…….. at the Cabinet meeting. Thanks to CNN.
Just when you might be thinking that Trump should be paying attention to the burgeoning scandals and corruption that surround him; perhaps today he might be thinking about his next Twitter storm; how he might respond to the forthcoming lawsuits from folks in DC and Maryland claiming that he is violating the emoluments clause in the constitution.
No, he surprises us with another innovation in governing. He has turned his latest Cabinet meeting into a round of campaign rhetoric and sycophantic adulation and lies. Listen to the 11 minute video from this epic meeting on CNN, “Trump Meets with Cabinet, including Sessions“. Smacks of Trump on the Celebrity Apprentice.
The Plutocrats Have Occupied the White House and Executive Branch
It has been a fact of American life for decades that the rich and corporations control our political system. But this control has been exercised always one arms length removed from the actual levers of power. They have had to be satisfied with setting up their think tanks, hiring lobbyists, and buying politicians. Always they have had to put up with the unsavory influence that the public might have to disturb their plans and obstruct their enrichment. Even as described so eloquently and with such cleverness by Lawrence Lessig in his TED talk, “We the People and the republic we must reclaim“, the rich and corporations were always one step away from hands on control of the government.
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In his letter firing James Comey, now former Director of the FBI, Trump once again displayed the completely self-centered world that he inhabits. The second paragraph in this thankfully short letter reads:
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.
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The strangeness that is Trump seems an endless topic of conversation. Several months ago I wondered about early signs of dementia in “Is Trump Showing Signs of Ageing?” Ongoing I have wondered about his weird speech patterns. Over the last day I have come on three sources that shed further light on his pathology, well beyond the obvious pathologies of narcissism, self-aggrandizement, and endless lying.
Number 1: Why the Trump Transcripts Are So Maddening to Read by Michael Erard in The Awl. Mr. Erard is a writer and linguist. He provides an interesting take on the structure of Trump’s language.
This is the talking of someone with power, the sort of power that doesn’t come from consensus-building and organizing. We don’t really need a transcript to tell us this, but it’s there. Trump talks to occupy space and run down the clock. He’s prompted to speak by a question but rarely answers the question; he only has to talk long enough to execute his turn in the conversation before the questioner wrests it away. That’s the extent of the coherence. Otherwise, he cajoles, he lies, he brags, he cuts down, and the effect on the transcript reader is nowhere near what Trump can have intended.
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Trump loves Australia’s universal healthcare:
Speaking to Australian Prime Minster Trumbull, Trump said, “We have a failing healthcare. I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better healthcare than we do.” A day later Trump repeated his praise for the Australian healthcare system, “Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do – everybody does,” he wrote on Twitter. “Obamacare is dead! But our healthcare will soon be great.” Of course in a rare moment of speaking the truth Trump is right about both assertions. Everyone in the developed world has better healthcare than us and at a shocking fraction of the cost.
Trump told Malcolm Turnbull: ‘We have a failing healthcare. I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better healthcare than we do.’ Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Does Trump know Australia spends $5,495 per person per year vs our $9,990 (yep 66% more!!) for healthcare that ranks in the top ten in the world? Our rank?? 42nd for life span and 54th for infant mortality (see 2015 CIA World Factbook on this). Exactly how the Republican healthcare bill will improve on this performance is unknown. They passed it through Congress without even waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to grade it for cost and effectiveness. Better to vote out of religious fervor than be bothered by how many millions would be thrown off health insurance.
BTW – Australia is not an outlier in spending and results . All of our developed world competitors have a similar showing.
Ever since Trump came into my view as a candidate for President I have thought that his speech is strange. Choppy, half thoughts, repetitions of words and phrases, very few polysyllabic words, in short lacking in fluidity and continuity.
Is this the way Trump has always spoken. Or, Is it just his lifelong speech pattern ?
Being Trump and always casting himself into the public eye there is quite a bit of tape of him speaking from 30 and more years ago. Listen to one or all of these snippets. Forget about the content. Just listen to his speech. It is fluid, normal, conversational speech. Is our Trump at age 70 showing signs of his age?? Early indications of dementia or some other plague of old age?
https://youtu.be/0-w47wgdhso – 1980 – news interview
https://youtu.be/A8wJc7vHcTs – Larry King Show 1987
https://youtu.be/W5kA2r2SE7g – Joan Rivers 1990