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America – what have you done?

By Ad astra

If Leo Tolstoy were alive today, instead of creating Anna Karenina he might find writing Donald John Trump more intriguing. I suspect he would again begin with similar memorable words: “Happy presidencies are all alike; every unhappy presidency is unhappy in its own way.”

Just beyond its three-month mark, Trump’s presidency is already uniquely unhappy, sad, chaotic, unpredictable, reckless, irrational, erratic, and ignorant. His Republican colleagues find it bewildering and jarring; much of the American electorate find it bitterly discouraging; and the rest of the free world, extremely dangerous.

And even as the Trump saga is being wrapped in words by the media, day after day, hour after hour, it is becoming more grotesque, more astonishing, and more alarming.

Trump is in the midst of a diplomatic firestorm centred on what he did or did not say to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office. His account of it varies depending upon what random thought happens to be traversing his unruly mind when he speaks or tweets.

At first there was denial of the Washington Post report of Trump’s disclosure of intelligence information that could jeopardise a crucial intelligence source, in this instance probably Israel. Like a small child showing off his toys, he even boasted to Lavrov “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

Then, when Trump realized that the truth could no longer be denied, he declared that he had every right to disclose such intelligence, and that his actions were ‘wholly appropriate’. This seemed to fly in the face of the outright denial by National Security Advisor H R McMaster “The President engaged in ‘routine sharing of information’ and nothing more…the story that came out tonight is false. I was in the room, it didn’t happen.” Time will expose the truth, which any sane president ought to know. Even crooked Nixon knew that!

Then there was the sacking of FBI chief James Comey. The story changed by the day. Trump said Comey asked to have dinner with him, a highly improbable scenario. Then Trump said Comey asked him that he keep his job, an implausible tale. Then he said that Comey reassured him three times that he was not under investigation. It is beyond belief that an FBI director would reveal such information even if it were true, which it was not.

Then Trump allegedly asked Comey to wind up the investigation into former national security adviser, Michael Flynn with: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go…He’s a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” General Flynn resigned after being confronted with the fact that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.

While Comey has not commented on Trump’s request, his colleagues know that he is a fastidious note taker and almost certainly has a written record of his encounter with Trump, which will now be revealed at a Senate intelligence committee that has requested that notes of the meeting be out in the open. He has been invited to testify in both open and closed-door hearings. What will Comey say?

Having been described by Trump as a “grandstander” and a “showboat”, that he was “crazy, a real nut job”, and having accused him of incompetence: “Because he wasn’t doing a good job. Very simply, he was not doing a good job.”, Comey is unlikely to be favourably disposed to bailing Trump out. Not satisfied with demeaning Comey publically, Trump took to threatening him via Twitter: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.”

Alongside this development, the US Justice Department has appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special prosecutor to oversee an investigation into Russia’s influence on last year’s US presidential election. Trump denies any influence.

And this extraordinary saga has emerged in just the last couple of weeks, dwarfing Trump’s previous transgressions! His recent misdemeanours may be the ones that will land him in trouble with the law, or possibly a move to impeach or remove him.

In an opinion piece Fear and loathing inside the beltway in the May 20 edition of The Weekend Australian, conservative commentator Chris Kenny, in an article that is largely defensive of Trump, writes:

…his character was so obviously flawed, policies so contradictory and utterances so impetuous that his promise of much-needed change seemed far too risky…Four months into his presidency, Trump does not seem to have had a single comfortable day in the Oval Office. His self-inflicted problems include: random tweeting that ranges from barbs about television shows and shots at opponents to serious policy announcements and foreign policy posturing; difficulty implementing his agenda, such as his migration controls, caused partly by his previous loose language; and poor selection of staff, from his since-departed national security adviser Michael Flynn to spokesman Sean Spicer, who is often as incoherent as the President he seeks to clarify.”

If a conservative like Kenny thinks this way, is it any surprise that less favourably disposed journalists are so vitriolic in their criticisms of Trump?

This piece could go on and on detailing Trump’s words, deeds, tweets and behaviour since his inauguration, indeed from the time he entered the presidential race. This is not my purpose. You have read about these matters or seen them on TV ad nauseam; you need no reminding. My purpose is to explore what’s behind Trump’s behaviour.

Here is my assessment, my opinion. You may have another viewpoint, which you can express in Comments below.

To me the following seem to be Trump’s underlying personality defects, which evoke his extraordinary behaviour:

Lack of insight
This seems to be the most cogent explanation of his behaviour.

He seems to have little idea of the impact on others of his demeanour, his language, the words he uses, his verbal and non-verbal expressions, his constant use of Twitter, his body language, his use of hand gestures, and his manner of dress and deportment.

He seems not to comprehend that he has become an object of ridicule, a laughing stock the world over in the eyes of journalists, commentators, politicians and the general public.

Have we ever experienced an American President who has been so unfavourably received? His approval ratings in the US are the worst ever for a president so soon after inauguration, and steadily getting worse. And don’t forget this is despite him still attracting a large coterie of fervent supporters, who will seemingly go on supporting him no matter how badly he behaves, no matter how ineffectual he is, no matter how many promises he breaks.

Sadly, lack of insight of this magnitude is virtually incurable. So used has he become to having extravagant accolades heaped upon him by the sycophants with whom he surrounds himself, in his reality TV shows and in his business world, that the lack of them in the rough and tumble world of politics and news reporting is unnerving for him.

For Trump, deprivation of praise and admiration for his words and actions is distressing in itself, but combined with penetrating and persistent questioning from the media, and robust criticism of his behaviour and his decisions, it is all too much for him, causing him to declare publically that “I have never seen more dishonest media, frankly than the political media.” He has repeatedly described media criticism of him as “fake news”, labelling the media as the “opposition party”.

He insists that he is the subject of “…the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”, and after a special counsel was appointed to explore the involvement of Russia in his election campaign, he protested angrily that “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign and Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!”

Observers see this whingeing about his own predicament as hypocrisy writ large when they reflect on how in the election campaign they saw him repeatedly condemn Hillary Clinton, call her ‘The Devil’, a ‘nasty woman’, ‘a disgrace’, ‘a liar’, and then threatened her with a special counsel to look into her use of a private email server if he were president, going on to insist that she should be in jail, which evoked the ‘Lock her up’ chant from his followers.

 

 

Paranoia
As the paragraphs above signal, Trump appears to have a deep-seated paranoia. He fervently believes that people are out to ‘get him’: the media, his opponents, some of his colleagues, and even his staff, whom he accuses of ‘leaking’ against him. As a wise colleague once reminded me; “If it’s true it’s not paranoia”, and certainly it is true that many people are out to get Trump. But the extent to which he believes this is abnormal.

Definitions of paranoia include:
A tendency on the part of an individual toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.

A mental condition characterized by delusions of grandeur or persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically worked into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder… in which the person loses touch with reality.

Do some of these describe Trump’s behaviour? You be the judge.

Delusions of grandeur
Who could ever forget Trump’s ‘Let’s make America Great Again’? How many times has he adorned his initiatives with words that indicate they will be ‘great’? How often has he insisted that he will ‘drain the Washington swamp’ a mammoth task that no other has attempted, much less achieved? Yet he has vowed that he will.

Delusions of grandeur are related to paranoia. They are a fixed, false belief that one possesses superior qualities such as genius, fame, omnipotence, or wealth. In popular language, this disorder is known as “megalomania,” but is more accurately referred to as “narcissistic personality disorder” if it is a core component of a person’s personality and identity. In such disorders, the person has a greatly out-of-proportion sense of their own worth and value in the world.

Narcissistic personality disorder
Many commentators have labelled Trump as narcissistic; his behaviour fits that description.

The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include: a grandiose sense of importance, a belief that one is special and unique, a requirement for excessive admiration, and a strong sense of entitlement. The narcissist is exploitative, lacks empathy, is arrogant, and is envious and jealous of others.

Trump’s egotistical, bombastic behaviour matches most of these attributes.

Overbearing, punitive, bullying and ruthless behaviour patterns
Trump is an angry man. When he doesn’t get his way, or feels he has been let down, he reacts furiously. Trump is well known for “Your sacked”, not just in his reality TV show, but now with his colleagues and staff, as past-FBI Director Comey knows only too well.

Trump is known for getting his own way. He is combative and belligerent. Those who displease him are removed. His White House staff lives under the cloud of instant dismissal if they do not perform. The poorly performing Press Secretary Sean Spicer must fear coming to work every day.

Even the way he signs and then displays his signature on his Executive Orders, with his sycophantic staff looking on and politely applauding, highlights his arrogant and attention-seeking disposition. In this regard he reminds us of Kim Jong Un and his sycophantic generals clapping their ‘Dear Leader’.

We know too that Trump is a habitual liar. He finds no virtue in sticking to the facts and speaking the truth. Having an honest conversation with him is a challenge both for his staff and the media.

Willful ignorance
Throughout his short presidency, Trump has shown lamentable ignorance.

He is ignorant of legislative processes, which delayed passage of his replacement of Obamacare. He seems to have little idea about how to address his other signature policies: large corporate tax cuts and infrastructure development. As a result the stock market went up in anticipation of action; now it’s down again as nothing is happening. He is not used to negotiating with politicians, despite his boasting about his skill in ‘closing a deal’ – he’s even written a book about it!.

He is ignorant of international politics and diplomacy, and so puts his foot in it regularly. His naive and rude treatment of Angela Merkel is a case in point.

What is more alarming is his disinclination to take expert advice. He finds briefings boring, insisting that he doesn’t need to be briefed every day about the same things, as he is “very smart”. He seems to have a restricted attention span. His staff and colleagues were petrified about what he would do and say on his first overseas trip to sensitive political places. His indiscretion about passing onto the Russian foreign minister sensitive intelligence about ISIS activities scared everyone about what might happen abroad. In the end, although there were some Facebook-worthy visuals, some embarrassing moments with world leaders, and some defiant utterances, there were no grave faux pas. Middle East experts though are unimpressed, and find his new tune on Islam unconvincing.

He is willfully ignorant about climate science, global warming, the need for environmental protection, and is ready to let fossil fuel producers do their worst. He is threatening to pull out of the Paris agreement on global warming.

He is ignorant about the nuances of free trade agreements and has indicated that the US will withdraw from NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement. He boasts that he will bring jobs back to America from countries to which they have disappeared. He has no idea of how complicated that is, nor the effects of automation on international job transfer.

For the most powerful man in the world to be so dangerously ignorant, yet so arrogantly assured of the rightness of his own opinion is hazardous for all countries that trade with America, and all the others that will be affected by global warming.

The man is an unsafe ignoramus, who seems to have little or no insight into his condition.

So there it is – my analysis of the personality and behavioural defects that afflict Donald John Trump.

If Leo Tolstoy was to be reborn today and set about writing a play about this man’s presidency, how would it unfold? I suspect that Tolstoy’s portrayal of the bizarre unreality of Trump’s unhappy presidency would evoke an accusation that, as an author, he was guilty of outrageous fabrication – surely no presidency could be this weird!

America – what have you done to us?

To many Americans, Trump behaves like a dangerous out-of-control lunatic. Now though, even some of his own supporters are attacking their Republican representatives at town hall meetings over broken promises, and the media is scratching to find GOP members to talk in defence of Trump.

But he still has millions of devoted followers who dwell on his every word, which will support him until their dying breath.

It is these Americans that have done this to us. Frighteningly, they would likely do it all over again.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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48 comments

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  1. Jack Straw

    Yes he is one sad mother.But he is exactly what America needs right now to prove to the world what America really is like.Though Alan Jones likes him as he loves strong men,

  2. helvityni

    He’s scary, extremely scary, to channel Trump himself, but then again here on AIMN John Lord writes about how some commentators actually believe that Dutton has prime ministerial qualities…???

    Trump is a danger to the world, Dutton would ruin the lives of many Australians; he is already playing god with the fates of legal asylum seekers.

  3. Mick Byron

    Ad Astra I enjoyed your article but some points
    “unpredictable, reckless, irrational, erratic” are part of a predetermined strategy of the Tump camp and it was all pre detrmined by Steve Bannon who set out to make a President. His first effort Sarah Palin was seen as being too soon and Trump became the next in line for Bannons attention. Bannon has been called the “unofficial President” and it isn’t hard to understand why after watching a Frontline documentary Bannons War -link provided and it is a must see to get an understanding of the Trump methodology and agenda utilising Bannon and Breitbart in the run up to the election and now

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc8SyzoQayo

    This documentary is a must see to get a good look at the Trump agenda and how it got to where we are now

  4. Jack Straw

    The trouble is that most of us now have our heads up our own arse with Technology supposedly helping us to live in a smarter life. The reverse is true.The dumbing-down that is going on is crippling.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Trump’s latest tweet…

    “The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”

    Donald thinks the “real story” can be explained in less than 140 characters with a few of those reserved for exclamation marks!

    Have you watched the growing collection of Trump handshakes? He pulls people off balance. It’s turning into a battle.

    This is just a few of them

    http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/02/14/trump-awkward-handshakes-moos-erin-pkg.cnn

  6. townsvilleblog

    For Christ’s sake will Aussies stop calling the United States of America, America. America is the name of a bloody continent, whereas the USA is a bloody country. They are only a country not a continent. 43% of them have elected an arrogant pig because they do not live up to their responsibilities and vote, so they can’t complain now. Australia is much more democratic with compulsory voting, that the tories would love to see the back of so they would always be in power. It is up to those who want ‘regulated’ capitalism instead of ‘unregulated’ capitalism to be fighting hard now to make sure we elect either a Labor government or a Labor/Green government at the next election.

  7. Michael Taylor

    townsvilleblog, when people say ‘America’ we all know what they mean. It’s an abbreviation of ‘The United States of America’ just as ‘Britain’ is an abbreviation for ‘Great Britain’ or ‘China’ as an abbreviation for ‘The People’s Republic of China’.

    People also say ‘Holland’ and we know what they mean, even though there is no such country. Holland is in the Netherlands (though it does take of 90% of the country).

  8. Jack Straw

    Bloody Americans. I don’t like saying USA or states. They’re just bloody Americans and The Yanks is the generation before me.or “Those bastards over there”. That’s got a nice ring to it.Trump and the bastards over there”. SoThere !

  9. Miriam English

    Kaye, did you see the French President shaking hands with Trump? He squeezed so hard you almost got to see tears in Trump’s eyes.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/twitter-reacts-to-trump-and-macrons-handshake-showdown/article/2624153
    http://time.com/4795491/donald-trump-body-language-nato-summit/

    Entertainers are benefitting greatly from Trump, especially the comedians. He is a gold mine. Every day he blunders in ways that were utterly inconceivable before. When he is gone you can bet there will be many, many movies about USA’s madness during this period.

    Trump will have hopefully made it impossible for USA (and hopefully most of the rest of the world) to repeat such a blunder. Mind you, I would have thought after Caligula and Nero, Trump would have been pretty unlikely, not to mention following half-witted Bush Jr and dementia-stricken Reagan.

    It has some element of fascination watching this slow motion trainwreck unfold. I can’t help but wonder how much longer it can continue to worsen. Every day I think he’s hit the bottom, but the next day Trump finds a new and more absurd way to screw up and surprise us all.

    Frighteningly, we have two of own versions of Trump waiting to have their chance at power.

    Pauline Hanson is as ignorant and xenophobic as Trump. Her Prime Ministership, in the incredibly unlikey event it was thrust upon us, would stagger through chaos in a similar way to Trump.

    Much more worrying is Dutton. Making that cruel, incompetent lizard Prime Minister would be far worse. He is deeply, unsettlingly malevolent. It is difficult to imagine anybody being safe from him.

  10. Miriam English

    People in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, and the other major countries of America become mightily annoyed when the Yanks call themselves “America”. The USA is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have a name. They have a description: they are a group of united states in the continent of America. The share that continent (America) with many other countries. Very old maps have the name “America” on what we now know as Brazil.

  11. Jack Straw

    Your right Miriam very interesting. Let’s have a competition then.What should we call them? How about “HEYland”?

  12. RonaldR

    Wall Streets Australian Partners in destroying Trump The AIM NETWORK For your daily dose of Bullshit about Trump visit The AIM Network Blog

  13. Kaye Lee

    First George Soros was behind us and and now it’s Wall Street. RonaldR, you really have lost the plot.

  14. Miriam English

    RonaldR, Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help to destroy him. He is doing a great job of that himself.
    Pass the popcorn. 🙂

  15. diannaart

    Trump will not see another term as president – say I. I did not even see him winning the 2016 election, so what do I know?

    I am waiting for the mid-term elections – maybe then we’ll see some kind of pattern in the chaos.

    Until then, I have observed how some Australian politicians, from the far right, are trying to find positives about Trump, for example when he says something uncontroversial, he is described as “behaving in a presidential manner” (my paraphrasing) – it is sickening to see how people will try to defend the indefensible.

    Looking forward, has the political bar been lowered so much that anything would appear preferable to Trump – like Australia did with Tony Abbott? Will we see Bannon emerge as the ‘lesser evil’?

  16. Jack Straw

    Trump like Clive Palmer are big kids.Poor Clive has lost his memory too.

  17. jimhaz

    We need his approval rating to go much lower so that even his rusted on child minded bible belt co-haters have a proper wake up call. Too early yet – it has to be bad enough domestically to cause more reflection. We need even his propaganda soul mates in greed and stupidity, the evangelical ministers to turn on him and with luck to distrust republicans a bit more.

    [Let’s have a competition then. What should we call them?]

    Mordorians

  18. astra5

    Folks
    May I thank you all for your comments!

    Mick Byron
    Your insights are most interesting. I’m halfway through ‘Bannon’s war’. What a fascinating documentary! I recommend it to you all.

    If Bannon’s ideology brings Trump along in its wake, we are headed for an even more dangerous place.

    It was thought that Bannon might be pushed to the outer where he might not be able to influence Trump. Let’s hope that the more balanced people around Trump, (few as they are), will extrude the destructive Bannon, and save us from his radial fascist intent.

    Maria Etheridge
    Thank you for your link to the ‘Brexit robbery’. Fascinating reading!

    Kaye Lee and Miriam English
    Thank you for the ‘handshake’ links. Hard handshakes are part of Trump’s power play. Macron out played him!

  19. astra5

    Folks
    Take a look at the first few paragraphs of this piece from ‘Alternet’:

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/we-have-obligation-speak-about-donald-trumps-mental-health-issues-our-survival#.WSrGERFO-m8.twitter

    ‘We Have an Obligation to Speak About Donald Trump’s Mental Health Issues… Our Survival as a Species May Be at Stake’

    “Malignant reality is taking hold” in American politics, says psychiatrist Bandy Lee, who held a conference on Trump’s mental health.”

    By Chauncey DeVega/Salon
    May 26, 2017

    ”President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States and the world.

    “He has reckless disregard for democracy and its foundational principles. Trump is also an authoritarian plutocrat who appears to be using the presidency as a means to enrich himself and closest allies as well as family members. Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget is a shockingly cruel document that threatens to destroy America’s already threadbare social safety net in order to give the rich and powerful (even more) hefty tax cuts. His policies have undermined the international order and America’s place as the dominant global power. It would appear that he and his administration have been manipulated and perhaps (in the case of Michael Flynn) even infiltrated by Vladimir Putin’s spies and other agents. The world has become less safe as a result of Trump’s failures of leadership and cavalier disregard for existing alliances and treaties.

    “Donald Trump’s failures as president have been compounded by his unstable personality and behavior. It has been reported by staffers inside the Trump White House that he is prone to extreme mood swings, is cantankerous and unpredictable, flies into blind rages when he does not get his way, is highly suggestible and readily manipulated, becomes bored easily and fails to complete tasks, is confused by basic policy matters and is unhappy and lonely. And despite bragging about his “strength” and “vitality” during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump appears to tire easily and easily succumbs to “exhaustion.” Trump is apparently all id and possesses little if any impulse control. He is a chronic liar who ignores basic facts and empirical reality in favor of his own fantasies.

    “Between the scandals and the emotionally erratic behavior, Donald Trump would appear to be a 21st-century version of Richard Nixon, to date the only American president forced to resign under threat of forcible removal. In all, this leads to a serious and worrisome question: Is Donald Trump mentally ill? Moreover, what does Trump’s election reveal about the moods and values of his voters? How are questions of societal emotions and collective mental health connected to the rise of fascism and authoritarianism in America? Do psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals have a moral obligation to warn the public about the problems they see with Donald Trump’s behavior?”

    That’s what the professionals are thinking and saying!

    America – what have you done?

  20. freefall852

    The problem that arises with not having stable, responsible and strong central governance, is that those who are reliant upon central govt’ decision making and supply to guide those who must defend the realms of the empire, lose confidence and begin to take matters into their own hands and start to “elect” and place their trust in local command and control. This gives rise to regional destabilising factions being created and a more erratic and uncertain military resolution to outlying posts of sensitive areas.
    For instance a senior officer in charge of some area in a frontier military situation, who cannot rely on rational orders coming from above, could make decisions less in keeping with regional / national self-interest political policy and start to operate on a renegade “local solution policy”…succeed or fail, it could become a “lose-lose” situation that could give rise to renegade generals (think MacArthur / Patton) taking control of sections of the national defence forces under their command and becoming deluded into thinking THEY rule the country where they are operating, and in effect end up with an ungovernable “Heart of Darkness” situation…or worse, where a kind of “Praetorian Guard” governance decides who rules the empire…Bizarre? Absurd?…tell THAT to history…she’s all ears!

  21. Kaye Lee

    Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world and she has the guts to call a lunatic a lunatic, in a professional if not so diplomatic way. I am humiliated by our fawning. We do not have to insult the United States but we should have the courage to disagree with the reality tv host and serial bankruptee that currently occupies the Oval Office. After two days of his grand world tour he was exhausted and sent his daughter to whatever he was sposed to be doing that day. It is pitiful to watch. Ivanka Trump representing the US in the Middle East.

    Which reminds me of one of Trump’s tweets…

    “Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East were great. Trying hard for PEACE. Doing well.”

    I can’t even begin to comment on that.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    My bet is on early stage dementia.

  23. astra5

    Kaye Lee
    You are likely right about Angela Merkel.

    Florence nee Fedup
    Time will tell!

  24. helvityni

    Kaye Lee , excellent post, I couldn’t agree more with you.

    < I am humiliated by our fawning …me too.

  25. Freethinker

    Yes, I agree with Kaye Lee about Angela, she is miles ahead of Trump and Theresa May as a leader.
    I am following with interest how Macron will perform in the near future.
    Trump and his team have to be told once for all that USA does not rule the world.

  26. helvityni

    I’m certainly impressed with Macron’s smooth handling of Trump…no fawning there 🙂

  27. Miriam English

    Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are two of the new hope. The European Union, even with its shortcomings and difficulties, has a lot going for it and can sensibly oppose Trump. Did you know the EU is the largest market in the world? In science and other things they are a very strong force.

    See this extremely interesting and fact-dense short (7½ minute) talk:
    Is the European Union Worth It Or Should We End It?

  28. Arthur Baker

    Townsvilleblog, here’s what Wikipedia says in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_of_the_Americas:

    Usage: “In modern English, North and South America are generally considered separate continents, and taken together are called the Americas in the plural, parallel to similar situations such as the Carolinas. When conceived as a unitary continent, the form is generally the continent of America in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular America in English commonly refers to the United States of America.”

  29. helvityni

    Miriam,

    The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products, after the USA. Amazing achievement for such a small country.

    Michael, I lived in the Netherlands for three years, and I still call it Holland…

  30. Miriam English

    I reckon as soon as the Trump presidency crashes and burns (can’t be long now) there will be a Hollywood blockbuster movie about it. It is bound to be a comedy. Some of the stuff that’s happening is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

    From Trump’s inexplicable twitter message “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” to the brushfire that is tearing through his loyal staff, from the crazy handshakes with France’s President Macron (first where Trump yanks Macron off-balance, then later when Macron gets his revenge crushing the orange man-child’s tiny hands) to Trump rudely shoving other world leaders out of the way so he could be in front during a photo-op. It’s all perfect comedy material.

    The sinister parts where he tries to subvert the law, destroy environmental protections, wreck the education system, kill off the already ailing health system, tear the country apart by ramping up hate, and betray the gullible fools who elected him will act as counterpoint to boost the hilarity of the slapstick — we all know comedy and horror work together synergistically. It’s part of the reason why Buffy the Vampire Slayer (one of my favorite shows) was such a great success.

  31. Kaye Lee

    That surprises me about the Netherlands

    The Netherlands is a tiny country; its presence on the list [as second highest exporter in value, not volume] is due to the high value of flowers and live plants (the Netherlands supply two-thirds of the global total) and vegetables (the Netherlands is a leading supplier of tomatoes and chilies).

    When it comes to the staples that feed the world (rice, corn, wheat, beans, lentils and animal proteins), countries like the United States, Germany, Canada, Brazil and Thailand feature more prominently.

  32. Matters Not

    In the Amsterdam ‘markets’, the legal sale of so many varieties of Marijuana might effect the statistics and affect the statisticians. But it seems to work. Just sayin …

    Now if only they could solve the problem of bicycle theft. Only X number of bicycles in the country but more than 3X bicycle thefts reported each year,

  33. Michael Taylor

    MN, have they checked the canals in Amsterdam? I believe they are full of stolen bikes.

  34. Miriam English

    Nah, you’re thinking of the canals of Mars. That’s where one of each pair of socks and gloves go, and where all your pens, pencils and erasers end up… probably some bicycles too.

  35. helvityni

    Matters Not, visiting few Sydney suburbs last weekend, I was horrified by the abandoned shopping trollies and plastic bags littering the nature strips…nature strips, hardly. 🙂

    Why don’t our biggest super markets adopt the coin/token operated trolley collection system and stop using all those plastic bags.

  36. astra5

    Miriam English
    I’m sure that The Trump Saga will be a blockbuster. Let’s hope he’ll soon be gone and his destructive behaviour annulled. Then the film-makers can work at creating the most extraordinary, the most tragic political story of the century.

  37. Terry2

    helvityni

    At least one retailer at a local shopping mall have introduced trolleys with electronic wheel locks that activate as soon as you take the trolley beyond the confines of the parking lot : the wheels just lock-up. It’s quite amusing to watch people who for one reason or another want to take the trolley out and find that they can’t but don’t know why – like an episode of Candid Camera.

  38. helvityni

    Terry2, one big smile for that… 🙂

  39. Matters Not

    MT re bicycles. In Amsterdam, I’ve seen bike front wheels, back wheels, frames with only one wheel and frames without any wheels at all – all chained to posts with the rest simply removed. It’s a type of Street Art. Yes there’s many ‘parked; in canals as well Then there’s the musical that’s well known in certain parts of that good city.: How much is that girlie in the window? / The one with the waggly tail / How much is that girlie in the window? / I do hope that girlie’s for sale. And while sometimes ‘girl’ might be a bit of a mental stretch, the answer is always YES! Or so I’m told.

    As for ‘coin-in-slot’ trolleys, Aldi has them and Woolworths has them but only for their Dan Murphy’s ‘grog shops’ – which is a bit strange. Plastic bags are under attack if you watch the ABC’s War on Waste.

  40. Matters Not

    I mentioned that probability a little while ago. Particularly when one of his offspring was boasting how finance was obtained from Russia for ‘golf courses’. It’s on a YouTube clip I stumbled across but now can’t rediscover

  41. helvityni

    …..Holland had its war on plastic almost a lifetime ago You have to carry your own shopping bags and supermarkets dealt very swiftly with the recyclable glass, you got discount of your bill to the amount your recyclables ‘earned’ you…

    Progressive and tolerant :), I experienced it, I wasn’t told…

    Also know-alls ,many of them ( hope hubby, of Dutch origin, does not read this)

  42. Matters Not

    Impressed with ALDI stores in Germany and elsewhere which had large bins in which you deposited ‘stubbies’ and ‘cans’ (?) (through a small opening) which then gave you a receipt for a discount at the check-out. All automated So simple. A type of financial incentive to drink more. Technically it is operant conditioning, positive reinforcement involves the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future Seems to work well. Germans have an extended 24 hour ‘happy hour. Even Germany women can be found having an ale or two before and after shopping. None of this coffee nonsense. (Just jokin …. in parts )

  43. Freethinker

    “Germans have an extended 24 hour ‘happy hour. Even Germany women can be found having an ale or two before and after shopping.”
    I hope that brainless women and men for that matter will not start driving under the influence………

  44. astra5

    Michael Taylor
    Thank you for the link to the Politico piece – most interesting.

    Trump has many rivers to cross, many hurdles to jump, and many intractable problems to face. He will need extraordinary good fortune to come through all of his vicissitudes unscathed. More and more are now baying for his blood.

  45. Jessica Stokely-Spruell

    I live here and the most awful part about this asshole is his fat ass is wholly owned and controlled by Vladimir Putin. We are no longer America.

  46. Jessica Stokely-Spruell

    Oh, did I mention he’s batshit nuts, lies for no reason, can’t tell the difference between reality and his insanity? He’s beyond evil, stupid, gluttonous, uninformed, sexist, racist, hateful and selfish.

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