Tweet Us Into Nuclear War?