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Trump becomes irrelevant

By Ad astra

We saw it coming, even before his election as President of the United States of America. Few gave this man any credence as he campaigned against Republican after Republican for the GOP nomination. His ideas lacked substance, his policies were threadbare, even nihilistic, and his persona unbefitting such high office. He was bereft of the attributes necessary to become the world’s most powerful person. Not many gave him a chance; even the pollsters wrote him off.

Yet against the odds he prevailed and assumed the mantle, to the astonishment of most of the world, but to the delight of the millions who voted him in on the strength of his promise to ‘Make America Great Again’, to restore her to her former glory, to retrieve American jobs lost to other countries, and to restore prosperity to those who felt emasculated and disaffected: the unemployed middle class male workers in America’s rust belt. Desperate for a job and a better life, they grasped at his promises, clung to his garments, believed his every word. Most of them still do.

Since his election though they have been confronted by many moments of truth. Now his supporters are beginning to realize that Trump’s promises are without substance.

They saw him try yet fail to demolish Obamacare and replace it with Trumpcare. The saga goes on even now. They saw him retreat from building the Mexican wall at Mexico’s expense, a massively expensive and pointless project that will never be funded by Mexico, and will likely never eventuate. They saw him promise to block the immigration of people from six predominantly Muslim countries, saw him flamboyantly sign an Executive Order to action this, only to have it blocked in court after court as unconstitutional. Now he’s threatening to appeal to the Supreme Court where he has a majority of Republican appointees, hoping it will uphold his Orders. To do so though will require the learned judges to deem that his Orders are in fact constitutional – a massive ask of these high ranking and very responsible public officials.

His supporters will be watching him as he presents to the House a gargantuan budget that is exceptionally punitive to the least well off, while giving massive tax cuts to the top end of town. They will be watching him as he tries to fulfill his promise of gigantic infrastructure spending. Yet all along the way he is encountering resistance from his own party as well as the Democrats. At town hall meetings GOP members are reeling from the reactions of their constituents to Trump’s agenda, and already fear an electoral backlash at the mid-term elections.

Just when it seemed that Trump was incapable of keeping any of his promises, along came the Paris Climate Change Accord, which he promised America would abandon. This time though, with these historic words uttered on 2 June 2017 in bright sunlight in the White House Rose Garden, Trump fulfilled his promise to pull out of the accord, which he has described as a job killer: “As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. So we’re getting out but we’ll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

Trump, at his paranoid worst, claimed that other nations were ‘laughing’ at America and that the accord was “about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States.”

He added that the US would endeavour to either re-enter the Paris accord or propose a new deal: “…on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris climate agreement is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production.”

The decision means the US will pull out of the Green Climate Fund, which Trump insisted cost the country ‘a vast fortune’.

Immediately the fractures began to appear.

Even the White House is divided. While his daughter Ivanka, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all opposed Trump’s exit, neo-fascist adviser Stephen Bannon of Breitbart ill repute, climate denier Scott Pruitt, Trump’s so-called Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and even ‘alternative facts’ Kellyanne Conway manoeuvred to have Trump withdraw, and when he did, applauded his move, as did the hand-picked crowd in the Rose Garden. Dutifully, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s decision, calling the issue of climate change ‘a paramount issue for the left’!

Throughout the world, leaders expressed disappointment and dismay at Trump’s announcement, and vowed to continue their efforts to combat global warming as per the Paris Accord. Their message was clear: if you want to go it alone, count us out. Here is an abbreviated account of their reactions extracted from the Sydney Morning Herald of 1 June:

“EU climate action commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, said: ”…the bloc deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration” but went on to vow: ”…the world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership”.

“Following his announcement, Trump spoke by phone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May to explain his decision.

“Italy, France and Germany said they regretted Trump’s decision and dismissed his suggestion that the global pact could be revised. In a rare joint statement they said: “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”

“In a five-minute direct exchange French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump that while France would continue to work with Washington, it would no longer discuss climate issues with the United States.

“Macron, who made a televised address in French and English, said Trump had “…committed an error for the interests of his country, his people and a mistake for the future of our planet. I tell you firmly tonight: we will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. Don’t be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no planet B.”

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and India’s leader, Narendra Modi, pledged their support for the climate accord during meetings in Berlin.

“Justin Trudeau said he was deeply disappointed at the US decision. “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.”

“The Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, called it ‘a brutal act.’ Five Nordic countries wrote a last-minute letter to Trump, saying the Paris accord was a commitment ‘to our children’. “We must reduce global warming”. The leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden said in a short, joint missive: “The effects are already visible in all parts of our planet. It is of crucial importance that all parties stick to the Paris Agreement.”

“The Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, called it ‘a brutal act’.

Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, told the Italian daily La Repubblica that a withdrawal from the agreement amounted to “a disaster for everyone”.

“Premier Li Keqiang of China, in Berlin for meetings with Merkel, said before Trump’s decision that his country remained committed to the fight against climate change and to participating in international efforts for a greener world. China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, stands to gain international credit for standing by the Paris Agreement, but it would not be able to fill the void on its own with the US abandoning the treaty. “China will continue to uphold its commitments to the Paris climate agreement”…confirming a position his country agreed to alongside the United States in 2014, in what proved to be a watershed moment for the ultimate passage of the landmark accord the following year.

“Jane J. Chigiyal, ambassador from the Pacific island nation of Micronesia, said her people were already feeling the acute impact. She called sea rise “…an existential issue. Our contribution to this problem, this challenge, is very small, yet we will continue to do our part.”

At home, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, fearful of upsetting Trump, said that Australia was ‘disappointed’, but remained committed to the Paris Agreement, and confirmed that they still believe Australia’s targets are achievable.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “The decision was a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “…remains confident that cities, states and businesses within the United States – along with other countries – will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity”.

Even in the United States, significant people spoke out strongly.

Picking up on his attempt at alliteration: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”, the Mayor of Pittsburgh reminded him that in Pittsburgh only 20% voted for Trump, adding: “I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy, and the future.”

The Mayor of Pittsburgh was not alone. Washington Governor Jay Inslee told reporters that states are free to act on their own to reduce pollution and added that Washington State, New York and California are forming the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene states committed to working to uphold the Paris climate agreement. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said Mr Trump’s decision was a ‘disgrace’.

The US Conference of Mayors said it strongly opposed Trump’s action and vowed that American mayors would continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

There is more, as reported in news.com.au:

”Barack Obama said the withdrawal meant the Trump administration had made the US one of “a small handful of nations that reject the future…I’m confident that our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got”.

“Al Gore, who created the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth, said the decision was “reckless and indefensible, undermined America’s standing in the world and threatened to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time… but make no mistake: if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.”

“Even oil companies voiced opposition to pulling out of the agreement, with Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips arguing that the US is better off with a seat at the table so it can influence global efforts to curb emissions.

“Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger and Tesla boss Elon Musk both announced their resignation from the President’s Council over the withdrawal.

“Weather.com mocked the President today with sarcastic headlines splashed across its homepage. “Hmm, I did not see a forecast for shade when I checked the Weather Channel app this morning. Yet here it is!, tweeted Politico senior editor Alex Weprin.

“UK environmental law firm ClientEarth’s chief executive James Thornton said: “Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement is an act of vandalism that has the potential to do great harm to current and future generations.”

“Critics argued that Mr Trump’s decision amounts to the US shirking its responsibility as the leader of the free world.”

Applause for Trump was confined to a handful of his advisers, his ardent followers in Trumpland, and disappointedly, to a handful of climate denier conservatives here, the usual suspects: Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly, Ian Macdonald, Chris Back, Tony Pasin, Ian Goodenough, George Christensen and of course the arch-denier, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, all of whom would have Australia follow Trump.

Adam Bandt was the only politician who exhibited guts, calling Trump a ‘climate criminal’ who should become a ‘world pariah’. “Trump has just threatened our security and our way of life. Time to dump Trump. Trump’s ‘axis of denial’ is a greater threat to global security than terrorism.”

So where does Trump’s action leave him? The Emperor with no clothes?

Hans Christian Anderson’s tale is an allegory that portrays a situation where many people believe something that is not true. The nub of the story is that, knowing the Emperor’s love of the finest clothes, two swindlers claiming to be weavers entered the Emperor’s city and proclaimed they were capable of making the finest, lightest, most magnificent cloth the world has ever seen. So extraordinary was this cloth it was invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

The latter day Emperor, Donald John Trump, believing the climate denier swindlers, dressed in their invisible ‘climate change is a hoax’ finery and appeared before the people of the world to announce his retreat from the Paris Accord. His ardent supporters, not wanting to be seen as incompetent or stupid, wildly applauded his bold announcement.

But far from it being left to a small boy to exclaim: “But the Emperor has no clothes”, leaders from around the world, and even in his own country, seeing how naked was Trump, and knowing that they were neither incompetent or stupid, quickly pronounced in unambiguous language: “The Emperor has no clothes”.

Although nominally the most powerful person in the world, he now stands naked and exposed.

Image from madison.com

Trump has become irrelevant.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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42 comments

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  1. economicreform

    Trump’s political inexperience, ignorance and scientific illiteracy guaranteed that he would be largely outwitted, outflanked and bypassed by the political, bureaucratic and intelligence establishments – who have their own missions and agendas. They also understand that the successful pursuit of those agendas as well as stability will require bringing Trump down, by whatever means, and they are currently in the process of doing so.

  2. Anniebee

    An excellent article … and true picture of all the wickedness going on in the name of presidential leadership !!!

    “Trump, at his paranoid worst, claimed that other nations were ‘laughing’ at America and that the accord was “about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States.”

    He is paranoid about most everything, but of any truths he has uttered ( rare IF any ) … there is one …. the world is indeed ‘laughing’ at America – at them for being so stupid in falling for his vulgar rhetoric in the first place … but mostly laughing at the orange topped one himself.

    Actually, it’s sad, if not tragic. He claims to ‘love’ the workers, and to provide the best for all – yet is prepared to wilfully sacrifice them while he kowtows to the top end of town – all the wealth. He has only $’s for eyes and his greed knows no bounds.

    There are some good people there, and they will come to the fore – – some already mentioned in this article, with their determination to continue fighting climate change – against the ‘Emporers’ wishes.

    When ( & how ) can this buffoon be removed, asap ?

  3. Frank Smith

    Having two children and four grandchildren living in the USA these are very troubling times for our family. The chaos the Trump administration is causing is laughable, even though the consequences are very serious indeed. I guess the only solace is that the whole world sees Trump as the lying egotistical clown that he is and is bypassing him. Thankfully, on the issue of climate change, many major US States, cities and corporations are picking up the pieces that Trump discarded when withdrawing the USA Federal Government from the Paris Accords – as you say Ad Astra Trump is becoming irrelevant on this issue.

    Many see removal of Trump from office through impeachment as a solution to the train wreck he is proving to be. But, perhaps we should be careful what we wish for. Impeachment would propel Mike Pence to the presidency. Unlike Trump, Pence is a true Republican and would be very acceptable to the party faithful. But, he is at the very conservative end of the Republican spectrum. With Pence as President and the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate, the Republicans would have a field day legislating their damaging right wing agenda and could end up doing untold damage to the USA and the so-called “free world”. To prevent open slather by the Republicans, the Democrats need to get their house in order very quickly so they can win back at least the House in the mid-term elections before Trump meets his seemingly inevitable demise. One hopes there are enough level heads among both US political parties to restrict the damage the clown may do in the meantime. One obvious thing to do immediately is get rid of that nasty piece of work Steve Bannon.

    Very troubling times indeed!

  4. Matters Not

    Once upon a time we had a Premier who was questioned thus:

    Michael Forde: What do you understand by the doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

    Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen: The Westminster system? The stock?

    Forde: The doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

    Bjelke Petersen: No, I don’t quite know what you’re driving at. The document?

    Forde: No, I’ll say it again. What do you understand by the doctrine of the separation of powers under the Westminster system?

    Bjelke Petersen: I don’t know which doctrine you refer to.

    Forde: There is only one doctrine of the separation of powers.

    Bjelke Petersen: I believe in it very strongly, and despite what you may say, I believe that we do have a great responsibility to the people who elect us to government. And that’s to maintain their freedom and their rights, and I did that – sought to do it – always.

    Forde: I’m sure you’re trying to be responsive to the question, but the question related to the doctrine of the separation of powers or the principles.

    Bjelke Petersen: Between the Government and the – Is it?

    Forde: No, you tell me what you understand.

    Bjelke Petersen: Well, the separation of the doctrine that you refer to, in relation to where the Government stands, and the rest of the community stands, or where the rest of the instruments of Government stand. Is that what-?

    Forde: No

    Bjelke Petersen: Well, you tell me. And I’ll tell you whether you’re right or not. Don’t you know?

    The separation of powers in Australia is somewhat impure. Not so in the USA where it’s revered. That Trump seems to have no understanding of that concept says much. He’s destined to be remembered for all the wrong reasons – as is Joh. Predictable and predicted.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/FedJSchol/2010/27.html

  5. Matters Not

    Anniebee to remove a president is a two stage process. First, the President has to be indicted by the House of Representatives. That’s the impeachment part. Stage 2 involves a trial in the Senate. Clinton for example was ‘impeached’ by the HOR but not found guilty by the Senate. It’s not easy and as Frank Smith points out – the situation might get a whole lot worse. Pence is a religious nutter of the first water. LOL.

    But Trump may decide, as Nixon did, that it’s too much trouble and besides the writing is on the wall and simply resign.

  6. Peter F

    MN I lived through the Joh era in QLD, and witnessed that interview. Let us remember that Joh remains in power for more than 19 years because he was not the only one who did not understand the separation of powers. I do not place the American voter above the QLD voter in respect of knowledge of the principles involved.

  7. Zathras

    Joh also had the advantage of a considerable gerrymander plus those mysterious and anonymous paper bags full of cash left at the front desk bought a lot of influence in the right areas.

    As long as he was greasing the right palms he was safe from real scrutiny, until the corruption got to the stage where it could no longer be ignored or covered up.

    Perhaps this also relates to the future of the Trump regime and the influence behind climate denialism.

  8. Frank Smith

    Joh! His reign only endured because of the huge gerrymander the National Party inflicted upon us Queenslanders at that time.

  9. darrel nay

    Trump has already done so many things that his supporters love. For example, his attacks on political correctness and cultural Marxism have already been devastatingly successful, to the point where millions of people now feel free to express their opinions about ‘safe spaces’ and all the other nonsense that the mockingbird media has been shoveling at us.

    Cheers

  10. Aortic

    Gore Vidal said, ” Anyone considering running for President of the United States should immediately, by definition,be disqualified from doing so”. I rest my case.

  11. Matters Not

    Peter F, I think it can be argued (reasonably) that in Australia the separation of powers is largely in name only. Here, we have elected ‘members’ who are both ‘Legislators’ and ‘Executors’. The Prime Minister (and Cabinet Members), are involved in the making of the laws) and are also involved in the administration of same. It’s a conflation of Legislative and Executive functions. Hardly a separation of powers.

    Not the case in the USA. There the Constitution (plus Amendments) is explicit. Real time, effective Checks and Balances. A genuine Separation of Powers – with each Branch of Government jealously guarding (and being conscious) of their roles, rights and responsibilities.

    Here, I suspect not many have read the Australian Constitution (even fewer are aware that each State has a Constitution – and even fewer have read same). In the USA, the Constitution is taken very, very seriously. Just ask Donald Trump. The role of the Judiciary is much more important as well. Indeed its landmark decisions have created principles that effect and affect thinking across the western world. Perhaps Roe V Wade is known by some locals but it figures prominently (currently) in all US elections. (I could list a whole host of same but I will just provide a link.) Have a look and see the ‘principles’ that we now regard as ‘common sense’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_landmark_court_decisions_in_the_United_States

    Thus I am more positive than you regarding the ‘principles’ that the average citizen in the US understands.

  12. darrel nay

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. …(Roosevelt)

  13. darrel nay

    Gore Vidal once said ‘ Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies’ – what sort of person thinks like that? Properly adjusted humans rejoice in the success of others.

    Cheers

  14. darrel nay

    reply for matters not,

    do you think we might benefit from civics lessons being offered for kids ?

  15. Matters Not

    Frank Smith re:

    reign only endured because of the huge gerrymander the National Party inflicted upon us Queenslanders

    True enough. But let’s not have a selective memory. Joh simply built on the gerrymander devised by the ALP’s Ned Hanlon some years before.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislative_Assembly_of_Queensland

  16. Matters Not

    Darrel Nay students in Australian schools are provided with such a curriculum. And yes, I do agree with your suggestion that ‘adults’ would benefit (perhaps) from such exposure. But you *can lead a horse to water but you can’t … *. I am sure you know the rest.

    I suspect the real difficulty is that some people don’t realise it is they who are the allegorical horse. You know the ones who neigh all the time.

    Who think that the ‘future’ can be found in the past.

    http://www.civicsandcitizenship.edu.au/cce/

  17. Miriam English

    A bit of good news:
    21 children might achieve what the most powerful people and organisations couldn’t. They’ve launched a law suit against the USA government over climate change for ruining their future. They look like they may actually be able to force the USA to rein in the fossil fuel corporations. Donate to their campaign:
    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/the_race_to_save_the_world_from_trump_rb/

    As you say, Ad Astra, Trump is making himself irrelevant. He is also degrading and reducing the importance of President. It will never again hold the same level of importance after Trump.

  18. astra5

    Folks
    Thanks to you all for contributing so much to this piece, and for you kind remarks Anniebee.

    Matters Not, the material about Bjelke Joh’s lack of understanding of the doctrine of the separation of powers was fascinating to re-read, as was the long list of landmark decisions in the US. Trump seems to be another Joh.

    What Trump does understand though is that he has a Supreme Court stacked with Republicans, which he thinks will be putty in his hands if he refers to it his travel ban of residents from six majority Muslim countries, already rejected by several lower courts. He fondly imagines that these learned judges, who have their carefully crafted reputations to protect, would roll over and endorse his travel ban as constitutional, although other judges have deemed it unconstitutional. It will be fascinating to see how these Supreme Court judges perceive the separation of Executive Power (read Political) from Judicial Power.

    economicreform and Frank Smith, I share your apprehension. We all hope that the court case initiated by young people that you mention Miriam English, is successful. The future of our planet is of crucial importance to the young; it’s salutary that it is they who have launched this action to counter those who choose to ignore global warming out of ignorance or unfettered greed.

  19. Matters Not

    Re Peter Dutton and the Separation of Powers. Dutton is a member of the legislature, as a member of cabinet he has executive powers and now craves further powers to over-rule judicial decisions. The sad part is that they are likely to be granted. Now with all the powers of a Dictator. And if there’s one person who should not have any power, it’s the ex cop from Queensland.

    He’s just waiting for the Opposition to say no. Then he will have his gotcha moment. Oh to have an Opposition that recognises Dutton for what he is. Come on Drefus – take him on.

  20. astra5

    Folks
    This piece focussed on Trump’s relevance in the global warming debate.

    The evidence presented by James Comey points to Trump becoming irrelevant, as well as naive and stupid, in many other areas: international diplomacy, middle east mediation, relationships with allies, and relations with internal statutory bodies such as the FBI, and the judiciary.

    On the legislative front he is fast becoming irrelevant as he vainly tries to get his legislative agenda in motion: repeal of Obamacare and its replacement with Trumpcare; tax reform with mega tax cuts for the corporate sector; a punitive budget that shafts the poor; an infrastructure program that is going nowhere; and his Mexican wall that will never be built. He is stuck in a quagmire of inaction, and with it, irrelevancy.

    As he becomes more and more despised and ridiculed, as he lies more and more profusely, as he communicates more and more via Twitter, as his utterances become more and more outrageous, his relevance sinks lower and lower. To become the laughing stock of other nations, indeed the entire world in just over four months is astonishing. How can such a laughable person be relevant?

    An article in ‘The Hill’ titled ‘Trump the rebel must learn to govern’, Judd Gregg begins: The more President Trump says “make America great again,” the less we seem to be headed in that direction.

    Later he writes: “…just five months into his presidency, he is on the verge of making himself irrelevant.

    “His cause of making America great again is floundering, not because of opposition to his policies or because of “fake news.”

    “No, the problem is the incoherence and inconsistency he exhibits.

    “His tweets, which are often uniquely and arbitrarily insulting to many, including our allies, are put forth in a manner that verges on irrational and is many times uninformed.

    “He calls on the Republican leadership in the Senate, for example, to change the rules of the upper chamber so that healthcare and tax reform can be passed with just 51 votes — apparently not knowing that this is already the procedural status of those bills in the Senate.

    “He drops the most important line from his NATO speech — one that would have reaffirmed our commitment to Article Five, which calls on the members of the alliance to defend one another from outside attacks.

    “According to multiple reports, the sentence was dropped unilaterally, without informing Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or national security advisor H.R. McMaster, all of whom had worked diligently to get the proper phrasing in.

    “This apparently haphazard decision only fomented confusion as to America’s purpose.

    “Generating confusion is not a track that leads to making America great again. Rather, it takes us down a road that diminishes our international reputation.

    “The list of misstatements and gyrating policies goes on and on. It is leading to a time when little the president says or does will be viewed as reliable or constructive by most Americans or by the world community.

    “It may be that the president is incapable of transitioning from being a self-proclaimed revolutionary to a governing president.

    “We may have elected a Patrick Henry or Sam Adams — someone who can still stir the pot but does not know how to use it to cook a good meal to deliver a stronger and better nation.”

    Sounds like someone we know all too well – Tony Abbott.

    http://thehill.com/opinion/judd-gregg/337318-judd-gregg-trump-the-rebel-must-learn-to-govern

  21. Freethinker

    astra5, when I read the political news about USA and Australia I am very tempted to go bush and share the rest of my years with nature.
    Where are we heading? Where is the people dignity and decency in working, supporting or voting for these individuals?
    We have to take into account that people like Trump, Abbott, Dutton, Turnbull will be nothing if was not for the supporters that have around them.

  22. Matters Not

    Trump suffers another legal loss.

    Another federal court has ruled against President Donald Trump’s revised executive order limiting travel from six predominately Muslim countries — and like other courts, used his tweets against him.

    The ruling from a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is yet another stinging loss from a court that similarly refused to reinstate Trump’s original executive order on travel in February …

    The judges cited Trump’s latest tweets in the travel ban saga. “That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!” Trump tweeted on June 5. Indeed, the President recently confirmed his assessment that it is the ‘countries’ that are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries who are barred from entry under the President’s ‘travel ban,'” the judge wrote.

    They also cited White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s confirmation that the President’s tweets are “considered official statements by the President of the United States.”

    Talk about a slow learner. Doesn’t seem to understand The Rule of Law concept.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/politics/9th-circuit-travel-ban/index.html

  23. Freethinker

    Matters Not, give the poor man a fair go, he is learning on the job.
    There are fake news, fake rulings.

    When his supporters and the Republican party are going to draw a line?

  24. Kyran

    “Not many gave him a chance; even the pollsters wrote him off.”
    With respect, Ad astra, I think you have made the same mistake as the pundits, pollsters and politico’s made.
    The underlying assumption has always been that T-Rump appealed to the disenfranchised and disaffected. The unentitled and uneducated.
    My research, conducted over some months now, leads me to think nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I know, the truth is so overrated.
    Think about it. Prior to politics, what did T-Rump do? He was a ‘reality show’ celebrity, dependent on media outrage for relevance, and a businessman extraordinaire, reliant on bankruptcy protection for financial survival.
    His appeal to the grate unwashed was not that he would make them great again. That was just spin, peddled for a MSM seeking relevance. His appeal was his confected, protected outrage.
    Think back to your first trip to the zoo. Which enclosure got your attention? Was it the graceful giraffe’s, in pursuit of nourishment from tree’s far beyond your reach? Was it the lions, capable of both peaceful repose and frightening savagery?
    Or was it the monkeys? Mischievous, playful, energetic. Reliant on throwing fecal matter as a primary defence.
    To understand the appeal of T-Rump, you must first understand our primate cousins.

    “In order to understand the risks of owning a monkey as a pet, you have to first understand a monkey’s needs. Monkeys are primates just like humans, and so they require a lot of social interaction. Any primate that is deprived of social interaction will develop psychological and medical problems.”

    You see? T-Rump, clearly deprived of meaningful social interaction in his formative years, developed psychological and medical problems. Despite this, he has evolved to such a degree, he no longer requires social interaction. He now seeks relevance through adulation.

    “A pet monkey is almost like a child–they have to be supervised and nurtured. If you want to know what will happen if you don’t provide your pet monkey with sufficient attention, take a look at a preschool class for children with behaviour problems–that’s how your pet monkey will act.”

    The similarities are simply uncanny.

    “Lastly, you must understand that your pet monkey is still an animal, no matter how human it can act. Frightened animals can be very dangerous. Monkeys have very large and sharp canine teeth, which they use to bite, gnash and cut when they feel threatened. Monkeys also will pull hair, and target eyes. Many people are also worried about their monkey throwing its faeces when it is frightened. Throwing faeces is actually an obvious defense strategy, and monkeys instinctively know that it works. However, many animals and even humans throw faeces or defecate when frightened.”

    T-Rump learnt from an early age that the more faeces he threw, the more inexcusable his behaviour became, the more attention he got. Now that he is in the big enclosure, the only saving grace is that there are so many apologists capable of cleaning up his faeces, whilst explaining to all who are gathered that it is not really faeces that he is throwing.

    “Humans and monkeys both can be trained to avoid this behaviour. If you consider it, human infants and children are actually trained by their parents to avoid handling or throwing their faeces, because of the negative reinforcement that usually follows that kind of behaviour. Remember, your pet monkey is just like a child, and it can learn. Be careful though, because physical reinforcement or aggression towards your monkey may only frighten it more, or physically harm it, because it is still a small and fragile animal. Positive reinforcement is always better. Watch out for things that could frighten your pet monkey, such as: loud public places, lots of strangers in your home, and arguments or confrontations (your pet monkey might feel like you are threatened).
    So while there are real risks in owning a monkey as a pet, if you truly understand its needs, a monkey can be a great addition to your family.”

    http://exotic-pets.yoexpert.com/exotic-pets-general/what-are-the-risks-in-owning-a-monkey-as-a-pet-3834.html

    I have not yet finished my research and welcome your list for prospective further studies.
    “Applause for Trump was confined to a handful of his advisers, his ardent followers in Trumpland, and disappointedly, to a handful of climate denier conservatives here, the usual suspects: Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly, Ian Macdonald, Chris Back, Tony Pasin, Ian Goodenough, George Christensen and of course the arch-denier, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, all of whom would have Australia follow Trump.”

    I suspect our ‘big enclosure’ contains many more examples of people who think that throwing crap about somehow endears them to anyone other than the child, standing outside the enclosure, wondering why that behaviour is acceptable inside the enclosure, yet frowned upon outside.
    “Although nominally the most powerful person in the world, he now stands naked and exposed.”
    Given my research to date, being naked and exposed is simply the natural order being restored for the likes of T-Rump.
    T-Rump hasn’t become irrelevant. He never was relevant. His crap throwing attempts at relevance are simply becoming tiresome. This monkey is no “great addition” to the human family.
    My apologies to other primates, none of whom were injured in the course of my research.
    Thank you Ad astra and commenters. Take care

  25. jimhaz

    [Trump has become irrelevant]

    I so very wish that were true – but it is not at all. The failed polices don’t count as much as what he is doing to US minds.

    For instance – a Sam Harris podcast from a couple of weeks ago. Everyone should be listening to his podcasts.
    The Road to Tyranny

    https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/the-road-to-tyranny

    if you skip to a 30 minutes in they talk about a Jewish newspaper Editorial soon after Hitler was elected. They were confident the checks and balances would prevent him from greatly harming them.

    Nothing Trump has said would infer to me that he has a better personality than Hitler. Note he supports so many killers around the world like Duterte.

    Nothing has convinced me that his supporters will not do similar public denouncing as occurred in back then – the stage is set – and guess who their targets will be – THE LEFT. We see this is some of the Georgia GOP Super Pac ads attackign the left and Trump’s supporters blame everything on the left often with very overt bigotry.

    Guess what party in Australia will copy this on gleefully – indeed even Turnbull is coming on in more authoritarian fashion – and we have traitors like Dutton making themselves above the legal system and getting away with it…..and so many other things made overt since Abbott became the LNP’s chief public deceiver.

    I actually think May’s sycophancy to Trump is an understated factor in the recent election – they smell a Thatcherian dictator in her.

  26. Miriam English

    I had a long discussion with a friend in USA who believes Trump can do no wrong. He believes that Breitbart and Fox are the only completely reliable news sources. He is genuinely convinced that Hillary Clinton has had dozens of people murdered, that Trump is justified in not revealing his tax returns, and that Trump has had nothing to do with the Russians. He thinks all the Intelligence community and the media (except Fox and Breitbart) are conspiring against Trump; that all the wealthy and powerful in USA are scared of him and trying to defame him because he is rich and not anybody’s puppet. And I know other people in USA who feel exactly the same way. These are not stupid people; they have merely been sucked in by propaganda.

    It frankly mystifies me how people are not able to see that Trump is a serial liar; how they are unable to see that his presidency lurches and stumbles from one calamity to another.

    Will he be impeached? I certainly hope so, and I fervently hope he ends up in prison.

    Will he instead rally his faithful and impose a kind of martial rule? I doubt it, but I admit I worry that they doubted Hitler could too, back when everybody laughed at his rambling incoherent speeches and silly hairdo.

  27. Freethinker

    Miriam IMO if they remove Trump now there will be civilian unrest.
    There are far to many dangerous people that support him and his team.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Miriam, I am starting to whittle down my friends. I will not accept that your friends are intelligent people sucked in by propaganda. They are lazy people who love a conspiracy from the sounds of it. I read an enormous amount as I know you do too. You could argue they are time poor perhaps, you could argue they have no interest, – in which case they should accept their view is uniformed – but any intelligent person can find enough truth to know Trump is a simpleton who only entered the presidential race as a branding exercise, was then completely outfoxed by those who engineered his win, and who now finds himself completely out of his depth.

    I watched Rex Tillerson today as Trump’s cabinet showered him with praise. I felt embarrassed for him. Rex is a self-serving capitalist out to rape the world for profit, but even he finds Trump humiliating.

  29. Anniebee

    jimhaz ……. I listened to the link you provided, and it was more than interesting, particularly addressing Jewish people not believing anything so horrible and ghastly could happen to them – even under the Hitler regime. The Jewish people were wrong, as we all now know.

    Duterte ( of the Phillipines ) continuously denies that they ever invited intervention by the U.S. to help them out of their current horrors. …. Out of those two alleged ‘leaders’ – Trump and Duterte, which one would anyone believe ? … My guess would be neither of them, although I rather think the U.S. would indeed bib in, where not asked, as they have so many times before ,,,,, to further their attempts at ‘ruling the world’, militarily and otherwise.

    Well – those endeavours are all but gone – done and dusted, as I doubt too many in this world today, would trust the U.S. again, to act in anything but their own American imperialistic interests, especially under its current regime.

    So jimhaz …. quite simply – thank you …… for an excellent and well thought out comment.

  30. Matters Not

    These are not stupid people; they have merely been sucked in by propaganda

    Sorry. But what definition of stupid do you proceed on?

    Yes Trump’s support is still there but in decline – albeit rather slowly. Here in Queensland, Hanson’s support seems to be maintained and indeed possibly on the rise. Hard to rationalise. But then again most people believe that there’s an almighty up there .. .

    Reminds me of Imre Lakatos who postulated that scientific theories had two parts. There is the hard core which contains its basic assumptions. And then there’s its protective belt, a surrounding defensive set of “ad hoc” beliefs. While people are prepared to jettison some of the ad hoc beliefs when the intellectual going gets too tough, then will cling to the hard core even in the face of overwhelming evidence. His ‘scientific’ insights also apply to the world of political belief.

    Same with ‘religion’. Faith trumps rationality and science every time.

  31. Anniebee

    Miriam ….. we rarely disagree, but this time we must. ( I believe ).

    Ref your comment “These are not stupid people; they have merely been sucked in by propaganda.” …. Have to say it is ONLY the stupid, lazy, unthinking people who DO get sucked in by propaganda – not the more intelligent, thinking, rational bods, be they of left or right persuasion.

    Do you, do I, does Kaye, does anyone here who have given intense and serious thought to replying ( whether we agree with them or not on a particular theme ) … give in to U.S. ‘propaganda’ ? … I would think 95% do NOT give in to it. … I for one, do not. … It’s the stupid bods that do. …. they suck it up like mothers milk, because their lives are sadly, not full enough of positive, analytical and critical thinking – and knowledge; they hang on conspiracies and shallow promises, as though they are lifes’ very blood.

    I agree with Kaye – and like her, I am ‘whittling down my friends’ – particularly on social media which is currently rife with the most awful scenarios of disaster, gloom, doom and death. Why they write that way ? ( and I have been sucked in because of allegiance to friends in the past, myself ) …. I think it is that they have deeply personal chips on their shoulders, and social media is a good way of getting rid of them – onto anyone else who will bite. …. But social media is another discussion for another time.

    The remainder of your comments, I agree with 🙂 …. and frankly, I don’t think it is beyond possibility that this maniac at the head of things there, would introduce martial law. … whatever happens, that country is in for a very rough road, including civil unrest in great proportions.

    And if they sink into some form of isolated oblivion, does anyone truly believe the rest of the world will cease to be ? …. Life will – and can, go on without them – despite what the almighty US$ is thought of at present. … EU, Asian, Russian ( and other sovereign nations ), could well quickly band together to keep the world on an even keel, without the almighty US$. ….

    After all, money speaks loudly – and there is plenty of it – world wide.

  32. Roswell

    “if they remove Trump now there will be civilian unrest.”

    Am I wrong in thinking that’d give him pleasure? All those people, rising up in their millions, showing him what a loved man he is. Why, it’ll be the “biggest revolution ever seen”.

  33. jimhaz

    [These are not stupid people; they have merely been sucked in by propaganda]

    It is that factor that makes me a feel a little ‘broken’ – like Kathy Griffin feels – because it does not allow me the peace of having faith in the checks and balances. I’m just amazed so many otherwise intelligent cant see him for what he is – or do and don’t care – and might possibly become if not enough people do the right thing to limit his reach.

    That and the fact a majority of GOP politicians have long shown a distain for rational thinking and actions and will do anything for power.

    I was just about to add that the Mueller investigation might be the most important one in my lifetime, as it will determine is there is any safety from those crazed egotists, within the old school GOP powerbase (McCain, not the proven traitor Ryan), then I googled Mueller’s name and what do we get:

    Donald Trump reportedly considering sacking Robert Mueller from investigation into alleged Russian ties

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-13/donald-trump-reportedly-considering-axing-russia-investigator/8614596

    Its a mad mad world.

  34. Kaye Lee

    The US government is now a parody of reality tv – the only thing Donald was good at (according to his version of the ratings anyway).

    You’re fired!

  35. Kaye Lee

    “Trump generally likes authoritarian leaders more than democratic ones,” said Mr Sullivan, when asked how Malcolm Turnbull should approach his already awkward alliance with the 70-year-old. “He sees them as annoying.

    “Lecturing Trump on the importance of the Paris climate agreement and pushing him hard on the issue as the European leaders did at the G7 is not a successful strategy. Coming in the back door is probably a better way to go.”

    The key to dealing with the President’s protectionist, us-and-them stance is “not to give in to a zero sum conversation but getting Trump to see something in it for him”, says Mr Sullivan.

    “Trump responds very well to praise. When people say nice things about him, he thinks nice things about them.”

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/forget-it-australia-trumps-brutal-blow-to-allies/news-story/8b266b1ccad232325218e5dd7a5102e6

  36. Miriam English

    Kaye and Annie, it is dangerous to consider people sucked in by propaganda as stupid, or those who see through it as smarter. It means that when an intelligent person becomes sucked in they can feel even more certain of their erroneous beliefs. I know it seems obvious that nobody with any brains could see Trump as anything but a privileged fool way out of his intellectual depth, but it really isn’t obvious when you look at him through the lens of distorted information.

    One of my very closest friends from my youth (who I’ve unfortunately lost track of these days) is one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met, but he is strongly religious. It is entirely understandable in him, as his father, also a smart, gentle person, was the minister in the local church. My friend’s extraordinary intelligence did not protect him from the propaganda of religion. I’m sure you can think of a smart person who is also prey to religion.

    When you study brainwashing one of the most important things to understand is that intelligence by itself is not really a great protection; emotion is, or rather, the lack of it. A person who is angrily, emphatically anti-religion is much easier to convert to religion than someone who is merely interested in uncovering the truth. Likewise, someone fanatically devoted to religion is relatively easy to convert to being angrily anti-religion, or a strong disciple of some other religion. It really hasn’t got a lot to do with intelligence. Emotion is the main lever used to control people, and it is generally accompanied by selective exposure to information along with repetition.

    It is dangerous for a person to feel comfortable that their intellect makes them safe against brainwashing and to look down upon those unfortunates who have been brainwashed. It gives them a feeling of security that can undermine their actual safety, and being able to look down on others rationalises dismissing them… or much worse.

  37. astra5

    Kyran
    What an interesting hypothesis, so carefully explained! You might be right. Presumably then, Trump-monkey will continue to throw crap. So far that has certainly been his pattern of behaviour.

    Thank you to all of you who have added so much to the discussion of this piece. I’ll catch up later with the interesting links that you have left.

  38. Anniebee

    Miriam ~

    I feel chastised, but not chastened.

    Let’s abandon the use of the word ‘stupid’ and replace it with “misguided” — or “mistaken”. The word ‘uninformed’ also fits……. ‘Stupid’ means many things, not at all too nice.

    I do not ‘look down’ on others. … but I do see differences. It is my right to observe those differences, in order to protect myself from verbal and physical abuse, and from proselytising by church – – – – AND political groups. There is one group however, I happily admit to ‘looking down on’ … that is the overall political genre that inhabits earth today, spreading its’ poison of wars, possible wars, dumbing down of people, and snide attempts to keep as many as possible under an increasingly despotic type thumb.

    There are those who care and are interested, who delve and discover, who trust their instincts, and see reality for what it is … & do not dabble in fantasies and religious ideologies. I count many Christians, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists and atheists in the latter – – – but not all. Every group has its’ extremists, radicals and, frankly – nutters.

    Then there are others ( of various persuasions ) who prefer to say nowt about anything that directly affects their lives and living – beyond the weather and an occasional ‘oh how awful’ when some tragedy is shown on TV. ( e.g. the latest terrorist activity at London Bridge & Borough Market – and tonight, the horror of watching an entire high rise accommodation building go up in flames in London during their night time ). It is those, who continue to hide, who are ‘ misguided / mistaken / or indeed ignorant ‘, I believe would more easily succumb to propaganda and its disinformation, and lying promises. Not so much the blanket “religious turning anti-religion”, and vice versa – as you stated, ( although that is indeed possible ).

    This is about those who succumb to propaganda, and – begging to differ from your most recent summaries, many and varied are the reasons people can be ‘turned’ to – or from – religion / politics / astrological pursuits / conspiracy beliefs / odd / weird behavioural pursuits etc, . … There are a myriad of reasons it happens.

    While I agree that emotion has a lot to do with the subjection of peoples search for something that is safe and promising, it certainly does not follow that lack of emotion, is an antithesis to being persuaded about anything new ( via propaganda which is what we are talking about here ).

    Your comment “When you study brainwashing one of the most important things to understand is that intelligence by itself is not really a great protection; emotion is, or rather, the lack of it. ” I kind of hope that was a typing error by you – “the lack of it” ???…. . Anyone displaying ‘flat’ emotion ( or largely lack of emotion ), is possibly in a whole heap of mental trouble. At best, an apathetic approach to surroundings, news, conversation … is a lack of wishing to express themselves ( for countless reasons – shyness, lack of confidence, lack of initiative and/or lack of knowledge and education to mention a few ). I am therefore thankful that I am a very emotional type of person … yet I can still differentiate, and be careful, indeed totally on the defensive in the face of con jobs, … and propaganda. …. This however, does not make me smart-arse of the month. 😉

    That’s about it for now, Miriam …

    Cheers …

  39. Miriam English

    Hi Annie, will, it wasn’t exactly a typo, but I could have phrased it better. What I mean is that high emotions polarise people. Remaining calm and attempting to put emotions to one side is the best way to avoid brainwashing. It isn’t always possible, of course. A prisoner of war undergoing brainwashing during torture will have a terribly difficult time releasing their mind from emotion unless they’ve managed to become a grand Zen master. Fire-and-brimstone preachers work very hard to raise strong emotions in their audience and are especially gifted at intuitively knowing which buttons to push in order to brainwash their victims. Trump used emotions to manipulate his audiences. The best defense from brainwashing is not being drawn in by strong emotions. While Trump hides out tweeting bullshit his effect on people wanes. His disapproval rating now is at historic lows — worse than any USA president in history, I think. So long as he stays out of sight he is doomed. The worry is that he might go on tour campaigning for the future election, which would let him whip people up into crazy frenzies again. I hope that doesn’t happen.

    My intent wasn’t to chastise, but to caution. I’m human too, and frequently become angry at, or dismissive of racists, global warming deniers, religious extremists, and similar people. I have to metaphorically slap myself afterwards each time, remembering everything I learned about brainwashing and the dangers of belittling its victims and of becoming emotionally entangled. Both are dangerous.

  40. Miriam English

    And a bit of good news: Democratic members of Congress are filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump.

    One hundred ninety-six senators and representatives are suing to challenge Trump’s violations of the Constitution’s prohibition on taking foreign payments without Congress’ consent. The Constitution’s emoluments clause bans presidents from accepting any payment from foreign governments without Congress’ consent.

    That’s why when Trump was elected, Congress asked him to divest from the Trump Organization, because a large share of that business, especially the hotels and resorts, comes from foreign entities. Remaining an owner of the organization posed a dangerous risk of conflicts of interest.

    Trump refused, instead promising to adhere to a weak set of ethics standards that he devised himself. And he hasn’t even abided by those! Most recently, he refused to release the names or countries of origin of his hotels’ foreign guests, calling it “impractical” for his brand.

  41. Anniebee

    Miriam ~

    First … your last comment re “Democratic members of Congress are filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump.” I so hope can come to fruition, and be won – which will help lead to his impeachment or at least the dismantling of the current government there, and perhaps another go-around at another election. ??? I doubt it however, as the Constitution rules – but I am not an aficionado of that constitution. !!! So, fingers crossed.

    Thank you for your reply to my queries. High emotions certainly do polarise people – ( put an avid Catholic and avid Protestant in the ring, and watch what happens – outcome would be 99% based mostly on emotion added to specific beliefs, whether they be correct or not – depending upon the onlookers’ own beliefs).

    Domestic situations are also often rife with high emotion, which can lead to some very nasty outcomes.

    Interesting observation about POW’s … who occasionally just ‘give in’ and say anything they think their oppressors want to hear, and even convert to their way of thinking, to protect themselves from more brutality. ( part of Stockholm syndrome ?? ).

    Emotionally entangled ! …. some who have encountered for a long period of time, a true narcissist, know the down side of becoming emotionally entangled with their devious ways, but many don’t. … It is damning in every way IF one allows it to continue. … Been there, done that. … Highly emotional response, to a narcissists’ attempt to demean and belittle, is the wrong way to deal with it. … Narcissists ( which I believe Trump is ) absolutely MUST have the upper hand, the attention they crave, the put down they administer, to make themselves ( they think ) superior above all. … It is an attempt at brainwashing and is nasty beyond belief.

    So – as you said … remaining calm and attempting to put emotions aside, ( a learned response and not at all easy ) is the best way to deal with narcissistic types. Ignoring, smiling, laughing, responding with positives, nodding agreement ( all of which a true narcissist hates ) … if it can be done, HAS to be done. It’s the only way would-be victim(s) can survive with their dignity and integrity entact. On that basis, I so wish the damned media would shut its’ face, get the Trump bloke OFF the TV screens, and ignore him (at least) …. i.e. give him enough rope to hang himself. … which he would / will ultimately do.

    But will they ? … I doubt it. …. He is a bleeder that leads.

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